They had stayed on the path that Millo had led them one for the better part of the day. Officer had been explaining to Tara what all the little things Millo would do meant. It would seem that this little guy had figured out a way to communicate with Officer by series of, well, sort of dances. That was really the only way to describe it. It was really quite amazing.
It was starting to get dark now and they had decided to call it a night here. Officer had called in and told them that Millo was on the trail and they had moved a few more parties out toward this area.
"Hey you two coming up to camp?"
"I'm not, no. I think Millo is better off he stays closer. If he picks something up I want to get on it right away so, no."
"What about you Maclay?"
"No, this is my gig too. I'm hanging on here."
"Alright then we'll talk to you in the morning."
Willow switched off the radio and turned to Tara. "You don't need to stay here if you don't want to. I'll be okay up here. I'm used to being on my own."
"I'm not staying here for you Officer. Trust me," Tara said. If she had been facing Officer she would have seen a look of disappointment cross her face.
Officer was experiencing some kind of breakdown at this point. It was evident in her next statement.
"Do you want to eat with me?"
Tara turned and smiled at Officer. "Are you flirting with me Officer Rosenberg?"
"What? Why? Oh no, no, I didn't mean, never mind."
She started to walk away and Tara reached out and stopped her. "I know. I was just joking. I would love to eat dinner with you."
"Okay then. I, umm I'll make something and you make something and we can share? Is that okay?"
Tara was tempted to confront this imposter and demand to know what it had done with Officer.
They had each finished eating and were now sitting on the ground, backs against a hollow log, looking up.
"It's beautiful isn't it?" Officer said.
"Yes it is," Tara answered looking over at Officer. "So, how did you get Millo?"
"Well, that is a really kind of a cool story. I had gotten a call about a back up on a drug bust and I responded. When I got there they had found him in the backyard, tied to a tree with about a two foot lead." Officer's voice got a little lower. She cleared her throat. "He was just about dead. He probably hadn't had food or water in at least three or four days and he had signs of having been beaten. No one could get near him. He just growled and barked. He was frightened of people.
"I had a set of gloves in my car that I had used when I had trained in canine unit, so I went out to get them. I put them on and went over to untie him and let the vet take him. He fought with me at first, but then he just gave up. He was too malnourished to keep up a fight of anykind, and to be honest, I think he didn't care if someone just ended it for him. This is all he had ever known.
"He was only six months old. Anyway, I was downtown and I stopped to ask about him at the vet's office and they took me around to see him. He was just blank. No yelping, no barking, nothing. I went over to him and spoke to him and he wagged his tail a little. I asked Leon if it was okay if I took him home. He said it would be fine, that more then likely he would just be euthanized anyway.
"It was a battle. He growled and wouldn't let me come near him. He was just so disillusioned by it all. He couldn't trust anyone. He'd been treated to badly. He started getting a little more trusting after a week or so, and he would let me pet him sometimes. I knew one thing for sure. I wasn't going to give up on him. I knew there was something very special about him. No matter how badly he tried to keep from letting me take care of him, I wouldn't give up. Now look at him. He's a regular hero. He's my best friend. "
Tara felt something inside of her and she knew just what it was. She knew at this point that Officer and Millo were so close because they shared a connection. Millo had stopped fighting but Officer hadn't.
"So he was just like his owner then. That's were this simpatico of yours comes in? Afraid of being hurt, doesn't trust anyone. Only he's managed to let it go. Why don't you?"
"Tara, this is nothing to do with me. I don't relate to my dog because we share some kind of tortured past. I'm not afraid of people."
"The hell you're not. You're terrified of getting close to anyone. You know what else I think? I think that's why you don't want anyone else to pet your dog. You're afraid he'll leave you too. No matter how obvious this dog has made it to you, that he has no intention of ever hurting you, you still don't trust. It's sad Officer. It really is."
Tara then stood up and walked away.
Officer jumped up and yelled, "Hey, I'm not afraid of you or anybody else. I am the way I am because I choose to be. No one has made me anything."
"You're a liar Officer. You're a scared little girl and you're a liar. I really don't feel like falling anymore for you than I have already, because there's no hope. So I'm going to just spend as little time as possible with you. I don't want to be like you. Goodnight Officer."
"Hey, don't you just walk away from me. I have something to say to you also, so you just stop what you're doing and turn around now."
"And put my hands behind my back, lace my fingers? Don't talk to me like you're about to arrest me. Talk to me like a human and I may stop and talk back. Until then? Enjoy your suffering."
"Hey, who do you think you are? You don't know a damn thing about me. If you're having trouble being around me that's your problem not mine. I'm sorry if you have made something out of this that it's not. I have not in any way led you on. If you're hurt that's your fault, not mine." Officer was standing now.
Tara laughed to herself and stopped walking. "To hell with this," she said to herself and turned and came at Officer.
She reached her goal and took Officer's face in both of her hands and smashed her mouth down on Officer's. Officer struggled at first, but now she just gave in.
She grabbed Tara around the waist and pulled her in tighter. She opened her mouth and Tara slid her tongue inside. One of Tara's hands slid down off of Officers face and landed at the back of Willow's head. She pressed their mouths together and their kiss was growing more passionate at an alarming rate.
Tara felt Willow's tongue slid into her own mouth and a moan escaped her. Willow then began to sink slowly down to her knees, bringing Tara with her. Her hands pulled desperately at Tara's shirt and she pulled it up over her head. Once the garment was removed they resumed the kiss.
She then pushed Tara gently down on the blanket and positioned herself between her legs. Her hands found Tara's bra and pushed it up allowing Tara's breasts to come free. She growled at the first sight of them and immediately went to work at learning them. Her hands began to gently kneed them and her mouth soon ventured down and she sucked a nipple into her mouth. She teased it with her tongue, caressing it with feather light flicks of her tongue's tip. Tara let a loud breath out and thrust her hips up at Willow's thigh.
"Oh God," Tara moaned as Willow pressed the thigh into Tara's center and began a slow rocking motion.
One of Tara's hands found Willow's ass and began to pull her down, forcing the thigh between her legs to make a firmer connection to her center. The other hand pressed down on the back of Willow's head, holding it there while Willow's tongue still caressed and teased the nipple. The hand that had been teasing Tara's other breast now made its way downward, and Willow lifted herself off of Tara and rolled slightly over till she was now straddling one of Tara's thighs. The hand made its way between Tara's legs and she pressed the fingers of the hand directly against Tara's clit and began to press in and up, forcing the seam of Tara's jeans to rub up against it.
"God, you feel so good," Tara spoke to Officer as she was now beginning to thrust up against the fingers and roll her hips against them, causing them to circle the nerves that were now alive with sensation.
"Oh please, please touch me," she begged into Willow's ear and Willow cried out from the sensation that the whisper sent through her body.
He had buried himself in the leaves. He had remembered from scouts that it not only helped to hide your scent from some predators, but also provided a source of insulation for your own body heat.
He was wondering how long he had been lost. He knew it couldn't have been long because this was only the second pitch black that he remembered. He was planning his strategy for tomorrow.
He had figured he would try to back track from his current route. He had remembered the number one rule as he was laying in his bed of leaves, and being only ten years old, didn't put together that fact that he would more then likely be headed in the wrong direction yet again.
As he was planning his next move he heard a sound. Footsteps. He was tempted to call out to it but then decided that was a wrong move. If it were of human form he was sure it would be calling his name. He was beginning to panic again, and his breathing was accompanied by small whimper that his ten year old mind was not able to control.
The footsteps were closer now and they were accompanied by a sound that he couldn't identify.
He lay there, his eyes open in fear.
He felt something touch him now, and he sucked in a deep breath and held it. He was beginning to cry and he felt it again. What ever it was, it was trying to unbury him from the leaves.
He sensed now that it had stopped moving.
He was grateful now for the pitch blackness that he had just moments before been begging to be vanquished. He shut his eyes tightly, terrified that if he saw what it was, he would surely be dead. It touched him again and he let out a scream.
He jumped up and ran blindly through the woods, never stopping to turn around.
He was moving at a tremendous speed now and he felt his foot hit something that sent him flying forward. He remembered thinking that he hit a tree root just before he felt something come into contact with his head and then it all went black.
Tara was clawing at Willow's back now. She gripped her shirt and with a force she didn't know she possessed, forced them both over and now she was on top. She sat up, her legs straddling Willow's hips, and began to unbutton her shirt. She was gyrating back and forth and pushing down and Willow was now on fire. She put her hands on Tara's hips and pulled downward as she swayed with the motion Tara had now introduced. Tara was halfway done with the buttons when she felt Willow pressing her hips upward and she felt an eruption burst from her center, causing her to pull Willow's shirt in either direction as buttons were sent flying.
"Oh Fuck!" Tara cried as the orgasm ripped through her body and she fell forward. She could not believe a climax of that proportion could come from a session of grinding and she was now desperate to see what the real thing would do. Before she could recover she felt Willow suck her breast yet again into her mouth, this time opening wide to take as much of the breast into her mouth as possible.
"Oh God, yes," Tara cried as she flung her head upward again, pulling her upper body with it and ripping the breast from Officer's mouth. Officer sprung upward desperately sleeking out the breast yet again, wanting to feed the hunger that the taste testing had lit in her.
"Oh my God!" Willow said.
Tara looked at Officer and said, "Does that mean?"
Officer laughed and said, "Yes that means"
She turned to Tara and said: "Millos got something." She laughed.
Tara leapt up and made her way to her tent. She grabbed her boots. She didn't bother to tie them, she just pushed the laces inside and down. She picked up her belt, flashlight and radio and made her way out of the tent. She saw Officer talking and smiling at Millo again and she felt a welling up in her chest and a lump grew in her throat. She swallowed it down, and smiled at the scene in front of her.
Officer turn around and saw Tara there. The smile remained on her face and there were tears in her eyes. The lump in Tara's throat returned, only now, the hair on her arms was standing on end. She was looking at Tara, and the truth of Officer's feeling were clear in her eyes. Willow's eyes locked with Tara's. She didn't pull them away this time.
"I think he's got him. I really do." Willow then turned her attention back to Millo and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"You ready to go Boy?" she spoke and then let go of his neck. She stood up and wiped the tears from her eyes and said. "You ready Tara?"
They began to follow behind Millo and Willow was running a check on her radio. She pick up central and alert them that they had picked up something and to stand by for medical and transport.
"Hey Trally, it's Rosenberg. Millo's on something here. Can you go ahead and get a team ready for pick up just in case?"
"Oh,man. You have just got to love that dog," he laughed.
"Well it's not for sure but um I think it's pretty good. He was doing the dance."
"Ha ha, well then I'm pretty sure he's got him.. We'll get the group ready. Good job Maclay and Rosenberg. Give that dog a kiss for me will ya."
"You got it."
Tara looked at Willow and said "The dance?"
Willow smiled at Tara and said, "It's something he does when he gets a strong hit. He barks and runs in circles."
"Well I'm sorry I missed it."
"Maybe I'll show you what it looks like later," Willow said with a cheeky smile.
"Officer. Did you just proposition me?" Tara said with her own half grin. Willow just smiled and leaned a bit sideways pushing Tara just slightly off the path.
"No. He'll do it when he gets to his location. That's what I meant."
"Well that's to bad. I was hoping you would do it for me."
They had been walking for a good twenty five minutes in silence. There was no more playful banter the rest of the way. Suddenly Millo started a low barking.
"That's a good boy Millo. Show me where buddy," Willow spoke to the dog. She let go of the lead and Millo was off. She continued to walk and when she heard the loud barking, she knew he had found his target.
"Here we go," Willow told Tara and pointed to Millo.
Tara watched as the dog did his dance. Sure enough he was spinning like a top. First in one direction then the next. Willow stopped and took out bull horn.
"Joss, if you can hear me call out!"
"Joss, this is Search and Rescue, and we wantta take you home buddy!"
Tara looked at Willow and saw the look of concern on her face.
"This close he should hear us. Either it's a false hit or..." Willow stopped talking and Tara saw her face drop, "or he's injured or worse."
"Joss, honey if you can hear us, please call out!" Her voice was shaking now.
Tara looked around, shining her flashlight in a slow sweep of the areas where Millo was dancing.
"Officer," Tara said as she held her flash light still.
.She felt her heart sink as she saw the little boy lying face down on the ground. Willow followed the beam of light and then she saw him too.
"Oh God, damn it. No, no, no, come on please little guy," Willow said as she ran in his direction.
She was there in seconds and she called out to Tara: "He's alive. Call medical in."
She ran in the direction Willow was in and as she called in she watched Willow as she carefully check him for his injuries.
"Mom," Joss said as he came back into conciousness.
Willow laughed out loud and said, "No, Joss. But she's on her way."
Tara was watching Willow the whole time and was just in utter disbelief of the way Willow spoke and held on to the little boy. She was speaking in a voice that was naturally calming to anyone who could hear it. She saw that he had hit his head and told him to lie still. Reassuring him that he was just fine and not to worry. She placed her back pack on the ground and placed Joss's head on it and walked in Tara's direction.
"You are an amazing woman. Do you know that?" Tara asked.
Willow stood looking into Tara's eyes. They were both moving in now. Slowly reaching for what would be an acknowledgment of what they were both feeling.
"Maclay, hey!" someone called from behind and Tara spun around.
"Don't move. I'll be right back," she said to Officer.
"Hey Sweetie," she answered as she went over to her friend.
"Hey there cutie." Then he laughed and pulled Tara into a hug and spun her around.
"Good job Tara," he said as he set her down.
Willow watched and she felt sick. She turned around and walked over to Joss and the medical team detailing to transport the steps to the rescue for report.
"No, not me. Millo and Rosenberg. I just watched."
"Well you had to have something to do with it Tara."
"I, no," she giggled, "I really didn't."
She turned and walked back to where Willow was. She reached out her hand and held on to Willow's upper arm. Willow spun around and pulled it away.
"What's wrong?" Tara asked, confused.
"Nothing .I just have a report to detail and I'm in the middle of it." She never looked at Tara.
"So, okay," Tara said. "Do you think when you're done you could maybe give me a lift home?" She smiled at Willow.
"Yeah sure," she answered and walked away.
They made their way to Tara's house in silence. They pulled up to Tara's driveway and Willow jumped out and opened the back of her truck, and pulled Tara's pack out for her.
"Well it was nice to meet you Tara. You have a nice evening," Officer said. Tara stood in total confusion.
Tara had made it half way up her drive way before she stopped and turned around. She took a few deep breathes and closed her eyes.
"No, no, no, no, this doesn't stop here."
She turned back around dropped her pack and approached Officer again. Willow had just opened the driver's side door and was about to step inside.
"Officer," Tara said.
She didn't turn around.
"I'm talking to you now, please turn around." Tara was starting to cry.
"Why are you doing this?" Tara said now, her voice shaking slightly.
She took a step closer. "I know that wasn't just me. I know that you feel this thing whatever it is. I don't understand it but I'm sure the hell not going to ignore it." Tara was crying now. "My God, this might be something here for us."
Willow remained silent.
"What are you so afraid of? That you might actually have to stop living a life where no one else is allowed in? Are you afraid that somebody might actually see you for the real person that you are? I don't know why, but I have never wanted anybody in my life as badly as I want you . I'm not talking about sex or fucking or however it is that you want to put it. I'm talking about wanting to know you. I want to know the things you like to do. What your favorite color is. What you like to eat. God, I would settle for even knowing your name," Tara said in a laugh.
"Who did this to you? Who made you this thing that you try to pretend to be? "
Willow closed her eyes tight. She couldn't hear this right now. She was too close.
Tara took another step forward. "I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to just use you and walk away. Why won't you let me in?"
Willow was cracking. She had to end this. She had to end this before Tara said something that make her break. She had done this with Susan and Susan had taught her a lesson. She would have to start all over again. She couldn't do it.
"I... I don't feel that way about you Tara. You were just my partner on a mission and it's done, I'm done, and to be honest," Willow said without turning around. She bit her bottom lip for a moment then continued, "I don't feel this thing that you're talking about at all. So if you don't mind I'm going home now. I have an early day. Goodnight Miss Maclay. I'm sorry if I hurt you."
She started to step into her car again.
She was lying. Tara knew she was. Tara felt something explode in her and grabbed Willow again and turned her around to face her.
"Say it to my face. Look at me and say it," she said as she stared directly into Willow's eyes.
Willow stood there, silent. She closed her eyes and she said, "I said goodnight, Miss Maclay. Please don't make this so hard."
Then she turned and got into her car.
Tara stood watching her go.
She raised a hand to her mouth and she felt her heart break.She was standing there, eyes closed, body shaking from the force of the sobs that now racked her body. It was a pain like nothing she had ever felt before. But the pain wasn't for her. It was for Officer. She knew Officer was lying. She turned and made her way back to her home. Willow could see her walking back toward her house again. Willow could hear her crying. She let her head fall forward and let it rest on the hands that held the steering wheel.
She sat. She didn't know what to do now. She didn't know what to do, but it suddenly hit her what she wanted to do.
"Fuck it," she said.
She got out of her car and she walked up to Tara's door. She stood there. Staring at it. Waiting for it to knock on itself.
She raised a hand and fisted it. She moved it slowly toward the door. She knew if she knock there was no turning back.
Tara saw Willow standing outside and she walked over to the door and opened it.
"What?" she asked.
"Willow. That's my name. Blue, it used to be red but as of two days ago it's changed. That's my favorite color. Italian food, and..."
She never got to finish. Tara was on her. She pulled her by her shirt into the house and closed the door. She slammed Willow back against it and said, "That's enough for now."
She raised a finger under Willow's chin and said, "It's very nice to meet you Willow."