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

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 Post subject: FIC: Remember to Breathe
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2002 7:59 pm 
Title: Remember to Breathe
Rating: PG 13 (I think – please let me know if I’m wrong)
Pairing: W/T
Feedback: yes please – it’s my first fic, so I would appreciate a gentle hand!
Either post it here, or e-mail
Disclaimer: All characters, as you know, belong to Joss Whedon et al.
Note: Started this a couple of weeks ago, then got all daunted when I spent time reading “Beginning Cycle” and “House of Cards”. Decided to post anyway, so that you can let me know what you think. I don’t know anyone who would beta read for me, so this is the raw material.
Summary: I know that “the first time” has been done to death, but it’s the easiest place to start isn’t it? Got to thinking about the “you’ve been out way longer than me” statement in Tough Love and wondered how things might be if Tara had the upper hand (so to speak). Starts after Willow arrives at Tara’s after a crap night at the Bronze (The I in Team, I think).

Willow turned another page she hadn’t read, and risked a glance towards the desk. Tara’s back was still turned towards her, her head slightly lowered over the term paper she’d been working on. When Willow had found herself standing outside Tara’s room, she had hesitated, not knowing what to expect. She certainly hadn’t expected to be sitting here reading a dusty old book while Tara ignored her, concentrating on late night homework.

Tara suppressed a little smile. A beautiful red head was reflected in the mirror above her desk, and she guessed that the ten minutes she had spent staring at the finished homework had been time well spent. “Is it me, or is it warm in here?” She shrugged off her cardigan, pleased that she had worn her new T-shirt, sleeveless and close fitting. Without turning around she pushed her chair slightly away from the desk and went for the full stretch, arms straight out, legs extended and head thrown back. As she stretched, she let out a soft groan, and looked again into the mirror. Behind her, perched on the bed, Willow had abandoned the furtive glances and was staring in naked admiration, eyes wide and mouth open.

Tara turned quickly towards the bed; amused at the way Willow took a sudden interest in the book in her lap. “I’m all done, thanks for letting me finish off. I just need to… um… I’ll be right back.” Standing up suddenly, she made her way to the door and headed for the bathroom across the hall.

Willow let the book fall closed and concentrated on breathing – not something she usually had to think about, but for some reason she found herself struggling with it when she was in Tara’s room. Her feelings for her new friend had become very intense over the last few weeks. There was no escaping the fact that this was now a full-blown crush. She’d had crushes throughout her teenage years, and she wasn’t surprised to learn that she could feel attracted to another woman. Between them, she and her friends had loved a werewolf, a vampire and a thousand year old ex-demon, so no one would be fazed by her latest choice.

What made this slightly scary was that knew that Tara was gay. They’d been talking one day in the cafeteria, sharing lunch and swapping spell-stories, when Willow’s curiosity had got the better of her, and she had started asking Tara all the things she wanted to know. “Where do you come from? What’s your star sign? What’s your favourite music? Have you got a boyfriend?” That last question brought the conversation to an abrupt pause. Earlier questions had elicited answers of varying length and depth, some more satisfactory than others, but the boyfriend question had dropped into a sudden silence. Willow panicked slightly as Tara’s head dropped, her blonde hair obscuring her face. But after a brief pause, Tara raised her eyes and looked straight back at Willow; stammering for the first time in several minutes, she spoke softly, “uh… actually I… I, I prefer girls. B…but I’m not seeing anyone right now.”

Willow smiled to herself as she remembered that conversation, she’d spent a lot of time remembering it, replaying the words and images in her head; recalling the haunted look that had played across Tara’s face as she’d waited for Willow’s response. The thing she recalled most often was the smile that washed over Tara’s beautiful face when Willow had shrugged and grinned and carried on with her questions.

The sound of the door opening brought Willow back to the present. Tara crossed the room and gently lifted the book from Willow’s lap. Her hand brushed against Willow’s, and her friend started slightly at the spark of energy that passed between them. Their eyes met and a smile was exchanged. They were starting to become familiar with the power that bubbled up when they joined hands. Since that first night when they had joined together in a desperate act of self-defence to keep the Gentlemen away, they had spent hours gently exploring their magical affinity, joining hands and minds and spirits. Not all the spells worked, but they both sensed the potential, the power that simmered below the surface as they moved closer to one another.

And Tara knew that magic was not the only thing that was simmering. She had not been expecting to see her friend this evening, Willow had made plans with her friends and that was fine; she had been neglecting her studies of late and it was a relief to get that essay out of the way. If truth were told, the essay was already finished when she heard the knock on her door, and the only thing interrupted was her daydream about a certain flame-haired Wiccan. Willow had seemed so nervous hovering on the threshold to her room, tentatively suggesting they “do something” if it was not too late. Tara had smiled and invited her in and the girls had hugged spontaneously, unable to contain their pleasure at seeing one another. As Tara drew away from the hug she had noticed that Willow’s breathing was shallow and her eyes were dark where her pupils had dilated in response to Tara’s arms around her. A breathing space was needed and Tara latched onto the first thing she thought of. “Can I… uh… just finish reading this through? I won’t be more than a few minutes…”

Of all the distractions she could have chosen, this was the most effective by far. Willow’s devotion to all things academic was verging on legendary and the response was instantaneous, “oh, you’re studying? I’ll go, I shouldn’t have interrupted, and I know it’s late “, Tara cut off the babbling with a smile and a firm hand on Willow’s arm, “It’s fine, I’m just checking the spelling, I’ll be a few minutes that’s all. Take a seat and I’ll be all yours before you know it”. Now that was a promise that put a sudden end to all babbling, and Willow moved to sit on the bed. She picked up the old spell book that was lying there, letting it fall open to any old page, knowing that whichever page she chose would fail to distract her from the only other person in the room.

Taking the book from her now, Tara placed it on the desk and sat down on the bed, pulling her legs up under her and turning to face Willow. “So, what sort of something did you have in mind?” She kept her voice light, her tone teasing and she smiled into the serious green eyes just inches away from her own. Willow swallowed and looked away, reminding herself to breathe, in, out, in, out…. no problem…. no problem at all. Turning back, she tried to think of a reply, aware of the silence that hung in the space between them. A dumbstruck babbler is an unusual sight and Tara’s smile broadened as she reached out to take Willow’s hand into her own.

There it was again, the spark as their hands met, the tingle which spread from fingertips to palms and diffused like the warmth of the sun emerging from behind a cloud. Tara looked down at their hands and wondered again if it was possible that this was real. She had practised with other wiccans, it was kind of a family thing, but she had never felt the kind of connection that came so easily to her and Willow. Was there any chance of another connection? The kind she’d found once before.

Katie, high school sweetheart, all breathy prom-night passion, stolen kisses and lazy summer days lying in each others arms in the long grass of their home town fields. It had been a sweet and tender affair, which had faded gently away as the two girls moved apart and left for separate college towns. No desperate broken hearts, just happy memories and a realisation that this was right, natural, the life she chose for herself. There’d been no dramatic coming out, no club-joining or logo-wearing; just a promise to herself that she would be honest and not hide from anyone who asked the right question. As it turned out, Willow was the first to ask, and Tara had fought hard to keep her promise, fearing that she would be rejected, that this new friendship would slip away from her when it had hardly begun. Willow’s response had surprised and delighted her and raised hopes that she could hardly admit existed.

The confident young woman sitting on the bed next to Willow would have been a revelation to her classmates. The public Tara, who stumbled and stammered and hugged herself protectively, was the product of a small town up bringing, and an authoritarian father. But there were two places in Tara’s life that her father could not touch, the two places of refuge she had found over the years. One was the supernatural realm her father despised and feared. That place of retreat had been hers since childhood, a magical place she shared with her mother and had come to love, a place where she was free, a place she carried around inside her. She knew the time would come when visiting this world would no longer be a matter of choice. The power would draw her in irresistibly as it had her mother. But for now it was still a place of freedom.

Her other secret place had been found during the heady months of her senior high school year. When she and Katie were together, when they lay in each other’s arms, Tara found a second place of retreat, a haven from her hurtful life. It was a secret she guarded fiercely, a place where her confidence grew and her stuttering faded, her hands became sure and her heart soared.

And now, as she sat just inches away from Willow, she dared to hope that she might have found the one, the soul-mate she had only dreamed of, a woman who could visit both her secret worlds. She released Willow’s hand, noticing the fleeting look of dismay that flickered across her friend’s face. Sliding closer, she reached out to circle Willow’s slim waist with her arm, and the red head leaned in, lowering her head to rest on Tara’s shoulder.

Minutes passed before Willow raised her head and opened her mouth to speak, but Tara’s finger stopped the words. “I kind of had a something in mind, if you want…” Willow searched for a response, but babble mode had deserted her. “A… a spell?” she whispered. Her eyes were wide open, a faint flush had spread across her pale cheeks and her voice was barely there. The look in her eyes told Tara what she needed to know, and she leaned in, closing the gap between them in a second, planting a single tender kiss on the lips she’d been longing for.

The two girls sat entranced, gazing into each others eyes, blown away by the tremor of power they had both just felt. It was unlike anything either of them had experienced, or even imagined. Tara summoned up every ounce of self-control and spoke the words she knew were needed, “If this isn’t what you want…” but it was her turn to be silenced by a gentle finger placed across her mouth.

Willow remembered to breathe, and the breath she took in came back out in a rush, with a tumble of words and emotions, “But, it is what I want… more than anything… I haven’t thought about anything else for days, I’ve wanted to kiss you, but…I didn’t know how and…” her voice trailed off as the breath ran out. “And…?” Tara prompted her to continue; “And… I’ve never done this before, I mean I have but not exactly, you know… and I might do it wrong and I won’t know what to do…and…I might be rubbish… and…”. The babbling became muffled as Tara reached out and drew Willow into her arms, holding her close and whispering,

“Sshh, sshh darling…there’s no great mystery you know? And there’s no rush, we have all the time….” She stopped short, wanting to say “all the time in the world”, knowing it wasn’t true. “All the time we need”.

Pulling Willow with her, she leaned backwards until they lay side by side on the bed. Wrapping their arms around each other, they rested in comfortable silence, aware only of each other. Feeling Willow’s body pressed against her for the first time, Tara reined in the urgency that grew with each breath, happy to wait for the moment to be right, tingling with anticipation.

She lay still; maintaining her gentle embrace as Willow reached out a hand and gently stroked her hair, then caressed with cool fingers the sensitive skin at the nape of her neck before bringing her hand to rest between her shoulder blades. As Willow lowered her head to press warm lips to the hollow at the base of her throat, Tara closed her eyes, and allowed the tiniest of moans to escape into the silence.

“The thing is,” Willow’s voice was low, her breath soft against Tara’s neck, ”I always was a good student…”


 Post subject: Re: FIC: Remember to Breathe
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2002 5:21 am 
Well chalk one up to the Pens Recommendation thread which pointed me at this (Thanks Rane!)

How did I miss this at the time? Especially when you were reading both mine and Kerry's fics and you referenced then. *ashamed smile*

Also then... I started to beta read for you... and you spent the last six months beta reading for me and NOW I read it?! Sorry.

This is beautiful. It has been along time since I read a first time fic for W/T and this was so sweet and beautiful that I was just taken away to a nice, happy, place. You know... untouched.

The focus you chose, the first kiss, worked wonderfully and allowed you to explore many things with Willow and Tara perspectives.

I can only say now... now much I am looking forward to writing with you. You know... when the time is right and things are better sweets.




 Post subject: Re: FIC: Remember to Breathe
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 11:51 am 
This is such a beautiful fanfic... and it has been a while since I have read a first time fic also. I really enjoyed it and I'm gonna search around for more of your fics because I love your writing. It's descriptive and I can really tell what the characters are feeling. Hmm, maybe I should write your blurb. :p Anyway, well done on an excellent piece.


Tara: I got so lost
Willow: I found you... I will always find you

 Post subject: Re: FIC: Remember to Breathe
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 4:59 am 

I was browsing the pens recommendation thread and I noticed a review of your fic...

You've captured this moment fairly well, it was very sensual and sweet, a lovely debut for a blossoming relationship.

Great Job!


Hear That Baby? You're My Always... Willow

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