I watch that goddamn broad, Evie Abernathy, leave Kitty's. Her arse moves seductively even beneath her coat and I know she's intending it to be a reminder of what I missed out on, what I could have had if I wasn't such a head case. Goddamn woman can taunt me all she wants, I know she doesn't really want me anymore. Even though my current status is just about as bad arse as you can get, I'm even more of a head case. Not to mention the fact that I definitely don't want her. I smile and my gaze drifts back across the room to where I had last seen Willow talking to Faith. I frown, the redhead is nowhere in sight and there's just Faith staring at me over the rim of her glass. Her gaze isn't as hostile as it has been in the past...a fact which doesn't exactly have me feeling warm and fuzzy.
Not wanting to appear too desperate to learn Willow's whereabouts, Tara waited what she thought was an appropriate five minutes before crossing the room to join Faith. It was more like thirty seconds. She didn't take a seat but instead remained standing to indicate that she was serious about wanting to know Willow's whereabouts to seek her out.
"Nice chat with Ms Abernathy?" Faith asked placing her empty glass on the table in front of her and stroking its length as though she were stroking flesh.
"Words between old friends," Tara replied tersely, not about to be drawn into the brunette's little game.
Faith raised her fist to her mouth and coughed lightly, "Everyone knows Tara Maclay and Evie Abernathy were much more than friends...I remember, I don't know if you do, the rather naughty shot published in all the papers of the two of you splayed against the window of Evie's apartment. You should've really shut the curtains you know."
Tara fought the urge to growl in return but she clenched both fists instead. Of course she remembered that photo, taken by an unscrupulous tabloid photographer with a high-resolution lens. It had been published at a time when their relationship was still a relative secret and had predictably led to subsequent media frenzy. The media could apparently not get enough of stories concerning the famous lesbian actress and her lover, the dark, unknown detective. While the constant attention had done wonders for Evie's career, it had almost ruined Tara's.
Faith just smiled at Tara's discomfort and continued, "Well...I should say almost everyone knows, a certain redhead was too young at the time...she knows now though."
I groan inwardly, there was no telling what Willow had deduced from what she had seen, let alone what Faith might have said to her. I struggle to keep myself from leaping across the table and smashing that smug smile from Faith's face...not exactly the best move to make on the boss of a gang whose joint I'm standing in.
Tara had to content herself with simply voicing her anger, "What the hell did you say to her, Faith?"
Faith's expression immediately changed to one of affront, "Nothing! Well, nothing that wasn't common knowledge, I mean, its not like I even knew you back then...what Willow chooses to draw from the fact you were talking with your incredibly glamorous, famous ex-lover is completely up to her."
Tara's eyes darted around the bar but it was exceptionally crowded due to the fact that the most popular dancer was on the bill for the night. She couldn't spot the redhead anywhere in the throng and her eyes went back to Faith.
"Do you see where she went?" Tara asked urgently.
"Why?" Faith replied brusquely, searching Tara's face for a hint of her intentions, "Why do you care where she is?"
"Because..." Tara swallowed awkwardly, she was hardly about to tell Faith things she would not even admit to herself, "I don't want Willow to get the wrong impression."
"Fine," Faith replied, although she did not seem entirely impressed with the brevity of Tara's answer, "She went out the back door, she'll either be in the dressing rooms or taking in some air out in the back alley."
Tara frowned, "In the back alley? Alone?"
Before Faith could say anything further, Tara made a beeline for the back door. She made it to the dressing room but none of the other dancers had seen Willow enter so she continued out into the back alley.
She sniffed at the gloom that met her as she made her way out into the space behind Kitty's. Although wide, the walls on either side rose high into the air, effectively blocking out any light from the moon that shone high above. There were several people gathered around the entrance, Kitty's workers on their cigarette breaks and a few other loiterers whom Tara eyes sharply. Sure enough, one of them was a small redheaded woman. Tara narrowed her eyes and saw that it was Willow, her coat drawn up around her face. Tara started after her, although she had not gone more than a few meters after Willow when a small hand darted from the shadows and latched onto her elbow with a vice-like grip. Tara spun to find herself face-to-face with the steely gaze of Buffy, the silent, samurai sword wielding woman who managed to frighten even Tara. Tara immediately mistook the cold stare on Buffy's face for one of displeasure.
"I just want to talk to her," Tara said insistently.
Buffy shook her head just as insistently in reply. Although Tara had taken this as sign that Buffy didn't want her anywhere near Willow, the petite blonde then inclined her head towards a moving shadow that hugged the alley walls just behind Willow.
Tara narrowed her eyes to pick out more details in the gloom and it was not until the figure peeled itself away from the wall that she could make out who it was. She saw the swirl of a long, black leather coat falling down to their ankles. It rose to a high collar turned up around the stranger's face. Although Tara saw a hint of pale, almost white skin, too white to be hidden in shadow and peroxided hair atop their head. As they walked, Tara came to the conclusion it was a man. Her eyes narrowed when she saw that he was definitely following Willow, in fact he was closing in on the little redhead. Tara turned back to Buffy and saw her hand go to one of her katana at her belt. Risking her hand being sliced off cleanly at the wrist, Tara reached out and laid her hand on Buffy's forearm. The blonde tuned to regard Tara with a curious expression which Tara couldn't label as threatening or neutral.
"I'll take care of it," Tara said quietly, hoping that Buffy would not feel her place had been usurped.
Although Buffy was obviously the protector of the group due to her rather unique skills, Tara had the sudden and insistent urge to step in where Willow was concerned. As she stepped out in the alley and Buffy did not make any move to prevent her, she felt as though Willow's safety concerned her personally. Tara realised as her eyes narrowed on the strangers back that she wanted it to be her role permanently. The thought of anyone else looking out for Willow, no matter how good a job they might do, was difficult to accept.
I study the guy following Willow, it always pays to you're your target as much as possible even though there's only so much that can be gleaned by observation alone. He's powerful, no doubt about that in his stride and carriage. I bet he's as lean and hard as a rock under that leather coat. Coat's expensive as well, although that doesn't help me much, could be that he stole it...or just as easily, he could be a dealer. I move in until I'm just behind him and its right now that I feel naked despite the clothes I'm wearing. I don't have a single weapon on me, not the comforting presence of a pistol snug against the small of my back...or even a nail file in my pocket for god sake! Still, I have my mits...small as though they may be, they're still capable of doing some damage. I'm so close behind him now that I could reach out and clip him over one ear. If he's noticed I'm here, he's not showing any sign.
"Can I help you?" the tone of Tara's voice, although quiet, meant serious business.
The man turned to regard the interruption Tara presented. His movement, although brief, was fluid and stealthy, enough to indicate to Tara that he would be difficult to handle if events did take a turn for the worst. Tara was determined not to resort to using her mits, for any reason...although given that Willow's safety was on the line, she was not sure just how concrete a resolution this would prove to be.
Tara met his steely cold, almost mocking gaze with a calm, expressionless one of her own. She studied his face intently, it was almost starved of flesh, all hard planes and angles that made it appear as though he had been chiselled from a slab of pale rock. His lips, thin and cruel, curved up into a sardonic little smirk. She glanced over her shoulder, a few meters ahead Willow had obviously heard Tara speak and had stopped to face the pair standing behind her. Her confusion at the scene unfolding mixed with an obvious twinge of heartache when her gaze fell upon Tara.
"Not that it's any of your business, but I was just gong to offer the little lady a cigarette," he spoke in a dry voice with an unmistakeably English accent.
Tara felt her stomach churn into a painful knot at the suggestion that it was none of her business. She realised that she was determined to make anything to do with Willow, her business...especially when it involved a creepy Englishman stalking her in a darkened alley.
"It is my business...and she doesn't smoke," Tara didn't buy it for one second, it was all too obvious he was looking for trouble, of exactly which kind Tara did not care enough to find out, "So I'd move along if I were you."
He raised his eyebrows as though Tara's rather low-level threat amused him. Tara couldn't care less whether he was enjoying this or not, she was fully aware that Buffy was stalking them from the rooftop high above. At any sign of trouble, the deadly little woman could pounce with her katana and the intruder would be sushi within a matter of seconds.
"You are a feisty lady," he drawled in reply, "If I were you I'd mind your manners in the future, a little politeness can go a long way in our game."
Tara tried her best not to look confused as she replied in a confident voice, "I don't know what the hell kind of game you're playing, but I sure ain't joining in."
He chuckled and glanced slightly upwards in Buffy's direction, as though he were fully aware that she was there. When he met Tara's gaze once more, his eyes spoke of even further knowledge, knowledge that was dangerous. Tara struggled to keep her expression level even as a myriad of thoughts ran through her mind.
I keep my eyes locked with this nancy bastard despite the fact that it's not as easy as it sounds. I look into those flint-like orbs and see nothing except an uncompromising evil that I know sure as hell ain't normal. While I need to know who he is and what he wants...for the moment I don't care, I just want him as far away from Willow as possible.
Tara could tell that Willow was trying to keep the fear from her voice, but it was there in spades. Her voice trembled slightly. Tara was keenly aware of the fact that the stranger stood between her and Willow. He could move at Willow with malicious and all she would be able to do was react a split second later...a split second too late.
"It's alright, the gentleman was just leaving," Tara said loud enough for all of them to hear clearly, even Buffy atop the roofline.
"I was under the impression that the Ladies could be called upon to bestow their considerable attentions on gentleman with money...it could be that I've got some," his lips curled up into a smirk.
"Well it could also be that neither of us are interested in your proposition," Tara shot back coldly.
It was clear that he was not about to be put off by one refusal, he spun slowly on his heels so that his back was to Tara. He faced Willow down with the same cool gaze he had given Tara, only the young redhead could not respond with Tara's calm, collected gaze. Her mouth dropped slightly in fear and when he took a step towards her an audible whimper escaped her lips.
"I was asking the little lady here," he let out a chuckle at the response he provoked, "
A heartbeat later Tara moved. She covered the ground between her and the intruder in a few powerful strides and then with a heavy plant of her booted foot, stepped in front of him to block his path to Willow. At the edge of her vision she saw Buffy drop down to a fire escape just above his head.
Tara stood facing him. The blood pounded against her skull, her anger boiling and furious as it strained to be released. Her anger was written all over her face and the intruder knew it. His only response at first was to grin as though he were egging her on. When she failed to respond to the immediate taunt, he continued with his choice of words.
"You won't give me what I want...what's to stop me from just taking it then?" his smile had morphed into a sneer, "You? Little girl playing cop...wait a minute...or ex-cop, I recognise your picture from somewhere..."
He was lying and Tara knew it. There was no expression of sudden recognition on his face. Apparently he was not as good an actor as he thought he was. He already knew exactly who she was before his forced exclamation and this troubled her more than his rather hollow, lecherous threats towards Willow. It was this realisation, that and the fact that Buffy was poised about to carve his head like a melon, which kept Tara's anger in check
"Murderer," he whispered as though it was the dirtiest word he could utter.
Tara met his cruel smirk impassive and unimpressed. She knew exactly what had happened on that fateful night eight years ago and there was nothing about it that troubled her conscience or kept her awake at night. Each of those men had deserved to die, she only regretted she hadn't managed to dispatch Tommy Talbot along with them. What kept her awake at night were the consequences.
If he were thrown by her lack of response and his failure to provoke her into anything other than a passive rage, it did not show on his features.
"Well then, I'd see to your little girlfriend then...she obviously needs to get it from somewhere and I suppose it's gonna be you," he looked over her shoulder in Willow's direction and smiled broadly, "Don't cry now little one...no one gonna get hurt...today."
Tara turned on her heels so she was standing side on to both Willow and the intruder, she turned her head slightly to confirm that the redhead was okay. Tara was relieved to see that although she was visibly shaken, she did not appear to be on the verge of tears at all. She smiled in reassurance before turning back to face their foe...only her was gone, vanished into the darkness of the alley. Tara frowned and peered upwards to see Buffy had disappeared too, no doubt she had followed the stranger to either dispatch him quietly, or ensure that he left Old Town.
"Fine, run away with you tail between your legs then," Tara growled into the night, but it was more for her own benefit than his.
Assuming a confident posture with both hands relaxed at her side, Tara turned back to Willow whose small face was marred by a deep frown.
"Okay, I totally missed what all that was about," Willow could not help but have noticed the rather eerie nature of his departure, "Was he trying to sell me drugs or something because I don't..."
"I think he was something much more than a drug dealer, Willow," Tara interrupted in a dark voice, wishing the situation were that simple.
Tara had loved dealing to the dealers during her employment as a cop, there was something inherently satisfying in cleaning at least some of the scum that clung beneath the rim of the toilet that was Basin City. It would have been simple, she could have delivered him to the doorstep of the nearest precinct...or confined him to the bowels of the nearest dumpster. However, from the look in the man's eyes and the way he moved, Tara suspected that she had better be on her guard least she be the one composting in a dumpster. Tara was still buried deep in reflection when she finally noticed a small hand tugging on her sleeve.
"Tara, are you alright?" Willow asked quietly, "You're worried about that white haired guy aren't you?".
"What?" Tara forced herself to turn her attention back to Willow, "Um, yeah, of course I'm alright...and no, he was just a low-life, scum that's all he was."
Willow frowned, not about to be put off so easily, "But you said before..."
I growl inwardly, yeah, I know what I just said before but you shouldn't have to worry your pretty little head about that guy...that's my job...and I'm fucking worried...I quickly change the subject, replacing it with something else that I would rather not talk about...Evie.
"Willow, there's nothing going on between Evie Abernathy and I...it's ancient history," Tara blurted out, blunt and straight to the point out of necessity.
If Tara had been seeking to draw Willow's mind away from her stalker, she succeeded in spectacular fashion. The look that settled on to Willow's face indicated that she had suddenly remembered her reason for sulking alone in the alley. Her expression flickered from anger to one of forced resignation which Tara suspected was purely for show.
"I don't care...I mean..." Willow huffed loudly and ended up repeating herself, "I don't care."
"Really?" Tara asked in a deliberately surprised voice, "So you'd be fine if Evie and I got back together?"
Willow's face coloured, "Like hell I would! You can't get back together with that skanky woman stealing whore!"
With Willow's little outburst, Tara was proved right. There was no way in hell Willow would resign herself to anything so quickly, even if she were fighting over the same woman with a movie star.
"Who's she stealing me from, Willow?" Tara asked quietly, softly, "I'm not with anyone."
Tara kept a calm gaze on Willow, the younger woman was anything but calm. Tara could have sworn she was one movement away from stamping her foot on the ground like a small child who was not getting her way.
"From me!" Willow spluttered, "From me, you great big dummy! I've been sending out every signal I know, pretty much screaming that I want you and now you go and let that movie bimbo in straight away...just like that?"
"Willow..." Tara tried to interrupt in a quiet voice.
If Willow had not been so seriously angry, Tara would have laughed at the comedy of the situation and Willow's irrational fear that all her hard work in ‘softening' up the ex-cop had just been thrown out the window. As it stood however, Tara was acutely aware that she had to put Willow out of her misery.
"What?" Willow growled.
"I wouldn't get re-involved with Evie if she were the last dyke on the face of the planet."
It took a few moments to register but eventually Willow ducked her head, realising how juvenile she must have sounded to Tara. Allowing herself time to compose herself, she lifted it once more and studied the blonde's face. She was surprised to find traces of amusement there, especially given the fact that she had never seen Tara smile. An embarrassed grin spread across her own face.
"That was ridiculous of me, I have no right to even think like that," Willow replied honestly.
Tara took in a lungful of air and replied quickly before she lost her nerve, "Maybe you do."
Willow frowned, "Tara?"
Any further conversation was thwarted when, with barely a sound, Buffy dropped down into the alleyway from where she had been stalking along the rooftops above. Her katana was still at her belt, and quite bloodless as far as Tara could tell. The assassin nodded in the direction of the City to indicate that he had left Old Town. Tara did not bother pressing her for more information as she suspected that she would get none.
Buffy then reached out and propelled Willow in the direction of Kitty's with a gentle nudge to her shoulder as though reminded her she had better get back inside.
"Oh shit!" Willow hissed, drawing Tara's attention back to her, "I've still got another show to do!"
"Okay, Buffy, show her back inside," Tara ordered swiftly, matter-of-factly, "I'm going to take another look around out here just to be on the safe side."
Willow's face showed a momentary flicker of disappointment as though she thought Tara may miss her show.
"I'll be inside in a few minutes," Tara added, trying to sound as though it wasn't entirely for Willow's benefit.
Buffy and Willow left her alone in the alley. By now the smokers who had crowded around the back door of Kitty's had too moved inside to secure their seats for Willow's next show. It was something Tara would have much rather been doing instead of prowling and poking around in the cold darkness outside...no doubt she would be ten times warmer inside for a very good reason.
She thought back to Willow's earlier show and the rather discreet glances that were all she had allowed herself to see of Willow's gyrating form. While it had almost killed her not to look...she knew it definitely would have killed her to look. So as she patrolled the alleyway, the thought crossed her mind that she ought not go back in at all. Eventually however, after spending one cold minute too many outside, she found herself drawn back to the door that would take her into Kitty's. From the appreciate hum and whistles that emitted from within, she guessed that Willow had started up with her next routine.
Tara slipped quietly in the door and took up a position leaning against the wall with her arms stubbornly folded across her chest. There were few people around her as the vantage point offered a very poor view of the stage. All she managed to see were glimpses of pale flesh and flashes of trailing red hair
I think I'm content standing at the back of the bar, and probably safe too given that I can see very little of the action up on the stage. However, I can sense it all around me. The air is charged with excitement and a sensual, sexual essence so foreign to me, so buried in the annals of my past that it is almost beyond recognition. The fact that it emanates from that kid...that woman, dancing on the stage, is still difficult to accept. Although I can't quite decide whether this is because of the effect her dancing has on me, or the fact that she's dancing up there at all. I chide myself inwardly, I have to accept that the dancing is Willow's choice.
In the brief glimpses I manage to catch through the crowd, I see someone who can move as though born to it. Like the moth to the flame, I am drawn through the crowd. As I thread my way through, I have eyes only for her to the point where I am barely aware of my body brushing past others. I can see all of her now, up there on that stage for everyone else to see as well. There's not much to her but she seems to fill the stage with her presence. I struggle to reconcile the woman she is on stage with the awkward, babbling kid that I can't stand to be around...and can't stand to be without.
If Tara was surprised to find herself at the front of the crowd, near the base of the stage, it never fully registered. The rest of the crowd and their accompanying noises disappeared for her. All she saw was Willow, illuminated in the spotlights. Beneath their glare her hair was a fiery mane flowing around her and her skin was burnished to a golden sheen. They stood in sharp contrast to the green dress that she must have hastily dragged on after the leathers she wore during her earlier show. As the short slip of a thing swirled about her upper thighs, Tara knew she preferred its soft lines to the hard black leather.
With one hand wrapped casually around the pole beside her, Willow tipped backwards with a graceful arch of her back. With her head tipped backwards, her upside down eyes locked onto Tara. Willow allowed herself a smile at the sight of the ex-cop's awkward pose. Her arms folded stubbornly across her chest, legs soldier straight as though she would not allow herself to relax and respond to her emotions. As Willow pulled herself back up to hug the pole she kept her eyes locked on Tara, determined to force a reaction.
In fact, that would be the focus of the rest of her performance. The whole routine, every sensuous movement, would be calculated to drive Tara wild. She would imagine that her cold metal pole was Tara's body, and each caress would strive to bring warmth to that icy exterior. Although Kitty's was packed, as it always was for one of her gigs, every other face in the bar was erased. There was only one person in Willow Rosenberg's audience.
She flaunted the smooth lines of the green dress she wore...while she still wore it at least, for her next trick would see it removed completely. Willow stalked the pole with all the confidence and seductive guile that she lacked in everyday interaction with Tara. In her stage environment, Tara was seduced with ruthless effectiveness...or at least the pole was. She progressed with brutal caresses of her arms, legs and entire body that left little to the imagination. As soon as she spied Tara's lips part, even only a fraction, Willow knew her dance was having the desired effect. She knew that she was dancing as she never had before. With sudden deft movements, she peeled the little green dress away from her shoulders. It had hung there so precariously in the first place that it slipped over her arms and down her body as though it were water. Like a green puddle, it pooled at her feet and she stepped out of it, kicking it away like a discarded rag.
Willow was left dancing the skimpiest of underwear sets but her only concern was Tara's reaction. Even as she gyrated about the pole with her almost naked body, she watched the blonde for any hint of disapproval, or even revulsion and anger. There was not a trace of any, nothing except for the continued parting of lips and a pair of very wide eyes.
Oh...my...fucking...god. As I stand watching I desperately want someone to drag me away from what I'm seeing up on that stage. But no one does...and she continues to drive me wild.
Still moving around the pole, Willow's hands left it to trail over her body, fingers moving lightly over her taut stomach, hips and down over her thighs before back up to her breasts. She traced the outline of the perfect features in turn with the tip of her index finger before caressing the nipple beneath the scrap of fabric that covered them. Staring directly at Tara she slipped each hand beneath the bra to cup both breasts, fingers moving beneath the fabric teasingly.
I feel my palms slick with sweat and a fire between my legs as I continue to watch her dance. The green dress is gone and in its place are two matching scraps of fabric that barely pass for items of clothing. A stringy affair covers her breasts, while a pair of just as stringy underwear cling to her hips. She turns, revealing those fabulous arse cheeks. Very little is left to the imagination but mine runs wild anyway. She's working that pole as though it were born next to her and her hands are stroking her body as though they belong to someone who loves her fiercely. Fuck I wish they were mine! When she straddles the pole with both legs, sliding to the floor and back to her feet again, I nearly keel over.
The music was in to its final flourishes before Tara realised that the dance had to end. She knew that she could have stood watching Willow for hours to come. However, as she brought herself back to reality, back to the noise and smell of Kitty's, she saw the fine sheen of sweat that coated Willow's body and the gentle but insistent rise and fall of her chest that indicated just how much the dance had taxed the redhead.
She watched Willow raise her leg, wrap it around the pole and fly around it one last time to finish with her body horizontal, supported by her leg and one arm holding the pole. Tara ran her eyes over the taut lines of Willow's body, realising just how finely toned the young woman was. She eventually lowered her legs to the ground and moved away from the pole as the enthusiastic Kitty's crowd started up with applause punctured with catcalls and shrill whistles.
Willow was smiling broadly but staring straight at Tara as though she were expecting something. Almost of their own accord, Tara's feet began moving until she was in a position to lever herself up onto the stage. Willow reached out with both hands but her hold was more for the sake of guiding Tara to her than helping to haul her up. Tara found herself moving forward into Willow's body, folding the sweaty girl into her embrace. Willow peered up at Tara, her face shining with exertion and abandon.
"How'd I do?" she asked, just loud enough to be heard over the crowd.
"You were fucking amazing," Tara whispered in a choked voice, "You can certainly dance."
"I know I can dance," Willow replied firmly, although exhilarated and slightly out of breath she kept her eyes on the woman holding her in her arms, "I don't need you to tell me that...although thanks."
Tara frowned in confusion, "Willow, what else am I supposed to say?"
The redhead unleashed a positively evil smirk which astounded Tara with the clear implications behind it, made all the more worse when Willow nudged one thigh between the folds of Tara's coat and between her legs. The little vixen them grabbed Tara's arse with both hands and pulled her close, thigh jammed hard against Tara's now aching sex.
Tara heard her own breath catch, although she had absolutely no control over it. She followed it up with a low groan that escaped through gritted teeth.
"How did I do?" Willow repeated, moving her thigh in a discreet rhythm against Tara's body.
I could barely hear her over the blood pounding in my ears but I could see her. Green eyes in the middle of that pale little face, still flushed with sweat, staring up at me like they're about to swallow me whole...something is gonna swallow me up after what I'm about to do, although in all likelihood it's probably gonna be hell...
Tara stooped slightly, her cheek coming to rest against Willow's as she whispered in her ear, "I think this answers your question."
She then pulled back, but only far enough to find Willow's lips and smother them with her own. The redhead's lips parted almost instantly, an indication of her readiness, and Tara's tongue disappeared within that heavenly warm space between them. There she found Willow's tongue and explored it with firm, lavish caresses that sent shivers down both their spines.
Neither women were interested in the fact that they were standing in the middle of a stage, or that their kiss had obviously attracted catcalls from the crowd who were no doubt pleased at the additional show. The only thought that was running through Tara's mind was sweeping Willow up into her arms and finding the nearest bed, or couch...or chair.
It was a good thing that they were interrupted when they were, just as Tara was about to force her hand beneath Willow's bra with the intention of getting her hands on the holy grail that lay beneath.
Tara broke the kiss abruptly as she recognised Faith's angry sounding voice. She turned immediately to face the interruption but kept both her arms defensively around Willow. As Faith vaulted up onto the stage Tara fully expected her to lash out physically. Instead, the other woman's face remained seriously stony and she kept both hands at her sides. Whatever the reason for the interruption it became clear that it had nothing to do with her spontaneous lip lock with Willow.
"Sorry to interrupt, but we've got some serious trouble..."