Willow Rosenberg/Tara Maclay.
Disclaimer: Willow, Tara and any other characters that appear in Buffy the Vampire Slayer are the property of Mr Joss and Mutant Enemy etc. etc. etc. No breach of copyright is intended by me, I am just a fan expressing my ummm fan-ness.
I'm fascinated with the idea of Willow being in love with Tara, but
Tara either not feeling the same way (at the beginning) or at the
very least unsure of her feelings for our favourite redhead. This fic
is AU and is written based on the following:
Willow has been in love with Tara since meeting at college. Both women have graduated and are hard working members of society!!
Tara lives with Buffy and Dawn.
Willow shares an apartment with Xander and Anya.
Willow is determined to tell Tara how she feels.
Tara is oblivious and has no romantic feelings for her friend, or does she?
The rest of the Scoobys know of Willow's feelings for Tara. They all think that Tara only loves Willow as a friend.
X X X X
Willow was sitting at the gang's usual table, her palms sweating as her nerves declared war. Tonight was the night that she would tell Tara how she felt, that she loved her with all her heart and soul, that Tara was her soul mate. Ok, maybe lay off the soul mate stuff, because that will scare her off for sure.
It was Friday night which meant it was Bronze night. Willow had confided in Xander of her plans, so there they were, Xander, Willow and Anya, sitting at the Bronze, ridiculously early, waiting for their friends.
The redhead kept glancing at the door and then her watch, her nervous fidgeting finally getting to Anya. "You know why don't you have a drink. I've heard that alcohol is excellent for calming nerves."
Willow stared at Anya for several moments before heading over to the bar. An hour later and against Xander's best efforts, one drink had turned into one too many. Swaying slightly due to her level of intoxication Willow nearly jumped off her chair when she saw Tara, Buffy and Dawn walk through the door.
Oh Goddess, she looks so beautiful tonight. Ok, I have to calm down and get this right, don't want to come across all stalker-ish. We'll all talk and dance for awhile and then I'll sneak her off to a quiet spot and tell her.
X X X X
An hour and a half later Xander and Anya were still on the dance floor while the others were sitting around the table talking. Buffy, Tara and Dawn had noticed Willow's drunken state. None of them could remember ever seeing Willow drunk, well except maybe for that one time at one of Riley's frat parties when Willow had disappeared with a rather hot looking blonde for a couple of hours. Willow's odd behaviour leading the two blondes to make a mental note to find out from the others what was going on.
Tara's thoughts were interrupted by Willow grabbing her by the hand and dragging her towards the dance floor. Making sure to maintain what she felt was respectable "dancing with a friend" personal space Willow's usual shyness on the dance floor was nowhere to be seen.
Watching her friend Tara couldn't help but be surprised at what a good dancer she could be. Who knew she had some moves, the woman's got rhythm. As the song ended Willow again took Tara's hand, but rather than rejoin their friends at the table, Willow lead the blonde to the far corner which was vacant.
Gently pushing Tara so that she was almost leaning against the wall, Willow moved in close and cupped her friends face with her hands. Tara stood still, her arms hanging loosely down at her sides as her surprise gave way to a feeling of dread. Huh, what is going on? Why is she looking at me like that?
"Tara, I have to tell you something, I can't keep it a secret any longer." Getting no response Willow charged ahead, her well rehearsed speech forgotten. "Tara, I love you. I've been in love with you forever."
Tara's mouth fell open as her eyebrows shot up in confusion. Huh, what? Willow's clouded mind somehow interpreted her friends reaction as encouragement and she leant forward and gently brushed her lips against Tara's.
As Willow moved her lips against Tara's mouth the blonde froze, her body stiffening. After several seconds Willow's brain registered that Tara wasn't kissing her back. Opening her eyes she moved away from her friend far enough so that she could look into her eyes.
Desperately searching for some sign, anything to tell her what was going through Tara's mind a cold chill swept through Willow's body as she was hit with the undeniable reality of it all. The realisation made Willow go into self destruct mode. Oh God, she's freaked out. The idea of kissing me, being with me freaks her out. At this very moment she is probably trying to think of a polite way of saying "Sorry, but you're a short, ugly, dork so I can't possible be in love with you, let alone physically attracted to you". Damn I should have known someone as wonderful as Tara wouldn't be interested in a dork like me.
Realising that she still held Tara's face in her hands Willow quickly let go and stepped back several feet, stumbling slightly from the affects of the alcohol. "I'm sorry, so sorry Tara. I should have known that you couldn't love someone like me. I'm sorry." She stared at Tara for several moments before she turned and high-tailed it out of there. Damn I'm an idiot, I won't be able to face her again after this. How could I have been so sure that she felt the same? Damn, damn, damn.
The whole thing had taken less than a minute to unfold. What Willow had said had finally sunk into Tara's brain just as she felt her friend's lips on her own mouth. The kiss had shocked her with the warm softness disappearing almost as fast at it had arrived. She loves me. I didn't know. I mean I know she's gay, but I've never thought about her like that.
The next thing Tara knew Willow had broken all contact with her and was saying something that her brain had not yet processed. In the blink of an eye Willow had disappeared.
As her brain finally understood what her friend had said Tara was filled with so many emotions, all confusing and fighting for supremacy. A sense of uneasiness settled over the blonde as she was filled with an urgent need to find Willow. Almost running back to the table Tara was filled with dread as the lack of Willow sitting there made her heart hurt. "Have you guys seen Willow?"
Seeing their friends flushed appearance Xander and Anya shared a glance. "We thought she was with you."
Tara turned to Xander. "She was. We were talking and then she left."
Anya immediately assessed the situation in her own unique way. "So did you let her down gently or did you smack her down and rip her heart into little tiny pieces?"
Xander jumped in before his girlfriend could make the situation any worse. "What Anya means is that I'm sure Willow just needs some time alone."
Buffy looked from Xander to Anya and then to Tara. "Did I miss something here?"
Before Tara could answer Anya spoke up. "Well tonight Willow was going to tell Tara that she loves her and wants to get naked with her. Judging by the udden lack of Willow I assume that she didn't take the rejection very well."
Tara suddenly had four pairs of eyes staring at her. "I-I-I-I didn't. I mean she did tell me but I d-d-d-didn't do anything. She left before I could say anything and we need to find her because she was upset."
X X X X
Willow exited the Bronze, the cold night air sending a chill through her petite frame. She had come to the Bronze with Xander so driving was out of the question. Maybe I should get a taxi home. No, I don't feel like going home yet. Deciding on what she was going to do, Willow walked passed the taxi stand and broke into a run without even realising it. As the familiar neighbourhood passed by Willow finally came to a stop in front of her destination, her parent's house. Rather than entering her childhood home, Willow made her way around the side to the back yard.
Standing under the tall tree in the middle of the yard, the redhead looked up at the tree house she had spent countless hours in during her childhood. Without a second thought she grabbed a hold of the rickety old ladder and started climbing. Several feet up the ladder Willow lost her footing and fell to the ground. Landing heavily on her side she banged her head hard on the ground, earning a nasty cut just above her left eye. Dazed, she sat up after several minutes catching her breath and examined the damage as best she could in the dark while intoxicated. Feeling a wetness slowly trickling down the side of her face Willow knew she was bleeding. "Well damn if that doesn't end the night just perfectly."
Wiping at the blood with the sleeve of her shirt Willow stood up again and went back to climbing the ladder. Taking it slower this time she made it up to the door of the tree house. Pushing the old door open she crawled inside and lay on the floor, breathing heavily from the effort. Still bleeding from the cut she fell into a restless sleep.
X X X X
Tara was beside herself with worry. After searching for the redhead in all of their usual hangouts they had gone back to the apartment she shares with Xander and Anya to find she hadn't been home.
Buffy and Dawn had gone back to their house just in case Willow showed up there. Tara refused to go home with them, instead preferring to stay and wait for Willow to come home. Tara was desperate to talk to Willow to sort things out. The main problem now being that Tara had absolutely no idea how she was going to handle the situation, all she knew was that she had to make sure Willow was ok.
As the hours ticked by Xander and Anya had gone to bed exhausted. Tara stayed on the couch watching TV, or rather staring at the TV which happened to be turned on. Unable to sit still Tara began moving around the living room, looking at the various pictures of the gang that were on the mantelpiece and hung on the walls. Before she realised it Tara was standing in the open doorway to Willow's room.
After a moments hesitation Tara moved into the room, turning on the light as she entered. The room had a warm and welcoming feel to it, sparsely decorated Tara couldn't help but smile at the pile of clothes spread over the bed. She obviously couldn't decide what to wear tonight.
Moving over to the desk Tara looked at the photographs sitting next to the laptop that took pride of place. Each photo consisted of members of their unique little family with different combinations of Willow, herself, Xander, Anya, Buffy, Dawn and even Giles and Joyce. Tara was filled with sadness at the lack of any pictures featuring Willow and her parents. God, how can they be so stupid. They both go on about kids and how to be good parents but neither of them has the faintest idea how to actually be a parent. I can't even remember the last time I saw them spend any time with her.
Picking up a picture of herself and Willow taken on graduation day Tara moved over to the bed and pushed some of the clothes off to make enough room for her to lie down.
Looking at the picture Tara giggled at the memory of when it was taken. It had been a long day and Tara had been exhausted. As the two girls posed for the picture, Willow had started tickling her. Tara had her head thrown back a little as she laughed and Willow was looking straight at the camera with the biggest grin on her face as she stuck out her tongue. The next few minutes had been spent with Tara chasing Willow trying to get her own back.
Other memories of Willow filled her brain as she began tracing the redheads face with the middle finger on her right hand. As Tara mentally went through the time since she had met her friend the blonde realised that the signs of Willows affection for her were obvious. The redhead had always been there for her, always been more attentive and protective than she was with the rest of the gang, even more so than with Dawn who she considered to be a sister.
Tara couldn't believe she had been so blind to it all. Tonight at the Bronze she had discovered that everyone else had known from early on. Even Xander who was normally oblivious had figured it out.
As she continued to trace Willow's face on the picture Tara was filled with a longing for her friend. She desperately wanted to see Willow, hear her voice, hug her and hold her close. What her feelings for the redhead were she still didn't know but she did know that not knowing where she was and if she is ok was driving her insane.
Making herself more comfortable on the bed Tara took one of the pillows and hugged it close while still clutching the picture in her other hand. She was immediately consumed with the comforting scent of Willow. As Tara's tears began to fall unchecked, her heart slowly awoke to the reality of love.
X X X X
Willow opened her eyes to be met with the blinding light of early morning. Immediately closing her eyes she rubbed at them with the back of her right hand. Trying to sit up her stiff limbs and body put up a protest, reminding her of what had happened the night before. Oh God, it really happened. And here I was thinking it was all just a bad, bad dream.
Stretching in an attempt to work out the stiffness in her body she cursed both the alcohol she had consumed along with the fall off the ladder for her thumping headache.
Once she was able to move a little easier Willow moved to the door of the tree house and looked down. Seeing the sorry state of the ladder she was amazed that she had made it up there in the first place. Well crap, this is going to be fun. Great, just great.
After twenty minutes of mumbling under her breath and swearing off alcohol for life she finally made it down the ladder, briefly considering kneeling down and kissing the grass in relief. Dismissing the idea she straightened herself up as best she could and headed home.
X X X X
As Xander hung up the phone Anya could tell he was beginning to freak out. They had gotten up early and finding Tara asleep on Willow's bed but no actual Willow anywhere to be seen Xander had tried calling Willow's parents place again. Getting no answer he had called Buffy who advised the redhead had been a no show there as well.
Moving towards the kitchen to make them breakfast Anya spun around as the door to the apartment opened and Willow limped in.
Xander jumped up from the couch and was next to Willow in the blink of an eye. Hugging her to him for a moment he basically carried her back to the couch and sat her down so he could take a good look at her.
"God Will, what happened to you?"
"Oh you know. Made a fool of myself, fell out of a tree house. The usual things I do on a Friday night."
Xander looked from Willow to Anya, who merely shrugged as she turned to continue her journey to the kitchen. "Oh well, I guess it's breakfast for four then."
X X X X
In her sleep filled haze Tara could hear movement in the apartment along with people talking. Snuggling further into the pillow that she was still holding she became more alert when she heard the front door open and close.
Concentrating on the sounds coming from the living room Tara jumped up off the bed at the familiar voice of a certain redhead. Straightening her clothes she made her way to the door where she stood for a moment to compose herself. As she watched Anya disappear into the kitchen Tara turned her attention to Willow and Xander who where sitting on the couch, currently unaware of her presence.
Xander pulled Willow into a gentle hug. "Come on Will, it's not as bad as it seems."
"That's easy for you to say Xander, you weren't the one making a complete fool of yourself. I mean how could I be so stupid as to think she would feel the same? She's this incredible person who can have anyone she wants, why would she want stupid, boring me?"
Xander was at a loss as to how to answer. I wish Buffy was here, she'd know what to say. "Will, why don't we get you cleaned up. I mean I'm not much into fashion but I'm pretty sure that blood isn't in this season."
This brought Tara out of her thoughts. Blood - what? Moving towards where Willow was sitting, Tara moved around to where she could see Willow's face. Taking in the dishevelled appearance of the redhead she couldn't stop a gasp from escaping. Willow had dried blood in her hair and caked to the side of her face, her shirt was also stained with crimson.
Turning towards the sound Willow came face to face with the one person she hadn't planned on seeing again in the near future. The shock made her jump up from the couch which she instantly regretted as her aching body protested. "Tara! What are you doing here?" Realising the harshness of her tone she tried again. "I mean, hi. I didn't expect to see you here."
Tara took several steps towards her friend. "Oh My God Will, what happened to you?"
Looking down at herself Willow saw that her shirt was stained with blood for the first time. "Ummm I just had a little accident, nothing major."
As Tara moved closer Willow moved around the other side of the couch and headed towards the bathroom. "I just need to grab a shower and I'll be fine."
Rushing into the bathroom Willow closed the door and leaned back against it. She slowly slid down its length until she was sitting on the floor with her back against the cool wood of the door. Taking in big gasps of air she couldn't hold in her tears any longer as she hugged her knees to her chest.
X X X X
An hour later Tara was sitting on the couch, waiting for Willow to come out of the bathroom. Shortly after the redhead had disappeared Xander had explained to both Anya and Tara what had happened. After a brief discussion Xander and Anya left so that Willow and Tara could be alone to talk.
Several more minutes passed before Tara heard the bathroom door open. "Xander, can you give me a hand for a minute please?" Receiving no answer Willow walked into the living room wearing a white bathrobe with a pile of tissues held to the cut above her left eye.
Tara stood and made her way over to where the redhead was standing, wide eyed. "Xander and Anya went to Buffy's so that we could talk."
Before Willow could answer Tara gently turned her around and led her back into the bathroom. As Tara got the small first aid kit from the cupboard under the sink Willow sat down on the edge of the bathtub.
Tara knelt down in front of Willow, brushed her hands away from the cut and began cleaning it gently. Willow flinched slightly at the pain from the antiseptic and decided to dive right in.
"Look Tara, I'm really sorry about last night, I shouldn't have put you in that position. I realise now that you could never love me and I hope that you can forgive me and still want to be friends."
Saying nothing Tara continued to clean the cut, gathering her thoughts as she used one of the small bandaids to hold the cut closed. Willow searched the blondes face for any signs of what she was thinking. Having finished what she was doing she finally looked Willow in the eye. As they looked at each other for what seemed like an hour Tara was the one to break the silence.
OH MY GOD she wants me to tell her why we should still be friends. She hates me. She hates me and never wants to see me again. "Well, you know, I like having you as my friend and I don't want to lose that because I was being stupid."
Tara tilted her head to the side before clarifying.
"No, I mean why do you think I could never love you?"
Willow sighed before breaking eye contact to look down at her hands which were playing with the ends of the cord holding the robe together.
"You've looked in a mirror before right?"
Judging by the silence that filled the room Willow knew that she wasn't going to get out of it with some Willow humour. Deciding that honesty was the only way to go, Willow took a deep breath.
"Well because you're everything that I'm not. I mean you could have anyone you wanted so the likelihood of you settling with second rate is pretty small. Look at your last girlfriend for example, she was drop dead gorgeous. Why would you settle for a beat up old Toyota when you could have a brand new BMW instead?"
As she listened to what Willow was saying Tara clenched her jaw, a simmering anger beginning to surface. Why does she always do that, put herself down like she's nothing? Doesn't she know how wonderful she is, how warm and caring? And there is no way that Karen ever looked that hot in a bathrobe.
Unable to stop herself Tara reached up and gently cupped Willows face in her hands. "Stop it. Willow stop putting yourself down like that."
Unable to look away Willow met her friends gaze using all of her self control to not look away.
"How can you know what I want, how I feel when I didn't even know? Last night when you said those things, when you kissed me it was a big surprise. I didn't have the slightest clue that you have feelings for me Will."
Tara watched as Willow blinked away the tears that had been forming. The redheads shoulders slumped slightly as sadness clouded her normally sparkling green eyes.
It was all too much for Tara as the sight of Willow in pain caused her heart to ache. In that moment Tara knew without a doubt that she never wanted her Willow to suffer, never wanted her to be sad again.
As her thumbs began to caress the soft skin of Willow's face she tried to reassure her that everything would be ok.
"When you ran out of the Bronze like that it scared me Will. Then when you didn't come home I was so worried. I didn't know where you were or what you were doing. It felt like part of me was missing."
Silence once again fell upon the room as both women regarded one another, gazing into each others eyes. And then Willow watched as the most amazing thing happened, Tara leant in and kissed her.
It was a chaste, gentle kiss as lips barely grazed. Then as both women became more confident mouths meet more firmly as they tried to convey a message that words seemed unable to express.
For Willow it was everything she had always dreamt of. OH MY GOD Tara is kissing me. T A R A is k i s s i n g me. TARA IS KISSING ME.
As for Tara the feeling of Willow's warm, soft skin against her own was something she wanted to feel over and over again. OH MY GOD I'm kissing Willow. I'm k i s s i n g Willow. I'M KISSING WILLOW.
Finally breaking the kiss both women were breathing hard. Tara couldn't help flashing one of her trademark lopsided grins as she watched a myriad of emotions and thoughts appear on Willow's face. First was shock and confusion, followed by a realisation that led to pure joy as a megawatt Willow smile erupted.
"Will, I think we've kinda done things backwards. Aren't we supposed to go out on a date or two before we kiss?"
Willow's smile faded for a moment before it reappeared even brighter than before. "In that case, Tara will you go out with me?"