TITLE: Taking A Bite Outta The Apple

AUTHOR: Laragh

RATING: PG-13 (Some chapters will become NC-17, this is your warning!)

DISCLAIMER: These things are a bitch to write a different account for every time, so here's the deal; I DON'T OWN THE CHARACTERS. Never have, never will, just borrowing them to continue my existence in happy denial-land.

SUMMARY: Willow leaves the only home she's ever known to fulfil her parent's dream of her attending New York University, but ends up having her own dreams come true in the process

SPOILERS: Nope. This is totally Uber. Oh, but I probably will steal some dialogue here and there.

NOTE: Tara is quite different in this because she was brought up a lot differently than what we were shown in the show. She's confident, she's sassy and she got to act a lot like a normal teenager. She's still Tara to me, just who she could have been without so much sorrow throughout her childhood. I don't think this detracts from W/T as a core, but some have mentioned it, so I thought it was worth a warning. Whether you choose to read or not, I appreciate you checking it out :)

FEEDBACK: I crave it like I crave Oreos and milk. (Which is a lot. Just to be clear.)

Willow Rosenberg pulled up against the curb and checked the scribbled writing on the piece of paper she had placed against the dashboard to check that she was at the right address.

She glanced at the street names and the number on the building, confirming her location and took a deep breath before opening her car door and stepping out, looking around the bustling street; the stream of traffic, people hurrying along the footpath and the numerous food vendors and small café's that littered the area.

She smiled at how different everything was where she'd grown up, a small town in Iowa that probably had a smaller population than the four-block radius of where she was standing now. She was pulled from her thoughts as a passing cyclist skidded past her, yelling as he went by.

"Hey lady, get off the road!"

She jumped back against the car and quickly scurried onto the footpath, grabbing her purse from the passenger seat.

People are apparently a lot ruder out here too.

She walked up to the large building directly in front of her and pressed the call button for apartment 3B, waiting patiently for an answer.

"Hello?" a voice came over the intercom.

"Um, hi," Willow replied, pressing the button so her voice would carry, "It's, uh, Willow. Rosenberg? New tenant? We, um, talked on the phone. Oh, if this is Tara Maclay we talked on the phone, otherwise I'm sorry, I don't know you, but I am supposed to be here. Unless I got the wrong apartment number? Um, this is 3B?"

Willow heard a chuckle come over the line and a loud buzzing sound from the glass doors in front of her.

"This is 3B and this is Tara Maclay. Been expecting you. Come on up."

Willow smiled, she'd talked to this Tara just once on the phone, but she had seemed super friendly and had a voice that seemed to calm the redhead, a feat not easily achieved. Nonetheless, she had gone through so many changes lately; she was nervous about life in general at the moment.

She went through the doors and got into the elevator, pressing the button for the third floor, stepping out just a couple of seconds later, smiling yet again when she saw '3B' standing out in brass letters on the door right in front of her. She checked her clothes, making sure she looked presentable, that there were no stains or underwear poking out, and once satisfied, knocked on the door, not sure what to expect of the occupant on the other side.

The door swung open to reveal a smiling brunette, about her own age, Willow figured - which was surprising in itself, given that she knew Tara owned the apartment - but more than that was how the redhead found herself for once in her life, completely speechless.

Holy crap. She's gorgeous. Like mega-gorgeous. Holy crap. You already said that, brain. But yeah…Holy crap. Wow, look at those lips… plump and inviting…and moving. Oh shit, they're moving and we're not kissing which means she's talking! Talking and you're standing here like an idiot. She'll never want you as a girlfriend now. Roommate! She'll never want me as a roommate now. Am I chuckling nervously in my head? It's not like anyone heard my little slip, so why am I chuckling? And why in all the high heavens am I still talking to myself when the beautiful girl is staring at me?

"Um, I'm sorry?" she asked, blinking a couple of times to try and focus herself.

"I was just saying it's nice to meet you," Tara said with a smile, "You must be exhausted, you drove all the way from Iowa right?"

"Yeah. Yes. Yes, I did," Willow nodded.

"Well, come on in!"

Willow gratefully stepped over the threshold into the apartment getting excited as she realised that this was her new home, and admired the large loft-style room, two sofas set up comfortably against opposite walls with a large flat screen TV mounted on the wall between them, a couple of coffee tables with some simple lamps and a 4-person dining table just beside the main entrance.

There was a small kitchen off to the side, that seemed fully equipped, and Willow knew from the photos and the ad she'd on the internet, that had prompted her to call and apply for the roommate position in the first place, that the loft had all the mod-cons.

"Sit down I'll make you a coffee. You drink coffee, right?" Tara asked, gesturing towards the sofas and going into the kitchen.

"God, yes," Willow answered with a smile, sitting down, "My parents were big supporters of it since it made me able to stay up later and do more study. Kinda learned to love it young."

"Good. This machine can do anything. So, latte, cappuccino, americano…"

"Uh, mocha?"

"You got it," Tara replied, getting two mugs down and pressing a few buttons on the coffee maker, "Woman after my own heart."

You have no idea…

Tara turned the machine off a couple of minutes later and carried the two steaming mugs into the living room, handing one to the redhead before sitting opposite her.

"So how long did it take you to get out here? Iowa to New York seems like a bit of a trip."

"Um, I split it over two days, got a hotel last night and stuff. I made some stops as well. I…I can't believe how friendly you are," Willow added, amazed at how at ease she felt, in a completely new city, about to start a new school, with brand new people.

But she did.

"You think all the city people would be big bad meanies?" Tara asked with a chuckle.

"No, no! Well, kinda. I wasn't sure. I've never been outta Iowa…I'm, uh, kind of a small town girl. Completely a small town girl."

"Most of us are nice. And the Village is like the best place in the city to live. I think so anyway. So what made you decide to move cross country?"

"Parents went to NYU. Grandparents went to NYU. My entire first eighteen years have been a mould so that I could go to NYU," Willow said with a small smile, "So I packed up my U-Haul in true lesbian fashion and drove to my predetermined future."

Willow paled as she realised what she'd said and Tara snorted.

"And then I out myself within five minutes of meeting you. Um, if it's a problem…" Willow was stopped by the brunette waving a hand back and forth.

"No problems here," Tara replied, pointing at a rainbow band on her wrist, "You're in good company."

"Oh. Um, awesome."

Okay, score, brain, she's gay. Now just use all your knowledge from those lesbian movies you watched and try and seduce her…except those ones with unhappy endings. Forget those. Great. That leaves me like, nothing to work with.

Willow was pulled from her thoughts as she heard the other girl speak again and looked up to see her smirking.

"Actually, you're in very good company."

"What do you mean?" Willow asked, confused.

"This floor…well, see…Tara paused as she figured out how to word what she wanted to say, "Basically, it's had nothing but gay inhabitants for the last ten years or so, at least that's as far back as I remember consciously noticing it, I was young so it could've been even longer. It's fondly known as the rainbow deck. We figure there must be some gay god who guides our little queer souls here or something. Oh, we is myself and Craig, he lives to the right of us. Our other neighbour - uh, to the left? That's Justin. He and Craig used to hate each other, they both wanted to be the bigger queen or something, but they worked it out. We're all friends now."

"Um…wow…," Willow replied, taking in the information about her new neighbours and the apparent mystical gay properties of the building, "I mean, really? Every single one?"

"Yep. Well, except my grandmother, but even then I had my suspicions."

Tara winked and Willow giggled in response, as she took another sip of her coffee.

"So, um, can I ask you something?"


"Uh, the rent here is crazy low. Like, I checked around other places in the area, even this building and they're like double; sometimes even triple the rent of here..."

"Oh right, yeah. Um, you know, I didn't even think of how that might look when I advertised it. And, uh, might I add, talk about speedy, I only had the ad posted like ten minutes when you called."

"Oh yeah. I had a search alert set up. So, you know, so I was notified straight away," Willow explained.

"Oh, cool. So, um, about the rent, basically I've lived in this apartment my entire life, with my grandmother, and she died last year."

"Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to-"

"It's okay," Tara smiled in reassurance, "But, um, she lived here for even longer. So this place has no mortgage or anything on it. The rent just covers stuff like utilities and electric, light and heat, those kinda things. I couldn't afford college and the upkeep on my own, so I needed a roommate, but I didn't want to like, make money on the place. Least not at long as I'm still living here. My grandmother would've hated that."

"Well I'm really glad you agreed for me to be here. I love it already."

"It'll be nice to have someone else around again. So...you have a U-haul downstairs?" Tara asked with a smirk.

Willow blushed and nodded, while Tara stood up and put her mug down on the coffee table between them.

"Come on, then, let's get you moved in. I'll order some food after and we can, ah, get to know each other."