Bound -- Ch. 9-10 by Lisa Countryman

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CHAPTER NINE

Buffy watched Willow sitting under an oak tree with Tara. The two witches were on the grass near the quad in front of Willow�s dormitory. The Slayer stood motionless as sadness filled her heart. It had been two weeks since they had rescued Tara from Kelly, and the blonde witch still had not regained her memory. Willow was patient, kind, and loving. She would stay up for hours at night tutoring Tara so she could keep up in her classes. Right now Willow was going over homework with Tara. Buffy didn�t know what it was, but the two witches seemed engrossed. The Slayer had stopped by to check on Tara, but she decided that she didn�t want to interrupt. She quietly made her way back to the street and started walking downtown.

As she passed the coffee shop she decided it was time for an iced mocha. She ordered the caffeine rich beverage and sat down near the window. The television caught her eye and she turned to hear the story.

"The latest on model Kelly Larson," the news anchor said as she looked into the camera and tried to look compassionate. "The former spokesmodel for Mabeline was moved to a private care facility. Miss Larson had a breakdown two weeks ago and insiders report that she�s suffering from violent hallucinations." The news anchor frowned and shook her head. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her and let�s hope she has a speedy recovery." She looked over at her co-anchor. "Lotto fever hits downtown," she said with a smile. "More on that after these commercials."

Buffy sighed and stared into her mocha. �Whatever Kelly�s going through, it isn�t enough,� Buffy thought.

*****

Willow sat with her back against a large oak tree. Tara was stretched out on the grass next to the redheaded witch. The blonde liked to lie on her stomach while she read. They were going over Tara�s Literature reading assignments. There was a midterm coming up, and unfortunately for Tara, the test covered the entire semester. Tara�s arm ached. The stitches had been removed but the injury was still tender. She looked down at the pink, fragile skin of the scars Kelly gave her and frowned. She pushed the book away and groaned.

"No more, please." Tara rolled over onto her back and covered her head with both arms. "When will I ever need to know which Bronte sister wrote what?"

"You�re doing really good." Willow leaned forward and rested her hand on Tara�s belly. "Maybe you need a break. Hmm?" She moved her hand in tiny circles. She and her lover had become comfortable with each other, but they were still getting to know each other again. It was difficult for Willow because she still adored the blonde and constantly had to stop herself from touching Tara.

"No more Brontes," Tara whined.

"I promise. This patch of grass will be a Bronte-free zone." Willow tickled Tara�s tummy. "Tell you what, I won�t even bring up a Bronte-saurus when we go over Biology. Okay?"

"That was bad." Tara giggled and moved her arms. "Very bad." She rolled her eyes and rested her hand over Willow�s. Her feelings for the redhead grew with every second she spent with the beautiful woman. She could feel herself falling in love, but she still wondered if they would ever have what they once did. "What else you got in that backpack?" Tara asked.

"Books. Many, many books." Willow smirked and bit her lip.

Tara scrunched her face and shook her head, not satisfied with that answer. "What else?"

"Pencils." Willow smiled. "Colored pencils. A veritable lead rainbow of pencil-y goodness."

Tara shook her head again.

"Umm, paper?" Willow offered playfully. "Ruled� and unruled if you�re feeling rebellious� get it? No rules? Very naughty." She leaned down and kissed the scars on Tara�s arm.

Tara rolled her eyes.

"There might be some chocolate," Willow said coyly.

Tara�s eyes opened wide and her entire face lit up.

Willow leaned over and dug through her backpack. After some fumbling she turned back and dangled a See�s candy bar over the blonde witch. She giggled at the look of sheer joy on Tara�s face.

"So, do I get any of that?" Tara asked. She bit her lip and then slowly ran her tongue across that same lip.

Willow swallowed and reminded herself to breathe. Seeing the sensual look on Tara�s face was making Willow�s pulse race. She stared at her beautiful blonde lover and then remembered that she had been asked a question. She ripped open the candy bar and offered Tara a bite. The blonde opened her mouth and locked eyes with Willow.

"Mmm�" Tara�s eyes slid shut as she let out a satisfied moan. "That�s really good chocolate," she said around the sweet candy.

"It�s your favorite," Willow said. "You tried it in San Francisco last Spring Break." Her green eyes lost their sparkle and she looked away. So many of Tara�s favorite things were lost to her.

"Hey?" Tara sat up and turned Willow toward her. "You okay?"

Willow nodded, but her shining eyes told a different story. The redhead was about to cry.

"I�m sorry." Tara ran her hand through Willow�s hair, smoothing it behind her ear.

"Don�t be," Willow said. "It�s not your fault." She sniffled and looked over at her backpack. "I just don�t want to push you."

"What did you used to call me?" Tara asked. She laced her fingers through Willow�s. "You know, when it was just us alone?"

"My Tara," Willow said. Her voice was thick with emotion. She turned and looked into Tara�s eyes. "Or sometimes�Baby." Her green eyes filled with love. She closed her eyes and sighed and slowly opened them. "But usually just�my Tara." She traced Tara�s cheek with her fingers. "My beautiful Tara."

The young blonde blushed and looked down. "I wish I could remember," she whispered. "What did I call you?"

"Darling�baby� honey� My Willow� Willow-pillow." The redhead�s smile blossomed and her eyes sparkled. Her cheeks blushed the color of a vine-ripened tomato. "And sometimes� Willowhand," she whispered shyly.

Tara giggled, but there was sadness darkening her features.

"I could� read some stuff to you," Willow offered.

"Oh, no." Tara growled and then laughed. "No more homework." She pitched her body sideways and ended up sprawled over Willow�s legs. She scooted around on her back until she was using Willow�s lap from a pillow. "No more school today. I am officially calling for a vacation day."

"Not homework." Willow combed her fingers through Tara�s bangs. "Stuff� stuff about us. Good stuff."

Tara looked up at Willow and crinkled her brow.

"I� I kept a diary�about us." Willow was as nervous as she had been since Tara�s memory was lost. She didn�t want her lover to feel pressured, but she wanted to give her the option of reading the daily chronicles of their life together. "I didn�t want to forget one second about our time together," Willow explained. She continued stroking Tara�s hair and the blonde sighed in pleasure. "I never thought that you�d actually�well, forget," Willow said sadly.

Tara bit the inside of her cheek and pursed her lips. She studied Willow�s expression, trying to figure out why her lover hadn�t suggested the diary sooner.

"You didn�t want me to feel like you were pushing me," Tara whispered when the reason finally dawned on her. "That�s why you haven�t shown it to me."

Willow smiled and nodded.

"Show me." Tara shifted and wrapped her arms around Willow�s waist. "I want to know about us, My Willow."

Tears threatened to fall from Willow�s eyes as she rubbed Tara�s back. She clung to her lover and squeezed her eyes shut and tilted her head back. She didn�t want to cry. Tara got upset every time Willow cried. She inhaled sharply and opened her eyes wide as she tried to keep the tears from falling. She leaned back and felt the bark of the tree sting her skin. The fragile redhead didn�t know how much more she could take before she broke down.

*****

After finishing her iced mocha Buffy made her way back to the campus. She had called Giles and checked in with the Watcher and found out that demonic activity was on a downswing. Apparently the brawl at Giles� house had put a dent in the local demon population. Giles had tried to recreate Willow�s �ball of sunshine spell,� but so far he had been unsuccessful.

The Slayer found the two witches still under the oak tree but now they seemed to be a great deal more relaxed. Both Willow and Tara were stretched out on their bellies with a book in front of them. Their heads were pressed together as they read the pages and giggled. They were touching along the lengths of their bodies, and for a moment, Buffy thought they looked like they used to before Tara had lost her memory.

"I had �sassy eggs� for breakfast?" Tara asked. She giggled and tilted her head so she could look into Willow�s eyes. "What are sassy eggs? There not like ostrich eggs or something are they?"

"No." Willow giggled. "But you could make some really, really sassy eggs with ostrich eggs." She smiled evilly and wrapped her arm over Tara�s back and whispered in her ear. "Sunnyside up," she said in a sensual tone. "They wiggle like sassy little boobs."

"Willow!" Tara laughed so hard she snorted. "And you eat with that mouth?"

"Yup�" Willow waggled her eyebrows. "I eat lots and lots of sassy eggs." She leered at Tara. "Sassy ostrich eggs. Triple D sassy eggs."

Tara snorted and rolled over onto Willow. She pushed the redhead onto her back and pinned her to the ground. "Thank you," Tara whispered. She leaned down until her lips were almost touching Willow�s. "Thank you for writing all of this down."

"My beautiful Tara." Willow�s heart was hammering inside her chest. She could feel the warmth of Tara�s body and it was threatening to scorch her skin. She licked her lips and her eyes lidded.

The blonde whimpered. Willow�s unconscious wetting of her lips was making Tara�s body ignite. She shifted her weight and let her lips meet Willow�s. She moaned into the softness and her tongue traced the redhead�s lips, not yet seeking entry, just mapping every portion of the satin skin.

Willow�s hands found their way to Tara�s back and she pulled the blonde closer. She was in heaven, and she if she was dreaming, she never wanted to wake up. She let her lips fall open and waited as Tara slowly dipped into her warmth. A groan rumbled through Willow�s chest. She thought it was her own voice, but then realized that Tara was crying out with her in a concert of seductive sounds. Their tongues danced gently, cautious at first, each woman afraid of spooking the other. As the kiss deepened, the touches became less tentative, tongues probed more forcefully, and both women let their hands roam.

�Lost,� Tara thought. �I�m lost in her.� She shifted her weight and her leg slid onto Willow�s hip. The touch left both women lightheaded and if they hadn�t been sprawled on the lawn they would have fallen down. She snaked her hand between their bodies and moved her fingers toward Willow�s pert breast. �Sassy,� she thought with a giggle.

"You know, you two might wanna� get a room," Buffy said. She cleared her throat and watched as her two friends squealed.

"Buffy!" Tara�s head shot up and she backed away from Willow as if the redhead had just burst into flames.

"Oh�Buffy�" Willow sat up and tugged her blouse down. It had ridden up with the help of Tara�s inquisitive hand. "We didn�t see you."

"Yeah? Well, I saw you." Buffy laughed as she watched Willow�s blush spreading down her face and throat and disappearing under her shirt. "So did everyone else in the quad." She nodded toward a small crowd across the clearing. Several students waved and cheered while others clapped. One young woman scribbled onto her note pad and held it up. She had written "9.85" on the paper.

"Oh, geeze." Willow hid her face in her hands.

Tara just stared at the amused students.

"It�s okay," Buffy said gently. "This isn�t the first time you guys have gotten caught rolling around on the quad." She waved at the crowd. "And I think that judge ripped you off. I gave you a 9.98. I mean, there were some extra points for difficulty, even though your dismount left something to be desired."

Tara�s eyes widened further. She slowly looked over at Willow, then back to Buffy. The Slayer was biting the inside of her cheek to stop herself from laughing.

"Why are you here?" Willow asked. "Not that I�m not thrilled to see you," she quickly added. "Because I am, of course�thrilled that is." She scowled at her friend.

"You look thrilled." Buffy smirked. She was enjoying the way Willow�s cheeks just kept getting redder.

"You�here�purpose?" Willow said as she gave the Slayer her determined look.

"You mean other than embarrassing you two?" Buffy asked sweetly.

"Is she always like this?" Tara furrowed her brow. "Does she always embarrass us? Because�that�s just mean."

"She�s very mean," Willow agreed. "She�s a mean Slayer. Just ask any vampire." The redhead was now smiling broadly.

"Fine. You two are the ones in a gropefest� getting the male student population hot and bothered�as well as half the women too� and I am the mean one?" Buffy rolled her eyes. "And here I was coming to offer you two the use of my house for the weekend." She smiled like the Cheshire cat. "My big� private house� my house that Dawn and I will not be in all weekend."

Willow�s eyes widened. She didn�t want Tara to feel pressured, and having Buffy suggest that the two witches stay in the Slayer�s house alone would definitely qualify as pressuring.

The blonde Wiccan looked up at Buffy and smiled. It was not a friendly smile. It was a sensual, seductive, make your mouth water and your knees go weak smile, and Buffy almost choked on her own tongue just from the raw sexuality the smile implied.

"So�you two wanna� stay?" Buffy managed to ask. "Do the house-sit thing?"

"I don�t know," Willow said hesitantly. "All alone house-sitting� that�s a pretty big step." She didn�t want to scare Tara off.

"You guys have been sleeping together every night," Buffy pointed out.

"Not in the same bed!" Willow half yelled. She looked over at Tara and the blonde was nodding in agreement. "Geeze, Buffy. As far as Tara�s concerned, she just met me two weeks ago."

"But� by the time you two knew each other for two weeks the first time, weren�t you already doing� spells?" Buffy said the last word as if it were some kinky sexual position.

"Spells," Willow said as waved her hands in the air. "Magic spells� floating roses� spell spells." Willow blushed. "Not�spells." She raised her eyebrows meaningfully.

"We floated a rose?" Tara asked. "When?"

"That was one of our first spells," Willow said proudly. "Well, after we like moved this huge soda machine. With magic, not muscle, cuz we�re not Buffy strong, but our magic was really strong. Buffy strong. It woulda� kicked Buffy�s a�" She stopped mid-sentence and smiled at the Slayer. "It was strong."

"Floating a rose requires extreme synchronicity." Tara reached over and took Willow�s hand. "Did we pluck the petals?"

"Um hello? I am sitting right here!" Buffy�s cheeks turned bright red. "Don�t be talking about your��petal plucking� with me siting here!"

"Rose petals," Willow said as she blushed to match Buffy�s shade. "Buffy! It was a real rose�with real rose petals�and actual plucking of the rose petals. Is there some reason your mind is in the gutter today?"

Tara giggled as she watched both of her friends turning shades of red she hadn�t known human pigment could produce.

"Well, how am I supposed to know these things?" Buffy tugged at her shirt collar.

"You�re as bad as Xander." Willow�s mouth was suddenly very dry. She looked around wishing she had a soda, or water, or some really, really thick fog.

"So you want to house-sit or not?" Buffy wanted to leave as soon as possible. She wanted to be as far away from the two witches as possible because the Slayer was beginning to think she might actually die of embarrassment. She had survived more apocalypses than she could count, and now, two witches talking about petal plucking were going to kill her.

Willow wanted to house-sit; she really did. She vividly remembered the last time she and Tara had stayed at Buffy�s house for the weekend. She and Tara hadn�t worn a stitch of clothing for most of the three-day weekend. They had dubbed it the "All gay, all naked, Wicked Wiccan Weekend," and both women had been exhausted when they went back to school the following week. Willow�s eyes sparkled as she remembered the interesting use Tara had come up with for a jar of honey. Then Willow remembered that for Tara, that weekend had never happened.

"No," Willow said sadly. "We should stay in my dorm. We�ve got that extra bed all set up."

"Are you sure?" Buffy asked. "Giles is taking me and Dawn away for a big Watcher/Summers sisters bonding thing. The house will just be empty." She had hoped the weekend alone would allow the two witches to reconnect in every way.

Willow shook her head. She wouldn�t pressure Tara.

"We�ll stay," Tara said. "It�ll be fun." She smiled and tickled the back of Willow�s hand with one finger. "And it�ll be kinda� nice to sleep without hearing the guy next door snoring." She crinkled her brow. "Those walls in the dorm are really thin."

"Don�t I know it. Paper thin." Willow remembered getting three complaints for excessive noise. It was a constant problem until she and Tara figured out that they could do a spell to keep sound from leaving their room. "I can�t believe they can actually write you up for noise," she added in a quiet grumble.

"Really?" Buffy asked with an evil grin.

Tara�s eyes sparkled as she watched the emotions play across Willow�s face. The redhead was obviously remembering something interesting. Tara wished she could share the memory because the look of lust in Willow�s eyes was intoxicating.

"Yeah, really," Willow said in a bit of a daze. Then the shy redhead realized how much information she was giving out and her jaw dropped. "I mean�our neighbors sure are loud. Snoring. Lots of snoring. And music, loud music. Those darn kids today."

"It�s okay, Willow," Tara whispered. She squeezed the embarrassed witch�s hand. "I know we made love. You don�t have to be shy about it."

"Hey!" Buffy covered her ears with both hands. "I love you both, but I do not want details. No details. When it comes to you�and you�and the collective �you,� I really want to pass on the details." She shook her head. "No details."

"So you really want to house-sit?" Willow asked her lover.

Tara nodded. She was ready to take things forward with Willow. She may not remember her life with the gorgeous redhead, but her heart longed to be with Willow.

"Okay then." Buffy smiled. "You�ve got your key, so you can let yourself in." She stretched her back and yawned. "We�re leaving tomorrow afternoon. Come by after your classes."

"When are you coming back?" Willow asked as she gathered her books and put them into her backpack.

"Monday morning." Buffy reached down and offered Tara her hand. "You guys will have the whole weekend."

Tara smiled demurely and looked down at the grass. Her hair fell over her face and blocked the mischievous look in her slate blue eyes. She hoped she could get Willow to open up. Tara was finding it harder and harder to keep her hands off of the lithe redhead. She smiled as she looked over at Willow. She definitely liked running her hands over Willow�s body. Her curves seemed to call to Tara, and the blonde�s hands fit perfectly over Willow�s breasts. That much was clear from the short visit Tara had gotten before Buffy arrived.

"You okay?" Willow asked. "You seem kinda� faraway."

"Fine." Tara blushed and took Willow�s hand.

Buffy watched the interaction and smiled. Her plan was working perfectly.

*****

Willow and Tara arrived at Buffy�s house Friday afternoon. They found a note from the Slayer as well as a gift certificate for Tara�s favorite Chinese takeout. Buffy wanted her two friends to have a fun and romantic weekend, and she wasn�t above stacking the deck. She also left a stack of videos on top of the television. The clerk at the lesbian bookstore had assured Buffy they were the best lesbian romance movies available. The Slayer especially liked the title of the one called �the Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love.�

The two witches spent Friday night eating Chinese food and doing a few spells. They floated a rose and were able to gently pluck off each petal. They sat up talking until the early morning hours and when they went to sleep, they shared a bed for the first time since Tara�s memory was stolen.

They woke up wrapped around each other but still felt a bit nervous. Tara�s hand had ended up under Willow�s nightshirt and was cupping the redhead�s small breast. Both women were more than ready to get out of bed and start their day. They avoided any eye contact until they were both completely dressed.

Saturday morning was spent shopping at the natural foods co-op and they spent the afternoon cooking vegetarian spaghetti. The two witches made a game of cooking the meal, stirring in herbs as if they were making some magical concoction. Tara even came up with a rather saucy limerick to use as the incantation. Willow swore she would never look at the vegetable isle the same way again. The studious redhead might have thought to rhyme bikini with zucchini� but she never would have imagined the vegetable in the swimsuit.

As the night wore on, they went to the living room and curled up on the couch to watch movies. Both women were enjoying the increased closeness and both were secretly hoping it would escalate soon. Tara worried that she would disappoint Willow, while Willow was terrified that Tara might not ever love her again.

"More popcorn?" Willow asked. She was snuggling on the couch watching movies and sharing popcorn with Tara. She scooted the bowl closer so the blonde could reach it.

"I can�t believe Buffy rented these." Tara pointed at the stack of movies and giggled. "That was so sweet, but I wonder if we should tell her that Little Women isn�t a lesbian movie?"

"I liked that last one, Two Girls in Love." Willow sighed and stretched out so she could rest her head on Tara�s lap. "It was an incredible adventure." She shifted her weight and then banged her head on the popcorn bowl and scowled. "Ouch."

"Poor baby." Tara moved the bowl to the coffee table and then rubbed Willow�s head. "You gonna� live?"

"Maybe," Willow whined. "Some TLC might help."

Tara eased Willow forward and kissed tiny bump. "Better?" the blonde asked. She pressed her lips against Willow�s hair and left several more kisses while she waited for an answer. She wrapped her arms around the smaller woman and pulled her against her chest.

Willow nodded and she released a happy sigh. "Much better." She leaned into Tara�s embrace and enjoyed the warmth of her blonde lover�s arms.

"Willow?" Tara asked quietly.

"Mmm hmm?" Willow rested her arms over Tara�s. She loved the feel of Tara�s firm breasts pressing against her back.

"Come to bed with me." Tara�s voice was deep and breathy.

"Huh?" Willow�s body stiffened and she froze, unable to even breathe.

"Come to bed with me, My Willow," Tara whispered.

"Um, T-tara� it�s early, and I�m not tired." Willow pulled away from her lover and jumped up from the couch. She paced the room and began picking up dishes and stacking them in her hands. "I should straighten up the room." She wouldn�t look at Tara. "Buffy trusted us to house-sit and the whole room is a mess." She hurried into the kitchen leaving a shocked blonde witch sitting on the couch.

"What just happened?" Tara asked as she walked up behind Willow. The redhead was filling the sink with soapy water and she was more nervous than a fattened pig at a Texas barbecue.

"Nothing happened." Willow scrubbed the dishes, splashing water out of the sink and onto her shirt. "Nothing at all. Cleaning up. Just cleaning up. I�m a clean gal. I like clean. Clean is good."

"Willow, talk to me." Tara took Willow by the arms and slowly turned the redhead toward her. "Did I do something wrong?" Her voice cracked and her lips trembled.

"No." Willow�s heart nearly broke hearing the pain in her lover�s voice. "You didn�t do anything wrong. It�s me." She looked down at the floor.

"Don�t you want me anymore?" Tara took a step back. "Am I that different?"

"Of course I want you." Willow raised her head and moved closer to her lover. "Tara, how could you even think that? I love you, baby. You�re my everything, and I want you more than I�ve ever wanted anyone."

"Then what is it?" The blonde took Willow�s hands in hers and lifted them to her chest. "Don�t you want to be with me?"

"No, I don�t want to be with you." Willow smiled sadly and squeezed Tara�s hands. She took another step closer until her chest was inches from her lover�s. "I�m in love with you. I don�t ever want to just be with you." She smiled and lifted one hand up and cupped Tara�s chin in her fingers. "I want to wait until we can make love, until you love me, until you�re in love with me." She ran her thumb along Tara�s chiseled jawline. "I won�t settle for anything less."

Tara smiled and dipped her head. A quiet laugh shook her chest and she leaned in to Willow�s touch. Finally she lifted her face and locked eyes with the redhead who held her soul.

"Willow, darling, you big goof." Tara wrapped her arms around Willow�s neck and leaned into her. "I love you. I�m in love with you." She combed her fingers through the baby soft hair at the base of Willow�s neck. "My brain may not remember you�remember us� but my heart could never forget you."

"Really?" Willow�s voice was small, and she scooted closer to her lover.

"Yes, darling." Tara tilted her head to one side and leaned down and kissed Willow�s cheek, then moved closer to her mouth and kissed her again. She moved a fraction of an inch closer to the redhead�s full lips and left a lingering kiss. One more tiny movement and her lips met Willow�s.

"Tara." Willow�s voice was ragged and she collapsed into her lover. She whimpered as they shared several brief, fleeting kisses that finally melted into longer touches. Willow let out a sob as she twisted her head so she could take another kiss.

"Shh, baby." Tara deepened the next kiss and took a long drink from Willow�s mouth. She cradled her lover�s cheeks in her hands and felt warm tears moisten her fingers. "Darling, I�m yours."

"Take me to bed," Willow breathed the words between kisses. "I want to make love with you."

"What about the dishes?" Tara eased back and pulled Willow by the hand. She had a crooked, playful smile as she backed toward the bedroom, tugging Willow along with her.

"You can do them in the morning." Willow smirked.

"Me?" Tara raised one eyebrow.

"Yeah, you." Willow gave her lover an innocent look. "You love to do dishes. Don�t you remember?" Her green eyes twinkled.

"Just like I love to do homework?" Tara stopped in the hallway and pressed Willow into the wall.

"Okay, well that little white lie was for your own good."

"And the dishes?" Tara leaned over and began kissing Willow�s throat. Her lips made their way up to the redhead�s ear and she laughed at the sighs of pleasure she was inspiring.

"Well� the dish fib was for my own good," Willow admitted. She turned and pulled Tara�s face to her and looked into her sparkling blue eyes. "But I would never lie to you, Tara. You do love doing homework when we do it together�and dishes."

"I think I�d love doing anything, as long as it was with you." Tara tried to capture Willow�s lips but the petite witch evaded the kiss.

"You do," Willow said seriously. "Just like I can have fun to anything if you�re at my side. Heck, I even look forward to laundry day." She buried her fingers in Tara�s golden silk hair. "You look so cute with your big bag of cloths like a little fashion Santa� and when you drive that little laundry mat cart around the isles making race car noises, I just melt."

"I want to remember." Tara closed her eyes and leaned her forehead into Willow�s.

"We�ll make new memories, baby," Willow promised. She tilted her head and took possession of the blonde�s mouth. It started as a gentle welcoming but the passion built until they were both nearly ravaging the others� mouth.

Bed� now." Tara broke the kiss and took in a gasp of air to cool her overheating body. "You�me� there."

Willow smiled coyly and led Tara into the guest bedroom. It had been Joyce�s room, but after her death Buffy couldn�t even look at the furniture. Giles and the rest of the Scoobies spent one weekend remodeling. They repainted the walls and brought in new furniture, as well as adding a few area rugs to further alter the room�s look. Now the room was used when they had guests, though so far only Willow and Tara had stayed there, and only when Buffy was gone.

They went into the room and Willow began to take off her blouse. It was still damp from the dishes, and she was eager to get the garment off for other reasons as well.

"Wait," Tara said as she stopped Willow�s hands. She put her hands over Willow�s. Her touch was delicate, and full of reverence. "I want to go slow," she whispered.

"If you�re not ready�"

"Shh�" Tara left several fleeting kisses on Willow�s mouth. "I am ready. I just want to remember every moment." She ran her fingers over Willow�s chest and undid the top button. "Tonight is going to be full of new firsts with you, and I want all of them to be perfect." She leaned down and kissed the bit of skin revealed as she undid the next button.

"It will be perfect." Willow inhaled sharply when Tara nipped her collarbone. "Nothing could possibly ruin this for us."

"Promise?" Tara undid another button and slid her hand under the fabric. Willow�s skin was like a flame, and the blonde moved her hand lower until she was cupping her lover�s firm breast through the silk of her bra. It amazed her that Willow responded so quickly. The redhead�s nipple was painfully erect awaiting Tara�s touch.

"Yes," Willow said as she exhaled. Her head fell back and she smiled. She loved the way Tara touched her body, as if she was worshipping instead of just loving. She shivered when Tara undid the last button and then tossed aside Willow�s blouse.

Tara took a step back and looked at Willow, drinking her in with thirsty eyes. The blonde smiled and slowly licked her lips. "Perfect," she whispered.

*****

Buffy fidgeted while Giles paid for dinner at a small diner. Dawn was busy playing a game near the door. Buffy scowled and began pacing.

"They�re fine," Giles said in soothing tones. He took his change and guided the Slayer toward the door. "We�ll be camping for a few days and they�ll have the privacy they need."

"Willow�s very breakable," Buffy said as she watched Dawn using a giant claw to try to grab a pink bunny. "She�s trying not to make a big deal out of this, but the fact is�Willow�s about to lose it. She�s getting all twitchy, like a cat on a hot tin roof thingy. She�s going Liz Taylor on us." She frowned. "Young Liz Taylor," Buffy clarified.

"They�ll find their way," Giles promised. "They were meant to be together. It�s obvious to anyone who has ever met them."

"Okay," Buffy said slowly. She looked over and saw Dawn kicking the grappling hook game and went into big sister mode. "Hey, no kicking the machine, young lady!"

Giles rolled his eyes and followed Buffy outside.

Behind the counter the waitress wandered over to the television and turned up the sound. The news was on and she wanted to hear the lotto numbers.

"And a surprise out of Los Angels tonight," the news anchor said as he gave his head a grim shake. "Spokesmodel Kelly Larson escaped from protective custody this evening. Two guards were injured when she apparently overpowered them. She was being held for observation, and a spokesman for the hospital said that she should be considered extremely dangerous. One guard is still in critical condition at Sinai Medical Center with slashes to his throat and chest." A photograph of Kelly a movie premier filled the screen. "If you have any information, contact police immediately. Miss Larson is suffering from paranoid delusions and is extremely dangerous."

 

CHAPTER TEN

The witches trembled with excitement as they prepared to finally reconnect. Tara stared at Willow, consuming the redhead with hungry eyes. Willow stood and allowed Tara�s scrutiny. The redhead was wearing her bra and her skirt, and she held perfectly still as Tara walked slowly around her, taking in every inch of her body.

"Like what you see?" Willow asked shyly.

"Oh, yes." Tara nodded and moved closer. She ran one finger down Willow�s arm and smirked when goosebumps rose under her touch. She moved behind Willow and pressed her body against the redhead�s bare back.

"Tara�" Willow�s voice cracked. She swallowed, but her mouth had already gone dry. She moaned when she felt Tara�s hands snake around her. "My Tara," she whispered. She tilted her face to one side when the blonde began kissing her way down Willow�s throat.

"I love you," Tara whispered. She turned her lover toward her and then leaned down and captured Willow�s breast through the fabric of her bra.

"Goddess�" Willow dug her fingers into Tara�s hair and pulled the blonde closer. She whimpered when her lover moved away and took her hand. Tara lifted her head toward the bed, motioning for Willow to move their lovemaking to a more comfortable location. Willow grinned and sprinted to the bed. She leaped into the air and landed with a bouncing thud and then rolled over and looked at Tara expectantly.

Tara giggled and sauntered toward the bed. She kicked off her shoes and then grabbed Willow�s feet and removed her shoes as well. She left her clothes on and crawled onto the bed and straddled Willow.

"As memories go, this is one is looking very nice." Willow wiggled until she was resting her head on a stack of pillows. "Very nice." She settled her hands on Tara�s hips and smiled.

Tara nodded and leaned down onto Willow. "I think I like making memories with you." Tara let her weight settle on top of her lover and she hovered with her lips a breath above Willow�s mouth. She smirked when Willow tried to lift her face so she could hurry the kiss. "Not yet," Tara said as she lifted away.

Willow closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. She wanted Tara and she didn�t want to wait. She tried to slow her breathing as she remembered that as far as Tara was concerned, this was their first time. Suddenly, Willow didn�t want to rush.

"My Willow." Tara�s voice was soft and she ran one hand down her lover�s side. She cupped Willow�s breast in one hand as she leaned in for a maddeningly soft kiss. The touch was electric and she wanted to dive into the contact and never come out.

"Make love to me," Willow pleaded. "I need you, Tara." Willow ran her hands down the blonde�s back and tried to pull her even closer. She could feel the connection with Tara. Her memories didn�t matter. Their souls were joined and nothing as fleeting as a memory could deepen that bond.

Tara smiled and looked down at her lover. She knew they were both ready to take this step. A burst of energy hit Tara as if a gust of wind had just ripped through her lungs. Tara�s body shook and she squeezed Willow�s arms.

"Tara?" Willow looked up at her lover. Concern filled her green eyes. She saw that her lover�s face was flushed and her blue eyes had filled with tears. "What is it?"

A brilliant smile lit Tara�s face. She laughed, deep and throaty, and then kissed Willow soundly. She shifted her weight onto her elbow and began tracing Willow�s face with her long, graceful fingers.

"What is it?" Willow bowed her lips and her brow dipped in the middle.

"I remember," Tara whispered. She leaned down and used her tongue to trace Willow�s lips. "I remember everything, darling."

"Everything?" Willow sat up, tossing Tara off of her in the process. "Tara? That�s� that�s�. oh, my goddess."

Tara nodded and tried to lean back over her lover.

"But�how?" Willow was grinning from ear to ear. "You remember everything? Everything about us?" She frowned. "Wait, how would you know if you knew everything�because if you didn�t remember everything, then you wouldn�t know that you didn�t know�"

"Shh, darling." Tara kissed her lover, smiling into her lips. She loved the way the redhead babbled. "Oh, baby, I remember." She caressed Willow�s face and kissed her cheek.

"Tell me," Willow asked in a tiny voice. "Tell me about our love."

"That�s easy." Tara smiled sensually. She kissed Willow�s lip, letting her tongue dart out to tease the redhead. "The first night we made love�" Tara ran her hand down Willow�s stomach and played with the elastic of her skirt. "We didn�t actually go all the way." She leaned down and took Willow�s ear between her teeth, gently so she wouldn�t hurt her lover. "It was the night I offered you the cat�s eye crystal. You stayed, but you were nervous about being with a woman for the first time." She moved her lips down and kissed Willow�s neck and then sucked on her pulse point.

Willow whimpered and twisted her head to give her lover better access. She was in heaven, and hearing Tara�s voice was lighting a fire equal to the one burning from blonde witch�s touch. Each word let Willow know that she truly had Tara back.

"I kissed you," Tara whispered. "And then we held each other on my bed. You touched me, explored my body, but you were afraid to let me take off my pants." She moved her hand up and cupped Willow�s breast, raking her thumb over the responsive flesh. "But you sure ripped my shirt off," she added with a giggle.

Willow nodded. A smile covered her face as she remembered the night. It had been perfect, and Tara had been loving and playful, but mostly she had been wonderfully patient.

"We kissed for hours," Tara whispered. "You were making the most incredible sounds every time I touched your breasts." She squeezed Willow�s nipple and the redhead inhaled sharply and let out a sensual moan. "Just like that," Tara said wickedly.

"Oh, my Tara." Willow tugged at the blonde�s clothes. She needed her voluptuous lover naked, she needed to feel Tara�s soft curves molding to her, and she needed to feel it now.

"Then, I took off your bra," Tara whispered. She reached underneath Willow and unhooked her silk bra. "I cried when I saw how beautiful you were." Tara pulled off Willow�s bra and looked down at her flawless skin. "And when I kissed you� down here�" Tara traced her beloved witch�s pebbled skin. Her lover�s nipple tightened as she circled the rose colored flesh with loving focus. "When I took you into my mouth�"

"Do it," Willow pleaded. She lifted her chest up as she tried to hurry Tara�s touch.

"When I tasted you here�" Tara licked Willow�s nipple and the smaller woman panted and dug her hands into the sheets. "You came," Tara whispered huskily. She drew the redhead�s breast into her mouth and Willow screamed. Tara smiled around Willow�s nipple and she suckled and teased her lover. She closed her eyes and lost herself in the joyous task.

"Yes�yes�" Willow�s body shook and she felt the flame of her pleasure burn like a flash fire. She moaned and held Tara to her chest as the feelings rocked her. "Oh, Tara." She shivered as aftershocks coursed through her body and rocked her petite frame. Several more waves of pleasure washed through her until she could only whimper. "How do you do that?" Willow asked breathlessly. She remembered the night Tara was reenacting. Willow had climaxed numerous times during the night from only kissing and the attention of Tara�s talented mouth on her breasts. It was a very pleasant memory.

The blonde laughed and lifted her face up to look into Willow�s eyes. "Want me to tell you about the night you brought the extra flamey candle to my room?" she asked wickedly.

Willow giggled and flipped her lover over onto the bed. She climbed onto Tara�s chest and pinned her to the mattress. "No, I think I�ll tell you." She playfully nipped Tara�s lower lip but quickly released the velvety soft skin. "Would you like that, baby?"

"Oh, yes." Tara�s eyes sparkled.

The two lovers lost themselves in each other. As the night progressed they didn�t worry about how Tara�s memories had returned; they didn�t worry about anything other than how to bring the most love and pleasure into their touches. The night was filled with rediscovery and new sensations. They made a game of recreating their favorite nights of lovemaking and then they changed the game and went to work creating new variations for every night they could remember.

By the time the sun began rising beyond the horizon and the sky shaded to the same slate blue as Tara�s eyes, the two women were exhausted, but they wouldn�t go to sleep. After their bodies demanded rest, they contented themselves with cradling each other and watching the light of the sun break through the lace curtains on the window.

*****

"Giles!" Buffy yelled at the top of her lungs.

"What is it?" the Watcher asked as he wandered into the kitchen of the cabin. He had arranged to use the private cabin the Council owned near a small lake outside Sunnydale. It was for retreats, but since most of the Council was in England, it was rarely used.

"What the hell is this?" Buffy pointed to the sink. "I just turned on the facet and water is supposed to come out." She reached over and twisted the handle in each direction. "Do you see any water?"

"Oh, yeah," Dawn said as she peeked into the room. "When I was taking my shower earlier, the water really slowed down. It stopped while I was doing dishes."

"Apparently the water tank has a limited reserve," Giles said logically. "We�ll have to go up to the top of the hillside and release more water from the creek."

"Okay, one� creek water? Gross!" Buffy said as she scrunched her face. "Two� why the hell were you using all the water up on dishes when I haven�t even showered yet? Showered in fish water I might add."

"You said I had to do the dishes." Dawn glared at her sister. "So I did them."

"Oh, you are in so much--"

"Enough," Giles interrupted. "I will go check on the water situation and Buffy, you go start lunch."

"What about me?" Dawn crossed her arms over her chest.

"You, try to stay out of trouble," Giles said as he turned and walked away.

"Fine," Dawn said in a huff. She spun and stomped outside.

"I can�t believe I have to shower in fish water," Buffy said under her breath. She watched Giles leave and then she wandered into the small living room. She found an old transistor radio and turned the knob dial. "Yo, Watcher�s council� twenty-first century�ever hear of it?" She found a station that didn�t completely make her cringe and sat on the dusty couch. "Nice vacation," she grumbled.

Giles had chosen the cabin because he wanted Dawn and Buffy to spend some time bonding. After Buffy�s death during Glory�s attempt to open the dimensional portholes, and then Buffy�s miraculous return, Dawn had been somewhat distant from her sister. The Watcher wanted the two young women to reconnect. Their father was nowhere to be found, so they only had each other. It hadn�t occurred to him that both Buffy and Dawn considered him to be their father. They couldn�t have loved him anymore if he had actually shared their blood.

"What�s with the flashback to the eighties?" Dawn asked as she came into the room. She flopped down in a chair across from Buffy and stared at the aged radio.

"That thing gets three stations, and two of them are giving farm reports." Buffy tilted her head back onto the couch. "Are we bonded yet?"

"Giles is pretty obvious." Dawn giggled and moved to the couch.

"You still freaked out by me coming back?" Buffy asked. She sat up and looked at her sister.

"I was never freaked out." Dawn turned toward Buffy and crossed her legs Indian style. "Surprised, overwhelmed, but Buffy� it�s the best thing that I can imagine."

"Even when I yell at you and make you take out the garbage?" Buffy reached over and played with a strand of Dawn�s hair.

"Even then." Dawn smiled and let her eyes drift down to the couch. "I�m glad you�re back, Buffy."

"Me too." Buffy continued stroking Dawn�s hair. "Someone had to make sure you didn�t wear all my clothes."

"Funny." Dawn lifted her head and locked eyes with her sister. "Buffy?" she asked quietly.

"Yeah?" Buffy moved her hand and gave her younger sister her complete attention.

"Don�t die again anytime soon, okay?"

"I�ll do my best." Buffy pulled Dawn over to her and held her. She smiled and ran her hand down Dawn�s back, soothing the younger girl.

Giles came in the door and saw the two young women and smiled. He leaned against the doorway and a satisfied grin covered his face.

"Don�t look so smug, Watcher-man," Buffy said as she glared at him. "All this sisterly bonding aside�you owe me big time for the fish water."

"Yes, well, I quite expected that reaction," he said as he cleared his throat. "But I have it on good authority that fish water is essential to sibling bonding rituals."

Dawn pulled away from Buffy and snorted.

"Very funny." Buffy stood and went over to the window. She stared out at the rustic setting. She could get used to being out in the middle of nowhere. No people meant no demons, no vampires, and most importantly, no hellmouth. She was enjoying the respite from evil, even if she did have to bathe with fish water.

The music on the radio stopped and the announcer began his news update. "Former Mabeline spokesmodel, Kelly Larson is still at large after escaping from a maximum security facility last night. The most seriously injured guard died this morning from several deep lacerations to his throat. Authorities are intensifying their search."

Buffy spun and stared at the radio as the announcer began talking about the weather forecast.

"Dear lord." Giles pushed away from the doorway and moved toward Buffy. "We have to get back to Sunnydale."

"She won�t hurt Tara, right?" Dawn jumped from the couch. "She loves her, right?"

"She may love Tara, but Willow is in her way," Giles said as he hurried into his room to gather his things.

Buffy sprinted to her room and had her small bag packed in a few minutes. Dawn didn�t take much longer. Living on the hellmouth had trained all of the Scoobies to pack fast and light, so they were ready to leave by the time Giles came out of his room with his bags.

"Let�s go," Giles said as he nodded toward the door.

"They said she cut the guard," Buffy said as she followed Giles to the car. "They mentioned lacerations."

"Several lacerations," Dawn corrected. "To the throat."

"Yes, it�s dreadful." Giles opened the door and quickly started the car.

"Giles, when Kelly was in her demon form, she had nasty claws�nasty claws she carved up Tara with." Buffy hooked her seat belt and looked over at Giles. "Non-demon Kelly wasn�t strong enough to hurt one guard, let alone two."

"She�s reverted," Giles said quietly.

"What does this mean?" Dawn asked from the back seat.

"It means that we didn�t do enough research and we failed Tara again," Buffy said as she slammed her fist into the dash. A crack appeared beneath her hand and her eyes widened. "And it means I hope Giles got the extended warranty."

"I suppose replacing a dash is a small price to pay if you�re going to start advocating research." Giles sighed and sped down the gravel road toward the highway.

*****

Tara rolled over and wrapped her arm over Willow�s chest and sighed. She cherished her time lounging in bed with her lover, especially after staying up all night making love. She snuggled closer and another sigh escaped before she could stop it. She wiggled happily and one more satisfied sigh squeaked out.

"Someone�s happy," Willow said smugly. "Three sighs in under twenty seconds� that only happens after a long night of very special loving." Willow rolled onto her side and looked into Tara�s eyes.

The blonde smirked and then rolled her eyes before letting out a snorting giggle. Tara loved seeing Willow so playful and happy.

"Guess Willowhand agrees with you," Willow said as she blew on her fingernails and pretended to shine them on her chest.

"And I guess someone is feeling very pleased with herself." Tara burst into laughter and sprawled on top of her self-satisfied lover.

"Well, we are in Buffy�s bed� since we wore out the other one." Willow curled one side of her lip and raised both eyebrows high onto her forehead. "The brand new bed, I might add."

"Darling� we broke it�we didn�t wear it out," Tara said tolerantly. She kissed Willow�s nose. "Though I think we do get points for breaking furniture during lovemaking." She caressed her lover�s cheek. "Honey, next time, no levitation during� I mean� I know that Wiccan website said it was wonderful, but that�s just asking for trouble. And� floating up to the ceiling? We could have been hurt."

"You didn�t think so this morning." Willow still had a bright smile that would need to be toned down several thousand watts to only be a �shit-eating-grin.� The redhead might as well have been strutting around the room waving a �world�s greatest lover� sign.

"Well, no� I didn�t," Tara agreed and then blushed.

"Uh huh," Willow said even more smugly.

"And it really isn�t our fault the phone rang and ruined our concentration," Tara said. She covered her eyes with one hand. "I�m sure the telemarketer didn�t mean for us to drop from the air and break the bed." She giggled until she was snorting uncontrollably.

"So?" Willow rolled over and pinned Tara to the bed. "What do you say?" she playfully taunted. Her hand snaked down and tickled Tara�s belly. The blonde squirmed as she tried to stop laughing.

"Nothing in the world compares to Willowhand," Tara said solemnly. "Except�Willowtongue," she added wickedly.

"Good answer." Willow smirked and then leaned down and gave Tara a tender kiss. After several more sinfully decadent kisses, Willow moved her mouth to her lover�s throat.

"Oh, Willowtongue," Tara said with a horribly overacted swoon as she rolled her head to one side. She burst into a fit of giggles.

"You know�this means war." Willow sat up and straddled her lover.

"Oh no," Tara said in mock terror. "What ever will become of me?" She batted her eyelashes at Willow.

"Keep it up, missy," Willow said with a giggle. She slid down Tara�s body until her lips hovered over the blonde Wiccan�s belly. "Hellmouth have no fury like a Wiccan mocked." She wrapped her lips around the smooth curve of Tara�s belly and raked her tongue over the tender flesh.

"I like this fury," Tara said in a throaty whisper.

"Me too." Willow moved her mouth lower until the baby soft blonde hairs between Tara�s legs tickled her nose. She teased open her lover�s legs and nipped at Tara�s inner thigh. "You were mocking Willowtongue?" She nuzzled closer to Tara�s desire.

The blonde witch whimpered and dug her hands into Willow�s hair and tried to move her lover�s mouth higher.

Willow inhaled the intoxicating fragrance and had to rest her head on Tara�s hip to steady herself. Her hand made lazy circles across Tara�s belly, each oval dipping a bit lower on the blonde�s perfect body.

"Oh, goddess." Tara took in a gulp of air and squirmed as her impatience got the best of her. She could feel Willow�s hot breath coming in ragged pants. Each exhale sent warm air across Tara�s already engorged flesh and each breath ignited new flames. After a few moments, Willow shifted her weight.

"Oh, look at the time," Willow said wickedly. She leapt from the bed and sprinted for the door. "It�s lunch time. I guess my Willowhands are needed downstairs!"

"Willow Roseneberg, don�t you dare�" Tara sat up and saw her lover�s bare behind disappear around the door. "Willow!" She could hear her lover�s giggles down the hallway.

"Never mock Willowhand," the redhead yelled as she ran away.

Tara leapt from the bed and hit the carpet at a dead sprint. She ran to the kitchen, taking the stairs two at a time. She came skidding into the kitchen and found Willow leaning into the refrigerator. The redhead�s shapely derriere was facing Tara, giving her a perfect view of one of her lover�s treasures. She moved up behind Willow and wrapped her arms around her.

"Ready for lunch?" Willow asked innocently. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply when Tara�s hands moved higher. The redhead bit her lip to stop a moan when Tara cupped her breasts and gave them a few well-placed squeezes.

"Should I leave you like you left me?" Tara whispered in her lover�s ear.

Willow could only shake her head. All the blood in her body was now pounding between her legs. There wasn�t any blood left for Willow�s brain, and even babbling was beyond her ability now.

"Lucky for you I don�t hold a grudge." Tara spun her lover and gave her a scorching kiss. She backed the redhead over to the table and lifted her onto the oak surface. "Very lucky." She pressed Willow down onto the tabletop and continued her thorough, loving kisses.

"Tara, oh baby, I need you." Willow tugged on Tara�s arm trying to bring her closer. The blonde obliged and climbed onto the table and covered Willow�s body.

Soft kisses deepened and each woman gave herself completely to the other.

"Oh, Tara." Willow�s eyes fluttered shut as the sensation of skin on skin overwhelmed her.

"No more teasing," Tara whispered. She lavished Willow�s neck and throat with kisses and then moved down to her chest.

"Yes!" Willow called out. "I mean, no! No teasing. Teasing bad. Teasing very bad. No on teasing."

"Glad we agree," Tara said with a smug smile. She lost herself in their kisses. Half an hour later, both Wiccans were calling out incoherently when they heard an ominous cracking sound. A split second later the table went crashing to the floor complete with a naked Wiccan centerpiece.

Tara lifted her head from Willow�s breast. Her eyes were wide and more than a little startled. "You get to explain to Buffy."

"Nu uh!" Willow said as her own eyes widened.

Tara nodded enthusiastically.

"Nu uh!" Willow repeated. "I am not telling Buffy we had wild sex on her kitchen table and that�that� that we sexed it to pieces!"

"What happened to smug Willow�proud owner of Willowhand�proud killer of the brand new bed?" Tara asked with a mischievous grin.

"This was Tarahand! This was all Tarahand," Willow insisted. "And a little Taramouth." She was still lying on top of the broken table and had to shift her weight to one side. She reached behind her and pulled out a crumpled placemat. "All Tarahand," she repeated. She smiled sensually as she remembered exactly what that Tarahand had been doing. She pulled Tara to her and they forgot about placing blame. They giggled as the tabletop rocked on the tile floor and Tarahand went back to where it was before the interruption.

*****

Tara and Willow were unable to salvage the table. Three of its four legs had broken loose, while the bolts of the forth leg had been stripped from the bracket. They propped the table against the wall and called four furniture stores before they realized that the table had been an antique. With that discovery they decided to go back to bed. Tara suggested that they try to make their record three for three and they went about seeing if they could break Buffy�s bed too.

Willow opened her eyes and frowned. She was in bed, alone. She rolled over and saw that Tara was indeed gone so she grabbed the pillow her lover had been using. She hugged it to her chest and closed her eyes. She realized that Tara probably went foraging for snacks. After the kitchen encounter, they hadn�t even bothered to eat lunch. Tara would often sneak out of bed after Willow fell asleep and bring her snacks when she woke up.

The redhead yawned and peeked over the side of the bed and saw a pair of Tara�s boxers. She grabbed them and wiggled into them and a devious grin covered her features. She loved wearing her lover�s clothes, and there were several more pairs downstairs. She made a mental note to find them all before Buffy returned. The last weekend the Wiccans spent at Buffy�s ended up with an embarrassing boxer discovery. Willow and Tara loved to sneak into the linen closet to kiss when Scoobie parties became too dull. During the last Wild Wiccan Weekend, Willow and Tara took the opportunity to do more than kiss in the cramped space. They enjoyed their time in the house alone, but unfortunately, they left behind evidence in the form of flannel boxers stuffed into the linen shelf.

In the kitchen, Tara was making a tray of cheeses with bread and some fresh fruit. She carefully sliced the cantaloupe, making sure there wasn�t any green left on the sweet fruit. She smiled and thought about her lover�s quirks. Willow couldn�t eat cantaloupe if she saw any green on the meat of the fruit. Tara let out a contented sigh and carefully sliced out the unacceptable green fruit. She never heard the creaking of the front door, nor did she hear the sound of footsteps on the stairs.

Willow had her back to the door and she had almost drifted back to sleep. She heard the door open and she smiled. She waited, knowing that Tara loved to surprise her. She would pretend to be asleep so Tara could have her fun. She felt the side of the bed dip and then she felt fingers move across her ribs onto her belly. The fingers were cold and the hair on the back of Willow�s neck stood on end. She rolled over and saw Kelly leaning over her. Before Willow could scream she felt a white-hot pain shoot through her belly.

"You bring out the worst in me," Kelly whispered with her forked blue tongue. She looked down at Willow�s naked belly where her razor sharp talons were buried into the soft flesh. She lifted her other hand and raked her claws along Willow�s throat. "Shh," she whispered with a smile.

"Tara," Willow whispered. Her eyes opened wide and her lips trembled. She clenched her teeth and swallowed hard. She could feel the warmth of her blood spilling over her sides and soaking the sheets. The blood cooled as it collected under her back and her last thoughts were of Tara as her eyes drifted shut.

"Don�t worry, I�ll take good care of her. " Kelly pulled her claws from Willow�s belly. She looked down at her hand as the talons disappeared into her fingers. She rubbed her fingers together, fascinated by the silkiness of the redhead�s blood. "You did this to yourself. You never should have taken her away from me." She reached out and caressed Willow�s cheek, leaving streaks of blood. Kelly tilted her head and studied the contrast of the deep red fluid on Willow�s chalky skin. She reached out one finger and traced Willow�s lips, painting her with macabre, bloody lipstick.

The raven haired witch stood and stared down at Willow. She covered her and noticed the stain soaking through the sheets. She smiled and then turned and went to find Tara.

Continue to Ch 11-12

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