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

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 Post subject: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 22nd 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4127
Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
TITLE: Inevitable

WRITER: Laragh

STORY RATING: PG-13 to NC-17

CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

DISCLAIMER: Willow, Tara and any other characters from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise belong to Joss Whedon, FOX, ME and a whole host of other entities, none of which are me. The original song ‘Different Colored Pens’ featured in this chapter is credited to Willow Ehrenreich.

SUMMARY: We end up hurting the worst, the only ones we really love

FEEDBACK: Absolutely!

NOTE: This one is going to be a bit of a journey. Stick with me. (Updates Tuesdays and Fridays)

Chapter 1




Inevitable

adjective|in•ev•i•ta•ble|\i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl\

Inescapable; unavoidable; certain
fate




July



Someone Tell Me When My Heart Will Stop Breaking


“Do you remember when we were just kids?”


Willow’s words burned in Tara’s mind as she stared at the page scribbled in her handwriting.


The swooped letters, the little hearts. Her words had been so full of hope.


Now all she could remember was the beginning of the end and one word in particular shrieked in disgust from the one person she thought could never let her down.


She felt her heart breaking in two.


How had everything gone so wrong, so fast?



On a warm Friday evening, Tara Maclay was hunched over the desk in her bedroom, scribbling music into a notebook.


She always had at least one notebook on the go, full of ink with the lyrics that would flow through her mind. When she had been old enough to start learning instruments, the music followed and she could often be seen jotting down a few notes on the back of receipts or napkins or even her own skin as they entered her head, lest she forget the melodic moment that thrummed through her.


Today the words flowing lightly from her fingers were influenced by something, or rather someone, who had embedded themselves in her mind that day and truthfully, every day.


The silly jokes you've said
Your different colored pens
The secrets you can't keep
The babble in your sleep
Some may call you strange
But me I'd never change
A thing
About you
Oh, about you



She stopped, frustrated.


It wasn’t enough.


It never felt enough.


She could never get down on paper the actual complexity of what she felt.


The deep, resounding feelings that filled her every waking moment.


She put a big X across the page.


She turned to a new page and tried again, this time closing her eyes. The pen hit the paper and the words came; her hand intrinsically knowing exactly where and how to press in the ink to keep the writing neat.


I lived my life in shadow
Never the sun on my face
It didn't seem so sad, though
I figured that was my place
Now I'm bathed in light
Something just isn't right

I'm under your—



Her phone buzzed in her front pocket and she slid her hand in, turning the device over in her palm. Her heart fluttered when she saw who it was from.


Image



A smile bloomed on Tara’s face and she typed out a quick reply,


Image


She pocketed her phone again and closed her notebook.


She moved spritely from her chair, swung a sitting backpack waiting on her bed over her shoulders and left her bedroom behind. As her feet imprinted on the well-worn carpet on the stairs, she called out loud enough for it to reach wherever her mother was in the house at that moment.


“I’m leaving!”


Kimberly Maclay appeared from the doorway of the kitchen, hidden to the back of the staircase. She was a young woman, one you’d easily mistake for having young children and not teenagers, screeching for her attention.


Her light brown hair stopped at her shoulder and that was one of the only differences between herself and her daughter; their frame and features matched identically, right down to the same angular point on their striking cheekbones.


“Staying over tonight?” Kimberly asked as she pushed a dishcloth around the interior of a saucepan.


Tara nodded and Kimberly smiled amiably.


“Okay. Make sure you’re ready on time tomorrow.”


“I will be,” Tara promised, already making a beeline for the front door.


As she went to open it, it opened first from the other side and she just narrowly avoided getting jabbed in the nose.


Donny Maclay pushed himself through the door and sneered when he saw Tara.


He wasn’t very like his mother or sister at all.


He was broad and scruffy and very much took after his father in looks. Not that Tara would know, as she had no memory of him, nor were there any photos to remind her. But she rarely saw a resemblance between them at all and so had to assume.


“Aren’t you gone yet?”


“Tomorrow,” Tara replied quietly.


“Can’t come quick enough,” Donny muttered under his breath as he walked right past her.


“Donny,” Kimberly chastised with a puffed breath of frustration.


She really wished her kids could get along.


Tara did too. She didn’t know quite why Donny hated her so much; he just did and always had. Her memory was littered with proof of that, from juice boxes being squeezed in her face to bubblegum stuck in her saxophone, to telling the whole school when she got her first period.


It had been a relief when she had gone to a different high school; though even now Donny had graduated from his, he was still living at home and tormenting her.


He stayed put instead of going to college; working some hours at an auto-shop and spending the rest out in some dive bar or sleeping off the resulting hangover. Kimberly did all his cooking and cleaning, meaning all he had to do was roll around the place, grunt and get a dig in at Tara whenever he could.


At least it was easy to strategically avoid him.


And she’d have a total break from him soon. Unfortunately, that meant a break from other things, or people, in her life too. As much as she loved going to camp every year, she missed the only person who’d known her almost as long as her own family had.


“Bye, mom,” Tara called again, not waiting for a response this time before slipping out of the door.


She walked down the path past her front yard, checked both ways before crossing the street and jogged up to the front door of the house that sat directly opposite hers. Her knuckles had barely skimmed the wood when it swung open.


On the other side, Willow Rosenberg stood with a cheerful smile and an even more cheerful sweater.


“I saw you crossing the street.”


“Hi,” Tara returned with an odd mix of bashful familiarity.


Willow stood aside to let her in.


“Come upstairs. I want to show you this funny video I saw online.”


Tara stepped over the threshold she’d stepped over a thousand times before. Living fifty feet from your best friend since you were four years old meant a lot of time spent in each other’s houses.


She followed Willow upstairs, feeling a pang of guilt when her eye-line was drawn to the bounce of her friend’s posterior. It wasn’t that she felt guilty about the associated feelings, but she didn’t want to be like her brother and his friends who so openly leered at girls they were attracted to.


She also didn’t want to get caught. That wasn’t the way she wanted to tell Willow about… everything.


Willow led Tara upstairs and laid on her bed, stomach down with her feet at the headboard and her laptop in front. She maximized a video and pressed replay when Tara laid down beside her.


Tara only half-watched the video, distracted by the sweet smell of Willow’s soap and the way her smile lit up her face when she laughed.


“Did you see? The panda kept sneezing.”


Tara quickly looked back at the screen.


“I liked when it tumbled,” she supplied after a moment.


“Yeah,” Willow agreed with an easy smile, but also with concern in her eyes.


This was the trouble with keeping secrets from your best friend; they knew you too well.


“Are you okay?” Willow continued, softly sympathetic, “Donny being an ass again?”


Tara was relieved to have an excuse given to her.


“Being himself, you mean.”


Willow wrapped an arm around Tara’s shoulders.


“He’s a loser,” she said, with an emphatic squeeze for emphasis, “So are we going to order pizza and fight over whose turn it is to pick a movie?”


Tara smiled. They often followed the same routine when they had sleepovers, ever since their first meeting barely out of diapers — when Kimberly had been asked to babysit when a surprise event came up for Ira and Sheila Rosenberg to attend.


The Maclays had only been living there a week at the time and barely moved in, but Kimberly felt sorry for the small, redheaded child upset at all the disruption and saw an opportunity for Tara to make a friend.


“You can pick,” Tara offered, rolling herself off the bed when she felt her cheeks getting a bit too overheated, “I just need to use the bathroom.”


“Okay, I’ll call in the pizza,” Willow replied as she too got up to choose a movie, “It shouldn’t take too long.”


Tara went into the bathroom attached to Willow’s bedroom. Hers and Willow’s houses had the same basic structure, but Willow’s had been built on and extended to the point that she had an entire level to herself.


Tara envied the space and Willow hated the loneliness.


Tara knew that and had spent a lot of time in the Rosenberg residence, though she’d pulled back as her inner feelings became more apparent to her. Willow had other friends, school friends to fill in the gaps. Tara went to a special school for performing arts so their circles didn’t cross much. They always just had each other around when needed.


This proved to be a mixed blessing of late. Tara could normally control her feelings around her friend, but she’d been aware of them so long now that it was starting to strain. All she could think about when they were together was this big invisible bomb hanging between them. The biggest problem she had was that she had no idea how Willow felt. Sometimes she thought there were signs, other times she convinced herself it was wishful thinking.


That was the other thing about keeping secrets from your best friend — there were too many opportunities for it all to come out.


She tied her hair up and tried to shift her emotional state to something a little more subtle. She flicked her face with water and patted it dry with the soft towel hanging beside the sink. It was her last night with Willow for a while; she wanted it to be a fond memory.


She returned to Willow’s room, where her friend was walking back into the room from the other side with the box of pizza.


“Good timing. I put on Cruel Intentions. Is that okay?”


“How long was I in there?” Tara asked, sitting quickly on the floor at the foot of Willow’s bed, “But, um, yes. That’s fine.”


Willow pressed play the movie and sat with Tara with the pizza between them.


She loved the familiarity of their routine; pizza, movie and staying up half the night talking.


It was funny; she often had the same routine with Buffy but with Tara it was…different.


They ate in silence until there was one lonely slice left and two bellies too full to eat it. Tara was very aware of their hands resting close together and took hers away, idly nibbling on the skin around her thumb.


“She looks kinda like your friend Buffy,” she commented as they watched the movie, the first thing to come into her mind, “But…kind of mean.”


Willow pulled some pepperoni from the slice and ate it on its own.


“She’ll have to be my pizza-and-a-movie buddy while you’re off being a prodigy.”


“It’s just band camp,” Tara replied bashfully.


“Back to back sessions because you’re just too good at too many instruments to pick one,” Willow said back, nudging Tara’s shoulder, “You have no idea how awesome you are, y’know.”


Tara gulped and hoped a flush wasn’t rising on her cheeks.


“We’re missing the movie.”


They continued watching, but Willow wasn’t long in chuckling and interrupting again as one of the more notable scenes played out on screen.


“Remember when we were just kids?” she asked, an oddly-placed lilt of nerves in her voice, “We used to practice kissing for boys?”


She rolled her eyes in Tara’s direction.


“Then no boys asked us out, of course…”


Tara’s heart began to pound. She worked very hard not to remember that. Or at least, only remember when she was alone with her thoughts.


“W-Were you disappointed when Xander started dating that girl? The cheerleader you don’t like?”


Listening to Willow go on about her friend and crush had never been easy for Tara, especially since Willow had known them both almost the same amount of time and he was acquiring the space she wanted to be in more than anything.


Still, she diligently listened and offered genuine advice on how to talk to him. Willow’s happiness always meant more to her than her own.


Willow scoffed.


“Whatever. Don’t know what I ever saw in him anyway. If that’s his taste…yuck! So much for being treasurer.”


Tara glanced at Willow, her eyes shining with innocent hope.


“Really?”


“Yeah, so over it. I’m not spending my senior year moping over that jerk,” Willow replied bitterly, looking down, “Better than crushing on Buffy I guess. Anyone but me.”


Tara frowned but Willow pulled herself together and looked up and over to her, smiling softly.


“What about you?”


“M-Me?”


Tara clammed up and Willow’s voice grew teasing but laced with something else that sounded vaguely threatening.


“Nate looks at you, you know. I see it when you guys play.”


Nate Williamson was a friend of Tara’s, better described as a bandmate. They wrote music together and sometimes played sets at The Bronze or local events and parties. They also volunteered once a month at the old folks’ home where Tara’s mother worked as a nurse.


He was a nice guy and excellent guitarist; Tara enjoyed making music with him but he did not make her heart a-flutter. Only one person had ever done that.


“I don’t like Nate like that,” Tara replied, looking down at her hands as they tumbled over each other in her lap. She avoided this topic like the plague and in the past Willow had been distracted enough by Xander to not notice Tara’s silence, “I…I don’t like any boys.”


“You’ve never liked a single person?” Willow asked with amused disbelief.


Tara hated this. It physically hurt to have to lie and bottle everything up and then be probed.


“That’s not what I said,” she replied in a strained whisper.


Willow turned, the movie forgotten, with curious eyes.


“Well, who then? Spill!”


Tara paled and continued gazing into her lap in silence.


“Well?” Willow prompted again, giggling at seeing Tara squirm, thinking it for a very different reason, “I knew someone would catch your eye eventually. Who is it?”


Tara could feel green eyes boring into her and had to tuck her hands between her knees to stop them from shaking. She slowly raised her head to look at her friend-since-forever and heard the word tumbling out of her mouth before she even consciously made the decision to say it.


“Y-you.”


Willow rolled her eyes.


“Oh, haha. April 1st passed a while ago.”


The silence boomed between them, confusion rippling on Willow’s face.


“Tara, what are you talking about?” Willow asked, her voice rising an octave, “Are you… are you gay or something?”


Tara felt the knife stab in her heart and the blood rush between her ears as her secret exploded in front of her eyes.


“I-I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything.”


Willow scrambled to stand and put space between them.


“I’m not like that!”


“I’m sorry,” Tara repeated lamely, feeling the shake move from her hands to her whole body as she stood too.


Willow looked like steam might blow out of her ears.


“You can’t just land that on me! You’ve been tricking me all this time, kissing me!”


“I-I stopped it when I realized how I felt,” Tara replied with an echoing voice, “Remember, Willow, I’m the one who said we should stop.”


“I’m not some dyke!” Willow spat in return.


Both of their faces contorted in shock as those words hung in the air. Willow seemed stunned that the word had even come out of her mouth and Tara’s face was frozen in hurt.


Tara broke the eerie stillness to snatch up her backpack.


“I should go.”


“Yeah I think that’s a good idea,” Willow replied with quiet anger, though she didn’t know which one of them it was directed at.


Tara turned before the tears actually fell, but only just. Her cheeks were wet before she got out the door and the collar of her shirt was starting to become damp by the time she rushed across the street and let herself back into her house.


She made a beeline for the stairs and bounded up and into the bathroom, the only place where she could be ensured of some privacy. She was actually grateful for the overpowering stench of Donny’s cheap aftershave because at least it meant he had gone out.


She locked the door, tossed her backpack into the tub and sank down to sit with her back against it, sobbing into her knees to conceal the sounds.


Still, it only took a moment for there to be a knock on the door.


“Tara?” Kimberly called through, “What’s wrong? I thought you were staying the night at Willow’s?”


Tara took in a short breath and closed her eyes to focus on her words and not the tears streaming down her cheeks.


“The pizza upset my stomach,” she called back with impressive restraint on the wobble in her voice, “It’s nothing, I just need my own bed.”


There was silence, then Tara heard her mother speak again, accepting the answer.


“I’ll put a hot water bottle in your bed.”


“Thanks,” Tara croaked back.


She waited until she heard retreating steps before running the faucet to fill up the sink and plunge her face into the cold water. She screamed, though there was no evidence of it but the bubbles that rushed to the surface carrying her pain.


She emerged from the water with a gasp and let the cold sting dominate her sensations for a moment. She could taste Donny’s aftershave and it made her gag.


She dried her face, her heart still pounding but in a more steady rhythm; one she could use to regulate her breathing. She crept across the hall to her bedroom and sank down onto her bed, looking ahead with a sad gaze.


Her eye landed on the notebook she’d been so happily pouring her heart out to earlier.


Do you remember when we were just kids? she recalled Willow’s sweet voice, though it only caused a stab of agony in her heart now, Yes…when I wasn’t…when she didn’t hate me.


In a fit of anger, she tore the page straight out and let it float back down onto her desk, slamming the nearest book on top of it just to ram it home.


Again, it wasn’t enough but this was a whole different emotion from earlier. She grabbed the page and squashed it into a tight ball wrought with the tension she felt coursing through her. She flung it as hard as she could but it only ended up a foot away, so she booted it as hard as she could with her foot.


Anger was not an emotion Tara was accustomed to feeling and it fizzled from her as soon as her foot landed back on the floor. She picked up the scrunched ball and smoothed them out.


Those words had really meant something. She couldn’t just throw it away.


She folded the creased paper and tucked it away in her nightstand.


Left with just an echoing sadness, she took off her shoes and curled under her blanket; hiding her face and leaving just the top of her head exposed.


Her door creaked open and she tried to hide from her mother under the blanket.


“Is everything okay? I heard a bang.”


Tara clenched her jaw. If her mother knew she was crying she’d want to know why and Tara didn’t know if she had the strength to lie.


“I just dropped a book,” she said, sounding appropriately ropey for someone with an upset stomach, “I’m fine. I just want to go to sleep.”


Kimberly left and Tara thought she’d gotten away with it, but just a couple of minutes later, the door creaked again and Tara felt the sag of the mattress as her mother sat beside her.


“Sip on this,” Kimberly advised, leaving a glass of sparkling water on the nightstand and placing the hot water bottle on Tara’s pillow, “If you don’t feel better in the morning we can delay—”


“I’ll be fine,” Tara cut off.


Kimberly rubbed Tara’s back and tucked her sheet in before leaving a kiss on top of her head.


“Goodnight sweetheart,” she said before flipping the light-switch and leaving her daughter alone in the darkness.


Tara closed her eyes, bunched sheet in her hands and contemplated in distress just how much of her life she had ruined.


Across the street, in an all too familiar move, Willow removed her hand from beneath her pajama bottoms and cried herself to sleep.



Willow walked at a glacial pace from her house to the Maclay house; the fifteen-second journey stretching into whole minutes.


Finally, she was at the door, but it was another minute until she found the courage to knock.


She felt awful and she just wanted her best friend back.


Kimberly opened the door and seemed pleased to see her. She’d always had a soft spot for Willow.


“Oh, hello Willow,” she greeted, “What can I do for you?”


Willow swallowed several times before speaking.


“Is Tara here?”


Kimberly frowned.


“Oh, sweetheart, she left for camp,” she said softly, concerned, “Didn’t she go over to say goodbye?”


Willow felt like she’d been hit with a ton of bricks. In the flurry of emotion she’d been feeling, she had completely forgotten about Tara going to camp.


That meant six long weeks before she could speak to her face to face again. It physically ached.


“Yeah, no, of course. I-I meant to say is her bookbag here?” Willow covered, whilst clearing her throat, “She said I could borrow a book.”


Kimberly just smiled.


“Oh, of course. You can go up to her room and check.”


Willow nodded in gratitude and made her way up the stairs with her hands in her pockets. She went into Tara’s room and stood aimlessly with a frown because the room smelled like Tara and that hurt.


Worse, she hated that it hurt so much. It shouldn’t hurt to smell your friend’s perfume just because she wasn’t around to smell directly. She bonked the side of her head with the heel of her hand.


I don’t want to smell her! Shut up you useless block of grey matter.


She dropped into the seat at Tara’s desk and picked up the notebook sitting there to lightly bang against her head in the hope it might suddenly straighten her out.


When it did nothing but give her a headache, she dropped the book into her lap with a sigh. It opened on the page before the one Tara had ripped, on the lyrics with the big X through them.


The lyrics were identifiable and personal and Willow knew immediately they were about her.


Mimicking what Tara had felt the night before – anger, panic, and confusion, in different spades for slightly differing reasons — Willow also ripped that page out, tore it in two to get rid of the evidence then scrunched up the paper and tossed it, not even looking long enough to see it roll under the bed.


Only half-remembering to take a book, any book, with her, she trudged back down the stairs, stopping to say goodbye to Kimberly just to be polite.


“When are your parents home?” Kimberly asked, arms lightly folded on her chest.


Willow shrugged. She really wanted to get out of there.


“I haven’t checked their schedule. Next week some time.”


“When was the last time you had a proper meal?” Kimberly asked in that concerned motherly tone, then continued before Willow could answer, “Stay right there.”


Willow went to great pains to stay on the spot but was grateful when Kimberly returned with half a pan of leftover lasagna wrapped up. It looked a lot better than what she’d been feeding herself.


“Thank you, Ms. Maclay,” she said, feeling far too emotional for just the receipt of lasagna.


Stupid Tara and her stupid mother being so stupidly perfect.


She mumbled a goodbye and rushed back home at ten times the speed she’d left. She felt guilty for that thought. She felt guilty for a lot of thoughts. If she could just get Tara out of her damn head.


That’s what she had to do. Put Tara out of her head.


She took her phone from her pocket and pulled up the name she was looking for. She pressed the call button and waited anxiously for the other side to pick up.


“Hey, Xander. Can I come over?”

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 20th)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:48 am 
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DIBS :applause. What a great start, great creation of angst, great way to make the reader wonder what is going to happen during the six weeks. I know that you've already written this, so I won't make conjectures, but this is freaking awesome. I was so happy to see your name on the most recent additions. You rock. Looking forward to Friday. :bow

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 20th)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:51 pm 
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I will definitely be sticking with this, it's fantastic so far! Angst off the get go and six weeks apart to stew in the revelations. Willow's reaction was harsh, but it absolutely seems she is protesting too much. Part of me gets why she tore up Tara's lyrics, I am sure they scared the hell out of her even more, but that was a shitty move, she had no right to destroy her friend's work, x'd out or not. I think Tara finding that will just break her heart more.
I am curious what you are going to do with Donny. He already gives me the creeps. At least Kimberly seems to have an eye out for the girls.
And I love this line: Tara envied the space and Willow hated the loneliness.
It is such a simple capture of who they are and what their lives are like

They know each other so well already. Makes it all the sad to see them fracture.

Also, the Kathryn/Buffy look alike thing. Lol!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 20th)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:03 pm 
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Laragh, this really is off to a wonderful start. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story develops!

Tara squirming under the questioning certainly reminded me of times in my own life; when I was 17 I stayed with a family in Spain for two weeks. My host sisters wanted to know if I had a boyfriend … I had a girlfriend, but didn’t know if it was safe to say that. (I think I got out of it by agreeing I liked someone.)

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 20th)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:58 pm 
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This hurts my heart - I'm intrigued!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 20th)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:58 pm 
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This hurts my heart - I'm intrigued!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 20th)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:39 am 
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Yay for your new story! :bounce :banana

This first chapter left my heart bleeding for both of them.
Poor Tara, keeping her love for Willow a secret for so long and then outing herself against her conscious will to Willow with this catastrophic result!

Willow is obviously in a phase where she struggles with (for her) new feelings towards her female best friend since her early childhood, not understanding herself:
Quote:
“Remember when we were just kids?” she asked, an oddly-placed lilt of nerves in her voice, “We used to practice kissing for boys?”

(the new sexual attraction / excitement)
Quote:
Tara clammed up and Willow’s voice grew teasing but laced with something else that sounded vaguely threatening.

(the jealousy)
Quote:
Across the street, in an all too familiar move, Willow removed her hand from beneath her pajama bottoms and cried herself to sleep.

(probably shame of pleasuring herself to fantasies about Tara?)

It's understandable that Tara's revelation made her panic at this point, sad that it made her lash out at Tara in this cruel way. And now that she won't have an opportunity for apologizing to Tara for 6 weeks the feeling of guilt will probably multiply.

(Totally of topic comment: that your Tara goes to bandcamp every year made me think of Michelle in the American-Pie series, although I can't imagine Tara telling "that one time, at bandcamp, …"-stories.)

Tara's mother seems nice and I like that she tries to care for neglected Willow. But one thing bothered me:
Quote:
He stayed put instead of going to college; working some hours at an auto-shop and spending the rest out in some dive bar or sleeping off the resulting hangover. Kimberly did all his cooking and cleaning, meaning all he had to do was roll around the place, grunt and get a dig in at Tara whenever he could.

Seriously Kimberly, why don't you try educating your adolescent son before he turns into a totally useless grownup man?! You could start by stopping to play housekeeper for him and threatening to kick him out of the house if he doesn't get a fulltime job or some professional training...


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 20th)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:00 am 
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taranwillow4ever

Quote:
DIBS :applause.


It feels so good to have a fic be DIBS'd on again!

Quote:
What a great start, great creation of angst, great way to make the reader wonder what is going to happen during the six weeks. I know that you've already written this, so I won't make conjectures, but this is freaking awesome.


Things will reveal themselves slowly, but I will say this: I can never keep them apart :wink

Quote:
I was so happy to see your name on the most recent additions. You rock. Looking forward to Friday. :bow


Thank you so much! This is such a lovely comment to drop me back into ongoing-fic life. I really appreciate the encouragment so much!

Thanks for your feedback!

shirrey

Quote:
I will definitely be sticking with this, it's fantastic so far! Angst off the get go and six weeks apart to stew in the revelations. Willow's reaction was harsh, but it absolutely seems she is protesting too much. Part of me gets why she tore up Tara's lyrics, I am sure they scared the hell out of her even more, but that was a shitty move, she had no right to destroy her friend's work, x'd out or not. I think Tara finding that will just break her heart more.


Honestly what with the previous ripping and the time it might not be noticed...right away...

Quote:
I am curious what you are going to do with Donny. He already gives me the creeps. At least Kimberly seems to have an eye out for the girls.


This is the first fic where I've ever attempted to give Donny an actual arc so I'm hoping it is received positively!

Quote:
And I love this line: Tara envied the space and Willow hated the loneliness.
It is such a simple capture of who they are and what their lives are like


What I love is that embracing each other solves the problem for both

Quote:
They know each other so well already. Makes it all the sad to see them fracture.


And also makes it so much easier to put them back together :D

Quote:
Also, the Kathryn/Buffy look alike thing. Lol!


Well she's not wrong... :lol

Thanks for commenting!

BeMyDeputy

BeMyDeputy wrote:
Laragh, this really is off to a wonderful start. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story develops!


Thanks so much! Hope you enjoy it. It's a little different to how I normally do things, but also not (I'll never be the person who keeps them apart for too long!)

Quote:
Tara squirming under the questioning certainly reminded me of times in my own life; when I was 17 I stayed with a family in Spain for two weeks. My host sisters wanted to know if I had a boyfriend … I had a girlfriend, but didn’t know if it was safe to say that. (I think I got out of it by agreeing I liked someone.)


I think we've all been there and it goes between funny (like the look between W and T when Joyce talks about giving up men altogether) to awkward to plain scary if you don't know how the company you're in might react. I generally go with the most chicken of answers and just say 'nope' and leave it at that.

Thanks for commenting!

leftindust

Quote:
This hurts my heart - I'm intrigued!


I promise I'm not in the heart-hurty business! I'll make it better!

Thanks for commenting :)

Will's redemption

Quote:
Yay for your new story! :bounce :banana


Thank you!!

Quote:
This first chapter left my heart bleeding for both of them.
Poor Tara, keeping her love for Willow a secret for so long and then outing herself against her conscious will to Willow with this catastrophic result!


Tara really caught the brunt of Willow's fear, but I'm betting they can start to make small steps forward...

Quote:
Willow is obviously in a phase where she struggles with (for her) new feelings towards her female best friend since her early childhood, not understanding herself:

(the new sexual attraction / excitement)

(the jealousy)


Deep denial and you've pinged on all of her issues!

Quote:
(probably shame of pleasuring herself to fantasies about Tara?)


You are very perceptive :)

Quote:
It's understandable that Tara's revelation made her panic at this point, sad that it made her lash out at Tara in this cruel way. And now that she won't have an opportunity for apologizing to Tara for 6 weeks the feeling of guilt will probably multiply.


Poor Willow is all twisted up, but only she can ultimately unpretzel herself.

Quote:
(Totally of topic comment: that your Tara goes to bandcamp every year made me think of Michelle in the American-Pie series, although I can't imagine Tara telling "that one time, at bandcamp, …"-stories.)


;)

Quote:
Tara's mother seems nice and I like that she tries to care for neglected Willow. But one thing bothered me:

Seriously Kimberly, why don't you try educating your adolescent son before he turns into a totally useless grownup man?! You could start by stopping to play housekeeper for him and threatening to kick him out of the house if he doesn't get a fulltime job or some professional training...


Oh trust me, this will come up...

Thanks for your feedback :)



Update(s) Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 20th)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:00 am 
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CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

NOTE: A double helping because the first one is just a mini

Chapter 2



The Summer Before Middle School



I Found Heaven On Earth
You Are My Last, My First
(And Then I Hear This Voice Inside…)


An empty pizza box and a stack of DVDs lay strewn across the floor of Tara’s bedroom.


She was showing Willow her new keyboard and a small three-note tune she’d dubbed Willow’s Theme in honor of Willow’s latest obsession with Harry Potter. It was short enough for Willow to play herself, but she seemed less than enthused.


“You’re so lucky you’re good at something. I’m just good at computers and nobody cares about that. Especially boys. Xander only ever asks me over to fix his Sims.”


Tara let her hands fall away from the keys onto her lap. Her hair still fell into her face but her eyes were always brighter when Willow was around.


“I’ve never really had a guy I liked. Not like you like Xander.”


She pulled at her sleeves out of nervous habit before looking across to Willow.


“Are you going to ask him out?”


Her words caught like they hurt to come out. Willow frowned, then shrugged. She didn’t like when she was pushed to talk about him.


“Do you want to kiss him?” Tara prompted some more and Willow suddenly felt panicked.


“I’m kinda scared,” she deduced of her feelings, “I don’t even know how to kiss. What if I suck and he hates it?”


“No one could hate anything about you,” Tara replied sincerely.


Willow smiled and brought some her long hair forward, twirling the ends.


“Maybe I should practice,” she said, casting a sidelong glance to Tara, “Or we should practice? There’s going to be so many new guys in middle school…I bet you’ll find one. You’re so pretty.”


Tara’s brow creased and she looked uncertainly toward the teddy bear sitting on her bed that may have been the object of her practice before.


“How do we practice?”


Willow looked at Tara through her lashes, her green eyes hesitant.


“Together?”


Tara was silent for a moment as she worked out the request.


“Together-together? Like…kiss each other?”


Willow nodded whilst biting the skin around her thumb.


“Yeah. So we know what do to when boys kiss us. They do it on TV.”


Tara felt odd about that proposition. Part of it appealed to her and part of it didn’t and it was confusing to work out which part corresponded to which emotion. She’d never been able to deny Willow’s earnest eyes anything though and there was a tug of something else inside her screaming ‘yes’.


“Okay.”


“Oh!” Willow replied, surprised. She’d almost been expecting Tara to say no, “Okay.”


They sank down to the floor together, huddled close like when they snuck a scary movie from Donny’s collection and watched it even when they knew they weren’t supposed to. Neither moved for a moment, then tried to move at the same time and bumped heads.


“Ow,” Willow said, rubbing the point of impact on her temple while Tara blushed and ducked her head.


When her gaze lifted, their eyes met and they moved closer again.


Their breath was garlicky from the pizza and their lips slightly chapped from the heat but immediately they both pressed in for more when they touched for the first time. Their lips pressed hard enough together that their teeth clacked against each other and they broke apart.


Willow rubbed her front tooth silently for a moment, contemplating if kissing was meant to have this many injuries. It didn’t take long to decide she didn’t care; it felt nice. It felt very nice. She dragged her gaze back to Tara’s.


“…try again?”


Tara seemed more than willing and they came together again, all lips this time but no teeth. It was softer and sweeter and though neither knew any different it felt like a natural fit. It was chaste, yet the most stimulating thing either had ever experienced.


It was fireworks and popping candy and a hot punch to the gut that was confusing and enthralling all at once.


They both had the same thought.


I think I wanna do this every night.


They didn’t stop until a creaky floorboard outside the room alerted them that someone was passing and that they weren’t, in fact, in a world all of their own. Willow instantly paled, in contrast to her plumped bottom lip that was bruised from Tara’s caress.


“You won’t tell anyone, will you?”


Tara’s lips were tingling so hard she started to wonder if she’d accidentally consumed some shrimp.


“Of course not,” she managed, pursing her lips together after as if they might lock in that sweet taste she’d never known existed and would never know anything but for the rest of her life.


There was a lull until Willow’s watch, what once had borne Doogie Howser’s face but was now plain digital, beeped on the hour. She used the bed frame as leverage to stand up.


“My parents told me to be home by nine.”


Tara stood too, her hand holding the back of her neck anxiously.


“Okay,” she said, offering a small smile, “Bye Willow.”


Willow’s belly did a flip-flop and she did not like her uncertainty of what that reaction meant one bit.


“Bye Tara.”


Willow hurried downstairs and out, unusually not stopping to say goodbye to Ms. Maclay. She had other thoughts, and feelings, to deal with and her mind was not the focused beacon she had been known to possess.


She let herself in with her house key, as she was accustomed to doing, and didn’t bother trying to find her parents to say goodnight. They hadn’t even told her to be home by nine. They didn’t register her comings and goings much at all anymore unless her mother wanted her for an event or to go clothes shopping.


Her dad still read the Torah with her; that was nice. But she definitely wasn’t seeking him out tonight.


She went straight to her room, closed her curtains, turned off all the lights and got into bed.


She thought whatever she was feeling might go away and hide if she could just hide herself but the quiet just made it all the more palpable.


Not quite sure what she was doing, she reached into her pajama bottoms to see if she could source what was happening to her body.


That night would spark a confusion that would take several years and a lot of heartache to overcome.


It would lead them to the year where it seemed like everything changed, but in fact, it would be the year that everything worked out the way it was meant to right from the very start.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 20th)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

Chapter 3



August



What Am I Supposed To Do When The Best Part Of Me Was Always You?


Willow raised her knuckles, hesitated just for a moment, then knocked on the wooden door.


The door opened, but it wasn’t the Maclay woman she’d hoped for.


“Hello, Willow,” Kimberly greeted pleasantly.


“Is Tara here?” Willow asked, feeling a sense of déjà vu as she thought about how many times she’d stood vulnerable on this porch.


She’d been waiting six weeks to even say Tara’s name and it felt dry on her tongue, such was the pain of the memory of when they’d last seen, or even spoken, to each other. Tara had always kept in contact at camp before, but Willow hadn’t received a single message the whole time she’d been away.


It had been a supremely lousy time in her life.


“She’s already headed out to the show,” Kimberly answered, then continued off Willow’s confused look, “She didn’t tell you she’s playing the Bronze tonight?”


No. No, she didn’t. She always tells me about her shows in the Bronze. I always go.


“No, right, of course,” Willow replied quickly, “I’m, ah, meeting her there. Scatterbrain today, you know getting ready for school to go back and all. I was just double checking the time.”


“8 pm,” Kimberly replied with a fond smile, “You keep my daughter in line and get her home at a reasonable hour.”


Willow nodded tersely.


“Bye Ms. Maclay.”


Kimberly waved her goodbye with an unsure look on her face, but Willow didn’t see. She had her hands stuffed in her pockets as she made her way home, her den of solitude of late.


The door banging behind her rang through the silent house, as did the rubber of her sneakers squeaking on the wooden stairs. She threw herself on her bed and wrapped her arms around her poop emoji pillow, a gift from Tara on her last birthday with the accompanying note that she was ‘poo-fect’. It was icky and funny and it had its pride of place on Willow’s bed ever since.


She brought her phone out to text Buffy to see if they could hang out but got the same message she’d received a hundred times over the past few weeks.


Image


Never could, these days. At least she’d bothered to text back.


Willow stared at the white wall opposite her and tried very hard not to cry.


Everything was so quiet.


Quiet, quiet, quiet and she could barely stand it anymore.


She was miserable and knew it was entirely self-inflicted.


She’d cried many tears in the passing weeks, but the big heaving sobs were for when she remembered Tara’s face after calling her…


After using the ‘D’ word.


She couldn’t even bring herself to think it.


Sweet Tara who had never said a bad word to her in her life; who’d been her best friend for as long as she’d had memory. Who’d given her a hug the first time they’d met to make her feel better and had always been there for another one whenever she needed it.


Except now.


Now Willow had sent her away in the most insulting way possible because Tara had dared to voice the silent pull between them that had always existed. And it had just grown and grown as they put years on the calendar.


Willow knew it, but she’d never had to question it.


She'd found it strange when she met Buffy and established a sister-type relationship with her because Tara should have filled that role given their history. But she was always just…Tara. And she meant more than a label.


The wall became unbearably monotonous to look at and she pushed herself off the bed again. She couldn’t watch TV because it reminded her of Tara. She couldn’t listen to music because it reminded her of Tara. She couldn’t even take a walk because it meant she’d have to pass Tara’s bedroom window at least twice along the way. She just couldn’t get her out of her head.


She realized the only hope she had to get out from under her own thoughts was to go to Tara and apologize. At least then she’d know Tara didn’t think that she really thought…


She shuddered.


She pounded back down the stairs and swung by the kitchen to get some dinner. She’d eaten the last of the Maclay leftovers she’d frozen at 2 am when she couldn’t sleep, so she reverted to her old reliable.


She dropped a Pop-Tart into the toaster and opened the tab on a can of Mountain Dew. The unforgettable taste of childhood neglect.


With some sugar propping up her courage, she headed for the front door, passing a mirror on the way. She stopped and detoured to the bathroom to brush her hair through and put some bronzer stuff Buffy had given her on her cheeks to liven them up from the ghostly pale they had become. She glossed her lips with cherry chapstick because she knew it was one of Tara’s favorite flavors.


Her brain wasn’t even processing what the implications of that were. She’d just always done it when Tara came over.


She took a look at herself in the mirror. Her eyes looked weary and bloodshot and just sad.


She had to do this.


At least Tara would know she was sorry.


She locked up the house and went to retrieve her bike. She kicked the tires quick to check on them; Donny had a habit of messing with hers or Tara’s bike when the whim took him.


It had gotten dark since she was last out so she turned the flashlight on the bike on as she threw her leg over the saddle. She passed almost nobody as she rode into town; Sunnydale was often eerily quiet.


She parked on the rack two blocks away so no one would see her arriving on her bike. She didn’t need to give any more ammunition to the general high-school aged populous to pick on her for. They did it well all on their own.


She felt nervous as she approached the Bronze and heard music, knowing that once she got inside she’d hear Tara’s voice accompanying it.


She stepped in and was overwhelmed at first at all the lights and sounds.


Being shut out of a social life for six weeks can really do a number on you.


She looked above the crowd and her breath caught looking at Tara on stage; her hair tied back as she enthusiastically played the sax, accompanying her friend Nate as he rapped.


They usually drew a crowd at the Bronze when they played because of…well, mostly because of Nate. He ticked every box in the tall, dark and handsome categories and his voice was as deep as it was dulcet. He was utterly charming in every way and a damn good musician too. All the girls flocked to their shows for him but stayed for their shared performance.


They played a range of styles — covers and originals — and had something for everyone. Tonight was even busier than normal because it was the last weekend before school started up again and everyone was enjoying their last moments of freedom.


Willow was grateful; it made it easier to hang back and be lost in the crowd.


After just a minute or so, she could feel eyes on her.


She cautiously glanced around while staying rooted to the spot.


It only took one sweep for her to be crushed twice in quick succession. The first, when she saw Cordelia Chase glaring at her and then trying to act nonchalant in front of her hangers-on.


A fresh wave of humiliation washed over her as she saw her for the first time since that day.


She hoped Xander wasn’t here too.


Almost worse was the second familiar face she saw; Buffy with a guy, tall and brooding (Willow guessed the new boyfriend, not that Buffy had ever tried to introduce him) and some other dark-haired (and dark-clothed) girl.


It stung because it didn’t seem like Buffy was on a date what with the third guest, yet still hadn’t invited her along.


Feeling truly and utterly rejected, she turned to run, her go-to move when confronted with her problems but before she could make it a step, she heard something to make her stop in her tracks.


Willow turned and watched Tara, lit up like a halo from the spotlight, singing and playing along on her keyboard while Nate offered some soft guitar accompaniment in the shadows.


Willow felt a slow gasp rise in her lungs and bubble out as Tara’s sweet, sweet voice that she’d missed so much spoke to her soul. It was like an electric spark in her heart. Tara’s eyes were closed but Willow still felt like she was singing right at her.


And if you have a minute, why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go?
So why don't we go?



Tara looked up and fell off with a soft murmur.


Somewhere only we know…


They got a round of applause and Nate stepped up to the microphone.


“Thank you, we’ve been Insect Reflection!” Nate called out to the crowd, “We’d like to finish things off with something to get you on your feet.”


Someone started playing the harmonica but Willow didn’t see which of them it was.


Her head was swimming.


That was for her.


Tara sang that for her.


Somewhere only we know.


She knew exactly the place.


To an unseen glare to her retreating form from Cordelia’s table, Willow raced out and hopped back on her bike, cycling straight to the old park near the quarry.


Not many people came here anymore since the other town park with the maintained landscape and pond had opened, but when they were kids this was the furthest place Willow and Tara were allowed to walk to on their own.


Paradise Park, though it was far from paradise now with overgrown foliage and litter everywhere.


There was an abandoned playground with most of the equipment removed or repurposed somewhere else, leaving just a rusty swing set that was pretty much cemented into the ground and wasn’t able to be dug up easily.


Willow had spent a lot of time here lately. A place to think that was quiet, but not achingly silent as the trees and critters offered some natural background noise.


She’d been thinking a lot too, about a lot of things.


Boys.


Girls.


Herself.


Tara.


She reminisced on when they ‘practiced’ kissing ‘for the boys’ and how she’d never, not once, actually thought of a boy; not even the one she purported to like and knew for sure now she absolutely didn’t.


She’d been the one to start it and she’d been the one who’d just nodded but felt crushed inside when Tara said they should stop.


Because she wasn’t sure she had the technique down, she told herself.


They’d only been making out at least once a week for years and that was nowhere near the ten thousand hours you needed to become an expert in something.


That was definitely the reason.


Not because her friend’s soft, sweet lips sent her to heaven or invoked a rush of feeling like nothing else could. Not because Tara was the only thing in the world that made Willow’s heart go a million miles a second. Not because it also slowed her brain down until reason dissolved and all she knew was how those lips felt.


See, being with Tara, actually being with Tara was so very easy for her to imagine.


She had imagined it, often.


She just hated what it meant.


She sat carefully on one of the worn black leather swing seats, held to the rusted frame by metal chains that just barely hung on. They still came down here often enough when they wanted to talk in private and neither house was available, so she knew just how much pressure she could apply to the seat.


It was a clear night and the late summer air still hung thickly, making you notice every breath as it left your lungs. Willow wished it was a cooler night; she was already sweating enough. Her palms held the chains either side of the swing but they would slide down any time she gripped too tightly.


There was nobody around — there never was.


Willow could remember the area filled with kids when they were really little. They would have to fight for the swings back then, but then the new playground was constructed in the prettier park and this place had become effectively abandoned.


To most people, it was a dump, but for her and Tara it had become a secret wilderness where they’d spent their childhood having adventures and their teens hiding out from the world.


It was their place.


She stayed there a long time, her heart sinking with every passing minute. She was starting to accept she’d gotten the wrong end of the stick when a soft voice broke through the silence; one she’d missed desperately; one she hadn’t even realized said her name so sweetly until she heard it again after such an absence.


“Willow.”


Willow scrambled to stand, wiping her hands on the front of her jeans. She stared dumbly for a moment, feeling the rush of butterflies that seeing Tara invoked.


“Somewhere only we know, right?” she asked with a nervous upward inflection, her eyes creasing at the Tara’s furrowed brow, “I thought…you were singing it… for me.”


Willow gulped and Tara took a moment to process.


“I didn’t know you were there.”


Willow’s eyes closed painfully.


Great.


Rejection was certainly the theme of the night.


Willow kept her eyes closed so Tara wouldn’t see the tears forming, and was about to quickly pivot and run once again when Tara’s voice echoed out again.


“But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t for you.”


Willow looked up sharply, her unshed tears thankfully staying as a glassy shine in her eyes.


Tara stared back, processing her feelings. Not just from seeing Willow again but that Willow had both been at the show and had come here, to this place, under her unintentional direction.


Willow’s gaze dropped uncomfortably and she eased back down onto the swing.


Tara contemplated what to do next, but she didn’t know. So she just sat, perching on the second swing and letting her sneakers push the dirt on the ground beneath them around.


The silence was as heavy as the air with both of them avoiding eye contact, unsure where they stood with each other.


“How was camp?” Willow ventured after a few minutes, her voice close to cracking.


How was camp? Tara thought to herself Is she serious?


“Honestly?” Tara answered in a sad tone, “Lonely.”


The daytime was fine when she had plenty of distractions on hand, the night time had her sniffling into her pillow, trying desperately not to wake the girls she was sharing a room with.


“Hah,” Willow spat out bitterly, her eyes quickly scrunching up with regret, “Sorry, I’m not laughing at you. I just… I know all about that. Did you hear they wrote a book about my life? It’s called ‘How To Lose Friends And Alienate People’.”


Tara had never seen Willow so low in herself. She’d been dreading seeing her and the wound was still raw but she couldn’t help feeling concerned. Right from their very first meeting, she’d always been the guardian of Willow’s feelings.


“What happened?” she asked softly.


Willow reached across her own chest and lightly scratched under her ear, a distraction technique to focus sensation away from her weakening tear ducts.


“Buffy found a new guy and a new crowd to hang around with; Xander and I aren’t speaking. My parents were home one day, one day the whole six weeks you were gone,” she said, pushing her nail against her skin a bit harder as she went on, “I just…I haven’t had anyone to talk to.”


Tara lifted a hand to rub Willow’s arm for comfort, but her fingers quickly folded in on themselves again.


“I’m sorry you’ve been so isolated,” she said finally, her voice automatically taking on the comforting tone her body was afraid to express.


Willow’s eyes closed and when she opened them again, tears streamed down her cheeks.


“You’re being so nice to me when I was so awful to you.”


She faced Tara, her lower lip trembling.


“I’m so sorry about what I called you.”


Tara looked away. That word had certainly echoed through her head many times.


“You didn’t really,” Tara said in an unconvinced whisper.


It was kind of true; Willow had been voicing her own fear of being labeled such a word, but that didn’t take away from it being so carelessly tossed at Tara like that. The impact was no less.


“I said it,” Willow echoed, her palms squeezing the chains tighter, “But I didn’t mean it. I don’t think like that. I don’t care if you’re—”


They both looked away at the same time, uncomfortable with what wasn’t said.


“I thought you hated me,” Tara eventually replied, “I didn’t think you’d ever want to see me again.”


“You’re not the person I hate,” Willow said through a barely audible exhale, “I could never hate you, Tara. I was…angry.”


Tara dug the toe of her sneaker deeply into the dirt.


“My feelings are not your burden and I should never have said anything or made you feel uncomfortable,” she rattled off, a sentence she’d practiced often in case Willow was willing to talk to her again.


“No, Tara,” Willow replied with a bitter laugh, wiping her eyes with her sleeve, “I wasn’t angry that you told me how you felt…I was angry that you made me confront my own feelings.”


Tara turned, surprised, but Willow kept her gaze down.


“Your feelings?” Tara prompted, struggling not to let her mind rush ahead of herself, “Do you mean about me… or about you—”


Willow looked up sharply again and Tara swallowed the rest of the sentence. She pursed her lips for a moment, gathered her thoughts and addressed Willow again.


“What is it that you want from me, Willow? Why did you come here to wait for me tonight?”


Willow dropped her head into her hands in frustration; she barely knew herself let alone how to vocalize it.


“I just want things to go back to how they were before,” she said eventually, then sighed deeply like she was admitting to a crime, “Except I want more than that. I want that special thing that’s always just belonged to us. I want that part of you that’s just…mine.”


Tara’s head was reeling. She’d thought her friendship with Willow had been toast, and if she was lucky she wouldn’t be outed before she was ready, but here Willow was, not only apologizing for their fight but possibly agreeing that that thing between them wasn’t all one-sided.


“Willow, I’m…I’m a bit confused. Are you saying…what about Xander?”


Willow shook her head.


“The only time I ever really thought about Xander like that was when I was trying to convince other people I liked him.”


Or myself.


“When you’re a kid and everyone keeps asking which boy you like and you have no idea or even what ‘liking’ someone feels like, choosing one that actually speaks to you seems like a reasonable idea. Now that’s gone out the window too.”


“What happened with him? Why aren’t you speaking?” Tara asked softly.


Willow’s cheeks flushed with fresh embarrassment. She hoped the night gave her enough cover.


“Just…stupid stuff. But he’s not a …a thing. At all. I know that now,” she replied quickly, and then just as fast moved on, “What about you? Did you meet a sexy flutist at band camp? Make some sweet music together?”


She hadn’t meant for it to come out as bitingly bitter as it had, but she couldn’t deny it had been a frequent thought in the intervening weeks.


Tara noted the jealousy but still wasn’t sure where to place it. Willow had always been protective of their friendship and never hung out with both her and her school friends at once. Tara had seen them from the window across the street but Willow had always wanted it to be just them and never any others when they spent time together.


I want that special thing that’s always just belonged to us. I want that part of you that’s just…mine, Tara echoed in her mind, and she couldn’t deny it was true. She glanced downward guiltily.


“Like I said…lonely,” Tara settled eventually and didn’t wish to dwell, “You said you wanted things to go back to how they were before…does that mean friends?”


It was Willow’s turn to scuff her sneaker, her eyes boring into the ground as her body fought her fight or flight response to the questions being posed to her. She eventually looked back up to Tara, slightly desperate.


“Tara, I don’t know…I don’t know what I’m feeling. But I do know…I feel something. And I can’t bury it no matter how hard I try.”


Tara’s hand rested gently on Willow’s thigh.


“You don’t have to bury it.”


Willow almost rebuffed the touch but was stunned into stillness at how much warmth spread through her body. That was what Tara did; just made her feel warm and safe and well, if she was honest—


Willow blinked several times and focused on Tara’s sweet, endearing face looking at her like she was the most wonderful thing in the world. Her heart fluttered; much as she’d like to deny it she was just drawn in.


“Could we…I mean would it be possible if we figure out this thing between us before we go telling other people? I mean can we just…”


She looked at Tara helplessly, who leaned in close enough to whisper.


“Just what?”


Willow was hyper-aware of how close Tara’s lips were and struggled not to stare directly at them.


“What? I mean um…”


Completely drawn in, she closed the space and pressed her mouth to Tara’s, kissing her with less of the awkwardness that had featured in kisses past and all of the longing running deep in her bones.


Willow had never kissed Tara, or anyone else, with no pretense before. This kiss was borne from an actual desire to just kiss her and not practice for anyone else. Part of her was terrified and part of her was thrilled but all of her was pumped with adrenaline as she tasted Tara’s lips for the first, real, time.


Her fists gripped the chain a little too tight but there was too much blood rushing between her ears for her to hear the creaking until it was too late and she was on her way for her butt to meet the ground.


She was momentarily winded, then she tensed with awkwardness. Something very similar to this had happened with an exercise ball in front of the entire gym class and Cordelia had not let her forget it for months.


The feeling of being pulled up and a hand, unintentionally but very much noticeably wiping at the back of her pants brought her back to earth.


“Are you okay?”


Willow still looked slightly shocked as she looked at Tara for a few seconds, then down at her hand where she was still gripping the chain of the swing with the seat trailing on the ground.


Tara glanced in the same direction before their eyes locked again and she brought her hand up to her mouth to cover a snort of laughter. For once, Willow didn’t blush.


Tara wasn’t laughing at her. Tara never laughed at her.


Willow ducked her head and smiled, then joined in with the giggling, a very welcome reprieve to the heavy cloud that had been hanging over her for weeks.


“I broke our seat.”


Tara lifted the other side of the chain and wrapped both sides around the leather seat, which was now just a leather rectangle.


“Let’s keep it as a souvenir.”


She smiled somewhat shyly and Willow offered the same smile back. She finished brushing herself off and awkwardly ran her hand through her hair.


What was the etiquette when you kissed your best friend not-for-the-first-time-but-for-the-first-time-for-real?


“I don’t know what…um…what should we…?”


Tara shrugged one shoulder softly.


She didn’t know either; she hadn’t expected this — she had come to the swings to have a little cry in private.


But she had listened when Willow said she’d like things to be like they were before.


“It’s Friday night. Pizza and a movie?”


Willow seemed pleased and relieved all at once.


“That sounds good. So good.”


Tara wanted to jump up and down or scream in delight or do some kind of happy shuffle. She wanted to do a lot of things — like reach out and take Willow’s hand; feel their fingers intertwine and hold each other like she’d longed to so many other times. But she held herself back, for both of their sakes. Willow was clearly hesitant about this new exploration and Tara fell too hard, too fast — though it would be a denial to say she hadn’t already fallen.


She’d spent too long angst-ing and agonizing about this — about her. She could keep her mouth shut about anything too heavy if it meant she got something. All she’d ever wanted was a chance.


So she held the broken swing seat across her chest and settled for a big grin spread across her face as they turned together to walk from the lot toward the street they called home; Willow walking alongside her bike.


The Rosenberg residence was in darkness as the approached and Willow hung off the gate nervously.


“Do you want to come in? It’s…quiet. My parents are away again.”


“All summer?” Tara asked sympathetically, though she already knew the answer.


“International lecture circuit,” Willow confirmed with a nod, “Great money…no kid…all round good time.”


Willow had actually gone along a few summers to places in Europe and South Africa in her early teens but had seen nothing but lecture and banquet halls. Eventually, she’d just asked to stay home. At least her friends were at home. Or were, when she had had them.


Tara just nodded.


“I’ll just, um, go tell my mom.”


“Cool,” Willow replied easily, “I’ll order the pizza.”


“Cool,” Tara agreed, hiding a crooked smile, “Be back in a few.”


She turned and jogged across the street, letting herself into the house and rushing upstairs with the swing seat lest she got pulled into a line of questioning.


“Hey honey, how was the show?” Kimberly called up the stairs, “Come down and tell me about it.”


Tara successfully hid the swing seat in her closet and came back downstairs.


“I’m going to spend the night at Willow’s if that’s okay?”


Kimberly just sighed in a motherly way.


“Well, I’ve missed you, and I want to catch up, but I can’t say I’m not pleased. I was worried you two had had a fight. She was here earlier all forlorn and was acting odd right after you left.”


Tara swallowed, hoping her face wasn’t giving her away.


“We’re good,” she said casually.


“Good,” Kimberly replied cheerily, “Well I know you two are inseparable so I can hardly deny the reunion. Let me get you some food to bring over. That poor girl never gets a nutritious meal. I’ve been playing doormat tag with her, leaving stuff on her doorstep. Always get the dishes back on the next day or two, sparkling clean.”


She paused, shaking her head as she walked back into the kitchen.


“Thank you. For doing that,” Tara answered, following and hanging out in the doorframe, “I’m sure it meant an awful lot to her. But we’re ordering a pizza tonight.”


Kimberly changed course and retrieved a plastic Tupperware container instead.


“Cookies,” she said, smiling as she handed them over.


“Thank you,” Tara repeated, leaning over to hug her mother.


Kimberly rubbed Tara’s arms and pulled back to look at her.


“You look good. Better than earlier. You had a good time at camp? I thought you were sad it was your last time.”


Tara just smiled back.


“One door closes…”


“Okay, young wise one,” Kimberly chuckled, “Don’t stay up all night preaching and pecking.”


“W-what?” Tara asked, eyes widening.


“Just something my old mom used to say,” Kimberly replied wistfully, “I don’t know if she knew what it meant herself.”


Tara didn’t know much about her grandparents, just that they’d died when her mother younger than even was. She was sure she’d asked as a child but at some point, she understood the responses she got back were pained and had stopped. But every now and then she would get snippets and it was nice to hear.


“Just have a nice night,” Kimberly finished, “And please tell Willow there is always a meal here whenever she needs it.”


Tara nodded gratefully, gave her mother another quick hug and turned for the door. She encountered Donny coming down the stairs, who looked past her and shoulder-bumped her as he passed. Tara frowned and huffed out a breath but didn’t break stride and just walked out without giving him any satisfaction of a reaction.


She hurried faster over to the Rosenberg’s, already eager to see Willow again; to hear her voice, her laugh, her strange stories. To see her bright eyes, her smile and that way Willow looked at her. Part of her brain was screaming ‘danger, danger’ but a larger part just understood that whatever it was between them was worth exploring.


She lifted her hand to knock, but Willow must have been waiting as she opened it before her knuckles made contact.


“Mom made cookies,” Tara said as she stepped inside and held out the container.


Willow took it and swallowed audibly. Kimberly’s kindness had meant a lot to her, not just in the previous weeks, but years.


“Your mom is the best.”


“She’s pretty good as moms go,” Tara agreed.


There was an awkward lull and Willow nodded to the right.


“Um, I got us drinks and snacks. Pizza will be 20 minutes.”


Tara walked into the living room with Willow behind her and sat on one end of the couch, next to the end table with one glass of cherry cola and one with Dr. Pepper, along with a couple of bowls of chips and candy.


Tara closed her hand around her glass and took a sip.


She licked her lips as she swallowed it.


“I knew you tasted familiar,” she whispered, mostly to herself, but Willow was sitting only a foot away and heard.


She blushed her hand brushed over the cylindrical tube in her front pocket as if it was a lucky charm.


She didn’t really know what to do.


This was so familiar and yet so utterly different.


Things were decidedly weird.


She kept rolling her palms down her thighs until she got to her knees and there was no jean left to rub. To keep her hands occupied, she leaned across to get her glass of Dr. Pepper but misjudged the length of her torso to how far she needed to reach. Gravity betrayed her as her upper body started to drop.


She saw her face about to collide with Tara’s crotch an agonizing 1.3 seconds before it happened and putting her hands out to stop it would have only made everything even worse and so she landed right exactly there.


Tara’s hands flew upward on contact and became rigidly tense so she wouldn’t feel Willow’s face pressing into her or the accompanying feelings that needed very little stimulus for her to notice.


Willow scrambled to get up, miraculously staying on her feet and not throwing herself to the floor in the process. She brushed herself off and realized just how open the curtains were.


That could have been bad.


Very bad.


Especially if she’d been leaning over for a different reason. She quickly closed the curtains and sat back on the seat she’d vacated, leaning forward with hands clasped together above her knees.


“Are you ok—” Tara started but Willow quickly cut her off.


“I’m not gay.”


Tara stopped talking and nodded.


“Okay.”


Willow slowly looked over her shoulder.


“That doesn’t bother you?”


Tara just shook her head evenly.


“I’m not asking you to be anything you’re not. Or do anything you don’t want to do,” she said clearly, “I would have been happy to know we’re friends again.”


“I never wanted us not to be,” Willow retorted quickly, still looking uneasy, “What…what do you want from me?”


“I’ve never wanted anything from you, Willow,” Tara replied with soft eyes and a look close to yearning, “I’ve only ever wanted you to be happy.”


Willow’s gaze lifted and settled on Tara’s, knowing her eyes mirrored that look, much as she wanted to deny it. She found herself moving in without realizing her body was in motion and her lips were connecting with Tara’s. She lived for that instant connection, that moment where her mind shut off and she allowed herself to just enjoy the sensation.


She remembered exactly the last time they’d kissed properly before Tara had stopped them. She relived it in her mind often, wishing she’d known it would be the last so she could have savored it more.


She hadn’t anticipated another chance and physically gasped into the kiss like it was her first drink of water on a parched throat.


“Are you okay?” Tara asked, pulling back for a moment.


“Yeah,” Willow replied in a short exhale, barely letting the word complete itself before closing the gap between them again.


This kiss was like no other that had come before it; no guise of exploration or restraint shown. Willow found her hand touching Tara’s face, where she’d always sat on them before to stop things from getting ‘weird’. Feeling Tara’s jaw movements inside and outside of her mouth filled her with physical sensations she was nowhere near ready to process yet. She dropped her palm to Tara’s neck but there was just as much going on there to excite her.


Tara’s pulse was racing and the hair was standing up on the back of her neck and eliciting that kind of reaction just made Willow intoxicated. Her first unabashed experience of consuming Tara would burn into her brain and start a very slow descent down a very scary rabbit hole.


The doorbell was the first thing to part them and Willow pulled away gasping. She was startled by the sudden influx of air and the disorientation of her time perception making those twenty minutes feel like three seconds.


“Shit.”


Tara was a little dazed in the eye and smeared at the mouth but was the first to react to the doorbell ringing a second time. She stood up to answer it, but this prompted Willow into action, who immediately jumped up.


“No, no. I got it,” she called back, her feet not able to carry her quick enough.


Tara sat back down and wiped the sticky streaks of chapstick she felt around her mouth. Willow carried the box of pizza in, after giving the delivery guy a pretty hefty tip without even realizing. She slowly strode back to where she was sitting before, pizza in her lap. She suddenly turned to Tara, eyes slightly panicked.


“I want everything to be the same but everything is very different. That was very different.”


Tara chose not to ask if she meant that in a good or bad way. She felt like Willow’s body and mind were sending conflicting answers to that particular question.


“I’m still just me,” she said in a comforting tone, “We’re still just us.”


She placed a hand over Willow’s.


“Willow and Tara.”


She could see the stress lines still wrinkling Willow’s beautiful skin and it broke her heart to think she was causing her distress.


“Yabba and Dabba,” she tried, her voice just managing not to break.


Willow blinked and slowly began to smile.


“I haven’t thought of that in years.”


The Flintstones was often on TV when they were little as it was one of the few cartoons Donny would watch as well. They created a double act of Yabba (Tara) and Dabba (Willow) and performed various plays or went on various adventures under the heading ‘Yabba and Dabba Doo ___ ’ with the theme changing from anything like outer space to princess cowgirls. One time they tried to do a science lab but Sheila was not impressed when her $200 face cream was used as part of an experiment.


“It’s crossed my mind once or twice,” Tara admitted quietly.


Willow bit the corner of her bottom lip and looked back at Tara, pacified if still a little antsy.


“Can we take it slow?”


Tara sighed in relief.


“As slow as you like,” she promised, squeezing Willow’s hand, “And…whatever, you know, happens… I'll still be here. I'll still be your friend.”


“Of course we'll be friends!” Willow replied empathically, “That's not even a question!”


Tara lifted her hand and brushed some hair from Willow’s ear.


“Promise me one thing?”


Willow glanced up, her eyes glassy with vulnerability. Tara made sure to keep her gaze.


“Be yourself.”


Tara had no idea of how difficult a question she’d just asked. Willow’s eyes flickered closed and nuzzled into the feeling of fingers brushing her cheek. When the lingering became too intimate, Willow quickly flipped the lid on the box.


“Pizza’s getting cold.”


Willow stuffed a slice into her mouth and Tara nibbled more delicately on hers.


“It never tasted as good when I wasn’t eating it with you.”


Tara hadn’t meant for that to come out as evocative as it sounded, but her lips were still swollen from kissing and she couldn’t help the undertone it produced from them pillowing her words.


Willow downed the glass of Dr. Pepper still sitting there and got up to get the bottle for a refill. Tara watched her go a bit awkwardly and so was prepared on her return. Before Willow could take a seat or pop the cap on her soda, Tara had taken a couch cushion and whacked her with it.


“Hey!” Willow protested, shocked at first.


She stared at Tara for a tense second, then broke out in a grin and lunged for another cushion.


They ran around the room chasing each other with the pillows until they collapsed laughing on the couch. The mood shifted, they put on a movie in the background and talked and laughed through the night, sharing intermittent kisses.


They eventually passed out right there, Tara lying with her feet up on the ottoman and Willow curled up in her lap, though with her face in a more appropriate upward direction.


They slept there the whole night, surrounded by empty bottles of soda, a half-eaten pizza, cookie crumbs and the low buzz of the television.


Willow was the first to stir when she heard muffled banging. She rose from Tara’s lap, not without a little blush, and rubbed her eyes. Her ears picked up on that sound again and she crept over to the window and pulled back the curtain.


Her eyes immediately widened in horror.


“SHIT!”


Tara startled awake.


“What, what?!”


“My parents are home!” Willow screeched, diving around the room to gather the trash.


Tara tried to help but the front door was already opening and Ira and Sheila already had them in their sights.


“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg,” Tara said with strained sleep still in her voice, “I should… head home.”


She motioned for Willow to call her behind their backs, who nodded discreetly and ran a hand through her bedhead to try and tame it a bit. Tara slipped out with a small wave and a wink, Willow was pretty sure, which did not help her reddening face.


“Mom, dad,” Willow greeted, cringing at the stiffness of their reunion embrace, “I um, I wasn’t expecting you.”


“Clearly,” Sheila replied, arms across her chest, “Is this all you’ve been up to all summer? Lazing around eating junk, not even sleeping in a real bed?”


Willow looked toward the floor.


“I thought you were coming home next week.”


Ira shook his head.


“No, sweetheart, we wanted to be home before you started school. Your senior year is very important,” he said with genuine warmth in his voice, “Oh it’s nice to see you.”


He hugged her again and Willow was able to melt into it for a few moments. His eyes followed the room but he was kind enough to not say anything.


“Well, …what’s new?”


Willow almost laughed; he had no idea.


“Same old Willow.”


She glanced idly at the half-pulled curtain and saw Tara letting herself into her house across the street.


Brand new mess.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 23rd)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:40 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
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DIBS :banana No, I haven't been checking all day or anything...

Quote:
It was fireworks and popping candy and a hot punch to the gut that was confusing and enthralling all at once.

Perfect description of a first kiss.
Quote:
The door banging behind her rang through the silent house, as did the rubber of her sneakers squeaking on the wooden stairs.

Caught the loneliness of Willow’s home perfectly.

Quote:
The glossed her lips with cherry chapstick because she knew it was one of Tara’s favorite flavors.

“I kissed a girl and l liked it, taste of her cherry chapstick….”

Quote:
Almost worse was the second familiar face she saw; Buffy with a guy, tall and brooding (Willow guessed the new boyfriend, not that Buffy had ever tried to introduce him) and some other dark-haired (and dark-clothed) girl.
Faith?

Quote:
Buffy found a new guy and a new crowd to hang around with; Xander and I aren’t speaking. My parents were home one day, one day the whole six weeks you were gone,” she said, pushing her nail against her skin a bit harder as she went on, “I just…I haven’t had anyone to talk to.”

Willow, that is not how to start an apology!! It sounds like you just miss her because she’ll listen to you Ok, Is Willow doing a little self-injury thing here?


Quote:
Did you meet a sexy flutist at band camp? Make some sweet music together?”

This was my fantasy of where you were going to go. Great American Pie reference. I feel like I now have a little story I want to write about Tara meeting a flutist at band camp. I had sort of imagined Tara coming home, clear of her orientation, but flabbergasted at Willow's admissions.

Quote:
Tara wanted to jump up and down or scream in delight or do some kind of happy shuffle.
:banana :banana
Quote:

She saw her face about to collide with Tara’s crotch an agonizing 1.3 seconds before it happened and putting her hands out to stop it would have only made everything even worse and so she landed right exactly there.

OMG. This is a great scene. Totally Willow.

Quote:
She lived for that instant connection, that moment where her mind shut off and she allowed herself to just enjoy the sensation.

I yearn for that as well. Have yet to really find someone who helps me shut my mind off.


Thank you so much for not pulling it out for weeks at a time.
Your story rocks, and now I will have to wait patiently for Tuesday to come. :) I am glad that we got to read about the :wtkiss. Willow's got a lot of internalized homophobia to deal with and it tends to come out with an angry tone (or at least that is how I read it). I like how you have worked in Willow's developing sensuality. YOU ROCK.
Thanks for posting.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 23rd)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:03 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Willows confusion is both painful and super familiar, you're portraying it really well. Love it so far!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 23rd)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:12 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Awesome story. Really like the use of the text images. Puts a new spin on things.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 23rd)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:57 am 
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3. Flaming O

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What a great new story. Big fan of your other stuff so I know I'm in for a quality story.


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 23rd)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:10 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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taranwillow4ever

Quote:
DIBS :banana No, I haven't been checking all day or anything...


Sorry to make you wait on this one too!

Quote:
Perfect description of a first kiss.


Thank you for saying that, it's a very unique sensation to get right.

Quote:
Caught the loneliness of Willow’s home perfectly.


Yes poor Willow finds it all quite lonely

Quote:
“I kissed a girl and l liked it, taste of her cherry chapstick….”


Just one of several musical references scattered throughout this fic :wink

Quote:
Faith?


I'll put it out there no so there's no confused intentions: it is Faith and Angel but they are entirely irrelevant to the story and never actually feature as characters, so much so that I didn't name them in the fic purposefully

Quote:
Willow, that is not how to start an apology!! It sounds like you just miss her because she’ll listen to you Ok, Is Willow doing a little self-injury thing here?


Yep, she's going to have to learn that self-pity can sometimes be selfish

Quote:
This was my fantasy of where you were going to go. Great American Pie reference. I feel like I now have a little story I want to write about Tara meeting a flutist at band camp. I had sort of imagined Tara coming home, clear of her orientation, but flabbergasted at Willow's admissions.


There is more to come about bandcamp...

Quote:
:banana :banana


Those bananas are the best happy dancers.

Quote:
OMG. This is a great scene. Totally Willow.


I couldn't write them as teens without some awkward mortification.

Quote:
I yearn for that as well. Have yet to really find someone who helps me shut my mind off.


Me too. Ironically, writing W/T is the only thing that does it!

Quote:
Your story rocks, and now I will have to wait patiently for Tuesday to come. :)


Sorry for the delays but important updating work had to be done!

Quote:
I am glad that we got to read about the :wtkiss. Willow's got a lot of internalized homophobia to deal with and it tends to come out with an angry tone (or at least that is how I read it). I like how you have worked in Willow's developing sensuality.


She certainly does. She’s very afraid and that redheaded temper gets the better of her. Also something that will be exposed as the fic goes on!

Quote:
YOU ROCK.

Thanks for posting.


No you rock! Thanks for leaving me such detailed feedback! You’re awesome!

Thanks for commenting!

leftindust

Quote:
Willows confusion is both painful and super familiar, you're portraying it really well. Love it so far!


Thanks so much, I'm glad it feels real!

Thanks for commenting!

mmmh-Hot-Sauce

Quote:
Awesome story. Really like the use of the text images. Puts a new spin on things.


Thank you so much! There will be various images used across the different chapters to (hopefully) enhance the storylines a bit (although I think it's mostly just text message images until about a 1/3 of the way into the fic)

Thanks for your feedback!

NorthernLass

Quote:
What a great new story. Big fan of your other stuff so I know I'm in for a quality story.


That's so kind of you to say, I hope you enjoy this one too :)

Thanks for commenting!



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 23rd)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:10 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

Chapter 3



September



It's Hard To Fight These Feelings When It Feels So Hard To Breathe


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Willow watched the read receipt pop up but minutes ticked by with no return message received.



Several hours later, Willow sat on her bed in her newly ironed jeans, phone to her ear with a jaded look on her face.


“I know. Talk later.”


Willow hung up the phone on a rushing-off Buffy and felt like throwing her phone against the wall. She’d blown off Tara to make time for Buffy when she had finally seemed interested and now she was the one being blown off. Again.


At least they’d actually got to talk for a few minutes on the phone. It was better than brief chats at the lockers or between classes before Buffy went to hang with her new crowd. Willow still knew nothing about them, though.


She didn’t care too much anyway, or at least not as much as she had before. She had a kinda-new thing going on as well. She’d found filling her time with Tara to be a much more enjoyable distraction lately.


She pulled up her message log with Tara and stared at the unanswered final message. Her thumbs tapped either side of the screen until she gathered the courage to bring up the keyboard.


Willow hesitated as she thought about what she wanted to say.


Image



She rambled on for a moment before getting to the point.


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She waited anxiously for a response, even more so when those three mocking dots appeared and seemed to animate threateningly in front of her.


Image


Finally, the new message popped up and never had Willow been happier by a lack of words.


Image


She jumped up from the bed and hurried downstairs, swinging out of the handrail.


“I’m going out…” she called through the house, continuing under her breath when not even the air moved in response, “Not that anybody cares.”


She slid just her house key into the short front pocket and closed the door behind her softly. She hurried across the street, where Tara was waiting at the front door, leaning against the frame. It made Willow’s heart skip a beat just to see her smile.


“Hi,” she greeted, holding her hand up and waving, before quickly putting it back down when she realized it looked dumb.


Had she always been this awkward around Tara, she wondered? Or was she just more aware of it now?


“Hi,” Tara greeted, her eyes giving an extremely subtle once-over to Willow’s body, just a flick downward and then looking back up between her eyelashes.


No one would pick up on it, but since Willow had started actually allowing herself to look at Tara, she noticed it every time and it made her blush to her ears.


“You look good,” Tara complimented, stepping back against the door to let Willow walk through, “Not quite up there with last Halloween’s outfit, but…I like it.”


Tara brought them up to her room, where Willow sat on the chair at the desk and glanced down to hide her even redder face.


“Yeah, well, never letting Buffy dress me again. You can undress me,” Willow offered then nearly choked on air, “I mean dress me! With the clothes you make! Design!”


The door closed behind them and Tara sat on the edge of her bed, with a few feet between them, kindly pretending Willow hadn’t said what she said.


“You guys haven’t been hanging much lately, have you?”


Willow just shook her head without looking up.


“She’s found more of a…leather mini skirt kinda crowd.”


“And you’re still fighting with Xander?” Tara asked sympathetically.


Willow shrugged one shoulder.


“They’ve all found people who are…exciting to be around. And I’m just… me. Reliable-Dog-Geyser Person.”


Tara reached over and caught the edge of the cushioning on the chair. She wheeled Willow over right in front of her and hooked her legs around the base to keep it stable. She slid her hands over Willow’s thighs and leaned in to press a feather-light kiss against her lips.


“You excite me more than anything or anyone I’ve ever known,” she whispered, brushing her lips down Willow’s jawline and falling off with a nip just under her ear that would have Willow staying up late every night for the next number of weeks remembering.


Tara removed her hands and sat back with a smile as if she hadn’t just released a ball of sexual energy inside Willow.


“Do you want to listen to some music I downloaded the other day? It’s fun, two sisters. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.”


You are a guaranteed smile on my face Willow thought as Tara zipped by her and opened her laptop.


She closed her legs and stood up, needing to move to break down all of the thoughts and emotions that were just triggered.


“How was class?” she asked, very aware of the squeak in her voice.


Tara looked over her shoulder and smiled reassuringly as if she just knew it was what Willow needed to calm.


“Good. Nate and I ended up doing some impromptu street performance after and made a few bucks. Some people joined us from school and set up across the street, so we had a sing-off.”


Willow put her hand in her pocket to toy with the key, just to give her something to do.


“Did you win?”


“There are no winners, just enjoyment,” Tara answered easily, tapping the space bar once before turning fully to Willow.


Music suddenly burst from the speakers and Tara hunched over laughing at the startled look on Willow’s face. She held her hands out for Willow to take.


“It’s more fun if you dance to it.”


Willow took one hand and Tara immediately pulled her into a twirl. Willow giggled and twirled Tara back and they soon got into the synthpop beat.


Holding onto each other’s arms, they swung around together, feet scrambling to move faster and faster.


Everything became a blur to Willow except Tara’s beaming face; her vision just a kaleidoscope of Tara’s smile. Willow gasped a soft breath.


Everything was so easy when it was just the two of them.


“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”


Donny’s booming voice and loud fist banging on the shared bedroom wall startled them both, making them both fall flat on their asses. Tara scowled as she stood, tapping the space bar to stop the music, then offered a hand to help Willow up.


“I’m sorry he’s such an asshole.”


Willow pulled herself up and ended up standing in very close proximity to Tara.


“It’s okay,” she said with an audible swallow, her eye line naturally glancing toward Tara’s lips, “The Maclay women make up for it with their beauty and cooking.”


“Do you want to come over for lunch tomorrow?” Tara asked with a charming smile, “My mom is baking pies for church and there’s always extra…”


Willow’s eyes scrunched up tight. She really didn’t want to piss Tara off again.


“I can’t, I’m so sorry. My parents want me to go to some luncheon. I…If I could get out of it, I—”


Tara pulled Willow forward softly.


“It’s okay. I’m sorry I was short with you earlier,” she apologized, her thumb brushing skin below the hem of Willow’s shirt, “I just miss you when you’re not around.”


Willow’s eyelids fluttered at the contact.


“I could… ‘help you with some homework’ during the week.”


“You could ‘help me with some homework’ right now, study buddy,” Tara offered and brushed her lips against Willow’s.


Willow’s eyes glanced furtively toward the door, but she relaxed again when she saw it was firmly closed. She took a step forward, gently pushing Tara along the way until the back of her knees hit the bed. Tara sat down and moved back so she was sitting sideways on the bed, back against the wall. Willow scooted down beside her, purposefully angling herself so she’d be hidden behind the door if it opened.


Willow ducked her head in to go for the kiss but paused just shy of Tara’s lips.


“You’re not working tomorrow, right?”


Tara shook her head, confused. Willow waved it off dismissively.


“Shame, I could’ve snuck you into the closet.”


She suddenly realized what she said and her face grew pained and guilty.


Tara brushed the back of her finger on Willow’s cheek.


“It’s okay, Willow. I…” she started, then finished with a sympathetic smile, “It’s okay.”


“Why?” Willow croaked out.


“Because I like this,” Tara replied, dropping her hand to tickle Willow’s wrist instead, “And I like…you. And I’m not in a rush.”


Willow nuzzled her forehead against Tara. Being alone was the only time she felt safe enough to voice her feelings.


“I tried to figure out when things changed,” she said quietly, meeting Tara’s gaze from the position of their foreheads touching, “But they didn’t. They just evolved. You were always important to me. It just expanded to include more feelings, more…”


Desires


“More,” Tara finished for her and Willow looked at her gratefully.


She always just knew exactly. The only person with whom Willow felt effortlessly understood.


“When I let you closer, I only want you closer,” she said with a heavy sigh, “But…”


“But?” Tara prompted softly.


Willow met her gaze.


“I don’t want to lose you.”


Tara lifted Willow’s chin to look directly at her as it tilted downward again.


“Willow, I promise. No matter what. No matter how you feel. You won’t lose me. I’m here, however you want me.”


Willow felt Tara’s warm breath hit her lips and all she wanted was to know their softness once more.


“I want you,” she breathed before closing the kiss.


They kissed slowly at first, brushing lips until they were bruised.


Tara loved those kisses; when she could feel herself inhaling Willow’s breath on its exhale.


She had gone into this prepared to have her heart broken but also ready to resume their friendship at Willow's request. She would cry a lot, privately if Willow called things quits, but not as much as if it broke their bond irreparably. The ball would always be in Willow's court and all Tara could do was hope she wasn't the only one that had her feelings getting stronger and stronger each day.


Willow, an eternal ball of contradiction, both hoped that her feelings would go away completely so she didn’t have to deal with them and also that she never stopped feeling as alive as Tara made her feel when they connected. She couldn’t balance the Willow she was with Tara and the Willow she presented to the world.


Right now her only solution was to discover an island they could run away to together, alone. Then she might actually be able to embrace this without all her fears of what the world would think of her. While she worked out those logistics, kissing did a pretty good job of keeping her mind off of it.


Time passed quickly, as it always did when they were in this position until Willow’s watch beeped on the hour. She glanced down at it.


“I guess I should head home.”


“Okay,” Tara replied softly, “Text me about that homework?”


The evocative upward lilt on the end of that sentence was not lost on Willow, who found her hand squeezing Tara’s thigh.


“Maybe I could stay for five more minutes.”


Tara didn’t argue against either event and welcomed Willow’s lips back onto hers. Willow’s fingers curled a bit further, pushing her nails against the denim of Tara’s jeans. She felt a little squirm beneath her hand and quickly retracted it, holding it up in a panic.


“I’m sorry.”


Tara shook her head.


“No, it’s fine, I lik—”


The door-handle moved and Willow nearly fell off the bed trying to get some distance.


Kimberly walked in, with a warm smile for them both.


“Hey girls,” she greeted, folding her arms lightly across her chest and leaning against the door, “Willow are you staying the night?”


Willow shook her head furiously.


“N-No, Ms. Maclay, I have to get home,” she said, pushing herself up and scrambling out, “Um, bye.”


“Bye honey,” Kimberly called after her.


“Bye,” Tara echoed, trying not to show her annoyance.


Kimberly turned back to Tara and looked at her with concern.


“Are you okay, Tara? You look a little flushed,” she said, her brow furrowing, “So did Willow actually. Do you need to open a window in here?”


Tara stood up and stayed at the door, politely inviting her mother to leave.


“I’ll do that.”


Kimberly took the hint and bid her daughter goodnight. Tara leaned back against the closed door, huffed out one breath of frustration, then pushed herself away.


She walked past her keyboard and moved a big storage container of old fabric and materials out from under her window so she could reach up to open it.


She watched Willow, almost at her house, turn at the sound and lifted her hand to wave out to her.


Willow paused, then smiled over her shoulder and waggled her fingers back. It was hard to hide the smile that broke out on her face in front of Tara, though it did dower appropriately as she approached the final steps into her house.


“Mom, dad, I’m home,” she called to the barren room.


Even when it was occupied, everything was so quiet and solemn.


“Willow?”


Willow looked up as she hung her keys on the hook, surprised by another voice in the room. Sheila had appeared from her study, a tablet in one hand and a stylus pen in the other. Her face was angled down at the screen.


“Yeah, mom?”


Sheila looked up, briefly.


“Have you been working on your college essay?”


Willow held back an eye-roll; it wouldn’t be received well if it was caught.


“I was hanging out with Tara, mom. We just listened to music and… stuff.”


She hoped her cheeks didn’t color, but Sheila was barely looking at her anyway.


“Now is the critical time—”


“To get my applications in tip-top shape,” Willow echoed softly, “I know. I am.”


Sheila glanced at her, nodded once and turned back toward her study.


No goodnight.


“Sleep well, dear.”


Okay, some goodnight.


Willow brushed past and continued on into the kitchen. Ira was standing over the countertop, running a knife through an avocado.


“Hey Dad,” Willow greeted, her tone ever-hopeful.


Ira looked up with a fond smile.


“Oh, Willow, hello my darling,” he said, straightening up his posture, “You’ve caught me making a bit of a midnight snack.”


Willow looked at the clock on the microwave.


“You’re an hour early.”


“Better an hour early than—“


“A minute late,” Willow finished with a smile.


Ira opened the avocado and shook his head disdainfully.


“These blasted things, either hard as rocks or rotten to the core.”


Willow walked past him to get to the food cabinet.


“There’s a solution to that,” she said, reaching into the back to pull out a jar, which she presented to him, “Eat peanut butter instead.”


Ira held Willow against his chest and kissed the top of her head.


“Wise to the bone,” he commented, and then released Willow to untwist the lid, “And crunchy too. Smooth peanut butter is for—”


“People with no bite,” they finished together, laughing in tune with each other.


Willow hurried off to the fridge while Ira peanut-buttered the toast.


“Wait ‘til you try this!”


She stirred together two glasses of strawberry milk, popped a straw in each and brought them to the table, where Ira followed with the plate of toast. To Willow’s surprise, he didn’t balk at the drink.


“My mother used to take my brother and I to get a shake every Friday,” he reminisced happily, “This was my favorite flavor.”


Willow smiled over the straw.


“It’s my favorite too.”


Ira cut the toast diagonally and offered half to Willow. He put a hand on her shoulder blade and then brought his hand down on top of hers across the table.


“I missed you this summer, sweetheart.”


Willow had a gob full of peanut butter, but her eyes shone as she struggled to get it down with the aid of some strawberry milk.


“I missed you too, Dad,” she replied eventually, blushingly wiping her mouth with her sleeve.


Ira patted her hand and took his back.


“Were you out this evening?”


Willow nodded with avoiding eyes.


“I went across the street.”


“I’m so glad you’re still chummy with that girl. It’s good to know you have someone so close when we’re gone.”


“Tara,” Willow said, her face doing that very annoying thing again where it lit up at her mention, which Willow readily tried to conceal, “She, uh, needed help with her homework.”


Ira smiled.


“Yes, Tara. I remember you put on your little plays together. She seems to have grown into a sweet girl.”


Willow pursed her lips together; Tara’s taste still lingering on.


Her lips are sweet.


“She is…she’s amazing. Goes to that special performing arts school out in Las Brujas. She’s brilliant at music, plays all kinds of instruments and she’s in a band. And she makes things too, like designs them I guess? Altering clothes and making accessories, that kind of thing. I told her she could sell it on eBay if she wanted, I’d help her set it up, but she’s already pretty busy with all her music and other commitments.”


Ira looked at her curiously.


“You sound quite enamored.”


Willow’s eyes widened.


Stop it. You’ll give yourself away.


Ira didn’t seem to dwell too long though.


“It’s lovely to have a friend to look up to. Will she be pursuing music in college? Julliard perhaps?”


Willow shook her head.


“No, that’s…not her style,” Willow answered, then paused a moment as she considered the next part of her sentence, “She’s always wanted to go backpacking when she graduates.”


“Shame to waste such a talent, if it is as you say,” Ira mused.


Willow shrugged one shoulder.


“She’d say she’d learn more spending a day walking the cobbled streets of Italy than sitting in a classroom.”


“What do you say?” Ira prompted.


Willow paused again. This was definitely a time she needed to give the ‘expected’ answer.


“She should be using her talent to get scholarships and a good education.”


Ira patted Willow’s shoulder again.


“Your wisdom extends beyond snack choices.”


Willow forced a smile and sucked the last of her strawberry milk through the straw.


“I guess I’ll go work on my essay.”


“Let me know if I can provide any resources,” Ira offered helpfully, before getting up to bring the dishes to the sink.


Willow nodded.


“Thanks, Dad. ‘Night.”


“Goodnight honey,” Ira offered with a departing smile.


Willow left the kitchen and went straight upstairs to her bedroom. She went to her desk and diligently read over her college entry essay, making yet more tweaks for the nth time. As the bells of Sunnydale’s many churches struck midnight, she got ready for bed and got under her covers.


She thought about reading but didn’t feel like concentrating, so instead used her phone to bring up photos of Tara she had stored on it.


The room was dark but for the glow of the screen; but for Willow, Tara’s smile was blinding.


She used to think she envied Tara's body before she knew it was an attraction, but some envy still remained: for her smile. That smile brought her joy when it was shared with her and pain when she compared it to her own lack of one.


Willow did everything she was supposed to but nothing she did made her radiate happiness like Tara seemed to. She envied Tara’s ability to be happy and everyone still like her.


Her biggest struggle was fighting against the belief that her happiness was an indulgence.


And that was how Tara’s smile made her soar and knocked her down all in one go.


Despite that, there would never be a night where her image wasn’t the last thing she looked at before going to sleep.



“Willow, fix your collar, it’s sticking out.”


Willow caught her mother’s discerningly stern gaze in the rearview mirror from the back seat and immediately set about smoothing out her collar.


She quickly checked out her buttons and hemlines to make sure they were neat, but it didn’t stop Sheila doing it again once they exited the car, while Ira was handing the keys off to the valet.


Willow was well used to the routine and didn’t fight it. She knew any trip to the country club would involve every facet of her appearance being scrutinized.


“And please, Willow, use your napkin when you’re eating. Do not embarrass me in front of Babette Babcock again.”


One smudge of cream cheese and I’m branded for life.


“Okay, mom.”


Sheila finished primping Willow and straightened up.


“That shirt looks very well on you.”


Willow broke out in a smile.


“Thanks, mom.”


The three of them headed into the large building, where Willow immediately identified the smell of expensive (though not necessarily pleasant) perfume and newly buffed leather shoes. She’d never really made any friends here; the best thing the place had going for it was its Caesar salad.


Ira, upon glancing at Willow’s face, suddenly stopped to pat his pockets.


“Oh, I forgot my keys.”


Willow guessed he just said that to make her smile, but it worked.


“You gave them to the valet, dad.”


Ira chuckled at himself and wrapped his arm around Willow in a sidelong hug.


“What would I do without you?”


Willow leaned into the hug, but suddenly startled when they walked into the restaurant and she saw Tara standing behind the bar with her hair tied up, filling a tray of waters.


Being around Tara and other people at the same time was bad, bad, bad.


Other people who knew her parents; who included her parents.


The very people she most desperately could not reveal her attraction to were just one lingering glance away from figuring out her deep, dark secret. The Chases might even be there. Then everyone really would know.


“I, uh…I’m gonna go get water,” Willow said and ran off without waiting for a response.


She approached the bar, laying her hands down flat on its surface to stop them from twitching.


“I didn’t think you were working today.”


Tara looked up and smiled in greeting.


“Hey, you. I got called in to cover a shift.”


The skin under Willow’s nails grew white as she pressed her fingers deeply against the mahogany wood of the bar. She purposefully angled her gaze upward to stop herself from noticing how hot Tara looked in a waistcoat.


“Did you make that?” she asked, nodding to the blue scrunchie in Tara’s hair, adorned with white felt stars, “It’s really pretty.”


Danger.


“Could I get some extra napkins to stuff in my pockets? I’m extra paranoid,” she added on hastily.


Tara ducked down and returned with a stack of them, which she handed across.


“Stay away from the cream cheese,” she advised with amusement, “You wouldn’t want to provide more embarrassment to a woman who deals with it every time she has to introduce herself.”


A man passed behind them and glanced momentarily at Tara, who adjusted her posture.


“Can I get you anything else ma’am?”


“Don’t do that,” Willow snapped, stuffing the napkins into her clutch purse, “I hate that.”


“It’s my job,” Tara replied quietly.


Willow started to respond but suddenly felt an arm around her shoulders, guiding her away.


“Come along, Willow,” Sheila instructed, stopping for a moment when she spotted Tara, “Oh hello, Terri. I didn’t realize you worked here.”


“It’s Tara,” Willow interrupted, leaving out the ‘you’ve only known her for over a decade’ part.


Sheila just smiled pleasantly.


“Can you get my husband and I two glasses of seltzer and bring them out to the veranda?”


Willow wanted the ground to open up and swallow her. She hated being in this position, but Tara just took it in her stride and smiled right back.


“Of course, ma’am. I’ll be right out.”


Willow offered a pained look of apology as she was led away, but Tara was already busy fetching glasses from behind the bar.


Willow did a round of hellos of her mother’s friends and was eventually told to sit with the eldest son of the Babcocks, Richard Jr. or ‘Dickie’. Dickie seemed just as put out to be seated with her as she was with him.


“Great, a ginger,” he murmured under his breath


“Great, an asshole,” Willow murmured under hers.


Both intended for the other to hear it and shared a look of mutual disdain.


Willow would be a legal adult soon, why did she keep putting up with this shit?


Thankfully Tara wasn’t long in giving her a reprieve as she brought the water out to her parents and dropped an unasked for, but very much appreciated drink to Willow too.


“Half lemonade, half sprite and a dash of grenadine,” Tara announced, already knowing Willow’s favorite, then as she straightened back, spoke quieter into Willow’s ear, “With a cherry on top.”


Willow flushed and her companion seemed annoyed to not get any attention.


“Hey, get me a coke.”


Tara pursed her lips and nodded dutifully before turning on her heels to fetch the drink.


“She’s hot,” Dickie as if he had even half a chance.


Willow just stood up and moved away, making a half-hearted excuse about going to the bathroom. She crept the long way around, seeing who was around and who wasn’t. Thankfully, there was no sign of Cordelia, so she wouldn’t have to deal with any of those snarky comments until tomorrow when she was back at school.


She went into the extravagant restroom and sat on the sofa, using her phone for entertainment. If she was sure her mother wouldn’t walk in, she would have kicked her feet up too, but she resisted.


When she’d wasted as much time as she could get away with, she left the bathroom again but found herself being yanked by the arm sideways.


“What the—” she exclaimed startled, only to make out Tara’s smiling face in the dim light of the janitor’s closet.


“You wanted to sneak into a closet right?” Tara grinned.


Willow gulped audibly. Her mouth opened and closed a few times before she finally shook her head to force some clarity to her thoughts.


“I’m really sorry,” she said finally.


Tara placed her hands on Willow’s bare upper arms.


“There was nothing wrong with what you did last night. I was fine with it.”


Willow grew crimson and Tara brushing against her skin was not helping.


“No, um…my mom. These people. Ordering you around and stuff.”


Tara shrugged one shoulder.


“It’s my job. It’s no big deal,” she said, gazing softly into Willow’s eyes, “I know you’re not like that.”


Willow felt her breath catch at the way Tara was looking at her.


“You look very, very pretty today.”


Willow felt her chin being tilted up and did not resist as Tara’s lips landed on hers. Tara pulled back and rested their foreheads together.


“You taste good too.”


Willow pursed her own lips, tasting the cherry chap on them. She just wore it all the time now, always anticipating a kiss might be near.


“I like it best when you don’t have anything on them though. You’re sweet enough.”


Willow blinked in surprise.


Tara liked her when she was just…her.


That was something she’d never contemplated. In fact, she’d never actually contemplated why Tara liked her at all.


“Why do you—”


Suddenly the doorknob turned and the door was pushed in, getting wedged by the mop and bucket sitting against it. Willow jumped back. Another big push on the door removed the obstacle and it opened completely, streaming light in.


It was the man from behind the bar earlier, and close-up Willow could clearly see ‘manager’ printed on his nametag.


“What’s going on in here?” he asked, eyes narrowing at Tara.


“She was just trying to help me find my coat,” Willow blurted, and Tara looked uncomfortable.


“This is a janitor’s closet,” the manager replied, obviously disbelieving.


Willow looked around like this was a surprise.


“Heh, so it is! Silly me!”


He held the door open for them, inviting, rather forcefully, for them to step out.


“I can help you find your coat, ma’am,” he said cordially, then not quite as much, “Tara, there’s an order waiting to go out in the kitchen. Please wait for me after it’s been delivered.”


Tara nodded and left, hanging her head. Willow started to back out the other way.


“Uh, you know, now I think about it, I left my coat in the car! Um, thanks!”


She went out to the grounds and realized she was on the completely wrong side and had to walk the entire length of the building to get back to the clubhouse. As she got closer she started to rush because she’d been gone awhile and her mother would undoubtedly ask questions.


When she got there, everyone was taking their seats for the meal. Sheila beckoned Willow over to their table.


“There you are,” she said, her voice clicking slightly, “Can we get Terri to bring us some more waters?”


“It’s Tara,” Willow insisted, sitting and folding a napkin in her lap, “And I’m sure someone will be around soon.”


Willow nervously glanced around to see if Tara was nearby. She finally caught sight of her in the doorway behind the bar that led back to the manager’s office, handing her nametag over to him.


Willow looked on out of the corner of her eye with a sinking feeling in her stomach as she watched Tara being fired and a sinking feeling in her heart that she was doing nothing to stop it.

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

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


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 28th)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:47 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 663
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Dibs :dumbo


I really like the parallel between the cannon story and this story when Willow thinks she has plans with Buffy and Buffy blows her off (I don’t know episodes well enough to quote).

Quote:
“You excite me more than anything or anyone I’ve ever known,” she whispered, brushing her lips down Willow’s jawline and falling off with a nip just under her ear that would have Willow staying up late every night for the next number of weeks remembering.


Loved this imagery.

Quote:
“You could ‘help me with some homework’ right now, study buddy,” Tara offered and brushed her lips against Willow’s.


Ah…Laragh’s parallel of “doing a spell”. Love it.

Quote:
Willow, an eternal ball of contradiction, both hoped that her feelings would go away completely so she didn’t have to deal with them and also that she never stopped feeling as alive as Tara made her feel when they connected. She couldn’t balance the Willow she was with Tara and the Willow she presented to the world.


There is the dilemma. I figure this will be the biggest angst producer of the story. In…out…

I love your Ira. He seems to be what Willow needs. Too bad he’s usually tethered to Sheila.

I hated how people talked to Tara at the Club.

It really sucks that Tara got fired. I don’t think her behaviors warranted that; a warning perhaps, but hey, Tara IS a teenager. I don’t think that Willow could do anything to stop the firing. If she addressed it, there would most likely be a scene and that would humiliate Sheila, Willow and Tara.

_________________
Atlantic Antics
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Last edited by taranwillow4ever on Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 28th)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:57 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 106
Topics: 4
Location: Pacific Northwest
Sorry for the delayed reply- I tried yesterday but the board was down. This is for the two posts from Friday (can't wait to catch up)

first, I love this, what a line!:
What Am I Supposed To Do When The Best Part Of Me Was Always You?

Willow talks about wanting everything to be the same, but its just not. This carries through from her initiating, and enjoying, kissing Tara when they were younger and was pretending it was for boy practice and is still there now. She is so scared but too drawn to Tara to do anything but be with her.
It is really sweet that they are taking it slow and Willow doesn't need to label herself, but eventually I can see her fear putting a strain on the relationship. I hope it won't get there (well, either way it'll be good, so, for Tara's sake I hope not, for story sake, I am here either way)

Willow is being really brave though, given how scared she is. I hope Tara takes care of herself through this all, she seems pretty strong

thanks!

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You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 28th)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:02 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
Yay that the board is online again!

Boo for Tara being fired! A total overreaction from the manager for catching her "slacking on the job" and chatting with another girl (I can't imagine him actually realizing they were making out?). Hopefully Willow feeling guilty that Tara got fired after getting "vixeny" with her won't cause her to distance herself from Tara again.

Quote:
Tara reached over and caught the edge of the cushioning on the chair. She wheeled Willow over right in front of her and hooked her legs around the base to keep it stable. She slid her hands over Willow’s thighs and leaned in to press a feather-light kiss against her lips.


“You excite me more than anything or anyone I’ve ever known,” she whispered, brushing her lips down Willow’s jawline and falling off with a nip just under her ear that would have Willow staying up late every night for the next number of weeks remembering.


Tara can be quite the vixen! I guess it will take many more months (and chapters) before Willow would dare to make such a move…

I'm wondering what happened between Willow and Xander that their friendship was totally crushed by it. I imagine something like Willow kissing Xander to get her thoughts of Tara out of her head, Cordelia catching them in the act and Willow freaking out and insulting Xander afterwards, but even then I would have thought Willow would have made amends and Xander would have forgiven her by now…

I fear Willow not telling Tara the reason for her rift with Xander will cause some angst later and I also noticed that Tara didn't answer Willow's question about meeting a sexy flutist at bandcamp clearly:
Quote:
“Like I said…lonely,” Tara settled eventually and didn’t wish to dwell


Dwell on what she did to try to overcome her loneliness, maybe?

I'm really hooked on your story and looking forward t the next chapter - yay for the frequent update schedule! :banana :eatme :banana (some dancing bananas just because I love them.)


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 28th)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:16 am 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 pm
Posts: 66
Hey. It was great to see a sizeable post. I had a minor panic when the board was down the other day to the extent that I briefly thought, 'what if everything is lost forever?' A tad dramatic I realise!

I love that this Tara is confident enough in herself and her self worth that she's not crippled with analysis and second guessing, because where Willow is now, they wouldn't survive otherwise.

I liked the nod to canon where Buffy ditches Willow and then goes back to Tara. It's so great to see new stories all these years later. It speaks to the strength of the characters and the importance of the relationship.


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 28th)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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taranwillow4ever

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Dibs :dumbo


Woo!

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I really like the parallel between the cannon story and this story when Willow thinks she has plans with Buffy and Buffy blows her off (I don’t know episodes well enough to quote).


I find using canon scenarios helps the ~feel of these being the characters we know and love even in a new universe.

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Loved this imagery.


Thanks!

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Ah…Laragh’s parallel of “doing a spell”. Love it.


I'd love for them do 'do a spell' too! :P

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There is the dilemma. I figure this will be the biggest angst producer of the story. In…out…


You would be correct.

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I love your Ira. He seems to be what Willow needs. Too bad he’s usually tethered to Sheila.


He's definitely warmer and, I think, not as stubborn as Sheila but they do share a lot of similar views. Is that genuine or just beat in after all those years? Who knows?

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I hated how people talked to Tara at the Club.


They supremely suck.

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It really sucks that Tara got fired. I don’t think her behaviors warranted that; a warning perhaps, but hey, Tara IS a teenager. I don’t think that Willow could do anything to stop the firing. If she addressed it, there would most likely be a scene and that would humiliate Sheila, Willow and Tara.


Willow could have done very little especially, as you say, without causing a scene. But she feels like it wouldn't have happened if it weren't for her, so the guilt is there.

Thanks for commenting!

shirrey

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Sorry for the delayed reply- I tried yesterday but the board was down. This is for the two posts from Friday (can't wait to catch up)


We were down but thankfully up again and some necessary security patchwork done!

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first, I love this, what a line!:
What Am I Supposed To Do When The Best Part Of Me Was Always You?


From one of my favorite songs!

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Willow talks about wanting everything to be the same, but its just not. This carries through from her initiating, and enjoying, kissing Tara when they were younger and was pretending it was for boy practice and is still there now. She is so scared but too drawn to Tara to do anything but be with her.
It is really sweet that they are taking it slow and Willow doesn't need to label herself, but eventually I can see her fear putting a strain on the relationship. I hope it won't get there (well, either way it'll be good, so, for Tara's sake I hope not, for story sake, I am here either way)


Tara is patient but no one's patience is endless.

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Willow is being really brave though, given how scared she is. I hope Tara takes care of herself through this all, she seems pretty strong


There will definitely be some insight into how Tara's dealing with this all as the months go on.

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thanks!


No thank you! :)

Will's redemption

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Yay that the board is online again!


Woo hoo!

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Boo for Tara being fired! A total overreaction from the manager for catching her "slacking on the job" and chatting with another girl (I can't imagine him actually realizing they were making out?).


The snootiness definitely rubbed off on him. And no, I don't think he suspected they were making out, I just think he thought Tara lowered the tone of the place (it hasn't really come up yet or much at all in a large way, but there will be reference to Kimberly dealing with a lot of stigma for being a single teen mom and now Donny doesn't have the best reputation. Let's just say the family is looked down upon and I just don't think he liked her)

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Hopefully Willow feeling guilty that Tara got fired after getting "vixeny" with her won't cause her to distance herself from Tara again.


Not in any huge way, thankfully!

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Tara can be quite the vixen! I guess it will take many more months (and chapters) before Willow would dare to make such a move…


Tara is a flirt from the start; I submit 'No you are' and 'cool monster fighter' as my evidence. What's fun about this world is I get to have those natural traits come out along with established friendship providing some confidence. Also, Tara has been accepting of her own feelings for a long time even if she hasn't acted on them (there's a conversation later on that addresses Tara generally being more comfortable physically but it's quite a bit down the line)

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I'm wondering what happened between Willow and Xander that their friendship was totally crushed by it. I imagine something like Willow kissing Xander to get her thoughts of Tara out of her head, Cordelia catching them in the act and Willow freaking out and insulting Xander afterwards, but even then I would have thought Willow would have made amends and Xander would have forgiven her by now…


You are a pretty good guesser :wink But remember Willow was in one of the lowest places of her life during those six weeks and was generally acting even more irrationally than normal.

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I fear Willow not telling Tara the reason for her rift with Xander will cause some angst later and I also noticed that Tara didn't answer Willow's question about meeting a sexy flutist at bandcamp clearly:

Dwell on what she did to try to overcome her loneliness, maybe?


Image

(Though remember I am a stickler for the rules here and would never break them :wink )

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I'm really hooked on your story and looking forward t the next chapter - yay for the frequent update schedule!


Thanks so much! I hope you continue to enjoy it!

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:banana :eatme :banana (some dancing bananas just because I love them.)


I forgot how fun they were :banana

Thanks for the feedback!

Northern Lass

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Hey. It was great to see a sizeable post. I had a minor panic when the board was down the other day to the extent that I briefly thought, 'what if everything is lost forever?' A tad dramatic I realise!


The board was down for just that reason - to make sure everything is never lost! It just needed a little security patch up and then there was a little complication getting it back up again BUT all good now :)

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I love that this Tara is confident enough in herself and her self worth that she's not crippled with analysis and second guessing, because where Willow is now, they wouldn't survive otherwise.


It may feel a bit like cheating but I do love putting Tara in a universe without her father that means she doesn't have to wait until her 20s to know her self-worth. I've always portrayed Tara as growing as a result of her relationship with Willow and having someone who believes in her like that allowing her to flourish. So this time I had to ask myself, what if she had that right from the very start?

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I liked the nod to canon where Buffy ditches Willow and then goes back to Tara. It's so great to see new stories all these years later. It speaks to the strength of the characters and the importance of the relationship.


I agree! We're 20 years from their first meeting in December and we've still got not only a handful of ongoing stories but a nice collection of people who still come by to leave feedback. That is just so awesome!

Thanks for commenting :)



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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 28th)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

Chapter 5



October



I'm Sinking Faster And Faster Between Heaven And Disaster



A boy leaned his long frame against a set of lockers, almost standing to its full height.


His skin, tawny and warm made his dark eyes draw you into their depths invitingly. His tight black curls sat neatly atop his head and were thick enough to run his hand through, which he often did when engaging in conversation. He was clean-shaven in the mornings but stubble was starting to show by the end of the school day. He would start to rub his chin as the afternoon scratch set in, making him frequently look like he was thinking hard about something.


Tara closed her locker door and was not startled to see her friend standing so close.


“Nate. Hi,” she greeted with a smile.


“Hey birthday girl,” Nate replied, flashing a white smile, “Feel different?”


Tara moved away from her locker and Nate fell in step with her. Tara shrugged her shoulder.


“Not much has changed.”


“You can…pawn something,” Nate suggested playfully.


Tara shook her head resolutely.


“I don’t own anything worth pawning except my instruments…and they’re not going anywhere.”


Nate swung the books in his hands from one side to the other.


“Gamble?”


Tara shrugged again.


“No money either.”


“Buy cigarettes?” Nate asked with a desperate tone.


Tara’s nose scrunched up.


“Gross.”


Nate half-sighed, half-laughed.


“You’re not going to do anything fun now you’re legally an adult?”


“I’m going to go get a free coffee at Calma Beans,” Tara offered as a reasonable alternative.


“I thought you liked the coffee at that Espresso place in your hometown,” Nate questioned, bushy eyebrow raised comically.


Tara laughed.


“I do, but they don’t give it out for free.”


“Okay, okay,” Nate agreed, settling back into a soft smile, “Want some company?”


Tara nodded.


“Sure, but I’m going to a job interview in an hour.”


“Sweet,” Nate agreed and threw an arm around Tara’s shoulders to walk them toward the parking lot.


He opened the passenger side door of his truck for Tara and helped push her up into it.


“Hey shorty,” he grinned as he closed the door over again.


He threw his books in the back and hopped in the driver’s side.


“You want Calma right? On 9th?” he asked as he buckled up.


“9th,” Tara answered. Her interview was just a couple of blocks from there.


“9th,” Nate repeated, tapping the wheel as he pulled out of the lot, “How do you think you did on Montrose’s pop quiz? I can read any piece of music you put in front of me but when they start throwing those Greek letters into math I’m out.”


“I have a, um, friend, who helps me with math and other homework,” Tara answered, glancing out the window, “We make up songs together.”


“You cheatin’ on me?” Nate asked with a smirk and arched eyebrow.


Tara just smiled and shook her head.


“They’re not real songs, they’re jokey songs. Like ‘letters to the left of me, numbers to the right, here I am, solving quadratics with you’.”


Nate laughed.


“Hey, it’s good, but I bet you can’t make sweet music like we can.”


“It’s just different,” Tara answered cagily, “She’s not a singer, she just likes the fun of it.”


“And you?” Nate prompted.


Tara smiled again.


“I like to see her have fun.”


Nate continued to grin cockily as he reached for the radio button.


“I’d still kick her butt at a game of radio randomizer.”


He fumbled with the stations until he found something he liked.


“Yes! You in?”


Tara grinned.


“I’m in.”


Nate tapped out the beat, using his whole body in the seat to feel it.


Who me? Not you, oh yes, who's he?
I even dig yo' man's style, but I love yo' profile
Whisper in your ear and get you all shook up
But don't blush, just keep this on the hush



Sometimes Nate took on the female vocal, just so Tara would be forced to test herself with the male.


Tara closed her eyes and visualized the tempo so she’d be in rhythm when her bar came up.


I hope ya not, 'cause your thighs got me hot
Only one plan, that's to rise to the top
I told you before when I first pursued
I want a interlude, in the nude



Nate clapped twice, in tune before putting his hands back on the wheel and taking a corner.


Tara could only smile; locked in a car with Nate was the only place she felt comfortable enough to sing songs usually outside of her comfort zone, and only because he’d join in if something like Disney songs came on too. There was a loss of inhibitions when you were both willing to embarrass yourself.


Plus there was just something about driving along in a car that just made you want to sing along with whatever was playing.


He joined back in for his part and they sang the last refrain together.


I had to let you know that I got a crush on you!


“Yes!” Nate hollered, grinning from ear to ear, “You’re the best white girl rapper I know, you know. I wish you’d do it at a show.”


“Just so I can make you look good in comparison,” Tara teased.


Nate reached over and placed his hand over Tara’s, engulfing it with the large size of his palm.


“You make me look good, but not in comparison. I make the best music of my life with you,” he said sincerely, lingering on Tara’s hand for a moment before taking his back to swing the truck into a parking spot.


Tara jumped down a lot easier than she’d climbed in, grabbed her bookbag from where it had been sitting between her legs and held it by the top handle. The lights on the truck flashed as the doors locked and she headed toward the café, where Nate held the door open for her.


“Thanks,” she smiled.


She wasn’t blind to his attention, but he was like that with everyone. A natural born flirt. And he was right — they did play great music together, so their dynamic worked.


She approached the counter and extended her smile for the barista.


“Can I get a medium hazelnut Fleetwood Macchiato please?”


Before she could redeem her birthday reward, Nate was handing over cash.


“Use your free one for the way home,” he said with a wink, “Happy Birthday.”


“Thanks, Nate,” Tara repeated and spoke thanks again when the barista offered her a birthday wish.


“I’ll get a small Sweet Chai O’ Mine,” Nate said and waited for the drinks while Tara got them a table.


After chatting for a few minutes about other things going on at school, Tara noted the way Nate was tapping his hands against the table.


“I like that beat.”


“I’ve had it in my head all day,” Nate replied, tapping a little more forcefully, “I’m thinking of it as an interlude to that song we wrote last week…”


He hummed for a moment before contributing some lyrics off the top of his head.


“So, what’s up, what’s up, tonight’s the night, we’re feeling good; Skin on fire, blazing heat, let me show you what you mean to me.”


“Oh whoa, oh-whoa-oh-oh…” Tara improvised a harmony with him and he clicked his fingers and nodded enthusiastically.


“Yes, you got it. We gotta write that down, that…”


He beatboxed the tune again and Tara took out the music notebook in the front pocket of her bookbag to write the notes down.


“You’re getting it wrong,” Nate complained, looking over her shoulder.


“I am not,” Tara protested.


“It’s—”


He started beatboxing it again and swiped Tara’s notebook to get it down as he saw fit.


“Hey!” Tara exclaimed and snatched it back, heart hammering.


She gulped at the surprised look on Nate’s face.


“Sorry. Just. It’s my notebook.”


Nate nodded, holding his hands up.


“Yeah of course. Sorry.”


Tara put the notebook down and opened it to an appropriate page, then slid it back across the table.


“You can write it how you want it.”


Nate declined with a polite smile.


“Your writing is prettier than mine anyway.”


“Okay, but you have to sing for me,” Tara replied light-heartedly, “I wouldn’t want to get them wrong again.”


“Alright, alright, alright,” Nate replied in his best McConaughey.


Together they worked out the melody and tried out a few harmonies.


Nobody around them paid any attention; most were other students from their school and were well used to it or doing similar themselves.


As Tara was packing her notebook away, her phone lit up with an alarm.


“Crap! I have to go.”


“Want me to drop you off?” Nate offered, already standing.


Tara stood and threw her bookbag over her shoulders.


“I’m good. See you tomorrow.”


“Can you bring your sax?” Nate asked, his fingers running through his hair, “I want to practice for the show this weekend in our free period.”


“You know most of them are, um, half-deaf, right?” Tara replied with a grin.


Nate shrugged one shoulder.


“But they’re full-generous with those delicious butterscotch candies.”


“I’ll bring it,” Tara promised, downing the last of her coffee and making a beeline for the door.


“Good luck,” Nate called after her, “Hey I never even asked where it—”


Tara was already gone, and Nate watched her leave.


Tara walked the few blocks to the place of her interview and got her compact mirror out of the side of her bag to tidy herself up. She took off her sweater and stuffed it into her bag then pulled at the hem of her V-neck so it plunged a little deeper at the chest.


Finally ready, she opened the door and crossed the threshold with the hope she’d come out employed.



Tara turned the key in the door, but before she could open it, she heard her name being called from behind.


“Tara!”


Tara looked over her shoulder and her face lit up when she saw Willow jogging past the gate toward her, holding a cupcake with a lit birthday candle in her hands.


“Hey. I’ve been keeping an eye out for you.”


“I’m sorry, I would’ve let you know I was going to be late today if I’d known,” Tara apologized, shuffling her bag over the shoulder it was hanging off so that it didn’t fall, “I had an interview.”


Willow briefly looked guilty.


“Yeah?” she prompted unsurely.


Tara smiled and nodded.


“I got it.”


Willow threw one arm around Tara.


“That’s amazing!” she exclaimed happily, “Where is it?”


“Burger joint in Brujas,” Tara answered shortly, “It’s better hours and easier to get to after school as well.”


Willow pulled back from the embrace, cheeks flushing under her smile.


“That’s so great, Tara,” she repeated her glee as the guilt of her inaction finally lifted, “I’m still so sorry about what happened at the club.”


Tara shrugged.


“It’s not your fault. He heard me make that remark about the guest and then got caught in the janitor’s closet ‘fraternizing’ with another. I should have known better, he never liked me. Besides this new place has way better tips.”


Willow nodded along and kept Tara’s gaze even after she’d stopped talking. After she realized she was staring, she extended her arms to present the cupcake.


“I know your mom probably baked you something delicious but… Happy Birthday,” she said earnestly, producing a lighter and lighting the candle for her, “I picked a special candle.”


Tara blew it out and it almost immediately reignited.


“See? It’s extra-flamey,” Willow grinned, “Did you make a birthday wish?”


Tara’s lips sloped into a half-smile.


“She’s standing in front of me.”


Tara took a step closer, but after a furtive glance around, Willow stepped back and cleared her throat. Tara rubbed the back of her own neck regretfully.


“Sorry,” she said, turning back to finally open the door, “Come upstairs?”


Willow nodded and they walked into the house together. It was quiet, but they headed straight for the stairs. Halfway up, Tara reached back for Willow’s hand.


Donny’s hungover head popped out from the living room and watched their retreating forms.


Upstairs, Tara let Willow into her room, backed up against the door until it was closed and flicked the lock on the door.


Willow sank down to perch on the edge of the bed, still holding the candle and its light, flickering away.


“Didn’t really anticipate the putting out part.”


Tara came and sat next to Willow, then lifted her hand to her mouth and licked the pad of her thumb and index finger. She squeezed the flame through it, which extinguished, leaving just a puff of smoke.


Willow gulped. She was sure that was intentional by how slowly Tara had done it.


And that was bad news because she was pretty sure she’d only lasted so long into her adolescence without acting on, or acknowledging, her feelings for Tara because Tara wasn’t actively trying to turn her on. Now it was nothing short of torture.


“I got you something,” she blurted, “I mean apart from the cupcake. I got you something.”


Tara took the cupcake and slid her finger through the frosting, lifting it to her mouth.


She wasn’t trying this time but that didn’t stop it affecting Willow greatly.


“You did?”


Willow stared dumbly for a moment, then shook her head.


“Did what?”


Tara smiled and Willow’s world lit up. For many years she’d wondered why Tara’s smile always made her feel so happy so instantaneously.


Sometimes she wished she could go back to wondering.


“You said you got me something, silly.”


“Oh!” Willow replied suddenly, “Yeah, uh huh. It’s um…well, I hope you like it.”


She slid her hand into her front pocket and produced a small pink pouch. She handed it to Tara shyly.


Tara smiled and took it. She held it in her hand and pulled the strings so it opened up. She let the contents fall out and a silver bracelet pooled in her palm. She found the ends and pulled it taut so she could see the charm affixed in the middle. It was an odd shape, a curve on one side with jagged edges on the other, almost like a lima bean.


She wasn’t quite sure what it was, that was until Willow pulled up her sleeve and showed Tara she was wearing a matching one.


Tara put the shapes together and realized they made a heart.


Her breath immediately caught.


This was really the most Willow had expressed anything to her outside of whispered nothings and emotive kisses. Tara understood why, completely, and was willing to wait as long as it took. But this symbol meant a lot and she had to hold back tears lest Willow get the wrong idea.


“I love it.”


“You do?” Willow asked in relief.


She worried it might be too childish or something. They’d made friendship bracelets as kids and Willow just wanted to give something more.


“I’m glad. I just…” she paused and slid it over Tara’s right wrist, “I wanted to give you something that…”


Tara brushed their fingers together.


“You know you can talk to me about anything, right?”


Willow slowly lifted her gaze to Tara’s.


“I’m…scared.”


“I know,” Tara replied, softly, sympathetically, “I’m scared of my mom finding out too.”


Willow’s eyes closed briefly.


“I’m not just scared of my parents. I’m scared of…”


The world.


It was too much to contemplate. She leaned against Tara’s chest and took comfort from her embrace. Nothing in the world made her feel the way Tara’s arms did. She could have been four years old again every time they closed around her.


“You smell like safety and home.”


Tara’s hand smoothed out the back of Willow’s hair; fingers curling the ends affectionately. She smiled.


“I think it’s just baby powder.”


Tara felt Willow’s answering smile against her neck.


“No, it’s you.”


Tara picked up the cupcake from beside her and dabbed the frosting against Willow’s nose.


“Now you smell sweet too.”


Willow giggled and tried to retaliate, but Tara twisted away and stuffed the whole thing in her mouth, leaving just the case.


“Hey, none for me,” Willow pouted.


She crumpled the paper wrapping sadly.


“You think I could get in on your mom’s church pies this Sunday instead?” she asked hopefully, “My dad won’t flip his lid if I leave out the church part.”


Tara finally swallowed the mass of cake in her mouth and wiped at her lips.


“Yes, but you’ll have to come to the nursing home. She’s bringing them there afterward and Nate and I are going to play for the residents.”


Willow nodded eagerly.


“I love to watch you play.”


Tara lay back and drew circles on one of Willow’s hands.


“I love…” she started, eyes looking up through her lashes, “To do a lot of things with you.”


Willow could see specks of frosting left behind on Tara’s lips and, well, she had missed out on a taste. She climbed up alongside Tara and rested her head on the pillow alongside her. Her eyes glanced between Tara’s eyes and lips before she finally pressed her mouth against Tara’s.


She sucked Tara’s bottom lip softly, remembering how she’d learned to do this; remembering the first press of their innocent, awkward lips together and how she got a strange feeling in her stomach and nothing had ever quite been the same ever again.


How she’d tried to Resolve Face herself into Definitely Not Wanting This and yet had taken this position each and every time it was offered to her.


She wasn’t an addict, she could quit at any time. But since she was definitely In Control, she may as well enjoy it.


Her fingers touched Tara’s jaw and upon its natural responsive movement, she teased her tongue into Tara’s mouth.


It was just too easy to get lost in a Tara-kiss.


Tara lived for these moments because Willow’s kiss was when Tara knew Willow’s heart was right there with her.


They kissed until their position lying down so close together was becoming precarious and then suddenly Tara’s door handle slammed down sharply and the door heaved.


Willow gasped audibly, her heart suddenly pounding as she anticipated the door opening.


“It’s okay, it’s locked,” Tara reassured quietly as she slid down the end of the bed to stand.


She fixed her clothes and hair and looked back to Willow for confirmation she looked presentable. Willow looked stunned but managed to nod.


Tara unlocked the door and jerked it open, frowning when she saw it was Donny on the other side.


“What?”


“Why is your door locked?” Donny asked suspiciously.


“Because you just barge in all the time,” Tara retorted, gesturing indicatively.


Donny sneered at her.


“You know you’re 18 now, maybe you’ll finally stop acting like a little princess.”


Tara looked down and spoke quietly.


“I don’t know why you hate me.”


“Because you’re—”


Kimberly appeared, coming up the stairs with a weary look on her face.


“Could we get a break from this for one day?” she requested them both, then focused her gaze on Donny, “It’s your sister’s birthday.”


Donny stormed off, flipping them the bird on the way.


“It’s always her something,” he muttered before his door slamming reverberated throughout the whole upper level of the house.


Kimberly massaged her temples for a moment and took a steady breath. She hated to think he had his father’s temper. She really hoped her nurture won out on his nature, but Donny was a very angry man and truthfully Kimberly was a bit afraid of how far she could push him.


She looked back to Tara and placed a hand on each shoulder, looking at her daughter and wondering how she got to be in this position; Tara was a little girl singing into a plastic microphone only yesterday, or so it seemed.


“Happy Birthday, my darling,” she said, kissing Tara squarely on the forehead, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t be here when you woke up. Have you had a good day?”


Tara smiled and nodded.


“Nate and I got to write, and I got the job.”


Kimberly cupped Tara’s face in her hands.


“Oh honey, I’m glad. I know you were worried about starting to save again.”


“Yeah, I’m really happy. I should be doing pretty well by the summer,” Tara replied, pleased, “I should get good tips too.”


Willow appeared in the doorway, pulling awkwardly at the ends of her sleeves.


“Um, I’m gonna go.”


“Oh Willow, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were here,” Kimberly said, offering a smile.


“She came over to say Happy Birthday,” Tara covered quickly, “And um, she was going to tag along on Sunday if that’s okay.”


“Of course,” Kimberly nodded, “We’d love to have you.”


Willow nodded and caught Tara’s gaze.


“Happy Birthday, Tara,” she said for Kimberly’s sake, her eyes sending the true message.


“Thank you,” Tara replied in much the same way, “I’ll text you later.”


Willow smiled, waved with her fingers and went down the stairs and out the door. Kimberly put her arm around Tara’s shoulders and brought her in the same direction, veering off into the living room.


“You know your main gift will be presented later,” she said, almost skipping over to the coffee table where something large and bulky was covered with sheets of wrapping paper, awkwardly stuck down in places, “But I had to mark my little girl’s journey into adulthood.”


“Mom,” Tara chided gently.


“Just open it,” Kimberly replied giddily.


Tara wasn’t sure the best way to unwrap the object, so tore from the middle down until it was sitting in a pool of its own wrapping.


“It’s second hand, but it works a charm,” Kimberly said, a hint of nervousness in her voice.


Tara’s eyes move from awe to joy to delight in the space of a few seconds. She turned and threw her arms around her mother.


“Thank you so much!”


Kimberly returned the hug, a little tighter than normal. It had meant a few extra night shifts to cover the cost of a decent sewing machine for Tara, but that hug made it all worth it. She kissed the top of her daughter’s head.


“No more staying up until 2 am with that little needle and thread.”


Tara pulled back and looked at her mother cynically.


“You can’t tell me what to do, I’m 18 now.”


Kimberly shook her head, pained; some real, some exaggerated.


“Don’t you start that too or I’ll call you my little girl in front of your friends.”


Tara tucked her head under Kimberly’s chin.


“Don’t worry, I’m never going to be like him.”


Her eyes threw themselves upward and though Kimberly couldn't see it, she knew who that inflection belonged to.


“You were great pals when you were babies, you know. Everything changed when we…moved.”


“It’s not my fault Dad ran out on us,” Tara replied, exhaling sharply through her nose, “He can’t blame me.”


Kimberly patted Tara’s back twice and released her.


“Let’s not darken this day. I came home at lunch and made your cake, did you see it?”


Tara shook her head and followed her mother into the kitchen, her only concern now about how quickly she could put together some new band shirts.



“You didn’t have to wear a shirt.”


Willow ran her fingers over the lettering on the front of the shirt, spelling out ‘Insect Reflection’ with an image of a beady-eyed ant looking in the mirror.


“I like it. I get to be your groupie.”


Tara’s hand slid across the wall they were sitting on to cover Willow’s hand.


“You’re much more than that.”


Willow quickly lifted her hand and scratched the side of her nose.


“You, um, did a really good job. I love the eyes.”


“Thanks, I had fun,” Tara replied, taking her hand back from the encounter and running it along the side of her saxophone case, sitting between her legs, “Of course now I’m the go-to for fixing socks and stuff too. I drew the line at Donny’s underwear.”


Willow’s face scrunched up and Tara nodded.


“Yeah, exactly.”


Tara’s phone buzzed in her pocket and she took it out to read the text.


“My mom got held up, are you okay if we bike it?”


Willow glanced down at the case between Tara’s knees.


“Will your sax be okay?”


“Yeah, it’ll fit on the rack,” Tara said, jumping down from the wall and hiking her case over her shoulder.


Willow planted her feet on the ground and together they walked over to Willow’s driveway. Tara kept her bike there too, just to make it a little more difficult for Donny to interfere with it.


Tara secured her case to the back of her bike and they set off together. It was only a couple of miles to the care home Kimberly was a nurse at, and on a Sunday morning, the roads were pretty clear.


It was a bright day and a beautiful ride passing through the autumnal landscape of the Sunnydale country roads. The trees were still in their twilight of being fully dressed with their changing-color leaves thick on their branches.


The sun was shining, and Willow knew this primarily because of how the shine caught Tara’s face.


Tara would look up when they hit a sunny patch and let it radiate her face, casting a glow on her honey-colored hair. She looked positively beautiful and Willow was awestruck.


The part of her brain that needed to be focusing on cycling was momentarily taken over, causing her to skid off the road and fall under her bike.


“Willow!”


“Yeah?” Willow asked dumbly, responding before she could even realize what had happened.


Tara abandoned her bike on the dirt and threw herself down beside Willow, tossing the bike off her.


“It’s okay, baby, don’t move.”


Willow realized she was on the ground when she felt the gravel grazing her palms.


“I’m okay…” she said, wincing as she pulled herself up on her elbows.


Tara checked Willow’s head, making sure she wasn’t bleeding.


“Did you go over on a rock?”


Willow looked up at Tara and found herself in the same predicament that had gotten her into this situation in the first place. She averted her gaze and hoped desperately her genetic predisposition to blushing was not giving her away this time.


“Heh, yeah, must have.”


“Should I call an ambulance?” Tara asked with concern.


Willow shook her head definitively.


“No way, I’m fine. I want to see you play.”


She glanced at her shoulder, where there was a small rip in the fabric of her t-shirt. She smiled softly at Tara.


“Makes it look cooler.”


Tara returned the smile and briefly brushed some hair away from Willow’s brow. She was careful not to linger so as not to make Willow uncomfortable, but to her surprise, Willow leaned in and hugged her.


“You’re okay,” Tara reassured in her ear, “I’ll get my mom to look you over when we get there.”


Willow just nodded and let Tara help her up and brush herself off.


“Let’s walk the rest of the way,” Tara suggested, hoisting her bike up to wheel alongside her, “Are you okay to walk? It’s not far from here.”


“I can walk,” Willow confirmed, “Really, I’m fine. I’m pretty used to falling over.”


Tara aimed a wistful smile at the ground as they set off along the side of the road, on foot.


“Remember when we did Yabba and Dabba Doo Superheroes and you tripped over your cape?”


“You mean the pillowcase I stuck in the back of my shirt?” Willow asked incredulously, “I ended up inside the thing!”


They laughed together and Willow kept her gaze on Tara for a few moments, thinking about all of the time they’d spent together; all of the experiences they’d shared.


“When did you know?” she semi-blurted, the words coming out as her mind wondered.


Tara didn’t pretend she didn’t know what Willow was talking about. She pushed her bike in silence for a moment.


“That’s a multi-layered question.”


“You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to,” Willow replied quickly.


Tara just shook her head and didn’t rush her response.


“I always knew I never liked boys the way other people liked boys,” she answered finally, smiling almost sadly, “I would get jealous when you talked about Xander and for a long time I thought that was because I was jealous that you had a boy you liked and could talk about and be normal.”


Willow looked down guiltily but Tara was still speaking and didn’t notice.


“I spoke to some people online, the ones without depressing spelling. They recommended some… relevant media to watch, and I did.”


Willow looked up with wide eyes.


“Like…porn?”


Tara could only laugh.


“No, like movies and TV shows and stuff.”


Willow seemed relieved and embarrassed all at once, but Tara didn’t let her off the hook.


“The porn out there is not…good.”


The grip Willow had on the handlebar tightened as she tried desperately not to imagine Tara watching porn, or more specifically what she might be doing while watching it. That was a ‘no, no’ thought if ever there was one.


Thankfully Tara seemed to think she’d tortured her enough and continued her story.


“I watched what I could…at first it seemed overwhelming but it was good because the people ‘in the know’ told me what was a good portrayal or a bad portrayal…gave me a narrowed-down list to watch and see what I thought.”


Willow turned her head, noting how lightly Tara talked about what for her held her heart so heavily.


“And what did you think?”


Tara smiled and that sun betrayed Willow again, cursing her with falling in love.


“I thought it was like opening my eyes after being underwater. It gave me a picture of what my life could be like and I realized it fit the way I felt myself being happiest. I…recognized myself.”


Willow stared pensively at her feet for several moments.


“I don't know who I am,” she said finally, so soft only Tara and the trees could hear, “I only know who everyone else wants me to be.”


Tara placed her palm under Willow’s shoulder blade so she would look up.


“I just want you to be happy,” she said as their gazes met, “And that’s how I knew I liked you. Because I wanted you to be happy even if it broke my heart.”


Willow’s heart began to thud and staring into Tara’s eyes seemed like the only important thing in the world at that moment.


I recognized myself.


“Hey!”


Willow felt like she was pulled from a dream as a male voice broke their silence with the sound of tires screeching.


Nate had pedaled past them and spun around on a brake to face them. His guitar case was strapped over his chest and held on his back and he was greeting them with a pleasant smile, oblivious to the moment he’d interrupted.


“Why aren’t you riding?”


Willow began to shrink in on herself but Tara took the heat.


“My chain was getting stuck.”


“Want me to take a look?” Nate asked, and Tara quickly shook her head.


“I can fix it later. We better get to the home.”


The three of them picked up the pace and made it to the elderly care home in just a few minutes. Willow went to the bathroom when they arrived, needing a moment after the unexpectedly deep conversation of their journey. Tara went to set up with Nate but jumped down when she saw her mother bring in a stack of pies into the rec room they were set to play in.


“Hello, sweetheart,” Kimberly greeted, “Sorry I couldn’t collect you guys.”


“It’s fine,” Tara replied easily, “But, um, Willow fell off her bike on the way, could you check her out? Discreetly?”


Kimberly nodded knowingly and Tara returned to the two stools that essentially made the ‘stage’ for them. There was no AV equipment or anything to set up like when they played clubs or events but Nate was always professional and liked to make sure everything was perfect no matter the audience so it was always a little while until they were ready to play. Tara busied readying her mouthpiece while Nate checked the tuning of his guitar.


Kimberly spotted Willow come through and hang back in the doorway. She caught her eye. She motioned for Willow to come over and led her back to a private treatment room.


“Do you need some help with something?” Willow asked, hands in her pockets but genuinely offering.


Kimberly tapped the examination table.


“Sit up.”


Willow just nodded and sat up. Kimberly went through a few cognitive tests and checked her over for bruising or tenderness.


“What happened? Did the sun blind you?”


“Something like that,” Willow replied absently.


Kimberly took her gloves off and tossed them.


“I think a bruised ego more than anything else, hmm?”


Willow blushed.


“Yeah, I think so.”


“I’m betting nothing a slice of peach cobbler can’t cure,” Kimberly replied with a wink, then ran her thumb over the rip in the shoulder of her t-shirt, “You’ll have to get Tara to fix this.”


“No way, it’s punk Ms. Maclay,” Willow said with a grin.


Kimberly laughed.


“I thought punk was in my day,” she said, shaking her head to herself, “Punk was how I got pregnant. Take every precaution.”


Willow pressed her hands into the table to give her the leverage to jump down.


“Not on my radar.”


The sound of a few guitar strings floated down the corridor.


“Sounds like they’re starting,” Kimberly said, opening the door for Willow.


“Thanks, Ms. Maclay,” Willow answered politely, “Can I help you serve the pies?”


“I’d appreciate that,” Kimberly smiled, “And I’ll make sure to save a big slice for you.”


They walked back into the recreation room and behind the little table where Kimberly had left the pies. She began slicing them and Willow would put them on a paper plate and bring them around to the residents watching Tara and Nate play.


Willow liked to sneak a peek whenever she could too. Tara was always so graceful on the sax and the songs they sang for this crowd were always so soft and ethereal.


Give Tara another one of those sun halos and Willow would easily believe she was an angel incarnate.


Nate started to strum some Elvis and it was a joyful sight when some of the residents got up to slow (very slow) dance together.


Willow watched Tara carry the tune to the room, smiling at Nate as he accompanied her.


“But I can’t help, falling in love with you…”


Nate harmonized and it felt like a punch in the gut for Willow. She’d always loved listening to Elvis and heard that song often. But now she paired it to her situation and couldn’t feel the same rush the song was meant to impart. She wished desperately to be able to help falling in love.


It was intimate to watch them together like that, to watch them open to each other and allow themselves to create together. Their connection was so raw and public and everything Willow never allowed herself to give in to.


She was surprised at the intensity by which the jealousy hit her.


And then Tara found her in the crowd and smiled, and it was a smile just for her. It punched her gut in another way that was even more intense and scarier. She was often so busy worrying about what everyone else would think if they knew, she didn’t see their connection pummeling her so powerfully.


She had to look away and scooted around the room with her head down, collecting paper plates before excusing herself to the bathroom again. There had been so much face-splashing lately, she thought she might wash away entirely. At least then she wouldn’t have so much inner turmoil twisting her up inside.


She sat on the steps at the front door for a long stretch of time before she saw someone sit beside her.


“There you are,” Tara smiled and again Willow felt her belly jump.


It was amazing how the absence of people suddenly made her bodily reactions feel good.


“You okay?”


Willow could only nod silently, but Tara’s face remained sympathetic.


“Does this place remind you of your Bubbe and Zayde?”


Willow neither confirmed nor denied, so Tara assumed and gave her a hug.


Willow closed it and the sun bathed them together.


And how could any of this be wrong when it felt so, so right?


They stood together when Nate came out, guitar on his back and hopped onto his bike.


“Great set, Tare, see you at school!”


“Bye,” Tara called after him as he sped away, “Mom said we can put our bikes on the car and get a ride with her.”


“Great,” Willow agreed and they went to wait at the car.


Kimberly came out and they loaded up and set off for home. Tara sat in the back with her sax and Willow took the front with Tara’s mother.


“That Nathanial boy grows more every time I see him,” Kimberly commented airily as they drove, “He’s very nice. Sweet. He always looks so thoughtful. And a great musician to boot.”


“You’re worse than the grandmothers in the home,” Tara replied wryly.


“I’m just saying, he’s nice,” Kimberly replied with a single definitive nod, catching Tara’s eye in the rearview mirror, “A lot nicer than the boys I was dating at your age.”


“You had two kids at my age,” Tara shot back.


“I’m aware,” Kimberly replied with a sigh, “I’ve been very pleased that you’ve chosen to focus on your music instead of boys during high school. But if you like—”


“I don’t,” Tara interjected quickly and sternly.


“Okay, okay,” Kimberly replied defensively, putting up two fingers on the wheel in place of her hands, “What about you Willow? Or do you already have a new guy?”


Willow looked immediately caught out.


“No. No new…guy,” she said with a nervous chuckle, “I’m um, focusing on getting into a good college.”


Kimberly’s eyebrow arched.


“I guess there’s no convincing my girl of the same?”


Willow very briefly glanced to the back seat.


“I’ve never known Tara not to know her own mind.”


Kimberly smiled at her.


“That is very true, Willow, and I wouldn’t have her any other way.”


“I’d have her lots of ways,” Willow replied automatically, which was immediately followed with a sharp inhalation of breath, “I-I mean, I, i—I would, I would have her any way she is because she’s Tara, she’s always been Tara, always been there so yes, however she um, is, is what I will have. Yes.”


Kimberly just nodded and Willow used the mirror to look into the backseat.


Tara winked and Willow flushed to the very root of her being.


Stop, she thought, stop, stop, stop.


With a heavy heart, she looked out the window sadly.


The full trees didn’t seem quite as beautiful as before, but deceptive.


The leaves would die, it was what they were supposed to do, and nothing she could do would stop it.


She closed her eyes so the tear threatening to fall wouldn’t, remembering that one aching line that her brain had turned so bitter.


But I can’t help falling in love with you…




Image

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 30th)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:10 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
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Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
DIBS :bounce


Quote:
“You make me look good, but not in comparison. I make the best music of my life with you,” he said sincerely, lingering on Tara’s hand for a moment before taking his back to swing the truck into a parking spot.

I think Nate likes Tara more than ‘just as a friend’

Quote:
She took off her sweater and stuffed it into her bag then pulled at the hem of her V-neck so it plunged a little deeper at the chest.

Makes me nervous how she already knows that showing off her assets will get her a job and probably better tips.

Quote:
See? It’s extra-flamey,” Willow grinned,
Another great parallel.

Quote:
“You smell like safety and home.”
Soulmates

Quote:
Tara lived for these moments because Willow’s kiss was when Tara knew Willow’s heart was right there with her.

Sweet.

Quote:
Donny stormed off, flipping them the bird on the way.

Flipping off your mom, grr… :fit not ok.

Quote:
“I thought it was like opening my eyes after being underwater. It gave me a picture of what my life could be like and I realized it fit the way I felt myself being happiest. I…recognized myself.”

So glad that there were shows that could give Tara this comfort. The internet and media have provided a lot of support that would have been great when I was their age….

Quote:
But now she paired it to her situation and couldn’t feel the same rush the song was meant to impart. She wished desperately to be able to help falling in love.

Sometimes she wished she could go back to wondering.

How she’d tried to Resolve Face herself into Definitely Not Wanting This

She wasn’t an addict, she could quit at any time. But since she was definitely In Control

Tara smiled and that sun betrayed Willow again, cursing her with falling in love.

She closed her eyes so the tear threatening to fall wouldn’t, remembering that one aching line that her brain had turned so bitter.


Laragh, you write this self-hatred so well. It makes me very sad and sort of angry. I always admire when writing can cause me to experience real emotions. I feel like Tara is having to cope with more than she should have to cope with.
I look forward to reading more. You've got me hooked.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 30th)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:32 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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Topics: 4
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Ch 4 feedback: Interesting that there is also a class difference going on here (it made me think of What's Your Tale Nightingale) I don't think Tara will mind not having that job anymore, seems like hell.

Ch 5: Willow is just all over the place emotionally, so drawn to Tara, spending a bunch of time with her, kissing/holding/ hugging her in a new 'we're not just friends anymore way' but is dreading falling in love at the same time- that is a recipe for turmoil and going to be rough on both of them. Especially because Tara seems so keen to be just be with Willow- so happily eager to be able to be with her how she wants- I worry for her heart. She is so cute and flirty and totally in and Willow is giving her heart bracelets, Totally In Control :) with their kissing and staring at her awestruck and at the same time shifting her gaze, changing the subject pulling her hand back, emotionally pulling away. I get she doesn't want to be out but those are some confusing signals. Although Tara does see this truth :
Quote:
"Tara lived for these moments because Willow’s kiss was when Tara knew Willow’s heart was right there with her."





Quote:
“They’re not real songs, they’re jokey songs. Like ‘letters to the left of me, numbers to the right, here I am, solving quadratics with you’.”]


that's adorable and I could totally see them doing that way too late at night after far too much rootbeer

Nate is sweet and I am glad Tara has such a good friend (even if he has a crush on her- because, c'mon, who wouldn't?)

"Fleetwood Macchiato and Sweet Chai O'Mine" :laugh those are brilliant!! I would get coffee there daily.

Quote:
“Didn’t really anticipate the putting out part.”
I totally read this in a sexual way- took me like three tries to get my mind far from the gutter

Tara called her 'baby' I wonder if Willow picked up on it, will she love it or will it freak her out or both?

I love that Tar's answer to Willow's question about when she knew was muliti- layered, because it would be - its all those in-hindsight things we pick up on after the big truth is clearer.

What the hell is Donny's damage?? Dude, you are like 20, grow up, get a job, stop acting like a schoolyard bully. I hope Tara beans him with her sax.



Quote:
“I thought punk was in my day,” she said, shaking her head to herself, “Punk was how I got pregnant. Take every precaution.”


:laugh :laugh :laugh Kimberly is cheeky! I love it . and love Willow's reply

Quote:
“Not on my radar.”


I want to get Willow's number so I can send her frequent texts reminding her to listen to that voice in herself that knows it's ok, that feels it's ok- just gotta get to where she believes its ok

ALSO I WANT AN INSECT REFLECTION SHIRT!!!!

Thanks Laragh!

shirrey (beth)

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 30th)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:03 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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JMT-

I'm a little late jumping on the feedback bandwagon, but better late than never, right?

I've gotta say, for someone who doesn't particularly enjoy writing angst between Willow and Tara, you are doing a fantastic job of weaving it throughout this story. In just four chapters you've managed to develop two very complex characters. Willow, who is stuck in her head and warring with her heart and Tara, sweet Tara wearing her heart on her sleeve.

Per usual, Willow's other "friends" are disappointing, on so many levels. They want to be friends when it's convenient for them, and the rest of the time they just don't seem to care. Willow's loneliness is palpable. The scene when Willow walks into the Bronze and comes face to face with every person causing her turmoil, was something that really stood out to me. It was literally, "Clowns to the left, jokers to the right...here I am, stuck in the middle with you." So when you parodied that song in the last chapter, I lol'd.

Tara seems to have a solid friend in Nate, but his crush is obvious and I worry how things will play out if he ever gives it a voice. I love, love, love this strong and confident Tara. She's still a little shy but knows who she is and who she wants. I just hope she can deal with the enigma that is Willow and the push me/pull me routine.

Tara's mom is great, as always, but wow...Donny is a complete dick. He's jealous, angry, violent and I feel like it could all come to a boiling point very soon. I can totally see Willow and Tara getting caught up, forgetting to lock that door and him catching them together; which would spell disaster for Willow's fragile emotional state.

On a side note, when Tara called Willow Baby...I totally melted. I'm pretty sure Willow completely missed it, in the moment, but I think it'll either come back to her later or Tara will unknowingly say it again. Hopefully, it has the same effect on Willow it had on me!

Anyway, I will try to give more timely feedback in the future...as long as the board cooperates. You sure you can't update everyday? Just askin' for a friend...

-Shelb, still your JMT! :love

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


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 30th)
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:05 am 
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4. Extra Flamey

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Posts: 201
How sad that Willow is still at a stage where she hates herself for loving Tara. I hope it won't get worse: her resenting Tara for making her fall in love with her.
Although Tara and Willow are both still "in the closet" to the outside world, there is a huge difference in their inner thoughts and feelings: Tara feels comfortable with being a lesbian and loving Willow, Willow is TERRIFIED by being in love with Tara (and that leading to the conclusion she must be gay) every single second of every day.

I guess the main reason for this difference is that Tara has a mom who loves her unconditionally - and although Tara said last chapter she is scared how her mom would react if she came out, I'm sure she knows deep down that Kimberley would take it in stride (no danger of unwanted teenage pregnancies if your daughter is a lesbian on the plus side). On the other hand Willow knows (almost ?) no love from her mother and too small "doses" of affection from her father and also how important their "social standing" is to both of her parents. "Oh, your daughter is a lesbian?" is probably no conversation-theme both of them would like at the country-club. So she has a justified fear that her parents will totally abandon, maybe even despise her if the ever found out she is gay.
Also considering that she had only three friends at the start of this story and lost two of them I can understand that part of her wishes she could just be best friends with Tara as they were when they were kids and not feel those confusing emotions like love and lust for her. With her low self-esteem Willow probably fears that Tara would be "fed up" with her pretty soon if they actually started a relationship and that would lead to her loosing her (virtually) last friend on earth.

Quote:
“You know you’re 18 now, maybe you’ll finally stop acting like a little princess.”


Tara looked down and spoke quietly.


“I don’t know why you hate me.”


“Because you’re—”


Inside this angry, aggressive young man I can see a boy who grew up without a father (figure) and with the constant feeling that his mother loved him less than his sister. And because it made him an angry and "mean" boy who reminded his mother of his father she certainly did love him less than sweet, caring Tara. I also suspect Kimberly felt guilty for that lack of love and that lead to her cutting him too much slack, not punishing him for terrorizing Tara for example, until he grew up into a tyrant she herself fears at least a little.

You said you have plans for his character-development. I really hope it won't be negative (him ending up in jail, getting himself killed in some bar-fight or something like that) but that he will turn his life around for the better and become the kind of big brother Tara deserves to have. Maybe I'm naive, but perhaps some "big-brother-instincts" coud be triggered if he should witness some real, physical danger from some outside force happen to Tara (like in the story "Racing the rain" when Willow's until then rather obnoxious brother Grayson saved her from a sexual assault).
Such an event might also help Willow realize that Tara is by far the most important person in her life and that she has a chance for true happiness in a romantic relationship with Tara.

But hey, you have your story already written so if it totally differs from my thoughts just ignore me.

I love the "Insect Reflection"-fan-shirt - the band-name is a nice homage to Tara's quirky joke in the episode "Family".


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 30th)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:58 am 
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4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
I forgot to mention in my last post that I was a little confused by these questions of Kimberly:
Quote:
“What about you Willow? Or do you already have a new guy?”


A "new" guy? Who would she refer to as Willow's "previous" guy, Xander? Does Kimberly think he was her boyfriend?


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 30th)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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taranwillow4ever

Quote:
DIBS :bounce


Woo!

Quote:
I think Nate likes Tara more than ‘just as a friend’


You might be correct...

Quote:
Makes me nervous how she already knows that showing off her assets will get her a job and probably better tips.


Don't be nervous!

Quote:
Another great parallel.


I <3 that scene so much, I reference it whenever I can in fic!

Quote:
Soulmates


I agree!

Quote:
Sweet.


And important, for Tara!

Quote:
Flipping off your mom, grr… :fit not ok.


Oh he's a grade 1 asshat, for sure!

Quote:
So glad that there were shows that could give Tara this comfort. The internet and media have provided a lot of support that would have been great when I was their age….


I'm so lucky I had it. I don't know where I'd be without it.

Quote:
Laragh, you write this self-hatred so well. It makes me very sad and sort of angry. I always admire when writing can cause me to experience real emotions. I feel like Tara is having to cope with more than she should have to cope with.
I look forward to reading more. You've got me hooked.


I'm so happy to hear I made you angry :lol :lol I hope you enjoy this journey they go on.

Thanks for commenting!

shirrey

Quote:
Ch 4 feedback: Interesting that there is also a class difference going on here (it made me think of What's Your Tale Nightingale) I don't think Tara will mind not having that job anymore, seems like hell.


I think so too! Pretencious assholes and in the top tier of assholes.

Quote:
Ch 5: Willow is just all over the place emotionally, so drawn to Tara, spending a bunch of time with her, kissing/holding/ hugging her in a new 'we're not just friends anymore way' but is dreading falling in love at the same time- that is a recipe for turmoil and going to be rough on both of them. Especially because Tara seems so keen to be just be with Willow- so happily eager to be able to be with her how she wants- I worry for her heart. She is so cute and flirty and totally in and Willow is giving her heart bracelets, Totally In Control :) with their kissing and staring at her awestruck and at the same time shifting her gaze, changing the subject pulling her hand back, emotionally pulling away. I get she doesn't want to be out but those are some confusing signals. Although Tara does see this truth


Tara does and she'll hang onto that strong-like-an-amazon strength until Willow can pull herself into the same place...hopefully.

Quote:
that's adorable and I could totally see them doing that way too late at night after far too much rootbeer


I'm definitely picturing them at 12 with rootbeer coming out of their noses now :lol

Quote:
Nate is sweet and I am glad Tara has such a good friend (even if he has a crush on her- because, c'mon, who wouldn't?)


You get it. Of course who wouldn't, right?

Quote:
"Fleetwood Macchiato and Sweet Chai O'Mine" :laugh those are brilliant!! I would get coffee there daily.


20c off if you bring your own reusable cup!

Quote:
I totally read this in a sexual way- took me like three tries to get my mind far from the gutter


:lol oh man I must have read all of these chapters 50 times and I didn't once think of it this way!

Quote:
Tara called her 'baby' I wonder if Willow picked up on it, will she love it or will it freak her out or both?


I think that last one is on point.

Quote:
I love that Tar's answer to Willow's question about when she knew was muliti- layered, because it would be - its all those in-hindsight things we pick up on after the big truth is clearer.


Coming out to yourself is like coming out to everyone else - you don't just do it once.

Quote:
What the hell is Donny's damage?? Dude, you are like 20, grow up, get a job, stop acting like a schoolyard bully. I hope Tara beans him with her sax.


This made me laugh so hard. I'm laughing again just rereading it to write this. I'm picturing her chasing him around with Yakety Sax playing in the background. And Willow lures him to a hole in the ground with a fake covering so he falls right through and then they dance around the hole arm in arm.

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:laugh :laugh :laugh Kimberly is cheeky! I love it . and love Willow's reply


She's still pretty young so she's got a more modern parental relationship with Tara (and Willow as she was basically a surrogate mother to her growing up)

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I want to get Willow's number so I can send her frequent texts reminding her to listen to that voice in herself that knows it's ok, that feels it's ok- just gotta get to where she believes its ok


Her email is rosenbergdwillow@gmail.com if it's any help to ya :wink

Honestly, she could really use a disembodied voice telling her it's all okay, I think. She's so in her head and it's lonely and deafening all at once.

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ALSO I WANT AN INSECT REFLECTION SHIRT!!!!


You'll have to go to one of their concerts :laugh

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Thanks Laragh!


Thank you! Seriously, your feedback means the world!

Finey_McFine

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JMT-


JMT! (side note; do you watch The Goldbergs? They have a thing on it where a group are called the 'JTP' and I think of you every time they say it :laugh )

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I'm a little late jumping on the feedback bandwagon, but better late than never, right?


A queen is never late, everyone else is simply early.

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I've gotta say, for someone who doesn't particularly enjoy writing angst between Willow and Tara, you are doing a fantastic job of weaving it throughout this story. In just four chapters you've managed to develop two very complex characters. Willow, who is stuck in her head and warring with her heart and Tara, sweet Tara wearing her heart on her sleeve.


I guess because I see it more as angst between Willow and herself rather than angst between Willow and Tara. But I'm definitely going for it a bit more than previous fics and am slightly nervous about it all!

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Per usual, Willow's other "friends" are disappointing, on so many levels. They want to be friends when it's convenient for them, and the rest of the time they just don't seem to care. Willow's loneliness is palpable. The scene when Willow walks into the Bronze and comes face to face with every person causing her turmoil, was something that really stood out to me. It was literally, "Clowns to the left, jokers to the right...here I am, stuck in the middle with you." So when you parodied that song in the last chapter, I lol'd.


It's worth noting, Willow is also not being the best of friends right now either. Basically they're all being idiots but isn't that what your teens are for?

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Tara seems to have a solid friend in Nate, but his crush is obvious and I worry how things will play out if he ever gives it a voice. I love, love, love this strong and confident Tara. She's still a little shy but knows who she is and who she wants. I just hope she can deal with the enigma that is Willow and the push me/pull me routine.


This Tara grew up with a positive parent AND Willow in her life from the start...I figured that would produce a Tara who knows love and knows happiness and would just be so much more secure in herself.

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Tara's mom is great, as always, but wow...Donny is a complete dick. He's jealous, angry, violent and I feel like it could all come to a boiling point very soon. I can totally see Willow and Tara getting caught up, forgetting to lock that door and him catching them together; which would spell disaster for Willow's fragile emotional state.


There will be wave to ride with him and his reactions and their reactions to his reactions and man, life is just a rollarcoaster, isn't it?

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On a side note, when Tara called Willow Baby...I totally melted. I'm pretty sure Willow completely missed it, in the moment, but I think it'll either come back to her later or Tara will unknowingly say it again. Hopefully, it has the same effect on Willow it had on me!


It's one of those feelings isn't it? Deep but fleeting.

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Anyway, I will try to give more timely feedback in the future...as long as the board cooperates. You sure you can't update everyday? Just askin' for a friend...


You know, I considered it. Ultimately I wasn't sure there was the viewership for it and most people would check in maybe every few days at most and that having multiple chapters or tens of thousands of words to consume all at once would be too much.

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-Shelb, still your JMT! :love


:love

Thank you for your feedback!!

Will's redemption

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How sad that Willow is still at a stage where she hates herself for loving Tara. I hope it won't get worse: her resenting Tara for making her fall in love with her.


I could actually see that happening if Tara had never voiced her feelings. How long could Willow really go on pretending she wasn't feeling like she was feeling? It was like being hit by the car but when you're being treated a cancer is discovered, but early enough to cure it completely.

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Although Tara and Willow are both still "in the closet" to the outside world, there is a huge difference in their inner thoughts and feelings: Tara feels comfortable with being a lesbian and loving Willow, Willow is TERRIFIED by being in love with Tara (and that leading to the conclusion she must be gay) every single second of every day.


It's funny because they probably went/are going through very similar things but in different ways. Willow, as you said, is terrified of being gay to the point she's thinking about it every second. And Tara went through that too, but in a happier way; the way most of us do when we first come out and are exposed to this big gay world and everything is flaming and fabulous and fantastic.

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I guess the main reason for this difference is that Tara has a mom who loves her unconditionally - and although Tara said last chapter she is scared how her mom would react if she came out, I'm sure she knows deep down that Kimberley would take it in stride (no danger of unwanted teenage pregnancies if your daughter is a lesbian on the plus side). On the other hand Willow knows (almost ?) no love from her mother and too small "doses" of affection from her father and also how important their "social standing" is to both of her parents. "Oh, your daughter is a lesbian?" is probably no conversation-theme both of them would like at the country-club. So she has a justified fear that her parents will totally abandon, maybe even despise her if the ever found out she is gay.


I think there's a lot more 'fear of the unknown' on Willow's side, definitely. She knows her father is very religious and I think they probably don't have any gay friends (honestly because what kind of gay would put up with Sheila?). She's a kid who is praised for being strait-laced, for conforming to their standards, for not causing a scene or a fuss. Their praise is also everything she's always craved.

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Also considering that she had only three friends at the start of this story and lost two of them I can understand that part of her wishes she could just be best friends with Tara as they were when they were kids and not feel those confusing emotions like love and lust for her. With her low self-esteem Willow probably fears that Tara would be "fed up" with her pretty soon if they actually started a relationship and that would lead to her loosing her (virtually) last friend on earth.


For her, losing Tara doesn't even compute. It's 'not even a question' as she would say herself.

There is another big reason why this fear resides so deeply in her psyche and will be revealed a few chapters down the line.

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Inside this angry, aggressive young man I can see a boy who grew up without a father (figure) and with the constant feeling that his mother loved him less than his sister. And because it made him an angry and "mean" boy who reminded his mother of his father she certainly did love him less than sweet, caring Tara. I also suspect Kimberly felt guilty for that lack of love and that lead to her cutting him too much slack, not punishing him for terrorizing Tara for example, until he grew up into a tyrant she herself fears at least a little.


Are you a psychologist? You should be. I want to go to you for therapy :lol You're really good!

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You said you have plans for his character-development. I really hope it won't be negative (him ending up in jail, getting himself killed in some bar-fight or something like that) but that he will turn his life around for the better and become the kind of big brother Tara deserves to have. Maybe I'm naive, but perhaps some "big-brother-instincts" coud be triggered if he should witness some real, physical danger from some outside force happen to Tara (like in the story "Racing the rain" when Willow's until then rather obnoxious brother Grayson saved her from a sexual assault).
Such an event might also help Willow realize that Tara is by far the most important person in her life and that she has a chance for true happiness in a romantic relationship with Tara.

But hey, you have your story already written so if it totally differs from my thoughts just ignore me.


All I'll say is I think you'll approve of where his story goes :)

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I love the "Insect Reflection"-fan-shirt - the band-name is a nice homage to Tara's quirky joke in the episode "Family".


Thank you! I went through a lot of shitty band names before I finally landed on it. I do like to reference the show where I can because I feel like it reminds people of the actual characters we all fell in love with even in this new world.

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I forgot to mention in my last post that I was a little confused by these questions of Kimberly:

A "new" guy? Who would she refer to as Willow's "previous" guy, Xander? Does Kimberly think he was her boyfriend?


It's just phrasing. A 'new' guy on the scene as opposed to a comparison to someone 'old'

Thanks for commenting :)



Update Directly Below

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


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Aug 30th)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:00 am 
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CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

Chapter 6



November



If I Lay Here
If I Just Lay Here
Would You Lie With Me And Just Forget The World?



Willow pulled her boots over her calves and checked out her outfit in the mirror.


It was the one day a year her mother didn’t harass her about what she was wearing to a family dinner, because it wasn’t with her family. It was with Tara’s.


Willow had always had Thanksgiving with Tara’s family, mostly to get away from her mother ranting about it representing the destruction of the indigenous peoples.


She didn’t disagree, at all, but did it really matter if she shared some mashed potatoes with Tara’s family? If you took out Donny’s scowling and purposefully making a mountain of cream on his dessert just so Tara couldn’t have any on hers, it was everything Willow wanted for a warm, familial engagement. Good food, thankful reflection and a bubble fight with Tara whilst they did the washing up.


She opened her nightstand drawer and took out something she’d brought especially for Tara and the wrapped candle she always got for for Ms. Maclay for inviting her over. Donny got nothing but her contempt.


She slowly crept downstairs, avoiding the creaky step and holding the candle away from her body so the plastic didn’t crackle. A dash across the floor would see her home free without enduring a lecture on the consequences of enjoying some pie.


Just a few more steps and she’d—


“Willow—”


Willow looked like she’d been poked with a hot iron as she bolted for and out the door.


“Sorry, already late, bye!”


She didn’t wait to see if the door opened again as she skipped over to the Maclay house. It was a nice day, despite winter looming; the kind of day she and Tara would have often gone to hang out in their overgrown park, but they didn’t go there anymore. Their respective bedrooms had become havens to their secret but it boxed them in at the same time.


Willow liked the control.


Tara just liked any space with Willow in it.


She knocked on the door and Donny answered, or rather unlocked it and walked away, leaving Willow to let herself in. This wasn’t uncommon; at least he answered it at all. She walked through the house to the kitchen in the back and was greeted by two similar Maclay smiles.


“Hi honey,” Kimberly greeted, from where she was standing over a bowl, making pastry.


“Hi honey,” Tara echoed in a way that sounded like she was mocking her mother, but Willow knew was sincere.


She had to try not to blush as her erratic teenage mind floated the idea that the potatoes Tara was handling would be put to much better use handling something else.


“I got you a candle, Ms. Maclay,” she squeaked out, thrusting it forward.


“Oh, that’s lovely, Willow,” Kimberly replied, holding her hands up for a moment to show they were covered in butter, “We’ll put it in the centerpiece.”


Willow left the candle on the small circular table that sat in front of the sliding door leading out to the back porch. Many summer days had been spent with them running around in their swimsuits spraying each other with the hose and running inside soaking wet to share sandwiches and cut up strawberries.


She approached Tara.


“I got you something too,” she said, opening her jacket like she was hiding drugs, where she produced a can of whipped cream, “Extra whip for the pumpkin pie.”


“Quick, hide it before the Demon Barker of Bleak Street gets a hold of it,” Tara replied with a smile, that special smile that only Willow could elicit.


Willow giggled but Kimberly just sighed heavily.


“Tara, don’t call your brother names.”


“Because he’s been so helpful today preparing dinner?” Tara asked, her tone only hinting at sarcasm despite the overt nature of what she said. Her mother treated her with enough respect for her to give it back, but this was a sore point.


Kimberly rolled up her ball of dough and placed it in the refrigerator.


“Do you two want to set the table for me?” she asked, purposefully moving on.


Tara washed her hands of potato peelings, dried them and held a hand out for the cream.


“I’ll go hide that.”


Their fingers brushed as it passed hands and Willow ducked her head before she could see Tara hold back a shiver. Tara disappeared for a few minutes, upstairs to her bedroom, and when she returned she joined Willow in the dining room. She closed the door leading from the kitchen behind her, enclosing them in the room.


Willow looked up as the door clicked and her breath caught. She’d literally watched Tara grow into the woman she was but it still stunned her just how beautiful she was. Especially since she started to recognize the look Tara returned; that dark look in her eye and the way her lips would purse a little in her direction.


Dark eyes, pink lips Willow thought, feeling the familiar thud in her chest Tara always evoked Now my heart is racing.


Willow had compared herself to almost every other girl in her life growing up, but never Tara. Tara just held her admiration in so many different ways, and in so many different forms over the years, but always constant. Even when it scared her, she couldn’t turn it off.


She needed Tara to know that, to know all of the things she was too scared to say, sometimes even to herself. Her arms opened and Tara fell into them in a couple of strides, holding on tight.


“I needed that,” she sighed into Willow’s ear.


For a whole second, Willow felt no fear and just the swarm of happy emotions of knowing Tara needed her too.


The other door, the one leading into the living room, opened then and the sounds of football on the TV interrupted them. Willow quickly stepped away and went back to folding napkins while Donny’s eyes darted around the room.


“Where’s the cooler?” he barked, then got aggravated when Tara shrugged, “I left it in here!”


“Don’t yell at her!” Willow piped up automatically and had to try not to shrink when Donny glared at her.


“What’s it to you anyway?”


The kitchen door swung open and Kimberly stood there, red from the heat of the kitchen and tense from overhearing the hollering.


“Please,” she said, lips thin and voiced strained, “One. Day. Is all I ask. One. Day.”


“She hid my cooler!” Donny protested.


Kimberly gestured back toward the kitchen.


“I put it on the back step, I kept tripping over it,” she lied. She’d just hoped it might slow down his slinging of the beers.


Donny brushed past and they heard bottles knocking together moments later. Kimberly ran her hands over her apron and put on her smile again. Fake it ‘til you make it; it had gotten her this far.


“You girls are doing a lovely job. The table looks great.”


Tara glanced at the barely-dressed table that had nothing but placemats and scattered silverware, but just nodded politely.


“The worst thing to happen to this household is all the bars in town being closed,” she commented bitterly when they were alone again.


“Why doesn’t your mom just kick him out?” Willow asked, shaking her head. It made her so mad how badly he treated his mother and sister. She didn’t even know how they could come from the same family, but he’d been the same ball of anger and disdain for as long as she’d known him.


“Who knows?” Tara brushed off and Willow dropped it.


She started to gather the silverware and arrange it properly.


“Buffy texted me,” she said after a minute or two.


“Yeah?” Tara asked, a pleased smile gracing her face as she knew the friendship had been on the rocks.


Willow’s smile wasn’t quite as big.


“Yeah, just to complain about her mom going out of town or something.”


“For Thanksgiving?” Tara asked sadly, and received a nod, “You could have invited her here, my mom wouldn’t have minded.”


Willow looked down and shrugged one shoulder.


“She has her new crowd. I don’t even see her much in school anymore, I think she’s cutting or coming in late or something. Last time she was just asking to copy my homework.”


Tara let her hand stoke across the edge of the table, smoothing out the tablecloth.


“It’s funny, I’ve never really met her,” she said after a moment, an unintentional lilt in her voice as she tried to sound neutral about it all, “She’s been your friend for a couple of years. Only ever waved across the street. A-and Xander. I mean, uh, they don't even know I exist, right? I know all about them, but…”


Willow’s shoulders tensed but she worked not to make it show up in her voice.


“Hey…”


Tara ducked her head.


“I-I mean, t-that's totally cool. It-it's good. It-it's better.”


Willow was starting to feel very uncomfortable.


“I’ve never met your school friends.”


“You know Nate,” Tara countered quietly, “I’m friendly with some other people…you can meet them if you want. I’ll borrow the car, bring you over to Brujas some evening. There’s a café we hang out at, play music sometimes in the evenings. It’s like The Bronze but less…rowdy. They do music puns with the coffee, you’d like it. I’ll buy you a Macklemocha.”


Willow felt like she was in a bubble that was being threatened with a big needle, ready to burst it at any moment. She dropped her hand and looked at Tara.


“Tara, it's not like I don't want my friends to know you. It's just… well, Buffy's like my best friend, my other best friend and she's really special. And there's this whole bunch of us, and we sort of have this group thing that revolves around school, and-and I, I really want you to meet them. But I kind of like having something that's just, you know, mine. And I, I usually don't use so many words to say stuff that little, but do you get that at all?”


Tara inhaled softly.


“I do.”


She glanced down at the half-heart hanging from her wrist. She rubbed her thumb over it for a moment before looking up again, where Willow had gone back to the silverware. Willow had said something similar before, the night they ‘first’ kissed. Did Willow even know it was true?


She watched Willow move back to folding napkins and raised her head a little.


“I am, you know.”


“What?” Willow asked, without looking up.


Tara breathed the word so softly it was almost inaudible.


“Yours.”


Willow paused everything and she thought even her heart might have stopped for a beat. But in that room, with just themselves and the whole world locked behind two closed doors, she let herself react without fear and the smile bloomed on her face.


She spent so long paranoid that people would spot her feelings, she never appreciated how they were returned.


She strode across and kissed Tara square on the mouth for several long seconds.


She parted with a smile but her eyes started to crease.


“Why do you like me?” she asked, perplexed.


“Because you’re wonderful,” Tara answered as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.


Because to her, it was.


That was too much for Willow to believe; too much responsibility; too acknowledging of a question she wished she hadn’t asked.


“I, um, need to use the bathroom.”


Tara just smiled and nodded.


“Sure.”


Patience.


She sometimes felt cursed with falling in love with her best friend but figured she was already ahead of the curve by having some of the feelings returned. So patience was her friend. Only Willow could figure out what she truly wanted and either way, Tara was at the end of the road as a friend or a lover.


All she could do was try to make the journey as smooth as possible and make sure she didn’t influence the direction.


Sometimes love meant holding in your pain while they worked through theirs. You have to trust they’ll be there when it’s your turn.


Tara trusted.


More than anything in this world, she trusted Willow. And so she took in a deep breath, remembered that smile that had lit up Willow’s face and trusted that one day Willow would allow herself to embrace those emotions for more than minutes at a time.


Patience.


And maybe she would write a broody song or two to let out those feelings.


A make-out session didn’t hurt either. Or a quiet night in with herself under the covers.


“The goddamn TV shut off! I was watching the game!”


She put her hand behind her neck and rolled it.


Deep breath.


Patience.


She opened the door to the living room but Willow was already coming down from the stairs.


“I’ll fix it.”


Tara mouthed ‘thank you’ and returned to the affix Willow’s candle to the centerpiece; a circle of popsicle stick turkeys from throughout their early years. When Willow came over for the second year, Kimberly had had her do one to add to it.


It hadn’t been the first time a piece of Willow’s art had been kept, but it was the first time it had been used for decoration and not student analysis.


This sense of belonging had made it so easy to dismiss her feelings for Tara through adolescence. It was only when she became such good friends with Buffy that she started to realize things were not as they seemed.


But then, she’d always known.


Tara was different.


Tara was…her secret.


Willow glanced sideways as Tara retreated, still feeling the sting of the cold water she’d splashed on her face. Maybe they could still run away to that island together…


She got the TV fixed up and joined the other two women in the kitchen to help with whatever needed chopping or stirring or basting. She would do whatever was asked; this was the one day a year she felt part of a real family.


Finally, when everything was served up, Donny carved the turkey in such a way that made him seem pained for having to move off the couch but also that he’d stab you with the knife if you tried to take over for him.


He then sat and grudgingly waited for Kimberly to say a quick blessing and for everyone to say what they were thankful for.


“I’m thankful for my children, my home, my job and security, and to know such an exceptional young person like you, Willow,” Kimberly said, her same mantra every year.


“I’m thankful to be sitting around this table, with all of you,” Willow replied in much the same way.


Donny mumbled something about his bike and all eyes fell to Tara to finish them off and let them eat. Tara paused for a moment before speaking.


“I am thankful for the serenity of faith in those I hold dear,” she said, passing a discreet, crooked smile across the table to Willow, “And for the belief that the path of my destiny is clear.”


Willow’s brow creased thoughtfully and Kimberly laughed as she picked up the bowl of mashed potatoes to hand around.


“Never compete with a songwriter,” she said wryly, “Dig in everyone. So, Willow, have you all of your college applications submitted? Still thinking of Harvey Mudd?”


Willow’s gaze was broken and she glanced in Kimberly’s direction.


“Yes, ma’am,” she answered, taking the potatoes and sliding them toward Donny, “Hoping for Early Decision. I did okay in my SATs last year—”


“Top marks,” Tara interrupted in an undeniably proud tone.


Willow blushed and Kimberly patted her on the back.


“I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.”


“Thanks, Ms. Maclay,” Willow smiled, “And thank you for this dinner, it’s so good. Sure beats microwaved turkey bacon.”


After dinner, they sent Kimberly off to relax and started clearing up. It was a tradition now, and they usually worked it so most of the washing up was done before the meal was even served and they had more time to kid around together.


As Willow finished wiping down the table, Tara poked her head in, holding a plate in both hands with a slice of pie resting on each. She jerked her head toward the stairs, and Willow hung the cloth on the back of the nearest chair and followed.


They went up to Tara’s bedroom, closed the door behind them and sat cross-legged on the floor with their pie in their laps.


“Wait,” Tara instructed and reached under her pillow to pull out the bottle of cream she’d hidden there earlier.


“Sneaky dessert is the best dessert,” Willow giggled.


Tara made a mini-mountain on top of Willow’s pie.


“Oh, you have something…” she said to Willow, generally gesturing toward her face.


Willow’s hands flew to her face in horror; this situation could range from broccoli in the teeth to booger in the nose and until she knew she was at DEFCON 1.


“Where?”


“There,” Tara pointed randomly again, “Right…there.”


She squeezed the can so a torrent of cream sprayed over Willow’s nose.


“Hey!” Willow said in shock, as cream dripped from her nose onto her pie.


She stared, still, for a moment, then pushed their plates away and lunged at Tara.


“I will so get you back!”


She smushed her face against Tara’s so the cream transferred against her nose and mouth. Tara giggled and only pretended to fight it.


Eventually, she gave up the guise completely, taking Willow’s face in her hands and kissing her. There was a mess of sticky cream melting into their skin and seeping into their kiss but it didn’t deter their lips from seeking each other out.


Only when their skin was literally sticking together and impeding movement did Tara get up to pluck a couple of make-up wipes from the pack sitting on her nightstand.


She handed Willow one and sat on the bed to wipe her own face.


“Wanna know a secret?” she asked as she folded the wipe up and tossed it in the trash.


Willow felt like she had enough secrets going on, but nodded anyway. Tara pulled out the second drawer of her nightstand and pulled out a clear plastic folder. She handed it to Willow, who took it, confused. When Tara didn’t explain, Willow opened and took out the paperwork inside. Her eyes grew wide as she saw what she was reading.


“You did the SATs?” she asked, a gasping lilt in her voice emphasizing her surprise, “You got 1360! 610 math, 750 English!!”


“Don’t sound so surprised,” Tara replied, pulling at her sleeve, “I do write a lot.”


Willow looked up quickly.


“No, no! I just…why? I didn’t think you were…I mean, what about the big trip?”


“I’m still going on the big trip,” Tara answered, taking her folder back and hiding it away, “But when I come home, it’s
possible I’ll want to further my education and I’m just covering my bases.”


Willow’s eyes lit up.


“So you’re thinking maybe…just starting college a year later?”


“Maybe,” Tara shrugged, “The whole reason I want to travel is to see life outside of my bubble… learn about myself and how I see my future.”


Willow’s face turned pouty.


“You’re so talented. You could do so much—”


Tara slid back down to the floor, interrupting Willow’s flow.


“When you go to college, are you going to become a guidance counselor?” Tara asked, receiving a confused shake in return, “Then would you mind not counseling me?”


Willow noted the clipped tone and dropped it.


“Why didn’t you tell your mom?”


“Because she had to go back to school later in life and it was hard and she would prefer me not have to go through that…” Tara replied with a sigh, “But I don’t know yet what I want. I don’t want to end up doing something I hate. I might not go to school at all and I don’t want to get her hopes up.”


Willow shook her head. College was just what you did. There was a linear progression through life and college was a very defined part through high school and grad school, or maybe straight through to a career, though any career that was acceptable for Willow to have would require grad school.


Acceptable to who?


She blinked, balled her face wipe and threw it toward the trash. It missed, and she stood up with a blush to pick it up.


“Sometimes I don’t get you at all.”


Tara sat with her knees up, plate on them while she ate her pie.


“Usually you get me very well,” she replied with a wink, “Hey, I heard String Cheese Incident is playing The Bronze next week. Do you want to go?”


Willow sat back down and took her own pie into her lap.


“Um…we went before.”


Tara nodded.


“Yeah, it was fun.”


They’d danced at each other, if not quite with each other, but Tara had still had fun just being out with Willow. Of course, that was before…


“I think I’m busy that night,” Willow said and Tara noted that she hadn’t said which night it was.


“Yeah, of course. No problem.”


Willow gnawed on her lip as she pushed the pie around the plate.


“Did you come up with your thanks earlier on the spot?” she asked after a pensive moment.


“Kind of?” Tara answered, musing over it, “My thoughts work in lyrics sometimes and you…give me plenty to think about.”


“It was about me?” Willow asked, though she already had a fair idea.


Tara brushed the backs of her fingers along Willow’s arm.


“When it comes from my heart, it’s usually about you.”


“You have faith in me?” Willow asked softly, thoughtfully and slightly awed.


“Endless,” Tara answered without hesitation.


Willow paused for a moment. People often had expectations of her…but faith…faith was not something she often felt in spades.


“And the…path of destiny?” she asked slowly, trying to work it out in her head.


“I think we’re meant to be,” Tara replied honestly.


Too much, Tara thought as she saw the fear skitter across Willow’s face, though she thought perhaps there may have been the briefest moment of joy before it.


Patience.


“Wanna listen to some music?” she suggested lightly before Willow could dwell, “Before we go clean these up and get covered is dish soap bubbles?”


“Yeah,” Willow agreed, almost breathless.


Tara jumped up and turned on an 80s playlist, low so that Donny wouldn’t bang on the wall. The low hum of music took the starkness of the silence from the room.


Willow lay back on the floor, staring up at the ceiling. Tara lay beside her, but with a bit of space so she didn’t crowd her.


I'll do anything that you want baby, anything at all. I'm waiting for you to see… you mean the world to me.


After a moment of watching Willow’s unmoving eyes, she brushed their hands together.


“Want me to shut that brain off?”


Willow blinked slowly and exhaled a breath as her head turned toward Tara.


“Yeah.”


She turned her body closer and Tara met her the rest of the way, closing the connection mouth-to-mouth.


They engaged in some mindless making out, but with hearts full of what words just couldn’t convey.


Yet.

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


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Sept 3rd 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:41 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 663
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
DIBS :clap I loved how you incorporated the Buffy dialogue into this story. Donny wasn't as horrid, which was nice. This submission was less emotional for me, it was more peaceful. I am loving the story. I, for one, would come to the board daily to read your writing, maybe go to a 3 a week posting? Great story, thanks for writing.]


Quote:
Sometimes love meant holding in your pain while they worked through theirs. You have to trust they’ll be there when it’s your turn.

Tara trusted.

More than anything in this world, she trusted Willow. And so she took in a deep breath, remembered that smile that had lit up Willow’s face and trusted that one day Willow would allow herself to embrace those emotions for more than minutes at a time.

So true...


Ok, Weird question, but do they have whipped cream in Ireland that doesn't need to be refrigerated? Where I live, whipped cream/ whipped toppings would be soft, drippy goo if it had been in Willow's room and then Tara's room. It would not make a nice pie topping.

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