DISCLAIMER: None of these characters are mine. They have been used without permission and not for profit. No copyright infringement is intended.
SPOILERS: None, really. Diverges from canon beginning in the season four episodes This Year's Girl and Who Are You?.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To annebar76[at]gmail.com
SERIES: First in Friends Forever series.
Willow and Tara stood outside Stevenson Hall as Giles drove away in the armored truck. They were both exhausted after having spent the last forty-eight hours helping Buffy get back into her own body, but neither one wanted to leave the other.
"So, you do stuff like that every day?" Tara asked.
"Yes and no. That was relatively tame compared to what normally happens. I mean, there's usually a lot more research, death, and mayhem. Not too much, though. Research, I mean. Well, I do a lot of research, not so much death and mayhem I'm in babble-mode I'll stop now. See, this is me stopping." Willow looked at Tara almost apologetically.
"It's okay Willow. I don't mind your babble-mode." Tara grasped Willow's hand briefly before letting it go. She felt the familiar butterflies in her stomach. Being so close to Willow always seemed to do that to her. "I guess we'd better get some sleep. Can I call you tomorrow?" Tara's voice was tentative.
"Sure, maybe we can try the Bronze again."
"Um, yeah, I guess so." Tara wasn't sure if she wanted to go back there. She knew it was irrational, but she still felt that way.
"Okay then, I'll talk to you tomorrow." Willow disappeared into the dorm.
Tara turned, lost in thought as she began walking back to her room. Faith had said some nasty things to her. For the most part, Tara knew them to just be fifth-grade taunts that she heard on the playground. So Willow's not driving stick anymore, was the one that went through her mind the most as she went into her room and tried to put the incident out of her mind. She needed sleep now, not to think too much. After putting on a nightshirt she lay on the bed and stared at the ceiling.
What Faith said about Oz was the only thing that really bothered her when she thought of the dark slayer's taunts. He and Willow had been together for a long time, and even though Willow didn't mention him much, Tara knew Willow still loved him. Tara let a tear escape, letting it fall to her pillow. Willow had become very important to her in a very short time. Maybe I should just tell her how I feel - rejection will hurt less if I do it now instead of waiting until I'm in love with her. What am I talking about? I am in love with her.
She finally decided that no matter what, she didn't want to risk ruining the friendship she had with Willow. The redhead had said she trusted Tara. Then her little, doubting voice piped up, reminding her that Willow hadn't taken the Doll's Eye Crystal. When Willow wouldn't take the gift, she had felt pieces of her heart breaking off and shattering on the floor.
Not to mention the fact that Tara had told the other witch she was hers. After everything that had happened since then, she had almost forgotten about that. She knew she had made a fool out of herself. She also knew Willow was still in love with Oz and knew Tara had a crush on her, but was too nice to tell the blonde to get lost.
But Willow had also trusted Tara to be her anchor. So many things in that spell could have gone wrong, but Willow had trusted her to bring her back. The notion that anyone trusted sweet, if slightly clumsy, Tara that much brought tears to her eyes, but they were good tears.
She looked at the clock. 4:23 PM. Tara found herself wondering if Willow was sleeping.
Willow couldn't sleep. She kept thinking about Tara and the bond that was forming between them. She hadn't felt anything this strong since Oz. Actually that wasn't true. It was different, stronger somehow. Whenever Willow was around Tara she just wanted to live in the blonde's eyes.
When Oz left, her world came crashing down around her, and she finally understood why some people went insane after a breakup. I guess I did get a bit wiggy, Willow thought as she turned over for about the hundredth time. The thought of him no longer brought a churning mass of emotions to her heart; it hadn't in a while now. She no longer hoped he would come back and try to patch the tattered remains of their relationship back together. She had healed from the wounds the relationship's end had caused, but the fear of being hurt still remained.
When Tara tried to give her the Doll's Eye Crystal, Willow knew for certain that Tara had a crush on her. Those feelings were mutual. The mere inkling of admitting those feelings aloud and letting the walls down she had built so carefully after Oz left frightened her more than any vamp or demon she had ever faced. She wondered if she was going to let what Oz did to her dictate the rest of her life, and ultimately decided the definite answer was no.
She said she was mine. A smile crossed her lips and her stomach did a little back flip at the thought. Her stomach had been doing a lot of back-flips since she met Tara. She had the maddening thought of having it try out for the U.S. Gymnastics team, and she giggled a bit as she tried to imagine a stomach 'going for the gold' on the parallel bars.
She rolled over and looked at the clock. 4:23 PM. She wondered if Tara was asleep.
She said she was mine. Willow kept going back to the memory. Making a decision, she sat up and dialed Tara's number.
"Um, hi, it's me, Willow." Duh. Tara already said that. "Did I wake you?"
"Wow. Good. I mean, not good that you weren't asleep but good that I didn't wake you. I can't sleep either. Can I come over? I want to talk."
"Okay, great. I'll be over in a few minutes. Bye."
She was off the bed before she even hung up the phone. She dressed quicker than she had her entire life and sped out the door, nearly running into someone in the hall. She told herself to calm down, knowing that getting herself killed on the way over there wasn't going to help at all.
The ringing of the phone broke Tara from her thoughts. "Hello?"
"No, I can't get to sleep." You keep invading my thoughts.
"Oh, um, sure."
Tara hung up the phone, wondering what Willow wanted to talk about, knowing that the redhead probably wanted to stop seeing her so much. Trying to get rid of the self-doubt, she figured that if Willow wanted to do that she would have told her over the phone.
She got dressed quickly and made her bed. Sitting down, she tried to calm herself using a breathing technique she'd learned years ago. It didn't work this time. She had the feeling that her life was about to change, but she just didn't know how. She looked at the clock again, wondering how it could take Willow a half an hour to make it across two dorms.
Tara had just started pacing the room when she heard someone knock softly on the door.
Breathe, Willow, breathe, Willow thought. After all, what was the worst thing that could happen? She willed herself to stop thinking about that. Willow walked down the hallway and stopped in front of Tara's door. Then she walked back down the hall. Why was she doing this? They were fine as friends. The only problem was that she wanted more than that. Turning around and putting her resolve face on, she walked to Tara's door for the second time. She stood there for a couple of minutes, faltering just a bit. People passing in the hall started staring at her a bit, but she barely noticed they were there.
She knocked. No answer. Then she realized she hadn't even touched the door. She knocked again.
The door opened slowly. Tara stood there, the most beautiful person she had ever seen. All of Willow's doubt fell away. There was only love.
"Thanks for letting me come over." Willow said as she walked into the room.
"It's okay, I couldn't sleep anyway, so at least we'll be able to keep each other company." Tara smiled her little half-smile and Willow melted inside. Tara was afraid to ask her question, but she took deep breath. "Um, what did you want to talk about?"
"Well, could you sit down? 'Cause I have a lot to say and I don't know how long it'll take me to get it out." Tara sat on the edge of the bed. "Thanks." Willow started pacing in the same spot Tara had been pacing just moments before.
"Okay, so I have feelings. Wait, I don't mean that. I mean, I mean that, just not the way it came out. We all have feelings, right? Sometimes the warm fuzzy kind, and sometimes we have the cold prickly kind of feelings. Not that I'm feeling the cold prickly kind of feelings, 'cause I'm not. I just " Willow stopped as she looked at Tara for the first time since launching into her speech.
"Willow, it's okay. Whatever you have to say, I'll listen. That's what friends do." Tara's voice wavered with the emotion she felt. She couldn't take the anticipation much longer.
Willow took a deep breath. "You're right. We're friends. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think I love you." Suddenly that damn David Cassidy song sprang into her head, and she knew that cheesy piece of fluff wasn't going to do her any good.
"As much as you said that you were mine, I'm also yours Tara. No, wait," Willow said as Tara began to get up. "Please let me finish. I'm on a roll. I don't just think I love you, I know I do. Every time I see you, my heart starts beating a mile a minute. When I'm not with you, I want to be with you. If you don't feel the same way, just say the word and I'll leave. We won't ever have to talk about it again. I just had to tell you how I felt. Okay, I'm done." Willow stopped and looked down at Tara, who had the most incredible smile on her face.
Tara stood and slowly crossed the room, standing inches away from Willow. "I love you, too." She whispered as she took Willow's hand. Willow brought her other hand up, cupping Tara's cheek even as Tara brought their lips together in a kiss.
It was a kiss so gentle, yet so powerful. Both their worlds became nothing but that kiss. Willow leaned into it, wrapping her arms around Tara's waist. Willow felt all of the emotional walls she had built in the last couple of months come crashing down.
When they finally broke the kiss, they still held on to each other. "Wow," Willow said breathlessly. "That was "
"Magic." Tara smiled.
"Our spells don't have anything on that kiss." With that, Willow kissed her again. Her tongue sought Tara's mouth, and Tara let her in. They slowly backed up to the bed, only breaking the kiss when they sat down. Tara's hand moved to Willow's breast, lightly touching her nipple through the fabric. Willow moaned into Tara's mouth and kissed her harder.
Suddenly Willow pulled away. "Are you okay?" Tara asked.
"I just want to take things slow. I want this to be special. And, please don't be mad, but I really need some sleep!"
Tara started giggling; then she started laughing and couldn't stop. She finally calmed down, and looked into the amused face of her Willow. "I'm sorry, I don't know why that was so funny; I'm tired too. Do you want to sleep here?"
Willow considered this for a second, but only a second. She wanted to sleep, and then wake up in this woman's arms. "Sure, but no funny business. Well, not too funny."
"Okay, then. You want a nightshirt?"
"I guess I didn't come prepared, did I?"
"Not exactly. Did you think I was going to kick you out or something?" Tara asked as they began changing, turning their backs to each other for privacy.
"I wasn't sure. I was scared you would do that, or that you would kiss me."
"I did kiss you, silly."
"Oh, right. Well, that part scared me for a different reason." They finished changing and looked at each other.
"You've never kissed a girl, have you?"
"No, but that's not what I was scared of." She walked to Tara and they wrapped their arms around each other. "I've never felt anything this strong before."
"The feeling's mutual. You want to go to bed?"
"Sleep, mmm. I miss it so much."
Willow placed a small kiss on Tara's lips and led her to the bed. They were asleep before their heads hit the pillow.
The sun was streaming into the room as Tara slowly drifted out of sleep. There was something warm beside her. No, there was something warm on top of her. Then she remembered what happened the day before. Willow loved her. She did a little happy dance inside as she looked down at Willow, who had somehow managed to tie herself up like pretzel trying to get close to the other woman. She lay in bed patiently, waiting for the human pretzel to wake up.
Tara kissed her gently on the forehead as Willow began to stir. Their eyes met, and the rest of the world disappeared again. Tara kissed Willow tenderly. It might have lasted seconds, minutes, or hours; Tara wasn't really sure which.
"Can I wake up like that every morning?" Willow asked.
Tara giggled. "If you want."
"Mm, yes. Thank you."
"For everything, but mostly for last night and this morning." Willow reached up and started playing with a lock of Tara's hair.
"Well, I don't want to start mutual admiration society or anything like that, but thanks for last night too. I'm glad you had the courage to say something." Tara absently traced circles on Willow's back.
"Oh no!" Willow sat up in bed, taking Tara partially with her. "What time is it? I've got an exam at ten! Oh, this is bad, this is very bad," Willow said as she got up and started putting on her clothes.
"I'm sure it'll be okay. You'll be fine."
Willow turned while she was trying to get her skirt on, almost tripping in the process. "No, it won't. I was going to study this weekend, then when this thing happened with Buffy I was going to study last night "
" and I kept you from it." Tara looked down at the blanket, toying with a frayed edge.
Willow rushed to her side with her shirt still over her head. "Nnnph, dnmpt spha dt."
"Huh?" Tara looked up.
Willow finally got her shirt on. She kneeled down and grasped Tara's hands. "I said, 'No, don't say that.' Do you see this face? The words 'No Regrets' are stamped in big bold letters." With that, she lightly kissed Tara and stood. "I love you, don't forget that."
"I love you, too. Good luck on your test."
"Hey, don't you take the same class?"
"Ugh!" Tara leapt out of bed. She and Willow scrambled to get Tara's clothes on, Willow pulling on the skirt while Tara put on her shirt. If they hadn't been in such a hurry, they might have found it quite funny. They grabbed Tara's backpack and headed Willow's room to pick up her stuff.
They finally made to class - about ten minutes late.
"How do you think you did?" Tara asked when the test finally ended. They were the only ones left in the room.
"I don't even want to think about it. I mean, who needs Shakespeare when you're living on the Hellmouth anyway? How about you?"
"The same, I think. The failing grade was worth it though." Tara gave her a half-smile.
Willow loved it when the blonde smiled. Willow gave her a quick peck on the cheek before grabbing her hand. "C'mon, let's get out of here."
"Where are we going?"
"Giles has some really nifty spell books -" Willow stopped and turned, nearly bumping into Tara. "Unless you don't want to do that. I'd kind of like you to meet him when we aren't in crisis mode."
"I'd like that too, but " Tara dropped her voice to a whisper, "I have to have a shower first. I feel icky."
Willow giggled. "I feel the same way now that you mention it. You wanna meet back at my room in an hour?"
"You're cute when you giggle."
Tara was humming softly to herself as she walked back to her room. She was happier than she had been in a long time, maybe happier than she had ever been. "Mini-Me, you complete me," she mumbled to herself. Ew, she hated that movie. It was true, though. Willow did complete her. Not that she wasn't a whole person without her, she was simply more of a person around her.
Trusting had never come easy to Tara; she had always been the shy one in school. The one whose name no one could quite remember. She had liked it that way, at least until she met Willow in the Wicca group. At that moment Tara had wanted nothing more than to be with Willow. And it had really happened. This intelligent, beautiful, charming, and wonderful person loved her back. She couldn't help but feel giddy at the mere thought of it.
She dressed quickly, wanting to see Willow as soon as possible. Suddenly her heart felt joy, but just as suddenly it felt like it was being ripped in two pieces. Collapsing to the floor, she got a flash of intense anger, confusion, and sadness. "Willow," she croaked, trying to catch her breath. She didn't know what had happened, but she knew she had to get to Willow as soon as possible.
Willow wrapped a towel around her wet head and padded down the hall to her room. She opened up the door, glancing at Buffy's side of the room and hoped her friend was okay. They hadn't been spending a lot of time together lately, and Willow knew that Buffy would be having a difficult time with the whole Faith thing. She had Riley, though.
And now Willow had Tara. Their bond was strong, and since the night before Willow noticed that she could sometimes feel the other woman's emotions. No, it had been going on longer than that. They both seemed to have a sixth sense about each other. Maybe it was a witchy thing. She made a note to ask the Tara about that.
She hadn't given much thought to the fact that her new love was a woman. Truth was, it didn't matter. What could it matter when they fought vamps and demons every day? Besides, she had loved Buffy throughout much of high school. But Buffy had Angel and Willow had Oz, and her love for the Slayer changed to a deep friendship they still shared.
She had just finished drying her hair when there was a knock at the door. Feeling a surge of joy, she opened the door. There were no words to describe what she felt when she saw the face in the hall. Two years of her life passed in front of her eyes in a split second, and she felt almost every emotion imaginable with such an intensity her breath caught in her throat.
Oz stood in the hall, looking at the door to Willow's dorm room. After what seemed like an eternity, he knocked. It opened and he looked at the woman he loved for the first time in months. She looks happy, he thought for a split second. Then her face went through an amazing transformation. He didn't think it was possible, but she looked like she wanted to cry, tear his eyes out, and hug him at the same time.
Willow slammed the door in his face before immediately opening it again. "Sorry, I'm just a little shocked. Come in." Willow stepped back, letting Oz into the room.
"I know. Sorry I didn't call before stopping by-"
"'Stopping by'? What is that supposed to mean?" Willow spoke in a very even, low voice. "You pack up, leave without telling me where you are, you're gone for months and I don't even know if you're alive, and then you show up on my doorstep and say 'Hey'? Well, 'hey' just doesn't cut it mister."
"Will, I know you're probably still upset about what happened-"
"Actually, I'm not. I'm angry because I was worried about you. Maybe you don't realize it, but we spent two years together, and with the exception of the last couple of weeks of those two years, I was happy." Willow sighed. "I still care about you."
The fact that she hadn't said 'I love you' wasn't lost on him, but he knew he had no right to question it. "I'm sorry. I really am, but I couldn't be around you until I was in control of the wolf."
"And are you now?"
They both turned when the heard a loud banging on the door.
Tara practically flew across campus, calling an occasional 'I'm sorry' when she bumped into someone. After the initial intensity of the emotions washed away, she sensed that Willow wasn't in any immediate danger, but she was still frightened at what would have caused Willow to feel that way. She tried not to think of the possibilities. What if something had happened to Buffy? Tara knew they were close, and if Buffy had been hurt Willow would definitely have feelings similar to the ones that had floored Tara moments before.
She rushed up the stairway of Stevenson, down the hallway, and banged on the door to Willow's room. She was breathing heavily when Willow came to the door.
"Are you okay? I mean, I felt something big. Is everything all right?"
"Um, yeah Tara. I'm okay." Willow's eyes told a different story altogether. She looked back to a man who was sitting on the edge Buffy's bed, gazing out the window. Tara's gaze followed Willow's.
Willow stepped into the hall, shutting the door behind her. Sighing heavily, she looked to the floor. "Oz."
"Oh." The small exclamation conveyed all of the devastation Tara felt at that moment.
Willow looked up quickly and grasped her hand. "I'm so sorry Tara-"
"No, i-it's okay. I mean, I understand. You want to try to work things out with him."
"That's not it at all." Willow looked directly into Tara's eyes and gently kissed Tara's palm. "I love you, my beautiful blonde witchy-woman. Nothing can change that, but I have to talk to him."
"Okay," she whispered. She turned to go, but Willow held her back, pulling her into a strong embrace. She barely felt the light kiss Willow placed on her cheek before letting her go.
"I won't be long, I promise." Glancing back at Tara one last time, Willow opened the door and disappeared into her room.
Tara slowly went back to her room to wait for Willow.
Oz sat on the bed, waiting for Willow to come back in. He looked around, noticing that the room had changed a bit since he had last seen it. He could faintly hear the conversation outside the door, but was trying not to listen. It wasn't working. At one point he thought he heard the words 'I love you,' but he couldn't be certain. One of his eyebrows shooting up in a Six Million Dollar Man way was the only outward reaction he showed.
The door opened and Willow stepped inside, taking a deep breath. "Why did you come back?"
Oz stood and started walking towards her. "I want to try to work things out."
Willow held up her hand, and he stopped dead in the middle of the room. "It's too late for that Oz. Did you think I would wait for you while you found your 'inner wolf'?"
"No, but I hoped-"
"Hoped what? That I wouldn't meet someone else? Well, I didn't mean to, but I did. I really care about this person, and I don't want to mess things up with them." She said quietly, almost apologetically.
"Are you happy?" Oz felt his heart breaking.
"What's his name?" He was blinking back tears now. I never thought I'd lose her.
Willow sat on her bed thinking about what had just happened. It made her sick to know that she had hurt him again. Even after everything he had done, all the pain he had caused her, she still hated hurting him, but she had. She had never seen him cry, not even after the 'Xander incident'. She looked to the spot on Buffy's bed where he had broken down.
"What?!? Are you kidding? You're dating a girl? Do you actually think I believe that?"
"I didn't ask you what you believe, I only told you the truth. I don't expect you to understand, but I love her."
"Really?" Oz was becoming visibly upset for the first time in his life. "Then what was I to you?"
"You were my first love. You were my life for two years, and I'll always care about you, but I'm not in love with you anymore." She had said the words; there was no going back.
Oz's eyes filled with tears and he crumpled to the bed. She held him while he cried, and when the sobs ended she held him some more. Finally, he kissed her lightly on her forehead and stood.
She didn't think she had any right to, but she asked, "Are you staying in town?"
"Yeah. I'm staying in my old room for now."
"Can I call you, I mean, after you've had some time and all "
"I'll call," he whispered. He turned and left the room quietly.
She had made her choice. It was almost tempting for her to run back into Oz's arms when he had shown up. Even though they had been through some terrible things, he was safe for her. Tara was a different matter altogether. It wasn't that Willow didn't feel comfortable around her, it was quite the opposite, but there was still so much they didn't know about each other. For example, how had Tara known something was wrong?
Her thoughts were broken as the door opened and Buffy walked in. "Hey Will, what's up?"
Everything that had happened in the last twenty-four hours poured out of Willow. Tara, Oz, Tara and Willow she told Buffy everything. Buffy just sat on her bed and listened. When Willow finished, she looked at her best friend of four years and waited to be told what a terrible person she was. That was not what happened.
"Do you love Tara?"
"With all my heart."
"Do you think you made the right decision?"
Willow stood and began pacing. "Yes, but I hurt him. You didn't see him, the look on his face when I told him I loved someone else wait a second!" She turned her gaze to Buffy, "You don't care that I'm in love with Tara?"
Buffy's lips curled up slightly in a smile. "Nope. I might have cared five years ago, but I've been living on the Hellmouth for four years. I have two lists - a wiggins list and a non-wiggins list. Seeing my best friend happy is definitely on the non-wiggins list."
Willow pulled the Slayer into a hug that would have crushed a normal person. "Thanks. I was so scared you'd hate me."
"Never in a million. You're my best bud. Even if I marry Spike and have little baby vamp children with him because of some spell."
Willow smiled. "Don't worry, I won't be doing any more 'thy will be done' spells any time soon. Hey, speaking of 'love is in the air' where's Riley?"
"I don't know and I don't care right now. He slept with Faith."
"Only because he thought he was sleeping with you."
"If he really knew me he wouldn't have done it." Buffy looked down.
"Buffy, look at me. I'm your best friend and I didn't even know you weren't you. The only person who knew was Tara, and she didn't even know you. And can I say the word 'know' any more in this speech?"
"You could try," Buffy said, chuckling.
"Nah, I don't think so. Do you get my picture, though? Riley does love you, and he wouldn't have slept with Faith in her own body. Now buck up little camper, before I have to tickle ya!"
"Okay, okay, stop the insanity!" Buffy backed away as Willow started doing her impersonation of The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
"Are you going to make nice-nice with G.I. Joe?" Willow kept coming.
"Yes!" Willow started tickling. "Yes. I said yes!" Buffy squirmed.
Willow stopped her attack after the third yes and stood back.
"I said 'yes' - why'd you keep tickling?"
Willow shrugged. "'Cause it was fun."
"That's it!" They both collapsed into the tickle match to end all tickle matches.
A couple of minutes later, both the Slayer and Willow lay on the floor, panting. "Okay, I haven't had that much fun since -"
"You became cave-slayer?" Willow finished.
Willow's face turned serious. "Thank you."
"Making me feel better."
"No prob. Don't you think you should call that Tara girl?"
"Nope. I'm goin' over to see her." Willow flashed a wide grin.
"You go girl!"
"I do go, and quickly too." Willow stood and held out her hand. "You should get up and call Riley."
"I will. Thanks for the kick in the teeth."
"Anytime. Wish me smoochies!" Willow turned to leave.
"I hereby wish you smoochies." Buffy said with mock seriousness.
Where is she? Tara thought as she looked at the clock on her wall for the tenth time in as many minutes. It had been three hours since she had last seen Willow, and the phone hadn't rung once. Well, there was that guy who tried to sell her a magazine subscription or something, but she didn't feel he counted.
She had tried doing her homework to pass the time, but the only thing she could think about was Willow. Her eyes, her laugh, her smile and the way Willow's lips feel like soft velvet against her skin. Tara shook her head, trying to get rid of the images; she had to, at least for the time being. She couldn't feel the redhead. But then, why could she feel her to begin with?
She ran for the door at the sound of the knock, but stopped short. What if Willow was coming to tell her she had changed her mind and just wants to be friends? The thought ran through her mind, but she quickly chased it from her mind.
Willow stood outside Tara's room for the second time in as many days. Here goes everything. What if she doesn't want to see me? She thought as she knocked.
The doorknob turned, and then Willow was looking into Tara's blue eyes. Willow realized, and not for the first time, that she could dive into dive into their depths. "Can I come in?"
Tara didn't say anything; she just opened the door wider. The moment Willow was inside she pulled Tara to her, holding her tightly. "I missed you."
Tara chuckled, "I missed you too. You okay?"
"Well, I wasn't wearing a smiley-faced button earlier, but I'm much better now." She pulled back a bit and rested their foreheads together. "I haven't felt this good in a long time." She leaned in and lightly brushed her lips over Tara's. The kiss began slowly at first then intensified, and when their lips parted out of necessity, Willow still wanted more.
"I know I didn't call-"
"Don't worry. This is definitely better." Tara said, still trying to catch her breath.
After a couple of moments, Tara spoke again. "Did you get everything sorted out?"
Sighing, Willow broke contact and looked out the window. "Yeah. It was hard though. How do you make someone you loved for two years understand that you love someone else now?"
"I think so."
Tara walked up behind Willow, putting her arms around the red head's waist. "You want to talk about it?"
"Not yet, but I want to ask you something though." Willow turned in Tara's arms and started lightly rubbing Tara's arms. "How did you know something was wrong?"
"I don't know. One second I was getting ready to meet you and the next there was this explosion of emotions. I've never felt anything like that before. I knew it was coming from you, but I didn't know why. I just knew I had to get to you."
"I'm glad you did." Willow softly kissed Tara's eyelids. "Do you feel anything now?"
"I feel you, and love. Can you feel anything?"
"The same. And I felt your worry in the hall. You think it has something to do with the spells we've been doing?"
Tara shrugged in Willow's arms. "I don't know."
"We should go see the God of All Things Bookish."
Tara pulled back a bit. "Who?"
As they approached Giles' apartment, they heard the sounds of an intense battle being fought inside. Someone yelled, "Ayiyiyiyiyi!" through a clatter of swords. Both women rushed inside, not knowing what they would find.
"Giles! Are you o-" Willow stopped short when she saw the reality of what was going on. Tara giggled softly behind her as Giles stood quickly and turned off the television.
"You were watching Xena?" Willow risked a glance at Tara, who was trying to contain her laughter, and started laughing too.
"It's a perfectly good show. I don't see why you find the fact that I watch it amusing." Giles said when the two girls calmed down.
Willow took a breath. "No Giles, that's not it. We thought you were in danger. I mean, the sounds of battle and all-"
"Ah, I see, you were concerned for my safety. Thank you. Would you like to tell me why you're here?" Giles sounded quite irritated, but Willow knew he would calm down soon.
Willow's face turned serious. "We need to ask you some questions."
"Of course, of course. Please, sit down. Would either of you like something to drink?" Giles asked.
"No thanks," both women said in unison as they sat on the couch.
"Very well, what would you like to know?" Giles said, his eyes glancing at the two women's linked hands.
Willow and Tara both told him about practicing spells together and of Oz showing up. As they spoke, he stood and went to a pile of books.
"That is interesting. I assume the two of you have become close friends?" Giles asked when they were finished. They both nodded. He began flipping through the book. "Ah right, here it is. Sometimes, although rarely, witches who have become, shall we say, close, begin to share a link. Emotions, thoughts, and sometimes even physical pain can be felt. It depends on how powerful the witches are."
"We'll be able to read each other's thoughts?" Tara asked.
"Quite possibly. You both have already demonstrated enormous power, and your link is already quite strong. Control over that link will most likely come in time. You'll have to learn to focus your emotions and thoughts."
"How do we control it?" Tara kept thinking of the physical pain she felt when Oz showed up.
"I would think that you would do it the same way you channel your thoughts and powers during a spell. If you'd like, I'll be happy to help you. Come over tomorrow after school."
"Sure Giles. We'll see you tomorrow." Willow said as they stood. Tara went outside, but Giles held Willow back for a moment.
"Are you okay with this Willow? This may affect both your lives in ways you cannot imagine."
"I know Giles, and I'm okay with it. I dated a werewolf for two years, and my best friend is the Slayer. I think this'll be a good thing."
"Just be careful."
"We will. Thanks." Willow gave Giles a brief hug before leaving.
Willow and Tara began going to Giles' house every day after school, practicing their concentration techniques. With each passing day, it became easier for them to block their emotions from each other when necessary. They were also becoming quite good at projecting thoughts and feelings, but blocking was most important. Nobody wanted a repeat performance from the other day.
A week after the visit to Giles, Buffy and Willow stood in the middle of their dorm room with their bathrobes on staring at the former contents of their closet, which were piled on their beds. Both of them sighed.
"That does it. The next time we get a chance, we're going shopping." Buffy said.
"But that doesn't do us any good now. What are we going to wear tonight?" Willow was nervous. Not only were she and Tara going out on their first official date, Giles had given Buffy the night off as well, so it was going to be a double date. Somehow that made matters worse.
"Relax, Will. We'll figure something out." After thinking a moment, Buffy chose a skirt from Willow's bed, then a blouse and sweater from her own bed. Putting the outfit against Willow, she nodded.
"This is good."
"Yes, you may like it, but will she?"
Buffy looked at her. "In case you hadn't noticed, she's head over heels in love with you. The only other person in this world I have ever seen with a case of 'Aw, isn't she wonderful' any worse is you. She'd like it if you went out with nothing but a garbage bag on. And besides, you probably wouldn't look half bad in a garbage bag. I'm sure she's just as nervous as you are."
Willow laughed and opened her mind to Tara, feeling the other woman's nervousness. "You're right. She is."
"Did you just do that thing? You know, that I'm-a-telepath-but-only-with-my-girlfriend thing?"
Willow smiled proudly. "Yep. Pretty nifty, huh? Hey, we need to find you something."
"Not a problem." She pulled out some pants and a blouse from her pile. "What do you think?"
"You are one hot mamma." Willow glanced at the clock. "They're going to be downstairs in fifteen minutes."
"To the Batmobile!" Buffy exclaimed even as she started pulling on clothes.
Willow shot her a look. "Bats? You really had to go there?"
Buffy shrugged and zipped up her pants. "It sounded good at the time?"
"Slayers and bats do not mix."
"Only in polite company. C'mon, we still need to fix our hair."
If anyone asked them later, they wouldn't have been able to tell them how they got dressed in time, but they walked into the lounge just as Tara and Riley walked in the door.
The evening went well, with all four people telling stories over dinner. After Riley and Buffy decided to go to the Bronze, Willow and Tara decided to head back to campus. Willow was still spinning a tale as they walked up the steps to Tara's dorm.
" so Buffy the princess was just standing there, waiting to be sucked on by a vampire, but Giles smashed the statue of Janus just in time. The next thing I knew, I woke up under my ghost sheet on the porch of that woman's house."
"Wow, you're such a danger girl!" They stopped at the foot of the stairs.
"Nah, not really. That's Buffy's department. We usually fall under the 'help, please save me' category."
Tara laughed. "Do you want to come up?"
Willow suddenly had some serious butterflies flying in her stomach. "If you want me to, I'd like to, but if you don't-"
Tara placed two fingers on Willow's mouth, stopping the babble. "I want you to."
"Do you want anything? A Coke or something?" Tara asked when they got back to her room.
"Uh, yeah. Sure. Uh, I mean no thanks." Willow walked to the CD player, taking off her sweater as she walked.
"I'm glad we got that sorted out. You can put something on if you'd like," Tara said as she sat on the floor. She's so beautiful - I still want to pinch myself to make sure this is real, she thought as she gazed at Willow's back.
"I can't believe I never noticed your collection before." Willow held up a CD. "You mind if I put this one on? I haven't heard it in ages."
"Sure, it's an oldie but a goodie."
Willow put the CD in and pressed play, and the sounds of music filled the room. She turned, and looked down at Tara. There was nothing in this world she wanted more than to be with Tara. "Dance with me," was all she said as she held out her hand.
Tara stood, and was pulled into Willow's embrace. They began swaying to the music, their bodies tingling with the closeness.
Willow's eyes closed as she let the music wash over her. Tracing light circles at the base of Tara's back, she lightly kissed the base of her neck. Tara sighed and began kissing up Willow's shoulder to her ear. Her lips traced Willow's jaw, and when she reached the redhead's chin, she moved to her mouth. The kiss was tender, kind. Willow lips moved to her nose, then her eyelids.
"I love you." Tara whispered, her voice husky with desire.
She leaned in and traced Willow's lips with her tongue. Opening her mouth, Willow let her in. The kiss became more intense until Willow felt Tara's hand under her blouse. She pulled away slightly, looking into Tara's eyes.
"I'm sorry, Willow. I didn't mean to-" Tara broke their embrace.
"No, Tara." Willow pulled her back. "I wanted you to know something. You are in everything I do, everything I see, and everything I am. Every day when I wake up, you are the first thought in my head, and you are the last thought I have before I go to sleep. I love you so much." She kissed Tara lightly. "There's no other place I want to be right now than here with you."
"No one has ever said anything like that to me before."
"Well, I hope no one else does. Now, I think you should kiss me before I do something terrible." Willow said, smiling.
"We can't have that, can we?" Tara laughed and kissed her passionately. They only stopped kissing when they lifted their shirts over their heads. Willow caressed Tara's breast tentatively, then grew more confident. She opened her mind and felt Tara's pleasure, and she couldn't believe how wonderful it felt. Her lips replaced her hand, and as her tongue flicked over Tara's nipple, she sent shockwaves through both women. Running her hand along the hemline of Tara's skirt, she removed it swiftly.
Tara groaned. Nothing else existed in the world but them. Opening her mind, it doubled the sensations to her breasts, causing both of them to climax. Willow quickly came up and kissed her mouth. "You okay?" She asked when Tara stilled.
"Yeah," Tara said, running her fingers through Willow's hair, "That was intense."
"Mm," Willow's eyes closed, enjoying the feel of Tara's hands in her hair. "None of the books we read about our link ever said anything about that."
"That's a surprise I'll take any day," Tara chuckled. "We're still a bit overdressed for this, don't you think?"
"And it might be easier if we were actually in bed."
They quickly took off the rest of their clothes and slid between the sheets, staring at the ceiling. Turning to face each other, they moved closer. "Maybe we should keep our blocks up a little longer this time." Tara placed her hand on Willow's chest.
Willow's breathing came in gasps, and she was having a very difficult time forming words. "Uh, yeah, blocks, right, keep up " Those were her last coherent words to come out her mouth for the night as Tara's mouth descended on hers, and she found herself underneath the blonde witch.
Tara began her exploration slowly, kissing every inch of Willow's body. I've never felt this good, Willow thought briefly before Tara entered her; then there was nothing but the sensation of her lover inside her. When she finally felt Tara's mouth join her hands, she couldn't hold on anymore. All conscious thought ceased as she moaned Tara's name into the night.
Tara felt the orgasm rush through her lover, and her own came seconds after. Waiting until they had both relaxed, Tara removed her hands and kissed her way slowly back up Willow's exquisite body. She pulled her limp form into her arms, holding Willow to her.
They stayed like that for a while, neither one wanting to break the moment. Finally, Willow spoke. "I could stay like this forever."
Tara kissed the top of her head and smiled. "We might actually like to eat sometime."
Willow looked into Tara's eyes. "Mm, I have everything I want to eat here." She pressed her lips to Tara's, rolling on top of her.
When they finally slept, it was a dreamless sleep.
Willow woke the next morning, hearing the typical morning dorm sounds. " now, gotta get to class. I'll call yo " came a male through the door.
She opened her eyes, making sure she didn't dream last night. Nope, I guess not, she thought when she looked at the still nude form of her lover.
Tara stirred and gazed into Willow's eyes. "Morning, love."
"Good morning to you, too." Willow gently kissed her lips.
"What's all the noise outside?"
"Everyone's getting ready for classes-" she glanced at the clock, "It's eight."
"Oh - do you want to get up?"
"And give this up? No way. I'm enjoying being right here too much."
Tara laughed against Willow's chest, then brought her head up, suddenly serious. "Last night was real, wasn't it?"
"Either that, we just like naked wrestling." Willow gestured to their bodies.
"Good. I wasn't sure if I'd dreamed it all or not."
"Nope, you didn't. I'll even prove it to you." With that, Willow's head ducked underneath the covers.
They didn't make it to class that day, and they were both just fine with that. They had what and who they needed, and each was content in the surety of their love.
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