Author: Selena Taiki
Tara bit her lip when she came to a post-rail fence that was obviously meant to mark the town's boundary. The song clearly wafted from somewhere in the field on other side of the fence. Taking a deep breath, Tara swung a leg over the lower rail. Glancing around nervously, she ducked under the upper rail and swung her remaining foot over to stand firmly on the other side of the fence. She looked back over her shoulder at the town before wading into the golden wheat field. She had only gone a few paces when she noticed a depression ahead. Smiling subconsciously, Tara stepped forward and froze. Reclining in the field, her eyes closed, was a beautiful woman with a thin, angular face that reminded Tara of the Fairy Queen. A lock of purple-black hair had escaped from the thick scarf that wrapped the rest of her hair, and fluttered defiantly in the breeze. Tara could see no sign of an instrument and realized that the song must be the girl's magic.
"H-h-hello," Tara ventured shyly.
The girl's eyes snapped open and she sat up as though stung. "Hi! I'm so sorry, I bet your wondering why I am sleeping in your field, because, y'know, strangers just sleeping in your field is just, well, rude. And I'm really sorry, it just looked so comfy, and it's such a nice day. And I'm sure you want me to be leaving now so..."
"Oh, no! I-i-its not... um, I d-d-don't," Tara stumbled. "I was just w-w-walking and I heard you and, um, came to see.... S-stay? Please."
The girl started to smile, then her forehead crinkled adorably and she looked up at Tara. "You heard me?" she questioned.
"Oh, um, well, I kinda hear magic? You know, l-like it's music?" Tara blushed and stared at the pebbly dirt in front of her boots.
"Wow," The girl drew the word out. "You hear magic? That's really cool, I mean I could tell you had power what with the blue sparklys dancing around you and all but it's so neat that you can hear it. I just see colors and stuff. What do I sound like?" Her green eyes opened wide with curiosity.
"It's, um, h-happy? A-and bubbly. I feel l-like I could hum it for days, it's very p-pretty." The girl blushed, causing Tara to blush and stumble over her next word even worse than she normally did. "Y-y-y," Tara took a deep breath to calm herself down and forced the rest of her sentence out, trying not to think about how stupid she sounded. Somehow she didn't feel so foolish with the caring green gaze focused on her. "Y-you have a lot of p-power, I, um, I could h-hear you from the town."
"Oh, no. I'm not... I don't have much in the way of power; I'm definitely nothing special...." The girl said, blurting out a denial.
Tara locked her sapphire eyes with the girl's emerald ones, shocked to realize that she was serious. How could the most beautiful person Tara had ever seen think so disparagingly of herself? "No," Tara cut the girl off. "You are."
Trapped in the intensity of their gaze, Tara smiled bashfully and pushed her blond hair back behind her ears, unable to tear her eyes away from the slow, pleased smile that spread across the other woman's lips.
"I'm R- uh, Willow. Willow is me." Willow said, extending a slim hand.
Tara's own hand gravitated towards Willow. The smoothness of Willow's hand shocked Tara. "T-tara," she said, introducing herself almost absently as most of her focus lay on the feel of their joined hands. It was only when Willow invitingly patted the ground beside her with her other hand that Tara realized that she had yet to release the other girl.
"Sit?" Willow requested.
"S-sure," Tara said, slowly dropping Willow's hand before sinking awkwardly into a cross-legged position beside her.
"So..." Willow said.
"So?" Tara asked. Their eyes met bashfully. Willow erupted into nervous giggles which Tara joined, her slightly deeper laughter ringing out under Willow's jingling laugh.
"Look," Willow said, pulling Tara backward and pointing up at the sky.
Tara let out an 'oof' as her back hit the ground. From this perspective the world was a deep blue sky with slowly moving clouds, framed by tall shafts of golden wheat swaying in the breeze. She followed the pale arc of Willow's extended arm to a fluffy white cloud.
"It looks kinda like a rowboat," Willow continued, reclining beside Tara.
Tara squinted at the oblong cloud.
"Or a snake, or a potato, or a whale, or anything that's kinda, well, long and round," Willow added.
"I-I think it's a boat," Tara said, turning to gaze at Willow's profile. She sucked in a deep breath as her eyes trailed along Willow's sculpted jaw, lingering on her glistening lips before continuing to trace the curve of Willow's nose to her oddly colored hair.
"Really?" Willow asked, rotating her head to look at Tara. Their eyes met and Tara found herself suddenly hyper aware of how close they where lying. Their faces were only inches apart and her entire right side tingled with proximity to Willow.
"Yeah," She finally croaked, though dry lips.
Willow smiled blindingly and squeezed Tara's hand. Mesmerized, Tara found herself staring; Willow looked so beautiful and happy.
"Ooh, what about that one?" Willow asked, looking back up at the sky. "It reminds me of a hunting hound."
Blushing Tara looked back up at the sky and tried to slow her pounding heartbeat. What was happening to her? "I don't know," She mused. Her eyebrows furrowed as she contemplated the cloud. "The arch of the n-neck," Tara illustrated by reaching up a hand and waving it vaguely. "Is a little too long, don't you think? Maybe a horse?"
"No!" Willow exclaimed. "Nooo no no no no. Definitely not a horse."
"You don't like horses?" Tara asked, turning to look at Willow. The color looked like it had actually been sucked out of her face.
"Bad birthday pony experience; I look at horses and I see big ponies," Willow explained shortly, looking embarrassed. "It's a long story."
Tara reached out and tentatively touched Willow's shoulder in reassurance. "You can talk about it if you want," Tara offered.
"No, it's nothing," Willow said waving her hand. "It's stupid."
Disappointed, Tara dropped her eyes. Looking at the wheat, she was unaware of Willow studying her and was surprised when Willow started to speak again. "My Parents got me this pony from my fifth birthday." She elaborated sheepishly. "It had ribbons in its tail and it was that gold and white color, a palomino, and it looked so pretty; but that just goes to show that looks are deceiving because that, that creature was pure evil. It's like fire that you want to touch but shouldn't or those poisonous berries that look so yummy but really, um.... Sorry. Anyway, I was really excited -about the pony, not fire or the berries- and they didn't tell me how big it was or about the teeth or the arm eating tendencies did they? Oh no! They just handed me an apple and said 'oh here, go give the cute pony a treat' Ha! So yeah. Stupid right?"
"I don't think you're stupid Willow," Tara said gently. "It's a very legitimate fear."
"See, now you're humoring me," Willow said, starting to smile.
"Am not," Tara replied, also starting to smile. "Well, maybe a little," she allowed. "I've always wanted to learn to ride...."
"Why didn't you?"
"Oh, well, m-my f-f-family... w-we... they um," Tara said uncomfortably.
"Oh," Willow said, dropping her eyes away from Tara. "Sorry."
"No, its okay," Tara said hastily. "I just d-don't like to talk about them. They w-were kinda, um, mean. I just..."
"It's cool," Willow interrupted. "I get it."
"You d-do?" Tara asked, pushing her hair back again.
They shared another slow smile.
"You wanna try doing that one?" Willow asked, pointing her arm backwards, behind the tops of their head.
Tara tilted her head back, scrunching her neck, to see the cloud at an awkward angle. The cloud was slim and squiggly with a head-like blob on top. She looked over at Willow, who was watching at her expectantly. Tara bit her lip and smiled mischievously. "The Fairy Queen."
"Good call," Willow said warmly. "Although, I've always imagined the Fairy Queen to be less skinny and more, well," Willow blushed. "Curvy."
"Imagined?" Tara questioned.
"Yeah," Willow said slowly, the cute little furrow reappearing in her brow as her forehead crinkled in puzzlement.
"You," Tara asked hesitantly, sitting up to look down at Willow. "You've never met her?"
"No, should I have?" Willow asked, levering herself up. "Did you? Meet her I mean."
"But how are you able to see magic?" Tara blurted, ignoring Willow's question.
"I always could," Willow replied, guilelessly. "Why?" She asked suddenly alarmed. "Is that bad? It's bad isn't it? I mean seeing things that aren't really there-"
"No, Willow," Tara interrupted. "It's good. I-i-it's b-better. Er, better than good," she finished lamely.
"Good?" Willow asked, her eyes still wide.
"Good," Tara affirmed. "I just was surprised, I've never met a S-sorceress before," She added bashfully.
"Huh?" Willow asked.
"Only Sorcerers and Sorceress can sense magic on their own," Tara elaborated. "Mister Giles says that that's why they are so rare. Otherwise you have to go to the Fairy court and be judged."
"Giles? Godfather Giles?" Willow questioned, paling.
"Yeah. H-he's, he's been really great teaching me." Tara paused, unsure of herself. "You should m-meet him, he c-could-"
"No! Please, Tara, he can't know about me," Willow exclaimed. She gripped both of Tara's hands with her own. "Promise you won't tell," She begged, gazing intently into Tara's eyes.
"O-o-okay," Tara stuttered, worried and concerned for Willow. "I p-promise."
Willow let out the breath she'd been holding. "Thank you," she whispered, gripping Tara's hands tighter before letting go. "I should go," Willow said, climbing to her feet.
"O-okay," Tara said miserably, looking sadly up at Willow. She can't go; I can't never see her again. Tara shouldn't have asked, her questions had upset Willow; like they had upset her father. He was right, she was bad, always asking things she shouldn't.
"I," Willow said, glancing at the horizon and back down to Tara, surprising the blond. "I want to get together with you again. Could you meet me here? In a week? I know it's all random, meeting in some stranger's field but I-"
"Yes," Tara said, feeling as if her heart was beating in her throat, her earlier panic forgotten.
"Yes?" Willow asked, the nervousness finally easing from her eyes.
"Oh yes," Tara said whole heartedly, the words slipping from her with a sigh.
A beautiful smile blossomed on Willow faces as she gazed down at Tara. "Well, I should," she said after a moment, gesturing in the direction of the road.
"Yeah," Tara breathed.
"Bye," Willow said weakly, waving awkwardly before for turning to walk away. She glanced back as her dark form mingled with the saffron wheat, their eyes meeting as Willow vanished.
"Bye," Tara murmured after her. She flopped backwards and stared up at the sky, a giddy laugh bubbling up from her lips. She wasn't bad, Willow wanted to see her again. Willow wants to see me again!