Disclaimer: BtVS belongs to ME & Joss Whedon. Hadley & Tori belong to me.

Chapter Six B – Subtle Flirts

"She fell asleep again?" Willow whispered, walking into the living room with another cup of tea for Tara. She smiled when she saw the small body curled up in a ball on the couch and noticed Tara had covered her daughter up with the blanket that was thrown over the furniture.

"Yeah, I think she wiped herself out shopping. We don't have enough money but I save up for what I can afford. To her, it's like Christmas morning." Tara laughed and rolled her eyes.

"My kind of girl." Willow laughed quietly. "Why don't we take her to the spare bedroom? It's warm in there and when Tori gets back we can gently put her in the car."

Tara smiled and moved to pick Hadley up in her arms. Willow made a beeline straight for the spare room to fluff the pillows; she had to feel useful somehow.

Returning to the living room, the blonde found Willow sitting in front of the fireplace, putting some firewood in.

Willow was so lost in thought that she never heard Tara make her way back into the room. When turned around she found Tara smirking at her. "So, this is why you wanted Hadley to be moved?"

"Uh…no, no no, Tara, I just…ugh. No. I figured maybe we could talk? You know, get to learn more about each other." Willow blew the bangs out of her eyes that were threatening to block her vision of the perfect woman in front of her.

"Do you always get this flustered Will?" The blonde teased as way towards the redhead and sat down cross-legged in front of the fire.

Willow laughed nervously and grabbed a couple of pillows, tossing one to Tara. With her own pillow, she sprawled out on her stomach. "Not always." She whispered smirking to herself.

"So you want to talk and learn things. Like what?" Tara asked quietly, biting her lower lip, blues eyes intent on green.

"You pick." Willow gave her a cute smile and settled herself comfortably in front of the fireplace.

Tara nodded slowly and glanced around the tidy living room. "Okay, I want to talk about you."

--

"So…whatchya think?" Dawn asked excitedly. She had stayed true to her word and gave Tori a lot of sugary goodness. It still amazed her that the other brunette hadn't had a mocha in her life.

"I think I am gonna explode. Dawn, you are so evil." Tori patted her stomach and shot the shorter brunette a mock-glare. A smirk tugged at her lips when Dawn pouted a little.

"What? You're the one who asked for three refills!" Dawn defended herself. "And I never heard you complain then." She crossed her arms over her chest and raised an eyebrow, challenging her otherwise.

Since the night before, Tori and Dawn seemed to click instantly. They exchanged stories about school and embarrassing moments when they were younger. Tori even told Dawn about her mother and about the time Tara laughed when her water broke. Sometimes they'd slip into one of those more serious conversations where you can't seem to find a way out of it fast enough. Other times they'd laugh at each other and with each other.

Dawn had never felt more comfortable with someone. She'd had close friends before but when Tori was different and she couldn't put her finger on it. It was just what both girls needed; a breath of fresh air to start their school year and what better way to do that than make a really close friend.

"So, what do want to do now? It's ten thirty." Tori asked as their giggles sub sided.

"Well, we can go back to Willow's and raid her fridge?" Dawn said enthusiastically. "I always get the munchies after one too many of these things." She pointed to her empty paper cup.

"She won't mind?" The older brunette asked someone quietly, her eyes trained and focused on the girl across from her – as they had been the whole night.

"No." Dawn rolled her eyes. "She makes how much money in a year? She can't miss ice cream." She laughed while standing up and held out Tori's jacket for her.

"Thanks." Tori smiled and blushed at the skin contact their hands had made.

Dawn felt it to but pushed it aside for the moment. She found a friend and didn't want to mess that up by any ounce of possibility there was to having a crush on the young Maclay sister. "Besides, I usually take this opportunity to bug my sister until I go to bed but she's busy. Why not go bug Willow and Tara?"

"You do know they're probably all over each other." Tori broke down into giggles. "It's good though, Tara's never really had someone to care for her. People find out she has a daughter and they run the other way. With Willow, it seemed like Hadley was the one that caught her eye first, Tara was just a hot bonus."

"Oh, then Hadley makes good 'bait'." Dawn teased, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, glancing at the girl beside her as they walked out of the coffee shop together.

"Why Dawn, are you saying it worked for my sister?"

"No! Not for Tara." Dawn quickly assured her friend but blushed slightly.

"So Hadley doesn't work for you?" Tori stopped and raised an eyebrow.

"I never said that. I just said that she never drew my attention to Tara." Dawn said seriously before stepping ahead of Tori and towards the vehicle.

--

"You wouldn't believe how many people teased me and called me carrot top. I was humiliated, so I never used dye or bleach on my hair again. I was mad at Xander for a whole week after that." Willow had Tara in a fit of giggles, telling her the most regretted thing she'd ever done on a dare. "And 'til this day, he still hasn't apologized."

"Maybe that's because you were naïve enough to go and ruin beautiful hair in the first place." Tara surprised Willow when she defended her best friend.

"You're not supposed to agree." Willow sat up stretched. "Did you just say I had beautiful hair?" She looked at the blonde, only to find her staring and smirking at her. "What? What is it? Is it my hair? Tara…what?"

"You're cute." Tara immediately looked down after getting that out. The floor just got a lot more interesting. Insert foot in mouth, Tara.

"Oh, um, thank you." Willow smiled moved her right hand to cup Tara's chin. "Hey, why are you all with the blushing?"

"Sorry, my mouth kinda works faster than my brain sometimes." The blonde let out a warm smile, her face flushed and tingled where Willow was softly holding her.

"Yeah, mine too. A lot actually, you know, I believe that's why I started to babble, my brain decides to take a nap or something, so that's when I just come out with mumble jumble. Like now for instance." Willow bit her lip and let out a soft breath before noticing that her thumb starting to softly stroke Tara's jaw line. "If it means anything, I think," she giggled nervously, "wait…no, I know you are cute too."

Tara licked her lips that went dry and she smiled. She put her hand over the one that was caressing the side of her face and gently held it for a brief second before dropping their laced fingers into her lap. "Thank you." She murmured quietly. Clearing her throat to cover up the nervousness in her voice, she shifted and squeezed the hand in her own. "So how do you manage to get so much time off if you're a famous model?"

"I beg and plead." Willow laughed. "It's hard you know? Luckily I don't have to go back until after New Years. I haven't taken a break since I was eighteen. Not exactly healthy, I know." She shrugged with an impish look on her freckled face.

"Wow, that's long time." The blonde raised an eyebrow and grabbed a magazine that Hadley was looking at. The redhead was on the cover of it and she flipped through it. "Well now, look at that. There's a whole interview in here with you." She gently slid her hand out of the redhead's and pulled the magazine up to her face, pretending to read as she scanned over the words. "Well at least I know who you have a crush on." Her eyes peered over at the flustered looking woman next to her and giggled slightly.

"What? Crush? I never said anything about having a crush, I'm crushless! Did I?" Willow looked at Tara, reaching to grab the magazine from thin hands. Before getting the book in her possession she heard the blonde laugh. "Mean much?" She huffed at the teasing glint in blue eyes.

"Sorry, I kinda like watching you get all worked up."

"You just wait missy." Willow whipped the magazine across the room and caught Tara off guard by tackling her. Her slender fingers moved up and down Tara's ribcage causing the blonde to quake with laughter.

"Okay!" Tara tried to talk but couldn't. Finally she managed to flip Willow over and pin her down. With her body covering Willow's, she could feel the warmth that she'd always craved. Their eyes locked and remained that way for a few comfortable seconds. Lost in their own new little world they were creating, neither woman heard the front door open.

"We're ba-ck." Dawn and Tori walked into the living room and found them on the floor, Tara pinning Willow to the floor gently. "You were right. They're all over each other." Dawn whispered to her friend.

"Tara, some advice? If you're gonna pin someone to the floor at least do something instead of just lying there breathing all heav-" Tori was dragged out of the room and into the kitchen by the slightly shorter brunette.

"I think maybe we should leave them, you know, just for a minute or so." Dawn said grabbing the ice cream out of the freezer and tossed Tori her own spoon.

Back in the living room, Tara managed to lift herself off Willow. "Well, that was quite a work out." She blew a few golden strands out of her face and moved to pick up the magazine that was tossed.

"I'd say so. Maybe we should make that a regular exercise, except we can switch positions." Willow's eyes went wide, "Okay, that sounded a lot more sexual then it was meant to." She gave out a nervous laugh, a blush forming on her freckled cheeks.

"Well, I'm game." Tara laughed trying to ease the awkwardness. "Hey, did Dawn and Tori come in?"

"Yeah, I think so. Did they?" Willow sat up and went to the window. "Car is out there, so I am guessing they did."

"I should really get Hadley home and into bed. I have to work tomorrow so I need the rest as well." Tara smiled and walked towards the bedroom where Hadley was sleeping.

"Want any help?" Willow whispered.

"Sure, can you go and grab her coat?"

Willow left and found the tiny coat beside her mother's. "Here we go," she came back into the room and found a very sleepy Hadley, protesting having to leave the warm comfortable bed. "Tara? I have an idea. I heard Dawn and Tori talking just a minute ago and they sounded like they wanted to do something tomorrow. So, why don't you just leave Hadley here? I can Hadley watch and it'll be fun. That way you can work and Tori can enjoy her last day of freedom with Dawn until school starts."

"I don't know Will. I mean, you've done a lot lately and Tori gets paid for taking care of her."

"So, consider that extra cash yours then. I'll do it for free. She'll be fine here, I promise. I have a lot of colouring books and she can help me take Brady for a walk in the park tomorrow. I have plenty of food. Oh! And I have extra clothes for her tha-" Tara's lips on hers stopped Willow immediately. The kiss was soft, and warm, and… "Wow." Willow breathed as the blonde pulled back. "What was that for?"

"That's my response to the kiss from last night. Plus I couldn't help it." Tara whispered. "So Hadley can stay and I will go grab my sister."

"O-kay!" Willow's head was reeling from that kiss. She turned to Hadley, who now, was almost sleeping again. "Hadley? Baby girl, why don't I get you some warm PJ's to put on?"

Hadley nodded and sat up. Willow went over to the small closet, and pulled out tiny butterfly PJ's that were hers when she was Hadley's age. She helped the small child change and tucked her into bed. "Night sweetie."

"Night Willow." Hadley whispered back before falling fast asleep again. Tara came in with Tori in tow.

"Just needed to kiss her night. She's never really been away from me before." Tara sadly smiled. "But I'd rather leave her here with you, than anyone else."

"She'll be fine Mama." Willow gave Tara a small, encouraging smile and hugged her tightly.

"So, I guess that means I'll be seeing you tomorrow then?" Tara whispered with a hint of excitement in her voice.

"Sure does, now go, before it gets later." Willow ushered them quietly out into the foyer.

"Soo…I'll see you tomorrow too?" Tori asked Dawn, almost as shy as her sister had sounded.

"Wouldn't miss it." Dawn hugged her friend and stepped back, hands clasped together as the Maclay sisters turned to leave.

They couldn't wait until the following day, both of them eager to get their new friendships on the go...

...and anything else that life was about to hand their way.

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