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

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 Post subject: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:13 am 
7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 11:04 am
Posts: 693
Topics: 1
Title: Neverland
Author: EasierSaid a.k.a. Heather
Feedback: Bites lip and whispers "yes, please."
Spoilers: None.
Setting: AU. There is no Hellmouth, there is no slayer and no magic of the wicca variety. Just our girls and the rest of the Buffy characters living and loving in that great city by the bay, San Francisco.
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Please don't sue me Mutant Enemy.
Notes: Very nervous about this one my friends. The train could be leaving the tracks for sure... :paranoid

Thoughts in italics


For the first time since she had moved into the spacious apartment years earlier, Tara didn't want to spend time there. Something about the air was tainted, the walls seemed to close in on her and no matter what she did, where she loitered, she saw Willow.

Friday had been a horrible day. Not the worst of her life, that title was reserved, but it was awful all the same. After Willow had left, Tara had gone back to bed. She hadn't slept, not right away. Instead she played the last few days back in her mind, picking through every interaction with the redhead to try and figure out *what* she had done wrong. Because clearly, she had done something. The tension, the averted glances; that wasn't the result of a preoccupied mind worried about work, or a friend, or anything outside of the two people who were currently sharing this space. Willow was upset because of Tara, possibly even with Tara, and it killed the blonde.

She had slept a bit, waking cranky around noon, her natural rhythm off with the late start. She showered quickly, dressed, and then made her way downstairs. She opened the refrigerator door with every intention of making herself a quick something to eat before heading into her studio for some therapeutic brush work, but upon seeing the forgotten bowl of omelet ingredients, her stomach soured. She closed the fridge door, and looked to the pine secretary table next to the door. She imagined Willow sitting in the chair, her movements nervous, her eyes downcast, cheeks flushed. The blonde felt sick.

She grabbed her keys and her wallet, and headed out, with no clear destination. She could go to the gallery, get some early work with Marissa done setting up the space, but that was what Saturday was for, and showing up now might interrupt Marissa's schedule. Tara walked along the sunny boulevard, the fog receded for the day. She thought about showing up at Buffy's work, to see if the petite blonde would be interested in an afternoon beverage, but that idea quickly lost purchase. She couldn't talk to Buffy about this, especially if the reason Willow was so uncomfortable was because she had misunderstood the blonde's signals.

But had she really misunderstood? I mean, isn't there a part of me that was hoping that Willow would respond to my gestures, romantically? Just because she hadn't been overtly making a pass, didn't mean that it wasn't there, at least subconsciously. Perhaps it wasn't as subconscious as I thought... Tara grumbled internally. Or maybe Willow's just ridiculously perceptive. She tacked on ruefully. Or maybe, Willow is just hyperaware around me because she has a problem with my being gay.

Tara stopped abruptly on the sidewalk, her last thought striking through her like a bolt of lightening. It was an idea that she had never considered. What if Willow was uncomfortable with her, not because she didn't like her as an individual, but because the girl was homophobic. Tara exhaled, disturbed to her very core by the thought. But Bryan... She thought, moving to lean against the nearby apartment building, her legs suddenly weak. It's different with gay men. Maybe she's the type that's fine with gays, so long as they're not trying to be gay with her. Tara shook her head. No... this feels wrong... She had been out when theyhad spent that day in the park three years earlier, and no way Willow would have moved in with her if she was that uncomfortable with Tara's sexuality.

But that was before you started buying her drinks, and touching her... Tara thought. No. No, no, no--Willow's not like that. Tara shook her head and pushed herself off the wall. It has to be something else. I have to have done something else. She sighed again, and resumed walking. She didn't know where she was going, but she couldn't go home. Not with Willow's shadow hanging around. She walked around the city until the fog rolled in and the lights came on, then returned home and feel into a fitful, dream-plagued sleep.

Saturday was at least busy. She rose early, again taking a quick shower and dressing, this time in overalls and a black long-sleeve shirt. She bypassed the kitchen altogether, choosing instead to grab breakfast downtown. The gallery space was nice, large white walls, high ceilings and copious amounts of both natural light, and soft track lighting. It was one of the first large showings Tara was to have on her own, as part of a larger series titled 'Women Artists of San Francisco'. The paintings had been delivered to the gallery the previous week, and it was up to her and Marissa to choose how order them along the walls, hang them, and fill out the necessary paper work for pre-sale.

There were precious few disagreements, Marissa and Tara both agreeing on all fifteen's placement by three in the afternoon. Tara had stepped out to check her messages then, two calls from friends asking about the gallery showing pre-party she was planning at her house Wednesday night, and one from a very tense Buffy.

"Tara, this is Buffy. I know you're at the gallery today... I tried to get a hold of you yesterday, but just got the machine. Let's get together? Tonight? Tomorrow? I need to talk to you."

Tara hung up and her jaw set. Buffy wanted to talk, and she sounded upset. About... Well it could be anything, Tara thought. But it was probably Willow. What if Willow called Buffy, told her how the blonde had apparently hit on her, or told her whatever else it was the blonde had done to make her want to drive six hours south through weekend traffic after a late night and long day's work, and Buffy now wanted to rip her head off. Tara shook her head. She tucked her now-turned-off phone back in her pocket, choosing to not call Buffy back, and returned to the gallery. She spent the evening at Marissa's with her partner Michelle and their mutual friend Anya. It had been a relaxed evening, despite Tara's continued internal Willow monologue. They spent the time drinking wine and discussing the other artists on the scene, pleasant enough topics for a distracted mind. Tara returned home around 1 a.m., her answering machine light blinking. She sighed, and pressed the play button.

"Tara, Buffy. Your phone's off, or you forgot it today when you went to the gallery, or whatever. Anyway--I really need to see you. I know you have gallery stuff on Sunday, but maybe we can grab lunch, or dinner. Your place, my place, restaurant... call me."

Tara pursed her lips, staring at the phone. Buffy definitely was upset, but it didn't sound like she was angry. Perhaps Willow hadn't called her, and she was just bummed about being ditched by the redhead. Tara suddenly felt awful about not calling Buffy back earlier. She shook her head, thinking about how tight her stomach felt. She turned and made her way to bed.

Sunday morning had been a late start. She rose, wandered listlessly around the apartment for a half an hour, avoiding the kitchen even though that's where the coffee she so desperately wanted was. She finally broke down and made herself a batch, careful not to look to where Willow had stood when they last spoke. Coffe poured, she moved to sit on the couch and drink the hot liquid. She sat cross-legged, and took a sip from the rose colored mug. Her eyes inadvertently drifted up, and she took in the large canvas across from her, floating just above the fireplace. The one that Willow had described as, 'just paint'. Maybe I should change the title to that... Tara smirked, her stomach constricting.

The thick, raised paint cast shadows on smoother parts of the canvas, the late-morning light causing the effect. She let her eyes wander over the large surface, taking in the different colors, the waves of paint. She could be destitute and she wouldn't sell this piece, and if her house ever caught fire, she would risk everything short of her life to save it. To the world it was 'Untitled', and Marissa frequently pressured her to show it.

"It's your best piece. Bring it to the gallery; you don't have to sell it, just, put it out there. It would make you, Tara."

But Tara wouldn't risk it. So many little things could go wrong, and if anything ever happened to it... She shook her head and took another sip of her coffee. She turned her head and looked at her phone. I should call Buffy... She frowned at her aloofness. It was awkward, to not run to Buffy with this problem. The girl was like a sister, certainly the best friend she'd ever had, and here she was hiding out, turning off her phone so she could screen calls. And Buffy sounded upset. Selfish, Tara. She picked up the phone and dialed.


"B-Buffy, it's Tara." Tara rolled her eyes at her stutter.

"Hey, I was worried about you--where've you been?"

"Around. Gallery stuff. You know." Tara said, the same false timbre that she used with Willow Friday. Her stomach clenched.

"Cool." Was Buffy's reply. Something was definitely wrong. "Tara, could we get together today? I know things are crazy with the gallery opening and stuff-"

"What did you have in mind?" Tara interrupted.

"Lunch? Ethiopian, maybe."


"Meet me a Massawa's in an hour?"

"Sounds good." The blonde replied. They hung up, and Tara turned back to the painting. She frowned, hoping that Willow wasn't going to be the subject of conversation. I've thought way too much about that woman the last few days. Her eyes drifted to the secretary table, and again she swore she saw the redhead for a split second. She sighed, and stood.

Massawa's was located on Haight, and Tara dodged the tourists and local street kids crowding the famous avenue to get there. Buffy was waiting for her at a window table, and when Tara approached, the petite blonde stood and gave her a hug. Tara hugged her back, feeling ashamed for the defensiveness she was feeling. They sat, ordered iced tea, and fell into silence as they looked over the menu. Buffy asked a few questions about the gallery, which Tara answered briefly, and they again became quiet.

Tara's thoughts were spinning. On the bus ride over, she had seen a redhead on her phone, smiling and giggling at the person on the other line. She remembered Willow's face when she talked about Bryan, and Tara found herself thinking about that relationship as she had walked to the restaurant from the bus stop. The redhead had called Bryan, 'my Tara'. At the time, Tara had been so flushed at hearing Willow say those two words, that she didn't really think about what that meant. But now... Were Willow and this Bryan as close as Tara and Buffy, or was he just her best friend at school; which wouldn't mean that he was her best friend in the greater scheme of things... or even necessarily a particularly close friend, over all. Tara had reasoned. Or maybe, maybe the redhead had been referring to the gay thing.

Is that how Willow sees me? She thought, dodging yet another unkept youth asking for spare change. As Buffy's 'gay friend'. Is Bryan her one gay friend? The one she had so she could say, 'see, I have gay friends'? Tara shook her head. It just didn't seem to fit the redhead. The theory was so disingenuous and cold; not at all how she had come to see the girl in her mind.

But you lo- like her. Tara thought. You're hot for her, maybe that's getting in the way and you're just creating this ideal person who would never be freaked out by something that freaks out a lot of people. You don't know the girl well, haven't you been bemoaning that for weeks? Maybe now, true colors are being revealed. No... Tara shook her head again. No.

Buffy looked up from her menu and noticed Tara's pensive face as the girl stared out the window. She had wanted to talk about Willow with the blonde, but the look clouding the girl's face stopped her from proceeding. "Are you okay?" She asked. Tara turned to her and nodded. "Right." Buffy said, tacking on, "liar."

Tara smiled at that, relieved. No way Buffy was mad at her, not with that playful dig. "Just have a lot on my mind, lot of stuff I need to figure out..." Tara said, thinking immediately of how she had felt when Willow had used the same phrase days ago.

"Yeah, that's going around apparently..." Buffy grumbled, looking back down at her menu. They ordered, and Buffy picked up her iced tea for a long pull.

Tara regarded her long-time friend, and unable to keep the thought from being spoken, blurted out suddenly, "Buffy, am I your token gay friend?"

Buffy looked up from her drink, the straw between her lips and stared at Tara like she had three heads. "Um, no..." She said, putting the drink down on the table. "I kinda prefer to think of you as my fifty dollar bill gay friend." Tara frowned and Buffy continued. "Cause tokens? Only redeemable for crap. I'd like to think that if I was to turn you in, I'd get something better than an asbestos filled stuffed bear."

"Ha ha." Tara deadpanned.

"Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not even sure I could get a token for your gayness. Maybe a paper ticket." Tara's frowned deeply. "Oh come on, I mean, the only gay thing you've got going for you Tare is the self-identified 'I like women,' and really? Lotta guys say the same thing and that's not true..." Tara shook her head. "Besides, if you were my token, what would that make Pam, David and Faria?"

"Is Bryan Willow's token gay friend?"

Buffy's face suddenly became serious. "Why would you say that?"

"Nothing, forget I said anything," Tara said, immediately regretting her questions.

"Uh, sorry no. Tara," Buffy said, confused. "Do you think that?"

Tara sighed, unsure of how to proceed. She shook her head, looking down at the table, before looking back up. "Does Willow have a problem with my being gay?"

"What?" Buffy said, truly surprised.

"I just, I get the feeling that there's something about me that she's uncomfortable with, and I thought maybe that was it."

"Tara-" Buffy stopped herself and thought for a moment. "No. Willow's not like that."

"Okay." Tara nodded, eager to get off the subject. So it *is* just me that she doesn't like...

"Tara..." Buffy sighed. She thought for a long moment and then looked up. "Willow's been acting weird since she moved out here. I don't know what it is for sure, if it's... the job, or what. But this Willow, this isn't the real Willow. I mean, she's always been a spaz, but the way she's been acting the last two months; this is like spaz on spaz-enhancing steroids, and it isn't her."

"Okay." Tara said, still hoping the topic would go away.

"Did she say something--"

"No, I just--" Tara stopped. "I bought her a drink at the club on Thursday, to say thanks for paying for the cab ride, and I didn't know if she thought maybe I was hitting on her--"

"Were you?" Buffy asked.

"No." Tara shook her head. Sort of. She whispered internally, kicking herself for not being completely honest.

"And so you just thought she might have taken it wrong because...?" Buffy trailed off, not sure she understood the blonde's paranoia.

"She was upset Friday morning. I thought that might have been it--"

"That wasn't it." Buffy said, her lips tightening. Tara looked at Buffy quizzically, the petite blonde looking up apologetically. "I've known her since she was 15 years old Tara, and she's not homophobic, at least, she's never expressed anything like that to me. And I *know* she likes you, if she's not giving you that impression... it's because something else is going on. Do you want me to talk to her about--"

"No." Tara said firmly. "No, I don't want her to feel any weirder around me than she already does."

"I'm sure she doesn't feel weird around you." Buffy said sadly. She shook her head, frustration building and Tara watched the girl across from her closely. "Xander..." Buffy muttered, her tone implying that he was somehow the cause of Willow's odd behavior. Buffy's face was getting redder by the second, and Tara's stomach turned into a knot at the mention of the name.

Because Tara Maclay hated Xander Harris.

That's not true... Tara thought to herself, frowning, her stomach tight. 'Hate' is a very strong word, a word that should only be used for mass murderers, o-or people that hurt animals... but still...

Tara Maclay intensely disliked Xander Harris.

She really had no right, he had never done anything to her, but she felt it all the same. It hadn't always been the case. When they had met six years ago, she had been positively smitten with the young man. (As smitten as an out teenaged lesbian could be with an 18-year old boy.) He was handsome, outgoing, friendly and charming; all the things she didn't know boys her age could be (not having had male friends before). He was visiting a homesick Buffy on their second weekend at school freshman year, and he had gone out of his way that long weekend to get to know Tara, in turn allowing Buffy to get to know her roommate. It was after he left that Tara and Buffy's friendship had begun in earnest, and Tara had been grateful for the boy's early help as the girls relationship blossomed.

But the positive opinion had begun to change about four years ago. She had heard the stories for years... of how Willow loved him, had always loved him, since they were young. She heard about the fluke, how they had briefly become romantically involved, and how that had damaged Willow's relationship with her high school sweetheart, Oz. How it had damaged Willow herself. Tara remembered clearly how upset she had been the first time Buffy had told her about finding Willow in a deserted high school bathroom, crying alone in a stall about Xander losing his virginity to another girl. Tara had cried a bit herself that night as she tried to fall asleep, thinking of how the beautiful redhead must have felt.

Tara had watched Willow and Xander closely the first time she had seen them together, at the Halloween party Buffy and her had thrown. The obvious affection between the two, the way Willow gave him her full attention, even when her now-college sweetheart Oz was nearby, competing for it. It was obvious that Willow loved Xander, and it had made Tara furious.

Because the schmuck didn't love the redhead back.

What kind of idiot is he?! She had thought at the time. She would shake her head, thinking, if Willow ever loved me, I'd thank my lucky stars, my unlucky stars, even my stars that didn't seem to have a disposition for luck one way or the other. But not Xander Harris. He just flounced around like a big dumb dog, hurting Willow with his yo-yo affection. Holding her, calling her his best girl, when he *knew* how madly in love she was with him, how she probably clung to each caress thinking 'maybe one day...' Jerk.

Her ha-- Intense dislike, Tara internally amended, intensified two years ago, when the man quit his near-minimum wage job and moved to Boston for several months. Tara remembered the fight Buffy and Xander had had at the time, how she had sat on her bed in her room and listened while the two old friends battled in the living room, siding with Buffy all the way.

"Just exactly how insensitive are you Xander?"


"She finally breaks up with Oz, gets a chance to be single, see other people and you're going to *move* out there? Why?"

"Why not? This is a good opportunity for me; I'm not going to sling pizza and live in my parent's basement forever. Moving, it's a chance to make a change--"

"So make a change! Don't go torture Willow."

"I'm not going to torture Willow--she needs me right now," was his simple explanation.

"For what?!" Buffy had exclaimed, exasperated. "So she can be in love with you and you can do your whole, 'I'm not interested in you Willow' routine while giving her mixed signals, the impression that one day, things might change?"

"It's not like that. She's been over me for a long time now."

"Oh please." Buffy had snarled. "Is that why she looked at you this past weekend when we were all home like you were the only one who understands her, the only one in the world who she could talk to--"

"Willow's going through a tough time right now--"

"And she has friends in Boston to help her with that! She has Bryan, she has Amanda, she doesn't need you there, being all unattainable on your pedestal."

"It's not like that Buffy. I wish I could explain to you in great detail what's going on, but that's between me and Willow--"

"Right, noble Xander." There had been a long moment of silence. "This is b.s. and you know it."

"Well, I'm sorry you think so." Xander had replied evenly. Buffy had stormed out at that, and moments later, Xander had left.

Their relationship had been strained since. They spoke, emailed and called, but saw each other less than before. Buffy still held Xander responsible for Willow's not having dated since Oz (thinking the girl was patiently, pathetically, waiting for him to come around), and Xander continued to steadfastly deny that Willow loved him "that way", continuing with his affectionate behavior toward the girl. Neither spoke to Willow about the rift, and Tara wondered if the redhead even knew of the problem.

"She's down there with him now." Buffy said. "It's what I wanted to talk to you about, cause I'm just so... He breaks up with his girlfriend earlier in the week and what does Will do? She drops everything and runs to him, to throw herself at him *again*." Buffy shook her head, obviously upset about the situation. "She's so much better than that, she's so... She's so special, Tara, she deserves to be with someone who loves her back. This unrequited stuff is crap."

Tara nodded along, agreeing completely. What kind of moron wouldn't recognize that look in the redhead's eyes? Wouldn't do everything in his power to be with the girl if she showed even the slightest bit of interest?

"I think that's why she's been so off..." Buffy said, apologetically. "Maybe why she's been so weird around you? Me..." She trailed off sadly. "I'm worried she thinks that now that she's back in California he's going to... change. Finally love her like she loves him." She paused for a long moment. "He's not going to change."

Tara looked down at the table, her heart tearing in two for the redhead. But... even if Willow was preoccupied with Xander, was going through the pain of loving someone who didn't love her back--

Been there... Tara thought, ruefully.

Even if the redhead was going through all that, it didn't change what Tara knew in her heart to be true. Whatever happened on Friday morning had been between *them*, been a result of *their* awkward relationship, and until she knew what it was that she had done to the redhead, she had no idea how to make things better.

Buffy and Tara continued to chat about the situation, eventually moving on to other things as they worked their way through their meal. When they left each other with a hug, they promised to talk the next day, and to see each other at Tara's Wednesday for the gallery opening pre-party. They each walked in separate directions, Buffy returning home for some moping, Tara heading to her friend Anya's. Not unsurprisingly, neither friend felt better after their talk.

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:37 am 
Oh my god... that's so brilliant!

I wanna say "...and the plot thickens" but it seems so trite compared to this ingenious scheme.

I was so with Tara in the hat..intensely disliking...Xander .. but again, you've turned it around for me - Willow came out to Xander 2 years ago? And he moved to Boston to help her through it? And Buffy thinks he's being an ass and stringing Willow along? Again, that's so brilliant!

x Tinna Karen

"You're not gonna jokey-rhyme your way outta this one." - Willow in Pangs

Edited by: tinnakaren at: 9/13/04 6:02 pm

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:40 am 

Wow! What an incredible and lengthy (yes!) update. You know, I think I have eaten at Massawa's in the Haight. Best Ethiopian food in SF?

I ached as I read this; seeing Tara agonize over something she has no control over and listening to Buffy denigrate poor Xander who has been holding Willow's secret all this time. It's so ironic and diffulcult and... I LOVE IT! You write brillantly and I really appreciate the internal mental struggling that you put Willow and Tara through.

The idea that Buffy and Tara now both think that Xander is the object of Willow's obession is so funny in a sad, twisted way. God, I really can't wait to see these girls together and happy. More soon please!


"We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep - it's as simple and ordinary as that."

Michael Cunningham, The Hours

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:45 am 

Oh, thats sad! Both clueless to why Willow is acting so off, i'm frustrated here!

And Tara strongly dislikes Xander! i never saw that coming!!

But reading up on that, its obvious as to why Willow might be acting strange, its a great twist! So ironic with Willow going to Xander for help...

I can't wait to see how they climb outta this sitch!!


Stace xXx

"Um...dont mean to ruin the sexcapades...but we need the chips out there. Xanders being a chip whore." -She's my always by spikeizmine87

Edited by: Wired vixen at: 9/13/04 11:58 am

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:46 am 
Hey, I apologize for not having posted feedback before now. I just wanted to say that I love this fic. It is well written and the characterization is spot on.

I love the situation between the characters and the plot that you've cooked up. Waiting for the climax and resolution is such a fun thing with this story.

The only complaint that I can possibly think of is that you don't update frequently enough, although that might not be so much your problem as mine. I finish each update wanting to read what's next right away.

Maybe if you chain yourself up to your computer chair, shuck all responsibilities, and write continuously, things would go quicker. What do you think? I have some chains in the garage. I could come over, get you started.

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:05 pm 
Oh boy.. would've been a lot easier if Willow would come out already. Poor Xander!! (Uh, have I said poor Xander? See what you do to me...)

I was quite funny (in the really not so fun way) that Buffy thinks Willow's still after Xander...

And Tara ha- intensely dislikes Xander and all because Willow is a chicken....

Now time for a big C. O.


German Fanfiction

It's always sudden! Tara; the body

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:11 pm 
Well, when you called this "Neverland", you really do mean never~


I got this heartache everytime I saw Tara looking at Willow with so many ...emotions. Then you really pulled them away from each other so delicately, when both of them wanted so much to be together. Brilliant.:gnome :thud

Now now, when you bring in Xander, I feel surprised that he isn't only a supportive friend, nope, you have to make me love him then hate ...well..intense dislike...him. (what a jerk....:rolleyes )

This only left one word for me to say though.

More :bounce more :bounce more:bounce more :bounce more :bounce more:bounce more :bounce more :bounce more:bounce more :bounce



 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:26 pm 
This is a great story :applause

Well all the characters seem to be working very hard at making themselves miserable. All that heat ache caused by people just assuming what the other person is thinking and feeling rather than asking. :crazy

The last two parts are a great example. Willow goes to Xander for advice about her feelings for Tara. Buffy assumes that Willow has gone to throw herself at Xander while Tara assumes that Willow left because she hates her.

At the moment it seems that Willow's the only one who can sort out this tangle and I have the feeling she isn't going to. :sigh

Looking forward to :read more

"VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised! - The Parrot Sketch

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:30 pm 
Four days and counting without the internet at home, but when I got into work today and found THREE updates to Neverland, all was right with the world. Having done the unrequited love thing more often than I care to admit (now fully requited, luckily), this is SO painful and heartbreaking, but also compelling and full of humor. They're both so lost in their own heads, but it looks like that could change with a little help from their friends (and I too love--well, intensely like--supporto-Xander).

How 'bout some happiness soon? Please? Another smutty dream scene would suffice.:flirt


What should I be but just what I am? - Edna St.Vincent Millay

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:31 pm 
Wonderful update! :D I felt really bad for Tara. It´s sad what she is going through. Please let Willow have her C.O. really soon. :pray


"I am S-E-X-Y" Amber at the FedCon

Sweet Amber ~~~ Amber Board ~~~ Danielle Benson ~~~ Danielle Benson France ~~~ Danielle Board

 Post subject: Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:14 pm 
I love the intricacy of this story. It's more than just about the inevitability of Willow and Tara getting together, as they always do in wonderfully creative ways, at the hands of all of the Pens writers - it's also about the subtle relationships between all of the characters, which is a pleasure to read. I can really feel the discord between everyone and I like that it can't all be resolved easily or neatly. Like real life, I imagine it'll take even more miscommunication before things get straightened out. I admit to reading a lot of these stories for escapism, but I'm drawn to this one for its realism. You're a great writer and I can't wait for the next chapter.

 Post subject: More!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:21 pm 
Wow, I love this so much!:bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow

I can't wait to see what happens. I really like that Willow has at least one person she can trust with her secret.

"Death cannot stop true love. It can only delay it."

The Princess Bride

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:24 pm 
Great update... Poor Tara... me sad for her...


my banana dances for smut :banana

Tara in a wet shirt, Tara in a wet shirt. Tara in. A. Wet. Shirt. “Of course.”-Willow From Remember to Breath By Yellow Crayon

Now that just sucks- me

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:30 pm 
Ok, it's about time for our girls to talk to each other...pleeeaase! ...but i can sort of understand why Tara's been feeling that way about Xander. Kinda very much so. :rolleyes

Can't wait for more! Great update! :)


I look at horses and I see really big ponies.

The greatest thing you'll learn, is just to love and be loved in return.

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:43 pm 
Heather, heather, heather...

How brilliantly terrible! And I mean that in the best way. We have pain on every end and every direction for these characters. And again, Xander comes out smelling like a rose to the reader (well, ok except for sleeping with Faith or whoever 6 years ago).

Tara is the very embodiement of misinterpretation and beating yourself up. She's examining every interchange, every thought, and word from Willow and misinterpreting every one and causing herself a lot of needless pain. Poor girl. I find the painting to be such a powerful symbol of their differences. Here it is, an amazing piece of art which Willow loves and adores. But she doesn't know how to say that and Tara loves it more than anything but she thinks Willow thinks it's shit. Wow, that hurts.

Buffy is not really earning points in my book. I can understand why she's upset with Xander and really that is largely Willow's fault. She wants him to keep her secret, he does, he goes to Boston to comfort her (great friend!), and Buffy thinks he's playing with Willow again. Wow, that's so perfect it's painful.

Tara's internal dialog is amazingly insightful but even more so I love Buffy's straightforward (or is it a gayforward question) of was Tara hitting on Willow. Is is possible that Buffy knows more than she knows she knows? More than either girl knows?

Again I say: poor Tara

Tara nodded along, agreeing completely. What kind of moron wouldn't recognize that look in the redhead's eyes? Wouldn't do everything in his power to be with the girl if she showed even the slightest bit of interest?
Well, I can think of one kind of moron who would be just like that. Poor moron.

Oh god, the pain, the angst, the horror. Keep it coming!

Go Lance!


American Civil Liberities Union

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:49 pm 
Among the myriad of reasons why I love this story, it is the, "That is so my life!" parts that make it so wonderful. Tara spends this entire update trying to analyze what *she* did wrong to cause Willow to act the way she did. This is something that everyone can relate to – most of us have been there and if you haven’t, you will eventually (everyone does :) )

I love that after finding out that Willow is actually spending the weekend with Xander, whom Tara intensely dislikes, that we find out why she so intensely dislikes him. The pot calling the kettle black is such a lovely cliché. I think Xander and Tara may actually do some serious bonding after she realizes
What kind of moron wouldn't recognize that look in the redhead's eyes? Wouldn't do everything in his power to be with the girl if she showed even the slightest bit of interest?
Well, apparently the blue-eyed, blonde artist type of moron :glasses


Oh God, Willow—you’re giving me the gift of Karen Carpenter. Just when I think I grasp the full extent of your love." - Tara

"Why do birds suddenly appear? It’s because, you are queer…" - Willow (Gods Served and Abandoned by AntigoneUnbound)

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:00 pm 
Okay, can i just say how much i love this fic. Your amazing-this fic is amazing, and man, you've really got the whole teasing your reader and leaving them hanging thing down to a T!!

You've got a great understanding of the characters and show that through your writing and wonderful chapters. I loved Xander in that one chapter where he helped Willow finally grasp what she wanted and what she needed to do to get it. He managed to see through all her bullshit and fears and tell her straight what she had to do, in that lovable, goofy Xander way, bless him.

I love fics that are full of tension and wanting between the girls, it just makes them finally getting together that little more special. Although it drives me crazy, i really like how neither knows what the other is feeling. I mean, they have absolutely no idea how much they feel towards each other, and put the nervous glances and tense conversations down to doing something wrong, or the other person not liking them. I read the whole story in one sitting i liked it that much.

Great fic you've got going, you've got a huge fan right here!


 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:32 pm 
Fantastic update! :applause

Boy everybody seems to be on the wrong page don't they? Poor Tara, I really feel for her... she is miserable. Please fix it, no more unhappy Tara. :D :D :D

Edited by: Irishgrl3 at: 9/13/04 2:34 pm

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:34 pm 
OH jeez, it totally sucks that everyone is COMPLETELY offtrack... nonetheless, i gotta agree that this is brilliant. I just hope that SOMETHING can be figured out! I am not saying they should get with the gay lovin, though it would be nice, but someone can at least figure something out that makes someone happy right?! please?

Gah I can't wait for more!!!


"...A-and I'm gonna make it up to you. Starting right now."

(Starts to smile)"Right now?"

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:01 pm 
ARG....I just lost everything I wrote.....:sob :sob

Okay....let me try this again....

Hey there!

I was looking for a new update around 1-2am my time... but it never happened :sob ....I even checked before going to work again....nada :shock :shock ....and then I checked when I came back....and there was an update!!! :D :D :D :D

So Xander was the one that Willow interesting. I wonder why she never said anything to Buffy?....Tara is openly gay...even if it is only "the self-identified 'I like women" :lol ...and she does have other gay friends. I get it that Willow thinks that Buffy expects her to be "someone to go pick up guys with!"...but she didn't have such expectations when Willow was in Boston...did she? I'm just wondering..:blush I like to understand things(and people;) )

I had a couple of laughts again;) and

What kind of moron wouldn't recognize that look in the redhead's eyes? Wouldn't do everything in his power to be with the girl if she showed even the slightest bit of interest?

I'd like to see Tara's face when she'll get who that moron is ;) [ makes people be blind;) not blaming anyone and moron is such a strong word....] :lol :lol :lmao :lmao

Great Job...keep it up:D


:peace :heart


 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:02 pm 
Oh, the plot thickens. If only they knew Xander was helping, not hurting.

Poor Tara, Willow and her need a good bit of time with eachother, to talk, or whatever. Willow comming out to herself is a big step.

I loved this chapter, but Buffy had me laughing, with her whole "Xander" theory. I am pateintly waiting for Willow to come home to Taras arms.

I enjoy each new twist you write, makes it even more real.

Have a good night, and thanks for the entertainment too!

:flower :flower


 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:08 pm 
ooo my heart how it aches!

poor tara agonizing over willow..and then thinking that shes off to try and win over xanders love again....damn ur story for making my heart hurt!!

but in other news...this was an awesome update...when MY heart hurts..thats some good writing....great job!!


'The Cat in the Hat' is fine, just not during sex.--Alyson Hannigan

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:48 pm 
Man! I'm gone for two days and I miss tons of updates.:no Well great job. I'm loving it. But I hate hearing them talk about Xander like that when he's only trying to help.:rage

More soon, please.


"I live in the goddamn desert. Where would I learn to swim?" My Freind Chelsea.

 Post subject: Neverland
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 10:01 am 
hey there!!

great update

looking forward to the Willow/Buffy talk!!


i'm hot homeboy, never get it twisted!!

 Post subject: Re: Neverland
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 2:25 pm 
Hi I don't often reply about fics, but I accidently ran across this one, and boy am I glad! What a wonderful story you have crafted! the characterizations are right on, and your descriptions of what one thinks when in (apparantly) unrequited love are perfect! we've all been there, no?

can't wait for your next post... and eventually your next story for the kittens (am i thinking too far in the future?)

anyway, way to go! you are a very talented writer!


Edited by: greenwitch at: 9/14/04 2:27 pm

 Post subject: Re: Neverland
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 4:35 pm 
Poor Xander :( He can't betray Willow's confidence, so he couldn't explain to anyone why he and Willow are so close - he's the only one she can really open up to. And likewise, why Willow still having a crush on him really isn't on the cards :) Does Willow know how he and Buffy have argued about her? I'd hazard a guess that Xander hasn't told her, or at least not the full extent of it - he wouldn't want to make Willow feel bad about not having come out yet. And likely no-one knows how Tara feels about him - her feelings, I think, are very understandable given how she feels about Willow. And, so far as she knows, just in general, even if she wasn't madly in love with Willow, she'd worry about her.

*sigh* If only Willow knew though. I mean, she should come out when she's ready, because she wants to for herself, but it'd also clear up so much misunderstanding...

Tara is going to be mightily confused when Willow gets back. And Willow, presumably being determinedly open and sharing of herself, is probably only going to confuse Tara even more. And then Tara, if she tries to figure out what's going on between Willow and Xander - without knowing Willow's gay - will in turn confuse Willow no doubt...

But I did take heart from Tara's musings about why Willow reacted to her the way she did - not the wondering if Willow was homophobic and trying to cover it, of course, but the fact that she had a gut instinct that that wasn't the case. Of course she then thought it must be just her than Willow didn't like :cry Poor Tara... but she's not blind to Willow, she has good instincts for her. They're just twisted around by her own doubts, but they're not completely failing. Hopefully that'll help. Won't it?

Chris Cook

Through the Looking-glass

A Willow and Tara for every world.

 Post subject: replies
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 1:11 am 
Wow. You guys are awesome, you know that? Here I was, all worried that you guys would think my little 'Buffy and Tara think Willow loves Xander' twist was trite and maudlin and instead... I'm just bowled over by the response. Thank you so much. Wow.

tinnakaren *furiously blushes* Wow. "brilliant" and "ingenious"? Woman, you spoil me. It is indeed a tangled web I've weaved (woven? eh...), one that hopefully won't suck big time as the story progresses. Thanks very much for your kind compliments, and for reading!

pipsberg Pip! Yes, Massawa's is the best ethiopian place in SF, if not the world (course, I haven't tried them all, so take my recommendation with a grain of salt--or no salt if you have heart problems). Poor Tara, I felt so badly for her, but at the same time least she handled it relatively well (lord knows I would have been a crying, shell of a woman if it had been me). So glad you LOVED it (hehe caps again) and hope you find the rest of the story to be enjoyable.

Wired vixen All of these ladies are going to need to send Xander a mini-muffin basket when this thing is done, seriously. The next update is going to be rough, the girls aren't really equipped to interact yet, but should be much better after that. Thanks for reading!

Marilda No apologies needed! As for your comments, I too am waiting for climax... er, of the story. ;) Hopefully the wait will be worth it. And chains? Isn't it enough that I've started on an espresso IV drip...? Thanks very much for reading (and for the feedback!)

Insanity It would be easier if Willow came out already, but where's the fun in that? ;) Big C.O. and some W/T lovin is definitely in the works... down the road... you know.... eventually....

emyhope127127 I *do* mean never (except, not really)! Thanks very much for the kind words, and the hoppy guys--more on the way.

justin The characters do seem to be working hard at making themselves miserable (I'm quite frankly, appalled), and this next update isn't going to be much better I'm afraid. Willow definitely is the only one that can sort this out, and hopefully she'll find herself to be in the position to do so in another update or two. Thanks so much for reading!

tarawhipped Ooo no internet, no good (I'd die). Unrequited love does suck, but so glad you're enjoying the process of getting requited (that might not be English, there). Smutty dream sequence? Lemme see what I can do about that... ;)

littlecrazy80 Thank you! No C.O. for a while yet, but definitely some warm, happy feelings in the meantime (not this update of course, er, but soon).

Idgie I'm so glad you're enjoying the way the other characters are interacting; very important to me that they have their own concerns and problems (cause otherwise, boring). Definitely a lot more miscommunication before things are sorted, as this next update will sadly attest. Thanks very much for the compliments, truly.

DarkChild I'm so glad you're enjoying this, and thanks for the many little bowing men!

WickedReds me sad for Tara too. :( Thanks for reading!

snuggle79 It is about time for the girls to talk! And they will, I promise, in this next update... although I can't promise it will go smoothly. :(

JustSkipIt I feel like I should say "muhahaha", but really, I'm just grateful that the Willow/Xander twist didn't bomb big time (there were some tummy rumblings). I imagine Xander is going to be pretty insufferable once these ladies figure things out; for the rest of his life he'll have his patience and understanding during this time to lord over them (in a good way, of course). Thanks so very much for your comments on the painting; that's exactly what I was going for, and I agree, it hurts. As for Buffy, she's in a tight spot; she's Buffy, so she knows best (*rolls eyes*) but she doesn't know all, so she's not offering anyone any kind of good advice. Because she's the most in the dark out of all of them, her words are almost always tainted; which can really muck up the works. However, having said that, she's also very subtly perceptive; asking Tara if she was hitting on Willow is the most natural thing in the world for her to ask, and I'm sure that when all is revealed she'll feel like she should have known all along given the clues she keeps stumbling on/forcing out into the open. And Tara. That moron dialogue is going to kill her when she thinks back on it later... More horror on the way (this next update is cringe-worthy awkward); hopefully it's of the enjoyable variety. Thanks so much for reading and the lengthy feedback.

Nicole023 Okay, that little blue bugged eyed face is adorable, and I'm glad my proposal-of-marriage-in-exchange-for-you-cleaning-my-dishes makes up for how badly you feel about Tara! Thanks for reading.

shuyaku Thank you very much; yes, this is a very 'oh god I've been there' story, because sadly, I have been. : Those couple of lines seemed to stick with folks, and yes, Tara is going to feel downright ridiculous when she realizes she was indeed thinking about herself. Thanks for reading!

veiled isis moon Okay, if the fic is amazing, and I'm amazing, then you're amazing too. I'm glad you're enjoying the story so far. This next update should be the last one where the girls are not only clueless, but wielding that cluelessness against each other like a bat. Meaning one more craptastic chapter to go before things start looking up. Thanks very much for reading. :)

Irishgrl3 Yeah, I ordered a round of miserable for everyone, on the house. The next update is pretty miserable as well, but after that it's onward and upward! Thanks!

VixenyTarasHot Happy--everyone wants happy! Alright (said grudgingly). I'll get working on that, post hasty. Thanks very much for sticking through the GAHness!

YMKA Aww, I hate when posts go bye-bye. I think I might have created a monster in you with those daily updates -- hopefully the pace won't fall off too hard! I think Willow's just really afraid of what Buffy would think, that Buffy would be disappointed in her. It's weird, how people rationalize fear... And again with the moron line! Poor, poor Tara. She's gonna feel soooo dumb.

frau rosenclay Thanks very much, I'm so glad you enjoyed that twist. Buffy's theory cracked me up too because it's so Buffy. She thinks she's being observant, but she's not. *sigh* I agree also that Willow needed the time away. I think her confidence batteries were recharged; let's hope she takes advantage of Xander's advice!

alysagoddess85 Oh no! Heartache is no good, although, glad you liked the update. Just a warning that the next update is rough... but things should get better after that. Thanks for reading!

amazonaa Nah, didn't miss any updates cause see, you're posting about em -- all caught up! ;) I too feel for Xander, but he's doing a good job turning the other cheek (or plugging his ears, or whatever it is he's doing). Although, you know he's sitting at home thinking "crazy women." More on the way.

LizPuRR Willow and Buffy should get a chance to talk a bit in the chapter after this next one; although not going to be THE talk. : Thanks very much for the kind words, and for reading, of course.

greenwitch Aw yay! I don't often write fics, so this is a fortuitous meeting. Sadly, I think we've all been in unrequited love, which just really really sucks (I suggest we all go get drunk--who's with me?). As for the next story -- good lord, I just hope I can finish this one without embarrassing myself! Thanks again, so much, for leaving me such kind words.

Artemis Xander for the Nobel Prize...? (I might vote for him.) Willow is clueless about Xander and Buffy's tension. Xander is definitely not telling her, and I think Buffy is likewise concerned that if she mentions it Willow will freak (deservedly so). Buffy probably knows that Tara thinks Xander is a jerk, but she most likely attributes that to sympathy pains, 'Tara's such a good friend she hates Xander just because I do'. : Tara is going to be mighty confused by Willow when the girl gets back; after a brief road bump of 'I don't really want to talk to you right now'. Gah--when will they just get together already!! :D Thanks for reading Chris, and for the awesome feedback.

Okay on to the update that nobody wants to read; awkward W/T. :(

 Post subject: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 1:14 am 
7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 11:04 am
Posts: 693
Topics: 1
Title: Neverland
Author: EasierSaid a.k.a. Heather
Feedback: Bites lip and whispers "yes, please."
Spoilers: None.
Setting: AU. There is no Hellmouth, there is no slayer and no magic of the wicca variety. Just our girls and the rest of the Buffy characters living and loving in that great city by the bay, San Francisco.
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Please don't sue me Mutant Enemy.
Notes: The 20th-Century Art Book is real, and is distributed by Phaidon Press. The update is also real, although most of you are probably gonna wish it wasn't when it's done (so, so sorry). Low point before the tide turns, I promise. :(

Thoughts in italics


Willow returned home Sunday night exhausted.

Stupid traffic... She mumbled internally as she sluggishly climbed the stairs to her front door. The strap of her overnight bag dug painfully into her right shoulder, and she cursed under her breath when she had to place the paper bag she was carrying in her left hand on the floor. She freed her keys from her front pocket, then fumbled with the lock, sighing in relief when she heard the contraption click eventually. She opened the door, picked up the paper bag, and wearily entered the apartment.

It was quiet. Willow held her breath, stretching her senses to identify whether the blonde was home. After a long moment of stillness she exhaled, shut and locked the door, and tossed her keys on the secretary table, satisfied that she was alone. She crossed the main room to the stairs and ascended slowly. All her body wanted her to do, was crawl into bed and sleep, only she couldn't, not at this early hour. 8 p.m.--too late to take a nap, too early to go to bed for the night. Besides, she didn't really want to go to sleep. Sleeping would mean missing Tara, and she desperately wanted to see the blonde tonight.

She opened the door to her room and dropped the overnight bag on the floor next to her closet with a thud. She crossed to her desk, gently laying the paper bag on the flat surface, then looked to the large numbers on her alarm clock, trying to decide how to proceed with what was left of her evening. After a long moment of thought, she turned, grabbed a towel and headed for the bathroom.

She turned the shower nozzles, testing the spraying water with an outstretched hand, and then stripped as the room began to steam up. She entered the shower and sighed as the warm water hit her stiff shoulders. Two hours to get from Gilroy to San Jose... She took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. She had wanted to be home by dinner to spend some time with the blonde, maybe, sort of, apologize for her behavior on Friday, but instead had spent the time sitting still on Highway 101, bored out of her mind, half listening to spanish radio. Willow fully stepped into the stream and brought her hands up to slick back her now-wet hair. She sighed contentedly, the water slowly, soothingly taking away the ache acquired from long hours spent in the car.

She took her time washing away the drive, remembering to use her body gel, and not the bar of soap she had accidently used the previous Friday morning. What a nightmare that had been. She had been so flustered, so freaked out by her dream that she didn't realize that it was Tara's soap she had picked up, that it was Tara's fragrance she was rubbing into her body. The mistake meant the redhead had essentially worn the blonde's scent for the day, a fact that made it impossible for her to escape from thinking about the woman already haunting her mind.

Tara, but not Tara... Willow thought. The soap's scent had smelled slightly different on her skin, not as sweet as it was on the blonde. She remembered now that she had meant to look that up, how much a person's natural body chemistry could affect how scents like perfume would smell on different people... She made a mental note to google 'scent body chemistry' tomorrow.

She shook her head as her mind wandered back to how the soap mixup had caused her to teeter on an emotional precipice all Friday. How she had been torn between being frustrated to tears by the blonde's clean, vanilla scent on every inch of her skin, and revelling in the comforting completeness of it all. How many times during that excruciatingly long day had she just closed her eyes and buried her face in the crook of her elbow, inhaling deeply? The soap's scent on *her* skin was a poor substitute for being near Tara, but the sensation was close enough to aggravate her then-fragile mental state.

After a good half an hour enjoying the warm water and meandering thoughts, Willow finally stepped out of the shower. She quickly towel-dried her hair, patted down her body and returned to her room, dirty clothes in hand. She deposited the clothes and wet towel in her hamper, then dressed in loose-fitting gray sweatpants, socks and a well-worn M.I.T. t-shirt. The shower had reinvigorated her a bit, and she decided to head downstairs. She crossed to the paper bag on her desk and removed a small book, and smaller box. She then crossed to her overnight bag, where she removed her laptop. Items in hand, she headed downstairs.

She padded down the stairs, listening for the blonde and again heard nothing. The apartment was dark as she emerged into the main room, the sun having set completely, and she flipped a few random switches in an effort to sufficiently illuminate the space. One switch lit up the small track lights framing the painting over the fireplace. Willow stopped and stared. So amazing... she thought before frowning, remembering her earlier inability to just *say that*. She placed the laptop, book and box on the kitchen counter, then walked over to and opened the fridge, pulling out a bottle of water. She twisted the cap off, closed the fridge door and took a long pull from the bottle.

Should I? She debated. Tara's not home... it's the perfect time to do it. She looked side to side, wide-eyed, comically visually reassuring herself of the blonde's absence. But what if she comes home and I'm all, there in the living room, and she just, walks in on me, catches me? Willow frowned deeply. Would it really be that bad? She sighed and took another long pull of water, her active mind envisioning every potential consequence. After a long moments hesitation, she put on her resolve face and moved to the counter. She grabbed the neatly stacked items she had brought down with her, moved to the space between the couch and coffee table, and sat down.

She arranged her items carefully before her; the small book in her lap, the box to her left, and her computer to her right. She opened the laptop's lid, the machine coming to life, and with a few taps on the touchpad, opened a browser. Google loaded, she turned back to the painting. She then looked down to her lap, pulled her knees to her chest, and opened the book.

'The 20th-Century Art Book.' She had bought it in Sunnydale while window shopping with Xander Saturday afternoon. They had wandered into a bookshop about two blocks from the diner, and she had seen it propped up on a stand. She had flipped through it in the store, and upon recognizing several works that seemed to share Tara's style, bought it. Xander sighed dramatically upon seeing the book's title, but Willow knew, despite his protestations to the contrary, that she needed it, needed to learn something about Tara's craft before she felt comfortable enough to talk to the blonde about her work.

Willow turned the pages slowly, letting her eyes roam over the images featured on each page. She stopped as one of the works caught her eye; a mess of colorful paint, haphazard but beautiful. Like Tara's paintings. "Ayers, Gillian." Willow read aloud. "Her works are often devoid of specific subject matter, but the balance of colors reflects the artist's emotions, or the feelings evoked by a particular time or place."

Willow's brow furrowed and she looked up at Tara's painting. Is that what Tara's painting is, some sort of, emotional snapshot? She took in the painting as a whole, and then in parts, trying to identify the elusive emotion. Joy? Willow guessed, realizing immediately that if the blonde said "rage" she'd see that just as easily. She shook her head, reconsidering the 'emotional snapshot' angle, then looked back to the painting in the book. It *sort of* looked like Tara's work, as it definitely swirled and clashed, the paint thick on the canvas...

She turned to her computer, typed 'Gillian Ayers' into the search box and hit return, the newly loaded page showing several different paintings. Willow frowned. Okay, so not like Tara's stuff. The paintings on the page were colorful, abstract to be sure, but more... Kindergarten-y. Or folky. Or... not like Tara's work at all.

Willow returned to the book and flipped through the pages until she came to Diebenkorn. Too neat. Willow dismissed. Tara's work is more... passionate. Kinda messy, but in a beautiful, deliberate way. Willow rolled her eyes. That makes no sense... she chastised herself. "Messy, but deliberate"...? "Pffft."

She continued on with the book, growing slightly more frustrated and cranky as each artist was close, but not quite right. Hoffman, Johns, Jorn; nope, nope, nope, Willow sighed. Her forehead knit together in confusion as she read the book's description of Per Kirkeby's 'Birds Buried in Snow'. "Kirkeby's paintings... are frequently highly expressive and gestural." What? Willow thought, how can an inanimate object be 'gestural'? What, is the paint just gonna suddenly, move around? She accented her thought with a twirl of her wrist. She exhaled, exasperated by her inability to break the book's code, and rested her head back on the couch cushion, the book resting against her stomach in her lap. Gestural. Gestural. Gestures.

Her mind wandered at that and she stared off into space. She eventually turned her head and looked at the box on the table, then sat up, reached over and removed the lid. Resting on the spun cotton cushion was a blue, glass beaded bracelet. Willow gently ran her fingers over it, and smiled.

It was a gift for Tara. To show how sorry she was about Friday, although I won't say that. Willow thought, frowning. Something more positive, like, it's a good luck gift for the gallery opening. The beads were smooth under her fingertips, and she imagined how it would look on Tara's slim wrist. It wasn't fancy, in fact some might describe it as 'funky'--Buffy--Willow smiled to herself, but it was perfect for the blonde. The same color as her eyes, a color that would strikingly flatter her creamy skin. Willow sighed wistfully, returning the top of the box to its place, and reluctantly resumed studying.

She continued researching the various artists in the book for another hour; reading the blurbs, analyzing Tara's painting in relation to what she had read, and then searching the internet for additional works and insight. So many of the descriptions were puzzling; mumbo jumbo... Willow thought, her eyelids growing increasingly heavy. She felt herself wearing down, her bones weary and her mind mush, but Tara wasn't home yet... and she still had the bracelet to give her... She finally rested the book on the floor to her left under her leg, and let her head drift down and pillow on her crossed forearms on the table. I'll just shut my eyes for one minute... she thought, immediately slipping off into a deep sleep.


Tara distractedly spun her keys on her finger as she climbed the stairs to her front door. She was anxious about this being her last night alone before Willow returned; anxious because she still hadn't figured out how she would act around the redhead, what she would say when she saw the girl for the first time. Not that I'll even see her probably, what with all of the work I have to do for the gallery opening... She slipped the key into the lock with a deep sigh, turned her wrist and opened the door. Make up your mind Tara, do you want to see her or not?

Her thoughts about Willow disappeared as she entered the well-lit apartment. Did I leave all these lights on... she asked herself, perplexed. She closed the door, turned the lock, and just as she was swinging her hand to toss her keys onto the secretary table, she saw Willow. She froze, wide-eyed, keys in hand, her arm extended. Willow. But-- Red hair splayed across the coffee table, and Tara held her breath, waiting for the girl to sit up, turn and take her in. Only she didn't.

Tara's brow furrowed, and she took a couple of tentative steps forward. She had covered half the distance to the table when she heard it; the soft, gentle sound of Willow's deep, rhythmic breathing. The blonde relaxed a little, realizing the girl before her was asleep. Why is she sleeping on the coffee table? And what is she doing home now, she said 'see you Monday'... she thought confused, briefly letting her eyes wander over the box and open laptop on the table. She started to move forward to wake the girl, to lead her up the stairs to her bed, but she stopped short. What if that simple action leads to more awkwardness? Tara stood still for a long moment, conflicted. She finally turned for the stairs, her right foot touching the bottom step before she stopped again. She closed her eyes, then looked back at the sleeping girl. I can't leave her down here like this... her neck... Tara sighed, and walked back to wake Willow.

She stood about two feet from the redhead and loudly whispered, "Willow." There was no reply, so she tried again, a little louder. "Willow." Still no reply, and Tara frowned, annoyed that the girl hadn't stirred. She stepped closer, and laid a gentle hand on the sleeping girl's shoulder. "Willow." She again repeated, her hand slowly rubbing circles across the girl's t-shirt.

The redhead finally woke, and Tara took three large steps backward. "Tara?" Willow mumbled sitting up, confused. "Ow." She winced as she stretched, bringing her right hand up to rub a crick in her neck. She turned and sheepishly looked at the blonde. "Hey..."

"Hey." Tara replied nervously. "I didn't want you to wake up all sore, so..."

"Too late." Willow said half smiling, half wincing. "What time is it?" She sleepily asked, bringing her hand down to feel along her left wrist for a watch she wasn't wearing, her somnolent eyes scanning the room for a clock.

"A little before 1." Tara replied, anxiously looking to the stairs.

"Oh." Willow replied. So Tara was out after midnight... on a Sunday... I wonder who with? "Late night?" She asked weakly, the vulnerability in her voice barely hidden.

Tara nodded, confusing the emotion in Willow's voice for drowsiness. "And going to be a long day tomorrow, so..." She again looked to the stairs.

"How was your weekend?" Willow asked quietly, as she reached over and picked up the box on the table.

"Um..." Tara stalled, pursing her lips and wondering why in the world Willow wanted to know. "It was good, a lot of gallery stuff." she replied, playing things safe.

"Good." Willow said, smiling softly, her fingers playing with the edges of the box, as she tried to think of the words she'd need to say before offering it to the girl standing to her right.

"How was yours?" Tara asked politely, shifting her weight from one foot to the other, somewhat dreading the redhead's answer.

Willow smiled warmly at the girl's inquiry. "Good," she nodded. "My parents were out of town so I spent the weekend with Xander." Tara's jaw set at the mention of the man's name, but Willow failed to notice the blonde stiffen, too preoccupied with the box in her hand. "It was really good; I think he's gonna come up and visit in a few weeks."

"Great." Tara grinded out.

Willow studied the box in her hands. "We went window shopping and--"

"I'm sorry, Willow?" Willow looked up at the blonde, her eyebrows raised innocently as she waited for her roommate to continue. Tara took in the surprised look on the redhead's face and almost said 'nevermind' so the girl could continue with her story... but, I can't stand here and listen to her gush about Xander, not right now, not after this weekend... "I'd, um, I'd love to hear about your weekend," she began, "but, I have a really long day tomorrow, so... I think I should get to bed." Tara said apologetically, thumbing toward the stairs behind her.

"Oh." Willow replied, "okay, yeah." She ducked her head to hide her disappointment as she stood, pressing the box in her hand to her stomach. "I should probably get to bed, too... work tomorrow, well today, and all."

Tara nodded, and catching Willow's eye, offered a weak half smile as she backed up to the stairs. "Well... goodnight."

"Night." Willow replied, automatically.

Tara turned and hurriedly headed up the stairs, not at all happy with how the awkward conversation had gone, but thrilled beyond belief that she had made it out of there without having to hear the redhead describe in any detail the time she had spent with the dark haired man. She entered her room, closing the door behind her, and flounced on the bed, burying her face in the down comforter. Oh no, my life's not confusing at all... she thought before rising with a huff and changing for bed.

Willow, meanwhile, looked down at the items around her, stunned by the blonde's fast exit. Her space screensaver swirled on her laptop, and the art book laid on the rug by her feet. She leaned over, collecting both the book and the laptop, and without any intelligent thought on why Tara had left so quickly, switched off the lights, and headed off to bed.

Edited by: EasierSaid at: 9/15/04 1:32 am

 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 3:48 am 
YAY!!!! Update!!!! did create a monster....I was about to write a note [insert big name/title here] and complain about lack of update yesterday!!!!!! ;)

And...this update...sooooooooooooo frutrating!!! Can I please hit one (or both) of them and just....MAKE them see!?!??!?! ARG!!!!!! :lol :lol :lol .....Can't wiat for next update:D


:peace :heart


 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 4:42 am 
Argh! :fit2

That's exactly it, they both want more than just co-existing and saying 'hi' at meals, but they're both afraid of ending up without even that. Tara was so sure that "I went shopping with Xander-" was going to go on "-and he's so dreamy, blah blah blah, I wish he'd notice me" - which would be torture for her to sit through - that she didn't let herself risk it. So she never found out that the rest of the sentence was "-and I bought you this, and I'm gay and I love you and let's kiss." Or, you know, words to that general effect :)

I can understand Tara's anxiety though - been there. Sigh.

But on an uplifting note - even if it is simultaneously frustrating - Willow's got more ability to appreciate Tara's art than she realises. Sure she may not know how 'gestural' applies to painting (heck, I don't), she hasn't got the jargon, but she's getting the point - she can look at 'just paint' and see passion and beauty. She just doesn't have any confidence in herself to express it, which I guess is understandable - art appreciation can get hella technical. But it's so sad, cause Tara's surely just the kind of artist for whom "passionate, and messy but on purpose, and beautiful" would have more meaning than any amount of dry jargon pulled out of a book.

Oh well... we'll just have to give it time, I guess. Both Willow and Tara keep trying, fitfully and half-panicky, but they try. Sooner or later they've *got* to reach out to each other at the same time, just by the law of averages. Don't they?

Chris Cook

Through the Looking-glass

A Willow and Tara for every world.

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