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

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:53 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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That was so, so, so, so beautiful!!

Heartbreaking and tear-inducing with a wonderful, poignant ending! I adored it!!

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


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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:35 am 
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LonelyTara:

I can so relate to your fic!! I had my daughter on January 4th, a few days after New Year's and two days after my baby shower, heh! She was 5 weeks early, and I remember the fear and excitement when my water broke and she was on her way. Good on them for having a home birth. I kinda toyed with the idea but my partner and mother in law weren't interested.

And . . . a blender? Hilarious.



Wayland:

Quote:
‘I want. You. Me. Us. A little foo…’

‘What’s foo?’


That whole exchange had me cracking up. And this is your first fic? My, my. We're going to be expecting a lot more from you from now on. Fic challenges are a great way to get your feet wet if you've never written a fic before . . . my first fic was a challenge too!

Poor Willow, I feel her frustration at not being able to spend some quality 'foo' time with Tara after being away for so long.

Some of my favs:

Quote:
’m Rudolf.’ Anya stated flatly. ‘Dressing in costume increases sales turnover by an average 4.2%. Seasonally adjusted, of course.’


A short, respectful silence greeted that rarest of birds, a Harris-Giles
Agreement.


Tara reached into the mixing bowl, scooped up a tiny cube of butter with her index finger and dabbed it on Willow’s nose with a sweet, quizzical, smile.

‘Foo?’

Willow wanted to cry.



Great job and thanks for the entries you two!

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Kisses and Gay Love
"I like my buttons, curvy." - Willow, Neverland, by Easiersaid


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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:18 am 
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Holy moly, that was sweet as could be. Poor, heartbroken Tara. So, so glad Willow woke up!

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:38 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Hey, everyone. It's definitely been quite a while since I've posted on here, but I wrote this fic about a year ago and thought this would be the perfect time to post it. I hope you enjoy.

Title: The Diary
Author: TazRaven (Sara)
Distribution: The Kitten Board, Through the Looking Glass, anyone else just ask
Rating: PG-13 for language
Disclaimer: I do not own Willow or Tara, you know the drill
Summary: The Holidays fall as Tara finds out her mother’s secret


The soles of Tara’s black dress pumps scraped against the frozen ground as she stood at the foot of the grave, shuffling her feet slightly. The sky, gray and blank, threatened a heavy snowfall. Looking down at the coffin below her, she couldn’t help but let a tear escape, hot at first, then cooling against her cheek as it hit the air.

Everyone else had left an hour ago, her father, John, the first of those to leave. He’d come to the funeral looking hardhearted, but with obvious grief in his eyes. Tara sighed deeply, her breath visible in the cold air, wishing things could have been different. Her parent’s relationship had been strained since her youth, and the year she left for college, her parents divorced. After that, she only saw her father minimally, usually during holidays. Every time Tara saw him, he was emotionally distant with her, especially whenever her mother was the topic of conversation.

While Laura confided in Tara, she never once told her the reason for the divorce, merely stating that their time had passed. But Tara could never stop the thoughts from whirling around in her head, wondering if the two had just grown apart, or if it had been something else. Her father had been accompanied by other women during several of her visits, and Tara couldn’t help but think that maybe it had been his fault, perhaps an affair that her mother had dealt with as long as possible.

Thoughts were just that, though: pure speculation. Thirteen years had passed since the divorce. Tara was thirty-one now, and old enough to realize that life was not always what she expected it to be. Old enough to understand that her mother was dead and no amount of wishing could change that.

Laura’s death had been sudden, the result of a collision between her 2002 Hyundai Elantra and a tractor trailer, the driver of which had decided to run a red light to make his deadline with time to spare. Laura died on impact, the truck proving to be more than the Hyundai manufacturers anticipated in their crash tests. The truck completely split the car, leaving the back half on the complete opposite side of the road as the front. Her exact cause of death had been a severed spine. The impact broke her neck before she could blink, and so the doctors said it had been painless.

Tara wiped her eyes with a tissue she pulled from her jacket pocket, the black leather keeping out the cold. Painless. It may have been painless for her mother, but death was never really painless. It was a shock, whether it happened at the end of a drawn-out illness, or at a red light.

Blue eyes glistened with tears as Tara stood there, unable to move, rooted to the spot by an invisible force. Her childhood had been a happy one with support from her parents in anything she had wanted to do. With a slightly quirky sense of humor, but a sound mind, Tara had gravitated toward therapy, and while working at an asylum had been a small point of contention, Laura and John had accepted that as well. Her mother even sent her a gift basket on her first day of work. When she came out to her parents, they had both accepted her without question. Tara couldn’t remember a single time when her mother had denied her anything important, and it was because of her acceptance that made it so hard to say good-bye.

She was interrupted from her thoughts by a snowflake. It landed on her nose and melted immediately, signaling to Tara that it was time to leave. The cold of late December was finally having an effect. She shivered and drew the coat around her tighter as she turned from the grave and headed toward her car, finally letting her mother rest.

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

“I’ll get it, dad,” Tara yelled from the kitchen. She went to the fridge and pulled out a soda, checking quickly to see if there was anything else she wanted. Satisfied for the moment, Tara closed the fridge door, grabbed her hot chocolate from the counter, and left the kitchen.

Despite neither Tara nor her father feeling very festive, a Christmas tree festooned with brightly colored ornaments and lights stood in the corner of the room. Her father was sitting in his maroon recliner, looking at a photo album by the light of a nearby reading lamp. The fireplace to his left cracked softly, the glow lighting the room, lending a feeling of warmth to the space. Tara smiled at the sight of her mother’s favorite decoration hanging on the mantle, a pair of bright red candy-cane striped stockings, but it was the sight of her father that filled her heart the most. In the past few days, she’d noticed a drastic change in her father, as if a weight had been lifted. Tara had been staying at her father’s house since the funeral, taking whatever vacation time she had to spend it with him and make sure he was alright.

She continued the rest of the way into the living room and sat on one of the arms of the recliner, silently handing him the can of soda. Wrapping both hands around the steaming mug, she carefully lifted it to her lips and took a sip. “Ow.”

“Hmm?” her father asked without looking up.

“Burned my mouth,” she said with a slight pout. “So, what’s that one?”

“Oh.” He smiled up at Tara for a moment before returning his eyes to the photo. Two people stood in the center of the picture, younger versions of her parents. “That one,” he answered, “is when your mother and I decided to take a camping trip.”

Tara laughed. “But don’t you guys hate the outdoors?”

“Yes, very much,” John said, laughing slightly as he spoke. “I know that now, but we didn’t know that then.” His eyes shone with nostalgia at the memory. “See, we decided it would be a good experience, and so we borrowed a neighbor’s camping equipment and headed to north Georgia. Unfortunately, neither your mother nor I knew how to set up the darn thing.”

Tara laughed again.

“We spent the night in the car, with the heat turned up all the way. She was so cold.” He paused for a moment, and Tara looked up from the photo album. He had an unreadable look on his face. Tara softly cleared her throat and the look vanished, replaced by a smile as he laughed.

“Really roughing it, weren’t you,” Tara said, joining him. “No wonder you two never took me camping!”

“Hey,” he defended. “We sent you to summer camp, didn’t we?”

“Dad,” Tara said, drawing out the word in a passable imitation of a teenager, “Those were air-conditioned cabins.”

“It was still a camp, wasn’t it?”

“We had a salad bar,” she dead-panned.

“I still say it was a camp,” John grumbled.

Tara smiled and flipped the page. A photograph stood out among the others almost immediately. Her mother, arm-in-arm with another woman of similar height and build. They both had such big smiles on their faces; it looked as if though they were best friends. But Tara didn’t know who she was.

“Dad,” she began, “Who’s that?”

All at once, the humor that had been lighting John’s face fled, and a frown replaced the smile, darkening his visage. “That’s…”

“Dad?”

John sighed heavily. “Tara, I, well, I’ll be right back.” Without another word, he took the photo album off his lap and placed it on the coffee table, along with his soda. Tara watched him leave, her mind racing with confusion. She took another sip of her hot chocolate before placing it on the table. John came back into the room a few minutes later, a well-worn leather book in his hands. He placed the book into Tara’s hands before sitting heavily on the couch across from her.

“Tara, that was your mom’s. It was her diary.”

Tara looked down at the book. The cover was black, faded and torn at the corners. With a trembling hand, she lifted the cover to look at the first page.


[center]This Diary Belongs To:

Laura Rose Maclay
[/center]


A small sob escaped Tara’s lips; the writing was so achingly familiar and similar to her own, it opened the barely closed wounds of her mother’s death.

“I think she would have wanted you to have it,” John said quietly, his voice trembling as Tara’s hands did. “It explains…” He trailed off for a moment. “It explains a lot, about your mother, about us.”

Tara looked up from the book, tears trailing down her face, and nodded her head.

“She gave it to me about a year ago, to explain, she said, but I never told her…” He trailed off again, this time unable to continue as tears laced his voice. “I never told her I loved her, despite everything-”

Tara dropped the book on the coffee table next to her forgotten drink and went to the couch, enveloping her father in a hug. “I know you loved her, dad.” And together, they mourned.

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

[center]January 12th, 1989

I am beginning this diary because I can’t keep my secret anymore. I can’t tell my husband, because if he knew, we would be over. And I can’t do that to my Tara. Tara’s my daughter. She’ll be 10 this year. I’ve kept this secret for two years now, but she understands. She. The reason for this diary. The reason for me, I feel sometimes, besides my Tara.

Her name is Janet Young Senol. Jan. We met two and a half years ago, when I was in Illinois for a teacher’s convention. She lives there. We were in the same workshops. We ate lunch together. I didn’t know it would become what it is now.

I love her.

We’ve been together, or as together as we can be, for two years now. I want to say I’m happy, but it feels like a betrayal. I get away as often as I can to see her, which is usually once every three months or so, or she comes down here to see me. It’s easier for her, since she doesn’t have a husband or a child.

Just writing those words kills me, knowing that I do have a husband. I have John and I have Tara. But, I love her.
[/center]

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

Tears dripped on the pages of the diary as Tara read, her vision becoming blurry. A torrent of emotions coursed through her body: sorrow, curiosity, and anger.

It was the latter one that frightened her the most. But she couldn’t blame herself for being angry. In the last few minutes, Tara had discovered an entire life that her mother had kept secret. It wasn’t that her mother had been with a woman, Tara understood that perfectly. It was that it made her feel false. As if she was the other, part of the life that her mother hadn’t wanted. With a limp hand, Tara dropped the diary onto the bed beside her.

“Well, shit,” Tara brokenly whispered. She was hurt and angry, at the world, at the diary, at the other woman, but most of all at her mother. The one she had thought she could always count on to be honest. And she hated it. She hated that a book that her mother had written over twenty years ago could change her life so much. That it could change her image of Laura Maclay, and everything for which she had stood.

There were too many questions littering her mind, and the one person who could have answered them was gone. Tara felt tightness in her chest at that thought, the passing of her mother still fresh in her heart. But, that was only half true, wasn’t it? There was somebody else who could answer her questions.

Janet. The last page of the diary, written only two years ago, indicated Janet still lived in Illinois. So, it was without another thought that Tara packed up her belongings and grabbed her keys off the night stand. Before leaving the room, she picked up the diary and shoved it inside her blue duffel bag.

With a deliberate step, she walked down the stairs and called for her dad. No answer. Tara grabbed the notepad on the kitchen counter and scribbled a note before ripping it off and attaching it to the fridge with a magnet. She walked out of the kitchen and slammed the front door behind her.


[center]Dad, I think you know where I’m going, but I need to meet her. You know my cell number. I’m sorry I didn’t say good-bye.

Love, Tara
[/center]

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

Tara sat down in the seat, buckled her seat belt, and started the car. The radio blared for a moment with the sound of Christmas carols before Tara turned down the volume. She was stopped at a gas station somewhere in Tennessee, staring at a sign which stated she would regret not stopping in at the ‘Southern Grill with the best Kajun Turkey this side of the Mississippi.’ Tara felt as if she’d never make it to Illinois, and at the same time, wishing she never would. In her wildest dreams, Tara would never have imagined that she’d be embarking on 600 mile trip to find her mother’s secret lover, on Christmas Eve no less. The idea sounded ridiculous.

With a small shake of her head, Tara pulled away from the pump and got back on Highway 24. The snow flooded the windshield, blinding her vision momentarily before she could turn on the wipers. Another two hours and she’d be in Kentucky; four more would get her to Indiana’s border, and another two after that would finally bring her to Illinois. Luckily for Tara, Laura had written down Janet’s address in the margins of the diary, so she knew at least where Janet might still live. If she didn’t still live there, well, Tara didn’t want to consider that.

On the highway headed toward some unknown destination, her mind turned to her mother, as it had for the past three hours. Tara tried to imagine being in Laura’s position, but couldn’t. Everything she’d been taught since she was younger flew in the face of that scenario. Her mother had always taught her be honest; to build a life and a family with sincerity and happiness.

And it stung, knowing that Laura had been lying. Tears of frustration clouded Tara’s vision, but she continued to drive, knowing that the sooner she reached her destination, the sooner she would get answers.

Nine hours later, Tara found herself standing in front of 121 West Chestnut Street, her green Ford Focus parked by the curb, pulling her coat closer to ward off some of the cold. She didn’t have a plan, besides just walking up to the door and introducing herself, and so she stood there, looking up at a beige two-story house. The door was bright red, and a porch ran across the front, circling the second story. In the driveway sat a blue, salt-encrusted Honda Civic badly in need of a carwash. She silently wondered if her mother had been in that car. If they’d gone to dinner in that car, or watched a sunset, or talked about her family.

The thoughts humanized the woman she was about to see, and immediately she felt sick. There was a real person in that house. Not just a fragment of a diary. Tara ran back to her car took refuge in the warmth. She couldn’t do this. Not yet. Not with the realizations from the diary so fresh in her mind.

She revved the engine, and started back toward a motel she’d seen on the way in, hoping they had a room on Christmas Eve.

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

[center]February 15th, 1992

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I know it’s just a silly holiday, but I wanted to see her. John gave me flowers and a box of my favorite candy. He’s so sweet sometimes, and it’s those times that make me feel the worst. I don’t know why I can’t just be happy with him.

We have a daughter. We’re a family. And yet…

I think he knows. He hasn’t said anything, but I can see it in his eyes. It’s like a part of him is gone. Does he love me? I think he does, so much that he would never say anything. Is that possible? Can he really love me that much?

I wish I could love him like he loves me.
[/center]

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

“Why didn’t you ever say anything dad?” Tara asked, her voice shaking. She nervously plucked at the comforter of the bed she was laying on in her motel room.

“Sweetie, I just…”

“Is it like she says in the diary?” Tara asked. “Did you love her that much?”

“I just,” her father started, his voice breaking. “Yes.”

“Oh, dad.” Her voice trembled, blown away by the depth of love her father had for her mother. “Why did she stay? Why did you?”

“For you, sweetie.” John breathed deeply. “We stayed together, I stayed for you.”

Tara took a deep breath, willing the tears to stay out of her voice until she could hang up the phone. “I love you so much, dad.”

“I love you, sweetheart.” There was a pause as he considered his next words. “And she loved you too.” With a sigh, Tara hung up the phone.

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

Tara walked up the driveway and rang the doorbell as she felt her heart drop into her stomach. There was no preamble this time, only a determination and a solid need to know. The sun was setting behind the two-story house, and the air was as cold as ever. She silently cursed herself for not having the foresight to realize the drastic temperature change between Georgia and Illinois winters. This was not how she had envisioned her Christmas going. Then the door opened, and Tara felt her heart drop even more.

Before her stood a thirty-something woman, her thin face and bright green eyes framed by long red hair, and her lithe figure clothed in a thick white sweater, blue jeans, and sneakers. Obviously, this was not Janet. “Damn,” Tara muttered, realizing all her worrying had been for nothing. She would receive no answers here.

“Wow, Tara Maclay,” the woman said, her mouth open slightly in what seemed to be shock.

Or maybe she would. Tara felt her jaw drop as the woman said her name. “Ok, first off, how do you know me?” She continued without pausing for an answer. “And secondly, you’re obviously not Janet. Is she here? Do you know her?”

“Um, alright,” the woman began. “I really wasn’t ever expecting you to show up here, but now that you have, why don’t you come in and let me explain.”

Tara stared hard into the other woman’s eyes and finally relented, her bewilderment rising above the anger for the time being. She nodded her head and held out her hand, silently instructing the other woman to lead the way.

Tara looked around as she was led into a small sitting room, taking note of the pale yellow walls that clashed slightly with the off-white carpeting. A brick fireplace stood against one wall with a black loveseat placed in front of it. Looking to her left, Tara glanced into the kitchen, noting a cube of butter sitting on the counter next to two pieces of toast. Obviously, she had interrupted the woman’s snack. With a small pain in her heart, Tara wondered if her mother had spent much time here. Pushing the thought from her mind, Tara sat down on the couch.

“Do you want anything to drink?”

“No,” Tara answered. “I want some answers.”

“Ok. I’m Willow, by the way. Willow Rosenberg.” She held out her hand as she joined Tara on the couch.

Tara reached out her own hand and grasped the other lightly. “I would say nice to meet you, but to be honest, I have no what’s going on.”

Willow nodded her head. “Understandable. Let me explain, alright?”

“Go ahead.” Tara crossed her arms across her chest and sat back against the couch.

“So, I guess you know who Janet is, given your earlier question. I should also tell you she… She died. About a year ago.”

“Oh,” Tara said as her brow furrowed, unsure of what she was feeling.

“I guess you didn’t know?” Willow asked.

Tara shook her head. “No. The diary entries just stopped around then.”

Willow nodded her head. “Anyways, I was her nurse. She had cancer, and I was her live-in caregiver. Your mom was here a lot, usually every couple weeks, talking to her, spending time with her. She really loved her,” Willow said, the admiration evident in her voice.

Tara looked away at the statement, still unsure of her feelings, but the way Willow had said it made her ashamed of her previous anger.

“Which I guess brings us to how I know you. Your mom showed me a few pictures of you. And well, since I lived here, I got to know your mom.” Willow smiled, obviously thinking of Laura. “She’s great.”

“She was,” Tara whispered.

Now it was Willow’s turn to look surprised. “Oh god, really? I’m… I’m so sorry.” Tara could see tears form in her eyes. Looking next to her, Tara saw a tissue box. She grabbed one and handed it to Willow, feeling immediate sympathy for the woman. She knew what it was like to lose Laura, and her heart ached for the red-head.

Willow accepted the tissue without a word and wiped her eyes. “I’m really sorry,” Willow repeated. She took a deep breath and continued. “Your mom told me all about you. I’d have to say you were her favorite subject,” Willow said with a sad smile. “How did she…”

The question hung in the air, the last word not needing to be said. “Car crash,” Tara answered. “Two weeks ago. Stupid truck ran a red light. The doctors said she was… That she was gone on impact.”

Willow nodded and dabbed at her eyes again. “So, um, how do you know about Janet? I thought, well, I mean, I guess your mom could have told you, I just…”

“She didn’t tell me,” Tara said, feeling her face tighten with residual anger. “My dad did.” Her expression softened. “He showed me her diary.”

“Your dad-”

“He’s known for twenty years. Apparently he loved her too much to ever say anything,’ a slight amount of cynicism creeping into her voice.

“Wow,” Willow said, her eyes wide. “It’s like a soap opera or something.”

“Yeah,” Tara said, laughing bitterly. “A God damn soap opera.”

Willow shook her head solemnly. “Sorry,” she mumbled. “That was stupid.”

Tara waved off the apology and took a shaky breath. “I’m confused, though. If she died a year ago, why are you here?”

“Oh, yeah. Forgot that part.” Willow grinned sheepishly, and Tara felt a shiver of attraction shoot through her. “Um, Janet, she didn’t have any close family, and we became really good friends while I was taking care of her. And well, I don’t really have any family either. Both my parents are gone, and I was an only child. We sort of became each other’s family.” She raised her arms up and spread them. “Hence the house.”

Tara nodded and smiled slightly at the explanation. That just left the disappointment she felt toward her mother. “Sorry for ruining your Christmas,” Tara whispered, afraid to speak any louder.

“Eh, Jewish,” Willow returned, as Tara felt the redhead’s hand cover her own. “They were both good people,” Willow whispered. “They really were. And I think, I think your mom just didn’t want to hurt you.”

Tara looked into Willow’s eyes and saw the sincerity that she heard in her voice. She nodded and again she was crying. The pressure in her chest, a constant for the last two days, dissipated, and she felt Willow’s arms close around her, and gratefully accepted the embrace.

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

[center]December 31st, 1999

Another year going by and another year spent in stupid lies. John knows, that’s apparent now. He’s known for so many years. So why can’t I pull out of this cycle? Why should I live half of my life in secret? Tara’s 20 years old. Old enough to understand that her mother’s not perfect.

And yet… That same hesitation I feel every time I think of revealing myself. Maybe it’s because it’s been going on so long this way, it’s the only way I know how. Maybe I’m just a coward, afraid of the look on her face. Afraid of how she might hate me. I don’t know.

I do know that I love her though, with all of my heart. If there’s one reason I never tell her my secret, it’s that I don’t want to hurt her. Forgive me, Tara, for never telling you.
[/center]

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

Tara packed her belongings as she did the previous day, only this time without anger. Willow had held her until she had stopped crying. Afterward, they’d eaten Chinese takeout (“See? Told you I was Jewish,” Willow had said) with Tara sharing stories about her mother, and Willow sharing her own. Tara smiled at thoughts of the previous evening as she felt her heart grow warm. The fact that she liked Willow hadn’t escaped her, and she was observant enough to realize that Willow liked her too.

Tara pulled out her phone and checked the calendar. She still had a week of vacation time left. Slipping her phone back into the front pocket of her blue jeans, Tara stopped packing and left the motel room. She closed the door behind her and got into her car.

Fifteen minutes later, Tara was standing outside Willow’s door, and with a trembling hand, she knocked. Willow’s smiling face appeared seconds later and Tara knew she’d made the right choice.

Then they both spoke at the same time. “Lunch?”

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

Epilogue

The trip up the mountain had been beautiful. The mid-February weather gave the air a crisp, clean feeling that Tara could feel with every breath she took. A relaxing five mile hike had led them to the Len Foote Hike Inn, a small lodge barely four miles from the start of the Appalachian Trail, and six miles from Amicalola Falls. A simple place to sleep for the night, the lodge boasted very few amenities, but enough for a peaceful weekend retreat. Indoor bathrooms and hot showers, twenty guest rooms with a bunk bed in each, and a moderately sized dining room, complete with a kitchen that served family style.

In addition, the Sunrise Room contributed to the relaxed feel of the quiet getaway. Board games and books littered the mahogany shelves, and tables surrounded by matching chairs stood ready for the occupants. The room overlooked the Blue Ridge Mountains, the porch that wrapped around the room offering a beautiful place to sit and drink a hot beverage while swaying slowly in a rocking chair. And Tara was doing just that.

She sipped her hot chocolate, the warm liquid soothing her sore throat, as she gazed out at the view before her, the sun setting behind the mountains. While the chilly air was refreshing, it didn’t help her slight cold; she coughed as the hot chocolate hit her stomach, and then took another sip, before tugging the thick wool jacket she was wearing tighter around her. She started slightly as she felt warm hands start to massage her neck, then sighed contentedly as she realized who it was. The sigh turned into a quiet moan as the hands massaged her firmly, rubbing circles into her muscles, working away any tension that was still lingering.

“You doing ok, baby?”

Tara shivered as the warm breath of the voice caressed her ear, before nodding in affirmation. “Yeah, sweetie.” She tilted her head back to look into the green eyes of her lover, momentarily amazed at the depth of love she felt for the woman. Willow leaned down and gave Tara a gentle kiss on the lips. They parted seconds later as Willow moved from behind Tara to the rocking chair next to her, the wood creaking softly as she sat down.

They were alone on the porch, the only other people at the lodge an older couple, married for twenty-two years. Tara had talked to them briefly at dinner, over her plate of smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, and a small salad. She took another sip of her drink, savoring the warmth in her throat, silently praying that she and Willow would be together that long. Hopefully much longer.

Tara picked up her diary from beside her chair, removing the pen that was always placed in the rings of the notebook in case of sudden inspiration. She opened the diary to the newest blank page and began writing.


[center]December 24th, 2010

It always amazes me to think about the start of our relationship.

I never would have thought that I could make a long-distance relationship work. To be honest, I would never have thought I could make any relationship work, my previous tries having been made up of one-night stands and doomed-from-the-start deals. Every woman I’d dated had tried getting past my defenses, pulling me closer; when all I wanted to do was pull away. Except for Willow.

When I met Willow, with mom being gone and everything with Janet, it was like the floodgates came bursting open, and all the confusion I’d felt just sort of melted away.

After that, it felt like a fairy-tale. We spent the week together, eating dinner, touring Illinois, talking about nothing and everything. And on my last day in town, I spent the night with Willow, half of me totally convinced that I would never hear from her again, the other half feeling happier and more at home than ever before.
[/center]


“Whatcha writing about?” Willow asked the question softly, the words not needing to be louder in the quiet solitude of the mountains.

“Us,” Tara answered, a serene smile on her face.

“Us? What about us?” Willow asked, a teasing smirk gracing her lips.

“No dirty musings, if that’s what you mean,” Tara said, one eyebrow lifted, daring Willow to disagree.

Willow opened her mouth and put her hand to her chest in faux-shock. “Why, Tara, whatever would make you think I’m thinking that?”

Tara shook her head as she laughed. “Dork.”

“Well, yeah,” Willow said. “Takes one to know one.”

Tara rolled her eyes before leaning over toward Willow. Their lips met softly, barely moving until Tara opened her mouth and felt Willow’s tongue massage her own. She moaned, the sound originating from low in her throat, before taking her free hand and putting it behind Willow’s head, bringing them closer together and deepening the kiss even more. Pulling away moments later, Tara gave Willow one more quick peck on the mouth before leaning back into her chair, continuing the gentle rocking motion.

“I love you, my dork,” Tara said, her voice barely above a whisper.

“Love you too, babe. Eight days a week,” Willow answered, her voice slightly husky with need, a sound Tara had grown to love in the past year.

With a quick wink, Tara returned to her diary.


[center]I went back to Georgia the following day, my number exchanged with Willow’s, still believing that it had been a fling for the week, another relationship that was as doomed as the rest. But it hadn’t been. Willow had called the next day, wondering when she could see me again. So, for the next five months, I carried on the relationship, knowing full well that long-distance wouldn’t work for me.

But Willow surprised me again. She sent me e-mails and flowers, cards and stuffed animals. And once a month, Willow made the trip down to Georgia, using up all of the vacation time she had. She even relocated for me.

That was how, six months after the death of mom, I finally fell in love. For the last half year, I’ve been living the domestic lifestyle, sharing my small two bedroom town house in Atlanta with a nurse from Illinois. Willow suggested we go somewhere for the holidays to celebrate our one year anniversary, and pulled up the site for Amicalola before the “yes” was out of my mouth.
[/center]


Tara once again looked over at the woman who had done so much to fit into her life. It was hard to believe that it had been a year, not just since she’d met Willow, but since her mother had passed. A tear found its way to her cheek at the thought, cooling against her skin in the mountain air. She felt Willow brush a finger against her cheek, wiping away the moisture.

“Hey, no tears, sweetie,” Willow said, already moving from the chair to stand in front of her.

Tara looked up into Willow’s eyes and smiled sadly. “It’s just, I can’t help feeling like she would have been glad, to see us together.” She sniffed, a combination of her cold and her emotion.

“I think so too, but that means you should be happy.” Willow’s hands found both sides of Tara’s face, the warmth from her skin soothing Tara beyond words.

“I am. Happy, I mean. I think they’re happy tears.”

Willow smiled, and Tara knew she understood. “Wanna go to bed? I hear Santa only visits the nice boys and girls who are asleep.”

Tara nodded her head slowly. “There’s only a bunk bed though. We’ll have to squeeze close together. It’s chilly, ya know.”

Willow laughed, her eyes shining with obvious delight. “I think we can manage that.”

Tara smiled. “I think we can too.”

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:59 pm 
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Aww, that was sweet and sad - poor Tara's mom not feeling like she could share that with her daughter! And I think that might be the first fic I've ever read where Tara's father wasn't an insufferable prick! So bravo!

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 2:33 pm 
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Bravo, tazraven!

Nice to see Tara's Dad as someone who's not an asshole! And the diary was so bittersweet.

Not surprised Willow was the only one who could break Tara's walls down!

Great fic!

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:15 pm 
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Wow, really interesting take on Tara's mom and the dynamics of her family relationship. Willow and Tara were both very sweet, and there were a lot of beautiful details. I hope that you'll post more often on the board.

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:37 pm 
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I will have my entry written up and posted sometime tomorrow so you have been forewarned.
It's a melange of ideas I've had this week under the influence of cold medicine and cough syrup so it might make no sense to anyone but me.
There are far more talented writers on here who do Willow and Tara so much better than I can but these ideas need to be given voice to so in the words of folk singer Raymond Scum "I've suffered for my art...now it's your turn."

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:58 pm 
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First off, this is an excellent challange, and I'm having so much fun reading all the entries!

Laragh: That was completely adorable. And I just knew they were gonna get locked in the store for the night! What better way for the girls to get to know eacher other better, though.

LT: I just don't know which I loved more. The first one was just lovely. I love the baby stories. And a solstice baby? That was just perfect.
The second one was so sad, but I'm so happy with how you finished it. It felt kinda like a dream to me. Loved them both.

wayland: This was very cute. Poor Willow for having a house full of people when all she wanted was a little Foo. Thank god for Mr. Benson's truck. It was lovely.

Mrs. Pineapple: Another sad one, but so beautifully done. I loved the flashbacks, too. The meaning behind the willow tree and the name, that was perfect, well done. Bravo!

Tazraven: This one really fascinated me. Very different from the other entires so far, but I loved it. It was great to see Tara with a loving father, and another side of Tara's mother, even if she was no less loving. I really liked the initial meeting between Willow and Tara, it was very subtle, and real. Thank you.

Laura.

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:23 am 
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Not had chance to read all these yet, but I absolutely adore the fact that ten years into the Kitten we have moderator set challenges. Wonderful.

Once upon a time I used to make a tradition (can you have a tradition in just three years?) of writing Xmas fic (with Forrister) and I could even be tempted out of retirement for this one :) However first of all I need to finish this years NaNoWriMo but that'll give me a few days to think about it.

Once again, great that we have an active board and so many writers contributing.

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:04 pm 
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Title: She Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Author: Taralicious(Blayne)
Distribution: Anyone who's fool enough can have it
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Someday, even fictional characters will be free but in the meantime, Willow, Tara, and other characters mentioned remain the chattel, I mean property, of Mutant Enemy.
Summary: Willow tries to relive a Christmas memory of her past but finds out that bad memories in the present can taint those in the past. Tara takes the opportunity to cheer her up with some holiday role-playing.

"OOOO, Tara," said Willow excitedly, in that childlike wide-eyed way as only she could; the holidays had this effect upon her, turning her into more of an overgrown eight-year-old than usual.
"I know what we can do today, read this" she said, patting her lap reassuringly as she had bucked Tara A.O.T off the side of the sofa, leaping up excitedly as she had, and Tara with her legs across Willow's lap.
Sitting down next to Willow but snuggling into her to show there were no hard feelings at least, only sore body parts, "Well, I was planning to stay here on the couch and ravish a certain redhead but I guess I could do something with you first" replied Tara tauntingly, scrunching up her face to mock-scowl at Willow.
"Look at what's on" said Willow, thrusting the newspaper at Tara.
"Half-shark, half-octopus sighted in ocean at Puerto Vallarta resort. The news media have dubbed it "Sharktopus" and amateur video footage has surfaced."
"Sweetie, you know my interest in the Discovery Channel is limited to koala bears."
No, silly. This article" admonished Willow playfully, taking Tara's elegantly tapered finger and running it down the page to the intended article which had piqued her interest.
"Christmas Wonderland display at Armstrong's Department Store. A whole floor of traditional merriment from around the world" read the advertisment.
"Uh Willow," asked a bemused and puzzled Tara, "You're Jewish and I'm controversial, in that I don't have any traditions except for the few Pagan ones my mother and I shared and the one's I've shared with you that you've taught me since we've been together."
"Oh come on, it'll be fun. When I was a kid growing up in Sunnydale, Summers Department Store, whose slogan was "Where its Summer all year 'round", always had the best display.
"Summers?...As in?..."
"No, I asked her when she first moved here and we became best friends and she said that she didn't think so. At least her mother had never mentioned any relatives in the retail business."
So, anyway, Summers had a Santa who rode down the street and pulled up in front of the store in a sleigh which was pulled by eight tiny reindeer.?
"Reindeer in California?"
"Well, I was eight at the time and you have more imagination at that age and are willing to buy into the fantasy a lot more."
"They had a live-action ice-skating reflective pond scene like the ornaments you put under the tree. They even had a Christmas Queen."
"No, not that kind" laughed Willow as a look of piqued interest played across Tara's face. "This was Sunnydale, you know."
"Willow," sighed Tara, "You are just trying to divert my attention from the original question which was: why would a good Jewish girl go to a secular Christmas display?"
"If it wasn't Buffy, and it couldn't have been since you didn't meet her 'til high school, it must have been Xander's influence."
"Well, I don't know how much influence he had," replied Willow, "but we were inseparable growing up what with both of us having similar family home lives so we spent all our time with each other."
"Xander's parents always promised to take him to the Christmas display but when the day came, they were always either too drunk or too busy fighting with each other to take any notice of him."
"My parents were always too busy to take any notice of me but it was due to their careers taking the place of alcoholism and domestic violence."
So, every year, when it was announced in the paper that the display was open, Xander and I would get on the bus after school, go downtown, and walk through it by ourselves."
"Then we would go back to his house and watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" while doing the Snoopy dance."
"I love Xander but like a brother; I'd like to walk through a Christmas display with the woman I love and want to have kids of my own with so I can make spurious claims that I won't treat them the way my parents treated me."
"AAAWWWWW, sweetie" mewed Tara, nuzzling even closer into Willow's chest. "Take me...to the Christmas display, I mean."
The first indication this was no ordinary Christmas display was the dilapidated exterior of the building and the abscence of any other cars in the parking lot.
Walking up to the entrance, noticing all of the broken-out windows, both women wondered if they had suddenly been transported to Beirut or Tel Aviv without their knowledge.
The large wooden front doors creaked open and they boarded a rusty freight elevator to the fourth floor where a directory, with half of the letters resting in the bottom of the sign, informed them the display was located.
Upon stepping out of the service elevator, which shuddered and juddered to a screeching halt, the sight which greeted Willow and Tara gave indisputable credence to the theory that you shouldn't believe everythihng you read.
On the wall next to an entrance covered by the sort of plastic sheeting you find on construction sites read the following words:
"Armstrong's Department Store may be closed but the iconic Christmas Wonderland, beloved by so many families, has been preserved in its entirety for future generations to make memories of their own."
Underneath the sign was a donation box which was even more incongruous than the preserved site itself.
"Wwwwwelllll, we're here," shell-shocked and stunned, Willow looked to Tara for confirmation and approval to go in.
"Okay," said Tara, taking Willow's outstretched hand, "but I'm not giving them any money."
"Fair enough" said Willow as they parted the covering to walk through like two co-eds playing the role of victims one and two in yet another remake of "Black Christmas."
"Oh look, Kajun Country" said Willow, trying to be cheerful and positive in the face of another fine mess she had gotten them into.
"Why is Kajun spelled with a 'k'?" asked Tara sullenly.
"The sign says it is a display fashioned in the mid 80's depicting the geo-political landscape which existed between the Soviet Union and the United States."
"Even though the two superpowers hovered on the brink of nuclear annhiliation, the Doomsday Clock later than it had ever been at 11:58, when the clock struck midnight on December 24, politicians of both countries would call a truce and put aside their differences to be united in the spirit of goodwill towards men."
I remember now," said Willow, "this was the era of that t.v. miniseries where they spelled America with a 'k' so it read Amerika except that the 'k' was backwards and there was also that movie "Red Dawn"; both of which fueled paranoid conspiracy theories that the Russkies were poised to invade through Canada and turn all fifty states Red."
"Oh look, wax statues of Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik representing the two perennial vilains of the U.S. at the time, the U.S.S.R and Iran."
"Who?...What?..." stammered Tara.
"Xander liked to watch professional wrestling as well and it was either that or be another test case for my parents to psychoanalyze using new talk therapy methods on psycho-sexual dysfunctions."
Moving into the next room, Willow read out the name on the entryway:
"Norwegian Wood."
"It says," reading the place card and pointing to a perch in the middle of the scraggliest bunch of now long since dead Douglas Firs, "a parakeet named Eleanor Rigby sits on her perch and says "Ah, look at all the lonely people" as they pass by."
"This Bird Has Flown" said Willow grumpily, growing ever more resentful that her childhood memories of the majestic pageantry of the Christmas Wonderland at the Summers Department Store had been sullied and that the kids of today were too busy with all their digital social networking jiggery-pokery to indulge in what the season was all about.
"No Willow," shuddered Tara in genuine revulsion this time, "this bird is dead, LOOK," as she pointed at the decayed fossilized skeleton of what had once been the parakeet and hadn't been nailed there so it was lying on the ground underneath.
"That's horrible" cried Willow, tears streaming down her face, "I'm sorry i talked you into coming here. Let's go."
"Now aren't you glad I didn't give them any money?" said Tara as they exited the display area.
"Armstrong's,"spat Willow, looking around at the building, "Harmstrong's, more like."
"I am so going to need therapy after this," she moaned.
As they exited the building itself, Tara squealed "Look Willow, snow. That will cheer you up" holding out her hand and looking up at the sky, letting the white flakes of moisture dab her cheeks to give them an even shinier complexion than her natural glow.
"This is more like it, not like the dust and cobwebs they tried to pass off as snow inside."
"Come on Willow, let's make snow angels on the ground" suggested Tara, pulling Willow down onto the cement of the parking lot now covered in several inches of the cold wet precipitation.
Flapping their arms and legs in the traditional manner, both women giggled like schoolgirls as the wholesome pleasures of youth overtook any semblance of adult concern for personal hygiene what with both wearing jeans and the cold wetness of the ground.
As Tara drove them back home, Willow started to squirm and shift uncomfortably in her seat, grabbing at tara for support.
"Well this trip wasn't a total wash-out. it's put you in the frisky holiday greeting spirit; like how one sprig of mistletoe gets a kiss, you are clearly rolling around in a crate of mistletoe and the resultant desire has you angling for a three-fingered salute the likes of which the Girl Scouts never put in their Handbook."
"Baby, I'm in a constant state of heightened arousal for you," groaned Willow, "and I don't need a parasitic fungus as an excuse."
"No, the squirming is of a more embarassing and clinical nature; I have a terrible itching and burning since we made the snow angels. It was worth it since it did make me feel better but I must have picked up some bacterial infection from the ground."
Helping walk Willow to their front door, Tara picked her lithe body up, carrying her across the threshold, and laying her down on the couch where this whole escapade was hatched.
Unbuttoning her jeans, Tara slid them slowly down Willow's thighs, reminding herself of the task she had been charged with and not to get distracted by all of that enticing Willowflesh.
Pulling the material off, Tara closely examined the Delta of Venus from which she inexhaustibly drank from.
"Nothing wrong that I can see here" said Tara, staring in awe at the fertile crescent of her wife, "Turn over."
Rolling over onto her stomach, Willow could hear Tara howling with laughter even as she tried to stifle it and said "What?" exasperatedly, the itching more painful than ever.
"Sweetie, your ass is even redder than your hair. It's your own fault for not wearing panties, my vixen."
"Wait here and I'll get something to soothe that burn," her fingers intentionally grazing Willow's inflamed flesh, Tara gave Willow her trademark sultry smirk, not so much implying but flat out telling her the treatment would be worth it.
Going into the kitchen, Tara took a cube of butter out of the fridge, put it in a measuring cup, and, after melting it in the microwave, poured it into a mixing bowl.
Excited that the day could be salvaged by a spot of creative role-playing brought about by Willow's predicament, Tara silently snuck up to their bedroom to change into the outfit she had bought from a store that specialized in naughty Halloween costumes a few months back.
"Nurse Tara will see you now" she said breathily and huskily, framed in the doorway striking a pose with her back arched.
As Willow turned her head at the voice of her wife, what she saw made her forget about the itching of her ass and focus on the itching and wetness between her legs.
Tara stood in the doorway wearing a white nurse's uniform complete with peaked cap bearing the universal symbol of the red cross on it.
Her blouse was unbuttoned to the middle and she was arching her back, exposing her bounteous cleavage without a bra, the sex kitten.
Her long and shapely legs were clad in candy-cane striped stockings and she held a bowl in her hands as her head leaned back against the door frame, a wicked glint in her eyes.
"What seems to be the problem, Miss Rosenberg? Tell Nurse Tara all about it, baby."
"Call me W...Wi...Willow, please" she stammered.
"Okay, let's take a look, Willow" the pronunciation of which WIllow found the hottest word she had ever heard.
"Oh, that is a nasty and inflamed ass you have there, Willow. Been rolling around on wet ground in the past hour, have you? Boy you've been a naughty girl, you've let your knickers down or haven't worn any at all, more like."
"I'll soon have you feeling better" crooned Nurse Tara as she put her hand in the bowl of melted butter and massaged Willow's assflesh with the oily warm liquid.
"So round, so firm, so fully-packed" she said in admiration."How does that feel?"
"M..mu...much better" murmured Willow contentedly.
"Turn over" ordered Nurse Tara.
"Over?" asked Willow sheepishly.
"Yes, I'm going to let my fingers do the walking through your Strawberry Fields Forever Or at least until we have to leave the house again."
"Nurse Tara, thank you for coming."
"Willow, you ain't seen nothing yet" growled Tara seductively. "and if you're not better in the morning, I'll call in Doctor Robert; my plastic pal who's fun to be with."

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:25 am 
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Haha. Very cool story, Blayne.

Gotta love fiesty Tara!!

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:34 am 
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lol, very funny and cute!

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:17 pm 
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Hi and congratulations to all of the writers and entries here. I'm so sorry to feel like I can't take the time to address each one. They're all darling and very touching. I love the one with Tara's mom's diary. Very lovely and you can totally feel the comfort between W/T from the first moment they meet.

I hope to get something done in time.

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:20 pm 
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Having finished my own story for the chllenge, I've started to read the others.
Laragh-The way you have of imbuing all of your stories with the life-affirming qualities of both Willow and Tara makes you a much better candidate for the challenge than me.
That was a beautiful story and in Willow's darkest hour and greatest time of need, who should appear before her in a shimmering radiance of light but a blue-eyed angel named Tara.
A much better usage of the Career Opportunities storyline than that film ever managed; though I'd still like to be locked in a Target store with Jennifer Connelly if the chance ever came up.

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:03 pm 
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Just a note for the moderators. The dates given in the challenge are slightly incorrect. 16th December is a Thursday and 17th December is a Friday (not Weds/Thurs as stated.)

Given build up to Xmas Eve I am assuming you meant the dates :)

Wouldn't want anyone to miss out!

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:41 pm 
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I avoided reading the other entries before I posted mine, as I knew it would make me lose my nerve, so I’m just catching up now.



Laragh

I’m continually amazed at how one person can write so much, so quickly, so well.

You have a lovely light touch, good pacing, very recognisable characters and lots of humour.

Go raibh maith agat, Laragh agus Nollaig Shona!


Clare


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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:37 pm 
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wayland wrote:
Laragh

I’m continually amazed at how one person can write so much, so quickly, so well.

You have a lovely light touch, good pacing, very recognisable characters and lots of humour.

Go raibh maith agat, Laragh agus Nollaig Shona!


Clare


Tá fáilte romhat! Thank you very much Clare. Nollaig Shona duit!

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Last edited by Laragh on Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:06 am 
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Title: A Special Christmas of Sorts
Author: Vanessa
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: All characters of the show Buffy belong to Mutant Enemy.
Summary: Willow try's to prepare a special Christmas for Tara but as usual, things go awry.


***

The sound of thudding footsteps down the staircase woke her from her Willow filled dreams with a start, but the though that it was Christmas morning and she didn’t have to be anywhere lolled her back to sleep.

Downstairs, Willow ran around the foyer, living room, kitchen, and dinning room frantically as if her head was on fire. On her second lap around the living room, Buffy finally looked up from her reclined position on the couch, raising one eyelid to peer at what the redhead was up to.

“Will, calm down a little.” Buffy said sternly. “You’re making me dizzy without even looking at you.”

“I can’t Buff,” Willow said frantically as she bent down in front of the fire place, repeatedly hitting a match against the scratch pad on the box. “I still have so much to prepare before Tara wakes up. And… and while keeping a constant eye on Maggie it’s nearly impossible.” Finally lighting the match she gently placed it into the fire pit, strategically lighting certain parts of the deraflame logs.

“How about I watch Maggie?” Buffy said helpfully as she scooted off of the couch. “That way you can go finish your little surprise … and I don’t windup with burnt brunch.” She gave the redhead a cheeky grin before sauntering off to the dining room to find her niece.

“Thanks Buffy!” Willow hollered after the retreating blonde before clamping her hands over her mouth, looking sheepishly up the staircase to see if she might have awoken her slumbering wife.

“Uh huh,” Buffy grunted from the room over as she fussed over her sleeping niece who was sucking profusely on her left thumb. Her right hand rapped tightly around a raggedy stuff animal that at one point in time might have looked like a lamb. Tucking the blue blanket that was at the bottom of the crib over the sleeping child, Buffy ran her hand along her gently rising and falling back before exiting the room.
“She’s passed out,” Buffy said with a smile. “And of course Lambert the Lamb’s at her side getting choked to death.”

“Ah, good ol’ Lambert,” Willow said with a smile as she looked up from where she was crouched under the Christmas tree, making minor arrangement on how the presents are positioned.

“What’s with the big candy cane stripped stocking?” Buffy asked quizzically as she nodded to the oversized stocking laying on the floor besides the redhead.

“It’s for the gift you helped me pick out the other day,” Willow said bewildered. “Remember. I was going to present it with Maggie in the stocking.”

“Oh right,” Buffy said, a far away look in her eyes. “That was cute.”

“Yeah I know,” Willow said absentmindedly, as she continued to position the stocking to her liking. “That’s why I thought of it.”

“Ouch Rosenberg. Ouch.” Buffy said, grabbing playfully at her heart.

“Alright, I’m all set here.” Willow said as she stood up, whipping her hands self-consciously on her pants. “Time to set the table.

Having decided the night before what china she wanted to use for their meal, Willow was planning on heading for the cabinet right above the refrigerator. Entering the semi cluttered kitchen, she b-lined for the refrigerator, stepping counterclockwise around the island counter.

“Mommy!” came a shrill little voice, followed by the sound of a tiny hand slapping something wet.

Looking down at the ground, her eyes widen as she took in the sight of her vibrant grey-eyed child slapping playfully at a bowl of cubed butter, the sticky substance that escaped the bowl now matted to her bare skin and cherry red hair.

“Maggie? How the …” Turning quickly on her heals, she shouted out the doorway for her best friend, not paying any heed to her sleeping wife upstairs.

“What? What?” Buffy asked frantically as she skidded into the kitchen on her sock clad feet. “What’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong?” Willow asked incredulously as she pointed down to her thirteen month old daughter who was happily playing with the quickly melting butter as if it was play-duh. “I thought you where watching her.”

“I was watching her. I mean, I am watching her,” Buffy corrected quickly. “But … but she was sleeping. Death grip on Lambert remember?”

“Whatever. I don’t have time for this,” Willow said briskly as she stepped around her squealing child. “Just keep an eye on her. And make sure she doesn’t eat to much butter.”

“Shouldn’t I just take the butter from here?” Buffy asked as she lent down, ready to extract the Tupperware bowl from her niece’s greasy little fingers.

“Don’t!” Willow said quickly from in front of the fridge, turning around in time to stop Buffy’s actions. “Don’t, because if you do she’ll cry. And if she cry’s she’ll wake up Tara. And if she wakes up Tara I’m going to be pissed.”

“Check,” Buffy said slowly, retracting her hand from around the bowl. “No taking of the butter.”

“Okay. Okay,” Willow said repeatedly to herself as she stepped around her daughter again, her arms piled high with sparkling white dishes. “Mommy’s going to be right back Maggie. Buff, I‘m just gonna set the table.”

“Okay, you have fun with that Wilster,” Buffy said as she leaned against the doorframe, her arms folded across her chest as she watched her niece joyously play. “Maggie and I are just gonna keep destroying your butter.”

“Yeah, keep laughing.” Willow said as she walked by the blonde. “That was all the butter I had left. I guess a certain someone’s not getting any sugar cookies after all.”

“What?” Buffy said in disbelief, her eyes growing wide. “Ugh! It looks like Maggie Mayhem strikes again.”
After a few minutes of watching the redheaded bundle of energy splatter melted butter all over the floor, Buffy crossed from the threshold of the kitchen doorway to the cluster covered counter, opening one of the cupboards and removing two purple coffee mugs.

Reaching over a few glass dishes with dried food pasted on and a couple of empty cracked egg shells, she switched on the coffee pot, preparing to sooth her friends frazzled nerves with a nice cup of steaming hot Joe.

“Buffy, what the hell!” Willow yelled again.

“What, I didn’t do anything,” Buffy said automatically, still facing the cabinets. Turning around slowly, one of the purple mugs in hand, “Besides she’s right ther…oh.”

On the floor Maggie sat in the same spot as before, playing just as eagerly with the butter as she had been, but this time she was accompanied by a new friend. Next to her sat a black and white Pit Bull mix puppy who was licking hastily at the toddlers face, lapping up all the splattered butter.

“No. No. That’s impossible,” Buffy said in disbelief, shaking her head back and forth. “He was locked in the crate over there. I… I put him there this morning!” Placing the mug back down on the counter, she walked to the far end of the kitchen to where the small crate was placed. “See it’s …” She looked at the metal crate that was covered in tiny buttery hand prints. “ … been open. Will I’m so sorry. I turned my back for a second to fix us a cup of coffee. She.. She… she‘s like freaking Houdini!”

“It’s fine. It’s fine,” She repeated to herself like a mantra. “I can fix this. He’s not that dirty, I’ll just give him a quick bath with Maggie.”

“See, problem solved,” Buffy said enthusiastically, giving her best friend two thumbs up and an over the top cheesy smile. “A quick bath and you’ll have a squeaky clean Maggie and puppy.”

“Poop-pee!” Maggie squealed happily as she pulled her hand out of the bowl, plopping her hand on the dogs head, smooshing margarine into the puppy’s shiny fur coat.

“Hey look on the bright side,” Buffy said optimistically as she backed up a few steps from the steaming redhead. “she’s already teaching the dog commands.”

“If I new it wouldn’t wake Tara up and my child wouldn’t be running around repeating everything I say to the neighboring kids like a parrot, I would totally have some choice words for you!” Her hands shook uncontrollably at her side as she watch her daughter cover her wife’s Christmas present in even more butter.
“I’m going to go start the bath. Please, for the love of all things holy and anything you cherish, please, watch them.”

“I will,” Buffy promised while using all her self control to restrain herself from saluting the redhead. “Okay, tiny mini little red, you sit right there and don’t move. And I’m going to grab something to eat out of the fridge. Deal?” As a response, she was greeted with a squeal of glee as Maggie brought a tiny fist full of butter to her mouth. Licking around her tiny digits, burst of laughter shook her slender frame as the Pit Bull puppy tried licking the butter from her hand as well. “Ah, well ain’t that a Kodak moment.”

Turning around, she walked backwards to the fridge, keeping a watchful eye on the trouble making toddler and her new playmate. Bumping into the refrigerator, she spun around quickly, flinging the door open and examining the contents of the shelf for something to eat. “Ooh Pita bread!” She said excitedly as she removed the brown Frisbee like item.

Perking up at the sound of food, Maggie twisted around on the slippery tiled floor. Extending her hands out at her aunt and making grabbing hands, “Xita!” She shouted excitedly.

“No, this is pita bread.” Buffy corrected sweetly, kicking the fridge door close with her foot. Walking back over to the wriggling toddler, she squatted down to be eye to eye with her niece. “Say Pita.”

“Xita!”

“No. Pita” She corrected again, this time in a sterner tone of voice.

“Xita.”

“Uh whatever,” Buffy huffed out as she tore off a small piece of breed for her niece. “Not my problem.”

“Buffy what are you doing?” Willow scalded as she entered the kitchen. “Don’t give her that. We’re eating in 15 minutes. Speaking of which, can’t you wait.”

“Nope I’m hungry,” To prove her point she ripped off a giant chunk of bread with her mouth.

“Nice,” Willow said sarcastically, rolling her eyes upwards. “Way to ruin your appetite.”

“Not possible,” Buffy retorted with a smirk. Taking the rest of her pita, she ran it along Maggie’s arm before exiting the room, the sound of Willow’s voice chasing her.

“Hey!” Willow hollered as she ran to the kitchen doorway. “Don’t use my daughter as a condiment!” She waited in the doorway for a few seconds, expecting to hear a comeback from the blonde. When none was forthcoming she turned around to her daughter and newest addition to the family. “Alright you too, time for your bath.”

***

After ten minutes Willow came bounding back down the stairs, a squeaky clean puppy tucked under one arm and a butter-less toddler in a red dress and candy cane stockings tucked under the other. “I see you too have already conspired against me,” Willow said playfully to the two wiggling bundles of energy.

Rounding the corner to the kitchen, she slid to a holt as she came face to face with her Wife. “Tara! You’re up!”

“Mama!”

“Willow, what’s going on,” Tara asked as she waved a hand in a half arch, showing off the vast mess made in the kitchen. “And why do you have a puppy.”

“Ah damn it,” Willow said with a pout, kicking her right foot out self-consciously. “This … all of this was suppose to be a surprise. I don’t know. I had this crazy notion that we could have this amazing Christmas together. Just my family and it seems that nothing wants to work out.”

She stepped further into the room, tears verging on erupting from her eyes. “Buffy is no where near qualified to be a babysitter for our child. I’m not even sure if the food in the oven is even cooking. And I’m pretty sure Maggie is the reincarnation of Houdini!”

“Willow,” Tara said soothingly, taking a step closer to her stressed out Wife.

“No Tara it’s true.” Willow continued. “She escaped her crib. Somehow stole a bowl of butter off the counter. And jimmied the metal crate containing your Christmas present. Speaking of which, Merry Christmas,” shyly she held out her hand that was holding the puppy. “I had also planned for this to be a lot more romantic.”

“Willow,” Tara said lovingly, tenderly grasping the puppy with both hands.

“Yeah?” Willow asked gloomily.

“Every little thing that you do is romantic.” Tara said with a lopsided smile, cradling the puppy close to her chest as she took the final step to reach her Wife. Wrapping her free hand around Willow’s neck, she brought the distraught women’s head close to hers, gently pressing her supple lips to those of the redheads.

As soon as their lips touch, all thoughts of her Christmas surprise being ruined vanished from her mind. Opening her mouth slightly, she ran her tongue along her wife’s bottom lip, indicating to Tara to deepen the kiss. Before their kiss could ignite any further, a small hand slapped down onto both of their cheeks.

Regretfully, Willow pulled back from Tara’s tender touch. “Your daughter’s become fond of slapping. You should have seen what she did to the butter.”

Removing her hand from around Willow’s neck, she ran the tips of her fingers through her daughter’s bright red hair, untangling the matted locks. “What exactly did she….” Before she could finish her sentence, Buffy came running into the kitchen, half of her snow coat on and a boot in hand.

“It’s snowing!” Buffy cheered joyfully. “Willow. Tara. It’s snowing! Quick get your coats.”

“Buffy, the foods going to be ready any minute,” Tara declared sweetly, trying to ease any stress that was still remaining in Willow.

“Thanks,” Willow said meekly, a small smile gracing her lips. “But lets go outside.”

“Are you sure?” Tara asked as she readjusted the puppy against her chest. The puppy was wiggling frantically and was trying to get back to the small child.

“Yeah. The food will hold,” She said as she lent forward to place a light kiss against her wife’s lips. “Who knows if the snow will though.”

“Yes! Snow ball fight,” Buffy cheered with a fist pump. “The Maggie Monster is on my team.”

“Did you just call my child a monster?” Tara asked incredulously.

“Yeah, but … only because … well she uh,” Buffy faltered for the right words to say. “I’ll be outside.”

“She’s so easy,” Tara snickered. Removing the dog from her chest, “Ready to go outside little dude?” she asked the puppy as she held him in the air.

“Poop-pee!” Maggie cooed happily when the dog was lifted into the air.

“Okay Maggie Mae, lets get your coats and shoes on.” Willow said with a smirk. “Then you can play with the poop-pee.”

Walking to the foyer, Willow pulled down Maggie’s pink winter coat, gently tugging the puffy jacket over her daughters arms. Zipping the garment all the way up to Maggie chin, she then grabbed a green scarf from off the bench next to the door, wrapping it lightly around her daughters neck.

“Here are her shoes,” Tara said, handing over two blue light up sneakers.

“Thanks babe,” Willow said from her kneeling position in front of Maggie. “Okay kiddo. You are all set.” Opening the front door she walked Maggie down the front steps to where Buffy was already making a snowman. “Go get Buffy!”

“You too,” Tara said with a small laugh as she released the puppy from her grip. Together, they watched as there daughter wobbled from side to side to get to her aunt, closely followed by a puppy very eager to follow her every move.

“Thanks for this amazing Christmas baby,” Tara said sweetly as she wrapped her arms around Willow’s waist.

“It wasn’t exactly what I had planned,” Willow admitted as she too wrapped her arms around Tara. “But it still is pretty great I guess. I love you baby and I hope you liked your surprise.”

“I love you too sweetie,” Tara said lovingly. “And I absolutely adore my surprise. But we really need to find him a name before he starts responding to Poop-pee.”

“I think that’s too late.” They looked back out at their little family who was running around wildly on the front lawn. Buffy hiding behind the large oak tree from Maggie, while she screamed “Poop-pee” over and over again, tiny fist full of snow clutched in her hands. The dog in question running in circles around the little redhead, trying to eat snowflakes as they fall from the sky.

“How about we decide on a name later,” Tara said as she removed her arms from around her wife. “Let’s go join the fun.”

“You just read my mind,” Willow admitted, pulling Tara back for a split second to give her a chase kiss before darting off to help her daughter throw snowballs at Buffy.

“Best Christmas ever,” Tara said to herself, before following after her wife.

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:19 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Way too cute! :D :D

Poor Willow, wanting everything to be perfect :p But it was!

And your use of 'Xita' was excellent. Best use so far, I think! Really, really funny.

Great work!

:peace

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:27 am 
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That was adorable! I love that Willow got her a puppy! And their daughter has the same name as me! Yay! Such a cute story! I loved that no matter what Buffy did to help, she kept putting her foot in it! So fun!

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:56 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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I loved this story. I can picture Willow being so frustrated that nothing seems to be going right. I also loved Willow getting Tara a "poop-pee." Maggie is adorable.


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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:36 am 
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Super cute!

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:44 am 
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LonelyTara,

I enjoyed both your stories. They were a nice contrast in atmosphere. The first had great affectionate interplay between the Scoobies.

Quote:
“You might as well name her Foomatic after my blender.”


Very funny. Those moderators’ names, they didn’t make it easy on us did they?


The second one had a fairytale feel. Very Christmassy.

Voting for a favourite is going to be difficult.


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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:13 pm 
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vanessa

Awwww attack! So much fluffy holiday goodness.

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:35 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

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Location: North Carolina, USA
TITLE: Finding the Lights

AUTHOR: Taranwillow4ever

CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

DISCLAIMER: Willow, Tara and any other characters from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise belong to Joss Whedon, FOX. I get no money, just the joy of writing

SUMMARY: Spending the winter vacation at school has some benefits.

SPOILERS: AU, no demons, no hellmouth..a little magic....

Thoughts in italics



As soon as Willow’s last exam was finished, she rushed to her room, grabbed the book that she had saved as a treat for herself, and lay down on the cushions of the window seat of the main room of the suite she shared. One of her roommates, Karen, came into the room and stood over Willow.


“I can’t believe you are reading. I don’t plan to pick up another book until I come back after Christmas break.”


“I like to read, plus this isn’t like school work reading, this is just for fun.” She showed the cover of the book 100 Celtic Myths .


“Doesn’t look fun to me, but whatever floats your boat.” The girl paused, and asked, “So what are you doing for the Christmas break Willow?”


Willow knew that this question was not an honest one. She knew that Karen must be feeling really bored if she was engaging in inane conversation with Willow. All three of her roommates, but especially Karen, had made it perfectly clear that she was an interloper, and that they had no interest in Willow’s life. Before Willow had moved into the room in October, the other three had utilized Willow’s part of the suite as an informal hanging out space and place to take phone calls that they did not want to share with the entire group. They were crystal clear about their hope that the fourth bed would have remained vacant. Willow knew that Karen, Lisa and Meg had become inseparable friends ever since they had started at The Academy when they were freshmen. Now as juniors, they felt that they owned the school and deserved not to have to have a fourth roommate.


“My parents are in Switzerland, so I am staying a working at the library. I’ll be staying at Hillcock House with the other people who can’t go home or are staying to work.”

“That should be interesting. Just watch out, I hear that all the lesbians live there. Watch your back. Well, I am out of here as soon as Meg is finished with her exams. Her family and mine are going to meet at Vail for Christmas. I heard that it is beautiful and the skiing is incredible.


“That would be good. I hope you have a good time.” Willow went back to her reading, and Karen got up to make sure that she had packed everything that she wanted.


The sun began to lower into the horizon and Willow figured that she might as well get ready to move herself. She didn’t have to be out of the dorm until the next day, but had been told that she could move as soon as exams were over, and officially, exams were over at now 4:00 December 20th. It wasn’t like packing was that big of a deal, all she had were the clothes that she had come with, her laptop, and her personal hygiene stuff. It took all of five minutes to put them all into her large bag. Willow went down to the dining hall and got some dinner.


There were hardly any other students in the dining hall, just a loud group of basketball players, she’d heard that they were going to some tournament on Christmas Eve and were staying in one of the dorms to practice, and a few other stragglers similar to her. There was a guy from her Chemistry Class sitting with one other kid, and in the far corner was a blond haired girl. Willow looked at the girl, who seemed engrossed in her book. She didn’t remember ever seeing this girl before, but that wasn’t too odd; since she’d arrived in the middle of the semester, she’d pretty much focused on studying. Most of the cliques were already formed at the beginning of the fall semester if not during the fall semester of their freshman year. Willow discovered quickly, that it was a very insular community and that most of the students had been attending The Academy since they were in freshmen. The only people who seemed to give her the time of day were the “computer and science geeks”, but even they had their alliances and most of them only talked to Willow when they thought she could give them something or help them with their homework.


Willow looked closer at the girl, the feeling in her stomach made her very aware that she had not seen this girl before. This girl was gorgeous; Willow knew that if she’d seen her, she’d have remembered it. She saw the girl look up, and she quickly looked down and focused on spreading the cube of butter on her roll. When she looked up again, after she finished her dinner, the girl was gone.

Willow went back to her dorm and grabbed her bag. She then walked across the campus to the row of houses that were once faculty housing, but now were prime non-dorm housing. Groups of students would band together over a theme, and petition to live in the houses. The theme of Hillcock House was saving the environment. Willow looked down at the paper she’d received from campus housing and saw that she was assigned to live in room 202. Willow hoped to herself that if this was a double or triple, that her winter roommates would be a little more welcoming to her than her suitemates were.

Willow walked into the house. At the landing there was a large staircase. Willow looked to her right and saw several comfortable chairs in front of a fireplace. To the left was a big table with a large bowl of fruit on it. There didn’t seem to be anyone there, so Willow walked up the stairs and found her room. She was pleased to discover that it was small single with an alcove looking out over the soccer fields. It seemed that the regular inhabitant had cleared out most of her belongings, so Willow placed her bag on the desk chair, put her laptop on the empty desk and sat down on the unmade bed. Campus housing had left her a set of sheets, a pillow and two blankets. The room was not very warm, and Willow was thankful that she’d brought her own quilt as well. She figured that she might stay warm enough. She was unpacking her clothes when she heard a tap on her door. Willow opened the door and found herself face to face with the beautiful blond haired girl.


Willow looked into the clear blue eyes that were slightly higher than her own. She must have looked like a deer in the headlights, because the girl said, “Did I scare you?”


Willow shook her head and got her brain back inside. “No…sorry, I just didn’t expect anyone to knock on my door.”


The girls stood there staring at each other for what felt like minutes, but most likely was only 30 seconds. Willow broke the silence by thrusting out her hand and saying, “Hi. I’m Willow Rosenberg.”

The girl met her hand with her own soft one, “I’m Tara, Tara Maclay, and I was just knocking to introduce myself.


“Hi.” Willow shivered.


“Are you cold?”


“Sort of.”


“One of the draw backs of this house is that they keep the thermostat kinda low. That whole conserving fossil fuels and ‘you can always put on a sweater mentality. You want to go downstairs. It is usually warmer, and once all the rest of the students are gone, I think the house parents are going to let us light the fire. It makes it a lot warmer.”


“Sounds like you’ve lived here before.”


“Yeah, the last three winter breaks.”


“So you can show me the ropes then…”


“Most definitely.” Tara smiled a rather lopsided smile that was incredibly beguiling.


The two girls walked down to the living room. There were three other girls there who were playing a game of Scrabble.


“Better not bother them, they are Scrabble fiends. Their names are Xita, Kajun and Foomatic. They stay here during the holidays too.”


“Do you all work in the library?”


“Xita, Foomatic and I do, but Kajun is a research assistant for the psychobiology lab. She takes care of the rats during the break.”


“EWW” said Willow.


“They are not that bad. She sometimes brings a few of them over to the house. They are just little white things. She always keeps them in their cage.”


“Good,” said Willow looking relieved.


The two girls sat down on the couch and began watching TV. The Charlie Brown Christmas Special was on.”


“Cool this is my favorite holiday special. My friend Xander used to be able to dance like the characters. I love Linus, I can so relate to him.”


“Me too.”


They were silent. Willow was very aware of the fact that the girl was sitting very near to her. She could practically feel the heat radiating off her body. Willow felt herself flush as she thought about this girl’s body and how she wanted to sit even closer to her.”


Chill Rosenberg Willow had always known she was different. At first it was because she was Jewish in a predominantly Catholic town, then because she and her parents traveled all of the time for her Dad’s work and she rarely stayed in one school for more than a year. But over the course of the past year, Willow realized what was the most different about her, she was gay. This was not something that she had ever talked about. She hadn’t even told her best friend Xander. She certainly did not tell her parents. Since she’d been little, she’d been indoctrinated about she would marry a nice Jewish man after she got her PhD. Several times Willow had pondered if she could avoid this fate by just not ever getting a PhD. But Willow loved school, she loved learning, and she was somewhat of a computer genius, so she figured that she would eventually get her PhD. She’d deal with the nice Jewish boy some other way.

Willow had experienced attraction to girls before, but the sensations that she was experiencing at the moment were amplified by a factor of 10. There was something about this girl that was enervating her nerves. She could hardly pay attention to the TV due to her awareness of the girl. Tara. Willow felt her palms getting sweaty, her heart was racing, and she feared that she was probably turning red. She hoped that Tara didn’t notice. It must be something about reading about all those Celtic goddesses. That is it, this girl looks just like what I imagine a Celtic goddess…it is not her, it is just my overactive imagination about the goddesses. Willow couldn’t fool herself. It was about this girl. She was viscerally attracted to her. Willow felt the urge to run outside. Well, that would look strange. It is 30 degrees out, and I want to go outside. I know, I’ll go out and get some food. Maybe if I go for a walk and clear my head, I’ll get a grip on my pheromones . Willow finished watching the show and then quietly excused herself. On her way out, she bumped into the house parent.


“Hi, you’re Willow Rosenberg, right?”


“Yes sir.” Said Willow putting out her hand, ”How did you know?”


“Well, I’d like to say I was a psychic or a very gifted academic, you are the only student staying the holiday who I don’t know, so I see a girl I don’t know, it must be you. “ Willow smiled at the man.


“Rosenberg…are you Jewish?”


“Uh huh”


“Are you observant? Do you celebrate Hanukah?”


“No sir, not very observant, Yes sir do celebrate Hanukah.”


“Well, that is great. I love when our group is more multicultural. My only request is that you light the candles in the kitchen or living room. It makes me nervous when people have fire in their rooms.”

“No problem, I’ll bring my menorah downstairs. It is the sixth day, so I’ll only have to do it for three more days. “


“Sound good. Now where are you off to this late at night?” He looked at his watch. “Well, I guess it is not that late. This sun going down at 4:30 makes me feel like it is late at 7:00. Remember curfew is at 10pm.”


“No problem sir. I was just running down the street to get something from the store. I’ll be back way before 10.”


“Can I join you?” Willow heard a voice coming from behind her. She turned around to see that Tara was requesting to go with her.


Shit now I will really have to go to the store, I was just going to walk around “Sure, no problem. I just have to go upstairs and get my coat and we can get going.”


“Sounds good.”


Willow went up to her room, grabbed her jacket and wallet, and came downstairs. Tara was waiting for her. She was wrapped up in a warm shawl and gloves.


They walked out of the house and silently headed for the local grocery store. Tara broke the silence asking “So why are you staying during vacation, if you don’t mind me asking. Most people want to get out of here as soon as possible.”


“No I don’t mind. My parents are in Europe and I don’t have anywhere else to go. I am an only child born to only children. No relatives. What about you?”


“Um…I am a scholarship student and I can’t afford to go home, not that I would anyway if I could. I got this scholarship to get away from my father.”


“How come?”


“It is complicated.”


Willow sensed a sadness in the girl. She noted that she’d only mentioned her father. She was dying to ask where her mother was, but knew that it would be rude. Willow hoped that Tara would volunteer the information, but she did not.


They came to an intersection and Willow started to walk down one of the lanes when she sensed Tara going down another.


“Oh, did you not know that Abby Road is a short cut to the store?”


“No I’ve always gone Rigby Lane.”


“Abby is a little shorter”


“Cool.” Willow caught up with the beautiful blond goddess and walked beside her.

Once Willow got to the store, she realized that she would have to buy something, and most likely should look like she had plans about what she was going to buy. She walked to the cereal aisle and picked out a box, then moved on to the milk and fruit. She met up with Tara at the checkout stand. She was only buying a banana.


“Big shopping trip, eh?”


Tara blushed. “Can I be honest?”


Willow shrugged, “sure”


“I just wanted to take a walk and get to know you. Is that creepy.”


Far from creepy, actually kinda cool. I’d like to get to know her too. .

Willow found herself looking down at Tara’s chest. She had put her shawl over her arm, and Willow was able to get a good look at her. She was very well endowed, something much different from Willow herself. Willow began to fantasize about what they would feel like …warm..soft..smooth. [/i] Willow looked up and saw Tara staring at her.


“Do you like what you are looking at.”


“Huh?”


“Nothing.”


Shit, she caught me staring. She must think I am some sort of a freak. The first person who seemed interested in getting to know me and I ruin it by staring at her chest. Ok, awkward silence…say something Rosenberg. “Sorry I just sort of space out sometimes. Did I make you uncomfortable?”


“No. I just….”


“What?”


“Nevermind”


“What?”


“It is not important. We better get back. It is getting cold. I wonder if it is going to snow tonight?”

“Maybe, it kind of feels like it”



They walked back in silence, Willow chastising herself for staring at the girl. They were almost to the house when Tara asked, “So this Xander guy, is he your boyfriend?”

“Xander, NO..ick…he is like a brother to me. NO.” Willow shook her head to try to get the idea out of her head.


“Oh…” said Tara softly. Willow saw the slightly off center smile from the girl again.


“Why do you want to know?”


“I don’t want to freak you out.”




“Um…Tara not much freaks me out. Un freakoutable girl here.” Willow pointed to herself.


“Nevermind.”


Willow could tell that the girl was feeling awkward, so she allowed her to opt out of her comment. Willow sensed a feeling of electricity in her body again, it made her stomach flip and she felt a happy kind of anxiety. What if she wants to know if I am gay? What if she saw me staring at her…what if she doesn’t cre? What if she feels this electricity too? Calm down Rosenberg. Don’t let your head get ahead of you. She probably just was making conversation…but what would freak me out? The willowbabble echoed through her head.


“Earth to Willow. We are back at the house.” Tara said as Willow began to walk past it. “What were you thinking about?”


“Nothing.”


“Well, that is a lie if I ever heard one.”


“Nothing important.”


“I have the feeling that the thoughts inside your head are never not important. You do know that you are infamous here. Girl genius transfers to out lowly academy. Some of my classmates talk about how you are amazing in your knowledge of science and math. I heard that the Calculus teacher has to read ahead to be prepared to answer your questions.”


“Huh? I didn’t know that anyone even noticed me. Nobody ever talks to me, except to ask for help on homework they don’t understand.”


“Well, I have also heard that you are kind of quiet and aloof.”


“Um…anyone who says that does not really know me. Babbler I am.”


“I am guessing nobody has tried to get to know you. This is a really insular community. People don’t seem to reach out to the new kids.”


“Is that what you are doing? Reaching out to a new kid?” This came out more harshly than she expected and she could see that Tara took it personally.


Willow reached out and took Tara’s hand. A shock of electricity sparked between their hands. “Sorry, the whole friendship thing is kinda a sore subject. People have not made it easy on me here.”

“I can imagine. They are not that nice to the scholarship kids either. I can’t tell you the number of people who have made fun of me because I have to work at both the cafeteria and the library. But I really want to get to know you. There is something about you that….”


“What?”


“I feel like I have known you longer than just the last few hours. I don’t mean it to sound corny but it is like I knew you in a past life or something. Do you get it or am I being really weird?”


“No…” Willow paused, “I get it. I feel really…um…really comfortable with you…it is kind of like I’ve known you before…”


“I believe in that stuff. That is what I was going to tell you awhile ago. I am Wiccan and I sort of get these feelings about people immediately when I meet them, and I got this feeling that we were going to be good friends. Is that strange?”

Willow smiled. “No, not strange at all…in fact I feel the same way.”


“Cool.”


They walked into the house, Willow put her food in the refrigerator; and then went up to get her menorah. Tara stood in the kitchen while Willow lit the candles and said the blessings. They stood there in the dark kitchen, the glow illuminating their faces for a few minutes. After Tara yawned widely, Willow put the menorah on a piece of aluminum foil in the kitchen sink and they both went upstairs to go to bed.


Willow found herself thinking about Tara and how she had felt the electric courant go through her body when she had touched Tara’s gloved hand, she wondered what would occur if their bare hands had actually made contact. Willow had experienced crushes before, but this one hit a new high. She practically saw stars when she looked at Tara. She’d had to keep her hands firmly in her pocket due to her urge to take her hand almost the entire way home. Willow thought about how the streetlight in front of the house had made Tara’s hair sparkle, and how her crooked smile made her tingle throughout her torso. The feelings that she was having made her understand some of the things she had read. Prior to this, she had not really understood the feelings that authors described, but now, she had some insight. Willow fell asleep thinking about Tara and woke up with the same thought.

The threat of a snow storm had not been realized when Willow woke up. The sky remained grey and it was cold outside. Willow was thankful that the library was heated and was psyched to find that she could talk to Tara episodically when she went to the main desk to get books to be restacked. They ate lunch together and then walked home when the library closed.


When they got home Tara asked Willow if she was interested in seeing her holiday tradition, and suggested that they combine their worship and bring the menorah outside. She told her to dress warmly because they would be outside for awhile. Willow had not brought any long underwear, so she put her candy cane stripped tights underneath her jeans and put on a tee shirt, turtleneck, sweater, scarf, hat and coat. She went into the kitchen and got her menorah and met Tara at the door.

Tara was wearing her wool shawl as well, but instead of her typical long skirt, she too had on jeans, a sweater, scarf, hat and gloves. In her hand was a basket. She could see a few long white candles and some fir boughs, but wasn’t sure what else was in the large wicker basket. They walked down the street toward the woods. As soon as they were past the other occupied houses, Tara took Willow’s hand and led her into a secluded glen.


Willow could never have told you how to get to this glen. Her focus was on how the girl was holding her hand. At the glen were several logs arranged around a pit. Tara told Willow to sit down on one of the logs and provided her with a pillow from her basket. Willow watched as Tara sprinkled salt around the area making a circle. At the top, bottom and sides she could see that Tara was reciting some sort of blessing subvocally. Once she was done, Tara pulled out another cushion.


“This is the place where a few of my other friends who are Wiccan and I do our rituals. Do you know anything about the solstice?”


“A little, I know that most of the other winter festivals are based on the pagan solstice rituals, and that the Christians don’t like to acknowledge it, but a lot of their customs are actually pagan. I know that it is all about light and the shortest day of the year, and wanting to make sure that the sun comes back.”

“That is the gist. What we will do is to put our candles in the middle of the circle. We can take turns lighting the candles and then we will sit here until either they all burn out, it gets to be 9:45 or we get too cold. “


“Sounds like a plan. Willow put eight candles in the menorah, leaving only one space left to signify. Tara placed three candles next to the menorah. Tara lit the first candle and recited…


O! Mighty goddess, in silvery ice,
watching over us as we sleep,
a layer of shining white,
covering the earth each night,
frost on the world and in the soul,
we thank you for visiting us.
Because of you, we seek warmth
in the comfort of our homes and hearths.



Willow lit the Shamash and lit the seven other candles, reciting

Ba-ruch ata, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam, a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mits-vo tov, ve-tsi-va-nu le-had-lik neir shel Chan-nu-kah.

Ba-ruch ata, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam,she-a-sa ni-sim las-a-vo-tei-nu ba-ya-mim ha-heim ba-ze-man ha-zah.

Ba-ruch ata, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam, she-he-chya-nu ve-ki-ya-ma-nu ve-hi-gi-a-nu las-man-ha-zeh. http://www.holidays.net/chanukah/menorah_prayer.htm




Tara lit the second candle and said:


The food is put away for the winter,
the crops are set aside to feed us,
the cattle are come down from their fields,
and the sheep are in from the pasture.
The land is cold, the sea is stormy, the sky is gray.
The nights are dark, but we have our family,
kin and clan around the hearth,
staying warm in the midst of darkness,
our spirit and love a flame
a beacon burning brightly
in the night.
Cold and dark, this time of year,
the earth lies dormant, awaiting the return
of the sun, and with it, life.
Far beneath the frozen surface,
a heartbeat waits,
until the moment is right,
to spring.


She then lit the third candle and recited:


The longest night has come once more,
the sun has set, and darkness fallen.
The trees are bare, the earth asleep,
and the skies are cold and black.
Yet tonight we rejoice, in this longest night,
embracing the darkness that enfolds us.
We welcome the night and all that it holds,
as the light of the stars shines down. http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/yulethe ... rayers.htm



Tara then sat down next to Willow and the quietly watched the flames. Willow felt Tara moving closer and closer to her until she was right next to her.


“Is this ok? It should make us warmer.”


“No problem. It feels nice.” After a few minutes, Willow asked, “So what were the prayers you said about?”


“The first one was a Prayer to the Winter Goddess. I am really into goddesses. The second one was A Celtic Yule Blessing. My mom was really into Celtic stuff, and the third was the Sunset Prayer. If I’d gotten up this morning I would have lit a candle and done the sunrise prayer, but I over slept.”


“Did you not sleep well?”


“I slept ok, just had a lot on my mind.”


“Anything you want to talk about?”


“Yes and No”


“Are you worried about something?”


“Kind of.”


“Does it have anything to do with me?”


“Sort of.”


“Well, I can’t imagine what you could possibly say that my reaction would be worrisome.” Please let her be coming out…not worrying about my looking at her breasts. Please, Please.

“Are you sure?”


“Yes.”


“It is not something I have ever told anyone, but I just want to tell you. I want you to know because I really want us to be friends, and I don’t think you should decide to be friends with me until you know this…


Ok, not freaking out about the breast staring thing… maybe I should just come out to her, and then she will see that I am not going to judge her. “I have something to tell you too. I was going to wait, but I guess if we are going to be honest there is something I should tell you…I have not told anyone it either.”


“Do you think that we both have the same secret. “


“I don’t know? You go first you started it.”


“No you.”


“How about we say it at the same time…1..2..3…I’m gay”


“I’m a lesbian” Tara said simultaneously.


The two girls looked into the other’s eyes and saw a light reflected back that was independent of the candlelight or the moonlight. It was the light of relief, the finding of a kindred spirit. Willow broke the silence by saying, “Cool.”


“Are you cold?”


“No, are you?”


“Sort of.”


“Do you think if I left my menorah here it would be safe? I can’t extinguish the candles”


“Um…I don’t think leaving fire in the woods is a good idea. How ‘bout we stay while they burn, and we’ll just blow out mine, there is no taboo associated with it.”


Now that there secret was out, there was both an air of relief, but also an air of anticipation. Ok Rosenberg, she’s gay, but that doesn’t mean she likes you…but what if she does? How do I tell her I do too, I like her. Do you just say it? Do you work it into a conversation? Should I ask her out on a date? Should I just kiss her and see what happens. Yeah, that would be the day. I don’t think I have it in me to kiss someone. Chill Rosenberg. Just watch the flames and be calm. Willow looked at the small stubs of the menorah candles burning bright and knew that they would be totally done in a few minutes. When they extinguished, Tara got up, blew out the candles, and put Willow’s menorah in the basket with the candles and pillows. She left the evergreen branch as a gift to the goddess.

They walked back silently, Willow hoped that Tara would take her hand, but she did not. She guessed now that their secret was out, maybe Tara didn’t want this behavior misconstrued. As they were about out of the forest, the snow began to gently fall.


In the middle of the night, Willow awoke to a loud crash. She jumped out of bed and ran into the hall and bumped right into Tara.


“What was that?”


“A tree branch I guess. It must be snowing really hard.” Tara looked at Willow, “What are you wearing under your boxers?”


Willow blushed, “Um…candy stripped tights…they were on sale and they are very warm. I’ve been kind of cold.”


The two girls walked into Tara’s room and looked out the window. There was several inches of snow on all the trees. Willow looked around Tara’s room. There were hundreds of fairy lights. Her room looked really cool. Just as she was about to say this, the lights went out. “Just stay there, I will find the light, I have a flashlight somewhere.”


Willow heard Tara rummaging through a few drawers. “I can’t find it.”


The room was pitch black, Willow had no idea where she was in Tara’s room. She backed up and turned around and found herself face to neck with Tara. She smelled wonderful, like vanilla. Willow knew that the proper thing was to step back, but it felt so good, it felt so right. She felt Tara’s arms go around her shoulders and Willow got the definite idea that Tara did not want her to move either. Willow lifted her chin a bit and found her lips met by another pair.


Wow this kiss was fantastic, it was all that I had ever imagined a first kiss would be and more... Willow shivered. This broke the kiss.


“Are you cold?”


“A little.”


“You want to snuggle in my bed.


Willow giggled. Just one hug and kiss and you are trying to get me in your bed. Do you think I am that kind of girl?”


Willow felt Tara tense up. “N…n…n…no” Tara stammered, I hear that body heat is a good way to stay warm when the lights go out. I wasn’t trying to….um…”


“It is ok, I’d love to snuggle. I was just teasing.”


Tara took Willow’s hand and led her to the bed. They lay under the covers and kissed and touched each other gently. A few hours later, many conversations about what each of them had been thinking during the ritual, and a couple catnaps the lights came back on. Tara got out of bed. Willow rose up

“I…I…guess I should go back to my room…”


“No way. I was just going to unplug the lights. It is going to be a blackout tonight. The only light we need is the light from ourselves. Willow looked down and saw that they actually was a faint light coming from their bodies.

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:56 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
Dibs!

Wow!

Just wow!

That was really amazing!!

I adore the boarding school premise!

Quote:
“Oh, did you not know that Abby Road is a short cut to the store?”


Ha, that was a great way to include the title! And I loved the little follow-on with 'Rigby Lane' :p

Their walk to and from the store was great, just the right amount of awkward while still being sweet!

Combining their religious traditions was really, really beautiful. Kudos.

Very sweet kiss and loved the light emanating from their bodies.

Great entry!

:peace

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:21 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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very cute!!! love how shy they are with each other!

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:43 pm 
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TaranWillow4ever,
Granted I haven't read all of the stories yet but of yours, mine, and Laragh's, you are the only one to use the cube of butter in its intended function as a spread for bread products.
Quote:
“So you can show me the ropes then…”

And tie her up with them?...
The trip down to the corner store was adorbaly sweet with both of them exuding their Willow and Tara-ish qualities of shyness and neurotic insecurity that I so can relate to.
I can also relate to the quiet and aloof reputation as I have garnered that reaction from people at University myself when i was there.
I only wished I had gone to school in an alternate dimension where a straight version of Tara lived.

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 Post subject: Re: 10TH ANNIVERSARY KITTEN GIVEAWAY FIC CHALLENGE
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:34 am 
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Topics: 5
Title: Who wears the trousers?
Summary: Tara and Willow prepare for a New Years party.
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Rating: Caution for sexual references
Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters, the universe or anything to do with a certain other show referenced within. I’m not making any money off this, I just do it for the love.
Notes: A 10th Anniversary Fic Challenge? How could I not write something for that? Once that was out there, this all came together around the use of a moderator’s name…
Language difficulties: Yeah, Brits and Americans use all sorts of words that can be misinterpreted. Since T&W are yanks, they’re using certain words the American way even though I’ve often been told I write too British. So shoot me for using the language it’s supposed to be ;) But, British readers, when I mention that Willow is wearing suspenders (she is) I don’t want you getting all hot and flustered (though you might anyway if that rocks your boat) since those are ‘braces’ that hold your trousers up.


Who Wears the Trousers?

By Katharyn Rosser



Tara winced as she was called from downstairs. Winced and went right back to what she was doing. ‘Called’ wasn’t really the word she was looking for. ‘Yelled at in greeting’ would be more the descriptive term she would’ve used if anyone had been around to ask her how she felt about it.

Generally she wasn’t really one for paying a great deal of attention to the mirror. Yeah, every girl wanted to make sure that even if she didn’t look her best she still looked ‘good enough’ but this amount of preening just wasn’t her.

And it was preening, when you came right down to it. Obsession over every single detail. How the fabric hung. The angles involved. How her hair was working with it – up and down had both been explored and up was definitely called for.

At the end of the day though, as another shout went out from the bottom of the stairs – demanding recognition and acknowledgement – she was one hundred percent ‘pulling it off.’

“Damn straight, witch,” she whispered to the mirror image. “I am pulling this off.”

And maybe, later in the night, that certain someone who thought it was a good idea to bellow her name would pull it off too, but in a different way that would still mean she was ‘one hot woman.’

Willow kept telling her that and she usually put it down to love, enthusiasm and wishful thinking. But tonight… Oh yeah.

She couldn’t think of a thing that was wrong with a scenario that saw Willow undressing her later, except perhaps the whole role reversal thing. But who she was and what she desired didn’t change with her outfit. Those were constants in her life.

A third time her name was called and – by ancient tradition since three was one of those numbers that you didn’t mess around with – it demanded a response. Even though she’d been trying to break Willow of the shouting up the stairs habit since… Well, ever since they’d moved in together.

Five years, two months and – she did a quick calculation – three days since they’d shacked up together after several more years of… well, living together actually. But this had been five years, two months and three days of living together without either a hundred other people being right down the hall or sharing someone else’s house and having them in your space with walls that were way too thin for what they were being asked to conceal.

Five years, two months and three days of living together.

And even though the arrangement had been formalised in Mexico two years, four months and thirteen days ago, it was five years, two months and three days of Willow shouting to her when she came in. Try as she might she’d not stopped it from happening. And if the shout didn’t come then she knew either that Willow was trying to keep a secret from her or something was wrong.

That last option could prove troublesome. When things went wrong for them, well they still occasionally had cause to be the cool monster fighters. Cooler than they’d ever been back when it was more common, but doing the kinds of stuff.

How could you ignore what you knew was out there if it was putting people locally at risk? Their friends and neighbours?

The difference was that tonight, if she’d had to be a cool monster fighter, she was dressed for it. And she was pulling that off. She’d been beautiful a very few times in her life, Willow would say every damn day, but ‘cool’? This might be the first time she’d looked cool.

Definitely the first time she’d thought it of herself.

Dressed for it or not though, there’d better not be any monster fighting this evening. Willow better not have brought any of that home. Not tonight.

Tonight that arbitrary decision to change the year on the calendar based on some dubious historical decision-making and the inability to count properly came to pass again and, frankly, she intended to party her ass off. Possibly like it was 1999, even though that was behind them now. Other stuff had gotten in the way in 1999 and she was owed a night like that. They were owed it.

“Hi, sweetie,” she said, just loud enough that Willow stood a chance of hearing her but only if she was actually still listening and hadn’t just been calling for attention.

They had to leave soon, Willow had promised she’d get ready at work, drive home and be ready to go… That should be what she was being called for. That was the plan. Time to go… What with the snow storms and all it’d be prudent to leave early and they were all about prudence. Darwinism – when you were still dealing with vampires, demons and ghosts despite moving far from a Hellmouth – generally favoured the prudent. Right now, in her pocket, she had a very sharp pencil as well of all sorts of other stuff she’d usually have kept in her purse.

Prudence in action, coloured by the availability of pockets. But not so much that she was spoiling the lines of the suit.

Willow must’ve heard her acknowledgement because the calls from below stopped. Either that or her woman was as wary of exceeding three calls as she was of ignoring that third one.

One more look in the mirror and she was ready to make her entrance. Which was actually kind of an exit from their bedroom, but it’d be an entrance to Willow and that was the person she wanted to impress the most.

Coming down the stairs, she could hear enough to know that Willow was in the kitchen so continued through there. “Don’t shout to me, baby,” she said as she came through the dining room. Just like usual.

“I’m sorry.” Just like usual.

“You’re still sorry,” Tara said easily. It was an old joke. It’d been Daddy who’d hated shouting in the house and he’d gotten that from Mom who’d gotten it from Gran and now she’d told Willow and… it still happened. Some things you couldn’t change. Others you wouldn’t want to.

They’d been together a long time. Pretty much they’d gotten used to each other by now, but there were one or two things about each other that still grated on the nerves. You just had to put them out of your head and think of the near infinite number of other things that were so much better than ‘alright’ and on one side or the other of ‘wonderful.’

It was just that, with Willow, the penalties for those little annoyances somehow always devolved into something that was way more fun. Fun enough that it was almost worth enforcing them, but not tonight. Tonight they had to go.

“So how was your day - ” she started to ask, coming into the kitchen itself.

Willow was at the sink, washing her hands and that wasn’t at all what was drawing her eye.

“Not bad,” the other woman replied, oblivious to what was happening. “Everything’s still quiet for the holidays, it’s been good day to catch up.”

“No way,” Tara said.

“Way. Yes, way. Way is go. I caught up - ” Willow broke off as she turned around. “No way…”

“Willow, how in the world did this happen?” Tara asked, staring at the woman she loved. Okay, she was pretty certain that – eventually – there’d be blame here and right now she couldn’t see past the fact this was obviously Willow’s fault.

“It’s a theme,” Willow said. “It said on the invite. I know, I read it.”

“So did I.”

“Umm, don’t panic.”

“Who’s panicking?”

“Not me, certainly not me. I wouldn’t panic over something like this, you know I’m not the type to stress the fashion choices,” Willow said. “I still have things in my wardrobe that no one else would wear. This isn’t my fault.”

She could tell that her partner was in the foothills of babbledom, just about to set out from base camp. The conditions were there to make it happen, time was short and in some people’s eyes this could be a disaster. She wasn’t so sure about that yet, but this much she did know - it was enough to push Willow into stress-mode. This woman could do some of her finest work when she was pushed to her limits, but the process of getting there…? Yeah, Mount Babble – population Willow.

“Easy, love,” she said.

“I’m fine,” Willow said. “I’m fine. After all it’s not like we’re going to the most important party of the year – this year AND next year – with all our friends and family and finding that we read the invitations wrong is it? Oh no! Nothing like that!” The little giggle at the end was more hysterical than amused.

“We didn’t read anything wrong,” Tara assured her, then she bit her lip. “We just… got confused about who was taking what role.”

“Did we?” Willow asked. “I’m pretty sure that we talked about this and I’m pretty sure that we said I’d be the Gangster and you’d be the Moll. Because, you know, it’s a Gangster and Moll’s theme this year. Not Gangster and Gangster. Not gangster’s plural, certainly not that. What do you even call a group of gangsters? A gaggle? A gaggle of gangsters? No, a posse? Or is posse only for the people going after them? See? Now I’m thinking about this too.”

Tara moved over to her lover, picked up the towel and dried her hands for her – Willow was flicking water around the place as she gesticulated and then made as to hug her. But then she… didn’t.

“What?” Willow asked when she failed to carry through on the unspoken promise.

“If I hug you I’m going to ruin the line of my suit,” she said. So she settled for a kiss instead, holding Willow’s cheeks but keeping them bodily apart. She was pulling this off and wasn’t about to spoil that now. Not even for this woman of hers.

“Don’t worry about it, baby,” Willow said, taking a couple of deep breaths after finding some strength in the kiss. “You’ll have to take it off anyway.”

“Umm, why?”

“Because I’m the gangster, you need to go and make like a moll. Quickly, Tara. We have to get out of here soon. The roads aren’t that bad, but you know the snow…”

“Yes, I know the snow. I grew up with the snow, Miss Never-seen-a-snowflake-until-mystical-stuff-happened-at-a-hellmouth. But I’ve spent my whole life being the moll. Tonight, I’m rocking a suit – I am totally rocking it. I’m a gangster, baby. The gangster.”

“Tara,” Willow said, clearly about to switch to the powers of reason. “I love you more the world – I’ve shown you that and you’re right, you’re rocking the suit. But you know that I will always be the one who rocks it most. ‘Rocks it most?’ ‘Most rocks it?’ ‘Rockiest?’”

“Never mind,” Tara said. “Let’s focus. You’re right about one thing. Time is pressing. And you do look good, but you always get to be the one in the suit.”

“You wanted the wedding dress!”

“I did – and I loved it – but this isn’t our wedding,” she said. “This is New Years, it’s fancy dress and it’s not very fancy dress if we just live up to what people expect, is it?”

Willow gasped. “Tara Maclay-Rosenberg! You’re attempting to use dubious logic on me! At this rate you’re going to leave me with nothing!”

Okay, it was a fair cop. But actually… “And that just goes to show. Tonight, I should be the one in the suit because if it’s you that’d usually get to do this and you’re the one who usually goes for the dubious logic then when I’m using dubious logic, I should be the one who gets to wear the suit. Quod erat demonstrandum.”

Willow looked at her with something that approached admiration. “You’re really getting the hang of this. And Latin too, that was a nice touch.”

“I learned from the best, baby,” Tara admitted.

“You don’t – I mean, other people don’t think I’m the butch one do they?”

“I think that the people who know us well enough to think about it know that we don’t do stereotypes - ”

“Except, you know, being lesbian witches.”

“Except that. Everyone else, who cares?”

Of course Willow cared, in the abstract sense. All of her life her wife had been worried about what people thought about her. By contrast most of Tara’s life, she’d been worried about being small enough that other people wouldn’t think about her at all. That was a very different mindset she was coming from, but tonight she did. Tonight she wanted everyone to know she was pulling this suit off. To perfection.

Willow kissed her again then, laying hands on the suit. Grabbing the oversize lapels and using it to kiss her hard.

“I’m not taking the suit off,” Tara said when they came up for air and she smoothed the fabric. No harm done. A good sign.

“Damn it!”

“We need to make a decision,” she said, knowing very well what it should be.

“I don’t have anything mollish.”

“You have that flapper dress from last year,” Tara pointed out.

Willow did give that a moment’s thought. “A flapper moll?”

“I think some of history’s most famous moll’s were probably flappers, I mean when was Capone and all that?”

“Dunno,” Willow admitted, which was always hard for her. “Back in the day. Sometime.”

“Precisely.”

“What about – well, there’s that little outfit - ”

“No!”

“Tara, I think - ”

“Willow, it came from an underwear store.”

“It’s perfectly decent.”

“If you’d said decadent, I might’ve agreed with you,” she said. “The invitations said Gangster and Moll. Not Gangster and Naughty Elf.”

“I think it’s cute.”

“No, you think it’s sexy, which is why you bought it for me for Christmas and why you didn’t wait that long to give it to me. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that,” Tara said. “I mean really – candy cane striped stockings?”

“Cute,” Willow said.

“They do nothing for my thighs.”

“You’re thighs are lovely. They’re amongst my favourite parts of you. Inner. Outer. I’m a fan of both.”

“No, I mean they do nothing for my thighs – they barely touch them,” Tara pointed out. And if Willow thought she was going out in the snow, wearing those – let alone facing people they knew and loved? The Goddess knew that no one would ever stop talking about the night Tara Maclay-Rosenberg came to a party mostly just in her underwear.

And not even on the theme.

“Again, works for me. I’ll be a perfect gentleman and offer you my jacket,” Willow said, opening it up. “Then I can show off my very special suspenders that hold my pants up. Look.” She stretched the bright red suspenders out and snapped it back. “Ow. Note to self, don’t do that.”

“Very Gordon Gecko.” The reference seemed to pass Willow by.

“So you see, love. I have the suspenders as well as the widely acknowledged ability to rock a suit. You’re good, you’re very good and I’d love to explore this look on you very… intimately, but tonight – I’m the one who should wear this suit. And,” Willow looked at her significantly, “I don’t need any Latin to make my point but I’ll go there if you want me to.”

“I have a secret weapon though,” Tara said.

Willow was instantly on guard, suspicious and wary. She did so hate to lose, especially when dubious logic was involved. It was only dubious though because she couldn’t find a way to make the usual kind count. “You do?”

“Uhuh.”

“What is it?”

“Damn, I left it upstairs.” Tara said backed away, trailing Willow’s tie behind her until she let it go.

“If you think sexual favours will change my mind – well, you might be right, but it’s not exactly a secret weapon. No, nothing secret about that.”

“Which reminds me, that Naughty Elf costume, I think I figured out where that cube of butter went,” Tara said.

“Oh… Oh… Eww.”

“Yeah. I told you we shouldn’t have been cheap about that.”

“Better get it in the wash,” Willow said, “if you’re going to wear it again. Please say you’ll wear it again?”

“I will… if you lose the suit tonight. Come on Willow, let it be. Get your glad rags on?”

“Damn witchy witch. No. No… I’m going to be stronger than that. I get to have you anyway so… no. Lets see the secret weapon. If I’m impressed by it – sufficiently impressed – maybe I’ll do as you ask.”

That was good enough for Tara. She headed back upstairs, calling back to Willow. Calling, but not shouting. It was an important distinction and they were in the middle of a conversation. “We’ve more time than I thought,” she said as she glanced at the clock. “We’ll still sing Auld Lang Syne and Hey Jude at midnight and beyond. Don’t worry about it.”

“Who’s worried?” Willow shouted, making Tara wince once more.

“Right.” Picking up that secret weapon, as well as stashing her money and credit cards in the pockets of the suit – this wasn’t really the outfit to carry a purse and all the so useful pockets – she came back to Willow.

The deciding factor – and it would be decisive - was behind her back. Hidden.

“What is it?”

Not just yet… Something had just occurred to her. “You know, it seems like we’ve been here before. Three years ago?”

“Hmm, yeah. But that wasn’t on the night.”

True, a few weeks before they’d disagreed about their fancy dress plans. Lacking a theme they’d been searching for inspiration. What had…? That was it. “Yeah, you were trying to persuade me to go as… what was it? Xita?”

“Huh?”

“Xita, the Warrior Princess?”

Willow shook her head sadly. “Oh, Tara. Tara. Tara. Tara. And you presume to call yourself a lesbian?”

“What?”

“It’s sad. That’s what it is. It’s really, really sad.”

“What?”

“Sweetie, it’s Xena. Xeeena. What’s behind your back?”

“Not yet, and no, that’s not it. Xena’s the Scientology God or something, isn’t it?”

“No, baby. That’s Xenu. Or maybe that’s Xena too. But anyway, I know it’s certainly not Xita. Xita isn’t the Warrior Princess. Whoever Xita is I sincerely doubt that she catches fish with her bare hands and turns it into subtext for fisting.”

“Excuse me?” Tara had to deliberately close her mouth. That was what that show had been about? That had been why Daddy refused to let her watch it even when he hadn’t ever been exactly worried by her sexuality? Now it all made sense… It’d been a smutty show as well as one that featured, well… demon type stuff he disapproved of.

“Ah, you really never watched that show, did you?”

“Naha.”

“You had to see it to get that particular pop culture reference.”

“I’m not sure I missed much. And for the record, when it comes to fisting, I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as sub-text. Or… pop-culture actually.”

Willow pouted. “Well – well – you called her Xita. So there.” It was apparently the best she could come up with. Her witty remarks were much better when they were planned out in advance.

Tara feigned horror. “Whatever will I do if you tell all our friends?”

“You, Missy, will feel an intense amount of shame. There may even be blushing. If you were in the Naughty Elf costume then I’m sure there’d be more cheeks than usual that were blushing.”

Tara looked at her. “That’d be the cold! But you think a fish – let’s just stress that again, a fish – is subtext for fisting. Seems more like… a spelling mistake. I may feel some mild embarrassment if you manage to tell your story just right. But then I may be forced to take retaliatory measures.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Your Dad likes fishing.”

“I know you wouldn’t dare.”

“Don’t test me.”

“You wouldn’t. Would you? No, you wouldn’t. No way. You would! Wouldn’t you! You absolutely would…”

“Willow, Willow, Willow. We’ve been here before, baby.”

“We really have.”

“You know where I came from. You know the stuff I was waiting my whole life to get through, that I needed you to get past. And you know that now I’ve put it behind me the biggest motivation - ”

“After loving me,” Willow interjected.

“After loving you, the biggest motivation I can ever have is being told what I can’t do.”

“Okay… Let’s make a deal, if I’m impressed with the secret weapon, then I’ll flap. I swear. If not – well, you and your cheeks will be all red. All four of them.”

“How is that even fair?” Tara asked.

“I’ll tell people it was my fault we got it wrong and I’ll take garbage out for a month too.”

“Turn around then,” she said. “I need to go for the full effect.” Willow turned her back and Tara used the window as a mirror, putting her hair up and aligning… precisely. “Okay, now.”

“Oh my…” Willow said, gasping.

Tara already knew she’d won. “Good huh?”

“Ohhh my…”

“Will?”

“Ohhhhh my…”

“No, baby. You’re not broken now. Say something else. Give me a sign.”

“That’s… that’s a jaunty angle.”

“Very. Sexy, huh?”

“I wanna be your Moll,” Willow said. “Right here. You need to put your hair up, and under that hat, much more often. We can even have that fishing as a metaphor conversation if you like.”

Ouch… It was that effective? She’d just thought it looked good. But no, evidently it looked great.

“Go get changed, Moll.”

“You got it, baby.”

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

Chance in *Chance*
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