Return to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Twenty-Two

Latter Days/Lonely Nights

Author: Willownut
Disclaimer: Blah, blah, blah. Many characters are Joss Whedon's. Yada, yada, yada. No harm intended with the use of these revered characters. Peas and carrots, peas and carrots.
Italics are thoughts. For those who could excommunicate me or send me unwanted literature, I wish you no ill will. My thanks to LVK for the use of her song lyrics, you have my deep respect, and I would have asked first if I knew where you were.

(Day 6 - Tuesday, November 13, 1984)

It's funny how things get so crazy when you're trying to do the "right" thing.

Willow folded up her picture and placed it in her scriptures. She took another deep breath and centered herself. "Okay, so tell me what are we studying tonight?" She put on her best resolve face and grabbed her Book of Mormon with one hand and Bible with the other. She turned and looked at Tara as she held the books. She appeared to be weighing each one pending Tara's decision.

Tara pursed her lips. The girl was so cute, it was hard to be strong, but this was something she had to do. She considered her options; then she grabbed her notebook. She remembered there had been something she wanted to talk to Willow about.

She pointed to the smaller of the two books. "That one."

Willow carefully placed the Bible back on the table and waited for Tara to continue. Tara slowly opened her notebook looking for the p-day talk from which she had a question. On her way to the page, she saw her notes from the funny devotional. She smirked and a tiny laugh squeaked out, which the overly Tara-observant Willow heard.

"Okay, something really funny happened that day didn't it?" Willow was interested in what was so humorous in the class to keep the beautiful blonde laughing that long after.

"Well," Tara began, "I don't think I can do it justice." She started to giggle again.

"Okay, well now you have to tell me, because this is two times it's come up." Willow wasn't begging yet, but certainly displaying some persistence in her request.

Tara sighed in defeat, "Alma 17:27." She said. Her voice was a little lower than her normal upbeat tone and tempo.

Willow opened her books looking for the chapter, "Come on little soldier, suck it up. Teach me something."

Tara started to giggle again. Tara came down on the floor next to where Willow had set up her display.

"What?" Willow was really puzzled, "What did I say?"

Tara settled in next to Willow at a reasonable distance. She started the discussion, "We're picking up here. The sons of Mosiah were led to the land of the Lamanites to teach the gospel. When Ammon arrived, the Lamanites captured him. He eventually ended up serving the King, Lamoni. Ammon's job was to protect the King's flocks, but there were enemies of the king that came and scattered the flocks."

"Why do all the names in the Book of Mormon have to be so hard to remember?" Willow quietly inquired. Tara shot her an amused look.

"Anyway, so all the sheep are scattered and the servants are all weeping because they think the king will slay them. Read that." Tara pointed to the verse 27, "and go until I say stop."

Willow read the verse and several passages after.

"Okay," Tara started in again. "So they are all going out to find the sheep. They quickly gather them up, but the evil men return. Ammon tells the other servants to watch the sheep while he goes to do battle with them." Tara nodded her head for Willow to continue her reading. She complied.

"Okay," Tara started again, "So Ammon is standing all by himself against the evil warriors and starts to cast stones at them."

"I thought we weren't supposed to cast stones." Willow questioned Tara with a little smirk showing.

"Yeah, that's exactly what I thought, but hang on it gets better." Tara smiled at the connection she felt with Willow again. "So he's out there with his little sling throwing stones and the guys are getting madder and madder. They come after Ammon with clubs to beat him."

"Well that can't be good." Willow had never had story time like this; she was thoroughly enjoying Tara Teacher. She suddenly had visions of Tara with a bunch of children gathered at her feet. It warmed her heart. Tara motioned for Willow to continue where she'd stopped.

After she read a bit Tara said, "Stop." Tara halted her in the middle of the verse. Willow looked a bit confused. "I know never stop in the middle, but you have to hear this part." Tara read, "And thus he slew a certain number of them and they began to be astonished." She emphasized the last part." Okay, so Ammon has his little rocks and he's slew - is that right - no slain - has slayed, a number of the men. They weren't really astonished, yet. They just began to be astonished. So now, the whole group is coming at him with their clubs. They're clubbing it." Tara started to giggle again, "They were like an evil men's club."

"You mean like the Elks club?" Willow picked up on Tara's giggle.

"More like the Masons I think, or probably the club that makes you put on funny hats like Howard Cunningham had to wear on Happy Days." Tara smiled at Willow as she remembered the hat.

Willow was starting to get amused at this side of Tara. She was usually funny, but this was "scripture" funny. And that's a special kind of funny.

"So here come the clubbers." Tara giggled again, "And each one who lifted his club against Ammon had his arm cut off. All the arms are just lying there on the ground and the men are standing there all armless." Tara nodded for Willow to continue.

"Oh look," Willow interrupted her reading. "They are ‘beginning' to be astonished again - and they are not a few in number. The big armless Elk club, oh, but the Grand Poobah was slain." She started over and finished the passage.

"Okay, so all the armless men ran off, and left their arms behind." Tara nodded again for Willow to continue. As Willow read, Tara watched her to gauge her reaction.

"...and they went to the king, bearing the arms which had been smitten off by the sword of Ammon...Oh EEEW!" Willow stopped mid sentence.

"That's what I thought." Tara added, "But it all worked out because the king told the servants to take all the arms to his Armory." Tara busted out laughing again. So he was the strongest man in the land, having Ammon, the clubs, and arms of his enemies all within his Kingdom." She let out another chuckle, "I mean it's hard to fight when you're all armless. He unarmed his enemies."

"Or," Willow was chuckling, "would it be disarmed?" Willow took a little breath. "I mean how hard would it be to put together an armY when your soldiers are armLESS?" The imagery of the armless army was starting to get to her. "How would it be to put on your armor, without arms?" Willow put her hands up by her shoulders and started swinging her shoulders.

"Yeah, it's like having an army of Pez warriors." Tara laughed again. "Aaah." She wiped a tear from her eye. "But without the yummy candy."

Willow laughed again, "yeah," She chuckled again, "All they would be good for is a giant game of foosball."

Tara giggled, "Yeah." She imaged the life-sized game in her head. "I used to love that game. It's very exciting."

"Unless you're the armless guy on the pole next to all your armless friends." Willow was fanning her hand in front of her face. "Okay, stop, you're killing me."

"So the question I had was, did the armless men ever actually get astonished?" Tara inquired with a straight face, until she erupted again into a fit of giggles.

Both girls were laughing hysterically when Kitchen Shimai came out to check on Willow. Clearly, they were studying; their books were all open. "Well no wonder you never come in at night. If I'd known scripture study was this amusing I would have joined you."

"Ooh ah," Willow tried to talk.

Tara put her arms down tightly in front of her this time in Pez-fashion, "We were talking about Alma 17 and how hard it would be to have and army of armless men." Tara wiggled her shoulders.

Willow mirrored Tara's action, "Take that, Ammon guy." She threw a shoulder strike toward Kitchen.

"O k a y." Kitchen stretched the word out, "And this is where again?"

"Alma 17," both girls said at the same time.

"That's great." Sister Kitchen was amused and relieved; there was no need for concern. They were working and just overly involved in their studies. "Okay, see you in a bit," she nodded toward the clock on the wall.

"Goodnight," both girls chimed together.

Willow had managed to calm down after Kitchen had made her appearance and reminded her of her commitment to Tara, "And what was the other thing?" Willow asked.

"How did you..." Tara looked a little confused for a moment.

Willow grinned and her tongue poked out a little behind her teeth. "I just did."

Tara gulped. That little peeking tongue was just too inviting. Cheater. Okay you can do this, stay focused. "I was looking for the line upon line reference, please."

"Well that's actually Old Testament, Isaiah I think." Willow put down her Book of Mormon and picked up the larger book; she quickly thumbed through the pages. She found a passage that was marked in red. "You should actually know this, see," Willow turned the page and she showed Tara where she'd marked another passage. "This is one of your scripture chase verses from Seminary. You should always know what is around the scriptures you're using out of context.

Tara looked over her shoulder. She was sitting next to Willow on the floor and as she looked over, she breathed in catching the fragrance of Willow's hair. She could feel her in her mind. Her heart was racing. This is so hard. She couldn't help reliving the moments from the prior night, and a wave of arousal shot through her again. Definitely.

"Yes it is." Willow said.

"What?" Tara was confused. She hadn't thought she had said anything.

Willow turned her head to face Tara, "It's hard."

"But I didn't..." Tara was clearly puzzled.

"You didn't have to." Willow responded to the unfinished sentence. She took a deep breath of her own. She tried to focus on the picture she'd drawn in her mind. A happy sun. I need to put a smiley face on it. Road goes to the house, lines, clock, house of Mr. Trist - focus, we can do this.

Tara could tell Willow's mind was hard at work. She was starting to feel tired and weak. She knew what she had to do, even though it was hard. "We need to..."

Willow looked directly at Tara's lips still holding the shape of the "oo," "I know...go." Willow held her "oo" a little as well.

"I know." Tara's voice got breathy.

Willow held her ground. She had to be strong. For Tara. She nodded in compliance.

Tara looked Willow up and down searching for something she could do that would fall on the "right side" of the lines. There wasn't much left except her hands and face. Tara reached out, took hold of Willow's fingertips with her own, and leaned forward to lay a gentle kiss her forehead. "Let's go to bed. Okay? Tomorrow is another big day."

"Okay," Willow didn't want to move. Tara was touching her hand. She looked down. She wanted to memorize the delicate lines of her hands; she watched as Tara's thumb moved unconsciously in a sweet caress.

Tara squeezed her fingers a little when she noticed Willow looking at their hands. "Come on sweetie, we need to go now."

Willow felt the desperation. She had to help Tara. My Tara. She let Tara's hand fall away and picked up her books. This is really, really, hard. The more I try to do the "right thing," the harder it is. But Tara is strong. I can be strong. "Tomorrow then?"

"Yeah," Tara's voice seemed sad. She resigned herself to duty and picked up her own books. "Tomorrow."

(Day 7 - Wednesday, November 14, 1984)

Willow was running a little behind. That was unusual for her, but she'd had a rough night sleeping. She kept hearing noises and her dreams where upsetting. She'd run back to her room two times already because she had forgotten one thing or the other. It looked like the start of another bad day.

She hopped into the shower and quickly shaved her legs, then started in to her regular shower routine. She had lathered her hair. She was getting ready to set the bottle down when it slipped out of her hand. It made a muffled thud when it hit her big toe. From there, it bounced off of the big piggy and rolled out of the stall.

'Ow! Darn it!' She cursed.

She bent down to try and see where the shampoo went. After not seeing it, she decided to rinse off her sudsy hair and then go look for it. Ha, I'm gonna finish the shower without a lather, rinse, and repeat, just a lather, rinse. Take that you big ole marketing liars.

Willow ran her hands through her hair rinsing the last of the soap bubbles from her silky smoothed red hair. The smell of passion fruit filled the stall. When the water suddenly went cold, she jumped out of the stream. She did a little dance while she moved around waiting for it to warm back up. After several moments, she realized the water wasn't going to heat back up. That's just great - but heck maybe just what I need, a nice cold shower. Willow jumped back under the stream.

"Ahhh!" Man, that's some cold water. I guess it's better then being in hot water. Willow thought back to the kiss she shared with Tara. What would have happened if we had gotten caught? Or what if we wouldn't? Stop, I mean...what, the water feels good now...Ah...stop it Willow, bad thoughts. The warm water was back with a vengeance. It was like magic fingers on her neck and shoulders.

She took the conditioner bottle and debated whether to use it. Remember the rules, Wil; you have to draw bigger lines. Willow decided to use conditioner; it gives your hair that extra glow you know. I have to be soft for Tara. Oh no, not again. Stop it! Hold the lines, follow the rules, focus. Gosh, all I want to do is stay up late, take her into a dark corner, and focus on going inside those lines. STOP IT! You have to respect Tara!

When she'd finished conditioning, she got out of the shower all steamy, and wrapped her big fluffy towel around her. The towel was a gift from her Aunt Melody so she especially liked it. It was powder blue with cute lavender swirls. The lavender swirls were subtle, and Willow knew what they meant, so it made it that much more special.

Her Aunt was an inspiration to her. She'd been in a relationship with Mandy for many years; and despite the cultural biases against them, they had made a stable home for their daughter, Carol. The girl was sweet and well adjusted. She knew that Carol was a happy and loving child. How could anyone think having two moms was that bad?

Willow's hair was all wet, water droplets ran down her back and stopped at the towel. More water trickled down her newly shaved legs. She wrung her hair in her towel to get it dry. As if she was in slow motion, she whipped her head around to dry it further. The natural curl returned as she gave it a few last pats to dry it a bit more.

From the corner of her eye, Willow thought she saw something moving beside her. She turned her head and was startled to see a fuzzy black spider webbing down toward her. She jumped in surprise, did the little Willow patented "freak out dance of the arachnid," and reached for the conditioner bottle so she could shoo the little fuzzy menace away. After regaining her composure, she remembered her sore toe and looked for the missing shampoo. She finally saw where the bottle had rolled. Still wrapped loosely in her towel, Willow knelt down, and reached to pick it up.

She was completely unaware that Tara was watching.

Continue to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Twenty-Four

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