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

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:52 pm 
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Heather,

I loved the way you wrote this. The opening scene of Tara waiting is very good; you conveyed her almost unbearable tension so well. Then Willow gets home. The balance of joy and some sadness was just right. You included a large number of revelations in a short time but it felt natural rather than a plot device to clear the decks for a happy ending. Their honesty shows how both characters have grown – they’re coming to understand at last that being truthful about themselves is the way to happiness.

It was great to read Willow facing her fear and acting with determination. At last, she cuts through all the confusion with a simple declaration. She’s lovely here – intensely serious, then relaxing into her eager, awkward, endearing self, blurting out whatever’s on her mind.

Quote:
I don’t like Morgan, at all.


That made me laugh. It’s so childishly blunt and random.

The humour was an unexpected bonus.

Willow and Tara’s (rapid) agreement that they had gone on the requisite number of dates to allow them to go to bed was inspired.

Tara, once her shock and disbelief has worn off a little, is also determined. She refuses to let Willow’s remorse distract them from what’s important.

I thought it was absolutely necessary for Tara to understand how different Willow is to Jill. The Plan may have been disastrous in some aspects, but it’s left Tara in no doubt as to Willow’s intentions towards her.

When I began reading Neverland I thought it was a fantastic romance and I couldn’t wait for the happy ending. But the reason it’s held my attention over the years is your writing of both the characters’ evolution and of all their relationships, not just the love story between Tara and Willow.

I really liked reading the different reactions to Buffy’s actions. Only nuanced, complex characterisation could evoke such divergent opinions and that’s a great compliment to your writing. I strongly suspected that your view of Buffy would be much more sympathetic than that of some of us and I was fascinated to read your analysis of her behaviour.

When I said that I’d thought that Buffy would put her feelings aside in the circumstances I wasn’t suggesting that she should lie and pretend not to be hurt. Dishonesty, (often with the best of intentions) is the root cause of everyone’s problems in this story. Buffy’s hurt and humiliation when she heard about Xander’s role were entirely understandable.

I think many of us need our friends to reinforce the positive aspects of our characters; the parts we are proud of and hope and believe are true. Buffy needed Willow to be the person who trusted her, confided in her and looked to her for support. What Buffy heard was Willow demolishing that idea.

But I hoped that her concern for Willow would be stronger than anything else, that she could hold back her gut reaction and therefore allow them to really communicate and untangle all the misunderstandings.

Instead, she reacted instantly, shutting out Willow and turning inwards, completely absorbed in her own feelings and her own past. I agree entirely that Buffy reacts to the highlighting of a perceived flaw in her own character. It is all about her. If Buffy had really listened to her friend, if she had given her the chance to talk instead of attacking her, she would have realised that Willow’s deception was, for the most part, due to her own failings, not Buffy’s. She would also have realised that Willow was in fact longing for her support, instead of assuming that it wasn’t wanted or needed. Her switch in focus is so total; she forgets that Willow was sobbing in her arms moments before.

At what point is being there for a friend in need damaging to your own emotional/mental well-being? Is a really good question, but I’m not sure it applies to Buffy here. Her self-absorption hasn’t protected her – just the opposite. By prioritising herself, she’s gained some space and some temporary relief but it’s left her mired in unhappy memories and self-doubt. Her impulsive decision to ask Willow to leave has cut her off from the very reassurance she needs. If Buffy had managed to stop thinking about Buffy, the conversation would surely have ended on a much more positive note for both of them.

I think that people who are self-obsessed invariably end up hurting themselves more than others. Buffy can’t see past her own feelings, so she can’t see that Willow’s behaviour is not a judgement on her.

No matter how you try and qualify it, ‘I think you should go’ is a rejection and Willow is stunned by it. Because Buffy is obsessing about Willow’s opinion of her, instead of actually thinking about Willow, because of her fear that she is a bad friend, she actually behaves like a bad friend. It’s horribly self-defeating.

I certainly have sympathy for Buffy. She’s hurt, angry and isolated. And she has yet to learn that Tara has lied to her for the past three years too.

I doubt the breach will last for long. Willow’s dreams have just come true. I think she’ll take all the blame on herself for Buffy’s actions and try to make it up to her. She’ll focus on the initial warmth of her friend’s reaction, not what followed, but I’m not so sure that Buffy will be able to.

It must be strange to have readers view your characters, (and you have made them your own in Neverland), in the story you’ve written, in a different light from you, but that’s what happens in good writing. Complex characters with convincing and credible motivations create complicated, diverse reactions.

Thank you, Heather. I’m looking forward to a few more chapters at least, partly because I don’t want Neverland to end, but mainly because I want to see how all the characters react to Willow and Tara together.

Clare

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:59 pm 
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I looooove this story! Is there going to be any more?!??!? That was such a climax! I can't believe it finally happened. I'm still waiting for Tara to wake up, just as you've always done in the past hahaha.

Thank you! :applause

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:26 am 
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Heather – Whew. This is like a very long exhale to me. Like everyone can exhale. Willow. You. Your readers. Very whew…

The beginning paragraphs about Tara are just… Really awesome. She knows what is coming. Or that something is coming. And she waits. I’m assuming you intend the parallel to NMR but if not, it draws nicely. Of course, I always saw that Tara as a bit too passive for my liking. This one seems much more mature. And of course she knows what is coming. Or knows something is coming
Quote:
She had never been more relieved to see anyone in her life. She took a moment to soak it all in; the last moment before everything changed.
. I love that she knows.

But then I truly love the way Willow takes the conversation away from her mom and back to Friday night. Well done. And then really taking control by telling Tara she loved her. I’m glad that the verb is “spoke” rather than “blurted” or “whispered” or even “intoned” or something. It’s direct. It’s clear. It’s true.

Quote:
"I am, in love with you." Willow said, pausing slightly before continuing, her voice feeble and halting. "Gay, and in love with you..."
So that’s out there. In the room. In the world.

Quote:
“I wanted to kiss you Friday, so much, but I just had this, plan, this big stupid plan and it wasn't in the plan so I sort of freaked because I thought I had to tell my mom first and tell Buffy first, like they deserved to know before I could get involved with anyone, that I had to tell them before I could get involved with you because you deserved to be with someone who was out, not someone all closeted and afraid and…”
This makes me really happy. Really happy. This is the first time I’ve ever felt that the biggest thing for Willow was that she be out for Tara. In the past, I’ve always gotten that it was part of her plan but not that it was about being out because of Tara’s past with Jill. So that’s a good. A very good.

Ironically it seems with Maria Bello and Tom Daly “coming out” and I don’t remember who else, that being “gay”, claiming “gay” has become a bit passé. Apparently the 20-somethings don’t like labels or rules. My wife is a therapist and she told me that it’s now a thing that you can be a straight woman with a girlfriend or a bisexual man who only dates men or even a lesbian in a relationship with a man. So… times have changed.

Yay kissing. What else to say about that?

Quote:
They pulled apart and Tara quickly spoke. “I love you.” She immediately said it again, unsure whether she’d said it the first time or merely dreamed it. “I love you.”
Done.

Quote:
"I've been in love with you forever, I just, I didn't know how to get to a place where I could say it."
Well said. And then Tara’s compassion is pretty incredible. She can let her three years of pain and longing just sort of fall away. Wow.

The conversation about Xander is sort of cute. She doesn’t come out and say “ick, boys!” but still. I do like their working through (without being too minute) the week – trip to Anya’s with hearts on scraps of paper, coming to see the paintings, Morgan being ideal, texting with Xander at the party, …

The date. Still working through a plan our Willow. It’s cute.

Quote:
“You know, if you think about it," Tara said, her voice surprising them both. "W-We've kind of been dating for a while." A shocked smile exploded on Willow's face as Tara voiced the thought she thought had been a secret. "D-Dinners, a concert–"

"Oh, coffee!" The redhead blurted happily, cluing in on where Tara was going with her line of logic. Her heart started to beat harder, faster.
Now you’re thinking!

Quote:
"I don't kno–" Willow's hand reached up and fondled Tara's left breast, and the blonde moaned in appreciation.
"Enough for that to be okay?" The redhead asked, her hand squeezing again.
It’s cute because of the discussion of the dates but also… Willow’s a breast woman – going right for 2nd base.

Quote:
"It was just feeling a little, too, good." Her brow quirked and she willed the blonde to understand.

"Oh," Tara said, understanding clearly. Her own blush deepened. She had been close, too.

"I just." Willow stopped, collecting her thoughts. "I don't want our first time to be a quickie. I want it to be, a longie." The redhead looked at the blonde and smiled sweetly. "I want all of you."
Yeah. I don’t even know what to say to add to that so I’ll go with well done.

Quote:
"Stop kissing you,” Willow murmured. "I don't want to ever stop kissing you." She reached up and kissed the blonde again.


And there you go…

On first read I was sort of surprised at how fast this all seemed to go. But I’ve now read it about five times and I think it’s pretty perfect. It’s exactly as fast as it needs to go. At this point, it would have been silly and torturous for Willow to drag it out and for Tara not to respond would have been silly as well. I can imagine that you’ve got some wrapping it up to do here: mending with Buffy, future mending with Sheila, letting Xander and Marissa & Michelle know and their celebrations for their friends. I sort of can’t wait for Tara to tell Willow about both paintings – Just Paint and the new masterpiece.

So what else is there to say? Well done. You are clearly near the end of a very long and wonderful road. Congratulations.

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Last edited by JustSkipIt on Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:24 am 
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It's strange, but even though I know these notifications I'm getting of an update in this forum are going to be feedback, I keep coming and reading...I'm loving everyone's reactions. Deb, I love your little typo, whether or not it was intentional. It made my head explode, figuratively. ;) I actually couldn't wait to see your thoughts on the latest installment. What a great thing Neverland is, making us feel like we're part of something and entertaining us all at once. Thanks again, Heather. :)


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:18 am 
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On about my 4th (or 9th) reread, I happened to look at this:

Quote:
And thank you so much for the good thoughts about our baby on the way! I am filled with excitement and trepidation all the time and at the same time!! I have been writing a pregnancy blog of sorts http://www.ababyforsappho.weebly.com so if you'd like to drop by and leave some wisdom, that would be awesome!!

Thank you so much, Heather!
Jen


Jen - Very very congratulations! That is fantastic news.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:30 pm 
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Okay. I'm gonna be honest here. When they kissed, I started crying- happy tears. This has been such an amazing journey, following our girls through the twists and turns of your story up to this point, and I think I was almost as happy as they were to get there. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT GORGEOUS MOMENT- I couldn't have imagined it any better myself. :clap :clap :clap

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:40 pm 
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Wow. Just, wow. I don't even know where to start. Honestly, it's so surreal to have Willow and Tara finally together it feels a bit like a dream even though it isn't one. I think I'm a little unsure how I feel. I'm so happy they have finally declared their love for each other, but at the same time that means Neverland is closer to ending. And that sounds silly since it's been such a long journey, but honestly it feels like we're living right along with your Willow and Tara at this point, and as much as I love where the story is now, I don't want it to ever end. Yet I do want it to end. Because it will be beautiful. I know this because it has been so beautiful up to this point and you have handled our girls with such care, love and realism. God that makes no sense, sorry for being all over the place. I imagine a lot of the kittens feel conflicted.

I especially love the way you built tension in the beginning of this part - it worked really well and the image of Tara sitting there wait for Willow was perfect. Their conversation was achingly sweet and so true to their cannon personalities. I'll echo a lot of the feedback I've seen so far - it couldn't of been done any other way. Everything about it was perfect and just as I hoped it would be (though I wasn't capable of imagining it until you painted it for us).

I found myself chuckling a few times as well, and I love how you managed to infuse humor in such a serious situation in a very real way. It was a great balance to the build up of all the emotion and anticipation that Willow and Tara have been bottling/saving.

Such an amazing update, by far one of the best yet, and I cannot wait for more. Wonderful, wonderful job. There just are no more words for how perfect it was. xoxo

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:50 am 
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Oh my goddess... feel accomplished. Feel very very accomplished :kgeek :bow Heather, after close to 10 years our girls are finally together :banana :eatme :pinky :wtkiss :grin This has been one crazy, amazing ride and I feel like these girls have been apart of my life this whole time. I made the mistake of reading this (and the previous) post on my break at work... I think that squealing, crying, and generally freaking out in a Starbucks lobby isn't much appreciated.... But how could you not when you read something that incredible!! :happycry I am so impressed with how smoothly their love confession played out. You lead us all in with bated breath and gave us the most amazing moment we could have hoped for. They hugged, kissed, cried, laughed, and spilled everything that had been going on for the last 2 weeks plus...oh, about 3-5 years. Very well written. :applause

Quote:
"I love you."

The words shattered the silence around them and Tara's heart constricted so fast that it stole her breath. She felt the blood drain from her face, felt her extremities go cold. She couldn’t have heard that right. Because it sounded like Willow had just said that–


I may have started crying then...

Quote:
“I really love you in that shirt,” the redhead finally said, her fingers tracing the side seam of the blonde’s white peasant top and Tara laughed, some of the tension and sadness lifted.

The blonde ran her fingers along one of Willow’s belt loops and met her eye. “Those are my favorite jeans.”

Willow’s eyebrows rose and Tara arched her own brow in response. The redhead blushed, a bright, embarrassed smile pulling at her lips, her tongue pushed forward and pressed against her teeth and the blonde almost melted; the girl before her was so endearing.


And I may have chuckled/laughed so loud that my co-workers were wondering what I was reading from across the room... Totally reminds me of my partner and me.

Quote:
"I don't kno–" Willow's hand reached up and fondled Tara's left breast, and the blonde moaned in appreciation.
"Enough for that to be okay?" The redhead asked, her hand squeezing again.


hahaha....breast gal :grin

Quote:
Once she did, the redhead blushed. "I was just." She sighed, her blush deepening and she rolled her eyes. "It was just feeling a little, too, good." Her brow quirked and she willed the blonde to understand.

"Oh," Tara said, understanding clearly. Her own blush deepened. She had been close, too.

"I just." Willow stopped, collecting her thoughts. "I don't want our first time to be a quickie. I want it to be, a longie." The redhead looked at the blonde and smiled sweetly. "I want all of you."


This is my favorite :applause :-D As much as I wanted that scene to continue, I knew I wanted more for Tara and Willow. With all that Willow went through to not be like Jill, I love that Willow needed Tara to know she wanted all of her. or a longie :haha So perferct for Willow I can't even start :haha

I can not wait to see where you take our girls next :wink :wtkiss

On another note....... My partner and I told my parents last night that we're getting married........*tries not to cry*..... My mom said what we were both hoping for. "If that's what makes you happy, then I'm happy. I just want you to be happy." Then she proceeded to directly avoid eye contact which hadn't been a thing the entire time we just spent having dinner together. My dad.... I don't remember him actually saying anything after I started speaking. He might have said, "Well then..." but all I remember is he was very purposefully not looking at me and then I couldn't handle looking seeing him that way. Jess says that he looked like he was going to start crying. I believe it because the second I was done talking he excused himself to get the car he parked a ways out and abruptly left. We went to their house to watch a show and my dad didn't even come out of the garage much less say two words. I didn't stop sobbing the entire way home and then some. I don't want to burden you with sad things. Especially with the incredibly happy nature of this post, but the part where Willow came out to her mom was playing in my mind a lot last night. I could pretty much feel Willow's same devastation in every cell of my body. But look at where she is now. She did the extremely hard parts and now she has the extremely good parts :luv2 I just wanted you to know that your story has helped so unbelievably much. It gave me courage and strength.

Thank you Heather

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:51 am 
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Heather,
I have missed commenting on several updates—alas, the end of the semester, finals, and my Christmas trip to see family tend to play havoc with my ability to keep up with much of anything beyond the essentials. I had hoped to make some progress over break, but did not. (Aside: the flu sucks. A lot.) And then I got all of 3000 words into my feedback for 71 when you posted 72.

Based on the sounding of the pipsburg alarm (which may not always go off, but when it does, it tends to be a good indicator), I’m not going to try to completely catch up here. But dammit I’m going to start.

Chapter 71:
One of the things I have always loved about this story is that you don’t brush aside the mundane and work-related aspects of their lives. The characters have the kind of problem real humans do: the conflict of work and personal life, the conflicting opinions of different friends. You may fast forward through these aspects, but their influence on the story is real and important.

Therefore, it feels completely fitting that this chapter opens with a scene about moving the painting. Here we are, between two major scenes in the climax of Willow’s coming out story, and we take a moment to examine how Tara and her friends go about moving her painting. But you manage to do it without destroying the pacing. It addresses a practical problem that Tara has, but also gives the reader a respite before the scene between Willow and Buffy.

Tara’s waking, and her subsequent panic, is an interesting moment. For me, the dramatic irony played an interesting role in how it felt. I knew where Tara was, and that Willow had been called, so I didn’t go through any of Tara’s panic with her. Her experience came off to me as more . . . adorable, honestly. Like watching a flustered loved one, when you’ve already preempted whatever problem she’s currently exploding about. (I’ve thought about rewriting this story from one perspective, as an exercise. Maybe structured like Fingersmith. It would be extremely different, I know, but I can’t quite picture how it would feel without at least outlining it.)

The whole situation with how Willow and Tara haven’t texted is interesting. Deb commented on it, I know. And today, I think it would feel a lot stranger. But here, I feel like it’s a sign of the time: texting was a lot less ubiquitous, at least among adults, back when a phone with a full qwerty keyboard was a thing people marveled over. (Also, I know it picked up in the US after it had in Europe and Asia.) It feels like Willow has jumped on the texting bandwagon, and she’s dragged Buffy and Xander into that world along with her. But not Tara (well, not yet). It’s a bigger deal, that barrier between texting and not. And until these two days, it hasn’t mattered: they leave their adorable little dead-tree paper notes. At least, that’s how it’s come across to me. I was still in undergrad at the time, and my peers and I were in a different economic class.

Five points for Gryffindor for the correct use of “nauseated,” rather than “nauseous.”

Quote:
Anya called roughly an hour later to say that of course Tara could borrow the truck, anything for a customer buying that much paint, and besides, they were friends.

I love this line. Anya may have an atypical set of social rules she follows, but she does adhere to her own rules. Despite the discussion the night before about renting the truck from Anya, here we have Anya happy to use her resource to benefit Tara. It’s the sort of detail that reminded me that Anya and Tara have a real friendship, rather than leaving me, like Willow, wondering what the hell Tara is doing spending her time with Anya. It’s the kind of detail that also fits with the second half of the chapter, and the questions it raises about what friendship looks like.

I found myself rather pleased about the fingerprints during transport. I mean, you went to a lot of work establishing how problematic it would be to move, giving us a sense of how both fragile and massive the painting is. And I know that a series of prints that Tara could easily fix is a trivial incident; that that was the only damage is remarkable/the stuff of fiction. But it impressed me how that detail, the slipup that Tara fixed, made it feel more real. Well done.

Quote:
Three calls, all from Xander. She exhaled slowly. She owed him a call.

I found this remarkable not for what you wrote, but what you didn’t. Sheila didn’t call. Yet Willow doesn’t think about it, doesn’t notice the absence. I mean, I’m happy for her that she doesn’t get that little stab to the gut, but at the same time, it’s sad. I mean, with time, I expect Willow to come to terms with what happened with Sheila. But here, Willow hasn’t. Her decision not to rehash it with Xander makes sense: she’s conserving her energy for the big things she has to do later. But to not feel it when she sees her mother hasn’t called? More than anything in this scene, that detail made me feel that Willow is just completely defeated.

Another thing I found noticeably missing in this scene was Willow rehearsing. She thinks about Buffy’s reaction—what with the cheese omelet and the “morbid fascination”—but not about what she’s going to say. For me, this came across as a symptom of her defeat: that things were doomed, and that there wasn’t anything she could do about it. That rehearsing for coming out to her mom hadn’t done any good, so why should she here? I really think of Willow as someone who prepares for these sorts of things, who practices conversations. And later, there’s reference to how Willow has prepared for this in the past. So I’m curious if this was an intentional violation of expectations to communicate Willow’s mood (or something else), or if it just happened.

I really loved the two paragraphs about the notes. The importance of Willow not just having read the note, but having held it; I love the physicality of the paper notes. And then Tara’s response to the valediction. Also, valediction is one of my favorite words. Tara’s note had such a different impact, reinforcing Willow’s feelings of guilt. But here we get that delightful schmoopy (to borrow a word from Sass) reaction that makes the whole “the girls are finally getting together” thing feel real. (Also, you wanted “soothe,” not “sooth.”)

I noticed, when Willow was home after her conversation with Sheila, that Willow was cold. And it made me think about how Tara kicked up the thermostat every day so Willow would be comfortable, and therefore the place would feel colder because Tara had left in a rush that morning. And the detail just delighted me, that Tara’s absence resulted in Willow being physically colder. Very poetic. So here, when Tara notices that it’s cold, and changes the thermostat . . . well, it made me feel like it wasn’t just me, and that it was really there.

And then, the meat of the chapter: Willow and Buffy’s scene.

As I said before, I really feel for both Willow and Buffy in this scene. Yet, there seems to be a lot of disagreement on the interpretation of this scene in the comments. I don’t really remember such a divergence of opinion since the update after the flinch. I think it would be confusing for me, as a writer, to see such division—unless I’d tried for it. I think it would be valuable to understand why people took it the way they did. So, with that in mind, here’s how I interpreted this scene.

First, both girls walk into the situation in sorry shape, emotionally. Willow’s situation we know pretty well, because we’ve observed it. She has just come out—disastrously—to her mother, then had hours alone to sit and stew about what happened and what was coming. She’s defeated, but still going through with her plan—she doesn’t even consider not having this conversation with Buffy right now. But she is in no way prepared for the conversation, just unwilling to stop pulling the band aid off halfway. So, I’d put her at about “complete wreck.”

Then there’s Buffy. We’ve seen less of her, so it’s not as clear that she’s pretty fragile at the moment, but I think it’s there.

Let’s start with the easy part: she’s been traveling for at least 10 hours. (Buffy’s flight into San Francisco came in at noon; not a direct flight, but through Denver. That’s 6:40 total fly time, plus a sane layover in Denver during the winter . . . let’s say 1:20 to make the math easy, that’s eight hours since takeoff from Boston, plus getting to the airport in time for security . . . she easily left Cambridge ten hours earlier.) Buffy is an early bird, so a ~5:00 am (eastern) departure from Dawn’s may be less a struggle for her than it is for me, but unless you’re a frequent traveler, ten hours of airport bullshit is still probably tiring and stressful. Somehow, I don’t picture Buffy as someone who would be serene about airport security.

She’s also just spent an extended period of time with Dawn; overall positive, but stressful.

Then, there’s the situation with her friends. My understanding is that, traditionally, Buffy counts herself as having three best friends: Xander, Tara, and Willow. Things with Xander, well, we don’t know the details, but the one interaction we’ve seen has been awkward, and we know there have been a number of fights. We don’t know the exact status here, but at least a little shaky. How about things with Tara? Well, Tara’s conversations the past week have increased the isolation of being away from her normally busy social life in San Francisco. Then there was the fight on Friday; where Buffy “stuck [her] foot in [her] mouth and proceeded to hurt [Tara’s] feelings.” The one about which Buffy wouldn’t blame Tara for not accepting an apology. So, things are on the rocks with best friend number two. And then there’s Willow. Willow who has been avoiding Buffy, whose standoffishness has not only fed Buffy’s feelings of isolation, but was bad enough to fuel a belief that Willow must be angry with her. So, things are also on the rocks with best friend number three.

I think of Buffy as someone who prides herself on being a good friend. This assumption may be based as much or more on show-Buffy rather than Neverland-Buffy, but I think a lot of her self-esteem is tied up in her ability to be there others (e.g., her friends, Dawn). I think of it is central to her narrative about her self. And the way Buffy reacts in this scene really reinforced that idea for me: it ties together her reactions.

So, I see Buffy entering this scene as tired and stressed from travelling, nervous about her relationships with her friends, and dealing with an attack on a core part of who she thinks of herself as being.

In a perfect world, neither of them would be having a serious or important conversation in their respective states. This, of course, is not a perfect world. Willow needs to go confess her undying love for Tara before someone self-combusts. Before she can do that, she needs to come out to Buffy, both for her own sake and for Tara’s.

The prelude to their serious conversation shows signs of both of their emotional states: Buffy “effusively” going on about Boston and inviting Willow to go visit Dawn with her in the spring (connecting back to Buffy’s discussion with Tara about her guilt for not visiting Willow when she was at school there). Willow’s nerves, her feeling sick, her appearing withdrawn. They’re both miserable, and I could feel it through here. Buffy can clearly see that something’s wrong with Willow, but Willow doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary with Buffy. (Pure observation: not a value judgment, or even that Willow should see anything odd.)

Quote:
"About me being gay," Willow said simply. The redhead looked directly into her old friend's eyes. "I'm gay, Buffy."

"Oh," the petite blonde said, truly shocked. And then the words sunk in. "Oh..." So her gut feelings weren't always right. Her conversation with Tara on Friday… "Oh."

Willow waited patiently as the wheels in the petite blonde's brain obviously turned.

Buffy looked up and made eye contact. "Are you okay?"


Here we have Buffy at her finest: a touch smoother than the parallel moment in NMR—to be expected with her age and existing relationship with Tara—but fundamentally the same surprised but kind and accepting reaction. Buffy’s thoughts here are well done: economical but meaningful. The revelation has major consequences for her relationships with both Xander and (potentially) Tara. The phrasing here gives the feel that Buffy acknowledges these ideas, but then sets them aside to focus on Willow. This is the Buffy that Buffy pictures herself as being. And I think she’s right.

And this:
Quote:
“Does Tara know?"

"Tara...?" A crease formed between the redhead's eyes. "I, I haven't told her," Willow said as she wiped a few stray tears from her eyes, surprised by the question. On a list of first things Buffy would ask after inquiring after her mom, that was probably the last.

"But she suspects?" Buffy asked gently.

What…? Maybe?" Willow answered guiltily, still confused by Buffy’s line of questioning. Her flinch replayed in her mind and she swallowed down the sick feeling that had persisted since Friday night. Yes, she amended.

"Do you have feelings for her?" Buffy asked, and Willow felt the truth swell inside her.

"Yes," she said, her voice barely a whisper. She had to be honest.

This is just so sweet. (Also, the italics around “What . . . ?” need fixing: the “ and the [ got inverted is my guess.) Buffy has this information that Willow doesn’t expect her to have, and Buffy deals with it so well, asks the right questions, but gently. It’s just a lovely little moment.

Quote:
"When did you tell him?” Buffy asked.

And then that happened.

I know that Willow has tightly associated the issues of coming out and The Secret. And I understand why, that she wants done with the closet and all of the baggage that comes with it (not that her conversations with Sheila and Buffy actually eliminated that baggage). She made her plan to deal with both, and she’s going to go through with it. But I think it was a tactical error to try to do both. She’s in such a bad emotional place. For someone so obsessed with the “timing” of coming out, I just want her to see that this is a terrible time to discuss The Secret. I mean, okay, she doesn’t know what’s coming, but she does know that it’s going to bad. She doesn’t know that Buffy’s a wreck, but she does know that she’s a wreck. What’s more, she knew that she would be a wreck when she made her plan—it’s a bad plan.

I really wanted Willow to scrap her plan here, to say she really needed to go talk to Tara—what with the not having told Tara about her gayness and with the feelings for Tara. To save the rest of the conversation for when they were in better places.

Quote:
Willow took a deep breath. "I told him two years ago."

Of course she doesn’t. Not that I expected her to.

But how Willow goes about divulging The Secret . . . I think she could have done a lot to soften the blow to Buffy, things she didn’t do or even think to do because of the whole part where she’s a complete wreck. Here, she doesn’t warn Buffy that the blow is coming, doesn’t tell her that that’s something they need to talk about.

Quote:
Buffy’s jaw dropped. “Wow." She felt like she had been punched in the stomach.


I would have felt so differently about this scene were it not for the privilege into Buffy’s thoughts. I had honestly expected, when I came to this scene, that I would be telling Buffy to suck it up, and that it wasn’t that big a deal. Willow’s sexuality isn’t a big part of Buffy’s life, so why would not knowing about it be so bad, and hello Willow needs her right now. (Okay, yes, I talk to my computer screen, shut up.) And if all I had seen were her actions? I probably would have done just that. But this line is where things turned for me. It’s where I saw Willow’s revelation as undermining Buffy’s credibility as a friend, as a trustworthy person—at least as trustworthy as Xander. It just crystalized how fragile Buffy already was with regards to her good-friend-ness, and what a horrible moment this was to hear all this.

From here, the scene feels like watching a car crash. Their following conflict is just . . . momentum doing its worst. Neither one of them is in a position to alter course, or even to realize that they’re doing damage. Willow doesn’t know she’s hit a nerve, and it doesn’t feel like Buffy has an understanding of how desperately Willow needs Buffy’s approval here. Willow said the interaction with Sheila was “awful,” but I didn’t think (correctly, if I’m reading your feedback responses correctly) that Buffy imagined it to be “she said it was like I had died, then asked me to leave” bad, or that Buffy has a solid grasp on Willow’s fundamental need for approval. If Willow had actually gone into how bad it had been, or made a comment about how it felt like she had been disowned (not that this is what Sheila did), I think Buffy would have reacted a lot differently.

Something that really helped me like Buffy through this interaction was how she conceded when Willow explained she had been confused or afraid. It felt like a major place where they weren’t communicating was over how Willow had spent the past two years afraid. Buffy says that “at some point” Willow decided to come out, but I don’t think she has any idea that it was only two (three?) weeks ago. Or that, by then, she wanted to tell her mom first. The way that you wrote Buffy as willing to accept Willow’s paralysis from fear and confusion, so long as Willow explicitly pointed out that was the reason for her behavior, kept Buffy as someone I viewed sympathetically.

In a way, the whole scene reminds me of the morning after the park. Buffy brought doughnuts, expecting to pay the toll for the “I stayed over at Riley’s and didn’t call” mistake, but faced a “scary naughty thoughts about a girl/seriously wanted to cheat/this never would have happened if you hadn’t ditched me” Willow. Buffy was correct amount of apologetic and contrite for what she knew she did, but couldn’t act based on Willow’s internal state. Here we have the opposite: Willow is apologetic for lying to Buffy, but is utterly unprepared for the “I was happy then, but then I fucked everything up by failing people/that was one of the worst times in my life/oh look how I’ve failed Willow now” reaction. Willow has no clue that she’s stepped on an emotional landmine, so she can’t take appropriate action—she’s not in a good emotional state, but I think she’d act differently if she knew what she had just done. And Buffy, too, doesn’t know how destroyed Willow is, how much she needs reassurance and approval after the incident with Sheila.

And Buffy calling Jim . . . that’s just so very Buffy, drowning her sorrows in men.

So, yes, I really loved the chapter, and admired how well you managed to, over the course of a short space, make a strong impact on how I saw Buffy through their conversation.


Chapter 72:
This update is so beautifully done. I basically want to put a big circle around the whole thing labeled “Yes.” I’m going to try really hard not to quote the whole thing.

Tara waiting at the window is so iconic. I’ve always really liked that moment, so I was pleased to see you use it. I love that she isn’t painting. You’ve shown us a Tara who deals with thinking and feeling by painting, but what she needs here is waiting. After dealing with how she was feeling via the giant painting, there isn’t any more she can do about the situation. It’s all about what happens when Willow gets home, and it feels like the least damaging thing she can do is try to keep herself on pause until that happens.

I love Tara’s movement to Willow, the varying speeds. I read somewhere Amber Benson talking about a scene where they did a million takes of her walking across a room, and I always assumed it was from this scene: when else would it be worth spending time on how she crossed a room? And so it was neat to the fast and then slow and the stopping. The indecisiveness, but still the desire for control, seems appropriate.

Quote:
She took a moment to soak it all in; the last moment before everything changed.

I like this—for all her desperation for the uncertainty to be resolved, she focuses on this last moment. She knows her life is about to pivot, but not whether it will be in a good direction.

Quote:
"Tara, about what I did on Friday night–"

You know, so much has happened that it’s hard to remember that their last interaction was the flinch. Well, and fallout.

And this.
Quote:
"It's okay,” the blonde said, bowing her head and nodding a few times, the action stopping Willow in her tracks.

"No, it's not,” the redhead said gently, standing several feet from the blonde. She had stopped to be respectful, but it was taking every thing she had to not just grab Tara’s hands, to launch into a fervent plea for forgiveness.

“I p-put you in an awkward position,” the blonde said to the floor, her voice sounding practiced.

“No,” Willow said, shaking her head. She just wanted Tara to look at her.

“And I’m s-sorry that I ran away,” the blonde continued, her head still bowed. “I sh-should have stayed and listened. Leaving w-wasn’t fair.”

“No,” Willow repeated, slightly shaking her head. This conversation; it felt just like the conversation with her mom. With Buffy. It was going all wrong, and this, this couldn't go wrong. Willow stared at the blonde, willing her to look up, and when the girl finally met her eye, she spoke.

"I love you."

The words shattered the silence around them and Tara's heart constricted so fast that it stole her breath. She felt the blood drain from her face, felt her extremities go cold. She couldn’t have heard that right. Because it sounded like Willow had just said that–

"I am, in love with you." Willow said, pausing slightly before continuing, her voice feeble and halting. "Gay, and in love with you..."

Well, it’s perfect.

And here:
Quote:
“I wanted to kiss you Friday, so much, but I just had this, plan, this big stupid plan and it wasn't in the plan so I sort of freaked because I thought I had to tell my mom first and tell Buffy first, like they deserved to know before I could get involved with anyone, that I had to tell them before I could get involved with you because you deserved to be with someone who was out, not someone all closeted and afraid and…”

From this very early moment, Willow lays the groundwork that she is the anti-Jill. That she didn’t want to start anything before she was out because that’s what Tara needs. And though it’s not clear if that’s a conscious or unconscious decision on Willow’s part, it gives Tara what she needs to cope with Willow’s flinch.

Quote:
She took the redhead’s face in her hands; she kissed her forehead, then her cheek and then her lips with every ounce of love she’d suppressed for three, long years.

My fiancé continually reminds me that humans are overzealous pattern matchers, but damn if this did not feel like Willow and Tara’s first on screen kiss. It’s got the whole comfort-based thing, and the starting on the forehead thing, and it’s their first kiss . . . anyway, that’s what I thought of.

I’m glad you included the exchange with the collapsing of different versions of events. I mean, it was sad, and it’s not everything they need to talk about. But it gives weight to their emotional connection to deal with that before they are more physical: the physical is a consequence of the emotional.

The date exchange was great. Extra yes by this part.

Quote:
"So..." The two stood opposite each other in awkward silence. "This is ridiculous..." Tara finally said, stepping forward urgently.

"Oh thank god," Willow replied, surging forward.

Both perfect and made me laugh. Well done.

Them on the couch is, like everything in this update, superb. I did—and perhaps this is that pesky pattern matching bit—I did think of Willow’s dream of them on the couch. Particularly because Tara does in fact end up worrying she’s been too bold, and Willow does stop them, and Tara does get worried about that.

Pretty much everyone has quoted this, but seriously.
Quote:
"I just." Willow stopped, collecting her thoughts. "I don't want our first time to be a quickie. I want it to be, a longie." The redhead looked at the blonde and smiled sweetly. "I want all of you."

Tara nodded, a lump in her throat, a shiver running through her body. With those simple words, Willow staked her claim: She was the anti-Jill. She was gay. She loved her. And she wanted every inch of her without clothes.

This is just. Yes. I mean, Willow basically opened with the ‘not Jill’ bit, and here that argument is completed, even if it’s not Willow’s major purpose in what she’s saying. And Tara’s realization of this consequence of what Willow’s said is just well done.

Speaking of Jill, I did notice (after *mumble* reads or so) that Tara and Willow act noticeably differently. Willow moves clothes to get to skin; Tara does not. Willow goes for second; Tara does not. And my guess, given all the “Willow is not Jill” through this chapter, that Tara’s behavior is colored by her experience with Jill. That, for however much she’s imagined sex with Willow, it’s hard to overcome how she’s learned to have sex. Willow, on the other hand, may not have been with a woman, but her experience is grounded in slow and, you know, actually getting naked. And this is the thing I’ve been insanely curious about since I started thinking about that. I mean, is the “oh yeah, Willow is the anti-Jill” realization going to be enough to change Tara’s behavior, or will we see ripples when they make it upstairs? How is it going to play out? Am I just making this up?

In conclusion, you rock. Also, based on how you've written the dream sequences, I'm pretty pumped for the next chapter. Because yum.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:22 pm 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 96
Hi, I read the newest chapter last sunday, but when I klicked on Post Reply all of a sudden I was told I had to Login first. Problem was that since my first Login years ago I always got in automatically, so I have totally forgotten the password I used back then. The e-Mail adress I had at that time no longer exists so I couldn't be send a new password. So I had to register with a new username (adding the apostroph in Will's). Otherwise, I'm still the same user, only at post one again, grrr!

But back to the thing that really matters here, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the last chapter. Finally they both know for sure that their love isn't unrequited, that the other has loved them for the last three years, since the day in the park, too. That newfound knowledge is the sound proof that this isn't another dream, because none of them would have ever dared to dream beeing loved by the other since that day. And I'm so glad that right now there is no regret for lost time, only overwhelming happiness. That they can't stop holding, touching and kissing each other, that they just have to make love right now, doesn't feel rushed, just so natural, so right! I'm so happy for both girls who somehow have become my friends over the years (that might sound pathetic, but I just feel this way and I'm probably in good company on this board :)

Now I'm really looking forward to the next chapter, of course, trusting that you'll make their "first time" breathtakingly beautiful. And I know that because everything you write is just breathtakingly beautiful in my eyes. :flower


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:34 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 11:04 am
Posts: 688
Topics: 1
masterjendu Congrats on the dibs, and thanks so much for sending out the Kitten bat signal! I meant it partially as a joke, because people have often joked that this has been so long coming that people who might not check in very often would need a head’s up, and partially because one of my biggest regrets with this story is that it’s taken so long that people have given up on it. Now—finally!—they’re together… I just want all those people who wanted this years ago to know about it, haha. “Please, come back! Read this one update—you don’t even have to get caught up—just, they’re together! You don’t even have to leave me feedback!” :)
Thanks re: the longie line and it summing up Neverland for you. I am so super humbled by your kind words, thank you so much. I’m so relieved that you liked this part; I was admittedly a little nervous. I mean, I liked it, I felt like it worked… but I was so worried about letting people down. I’m glad people thought it was okay, haha. (And Babies R U; been there, as in literally, today. :) ) And thanks for the blog link, I’ll definitely check it out. My only advice is just enjoy it and don’t be hard on yourself if it’s harder than you thought or you have a bad day; that was the one thing that I had to learn reeeeeeal quick. (Also, download Elizabeth Mitchell’s albums, You Are My Flower and You Are My Sunshine; they are gentle and pretty, I’ve enjoyed listening to them with my boys.) Thanks so much Jen, I really appreciate the kind thoughts, and I’m still thinking awesome thoughts for you and your missus.

BeMyDeputy Exhales. Cracks knuckles. Okay, let’s do this. Wanted to start by saying that your initial reply cracked me up. “Holy…” Macaroni? Smokes? Moly? Sheep? Mary, Mother of God? ;) Thanks re: the dream confirmation for your fellow readers—this is definitely not a dream. The dreams have been single POV and usually slightly surreal. And seriously no worries about missing feedback; I know how real life can derail you from doing things you want to do, and the holidays are extra tough to keep up with things. I just appreciate that you’re posting now. (And hasn’t the pipsberg alarm been debunked at this point? Poor girl, she’s afraid to post FB thinking she’s going to set off a stampede or a riot or something. ;) )
Re: Part 71. Thanks re: the mundane, I’m glad you liked it. It felt important, if only to get an emotional breather and to establish how Tara was spending time and not going bat shit crazy being away from Willow. I get you re: Tara waking up. I figured people would either see it from Tara’s POV or Marissa’s, which I think is more like what you described. (I think Marissa was kind of amused with Tara’s freaking out.) And rewriting this story? That sounds… really tedious, haha. I honestly can’t imagine it, it would feel very different. You’re right about the texting and the time period/Tara’s level of tech adoption. Re: nauseated vs. nauseous: Well, when you spend roughly 18 months of your life throwing up every day, you learn the difference. :) I’m glad you liked the line re: Anya and the truck, it seemed very true to her character. She wants to be included, to feel important, and I’m sure she felt both when asked to come help move the painting. Glad also you liked the fingerprints. It felt necessary for something to go “wrong,” and highlighted something I’ve always found fascinating about painting with oils; you make a mistake, no problem, just fix it.
Re: Willow and the phone messages. I don’t know that she didn’t think about it; I know she didn’t expect her mother to call so to have a big emotional reaction would be, odd. But I guess a part of me thinks it’s hidden in that exhale, like, she doesn’t need to think about it, it’s there in her physical response. That said, I do agree with you; she is completely defeated, and I do think that’s why she doesn’t actively think about it. She just can’t manage that much brain power for it. And no rehearsing for Willow. She’s done that, and she saw that it did little to no good with her mother. She’s resigned herself to whatever happens with Buffy before she even leaves the apartment. The absence of that is definitely intentional.
I’m glad you liked the notes, and the word valediction is great. (And thanks for they typo catch, I’ll get that ASAP; the hazards of not having a beta!) You’re right that Tara’s reaction is schmoopy; she’s on the other side of the flinch reaction, you know? And yes, the thermostat is totally intentional. When Willow moved in she did so under the impression that she was helping Tara out because the girl needed money, so, she’s always been stingy with the heat to help keep the bill manageable. Tara has always been about Willow’s comfort, so she always bumped it up, despite Willow telling her leaving it down would save money. So no Tara, cold apartment.
Re: the Buffy/Willow scene, yeah, I think it would be a toss up between this one and the flinch as to which caused a greater split of opinion. Re: confusing as a writer re: division - it is and it isn’t. On the one hand, it’s confusing/frustrating if I feel like people don’t like Buffy because of a negative bias toward Buffy in general cultivated from the show or her hardass/self-centered fanfic persona… (Thankfully not really a problem.) And then on the flip, it’s confusing/frustrating because I think, well, maybe I’m just not being as effective a communicator as needed. If people are thinking something obviously different than what I intended, then that must mean I’m not a very good writer because I’m not conveying my ideas well. Ultimately though, I just find it fascinating, and have really enjoyed the difference in opinion because so much of it has been well-thought out and articulated well in the feedback. People see the character’s actions differently based on their own perception of nuances, etc and from their own experiences and as a writer I can’t control what readers bring to the story from their own lives and expectations. So, it’s fun seeing how something I think is one way morphs into something different, and how that can affect the tone or structure of the story. I find that interesting and so instructional and really appreciate everyone for explaining how they see things.
You’re right of course that they both come into the conversation in sorry shape. Willow is a wreck emotionally and Buffy is a wreck from flying and from what you mentioned re: Tara, Xander and Willow. (I’d throw in Dawn too because while the visit overall was good, she misses her and they had argued on Friday re: their dad.) You’re right that Buffy prides herself on being a good friend. When she doesn’t feel like she’s being a good friend she feels like she’s absolutely alone in the world. Of course, on the show that’s because she’s The Slayer, the one and only, but here I thought it would come from how she handled her mom’s death. Re: their actual conversation, Buffy at her finest indeed. When you look back at her reaction on the show she’s surprised, but man she takes it well in the grand scheme of things. I think, that’s just Buffy. She has a good heart and she supports the people she loves, and I wanted that version of Buffy here. Re: the Tara questions; it seemed important, but also not pushy. Like Buffy didn’t push too hard, she established that there were feelings there and then moved on without giving Tara’s feelings away (being a good friend to Tara) and basically laying the ground work of support for their relationship.
You’re right of course that Willow should have left well enough alone, but of course, I don’t think it would have been reasonable to do so. Buffy asked, so Willow answered honestly, and if she had tried to demure or distract, Buffy would have probably pushed or worse yet found out from Xander later. It was like ripping the worst bandaid ever off. Willow could have done a lot to soften the blow, and of course she didn’t; I blame her being jumbled up from her mom and just not recognizing that Buffy was not capable of seeing 2 years ago clearly. I’m glad that you felt like Buffy’s thoughts helped you with the scene. I felt like they were so important, like it added backstory and layers that needed to be there without having to do a whole big long update flashback about what 2 years ago was like for them, for Buffy in particular. Buffy has no idea that things with Shelia were so bad. None. And Willow has no idea how bad things were with Buffy 2 years ago. I mean, I think she knows it was bad, but not how damaged Buffy is inside about it still. Your morning after the park analogy is totally spot on; it’s true, the reaction is appropriate for what they know, but not appropriate for the truth of the situation which is so much more expansive. And Buffy calling Jim - more on that soon. (Not the next update, but soon.) Thank you re: the impact, that means a lot.
Re: Part 72 - thank you so much. I’m glad you liked Tara sitting at the window. It felt right for the moment to call back NMR. I don’t think she could have painted if she wanted to. For as nervous as she was, as frantic as she felt, I think she was spent creatively. She needed to wait, to put herself on pause. I’m glad you liked the varying speeds, and very interesting about that interview. It seemed to fit her nerves and her desire to try and keep calm. I’m glad you liked that she took in that last minute. I imagine how powerful that must have felt, to see Willow’s hair, to see her standing quietly by the secretary table, her back to her. It must have felt hopeful and scary and a million other things all at once. (And no kidding about being hard to remember about the last time they spoke being the flinch.) Thank you re: the I love you being perfect, that’s super nice to read. And you’re right, the plan explanation is anti-Jill groundwork. I think it is very important to Willow for Tara to know that’s why she had a plan. Willow legit hates Jill for what she did to Tara and she wants so badly to be the opposite of that. And yes, the kiss’s structure was totally The Body kiss, though, I think more passionate, maybe borderline desperate. Tara put everything into that kiss. I’m glad you thought their conversation added weight to their connection; they needed at least a little closure on some things before they got physical. They have A LOT to talk about, and they will, but for now it was the biggies and then on to the smooching.
Glad the “thank god” bit made you laugh. Glad also that you liked them on the couch. I’m glad also (so repetitive, but hey) that you liked the longie bit. It just seemed so Willow, both in how she’d say it and the sentiment behind it. She wants the world for Tara, and a quickie on the couch is not how she wants their romantic relationship to start. Good pick up on how they approach their make out session; they are definitely the product of their previous experiences. Whether it ripples… read on to find out. In conclusion, you rock too because that was some seriously long feedback. Thank you, it is so appreciated and gave me a lot to think about. (And no pressure about the next update! Yikes.) Hope you enjoy where things go from here and thanks again.

SylverMaki Aw to the scared - no scared! I’m so glad you liked it, and thanks for the congratulations. It feels surreal, that’s for sure! And yes, more to come. Not 70 updates more, but a little bit more. Hope you enjoy the next update (hint: there will be more kissing… and stuff) and thanks again!

zampsa19752001 Thanks and yes, whoo-hoo for the smoochies! Hope you like the next update!

kimmy_s Yes, holy sheep! So happy you busted that one out. Good memories of using that bad boy. :) Thank you so much for the super kind words - I so appreciate them. I’m so happy you liked how things went. (And too funny about the wanting to sing; if I sang that early people would not be pleased.) Hopefully your heart won’t explode - that would be messy! - and that you like the next one. I’ve heard it’s going to be a little racy. ;) Re: the ETA: And wow to the re-reading, that’s crazy and super flattering. Thanks again!

wimpy0729 First, high five for the emoticon usage. I mean, the selection, the syncronization - just, bravo. You got drunko dancing man, the bananas - I’m a happy girl right now. Thank you so much for the kind words, I am super happy/relieved you liked it! (Your bold “FINALLY” got that CeCe Peniston song, “Finally” stuck in my head, and it has not left. Seriously.) And wow, forgiving me for the flinch?! That is some serious niceness, thank you. :) Yes, R for the last one, NC-17 (do we still do that, or is it M these days?) for the next one. It’s time. And as for grateful, I’m grateful for you, and all of the readers who were here when I started who stuck with this. I mean, really, you guys should have given up on this story so many times and you didn’t, and that just means more to me than you’ll ever know. (And the years and years of feedback - seriously, I hope you know how much I appreciate you.) Thank you, thank you, thank you! Hope you like the next one, and again, thanks.

Krokador /pinch How’s that? A longie for sure. Thanks re: the spacing; my real life has calmed down enough so writing regularly is a reality. Thank you re: the continuity, that is really appreciated. And I like that this story has given you hope. I think there are happy endings. Call me naive, call me a hopeless romantic but I believe in that stuff. I think believing in that stuff makes life happier. :) This last update was definitely not the end, still some stuff to come, including a little - how you say - candeh? Enjoy.

Foomatic WORD. UP. (Tee hee. Hope the babies are doing well!)

Grimm Nope, not a trick, it’s as real as these sort of things get. Thank you so much, I’m glad you liked it. (And “puuuuurfect” with the cat; I see what you did there. ;) ) I’m so glad you thought this update was worth all the frustration - that is super gratifying to hear, because I was nervous that people would be like, “really? That’s it?” Whew. And no Buffy showing up. That would just be cruel. ;) And thanks for coming back for seconds; that is super flattering, I appreciate it. You’re right; Tara puts the past aside because she recognizes that the future is what is important. It’s a different dynamic than with Buffy, and Tara moves into the future-with-Willow mode quickly. Tooooo funny about poor, dear Morgan. ;) Glad that you liked Willow was easy to admit being gay after the first time, and that she got going with some quirkiness. “Whoa… easy killer!” Made me laugh, thanks for that. Thanks so much. Hope you enjoy the next one!

love_2003 Yes, the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter every update now. Thanks so much, and hope you enjoy the next one.

beautiful_love a) Not a dream. b) Since the first day? That deserves some sort of a medal. Seriously. I should start a list of all the “since the first day” people, get their addresses, etc and mail them a trophy with two girls kissing on top of it. Because that is a serious accomplishment that deserves to be feted. Thanks so much re: the update, I super appreciate the kind words. (And no Buffy showing up; that would be mean!) Hope you like the next update and thanks!

ArcaneMegan Thank you for posting, I really appreciate it! I hope you like the next one - enjoy!

lavenderangel First of all, wow to starting reading this right before turning 18 in 2006. I mean, c’mon, that’s just crazy. That you stuck with it, and that you’re where you are now… Wow. Thank you for sharing that. I’m glad that it wasn’t just the romance that kept you around, but how supportive the two were. As much as this is a love story, it’s also a story of two people becoming friends, and how that level of friendship can be such an awesome part of a romantic relationship. And I hear you about how that related to your own coming out, I get that totally, and I’m glad it helped a little. I’m so happy that 25 year old you loves this last update. That’s super gratifying to hear. I’m glad you brought up how terrified they were; yes, that exactly. As much as they both knew that the other was in love with them, hearing it, saying it, was scary, and once it was out there it was like… they just held on, you know? And you’re welcome, re: “I love you;” I’ve been waiting 9 years to write that! Thanks so much. I hope you like the next update.

writerfreak Another “FINALLY!” and another chance for my brain to go through the entire CeCe Peniston song. (At least it’s a good song…?) Thank you re: worth the wait; that is extremely gratifying to read. Also about the being in character, thank you. No, no dream sequence. Those are always single POV. And wow re: movie, that would be insane to see. Very cool about being able to go see shows in Cleveland. I moved from SF, where I saw live shows all the time, to someplace where most of my favorites skip. I haven’t seen a live show since before my first son was born (ironically, Neko Case was playing) and that is just surreal to me. And weird about the mathematical system. I honestly just post whenever I can’t stand to read through the update again, haha. Thanks so much, I hope you like the next bit.

branny72 Thanks so much, and no dream—this is the real deal. Hope you like the next part and thanks!

loislane1 Yay for Snoopy Dance! Glad this update gave you a break from comps and that you thought it worked; I am so happy to read that! And yes, Willow did finally get one conversation to go right. I’m glad you thought her ‘I love you’ was powerful. I could picture the moment so clearly, how she’d feel watching Tara try and make things better when things were so obviously upside down. And you’re right, life for them does get easier because now they have each other for support in a way that the only had glimpses of in the past. Thanks so much - I really hope you like the next update.

Kajun Thank you so, so much, truly. I am SO glad you thought it worked; I was nervous. I mean, it’s been so long, and as you said, you’d thought about this a million different ways… It is beyond gratifying and humbling to read that you thought it was perfect. I mean, really. And ugh to the football games. Poor Niners. Ah well, there’s always next year. /grumblegrumble Thanks so much, again. Hope you like the next update!

Sanpfa Yay for signing in randomly—I’m so glad that you did! I hear you about the feeling conflicted, I feel the same way. If it’s any consolation I don’t know how much more there is either. I mean, I know where and how it ends, but I don’t know how many more updates I’m going to need to get there… so it might be a while yet (though not 70 more updates, haha). I’m so humbled and glad that you thought the update went perfectly. I agree that Willow’s “I love you” was what needed to be said; anything else would have taken them in the wrong direction. I’m glad the ‘how many dates’ exchange had you laughing; it make me chuckle too. ;) And blush re: the naughty parts… er…. You know what I mean. Thank you. And no, no dream, this is the real deal. And thank you re: being your favorite. That is just… wow. Thank you. I hope you like the next update and thanks again.

vampyregurl73 ELEPHANTS DANCING IN A ROW!!!!! YES! Thank you so much. Another finally, haha, I don’t blame you all for busting that word out. No more longing, it’s on. Hope you like the next one!

WillowRulez No way to waiting - once Willow’s plan went into effect it was like a freight train barreling down the tracks with the brakes out until she told Tara she loved her haha. Thanks re: Marissa having her own life. I think if you don’t give secondary characters the same consideration you’d give the main characters re: motivations, desire, history, etc you’re doing your story a massive disservice. So many discoveries came from just knowing who Marissa was; if I was writing the story without knowing those things it would have gone differently. I would have written different lines for her that would have advanced the plot instead of advanced the characters… and a character driven story is so much more interesting, IMHO. And yes, Tara needed to hear from Willow what was going on, everything else was just a fantasy. Yay for notes indeed! Interesting that you feel for Buffy; so many different opinions on how she acted. I do think she’s going to get over it, and quickly; she said as much herself, she just needs to process everything. And thanks re: the stone/rock coming out line; I think that’s something a lot of people face. They think the revelation will be enough, but then there’s so much that comes after… even if it’s love and acceptance, you know? There’s an adjustment period, I guess I should say. Thanks re: Willow’s “love with you forever” line. And yes, no waiting. That would just be crazy bananas. Hope you like the next update and thanks so much!

wayland Thank you so, so much. I’m really glad you loved how it went. Thanks re: Tara’s waiting. I tried to imagine myself in the same position and all I could think about was how sick I’d feel, how hard I’d have to try and think about just breathing. I’m glad you thought the joy to sadness ratio worked. There is so much opportunity for regrets and second-guessing… but then there is the overwhelming awesomeness of their dreams coming true… it’s a delicate balance. I’m glad you didn’t think the revelations were shoehorned in. I imagine there will be so much more of that as the night goes on for them, but that seemed like the right amount for now. I’m glad you liked how Willow admitted her feelings. I knew she had to lead with ‘I love you,’ and then everything else that followed… I just imagined her standing in front of a shocked-silent Tara and feeling like if she just kept talking things would get better. I’m glad you liked the Morgan line; I added that late, because I felt like there needed to be one more ‘example’ in her list, and it’s the one that made me laugh when I thought about it. I’m glad you liked the humor; it’s really important to me to include it whenever possible because it was such a big part of the show. Also glad that you liked the ‘dates’ bit. When always thought Willow would think they should go on a date; she wants to do things right by Tara, to treat her right, to woo her, but Tara very rightly is like, ‘um, we’ve done that, let’s get on with it.’ Thanks re: Jill. That’s the biggest and best side effect of Willow’s Plan; Tara has zero doubts about Willow’s feelings and intentions toward her. Thank you re: the characters’ evolutions - that is so insanely gratifying and humbling to read.
I’m glad you liked reading all of the responses to Buffy’s actions too. That was really amazing, and I thank you guys for being so articulate and passionate about them. (And thank you for the massive compliment; I’m blushing.) Thank you so much for the expanded explanation re: your thoughts on Buffy’s actions. I totally get what you’re saying re: her gut reaction and trying to untangle the misunderstandings, but I just don’t think she’s capable at that point. I think Buffy is sort of emotionally broken, and she’s spent the last year of her life trying to piece back her emotional self… I think as soon as she’s reminded of the person she was two years ago she just freezes. I completely agree that Buffy doesn’t listen to Willow, in that she doesn’t realize that Willow is blaming herself and I agree that Buffy’s self-absorption hasn’t protected her, but I think most people’s coping mechanisms to trauma or depression aren’t beneficial. I don’t know that I agree with if Buffy had stopped thinking about herself it would have ended on a more positive note because I don’t think Buffy was capable of thinking about anything else. Even if she had put on a brave face and been supportive, Willow would have left and she would have broken down and just felt, empty and broken. As it stands now, she feels all that and angry and confused. It’s not good, and I agree that it hurts herself more. I think as much as Buffy asking Willow to go is a rejection, she also feels comfortable enough with Willow to say it, you know? Like, ‘I know I’m saying something ugly, but I know you love me as much as I love you and you know I’m only doing this because this is what I really, really need.’ I can’t imagine things between Buffy and Willow lingering. They love and care about each other too much.
And while it is strange to read people’s opinions differ so much from my own, I ultimately find it fascinating and instructive. As long as the difference of opinion isn’t because I’m a crappy writer incapable of communicating my thoughts, then I’m totally fine with it haha. And don’t worry, there are definitely more chapters to come. I can’t imagine wrapping this thing up in a bow in three updates or anything, you know? Thanks so much, again, for all of your thoughts. I really, really appreciate it. Hope you enjoy where things go from here.

KnightlyLove Yes, definitely more. Trust me guys, when I’m done, you’ll know. (I’ll use 72 point to write THE END or something.) And no dream, this is totes real. Thanks!

JustSkipIt Exhale - that is a perfect description. (Though I think I went and hyperventilated into a paper bag after I posted; talk about nerves.) I am so glad that you liked Tara waiting. Totally a NMR callback, so glad that you noticed and liked it. I too thought Tara was passive in NMR, though I totally got why, and yes, this Tara is more mature. She is sitting in the eye of the storm, waiting for something to happen. I’m glad that you love that she knew what was coming. I couldn’t imagine her reacting any other way. Seeing Willow after all of the emotions she had ripped through while painting the day before; it must have just felt like the world going from black and white to color suddenly. I’m glad you also liked Willow not getting distracted by the mom question; she knows she’s there to talk to Tara about Friday and about her love - anything else just doesn’t belong in the room with them, you know? And thanks re: spoke - nothing else sounded right. “In the world.” Yup. I’m glad that Willow’s explanation of her plan made you happy, because what you said is exactly right; Willow did it for Tara, as much as for herself, and for Tara it’s huge. Funny re: “coming out” and labels and such. I have mixed feelings on that stuff. I wonder - for public figures, at least - if the downplaying of labels has less to do with their true feelings on the subject than a desire for their gayness to be a non-threatening, non-thing… if that makes sense. But then there’s Alan Cumming and well, who knows anymore. (Labels ultimately are only important for the people who need them, I suppose.)
“Yay kissing” sums it up nicely. :) And yeah re: Tara’s compassion. I just felt like… she’s so in love, she wants Willow to be in love with her more than anything and I think in that moment she realizes that now that she has it, the last three years just don’t matter. She can feel regret, or she can be in the moment kissing Willow. She can worry about times she should have said something… or she could be kissing Willow. You know? What are three years when you get to kiss the girl you love more than anything in the world? They have pleeeeeeenty of time to worry and fret about the past; this is all about the present right now for them.
Glad you liked them working through the week - it’s fast forwarded, and they’ll be talking about things in more depth soon enough, but in that moment it felt like they’d sort of, stumble over and speed through it. And yes, Willow is still going about a plan when asking for that date with the new plan being: Woo Tara. She’s über-conscious that Tara’s never been on a date, etc. re: her past with Jill and she wants to make sure she treats her right, that Tara gets to have the romantic relationship she deserves. And of course, Tara’s like, “yeah, that’s nice and all, but you really should be kissing me right now instead.” And yes, Willow is a breast gal, from the very beginning. Thanks re: the longie bit. Again, it goes back to Willow wanting to make sure Tara gets the first time she deserves. I’m glad you mentioned the pace; it felt fast to me too when I first put it together, but then as I got to know it better it felt more and more natural. Slowing it down would have been weird; people just don’t react like that, and these two especially…. I don’t know, it just felt right for them. Re: the wrapping up, yeah. I also want to enjoy the two of them together a little. I mean, I’m all for the journey being the fun, but now that they’re together… I mean, let’s have some fun. :) (And it won’t ALL be fun, cause, three years, misunderstandings, Buffy, etc., but you know.) Thank you so much for the congratulations, and congratulations to you too for sticking this thing out since the very beginning. You deserve a medal, and I really appreciate that you’ve been there offering insightful feedback for years. (And for not updating School Days in a timely matter so that I got impatient and wrote my own damn story. ;) ) Thanks Deb, and hope you like the next update too.

YellowQuirkyTeacup Aw, yay for happy tears. That’s happy. :) Thank you so much for the super kind words, I so, so appreciate them. Hope you like where the story goes from here.

pipsberg First of all, xoxox. Now that that’s done, thank you so much for the super duper kind words. I know what you mean re: the end of the story; it’s weird to think about it *ending*. What am I going to do with myself? Probably start cleaning the house again and stuff. Thanks for the vote of confidence about how it will end, I really appreciate it. You’re not all over the place, and from what I’m reading, you are definitely not alone in feeling conflicted. If it helps, I’m right there with you. I will miss this story so, so much when it’s over.
Thanks re: the tension. I tried to picture how I’d feel in her shoes and it was just - ugh - not good. To be that nervous… yikes-a-roni. I’m so glad you thought their conversation was true to their canon personalities, that means so much. And thanks re: it being “perfect” - as you know, I was nervous that it would be a let down, like people would read it and be like, “that’s IT?!” There are no words for how reassuring and rewarding it is to read that people liked it, you especially. And “perfect?” Forgetabouitit. Flattered and humbled feel trite to write, but it’s true. I’m really glad you liked the humor; it was really important for me to make sure there were light moments in there as well, because that was the tone of the show and well, it’s just more fun that way. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. (And thank you for reading the story from the beginning. And for commenting. And continuing to comment. Because, you know, it led to some pretty awesome stuff. xoxo) Love you, so very much. Hope you like the next update. :D

HanShotFirst Thank you so much. Accomplished… You know, I didn’t think like that until you said something, but don’t mind if I do! 9 years. That’s so… long. I am so, so happy that we all got here together. Truly, everyone on this website deserves a round of applause, haha. And too funny about reading this on a break. Thanks re: the smooth, that is awfully nice to read. Aw re: crying, hopefully only the happiest of tears. Glad you found it funny, too! And yes, Willow is a breast gal through and through. I’m glad that you liked the longie bit too - that seemed to resonate with people, haha. But yeah, they deserve more, and I’m glad you thought that was perfect.
On a more serious note, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m sorry it didn’t go better. I hope with time your family will realize what they are missing out on by not sharing in your love story. /hugs And I am totally overwhelmed that you feel that this story helped you. Truly, it means a lot. Thank you. I really hope you like the next update, and thanks again.

Will’s redemption Oh man, there is nothing worse than relying on autofill and having it leaving you stranded without a password. Been there! Just out of curiosity, does it feel weird to have to add the apostraphe? I think it would feel really weird if I had to write EasierSaid with a space or something. Thank you so much for the thank you - truly it means a lot. Too true about the three years being a dead give away that it’s not a dream because as you said, no way could either have dreamed that. I’m so glad that you felt like the holding, touching, kissing and wanting to make love didn’t feel rushed… mostly because more of the same in the next one, haha. That is super sweet about them being your friends; I feel that way, in a way, too. And no pressure on the next one, haha. I just hope you guys like it. Thanks again and enjoy.


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:36 pm 
Offline
7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 11:04 am
Posts: 688
Topics: 1
Title: Neverland
Author: EasierSaid
Feedback: 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: NC-17
Disclaimer: Please don't sue me Mutant Enemy.
Notes: This is not a DREEEEEEEEEEEAM! /Oprah voice


Thoughts in italics

PART 73


The girls came up the stairs, hand-in-hand and both broke to their own rooms, their clasped hands stopping them. The girls look surprised and then giggled, quickly closing the gap between them to kiss. "Which, um, which room?" Tara asked softly between kisses, her hands reaching up and twining in Willow’s hair.

"Hmm..." the redhead thought, sucking on Tara's bottom lip, eliciting a gasp from the blonde. "Does your room have a bed?" she murmured into the blonde's lips.

"Yes." Tara smiled and giggled.

"Okay,” Willow said matter-of-factly before kissing her and walking them to Tara's bedroom, their knees awkwardly bumping into each other as they shuffled along, wrapped in each other’s arms.

"I'm going to fall over..." the blonde giggled, stumbling a bit as she walked backward, Willow's arms holding her tightly.

"I won't let you," the redhead said, angling them toward the edge of the bed as she herself stumbled and then righted herself.

"I don't think you could stop me if I went down," Tara countered, the back of her legs bumping into the bed as they stopped, and the redhead arched her eyebrows mischievously, delighting at the unintended double entendre. "What?" The blonde asked, a quick quirk in her brow showing amusement at the look on Willow's face.

The redhead immediately blushed a deep scarlet. "Nothing, just.” She smiled big. "I'm happy."

Tara's heart swelled. She tucked a lock of red hair behind a freckled ear and took a deep breath. "Me too," she said softly before sighing nervously. She looked around the room quickly before meeting the redhead’s eye. “Lights, um, lights on or off?”

Willow smiled sweetly, her heart expanding. Tara’s nerves were written plainly on her face and it was adorable. “Fairy lights, please.”

Tara exhaled as she grinned widely. She eased out of Willow’s arms and took a couple of steps to her right, reaching behind her nightstand and flicking the lights on with her thumb. She righted herself and her smile grew as she saw Willow standing patiently under the lights, her hair once again sparking and shining with a crown of fiery gold. Willow held out her hand and Tara took it, letting herself be pulled back into the thin girl’s embrace. They put their foreheads together, and swayed slightly as they got comfortable. “Hi,” the redhead said softly as they settled together.

“Hi,” Tara replied. She swallowed hard and then leaned forward slowly, carefully capturing Willow’s lips in a gentle kiss. Willow returned the slow kiss, her hands slipping around Tara’s back, pulling her in tight. She felt their bodies mold together, Tara’s breasts pushed into her and she exhaled, the desire inside of her surging. Willow slid her hands down to Tara’s lower back and pulled her in again, their kiss deepening. She opened her mouth slightly and whimpered when she felt Tara’s tongue run over her lips, dip into her mouth, then stroke her own tongue in a slow, sure movement.

It was easily the most erotic kiss in Willow’s life, the feeling of Tara’s tongue dipping into her, tasting her, making her lightheaded. She felt Tara’s hands slip along the curves of her body, settling on the swell of her ass and the redhead squeezed the girl again. She had never wanted anything more. Never needed anyone more. How had she lived without this for so long?

They kissed deeply, standing at the edge of Tara’s bed, the fairy lights illuminating the space in a warm glow. Willow slid her hands around Tara’s waist, her hands loitering on the blonde’s lower back and she felt the girl shiver. If Tara had ever been worried about Willow being tentative about the physical aspect of being with a woman, of begin with her, the thoughts were long gone. The redhead wanted her, and was not shy about showing it. The way her fingers insistently snuck under the back of her shirt, trailing along her skin… She shivered again. It was magic.

After several long moments of kissing and caressing, Tara broke the kiss to slowly sink down and sit on the edge of the bed, her legs weak; Willow moved forward automatically to stand between her legs. The redhead smoothed the girl’s hair away from her face and stared at her, the blonde’s open face looking up at her adoringly, and Willow felt her heart swell. Tara loved her. Her. Not Morgan, not some, other perfect girl who had been out forever who she had yet to meet. But her. Dorky, newly-gay her. She leaned down and kissed Tara gently, lovingly, and her heart skipped a beat when the blonde returned the kiss with a contented sigh.

Tara rubbed her hands up the back of Willow’s legs, her hands trailing along behind her knees and up her thighs as they kissed. “You are really good at that,” the redhead murmured between kisses.

“What?” Tara replied quietly, her neck arched, aching for more contact from the redhead but unable to bring herself to ask the girl for more. She was too nervous, too unsure of how these things were supposed to go. Better to let Willow lead.

“Making me feel like goo,” the redhead said, a smile breaking across her lips, her thumbs gently running back and forth over Tara’s cheeks.

Tara returned the smile. “You’re not so bad yourself.” She rolled her eyes sheepishly. “I sort of had to sit down because my legs were shaking.” Willow smirked, proudly, and the blonde delighted in the proud look. She took a deep breath and screwed up all of her courage, scooting back and reaching for Willow’s hand. “Come here,” she said softly, inviting the girl onto the bed.

Willow quickly wiped her hands on the front of her jeans and then crawled up on the bed. "Sorry," she said sheepishly.

"For what?" Tara asked, scooting up until she was in the middle of the bed, giving Willow plenty of room to join her.

"My hands are sweaty," the redhead replied, embarrassed.

"Oh.” The blonde smiled sweetly. "I didn't notice."

"It's gross," Willow replied, stopping on her knees right before the blonde. "I'm just, I've wanted this for so long. I'm kind of nervous."

“M-Me too," Tara admitted self-consciously. "But, I don't mind, if you have sweaty palms?” She said, reaching out and taking Willow’s hand. “It's actually kind of h-hot."

"Hot?" Willow replied dubiously as Tara started to play with her fingers.

The blonde nodded, a bright blush on her cheeks. “It means you want me."

“Oh I do," the redhead reassured quickly. "Want you. So much." Willow brightly blushed. "I've dreamed about this for a really long time."

Tara cocked her head to the side, curious. "Really?"

"Um, yeah,” Willow said, her face flushing scarlet. “Is that weird?"

"No," Tara said with a shy smile, looking down at the fingers she played with. "I've um, I've fantasized, myself."

"Fantasized," Willow said, her lips curling into a teasing smile. "Sounds active." The blonde blushed bright red. "Me too," the redhead said, her voice turning serious at the guilty look on the blonde’s face. "A lot."

Tara looked up and they stared at each other for a long time, the blonde never letting go of Willow’s hand, never stopping her fingers from caressing the redhead’s.

“I’ve been in love with you for three years, wanted this, for three years…” Willow said, taking her turn to play with Tara’s fingers. “I’m nervous.”

“Me too,” Tara said quietly. “Three years and nervous, too.”

Willow exhaled. She looked around the room and then back to Tara. “Do you remember the last time we were on this bed?”

“The, only, time we were on this bed?” Tara answered playfully. “Vaguely.” Willow looked up sheepishly and Tara carefully tugged on her hand, pulling her forward; the two toppled backward, each giggling as they landed softly on the plush down comforter. They quickly sought each other out, wrapping in an embrace, Tara on her back, Willow leaning over her. Their giggles died down and Willow brushed a few flyaways from the blonde’s face. She looked at the prone girl seriously.

“I really wanted to kiss you that night,” Willow said, leaning forward and softly kissing the blonde.

Tara happily hummed and smiled as the redhead pulled back. “I thought you might.”

“With the CDs?” Willow asked, and Tara confirmed with a head nod. “Yeah, not my smoothest moment…”

“Were you?” Tara asked, her brow furrowing. “I mean, did you start to–“

“No,” Willow blushed, shaking her head. “I really was just reaching for my CDs,” she added sheepishly. “The, wanting-to-kiss you was earlier. When we were laying down and the song was dying down.”

“I wanted to kiss you then, too,” Tara said, her voice achingly sincere. She paused. “I um, I could probably write a big huge list of times I wanted to kiss you.”

“Me too,” Willow said. Her face screwed up in a frown. “I’m so sorry.”

“Willow,” the blonde said, slightly rolling onto her side and nuzzling the redhead’s face. She pulled back so that the redhead could see the sincerity of her gaze. “No regrets. Please.” She smoothed her hand over Willow’s cheek and the redhead sighed, nodding slightly. “I just like knowing that you wanted to.”

“So much,” Willow said. “I almost went crazy at the Black Keys concert with wanting to.”

Tara laughed, the sound melodious and goofy at the same time. “So you were touching me like that on purpose.”

“What do you mean?” the redhead asked, a smile emerging on her lips.

“Uh huh,” Tara said, arching an eyebrow, wrapping her arms around Willow. “You can try and play innocent all you want, but I know what you were doing.”

“What was I doing?” The redhead asked, leaning forward and nipping at Tara’s lips. The banter was insanely arousing.

“Driving me crazy,” Tara replied, her eyes growing dark and lidded as she spoke. Willow just nodded as she leaned in and kissed Tara hard, rolling up onto the girl’s body fully. Tara moaned in response.

Willow slipped her thigh between Tara’s, careful not to press down into her, careful not to seek out the hard edge of the blonde’s hip. She didn’t know about the blonde, but she knew that with how turned on she was it wouldn’t take much to push her over the edge. For now it would be enough to just pull the girl in tight, to feel her below her. She deepened the kiss, her tongue searching out Tara’s and she moaned when she felt Tara’s hands in her hair, bunching and gently tugging. Willow’s right hand slid down Tara’s side, over the curve of her hip and cupping her ass before heading back up, searching, seeking out Tara’s breasts. The edge of her palm caught the underside of her breast and Willow slowed; her hand curled, and she confidently cupped the girl’s breast. Tara arched her back at the contact, the movement exciting Willow and she had to actively remember not to push down with her hips into the blonde. Willow squeezed the girl’s breast, Tara gasping into her mouth, the blonde’s right hand dropping from Willow’s hair and down her back, her fingers tickling and teasing across the back of her shirt. Willow’s thumb brushed up over the swell of Tara’s breast, catching on and flicking the blonde’s hard nipple and again Tara gasped. Willow groaned and did it again, then closed her fingers around the nipple and gently rolled her fingers.

“Is it okay if I take off your shirt?” Willow asked breathlessly as she broke their kiss, her face flush, her body on fire.

“Yes,” Tara answered shakily. Willow rose up onto her knees and sat on her haunches as Tara awkwardly sat up and pulled her shirt over her head. The blonde looked down at her bra as she tossed her shirt off the bed and blushed. It wasn’t her best-looking bra—it quite possibly may even have been her oldest—but then, she didn’t exactly know she’d be showing it to anyone today, so… She furiously scanned her memory as she leaned back onto the bed; which underpants was she wearing? The gray ones, she thought, relieved. They were at least new…ish. She settled into the mattress and looked up, catching sight of the look in Willow’s eyes and she internally gasped. There was no doubt how much the redhead wanted her, and the knowledge made the blonde suddenly feel bold, despite her raging nerves. She reached up with her hands and gripped either side of Willow’s waist. "I love your hips," Tara said, flexing her fingers for effect.

"You do?" The redhead innocently gulped, caught off guard by the sensuous way the blonde was suddenly gripping her, talking about her.

The blonde nodded. "I think about them all of the time."

"Oh,” Willow squeaked. She felt the wetness between her legs drip from her, and she absently wondered if she reached between her legs if her jeans would feel damp. She started to lean down to kiss the blonde but was stopped.

“You too.” Tara tugged at the hem of Willow’s shirt, and the girl quickly pulled it up and over her head, hair sticking out every which way. She threw the shirt from the bed without any hesitation and then quickly laid back down on the blonde, swallowing hard as their bare skin touched. The redhead took a deep breath and gently kissed the blonde’s cheek. She needed to slow down. The way she was feeling was intense, and she didn’t want to rush this. She moved her head slightly and gently kissed Tara, trying to ignore how wonderful the girl’s breasts felt pressed against her, how she couldn’t tell which was softer, the blonde’s skin or the satin of her bra. “You’re a really good kisser,” she murmured, gently kissing the blonde again.

Tara leaned back slightly, her brow raised, amused. “Okay,” the blonde deadpanned. “You’re gonna have to stop stealing all of my compliments before I get a chance to say them.” Willow blushed and Tara smiled. “God you’re gorgeous,” she said, brushing her hand over the red coloring Willow’s cheek. “You’re so incredibly gorgeous.” She stared at the girl, her green eyes meeting her own in an adoring gaze. “Do you have any idea how much I love you?” Tara asked earnestly, her brow knitting.

“No,” Willow said honestly, shaking her head. “But, I know how much I love you, and if it’s anything like that…” She sighed happily as she felt Tara’s fingers dance reassuringly over the skin on her back. “It might take a while to sink in, though, so don’t be surprised if in the middle of the night you hear a happy little, ‘whoo hoo!’” Willow looked the girl in the eye and shook her head, unable to believe her good fortune. “I feel so stupid,” she whispered, continuing when she saw Tara’s brow knit. “I’ve been trying to get you to fall in love with me for the last two weeks,” she admitted, embarrassed.

And the time flashed before Tara’s eyes. The little touches on the way to Thai. The lights. The CD. The offers of coffee, concerts, dinner… So many moments when Tara thought she was crazy, that Willow could never intend for those little, flirty gestures to mean anything more than tokens of friendship… She pursed her lips and nodded. “It um, it worked.”

Willow smiled brightly before her face fell slightly, her brow furrowing. “It must have felt like I was torturing you,” she said contritely.

“A little bit,” Tara said with a twinkle in her eye as she squeezed the girl in her arms, catching Willow’s eye and smiling. “But I obviously didn’t mind. I mean, I kept spending time with you…”

The redhead looked at Tara sincerely. “Thank you for doing that.”

“You’re welcome,” the blonde replied softly. Willow leaned forward and kissed her, slow and sweet, then reached up and fondled the blonde’s breast. “Oh god,” Tara groaned, Willow’s lips moving to her jawline as her hand continued to move over the blonde’s bra. “I can’t believe this is happening.”

“Believe it, lady,” Willow said as she trailed kisses down the girl’s neck, her hand never stopping moving on her breast. Fingers rolled the girl’s hard nipple through satin, the weight of the girl’s breast heavy and arousing in her hand. She shifted slightly and changed breasts, Tara whimpering as Willow squeezed and caressed.

The blonde was on fire, aching and on the verge of exploding. She felt like her nipples were tied directly to her clit and she throbbed between her legs as Willow squeezed and rolled her in her thin hands. She gently pushed Willow off of her, rolling them onto their sides and pinning the redhead’s hand against her chest, kissing her on the lips fiercely. As much as she loved Willow fondling her, she needed a break; she squeezed Willow close and slid her hands down the redhead’s side, grasping her hip and sliding her hand down to cup and caress Willow’s ass.

The redhead groaned, and brought her thigh up over Tara’s hip, again careful not to press into her. She wanted more of that touch, more of Tara’s hands on her ass, and she sighed with pleasure thinking about the girl’s earlier words about loving her hips. She imagined how many times Tara must have thought about them, even fantasized about them and she arched her back, pressing her body into the blonde, passion leading her.

After a minute of heated kisses and caresses, Willow pulled her lips away from Tara’s and dropped her head, pressing a kiss into the blonde’s neck, then her collar bone and then her chest, the redhead’s lips feeling the blonde's heart beating wildly below the skin. She dragged her lips along the softness, nuzzling Tara's bra strap off her shoulder with her nose, then dipping down to press her lips into the swell of the blonde's breast. Tara snaked her hands up into Willow's hair, massaging the back of the redhead's head, reassuring her that whatever she wanted from the blonde's body, she could take. Willow slid her free hand up Tara's back, stopping when her fingers hit her bra's clasp. "Is this o-“

"Yes," Tara interrupted breathily.

Willow awkwardly pushed her other hand underneath Tara’s body and reached up, her fingers meeting on the girl’s bra clasp as she kissed the blonde’s chest. But something was wrong. It felt like no matter how much she instructed her fingers to work together they slipped and stumbled. She’d never felt more awkward in her life. Here she was, trying to be smooth, a moment she’d dreamed about for years and she couldn’t figure out the clasp on Tara’s damn bra. "Sorry," she finally said sheepishly. "I've never done this from this angle."

"That's what she said," the blonde quickly replied, and they both laughed, the dumb joke adding much needed levity to the moment. Tara looked at the girl next to her—how her red hair flew up in places, and the deep blush covering her freckled cheeks—and the blonde felt her heart seize. She loved this girl. Fervently. And she realized, startled, that Willow was as new to this as she was. Whatever fears or nerves she had about this being her first time… Willow had them too. The realization gave Tara confidence she didn’t know she needed. “Hold on,” the blonde said quietly. She rolled away from the redhead and propped herself up, reaching behind her and quickly unsnapping the clasp. Willow blushed brighter as she saw the garment go slack. Tara rolled onto her back to free the bra from her arms. She tossed the bra over her head and turned back to find Willow staring at her chest.

The redhead was transfixed. Tara’s nipples were darker than she had imagined them to be. She tried not to stare, but she couldn’t help herself. The girl was gorgeous, and though she already suspected, Willow realized with utmost certainty that she was definitely, irrevocably a breast gal.

The longer Willow stared, the more self-conscious Tara got. She fought the urge to cross her arms over her chest. She’d never had anyone look at her like this before, and though she couldn’t place the emotion behind the look, it made the hair on the back of her neck stand up and the skin on her body raise in goosebumps. After a long moment, Willow spoke. “I did an awful job imaging how beautiful you’d be.” Tara blushed, a lump in her throat. She felt loved, desired. “I mean it,” Willow said, sinking down into Tara’s embrace. She felt the girl’s erect nipples press into her skin and she groaned. “You are so beautiful.” She kissed the blonde, and then dropped her head to kiss the blonde’s chest. “So, so beautiful.” Willow ran her hand up Tara’s bare side, tentatively approaching the blonde’s breast. "Is this okay?" She asked, and she felt Tara laugh beneath her. Willow brought her head up, brow furrowed. Had she said something funny? "What?"

Tara stared at the girl adoringly, smoothing down Willow’s hair. “You don't have to keep asking me that."

"But I–"

Tara took the girl’s face in her hands and kissed her softly. "You don't have to keep asking me that,” she repeated gently, a soft smile lighting up her face.

There was a slight pause before Willow spoke, feebly. "But what if I'm working up to something kinky..."

Tara chuckled, the adorable pout on the redhead’s lips making her heart swell. "Are you?"

"No," Willow lightly grumbled. "I just..." Her face became vulnerable. "I don't want to do the wrong thing."

Tara’s voice turned serious. "You won't." Willow looked up, disbelief written on her face. "Willow,” the blonde started. “I. I'll let you know if I don't like something, or if don't want to do something. A-And I trust you to do the same. To tell me." She paused, shaking her head as she searched her mind for the right words. "We'll figure things out, together." She ducked her head in embarrassment. "It's not like I'm the big knowledge woman, either..."

“Tara…” Willow said, frowning slightly. The last thing she wanted to do was remind the blonde about her previous romantic experiences.

Tara looked up and ran her thumb along the redhead's cheek. "Just. Trust me." The words were soft and light.

"I do." Willow said, her own words soft. "Always."

Tara nodded. "Then kiss me."

Willow leaned forward and kissed the girl, soft and slow, the passion growing as their lips moved together. The redhead pulled herself more even with the girl and slid her hand up, confidently cupping Tara’s breast. The skin was so soft, the weight sparking an extra gear of desire Willow didn’t know she had. She moaned into the kiss and broke it with a pop, immediately dropping her head and licking Tara’s nipple with a broad stroke.

Tara gasped. Filed under the category of things she didn’t know about her own body was the fact that her breasts were apparently really, really sensitive, and what Willow as doing to them–

“Nnngh,” the blonde groaned, arching her back, her breast more fully entering the redhead’s mouth, her tongue rapidly flicking her hard nipple. “Oh god,” Tara breathed out, the words eliciting a fervent response from the redhead. Willow moved her tongue, her free hand moving to caress Tara’s other breast. Tara rolled her hips, a whimper escaping her lips when she was met with nothing to help relieve the throbbing between her legs. If Willow touched her, a single stroke would probably be enough. “Oh god Willow,” she repeated as the redhead switched breasts, the cold air in the room tightening her wet nipple harder, the redhead’s fingers instantly appearing to flick and roll the swollen nub.

Willow was in heaven. The feeling of Tara in her mouth was divine, and the feeling of the girl squirming beneath her… She’d never experienced anything like it. She kept her free hand busy on Tara’s breast, fighting the urge to slip it between the blonde’s legs. She’d be wet, Willow knew it. She’d be so wet, and as much as she wanted to feel that, she was enjoying the feel of her soft breasts for now.

She felt Tara’s hips press up again, more insistently, heard Tara’s whimpers grow louder and she decided to give the girl a break. She brought her lips up to the blonde’s and was rewarded with a kiss that made her groan. Tara instantly cupped Willow’s breasts, and both girl’s sighed happily. The blonde squeezed again, then slid her hands around back and deftly unsnapped the redhead’s bra. “Show off,” Willow murmured into their kiss and Tara chuckled. The bra fell around Willow’s forearms, and she eased out of it an arm at a time. She tossed the garment off the bed and pushed herself up so Tara’s hands could touch her, flicking and rolling her nipples as she fondled her. Willow hummed happily. It felt good, how she fit into Tara’s palms, how the blonde touched her. She rocked into the blonde, careful not to push too hard and her brow furrowed in confusion when the blonde’s hands left her breasts. And then she felt it, Tara’s hands on the waistband of her pants. Willow sighed shakily as she felt Tara seek out the button to her jeans, felt the blonde’s strong fingers ease the button through the hole, her hands unzipping the fly, knuckles grazing over her. Tara pushed the girl’s pants open, her fingers dancing along the top of the redhead’s underwear before slipping under Willow’s pants and gripping her hips, pulling her close. Willow swallowed hard. The way Tara’s strong fingers gripped her hips; she imagined how it would feel once they were bare, how she would feel being guided by those strong hands.

Willow sighed shakily. “I want to take your pants off,“ she whispered.

“Okay,” Tara answered.

Willow shifted down the blonde’s body, unbuttoning and unzipping the girl’s pants and gently pulling them down, Tara lifting her hips to aid the redhead. The redhead left the girl’s underpants on, and tried not to stare when she saw how the fabric darkened, damp, between Tara’s legs. She felt her own wetness drip from her again. She tossed the pants to the floor and then turned her attention to the blonde’s body. Willow silently congratulated herself for requesting the fairy lights on as she took the girl in, the blonde’s body glowing ethereally under the soft light. A smile instantly formed on the redhead’s lips as her eyes caught sight of Tara’s feet. “You have a little bit of paint on your toes,” Willow said, amused, as she ran her fingers lightly over the top of Tara’s foot and the girl blushed in reply. It was confirmation that the blonde had indeed gone to paint yesterday, and Willow wondered what she had painted that would have led to her getting paint on her feet. She’d have to ask about it later.

She gently snaked up the blonde’s body, slowing as she passed over the blonde’s hips. Willow leaned down to kiss Tara's belly and the blonde felt the redhead's nipple slide along her inner thigh. She groaned, her legs falling open a little. Willow pressed down with her body into Tara’s center, providing pressure but nothing substantial to rub against. Tara groaned and Willow ground her own hips into the mattress. The way the blonde smelled, the way her damp underwear felt pushed into her breasts, her own erect nipples brushing against the blonde’s inner thighs… Willow looked up to see Tara looking down at her, her eyes dark and lidded, her full breasts between them, and Willow felt feral. She needed this girl, wanted to take her. She moved up, eager to kiss Tara’s breasts, to suck them. The way the girl moved beneath her when she did, the sounds she made when she had her mouth on her… Willow rolled her hips, enjoying how wet she was as she neared the blonde’s breasts. She reached up and traced the soft pad of her index finger lightly over Tara's left nipple, the bud growing tighter and more rigid as she worked. "I love that my fingers can do that to you,” she whispered.

“M-Me too," Tara replied shakily.

Willow nodded, knowing that Tara needed her as much as she needed her. She dropped her mouth to the blonde’s breast and she heard the blonde moan loudly as her tongue reached out and flicked the stiff nipple. Back and forth, her tongue moved, relentlessly laving the hard nipple and she felt Tara moving beneath her. She quickly switched breasts, her field of thought narrowed to only one action: Giving Tara pleasure.

She was about to switch breasts again when she felt her face pulled upwards, and her mouth was claimed in a ravenous kiss. She moaned into the contact, and then gasped when she felt Tara’s hand between her legs, the blonde cupping her and then stroking. The redhead broke the kiss and dropped her head, panting heavily into the blonde’s shoulder as Tara’s hand pressed the seam of her jeans into her clit. She felt Tara’s hand fumble a little and then Willow groaned loudly as the blonde’s hand pushed inside her jeans and stroked her through her underwear, the soaked fabric slipping against her. She opened her eyes and met Tara’s gaze, seeing the need in her eyes, and it overwhelmed her when she realized that she had put it there. She gently pulled Tara’s hand from her pants and moved off of the girl, rolling onto her back. She reached for the waistband of her pants and underpants and pulled them down, shucking both and throwing them from the bed, vaguely aware that Tara was removing her underwear at the same time to her left.

And then Tara was on her. Willow sighed as the girl settled onto her, the blonde’s thigh slipping between her own, the blonde straddling her leg. Tara swallowed hard and reached up with her hand, gently pushing Willow’s hair from her eyes. The redhead met her gaze and the two girls looked at each other intently. “Tara,” Willow whispered, and as she slightly moved her leg, she felt Tara slide against her and groan. Willow leaned forward and gently kissed Tara’s cheek. Her jaw. Then her lips.

Tara sighed into the kiss, her hips rocking and rubbing her into the redhead’s leg. “Willow,” the blonde said, her voice choking with need as she retreated and slid her hips forward again. She felt Willow move below her and gasp as Tara pressed her thigh into her, and the blonde swallowed hard as she realized exactly how wet the girl below her was. She thrust her hips again, feeling Willow press against her and Tara sighed. For years. For years she’d fantasized about this moment, but to feel it, to feel Willow, her excitement, her desire for her, was almost more than she could bear. She leaned down and kissed the girl and felt Willow’s hands reach around to her lower back and urge her forward. And she couldn’t hold back any longer.

Tara reached her hand between Willow’s legs and both girls groaned. “Oh god you’re wet,” Tara said, her hips pushing her hand into Willow, the redhead writhing below her. Willow’s mind cleared. She’d expected pleasure, but this was beyond anything she could have imagined. She reached her own hand between Tara’s legs and groaned when her hand slipped, her fingers sliding down the length of her with ease.

Tara swallowed hard and held her hips up to let Willow explore, her own hand moving against the redhead before the feeling of Willow touching her overwhelmed her. Tara bore down her hips and ground into the redhead’s fingers, trapping her, and she felt rather than heard Willow whisper, “Yes,” against her neck. She thrust and thrust again, her legs starting to quiver, her forehead beading with sweat.

Their movements were fast, the girls moving and grinding together, fingers pressing and slipping. Willow reveled in the feeling of the blonde bucking into her hand; she curled her fingers up and connected with Tara’s clit and the blonde gasped. The redhead swallowed hard, her mouth dry as she rolled her own hips, desperate for more from the blonde. The way Tara was touching her, reacting to her; Willow let out a guttural groan. This. She loved this. She loved how Tara moved over her, the blonde’s wetness dripping down her hand, her breasts brushing over hers. She dug her fingers into Tara’s back and pulled the girl against her.

Tara’s breath started to come in short gasps, her nipples tightened to an extreme ache. Willow reached up with her free hand and tugged on one of Tara’s nipples and the girl cried out. “Willow,” she gasped. “Oh god, Willow.” It was there, so close, so close, if she just moved, so close–

And Tara came hard, her back arching, breasts pushed forward. Willow stared, her own orgasm just on the cusp, paused by Tara’s body twisting, rigid above her. She’d never forget this moment, the sight of Tara coming, her lips red and parted, hairline damp with sweat. The blonde dropped her head and panted as her orgasm crested, her clit throbbing, her legs spasming. Willow swallowed hard, overcome by emotion. She pressed her hand up into the blonde and heard the girl gasp. The blonde reached between her legs and moved Willow’s hand, and the redhead’s brow furrowed with concern before the thought was cleared, Tara’s fingers swirling on her clit in a way that made Willow gasp and twitch. The blonde repeated the movement and Willow gasped again. This would be fast. A third swirl, a fourth and then the redhead’s world exploded. She felt her back arch, her legs tense, and she heard a cry she didn’t recognize ripped from her throat. She came back to the world panting hard, Tara softly stroking her side and whispering in her ear. “I love you,” the blonde said quietly. “I love you.”

“Relax,” Willow mumbled as she became more aware, tugging and urging the blonde above her to rest all of her weight on her. She felt Tara slide off of her and settle next to her, the blonde’s leg still lazily draped over her own. Tara leaned forward and kissed Willow’s temple, sighing to try and finally regulate her own breath, to calm her still-racing heart. She placed her head on Willow’s shoulder and absently wondered if anything other than this could make her as happy.

After a long moment, Willow spoke. “Did I do something wrong?”

Tara’s head snapped up and she looked at the redhead like she had fourteen heads. Wrong? Why would she–? “W-What?” The blonde asked, confused.

“You moved my hand,” the redhead said vulnerably.

Tara sighed, relieved, her half smile emerging and she brought the hand in question to her face, kissing the girl’s fingers, her heart skipping a beat as she smelled herself on the digits. “I um, I sometimes get a little, sensitive, after…” she explained softly.

“Did I hurt you?” Willow asked, concern lacing her voice.

“No,” the blonde said shaking her head. “But it was, distracting. I just, I wanted to concentrate on you, how you felt, because I felt amazing and I wanted you to feel that, too.” She paused, her face turning vulnerable. “Did it. D-Did it feel good?”

“Oh god yes,” Willow said, a bright smile exploding across her face, and Tara relaxed, a relieved smile gracing her lips. “And believe me, when I say that, ‘yes’ feels like a massive understatement,” the redhead continued. “There really should be a word that’s more than yes. Like, yes to the fiftieth power, or oh! Like in Spanish, with the two exclamation points on either side? It felt upside-down exclamation point yes exclamation point.”

Tara smiled lazily at the sound of Willow’s enthusiasm; she laid her head back down next to the redhead’s. They lay side-by-side for several long moments, hands tracing comforting shapes into each other’s skin. It was Willow who spoke first. “Are you tired?”

“No,” Tara said with a bark of laughter as she turned and met Willow’s gaze with a twinkle in her eye.

“Are you still, sensitive?” Willow asked, her tongue pushing forward to her teeth after she spoke in a hopeful smile.

A half smile pulled on Tara’s lips. She reached over and took Willow’s hand and slowly dragged it down her body, stopping between her legs. She pressed the slim fingers into her and both girls gasped. “N-No,” she said shakily.

“Good,” Willow said hungrily, leaning in for a kiss and rolling the blonde onto her back.


Last edited by EasierSaid on Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:29 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:22 pm 
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:clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap

Favorite part -
Quote:
Notes: This is not a DREEEEEEEEEEEAM! /Oprah voice


OK, maybe not my Favorite part...because, damn. :drool

I like to think of myself as an eloquent person, but right now, my brain is mush. :sheep

Once again, I'm in love with this story. I'm in love with your Willow and Tara and their Hellmouth free world. I'm in love with their love and how sexy and awkward and lovely their first time was.

You're so good at this that I sort of wish it was a dream...but not really. That must be my mushy brain talking. What I meant to say was, when is the movie coming out? :grin

Thank you so much for this! I can only imagine how busy your life must be and I'm sure I speak for all of the :kgeek when I say, we really appreciate and love this story. :willow :love :tara I can't wait to see where this is going!


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:26 pm 
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Yay for awesome update-y goodness... Wow... Can't think anything more coherant right now...

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:39 pm 
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Holy Moses that was good. On my Kindle so I will add significant feedback a little later today. I stand in awe of this post.

Okay back on on the laptop. Best description
Quote:
“Nnngh,” the blonde groaned


First off I have to say, really well done. You managed to beautifully balance this entire scene with their overwhelming desire for each other, the cumulation of 3 years of dreaming and wanting, their vulnerability, their overall inexperience, and the potential weight of regret, and so many other potential challenges you still managed to dance the fandango through a minefield and came out the otherside with something particularly poignant and beautiful.

The pacing was perfect in my opinion. The movement from sweetly comical moment of which bedroom, to building passion again with that deeply erotic kiss, then leveling off a bit to address Willow's nerves and sweaty hands and their admittance of fantasizing about each other for three years, back up again. This pattern of high, plateau, higher, plateau, made this seem so real.
I love that their first time together was what I would call "Perfectly imperfect" You showed them as real individuals in a very real moment. To top it all off it was incredibly hot as well.
-H

-H

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Last edited by loislane1 on Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:08 pm 
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Amazingly hot update!! Summed up with:
:bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool :bow :drool

:wtkiss

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:25 pm 
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I think I passed out for a minute there. Really do. Wow. Oh my dear sweet Jesus with the wow. I think I need to go find my wife now because I'm in serious danger of becoming incoherent if I don't. Possibly adding more wows to this later.

writerfreak :flower

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:59 am 
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I can only say this right now:

WOW AND WOOHOO!! And I think my signature is kinda redundant because this had to be the most anticipated chapter lol.

Ok so here are my fave bits (I don't usually do a lot of quoting either but this inspires me to)

Quote:
"Hmm..." the redhead thought, sucking on Tara's bottom lip, eliciting a gasp from the blonde. "Does your room have a bed?" she murmured into the blonde's lips.

Aww Willow's soooo nervous it's adorable

Quote:
"I don't think you could stop me if I went down," Tara countered

Tara's too caught up in the moment to even think why that made Willow blush, also adorable

Ok so the whole thing was my favourite. The shy, questioning, awkward, bra fumbling (gee I remember that!) moments all add to one thing - truly one of the most beautiful first times I've ever read.

Thank you doesn't even begin to say how much I appreciate your work but I'll say it anyway!

Thank you and :sheep that's one of my faves, I only pull it out on special occasions

Kim

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"I don't want our first time to be a quickie. I want it to be, a longie." The redhead looked at the blonde and smiled sweetly. "I want all of you." ~ Willow to Tara in Neverland by EasierSaid
The most anticipated Chapter in the history of fanfiction everywhere!


Last edited by kimmy_s on Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:37 am 
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Wow!!
A classic in its own right, there's no denying that anymore.

Now, maybe someone should design a Neverland tee...
:flower :flower :flower :flower :flower :flower

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:05 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

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My thought process: Hey, I'll just see if there's a Neverland update while I'm waiting for class to start - oh, yay! Maybe I'll just read a little - holy. jesus!

I... that was... the worst possible thing to read during class! By that I mean, it was supremely, supremely hot! I loved that they kept talking, kept giving/requesting reassurance. I remember, my first time even making out with another girl, I expected things to just click, and that we wouldn't need words to express ourselves. Yeah, did not happen. My favorite, favorite, favorite thing about this fic, and probably W/T in general, is how attentive they are to one another.

Quote:
Tara stared at the girl adoringly, smoothing down Willow’s hair. “You don't have to keep asking me that."

"But I–"

Tara took the girl’s face in her hands and kissed her softly. "You don't have to keep asking me that,” she repeated gently, a soft smile lighting up her face.]


That is just one of the things that made me smile. I love that they are figuring things out, together, because they so want it to be perfect. I'm not sure I've ever read a W/T first time scene before, but this felt so very, very in character, right down to Willow's "relax."

Now, I need to go... pretend like it was remotely worth my while to come to class this morning. And maybe get several drinks of water. I'm sure i will be rereading this many, many times. If I think of more words, I'll add them. But just know you outdid yourself! Thank you!!!


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:01 am 
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Heather - What a fantastic and gorgeous update. The feel of the beginning reminds me in a way of one of my favorite sex scenes on the board - The Butterfly or maybe just Butterfly (and I'm too lazy to go and find a link for it right now). It's so intentional but passionate and soft and purposeful. I feel like Willow is so sure of herself. She chooses the room and the lighting. And while she keeps asking "is this ok" she isn't doing it out of fear that she will screw up but just sort of sexual politics. Now, I'm not a big fan of getting super meta about sex scenes because I think it's weird enough for any given writer and reader to sort of share that experience but then it's like 10x weirder for said reader to then go through it with a fine-toothed comb. So instead I'll just mention a few things I really love about it.

This line because it is so cute:
Quote:
There was a slight pause before Willow spoke, feebly. "But what if I'm working up to something kinky..."

Tara chuckled, the adorable pout on the redhead’s lips making her heart swell. "Are you?"


The interruptions for them to reminisce about the past 2 weeks again: the night on the bed with the CDs, the little touches at the concert, Willow trying to make Tara fall in love with her...

Willow being such a breast gal.

Tara wondering about her underwear choices.

Willow wondering about Tara moving her hand... being reassured.

Their sharing/confession about dreaming/fantasizing a lot about each other.

The complete absence of anyone else! No cell phones. No worry about Buffy or Xander or Marissa calling or texting. Neither of them had to deal with their cell phone as it fell out of their pocket when they pulled off clothes. Literally I don't think this chapter mentions another character name (although I'd have to go fine-tooth combing to be sure).

And it would seem there is more to come. Very fantastically done.

ETA: Butterfly

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:48 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Heather,
I remember you saying at some point that you started this fic because you wanted to remember what it felt like to fall in love again. Could you have ever imagined then that you'd be married with two kids before these two ever got to the "i love you's"? Life is a crazy thing.
Not only was Tara's painting process beautifully described, what I was really impressed with was how you navigated the keeping them apart while "the plan" played out without having do anything wacky. Of course Tara would want to go home and of course plot wise she can't, the passing out at Marissa's was very organic. No flat tires or petty robberies or amnesia. I clearly grew up watching too many soap operas.
As awful as Sheila was, it seems likely to me that she'll come around, at least to some degree sooner rather than later. She's obviously not used to not getting her way, I get the feeling no one stands up to her about anything, ever, especially her daughter. Now that Willow is clearly going to get on with her life with or without her mother, Sheila will probably get on board rather than being left behind.
Coming out to your friends, always interesting. ( a little advice to those who haven't, if you come out to someone on April 1st, they may not take you seriously.) I think after the big Sheila gut punch, there was probably a lot of temptation to be more sunshine and puppies with Buffy, but this was more realistic. I do think if Buffy had been a fly on the wall for the Willow/mom convo, this would have gone a lot differently, but Buffy isn't reading along with the rest of us. You've talked a lot about your supporting characters having lives of their own, and this definitely plays out in Buffy's reaction.
And then the big pay-off! I know they will have many years worth of convo's about things like Willow's phone call to Oz that Tara overhears, and the night at the club, and all the little misunderstandings, but none of that matters in the right now.
Absolutely loved the little bits of conversation interspersed during their first lovemaking. So so many fics, no matter how otherwise well written, get to the sex and it's completely generic, it could be any couple anywhere. It seems like once writers start describing the actions, they forget about the characters, and while it may be "hot" it's also very bland. You handled it wonderfully ( I stared to write that "you nailed it", but...)
Lastly, did you see Neko Case's tiny desk concert? http://www.npr.org/event/music/24183089 ... sk-concert . She did a lot of publicity for this album, but I think this was my favorite. We're seeing her in May, I'm quite excited! I saw her in New York nine or so years ago (and Martha Wainright opened) and we've seen the New Pornographers a couple of times since, but I'm really looking forward to this. (Here's an actual conversation between my wife and I at a NP show a few years ago:
Her- "you'd leave me for Neko Case wouldn't you?"
Me- "sweetheart, if you get the chance to leave me for Neko, have a good time and come back when it's over"
Her- "that's a good point" )
Congrats and thanks for sticking with this story. I'm glad that real life got too good for you to have the time to crank this out in a year. ~Mary

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:48 pm 
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Heather,

The dialogue and the humour in this chapter are excellent and the combination of nervous awkwardness, playfulness and passion is very well done. From the confusion on the landing onwards, you’ve written a lovely scene that comes across as very credible and in character.

I was confident you wouldn’t have Tara and Willow leave their personalities at the bedroom door and deliver a generic sex scene - even the Neverland dream sequences were more than just a break from the angst – they also showed how Willow was evolving.

This chapter continues the change in their relationship in more than just the obvious sense. But what if I'm working up to something kinky...Willow is joking, sort of, but also inviting some reassurance. They’ve each fantasised about this moment for three years. Now they know that the other has too. No pressure there. In reality, they’re only a few minutes past their first kiss. But instead of just assuming (usually wrongly), as they did before, they talk to each other.

While Willow is very clearly aware of Tara’s nerves, she almost has to spell out to Tara that she feels the same way.
Willow certainly is nervous, but she does seem the more confident of the two. Partly I think this is due to recent history - Tara waited for a very long time, hoping for Willow to initiate their relationship. When she finally stopped waiting, it blew up in her face. This was less than two days ago and they hadn’t seen each other since. But also, I think it shows a difference in their characters. Willow is more assured about her attractiveness and more confident sexually. Despite her inexperience with women, she doesn’t really panic about the prospect of pleasing Tara until Morgan’s arrival, and then Tara’s revelations about Jill reset her thinking. To me, this shows that despite its difficulties, Willow’s long relationship with Oz has been very good for her confidence. The exact opposite is true for Tara’s relationship with Jill.

Having said that, Tara is not passive or paralysed by inhibitions. I don’t think that Willow seducing Tara would work at all in this story. In fact, the power of her feelings pushes Tara to overcome her fears. It’s Tara who keeps distracting Willow from her guilt trip and from over-thinking, (especially with the ‘dates’ nonsense), often leading the way.

I’m happy that you intend a few more updates. Lots of authors seem to lose interest in their romantic leads as soon as they get them together, as if all the tensions and difficulties of the previous pages that kept the reader hooked are cancelled out by a kiss. I’m looking forward to seeing how Willow, Buffy and Xander sort things out. I’m hoping you bring Xander to San Francisco, rather than resolving things on the phone. I’m also curious as to how Willow and Tara react to being together. Each was consumed by the fear of her love being unreciprocated, but they also worried about the changes to their lives if the opposite turned out to be true.

On a tangent, I’m curious how the story has evolved compared to your original idea and if you find your writing is influenced at all by the feedback you receive. Neverland comes across as such a carefully plotted story; it’s hard to imagine that you didn’t have a very precise idea of every key scene from the beginning.

Clare

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:53 pm 
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:bow :drool Unbwaweavable!!! I loved it, it was perfect perfect everything about it. I'd be okie doke if they stayed in bed the rest of their lives haha. But definitely want to hear from Xander and see Buffy come around and those two reconciling. The rest like her Mom ah well see ya, don't need you in my life type of mentality if that is how she plans to behave. Keep going ! :) Please Pawease :) :applause :applause :banana :banana

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:06 pm 
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Oh Heather! No words, no emoticons would even come close to giving this update the least bit of justice it deserves. But a HUGE heartfelt thank you! It was beyond beautiful, beyond hot, beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

Way too much goodness to mention it all. If I tried, I would just need to copy and paste the entire thing.

To be honest, I found myself hyperventilating several times. I heard Willow's voice in my head when she was talking to Buffy in Halloween -- "Breathe, okay, breathe. You're going to faint again." So I kept breathing and kept reading, and Good Lord, did I need a cold shower when I got done, and a fresh pair of panties of course. :blush

Heart fluttering, palpitations, sweating and drooling. Yeah, that was me and then some. Absolutely awesome and excellent, etc, etc. So thank you again, for this update, for the entire agonizingly long wait, for giving us this story. :flower

So much love to you, Mrs Pips and the little Pip Squeaks!


Wimpy

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:08 pm 
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:thud :banana
Thank you for another amazing update. Very hot, sexy and sweet at the same time!
I loved how their first time wasn't 100% perfect, that Willow's palms were sweating, Tara was worried about her underwear, how Willow was unsure when Tara removed her hand. It was that touch of realism that I absolutely love about your writing (as you already know :blush ).
Quote:
“There really should be a word that’s more than yes. Like, yes to the fiftieth power, or oh! Like in Spanish, with the two exclamation points on either side? It felt upside-down exclamation point yes exclamation point.”

The two exclamation points :laugh What a perfect description :applause
Can't wait for more (as usual :blush )!!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:09 pm 
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Literally could not be happier. Everything is turning out alright!!! Of course it was going to, and yet I could never really be totally certain of that....

Thanks for this chapter, and for the reassurance that you will, in fact, let me know when it's over!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:17 pm 
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Immediately went to find my partner after reading that. Very well done :-)

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:35 am 
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Sanpfa Too funny about the note being your favorite part; it felt very necessary considering how many people posted that they were worried that the last update was a dream. :) (I almost asked everyone to look under their seats, “YOU get an update, and YOU get an update!”) And thanks so much. Love the sheep! I’m so glad you love these two, and that you loved their first time. And movie? Wouldn’t that be a trip! Thank you so much for the kind words, especially re: my super crazy busy life. I hope you like the next update and thanks again.

zampsa19752001 Thanks! Hope you like the next one.

loislane1 Blush - thanks so much! Thanks for coming back after reading on your Kindle, that’s super nice. Thanks re: the description, felt visceral. Thank you very much re: the balance, that means so, so much. It was really important to me that it be realistic-ish. You know, so many times in fanfic they get together and it’s just awesome sexually right from the beginning, and while I think that can be fun, for these two it felt like their first time would also include nerves and fear and playfulness and a whole host of other things in addition to the hotness. So, I wanted to kind of have them weaving in and out of a bunch of different emotions as they got more physical. I’m so, so glad you thought the pacing was good, that’s a relief. And yay for hot. I don’t know, this is probably a good question for the other writers on the board, but writing sex is so hard and intimidating. It’s nice to hear that it wasn’t too confusing or awkward haha. Thanks so much, I really appreciate the kind words. Hope you enjoy the next bit!

branny72 A+ for the silly emoticon usage! Thanks so much, hope you like the next part.

writerfreak Ruh oh, no passing out. Hope you were able to find your wife, and thanks so much. Hope you like the next update.

kimmy_s Aw, thanks so much. (And funny sig! haha) And most anticipated chapter? More than the “I love yous?” I’m glad you found Willow’s nerves adorable; I think Tara did too. I think it would be unrealistic if they were just suddenly super confident. And wow, one of the best firsts? That is just super duper flattering, thank you so much. While writing sex scenes is generally nerve-racking, I really love writing them when they’re playful and connecting, so I wanted to have that here even though they were nervous. They’re not just lovers, they’re friends, and I think that as friends they care about each other on a level that makes their connection sort of, flow. Thank you, for the sheep and for the super kind words. Hope you like the next bit.

Phantasyland Thanks so much, and a Neverland tee? May I suggest, “I survived 9 years of Neverland.” Enjoy the next one.

lavenderangel Oh yeah, reading hot-cha updates in class is a bad idea, haha. I use to have that happen on the bus on the way to work sometime, no good! I’m really glad that you thought it was hot, but more importantly I’m glad that you liked that they were talking and taking care of each other. And yeah, we all have romantic notions about our first times; very rarely are they the stuff of love ballads. As I said to a kimmy_s, these girls are friends, they love each other, it would be awkward if they didn’t talk to each other. Willow especially wants Tara’s first time to be perfect (or as perfect as one’s first time can be). It’s so important to check in with her and make sure she’s comfortable, that she’s enjoying herself, etc. I’m really glad that you thought this update was them in character, that’s so rewarding to read. I hope you were able to get back into your class-mindset. Thanks so much, and hope you enjoy the next bit.

JustSkipIt Thank you so much. Truly, that’s super gratifying to read. You know, I remember Butterfly; I’ll have to go back and re-read. I remember the author was a fun person to have around on the board. (Wish it was finished, though, who am I wish that haha.) I agree that Willow is sure of herself—she’s nervous, super nervous—but she knows what she wants and she wants Tara to be comfortable and trust her. I mean, she’s fantasized about this event for years; she’s not worried that she won’t like kissing Tara, or suddenly find girls icky, and when Tara starts responding passionately she goes with it. I totally agree with you about the meta, and really appreciate you highlighting things you like. Glad you liked the kinky line; it cracked me up when I was writing. I could just see her face, the little pout. I think talking about how/when they fell in love is going to be a common conversation for them for years and it felt really natural for them to start that conversation now. Yes, Willow is a breast gal from the get-go and who hasn’t worried about the state of their underthings at some point? ;) Re: Tara moving her hand/being reassured, I thought that it seemed realistic. So many times in fic it’s super rock star lovemaking with orgasm after orgasm and that—while fun—didn’t fit these two individuals. They’re learning, about themselves, each other, and it felt natural to include that. And yes, nobody else, just them. I actually wanted the same for this next update but I had this weird little piece that didn’t fit anywhere else and I didn’t want to update with like, 200 words haha, plus, it would be weird if Tara didn’t ask about Willow’s mom/Buffy. And hell yes, more to come. I definitely want to enjoy these girls together a little. It might not be much more, but I definitely have a few things in mind that I want to experience with them. :) Thanks so much Deb, hope you like the next part.

meretricious I got the biggest smile on my face when I saw your nick pop up. Welcome back. :) And yay for all of the ‘my wife’ references, I’m so happy for you guys, truly; warm and fuzzies, abound! Re: feedback, yes, I definitely did start this story to get that feeling of falling in love. Never in a million billion trillion years did I think I’d be married with two kids before they got together. And married to my best friend, who I met because of this story? I mean, COME ON. It’s just amazing, every single day amazing. Thanks re: the painting process as well as keeping them apart. I tried it a couple of different ways, thinking through what would happen if she stayed away, went home, etc, and what I went with is what felt most natural. (And lol re: the soaps, giiiiiiirl, me too.) I agree re: Sheila, it just feels like it’s going to be rough getting there, you know because two headstrong Rosenberg women trying to find middle ground seems… dicey. Very funny about April 1 and coming out. Thanks re: realism and coming out to Buffy. The nice thing about this story is that I’ve never been tempted to go happy or go sad, the characters sort of figure it out on their own and then let me know how it goes. I think in the first draft their conversation was a little more contentious, but then as I went back over it it felt wrong. Buffy is black/white but she also has a big heart and it needed to be in there. I agree that if Buffy had more information it’d be different. I mean, out of everyone—Xander, Anya, etc.—she has the least amount of information to go on. She’s been out of town, nobody’s confiding in her… it’s rough. And thanks re: the secondary characters and the lives of their own. I just feel like that it is so important and it’s informed the story in ways I never ever dreamed it would. Yes, re: the conversations. So many to come, and whether any of it matters is going to come up in this next update for sure. I’m glad you liked the conversation weaved into the physical; it seemed very them. (And if you had written “nailed it” I would have laughed, but since you didn’t… ;) )
Re: Tiny Desk Concert - yup! Watched it with my boys. Had to field many questions about why the gorilla was singing. :) You know, your story about Neko Case reminded me… I saw her at the Fillmore I think right before I started Neverland or right after and it was awe-inspiring. She wore this leather corset that she kept apologizing for but when she sang under the chandeliers, her red hair flaming it was very much like what I imagined seeing a siren singing would be like. I remember thinking like, “Welp, totally love her!” Totally would have run away with her if she had reached down into the audience and asked me to go on an adventure. And then when I saw her tour with The New Pornographers years later with my wife, I thought, “Welp, still love her… But there’s no way I’m leaving my super hot wife for her.” It was jarring, haha, because I was so, so, so single and enraptured on the first occasion and so, so NOT single and totally gaga for my wife on the second. (The wife probably thinks I’m fibbing but god’s honest; I think my wife is hotter than Neko Case.) Anyway, still love Neko Case, think she’s hilarious on Twitter, will probably listen to everything she ever makes ever because she is awesome. :D Thanks so much Mary, it was a real treat seeing you. Don’t be a stranger! (And say hi to the wife!)

wayland Thank you re: the dialogue and the humor - that is so nice to read. That’s easily my favorite thing to write with these two, the little moments where they click and get to play off of each other. I’m so glad that you thought it was in character and that the changes in emotions, etc as their physical connection grew worked. I thought it was really important for them to be themselves as they became a them, you know? You’re too right about the reassurances and the feeling of pressure. I don’t think the three years thing has kicked in all the way for each of them; they feel awed by it, and do feel a certain amount of pressure but I think if anything that knowledge allows them to be more bold, to free their passion a bit, if that makes sense. I think it’s easier to express love if you’re absolutely sure that the person you’re expressing that love to feels the same way and trusts you. I think now that the cat is out of the bag per their love, talking is a must. They need those reassurances, need to be sure that they’re comfortable. And yes, re: Willow understanding Tara’s nerves but Tara not quite getting that Willow is nervous too. I think that’s mostly a function of shock; I think Tara is so stunned that a) Willow loves her, b) that she’s loved her for a really long time and c) that she wants to make love right now. I mean, a certain part of her must be totally overwhelmed, and I think that comes out in her being a little dense to Willow’s nerves. You’re right that the flinch played a roll in that too, of course. I think to some degree their previous relationships play into their respective confidence; I think for Willow she is just so flippin’ happy that she gets to kiss Tara she’s left a bit of her self-consciousness at the door, you know? She’s so focused on whether Tara is happy, whether Tara is enjoying herself that she’s too busy to worry about how she looks. I think for her, if Tara is responding enthusiastically she’s doing something right and damnit, she’s going to keep on doing it haha. When Tara tells her she’s thought about her hips for years I mean, Willow could just die happy right there.
I agree that Willow seducing Tara wouldn’t work in this story. They want each other, and have expressed that in the story from the beginning via dreams, fantasies, etc so it’s not like Tara needs Willow to do all of the heavy lifting. She’s just as eager, just as turned on, just not quite as confident. Once Willow shows her care and trust though, it allows Tara to give up some of her fears. For Tara, it’s all about the now, and that will come up more as the story comes up. Willow is a what-ifer, if that makes sense where Tara is just so, so happy that her most secret desire has come true that nothing else matters. Thanks re: the more updates. I get it, the losing interest, but the thing I enjoy most about this story is spending time with Willow and Tara, and I feel like they still have some fun things to experience together that I want to experience with them. As for the things you mentioned wanting to see, definitely stay tuned. :)
As for planning the story - nope. I didn’t really have any idea what it would be about when I started. I just was bored one night and thought, what the hell, I’ll write a story. I think I thought I’d have them go to the club, then Willow would freak out and they’d get together after an update or two. But once I started writing, I don’t know, it felt like there was something there, and it just kept getting more and more intricate. I figured, I’m enjoying writing, so why not see where it goes from here, and every single update would open up a new door with new discoveries on where things would go. I didn’t really have an idea of how things would go beyond one or two updates or events in advance up through Morgan’s party. (Like, when Willow went to Portland I didn’t know she’d buy a cookbook that would lead to a dinner date; I didn’t know that they would go to cake after Morgan’s party, etc.) Then once they were home together I had a vague idea of what the week would be like, like, okay today they’re home, the next day they’ll go see Anya (added the gallery visit I think the day I started to write the going-to-see-Anya update), then they’ll see a concert, then Friday dinner, Sat Willow will see her mom, Sunday Buffy then they’ll get together. But I didn’t know the details of what would happen or what each update would cover until I wrote it. It just evolved. I didn’t know there would be a flinch until probably after I wrote the trip to see Anya. I didn’t know how extensive the flashback chapters would be until I started writing them (I thought maybe one or two updates there, tops). I mentioned Michelle in passing in one of the early club updates so Willow wouldn’t be jealous of Tara and Marissa talking, but I didn’t give her a name because I didn’t think I’d a) ever write about Marissa again, b) ever see her wife, c) have her wife need to talk and have a name. I would sometimes foreshadow by mentioning something like a line from the park or running low on paint as a way of giving myself a target that I might be able to hit eventually with a future update, but even that was vague and I wasn’t bound to it. (I had a text file that was like… 50,000 words long that was just paragraphs here and there of things that I’d written that I thought I might use in the future; I’ve used most of those bits in previous updates already, but there are still a few left.) That people like this story is amazing to me because it is such an accident. It is unbelievable to me that it is what it is, you know? It should be 6 updates long and in the Completed Fic section since 2004.
As for feedback influencing the story - greatly. I didn’t write events for readers (I’ve never changed something that a character would do based on expectations or feedback; they are their own people doing their own thing and they bow to no outside pressure haha), but I definitely altered my writing style trying to be better at explaining things that I thought people might be confused about or to influence the story in a different direction. For example, if everyone was like, “Morgan, hate her!” I’d try and maybe show her as a more developed person, show her motivations, because I didn’t think she was evil, you know, and that would lead to different discoveries and depth in Tara and Willow. I definitely was more interested in detail because of the feedback; it really helped me see things in my own writing that I hadn’t noticed and made me more attentive to things that worked vs didn’t work as far as pace, dialogue, etc. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. I value it IMMENSELY and often wonder how I’d write a story without it should I ever be foolish enough to tackle something like this again. Thanks so much Clare, for the insightful feedback and for prompting me to write about how the story came to being. Fun to look back. :) Hope you like the next update!

SylverMaki Thanks so much, I’m so glad you liked it. And I think a lot of people would be thrilled if they stayed in bed forever, haha. Funny about Sheila, and yes, more to come with Xander and Buffy. Thanks so much, and thanks for the dancing bananas! Hope you like the next part.

wimpy0729 Thank you so, so much, truly I appreciate it so much. I’m so glad you liked! Too funny about the cold shower, thank you. I find writing sex scenes to be very difficult so it’s nice to hear that I didn’t botch it too badly. ;) Hope you like the next bit and of course I’ll pass on the love to the fam. Thanks again, Wimpster.

WillowRulez Yay, dancing banana. Those little bastards make me smile every time. Thank you very much - I’m glad you thought it was sexy and sweet; seemed like their first time needed to be more than just sex, you know? I’m glad you thought it was realistic. I’ve mentioned above that so many times in fic their first time is like the most athletic, passionate sex right out of the gate and while that’s super fun sometimes it wouldn’t have worked for these girls. Of course Tara would worry about her underwear, of course Willow would be self-conscious about whether she was good at pleasing a woman. It felt natural to go that way. Glad you liked the exclamation point line; I wasn’t sure if it was grammatically correct (my Spanish is pretty much non-existent) but it seemed like something Willow would say, haha. Thanks so much, I’m super happy you liked. Hope you enjoy the next bit!

KnightlyLove Literally could not be happier that you could not be happier, thank you. And no problem about the letting you know when it’s over - I’m going to have a virtual party haha and everyone on the board will be invited. Hope you enjoy the next bit!

HanShotFirst Aw, yeah. Hope it was fun! Thanks so much and enjoy the next part.


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Neverland
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:36 am 
Offline
7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 11:04 am
Posts: 688
Topics: 1
Title: Neverland
Author: EasierSaid
Feedback: 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: NC-17
Disclaimer: Please don't sue me Mutant Enemy.
Notes: Confessions and stuff.


Thoughts in italics

PART 74


Xander looked up from his TV, a slice of pizza inches from his open mouth, and his eyebrows arched; someone was knocking on his door, and the someone wasn’t happy. He quickly reviewed the math in his head, recalculating the tip he gave the delivery guy as he placed the slice on a plate and walked to the door. He peeked through the peephole and his face screwed up. “Buffy?” He said aloud, his voice laced with surprise. He opened the door to reveal a very stern looking Buffy. “Buffy, what are you–“

She held up her hand cutting him off. “I canceled a date that I had been looking forward to for two weeks to drive down here. Tomorrow, we take these back,” she said, holding up a small box containing the earrings from Annabelle’s her old friends had gifted her with weeks earlier. “But right now we are going to talk about the last two years.” She stormed into the apartment and past a flabbergasted Xander.

“Okay then.” He shut the door. “Pizza?”

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

They kissed and Willow shivered, her skin raising in bumps. “Are you cold?” Tara asked, concerned as her fingertips ran lightly over the girl’s raised skin.

“A little bit,” the redhead answered with a shiver.

“Come on,” the blonde said, untangling herself from Willow so they could get under the covers. They awkwardly pulled the blanket and sheet back, giggling the whole time and then settled in next to each other beneath the covers, creating a warm cocoon.

“You’re my girlfriend,” Willow said suddenly, her face exploding into a million-watt smile. Tara felt her heart skip a beat and her own face broke out into a wide grin. “I have a girlfriend,” Willow continued. “And it’s you. You’re my girlfriend.” She shimmied slightly, eliciting a light laugh from the blonde. “I mean, that’s okay to say, right? That you’re my girlfriend?” The redhead asked, suddenly worrying that she was being presumptuous.

“Yes, that’s okay,” Tara replied deadpan, laughing. “I mean, I kind of hope you think of me as your girlfriend, what, with the nakedness and all,” she said, looking down at their entwined bodies with a lopsided smile.

“My girlfriend,” Willow said sweetly, leaning in and gently kissing the blonde. “Who is you.”

“Who is me,” Tara said as she watched the redhead pull away. She shook her head, amazed by it all, and then chuckled.

“What?” Willow asked, amused.

“I was just, thinking about the other time I was your girlfriend,” Tara said with a smile. Willow frowned, not following. “At the kitten club?”

“That was hot,” the redhead said, her skin flushing, and the blonde’s brows arched in surprise. “Uh, yeah,” the redhead said, responding to the blonde’s dubious look. “Totally hot.”

Tara momentarily dipped her head, embarrassed. “I thought I was making you uncomfortable.”

“You were,” the redhead said, grinning widely as she traced her hands along Tara’s naked flesh beneath the covers. “Just, in a sort of, ‘gonna die if you don’t take me in that bathroom stall right now’ sort of way.”

“In the bathroom stall, huh,” Tara said, amused, as she wrapped an arm around Willow’s warm body.

“It was dire,” Willow said.

“Poor baby,” Tara replied, leaning in and kissing the girl. “You must have been so frustrated.”

The redhead shivered, but this time not from the cold. “Nothing a little poker on my phone couldn’t cure,” she said. “And you know. Sexy dreams.”

Tara propped herself up on her elbow and looked at the redhead. “You um, you have a pretty active subconscious,” she said. “That’s the second or third time you’ve mentioned sexy dreams.”

“Yeah,” Willow blushed. “We um. I mean, in my dreams, we’ve uh–“

“Done this before?” Tara asked, reaching over and taking Willow’s hand.

“Yes,” Willow said, embarrassed. “I actually have been snoozing a lot lately to try and stay in them,” she added sheepishly.

Tara raised her brows in surprise. All those mornings… She herself blushed when she remembered this past Wednesday and the look on Willow’s face as they had coffee together and the topic of dreams came up. The blonde’s lips curled into a delighted smile. “I thought you just weren’t a morning person.”

Willow’s face broke into a large grin despite her embarrassment. “Well, that too…”

Tara moved her hand down the redhead’s arm and took the girl’s hand to play with her fingers. “So, in the dreams we…”

“Are… naked…” Willow confirmed, her face hot. “And… doing thing.”

Tara cocked her head, amazed, and took in the redhead. “I can’t believe you dreamed about me like that.”

“All the time,” Willow said, turning to look at the blonde, their eyes locking. “I mean. Not every night or anything,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I don’t remember my dreams every night, a-and they’re not always sexy, I mean, sometimes it’s just…”

“What?” Tara urged, her eyes never leaving Willow’s face.

“Us, together.”

The blonde nodded, understanding.

Willow smiled widely. “Real life is way better though.”

Tara laughed at that, leaning forward and gifting the girl with a kiss. She started to retreat, but was pulled back into the redhead’s arms, the fun kiss quickly turning heated. Tara gasped and she pulled the girl close. “How do you do that?” She asked, Willow’s lips kissing along her neck.

“Do what?” Willow asked innocently.

“Make me feel like I’m on fire.”

“Luck?” the redhead replied, awed by the reaction she was getting.

“That’s not luck,” Tara chuckled before gasping, Willow’s hands cupping her breasts. “Oh god.”

“I want…” The redhead swallowed her words, too embarrassed to say what she desired.

“What?” The blonde urged.

“I want to go down on you,” Willow finally said as she exhaled, her face as red as her hair.

“Oh,” Tara said, surprised.

“Is that okay?” Willow asked quickly, unsure.

The blonde nodded, momentarily unable to speak. “Yes,” she finally said. She was nervous, and suddenly very self-conscious, but the idea of Willow’s head between her legs… She swallowed hard.

“Okay,” Willow said through a wide smile. She leaned forward and kissed Tara’s ear, her tongue slowly snaking out and licking at the blonde’s skin. Tara groaned and Willow exhaled shakily. “I get so turned on when I think about it,” the redhead said quietly as she kissed down the blonde’s neck. “That’s the first dream I ever had about you…”

The blonde squirmed, aroused, Willow’s words doing as much as her tongue. “Oh.” She didn’t think she’d be able to string together a coherent sentence right now if she tried.

Willow rolled the blonde onto her back. She wanted Tara, wanted to taste her, to make her come again, but now that she had voiced her desire she was incredibly nervous. She knew the basics, but knowing and doing were sometimes two very different things. She smiled nervously and felt herself relax when Tara smiled back. The redhead leaned down and gently kissed the blonde’s lips and she sighed when she felt Tara’s hands lightly wind into her hair. She eased away from the blonde’s face and kissed her collarbone, and then the soft patch of skin between her breasts, Tara arching her back slightly as the redhead’s tongue snaked out and moved up over the swell of her breast. The blonde’s nipple was already stiff, and Willow moved her tongue gently around it, enjoying the feeling of the girl in her mouth, Tara’s hands still gently wound in her hair. After a brief exploration of the girl’s other breast, Willow continued down, placing gentle kisses along the blonde’s soft stomach, until she had to stop to shift her own body between the girl’s legs. Tara pulled her hands back to her own body and Willow smiled at the girl.

“Are you cold?” Willow asked as the blanket and sheet pooled at the foot of the bed.

“No,” Tara said nervously, her hands resting gently on her stomach.

Willow nodded and smiled again before looking down at the girl before her. She ran her fingers lightly down the inside of Tara’s left thigh, careful not to tickle, and sighed when the blonde’s legs fell open a little wider. She was beautiful, spread open before her, and Willow took a deep breath to steady herself; her heart was racing, and she felt a jolt between her legs. She lowered her head and kissed the inside of the blonde’s thigh where her fingers had just been. “You’re beautiful,” she murmured, as she moved her head over to the girl’s other thigh, where she placed another gentle kiss, Tara’s legs falling open just a little bit more. “So incredibly beautiful.” Willow lowered her head and placed a gentle kiss between the girl’s legs and she heard Tara gasp and then sigh. The girl’s hair was slightly coarse under her lips, slick and aromatic in a way that made the redhead’s heart pound in her chest and her hips roll against the mattress. Willow repeated the kiss, adding a little more pressure and she sighed herself when she felt the girl’s wetness on her lips. Her tongue reached out, and she dropped her head and slowly licked her length.

Tara let loose a ragged groan. Willow’s tongue was soft and wet, and it slid through her easily. The redhead repeated the action, and Tara felt her wetness pour from her. She didn’t know until that moment how much she had wanted this. She had dreamed about it before, fantasized even, and if you had asked her ten minutes before if she was sated she would have said yes, believing it completely… But the feeling of Willow’s tongue gliding inside of her, through her, gently circling her clit before heading back down made her surge with a lust she didn’t know she was capable of feeling.

The redhead repeated her path, her tongue broad as she moved up the blonde. When her tongue found the blonde’s clit, she heard Tara gasp. The sound was intoxicating. Willow repeated the action and heard the blonde gasp again, and she was hooked. She brought her tongue up, and started to lick Tara’s clit, her excitement driving her.

Tara writhed, but not from pleasure. “Slower,” she gasped and Willow stilled her movements completely. “I’m sorry,” the blonde said with embarrassment as she looked down her body and saw the redhead’s wide eyes looking up at her anxiously. “I’m a little more sensitive than I thought.”

“Did I hurt you?” Willow asked nervously, holding her breath as she waited for an answer.

“No,” Tara replied, her breath uneven, her body aching with need.

The redhead relaxed a little, relieved. “Do you want me to stop?”

“No,” the blonde answered quickly, her voice more forceful than she expected. She definitely didn’t want her to stop. “Just, start slow?”

The redhead nodded. She took a deep breath to calm her nerves and then dropped her head and gently kissed the girl. She then slowly licked her in a broad, soft stroke; she heard Tara sigh so she repeated the action. She brought her tongue up and gently went in a lazy circle around the girl’s clit. The blonde’s loud groan excited Willow, but she quickly checked it, dragging her tongue down and then back up before bringing her tongue around in an another agonizingly slow circle, hoping to hear Tara groan again.

She was rewarded with a ragged sigh so she circled again, before licking her length and lightly passing over the girl’s clit. “Oh…” Tara sighed, her body humming. “Yes…”

Willow did it again, settling into a rhythm, remembering with each pass to keep things slow and gentle despite the desire to give into her passion and move her tongue as quickly as her heart beat. Tara’s hips started to roll, reaching up to meet her and Willow softly moaned at the feeling, pleasure building between her own legs. She pushed aside her urge to take the girl, quickly and wantonly, and concentrated on letting Tara’s body tell her what to do. Her tongue slid up, searching, tasting and she softly sighed as she glided over the girl’s clit.

The blonde groaned as Willow’s tongue gently lathed her clit. The feeling was exquisite, teasing and hot, but she needed more. “Harder,” she said, breathily, her hips pressing up into the redhead’s mouth. “Please.” Willow instantly complied, matching her pace to the blonde’s rolling hips. Oh god she’s good at this, Tara thought, the pressure building as the redhead licked her. Loved her. “Willow, oh god,” Tara said, gasping, her hips bucking, her legs open wide, feet pushing on the mattress. She panted as the redhead’s tongue pressed into her, the girl’s freckled hands holding her hips tight as she writhed. Soft sounds escaped the blonde’s lips and she felt her orgasm building as her legs start to shake on either side of Willow’s head. Tara groaned once, “Oh god,” before she felt herself explode; her body twisted and her back arched up off of the bed as she came, her hands instantly flying to Willow’s head and stilling her movement.

The redhead froze, her tongue pressed gently against the girl’s clit, her green eyes wide as she watched Tara come, the blonde’s head thrown back, eyes closed. I’ll never get tired of seeing this, Willow thought, amazed. Never. It was easily her favorite thing to see in the world. She watched, rapt, as Tara eased back onto the bed, her hands freeing Willow’s head, her arms going limp against her sides. The redhead gently removed her mouth and kissed the inside of the girl’s thigh.

“Wow,” Tara said, blinking her eyes open. She licked her cold lips and reached up a hand. “Come here.” Willow wiped her face discreetly on the sheets and then crawled up the blonde’s body, pulling the sheet and blanket up over them as she did. She curled into the blonde’s side, covering them both, sighing as she felt Tara wrap a strong arm around her shoulders. “Mmmm, thank you,” the blonde purred, nuzzling into the redhead with a contented smile.

“My pleasure,” Willow said with a proud, shy smile, draping her arm loosely over the blonde’s stomach. She felt the blonde sigh again and the redhead rested her head on the pillow next to the girl. She was surprised, then, when she felt Tara roll toward her, the blonde capturing her lips in a passionate kiss. Willow bit back a groan.

“I want to return the favor,” Tara said, her voice low and sultry as she broke the kiss, pulling the redhead close.

“Oh,” Willow said, her brow quirking. She hadn’t considered that maybe Tara would want to do that, too. “Uh, later?” She said, her eyes pleading as the blonde’s face registered confusion. “I haven’t showered since this morning and it’s been a long day and…” She momentarily dipped her eyes before looking back up, hoping the girl would understand. “You know.”

Tara was disappointed but tried not to let it show. “I don’t mind.”

“That’s super sweet, it’s just—I do,” the redhead said apologetically. “I know, it’s weird–”

“It’s not weird, I totally get it.” Tara said gently and Willow’s heart melted. “Whatever you want.”

“An IOU,” Willow said, leaning forward and kissing the blonde.

“Promise?” Tara asked, tucking away her disappointment as she tasted herself on the girl’s lips.

“Promise,” Willow whispered. She kissed the girl and felt her desire flare, the blonde’s tongue teasing at her lips. She wound her hands in Tara’s hair and kissed her again, deeper, longer. “I want you,” the redhead murmured breathlessly. She kissed the girl again and felt the blonde groan into her mouth. “Now.”

Tara rolled onto her back, pulling Willow on top of her and parted the redhead’s legs with her thigh. “Now is good.” She gripped either side of Willow’s hips and rocked her into her thigh, pressing up as she did so, the redhead sighing in pleasure. The redhead was wet, and Tara sighed shakily, knowing it was from pleasing her. She slipped her hand between Willow’s legs and the girl groaned, grinding against her fingers. Then Tara’s hand shifted, and Willow groaned again, feeling a finger enter her.

“Oh god,” Willow sighed, her hips retreating and then again bearing down, taking the finger deep inside of her.

Tara was amazed as she watched Willow’s face awash in pleasure. When they’d made love earlier it had been so urgent, so intense; about giving and receiving pleasure frantically. But now, as Willow rode her hand, propped up on her arms, the blonde was allowed to watch her, to appreciate the moment and it blew her away. There were no words that could describe the beauty as Willow’s eyes fluttered closed, her lips parted, her breasts gently swaying above her. Tara let her eyes wander the length of the girl’s body, awed by what she saw. And the feeling of being inside the girl… She swallowed hard as she watched Willow retreat and then take her deep again. Warm, soft and wet. It surpassed every fantasy she ever had by a factor of a million. Tara reached up with her free hand and squeezed Willow’s breast, flicking her nipple with her thumb. Willow opened her eyes and met Tara’s gaze. They stared for a moment before Willow leaned down and captured Tara’s lips in a searing kiss, her hips thrusting, the blonde’s finger performing magic inside of her.

“I love you,” Willow said, and Tara moaned, moving her hand slightly, the heel of her palm rubbing against the redhead’s clit. Willow gasped. “Tara,” she said, her voice breathy and needy, and she felt Tara’s free hand reach down and strongly grip her hip. “Yes.” Tara rocked her own hips, setting a rhythm and felt Willow speed up, her hips starting to rock harder, faster. “Tara,” Willow said again, feeling all semblance of control fleeing her. Her head lolled forward and she panted hard, sweat covering her body in a light sheen, her hips helplessly thrusting against Tara. “Don’t stop,” she said, her eyes screwing closed, her entire body taut with expectant pleasure as the blonde’s finger drove deep inside of her. She came before she’d expected to with a sharp gasp and violent shudder, and as she sighed, pleasure radiating from between her legs throughout her body, she vaguely registered Tara’s free hand grabbing onto her hip and stilling her.

The redhead’s rocking stopped under the blonde’s grasp; Willow breathed deep, her skin flush and hot. She opened her eyes and saw Tara looking at her with a naked adoration that momentarily caught her gasping breath. Wow… Willow swallowed hard and then gingerly eased her hips up and off of Tara’s finger; she then gently laid next to the girl on her back, panting and smiling at the ceiling. “I feel like I have no bones,” she said as she sighed loudly, and she heard Tara chuckle in return. “I’m serious. Just jelly.”

The blonde watched the girl’s profile as she caught her breath, love pushing out of her and seeming to settle over them like a protective halo. Willow turned and looked at her and they smiled. The redhead rolled onto her side and nuzzled her head into Tara’s temple, and they settled together, holding each other for a long while under the fairy light’s warm glow.

“What happened to your knee?” Tara asked softly.

“Huh?” Willow asked, her brow furrowing.

“The bruise,” she said, referencing the faded yellow circle on Willow’s knee. “It looked big.”

“Oh.” The redhead smiled, dragging her leg up to drape lightly over the blonde’s hips. “Funny story: I ran into the coffee table. It’s actually why I wore pants instead of a skirt to Morgan’s party.”

"You ran into the coffee table?" Tara asked as she smoothed her hand featherlight over Willow's knee.

"Ogling you." Tara's eyebrows shot up to her hairline and Willow continued, a wide grin on her face. "At your party, the, pre-gallery party? I was watching you and saw you were wearing the bracelet I gave you and I just sort of, got all distracted by how beautiful you were and walked smack dab into the table." She paused. "And then Anya said I wanted to have sex with you. Which, I did. Just, rude."

"Ah," Tara said, a smile pulling at her lips. "I wondered why you disliked her so much."

"Oh no," Willow said seriously, shaking her head. "I hate her."

“Hate’s a pretty strong word,” the blonde said softly as her brow quirked and her lips turned into a little frown.

“Yeah, well…” the redhead said, her voice lacking contrition.

The blonde rolled her eyes. Willow was nothing if not stubborn. “You know, I painted something yesterday,” she said, trailing her fingers up the redhead’s arm.

“At Marissa’s studio?” Willow asked, wondering at the topic change.

The blonde nodded, her fingers never ceasing moving on the redhead’s arm. “I made a huge mess.”

“Is that what you were doing this morning? Cleaning up?”

“Uh huh,” the blonde said. Here goes nothing… “Anya loaned us her truck so we could move my painting to the gallery.” She looked out of the corner of her eye to catch the redhead’s reaction.

“The gallery?” Willow said, stubbornly skipping Anya’s contribution. “You’re going to sell it?” Granted, the redhead didn’t know much about the art world, but that seemed fast.

“No,” Tara said, her brow quirking at how Willow had managed to side-step acknowledging her praise of the shop owner. “I’m going to bring it home, I just, needed someplace to store it temporarily.”

“Oh,” Willow said. “Why didn’t you just bring it home?”

“It’s not dry,” the blonde explained, wondering exactly how the redhead had managed this tangent. “I didn’t want to risk moving it so far. We were sort of lucky to get it to the gallery without totally ruining it.”

“Oh.”

The blonde sighed, returning to where she’d left off. “The painting, it’s really big, and the only way to move it was using Anya’s truck. She brought over all of the paint I needed to replace the stuff I used, too.” She again looked out of the corner of her eye at Willow’s face.

Willow sighed and rolled her eyes. “That was nice,” she said grudgingly, and Tara chuckled, squeezing the girl’s shoulders.

“I know she’s crass, and blunt–“

“And rude, don’t forget the rude,” Willow said, her brows arched.

“And rude,” Tara allowed with a lopsided smile. “But she has a good heart.”

“Yeah, well,” Willow grumbled. “Her heart should tell her mouth to shut up sometimes.”

Tara hugged the girl close. “Even when she’s telling the truth…?” She led, her voice playful.

“She didn’t have to say it out loud,” the redhead replied, blushing.

The blonde laughed. “You think she’s bad now…” She arched her brows, a smirk on her lips. “Wait until she finds out about this.” She looked down at their bodies and smiled.

“Wonderful,” Willow harrumphed, rolling her eyes.

Tara smiled and kissed the crown of the redhead’s head, and the two settled back into the quiet, holding each other, enjoying the feeling of just being. After a long while, Tara spoke, her voice tentative. “Will…”

“Hmm?” The redhead replied, placing a small kiss on the blonde’s shoulder.

“I know you came out to your mom, a-and Buffy…”

“Yeah,” Willow said, her brow furrowing. She really didn’t want to think about either of those conversations.

“I just, I mean,” the blonde said, her voice halting, nerves getting in the way. “Are you, out to just them, or–“

“Everyone,” Willow said, quick to reassure Tara. “I’m out to everyone, everywhere.” She smiled brightly as she angled her neck and saw a look of relief on the blonde’s face. “I plan on telling everyone at work about how I have this really sexy girlfriend when we get back into the office.” The blonde blushed brightly. “I’m probably gonna brag,” Willow said, delighting at the color of Tara’s cheeks. “That’s okay, right?”

“Yes,” the blonde said with a nod, her heart close to bursting with happiness. “So… If I were to invite you to a party this Friday at the gallery that Marissa is hosting, it’d be okay if I held your hand…?”

“You better,” Willow said through a pixieish smile. “I mean, not to be all possessive or anything, but I kind of want all of those other ladies to know that you’re sort of spoken for.”

Tara smiled and nodded; she knew that ‘all those other ladies’ meant Morgan, and her stomach clenched. Even after all of the blonde’s assurances at cake, all of her assurances in front of the fire, Willow still thought of Morgan as her ‘perfect girl.’ “Sort of?” Tara said gamely, trying to hide her discomfort.

“Totally and completely,” Willow said happily, unaware of the thoughts clouding Tara’s mind as she placed a kiss on the blonde’s cheek.

Tara nodded again, smiling through a nervous exhale. Now that she knew how long Willow had had feelings for her she understood why that throwaway line at the bar had resonated with the redhead so much, and it made her sick to think she had made the beautiful girl feel so insecure for so long. She briefly closed her eyes, hoping that Willow hadn’t spent the whole three years with that in her head, that it was something that only came back to her when she met Morgan for the first time.

Willow sighed dreamily and nestled into the blonde. “You know, I think this is the happiest I’ve ever been.”

Tara smiled, the feeling of the girl pressing into her pushing the dark thoughts away, and she concentrated on holding Willow in her arms. “Me too,” she said into the redhead’s hair. This wasn’t the time, but sometime soon she needed to make sure that Willow understood how unintentional and frivolous her ‘perfect girl’ description had been, that for the last three years, the only ‘perfect girl’ she’d thought about had red hair, pale, freckled skin and a distinct lack of artistic talent. The blonde closed her eyes, reveling in the feel of the redhead’s warm body curled up against her.

“Tara…” Willow finally said, her voice nervous.

“Willow…” Tara replied, her eyes fluttering open as she smiled into Willow’s temple; the redhead smiled briefly in return.

“I know you said earlier that you didn’t figure out, I mean, about me and Xander until this week…”

“Yeah…?” Tara asked, not knowing where Willow was going with this.

“Did you know?” Willow asked, her voice vulnerable and curious. “I mean, before today, that I was in love with you?”

Tara face quirked. “Sort of. I suspected for the last week that you might have feelings for me, but it didn’t make sense.”

“Because I wasn’t out,” Willow said, guiltily.

“And other stuff,” Tara said, running her hand gently along the redhead’s arm.

“Xander stuff,” Willow said.

“And my own stuff,” Tara said generously, not wanting the redhead to be upset. “I let myself believe it yesterday,” she confessed and then smiled, remembering something. “I almost wore the bracelet you gave me tonight, but I think a little part of me thought that if I did that I’d um, jinx things.” She dipped her head. “Did you… Did you know?”

“That you loved me?” Tara nodded and Willow nodded in reply. “When you tried to kiss me. I had been so focused on trying to get you to like me, and maybe even fall in love with me, that I didn’t even consider that you might already have feelings for me before then. But when you tried to kiss me… I knew.”

Tara rolled to her side, the sheets rustling beneath them as they got comfortable and she stared at Willow. The redhead was so incredibly beautiful; Tara sighed and caressed the girl’s face. “You know, I thought I had everything figured out yesterday,” she said, briefly pursing her lips. “I mean, that you loved me… But I thought you realized that you might have feelings for me three weeks ago; the morning after the club.” The air was thick between them, each processing the blonde’s words. “I’m sort of having a hard time wrapping my brain around the, three years, thing,” she admitted softly.

“Me too,” Willow whispered. The mood suddenly felt heavy; heavier than it deserved to be and the redhead silently sighed. Time with Tara shouldn’t be heavy, not right now. They had just found each other, their time together should be fun and happy. She looked into Tara’s questioning blue eyes and her heart broke a little. She hated that the last three years had been so hard for her. Unrequited love for a straight girl? She pushed down the guilt and sighed. “I’m actually surprised that you didn’t know earlier,” the redhead said with a small smile, her voice making it obvious that she was teasing. Maybe if they could joke about it, if Tara knew how much she had been desired it would make things better. “I was totally checking out your boobs that day in the park.” The blonde blushed and a sly smile pulled at Willow's lips; the feeling of openly flirting was exciting and new. "They looked so amazing in that shirt, the one with the dragons on the front?" She added, and Tara just stared, dumbfounded. "I can’t believe you didn't notice because in retrospect I was staring at them all day.”

The blonde cleared her throat. "I um, I still have that shirt."

"Really?" Willow asked, intrigued.

Tara nodded. "I kept a lot of things from that day.” She smiled softly, her gaze sincere.

Willow nodded, understanding the significance. A mischievous smile curled her lips. "Would you wear it for me some time?"

Tara's face broke into a huge, beaming smile. "Any time."

"You know,” Willow started, her voice flirty. “I left the room that night and finished sleeping in Buffy's room because I had a sexy dream about you." Tara's eyebrows arched high. "Like, a really sexy dream. Sexiest dream ever," the redhead finished, a bright blush on her face.

Tara blushed too. She was stunned; she couldn’t believe Willow felt that way about her three years ago. And, having just been on the receiving end of what that dream had been about… “W-Wow.”

"I thought you'd be able to tell,” Willow said, the blush deepening.

“Really?” the blonde asked curiously.

“That you’d… smell… me,” the redhead said, averting her eyes, embarrassed.

“Oh,” Tara said, her own face flushing. They lay still for a while, gently caressing, Tara thinking back on that night. What would it have been like if things had gone differently, if Willow had told her how she’d felt; would they have made love then, even with Oz in the picture? The longer they were quiet though the more the guilt built up inside of the blonde. It wasn’t right that Willow didn’t know about what had actually happened that night. What she had heard. The blonde took a deep breath and then spoke fast. "I heard you on the phone that night.”

Willow's brow furrowed. “What?” She asked, the sheets rustling under her as she twisted her body to stare at the blonde.

"I had to go to the bathroom and when I woke up, you weren't there,” Tara said, her eyes nervously meeting Willow’s. “I heard you on the phone when I went into the hallway."

"You did?" the redhead asked, her voice small.

The blonde nodded. “I thought maybe Buffy had come home, but, you were talking to Oz..."

Willow didn’t dare speak; she was in shock. Her hands were suddenly cold and her heart thundered inside her chest.

The blonde took another deep breath. “I heard you say that you felt like Buffy had ditched you with me and that we didn't have anything in common and that you might as well have w-walked around with a stranger all day.”

Willow's jaw dropped.

"It s-sounds like I was eavesdropping,” Tara continued quickly, hoping she could erase, or at least ease the stricken look on Willow’s face. “But it honestly happened so fast; I went back into my room as soon as I realized that you were on the phone."

"I didn't mean it," the redhead blurted as she sat up in a panic, her eyes wide, her hand clutching the sheet to her chest. "About you, I just, I was freaking out from the sexy dream and–"

"It's okay, you don't have to explain,” the blonde said, surprised by Willow’s vehement reaction.

"No, I do,” Willow said, shifting to better face Tara. “I– I was so freaked out. I’d just had this incredible, mind-blowing sex dream about this beautiful girl that I had just spent this amazing day with, and that had never happened before, the incredible sex dream or the wanting a girl before, and it was like my only options were to call Oz or kiss you, and kissing you seemed way too scary–“

"Will–"

“I can’t believe…” The redhead shook her head, utterly discomposed. “I am so, so sorry that you heard that."

"It's okay,” the blonde repeated. She had expected the redhead to be surprised, maybe annoyed or even angry, but not this; the look on Willow’s face was full of self-loathing.

"How is that okay?” Willow asked, her voice tight. “I remember what I said, how I said it." She shook her head. "Is that why you asked if I was mad at you the next morning?"

The blonde blushed and averted her eyes.

"Oh god," the redhead said, the color running from her face.

"Willow,” the blonde said calmly, making eye contact.

"All these years, you thought that I didn’t like you, th-that you were nothing to me; Tara…”

“Willow, please,” The blonde pleaded. It wasn’t right for Willow to put all of this on herself. Tara awkwardly pulled herself up to sit, holding the blanket to her chest. “I said things, too.”

“Super nice things,” Willow said, still panicking.

“I lied,” Tara confessed. “Three years ago, at the bar?” The blonde’s stomach knotted. Apparently the time to set Willow straight about her ‘perfect girl’ was now.

“What?” Willow asked, her panic momentarily paused.

“I d-didn’t have a ‘perfect girl,’” the blonde said guiltily, her cheeks flush. “I m-mean, I did, in high school; the description, w-what I said, it was w-what I wanted in high school, but by the time I said it that night…”

“Then why did you say it?” The redhead asked, confused.

“To hurt your feelings?” Tara said, unsure. She watched the redhead’s brow knit. “Only, I thought you d-didn’t care, about me, so…” Shame colored her cheeks and she rolled her eyes. “I don’t know why, it was petty. I was hurt and I thought that, I don’t know, m-maybe it would remind me that I had a better chance at getting the ‘perfect girl’ I wanted in high school than you, the, actual, girl I wanted…”

“Oh,” Willow said, her brow still knit. So all those years, all those times she’d wonder what Tara would ever see in her, the tears over Morgan and her perfection…

Tara watched Willow’s face closely, the redhead’s brilliant mind churning, and the blonde grew more and more nervous as each second passed. “I had n-no idea that you’d care about, or even remember, what I’d said. I said it so fast and it seemed so…” She pursed her lips. “Temporary.” She paused and looked down before looking up. “When you brought it up at Citizen Cake last week, I just…” She exhaled sharply and placed her hand over her chest, her heart hurting. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I sh-should have told you earlier, before…” She looked down at their bodies, covered in only blankets on her bed.

“What? No,” the redhead said, blinking owlishly as she was brought back to the conversation. She thinks I’m angry… Willow leaned forward and kissed the blonde, hoping to reassure the girl of her continued affection. When Tara hesitated, Willow kissed her again and the blonde gratefully returned the kiss. “I’m not mad,” the redhead whispered as she briefly rested their foreheads together and then pulled away. “I’m just, trying to understand…” She met Tara’s nervous gaze. “It’s a lot of new information.”

The blonde dipped her head, nodding.

The redhead sighed. She hated to see Tara turning in on herself like this. “Tara,” she began softly, meeting the girl’s eye when she looked up. “You had every right to feel hurt by what I said, and what you said… I get it. What I said on the phone was horrible; I regretted it the second I said it. If anyone should have icky bad feelings about themselves right now it’s me.”

“No,” Tara said with a stern shake of her head. “You didn’t say it to hurt me; you didn’t even know I’d heard.”

“I blew you off the next morning,“ Willow countered.

“B-But I understand why you did,“ Tara said, offering a small, sympathetic smile.

“Now,” Willow said, the smile doing little to assuage her guilt. “But then…?” She shook her head. “And in the hallway at the bar, when Riley came up I got all weird, and then at your apartment the next day I was all, ‘hey,’“ she said in a creepy guy pick up voice.

“Willow,” Tara said.

“I treated you horribly,” Willow said, shaking her head, dazed. “I mean, all of that, all the, hot and cold, and, and how I acted when I moved in, all, standoffy and hermitish? And then the last two weeks with the flirting and the touching and the dating while being in the closet–”

“It doesn't matter,” Tara interrupted.

“But–“

"It doesn't matter," the blonde repeated as she awkwardly pulled the redhead into her arms. She kissed her temple and then rested their heads together. “Willow,” she said as she eased back and looked her in the eye. “This is all I’ve ever wanted. You’re all I’ve ever wanted.” Tara felt the girl relax a little as she traced her thumbs over her cheeks. “I don’t care about anything else.”

Willow nodded and took a deep breath, the blonde still gently cupping her face, her thumbs still gently caressing her cheeks. After a long moment Tara dropped her hands and gently tugged on the redhead’s arm until they laid back on the bed together, their heads sharing a pillow. The blonde wrapped her arms around Willow’s slim frame and sighed. “We didn’t know,” Tara said, the truth of her words affecting her more than she’d thought.

Willow nodded again, her mind spinning. Tara was right. “Can you imagine if we had?” The redhead asked almost rhetorically.

“No,” the blonde said. She squeezed the redhead and then relaxed. “Things probably would have been different.”

“Yeah…” Willow agreed, not allowing herself to wonder how different. She’d been down that road plenty and nothing good came of it. She sighed, hoping that the heaviness was gone for the night. She desperately wanted to get back to the flirting and happy snuggles. “So, are there any other phone conversations of mine that you’ve overheard that I should know about?” She asked looking up, hoping that a joke would ease the tension.

Instead she felt the blonde stiffen beneath her. “I’m so sorry,” Tara whispered and Willow’s brow furrowed. She had meant to lighten the mood, not make things worse.

“Hey,” the redhead said, propping herself on her elbow so she could see Tara’s face; she ran her hand down the girl’s arm. “I’m kidding,” she said with a soft smile, her brow quirking. She felt her stomach knot as she realized from the look on the blonde’s face that she’d said the exact wrong thing.

“I hope you know,“ Tara said, her gaze angled away from the redhead, “that I w-was never serious about seeing Morgan. I just, thought about it to maybe, I don’t know, distract myself from–“

“Being in love with a straight girl?” Willow finished, realizing the heavy part of their conversation wasn’t over. Not by a long shot. She met the blonde’s eye and frowned, saddened, when she saw the tears pooling in Tara’s eyes.

The blonde nodded, and all of the difficult emotions she’d felt over the last three years—the pain, the jealousy, the hurt—swallowed her whole. “It was r-really h-hard,” Tara said, her voice breaking around the words.

Willow’s face twisted in concern, her heart breaking. For three years. Tara had felt like this for three years. “Tara, I–” She stopped herself. What could she possibly say? “I’m sorry.”

The blonde shook her head and wiped at her eyes, pushing down her hurt and regaining composure. “You don’t have to be. I h-hurt you.”

“And I hurt you,” Willow said, watching the blonde carefully as the girl reined in her emotions, her blue eyes red-rimmed, turning up to face her. “I led you on, because I’m a dummy.” The redhead quickly continued talking when she saw Tara open her own mouth to speak. “I didn’t think you could like someone like me—and not just because of the perfect girl, thing—but because you’re so beautiful and talented and kind and I’m just, me.”

“Will–“

“And when I moved to San Francisco, in with you, I never even considered that you might like me, much less love me,” Willow continued, not willing to get distracted. “You were, ‘Buffy’s friend.’ A-And because you’re so nice, I just thought you were being nice to me because of that, or because of Buffy or whatever. But on Friday…” Willow sighed and Tara nodded, too choked up to speak. “I know you joked about it earlier,” the redhead said softly, her hand picking at the comforter. “But I do think it was like I was torturing you.”

“But it was worth it,” Tara said, searching the redhead’s gaze. “To be with you. To have you want to spend time with me.” She sighed. “I mean, I kn-know how pathetic that sounds–“

“It doesn’t,” Willow interrupted quietly. “I felt that way, too.”

The blonde nodded. “I kept feeling like something was, off, with us. Like there was, more…” Tara said. “That day that we spent in the park, that night–“

“Was perfect,” Willow finished, tracing her hand over Tara’s face.

The blonde nodded her head into Willow’s fingers. “It f-felt like–“

“I liked you,” Willow said slowly, understanding more deeply how difficult the last three years had been for Tara. How hopeless it must have felt.

The blonde again nodded. “And then everything after was so confusing. Including you asking me to come visit you in Cambridge.” She looked down at her hands. “I w-wanted to. But. You were still with Oz…“

“I’m sorry,” Willow said quickly, her throat tight, shame reddening her cheeks.

“And Buffy needed me,” Tara said, glossing over mention of the redhead’s ex.

“It was the wrong time,” the redhead said, understanding.

Tara briefly looked up and nodded.

There was a long moment of silence. “Why didn’t you date?” The redhead asked. “I mean. If you thought…” she sighed. “That I was straight, and not available…” She looked at the blonde’s downturned eyes intently. “I know people have asked you. Other, women,” she said with difficulty. Just the thought of the blonde having dinner with someone else turned her insides.

“They weren’t you,” Tara said softly.

Willow nodded. She took a deep breath. “Why Morgan?”

Tara looked up, her brow knitting, not understanding the question.

“I mean,” the redhead said, trying to sort through her jealousy to find the question she wanted. “If Morgan wasn’t your ‘perfect girl,’ why did you think about seeing her when you didn’t see the others?”

Tara shook her head slowly. She thought about the last three weeks, focusing especially on the first week after the kitten club. How torn up she was, how she had wanted Willow to move out. She struggled with how much to share of that time now that things were so good. “I was tired,” Tara finally said. “I mean.” She paused for a long moment, Willow watching her closely as she collected her thoughts. “I don’t think I slept the whole first week you lived here,” Tara said. “I was so excited.”

Willow nodded her head, her stomach churning. She had felt the same way, only she had dealt with it by hiding. Withdrawing. Making things worse.

“You didn’t seem to want to be here…” Tara said tentatively. “Didn’t seem interested in even being friends with me…“

“I was,” Willow said, regret flooding her frame. “Obviously, I was just… Afraid that I’d do something wrong, or that you would think I was some sort of stalker or something.”

Tara nodded. “And then the morning after the kitten club, you were kind of… mean.”

Willow exhaled, her shoulders sagging. She remembered how she had acted, rushing out of the apartment with a hastily packed bag of clothes, snapping at the blonde when she asked her simple questions… The redhead felt like shame had permanently burned her cheeks red. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered, momentarily unable to find her full voice. “I was just confused.” Tara nodded her head. “I wanted you, so badly, but… I was stuck, a-and scared about coming out. And I knew you couldn’t be with me unless I was out and–“

“It’s okay, I understand,” Tara said, taking Willow’s hand and squeezing it before letting go. She didn’t need Willow to explain, she understood perfectly how frightening it was to come out, especially if you thought the reaction you were going to get from family and friends was less than supportive. The blonde was quiet again for a moment. “Morgan was interested in me. She wanted me for all of the things that I wanted from you, but couldn’t have…”

Willow nodded, her stomach in a knot, jealousy clenching her throat closed.

“I wanted you so much,” Tara said softly, achingly sincere, the words barely reaching Willow’s ears. “I wanted to make love with you, and hold your hand when we walked down the street but–“

“I was straight,” Willow said, choking out the words. “And Morgan wasn’t.”

Tara nodded. The blonde took a deep breath. “I’m not interested in her. Not even remotely. I was so, relieved, when she said she was backing off.” Her face quirked into a tired half smile and she met Willow’s eye. “She actually backed off because of you.”

“Me?” Willow asked, surprised.

“She said that it was obvious that I had feelings for you, that we had something between us, and she didn’t want to get in the way.”

“Oh,” the redhead said, her brow quirking. “That was nice,” she grumbled, conflicting feelings scrambling her thoughts.

Tara smiled and reached up, smoothing her hand over Willow’s face, watching with awe as the lines between her green eyes softened and then faded under her touch. The blonde thought long and hard about what she was about to say, and then spoke as she dropped her hand, her voice soft. “Up until a couple of days ago I hated Xander,” she admitted, forgoing her usual ‘intense dislike’ descriptor and Willow looked surprised.

“Hate’s a pretty strong word…” Willow said through a nervous smile, parroting Tara’s earlier words.

“It is,” the blonde agreed quietly, nodding her head but not taking her words back or apologizing for them. “I thought he was the most, insensitive, self-centered, jerk in the world.” The redhead’s jaw dropped, shocked to hear Tara describe anyone, much less the most supportive person in her life, like that. “I thought that you loved him,” the blonde continued quietly, the pain in her voice hard to miss. “That you were in love with him and that he was leading you on, playing with your heart.” She shook her head. “I was so jealous. That you wanted him, and that he treated you so badly in return… It made my blood boil.”

“I didn’t want him,” Willow said quickly. “I don’t, I haven’t since high school.”

“I know,” Tara said.

Willow nodded absently, accepting that Tara believed her. Willow looked down at the bed, her brow knitting as a memory of a tearful Tara near the secretary desk entered her mind. She had been watching a movie with Xander, had gone downstairs to get a bottle of water and found the blonde struggling with her shoes, ready to bolt. Tara had been crying because of her, because of them, had thought that her unrequited feelings were for a man who had propped her up for years. “I hate that you felt that way about him,” the redhead said quietly. “I mean, I get it, it’s just… He helped me so much. So many times I just, fell apart, and he put me back together.” She looked up and met Tara’s eye. “I don’t know what I would have done without him.”

Tara nodded. “And I am so grateful to him for that, but…” She sighed, finding the words difficult to speak. “I can’t just, erase, my feelings. I felt them.” The room was silent. “There will always be a time in my life when I hated him, and I can’t make that go away just because he didn’t deserve it in retrospect.”

“Yeah,” Willow said as she exhaled, nodding her head. She knew Tara was talking about her and Morgan, too.

Tara pursed her lips. “We’re probably going to learn a lot about each other now,” she said softly, seriously. “And some of it probably won’t be easy to hear, especially about the last three years.” She paused, taking Willow’s hand before meeting her eye and continuing. “But I hope you know that I love you, no matter what. I just, I don’t care about anything that happened before tonight as long as you love me, too.”

“I do,” Willow whispered back. “With my whole heart.”

Tara nodded again and they kissed, years of regret and yearning leaking into the ether as their lips moved. They eased apart and Willow rested her head on Tara’s shoulder, the girl encircling her in her arms. They lay together in silence, enjoying the closeness. "I did notice,” the blonde finally said.

"Hmm?" Willow asked, not following.

"About the staring that day in the park, a-and my shirt."

"You did?" Willow asked, angling her eyes up to take in the blonde’s profile.

"I didn't know for sure, but I hoped." Tara smiled softly. “I kept the other shirt too, the one I wore to bed that night; you seemed to like that one, too.”

“You have amazing breasts,” Willow said, gently bringing her hand up and cupping the girl’s right breast. She heard Tara sigh, contentedly. They lay together quietly for a long time.

“Will?”

“Hmm?” The redhead answered.

“Would you mind if I turned off the lights?” Tara asked softly.

“No, go ahead,” Willow said, propping herself up so the girl below her could move. The blonde shimmied to the edge of the bed and then leaned over, flicking the toggle for the lights with her thumb. The room instantly went dark, the diffused glow of yellow from the streetlight below illuminating the space nearest the windows. Tara shimmied back to her original spot and held her arm open for Willow; the redhead instantly molded back into her, resting her head on the blonde’s shoulder with a contented sigh.

They lay together in the dark quietly, fingers gently dancing over each other’s skin, their respective breaths becoming slow and relaxed. Willow slightly moved her head and spoke. “So your new painting’s big, huh?”

Tara nodded, the sheet rustling beneath her head. “Biggest I’ve ever done.”

Willow gently nodded in reply. That’s why Tara had been gone all day yesterday, why she’d needed help cleaning up this morning. Willow thought about all of the blonde’s other personal works and wondered at how much of herself she’d put into this new painting. “What does it look like?”

The blonde puffed out air. “I don’t think I can explain it.”

“Oh.”

“I look forward to showing it to you, though,” Tara said, rubbing her hand lightly along Willow’s arm.

“I look forward to seeing it,” the redhead replied with a grateful smile.

“You know, I listened to the last song on your CD yesterday,” Tara said.

“You did?” Willow asked, again angling her head up to look at the blonde’s silhouette in the dark. “What did you think?”

“I loved it,” Tara said, emotion swelling inside her. She lightly cleared her throat. “What’s it called?”

“‘Your Hand in Mine’,” Willow said quietly. “I love that song. It reminds me of your smile, the little half smile?" She looked up tentatively at Tara who had turned her head and watched her closely, waiting. "I love that smile... I smile when I think about it." She smiled bashfully and Tara smiled along with her, remaining quiet, listening. "I used to feel like I would split apart," the redhead confessed softly, the darkness around her urging her to continue. "When I looked at you, and you'd smile at me... I'd feel so much love and I was just so happy, I– I sorta felt like I'd split apart because of it, a-and sunshine would just burst through my skin and I'd explode. Poof." Willow looked back up at Tara. "You make me feel so much."

The blonde took a deep, shaky breath. She understood completely.

“What’s your painting called?” Willow asked. “If you want to share…“

“‘Your Hand in Mine’,” the blonde replied. “I don’t think it could be called anything else.”

The redhead nodded, too overwhelmed to speak as she reached up and took Tara’s hand in her own, resting them gently on the blonde’s chest. She felt the girl’s heart beating against her fingers, and she sighed happily.

Silence once again settled between them, long minutes of near-synchronized breathing. “It’s started raining again,” Tara finally whispered, looking to the window and the water that had begun to tap against the glass. She looked down and noticed that Willow was still, her breath deep and slow. The blonde smiled softly, realizing the redhead had once again fallen asleep wrapped in her embrace. Tara returned her gaze to the ceiling, her mind contemplating the night as the redhead laid next to her, their hands intertwined and resting on the blonde’s chest. Then suddenly a movement caught Tara’s attention. In her grasp, Willow’s fingers began to move—little twitches, squeezing and then releasing the blonde’s slender fingers. Tara turned her gaze to look at the girl and saw that Willow was still asleep when the twitches happened again. The redhead was out, and Tara smiled to have in her hand proof of Willow’s trust. The redhead slept, and Tara held her hand, eventually slipping into her own, content slumber.

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

Tara woke first, the sound of distant thunder reverberating around her room. She twisted her neck slowly, seeing the rain slapping against her windows, and again she heard the slow rumbling sound she always associated with her childhood. She looked down and saw that Willow was still asleep, her head resting on the pillow beside her own. At some point their hands had slipped apart and Willow’s now rested on the soft skin above the blonde’s belly button. The blonde stared openly, enjoying the unguarded look at the redhead in the near darkness. Willow was gorgeous, her pale, freckled skin glowing in the night, her red hair dark and spilling around her. How has this happened? The blonde thought with wonder. How could she possibly be this lucky?

Another boom of thunder rolled through her room, this time stirring Willow. She opened her eyes with a flutter, disoriented, before her tired eyes settled on the blonde. "Hi," she said softly, her voice thick with sleep.

"Hey," Tara whispered back. They stared for a while, both overcome with love and devotion, until Tara leaned in for a kiss. They kissed, lips moving together like they’d practiced all their lives, and Tara marveled; marveled that she was allowed to do this, marveled that Willow responded so eagerly. Their kisses quickly turned passionate, their hands roaming over each other’s skin, their desire wordless and intense. They made love in the dark without really speaking, just enjoying each other's body as the thunder rolled along and over the Bay.

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

Tara’s brow furrowed before her eyes opened; she was alone, the bed cold next to her. She absently thought that perhaps Willow had gone to the bathroom, but when she opened her eyes, she was surprised to see Willow’s silhouette in the darkness, the girl sitting in her grandmother’s chair next to the windows, the throw blanket the blonde had discarded on the floor earlier wrapped around her.

“Willow?” Tara asked sleepily, propping herself up on her elbows.

“She said she felt like I’d died,” Willow said, her voice soft, her gaze pointed out the window.

Tara’s brow furrowed deeply and her stomach knotted, her skin going cold. “What?” She asked softly.

“My mom,” the redhead’s voice caught. She took a deep breath. “After I told her that I was gay and we talked. She said she didn’t approve of my choice and that it felt like her daughter had died.”

Tara couldn’t speak; she felt like her voice had been stolen. She had tried not to imagine over the past two days what Willow’s mother would say when the redhead came out, but if the blonde had, she’d never have imagined this. It was so much harsher than she’d expected, so much harsher than any person deserved.

“I regret so much," Willow said quietly.

“W-What?” Tara said, the sheets shifting beneath her as she sat up more fully, trying not to panic at what—exactly—Willow was regretting.

“I know you said ‘no regrets,’ but– So much, time," the redhead said, spitting out the last word as she shook her head. "We lost so much time Tara because I was afraid...." Her face contorted in disgust at the thought.

"Willow..." The blonde said, relaxing a little. She pulled the blanket up to her chest, goose bumps rising across her skin.

"I could have been there for you, should, have been there, when your dad died..."

Tara’s brow knit and her shoulders slumped. “Will…”

"But I was too afraid of what everyone would think of me if I just said what I knew,” Willow continued. “That I wanted to be with you. That I loved you, that I loved a woman. I was so afraid of them thinking I was some sort of failure, or having them judge me like, all of the sudden I'm this different person, this, person who they don't even know, that they didn't want to know. That I'm some sort of liar… Three years," she said, her voice equal parts wonder and shock. "We lost three years because I'm a coward."

"You are not a coward,” Tara said strongly.

"Aren't I?" The redhead asked, turning her gaze to the bed.

"No," Tara answered, moving to the edge of the bed and fully facing the redhead, the blanket only partially covering her body. "Willow, you are so brave.”

"Yeah," Willow replied dismissively, turning her head.

"You are," the blonde interrupted, reaching up and guiding the redhead's gaze back to her in the dark. "You were nervous about how your mom was going to react and you came out anyway–"

"But–"

"And you told Buffy; Xander before that–"

"Tara–"

"I'm proud of you,” Tara said as she took the girl’s hands in her own. The words were profound in the dark. "I am, so, proud of you, Willow. What you've done this weekend…” She shook her head, awed. “I know how hard it was for you, how hard things are probably going to be for you. What your mom said to you... I..." The blonde shook her head again, momentarily unable to find the right words. “I can’t believe anyone would say that to someone they loved.”

Willow’s exhaled sharply, her form crumpling.

“But the fact that you did it though,” Tara continued, squeezing the redhead’s hands, “that you said 'I'm gay' and that you were brave enough to tell me how you felt, that you're here with me now, that you didn't, change your mind... You are so brave."

"But three years..." Willow repeated, her voice shaky and unsure.

"Three years," Tara nodded. "But think of how many years we have now."

The redhead nodded. A long silence settled between them, Tara's thumbs rubbing the tops of Willow's hands. After a long moment, the redhead spoke. "I'm really scared."

"I know," Tara whispered back.

"What if they're never okay with this," the redhead asked, briefly lifting their joined hands, her voice vulnerable. "What if they're never okay with me?" She looked up and Tara saw everything in the way the moonlight caught the white of Willow's large eyes. The fear, the uncertainty. The vulnerability and the hurt. The blonde pursed her lips to bite back crying, and after internally composing herself, spoke.

"Then I'll still love you." The blonde looked down. "I know it's not much–"

"It's everything,” Willow interrupted, squeezing Tara’s hands.

The blonde nodded, momentarily overcome with emotion. She looked up and met Willow’s eye. “Come back to bed,” she whispered, tugging gently on their clasped hands.

Willow complied, standing and removing the throw blanket before climbing under the covers. “Has that chair always been over by the windows?”

“No,” the blonde chuckled as she made room for the redhead. “I moved it today to watch for you out the window.” She pulled Willow close to her under the covers, the redhead’s chilly body causing her to shiver. “You’re cold.”

“I’m sorry,” the redhead said.

Tara wrapped her leg over Willow’s, and smiled as she heard the redhead sigh. “I’ll warm you up.” They held each other for a long while, each lost in their own thoughts. “Do you want to talk about it some more?” Tara asked gently.

“No,” the redhead said.

Tara nodded. She didn’t want to push. Not now. She trailed her fingertips down Willow’s back and sighed when the redhead squeezed her.

They lay quietly, listening to the rain for a long while, their respective grasps becoming slack as they relaxed, sleep edging in on them. Tara was surprised, then, when Willow spoke, thinking the redhead had already fallen back to sleep. “I’m going to have to bake Buffy like a billion cookies," Willow slurred, sleepily.

Tara pushed a lock of red hair from her forehead. “Whatever happened between you two? She'll come around."

"Yeah, to tell me what an awful friend I am,” Willow muttered.

“Just give her time,” Tara said, pushing down the dread she felt about her own upcoming conversation with the petite blonde. Tara kissed Willow’s hairline, and the two held each other as they slipped off to sleep.


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