Return to What's Your Tale, Nightingale? Chapter Twenty-Six

What's Your Tale, Nightingale?

Author: Alcy
Rating: PG-13, possibly R a bit later on.
Disclaimer: The characters of Willow and Tara, Buffy and Giles all belong to TPTB, I'm just playing for a while.

Just as Tara raised her hand to knock on the door a blonde-haired young woman whipped it open right in front of her face with a huge grin on her face. Tara jumped back, more than a little startled. However, she smiled warmly as she recognised Anya, one of Willow's roommates she had met briefly the day before. The exuberant blonde ushered her inside, a friendly hand around her wrist drawing her inside.

"Sorry to give you a fright but we knew you were coming. Willow has been sitting at the windowsill staring at the road for the past hour and she saw your Taxi pull up," Anya drew her aside gently and lowered her voice as though whispering a secret, "If you ask my professional opinion, I'd say she's just a little bit obsessed."

"O-obsessed?" Tara of course having no idea that Anya was fully aware of the relationship between her and Willow, "With what?"

Willow came practically leaping across the room to Tara's rescue. Seeing the ashen hue of Tara's face she gave Anya a playful glare and the blonde retreated to the sanctity of her mirror.

"W-what... where are we going?" Tara looked around the room to see all four girls dressed in party frocks and dancing shoes, she frowned while Willow flashed her a broad grin.

"We're going out!" Willow said excitedly.

"O-out" Tara bit her lip; she couldn't start a sentence this evening without stuttering. Her roommates are going to think I'm an idiot! It's already bad enough that they're university students while you work in a bookstore, she was immediately annoyed at herself for even thinking herself any less than they were, Willow loves me... and that's more than enough to make me feel like the most important person on the face of the planet.

At that point, Faith walked over... well, it as not really a walk so much as a sultry swinging of the hips. It was more like a dance, especially considering the plunging neckline of the dress she wore which revealed a curve of bosom and left little to the imagination. Tara looked back to Willow lest she blush, which was incredibly likely as she had never even seen that much of her girlfriend's skin let alone an almost complete stranger.

"A rock n' roll club doll, I've been there a few times and it is happening!" the sultry brunette laughed and swung Willow around by the waist.

Tara felt something pass through her at the sound of Willow's carefree laugh while Faith spun her. Then the sight of Faith's hand resting casually on Willow's hip, almost low enough to be resting on her buttock. Are you jealous Maclay? It was difficult not to be, Faith was a stunning bombshell with the attitude to match. She knew exactly what attributes she possessed and was not at all afraid to show them off.

Tara looked down at her own attire, a red skirt and a plain, sensible shirt with flat shoes to complete the out fit. While Tara was busy inspecting her wardrobe, Willow had eased herself out of Faith's arms to return to her girlfriend. She noticed an all too familiar look of crumbling confidence on Tara's face. Moving to put things right, Willow reached out to tilt her chin back up so she could no longer scrutinise herself.

"Baby, you look amazing... you always do," the red head said sincerely, she then reached out and drew Tara towards her, "You took my breath away as soon as you stepped from that taxi."

"Her drool was running down the window pane," Anya stated.

Tara looked around to see Faith, Abby and Anya all grinning broadly at the pair of them. She flushed bright red but Willow just giggled and held her tighter for a few seconds before letting go.

"All set to go?" Abby walked over from where she had been putting on her shoes and gave Tara a quick squeeze around the waist. Tara didn't know why but all of a sudden she felt more comfortable.

"How are we going to get there?" Tara asked, feeling a little foolish for having to do so.

She was immediately answered by Faith twirling a set of keys, "Right girls, let's haul arse," Faith lead the way out of the door, followed closely by Anya and Abby.

Tara paused before she and Willow followed them, the blonde turned and bade the over-excited Willow stand still for just a moment. Ever since she had come in the door Willow had been bouncing around as though she had just eaten a whole barrelful of sugar. Tara had grown dizzy just watching her. Despite the fact that it was adorable, Tara found herself growing a little uncomfortable. She wished Willow would stop rushing around long enough to explain what on earth was going on. She was more than a little confused as to what was actually going on.

Willow finally removed the broad smile from her face, she had been so rapt up in how she felt about being able to be out and proud in front of her roommates that she had not even stopped to inform Tara as to what had happened. Feeling suitably guilty, Willow reached over and planted a small kiss on Tara's lips. Well... she had intended it to be merely a small kiss but with one taste of Tara's lips she had to have more. She pressed forward until her hips were touching Tara's, her hand rising up to cup Tara's cheek as the kiss intensified.

By the time Willow pulled back her cheeks were pink with both guilt and warm desire flooding through her entire body. She pressed her forehead to Tara's, nuzzling their noses together playfully.

"Baby, they know," Willow whispered calmly.

"Who knows?" Tara's face fell, "Anya... she saw us, I knew she did! Oh Will... how bad is it?"

"Bad? No, no, no... it's not bad, and it's not Anya, well, it is Anya... as well as Faith and Abby," Willow saw the ashen hue of Tara's akin and hastily tried to finish her explanation which, in typical Willow fashion, was about to disintegrate into incomprehensible nonsense, "Actually it's really good, at least I thought it was because... but maybe you don't think it's good because you look as though you're about to faint..."

Both girls drew in a breath to calm their racing hearts a little. Willow smiled apologetically; she knew full well her hasty explanations never actually explained a lot. She kissed Tara's lips lightly, smoothing hair back from her forehead.

"Anya did guess... yes and then it sort of came out to Faith and Abby as well so now all my roommates know. It's a good thing, they... they understand I guess. I thought their reactions would be exactly the same as Buffy's and I was terrified... it turns out I had nothing to worry about!" Willow finished excitedly, "It's great that people know, I mean, we don't have to hide in front of them."

"People know?" Tara asked quietly, "Do you mean you want everyone to know?"

"Oh no... just the girls and they won't tell anyone, I know they won't," Willow stopped herself and her mouth dropped when she realised she had failed to consider Tara's feelings about the matter. The blonde looked scared, her brow furrowed slightly, "Baby, I swear they won't tell anyone if you're worried..."

"It's not me I worry about Willow, it's you."


"I honestly don't care who knows, there are some days when I just want to jump up on something and yell out to the whole word that I love you. Mr Giles knows so it's not like I'm going to lose my job... and I don't know about Mrs Connelly, I mean I might lose my room but other than that... I really don't care about any of it. People can give me strange looks or whisper about me behind my back all they want... none of it matters because I know that you love me... .and in the end... .that's all that really matters," Tara smiled briefly as tears gathered in the corner of her love's eyes, she kissed them away gently, "I have nothing to lose... and yet you have everything... your education, your family and position in society."

"B-but... surely you don't think all of that matters to me... I can go and tell my parents about is right now, everything else be damned!"

Tara grabbed Willow by the shoulders as she was about to turn away, her grip firm and yet gentle at the same time. Restraining Willow with her gaze more than her strength. Their eyes locked together in wordless communication and Willow gradually relaxed. Her shoulders sagged as she forced herself to face the fact that it was not the right time. Someday it would come... but not just yet.

Willow found herself clenching her fists. She hated having to keep such a huge part of her life a secret.

No, she thought shaking her head unconsciously, Not a huge part... she is my life...

"What is it Will?" Tara asked quietly.

"I love you," Willow replied, planting another small kiss on Tara's lips, "And I'm really sorry for my behaviour, leaving you in the dark as to what they knew about us...well, it was a pretty stupid thing to do. I embarrassed you... forgive me?"

Willow looked at Tara with a wholesome expression on her sweet face. Tara just nodded and brought the hands that had been gripping Willow's shoulders up to cup her cheeks. At the same time they leaned in to one another, lips brushing in silky touches before their tongues met and engaged in a dance of their own.

"Are you two lovebirds going to stand there making out all night or do you want to come and do some proper dancing?" Abby spoke up from behind them and they sprang apart, "Faith is getting antsy in the car... she's going to start honking the horn soon."

"We're coming sorry!" Willow propelled Tara out the door in front of her and the pair of them followed Abby down the stairs.

All the while they snuck sneaky glances at each other, shared giggles to jokes that they did not even have to voice. That was until they passed Miss Keith in the Hall who glared at each of them in turn. Willow and Tara hastily disentangled their hands.

"Eleven o'clock sharp girls, I trust you won't forget!" she warned in a voice that said she was looking forward to catching any of them out past their curfew.

"We won't!" they chorused as the ran out the door to where Faith had started honking the horn with great gusto.

The five girls had little trouble getting into Jimmy's Jive n' Jam. In was in a part of town neither Willow nor Tara had ever been despite having lived in New York all their lives. As Willow climbed out of the car and stared at the brightly lit up building with it's huge, pulsating neon sign she knew it would be the immediate end of her university career if her father were ever to find out. She reached down and helped Tara up after her, the blonde held on to her hand a little tighter than was necessary. Willow squeezed it in reassurance.

"Are you entirely sure this is a good idea?" Tara asked Willow quietly, "We might never be seen alive again after this night."

Willow had to look at Tara to confirm her suspicions, the look on her face said she was not joking, "I'll look out for you as always, just stick by me."

Tara had to laugh at Willow's confidence. She sounded as though she had frequented these joints, a real regular, while Tara knew she was just as nervous.

It turned out that Faith, of course, knew the bouncers. The two huge men on the door greeted the brunette with embarrassing familiarity and quickly ushered all five of them inside, appreciative eyes roaming over their bodies.

Willow found her senses assaulted as soon as she walked in the door. It was definitely a case of sensory overload. She forced herself to break them all down, examine the place she had just followed her friends into. Loud music filled the fairly large place and Willow looked to the front of the room to see a live band up on stage. Throngs of gyrating, swinging and twirling people were dancing beneath the stage. Willow found herself grinning despite her fear, her toes were tapping already.

To one side there was a very busy bar serving all manner of drinks and opposite that were tables were those who weren't dancing could try and talk to each other over the din. Mostly they just sat tapping their toes and smoking cigarettes which sent large clouds of smoke wafting everywhere.

The five girls took over a booth another group was vacating. Tara slide right around to the back and found herself sliding down in the seat. Se felt somewhat safer with the table between her and the rest of the room which no doubt was filled with crazy people. Willow slid around beside her and immediately rested a reassuring hand on her knee.

"Drinks anyone?" Faith didn't even bother to sit down.

"Let me guess," said Abby with a knowing smile, "You know the bartender as well?"

Faith grinned, "Yes... that and my Daddy is very generous when it comes to my allowance."

"In that case, I'll have a Manhattan to start with," Anya said immediately.

"Just a whisky and soda for me," Abby said after a moment's consideration.

Faith turned to Willow and Tara and raised her eyebrows to indicate it was their turn, "Ladies?"

"Just a raspberry soda," Willow said, feeling distinctly uncomfortable.

"A coca-cola," Tara responded quickly.

Faith rolled her eyes playfully and made her way to the bar, turning a great many heads as she did so.

She returned ten minutes later, a tall and well-muscled young man carrying some of the drinks for her. Willow was thinking he was some sort of waiter before he sat down and joined them. His arm immediately snaking around the back of the seat behind Faith's shoulders.

"This is Bud," Faith announced with a broad smile and Bud just nodded.

Willow smiled quickly and took a sip of her drink. It was very raspberryish but quite unlike any raspberry soda she had tasted before. Nevertheless, it was very good and after a few sips she found she had almost drained it to the bottom.

Quite a few 'raspberry' sodas later, Willow was gazing out wistfully to the dance floor where Faith and Bud were gyrating against one another in a most inappropriate manner. Her toes tapped constantly and with the start of each new song she found herself exclaiming, "This is my favourite!" Eventually, after one too many giggle outbursts, Anya rested a hand on Willow's outstretched wrist as she was tapping her hands on the table in time with the music. Willow stopped her tapping and looked at Anya through glazed eyes with a silly grin on her face.

"Honey, you're drunk," Anya patted her hand sympathetically.

Willow looked and her indignantly, "I am not!" she then turned to Tara who was smiling sweetly, Willow raised her eyebrows insistently, "Tell them I'm not drunk! I've only been drinking raspberry sodas!"

"Sweetie, you're very drunk," Tara was still nursing her first drink.

Willow's mouth dropped and she looked mortified even as everyone else was smiling at her. If her father saw her now... her eyes goggled... .she'd most probably be sent to a convent. Willow frowned, she wasn't Catholic... well, whatever the Jewish equivalent of a nun was. If there was such a thing... which Willow ought to have known there wasn't. She hit her forehead on the table, her brain was wouldn't work anymore. It was as though her head were wrapped in a fuzzy layer of cottonwool that prevented any sensible and coherent thoughts. Tara was saying something to her and she turned her head so one cheek was resting against the table. She looked up at Tara with a pitiful look on her face.

"Will, if you could see yourself now," the blonde had the nerve to giggle at her plight!

Willow sat up and was sure she felt her head swim, "I'm drunk! I've never been drunk before! This isn't like me at all! We should be getting me home and dunking my head in a basin of cold water over and over until I sober up!"

"You've seen too many movies... not that the whole dunking thing wouldn't be fun of course," Abby said shaking her head, "What you should do is take your beautiful girlfriend by the hand and go dance before we have to leave."

"I can't dance in this state!" Willow protested even as Tara grabbed her hand and pulled her from the seat.

Willow stood, her legs felt like jelly for just a few moments before she found it wasn't so very hard after all. In fact... it was almost fun. She found herself giggling again as it was her turn to pull Tara through the crowds of people to the centre of the dance floor. Once there, however, a small measure of her awkwardness and self-consciousness returned. They were in the middle of a crowded bar... together.

Through her fluffy haze, Willow looked at Tara who was looking around with a nervous expression on her face. Willow set her face into her best resolute expression and reached out to her love. One hand slipped easily around Tara's waist and the other fitted into Tara's palm as though it were made to go there. The two girls just stared into each other's eyes for a few moments, not yet moving their feet in time to the rhythm.

"Alright?" Willow mouthed, neither could hear each other over the band.

"I'm fine," she saw the blonde say in reply.

Willow lead the way, she had grown quite used to leading in the times she and Tara had danced together previously. She swung Tara out with a flourish, sending her into a spin before pulling her back again. Tara's mouth was open and Willow knew she was giggling even though it couldn't be heard.

The next song was even faster and their feet flew across the dance floor. Hands grew sweaty as they rested in one another's palms. Willow had a thin sheen of sweat coating her face that just made her even more beautiful.

Just as their feet were beginning to show signs of falling off, the band struck up a much more mellow number.

"Here's one for all the lovers out there," the lead singer crooned into his microphone.

A good number of the crowd left the dance floor, leaving only couples dancing cheek to cheek. Willow looked and saw Faith to her left, the brunette leant over and hissed in her ear,

"Don't you two dare leave the floor!"

"But..." Willow tried to protest.

"No one here cares," Faith said looking at her and Tara in turn.

Faith and Bud moved away, Willow had to avert her eyes when they locked in a passionate kiss. She stood facing Tara, feeling a little awkward despite knowing exactly what she wanted to do. Her body swayed a little with the rhythm of the music... or perhaps it was just because she was drunk.

She was somewhat surprised when Tara made the fist move, putting her hands on either side of Willow's slender waist and drawing her close. One look into those liquid pools of blue was enough to send any remaining fears Willow had straight out of her head. Her hands reached out and drifted up to Tara's neck, encircling it.

Their bodies pressed together, they swayed in time to the music, losing sight of everything else around them. Gradually they lent even closer to one another until their cheeks were resting comfortably together. Willow sighed as she rubbed the skin of her cheek against Tara's like a cat.

She felt Tara's breath falling on her cheek and before she knew it her lips were searching out Tara's. She found them easily and for a split second it felt as though Tara wanted to yank herself out of the embrace. They were in the middle of a crowd... However she gradually melted, her lips moving against Willow's hungrily. As they danced, in more ways than one, they lost all sense of where they were and who they were with. They were just two girls in love, doing what lovers did.

The car pulled up outside Calvin Hall carrying five very satisfied young ladies at the end of their evening. They had a wonderful time and had made it back well and truly within the curfew.

"Right, I'm going for a cigarette," Faith announced as the car engine fell silent. "Or as many as I can get in before curfew."

"Oh yes please!" Anya said in a grateful tone.

"Didn't you guys smoke enough of those vile things at the club?" Abby yelled after them as they wandered off to sit on a park bench nearby.

Abby was left sitting in the car next to Willow and Tara and it took her a few moments for her to realise the awkwardness of the situation. With a hastily mumbled excuse about checking on the other two, she made a quick exit. Willow and Tara just looked at one another, Tara had a quizzical look on her face while Willow just looked mischievous.

"Where'd she go in such a hurry?" Tara asked Willow innocently.

"Baby, you really are sweet but sometimes... so incredibly clueless," Willow smiled and snuggled into Tara's side.

"Oh... oh!" Tara felt a little silly, she put an arm around Willow's shoulders and drew her even closer.

Willow sighed and closed her eyes, still feeling incredibly tipsy but thankfully no longer so jittery. Her head was lying against Tara's chest where she could feel the steady beat of the blonde's heart thumping away. Such a soothing sound Willow felt she could drift off to sleep.

Tara giggled out of the blue causing Willow to cock an eye open and peer up at her.

"We made out in a room full of people... very drunk people, many of whom were also making out but still..." her blue eyes danced at the memory.

"Felt pretty cool didn't it?" Willow whispered, feeling really sleepy.

Tara nodded, "I hate hiding what you mean to me."

"I know exactly what you mean," Willow prised both eyelids open, "I have the most beautiful girl in the world for a girlfriend and I want to brag about her to everyone I meet, it's frustrating to say the least."

Tara rested her chin on the top of Willow's head and in doing so her gaze wandered to the park bench.

"I can't see the others anymore," Tara whispered, "Do you think they've gone inside already?"

Willow peered out the car window, "I guess so," she looked at her watch, "It's late but we still have a good half hour till curfew."

"Half an hour huh?" Tara whispered, pulling Willow back against her, "What are we going to do in the car all by ourselves?"

Willow frowned, "Well, nothing I guess... let's go inside."

Tara pouted indignantly just as Willow let out a small giggle. Realising that Willow had been teasing, Tara rolled over so that the redhead was pinned beneath her body, her hands resting on the back of the seat on either side of Willow. She heard the sharp intake of air from the redhead and, fearing she had hurt Willow, was about to extract herself from her position. However, before she could do so, Willow put her hands on either side of Tara's waist to hold her in position.

"Are you alright?" Tara had to ask.

"Are you kidding?" Willow said a little breathlessly, "What about this situation would I not like?" Besides the fact that all your clothes are still on, Willow blushed at her all too saucy thoughts, Get naked Tara out of your head now! You don't even know what she looks like with no clothes on for gods sake! "I'm fine baby."

"I just thought I was squashing you..." Tara began in a small voice.

Willow giggled, "We've really got to do this sort of thing more often, neither of us can tell the difference between a gasp of pain and a gasp of pleasure. How about next time you're squashing me I say, 'Help! You're squashing me!'"

"Am I?" Tara tried to move again but Willow just held even tighter.

"No you silly billy you're not... it's just that your..." Willow grinned and her eyes twinkled even as she had trouble saying what she wanted to, "Your thigh is in a good place."

A look of realisation crossed Tara's face and she moved her thigh which was resting between Willow's legs. Willow closed her eyes, moving her hips in a rocking motion. Tara looked down at Willow, her mouth opened slightly. She pressed her chest against Willow's, feeling not only the swell of her firm breasts but the rapid beating of her heart.

She leaned in and claimed the sweet, rosy lips beneath her. Just savouring their warmth and moistness first in a languid and lingering movement of her own lips. This went on for a few moments, slow tasting, lips moving against each other like silk. Content just to roam the surface despite knowing that there were even better things to come.

Willow's tongue flicked out teasingly over Tara's lips, the blonde giggled and tried to catch it between her teeth. Eventually, she allowed her tongue to be trapped in the other girl's warm mouth. Tara claimed the moist organ, stroking it tenderly with her own tongue before taking it deep into her mouth.

All the while her thigh rubbed against Willow's humping pelvis ever so slowly and yet it was more than enough to drive Willow to feel an insatiable type of hunger she had little experience dealing with. She needed something and yet was unsure exactly what. Their movement was so incredibly tantalising and wonderful, yet at the same time she knew it wasn't enough.

Carefully, she applied pressure to Tara's limbs, rolling her over and down into the seat to change their positions. Tara lay back on the smooth seat leather, looking up at the beautiful red head above her, quite out of breath.

Not really aware she was doing so, Willow shrugged out of her cardigan before laying down atop Tara. A thrill coursed through her as they lay body-to-body, breasts pressed firmly against one another. Her thigh now resting between Tara's legs, seeking to give Tara the same incredible feeling she herself felt.

She claimed Tara's lips once more, wasting no time with feathery light kisses, instead she went straight to crushing her lips in a fierce manner. Insistent and a little forceful. Tara let out a small moan.

Now that's a good one! Willow was inwardly pleased at herself for now learning to distinguish between pleasure and pain.

"Mmm, Will..." Tara managed to gasp between kisses, "Don't stop..."

Willow buried her face in Tara's neck, trailing kisses downwards which gradually changed to small nips and then whole mouthfuls of Tara's flesh. At one point she bit down hard and Tara yelped, in pain this time. When she went to draw back she felt Tara's hand on the back of her neck,

"Don't stop!" Tara insisted, thrusting her pelvis against Willow's leg.

"Where on earth are Willow and Tara?" Abby stood on the front porch of Calvin Hall peered out into the darkness, "They're going to be locked out if they don't get a move on!"

Faith leant her chin on Abby's shoulder and whispered in her ear, "I'd say they're still getting down and dirty in the car."

"Faith!" Abby snapped playfully.

Miss Keith emerged from the kitchen in her dressing gown. A vile bright pink affair that caused temporary blindness if stared at for too long. She had a satisfied smile on her face at seeing the girls still clustered by the door.

"Missing one of your little friends are we?" she asked.

"Ah no," Abby replied quickly, moving back inside, "We just thought we saw..."

"An escaped zoo animal," Faith finished lamely, smiling apologetically at Abby, "Everyone else is tucked up in bed already."

Faith and Abby made their way up the stairs, pausing to wince as Miss Keith shut the door and locked it. They were sure she made the sound of the key turning in the lock as loud as she possibly could.

"T-t..." Tara was trying to whisper something from beneath Willow.

Willow pulled back, switching from kissing Tara senseless to simply nuzzling her nose. Her tongue reached out and flicked it tenderly. Tara closed her eyes contentedly before realising that she only had a small window of opportunity to say what it was she wanted before she succumbed to Willow's tender exploration of her body once more.

"Time," Tara whispered a little more insistently.

"What about it?" Willow asked lazily, then she pulled back suddenly and her eyes widened, "Time!"

She pulled back and looked at her watch to find it was almost eleven-thirty. The doors to Calvin Hall would have been well and truly locked by Miss Keith.

"Shit!" Willow hissed, angry at herself for getting completely carried away.

Tara raised her eyebrows after hearing Willow swear but the redhead was too busy struggling back into her cardigan to see her.

"What should we do?" Tara asked, opening the door and almost falling out.

"Well, I would be quite happy to curl up with you in the car all night but I have nasty thoughts that a security guard will come by and take great pleasure in escorting us off the campus... maybe we can find a window."

"Willow, your room is on the first floor!" Tara balked at the thought of having to climb up anything.

Willow crawled out of the car and when she stood her head swam alarmingly. If she had not noticed her inebriated state earlier it came back to slap her in the face now. She stumbled into Tara's warm arms, fighting to regain her balance and the new and very unpleasant urge to vomit.

"I'm terribly sorry," Tara dragged Willow fully upright, "I should have been keeping a closer eye on the time."

"It's not your fault at all," Willow replied insistently, "Besides... we it comes to a choice between making curfew and spending an extra half an hour in privacy with you... well, there's not really any contest is there?"

Tara grinned saucily at the memory of Willow's hands roaming over her body, even now it stirred a warm feeling in her gut and somewhere lower and even more pleasant.

"No, there's not, come on, let's find a way in."

"You know," Willow said as they began walking around the house, leaning heavily on Tara, "I'm sure people normally try and find a way out of this place rather than into it."

"There's your window... isn't it?" Tara pointed up, indicating a window with light shining from it, "Do you think you can shimmy up the rain pipe?"

Willow looked at the metal pipe ascending the wall with a dubious expression on her face, "No," she replied abruptly.

Tara just propelled her towards the pipe and it appeared as though she would have to do it anyway. Willow reached out and gave it a tug, it creaked alarmingly but held fast. She looked back to Tara with a terrified expression on her face.

"Are you sure about this?" she asked.

"Perfectly, go on, I'll follow you up," Tara sounded all too confident to Willow's ears.

"So you can catch me if I fall?" Willow asked anxiously, not liking the thought of that at all.

"No... so I can look up your skirt," Tara replied simply.

Willow rolled her eyes and tentatively began climbing up the pipe, using the braces which were placed at regular intervals to secure the pipe to the house. Each step was a huge step into the unknown and at any moment she expected the pipe to come away from the wall and send her flying backwards to hit the ground and most probably break her neck. It was even worse when Tara followed her, the pipe creaked in protest at their combined weight. However, it had the added bonus of making Willow climb faster. For a girl who had never even climbed a tree in her life, she was doing remarkably well. She reached the bottom of the windowsill and climbed out along a ledge so Tara could climb up beside her. Her fingers ached from gripping the small and awkward surface of them ledge.

The window was closed and she rapped on it tentatively, half expecting a very angry yet immensely happy Miss Keith to throw open the curtain. Instead it was Abby, a very surprised look on her face as she hastily opened the window.

"Where on earth did you two get to! We were beginning to think you were never going to come back... and then Miss Keith locked the door!" Abby prattled on.

"Abby," Faith pulled the brunette away from the window so she could take her place, "Shut up and help me get them inside!"

"Footsteps!" Anya exclaimed from the door.

"Shit!" Faith slammed the window back down, catching Willow's fingers.

Faith winced apologetically before closing the curtain in their faces.

"Owwww," Willow let out a low exclamation of pain through clenched teeth, watching her fingers go increasingly whiter trapped beneath the window.

It took a few minutes before Faith re-opened the window and lifted its weight from Willow's unfortunate digits. The redhead let out another yelp before allowing Faith to drag her in the window. She fell unceremoniously on the floor before a nightgown-clad Abby helped her to her feet just as Faith was helping Tara in.

"Where in the frilly heck did you two get to? We weren't about to try and stall Miss Keith because then she would have known you were missing!" Abby whispered fiercely, "As it was we had to lie for you and say you were upstairs already, thank the heavens she didn't come looking for you."

"Leave them alone Ab," Faith said, closing the window and drawing the curtain once more.

"Yeah, what other privacy are they going to get to have sex?" Anya jumped in, "I mean, I wouldn't mind if they did it in here as long as they kept the moaning to a minimum but they might feel uncomfortable having sex with another people in the room."

"You're damn right we would!" Willow replied a little more harshly than she had intended, but her head was swimming, her fingers stung painfully and she just wanted to curl up in Tara's arms and go to sleep, "And besides, we were not having sex!"

"That's what they all say," Anya replied, mostly to herself, as she moved to climb back into her bed.

"Well, you've definitely been busy anyway," this was too good an opportunity for Faith to pass up, "Tara, you've got the biggest ever love bite on your neck... not to mention Willow's lipstick all over your face."

Willow groaned and flopped on top of her bed, "I'm beginning to think it was a bad idea letting the three of you in on our relationship."

"Well, you're not very discreet about it," Abby laughed, padding over quickly to kiss Willow lightly on the cheek before jumping back into her own bed, "Besides, I think it's sweet."

"Oh, I think it's sweet too!" Anya added, "It's just that I also need to know all the juicy details."

Tara just stood back during the interchange between the girls and found herself smiling. She found much to her surprise that she didn't mind being the butt of good-natured ribbing, in fact, it was almost a welcome change to have others talking about her and Willow just as they would with any other couple.

She looked at her rather pale girlfriend who had curled up into a little ball on her bed, still fully clothed. Her shoes dangerously close to leaving muddy marks on the pale yellow duvet cover. Tara smiled and crossed the floor to flick the room's light off before making her way back to Willow in the near dark. Gently she removed Willow's shoes, placing them neatly on the floor before removing her own. Willow was half-asleep as she started tugging off her cardigan. A task made a little difficult by the fact she was still lying down.

"Will, I think you need to sit up," Tara whispered, trying to help and yet finding it impossible, "You can't go to sleep like this."

"Can't," Willow mumbled, "Can."

One of Tara's arms burrowed its way beneath her back and lifted her from the bed. Willow could only protest weakly before she found the cardigan being slipped from her shoulders. Then Tara's nimble fingers were undoing the buttons on her shirt. She tried to help with one but found the task of extracting the button from the buttonhole just a little too much for her.

Tara couldn't help but feel her pulse jump in her throat as she slid Willow's shirt from her smooth shoulders. Willow managed to shrug out of it and she was left sitting in just her chemise. It would be so easy just to let her hands continue to wander, to stroke the creamy skin that she wanted to feel so badly. Tara sighed, and forced herself to concentrate on undressing Willow instead of undressing Willow and staring at her in the darkness. Willow flopped back onto the pillows once her shirt was off and Tara's hands went to her skirt. It was easy enough to slide it down over Willow's hips when the redhead lifted them slightly from the bed. It was much harder to stop her breath from coming hot and fast as her hands moved down Willow's thighs, just the satin petticoat between her hands and Willow's skin.

Tara climbed off the bed so she could pull the covers up over the nearly asleep girl. She then hastily threw off her own outer layer of clothing before climbing into bed behind Willow. She scooted forward until she was spooning the smaller girl from behind. Tara was hard pressed to remember the last time they had shared a bed but found the familiar warm sensation being rekindled anew. Her arm snaked around Willow's waist, resting lightly against the redhead's tummy. A small, contented smile was fixed on her face.

"Will," Tara pressed her lips to Willow's ear and whispered, "Goodnight."

Through her sleepy and still drunk haze, Willow grinned in the darkness. She hadn't realised what a thrill it was to hear those simple words from Tara. She was going to sleep in her arms... and in the morning, would wake in them... albeit probably with a throbbing headache. Her heart performed happy somersaults over and over as she wriggled her body even closer to Tara's.

"G'night," Willow replied in a fuzzy voice, she yawned happily before slowly drifting off to sleep in Tara's arms.

Continue to What's Your Tale, Nightingale? Chapter Twenty-Eight

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