Return to Spark to a Flame Chapter Nine

Spark to a Flame

Author: Auburn
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters but the story is mine.

Tara lifted a box from the floor and placed it on the kitchen counter in Willow's home, the old house was beginning to look a little better as the boxes were slowly emptied of their contents and the contents were tidied away as best they could be. Tara had started emptying the boxes, that she had repeatedly tripped over and vowed to see to, yesterday and was continuing the task today, but she had yet to tell Willow.

Opening the current box she began taking out it's contents and unwrap them of their paper covering which had prevented them from getting broken, she frowned at the object that she held in her hands and was at a loss of what to do with it as a framed photo of a younger Willow with a brown haired man held each other close, smiling broadly. Tara presumed this to be Oz and she took in his features, finding herself shaking her head at what had become of the young couple.

Deciding that perhaps this box should be stored away, possibly FAR away, she wrapped the photo up again and placed it back in the box, taking it outside to the garden shed where she had earlier disposed of tools and an old bike.

The blonde tripped over the step of the wooden garden shed and chuckled to herself, no boxes in the way and yet she still managed to topple over. Turning to go back to the house she suddenly stopped and gasped, her hand held her chest as she inhaled loudly at having been startled.

"Can I help you?" She asked regaining her composure and walking towards the back door of the house, passing the intruder knowing full well who he was.

"I knocked on the front door, but nobody answered." He explained. "I was looking for Willow Rosenberg, but funnily enough, you don't look like Willow Rosenberg. Does she still live here?"

Tara stopped her hurried walk towards the door and took a long hard look at the man standing before her, his small frame and oddly coloured hair making him seem impish. She wanted to be rude to the young man, but it just wasn't in her nature. Sighing, She thought for a moment about what she should say. What would be best for Willow right now?

"Wil does still live here, but she isn't here at the moment maybe I could take a message?" That, she decided, was the best course of action. That way she could warn Willow of the young man's presence and prepare her for his visit, which would undoubtedly be taxing to her limited energy supply.

Oz eyed the blonde suspiciously taking in her soft features and ice-blue eyes, then nodded his head "Could you tell her Oz stopped by and I'll be back later?"

"I will." She agreed and retreated into the house.

Quickly donning her coat the blonde then secured the house and managed to trip over one last box before she started on her journey to Willow's parents' house. The bitter cold made her shiver violently as her large parker coat covered her delicate body against the harsh sting of the piercing breeze, but against such a force it could only do so much and the end of her nose along with her cheeks began to colour pink.

Her journey through town took her along the streets of Sunnydale and she found herself gravitating unconsciously towards the park. She hadn't been there for a while and she realised that she missed it's quiet serenity, it's peacefulness and most of all it's ability to conjure up the her fantasy of the woman she now knew to be Willow Rosenberg.

Seeing her favourite tree the blonde couldn't resist sitting down and giving herself a moment, one which she realised she needed as her mind processed the events of the past five weeks. Her memory played the image in her head which she had of Willow strolling down the gravel path of the park, the stones crunching beneath her feet as she walked gracefully towards the spot on the grass which she always retreated to, her angelic features troubled by some unnecessary problem and her red, fiery hair blowing in the wind.

Tara had imagined many times what it would be like to kiss such a beautiful woman and be kissed back by her with as much need and want as her own, she suddenly found herself smiling at the thought of Willow's 'dear-like' expression and embarrassment when she had first kissed Tara. The blonde hadn't been expecting it, never in a million years, and yet, it had happened and as she had predicted her feelings became stronger and more difficult to hide, she feared that if Willow saw the true extent of her emotions she would run and take cover, because they were explosive and Tara felt ready to burst.

She knew, without a doubt, that she was in love and had been since her first glimpse of fiery-red hair.

Grabbing the bag that was resting on her lap Tara emptied it's contents and picked out her pen and paper, for hours she was lost in the world of her fantasy, her characters lives being dictated by her imagination.

Willow laid asleep, sprawled out on her back, her favourite book resting on her chest and it rose and fell with her even breathing. Tara sat in the chair beside the bed, her pen and paper still the source of her entertainment as she wrote things down frantically. Her brow was furrowed in concentration and the rhythmic breathing of the woman next to her filled the quiet room.

Willow stirred lightly, her body aching having not been moved for a while and she stretched, still not fully awake. Her mind registered the scratching of pen against paper and she involuntarily smiled knowing that Tara was there, writing, waiting patiently for her to wake up.

Turning in the bed the redhead felt something slide down her chest and she caught it with her hand, peeking at her favourite book she blush and threw it behind her, making it thud against the carpeted floor as it landed. She made sure her arm and leg were comfortably resting on over-stuffed pillows and watched as Tara concentrated on her task wholeheartedly. Her pen moving at lightening speed, suddenly stopped and the blonde's gaze rose to meet Willow's. Smiling Tara immediately put her pen and paper aside and moved to sit on the bed, leaning down gently her mouth captured Willow's in a gentle kiss.

"I thought you were going to sleep forever." The blonde said softly as their lips parted, her thumb stroked gently over Willow's cheek leaving the skin with a light tingle. "I've wanted to do that since I came into the room, but I thought it wasn't fair since you were asleep and wouldn't be able to enjoy it with me. I also tried to take that book away from you, but I think you growled at me." The blonde joked and received a playful slap from the blushing woman.

Willow smiled goofily and took another kiss from the blonde's lips then tapped the bed where she wanted Tara to lay so they could cuddle.

Doing exactly as she was ordered without any protest, Tara kicked off her shoes and took up her favourite position next to Willow, their bodies moulded together and both women sighed into the embrace.

"Sweetie?" The blonde spoke softly after a few moments of bliss, unsure of how to approach the subject of Oz's visit.

Nodding her head to indicate that she was listening Willow waited for Tara to continue her whole body tingled and her head swooned at being so close to the blonde, but she knew somehow from the blonde's tone that something wasn't quite right.

"I was at your house earlier and someone stopped by..."

The redhead sat up to look at Tara and frowned "Why were you at my house and who stopped by?"

"I was just clearing some stuff away for when you moved back in, with you having your casts taken off next week I figured it wouldn't be too long now and... and I probably should have told you, but I wanted it to be a surprise of sorts... I-I..."

"It's ok, Tara" Willow smiled reassuringly. "You were just being thoughtful and well, you were just being you. It's such a 'you' thing to do that I'm not surprised by it and I'm feeling all fuzzy inside at how great you are... you're all with the greatness." The redhead beamed.

Tara chuckled lightly and blushed "You have a large amount of greatness yourself Wil."

"Good, now tell me who stopped by... it couldn't have been Santa because he'd be like, twenty-two days early!"

"Well, i-it wasn't Santa, but I have been imagining this guy as being fat with a huge amount of facial hair... although." The blonde dragged the word thoughtfully, "I think he could pass for being an elf."

Willow snorted with laughter and swatted Tara's arm "So I'm guessing it was Oz?"

"It was," Tara nodded "He asked if you were home, but I thought it was best to warn you he was coming before I told him you were here. He said he'd stop by at your house later."

"It's going to take me a while to get used to this."

"What?" The blonde bit her lip a little worried that she had done something wrong.

"My feelings being considered, nobody ever really bothers to ask if I'm ok with things they just assume I am and you.... here you are dealing with this situation with the sole purpose of making sure I'm comfortable with it." The redhead wafted her right hand while she spoke and it was quickly captured by Tara's and held gently.

"Maybe I'm just trying to get into your pants?" The blonde slapped her free hand over her mouth at Willow's gasp. The redhead sat up to stare at Tara and she burst out laughing, removing the hand that obscured Tara's lips.

"Is this?... I think it is... your sense of humour's showing through!"

Tara started laughing too and apologised, shaking her head at herself.

"Don't apologise I like it, it's... it's... quirky." Nodding her head Willow decided that word described Tara's sense of humour perfectly. "Quirky."

Trying to take the focus away from herself as her cheeks burned the blonde went back to the previous subject.

"So Oz, what would you like me to say to him?"

"Well I-I guess you could just tell him where I am, he knows where my parents live and I'll prepare myself to be all dominatrix-y and mistress of sarcasm."

"Ok sweetie." Tara kissed the top Of Willow's head and removed herself from the bed to grab her coat and go back to the redhead's house.

"Uh... Tara?" Willow fidgeted.

The blonde nodded her head to indicate she was listening as she donned her coat and hat.

"Could you come back later?... when he's gone and maybe... stay over?"

Tara took a hard look at the fidgeting redhead and her heart melted at the seemingly strong woman before her clearly having trouble with what she had to face. Kneeling down beside the bed, the blonde took Willow's hand in her own and spoke softly.

"I'm here for you and if you don't want to see him then you don't have to. As for staying over, I'll have to get my moms permission, but I'm sure I can swing it."

Willow smiled as the blonde's humour showed again. "Quirky!"

"What time is it on your watch?" Tara asked her mom for the hundredth time that evening. The minutes seemed to be moving in slow motion and her restlessness was about to make her go insane.

"It's two minutes passed the last time you asked." Mrs Maclay frowned at her daughters odd behaviour. "What's gotten into you? You've been acting odd since you walked through that door."

"Nothing!" The blonde answered unconvincingly, her eyes glaring at the clock willing it to go faster.

Putting her book down that she had been reading Mrs Maclay studied Tara's face and shook her head.

"Is this about Willow? Has something happened or is something going on that's causing you to behave neurotically?"

Tara shot her mother an annoyed look, "Nope everything's fine. It's fine fine fine."

A few moments of silence passed between mother and daughter. Mrs Maclay was trying to decide what tactic was best to use for this sort of interrogation and Tara was still staring at the clock that wouldn't move quickly enough for her.

Tapping Tara's leg lightly from her position on the couch the older woman chuckled at the deadly glare shot her way.

"Tara, sweetheart... has something happened between you and Willow?" The gentle 'please share with me' approach was the one she was going in with first.

The blonde sighed and shook her head, thinking for a moment. "We kissed." She said simply then heard the words echo in her head and her eyes widened, it wasn't just a dream any more it was real, Willow was real.

The older woman raised her eyebrows at having gotten an answer so quickly and her eyes widened at the confession. "I knew it!" she exclaimed then her smile grew sheepish at Tara's irritated glare. "How do you feel about that?"

"Well I... I feel great about that why wouldn't I? But I have all these doubts in my head that are telling me it's not real or that I'm just something to pass the time through her recovery, even though I know that's not true these doubts are still there, and plus, Wil's ex boyfriend is with her right now probably trying to charm her into giving him another chance."

"Do you think Willow would give him another chance?"

"She... she said she wouldn't, but I don't know. It's these doubts y'know. They're killing me." Tara's eyes began to well up with unshed tears and she wiped at them with her sleeve. "...and if she isn't giving him a second chance she could be hurt or upset or angry and I'm not there to help."

Anna scooted across the couch towards her daughter an scooped Tara into her arms, rocking her lightly as the tears began to fall.

"Sweetheart you can't be there for her every minute of the day, and maybe she needs this just as much as you do, now she's faced with the opportunity to go back to what she had or to start afresh with you she'll see that the grass really is greener on the gay side."

The blonde chuckled at her mother through her tears and prayed that she was right. Having kissed and held Willow so freely she knew she couldn't give that up without a fight.

Tara had called Willow before setting off to the Rosenberg home to ensure the redhead still wanted her to come over. Donny had offered her a left, but she refused and instead walked in the freezing cold. The snow below her feet seeped through the lining of her sneakers and sent a chill through her whole body, but the bitter weather brought with it a kind of peace where she could think and sort her thoughts whilst everyone else stayed in the warmth of their home.

Stepping across the road towards the street where the Rosenberg's lived, Tara wrapped her coat tighter around herself and watched as her breath exhaled white when it collided with the cold air and she sniffed, not able to feel if her nose was running because the temperature had made it numb.

She neared the driveway and could just make out the silhouette of a figure as the sky turn dark and the street lamps were the only source of light. The blonde pushed at the driveway gate and squeezed through the little gap she had allowed herself then walked cautiously towards the front steps of the large house. The silhouette grew clearer and Tara sighed in relief recognising the man she had seen earlier in the day at Willow's house, but there he had seemed at ease. Now he seemed troubled.

She stopped in front of his slouched frame as he sat on the top step of the porch, his head in his hands and he didn't realise she was there. Tara stood for a moment at a loss of what to do, should she just walk straight passed him? But she knew that wasn't a possibility, it wasn't who she was. Instead Tara dropped her bag and it landed with a thud causing the young man to look up quickly, startled. The blonde then sat down beside him and felt his eyes studying her face.

"That's a beautiful moon." She said simply after a few moments, pointing at the object of her attention that was visible through a gap in the clouds. He looked up and shook his head.

"It gives me a wiggins ever time there's a new moon rising."

Tara turned to face him and frowned, the moon was an odd thing to be scared of. She chose to ignore it and venture on....

"Is it the moon that's troubling you?"

He shook his head once again wondering who this woman was, her sincerity calming him somewhat.

"Are you a friend of Willow's?" He asked, glancing sideways at her then back up at the black sky.

"I guess you could call me that, yes. My name's Tara."

His head snapped round and his eyes widened at her, then he quickly composed himself and stood.

"It's nice to meet you." He said quietly then began walking down the gravel driveway. After a few steps he stopped and turned to face the blonde as if trying to find his words, he looked and the rocks beneath his feet then seemed to come to some sort of conclusion in his head. "Take care of her," and with that he opened the gate and was gone.

Picking up her bag Tara looked over at where the young man had been stood, a frown etched into her brow and contemplated his words. Sighing to herself she stood and knocked on the Rosenberg's door.

"He is definitely odd." She said to herself then looked over her shoulder before smiling at Sheila as she opened the door.

Continue to Spark to a Flame Chapter Eleven

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