Return to Hellebore Chapter Eighteen


Author: Chris Cook
Rating: NC-17
Copyright: Based on characters from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon and his talented minionators, and Diablo II by Blizzard Entertainment. All original material is copyright 2003 Chris Cook.

Tara sat on the tailboard of the wagon and watched the scenery slowly go by as she methodically worked bramble oil into the length of her unstrung bow. Willow was inside, rearranging the baggage and satchels for the fifth time, and seeing as Tara didn't know what particular arrangement she was trying for, she had elected to keep out of the way. Twice so far Willow had poked her head out of the canvas flap at the back of the wagon, the first time to give Tara a quick kiss on the back of her neck, the second to assure her that she was 'almost done.' Tara smiled at her lover's enthusiasm, and used the time to complete a few menial tasks, such as keeping her bow in top condition.

"You done out here?" Willow asked, appearing over Tara's shoulder.

"Sure," Tara said, holding the bow up and looking along its length, studying how the sunlight glinted off the treated wood.

"Well then, your carriage awaits," Willow said with a wink. Tara lifted the flap and climbed inside to find the wagon substantially transformed. The wooden floor was covered in blankets, and beneath them, when Tara lifted a corner to find out, were the spare bedrolls and soft leather sheets the caravan had brought along in case of the loss of some of their supplies, or damage to one of the wagons. With a double layer of blankets over the top of them, thick, strong wool and then a thinner, softer layer on top, Willow had created the most comfortable sleeping surface Tara could have asked for, short of emptying the wagon and hauling a real bed inside. Their luggage and provisions were securely stored on either side, up against the sides of the wagon, lashed down to keep them from moving. At the front the wagon's share of the caravan's bulk supplies, in wooden crates and heavy hessian sacks, were stowed up against the back of the headboard, with a few spare bedrolls and several thick rolled-up blankets covering them, to serve as a comfortable back to lean against, as Willow was doing. Tara glanced around, Willow's thought for detail not lost on her. Her spear was stowed securely behind the luggage on one side, safe from falling loose but available at a moment's notice. Willow's satchels were piled between a pair of baggage sacks, easily accessible. Rolled up and secured with leather straps on the other side of the makeshift bed were enough blankets to replace the wagon's bedding, so they could change the blankets and wash the old ones whenever they wanted. Willow had even left one of the crates uncovered at one side, up against the edge of the headboard, to leave easy access to the flap at the front of the wagon leading onto the driver's seat outside.

"Willow," Tara said, beaming, "this is incredible... how did you do this?"

"Well," Willow said, sitting up and shuffling over to Tara's side, staying on her knees to keep from bumping her head on the struts holding the roof up, "I was thinking it's still a month to winter, and we're pretty far south as well, but there's all this extra gear for when the caravan goes on from Duncraig up towards Khanduras where it's colder. You know, all the blankets, and those leathers, in case they run into a snowstorm or something. So I thought, what's the point of having all that just rolled up and getting in the way? And then I thought, what could be better than travelling all the way to Duncraig with my beautiful Amazon warrior in our own cozy little love nest?"

"Love nest, huh?" Tara purred, lying down and pulling Willow down with her.

"Well, maybe it's not quite that big," Willow admitted, stretching out next to Tara, "but it's the next best thing to a real bed, provided you don't mind sleeping really close. Which I don't," she finished with an impish smile. Then her expression turned forlorn. "I wish we could've stayed a few more days in the castle."

"I know," Tara said, "but it won't be long."

"Yeah," Willow said with a half-smile, "but, you know, now we're stuck here for two weeks, a-and much as I love being this close to you... it's a bit cramped for what I'd, you know, like to be doing."

"Hey, baby," Tara murmured, "it's okay. I'm okay with waiting until we've got a proper room, and a real bed."

"Me too," Willow insisted, "of course... it's just that... I was really looking forward to it, last night, and then with everything that happened... and I know you were too..."

"Willow," Tara said, quietly but firmly, "it's alright. I was looking forward t-to... making love," she blushed and grinned, "of course. But it wouldn't have been right. Not then. You needed me to hold you and make you feel safe."

"It just seems unfair," Willow complained, "you're so kind and caring, and baby I love you so much, but you had to go to sleep, you know... unsatisfied. After we'd already decided to-"

"No, Willow," Tara insisted, "I wasn't unsatisfied, I promise I wasn't. Just as much as you needed me to comfort you, I needed to as well. I saw you hurting, and I just had to hold you, and try to make it better. I-I went to sleep knowing I had done everything I could to help you, to make you feel safe after what happened. That's really important to me, and it meant more to me than just being able to experience some release. That wasn't important right then. I promise you, Willow, I wish things had happened differently, but there's nothing you could have done that would have made me feel more in love with you than I do right now."

Willow smiled up at her, with unshed tears in her eyes, and then buried her face in Tara's chest as she hugged her fiercely.

"Mmm l'v 'oo," she said indistinctly, muffled by Tara's cleavage.

"I love you too, baby," Tara purred, stroking Willow's hair. Willow held her for a moment, then relaxed her arms, though she didn't remove them from Tara's waist, and let her head fall sideways, pillowed on Tara's left breast.

"How do you always know what to say to make me feel better?" she asked rhetorically. "You're an angel, baby, you really are." Tara smiled fondly down at her.

"So when sorceresses meet angels," she said with innocent curiosity, "do they always bury their faces in their bosom like that?" Willow laughed.

"It's a truly angelic bosom," she retorted, "so yes, I don't see how they'd be able to resist the temptation. I can't," she added, emphasising her point by again pressing her face between Tara's breasts. Tara was very glad she had chosen to wear her lighter leather armour, without the high neckline.

"Um, Tara?" Willow asked, once she had again extracted herself. "I was wondering... I know it's a bit cramped in here, but if you wanted to... I mean, we could make love? Not right now, obviously, but maybe in the evening...?"

"W-would you be okay with that?" Tara asked gently.

"I was kind of picturing a big bed," Willow admitted, "but I think with you I could be perfectly happy if we were lying in a puddle in the middle of a field... A-and last night I was worried, you know, well, of course you know, I was worried about how long it would take for me to feel, well, good, but I do. I really do, I feel the way I did before the court happened. So, um, yes, I'd be absolutely okay with that. Um, what do you think?"

"I think," Tara said slowly, "well, I know I-I want to make love to you more than I've ever wanted anything all my life... but you're right, it is kind of cramped, and... well, this will be our first time. If you can wait a little longer, I'd like it to be in a real bed as well."

"Okay," Willow said, hugging Tara tightly again, "okay... I'd like that too. A-and you're right, for our first time I'd have felt a bit, you know, like it wouldn't really have been proper until we got to a bedroom, and we can do all the things I've been imagining..."

"Oh?" Tara asked. "And what might those be?"

"As if you can't guess," Willow teased back.

"Well, I've got a couple of ideas of my own," Tara replied, "and I think they're worth waiting a couple of days for. We're due to get to the next town then, we'll see what our sleeping arrangements are like."

"So we might not have to wait until we get to Duncraig?" Willow said excitedly. "Well yay! How about that for having our cake and eating it?"

"I'm not planning on eating cake," Tara purred seductively. Willow looked curious for a moment.

"Oh," she said, blushing, "oh, yeah, um... well, we definitely need a proper bed, 'cause I think I'm going to be doing a fair bit of energetic writhing around."

"Yes you are," Tara promised, "and we could do with walls a bit more solid than canvas, too."

"Huh?" Willow asked.

"Because I can tell by the way you're looking at me," Tara explained in a sensual murmur, "that I'm going to be moaning at the top of my lungs." Willow leant into Tara's cleavage and gave her a soft, playful nip on her breast, which made her wriggle delightfully, before settling down next to her and half on top of her.

"You're really okay with waiting?" she asked.

"Yes, I am," Tara assured her.

"Me too," Willow said. "It might not be always easy, but it's for the best. And hey, it doesn't mean we can't see what it's like making love in a caravan wagon later on. I'm sure it has its points."

"It may at that," Tara mused. "What do you think would be better, at night when we're stopped, or during the day when we're moving? Or we could try both. What do you think?" She gave Willow a warm smile.

"I don't think there's ever going to be a dull moment," Willow said, smiling back.

"Not if I can help it," Tara promised. "Maybe one day we could test your theory and see what it's like making love in a puddle in the middle of a field?"

"Only if we wait until summer," Willow said.

"That's fine with me," Tara murmured, "I don't have any plans that don't involve being with you for a long, long time."

"Me too, baby," Willow said, "in fact... I-I know we're young, a-and all that, but still... I-I can't imagine ever wanting to be with anyone else."

"Me neither," Tara promised, enveloping Willow in a hug of her own.

"Mmm, in fact, I could spend my whole life right here," she said, closing her eyes and fully enjoying the softness of Tara's chest beneath her cheek. They lay together in content silence for a moment, before Willow opened her eyes and fixed Tara with a curious gaze.

"I meant to ask you earlier," she said, "what language was that song you sang to me?"

"High Amazonian," Tara said, "it's the language of all our songs and legends."

"It's really beautiful," Willow said, "and you've got such a perfect singing voice... do all Amazons speak that?"

"We learn it before we come of age," Tara explained, "children usually start learning it when they're fourteen or so, but it takes a while to master. We use Westlin normally, it's more flexible, but the old language is important to us. The way it sounds, the way it's put together, it defines who we are. It's a very structured language."

"How do you say 'I love you'?" Willow asked. Tara smiled leisurely.

"Me' te'ela," she said.

"Me' te'ela," Willow repeated, hugging her. "What about 'you're beautiful'?"

"Te'la," Tara said.

"Te'la. It's very similar to 'I love you'."

"It's the way the language is," Tara said, "to love is to recognise beauty. Te'la doesn't just mean you're attractive, it means you have beauty in your soul. You deserve love."

"I like this language," Willow mused. "So... how about 'looking at you makes me wet'?" she asked with a mischievous grin. Tara smiled at her.

"The best translation would be 'Me'elas te's'sori'."

"Me'elas," Willow repeated, "that's... something about 'my love'?"

"Very close," Tara said, impressed, "'me'' is me or my, 'ela' is love. 'Elas' is the body's physical capacity for love - High Amazonian is kind of sexual in a lot of ways. 'Me'elas' m-means 'my sex'. Usually literally, though depending on how it's used it can mean any part of the body that's, um, stimulated or aroused, or causing arousal in a partner."

"No kidding," said Willow, "I definitely like this language. So 'me'elas te's'sori' means...?"

"My sex weeps with joy for you," Tara murmured, her cheeks reddening.

"Wow," Willow said, "i-is everything erotic in High Amazonian so poetic?" Tara grinned shyly.

"Love is the founding concept of the language," she replied, "making love is a very special part of that. The structure of the language is, um, most elegant when it's being used to express things that are most important. That's why we learn it when we're at that age, it's part of learning about sex, and love."

"It's really beautiful," Willow said. "I'm definitely going to remember it."

"W-would you like to learn it?" Tara asked hesitantly. "I mean, it'd take a while, obviously, but I'm sure you'd catch on really fast..."

"I'd love that," Willow smiled. A thought occurred to her, and she raised an eyebrow suggestively. "You're not worried I'd wait until we're in a room full of people who won't understand it, and start telling you exactly what I'm going to do with you later on?" Tara's eyes went wide, and a smile played around the corners of her mouth.

"Ben me'elas's'sori," she replied.

"Ben me'elas... that makes you...?" Willow guessed.

"Uh-huh," Tara nodded. She slowly stroked her fingers up and down Willow's back, sighing contentedly at the feel of Willow lying against her. "D-do you want to start now?"

"Start what?" Willow said with a playful grin.

"Learning the language," Tara said with exaggerated patience. "Insatiable."

"Yup," Willow happily admitted. "Okay, let's go."

"How about I tell you a story?" Tara suggested. Willow nodded and settled herself in, reclining over Tara's body with her chin cradled in her cleavage, staring up at her face.

"I'tu a Ela'maso," she began, following with the translation: "In the time before Amazons - ile'se'nela u lea'la - there was born a beautiful woman - el'ela de co'a - kind and gentle - e'ti'Athulua - her name was Athulua.

"Her home was plagued by violence," Tara continued, translating as she went, "the people of her village struggling to survive while lords from far-away cities waged war through the land. As all her kind did, she learned to walk softly, to hear the approach of strangers and hide from them, and to live off what little the ravaged lands could provide. And above all, she and her people feared the soldiers, whose wars burned their crops, poisoned their soil and killed their animals.

"One year the wars were particularly vicious, and many of Athulua's people died. Athulua fled to the deepest forest, where few ever came, hoping the armies would pass her by. One day, when out gathering food, Athulua heard the approach of a stranger, someone who did not know the ways of her people to move quietly. She hid and watched, and saw a soldier, a woman with dark skin and strange attire, wandering through the forest. Athulua saw that the soldier was badly wounded, and knew that she would die soon. But she took pity on the poor woman, seeing her so hurt and lost, and so she followed her, and when at last the soldier fell to the ground from fatigue and dropped her spear, Athulua dared come out of hiding and approach her.

"The soldier's name was Kethryes, and though she had little food to spare, Athulua took her home and cared for her, unable to simply walk away and leave her to die. For many months Athulua searched the forest for food by day, coming back to her meagre home in the evening to care for Kethryes. At first Kethryes couldn't understand Athulua's language, but little by little she learned to, and as she slowly regained her strength they talked, and became friends. As Kethryes healed, Athulua was glad to see her pain gone, but feared that she would lose her new friend once she was well enough to leave the forest and rejoin her army.

"Then one night the armies came to the deepest forest, and their fighting burned the land. Athulua and Kethryes fled, but with fires burning they became lost in the smoke, and soldiers captured them. They recognised Kethryes as one of her own and welcomed her, but Athulua was taken prisoner, to be sent to the lord of the army as a slave. The next night, when Athulua's guard was sleeping, Kethryes came to her and freed her. Together they escaped from the army and fled towards the coast, where they hoped to cross the sea and leave the wars behind for ever.

"They travelled far, coming to lands strange to both of them, and having only each other to take comfort in. During their journey they fell in love, Athulua with Kethryes's valiant spirit, Kethryes with Athulua's gentle soul. But unknown to them, the lord of Kethryes's army was greatly angered by her betrayal, and pursued her with many of his soldiers. And finally, after following their prey for many months, they caught Athulua and Kethryes, and Kethryes was taken prisoner while defending her lover so that she could escape.

"Athulua was alone, and had no god to pray to, so as she hid from the soldiers and cried she prayed to Kethryes, asking for her warrior spirit. She took Kethryes's spear and followed the soldiers to their camp, and as the sun set she attacked, swiftly defeating each soldier who challenged her, allowing them to run when they chose, but killing those who would not. She freed Kethryes and together they travelled far away from that land, and were never parted from each other again."

"And were never parted from each other again," Willow said, before Tara had translated the last line. Tara smiled down at her.

"You're a quick learner," she said.

"In all sorts of ways," Willow replied. "They were the first Amazons? And they became your gods?"

"That's right," Tara said, "as they travelled they met others who were searching for a better life, and together they made the journey to the islands, which everyone thought were too wild to be conquered. But they did, and now it's our home, and Athulua and Kethryes still love each other and all their people."

"Well, I don't know about all of the Amazons," Willow said, "but I know I love one of them. Tell me another story?" Tara laughed to herself.

"Alright," she said, stroking Willow's hair as she turned and rested her head against Tara's breasts. "How Zerae the gladiator was freed..."

Tara told Willow stories through the day, both content to stay lying with each other among their soft blankets, as the clouds outside darkened and began to rain. With no respite from the constant drizzle in sight the caravan master chose not to halt for lunch, stopping only long enough for everyone to take some food from one of the supply wagons. Willow and Tara scurried out for lunch, both under the cover of a single waterproof sheet, and retreated as quickly as they could to the shelter of their wagon, passing the sheet out to the driver in front and then closing the flaps at the front and back of the canvas cover as tightly as they could. While Willow was finishing the last of her bread Tara idly began to draw, refusing to let Willow see until she was finished. So, while Tara remained seated with her back against the piled-up crates, cushioned by blankets, drawing away, Willow lay down and rested her head in Tara's lap, listening as Tara told her more stories, some of them Amazon legends, some wandering tales that Tara made up as she went.

At last evening came, and the caravan drew to a halt, taking what shelter it could from a rise on the west side of the road. Willow got up and peered through a corner of the canvas flap as the wagons moved into a half-circle up against the rise, with the baggage and supply wagons outside and the sleeping wagons as well-protected as they could be behind them. Tryptin, beneath a heavy waterproof coat and hood, made his way around the Amazon wagons, distributing food for dinner so that no-one else would have to go out in the rain. Tara continued to draw through dinner, and Willow tried to guess what she was up to, just from watching the way she would frown in thought before applying a stroke of her pencil here or there, turning the page this way and that beneath the light of the oil lamp above them.

"I suppose we'd better get ready for bed," Willow said idly after both of them had finished eating, and her curiosity was really starting to get the better of her. Tara nodded absently and stared at her page for a moment before making a miniscule addition to it. Willow unfolded the blankets she had set aside to sleep under, and began laying them out over their makeshift bed, leaving the corner where Tara was sitting alone for the moment. That done she pulled off her boots and undid her belt, glancing at Tara as she did so. She wasn't sure, but she thought she caught a glimpse of Tara's eyes on her, and Tara's smile was definitely a little wider than it had been.

Willow sat herself opposite Tara, deliberately not making any effort to look over the top of her page, and began undoing the laces on the sides of her boots. Tara smiled wider, and made a final addition to her sketch before setting it aside, face-down, and looking up at Willow. Willow finished removing Tara's boots and looked at her, then at the paper, then back at her.

"Your masterpiece is finished?" she asked playfully.

"I don't know if I'd go that far," Tara admitted, "but yes, it's done."

"Do I get to see?" Willow asked.

"In a moment," Tara said softly, "when we're ready to go to bed." Willow grinned at Tara, enjoying the little game, and then sat up straight as she pulled her top over her head and let it fall behind her. She kept herself from meeting Tara's gaze, wanting her to have no distractions to draw her eyes away from the show Willow was putting on for her. Slowly she unhooked her bra at the back and drew her arms out of its shoulder straps, keeping it held to her chest with one hand as she did so. She finally looked at Tara, pleased to see Tara's eyes fixed on her hand as she slowly let it fall, revealing her breasts. Tara's lips parted as she took in a quick breath and held it.

"I've put a couple of robes aside," Willow said quietly, "in case we need to get dressed in a hurry... so, we could sleep naked, if you want?"

"I-I want," Tara breathed.

"I bet you do," Willow grinned at her, kneeling upright and undoing the waistband of her skirt. Tara's eyes followed it down her thighs, taking in every inch of skin revealed. Once the skirt was down around her knees Willow quickly pulled it back and off her legs, then sat down and leaned back, hooking her thumbs in the waistband of her underwear. Slowly, very much aware of Tara's intense gaze, she pulled the waistband down over her hips, lifting her bottom up off the blankets just long enough to slide the material out from underneath, and then dragging it down her legs. When she got as far as she could reach she lifted her right leg, pressing her hand to the back of her thigh as she lifted it up to her chest and slipped her foot through the loop. She then stretched both legs out straight, using her free foot to slide her underwear off her other leg, and looked at Tara.

Tara had the same expression she always did when Willow revealed herself for her, the serene mix of amazement and desire that always sent a thrill down Willow's spine. It was both at the thought of Tara being so enthralled by her body, and the suggestion of Tara's wilder side, that she showed only to Willow, the nervous anticipation of what Tara might do. In this case, after a moment in which she ran her eyes along the length of Willow's body, Tara reached slowly for the laces on her leathers.

"No," Willow said, surprising Tara. She lithely got up and knelt at Tara's side, gently removing her hands from the laces and taking hold of them herself.

"I did okay getting your boots off," she whispered in Tara's ear, "let me finish what I started." Tara's eyes went wide, and then she smiled at Willow and sat back, letting Willow attend to her clothes. Willow took her time loosening the laces of her armour, then pulled it off over her head, storing it out of the way. Next came Tara's thin shirt, and Willow made sure to graze her palms over Tara's breasts as she took that off, taking full advantage of the fact that Tara needed no bra so long as she had her armour to support her.

Willow had intended to proceed to Tara's leather skirt next, but the sight of Tara's breasts fully revealed to her sidetracked her badly. Watchful for any sign that Tara felt she was going too far, and detecting none, she took her breasts in her hands and gently pressed against them, squashing them lightly against Tara's body. She moved her hands in a slow circular motion, squeezing, lifting and releasing, while her thumbs stroked her nipples. Tara's breathing grew noticeably faster as Willow caught her nipples between her thumbs and the sides of her palms and began rolling them gently to and fro. Willow luxuriated in her fascination with Tara's breasts for some time, then - noticing Tara's eyes begin to close and her breathing becoming more like sighing - she took each nipple firmly between thumb and forefinger and squeezed, tugging gently at the same time.

Tara's reaction was immediate and dramatic. As soon as Willow applied the firm pressure to her nipples she arched her back as far as she could, pressing her breasts into Willow's surprised hands with more force than Willow had so far exerted. Tara's legs, crossed beneath her, uncoiled with a warrior's speed, closing again around Willow's waist and physically pulling her closer until Tara's leather skirt rode up around her hips and Willow's waist was pressed against the thin, and damp, material of her underwear. Finally, still before Willow had really had time to react, she sat up straight, one arm around Willow's back, hugging her close, with her hands still around Tara's breasts, now trapped by her own pressing in behind. Tara's other hand went to the back of Willow's head, holding her as she kissed her with all the wild passion Willow had been daydreaming about a moment ago.

Willow had opened her lips and invited Tara into her mouth before she even knew what was happening, and her first conscious reaction was to let her legs relax, letting Tara hold her exactly as she wanted. Tara licked at Willow's tongue, drew it out into her own mouth, then grazed her teeth across it as her lips continued to open and close against Willow's, making her shudder uncontrollably. Willow felt more sexual than she ever had in her life, naked in Tara's arms, giving herself to Tara to be pleasured in whatever manner Tara desired. A brief fantasy flitted through her mind, of Tara in full ceremonial armour, the image of a warrior, and herself standing naked against her, her nipples hard against the chill of a polished metal breastplate, inviting Tara to make love to her. The tail of the thought caught in her mind, and as the rest of the fantasy passed she held the image of looking into Tara's eyes and saying 'make love to me'.

Tara's lips slowed, and she released Willow from her embrace, holding her gently as they both caught their breaths.

"I-I didn't mean to react that... m-much," Tara said shyly.

"I'm so glad you did," Willow whispered, another shudder running through her body that she was powerless to suppress. Part of her wanted to throw herself back into Tara's arms, but she recognised that, while they waited for the right moment to give themselves over to their love completely, they had to maintain at least some control. She slowly extracted herself from between Tara's legs and reached down to undo her skirt. The catch came loose in her fingers, and Tara lifted herself slightly, letting Willow slide the skirt down her legs and off. Willow glanced up at Tara, resting the tips of her fingers on the waist of Tara's briefs, and on receiving a little nod from Tara, she slipped her fingers beneath the fabric and pulled it down. She wondered for a moment if she shouldn't look, if it would be somehow disrespectful to stare unashamedly at Tara's sex, but the way Tara relaxed her body and parted her thighs a fraction once her legs were free of her underwear drew Willow's eyes, and she spent a long moment simply taking in the sight of the patch of golden curls, and the lips of her sex beneath them, glistening slightly in the lamplight.

"Well," she said, her voice shaky, "time for bed, then?"

"Do you want to see my drawing first?" Tara murmured.

"Oh," Willow laughed quietly, "I forgot... I've been going nuts trying to figure out what it is all evening, but I guess somebody distracted me, you know?" Tara chucked to herself and reached out for the piece of paper - which showed off her breasts very well, Willow observed, as she reached behind herself - and handed it to Willow.

Willow recognised it at once, but nevertheless it took a moment for her to understand what she saw. Unlike the drawing of Tara's she had seen before, this one was completely detailed, with tiny, faint lines overlapping to create subtle shades, every inch of light and shadow accounted for. There were two figures, kneeling face to face, naked and almost glowing with the perfection of the smoothness of their skin. Tara was on the left, staring at Willow, and the scene was of their shared bathing, only the morning before. Tara's hand was between Willow's legs, gently touching her sex, and Willow's expression was one of absolutely pure joy. The way Tara had drawn her, with subtle plays of light on her face and in the shades behind her, made her look like an angel. Willow felt as if she was seeing two pictures at once, one sexual, herself brought to a serene peak of arousal by Tara's touch, the other of Tara worshipping her as a goddess, touching her as an offering to a divinity.

"Tara," Willow breathed, "th-this is... it's beautiful... gods... I look- d-do you really see me like this?"

"Always," Tara said. She gently took the page from Willow's unresisting hand and put it safely into their journal, nestling beside her earlier self-portrait.

"Oh gods Tara," Willow whispered, "I wish I could show you how I see you."

"You don't have to," Tara promised, "e-every time you look at me, I-I know."

Willow wanted to say something, anything, to tell Tara how much she loved her right then, but she couldn't find words to do it justice, and looking into Tara's eyes she realised she didn't have to.

"I love you," she murmured, knowing that Tara would understand how much those simple words meant.

"I love you too," Tara said, and Willow realised she had somehow succeeded, and Tara had heard all the unimaginable words she hadn't said, for she had said them back. Willow felt as though she would be able to glow with warmth in the middle of an icy river, as she lay down beside Tara, pulling the blankets up over them as Tara turned the lamp down, extinguishing it, and lay down. Willow lay on her side, in her accustomed position, but something about the way Tara wrapped around her tonight, the way her leg rested almost on top of Willow's, or the way her hand was pressed a little firmer into her body, made Willow shiver with delight, and dispelled any thought of getting to sleep easily. Willow remained still for a moment, listening to Tara's breathing, and the occasional muted voices from the caravan guards not far outside.

"Tara?" she asked eventually.

"Yes?" Tara purred, her silken voice leaving Willow in no doubt that she knew exactly how her insides were stirring.

"I-I love how you kissed me," she confessed. Tara held her a little closer, eliciting a sigh from Willow.

"I get a little nervous," Tara admitted, "sometimes I, y-you know... I get a bit wild, and it's not something I'm used to."

"You don't have to be nervous," Willow assured her, "when you get like that, I feel... um, I, uh, you don't have to, I know it might be a bit, well, a bit much, if we're not going to make love, but I'd... if you want, I want you to touch me, now. I-I want you to feel what you do to me. Would you?" Willow held her breath until she felt Tara's lips on the back of her neck, and her hand slowly move down over her stomach and across her waist.

Slowly, savouring every inch of the journey, Tara's fingers moved through Willow's dark red curls, tickling her slightly, before reaching the soft, yielding lips of her sex. Willow parted her thighs slightly, but otherwise held herself quite still, not wanting to do anything to distract Tara from what she was feeling. She was content to wait to make love, to endure the sweet, tantalising longing for a little while more, but Tara's kiss had lit a fire inside her, the beauty of her drawing had fanned it, and Willow simply needed to have Tara touch her there once more. She wanted nothing more, but she knew she would be satisfied with nothing less. Tara's fingers moved over her sex, touching the wetness that had appeared there, touching with all the care in the world. Finally her palm pressed against Willow's curls, and her fingers stretched the length of her sex, cupped slightly to avoid putting too much agitating pressure on her clit, her fingertips resting around Willow's entrance further down.

"Ahhhh," Willow sighed, feeling her body react to Tara's touch, as though she had made everything in the world right. "You feel?" she whispered to Tara.

"I feel," Tara whispered back. Willow was mildly contemplating the end of the warming touch when the tip of Tara's index finger curled slightly, slipping just a fraction between the lips of her sex. She took two quick breaths before she could be entirely sure she wasn't about to thrust her hips down.

"Tara...?" she asked, not sure whether she was asking her to stop or continue.

"Do you w-want this?" Tara murmured. "Just this... d-do you?"

"Yesss," Willow hissed, opening her thighs a little more. Her fingers clawed the blankets as Tara's index finger slid slowly, tortuously slowly, into her sex, Willow's juices aiding her as she moved into her clenching tunnel. Finally, after a brief eternity, her hand rested against the lips of Willow's sex, and she was as deep as she could be inside her lover.

"Oh gods," Willow murmured, her heart hammering in her chest, "oh gods, oh Tara, my angel, my goddess, you're inside me, I can feel you inside me..."

"I'm inside you," Tara breathed right into Willow's ear. Somehow, even among the churning sensations, having Tara simply say the words lifted Willow higher.

"Oh my goddess," she whispered, "me'elas te'kin'las'sori..."

"That's right," Tara purred, "you're weeping oceans for me." Willow felt as though it was literal truth - she had never before been so wet short of climax, that through the myriad feelings emanating from Tara's finger, still motionless inside her, she thought she could feel her own juices trickling out of her sex, wetting Tara's hand and her own thighs. A single droplet ran down over the front of her thigh, and she shuddered, almost certain that her sex doubled its wetness just from the motion, from Tara's finger shifting slightly inside her as she trembled.

"Willow," Tara whispered, "I-I'm not ready to m-make you come, like this... if I do, I-I don't think w-we'll be able to stop... I want you to come, Willow... when I... I come out of you, w-will you t-touch yourself? Please?"

"Anything," Willow said, "oh gods Tara, I love you..."

"Come for me, Willow," Tara murmured, her finger moving inside Willow. Willow felt Tara press against her walls, at some spot she had never quite reached herself, and suddenly her eyes were closed, her mouth open, panting for breath, her heartbeat reverberating through her body, making her sex feel like it was pulsing, and as Tara's finger slid out of her, the need to feel release was too great to bear. Her hand went between her legs, as Tara's wet hand pressed against her stomach, and her other arm snuck underneath her to hug her, that hand flat against her chest, feeling her heartbeat. Willow exulted in Tara's tight hold, wasting no time in driving her index finger to the hilt in her own sex, grinding the heel of her hand against her clit at the same time. Normally that would have been enough, but the need Tara had created in her, the burning desire, demanded more from her. On the next outward thrust Willow lined her forefinger up alongside her index finger and buried both inside herself. It was something she only occasionally did, when the mood took her, and it always created reasonably spectacular results.

Now, though, with her palm stimulating her clit beyond endurance, with Tara's hands on her body, holding her tight, making her believe Tara could feel everything she did, and above all with the memory of Tara being inside her still so strong it was difficult to separate it from Willow's own penetration of herself, she felt herself break through some unknown boundary. She bit the blankets beneath her head hard to muffle her moan, and keep herself from screaming with joy, her sex gushed wetness over her fingers, and to Willow's mind, drowning in ecstasy, it seemed that Tara's tight, almost crushing embrace was all that kept her from literally exploding.

"Oh my gods," she panted, when the lights in her eyes stopped flashing and she had managed to unlock her jaws from their mouthful of blankets, "oh my gods... oh, my, gods!" she repeated again, stressing each word.

"I love you, my beautiful Willow," Tara murmured. Willow noticed that at some point she had returned her hug to the more relaxed embrace they slept in.

"Tara," she breathed, "do you...?"

"I'm fine," Tara promised, "don't worry, I'll make sure I get my turn... and w-we'll get our turn." Willow relaxed in Tara's arms, her breathing slowing back to normal.

"You know," she said quietly, "it seems like every time I come while you're holding me, or even just when I'm thinking about you, I'm over and done in the blink of an eye." She chuckled, and felt Tara laugh behind her.

"When w-we get a night of our own," Tara promised, "I'll make sure you're writhing for what'll seem like hours before you come." She pressed her lips to Willow's back, just below the base of her neck, and held them there for a long time, tickling Willow's skin with her tongue.

"Hours, huh?" Willow asked, slightly tempted to imagine it in so much detail that her hand would be back between her legs before she knew it.

"The first time," Tara said lightly, "then maybe I'll make you come again quickly."

"Oh?" Willow managed, glad she was already lying down, what with her legs going completely weak.

"But the third time," Tara breathed, "I'll really make it last..."

"Well," Willow said, "I know what I'll be dreaming of tonight."

"Me too," Tara replied, and Willow could practically hear her smile. "Goodnight Willow."

"Goodnight Tara. Sweet dreams."

"Always," Tara said, drowsily, "my dreams are always Willow-dreams." She dragged her fingers, still moist, across Willow's stomach, then lifted them and leaned over, so that Willow could just see her out of the corner of her eye, and watch as her perfect lips closed over her fingers and sucked them clean.

"And Willow-dreams," Tara went on, settling back behind her, "are always so, so sweet..."

The full High Amazonian text of the story Tara told to Willow can be found Here.

Continue to Hellebore Chapter Twenty (Rated NC-17)

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