"You seem awfully tense tonight sweetie," Tara prodded an unusually stiff Willow as she lay in the bed beside her.
All day Tara had craved the feel of Willow in her arms and yet now that they could finally be alone, Willow was distant. Their bodies were barely touching when usually water couldn't find a way between their joined skins. Tentatively she reached an arm around Willow's waist and gently tugged the red head closer. The familiar feel of Willow's body against hers felt wonderful after a tense day. In keeping with the brass' orders, Tara had made a point of avoiding her lover. Even though they still studied in the same classes they did not speak to one another, looking for the entire world as though they had put an end to their relationship.
The look on Buffy's face was one of satisfaction but now that she knew the truth about the blonde's orders, Willow could not bring herself to believe it was out of malice.
Tad had approached Willow, his manner rather agitated and awkward even as he inquired whether she was okay.
"I'm fine Tad, but thanks for asking... and for yesterday morning, I'm very grateful."
Tad went a rather nasty shade of red but he grinned and said in a thoughtful voice, "You're not the only one who's grateful."
It was Willow's turn to blush and she did so in a most spectacular fashion. She waved her finger threateningly,
"If you tell a soul..."
"What do you take me for? I'm your friend Rosenberg! All I can say is there's no way that Tara will be able to stay away from you for too long..."
"Huh? Tad... we..."
"I was going to ask you if you wanted me to help you out, I mean, I know her friend pretty well so if you want I can get her to talk to Tara on your behalf..."
"Which friend?" Willow asked suspiciously.
"Ah, Faith," Tad replied in a barely audible mumble.
Willow's eyes widened and her jaw dropped, "You're shagging Faith! Or rather, from what I've heard about her, she's shagging you!"
"Keep it down!" Tad hissed, "Do you want me to talk to her or not?"
"I think I can handle myself," Willow said in a rather amused voice, "Now I can be sure my little secret won't be leaked out."
"Of course not!" Tad squeaked.
"So how is it?"
"Sex with Faith."
"Oh, um... it's nice," Tad went red once more.
"Nice?" Willow asked sarcastically, arching an eyebrow.
"Um... really nice, capital," he mumbled and very hastily made his excuses.
Willow would have spent the rest of the day chuckling over her new found information but her mind was far too preoccupied with her own situation, even to think up comments to embarrass Tad. As she lay in her bed with Tara she couldn't let herself relax even though she had not slept in almost two days. Her eyes were fixed on the door, outlined by the weak light coming from the crack beneath it.
"Sorry," she whispered, "It's just that I keep expecting MPs to charge the door down and slap us both in the brig."
"In the same cell? You... me, stuck in a little room with nothing to do? What's so bad about that?" Tara laughed, trying her best to lighten Willow's mood.
Willow wasn't swayed, "I thought they were watching you closely."
Tara's facial muscles contorted into a frown, "They will be..." she pondered.
"Then how... I mean, yesterday we spent the entire night in the DC3 and they didn't come and now, surely someone would know..."
"We've been doing our best to steer clear of each other though."
Tara didn't convince herself, she knew even better than Willow that they knew everything. There was every chance that they did indeed know that she had blatantly ignored orders and told Willow... in fact...
Tara sighed, "They know already... no doubt they were curious as to what my effect on you would be. It all adds up... the fact that you weren't punished after the fight in the mess hall with Buffy."
"So I'm expendable after all," Willow whispered.
"I'm sorry Will."
"Don't be," Willow burrowed even closer to Tara, "I've stopped caring what the brass thinks about me. This whole world is going to hell, why shouldn't the military be as well?"
"It's our last hope Will, if the military crumbles then there is no hope," Tara said sadly.
"I'd rather put my hope in myself," Willow was not about to put her fate in the hands of men like Quincy or Boone.
"Me too," Tara said softly.
Willow shivered, even tucked beneath all the blankets they had and with Tara's arms wrapped around her, she was still cold, "Do you think they turned the heat off?"
"It feels that way," Tara whispered, she rubbed Willow's arm a few times.
"Can you warm me up?" Willow asked plaintively.
"I'm trying," Tara said, rubbing a little harder.
Willow laughed and rolled over so that she was facing Tara in the darkness. She picked up Tara's hand and placed it over her pyjama-covered breast.
"Tara," Willow breathed, "Please."
"Willow, you're exhausted... you haven't slept... and you want to have sex?"
"Of course, who wouldn't?"
"You are a vixen," Tara whispered, her mouth reaching out to caress Willow's gently.
"Make love to me Tara?" Willow asked when Tara's lips left hers, "Please."
Tara deepened the kiss for a few moments, pulling back she breathed in deeply. Breathing in the scent of her beloved Willow.
"Will, I don't need to be asked twice," Tara grinned and then with a serious look on her face, "but if you fall asleep while I'm fucking you..."
Willow giggled and suddenly pounced. She threw back the bed coverings and rolled Tara over so that she could straddle her.
"Tara Maclay, are you trying to spicy talk me?" Willow asked with an arched eyebrow
"No," Tara replied innocently.
With one swift movement she dislodged Willow from her perch and rolled atop her, reversing their positions. Willow lifted her head from the pillow, seeking out Tara's mouth once more. When Tara hung back reluctantly Willow let out an impatient growl.
"Your lip?" Tara whispered, wondering if she would hurt her bruised lover.
"Can't feel a thing," Willow replied.
"You can't feel a thing?" Tara asked in a dubious tone.
Tara arched an eyebrow and her hand descended between Willow's legs. Willow gasped as Tara rubbed against her fabric-covered mound.
"Okay, I get your point," Willow grinned and trapped Tara's mouth with her own again, crushing their lips fiercely together and ignoring any residual pain she felt.
Willow tasted Tara's mouth hungrily, seeking out the delicious depths. She sucked deeply on Tara's tongue, stroking it with her own. As she did she breathed in Tara's own breath, sharing it. More than anything she wanted to be one with Tara, to prove to her beautiful blonde lover than she was not afraid of the darkness that she thought lay within her. Willow sought to banish that darkness completely. To reclaim Tara as her own and in turn, give herself completely to Tara. It was meant to be, this she knew.
Tara moved down to nuzzle Willow's smooth, pale throat. She peppered it with kisses and nibbles before moving down to her collarbone. To pave the way she began undoing the buttons on Willow's pyjama top, slowly and teasingly. Their mouths remained locked together in a fierce, passionate struggle which neither cared if they won.
Tara pulled back as the last button came free from its hole in her fingers. She looked down at Willow beneath her, her mouth wet from Tara's lips, eyes shining in the pale light. With a small smile, Tara ran her hand softly down the narrow exposed strip of skin where Willow's top parted, from her collarbone down to the waist of her pants. Tara looked with satisfaction at the hunger in Willow's eyes, pleading with Tara to seek out the rest of her flesh. She gave in to that hunger slowly; spreading apart the folds of fabric covering her to reveal her small, perfect breasts. Willow shivered slightly as the freezing air met her exposed skin.
"You're beautiful," Tara whispered before she dipped her head to taste the sweet mounds of flesh, leaving a trail of warmth in the wake of her tongue.
She kneaded one breast with her hand while thoroughly working the other over between her lips and teeth. Gently she bit at the tender but hard little nipple, Willow yelped with pleasure. Tara alternated between Willow's breasts, making sure she loved each of them completely as Willow moaned contentedly beneath her. While still working on one breast with her mouth, she trailed a light hand down over Willow's belly. Willow jumped slightly as she was tickled.
"Do you need me Willow?" Tara asked as one hand played at the waist of Willow's pants, trailing her fingers over her belly.
Willow thrust her hips upward to rub her aching mound against Tara's thigh, impatient in her hunger, "God yes Tara," she hissed between clenched teeth.
"Say it," Tara urged, responding to Willow's thrusts by moving her thigh slightly, teasingly.
"I need you!"
Tara began to slip her hand beneath the waist of Willow's pyjama pants, down over her lower belly until she felt Willow's curls beneath her fingertips. She stopped and looked at Willow's face, the red head was hungry with need.
"Need me for what?" Tara asked, rubbing Willow's mound gently but not entering her slit.
"God Tara!" Willow hissed, she moved her hips urgently, rubbing herself against Tara's hand, seeking out more, "I need you to fuck me with your fingers... please!" she whispered.
Tara lowered her lips to Willow's once more, the kiss a fierce and passionate struggle as Tara finally slipped her hand between Willow's legs. The red head gasped and her thighs fell apart to allow Tara better access. A finger probed, found Willow's slit and her whole body shivered with pleasure when she found Willow wet and ready for her. Tara rolled Willow's clit firmly beneath her finger; she squirmed and cried out in response, thrusting her hips upwards as she searched for what she needed next. Tara broke the kiss to look at Willow's face. Gently, she inserted two fingers into Willow's moist passage. As she slid them in Willow arched her back and Tara could see her eyes were closed, mouth slack.
"Willow, look at me," she whispered even as she thrust upwards.
Willow's eyes opened and they met Tara's. Although the emerald green hue was lost to the darkness, they were shining vibrantly.
"I want... to look at you... too," Willow gasped, trembling hands moving up to the throat of Tara's pyjamas.
Willow tried to undo the buttons on Tara's top but her fingers refused to work properly. As Tara thrust up into her a little faster she cried out, gripping the fabric that covered Tara's shoulder. She tried the buttons again but it was useless, they were too small...
"Sorry about this," Willow whispered and with both hands she tore Tara's top open, buttons popping one by one.
Willow's hands then found Tara's breasts, a thin trickle of sweat running down between them. Even as Tara's fingers moved inside her, she caressed them firmly. She ran her fingers over the beautiful, soft skin, brushed her hardened nipples.
All the while they kept their eyes locked together, Tara watching Willow's eyes as her focus faded as she came closer to release. She thrust her fingers up into Willow as far as she could, feeling her slick warmth closing around them. It felt so good to be in Willow, feeling as though she truly were a part of her. She rocked on, Willow's hips moving in time with her thrusts, more urgently now. Her breath came in short, strangled gasps...
"Tara!" Willow let out a groan from deep within her gut as she thrust her hips up, feeling Tara deep within her, "Tara!"
Forcing herself to keep her eyes on Tara's blue ones, Willow gave in to her release. Letting it wash over her in waves, as she seized Tara by the back of the neck. With a firm hand she drew Tara to her, claiming her lips to stifle her own cries.
Tara felt Willow's warm passage spasm around her fingers, followed by a fresh flow of her juice coating her already slick hand. She lowered herself to Willow's kiss, their chests pressing together, slick breasts sliding against one another's. With the contact, Tara felt Willow's heart threaten to escape her chest, pounding fiercely.
With one last brush of her lips over Willow's, Tara drew back. She pressed one hand between Willow's breasts, over her heart; the other still lay inside Willow's moist passage. Slowly she drew it forth, up to her mouth where she tasted Willow's juices on her finger. She licked her fingers right in front of Willow's eyes, every last bit of wetness savoured.
Willow smiled and found Tara's lips again, this time tasting her own juice in Tara's mouth. When they pulled apart once more, Tara rolled off from her perch astride Willow and looked at the glazy eyed red head with love written all over her face.
"Look what you did to my pyjamas!" Tara said looking down at the button-less top.
"They were in my way!" Willow protested.
Protests did not save her as Tara attacked her with light fingers, tickling the exposed skin of Willow's belly and sides. Willow giggled as she wriggled to get away, trying to keep in her squeals when Tara would not let up. Tara laughed softly as the red head squirmed, reduced to a pile of quivering flesh just at the touch of her fingers.
"Who would've thought... Captain Rosenberg, fearless commander of the Red Devils, is ticklish!" Tara teased, finally ceasing her torture of the helpless pilot, "She's as fierce as a tiger in the air...but start tickling her and she's like a little kitten."
"My god woman, are you trying to wear me out completely?" Willow yawned as she burrowed deep into Tara's sweaty side.
She finally closed her eyes, the fact that she had not slept for almost two days beginning to exert its hold over her. Here in Tara's arms, basking contently in the after glow of their lovemaking, Willow hoped to be able to fall asleep. She would welcome it even though even moment she slept she was in danger of being drawn into the dream plane.
"I want you to sleep like a baby," Tara whispered, "And seeing as it's my fault you can't sleep..."
"Tara..." Willow opened her eyes and looked up.
"Ruining the mood by talking about the evil curse," Tara remarked ruefully.
"That's not funny Tara," Willow crawled out of Tara's arms and sat up, legs dangling over the side of the bed.
Willow began to redo her buttons, having a difficult time with her trembling fingers.
"Will..." Tara reached up to lie her hand tenderly on Willow's shoulder, "I'm sorry..."
"You have nothing to be sorry about Tara," Willow looked over her shoulder, "And there's nothing evil about you..."
"No," Willow interrupted in a firm voice, "Absolutely nothing do you hear me?"
"I hear you my love," Tara said quietly.
"You don't sound very convinced," Willow searched Tara's eyes to find a sadness settling there. She gave up on trying to do her buttons at all.
"How can I not be convinced by you?" Tara forced a smile, "Turn around Willow, look at you... you look as though you're about to fall over."
Tara swiftly did up the buttons on Willow's pyjama shirt for her. Willow then allowed Tara to draw her back down into her embrace. This time she welcomed it as it was freezing, her breath showing in small, white clouds in front of her face. She snuggled into Tara's arms, the blonde enfolding her tightly to her chest as she drew her down. Tara settled on her side, Willow pressed against the length of her body. Her face tucked against Tara's breasts. She closed her eyes once more, breaths finally becoming shallow, peaceful.
"You won't leave me?" Willow asked quietly.
A few moments later Willow sighed in exasperation, "God... I'm exhausted... but every time I start to drift off something in my mind tells me that I can't go to sleep."
Tara gently stroked the side of her face with feathery touches, kissing the top of her head, "I can sing you a song if you would like?"
"Really?" Willow asked in almost child-like delight.
"It's either that or I go and make you some camomile tea," Tara whispered and Willow responded with a quick noise of disgust, "A song it is then."
And in a soft, sweet voice... still barely above a whisper, Tara began singing to Willow. It was a silly old song from childhood... the words little more than nonsense but they were not what mattered. Willow lost herself listening to her love's voice, a small smile creeping onto her face as she lay in her arms. For some reason she did not even feel all that cold anymore.
Several songs later, Tara was finally convinced that Willow was asleep. Her quiet, shallow breaths made barely a sound. As carefully as she could Tara crawled over Willow and onto the cold floor. Willow did not even stir, even as Tara's weight left the bed. Pulling on her socks and boots Tara watched Willow sleep.
"Sleep peacefully my love," Tara kissed the top of Willow's head, before she tiptoed from the room, pausing only to grab her thick coat.
"Thank you so much for letting me stay with you, I didn't want to be a burden..."
"Nonsense!" Giles insisted fervently as he laid out a heavy down quilt on the sofa, "I'm not really all that nice... if I were nicer I would have given up my bed for you."
Tara smiled, "You already tried... and I refused. The couch is just fine. Besides, I think sleeping on a couch will help me feel a little normal... as though maybe all of this is not happening."
Giles fluffed up the pillow and straightened, "Well, it's not much... but if you're happy..."
Tara shrugged out of her flight jacket, remembering to clutch her ruined top together.
"What happened to your pyjamas?" Giles asked as Tara climbed beneath the quilt, he didn't hear her mumbled reply but it sounded something suspiciously like 'Willow-hands.'
He sat on the very edge of the couch as the blonde settled herself into the pillow.
"How do you rate a whole apartment?" Tara asked with a smile.
Giles looked around at his tiny living room, "There was no other way they could get me to come to this frozen little island... although I'm still waiting for my spa pool."
"Willow wants a heated pool," Tara chuckled.
Giles was quiet for a few moments, reflecting on his young charge.
"I've known you for a long time my dear and I've never seen you so happy... which is somewhat strange because we are in the middle of a war..."
"I was a mess when you first met me," Tara tucked the quilt up under her chin, "And for a long time after that. You were the only good thing in my life."
Giles smiled, "And then Willow... it was Willow who changed everything wasn't it?" he finally asked quietly.
Tara nodded barely, "Willow is the missing part of me... I need her to feel whole."
"Will she be safe?"
"How far away are we from the barracks?"
"Quite a ways... almost half a mile."
"No one has ever affected anyone that far away," Tara said in a firm voice, "Willow will be fine."
Giles smiled reassuringly and nodded, with a last tousle of Tara's hair he left her to get some sleep, flicking off the light as he left the room. Tara settled into the couch and wished she had thought to take one of the pillows from their bed so she would at least have Willow's scent to keep her company.
Tara had long since ceased to be scared whenever she walked the dream plane so she was not surprised when she found herself there that night as she slept. She stood in the middle of a ruined city, atop an overpass as she looked out over the chaos around her. The sky was growing darker now even though she was fairly certain it was supposed to be the middle of the day. Like gathering clouds of doom...
"It's getting worse," Tara whispered, her fists tightening around the rail in front of her.
She was grateful Willow could no longer be drawn into this reality. The thought of her girlfriend in the middle of this was just too terrifying to even think about. The horrors that she had seen and was powerless to do anything about haunted her every moment, both here and in the waking world. Years ago it had prevented her from having any sort of normal life. It kept her on the outside of society, even the society in which she had grown up.
Then there was Willow... Willow who was impulsive and fiery... hotheaded and almost arrogant in her brilliance. Yet at the same time she was so vulnerable... Tara thought of cradling the young woman in her arms, fragile while strong. She drew her hand to her nose, wishing the smell of Willow's juices remained on her fingers in this place. Tara had to content herself with the memory of Willow's body beneath hers, the feel of their breasts rubbing together in their passion. Tara sighed... what a time to find each other. Just as the whole world was falling apart and when any day might be their last.
Tara saw movement down below her and her gut wrenched... more killing. However, even as she went to turn away so she did not have to watch she saw a flash of red hair.
"Oh god... it's not possible... Willow!"
Three Martians were chasing her; they were gaining steadily as they loped along with huge steps.
"Willow!" they were too far away for her voice to carry.
Tara clenched the rail in front of her even tighter, until her knuckles went white. She squeezed her eyes shut tightly... it did not always work but now more than ever she had to wake up then and there.
"Wake up... wake up, wake up!"
She gritted her teeth.
...Tara sat up and threw back the quilt as she swung her legs onto the floor. She paused only long enough to pull on her boots and grab a nearby sweater to pull on over her torn pyjama top. She sprinted out the door, running as fast as she possibly could back to the barracks.
Willow blinked, she was dreaming...
Okay, is this the good sort of dream with naked Tara trying to find me so she can punish me for being a bad girl... or is it the type that can kill you... because I know which one I'd prefer...
A scream rent the air and her questions were answered. At least she was wearing clothes instead of her pyjamas... Willow frowned, that was weird in itself. Willow sighed and scanned her surroundings, feeling the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She spun around to see three of them moving towards her... just as huge and scary as the first time she had the distinct displeasure of running into one. Willow took a step backwards, looking for an avenue to make her escape... a hole she could crawl into and hide?
Turning she sprinted down the street as fast as she could. Willow's feet flew over the uneven ground as she ran, every time she looked over her shoulder they were still right there.
You like it now don't ya, she thought angrily, Just wait until we meet and I'm in my new-fangled plane... then we'll all see who's laughing you stupid fuckers!
Willow went running into the ruined foyer of what once was a tall skyscraper. Her feet slipped in something spread across the marble and she went crashing to the floor, continuing to slide even as she fell. It was a huge puddle of blood, Willow looked down at herself... covered in rich, red blood. It was then that the smell assaulted her nostrils and she almost vomited then and there. There was no time as her pursuers ran into the foyer, stopping when they saw her lying on the ground. Willow tried to scramble to her feet but she kept slipping in the gore around her.
They advanced, spreading out slightly so she had three different angles to keep a track of.
"Um, hi," Willow whispered, "Don't suppose we could work this out with a nice little chat... no?" her fingers clawed uselessly at the ground, "Maybe we could do this again sometime when I have grenades... my plane?"
They were all focused on her but Willow suddenly felt drawn to one of them, their eyes locking together in some sort of connection. Willow frowned and was then suddenly assaulted by fragments of images, words filling her mind...
Hate... destruction, the world was in darkness, silent and empty, Many worlds... Willow saw dozens of images of different alien species flash before her eyes... dozens of worlds... flashing so fast before her eyes that she winced, pressing her hands to her temples as she tried to get them out of her head.
It stopped as suddenly as it started, leaving Willow dizzy and disorientated. They moved closer... Willow shook her head, feeling not only terrified but angry and violated. There was nothing redeeming about the creatures who advanced on her... they were evil to their very black cores. Willow didn't care why they slaughtered the populations of entire planets... all she wanted was to get them off her own.
Easier said than done... Willow thought, she couldn't see anything she could use as a weapon anywhere, there was nothing but blood... her own soon to add to it...
The middle one advanced on her, obviously deducing that she was not at all a threat. Willow felt her heart hammering in her chest, blood boiling with fear.
I don't want to die this way! Willow thought desperately, Without a fight... oh god... I just want to live... I just want to see Tara again...
With an angry, animal-like roar Willow threw herself at the nearest one. She took it completely by surprise, sending it crashing to the ground. Her anger added power to her inadequate body weight. The two bodies, one Martian and one human slipped on the bloody ground. Willow came crashing down atop her foe, even as she did she had no idea what she was doing. She scrambled to her feet and ran over it as she made her way back the way she had just came. Hands grabbed her from either side before she could make her escape, fingers dug in painfully...
Tara practically broke down the door, she threw her shoulder against it and fell into the room. She flicked on the light switch to reveal Willow thrashing from side to side in her bed, the covers strewn on the floor.
She threw herself across the few feet that separated them, grabbing the smaller girl by the shoulders she shook her roughly.
Willow's eyes flew open, darting about it terror for a few moments before they came to rest on Tara.
"Tara," she whispered.
Tara's arms tightened around her small frame, clutching at her sweat soaked pyjamas. She buried her face in Willow's neck, in her hair... hands running over her body checking to see that she was not hurt in any way.
Willow just lent her chin on Tara's shoulder, she stared blankly. Not quite realising where she was, just knowing that Tara was here and she was safe.
"I woke up," Willow whispered.
Tara folded Willow into her breast, stroking sweat-soaked hair out of her eyes with a gentle touch. She sniffed back her tears angrily.
"I know baby, you're fine... you woke up and you're fine." Thank God...
"No," Willow shook her head weakly, "I woke up... and you weren't here."
Tara remembered her promise and she bit her lip awkwardly as Willow looked up at her, "I thought you would be safe... I put more distance between us than was necessary and yet I still drew you in..."
"More than was necessary?" Willow asked with a small frown.
"Even the most powerful have never affected anyone more than hundred meters away, not in ten years of study... Will, Giles' place is almost a half a mile from here..."
"What does that mean?"
"It means that I don't think you'll be safe anywhere," Tara whispered.
Willow tightened her grip on Tara's sweater, her small fists bunching up the wool, "I don't want to be safe... I want to be with you. Tara, look at me and tell me no matter what happens you won't leave me out of some stupid notion that you can protect me by staying away from me... Tara?"
"I can't promise that Will... and you shouldn't ask me to..."
"I can and I just did... now what's your answer?"
"Will..." Tara's voice broke.
"I do," Tara whispered.
"Was that an 'I do' but really I don't?" Willow asked cautiously.
"That was an 'I do' because I love you Will."
Willow let Tara draw her back down, the covers were tucked around her but she knew she would not be able to fall asleep again... if ever again.
Her chin resting on the top of Willow's head, Tara stroked her arm softly, all the while trying to cry as softly as she could. It was impossible however, after a few moments Willow felt her shaking and then a choked back sob emerged from her throat. Willow reversed their positions so that she was the one cradling Tara in her arms.
"One day... all of this is going to be a really bad memory," Willow whispered fervently, "So bad that we'll have to have sex constantly to get rid of it."
Tara laughed through her tears, choking slightly, "Vixen."