Return to Hellebore Chapter Twenty-Three


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.

"Rise and shine, sweetie."

Tara's voice soothed Willow through her waking moment, letting her go from blissful slumber straight to luxuriating in the warmth of Tara's presence without any hesitation or confusion.

"Ooh, that's nice," she murmured, covering Tara's hand on her breast with her own and pressing it to herself. "Can't I stay here and shine instead?"

"It's certainly tempting," Tara agreed, "but we don't have long until the caravan gets moving. There's a little creek just by the trees, we should have time for a quick bath, if we hurry."

"Well then," Willow conceded, "in the interests of not turning into a horrible unwashed mess by the time we reach Duncraig... up and at 'em, I suppose." She yawned as she sat up. "Just a quick bath?" she asked.

"We shouldn't go out of sight of the caravan," Tara said, "so I don't think we'll have the chance to, um, enjoy our bath the way we should."

"Drat," Willow murmured, wrapping a thick woollen robe around herself and searching for her boots. She found them, pulled them on, then turned to watch Tara, her robe already on, pulling a pair of towels from their baggage.

"Hey," she said, kneeling beside Tara, hugging her and resting her head on Tara's shoulder. "You know, the way you made love to me last night, that was... I don't know if I can tell you how that was. I felt like you were the grace of the gods themselves, a-and... I don't have the words for it."

"I love you," Tara said softly, "those are the only words that matter."

"Yeah," Willow agreed, "I love you."

"My beautiful Willow," Tara whispered, gently closing her arms around Willow's waist.

"Mmm-hmm," Willow said, "so completely yours..."

They stayed together for a moment, enjoying the warmth of each other's embrace, until Willow tilted her head to one side and looked up at Tara from the corner of her eye.

"This isn't exactly helping us get up quickly, is it?" she asked.

"Not really," Tara said. "Somehow, though, I don't seem to mind."

"Me neither," Willow smiled. "How about if we agree to go wash, and then scurry back here as fast as our legs will carry us for more snuggles?"

"A well-formulated plan," Tara said with comedic formality.

"So one or the other of us should, sort of, let go at some point."


"That meaning, you or me."


"Not as easy as it sounds," Willow admitted after a moment.

"Let me try something," Tara suggested. She lifted her hands to gently cup Willow's face, drew their lips together, and kissed her as if her life depended on it. Willow went completely limp, her hands dropping from Tara's waist to rest loosely around her hips, her legs relaxing underneath her, her body help upright only by Tara, who clearly had no intention of letting her go before she had tasted every inch of her mouth.

"See?" Tara breathed when she finally released Willow's lips. "We let go."

"Yeah," Willow said, her hands flying up to grab Tara and draw her into an answering kiss, finishing with a very long moment of holding her lip between her teeth and sucking seductively.

"Actually," Tara admitted, "maybe that wasn't such a helpful idea." Willow nodded, just before Tara kissed her again, making her moan into Tara's mouth as her tongue worked its magic.

"You might be right," Willow agreed, "we should go... wash, and all..."

"As quickly as possible," Tara said.

"You bet. Let's go."

There was a guard and one of the Amazons washing clothes in the creek, which was otherwise just far enough away from the caravan to offer a semblance of privacy. Both men discretely kept their backs turned as Willow and Tara washed themselves, which didn't keep Willow from sneaking glances at Tara, and vice versa. The water was naturally quite cold, and Willow noticed this having the expected effect on Tara as they both untied their robes and used washcloths to clean themselves as thoroughly as possible, under the circumstances. Tara noticed Willow watching her and caught her eye, to which Willow shrugged, as if to say 'Well, what did you expect?' Tara grinned seductively and pinched her nipples, which were already pointing rigidly from her breasts. Willow inclined her head back towards the caravan, and Tara nodded.

They both finished washing as quickly as possible, pausing only to let the guard and the Amazon know they were finished and dressed again, and thank them for their courtesy. The moment they were both safely back in their wagon Willow pounced on Tara, kissing her thoroughly while dragging her robe down off her shoulders. Tara likewise pulled off Willow's robe as they both fell to the blankets padding the floor, wearing only their boots, giggling and kissing.

"Lift up a little," Willow urged Tara, who was lying on top of her. When she complied, Willow made her way down beneath her, reaching up to lick Tara's nipples and hold her breasts, which were hanging down towards her in a most inviting fashion.

"I noticed these getting cold," Willow explained. "Maybe I could warm them up a little?"

"More than a little," Tara purred, as Willow took her nipple into her mouth and sucked greedily on it. Tara moaned and arched her back, lowering her body so that the breast Willow had latched on to pressed against her, while Willow massaged the other thoroughly.

"Trying to suffocate me?" Willow grinned, before burying her face back in Tara's chest, one hand around her back pulling her down further.

"Can you think..." Tara gasped, "of a better... way to go?"

"Mmmno," Willow said, her voice quite muffled. She put both hands on Tara's waist and, with a small amount of difficulty in the limited space, rolled them both over so Tara was lying on her back, smiling like she had just lowered herself into a hot bath, and Willow was astride her, alternately licking her nipples and playfully nipping at them.

"Warming up... nicely," Tara grinned, her breathing a little erratic. Willow grinned mischievously, concentrated a little, and breathed an icy breath across Tara's left nipple.

"Ooh!" Tara exclaimed, shivering and biting her lip. A wide smile formed on her lips, and she watched as Willow touched the tip of her tongue to her nipple.

"Ah!" she gasped. "It's like ice! How're you doing that?"

"Am I a sorceress or not?" Willow asked with a cheeky grin. She gave Tara's nipple one more lick, noting that the cold had made it quite exceptionally hard, then dispelled the tiny amount of cold magic she had called on and closed her now warm lips on the rigid little nub. Tara cooed in satisfaction, moving gently beneath Willow. Willow in turn opened her mouth wide and put her tongue to a lengthy examination of the shape and taste of Tara's nipple and the surrounding breast. She deliberately began to tickle Tara, flicking the tip of her tongue lightly over the sensitive skin on the bottom and sides of her breast, making her giggle uncontrollably.

"That was quite a thing," Tara gasped, as Willow finally relented and settled on top of her, nestling against her shoulder. "Is that something all sorceresses learn to do?"

"Oh, no," Willow said, "just a little thing I thought up. You like?"

"Mmm-hmm," Tara murmured, "remind me, next time there's some ice to hand, I'll show you how exciting that is."

"I certainly will," Willow promised. "Apart from seducing your favourite sorceress yet again, did you have anything planned for today?"

"Actually," Tara said, "I was thinking, after breakfast I'll start teaching you archery. If you're still interested?"

"You bet I am!" Willow said eagerly. "Do you mean archery for real, or the kind you taught me a little of back at the castle?"

"Oh, both," Tara said airily, "I think they complement each other nicely." Willow made a purring sound in the back of her throat, and gave her hips a sexy little wiggle against Tara's thighs.

"You luscious Amazon you," she scolded fondly, "you're trying to lure me back into that cleavage of yours, aren't you?"

"I might be," Tara said thoughtfully, "is it working?"

"Tease," Willow retorted, "just you wait, I know how to bide my time. And when you least expect it, I'll give you more than you bargained for."

"Hmm, you promise?" asked Tara with a sly grin.

"Yes ma'am," Willow said. "But now, breakfast? I think I need to keep my strength up." Tara laughed, and sat up with Willow, folding a warm blanket over her shoulders as she started to unwrap some of the day's food.

"My Tara," Willow smiled, stroking her cheek fondly, "you take such good care of me."

"That's what I aim for, my love," Tara said, "in every way."

"Proving once again," Willow said with a grin, "how good your aim is." Tara settled back, drawing a blanket around her shoulders and leaning against the crates stacked behind her, giving Willow the opportunity to lean back against her, sitting between her legs and pulling her blanket over her front, keeping them both cosy. Tara waited until Willow was properly settled before closing her thighs on either side of Willow's waist and crossing her ankles in Willow's lap.

"Gotcha," she murmured. Willow reached behind herself to grab Tara's waist, holding her.

"Gotcha too," she countered.

"I guess that leaves it up to me to keep us fed," Tara observed, plucking a bread roll Willow had unwrapped and offering it to her with a slice of cheese.

"Trail rations don't taste so bad coming from Tara-fingers," Willow said idly between bites. She let go of Tara with one hand and fetched a roll for her.

"Willow-fingers too," Tara replied after she had had a bite. Joking and laughing, they finished breakfast quickly. Tara dressed and excused herself to jog up to the Amazons' cargo wagon, where she had a bow she said would suit Willow, leaving Willow to clear up the remains of their meal, and ponder recent events.

The thought of being with Tara, of travelling with her, and most importantly that Tara wanted to stay with her even after her people returned to their island homelands, was still strange and wonderful to Willow. She doubted it would ever seen less than wonderful, but for now, it was still a new idea, still fresh and largely undiscovered in her thoughts. Willow looked around the wagon they shared, noting Tara's discarded robe, the blanket she had had around her shoulders, her heavier armour on top of the pile of crates, her bow and spear neatly secured to one side. As Willow dressed, as she fastened her belt around her hips, the small weight of their journal in its pouch at her side reminded her of Tara's drawings, safely within. 'She's part of my life now,' Willow thought, smiling to herself at the same time as the enormity of the idea made her want to tremble. 'My life,' she thought, examining the idea, 'our life... our life together. Lovers... companions... together.' Willow grinned at herself, and leaned over to rest her head on the makeshift pillows, where she could still detect the lingering scent of Tara's hair. She thought back over all the times she and Tara had made love, when Tara had moaned or sighed with pleasure. 'I can give her that,' Willow thought dreamily, 'I can do that... she loves me...' Fighting off a sudden, irrational urge to shout it at the top of her voice, Willow set herself instead to changing the blankets lining the floor of the wagon, rolling up the old ones to be washed whenever the opportunity arose, and spreading out new ones from the baggage stacked to either side.

She was just finishing when Tara returned, carrying a bundle and a strangely-shaped bow, which was for most of its length straight, but curved backwards at each end to form a 'D' shape, except there was no string in it. Willow noted this and just as quickly ignored it, cupping Tara's surprised face in her hands and kissing her with all the passion as she could conjure. Tara's hands went around Willow's waist, but that was the only move she made other than to part her lips and let Willow explore where she would, welcoming Willow's tongue into her mouth and patiently, lovingly lavishing attention on it for as long as Willow continued the kiss. When at last Willow drew back, Tara closed her eyes and licked her lips in a show of utter contentment.

"What was that for?" she asked with a smile.

"I need a reason?" Willow countered. Tara laughed and hugged her.

"Not at all," she replied, "I'm yours to kiss - and anything else you might think of - whenever you want."

"I was just thinking," Willow explained regardless, "you know, about us... you staying with me after Duncraig... I mean, we have a, a life together! I- That's the most amazing thing to me, I think about it and I just, I can't think of anything better."

"I know," Tara said, "I feel... this is my place in the world. With you."

"Oh Tara," Willow murmured into her shoulder as she held her tightly, "my angelic Tara."

"I am," Tara agreed, "I'm yours, my life is part of yours, just like yours is part of mine. It's our life, Willow, now and... and always...?" Willow heard the slight pause in her voice, and didn't think twice before answering it.

"Yes," she said without hesitation, "always." Tara gulped, then hugged Willow fiercely, kissing her cheek.

"Tara?" Willow asked tentatively, feeling warm tears on her skin from Tara's eyes.

"Happy tears," Tara said, her voice choked up but joyous. She drew back, grinning sheepishly, drew in a deep breath, and kissed Willow again, just lightly, on her lips.

"Ready to learn?" she asked, laying a hand on the strangely-shaped bow lying beside her.

"Absolutely," Willow replied, "learning-girl at your disposal."

"Okay then, learning-girl," Tara said, holding up the bow, "I'm assuming you want the full story, not just the quick version?"

"Ooh, you know me," Willow grinned, "learn all that's learnable."

"Well then," Tara sat back, as Willow crossed her legs and gave her undivided attention, "this is a light short-bow used for training. It was one of a set of three light bows made by Eponin's father Terranon. Eponin used one of them when she was a girl, and passed it on to her eldest daughter. My mother used the second one, and kept using it even when she completed her training. Eponin gave me the third when I was ten, and I used it until I was fifteen. It's an Amazon custom that when a weapon is given, its history is given with it. I-I want this to be yours, now." Tara held out the bow to Willow, who took it gingerly.

"Really?" she whispered. "I... thank you... it's beautiful..."

"Terranon was a very gifted craftsman," Tara said, "an artist. The bow I use now is another of his. The weapons we use, bows and spears, aren't just tools, they're part of our way of life. There have always been threats to the Isles, so there have always been warriors to protect them. This is a, a symbol of the value we place on life, on safety... our families, our people, and our future. This bow represents life, and the knowledge that sometimes we have to fight to protect what is dearest to us. Do you accept it as such?"

"I do," Willow said sincerely.

"Then it's yours," Tara smiled. "I-I don't mean all that to make you feel like you have to join a warrior pride or anything, and if you never use it for anything but practice and fun, it's not an affront to the symbolism or, you know, something like that. It's just... it's important, that's all. I-I'm not a soldier like the women in the prides are, but I've been trained - I'm a warrior. It's part of me, and I guess I'm pleased that you want to share it like this." She smiled at Willow, then looked at the bow in her hands.

"First thing," she said, her voice steady and sure, "feel the weight. Feel the texture of it. See the way it's curved."

"It looks different to your one," Willow observed.

"That's because it's not strung," Tara explained.

"The shape, I mean."

"I know," Tara smiled, "when you string a bow it has a lot of tension in it, it changes the shape. I had my bow unstrung before the contest in Maresburg, remember?"

"I remember you were in your leathers and looking like the sexiest archer in history," Willow grinned, "I didn't really see what your bow was doing." Tara laughed, then got up and moved around behind Willow, positioning the bow in her hands.

"I'll show you how to string it," she said. "First thing, you hold it this way around - when it's unstrung, the tips point forward. Okay, hold it like this," she showed Willow's hands where to go, "now, it's not easy to bend, but this is a light bow so it's not too difficult... there's a trick to it when you're sitting, you hook this end over the top of your leg... like that... then rest your other thigh over the middle and bend the other end back... that's it. Now you've got one hand free to set the string." She put a string in Willow's free hand, and showed her how the looped tip went over one end of the bow.

"Now you do it," she said. Willow ran her fingers along the string, making sure it was straight, then slipped the little loop over the other end of the bow. She gingerly let the tension go out of her legs, and grinned to see the bow holding its shape, an elegant arc with the tips curving back.

"I did it!" she said to herself gleefully.

"You sure did," Tara said warmly. "Now, feel the shape of it again. You're not looking for anything specific, just get used to how it feels now that it's ready. The core of the bow is ashwood, it's not actually from an ash tree - ashwood is wood that's been treated by the artisans of Hefaetrus. They have a type of magic that can temper wood like a blacksmith tempers steel, it burns but it becomes stronger. It's one of the secrets of the Amazons, and part of the reason our bows are better than mainland ones. On the leading edge here, this is sinew from a type of creature we just call Beasts, they're monsters that live in the dense jungles on Philios and Lycander. We don't use materials from natural animals, unless they can be gathered without harming them, but there are some creatures that are unnatural, probably remnants of the old demon armies, like those Carver things. On the trailing edge, here, there's two strips of bone, one on either side of the handle."

"Beasts again?" Willow asked.

"Not usually," Tara said, "Beasts have good sinews, but their bones are too brittle. Mostly the craftsmen use bones from horses, when they die, but some of our old, very heavy bows are supposed to use bones from demons like goat-men or maulers. Luckily there aren't many of them still around - there used to be pockets of them on the islands, but we've slowly wiped them out or driven them away. My bow uses wraith bone, which is pretty rare. This one is from a creature called a cave leaper, they're vicious little things that can jump ten metres in a go, their bones will bend a lot before they break. The back of the bow here-"

"The front is called the back?" Willow asked, as Tara pointed at the leading edge of the shaft.

"Yep," Tara confirmed, "the edge towards the target is called the back, and the edge towards the archer is called the belly."

"Belly," Willow repeated, "okay."

"It's not just sailers that have to give everything odd names," Tara said with a smile. "The back is coated with bark from a great oak, like the ones that hold up Tran Athulua. That's just for a bit of extra protection. Every month or so you should treat the bow with bramble oil, or something like it - I've got plenty of that, and we should be able to buy more, in Duncraig at least."

"Bramble oil?" Willow asked, curious.

"Creatures again," Tara said, "natural ones, though. In the deepest forests there are a handful of creatures called bramble hulks-"

"Hulks?" Willow interrupted. "There used to be hulks around Kurast, all through the jungle. Only, they're all gone now... during the Reckoning they were corrupted, and after it was over the survivors just vanished. I read that they used to be sort of guardians of the jungles, they'd protect them from evil."

"There aren't many," Tara explained, "just a few, all of them on Lycander. They keep to themselves, and don't often allow themselves to be seen by people. They never come anywhere near our cities, but sometimes one of them meets a priest out in the jungle. I suppose they weren't affected like the ones in Kurast were by the Reckoning, they're very peaceful and gentle. According to those who've seen them, they think we're tolerable, by the standards of humans." Tara grinned. "I think they really prefer trees to us, but they probably figure they're stuck with us. Bramble oil is a liquid their bodies are covered with, they're said to be made of wood, and the oil keeps them flexible so they can move. They naturally secrete a whole lot of it, so they have enough that they can spare supplies of oil for us to use and trade. I guess they see it as a fair trade, in return for us respecting their forests."

"Wow," Willow breathed. "I wonder if anyone in Kurast knows there are still hulks alive? Or maybe, given what happened, they'd rather not anyone know..."

"Maybe," Tara agreed, "from what I hear, they're very private creatures. They're very big and strong, so probably people used to be afraid of them, and not treat them very well. At any rate, if we can't get any more bramble oil, there's a few alternatives that are easy to find. I'll show you how to treat the bow when it's time. I do mine every week or so, just to keep it in best condition while I use it, but if you do it once a month the bow won't be any worse for wear. The oil regenerates the wood, so it doesn't matter if you leave it a little longer, but if you use the bow regularly it's best to treat it more frequently."

"Gotcha," Willow said, "once a week when practicing, once a month otherwise. What's the string made out of? More icky bits of demonic animals?"

"Silk," Tara grinned, "but I suppose if you consider that it comes out of silkworms' bottoms, that's quite icky. The end loops are sinew again, just for extra strength. Now, hopefully we'll have a little time before dark when we stop to practice for real, but for now, just feel how the bow draws and releases. Oh, you'll want this," she added, finding a leather bracer in her bundle and gently tightening it around Willow's left wrist.

"Trust me," she said, "having a bowstring whack your wrist isn't an enviable experience. Give it a try. Hold your fingers like this... use your thumb to hold the string, and hold the tip of your thumb with your fingers... now, fire away."

Willow slowly drew the bow back, feeling the tension in her arms but finding she could handle it. When she had drawn the bow far enough back she sighted down the length of an invisible arrow, glanced down to check that her chest wasn't in the line of fire, and released the string. The bow straightened with an impressively professional whipping noise, the string just grazing the bracer around her wrist.

"Pretty good," Tara said, "especially for your first try. We'll work on it a little more for now. In the field, you'd use a ring on your thumb, to keep the string from digging in too much after you've been pulling it a lot, but for now it's better to be able to feel it on your skin. Let me know if it starts to be a bit sore, I've got some spare rings, so you can have one of those."

Willow took a few more arrowless shots with her bow, then watched Tara closely as she demonstrated some minor corrections and improvements. Throughout the morning they worked on Willow's form, with Tara frequently demonstrating techniques she didn't quite know how to explain in words, having learned them to the point of instinct long ago. She was very visibly proud at Willow's attention and progress, which pleased Willow in turn, and made her all the more determined to learn what Tara was teaching her well.

As the day passed the sky lightened, and in the afternoon they were able to ride with the roof rolled up, enjoying the scenery as Tara explained all manner of things to Willow, about the way an arrow needed to bend from the bow when it fired, how and why practice arrows were fitted with spiral-wrapped feathers rather than the straight fins on target or war arrows, how the various shapes of bows affected their ranges and accuracy. She strung her own bow and showed Willow how the handle was curved inward of the shaft - 'four-curved', Willow learned, as opposed to 'recurved' for her lighter bow - and at Willow's insistence let her try drawing it, which she did, but only with considerable effort.

The afternoon passed quickly, between learning technique and posture, practicing drawing with an arrow, aimed safely off to the side of the road, just in case the string slipped, and some long divergences during which Willow lay in front of Tara, leaning on her elbows and smiling up at her as she explained the history and legends behind the Amazon warriors and their bows. When the caravan finally halted, a little before sunset to take advantage of a good location their scouts had found, Tara picked an old tree on the other side of the road, with clear ground to either side, and snagged a cloth on it as a target for Willow to aim at. It wasn't anything like the range Willow had seen Tara tackle at the contest, nor was the cloth as small a mark as the bullseye of a target board, but Willow nonetheless jumped excitedly and hugged Tara when, on her fourth shot, her arrow caught the corner of the scrap of material and pinned it to the trunk. A handful of the Amazons, who had drifted over to watch Willow practice under Tara's tuition, gave a round of applause, which cheered her greatly, though not so much as Tara's proud smile.

"You're a fast learner," Tara observed idly after dinner, when she and Willow had curled up beneath their blankets.

"That's something Ember showed me," Willow said, "to learn new things by understanding them, not just copying what I see. I think if I'd just tried to do exactly what you do, I'd have taken a lot longer to get the hang of it. Of course, it helped that you gave me the whole works about the technique, and the way archery developed, and all that. It made it easier to see why you hold the bow the way you do, why you aim the way you do... it was easier to find the right way for me to do it."

"Every warrior has to find her own way," Tara said, "it's something Solari always taught. I'm glad you enjoyed it, I-I'm glad I could teach you something too. I've learned so much just from being with you, and listening to you talk about all the things you've studied."

"I've learned plenty from you too," Willow pointed out. "All about Amazons, your legends and culture, the traditions and customs you have... and I've learned what it's like to be exactly where I want to be in the world."

"Me too," Tara whispered, as Willow trailed affectionate kisses up her neck and cheek.

"I like using a bow," Willow murmured, smiling as Tara returned her kisses, working her way slowly down her neck and onto her shoulder. "It's like magic... it's all about controlling the power... not just letting it fly... you have to feel it... know exactly... how much... to... ooh Tara..." she trailed off, as Tara reached her breasts, and began giving her long, lusty strokes with her tongue the length of her cleavage.

"Oh baby that's good," Willow moaned as Tara leaned to her right side and delicately licked her nipple. She arched her back and moaned again, wordlessly, as Tara's mouth enveloped her in warmth. Tara licked and sucked her enthusiastically, at the same time pressing her moist sex against her thigh down below. Willow first pressed back with her leg, making Tara groan with pleasure, then eased back and worked her hand down between their bodies. Tara lifted her hips to give Willow access to her, relinquishing her hold on Willow's nipple only to switch to the other one.

"All... about... control," Willow murmured as her fingers strokes Tara's lips, feeling the moisture from her centre. "Its all... small motion... built up..." She slipped a finger between Tara's lips and teased her entrance. "You draw the string... back... slowly," she curled her finger, then straightened it and gently pressed deeper, "and... the power... all goes... into... the release." She reached the farthest depth she could reach, and slowly pulled back until she was again merely teasing her with her fingertip. She was surprised to feel Tara's hand against hers, and let Tara hold her fingers, guiding them, until her index and forefinger rested together between her lips.

"You want...?" she asked tentatively.

"Uh-huh," Tara murmured, barely lifting her mouth from Willow's straining nipple. Willow moved her fingers a little, testing Tara's entrance and finding it more than willing. Tara lifted herself up a little, just enough to stare into Willow's eyes.

"I've never done it like this," she whispered, breathing warm air over Willow's moistened nipples as she spoke, "always just with one... I want this, Willow, I want you."

"Never?" Willow asked. "A-are you sure you want-" In response, Tara gently pressed Willow's hand against her sex.

"Feel that," she purred, "I'm so ready for you... feel how wet I am, how hot? All for you, baby... I need you, baby, I need you so much." She leaned forward and gave Willow the full benefit of her aroused gaze.

"Take me," she whispered, "right now... look into my eyes and take me, Willow." Willow could feel herself getting thoroughly wet, even without Tara's mouth on her breasts, just from hearing her. She returned Tara's stare, not even blinking once as she slowly slid her two fingers into her sex. Tara's mouth opened in a silent moan, and her eyes half-closed, lidded with desire as she stared at Willow. To Willow, everything seemed attenuated, as if her entry to Tara took a lifetime, but at last she was buried in her, as deep as she could be, feeling the tight warmth of Tara pressed against her questing fingers on all sides. Slowly she moved, just a little, drawing her fingers out just a fraction before gently thrusting forward again.

"Ooohhh," Tara moaned, a primal sound from deep within herself. She began to rock her hips, just gently, and Willow matched her stroke for stroke.

"Oh baby," Tara purred, her lips brushing Willow's as she moved, "that feels... so wonderful... oh goddess... you're so deep... in me..." She let out a gasp as Willow's fingertips brushed her sweet spot, and lunged forward to kiss Willow as she centred her fingers there and began to stroke it with every thrust. Willow revelled in the kiss, feeling something like rapture at having Tara so open and vulnerable to her, and at the same time kissing her with such demanding passion, as if she would accept nothing less than the complete acquiescence which she eagerly provided, parting her lips to let Tara's tongue claim her mouth, feeling the thrill she felt every time they kissed, as if it was in some way always the first time.

Willow felt Tara's body begin to tense, the thrusts of her hips becoming more demanding, and she strengthened the answering thrusts of her fingers, savouring the way Tara would tremble and moan into their kiss every time she hit the sweet spot deep within her. She felt Tara's fingers stroke her sex, and parted her legs to allow her to touch wherever she wanted. Tara's thumb found her clit as her fingers stroked her lips, and it was only a few strokes before Willow, already aroused beyond belief, felt herself ready to climax. She quickened her pace within Tara, her free hand on the back of her head, encouraging Tara's lusty, possessive kissing. Tara drove herself down onto Willow's fingers one last time, moaning deeply into her mouth, and Willow felt her sex tighten and spasm, which was more than enough to set off her own climax as Tara's hand on her lost its rhythm and simply pressed against her, covering her with the heat radiating from her skin. Tara broke off her kiss to draw in a shuddering gasp of air, her stare somehow conveying all that she was feeling, then she collapsed down on top of Willow, her body writhing slowly with the aftershocks of her pleasure.

"Oh my sweet Willow," she whispered, "oh my goddess... did you enjoy that, my Willow? I did, so much." Willow nodded as enthusiastically as she could, now that drowsiness was overtaking both of them.

"I love you," Tara murmured, "I love everything about you... oh you make me so happy Willow... let me hold you..." Willow nestled up to Tara, blissfully content as she lay in her arms, surrounded by the warmth of their blankets and Tara's body. Tara kissed her neck and lay her head down next to her, whispering in her ear the words of her lullaby song, until both fell asleep.

Continue to Hellebore Chapter Twenty-Five (Rated NC-17)

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