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

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:22 am 
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13. Big Knowledge Woman
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Another Kitten once told me she re-read the Valentine's Day Vignette every year, and though that seemed like a very good idea to me I never quite got around to doing it myself. The thought again crossed my mind last week but got lost in the mess of everything else that usually goes on on a weekday. And then I got sick on Valentine's Day, which sucked in the worst way.

Three days later a Vignette pops up, followed by another on Thursday. I wish now I'd read that last Vignette on a magical Thursday, but it's probably just as well I waited until very late tonight.

First things first - you've broken fifty. I'll be looking forward to forty-eight more.

I had forgotten how varied these Vignettes really are, how wide-ranging your imagination is, but these last two showcase it crystal clear. It's like two different people wrote them. #50 and #51 are quite similar; I'm wondering if #51 is one you found on the laptop from around the time you wrote #50? Just curious. On one level I'm quite content to enjoy writing like this for what it is ... but the closet scholar in me deeply desires to pick the brain of writers I admire.

The conclusion of Rose & Tara totally came out of nowhere. Bittersweet, if it really is the conclusion, but bittersweet on so many different levels. I'm going to have to go back and read all the others now to see if everything I'm seeing here now was really there all along. You mentioned in one of your posts up above how going into the Dark Forest was the end of their story in the sense that it was the end of their childhood; I'd never thought of anything like before while reading Rose & Tara and it surprised me.

I've never been quite able to pinpoint exactly what it was I liked about the Rose & Tara stories. I say that sometimes when I really do know and it's just too difficult explain or I can't be bothered, but this time I mean it. I've already written about all the wonderful gems I've found in these Vignettes, and they appeal to me in very specific ways ... but the Rose & Tara stories always collectively tugged at the back of mind. It was odd, because I ordinarily wouldn't be interested in stories like this.

This one is quite different, though. It looks like the other ones, has the same kind of charm. But there are things I saw and felt in this one that reached out of the screen and grabbed me like the very best of the Vignettes. I don't know ... maybe it's just me. Maybe it's the mood, the lateness of the night, the music, the drink, the bittersweet and mellow feeling I sometimes fall into when reading some of the stories here in Pens. Maybe what I saw and felt was my own imagination. Maybe I was seeing what I ... wanted to see? If so, then this Rose & Tara Vignette is like a great piece of abstract instrumental music that takes each listener to their own different place.

I have about a million questions regarding this last Vignette, but ... given the rules of the Kittenboard ... I'm not sure I'm at liberty to bring it all up here. Like the Dark Forest itself, this story took me places we're not supposed to go.

Yeah, this was a good update.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:08 am 
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**Nue: Why, thank you. I like getting into Willow's and Tara's heads when they're working themselves into a tizzy ... they think things like "how do you fake malaria" :)

**gorn: Good God, that's a lot of feedback! Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Funny thing about the Valentine's vignette - I had to write it because of a throwaway line in one of the other vignettes, and I >think< I didn't write it on Valentine's Day. Usually, the only way my brain lets me write holiday fics is if I'm writing one for the wrong holiday. I have no idea why ... it's just a thing.

So, first thing for me is - I love questions. Ask away. Get as specific as you'd like.

Second, I'll address the comments you left, and maybe they'll answer some of your questions.

#50 is new. I weirdly multi-task when I write, and I was working on 1) a S4 AU fic, 2) a S4 'missing scene' fic, and 3) a S4 angsty vignette. That's a lot of S4, and my brain needed a break from it, so I wrote something for a later time, and my goal was simply to write something where Tara was mildly irritated, not perfect, and Willow felt guilty. So I decided they had a gift-giving system: after years of togetherness, they've moved away from the over-the-top-romance gifts for set holidays/birthdays and now have a system - because they just do the over-the-top-romance gifts when it occurs to them (which I imagine is more frequently than the set holidays/birthdays). I mention this because one of the things that's kind of fun about writing the vignettes for me are the things that I've thought out but don't actually make it onto the page (which is relevant to vignette #51 in a bit): I established that the Tara-gifts-Willow system is she snoops in catalogs that Willow has marked up. Willow knows it, marks them up on purpose, they don't explicitly talk about their system with each other, but just lost track of time and hadn't gotten around to it. Willow-gifts-Tara system is Tara tells Anya, Anya tells Xander, and Xander tells Willow.

#51! That one I found on my hard-drive. I'm not surprised to have found I already wrote their trip into the Dark Forest, but I didn't remember writing it when I found it :)

The simple fact of the matter is, I always knew how the Rose/Tara arc was going to end. Which is to say, it does, but it doesn't, and that takes a little explaining.

The concept for the Rose/Tara arc was something that came up in 'Answering Darkness'. A very young Tara (natural witch, presumably still painfully shy, with few or no friends) dreams about Willow. Consider it the shy-witch version of an imaginary friend. Only, because of the witchiness, it's not in her head so much as a vision of the future sent to her to give her hope for a better life. But, still, underneath it all, it's a dream, so it communicates through symbolism.

In that sense, the Rose/Tara stories do have layers in ways that the rest of the vignettes do not, and they were absolutely meant to be a vision of the future that awaited her for a young Tara. So, they foreshadow a lot. There’s a lot in there that’s left unsaid, or maybe “unspecified” is a better way of putting it.

The trip into the Dark Forest >is< the end of the Rose/Tara arc. What was magical about writing Rose/Tara for me is that they’re in that part of their childhood where life is full of nothing but shiny, happy things, and your best friend is your whole world, and you have this unshakable faith that everything will turn out all right – if you even realize that something truly bad could happen in the first place.

The trip into the Dark Forest was inevitable, but it does change them. Maybe they’re not “grown up” after, but they’ve reached that milestone on the path to adulthood where you understand that there really >are< monsters, and that they really >can< get you, but no, your parents can’t stop them by turning on a light and checking under your bed, because >those< kinds of monsters aren’t real, but this other kind totally are. For most people, that’s the point in our lives when we realize that there are bad people who do bad things, but, well, this >is< a Buffy story, >and< a dream, so … tentacle-faced monster.

Yes, young Tara had more dreams, and more stuff happened, but really the rest of the Rose/Tara story is the Willow/Tara story, because the Willow/Tara story is the story of two people making a safe place for each other in a dark and scary world.

As a sidenote, this was not the first vignette to feature the Magic Cottage. The vignette with Willow’s dream with the two Taras, one of which is painting frogs on a table, was set in the Magic Cottage in the middle of the Dark Forest.

-Sass


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:45 pm 
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Reading your Vignettes is like coming home after a long day. I'm sure the KB in it's heyday was quite the place to see. It's different now, but still here. And I think that itself is something. No, it isn't perfect but I'd like to think us stragglers who came along a couple years later have made a nice home here. I suppose we must thank both your new computer and your sister for coming back here to share. Because it's really such a treat for me. And others, I'm sure.

So yes, coming home. Here we are, home. With an older and more mature WT, but ones who nonetheless are very much the same as they were when we knew them back in sophomore year.

Oh, gosh, the difficulties of gift-giving. I wonder if people realize the volumes of agony that go behind a simple decision. It ain't easy, choosing something that seems perfect for an occasion. And I'm glad Tara and Willow aren't spared from the torture. Although I don't like the thought of them being tortured, its nice to see the little things still carry heavy weight. If that makes sense. I need to learn to keep the magazines I drool over, but they keep going out of business(re: Domino. I'm still mourning). I'm glad Willow is sticking to the old methods.

I'm also glad they stuck toward the anti-jewlery front. Reminds me of the Fiona Apple line, "I don't understand about diamonds and why men buy them. What's so impressive about a diamond except the mining." Anyway, they clearly don't need jewelry to keep the romance alive.

Quote:
Tara heard the front door open, and she peered in that direction, watching Willow sorting the mail and trying not to drop her book bag as she entered the living room.
I love how such a simple, normal action draws me into this vignette even further. It's such a delicate process, I did that this morning when I tried to look at my mail and hang up my coat at the same time.

And aww, poor Willow, forgetting her birthday. Tara doesn't even need to tucker out her girlfriend, looks like Wills done it on her own.

And oh! Thank you for making Willow cook. I'm tired of this Willow has no creative abilities, she can't even cook! nonsense. It's a partnership, she pulls her share. Even if they do suck it up and order pizza :P

All in all, a delightful peek into their lives. I cherish and relish each one. Thank you so much!

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:04 pm 
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Really, writing these is like coming home after a long day. I'm so glad to hear that's what reading them feels like. And yes, the Kittenboard is something. I'll even go ahead and say what that something is: my favorite corner of the internet. Sure, it's changed over the years: there are new people, and some people like myself aren't around much, but this is still the place where we can all sit together and share a big schmoopy sigh about the most loverly witches that ever there were.

Heh ... gift-giving can be tricky, especially when you know what your loved-one's interests are, but don't necessarily share those interests, so don't have a real idea of what's needed. Like, if I had a girlfriend who just loved fly-fishing (oddly sexy thought, actually ... huh), I'm very sure I could find lots of things to buy her that a) weren't quite right or b) she already had.

I also just dig the idea of Willow and Tara having perfectly normal non-demonic problems. And while they're at the point where the don't sweat the small stuff, they do pay attention to the small stuff, and to each other.

I'm glad you mentioned that line with the mail-sorting: it's the one I "saw" in my head most clearly.

Heh ... and of course Willow can cook. I'd say Tara's a >better< cook, and I'd even say she >likes< cooking more than Willow, but while there are people who are just hopeless in the kitchen and can burn soup, for most people who can't/don't cook (like, say, me ...), a lack of effort and motivation is the real problem. And Willow is just not the kind of girl who lacks in the effort department, and gosh does Tara know how to motivate her :)

-Sass


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:17 pm 
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Ahoy, Sass ?

Here was me getting all guilty about all that lovely feedback you left me and what I could do about that… then I realised just how little I had ever thrown your way. Honestly, I write for so much of my free time that I rarely get chance to read… But the reason I have been writing one shots is the same reason I can pop over here and revisit some Vignettes and see a whole load of new ones… Self-contained, don’t have to keep track.

Oh, and delightfully I get to be really mean by sucking you into the distant past and talking about things – if your memory is like mine – you won’t even remember. Yes, I can be cruel too.

I do remember some of them – as I browse this thread – but having made a decision to proceed I will step back into part one. Its interesting seeing a lot of the old timer names in your thread too…


ONE

It’s a delightful – suddenly strikes me as Pythonesque – idea to have your characters explain what a Vignette is. And actually to have one of them tear the concept apart. Yet it totally works with Willow as the ‘I don’t get it…’ character.

As someone – like you – who has written long AU fic as well as a number of shorter pieces, I sometimes wonder how much our AU perceptions bleed into what we write and how much we depart from canon. However back here in Vignette One, you do take me right back canon versions of the girl. You’ve grabbed hold of their speech, mannerisms and mental processes.

Yes, I think it’s true that Tara adopts an almost ‘mothering’ approach to being with Willow. She is the practical one who often – probably due to worrying less – knows best.


TWO

It’s a little jarring (immediately after ONE) to be back in this early part of their relationship but that is what you told us would happen. And oh my god, I loved the S4 coming together stuff (no pun there!) and often muse on the idea of going back to my first fic to revise it. Then I realise the horror of seeing what a writer I was back then and go… no. There are better versions to read dotted around. This is one of those lovely moments though. Without ‘missing’ scenes like this I wouldn’t still be on this board or writing the girls. S4 is always going to be where it’s at. I’m a sucker for it.

What I also adore about this Vignette is that Willow is – for once – focused on what she wants. What she feels. As in obsessed by it. She doesn’t break off to think of other things. She doesn’t see or feel anything but Tara… In terms of characterisation that makes it harder to see our ‘traditional’ view of Willow here, but actually it’s exactly what it should be. Because when you’re feeling these things you don’t have a mental break to consider what a Vignette should be. Or whether to eat your broccoli. It’s a trap that many writers (including myself) have slipped into and certainly I worry about it… but this is just right.

And though my mind rebelled against it – at first – I think this is just as big a moment for Tara. Her stutter would kick in under the ‘stress.’ I am profoundly hoping – in some later parts – that the sudden - pleasurable - removal of stress will see it calm down.

I have to say though… since I took the concept of laundry room sex from you (beautiful idea!) how this fits into that timeline… Hmm.


THREE

Ah, now see. This is an in-joke for your AU readers ? Love the writing, love the concept, not in a position to judge the rest. (I’m a bad, bad woman.)

And I keep seeing my name in the thread to this point. The only ‘useful’ thing about my little accident is that lack of memory of all this good stuff means I get to appreciate it again ?


FOUR

I’m a sucker for wake-up fic (which is why I write those scenes all the damn time…) but my only slight quibble (as one of a pair of early risers) is that you do get very used to it. Your whole body clock shifts…

Somehow I really appreciate the fact that (as I was saying above) we have this image of ‘mothering/practical’ Tara but then Willow is the one who surprises her with a house. I wonder if – for her – it was a practical thing born out of lots of thinking about financial calculations, money wasted on rent etc. Or if it was a spur of the moment thing for her girl?

The whole ‘using the jacket to get out there’ process was adorable as well. After all I know I do that. I still look for reasons to do stuff, so that if I am challenged about it (which never happens) I can explain it away. And that is after longer together than these two at these point LOL. So a lovely addition there.




FIVE

You can jump into a scene through something as simple as an earring. It’s a technique I am particularly fond of. It saves on pages of ‘here we are’ stuff and lets us right in. We know, from that one line, so much about them. What they are doing right now. How they live even. How they see each other and talk to each other. It’s a very revealing thing…

Now… though I shudder at the mere mention of Dawn (usually) I have a special sympathy for her in T/W fics for the reasons we all know. I think, in many ways, I had to go create a ‘young’ character for my own writing for just that reason. T/W with Dawn… works. Dawn in the rest of the show… didn’t. The dynamics for anyone except Tara looking out for her/feeling this way were just… off. So it’s nice to see her graduation here and the girl’s excitement/sadness at it.



Well… I’ve done 10% of the Vignettes now. Intend to make my way through them over the next little while though my feedback on 50 of those will not be more extensive than the above in most cases. Funny how I don’t remember any but the first anyway. Not your fault, they are memorable. For those with a memory ?

Lovely work… one day I will catch up.

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:45 am 
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Katharyn - You realize we're dangerously close to a never-ending guilt-loop, right? I've always felt guilty that I never got around to finishing Second Chronicle ... and time slipping by means I'll likely need to start from the beginning. And I also have issues with the "read fic" vs. "write fic" question.

But I will move on to replies to your replies ... before I start contemplating all the fic I've started and haven't finished, because that gets a little depressing for me :P

ONE

Now I'm imagining Tara trying to return a dead parrot to Willow. Now >that< was mean ...

Interesting question about AU vs. canon for AU authors that have written loooooong fics. I can say I specifically wanted to jump around in canon timelines and write ... well ... whatever popped into my head. I think the fact that I wasn't able to catch most of S4/5 as it aired helped, actually: I had to watch a lot of canon stuff out of order, and it gave me a weird but helpful viewpoint and who they are at what time.

And, wow - I'm going to spare everyone my full response to Tara and 'mothering'. Nothing bad, just overly long. I'll just try to sum up and say that I think Tara was likely raised in a household where the 'womenfolk' took care of the 'menfolk' (urg), and despite the fact she's gotten out of that life and that house, "caretaker" is a role that she naturally falls into with people she loves.

TWO

They're just wonderful S4, aren't they? As frustrating as it was at the time to just get these tiny glimpses of the W/T relationship on the actual show, I find myself grateful as a fic writer that it was so vague. More room for fic-writers to play.

Funny you should mention Willow's focus. I'm actually writing a S4 "first time" fic (not the laundry room one ... the laundry room is my internal "official" timeline, but I'll happily write others), and Willow's Brain is almost a third character in the scene (it's heavily W PoV). No extreme tangents - everything's still Tara-related - but I had just written a paragraph where Willow makes a conscious decision to stop thinking so damn much, because it's totally getting in the way. I'm absolutely keeping this comment in mind when I do my revision.

I'm glad the stutter did, eventually, work for you here. I do spend a lot of time considering if/how much Tara will stutter in a given situation. I actually feel kind of bad about it when I'm writing a scene that Tara is stuttering all over, because that means she's uncomfortable, nervous or scared ... makes me want to hug her.

THREE

Yes, this is absolutely where my AU shows up. Only the Rose/Tara bits (there are several), and one other, were specifically written with my giganto-AU fic in mind. But now I'm wondering if there's other bleedover as well. Something to ponder ... or, y'know, obsess over.

FOUR

Ahh ... mornings. You know, it's a fair quibble. In retrospect, I think it was a shortcut to keep my vision of an older, more responsible Willow (with a day-job and everything) in line with my storytelling need of Willow as "not a morning person". Which was unnecessary, because the fact that it's not just early, but 'crazy early' is established (and yes, I'm totally cheating and rereading this, in case you were wondering).

I do think of Willow as a planner. Tara may be more practical with the day-to-day things, but Willow doesn't strike me as an impractical person. In a way, it does get back to your comment about worrying. I think Tara plans for today and dreams of the future, and Willow's brain is so busy planning for the future she sometimes misses the details of today. I think they're complimentary little-picture, big-picture thinkers. And this is something I could go on about for way too long again :P

FIVE

Really, sometimes I start with a line that jumps right into the scene and >then< figure out what they're doing. Sometimes I now what they're doing and wrack my brain for a line to jump right into the scene. The fun of vignettes is starting as far into the scene as possible, while still setting the scene. If this had been a longer fic, I probably would have started with Tara looking for her earring, and then getting frustrated, and then asking - but you're right. Works way better this way.

I so have the same mixed-feeling about Dawn. Screechy-Dawn is not my favorite. Dawnie-Has-Two-Mommies Dawn is totally my favorite. Well, >after< Dawnie's two mommies, of course.

Thank you for the lovely and insightful comments. I see you've commented to comments on your thread, which I will now go read ... but I'm a little afraid of commenting on comments to comments ... we're going to end up in a feedback-loop to go with our guilt-loop.

Then again, could be fun.

Then again, again ... it's way past my bedtime :)

-Sass


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:59 pm 
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Hey Sass. Another day. Another vignette. Or two. I won’t reply to your replies to my replies if I don’t you reply to my replies to your replies… But I will definitely reply to your replies. Just cut the cord at the second hurdle ;)

SIX

See, having praised you for leaping right into scenes, here you go the other way. You do a ‘traditional’ set up. But just when I think I know what’s going on. You change the world.

Must admit, I had a kind of Indiana Jones moment when you said “Willow had taken her heart and showed it to her.” Mola Ram indeed! Maybe that woud’ve scared the guy off LOL. On the other hand as soon as someone mentioned Dean, I see Wormer…

Love the whole progression of sexy thoughts… And not just thoughts! So bad! Naughty Tara. Lovely, naughty Tara… Umm… Yes.

By the way, I like your use of >pointy things<. I may steal that ?


SEVEN

Just when you had me wondering about the language Willow was coming out with ‘inefficient’, ‘irrelevant’ etc then you throw in the zinger about the Janeway/Seven fanfiction. Now I’ve never read that stuff, or really seen the show it was from, but I know enough to appreciate just how interesting Willow’s reading of it would be LOL Geeking. In a lesbian way.

But what she does to hide it from Tara? Translation program? Must try that one day… Though I can’t use school work as an excuse. However it’s somewhat fascinating to me that a fanfic writer has the ‘sensible’ character in her fic condemn fanfic. Devious even…

But practically, you have to assume that Willow did do her ‘how to’ research. There is no way that she’d have ended up in Tara’s bed without it (unless it’s so spontaneous as to be on a laundry floor!) What is a little scary is that, knowing some of the stuff that ends up in fan fic, their first few times might’ve been… spicier than anyone would have wanted LOL. In fact, I think there is a fic right there!

My only pickiness is – perhaps – Tara is stuttering a little too much at this point in their relationship. Especially when she has the confidence to stop Willow reading her fics without - apparently - doubting herself.


Now… I was all set to read on. But I need to save an R rated part for an R rated moment. LOL.

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:34 am 
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That is a fine and sensible solution to the “feedback-loop” issue. We should implement it immediately … and now replies to replies, which, as I read it, are totally authorized by the plan. :)

SIX

Well, the “jump right in” or “set it up” depends on what I’m doing. Usually, I set it up if I know what the scene is about, and I jump right in when I don’t. Usually. Sometimes I know what the scene is about, but it just lends itself to a “jump right in”. Anyway.

Wormer. Geeeeze … now I’ve got Tara putting Willow on double-secret probation in my head, and Willow getting out of double-secret probation by throwing a toga party … with only Tara invited, of course. Which is a fun thing to have in my head … except for the kid that runs in yelling, “No time for love, Dr. Jones!” and runs out again.

I cannot find a place where I used the phrase “pointy things”, so I don’t know if that’s your descriptor or mine … but if it’s my descriptor, I find it highly likely I was referring to weapons. Or maybe nipples. But steal away.

SEVEN

Heh … this one was a little present to myself. Funny story about Voyager/Voyager fic … I’ve read zogs and zogs of Voyager fic, but I had only seen a few episodes, and those few were pre-Seven anyway. So one day I’m visiting my sister, who really likes Voyager, the fact that I haven’t watched the show comes up, so we end up watching some. And I proceed to identify characters, episodes, and plot-lines because I recognized them from fanfic references. It went kind of like this:

Sister: That’s –
Sass: Naomi Wildman. She’s the only kid on Voyager.
Sister: She’s afraid of Seven.
Sass: They end up being friends.
Sister: *looking at Sass strangely*
Sass: Omigod! Is this the one where Seven tries to mate with B’Elanna?

Anyway, I re-read this one (looking for “pointy things”), and I think you are spot on about the stutter. If I wrote this now, I’d likely keep the stammer (use of “uhh” and “umm”) but drop the stutter.

I have to cut this short and go to work (stupid real life), but thank you, as always, Katharyn.

-Sass
PS – Vignette #8 is not at all graphic, as I recall. Definitely ‘R’ rated as opposed to ‘NC-17’


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:55 am 
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EIGHT

I absolutely adore the fact that Tara knows more about Willow than the other way around (and more than WIllow does about herself perhaps) but for all that she is still surprised.

About the only thing that would make it more perfect - wise after the fact - would be if the umm 'force of their love' was like a bubble that kept the monster out... Still that would probably require more of an NC17 version...

The need for Willow to stop and think, and the failure to actually do so, is telling and perfect for the moment.

Perhaps, somewhere, you might find time for the extended - but still R - version... ;)

Thanks

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:20 am 
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Why, thank you, Katharyn. That would, indeed, need a more NC-17 version, and I'd probably include the "chased by monsters" part as an intro, if I were to write such a thing. As a standalone, writing the laundry love is curiously compelling. As you say, it doesn't necessarily fit with the S4 arc as shown on TV, but ... who could resist such a fun piece of AU?

For the R-rated version, I think the one thing I wish I'd done a little differently was write this entirely from Willow's PoV. Not because Tara's PoV isn't important, but because I could then write the whole thing again from Tara's PoV.

-Sass


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:20 pm 
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NINE

It's lovely writing, but I 'struggle' (in a good way) with some of this because a) it's your AU, b) it's a dreamlike sequence and c) it's not how I tend to write children. Which is not to say that how I write children is 'right' by any means. It's just a matter of reading it and going 'Ohhh - you can do it like that!'



TEN

Ahhh... If i didn't know better I could have sworn I was reading one of my own ideas here. You know, back in the days when I wrote some of the other characters LOL. This is precisely the type of thing I love to read and write. Tara & Willow... bantering, being funny and... you know, strong Tara is adorable.

Quote:
Willow was just so cute when she really wanted something, and it was adorable - but sometimes she felt like she was the grown-up and Willow was a kid who wanted things that were bad for her, if not out and out life-threatening.


I think the above is something we all find it so easy to slip into and it's certainly a part of why I love Tara.

And addressing our previous back and forth, I'm so pleased that Tara is not stuttering here. It's nice continuity at this point in their relationship. Esp around other people.

But you hid the point of the walk from us - without making it feel like you were hiding something which is a neat trick.

The marriage thing... I go back and forth on this. I write future versions of the girls most of the time. And I've never quite reconciled myself with marriage for them. I think, somehow, (less so when you wrote this) to include it is almost a political statement (in my head) which is why I don't go there. In the real world I am all in favour of taking advantage of the equal legal protections etc, however I've never seen the necessity of marriage itself (for me and mine) which relates to the story in the sense that I always saw T/W as connected enough, indestructible enough not to need that kind of affirmation. On the other hand that is my prejudice. For other people the commitment itself has so much meaning that it is absolutely a part of the progression of the relationship.

Why am I babbling on this? Oh, yeah... Marriage for the girls. I've never been there as a writer, but it's sweetly done here and makes it feel like something they should definitely want.

See now I am wondering about a T/W fic where one of them holds my (personal) PoV on marriage and one is all for it... but then how can I make that funny? LOL

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:27 pm 
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Wow.... I just read the whole series (so far) and I'd just like to say.... Wow. You captured all of the characters perfectly and every story is a pleasure to read. It's also really fun seeing Willow and Tara in all of these different situations. I think that the valentines day one is my favorite so far. Well anyway keep up the good work! Can't wait till the next update. =P


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 Post subject: Vignette #53
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:37 am 
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**Katharyn: Hmmm … I had to re-read Nine. It is definitely colored by the fact that it’s AU, a dream, and in that it really addresses their adult issues in a child-like form. It doesn’t say in Nine just how old they’re supposed to be, and I think they’re supposed to be 8 or 9, and I may be writing them a bit younger than that. Still, I claim “dream sequence” and stand by it :).

As for Ten, you bring up an interesting point about gay marriage. I certainly wasn’t thinking of it in political terms at the time: partly because I don’t want to get into politics in the Vignette Series. Not really the place for it, y’know? But I see Willow and Tara as being a little old-fashioned relationship-wise, despite the fact that they’re both women makes their relationship ‘progressive’ (slightly less objectionable term to me than, say, ‘alternative’). Anyway, I think of them as fairly old-fashioned, the fact that they’re both women is a non-issue for them, so … total commitment = marriage. That and, at the time, I was planning on doing a marriage proposal every 10th vignette (which fell by the wayside at #30 or #40, but #20 is definitely a proposal) simply because marriage proposals tend to be schmoopily romantic, which is a good fit for this series.

I will also admit this is the result of my own view on the matter: I was raised in a pretty old-fashioned household where growing up and getting married was just expected, and that expectation didn’t really change just because I’m gay. So, yeah, I haven’t met the right girl, but there’d be a wedding – legal or not – if for no other reason than my guy friends who made me groomsmen in their wedding parties (yes, several occasions) and put me in a tux all spontaneously volunteered to wear bridesmaid dresses should I have a wedding.

And, well, how can I pass that up? I’m thinking taffeta …

As a side note, I’ll agree with you that it’s superfluous for our girls. Over the summer between seasons 5 and 6, they were shacked up and raising Dawn: just how more ‘married’ can two people get, anyway?

For the W/T marriage-tension fic, that has definite comic potential. Willow is hilarious when her ranting on high-minded political issues bumps up against reality, like the Thanksgiving episode where she’s talking about the horribleness of the treatment of Native Americans (which is totally right) and then has to face an angry Native American spirit that’s been murdering people, or the Halloween episode where she’s pissed off about the stereotypical ‘witch’ costumes, only to go all warm and fuzzy over a cute little girl dressed up as a ‘witch’. I could totally see Willow objecting strenuously to a gay wedding for political reasons, and then falling in love with a dress. Or, even better, falling in love with a dress she desperately wants to see on Tara.

*The ear pixie: Welcome to the thread, and thank you so much. I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed the vignettes. I actually just reread the Valentine’s Day one (I was looking for another one, and got sidetracked) and shamelessly cracked myself up. Silly, but fun. Hope you enjoy the next one :)

Series: Vignettes
Number: 53
Title: Not a Date
Author: Sassette
Feedback: Can be sent to pink_overalls@yahoo.com , or posted here.
Spoiler Warning: No specific spoilers, unless you didn’t know W/T are an item. Set S4.
Summary: Willow and Tara have mochas
Disclaimer: I didn't create these characters. I’m just borrowing them, because it’s lots and lots of fun.
Rating: PG-13

Not a Date
Part 53 of the Vignettes Series
By Sassette

This is Not a Date, Tara reminded herself for the umpteenth time.

So what if they’d had dinner, then seen a movie, and then headed to the Espresso Pump for some yummy-yummy mochas?

It still was Not a Date, just like all of the other Not Dates she and Willow had been on.

Dammit.

Which meant she was pathetic, and dumb, and setting herself up for having her still-beating heart ripped out of her chest, tossed on the floor and danced on.

Tara stole another glance at Willow, who was standing in line to get their mochas while Tara sat at the table, staking their claim on the busy Friday night.

Propping her chin up on her hand, Tara sighed. Willow was just so pretty. With her red hair and twinkling eyes and trim figure – not ridiculous model-thin like a California Girl stereotype, but … Willow-y.

Well, technically, “willowy” meant tall, which Willow wasn’t, but … whatever.

Her point was … Willow was captivating. When she was smiling. Talking. Laughing. Thinking. Reading. Walking. Standing. Sitting. Studying.

If there was an “-ing” tacked on the end, and Willow was the one ing-ing, Tara had a hard time looking at anything else.

And the thought of Willow and some special “ings” just made her all flustered. Touch-ing. Lick-ing. Rubb-ing.

Feeling uncomfortably warm, Tara tore her gaze from the back of Willow’s head and looked down at the table, letting out a slow breath. Yeah, that was a problem. She wasn’t just goofy in love with her straight friend, she had some serious lust-ing going on, too, and that was … awesome and terrifying and, well, something that left her pretty hot and bothered after seeing Willow.

Which she did as often as possible, despite the uncomfortable side-effects.

But seeing Willow so often – Hell, they were practically living in each other’s back pockets at this point – didn’t mean they were dateing, so Tara resolved for the umpteenth time to just get over it already.

An image jumped into Tara’s mind, of her heart and her brain arguing, with her heart just wanting something like a little kid wanted just one more cookie, and her brain scolding like an exasperated mother. Why her brain had hands in this image and was waving a finger at her heart, she had no idea, but it was amusing, and Tara stifled a giggle.

“Excuse me,” she heard a voice say, and she looked up to see one of the college guys standing next to her. “Is this seat taken?” he asked.

“Umm … no,” Tara said automatically, as a rejection of his presence, before the actual question sunk in. “I, uhh … y-yes, I mean. It’s, umm … it’s taken,” she clarified, with an apologetic little shrug.

“Oh,” the guy said, looking disappointed. “You’re here with someone, then?” he asked, looking around as if trying to spot Tara’s companion.

“I –“ Tara started to say, when Willow appeared.

“She’s with me,” Willow said, and her usually twinkling eyes were narrowed, and her usually smiling lips were pressed together into a thin disapproving line as she looked at this guy like she wanted to slay him.

“Oh,” the guys said again, looking from Willow to Tara and back again, rocking back slightly on his heels. “Like … with you?” he asked.

Yeah, Tara’s mind echoed. Because she had no way to describe Willow in this instant except ‘jealous girlfriend’. No, no … ‘righteously indignant, pissed off girlfriend’.

The image in her mind’s eye altered, as her heart stuck out its tongue at her brain, and her brain threw up its hands and stormed away.

“Yeah,” Willow said tersely, sitting down in the seat the guy had tried to talk his way into and handing Tara her mocha, Willow’s narrow-eyed gaze staying firmly planted on the guy.

“Oh, sorry,” he muttered, blushing and leaving.

Willow watched him go, her eyes shooting daggers at his back until he was seated far, far away, before turning back to Tara.

“Sorry,” Willow said, her expression getting back to the one Tara was used to: twinkling eyes and smiling lips. “I … I didn’t mean to, well, I’m sure you could’ve handled that,” Willow apologized. “I just … well, he was hitting on you, and he’s not your type, being a ‘he’ and all, and so I …”

Staked your claim?

Metaphorically hit me over the head and dragged me back to your cave?

Totally turned me on?

Tara bit her lip to stop any of the myriad of inappropriate responses from escaping.

“It’s fine,” she said, with a little shrug. “I, umm … appreciate the rescue,” she said.

That was … neutral enough, Tara decided. Complimentary, so that Willow knew she had the right to chase away anybody hitting on her – because she so totally did – but, well, not mentioning the way that Tara’s heart had fluttered in her chest when Willow did it.

“Hmph,” Willow said, crossing her arms over her chest and slumping in her chair a little, scowling as she turned a baleful eye back on the guy who was now seated on the other side of the Espresso Pump. “Not that I can really blame him for trying,” Willow said, though by the indignant tone of her voice, she did blame him for trying. “You’re gorgeous, so –“

“You think I’m gorgeous?” Tara blurted out, interrupting Willow before she could stop herself.

Willow just looked like Tara like she was crazy. “Yeah,” Willow said, sounding for all the world like she’d just said ‘Duh!’. “I have eyes,” Willow said, pointing to her own eyeballs to illustrate her point. “And you’re … very attractive. And sweet, and smart, and fun, and –“

Tara blushed at the onslaught of praise, her eyebrows starting to climb up her head as Willow continued.

“… funny and adorable and hot and –“

Tara’s held her breath, the little heart in her mind’s eye starting to dance as Willow paused the outpouring of words to glare at the guy again.

“… and what kind of a jerk hits on a girl who’s already on a date?” Willow fumed.

“What?” Tara asked, her eyebrows trying to climb even higher on her forehead and failing miserably, because they were already as high as they could go.

The heart in her mind’s eye stopped, and grew giant ears to listen intently.

“What kind of a jerk hits on a girl who’s already on a date?” Willow repeated, sounding so calm and reasonable and matter-of-fact that Tara thought she couldn’t have possibly heard that right, except that she so totally did.

Tara pinched herself surreptitiously under the table, earning a sore spot on her leg and the knowledge that this was not, in fact, a dream.

“Maybe he didn’t know I was on a date?” Tara asked hesitantly. “Maybe I didn’t know I was on a date,” she tacked on in an undertone.

Which Willow heard, if the confused look on her face was any indication.

“Dinner, movie, after-movie beverage,” Willow listed, ticking off the points on her fingers. “Picked you up at your dorm, argued over who was paying for what. Walking you home after mochas,” Willow said, raising her mocha to illustrate. “Ergo, date. Right?” she added, the word hesitant and hopeful.

“You … date girls?” Tara couldn’t help but ask.

“Well, no,” Willow said, shaking her head. “Or, yes … yes,” she said, nodding. “But just the one. If that’s okay?” she said, tentatively sliding one hand across the table towards Tara.

“Okay,” Tara agreed, her own hand heading towards Willow’s.

And as their fingers met, and intertwined, the heart in her mind’s eye started grooving to a happy beat, fireworks going off in the background.

“So … what did you think of the movie?” Willow asked, taking a sip of her mocha.

“I liked it,” Tara said, grinning widely.


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:37 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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Oh, fuck me, Sass, this was wonderful. I like how everything was perfectly set up in that S4 world of tentative unsure-ity but was unmasked so innocently toward the end. How many times have we[the general 'we' plural, although I may be speaking of a certain personal 'we' as well] gone on those date-but-not-a-dates and agonized over every detail hoping that it'd change just a little bit. That the mochas were after-movie-mini-dates because you just can't bear to say goodbye to each other just yet. And Tara has every right to think the way she did, with insecurities and a completely organic progression of mutual attraction(albeit with a lack of some clearly necessary communication), it's so easy to think of a date-but-not-a-date.

While Willow was listing off some of Tara's most delicious qualities, I couldn't help but think that she'd stop in the middle with the 'light bulb' moment occurring. But sweet, darling Willow had already analyzed the crap out of herself. And she said it quite marvelously, didn't she?
Quote:
“You … date girls?” Tara couldn’t help but ask.

“Well, no,” Willow said, shaking her head. “Or, yes … yes,” she said, nodding. “But just the one. If that’s okay?” she said, tentatively sliding one hand across the table towards Tara.
Gosh, this whole scene is the desperate point I wish we'd seen on TV, in flesh and blood. (Or pixels and translated visual data?) But I think the moment is all the sweeter being privy to Tara's thoughts.

Perfect progression of events. I absolutely loved that Tara started muttering to herself that yes, this was in fact a date and Willow, to prove it listed off the exact same points Tara had convinced herself of earlier but to an entirely different end. Ugh, if only mine had ended this way. But a lasting Willow and Tara satisfaction? That only comes here, and you made me feel all snuggly inside. Sometimes seeing everything all new for them makes the ol' heart go pitter-patter. Thank you.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:16 pm 
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Eleven - I didn't mean to wait this long, but work has been hellish.

I am a total sucker for waking up stories. I like bedrooms for that, but this was even better. Why didn't I think of waking up somewhere else? And I love the "repeatable and observable phenomenon" assessment of Willow's heart skipping a beat. I just adore the idea that she would assess her feelings, her sexuality and everything else like she would a science project. So consistent, but so quirky and wonderful.

It's also cute that Tara is worried about Willow knowing about the Hellmouth etc and they both end up with the same fears without knowing it. Somehow I have to wonder if it suits someone's purposes to need to the other to stay :)

Perhaps a little heavy with the stutter, but we've mentioned that before. :)

I have to be curious how the whole 'first-terrifying-wonderful-date-sex-in-the-laundry-room' fits with this though...

I am rambling now, writing almost as much about this as you did in the vignette, but I do love the conversation. Bert and Ernie? The rubber ducky? Damn... this is wonderful.

Twelve

Typically - still bitter and twisted here - I can ignore all things about the Buffy character (or kill her, which works too) but I have to say, you have that voice down just perfectly too.

Got to laugh at the bet - and the outcome - the 'strange things we can dress the girls in in fanfic' was a unfortunate part of my beta experience (though usually leather there) but this was cute.

Somehow I struggle with Tara in a LBD, but then I stop struggling and embrace wholeheartedly :)

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Vignette #53
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:51 am 
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Sassette wrote:
Metaphorically hit me over the head and dragged me back to your cave?


ha, this made me remember a old Woody Woodpecker cartoon maybe is the flu talking XD

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Last edited by Nue on Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:51 am 
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I have totally been in Tara's shoes. Not knowing if you're on a date is the weirdest feeling. Hahaha, I have totally felt everything Tara was feeling and could connect in a way that makes me giggle.

I had gone on several non-dates with a girl and totally thought that we were firmly in friends-only land. I was walking to a bus stop totally berating myself for being stupid and setting myself up for disappointment after I had met with her when she grabbed my shoulder and turned me around for a kiss.

I kinda figured that they were dates after that... Thanks for writing something that I totally clicked with. Thanks for making me smile.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:16 pm 
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What can I say, but DAMN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So good. I'm loving it!! Keep up the brillant work! Want more updates soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:13 am 
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Like others, I noticed this thread get bumped up and having read your "___ Darkness" stories (which I *loved*) I started at at #1 and over the last couple of weeks have read up to the newest one. I don't have any specific comments, just that these vignettes have been wonderful to read and I've already marked a couple to go back and read again. Thank you for keeping at your stories after all these years.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:07 pm 
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OK so I am late but I want to say...Sass you're back! I missed you my friend. How's everything? Loved the last vignette with Willow staking her claim. Now I have to go back and see how many new ones I have missed.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:48 pm 
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**Zooeys_Bridge: Why, thank you. I have to admit, I do love writing S4. It’s a lot of fun to play with, partly because we didn’t see anything like this on the show. As much as it would have been nice, the lack of detail in the growing W/T relationship leaves a wide-open field for W/T fic. Other than the fact they get together, there’s no explicit canon there to work around. As a fan of the show, yeah, I do wish we’d seen something like this on TV. As a fic-writer, I’m actually glad we didn’t.

I did consider the ‘light-bulb moment’ there, but … I was playing with the idea that Willow had made some choices and decisions in regards to her relationship with Tara, and that involved acknowledging that she was interested. Honestly (and I admit this is a little sick and wrong), I wanted to write something that made NMR more painful. The whole “it’s complicated because of Tara” thing could really mean that W/T were moving towards establishing a romantic relationship without actually getting there, or that they were dating, or that they were totally doing it … it’s the ambiguity that makes S4 fic fun as a writer, and I wanted to write something that indicated that “it’s complicated because of Tara” meant they were dating.

As for the “is this a date?” thing … well … lots of us have been there (I sort of have … I don’t think mine counts), and it just makes sense that W/T were there. Hell, I know lots of straight people who have been there. Oddly, I also have two straight guy friends who accidentally went on a date with each other once … long story, but to sum up … they’re roommates who go out to dinner frequently and, on a whim, decided to try this new restaurant that had opened right next to the place they were planning on grabbing some food. In all innocence, they ordered some wine (they like wine), and when the waitress had one of the guys taste it, and then poured for the other guy first … and called him ‘sweetie’ … and rubbed his shoulder … and gave him the “Awww … aren’t you two just the cutest gay couple?” look … they realized that the waitress had no doubt in her mind that they were on a date.

**Katharyn: Eleven … which I had to re-read … I like wake-up stories, too, and while I also usually think ‘bedroom’, the whole point of this was the after-dark aspect, and that’s not as urgent if they’re already inside :)

Upon re-read, yeah … it’s way heavy with the stutter. I’m glad you could enjoy the dialogue regardless :) The laundry-room-sex does not fit in with this particular vignette … one of the things that’s fun about writing the vignettes is that I’m ignoring all continuity, even within the vignettes themselves. Which brings me to Twelve …

I actually wrote twelve twice. The other one is in the twenties somewhere, and is what would have happened if Xander had not seen the shiny, shiny coin. And, well, >that< outfit involves leather.

Honestly, I really like writing Buffy. To be more specific, I like writing Buffy as a secondary character on the “Willow and Tara: Two Witches in Love” show. She’s a lot of fun as a secondary character, because then you get to write ‘Happy Buffy’, and ignore ‘Oh, the Painful Slayerness Buffy’, which is when she doesn’t really speak to me.

I’m glad you could find the ‘embrace wholeheartedly’ with Tara in the LBD. You will need that when you get to the wet t-shirt contest and the disco dancing. And that Valentine’s Day one. And probably a few others that aren’t springing to mind. The Vignette Series is frequently a silly place.

**Nue: I hope you’re feeling better. The flu is generally not fun, though if it contributed to the ‘Woody Woodpecker’ visual, then maybe it’s a little fun … thanks for the comment :)

**quirked_out: You’re very welcome. I have to admit that, while I’m well aware that it happens, I have not personally been on a date I did not know was a date. Unless you count times I went and did stuff with a friend in high school when I did not know it was a date, and she did not know it was a date, and, in retrospect, *cough* years later, we both kind of look back and go … huh. We were dating. The handholding and cuddling probably should have been a clue. I was remarkably oblivious in high school. She’s a little bent, but mostly straight – which, as I’ve told her, is fine, because >somebody’s< gotta’ do it, and I’m just glad it’s not me.

Your story wins for being sweet … but I think mine wins for being funny ;) Seriously, though, thank you … I’m really glad to hear that the “I hope this is a date … I hope this is a date …” vibe worked, from someone who has been there. And admits it :)

**tacoda13: Thank you :) I’m really glad you liked it. I’m actually working on the next vignette now, and should have it up tomorrow morning. Probably. Maybe tonight. I don’t know.

**Redsbird: Hi … welcome to the thread, and thanks for reading :) I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the Vignettes (and the “Darkness” stories … though my apologies that Lingering Darkness still isn’t done …). Don’t worry about specific replies … that’s completely optional. Though, I >am< kind of curious about which vignettes you’ve marked for a re-read. And you’re very welcome … thanks again for reading. It’s why I’ve keep coming back, after all. Maybe I >could< do it without readers like yourself, but I’m reasonably sure I wouldn’t bother :)

**Puff: Hey, Puff! Good to see you as well. Y’know, in an internet message-board kind of way :) Everything’s good ... I'm on a fic-kick (obviously), which is always fun. How are you?

I’m glad you liked this most recent vignette, and hope you enjoy finding some you may have missed.

-Sass


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 Post subject: Vignette #54
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:16 am 
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Series: Vignettes
Number: 54
Title: Hybrids
Author: Sassette
Feedback: Can be sent to pink_overalls@yahoo.com , or posted here.
Spoiler Warning: No specific spoilers, unless you didn’t know W/T are an item. Set in the future.
Summary: Willow loves Tara a whole lot. She’s not too sure about the Miracle Whip, but she can live with it.
Disclaimer: I didn't create these characters. I’m just borrowing them, because it’s lots and lots of fun.
Rating: PG-13

Hybrids
Part 54 of the Vignettes Series
By Sassette

“Son of a bitch!” Willow yelled, slipping backwards as she tried to lift the heavy awkward rosebush out of the back of her Ford Escape Hybrid. It was new enough that every time she drove it she chuckled at the thought of an environmentally-conscious SUV, but she certainly wasn’t laughing as she fell backwards and landed heavily on her butt.

With a thorny rosebush in the face.

Taking stock of the damage, to both herself and the plant, she decided it certainly could’ve been worse. The rosebush looked okay, and she had a few scratches on her arms, and one on her face, but had escaped relatively unharmed all things considered.

“Because it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye,” Willow muttered, edging out from under the fiendish foliage and standing gingerly. “And I’d never be able to explain that one to Tara,” she continued, taking hold of the pot the rosebush came in and lifting it carefully, grunting with the effort. “’Hey, Baby … I wanted to surprise you with some roses … and I lost an eye! Surprise!’”

Awkwardly, she shuffled towards the house, potted plant in hand, and set it down near her designated planting site.

“One down,” Willow said with a sigh, turning back to the car.

Carefully, to avoid the awkward ‘falling on her ass’ part, she made three more trips, until she had four potted hybrid tea rose plants sitting in the yard. She gave them a bit of water, and then stood back to check out her handiwork so far.

Hands on hips, she squinted, trying to imagine the roses planted along the front of the house – with a nice gap from the wall, so there was plenty of ‘air movement’ because her research indicated that was important.

She couldn’t really see it. But that was okay. She’d see it once she was done.

Taking a moment to stretch her arms and her back, Willow decided to take a break.

The digging part was next, and she didn’t expect the digging part to be fun, she mused, heading back to the car – again – to pick up her water bottle and her notes.

She headed back to the house, sitting on the front steps, drinking her water and looking through her research, looking up at the roses occasionally with a pleased smile on her face.

It had been – gosh, four months ago that the idea of planting roses in the front yard had popped into her head. She had picked up some flowers for Tara – just because – and it had occurred to her that if she just planted some, they’d last longer.

The first thing she’d realized was that she’d had this brilliant idea at exactly the wrong time of the year. That had been December, and early spring was the best time to plant roses.

The second thing she’d realized was that planting roses was a very complicated process when done correctly.

Which meant she’d actually needed the four months of planning and preparation time. Oh, sure, she could have chosen the planting site, checked the pH of the soil, adjusted it – which had actually been kind of fun - checked the drainage, confirmed that the front of the house got at least six hours of sunlight, and selected the type of rose to plant in less than four months. But it was supposed to be a surprise, and doing all of that when Tara hadn’t been around had slowed the process considerably.

It was selecting the type of rose to plant that had really slowed things down. Who knew there were so many different kinds?

Well, Tara probably had. She liked flowers, and knew a whole heck of a lot about them. Willow was fairly ambivalent about them: they were pretty, and they smelled good, but she didn’t really give them a lot of thought, and they weren’t really her thing. Honestly, her favorite thing about flowers was that they made Tara happy.

Unfortunately, asking Tara what kind of roses she’d want planted if – hypothetically – they were going to plant some roses was really kind of a giveaway. Tara was in no way dumb, and doing something as obvious as asking would ruin the surprise.

So she’d done her research, and picked the hybrid tea rose. Or, really, the ‘English’ rose, which wasn’t technically its own category, but was slightly different from the hybrid tea rose. It was a hybrid of a hybrid, really: a hybrid of the hybrid tea rose, which was considered a ‘Modern Garden Rose’, and the ‘Old Garden Roses’.

When she’d started this whole enterprise, she’d been thinking she’d plant “red ones.”

And these were certainly red. So they met the criteria she’d been looking for. And the ‘English’ rose didn’t have one of the main problems of the hybrid tea rose: the hybrid tea rose tended to be scentless, and, really, what was the point of planting a scentless rose?

Willow snorted. As it turned out, a rose by another name – Hybrid Tea Rose – really didn’t smell as sweet.

The ‘English’ rose had its downside, too. She really hadn’t found any roses that didn’t. They were susceptible to disease, and she’d have to keep an eye on that, and, well, roses could have aphid problems. That was pretty much a given.

Draining the last of her water, Willow stood, reviewing her planting notes and ready to get started.

Taking a measuring tape from her pocket, Willow re-measured the front of the house. She wanted to space two plants on either side of the stairs evenly.

With wooden stakes – usable for rose-planting and vampire-slaying – she marked the spots she would dig the holes. And then she re-measured her spacing again, just to be sure, and then compared it to her diagram of the front of the house. The wide stairs left twelve feet on either side for a planting area, and that worked out nicely.

Squinting, Willow raised her head and looked at the sky. The eastern exposure at the front of the house worked out nicely, too, as that was recommended for roses.

Re-checking her notes on the actual digging part, Willow scratched her head and pursed her lips.

The instructions said roses should be planted in a hole “approximately” fifteen inches deep and eighteen inches wide.

Willow hmphed and pulled her measuring tape out of her pocket, marking the boundaries of the holes with more wooden stakes, and started to dig.

Digging, Willow quickly learned, was very, very boring.

And used an entirely different set of muscles than Scooby duties. Which she probably could’ve guessed, since her Scooby duties usually involved the muscles in her arms necessary to type or turn the page of a book, or the muscles in her legs necessary to run like hell.

But her two biggest assets – brains and determination – were well-exercised by Scooby duties, and she was damn well going to apply them to this whole rose-planting thing.

Even if she was kicking herself for not roping Xander into doing the boring digging parts.

It’s not that she minded hard work. No, if she minded hard work, she would have gone with the Landscape Roses. That hardier version of the rose was more resistant to disease, and fungus, and pests, and all that … and quite frankly, she was mildly offended by the idea of an ‘easy-to-care-for’ rose, being of the opinion that if someone, like herself, really wanted roses, they should put in the work to care for them. And if she was mildly offended, Tara would probably be outraged.

Tara generally didn’t get all worked up about things. Not like Willow did. But there were a few things that Tara just rejected outright as being completely wrong, and she’d push back if pushed on the subject.

Like Miracle Whip.

Willow had always been a Best Foods girl. That was the mayonnaise of choice in the Rosenberg family home, and Willow had never even considered switching to Miracle Whip.

Until, of course, she’d gone shopping, picked up mayonnaise as instructed, and found out the hard way that “mayonnaise” always … always … meant Miracle Whip, and nothing else. End of discussion.

Pulling out her measuring tape, Willow confirmed that the first hole dug was precisely fifteen inches deep and eighteen inches wide. Satisfied with her work so far, Willow wiped her brow, unwittingly smearing dirt across it, and taking a moment to let out a breath before moving on to the next one.

It didn’t take long for Willow to remember that digging was boring, and to rummage around in her brain for the last interesting thing she’d been thinking about.

That’s right. Mayonnaise = Miracle Whip, Willow returned to her mental wanderings, the subject matter displaying in her mind’s eye as an equation. Letting out a light laugh - that turned into a grunt as she almost over-balanced when her current shovelful of dirt proved to be a little heavier than expected - Willow remembered that day.

Tara, as Willow recalled, had already had a bad day to begin with. She couldn’t really remember the details of just why Tara had already in a bad mood, but she certainly remembered being informed that Best Foods was completely unacceptable.

Willow was just grateful they were both kosher. That could’ve gotten ugly.

Pulling out her measuring tape, Willow checked her progress. Only a few inches were left, so Willow pulled out a small hand-spade and quickly dug out the extra dirt so she could move on.

Perked up by her progress, Willow trotted over to the other side of the stairs, and looked at the spot marking where the third hole would be. She was halfway done with the digging, and she was looking forward to this whole thing being done.

Dirt really wasn’t her thing.

And there had been worms. Worms weren’t really her thing, either.

Giving her head a little “holes don’t dig themselves” twitch to the side, Willow started digging.

Was Miracle Whip even actually mayonnaise, in the technical sense? Did other people who preferred Miracle Whip call it mayonnaise? Didn’t they all call it … ‘Miracle Whip’? Heck, did Kraft call it mayonnaise?

She wasn’t really sure. But Tara called it mayonnaise, and she had made it perfectly clear that Willow was not to trifle with her Miracle Whip, or try to bring a poor, pale substitute into the house.

Kind of like how Willow had been completely adamant that ‘toothpaste’ meant Crest. Her parents’ arguments over kosher-ness be damned. She flat-out refused to think of toothpaste as a food. And it was the toothpaste she grew up with, that her father had vehemently defended on her behalf, and she wasn’t giving it up.

Nothing else made her feel minty fresh.

And it simply wasn’t negotiable.

Stopping to measure again, Willow realized she’d dug a little too far while on her mental toothpaste-and-mayonnaise run, and so she filled the hole back up a bit and re-measured a second time – and a third – until she was happy with the results.

Willow frowned at the hole, noting that it was just a little lop-sided, and wondered if she should have brought out a level to make sure the ground was even before digging. Willow shook her head. Even for her, that would have been a little too much.

Letting out a long, slow breath, Willow contemplated taking another break, but nixed the idea. She was almost done with the digging.

But she let herself check her notes. After the holes were finished, she’d pull the fertilizer out of the car, and mix that with the dirt from the holes. She’d crossed out the instruction about using three ounces of superphosphate: she’d stumbled upon a rousing discussion on the internet about whether or not it was organic, whether or not it was harmful, whether or not it was a good idea, and on and on and on.

Which was silly, because of course it wasn’t organic. Anything that went through a processing plant and got an acid bath wasn’t organic, in Willow’s estimation. Besides, it had ‘super’ right in the name. What was called ‘super’ that was also ‘organic’?

But, whatever. The point of using it, she’d quickly realized, reading between the lines, was raising the Phosphorus content of the soil, and her tests had indicated that her soil wasn’t acidic enough for that to really be a worry, and that there were plenty of alternatives that, while lower in Phosphorus content, didn’t involve an acid bath or kill worms.

Not that she liked worms, but she did realize they were good for plants. Roses were plants. Ergo, worms good for roses.

Or, at least, she hoped worms weren’t bad for roses, specifically, for some weird and obscure reason that had eluded her research, because if they were bad for roses, she was willfully neglecting instructions that would have helped.

Shaking off her worry that she was doing something wrong, and was on the verge of killing her roses before she’d even got them planted, Willow started digging the fourth hole. She’d spent four months researching this, tested her soil, verified the sun exposure and generally been extremely thorough in figuring out how to do this.

So she needed to stop second-guessing herself and get back to work.

And she needed to think about something other than whether or not she was making a critical error by bypassing the superphosphate.

Willow started mentally listing the things other than toothpaste and mayonnaise that she and Tara had disagreed on. Deodorant had been a big one. They’d ended up compromising by buying two kinds. Same thing with shampoo. Tara had won on coffee, but Willow had won on bread.

Little things, yes, but surprising things. Mundane things that, due to familiarity and habit, made for strong feelings and opinions.

But, well, relationships were like that.

Relationships were a mix of two lives, until there was just the one life, together. Like a hybrid, really, Willow mused, pausing to rest her arm on the end of the handle of the shovel, and her chin on her arm and regarding her hybrid tea roses fondly.

Tara’s life had been Miracle Whip and Aquafresh, and hers had been Best Foods and Crest, and when they’d merged them together, they’d ended up with Miracle Whip and Crest.

It hadn’t been easy.

Loving Tara was easy, sure. What was not to love? But that was like planting a hybrid rose. It was the easy part.

But nurturing it, and growing it, and watching out for fungus and disease and aphids? That was the day-to-day living. The compromises. The apologies. The thoughtful gestures. The late-night talks.

Absurdly grateful that she hadn’t gone with the easy-to-care-for Landscape Roses, and that she hadn’t enlisted Xander for the manual labor, Willow continued working on the fourth hole with a renewed vigor.

Because she was glad she was putting in the work. Hard work was worth it, if she wanted to enjoy some roses for a lifetime.

Humming happily as she dug, Willow didn’t notice Tara’s car pull into the drive until after she’d done her measurements, and looked up to see Tara leaning against her car.

She grinned when Tara started walking towards her, a bemused look on her face.

“You bought me roses?” Tara asked, looking at the holes she didn’t need to measure to know were perfect – Willow did have a measuring tape sitting next to her, after all, and that could only mean one thing - and the four potted rose plants sitting next to them, with a slow, delighted smile spreading across her face.

“You’re home early,” Willow said with a pout, but inwardly pleased with Tara’s response.

Tara raised an eyebrow. “Do you want me to leave and come back and pretend to be surprised, or would you like some help?”

Hmm … planting roses together. That sounded pretty perfect, actually.

“Help, please,” Willow said. “We just need to mix in the fertilizer, unpot the plants, drop them in and cover them up.”

“In your car?” Tara asked, taking Willow’s hand automatically as they strolled towards Willow’s vehicle.

“Mmm-hmm,” Willow said.

Tara stopped, and looked at Willow suspiciously, her eyes narrowed. “You weren’t planning on using a superphosphate, were you?” she asked.

“Of course not,” Willow said, with a mock-offended look. “That would be like buying Best Foods mayonnaise. Sick and wrong.”

“Or anything other than Crest,” Tara said, shooting a look at Willow that was so full of warmth and affection that Willow couldn’t help but grin stupidly in response.

Damn, she had a good life.

“Let’s get to work,” Willow said.


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:30 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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Posts: 646
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Well, now, having not read anything on Pens in years - literally - how lucky am I that Sass posted a new vignette? Actually, I read 53 and 54 just now. 53 just had some wonderful laugh out loud moments for me. The heart and brain visuals made my afternoon. And 54 was just sweet and fun, and reminded me of early canon Willow and Tara. I'd forgotten those old friends. Thanks for that.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:15 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey

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I love it, it's was a really great update. I laughed at the last little bit. Update soon please.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:48 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer

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Love the stories. Hope to see more updates.


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:50 pm 
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2. Floating Rose
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That was so sweet, Sass! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:07 am 
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3. Flaming O
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Posts: 109
Location: SoCal
**Trom Degrey: Why, thank you, Trom. I'm really glad you found these, read them, and liked them. I have also not been around Pens in years, but I missed it, and then I got a new laptop, and when I was transferring files from my old laptop, I found a >lot< of old, unfinished W/T fic. Some of it is started here on Pens, some of it has never seen the light of day, but you know what? I'm going to try my best to finish all of them. Because, like you've said, W/T are old friends, and the people on Pens are old friends, and I've missed them. And thank >you< Trom. I actually reread the Laundry Diaries very recently, and was very close to leaving yet another reply, but, well, the only thing new I have to add at this point is that those stories absolutely stand up to the test of time: they're still awesome, and I still love them, and I still kind of want to write odes to Officer Braxton.

**tacoda13: Thank you - I'm really glad you liked it. I have to admit that I laughed through writing most of it. I get giggly when I'm writing vignettes.

**love_2003: Thanks. I don't know when, exactly, I will be updating, but I definitely will be updating. I'm really glad you liked these silly little vignettes.

**mixxie: Heh ... sweet was precisely what I was going for ... so thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

-Sass


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 5:53 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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This is...nostalgic, I must say. I started reading Sass's fic at the tender age of fourteen. God help me, I'm getting old.

On the upside, she just gets better every time, don't she?:D

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:14 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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#48's
Quote:
Buffy agreed, giving the room one last where’s-the-demon sweep, just in case.


I love this, it is so bang-on.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: Vignette Series
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:00 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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I just re-read your first installment of this wonderful Vignette series, and I loved it even more the second, (or is it third?) time. :) A perfect introduction ;)
And 'Thoughts' #50, took my breath away. We never did get to see Tara in her element, her art. And as for her drawing of Faith/Buffy; Wow. just, wow. I think this is the best character analysis of the two slayers I've ever seen! And of course only Tara can see it, she can see everything so much clearer than the rest of the scoobies I think. I just can't get over how amazing your vignettes are. :)

Most fics I read focus on the similarities of our girls, their magical connection, or their internal balance with each other. But your stories bring the ying & yang out of them. Their differences that make them individually stronger so that in the end they are an even stronger couple. (If that makes sense) Like in "Happy" #51. The cute discussion in Willow's mind, of Miracle Whip and Crest. And how with those differences and compromises they are able to create a stronger relationship, one full of ready-to-be-planted Roses. (Was there a metaphor there, or is it just me?)

All these vignettes have been truly beautiful! I can't wait to see more of them. <3

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