"Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me, anyone else but me, anyone else but me..."
Tara woke to the sound of Willow singing in the shower. The blonde stretched luxuriously and absent-mindedly touched her fingertips to her lips, a smile spreading across her face as she thought about the previous evening. Happily listening to Willow's warbling, Tara laughed and pulled on her robe when the chorus degenerated into a rousing strain of la-la-las.
Someone's in a good mood. And none of the Andrews Sisters need to worry about being replaced.
The blonde ambled into the kitchen and set about making coffee and breakfast. She had just finished mixing a bowl of pancake batter when Willow emerged from the bathroom in the same short robe that had so flustered the agent a few days before. Expecting the redhead to dress before eating, Tara was pleasantly surprised when sure hands encircled her waist and pulled her back into a close embrace. Through the thin layers of material she could feel pert breasts pressing into her back and slightly damp skin soaking through her nightclothes. One of Willow's hands moved to pull the blonde's hair back, exposing a long expanse of neck that the redhead began placing gentle kisses on. Tara set the bowl down with shaky hands, closing her eyes as her body responded to the sensations. After a few moments she let out a stifled gasp, and could feel Willow smile into her neck.
"Mmmm... good morning," the redhead whispered, her voice low and sultry. Tara turned in her arms and was met with a decidedly smug expression and dancing green eyes.
"Morning, sweetie. You look awfully pleased with yourself," the blonde teased with a grin. "I take it you slept well?"
"Mm-hmm," Willow replied as she leaned in to continue her attention on Tara's neck, delighting in the blonde's reactions as her lips brushed over the soft skin. "I had... mmm... such a nice dream... and I woke up feeling... sooo satisfied... but then I... came in here... and now I'm... mmmm all... hungry again."
It took all Tara's restraint not to tear off Willow's robe and make love to her right then and there. Whether it was the teasing words, or the huskiness of her voice, or the way their bodies fit together so perfectly, Tara couldn't be sure. She only knew that in just a few short minutes the redhead had brought her to a state of arousal that was quickly cutting off her ability to think clearly. When Willow abruptly stepped away, the blonde's addled brain silently cried out at the loss of contact.
"So I guess I should let you finish making breakfast. Ooh! Pancakes!"
Tara's brow furrowed and her eyes passed dumbly from the bowl on the counter to Willow, who stood pouring coffee and smiling sweetly. The look of innocence on the redhead's face contrasted sharply with her pose as she leaned one arm on the counter and gazed at her housemate. Tara sensed that the other woman was fully aware that her stance caused the robe to part slightly, providing the blonde with a tantalizing view of the inner curve of Willow's breasts.
Vixen, Tara thought, as she turned to pour batter into the pan. Well, Miss Rosenberg, two can play that game.
"This'll be a few minutes - why don't you go and get dressed while I set the table."
"Oh, that's okay, I can change after we eat. I'd rather stay and... give you a hand?"
Tara bit her lip to stifle a giggle at the innuendo. Turning her head, she regarded Willow seriously.
"Sweetie, I don't want you catching a cold, and you don't want to be late for school. I've got everything under control here - you go ahead."
Tara nearly laughed again at the disgruntled look on Willow's face as she finally relented and disappeared into her room. Breakfast was spent discussing the news and their day's plans. Shy glances from previous occasions were replaced with lingering looks. When the time came for Willow to leave for class, Tara slipped an arm around the redhead's waist and walked her to the door. Before it could be opened, the blonde pulled her close, moving her free hand to the back of Willow's head as she crushed their mouths together in a smouldering kiss. Tara sucked the redhead's bottom lip between her own, running the tip of her tongue over the trapped flesh. When she felt Willow's body begin to sag, Tara stepped back to look with amusement at the sight of the other woman wobbling slightly, mouth hanging open and eyes glazed.
Gotcha, she congratulated herself.
"Have a good day, sweetie," she said sincerely. "Oh, and Willow? Since you seem so... famished today, maybe we can see about satisfying your, um, appetite this evening."
Not bothering to suppress her grin this time, Tara gently nudged Willow out the door and onto the porch, where the redhead stood for a long moment, jaw slack and eyes widening.
An hour later, when Tara walked into her office, she was relieved to see Riley back and working at his desk. As he finished a phone call, she waited at the door, letting her mind wander to thoughts of Willow. She felt a remarkable lack of apprehension at how quickly their relationship was progressing. With other women, Tara had always put up a wall, physically and emotionally. The one or two actual dates she had gone on - at Sue's insistence - had been painfully awkward. The agent shook her head at the memory of the most recent, an aircraft riveter actually named Rosie who had, when her advances were spurned, openly questioned Tara's lesbianism. With Willow, however, she had at last found what was missing: the spark that told her ‘this is the one.' She'd begun to doubt its existence until it had been ignited by the redhead. Knowing that the other woman felt the same gave Tara the courage to face any consequences of her necessary deceit. And she had no doubt that Willow wanted her too - her behavior that morning proved it. Her own boldness astonished her, yet she had no misgivings, so long as they could somehow get beyond the circumstances of their introduction.
"MACLAY," Riley barked, breaking the blonde's train of thought. "Are you just going to stand in my doorway daydreaming or are you here for a reason?"
Tara felt herself begin to blush, but refused to drop her eyes, determined to appear confident in front of her boss. She moved to the chairs across from Finn's desk, but remained standing.
"Sir, I've completed my search of Wil- Miss Rosenberg's house, and turned up no evidence of her involvement in any espionage. The drawer I told you about only contained some books and notes on paganism and witchcraft - apparently she's been studying under the tutelage of Mr. Giles. Considering the circumstances I believe that there is nothing to indicate that she is the Rose, and I would recommend discontinuing the surveillance. Sir," she added in conclusion, somewhat irritated that Finn had not stopped looking at the papers in front of him throughout her report.
"Have a seat, Agent Maclay."
Tara complied as Riley reached for a file, which he tossed across the desk at her. She hesitantly opened it as Riley began reciting.
"Rupert Giles - British citizen, currently a visiting professor of anthropology at University of California, Sunnydale, 46 years old, never married, no children, no criminal record, no known subversive associations, enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1914, served with distinction in the Great War, injured in 1916, honorably discharged, after which he studied at Oxford under Henry Wyndham-Pryce. You recognize the name?"
Riley paused to glance at Tara, whose face was tensed with concentration as an uneasy feeling gripped the pit of her stomach. She nodded stiffly and Finn continued.
"Well, then you know that Wyndham-Pryce is the hotshot classical linguist who helped put together the team that cracked the German ENIGMA code. He recruited a number of his more promising students, past and present, including one Rupert Giles. Mr. Giles didn't stay with the program, but he was involved long enough to attend a joint U.S.-British cryptanalyst conference in Washington D.C. last November, where we have witness testimony that he met a Miss Willow Rosenberg. Then, surprise surprise, two months ago, they both relocate to Sunnydale, California. Now maybe they're just a couple of wackos studying the occult together, but why does that seem like too much of a coincidence to me?"
Before Tara could answer - luckily, she thought, as she had none - Buffy ducked her head into the office to deliver a telegram from Commander Travers. Riley read it in silence, then looked up with a self-satisfied smile.
"Well, looks like we have our chance to nail them."
Tara shifted uncomfortably at Finn's words. Has she been playing me for a fool all along? she thought, but just as quickly squelched the idea.
"Another transmission between the Brit and the Rose has been intercepted. They've arranged a meeting to hand over information."
"With all due respect, sir, Wi- Miss Rosenberg and Mr. Giles seem to meet regularly already. If they are in fact our suspects, why would they need to arrange a specific meeting in code?"
Finn frowned as he seemed to consider the agent's words, then shrugged noncommittally.
"Maybe, but why do Commie spies do anything? In any event, we'll find out their real identities on Friday night, one way or another. Until then, you're going to stay where you are - understood?"
"Yes sir," Tara mumbled. Okay, two more days. Two more days of hiding the truth and not touching her - well not too much, anyway. This stinks.
As she reached the door she turned back to Finn.
"Sir? Where's the meeting taking place?"
"USO dance at the Sunnydale Lodge. If Rosenberg and Giles don't show, then I guess they're off the hook."