Return to What Could Have Been Chapter Nine

What Could Have Been

Author: Chance
Rating: R-NC-17
Disclaimer: W/T and BTVS characters belong exclusively to JW, ME, and anybody else they actually belong to. Don't sue me. I'm broke and a student and all you'll get is my DVD collection.
Feedback: I love feedback. It's quite encouraging. Please feel free to be as constructive as possible, telling me what you liked and what you didn't. I can't promise I'll always take it to heart, but I'm always interested to hear it. Please leave feedback on the What Could Have Been thread on the Kitten Board.
Distribution: If you have a desire to put this elsewhere, absolutely let me know, and then I'll give you my permission, and then y'know... you can put it there.

Portland, Oregon
May, 2008

Codeword Grrr Arrrg!!! Buffy Summers's Inbox
Dawn Summers to me & Xander More Options May 16, 2008

Dear Buffy and Xander,

I think I did it! I really think I found her! I can't believe it!

I tried calling you, but none of you are home! Call me immediately!


Portland, Oregon
October 2008

Tara's white skirt was bunched about her hips, and she sat crosslegged on her couch, gazing contentedly at Willow as she talked about her day. The words came, and Willow's mind processed them, but she heard precious little of their actual meaning. She heard the gorgeous melodic sound of her girlfriend's voice, lulling her into a type of deep complacency. Her eyes fell closed, and then opened, afraid she might miss some detail, terrified to lose even one of her girlfriend's carefully chosen and beautifully used words. What was it to date a poet? For Willow, it was to see the world finally through the eyes of an artist. It was to see the beauty and not the function. Through Tara's eyes, she saw the world anew, and felt for it a new kinship she had never known.

And in her own way, Tara had taught Willow a great deal about sex and love. Not the mechanics, those Willow knew instinctively, she relied on her wits and trial and error for that kind of knowledge. Instead, Tara had taught Willow to really see herself, and Tara in turn. And Willow saw it all. She saw the bare skin of Tara's arms and chest, soft, with mild imperfections that she longed to run her tongue over. She noticed the way Tara's nipples pushed out against the tight knit of her brown tank top, full, bite sized perfection. Tara spoke, and Willow watched her lips move, full and red, they smacked and bounced against each other, and Willow fought the strong desire to launch herself across the divide between them, pin Tara down beneath her body, and ravage her mouth. She bit back the moan that flooded to her mouth, imagining the softness beneath her, Tara's breasts against her stomach.

Tara's knees were exposed, slightly darker than the rest of her skin, not unlike the color pancakes take when they're cooked. How smooth Tara's thighs would be under her questing tongue, how they would taste, bending apart with pressure from her hands. She imagined sliding in between Tara's legs and pressing a kiss against her lips, running her hands under the cotton of the shirt and pulling it over Tara's head. Her girlfriend's nipples, already hard in the slight breeze from the window, would wink at her, begging to be licked and sucked.

So it was a surprise to Willow, so lost in the images flooding her mind, when she felt warm lips graze the skin behind her right ear, the soft fleshy part of her skull lavished with attention. Willow had never been kissed there before, and she knew instantly that she only ever wanted one set of lips pressed there again. It was a surprise to smell Tara's scent, fresh linen and summer heat, emanating from her impressive cleavage, now pressed against Willow's chin. The expanse of her girlfriend's breasts laid out before her for the taking. The delightful pressure of Tara's weight pressed against her body and made her hips roll slightly against it, seeking contact. She moaned, not bothering to bite it back, wanting the moment to escalate, wanting to see Tara naked for the first time.

She shifted her head to meet Tara's gaze, and their eyes met. Not a word was spoken, they simply gazed into each other, willing the other to make a move. They were frozen, statuesque against their rushing blood. Willow's ears began to pound with the blood through her veins, the soft thuds of her increasing heartbeat. The warmth of Tara's breasts emanated against her face, and before she knew what she was doing, she had pressed her lips against the delicious softness of the skin. A gasp sounded from above her, she bent her head towards Tara's, capturing her lips, owning them. Gentle pressure gave way to open mouths and tongues circling, dancing. Soft lips and rough tongues, and they held their breath for fear it would force them to pull away.

The kiss broke reluctantly. Tara's arms encircled Willow, her lips tracing down the redhead's jawline. Willow's head rolled back, offering Tara unrestricted access to her neck and ear, she could feel Tara's smile against her skin. She slumped her body down to give her love more access, and felt suddenly the throbbing of her lower extremeties. The seam of her jeans pushed directly against her clit, and she groaned, Tara's lips against her throat, the sound vibrating beneath her. Those oh-so-soft lips, the seam of her jeans, Tara hadn't touched her yet, and still... her body was acutely aware, her skin tingling, her nipples flush and hard, with every gaze of Tara's lips against her skin, she felt herself flood until she knew she'd have to wash her jeans in the morning.

Tara could feel Willow beneath her, and it took every ounce of her strength not to rip the girl's shirt open. She knew she should stop, she knew she should pull away and they should keep talking, talking was good and safe and... who knew Willow's skin would be so warm? How could she have known that brushing her lips against it would be like brushing them with silk? Her naughty tongue slipped from her mouth and traced over Willow's pulse point before sucking it between her teeth. She heard a full-on gasp from Willow below her, and her hands trailed down to the hem of Willow's shirt and slipped underneath. The skin of the redhead's stomach under her fingertips forced her to bite her lips to stop herself from grabbing and kneading Willow's breasts.

She forced herself away, reluctantly. Her hands fled from Willow's skin, so soft and warm, and rested back against the linen of her skirt. She dipped her head down, allowing her hair to fall over her face, and she shook her head, her eyes firmly closed. Her hands clenched into fists and then relaxed again and again. For Willow's part, the sudden lack of heat and body mass was painful in a deliciously real way. She nearly screamed in frustration, they teetered like this, back and forth, tempting the fates so often.

"Tara?" Her voice was a car over gravel. "Baby?" She pushed her hand into her girlfriend's hair, pulling it out of her face and tucking it behind her ear. She leaned forward and tipped Tara's chin so she could get a better look at the woman's face.

Tara shook her head again. "I'm sorry."

Willow exhaled a long stream of air through her lips. "I have to admit, I'm getting kind of tired of how often we apologize to each other. Especially for things we both want... At least..." Willow's eyes grew wide, as if it were the first moment she'd ever suspected her thought could be true. "Oh God, Tara, we both want it, don't we? I've been rushing you. I'm an insane lust monster. I've been leading you astray with my demony lusty ways."

Despite how she felt, Tara laughed out loud. "There isn't even a remote possibility that I don't want you."

"Okay." Willow nodded to herself, thinking. "Then what? ‘Cuz we've been a go more than once, I think... And then, nothing. We pull away." She sighed, it was heavy with her frustration. "Am I not doing it right?" The words themselves were small, and when Tara turned with an alarmed look towards her girlfriend, she saw something she almost couldn't believe: Willow looked small, barely fifteen, much the way Tara imagined she must have looked as a teenager, lonely and a little scared. She opened her mouth to speak, but the weight of her own insecurities beared down, and she said nothing. "I'm not doing it right." Willow said, almost to herself. "Here you are, all knowledge woman, I mean, you're an erotic poet, what was I thinking? How can I ever measure up to you?"

The need to comfort Willow suddenly seemed more important than her own insecurities, and she opened her mouth and the words came flooding out. "Willow, no. No, I'm not knowledge woman at all. This was what I was afraid of, you thinking I was all with the knowledge, but I'm not."

"But you're all with the writing about sexual adventures!" Willow filled in, examining the growing blush on Tara's face and neck, knowing it was mirrored on her own skin.

"Willow, sweetie, fantasies. Dreams. Imagination." Tara felt the wave of embarassment flood her entire body, something she had grown accustomed to as a teenager. She fought it down, knowing that they needed to have this conversation. "Didn't you hear me? I told you and an entire audience of people that I write about you... us. Well, my imagined us."

"I was too busy staring and listening to my heart pound in my ears." Willow smiled nervously, feeling the space between them grow larger.

"I'm really not all with the knowledge." Tara forced her eyes up to Willow's, and offered her a similarly weak smile.

"There's a lot of pressure for this to be right."


The silence grew between them, and their bodies, still pressed together thigh to thigh, began to stiffen under the strain. The quiet contemplation was doing nothing to help their nerves. Willow felt herself begin to grow dizzy, her brain racing with a thousand different thoughts. They had been looking for each other for so long. Anticipation had built, dreams and fantasies had been what they sustained themselves with, and now, seated next to each other they were terrified of reality. Tara felt the nagging voice of doubt in her brain. What she wanted was plain to her, as simple a fact as the sky was blue, the grass was green. Still, mind numbing fear was a lot to conquer, her mind pushed back.

"Fuck it." Tara murmured, under her breath, testing it. The assertion felt not only good, but somehow totally right.

"What?" Willow asked. She heard the words, but didn't know what they were in response to. Fuck us? Fuck trying? Fuck what?

"Fuck it." Tara said clearly, resolutely. With that, she picked herself up off the couch and held her hand out to Willow. "Come with me?" She asked, her voice and face softening.

Portland, Oregon
September 2008

Willow felt strangely cold and hot at the same time. She was sweating through her t-shirt, but every breeze made her shiver and goosebumps mar her otherwise perfect skin. She shifted her weight from one foot to the next and back again. She tapped her fingers against the keyboard of her laptop, absently running through code. Her eyes drifted occassionally towards the book laying on top of her laptop case. Shaking her head, she pulled her attention back to her computer. Impulsively, she stood, moving towards the bathroom. She stopped in front of the mirror, contemplating, before looking up at herself in the mirror. Her eyes scanned her body, glancing over her clothing, and more particularly her form in them. She had never been particularly self-conscious with herself, she readily accepted her body with a scientist's eye. She was lean, but curvy enough. The nerdy graphics and insane color that featured prominently in her high school clothing had long since been banished from her wardrobe - for the most part. Still, in this moment, she critiqued her form, wondering at how she must have changed in eight years. She was older, for sure, her form filled the way an adult's does. Her face had oh-so-slight traces of laugh lines, her eyes strained ever so slightly from years of staring at a monitor. And yet, even she had to admit that she was fairly attractive, all things considered.

She sighed, feeling silly for her own attentions. It didn't really matter what she thought. Only one opinion mattered today. Her heart fluttered in her chest, and for a moment, she worried it was possible she could be having a heart attack. No, that's silly. I'm fine. She raised a hand to her chest and sauntered back into the room and threw herself down on the bed. In three hours I'm going to see Tara. In three hours, I'm going to meet the woman of my dreams... again. Her hands balled into fists, and she smacked them down on either side of the bed, wanting to scream and laugh and cry. She was afraid to do anything lest she awake from this fantastic dream. Three hours from now, I'll be in a room with her. Oh God. Where the hell are my friends?

As if by some miracle, the phone rang, jarring Willow enough to send her three feet in the air. She moved towards the sound, propelled on, feeling as if she were watching herself from three or four inches behind her eyes. Her body felt like it was floating, her limbs, lacking the restrictions of gravity, moved as if propelled by clouds. She picked up the phone, and knocked over the receiver in the process. She heard Xander's voice, which seemed to calm the rushing of the waves she felt down her spine, and heard herself answer, some collection of words strung together that seemed to please Xander. The line disconnected, and her busy brain informed her that her friends would be at the hotel for her in twenty minutes. She put the phone down and her gaze fell back to the book.

Her hand slid out and her forefinger traced the title, as she spoke the words out loud. "What could have been..." She sighed. What could have been... as in, what could have been had you not lived a thousand miles away? Or what could have been if you weren't such a huge nerd? She hadn't been able to read past the first chapter, not when she wasn't sure how the book would end. It had only taken those first few pages for her to know for sure. She was definitely the inspiration for the protagonist's girlfriend. It wasn't so much that it was too close to their story for it to be anything else. But what happened when Willow left? She couldn't bring herself to read it. She had told the Scoobies she had, and Dawn had let slip a few details, believing Willow had known exactly what she was talking about. Still... Willow couldn't bring herself to read it. Not when the knowing could so easily kill her, ripping her heart out. But today... today she would know either way, no matter what. Today was Willow Rosenberg's day of reckoning.

Continue to What Could Have Been Chapter Eleven

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