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

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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 1/28/12)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:57 am 
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8. Vixen
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Yay for excellent update-y goodness... Big yay for Tara finally being allowed to go home... Big lol for Bunny The Vampire Slayer... I'm really glad that Willow & Tara have started to talk about Willow's abysmal homelife...

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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 1/28/12)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:48 am 
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4. Extra Flamey

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Another great update! Yay for Tara finally being able to leave the hospital and double yay for Willow starting to open up towards Tara about her past. Hopefully Tara's understanding and loving reaction will encourage her to share the even more painful memories too. Nice explanation of the friendship with Cordelia. It shows that apart from her somewhat "diva"-behaviour, Cordelia has her heart in the right place. The Cordelia in the show hat her good sides too, but buried deeper, probably because she didn't have the older sister as a good role model. I'm wondering how Claudia realised at first sight that Willow had unloving parents, did she have any bruises or was Claudia just a really amazing empathic teenager?
I'm realy looking forward to more!


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 1/28/12)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:47 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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Hey Jess!

I absolutely LOVED this last chapter. Sweet caretaker Willow is the BEST and those S5 episodes are some of my all time favorites. I'm so glad that Willow finally told Tara a little bit about her parents; she alluded to how shitty her home life was and although it was just a little piece, it was a HUGE step for her. They are so, so close to saying the big 'I love you's!!!' I just wish they could get more than 5 minutes alone, lol.

Looking forward to the next chapter!

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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 1/28/12)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:39 am 
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8. Vixen
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HI Jess,

You know, I always am amused by "Bunny the Vampire Slayer". I don't know why but I am.

I've mentioned before that I like how inclusive Tara's family immediately made Willow, that always bodes well in my book.

Tara's home, the Willow gates are open, I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us.

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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 1/28/12)
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:16 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer

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Great update. Glad to see that Tara was finally able to go home. With nurse Willow by her side she should be back to 100% in no time.


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 1/28/12)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:32 am 
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8. Vixen

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Sorry about the late feedback Jess but I've been real busy so I'm only just catching up.

Tara in a car accident!!!! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo :(

I think it's so cool the way that, when they're at the hospital alone in Tara's ward, Faith is able to confide in Willow about what a really good friend Tara is and how she treated Faith no differently than her other friends. I've always thought that they'd make great friends

I really like the way you've written Tara's family, so much better than on the T.V. show. I especially like Tara and Donnie's banter, It shows a great deal of love between the siblings. Was it a purposeful decision to make Willow's family obnoxious and Tara's family loving and caring?

Poor Anya, her fear's for Tara's life is so believable and the way that refers to both Tara and Faith as her family is so beautiful and touching and they both get powerful, emotional monologues regarding their friendship. To this Kitten they and Tara are the kind if sisters I'd love to have. No disrespect to my own sister there ;).

Loved the reason why the Cordelia is such good friends with Buffy and Willow and Tara telling Willow she need'nt reveal any thing about her home life until she's ready to and comforting her letting Willow know she doesn't always have to be the brave one. It's just so nice seeing that two way caring between the girls.

Again I'm so sorry about the late feedback Jess but it's worth the while reading such an awesome fic as this, it is definitely one of my favorite stories on the board.


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 1/28/12)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:49 am 
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5. Willowhand
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BAH! I love this fic!

Give me more please...

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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 1/28/12)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:06 am 
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5. Willowhand
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Feedback:

True_Love – Hey Lex. You are becoming the new queen of dibs on this story.

Quote:
The whole chapter is like one big comforting hug. Even when Willow shares a little bit of her family history, it's like pulling out of the hug only to be brought back in by Tara's strong, though healing, arms. Great, great job. Your use of description is on point and as the reader you feel right there with the girls as they're in the hospital and later at Tara's place.


Thanks. I wanted to show how the strength runs through their relationship. You have to have strength on both sides. Otherwise it just doesn’t work.

Quote:
I think it was a good choice not to have Willow give away all the details of her past right away. It just feels right for them as the couple you've described them to be. It allows them to get comfortable with each stage of trust they enter as more knowledge is shared.


Yes, it would be too much to put out there all at once. You will learn a little more about her in this update but we are getting closer to that final moment where Tara finds out everything.

Quote:
It does make me wonder though, did Willow ever have a serious girlfriend before?


You didn’t miss anything. That’s not going to be deeply delved into but it is mentioned in this update. Thanks for reading.

zampsa19752001 – Yes, more and more about Willow is going to be addressed over the next few updates. Thanks for reading.

Wills redemption
Quote:
Yay for Tara finally being able to leave the hospital and double yay for Willow starting to open up towards Tara about her past. Hopefully Tara's understanding and loving reaction will encourage her to share the even more painful memories too.


Yes, that is coming up and of course there will be nothing but support.

Quote:
Nice explanation of the friendship with Cordelia. It shows that apart from her somewhat "diva"-behaviour, Cordelia has her heart in the right place. The Cordelia in the show hat her good sides too, but buried deeper, probably because she didn't have the older sister as a good role model. I'm wondering how Claudia realised at first sight that Willow had unloving parents, did she have any bruises or was Claudia just a really amazing empathic teenager?


Claudia was actually modeled after someone, an incredible teenager that I knew back in my own teen years, so long ago.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Finey_McFine – Hey Shelby.

Quote:
I absolutely LOVED this last chapter. Sweet caretaker Willow is the BEST and those S5 episodes are some of my all time favorites.


I was trying to channel that but obviously to a lesser extent since Tara wasn’t mentally damaged. I’m glad you liked it.

Quote:
I'm so glad that Willow finally told Tara a little bit about her parents; she alluded to how shitty her home life was and although it was just a little piece, it was a HUGE step for her. They are so, so close to saying the big 'I love you's!!!' I just wish they could get more than 5 minutes alone, lol.


You shall wish and I shall grant said wish. Or something like that. I hope you enjoy this update.

vampyregurl73 – Hey Heather.

Quote:
You know, I always am amused by "Bunny the Vampire Slayer". I don't know why but I am.


Me too. Hence the me mentioning it on more than once in this story.

Quote:
I've mentioned before that I like how inclusive Tara's family immediately made Willow, that always bodes well in my book.


She deserves to get some family love too. And it’s been interesting to explore Tara having a supportive family. I’ve really enjoyed writing it.

Quote:
Tara's home, the Willow gates are open, I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us.


Well I hope you keep reading to find out what happens next.

love_2003 – Yes, Tara will be back to health in not time with Willow’s love and support. Thanks for reading.

willowtaralover – Hey Rick. Now worries about the late feedback. I’m still trying to catch up on Red Rosenberg. But thanks for checking out the story.

Quote:
Tara in a car accident!!!! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo :(

I think it's so cool the way that, when they're at the hospital alone in Tara's ward, Faith is able to confide in Willow about what a really good friend Tara is and how she treated Faith no differently than her other friends. I've always thought that they'd make great friends


Me too. I always wanted to see that on the show and sadly in never happened.

Quote:
I really like the way you've written Tara's family, so much better than on the T.V. show. I especially like Tara and Donnie's banter, It shows a great deal of love between the siblings. Was it a purposeful decision to make Willow's family obnoxious and Tara's family loving and caring?


I’ve really enjoyed writing Tara’s family just because they are so different than what’s on the show. It’s been a lot of fun and I think everyone has really liked reading them this way.

Quote:
Poor Anya, her fear's for Tara's life is so believable and the way that refers to both Tara and Faith as her family is so beautiful and touching and they both get powerful, emotional monologues regarding their friendship. To this Kitten they and Tara are the kind if sisters I'd love to have. No disrespect to my own sister there .


I’m lucky to have an amazing sister (who actually introduced me to BTVS way back in the day), but they are essentially each other’s chosen family. That’s always important and this group takes care of each other.

Quote:
Loved the reason why the Cordelia is such good friends with Buffy and Willow and Tara telling Willow she need'nt reveal any thing about her home life until she's ready to and comforting her letting Willow know she doesn't always have to be the brave one. It's just so nice seeing that two way caring between the girls.


Again, it was important to me to show the two sided support in the relationship. You have to have that, otherwise you have nothing.

Thanks again for reading and for your awesome feedback.

fhiwda – Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy what comes next.


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:25 am 
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5. Willowhand
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Update

Title - An Everyday Life
Author name – beautiful_love a.k.a. Jessica
Rating – PG
Disclaimer - I don't own these characters.
Feedback - Yes please! I need it!
Summary- Totally AU - Tara meets Willow - the happy bumblings of falling in love - I'm not too good at this summary thing.
Notes: Special thanks to Ariel for her incredible assistance as my beta. Sorry for the long delay guys. I had writters block like no other but I'm pretty excited about this chapter and I hope you all enjoy it.

Chapter Thirty Five

The clicking of the mouse from screen to screen was almost hypnotic in the quiet office. In fact, there was no other sound other than the occasional hum from the air conditioner as it cooled down the overheated space. It was well after nine o’clock and everyone had gone home hours ago. Well everyone except me, Willow thought as she quickly scrolled along the page in front of her before clicking onto the next, the words and codes forming a soup in her brain that she couldn’t make heads or tails of. Well you probably could figure it out if you’d just concentrate! She berated herself once again. She sat up fully in her chair, leaning in towards the glaring monitor on her desk, knowing that she had to at least get through this program before she could call it a night. Come on Willow. Focus.

It was a full thirty seconds before she sighed in defeat and slouched back in her seat, frowning at the victorious computer. With another sigh she pushed away from her desk, allowing her chair to swivel towards the wall of windows in her office, looking out into the darkened city lit only by streetlamps and random offices, housing other late night workers like herself.

She didn’t want to be here. It had been horrible to tear herself away from Tara’s embrace this morning but with work piling up on her desk and some not so gentle prodding from her girlfriend, she’d finally given in and agreed to come back to her office. When she’d arrived, she’d been greeted by a warm welcome back from her boss and a list as long as her arm of things that needed her immediate attention. Even with the enormous amount of work and looming deadlines, she hadn’t planned on staying this late, hoping to spend the evening with her girlfriend. But when she’d tried calling Tara around seven she was mildly surprised when Faith had answered and told her that Tara had already turned in for the night after saying an exhausting goodbye to her family.

She needs her rest though. She’s had a rough couple of weeks, Willow thought, turning back to the computer. And you need to get back to work. She nodded resolutely to herself once and leaned forward onto her desk, her eyes focusing once again on the mocking monitor in front of her. Two scrolls and three clicks later and she once again slouched back down in her chair, defeated. Grr! You win this round computer. But tomorrow, you and me are going to go another round and I’ll be here with reinforcements. Or just a lot of coffee. She glared at the silent, offending device for a moment before she felt the last vestiges of energy completely drain out of her. It had been an exhausting last couple of weeks; between Tara’s accident and the hours spent at her bedside, she felt completely wiped out. Of course Tara was by far more drained. Willow had watched in awe as the blonde interacted with her family and friends and the hospital staff with unwavering grace over the last week during her recovery while still trying to push herself to heal faster. She never complained or griped. She just did what she had to do to get home.

Willow had been amazed watching not only Tara but her friends and family supporting her through every step. They were all truly incredible. Tara’s brother kept the jokes coming one after another, doing his best to keep a smile on his sister’s face. And John and Carolyn had been the true definition of concerned parents, making sure Tara was always comfortable and that they were always up to speed on the latest information that the hospital staff could provide. And Tara’s friends were incredible. She already knew how important Faith and Anya were to the blonde but over the last week, she got to see just how important Tara was to them. They were all amazing and so different from her own family.

Well, it’s not like you haven’t seen a supportive family before. And you have some of the most supportive friends in the world. A small smile graced her thin lips at the thought of Buffy and Cordelia and all they’d done for her over the years. It was only after meeting Buffy that she had even grasped what a real family was. Joyce was an incredible mother and had taken Willow in during all those lonely nights when her own parents were too drunk, doped up or otherwise unconscious to take care of her. Those nights had become more and more frequent as the years went on but Joyce had never so much as batted an eye when it came to being there for a younger Willow.

Realizing she was about to go off down memory lane in the middle of her empty office, she pushed a few errant strands of hair out of her eyes and sat up, shutting down her computer and packing up her desk for the night. Maybe she’d have better luck tomorrow but for now, all she really wanted to do was sleep. Just shut down the old brain and rest. You need to or you’re going to go crazy. She grabbed her bag and slipped her keys and cellphone into her pockets before walking out of her office towards the elevators. She quickly made her way down to the parking garage, waving to the security guard on her way out, and seeing her lonely little Corolla was the only vehicle left. She got in, started it up and quickly made her way out of the garage, the whole time listening to the same radio station that Tara had left it on when she’d brought her home from the hospital a few days ago.

Willow had stopped that day at the pharmacy near Tara’s apartment to pick up her medication and had left the blonde in the car to her own devices for just a few minutes. She couldn’t help but smile when she got back into the car and heard Tara humming along to an obscure eighties new wave station she’d never heard of. It hadn’t even crossed her mind to change it since then; the songs making her feel closer to her girlfriend when she wasn’t around.

It was late so she was sure she wouldn’t run into much traffic but she still found herself taking the back way home, as had become her habit over the last few years. She drove through one residential area after another, not really taking much. The houses mostly looked the same from one neighborhood to the next. At least until she reached Wyndon Estates. She slowed down as she pulled into the familiar neighborhood, taking in the beautiful brick houses that stood proudly on each side of the tree lined street. She had always loved driving through this particular community whenever she was out and about. Even as a young teenager, she would beg her parents to drive through here whenever they were headed to or from their house on Picklard Street. Of course her begging was always for nothing as they would ignore her completely, staring out the grimy windshield as they smoked through one cigarette after another, their faces set in permanent scowls as they listened to the wind blowing through the open windows.

She’d first seen the neighborhood the summer she turned twelve. She was in the backseat of Joyce’s sedan on the way home from summer camp, giggling with Buffy and Cordelia over some ongoing joke they’d heard when she noticed the well-manicured lawns full of children, running back and forth through sprinklers, laughing and chasing each other. She looked around some more and noticed the porches filled with smiling parents and panting pets. It gave her a feeling of warmth and peace that she had never felt before. It was like this neighborhood was specifically put there to show her that not everything in life was bad; that things could actually work out someday and maybe she could be a part of a happy family.

It was with sadness that she watched the neighborhood fade behind them as Joyce stepped on the gas when they reached the outskirts of Sunnydale. Willow turned in her seat, watching as Wyndon Estates got smaller and smaller until eventually it disappeared and she felt her heart grow heavy at the thought of going home to her parents.

Tonight, she drove slowly, seeing the lights on now in living rooms as families settled down for the night. And maybe she was wrong; maybe the houses occupants weren’t sitting down for a family game of Pictionary or watching something educational on the Discovery Channel. But the quiet, safety of the street enveloped her like a warm hug and she couldn’t keep the smile off her face at the peaceful feeling it brought her.

It’s not like you never experienced a good family though, she thought as she made it to the end of the street and into Sunnydale, allowing her memories to flood her mind once again. The Summers’ home had always been open to her. Joyce had made sure that Willow always knew she was welcome at any time and treated her just like she was a part of the family. She couldn’t even begin to count how many hours she’d spent over the years with Buffy and her family; before school, after school, weekends, breaks, summer vacations. She was a permanent fixture at the solid oak dining table on Revello Drive. She fought with Dawn just like Buffy did when the younger girl tried to follow them around and imitate everything they did. She relished in the praise Joyce gave her whenever she came home with the latest straight-A report card or first place prize in the science fair. It was at these times that she could actually forget her own lackluster home life and blend in with the greatest of ease. Of course she always had to go home eventually but when she did, she carried the memories of warmth and comfort with her. The sight of the latest painting in Joyce’s office, the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the kitchen, the sounds of Buffy and Dawn laughing in the backyard as they lay on the grass. It was all a sharp contrast to the sights, smells and sounds of her own home.

She shuddered as those unpleasant memories flooded her brain for a moment before she pushed them away, shaking her head to rid herself of even the smallest detail. Not now. She stopped at the next stoplight and signaled to turn left, edging closer and closer to the home she had shared with Buffy over the last decade.

It had been complete chaos after Joyce had died. Buffy, who was usually so strong and together, was a mess. She’d stay in bed all day and night, avoiding classes and losing her job. And poor Dawn was inconsolable, sneaking out at night and skipping school. She’d tried her best to be there for each of them but it had taken time for the sisters to get back to their old selves and she knew there were still times when they desperately missed their mother. I miss her too, she thought with a sad smile. A car horn blaring behind her alerted her to the fact that the light had turned green and she quickly turned and got out of the other car’s way after an apologetic wave.

She drove on, getting closer and closer to home but not really wanting to stop there. She’d spent hardly any time with Buffy lately and she felt the guilt of missing out on Cordelia’s visit welling up in her stomach. She knew her friends understood her absence but that didn’t alleviate any of the guilt she felt. They had been her family for years and now, she had brushed them off for time with Tara. Well it’s not like special quality time with Tara. I mean it is but she’s hurt. She’s still healing and I just want to help her. I just want to be there for her in case she needs me. I don’t want her to be alone. Of course, technically, she hasn’t been alone for days now. Her family’s been there non-stop and she always has Faith. Faith. The brunette had stood quietly in the background since the accident, never imposing but always on standby just in case she was needed.

Though she didn’t have anything bad to say about Faith, Willow was still trying to figure the other girl out. She’d kept an eye on Faith over the last few days, watching her interact with Tara and her family, the whole time keeping the memory of the brief conversation she’d had at the hospital with the brunette as they waited at Tara’s bedside for her to wake up.

Faith had been less than forthcoming with any concrete details about her past but Willow could understand that having grown up in the Rosenberg residence. At the time she had been too distracted to give it a second thought but later on, she found herself wondering what exactly Faith had been through. She imagined it definitely wasn’t sunshine and puppies based on Faith’s words at the time and the groups reaction at her mother’s funeral earlier in the summer. She didn’t wish what she’d been through on anyone but she had started to wonder more and more since then if she and Faith had more in common that met the eye. Her friends had always been sympathetic to her situation but she didn’t want a pity party. She just wanted understanding. Maybe that was something that Faith could offer. It would be the first time she’d had the opportunity for someone else to walk in her shoes. She wondered what that would feel like.

She liked Faith. She was a great friend to Tara and she treated Buffy like nothing but a queen. You could tell that Faith had been somewhere dark and pulled herself out. But where has she been? What has she dealt with in her past? And how has she dealt with it? Willow knew that while Faith may not have been completely forthcoming with Buffy about her past, that the brunette had opened up and let her best friend in. Why can’t I do that with Tara? She sighed deeply as her house came into view with Buffy’s silver Mazda parked in the driveway. She pulled along the curb and put the car in park but didn’t bother shutting the engine off.

Tara. The blonde had been more than patient with her when it came to revealing her past. She’d given Tara so little and it was starting to grate on her, just how much she wanted to share; to have Tara know the truth about everything. She’d never actually wanted to tell anyone else as much as she wanted to tell her girlfriend right now. She’d had other girlfriends in the past question her about her family but she’d always brushed them off and found a way to hide her shame a little longer. Well, I mean it’s not like it’s your fault. You didn’t choose this. You didn’t make the mistakes.

Sheila and Ira had been the bane of her existence all her life. She had never understood when she was young why they were the way they were. She’d strived to try and please them and gain their praise but nothing had ever worked. In fact, sometimes it just seemed to anger them more. It was her eighth birthday when she started piecing things together. It took some time and some serious eavesdropping but she discovered the truth and realized that there would never be anything she could do to make things right between her parents. Even when she tried she could feel their aggravation coming off in waves. It had taken a while but by the time she reached high school, she’d decided that she would no longer go out of her way to try to please them and just tried to avoid them as much as possible. She’d permanently moved out the summer after graduation, having taken Joyce up on her very generous offer to turn the spare bedroom into a permanent room for Willow. She stayed whenever she wasn’t in school and pitched in in any way she could and for a while, it seemed to work. She was happier, doing great in school, and surrounded by her adoptive family and friends. Then her dad got hurt and couldn’t return to work. Their income was cut in half and they had immediately turned to Willow for help.

I should’ve known they were up to no good when they started coming around, all smiles and kind words. Willow had agreed to help, having saved up a decent amount from a side job she’d started two years before. She’d been given a full ride to UC Sunnydale but she still took the job to try and contribute towards her housing expenses at the Summers’ residence. Of course Joyce refused to take a penny from her so she’d been able to stash away quite a bit of money in her savings account. Sheila and Ira had made quick work of that and had continued to mooch off of her since. Initially they’d put on a great show, seeming genuinely grateful for her help. But it wasn’t long before that façade faded and they began to demand different dollar amounts.

And you were stupid enough to buy into it, she chastised herself for the millionth time. You lapped up their attention and everyone warned you not to. But did you listen? Nope. You bought their whole routine and where did it get you? Nowhere. She felt the old anger rise up, starting in her chest and quickly burning into every available pore on her body. Why? Why had she been so easy to forgive them time and time again? Why had she been so quick to throw herself under the same bus over and over? Because you wanted to believe them. You wanted to believe that they’d changed. You wanted to believe that they actually gave a damn about you.

After being hurt and used over and over again, she’d been broken back down to the shell of the girl she was when she had lived with them. She remembered what it felt like to live in that house and feel completely useless and unloved. For some reason, it felt worse now that she was out of their house. But Buffy and Cordelia had always been there to pick her up and brush her off. She actually couldn’t count the number of times her friends had been there for her, trying to help her stand tall and get back on track. And yet, you never learn, do you? They kick you down and you keep coming back for more. And for what? What have they ever done for you Willow? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! She was startled out of her thoughts by a knock on her passenger window. She looked over, surprised when she saw a very concerned Buffy staring back at her. She unclenched her hands and reached out to roll down the window. At that moment realized her cheeks were covered in trails of tears, more pouring from her eyes at that very moment. She hadn’t realized she’d been crying and quickly swiped at her face, hoping to get rid of the evidence.

“Hey Buff,” her voice croaked as her roommate kneeled down and leaned on the window sill.

“Hey. What are you doing out here?” Buffy asked, her face still a mask of worry.

“Oh, nothing. Just thinking about some stuff.” Willow stared down at her hands in her lap, her fingers clenching and unclenching in time with the soft beat on the radio.

“Is everything ok? Is it Tara?”

“No. No, she’s ok. At least, I think she’s ok. She was asleep when I called earlier to check on her.”

“Oh. Ok.” Buffy was clearly still baffled by her friend’s attitude. “Something wrong with work?”

“Not really. Other than the fact that I’m so far behind.”

“It’ll be ok Will. You’re a wiz at that computer stuff. You’ll be caught up in no time. Especially if you keep pulling these long shifts.” Willow just nodded but refused to meet her friend’s eyes. “So what’s up?”

“I just… Buffy can I ask you something kind of personal?” Willow finally looked up, her gaze hopeful. Buffy just nodded and rested her head on one of her fists. “You and Faith… I know you haven’t been together that long but you guys have shared stuff right?”

“Um, what kind of stuff?” Buffy asked, a look of genuine confusion overtaking her face.

“Like stuff about your pasts, about your families?”

“Well, I mean, I’ve told her all about mom.”

“Has she talked to you about her family?” Willow watched as Buffy’s face morphed from confusion to hesitation. “I mean, I’m not asking you to share her secrets or anything. I just… I need to tell Tara the truth… about my family and… well I just don’t know how to tell her. I don’t know what to tell her.”

“Will…” Buffy’s eyes softened as she stood up and opened the door, sliding into the passenger seat. “You haven’t talked to her yet?”

“No, not really. I just… I want to but I’m just so embarrassed.”

“Willow, you didn’t make the choices, they did. Your parents are the ones that have made the mistakes, not you,” Buffy’s voice rose with anger as watched Willow sink further into herself.

“Well I made the choice to stick around for so long. I made the choice to keep helping them time after time even though they just use me and treat me like crap.” Willow’s head hung, her hair curtaining her face from Buffy’s gaze.

“Willow, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You’re a good person and you just want to help other people. Deep down, you’re still wishing that your parents will actually get it together and treat you like a real daughter.” Buffy reached out and placed a comforting hand on her friends shoulder. “But Will, you have to move on. They’re not going to change. They are who they are. And you deserve so much better. You deserve parents that love you and are proud of the amazing person you’ve become. Parents that want to be a part of your life, not because of what you have but because of who you are.” Buffy squeezed Willow’s shoulder gently, watching as a few silent tears trailed down her cheeks. “You’re a good person Willow. And no one can tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with this situation. But I can tell you that you’ll never have to deal with it alone. I’ll always be here for you. And so will Cordelia and Dawn. And now you have Tara too, if you choose to let her in. We’re all here and we always will be.”

Without warning Willow turned in her seat and wrapped her arms around Buffy in an awkward, sideways hug. Buffy wrapped her arms around her friend and held tightly as she felt the slender frame shaking against her.

“It’s going to be ok Will. I promise, it’s going to be ok.”

*****

“Ok, I’m going to bed,” Faith said as the credits rolled on the small Toshiba television she’d been engrossed in over the last hour. She stood up from the easy chair she’d put in Tara’s room for whatever guest happened to be there and felt her joints crack beneath her weight. “Do you need anything? Fresh glass of water? Something to eat? A swift kick in the ass?”

Tara looked up from her book and pretended to think for a moment before shaking her head with an easy smile. “I think I’ll be fine. You’ve done enough today.”

“Ok, are you going to stay up a little longer?” Faith asked with a stretch, her spine popping as she twisted from side to side.

“Probably for a bit. I just want to finish this chapter,” Tara said, holding up the biography in her hand.

“All right. I’ll see you tomorrow then,” Faith said as she opened the door and stepped out. She turned back briefly, taking in the blonde once more. “Are you sure you don’t need anything?”

“I’m sure,” Tara said with another smile. “Now go to sleep.”

Without another word Faith turned and closed the door behind her, taking a few steps towards her room before hearing a soft knock on the front door. Looking at the clock she saw it was almost eleven. Unease immediately set in and she quickly and quietly crept to the door, her instincts and past telling her that an unannounced visitor this late was never a good thing. She glanced through the peephole in the door, her attitude immediately changing when she saw Buffy and Willow on the other side, waiting patiently. She quickly unlocked the door and opened it wide, her face full of surprise.

“What are you two doing here?” she asked as she stepped aside and motioned for them to enter, taking note that each girl carried a small duffle bag with them.

“Oh, you know. We were just in the neighborhood. Thought we’d stop by and see what kind of trouble you and Tara were getting into,” Buffy said with a smile as she stepped into the apartment, pulling an exhausted looking Willow behind her.

“Oh you know, the usual. Running with scissors, juggling knives, eating candy from strangers.” Faith closed and locked the door behind her, smiling at each girl as she led them further into the apartment.

“Where is Tara?” Buffy asked as she took in the empty apartment.

“In her room.”

“Is she um, still sleeping?” Willow asked, her eyes hopeful as she finally met Faith’s thoughtful gaze.

“No, she’s reading.” Faith watched as Willow turned her eyes to Tara’s closed bedroom door but made no attempt to move towards it. “You can go in,” she said with a chuckle. Willow turned back to the brunette, smiling gratefully before making her way to the closed door, knocking softly against the hard grain wood.

“Faith, I said I’m fine. I don’t need anything!” Behind her, Willow heard Faith laugh some more at Tara’s outburst and couldn’t help but giggle a little herself. She was sure Tara was relishing in her alone time but she couldn’t resist her urge to see the blonde. She cracked open the door and poked her head into the room, instantly feeling good about her visit when she saw Tara’s facial expression change from one of pure annoyance to one of pure exuberance as Willow stepped into the room and closed the door behind her.

“Hi,” she said with a small wave.

“Willow? What are you doing here?” Tara asked as he put her book down on her lap and motioned for the redhead to sit on the bed.

“I drove over with Buffy. I just… I just wanted to see you,” she said as she stepped forward and sat on the empty side of Tara’s bed. “Is it too late? Do you want to be alone? Because I can go. I just… I missed you today.”

Tara smiled and reached her good arm out towards her girlfriend, squeezing the redhead’s hand when they connected. She gave a gentle tug, indicating she wanted Willow closer and smiled when the redhead crawled forward, finally settling in beside her, their shoulders brushing.

“I missed you too,” Tara said. She sighed as Willow wrapped her arm around her shoulders and rested her lips on Tara’s temple, leaving a trail of soft kisses around the area. “It was a long day without you here.”

“Did your family get on the road ok?”

“Yeah, they called around nine to let us know they got home ok,” Tara said as she snuggled further into Willow’s embrace. “How was work?”

“Long. I’m so far behind on everything.” Tara looked up, her face filled with guilt.

“I’m so sorry Will. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be b-behind. I-”

“Hey, no, none of that,” Willow said, carefully wrapping her other arm around Tara’s torso. “I made the decision to be with you and it’s going to be fine. I just have to put in a few more hours than normal over the next week or so and then I’ll be back on schedule.”

“Well you’re n-not in trouble or anything, are you?” Tara’s eyes were still worried.

“No, I’m not in trouble. It’s fine.” She left a few more kisses at Tara’s temple before resting her cheek against the top of the blonde’s head. She inhaled deeply, taking in the scent of her shampoo mixed with the scent that was undeniable Tara, feeling herself instantly calm in her girlfriends close proximity.

“You sound so tired Will,” Tara said as she used her good hand to softly stroke the soft skin under Willow’s shirt.

“I am. But I don’t want to go to sleep. I just want to spend time with you.”

“Well how about if I’m asleep next to you?” Tara asked. “Then you can rest but technically, we’re still spending time together.” Willow smiled and gave a small nod. “Good. Do you need something to sleep in?”

“No, I uh… I brought some stuff,” she said bashfully as she pointed towards the duffle bag she’d dropped at the door.

Tara just smiled and leaned away, allowing Willow to stand and make her way to her things. She set her book on her nightstand and awkwardly lay back on her pillow and watched as Willow stripped down to her underwear. With an impish smile she let out a soft wolf whistle as Willow reached for her t-shirt and pulled it over her head.

“There will be none of that missy. This is strictly a sleepover with real sleeping. No funny business. And keep your hands where I can see them,” Willow chastised her as she slipped on a pair of gray cotton shorts and grabbed her toothbrush. “I’ll be right back. I expect you to still be fully clothed and proper when I get back.”

Tara just smiled at the warning glare Willow was shooting her way and watched as the redhead walked out of the room. She sighed happily and snuggled further down under the covers. I could get used to this… having her around all the time. Here when I go to bed and here when I wake up. Tara looked to the empty side of her bed; the side Willow had occupied over the last few nights. She fit so well there. And more than that, it felt right to have her there. She’s been so wonderful and supportive through all of this. Of course, she’s always wonderful and supportive. And smart. And kind. And funny. And beautiful. She’s just… Tara turned her eyes back to the door as Willow reentered and shut the door behind her. Amazing. She’s amazing.

Willow quickly put her things neatly back into her bag and shut the bedside light off before crawling under the covers on her side of the bed.

“I see you took my warning seriously,” she joked as she inched closer to Tara and laid back, letting the blonde rest her head on her shoulder.

“It’s kind of hard to undress quickly with this sling on. But if you’d been gone for another fifteen minutes or so I might’ve gotten down to my underwear.” Willow just giggled at the joke and placed a soft kiss on the blonde’s forehead. They let the silence wash over them for the moment as they cuddled further into one another. The only sound in the room came from the small oscillating fan that Tara kept constantly running on her desk. Willow had asked her about it before and Tara had answered that the constant white noise made it easier for her to focus whenever she was in her room whether she was working, reading or just watching TV. Willow had quickly gotten used to it and found that the world sounded very quiet and lonely every time she left Tara’s room. Of course, it was just one more thing to remind her of her girlfriend; just one more thing to remind her that Tara was unique and special. She did things her own way, seemingly unafraid of what others would think about her. She was… Tara. Willow rolled onto her side, searching for Tara’s eyes in the darkness as she gently wrapped her arms around the blonde.

“Tare?”

“What is it sweetie?” Tara opened her eyes, meeting Willow’s in the dark. But Willow didn’t say anything. She just stared back, her eyes never leaving Tara’s.

Tara looked deep and saw the worry there; saw the fear. She’d seen this look more than once in Willow’s eyes over the last few days, ever since Willow had brought her home from the hospital and told her the story of how she’d become friends with Cordelia. Every time they were alone she’d catch the redhead looking at her, almost as if she was scared Tara would disappear before her very eyes. Tara knew it wasn’t because of the accident anymore. She was healing and getting stronger every day. No, that wasn’t the reason Willow looked so petrified every time she was alone with her. Tara knew what it was. She knew that they were getting closer and closer to the point of Willow really telling her the truth; telling her what she’d really been through and for all Tara knew, was still going through. It broke her heart every time she saw that look, but she didn’t force the situation. She just pulled her girl close, trying to show her that it didn’t matter. She didn’t care about Willow because of where she’d come from. She cared about Willow because she was Willow.

“Will?” Tara waited a beat before wriggling her left arm out from beneath her body and raising her hand, rubbing her fingers along Willow’s lips. “Everything’s going to be ok. We’re going to be ok.”

“You promise?” Willow stared back, her eyes almost begging for a promise that she knew no one could really keep.

“Cross my heart,” Tara said, using her fingers to make a cross across Willow’s lips. The redhead smiled at the gesture, leaving a kiss on the tip of Tara’s index finger.

“You’re incredible,” Willow said, running her fingers gently across Tara’s lower back.

“Not nearly as incredible as you.”

“No really. I’m so lucky to have you. You’re just…” Willow trailed off, wanting to go on and on about the wonder that was Tara but finding that she couldn’t do the blonde justice. The words just didn’t exist to describe how amazing Tara made her feel. You don’t need to describe it to her Willow. The only words that matter are… “I love you Tara.”

Tara stared back into the amazing green that she could still make out, even in the darkened room, feeling her heart completely swell with the love she had for this woman.

“And I’m not saying that just because I want you say it back. I don’t want you to say it if you’re not ready. And I totally understand if you’re not. I mean, I want you to be totally sure before you say it. And I just said it now because, well I’m sure. You are the most incredible woman in the world and I do love you. I love you more than I can possibly even begin to describe. And I just want you to know that. I want you to really know the truth about how I feel. I don’t want to hide it anymore. I don’t want to hide anything and especially not this. And I’m not trying to make you feel all pressured here because that’s not what this is. It’s not pressure. It’s just me being honest. So don’t think you have to say it back just because I said it. No. No, don’t do that. I didn’t mean it like that. I-” Her babble was finally stopped when she felt Tara’s lips softly brush against hers for a moment before the blonde lay back on her pillow, her eyes never leaving Willow’s.

“I love you too Willow.”


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 1/28/12)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:31 am 
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Dibs! :whip

Jess, you know I think you rock. I'm so happy that you finally kicked the crap out of that writer's block and I get to see E.L. back on the board updating again. Woo Hoo! Apparently, I wasn't annoying enough to make it happen sooner. I'll have to work on that. :)

Anyway, I just want to say that I love your writing style and the way that you use exposition. Especially, in this chapter. We really got to see the inner workings of Willow's mind and how she's processing all of the information that is developing over the span of her relationship with Tara. I think it's a really interesting choice to have Faith be a possible future source of relateability for Willow. It's so very different from Willow's canon personality, but I like it.

I also really liked the scene with Willow and Buffy. They seem more like sister in this story which shouldn't be surprising, but it is. In most stories they've always been incredibly close, but I always just got that best friend vibe. In this story, it is sister vibe all the way. Is it weird that I keep writing vibe. I've suddenly become very conscious of it. *blush*

Moving on...I am sooo very much in love with Tara's mind wanderings as she wishes Willow could be in her bed every night. As much as I would love to help them start packing I think there are still some big discussions hanging over their heads. Of course, being W/T I don't expect this to pull them apart, just bring them closer together, but still it needs to happen for them to start off on solid ground.

Looking forward to the next update. I will try to increase my annoyance factor by 28%. :)


Last edited by True_Love on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:43 am 
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Very nice update, my dear. I like the look into Willow's head. It opened her character up even more to us. Now... for Willow to finally open up completely to Tara... and I'm also eager to see Faith and Willow open to each other... if that will ever happen. I feel like it would be intense and they could become amazing friends.


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:14 pm 
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Totally awesome update! I love the interaction between everyone.

Ah love. We can never have enpugh of that.

Can't wait for more!


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:33 am 
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Yay for excellent update-y goodness... Nice to see inner workings of Willow's brain... In Faith Willow will find a true friend when they find that they really have similar shitty backrounds and they can really be each others support in the time of need because they really understand the situation the other comes from... Really big yay for Willow finding courage to say those 3 magical words and Tara saying those back... Can't wait for what happens next...


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:09 pm 
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JESS!!! :bigwave

Yay for the update!!! So glad you broke out of your block and updated my favorite story:) I LOVED this chapter because FINALLY the 'I love you's' :banana It took a lot for Willow to say it and I think now that she's completely trusted Tara with her heart, she will open up more about her family.

I enjoyed getting a glimpse at Willow's thoughts and fears. I get it and can see why she is reluctant to share. A big bravo to Buffy for being support-o gal. If it wasn't for her, Willow never would have even gotten this far so, yay Buffy!

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of Faith...ever...at all. But...I REALLY like your Faith and can see where she and Willow could become good friends. They have more in common that they realize.

Quote:
I could get used to this… having her around all the time. Here when I go to bed and here when I wake up. Tara looked to the empty side of her bed; the side Willow had occupied over the last few nights. She fit so well there. And more than that, it felt right to have her there. She’s been so wonderful and supportive through all of this. Of course, she’s always wonderful and supportive. And smart. And kind. And funny. And beautiful. She’s just… Tara turned her eyes back to the door as Willow reentered and shut the door behind her. Amazing. She’s amazing.
I got so excited when I read this, because it means that it's only a matter of time before they pack up the U-Haul!!!! Yay!

Looking forward to the next awesome update!

~Shelb


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:22 pm 
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Wow, Jess!

This is an update worth waiting for and that's saying something!

First Willow brain-dead in her office - well captured and you know it's serious when she can't focus!

Then the very painful trip down memory lane; the hurt, the hope that she'd be loved and the sad truth that her parents didn't ever have it to give her. Her reminiscences about Joyce's love and welcome into the family were detailed and touching. The memories create layers, backstory and I love that added realism in your writing.

Echoing Shelby's comment about them getting ready to "pack up the U-Haul" hits home with me and Tara's sweet realization about how Willow fits in her life and her bed; beautiful stuff!

Then just when I can't be touched any more (I think) you reach out with something like this:
Quote:
“And I’m not saying that just because I want you say it back. I don’t want you to say it if you’re not ready. And I totally understand if you’re not. I mean, I want you to be totally sure before you say it. And I just said it now because, well I’m sure. You are the most incredible woman in the world and I do love you. I love you more than I can possibly even begin to describe. And I just want you to know that. I want you to really know the truth about how I feel. I don’t want to hide it anymore. I don’t want to hide anything and especially not this. And I’m not trying to make you feel all pressured here because that’s not what this is. It’s not pressure. It’s just me being honest. So don’t think you have to say it back just because I said it. No. No, don’t do that. I didn’t mean it like that. I-” Her babble was finally stopped when she felt Tara’s lips softly brush against hers for a moment before the blonde lay back on her pillow, her eyes never leaving Willow’s.

“I love you too Willow.”
More gorgeous Willow-babble. I've been feasting on that lately and this is just lovely.

Thank you so much! :flower

Ariel


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:43 am 
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Hey Jess, It's good to see you back on the board after a far too long absence. This for me is a catch up that's long overdue.

It was only after meeting Buffy that she had even grasped what a real family was. Joyce was an incredible mother and had taken Willow in during all those lonely nights when her own parents were too drunk, doped up or otherwise unconscious to take care of her. Those nights had become more and more frequent as the years went on but Joyce had never so much as batted an eye when it came to being there for a younger Willow.[/i

]Holy macaroni!!!! How long have Willow's parents been addicts because from the sounds of things it's been since she was a young girl, or at least in high school. Also, how come social services weren't informed and intervened?

I loved reading about how Willow loved going to the Summers house and how she was treated as if she was just another member of the family, even going on vacation with them.

[i]Without warning Willow turned in her seat and wrapped her arms around Buffy in an awkward, sideways hug. Buffy wrapped her arms around her friend and held tightly as she felt the slender frame shaking against her.


Poor Willow after having such a crummy family it must be such a relief that she has a best friends like Buffy and Cordelia, it's just sad that she is so ashamed to confide in her girlfriend about her crappy family. Hopefully though she'll tell all soon and Tara can help her to get over the hurdle and move on to a brighter future.

I could get used to this… having her around all the time. Here when I go to bed and here when I wake up. Tara looked to the empty side of her bed; the side Willow had occupied over the last few nights. She fit so well there. And more than that, it felt right to have her there. She’s been so wonderful and supportive through all of this. Of course, she’s always wonderful and supportive. And smart. And kind. And funny. And beautiful. She’s just… Tara turned her eyes back to the door as Willow reentered and shut the door behind her. Amazing. She’s amazing.

AWWW the sweet sweetness of Tara being in love with Willow

It's such a nice moment when needing comfort after recalling how useless her parents are, Willow goes to visit Tara and have a sleepover at her apartment just for the comfort of her company and the girls saying 'I love you' as an affirmation to each other is such a sweet and wonderful way to end the chapter

A brilliant chapter devoted to Willow, one of my all time favourite Buffy characters.


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:13 am 
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I hope you haven't forgotten about this amazing story. They told each other 'I love you' and it didn't feel rushed or anything, perfect timing. Willow has been on the go non-stop since the accident and I'm glad to see she will finally be able to get a good nights rest in the comfort of Tara's arms. Looking forward to reading what else you have in store.


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:27 am 
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I haven't made it all the way through this yet but I wanted to stop in and say I love it! I hope I get time to finish it soon so I can write more feedback. Keep up the good work.

Delayne

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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:10 pm 
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JESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

This is me shamelessly begging for an update! :pray :pray :pray :pray :pray :pray

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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:02 am 
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I don't know if anyone out there is still interested in this story but ill be damned if its going to go unfinished. I will be posting an update in the next week or two for those of you who may be interested. Sorry for the long delay but sometimes life kicks you and then punches you right in the face. And just when you think it's over, it shoves you off a cliff. Stupid life. Luckily things appear to have turned for the better and I actually have time to write again. And I'm really looking forward to working on this again and yes, finishing it. Thanks everyone.

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An Everyday Life


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:52 am 
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WOO and HOO! :applause :applause :banana :eatme :bounce :happy :dumbo

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"Transform your pain. Release your past. And ... uh ... get over it."
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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Fantastic! I'll start reading it again from the beginning .


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:56 pm 
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:bigwave I can't wait for more! You've been missed! :bounce :bounce :kgeek :kdevil :applause

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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:59 pm 
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:applause :banana :bigkiss :bounce Woooooo Hoooooooooooo!


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:58 am 
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To quote Grimm and Shelby WOOHOO :applause :bounce :clap :banana :eatme :bigkiss :) An Everyday Life has been one of my favourite stories on the board so it's good you're able to finally come back to it, I just hope life didn't beat you down too hard Jess.


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:17 am 
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Joins enthusiasticly to the Woo & Hoo gang...

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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:08 pm 
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Hello! :bigwave

I didn't leave feedback before on this story but I was avidly reading the updates. So I happily join in with the Woo hoo gang and can't wait for the next chapter! :bounce :applause :eatme :bounce

~Leo


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:32 pm 
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Patiently waiting to read more.


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:51 am 
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Just finished reading your story & it is wonderful. :clap I'm definitely interested in more updates, I'd love to see where it goes from here, if possible. :grin


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 Post subject: Re: An Everyday Life (Update 4/13/12)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:37 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:21 am
Posts: 314
Location: Maryland
Update

Title - An Everyday Life
Author name – beautiful_love a.k.a. Jessica
Rating – PG
Disclaimer - I don't own these characters.
Feedback - Yes please! I need it!
Summary- Totally AU - Tara meets Willow - the happy bumblings of falling in love - I'm not too good at this summary thing.
Notes: Thanks to Ariel for beta-ing this for me. What can I say? This has been such a long time between posts and real life needs to get its own life and leave me alone so I can keep posting at a decent pace right? Probably not but I hope you guys enjoy this slightly fluffy chapter. Thanks for reading.

Previously:
“No really. I’m so lucky to have you. You’re just…” Willow trailed off, wanting to go on and on about the wonder that was Tara but finding that she couldn’t do the blonde justice. The words just didn’t exist to describe how amazing Tara made her feel. You don’t need to describe it to her Willow. The only words that matter are… “I love you Tara.”

Tara stared back into the amazing green that she could still make out, even in the darkened room, feeling her heart completely swell with the love she had for this woman.

“And I’m not saying that just because I want you say it back. I don’t want you to say it if you’re not ready. And I totally understand if you’re not. I mean, I want you to be totally sure before you say it. And I just said it now because, well I’m sure. You are the most incredible woman in the world and I do love you. I love you more than I can possibly even begin to describe. And I just want you to know that. I want you to really know the truth about how I feel. I don’t want to hide it anymore. I don’t want to hide anything and especially not this. And I’m not trying to make you feel all pressured here because that’s not what this is. It’s not pressure. It’s just me being honest. So don’t think you have to say it back just because I said it. No. No, don’t do that. I didn’t mean it like that. I-” Her babble was finally stopped when she felt Tara’s lips softly brush against hers for a moment before the blonde lay back on her pillow, her eyes never leaving Willow’s.

“I love you too Willow.”


Chapter Thirty Six

Willow flexed her fingers and tore her gaze away from the laptop in front of her. She looked out the window from her seat at the kitchen table, watching the sun hover along the horizon, spilling hues of red and gold on the distant landscape that surrounded Tara’s apartment. She took a sip from the quickly warming lemonade to her right and continued to stare outside, smiling as she felt the peaceful moment completely overtake her. It was one of the few she’d had lately; so serene and calm. It was just… Perfect, she thought with a smile. And after three weeks of work, work and more work, it’s nice to have a peaceful moment. It had been exhausting three weeks. She’d spent her days working non-stop on the new projects coming across her desk and her nights pecking away at her laptop, trying to keep up with all the new responsibilities her new job entailed. Luckily most of those nights I’ve had a cute blonde sitting next to me, she thought with a smile, turning back to her laptop and smiling at her screensaver. Tara had taken the liberty of changing it from the boring mystifying lines that Willow had always used to a collage of Teddy Ruxpin pictures that the blonde had quickly created one morning while Willow was still asleep. She’d been unable to stop smiling at it that day at work. That had been two weeks ago; only a week after Tara’s discharge from the hospital and a day after she’d had gotten permission to stop wearing her sling and start her physical therapy.

The accident had been fresh in Willow’s mind since Tara’s release from the hospital. She was the one who had volunteered to get Tara’s belongings from her totaled Civic a few days after her discharge from the hospital and the image of the crushed and mangled car sitting in the middle of the tow yard was enough to bring her to tears. Since that day she often found herself stopping in the middle of work, the image of Tara broken and battered atop the crisp, white hospital sheets popping into her head. The first few times this had happened she’d immediately stopped what she was doing to phone Tara and make sure her girlfriend was still ok. But after the first week, and constant reassurance from Tara, she’d forced herself to move her mind away from the image and resume whatever task she’d been working on. Of course that wasn’t easy. But it didn’t seem that she was alone in her feelings. Everyone seemed to be constantly checking on her girlfriend. And Tara was constantly reassuring everyone that she was perfectly fine. It seemed backwards to Willow. She’s the one who was hurt. Why is she so quick to be the comforting party in all of this? I mean she’s been through hell and she just brushed it all off like it was no big deal.

She heard the shower turn off from the bathroom, bringing her out of her thoughts, and then saved the program she was working on. She looked up just in time to see Tara emerge from the steaming bathroom, her hair pulled back, a fluffy, white towel hanging loosely around her torso. The blonde strode the few steps to her bedroom, pushing the door halfway closed behind her but not bothering to latch it. Willow could see her girlfriend’s shadow dancing across the hallway carpet as she carefully pulled on her clothes for the night. Since she’d been out of her sling Tara was insistent on doing pretty much everything on her own without Willow or Faith’s assistance. They had both tried day in and day out to help her when it appeared she was struggling, but Tara was… Stubborn as hell, Willow thought, shaking her head in frustration but allowing a small smile to play out on her face. If her girlfriend was anything lately, it was determined. She’d been attending her physical therapy sessions and pushing herself to the absolute limit of exhaustion, convinced she could get healthier faster with the extra exertion. Both Faith and Willow, and even Buffy to a lesser extent, had tried to persuade her to take it easy, but Tara could not be deterred. She had just gone back to work a few days before and Willow had become immediately alarmed when she saw how tired her girlfriend was after her first day back. But Tara just brushed it off, saying she had to go back soon or later. Stubborn, Willow thought again, looking up as her girlfriend entered the kitchen, the tip of her ponytail still damp from the shower.

“Feel better?” Willow asked.

“Much. I’ve been sitting in my office, smelling like cinnamon latte since three o’clock this afternoon,” Tara said as she made her way through the kitchen, popping two pieces of bread into the toaster that had been left out that morning from Willow’s English muffin. At least she’s eating. I swear she’s lost ten pounds since the accident, Willow thought, looking up to see her girlfriend’s lips moving and realizing she’d missed what Tara had said.

“I’m sorry, what?”

“I said the guy that spilled on me offered to pay my dry cleaning bill but I’m pretty sure they’d have to cut the stains out of that blouse.” Willow watched as Tara leaned to the left, resting all her weight against the counter, using her right foot to scratch the back of her left calf.

“You could’ve told him to just give you cash,” Willow suggested with a shrug. Tara turned back to her girlfriend but only smiled, saying nothing more about the afternoon spillage at Starbucks. Willow turned back to her computer and went through her emails once more, making sure she’d taken care of everything that needed to be done before Monday’s meeting with her boss. She was about to close out of everything when a new request popped up from one of the project managers. “Damn it,” she sighed softly.

“What’s wrong?” Tara asked, pulling the freshly popped bread from the toaster and smothering it with jam.

“Nothing. Just more work keeps piling on by the minute. It feels like I’m never going to get caught up at this rate,” Willow answered, focusing on the screen in front of her.

“You’ll get caught up sweetie,” Tara said as she sat down in the seat next to Willow’s and grabbed the Arts and Leisure section from the Sunnydale Press. “And if not you can just fire everyone so they stop sending you work.” Willow chuckled at the joke and looked up to see Tara’s half smile gracing her lips, her eyes still focused on the paper.
Willow fixed her gaze on Tara, watching with extreme interest as the blonde’s eyes scanned along the newspaper in front of her. It still intrigued her that watching Tara do the most mundane things fascinated her so much. She’d never had this much interest in watching anyone else she’d dated. There was just something about Tara that drew her in like a magnet. Even the way Tara reached for the half triangle of jam covered toast, taking a small bite and chewing slowly. Willow smiled at the small glob of jelly that clung, undetected to Tara’s bottom lip. God I love her.

Tara finished chewing and looked up as she was turning to the next section of the newspaper, catching Willow’s stare. “What?”

Willow just shrugged and leaned across the corner of the table, her hand cradling Tara’s chin, and captured Tara’s lips with her own. Mmm. Strawberry, she thought with one more peck to Tara’s now clean lips.

“You taste yummy,” Willow said, taking a little joy in the faint flush covering Tara’s cheeks. Despite the flush of embarrassment Willow watched with amusement as Tara bit softly at her bottom lip, her eyes half lidded as she started at Willow’s own lips.

Uh oh. Willow smiled meekly and sat back in her chair, pretending to turn her focus back to her laptop. Out of the corner of her eye she caught Tara sporting a disappointed look before returning to her paper. Well that was an easy secession, Willow thought still staring at her monitor without focusing. Probably the quickest she’s backed down since she left the hospital. This definitely wasn’t the first time she’d avoided an intimate moment with Tara lately. And while it was proving harder and harder to avoid Tara’s obvious advances, she’d somehow been able to pull it off. Yeah, at the cost of seeing that pout far more than I ever wanted to. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to take things any further beyond a peck here and there. It was driving her crazy, keeping her hands to herself. But it’s the right thing to do. She’s not ready yet. She could get hurt again or something and if I was the one that hurt her, it would kill me. And not only would she be hurt but she’d probably be mad at me. Then I’d have to-

The sound of the front door dead bolt turning followed by a quiet curse brought her attention back in focus and she turned to see Faith struggling to enter the apartment, weighed down by a duffle bag, a shoulder satchel and two cardboard boxes. Two steps into the apartment Faith kicked the door shut and dropped her arms, letting the boxes hit the floor, followed by the bags only a second later.

“You ok Faith?” Willow asked from her seat.

Faith looked up, noticing for the first time that the apartment was not empty and gave a dismissive wave.

“Yeah, fine. What are you two up to?” she asked as she stepped into the kitchen and immediately poked her head into the fridge.

“Nothing. What’s all that stuff?” Tara asked, pointing to the overturned cargo in the hallway.

“Nothing,” Faith said with a shrug, gulping down a swig of orange juice straight from the carton. “Just got a lot to do this weekend. Plus I had to empty my stuff out of my locker at the gym. It was getting pretty rank in there.”

“Ew.” Willow didn’t even realize the word had escaped her mouth until she caught both girls staring at her, Tara smiling and Faith furrowing her brow even further. “Sorry,” she said, turning back to her computer.

“You’re not seeing Buffy tonight?” Tara asked as she turned fully in her chair, gingerly rubbing her neck as she did. Faith just shrugged as she downed another gulp of juice, draining the last of the carton. “Everything ok?” Tara pressed.

“Five by five,” Faith said in an even tone with another shrug. She tossed the empty carton into the trashcan and moved back towards her pile in the hallway. Willow turned and watched as she carefully stacked everything in her arms again and moved out of sight. A moment later the sound of Faith’s bedroom door clicking closed echoed through the silent kitchen. Willow turned her attention to Tara, her eyes full of questions but Tara just shook her head.

“Don’t ask. I have no idea what’s bugging her,” Tara said, turning back in her chair and refocusing on the newspaper in front of her. “She was fine this morning when she called me at work.”

“Should you um, maybe go check on her?” Willow asked.

“No. I-I mean, I know that sounds cruel. She’s my best friend and she’s obviously upset about something but that’s just Faith. If you try to help her before she’s ready, she’ll just push you away.” Tara lifted her gaze to meet Willow’s and Willow could see the underlying concern etched deep in the seas of blue. Carefully, she reached out and wrapped her fingers around the tips of Tara’s, peeking out from her cast. “She’ll talk when the time’s right.”

“Do you think it has something to do with Buffy? Like maybe they had a fight or something? Or maybe Buffy did something to make Faith mad and she didn’t realize it? Or vice versa?”

“Maybe,” Tara answered, her gaze now lingering on their intertwined fingertips. Willow allowed her gaze to meet the same sight and smiled as she realized she’d unconsciously been running her thumb along Tara’s. She leaned forward and placed a light kiss against her girlfriend’s knuckles, feeling warmth spread through her chest when Tara smiled gently back at her. “Why don’t you call her and check in?”

“You sure you don’t mind?” Willow asked. Tara just shook her head and leaned in, letting her forehead rest against Willow’s.

“It’s going to nag at you for the rest of the night if you don’t.” She leaned in further, leaving a light peck on Willow’s lips before pulling away and returning to her paper and evening snack as if nothing had happened.

Grateful for the understanding, Willow quickly grabbed her cellphone from its spot next to her laptop and selected Buffy’s name from her list of favorite contacts. She listened intently as the phone rang three times before Dawn answered, her tone entirely too full of excitement.

“Will! Oh my gosh, where have you been? Did you already move in with Tara without me knowing about it?”

“Hey Dawnie,” Willow said with a roll of her eyes. “Someone really needs to teach you about proper phone etiquette.”

“Sorry. I’m just excited to talk to you! I feel like I haven’t seen you in months.”

“Well, I’ve been busy with work and stuff.”

“Uh huh. Stuff like snuggles with a certain blonde?” Willow could hear the teasing tone in the younger Summers’ voice but wasn’t in the mood to indulge her at the moment.

“So does Buffy know you’re answering her phone?”

“She left it here on the counter and went for a run like half an hour ago. Which I thought was weird because she already went for a run this morning before work. And really who needs to run that much. I mean -”

“Dawn!” Buffy’s voice rang loud and clear through the phone.

Willow sighed partly in fear at the scolding she knew her best friend was about to give the younger Summers and partly in relief that her fascinating talk with Dawn was about to be over. She heard Dawn attempt to cover the phone’s mouthpiece and the muffled quick argument that followed before Buffy picked up a minute later.

“You still there Will?”

“Yeah, I’m still here. Sorry, I wasn’t trying to bother you or anything. I just wanted to call and check in. I haven’t seen you much this week what with me being with Tara so much and you with Faith so I just wanted to make sure everything was ok. So how is everything? Anything new? Exciting? Any riveting stories of rollicking adventures?” From the corner of her eye Willow saw the smirk Tara was giving her but chose to ignore it.

“Did you have one too many mochas again Will? I’ve told you and told you, you need to limit yourself. One day you’re mouth’s just going to take off on its own and who knows where it will end up.”

“What? No. No, not too many mochas. I only had one today, I swear and it was this morning so that sugar high is way over. I just… well I just wanted to make sure everything was ok… with you and… you know, Faith and stuff.”

Willow watched Tara look up at her curiously, waiting for any clue that Faith’s sour mood was related to Buffy in any way.

“Yeah, of course. I’m fine.”

“What about Faith? You guys ok?”

“We’re great,” Buffy said, pausing for a moment. “And yeah, Faith’s ok.”

Red light, Willow thought as she leaned forward, placing her elbows on the table.

“Just ok?”

“Well, she’s got some stuff going on but… it’s really not my place to talk about it Will.”

“But it’s nothing to do with you?” Willow looked up and met Tara’s eyes, shaking her head when Buffy once again answered that they were doing fine. Tara just shrugged and folded up the newspaper in front of her.

“How’s Tara?”

“She’s good,” Willow answered as she watched Tara rise from the table with her now empty plate. She watched, fascinated as the blonde carefully rinsed the crumbs down the sink and placed the dish in the half full dishwasher before moving down the hallway and into the bathroom. See, totally mundane and I can’t keep my eyes off her.

“Will!”

“Huh?”

“I asked how her therapy was going? She still pushing herself so hard?”

“Oh, yeah. She was really sore after the last session yesterday but she just keeps pushing through it. She wants so badly to get better.”

“She still doesn’t remember anything about the accident?” Willow could hear the sadness in Buffy’s voice and quickly looked up to make sure Tara was still in the bathroom before answering. Running water and the whir of Tara’s electric toothbrush quickly reassured her that she still had a minute or two before her girlfriend came back.

“No. She was trying at first but lately, whenever someone brings it up, she changes the subject. One of the detectives called a couple days ago and apparently the lead they had fell through so they’re back to square one.”

“How’d she take it?”

“Oddly enough she seemed totally indifferent. I just don’t think she really has any hope that they’ll ever catch the person that did this. And I don’t think she really cares. She’s so focused on getting better and moving on. I don’t think she looks at it like the rest of us do; like that jerk could’ve taken her away.” Willow stopped herself there, taking a deep breath as she felt her eyes start to burn at the thought. Not now Willow. This is not the time to fall apart again.

“Maybe she’s in denial,” Buffy suggested. “I mean, maybe it won’t really hit her until she’s all better.”

“I don’t know Buf.”

“Have you tried talking to her about it? I mean, not about the accident but just about how she really feels about it? I mean, without putting your emotions into it?

“What do you mean?”

“Well, whenever anyone talks to her about it, it’s clear that they’re angry or upset about the whole situation. I’m guilty of it too, I know. But maybe if someone tried talking to her about it without showing their own emotions, she’d be more willing to show hers.”

“You know it’s weird. Sometimes you are so the stereotypical blonde and the stuff that people around you are saying is just flying over your head like no one’s business. And then sometimes, you say stuff that makes me think it’s all just an act and you’re truly a genius,” Willow said, shaking her head.

“I have many talents,” Buffy chuckled. “Hey, do you want to have breakfast tomorrow?”

“Yeah, how about I meet you at the house. Ten o’clock ok?”

“Perfect, see you then.” Willow ended the call and looked up just in time to see the last of the sun’s rays dip below the horizon. I swear she reads psychology books when she thinks no one is looking. But she may be on to something. If I tried talking to Tara about it without getting all emotional, maybe she’d be able to focus on her own feelings instead of making me feel better. Resolutely nodding her head, she smiled one last time at the shadowed valley below her. And then maybe we can both start to move on. Which will be good for us. We can- Willow looked up, her thoughts interrupted by a muffled bang, followed by a quiet ‘ouch’ coming from the bathroom. “Tare, are you ok?” she asked as she stood and moved towards the bathroom. Tara rounded the doorway just as Willow reached it, smiling as she gently rubbed her left kneecap.

“I’m fine. Just forgot to close the cupboard all the way before I walked into it.”

“Here, come sit down,” Willow said as she pulled her girlfriend to the couch and sat her down before hurrying into the kitchen. She reemerged a moment later with a dishtowel full of ice cubes. “Here,” she said, sitting down on the glass framed coffee table in front of her girlfriend and gingerly placing the cloth on Tara’s already red knee. Tara flinched away from the cold for a moment before settling in, resting her head on the back of the couch with her eyes closed, allowing Willow to firmly press the fabric against her skin.

Willow quietly watched her girlfriend over the next few minutes for any other signs of discomfort but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Tara actually appeared to be perfectly relaxed as she moved the towel gently around her knee.

“Better?” Willow asked a moment later. Tara lazily opened her eyes and smiled.

“Come here,” she said, patting the spot next to her on the sofa. Willow set the half melted cloth on the coffee table next to her and moved to sit next to her girlfriend.

“You sure you’re ok?” she asked, laying her arm across the back of the sofa. Tara nodded once again and moved closer, snuggling into the redhead’s side. Willow wrapped her own arms around Tara and sighed as she felt the blonde’s left hand trail along her stomach. She closed her eyes and rested her head against the top of Tara’s. “You’re probably going to have a bruise tomorrow.”

“It’ll be fine,” Tara mumbled. Avoiding again, Willow thought, trying to think of a way to bring up the subject. “You know I’m not made of glass Willow.”

“I know. I just… I worry about you.” She flinched internally when Tara stayed quiet. Don’t put your emotions into Willow. Now think. How can you talk to her without getting all emotional over that stupid ass that almost- No! No, that’s not the way to start. You’ve got to be neutral. You’ve got to be detached. You’ve got to be Switzerland here. Well I mean, not totally. I mean you don’t want to come off as uncaring or cruel. But you can’t let her see how much this is bothering you. I mean, of course she already knows how much this is bothering me but if I just keep that inside maybe, just maybe… Stop babbling in your head and talk to her! “I mean, I’m always going to worry about you, no matter what. But I know that I can’t always be the one that takes care of whatever’s bothering you. Sometimes I might just have to sit back and let you take care of it. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not here as a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. I want you to know that. That I’ll always be here to listen to you without judging or putting my own feelings into play if you just need or want to vent. You know what I mean?” Willow looked down at the blonde head that rested on her shoulder, waiting for an answer that didn’t come. “Tara? Do you know what I’m trying to say here?” Tara’s rhythmic breathing was the only answer she received. Looking up she saw their reflection in the television across the room and saw Tara’s eyes closed, her mouth slightly open. You rest baby, Willow thought as she placed another soft kiss on top of Tara’s head. You rest for as long as you need to.

***

.The muffled voices reached for her slowly as she fought her way to the surface. She’d been fighting for what felt like hours to unsuccessfully break through the fog and felt her frustration growing by the minute as she pushed harder and harder. She wasn’t sure what it was that was keeping her grounded and disoriented but the battle was starting to weigh on her. I’m just so tired, she thought, feeling her body sigh in relief as she stopped struggling for just a moment. Maybe if I just rest for a minute… but just a minute. I can’t give up. The dark fog started to envelope her once again, startling her and forcing her to fight even hard to avoid being drug back under.

“Tare?” The voice sounded so close; so familiar and safe. “Tare? Wake up, you’re dreaming.”

Willow! She felt a soft hand caress her cheek, urging her to flee the fog. Willow! The murkiness around her was starting to dissipate as the seconds passed.

“Tara?” She felt a soft pair of lips brush her forehead and down the bridge of her nose. With one final push she pulled herself from the depths of her dreams and opened her eyes to the safe haven of her girlfriend’s kind gaze and sweet smile. “Hey. Sorry, I would’ve let you sleep longer but you didn’t seem to be enjoying whatever it was that was chasing you around in your head.” Tara heard the other voices once again and turned her eyes to the television on the far wall, catching the tail end of a story about a nail polish exhibition that was attended by thousands on the local late news. “Tare, you ok?” Tara turned back and snuggled into Willow’s neck, taking in the safe feeling of the redhead’s arms wrapped around her.

“Yeah. Sorry. How long have I been asleep?” Her voice was husky from sleep and for the first time she noticed just how parched she was.

“A couple hours. I didn’t want to wake you up though until it was time to go to bed. You seemed so tired.”

“I am. I feel like I got hit by a truck.” Beside her Tara felt Willow tense and cursed herself for her poor analogy. Damn it Tara. “I mean, I think just going back to work and everything this week has finally caught up with me.”

“Well come on, we can go to bed,” Willow said as she reached for the remote and turned off the television. Tara just nodded and started to extract herself from Willow’s hold when Faith emerged from her bedroom, smiling slightly at the pair when she saw them on the couch.

“I thought you two would be in bed by now,” she said as she stopped on the other side of the living room.

“We’re making our way there,” Willow said, rubbing her hand along Tara’s back as she sat up fully.

“Well I’m heading over to Buf’s,” Faith said, lifting the small duffle bag in her hand.

“Why so late?” Tara asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes as she finally comprehended just how late it actually was.

“I just had to take care of some stuff here first,” Faith said with a shrug. Tara recognized the tactic of her best friend and just nodded, not pushing the subject any further. She was more than surprised when Faith stepped further into the room and fell into the overstuffed arm chair to the left of her and Willow. “I got a call from Lukas today. Apparently, in her regular style, my mom left a huge mess to be cleaned up.”

“What do you mean?” Tara asked, leaning back against the couch again. Beside her she felt Willow stay upright; not settling in beside her but making no attempt to actually leave the sofa either. Faith wouldn’t go into anything serious here if she didn’t trust Willow. Tara looked up to see her best friend staring down at her hands for a moment and figured Faith wasn’t ready yet to talk about what was really bothering her. She was surprised once again when Faith sighed and looked up at her, ready to tell the story.

“Well she was actually living just north of here. Up near Shuttesberg. I guess she was living there and partying hard like normal. And she screwed over the wrong guy.”

Tara felt Willow tense up beside her and reached out to place a calming hand on the redhead’s thigh. Of course her cast impeded total contact but the small gesture seemed to calm Willow enough that she didn’t jump off the couch. It’s ok Will.

“This guy, Dave or Dale or something like that broke into the shithole she was living in and totally trashed the place. Took anything of value. Apparently she’d been ‘running a tab’ and according to this guy, she owed him about fifteen hundred dollars.”

“Oh my gosh!” Willow blurted out. Faith’s stare turned to Willow for the first time since she’d sat down and for a moment, Tara thought that would be the end of the story.

“I know,” Faith said, rolling her eyes and looking back down at her hands in her lap.

“Wait, how did Lukas find all this out?” Tara asked.

“I didn’t know this but about a week after her funeral this guy showed up at my aunt and uncle’s house looking for Renee. They told him what happened and I guess he was less than thrilled that he didn’t get paid. Then last week he broke into her place and a neighbor actually reported the incident. When the cops got there obviously there wasn’t much they could do. And I guess the only contact information they found in the house was for Lukas. I have no idea why she had his number laying around. Well, actually she probably had it in case she needed something but I don’t know how she got it. They hadn’t talked in years.” Faith paused for a moment, tilting her head back and staring at the ceiling. Tara made no attempt to push for more details but her head was swimming with all the possible bad outcomes that this story could have. Beside her she felt Willow sitting unusually still, which made her even more nervous. Faith let out a deep sigh before leaning forward in her chair and continuing. “So anyway the cops called Lukas to feel him out; see if he had anything to do with it. Lukas ended up calling my aunt and that’s when he found out about the visit from that guy. She and my uncle had been out of town for conferences and hadn’t had a chance to finish taking care of everything after the funeral. They’d paid an extra two months’ rent to Renee’s landlord so they could have some time to clean out her stuff but they just didn’t get back fast enough.”

“So what happened with that guy? Is he going to be like trolling around their house or…” Here? Tara didn’t dare say it out loud. If Willow was freaked out now, the thought of some violent drug dealer casing out her and Faith’s apartment would definitely push her over the edge.

“No. He was actually apprehended a week ago on some other breaking and entering charge. So he’s not going to be stopping by to visit anyone anytime soon,” Faith said, staring right at Tara and answering her unspoken question. Thank God, Tara thought with a small sigh of relief. “But now, between the cops and the landlord, they want her apartment taken care of ASAP. And since my aunt and uncle are out of town and Lukas is about eight hundred miles away, I’m the one left to take care of it all.”

“Oh Faith, I’m sorry. I’ll help you. Just tell me when,” Tara said. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Willow looking back and forth between her and Faith with a look of panic mixed with an eagerness of her own to help.

“No, you won’t be helping,” Faith said with an air of finality. “You’ve got yourself to take care of. That’s way more important.”

“Faith I’m not made of freaking glass! Really. I can help. Please let me.”

“I’ll agree to you supervising. How about that?” Faith said with a smirk.

“Oh supervising you? Really Faith? Because that will accomplish so much.”

“I can help,” Willow blurted out. Tara turned to see the eagerness in Willow’s face matched her tone and smiled at her thoughtfulness. That’s my girl.

“There, you can supervise me, Willow and Buffy.”

“Buffy?” Tara turned back to Faith. “Buffy agreed to help?”

“Yeah.” Faith nodded, smiling somewhat prideful at her friend. Tara arched her eyebrow in question making Faith’s smile grow even broader. “I talked to her today actually. I was really upset after talking to Lukas. I mean, not because of my mom but just at the situation. It’s so like Renee and it’s beyond frustrating that I have another mess to clean up. So I called Buf and spilled the whole story. And she said she’d be more than willing to help or do whatever I needed her to.”

Tara couldn’t stop the smile tugging at the corners of her lips. Wow. I can’t believe she finally did it. She found someone she can really trust.

“That’s great Faith,” she said, reaching out and patting the brunette on the knee. “I’m glad you talked to her.”

“Me too.”

The two friends smiled at each other as a moment of silence enveloped the room. I never thought I’d see the day that Faith Lehane would fall this hard for a girl and that the girl would actually turn out to be worth it, Tara thought, finally looking away from her best friend when she felt Willow shift uncomfortably next to her. She turned to see her girlfriend looking down at her lap, obviously feeling uneasy at the quiet moment that had wrapped around her and Faith. Not wanting to lose the redhead she smoothly grabbed for Willow’s left hand with her own and squeezed it. When Willow finally looked up Tara leaned forward and left a small peck on her cheek. The effect was instantaneous as Willow bashfully smiled and turned back into problem solving mode.

“So when do you want to take care of all this?” Willow asked.

“Well actually Buf and I thought we’d head over there around one tomorrow. Are you guys free?” Both girls just nodded. “Great. Well I’m going to head out then,” Faith said as she stood up from the chair and took a step towards the hallway. “So we’ll meet here tomorrow and then drive over all together.”

“You’re ok driving over to Buffy’s now?” Tara asked, wanting to make sure Faith wasn’t too upset or angry about the whole situation. Faith just nodded and smiled easily before stepping towards the door and leaving. Tara heard the locks turn behind her from the outside of the door and then the distinct sound of Faith’s heavy boots trotting down the hall. “Well I guess that answers the question as to what’s wrong with her,” Tara said turning back to Willow. Willow just nodded. “I’m really glad she told us though. And I’m even happier that she talked to Buffy.”

“So her mom was…” Willow trailed off as she looked away from her girlfriend.

“Pretty much a piece of garbage? Yeah,” Tara finished for her and stood up. “Come on, let’s go to bed. We’ve got a big day tomorrow.”

“Was she always a… piece of garbage?” Willow asked, following Tara to her bedroom and closing the door behind them.

“Except for one or two occasions, yeah, as far as I know. The only time I can remember Faith saying that she was a decent person was for a few months when she was sixteen but she’s never been a mother to Faith,” Tara said as she turned on the overhead light and pushed the covers back on her side of the bed.

Willow had just put the soft yellow sheets that morning while she was in the shower and as silly as it was, she found herself looking forward to crawling into them multiple times over the afternoon. She looked up to see Willow slowly changing out of her work clothes and into one of the pairs of pajamas that she’d brought over earlier that week. I really need to just clean out a few drawers for her here so she doesn’t have to worry about packing a bag anymore, Tara thought, smiling at the idea of Willow’s clothes being housed in the same dresser as her own. Willow looked up and caught the blonde staring as she let the t-shirt slide down her torso. Feeling a little self-conscious at the smile Tara was giving her she quickly turned off the light and made her way to her side of the bed. Tara watched as Willow climbed under the sheets, pulling them up to her chin and fell perfectly still. Tara smiled further at her adorable girlfriend and turned onto her side, snuggling closer. If it was possible, Tara felt Willow become even more still, making no attempt to snuggle back.

“Will?” Tara looked up and saw Willow looking at her out of the corner of her eye, still looking a little panicked and couldn’t help the giggle that erupted from her chest. Willow finally turned her head, meeting Tara’s gaze fully, confusion written all over her face.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing, I just…” Tara let the last few giggles escape before taking a deep breath and looking deep into the green eyes before her. “I understand that you don’t want anything intimately physical happening between us, but-”

“No Tara! It’s not that I don’t want-”

“Will, wait. I get it, it’s not that you don’t want to, it’s just that you’re waiting. I just want to make sure that you’re w-waiting because you’re worried about hurting me and not that you’re d-disgusted or r-repulsed by me now.” She finally looked away as the words left her mouth, worried that Willow’s expression would tell her something that she wasn’t ready to see. Tara had been rehearsing the question for days now but had been unable to bring herself to actually vocalize it, fearful that Willow would give her the answer she didn’t want. She knew deep down that Willow hadn’t been avoiding her advances for any reason other than her injuries but she couldn’t get rid of the nagging feeling in the back of her mind that her girlfriend was avoiding her advances now simply because she was no longer attracted to the blonde. And stuttering through the question, that’s even sexier Tara. Way to go.

“Tara no, that’s not it at all. Please don’t think that. I’m so sorry if I gave you that impression. I still think you’re the most beautiful girl in the world, that will never change,” Willow said, turning fully into Tara and lifting the blonde’s chin. Tara’s worried eyes met hers and she quickly leaned in and brushed her lips against Tara’s. Tara initially stiffened in surprise but then sunk into the kiss, allowing Willow to take control. She slowly rolled onto her back and reveled in the feeling of Willow’s lips on hers; Willow’s fingers touching her face and running through her hair. After a moment she felt the kiss begin to wane and finally allowed Willow to pull away with a few fleeting pecks on her cheeks and nose. “Tara it is nearly impossible to keep myself from kissing and touching and… well everything with you.” Willow paused for a minute and Tara let the words sink in. “I’m not disgusted or repulsed by you now after… everything. I just am terrified that I’m going to hurt you. And I know that sounds stupid. I know, as you’ve said many times, to many people, you’re not made of glass. But I guess, I just want to make sure that everything’s ok and back to not being anywhere near broken before we… well, you know.” Tara smiled as she watched the streetlight outside illuminate Willow’s faint blush. “And I mean, it’s not like we have to wait forever you know. Just a little bit longer, when you’re stronger and when that time comes, well, prepare to be shackled to bed for about four days straight, because I’m not letting you leave,” Willow finished with a smile. Tara burst out giggling and felt Willow’s own chest slightly shaking against her as she let her own laughter out.

Only Willow, Tara thought, finally calming after another round of laughs consumed both girls. She leaned up and softly kissed her girlfriend once before looking back into the green eyes that she adored.

“Ok, that’s fair,” she said as Willow carefully slid off her but kept full body contact along the blonde’s side. “And I’m glad that was your answer. I wouldn’t want to think about how all of what’s happened could possibly change the way you feel about me.”

“Never,” Willow said, brushing her fingertips along Tara’s hip over the covers. “I love you Tara. Nothing’s changing that.”

“I love you too Will,” Tara said, closing her eyes as the peacefulness of the moment overtook her. Perfect.

_________________
Anya: I don't like the sound of this. They don't sound very ex-demon compatible.
Tara: Are you sure they're English? I thought English people were, um, gentler than uh... normal people.

An Everyday Life


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