Return to Changing Worlds Chapter Eight

Changing Worlds

Author: Justified
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimers: I don't own any BTVS characters...(but if I did, season six and onwards would have undergone some serious reconstructions. )
Note: Italics are thoughts

The girls finished their breakfast in relative silence and soon enough Tara lead Willow out of the house. She was grateful for the fresh air on her face, cooling her down and reviving her senses. Tara proudly pointed out the boundaries of her family's land and described to her guest how she was in charge of managing the small vegetable garden, few various fruit trees and gathering water from the well. Tara then directed Willow's attention to her father and brother who were working out in the fields near the edge of their property. For a moment she felt a pang of jealousy toward the two men out in the field. They get to spend every day of their lives with this beautiful girl and I bet they don't stop for a second to appreciate it... appreciate her. Yet, Willow was fascinated to find how simple their way of life was compared to her own. In a way, it was beautiful. She could easily see herself enjoying such an uncomplicated existence. Get up, eat, work, eat, sleep. No hassles or pressures other than maintaining your family. You grow your own food, gather your own water. Have complete control of your own life. It would be nice.

"Today I must harvest the apples, they have just come into season and will be ripe for the picking" Tara smiled at Willow and motioned towards a small orchard just behind their house.

"Ooh can I help?" Willow eagerly offered herself to the cause. She was intently interested in discovering Tara's way of life, not to mention enticed by the prospect of spending a whole day with the girl. Tara's grin grew wider as she turned and began walking towards the orchard. After a few steps though, she looked over her shoulder at Willow. Her eyes darted up and down Willow's body quickly and her hand gently gestured for the girl to follow. Willow's heart skipped a beat and her eyes unintentionally glazed over as she followed Tara, watching her every movement from behind - the swish of her hair, the light on her skin, her perfection.

Together they collected two woven baskets at the edge of the orchard before continuing on. Tara examined the first apple tree carefully. She looked at the fruit high above her head and smiled contentedly to herself. Willow quirked an eyebrow in her direction.

"Uh, Tara?" She asked cynically.

"Yes." Tara replied cheerfully.

"How are you going to reach those? ... I mean, it's not like you've got a ladder." Willow stopped at this, looking down at the grass, wondering when the common ladder first came into use. However, before she had too much time to dwell on it, she heard Tara's voice from above her. "I don't know what a ‘ladder' is... but I'm sure I don't need it." Tara shouted down from her perch in the tree. The girl had managed to climb to the branch containing the gorgeously red apples in mere seconds. Willow stared at her, completely stunned. Tara noticed the amazed expression on the redhead's face and giggled. "Aren't you coming up?"

Willow took that as an invitation and getting in touch with her inner child, she clumsily began to climb.

By the time she reached Tara, Willow was sufficiently satisfied that she was not cut out for this. The last time she'd done something even remotely physically demanding was when she was hurriedly packing boxes and cleaning her room before the big move. That seemed like such a distant memory now...

Tara noticed Willow's heavy breathing and splintered hands.

"Oh my." She breathed, taking Willows hands in her own. Willow felt her head rush at the blonde's touch and was scared she would topple out of the tree. Tara's hands were so soft and warm... and although they were surely callused in places from her work, Willow barely noticed. Just the girl's touch was so intense and Willow wanted more. Tara was softly rubbing Willows palm with her thumb, moving along her hand to where the splinters were. Once she reached them she took Willow's hand fully into her own and peered at the bleeding sores. Willow felt flustered and she ached for Tara to be touching her whole body, enveloping her within her arms, caressing her hair.... It was with great struggle that Willow removed her hand from Tara's gentle embrace to examine her tiny wounds. She tried to act casual and pretend that it didn't hurt as she poked around, eventually managing to pry the splinters out with her nails. Willow winced slightly as blood trickled down her palm but wiped it on her jeans and proceeded to look up at Tara as if it were nothing.

"Are you ok?" The girl asked, intrigued by the way Willow had pulled out the pieces of twig.

"Yeah, I'm fine" Willow answered nonchalantly, "Shall we continue?"

After what seemed like hours to Willow, they had finally finished Tara's chores. It was almost after midday and the sun had fully risen, baring its full heat upon the two girls. They ambled back to the house and set about doing the in-door chores before preparing lunch for the men. Willow was having flash backs from their day. Tara's hands working her sores, holding the girl as she came off the last tree, their fingers brushing at the well, carrying the bucket of fresh milk together, the sun on Tara's hair as she flicked it from her face... it was driving her insane. How can one person be so perfect, so flawless? How can she make me feel this way? Willow thought it best to push her thoughts from her mind and return to the chores, so grabbing an old rag, she began to help Tara clean the already spotless house.

"Is the food ready Tara?" Her father asked stepping through the door, his head barley fitting through.

"Yes father, it is ready for you."

"Good." he sat down at the table with his son and they began to eat. Tara and Willow sat opposite them to eat after making sure they had all that they needed. Her brother was the first to finish, leaving a few things on his plate.

"Tara you can take the scraps to the pigs now."

"Yes." She said obediently. Grabbing his plate she patiently stood in wait of her father's scraps before heading out side. Her blonde hair fell over her face as she looked down at the floor. Willow had never seen her look so timid. When they were alone, Tara was always so bubbly and confident but now she seemed so silent and coy. Her brother stood up, belched and left the room without so much as a thank you. Willow was furious. Tara put in so much effort to please them both and they don't so much as say thank you? What was their deal? Watching Tara, Willow felt the burning desire to whisk her away, protect her from this, offer her more, treat her better, give her all that she deserved. It was in that moment that Willow realised... It was in that moment that Willow realized she was completely and utterly hooked on the drug that is Tara... for the first time in a very long time... no, the first time ever... she was in love.

Night came quickly and before Willow knew it darkness was upon them and they were once again in Tara's room changing into their night clothes.

"Tomorrow I shall give you something more suitable to wear." Tara gestured at Willows jeans, shirt and sneakers.

"Um, ok," Willow hesitantly agreed, unsure of what to expect. Tara looked gorgeous in her dresses but Willow worried that she might not measure up. What if she looked like a complete fool? Feeling a little stressed by this thought, the redhead shuffled into bed. She was soon followed by Tara, who climbed in behind her and sighed heavily with exhaustion. "Goodnight Willow." Tara said gently. "Night Tara." Willow replied ever so quietly. She had so many questions to ask but her tiredness finally got the better of her as she drifted off to sleep.

Continue to Changing Worlds Chapter Ten

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