Author: MissKittys Ball O Yarn
The night was closing in on them, as the faint light of dusk quickly deepened into a darker, richer hue. The bluish purple sky, skimmed with wisps of orangey-pink mixed with the faint scent of motor oil as it assaulted the still night air. The shared moment from earlier that day as they'd sat in the grass, was still heavy in their minds, though unspoken. The mutual silence seemed to confirm the realness of the experience for both of them and voicing what had happened would only serve to dampen the delicate grasp they still held on the truth.
Willow put the last few ounces of oil into the oil tank. A few drops of the liquid made a lazy break for freedom to run smoothly down the side of the cool metal encasement. With the spent plastic container of motor oil in the hand that she lifted to her forehead, Willow dabbed at the sheen of perspiration that clung to her skin like a fine mist of ocean spray. The movement was as familiar to her as the landscape of Tara's body had become. Willow was almost so used to it, that she seldom noticed anymore when she did it.
Willow moved around the the side of the tractor. She picked up the dirty rag that she had been using to wipe her hands on. Kerri, who'd been following her around like a desperate puppy, perked up at Willow's movement, as if in all her dog years she'd never before seen the side of the tractor. Kerri came from where she'd been curiously watching Willow change the oil, to stand by the red-head, almost crowding her in her eagerness to see what Willow was doing.
She was turning into quite the butch, Willow thought to herself as she looked down at her grease-stained hands. It was a far cry from the comforts of computers and the musty smell of books that she'd become so accustomed to over the years, but she liked it. There was something about using her hands to manipulate the world around her that had become very appealing to Willow. Though she knew deep down inside that there was more to her fixation with being helpful. The truth was, that she had been taking on all this work because she wanted to leave something of herself behind, something tangible that could record her time here, almost as a cosmic VCR in which Tara could trace the lines of the cold metal frame of the tractor and see Willow there, as if she'd never left. Willow put the final twist of the cap on the oil tank, securing it in place. She didn't look up though, instead focusing her eyes on the expanding patch of rusted paint just under her gaze. She didn't want Tara to see the real reason for the things she did shining in her eyes. And Tara would, see it there, behind the depth of green, Willow held no doubt about that.
Tara sat perched on the edge of the old stool that used to live in the barn. She cast her blue eyes to Willow, a smile playing across her lips as she once again, watched her lover using her delicate, slim fingers to fix something else on the farm. Tara could see the obsessive aspect of Willow's personality beginning to assert itself as the redhead had taken on yet another task. Tara cocked her head to the side as she studied her lover. There was something about Willow that seemed different tonight. The usual openness of her demeanor had changed somehow, and as she watched, Tara could almost see the wall Willow was building around herself coming together brick by lonely brick. Tara bit her bottom lip as she wondered if she should say something to Willow to halt the remaining bricks before they were set in place, or if she should just go up to the redhead and put her arms around her. Tara opted on the later, for in truth they had never been a very wordy couple, except out of necessity when they'd been apart. Whenever together, it seemed they communicated best through actions. Tara pushed herself off the stool, as she carefully approached her still, silent lover. Tara hesitated a moment when Willow wouldn't look up at her, but the need she felt radiating off Willow like the steam from a wet, hot towel baking in the sun was enough to push aside the veil of space separating her from Willow. Tara wrapped her arms around Willow from behind, pressing her lips to Willow's temple, she whispered in her lover's ear.
"You okay sweetie?" Tara felt Willow melt into her embrace.
"I'm okay...there's just so much to do, you know?"
Tara laughed a low chuckle in response. If there was anything she did know, it was the amount of work required to keep this place sustaining life.
The sound trickled through Willow's body like smooth fingers in delicate places. Willow felt her body responding at once to the tone in Tara's voice. There was something so rich and melodious to the notes Tara could produce with a few simple words.
"You want to talk about it?" Tara said, her tone turning deeply serious. She felt Willow shift in her arms, and a moment later, Tara was looking into the sparkling shadow of Willow's green eyes. Tara held her breath in expectation, but soon exhaled when she realized that she required oxygen to function properly. She felt Willow's fingers on her face in the darkness, as one slim finger cupped Tara's chin while the other traced a path along her jawline. Tara smiled then, tears pooling in the gentleness of her eyes. Willow had said nothing with words, but her eyes had told Tara the secrets that she'd been keeping guard over.
They pressed their foreheads together, breathing in and out softly, as their fingers tangled in each other's hair. Their bodies pressed easily against each other, as they brought their lips together in a tender kiss.
Willow felt her breath exit her body, and had the sense that as it left her, it passed into Tara... that somehow they could survive on that one shared breath. Willow ran her grease-stained hands along Tara's back, trying subconsciously to smooth some form of simplicity back into the evening. Willow realized that they would have to talk about what was going to happen, sooner than later, but she wasn't ready for that this moment.
Tara knew that they would talk about things soon, when the time was right, and if it wasn't right now, then, she could live with that. Tara was about to say something else, when she spotted movement out of the corner of her eye. She lifted her gaze to locate the source of the movement. It was a little hard to see in the dark. With only the porch light at the back of the house to illuminate her view, Tara had to squint through the inky blackness. Then she saw it. "look." She whispered in Willow's ear. Tara's hand left the warmth of Willow's waist to direct the redhead's gaze to a spot about 20 feet away.
Willow followed Tara's pointed finger into the night, until her eyes came to rest upon a tiny speck of black fur camouflaged effectively against the color of night. "A Kitten!" Willow gasped.
Kerri, who'd been silent up until that point, must have spotted the cat at the same time Willow did, because the dog gave out a loud bark, which Willow assumed to mean, 'Hey kitty, no cat's allowed!" She felt Kerri tense beside her, and was relieved when Tara reached down in time, taking hold of the dogs collar, just before Kerri had a chance to take off after the poor kitten.
"Shh Kerri" Tara said, softly. But it was too late because the cat, startled, had already made a quick dash for the relative safety of the sunflowers. Tara could hear the kitten mewling just beyond the boundary of the decaying stalks. She felt Willow's hand cover hers over the top of Kerri's collar. There was a playful, adventurous glint in the red-heads gaze that was unmistakable.
"Well, we can't just leave her out there...."
Tara nodded, pretending to contemplate their plight. "I guess it's our duty to help...." Tara said, lifting her brows in the night. "But what about Kerri? I get the sense that she's a little territorial when it comes to the feline persuasion...she might not appreciate "a little miss kitten" getting all the catnip surprises..." Tara pointed out.
"Somehow I don't think it's the catnip surprises she's too worried about..." Willow teased. They could still hear the kitten calling out, only now the sound was more distant and distraught. She must have wandered out further into the field and gotten lost, Willow thought.
They made their way through the ragged, patches of dead vegetation. There was a dry rustle as the two women followed the sound of the stray kitten mewling from somewhere inside the lifeless plumage. Kerri ran on ahead of them, disappearing through the dense field. And they worried for a moment that Kerri might catch up with the kitten before they could get to her, But in the next instant, there was the sound of a crow cawing it's indignation from somewhere in the opposite direction, and both Willow and Tara heard Kerri's body shift focus. Pretty soon the rustling made by the big dog's girth had forgotten all about the lost kitten as she pursued the more interesting sounds of the crow.
They walked in semi-silence for another five minutes. The wild bushiness of their surroundings making it impossible to walk side by side, so Willow brought up the rear as Tara led the way inches ahead of her. "Do you see her?" Willow whispered into the darkness. The sounds of the lost kitten had stopped momentarily and both women stalled their movements and strained their ears for any indication as to which direction they should take.Though the stars and the moon were high in the sky, it was barely enough to illuminate the darkness shielding them.
Willow was about to bring her hand up to Tara's shoulder in a wordless suggestion that they turn around and go back when she felt something tickle the the skin of her ankle. Visions of all sorts of nighttime creatures clouded the span of willow's mind as she pictured all varieties of bugs, each one with the capability to latch onto her and suck out whatever bodily fluid they saw fit and each one worse in her mind than the previous. "Ahhhh" Willow let out a yelp, as she came out of momentary paralysis. Her terrified legs danced, as if shots from a riffle were being directed at the space just around her feet. Willow looked at Tara for help, but she couldn't see Tara's eyes clearly enough in the darkness to tell if it was a horrified look on Tara's face that kept her from taking action, or if the blonde was regarding her with the highest bemusement. Willow settled on the latter as the explanation when she heard the soft chuckle from deep inside the blonde's chest fill the air around them. "How can you laugh when I'm being attacked by God-knows-what?" Willow demanded offensively.
Tara said nothing, simply kissed Willow lightly on the lips and bent down to scoop up the terrifying creature at the redhead's feet. After-all, it was her solemn duty as Willow's lover and friend to stop whatever beast was seeking comfort at Willow's shoes, though she'd already guessed what it was that had made Willow jump around like a crazed marionette.
Tara put her hand on the ground, she could feel the dead ground beneath her fingers and the crispness of dried earth seemed to want to extract something from Tara's fingers. She held her stance, waiting for the creature to come to her. Trust was a vital part of wooing anything, and Tara wanted to extend her trust that the animal would come to her, and in turn trust Tara to take care of her. Tara didn't have to wait long, as the unsettling need of the dead ground was soon replaced by the soft warmth of a small body as it pressed into Tara's fingers. She felt the tip of a warm-wet nose nudge the palm of her hand, and Tara scooped the small animal up in her arms. She felt the thing relax immediately against her, and a deeply secure purr vibrating her arms underneath the warm body.
Willow was relieved to see the small bundle in Tara's arms. And though it was nothing alike, Willow had the momentarily flash of what it would be like to watch Tara hold a baby in her arms. Willow knew she was getting ahead of herself by years, after-all they had yet to discuss such things, but Willow felt a warmness in her chest all-the-same at the thought of Tara holding their child. "what should we call her?" Willow said, trying to make her voice come out steady. Even though the words flowed smoothly enough from her lips, Willow still felt the edges of them get caught in her throat as she fought the tightness that caused. Still, the thoughts she'd entertained only moments before refused to be pushed aside so easily, and she had to bite her tongue to stop the thoughts from being made audible.
"How about Miss Kitten The Fantastic Sunflower Dodger?"
"Are you kidding me?" Willow asked teasingly, as she scruffed the kitten behind her ears. She could tell Tara was smiling in the darkness.
"What? Too much?"
"Slightly....maybe we should pick something that's going to be easier to shout out if we ever need to find her?" Willow extracted the squirming Kitten from Tara's arms.
"We're keeping her then?" Tara asked.
"Of course, we can't just leave Miss Kitty Fantastico out here all alone, in the big empty world to fend for herself can we?" Willow asked the kitten, bringing the small animal up to her nose. The kitten playfully batting at her face with the sharp end of one paw. Willow smiled and pressed the kitten closer to her face.
"That's it." Tara smiled crookedly in the night.
"What is?" Willow asked, momentarily confused. She brought the kitten away from her face and tried to see Tara through the thick night air.
"Miss Kitty Fantastico." Tara said.
Willow felt warmed all over again, as she wished suddenly that she could see Tara clearly. Willow opened her mouth to say as much, but she was greeted with the rapidly retreating form of Tara's body. As the blonde moved away from her, deeper into the tangle of sunflowers, Willow felt the youth she'd left behind returning with abandon. Memories of the sunflowers, as they were, blossomed in her mind, so much so that she could almost see them as they had been three summers ago. She knew what Tara wanted, but this time there was no need for Willow to close her eyes, as she couldn't pierce the veil of night to see anything anyway. Willow smiled, as she let her intuition guide her to where she knew Tara would be waiting for her.