Safe back inside the door of Tara's apartment, Willow threw Buffy's hat finally off of her head, grabbed Tara and shoved her roughly up against the wall of the dark entryway. Tara's eyes widened in surprise, then flickered in fierce anticipation as Willow leaned in to kiss her. The closer their mouths came, the gentler Willow's hold on her grew and the more tender her gaze. When at last their lips met, the kiss was agonizingly sweet. Tara felt herself relax, melting as Willow's mouth gently explored her own, taking her time, maybe even slowing time entirely. Tara ran a hand along Willow's shoulder, to her neck, twining fingers in red hair and cupping the back of Willow's head as she tried to deepen the kiss. Willow growled and intensified their contact. Tara's free hand began wandering of its own accord, tracing a path up Willow's chest, where she fought with the buttons of the girl's heavy wool coat. She demanded access to the softness and warmth inside. Willow moaned without breaking the kiss and helped Tara with the buttons, pulling roughly at them, as she pressed her hips into Tara's. Willow shrugged out of her coat, which dropped to the ground behind her. Tara took the opening to run her hand up under Willow's shirt, across the smooth skin of her stomach and lightly across her breasts. Willow broke the kiss with a gasp--but only momentarily.
Before today, Tara had never let her hands wander over another woman's body. She loved the delicateness she found there. Just as she loved the sensation of impossibly soft lips, skin, hands. Even inside, Willow was incredibly soft, warm, smooth. The scent of her was new, familiar and intoxicating. Tara felt her own breathing quicken. An eagerness to undress and be undressed overtook her and she applied herself toward the goal of liberating them both of their clothing as quickly as possible. Tara could see a whole chain of events unfold before her: She would gather Willow up in her arms, wrap the woman's legs around her waist and carry her bodily into the bedroom. That would be the first order of business. From there, Tara would throw her down on the bed, pin her down there and fuck her until her eyes grew wide and scared and she screamed Tara's name. As if understanding what Tara wanted, Willow yanked Tara's coat off, running hands under her shirt to the clasp of her bra, which she opened expertly. Willow's eyes were intense with need, her kiss-swollen lips searching out Tara's mouth again with a tenderness that belied the urgency of their mutual disrobing. Tara wanted to feel that soft mouth, those tender kisses, in many, many places, but first she wanted to wield raw power over her new lover. She was sketchy on the details of exactly what she wanted to do to Willow, but she imagined this is how if she were a man she might feel, this hunger--this all consuming need to press inside, possess and swallow everything Willow could give her, every bit of welcoming openness, every bit of resistance and delicious friction and muscular release.
Willow was still half-clothed, but it didn't matter. Tara grabbed the girl's thigh and drew it up around her own waist. Tara had become impatient. Willow leaned hard into her and began moving her hips. Tara groaned and bit at Willow's throat. Willow wrapped both legs firmly around Tara, and Tara was suddenly thankful that her back was still against the wall, so she could bear the weight and the motion, the glorious grinding of Willow. "Please..." Willow whispered. "I need..."
Tara growled, "I want."
"What is it you want, baby?" Another mischievous question of Willow's.
"Say it. I want to hear you say it."
Tara lifted Willow and spun them around so now it was Willow's back against the wall and Tara was pushing hard into her, matching her rhythm. Willow's eyes were wide with surprise and excitement at the physical roughness. Tara was fairly sure she was going to skip the part about carrying her to the bedroom and have her right here instead. Or maybe on the dining room table.
"What is it you want, Tara?" Willow panted between Tara's thrusts.
Tara wanted everything, all of her, all at once. Tara wanted Willow almost savagely. She wanted her to writhe and resist, to come and collapse, thoroughly wrung out and sated, conquered by the power of Tara's own hand. She wanted to do this to Willow, and she wanted Willow to know this.
"I am going to fuck you," Tara said with great conviction. The words produced their desired effect. Fear and lust flickered in the girl's eyes. Tara thrust hard, pressing Willow's back up the wall. She positioned herself so that each stroke produced just the right friction, the right pulse between Willow's opened legs. And every thrust produced a muffled slam as Willow's back rubbed against the woodwork, steady as a drumbeat.
"Fuck me?" Willow asked, with a little difficulty.
"Fucking: That's me giving it to you and you taking it until you can't any more. I want to fuck you--scary, messy, crazy. Hard."
"I want you to. I want it." Willow bent down and bit Tara's ear. "No mercy," she whispered.
Tara hefted the weight of Willow up in her arms, the girl's legs locked around her waist, and started toward the bedroom. Yes, for the things she wanted to do to Willow she wanted her lying down.
It was the clatter of a cup in the kitchen that brought the whole thing to a stop. They came to a standstill, breathing heavily, not moving, both straining to hear. There was another scrape and then a voice. "Tara, is that you?"
With a quick glance around the darkened apartment, Tara finally noticed the uniform hat and coat on the back of the couch and the light on in the kitchen. Shit! It was her brother Donald. Willow clawed her way back to the floor and straightened her clothes, while Tara tried to steady herself--or at least slow her breathing.
"Donald?" she called in reply. Her voice was more steady than she could have imagined possible. "Is that you?" A quick glance at Willow assured her that that the girl was more than a bit surprised, but composed enough for introductions. To anyone else the flush of Willow's cheeks and the redness of her lips might have been a dead give-away, But a soldier like Donald probably thought all women looked that way: He was simply going to find Willow adorable.
Her brother strode out of the kitchen and into the darkened dining room between them. He reached for a lamp and flicked it on. "I didn't hear you come in. I was making some tea." He stopped short, noticing Willow. Tara could tell he was surprised, and he liked what he saw.
"Hello," he said, politely, almost boyishly. "I didn't know you had company."
Tara stepped forward. "Donald, this is Wilma Hermann. She's a friend. She's staying with me here. Her apartment was destroyed in the last air raid."
"Fucking Brits," Donald spat. He stood tall and extended a hand to Willow. "Welcome to our home, Miss Hermann. I hope you'll be comfortable here."
Willow answered shyly. Or perhaps she was shell-shocked to find a stranger in a place that had become a private sanctuary. "Tara's made me feel very welcomed, thank you. Uh, I've been staying in your room. I hope you don't mind."
The look on his face told Tara she'd had him pegged. She could tell he liked the notion of a pretty girl sharing his bed--even if the thrill of it was vicarious. She quickly visualized the room with its messy sheets and was thankful she'd stripped the bed this morning.
"No problem," he said. "I'll only be home a few days and then it's back to the Front." He turned to Tara. "Where are the boys?"
"I sent them out to the country to stay with Beth. I thought it was too dangerous. I- I didn't know you were coming, or I'd have made arrangements for them to be here."
He looked a bit disappointed, but nodded just the same. "No it's a wise choice keeping them safe out there, just for a little longer. Until things have settled down. Those Brits have severely underestimated our German resolve. They'll recognize that soon enough."
Then his eye caught the glint of Tara's ring in the lamplight. "What's this, Tara? A ring?"
Tara was beginning to tire already of everybody making a big deal out of the ring. They were all too happy for her, when she herself felt...ambivalent. The stricken look on Willow's face told her everything she needed to know about Willow's feelings on the matter.
But Donald was elated. His sister, who was practically an old maid, was finally getting married. What a relief. He ducked back into the kitchen and retrieved the bottle of scotch, shaking the contents with a frown. "Looks like someone's been partaking," he said good-naturedly enough.
"Things have been a bit touch-and-go around here lately," Tara smiled.
Donald set out three shot glasses at the dining room table and gestured for the ladies to join him. The wooden chair creaked as he sat down, resting his elbows heavily on the table. He was a big guy with strong forearms. His hands were battle-scratched and roughened. Tara was his opposite: quiet, delicate, serene and smooth. Donald was swaggery and tough. Still, despite the polar opposites, there was something about him that was so familiar as Tara. Willow never had a sibling. She'd only appreciated from a distance the randomness of genetics that allowed two people to be at once similar and different in this way.
"So, Wilma," he said with a charming wink, or what might have passed for charm if she were a different kind of girl--one who went in for big, strong men. "Do you have a boyfriend?"
Willow almost spit scotch across the table. She swallowed hard, and the hot liquor scorched its way down, radiating its heat from her belly. "Uh, no," she replied, politely, meeting his eyes with as sweet a smile as she could muster. She could sense Tara's discomfort with the line of conversation. "Uh, there is someone I have my eye on, though."
It was Tara's turn to cough and sputter her liquor.
Donald gazed contemplatively at Willow a moment, then let out a hearty laugh, tipping the bottle to fill her glass again. He raised his glass in toast. "Well, as long as there is love in this world, the Reich will stay strong."
He slugged his shot and then got on a roll, verbally: "I dare say that despite the damn war, things are a hell of a lot better here now that the dirty Jews are practically eradicated. We've chased them out of our cities and farmlands, and we're beaten them back across Poland. All the scourge that's weakened the master race. Whole towns are gone. The slate is clean. And it's on the shoulders of you, Tara, and you, Wilma, to produce the next generation to carry us to greatness."
Willow certainly got enough Nazi party line bullshit at work. But this was different, here in what was beginning to feel like her home, a supposed safe place. Her cheeks flushed hotly. Yeah, the slate was clean. The Jews were fewer by the millions, cornered and trapped, unable to flee, accepted nowhere. Willow's life was swept clean, as well. Just a small woman overlooked so far. A coward. Living and hiding while everyone else she knew and grew up with--her family included--was dead or disappeared.
Tara opened her mouth, and Willow found herself hanging to see what her lover would say, where she would weigh in.
"They- they took away our neighbors across the hall last month. The Schraders," Tara said. "It ended up that they were Jews after all. Schrader wasn't even their last name. It was Schragenheim."
"Ha!" her brother beat his hand on the table. "We were right about them. You said they smelled like Jews."
Willow was alternately deeply appalled and bitterly angry. The irony wasn't lost on her, either. "Well, I certainly would never have believed one's sense of smell could be so finely tuned," Willow managed, slipping the second shot of scotch down her throat. Huh. So this was hiding in safety. Why did she suddenly feel so not-safe?
Donald turned to his sister. "I'm proud of you, Tara. You were the one who turned them over to protective custody, then?"
Euphemism! Willow pondered that she could kill herself of alcohol poisoning if she played the Nazi euphemism drinking game.
"I- I think I mentioned something to Riley. Just wondering," Tara shrugged. "He has friends with the SS. The whole affair was rather civil, really."
Of course, how civil it must have been. The Schragenheims had no choice but to go or be shot. They must have gone with their heads high to god knows where. Willow's mouth had a metallic taste. When her own time came, would she go as civilly? Or would she rather be shot? Or would she even have a choice in the matter. She thought about it.
"How about another drink, Donald?" Willow asked, at last. More euphemisms were surely coming.
Donald chuckled appreciatively. He liked Willow. "Now, here's a strong German woman. We need many more like you."
"Believe me, there just aren't many more like me," she replied.
"This war will toughen many Good Germans. We'll bend, sure, but we'll never be broken."
Indeed, Willow could agree with that. She'd bend. And she had. But she'd never break, damn his Nazi ass.
"So when did you become a soldier, Donald?" Willow asked. She had a hunch.
"I joined the Hitler Youth as a young teen," he grinned proudly. Bingo. She'd had him pegged. That much indoctrination followed by military service was usually a dead give-away.
"So your family must be big supporters of the Fuhrer, then, I expect," Willow's voice was even. She was detaching. She felt herself floating.
"Our father joined the Party back in 1933. He was a field leader in the town where we grew up."
"Wil- Wilma works for The People's Press," Tara smiled, offering up evidence of Willow's Nazi street cred.
Donald beamed at her as if they were family. She was on the inside. She understood. "That's really great," he said warmly. "It's a shame you have to work, though. Your fella--the one you're sweet on. Is he a soldier, then?"
"No," Willow replied from some inner reserve of bullshit. "Just a Good German, is all."
"So, do you think you'll marry him?"
Willow slammed what would be her last shot of scotch this evening down her throat, placed her glass down firmly and replied with a flat: "No." She didn't dare look at Tara. She couldn't.
She addressed Donald. "Hey, I'm feeling pretty tired. I think I'll turn in, if that's ok."
Donald looked a bit disappointed, clearly enjoying the female company. But then nodded amiably enough.
"Ah," Willow continued. "Donald, why don't you take your bedroom. Please. You're only in town a short time, and it's the least comfort I can give someone who's putting his life on the line every day to protect our homeland. Is there another room? The boys' room, perhaps, that I might stay in?"
Tara fairly leapt from the table, moving a bit too quickly down the hall.
"If you don't mind," Donald said with a sweet smile, "It would be nice to rest in my own room."
"I don't mind," Willow replied.
Let him sleep in that bed and see how good his nose is at smelling Jews.
Willow imagined that she couldn't possibly feel more foolish. She was tucked in a child's bed: the lower bunk of an undersized bunk-bed. She was curled on her side under a comforter covered in embroidered stars, gazing vacantly out the unshuttered window at a full moon that stared back, equally blank and cold. In the shadows around the room she could make out the shapes of toys--toy bears and toy tanks, wooden blocks.
This had been one of the most surreal days, a cap to one of the most surreal months of her life. This morning, she had opened herself up completely, met another person completely, and poured herself into the experience with everything she had. She'd spent a wonderfully normal afternoon with the two people she loved most in the world and whom she missed miserably. And then this evening reality threw a huge wrecking ball through the middle of it.
She could tell that Tara didn't understand what happened, why Willow didn't slip down the hall in the dark and join her now. She simply couldn't. The fire just wasn't there.
Humboldt University was in mayhem. Buffy walked into the building, headed toward biology class as usual and encountered an unsettling scene: students clutching books, scattering in panic--or at least on the verge of panic--dispersing as if an army had just marched into the place with rifles drawn. Her heart pounded with confused fear, her senses heightened. She couldn't see the threat.
She grabbed the sleeve of a fellow student as he dashed by. "What's happening?" she asked.
He looked at her urgently. "Gestapo. They're rounding up students."
A rifle crack from the direction of the courtyard outside yanked their attention away. Buffy released the student's arm. He scrambled out the doors. Buffy didn't follow. Instead, she moved against the current of bodies rushing to escape and toward a bank of windows that looked out on the courtyard.
There, in the rain, were a handful of men in long overcoats and two soldiers, all with guns drawn. A line of five students stood shocked before them. Two others lay motionless on the ground. A plainclothes man was flipping though the identification papers of one of the slain students. He tossed them onto the body and turned to one of his comrades for a discussion.
"Double shit!" Buffy breathed, fear and anger rising inside her. Spike had promised to warn her when the "example-making" started. He'd promised to give her the high sign, so she could get out of harm's way. She scanned the police's faces. Were any of them him? Was Spike involved in this? No. She felt a small wave of relief to know he wasn't there.
Then another commotion erupted and her eyes caught sight of something that sent her blood running cold. They'd grabbed another student, this one a woman. Dark hair, dark eyes flashing, resisting with more than a bit of struggle. Buffy could tell she was throwing expletives at them. "Faith!" Buffy nearly yelled, her heart lurching. The men roughly searched her coat for her identification, ripping it from her as if unafraid of tearing off a limb while they were at it. Buffy's palms were pressed flat against the cold glass. Her heart pounded so hard that she thought it might stop altogether. "No," she groaned, helplessly. "Faith!"
The men shoved the young woman down with a splash as her knees hit a puddle in the gathering rain. She kneeled beside the other two slain students. Buffy could almost hear the long line of profanity her friend continued hurling at her interrogators. One of the plainclothes men said something to her that made her shut up and her face pale. "No," Buffy groaned, scraping the glass with her fingers, willing herself to watch.
On what must have been a command, one of the soldiers stepped forward and clocked Buffy's friend in the chin with his rifle stock. She recoiled from the force but remained on her knees. Faith was one tough girl. She spat blood and looked back at the cops, her eyes scared. She answered a question with a couple of words and a helpless shrug.
The soldier raised his rifle and shot her in the head. Just like that.
Buffy's body shook with the reverberation of the sound that split the air like a lightning crack. Faith's body wavered a heartbeat, and then toppled forward, landing face down beside the other two. A spray of blood spattered across the remaining four students, whose faces were absolutely stricken with fear, grief and repulsion. Buffy felt herself begin to slide down the glass, lightheaded.
A firm hand clutched her shoulder just then and spun her around roughly. She found herself staring at Spike through cold tears. She gave a start. But while Spike's manner was rough, his eyes were not: They were concerned and more than a bit scared. Over his shoulder, Buffy saw another plainclothes man. This one taller, square-jawed, black-eyed and smiling grimly.
"Your identification, please," Spike demanded. He held out his hand for it. Buffy dug through her breast pocket vacantly, tears rolling down her cheeks until her shaking fingers found it. She handed the papers to him. Spike flipped them open and inspected them, glancing at the photo of her there and seeming to compare it to the woman before him.
He said to the man behind him, "A Gertrude Geist. G-e-i-s-t."
The other man scratched down the name in a notepad and then spoke up, his tone arch. "Miss Geist. You must forgive what you see out there." He gestured toward the window. "Believe it or not, some of your classmates are enemies of the state, seditionists. They would undermine the authority of the Reich and unfortunately risk the safety of us all. As is often the case throughout history. The young can be extremely na´ve. And stupid."
Buffy nodded, too dumb with shock and grief to speak.
Spike handed the papers back to her.
The other man stepped forward, pulling something from his pocket: a photograph, which he held up for her inspection. Buffy's eyes darted to it and fought to keep her expression impassive. It was Willow.
"Do you know this woman?"
She shook her head no. "Is she a- a student here, maybe?" she ventured with as much uncertainty as she could muster.
"You've never seen her before," the man pressed.
Spike's expression was very serious, but he said nothing.
Another rifle crack from the courtyard caused them all to flinch.
"No, I don't know her," Buffy said quickly, wracked with fear. "Please. I'm scared, I want to leave."
"We're not going to get much from the rest of the students here today," Spike told his partner, the tall, grim-faced man with the black eyes. "Let's call it a day."
Buffy gently slid past them and rushed back toward the double-doors to the street.
The other man called out to her one last time. "I know this is upsetting, Miss Geist, but Good Germans have nothing to fear."
Buffy willed herself not to stop, not to hesitate, not to shake. She plowed through the double doors and practically ran down the block, stopping mid-way to fall to her knees and vomit. In the space of five minutes she'd learned many things:
That her friend Faith was dead: one of the first batch of student dissidents rounded up by the police. That if the Gestapo had Faith, then they'd certainly have already caught up with Jenny, since Buffy had sent Jenny to stay with her. That Spike and his partner were hunting Willow, and they even had a photo of her. That they were looking for Buffy herself, too.
And she suspected that they were not above gunning down any of their quarry in broad daylight.
Buffy couldn't stop crying. The common denominator in all of this was her.
The newsroom was all a-scramble. News flashes were coming in. Willow stood in Gruber's office and watched the confusion through the glass windows that separated his office from the newsroom. From inside here the air was calmer, but not by much. Calls were coming in that the SS was moving to arrest student dissidents. Gruber was on the phone, and Willow was jotting notes as he barked statistics at her.
"They rounded up seven at Humbolt."
Willow's pencil scratched the information with a shaky hand.
"Four more are still at large."
She noted that, too, nodding seriously.
Gruber handed the phone to her. "Miss Hermann, please take down the rest of the information and see that the newsroom gets it." He was a man of short patience for details. Funny that he should be running a news organization. Well, except this wasn't a news-gathering-fact-checking type of operation. It was really more of a print-all-the-information-you're-given newspaper. Reporters here didn't ask questions, unless it was to check spelling, which is what Gruber was putting her in charge of doing right now.
She accepted the phone, scooting into the desk chair Gruber vacated so he could go stalk the floor of the newsroom. "Hello?" she said with a small voice. "This is Wilma Hermann, Mr. Gruber's copy editor. I'm ready to take down your information now."
She frowned as the man on the other end of the line gave her the names of those arrested. Five men and two women. To her relief, she didn't recognize any of the names. She double-checked spellings.
"Did I hear correctly that the seven were arrested, sir?" she asked. The man said yes.
"May- may I ask where they were taken?"
There was a long pause.
"I'm only asking in the event Mr. Gruber thinks it's relevant to the story."
The source would not answer.
"Ok," Willow said, gingerly. "I'm happy to take the names of the seditionists still at large if you have them." She paused. "So that people in the community can come forward with information to aid in their arrests."
The man answered, then.
Willow faithfully wrote each one until her heart stopped. Buffy. With a shaky hand, she purposely wrote the name Betty instead. After she had all of the information and had hung up the phone, she looked at the names on the paper before her.
Should I give them the names of the ones still at large? If I don't, will the source know I discarded them? Will he call Gruber? Will Gruber wonder what's up with me? Will he and his Gestapo buddies do a little looking into Wilma Hermann? Will Xander get in trouble for signing false documents for me? Will they give us both the euphemism treatment?
Her mind set, she carefully recopied all of the information on another sheet of paper. When she came to the names of the students still at large, she intentionally misspelled each one. She could honestly claim there was too much commotion in the newsroom to hear properly.
She sat stunned a moment, scared for Buffy. She picked up Gruber's phone and dialed Buffy's house. Dawn answered. Willow froze. She didn't know how to announce herself to Buffy's sister. She decided to go with the familiar.
"Dawnie, hi, it's Willow. Is- is Buffy there? I need to talk to her."
"Can you- can you please have her call me? It's really important. She knows where to reach me."
She hung up, feeling panicky now. She dialed Xander's office next. Fortunately, he was there.
"Xander, it's me."
A pause, and then a surprised: "Wilma?"
"It's about Buffy." She kept her eyes on the door to Gruber's office, thankful for a few more moments of privacy. "She's on a list. I need to warn her. Do you know how to get word to her? She's not at home."
"She already called me," he said, carefully. "She knows. She was there."
"But she's all right?"
"Yes," Xander said unequivocally. There wasn't much more they could say since neither could trust they wouldn't be overheard.
"Call me later, at Tara's?"
He promised he would. She hung up feeling better. A little better, anyway. She stood and walked like a good German into the belly of the newsroom bearing the piece of paper that announced the death sentences--if not already the deaths--of seven people. And gave four at least a slim measure of a chance.
Willow opened the door to the apartment to find Tara there waiting for her, with anxious face. She must have heard the footsteps on the stairs. Enacting her ritual greeting, Willow extended her hand, uncurling her fingers to reveal...nothing. Tara at first looked confused and then a warm smile spread slowly across her face. The offering that Willow was bringing her today was...Willow. Tara accepted Willow's hand in her own with affectionate rubbing and a small kiss. Willow's smile was radiant. Tara seemed much relieved.
Willow hated how last night had ended with her storming off to sleep in the kids' room, with no explanation for what had set her off. And then this morning, Willow had left the house early before Tara or Donald were even up. She'd had a whole day and half an evening to acclimate to the reality that the siblings were the product of about a decade of bigoted propaganda and that their dismissal of the Jews as a scourge was simply expedient. Had the Nazis had it in for the Irish, they would have hated all things Irish--made lepers out of leprechauns. She was here to play a part. And if she played it well enough, maybe she'd get to live.
Besides, tonight she was more concerned about Buffy. So it wasn't difficult to push aside the Jewish thing and just appreciate this beautiful woman who was making kind of naughty eyes at her.
A loud cough from the parlour interrupted their more-than-friends moment. Oh, yeah. Him. Donald was still here, of course, taking up space. Willow pulled on her best Wilma face, took off her coat and followed Tara into the living room. When not in uniform, Donald looked like any other guy you'd pass on the streets of Berlin. You'd hardly give him a second look. Well, certainly Willow wouldn't because she'd never had much of an eye for boys. But she thought he sat rather averagely in his armchair with the evening paper spread open before him. The People's Press, of course. The radio was on, too. Tara had been listening to the news. Blah, blah, blah, said the radio.
Donald eyed Willow appreciatively. "Wilma! Missed you this morning, love," he said a bit too familiarly.
"Big news day," Willow shrugged.
"Busted a nest of political dissidents. It's all here in the paper. Makes it a great day in my book," Donald smiled pleasantly.
Tara still had a hold of Willow's hand and now pulled her surreptitiously into the kitchen. Willow almost had to trot to keep up with her. Once around the corner, Willow thoroughly expected a kiss. What she got instead was a very serious look of concern from Tara.
"The st- students at Humbolt. Do you think Buffy knew them?"
Willow blinked. Was Tara showing concern or paranoia? She honestly didn't know the woman well enough to tell.
"I'm not sure," Willow answered honestly.
"God, I hope not," Tara breathed. Again, Willow couldn't tell where she stood on the issue. Willow waited awkwardly to see what came next.
"Have you talked to her? Is she all right?"
Willow almost let out a sigh of relief, realizing that whatever her ideology, Tara was a human, caring person. She must be concerned that Buffy might be upset about police and arrests and guns and other very non-university activity.
"Xander talked to her," Willow said. "He said she's ok. Kinda surprised and shaken up about it all. We were both at work. There wasn't really time to get much in the way of details." A pause, and then she remembered, "Oh! But he said he'd phone us here tonight. He might know more."
Tara rubbed Willow's shoulders, leaning close. The rubbing felt good. It loosened tenseness Willow had hardly noticed she'd been carrying. "You should invite her over here. She might need your company," Tara was saying. Willow nodded. She wanted to see Buffy and know she was ok.
"I called her house and she wasn't there."
Tara kissed Willow's worried forehead. "She's welcome here any time."
They hugged, swaying together a bit. Tara buried her face in Willow's hair, her breath warming Willow's neck.
"You smell good," Tara mumbled. Her lips tickled Willow's skin.
"I'll take this one," Spike said, dropping his cigarette and grinding it into the wet pavement. He and Caleb stood outside a house rented by university students. The light from the windows was warm and homey. Caleb nodded soberly. He'd cleared out the last two places. It was fair to give his partner one. "Be my guest," he said. "My turn to stand around smoking and doing nothing."
Spike threw up his arms in disgust. "What's your problem, Caleb? We can't stand around looking all menacing, or we wouldn't be 'secret police,' now, would we? Average Joes smoke when they're out for an evening stroll."
"Down, soldier," Caleb smiled. "I'm enjoying our evening stroll."
Spike glared at him and knew it was true. For an evil whack job like Caleb, executing a bunch of college students was fun. "Just stay out here. If I need help, I'll give a whistle," Spike growled.
Caleb raised his hands and waved good-naturedly. "See you soon. Happy hunting. I'll just slip around and cover the back."
"You do that." Spike turned on heel, straightened his hat and marched up to the front door. He took a deep breath and rapped lightly. A friendly, neighborly knock-knock. Not the usual Gestapo-style chest-rattling pound-of-intimidation. He didn't want his prey to spook. But he had to be quick: Any moment now the evening papers would be hitting curbside announcing this morning's dirty work. And in about an hour, the radio show would come on with news of the day's events. No, right now, he was just knocking neighborly.
He could see the shadow of someone moving behind the curtains. He removed his hat. Gestapo always wore hats. Heck, he'd drop the overcoat, too. He slipped his pistol in the back waistband of his trousers. He looked about as harmless as an evil guy like him could, in just his shirt and tie.
The doorknob gave a subtle jiggle that announced the weight of a hand on the other side. Spike caught his breath. "Come on," he whispered to himself. It was cold out.
"Hey, there. It's cold out here," he said aloud to the person indoors. "I'm looking for Faith. Is she home?"
A moment later, the door swung inward slightly. A woman was silhouetted against the warm light within. He let the glow illuminate his face, which he expressioned to be innocent and friendly. He was pretty sure he was looking at Buffy's friend Jenny.
He shivered a bit, to make a good show. "Um, she said she'd meet me." He looked at his watch. "Yeah, she said she'd meet me at the coffee shop a half hour ago, but she didn't show up. I figured she might have forgot."
"She's not here right now," the woman said carefully, but Spike could tell he had her. "Do you mind if I wait a few minutes?" he asked in his best school-boy voice.
The woman acquiesced, swinging open the door and inviting him in. The light caught her fully, and it was, indeed, the fugitive Gypsy Jenny. He stepped politely inside. She was a lovely creature, dark, a bit flinty, and womanly as well. She smiled. He might have liked getting to know this woman, if circumstances were different.
"Have a seat. Can I make you some tea..."
"William," Spike supplied. "And, yes, it's a bit cold out there. Tea would be most appreciated." They smiled at each other in a friendly, neighborly way.
She turned toward the kitchen.
He switched off the light.
She stopped cold in her tracks. "Shit," he could hear her say under her breath. She said it like she knew she'd been stupid. Spike couldn't help her there. She had been.
She turned slowly and saw the gun in his hand trained at her head.
"What do you want?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper.
"You're Jenny Calendar."
"And that means, what? You're Gestapo?"
Spike quirked a smile at that. He liked a lady who swore. Especially a smart and pretty lady. "It's true. My partner's outside covering the back in case you decide to make a hasty exit. Although I think you'd be wise to stay here with me. I'm not half the beast he is."
Jenny frowned. "I'll go with you. Into protective custody, or whatever you call it. Please don't drag Faith into this. She doesn't know anything. I mean, I wasn't up front with her. She thinks I'm just her roommate."
Spike admired Jenny's chivalry. "Faith is dead," he said, watching Jenny's face drop and then mentally kicking himself. He told himself he wasn't going to be cruel. "Not because of you, Jenny," he quickly added. "You mustn't blame yourself. She was arrested by police this morning at the university. For sedition. If anything, it's because of her that we found you."
Jenny stared up at the ceiling. Spike took a step closer. The gun was now within inches of the woman's forehead. She was crying. Tears slipped down her cheeks.
"So," she ventured. "I guess you're not exactly here to arrest me, are you?"
"I'm afraid I'm not," Spike said softly. "But then I think you knew that right away."
Spike continued. "I want to make this easier for you. That's why I made my asshole partner stay outside. He'd have just blasted through the door and been done with the whole thing in a hail of bullets."
"So instead you're here for, what? Verbal torture instead? Just fucking shoot me."
This wasn't exactly going the way Spike intended.
"I didn't want to find you. I kind of tried not to," he confessed. "I have this job, though. Trouble is, I'm a friend of Buffy's. And I know it's kind of whacked, but I swore to myself I'd be humane with the people she knows."
Jenny laughed. "Humane? Come on, William, if that's even your name. Just fucking do what you came to do. Your so-called job." She made a grab for the gun, to force his hand, to make him shoot her. He hit her in the face with it instead.
"Ok," she said, bent over and clutching a bleeding jaw. "That hurt." She straightened and stared him straight in the eyes. "So, you want that tea, then?"
He chuckled at the absurdity of it all. After a moment, she chuckled, too. "So what's your 'humane' plan?" she asked. Spike shifted on his feet. He hadn't thought about the fact there might be options--or that she might be open to brainstorming with him.
"Well, I was just going to shoot you. Nicely," he said, aware that the words sounded extremely stupid.
She laughed out loud again. Damn, but if circumstances were different, he thought.
Jenny clapped her hands together. "I know!" she exclaimed, a bit too brightly. "Why don't you fuck me and then strangle me?" He couldn't tell if she was joking, but he kind of liked the picture it brought to mind.
He shook his head. "How about a big bottle of scotch or vodka or gin or whatever your roomie Faith has lying around? You get nice and buzzed and feeling no pain, and I promise to make it quick and clean."
Jenny gazed at him sharply a moment and then nodded. "I could use a drink," she sighed, turning to the kitchen again. He had half a mind to shoot her then, execution-style in the back of the head. But he hesitated. And the moment was lost. Shit. Caleb was probably out there getting impatient, ready to knock the windows out. He had to finish his fucking so-called job.
In the kitchen, Jenny pulled a large bottle of vodka down from the high shelf and took a long draw straight from the bottle. Funny how he had her pegged for a drinker. She turned, bottle in hand, and offered him some. "If these are my last moments on earth, please don't let me drink alone." She was razzing him, of course. But there was a grain of sincerity there, too. Spike accepted the bottle and took a quick swig, enjoying the afterburn. He handed the bottle back to Jenny, who took another long draw. He watched the bubbles rise as she swallowed. Yeah, she was a drinker.
"Feeling better?" he asked, solicitously, as if he might be asking a patient in an infirmary if she might like another pillow.
Jenny sat at the kitchen table and placed the bottle down in front of her. "I used to be a schoolteacher." She said the words aloud, but it didn't really feel like it was for Spike's benefit. "I used to play violin. I was really a very good dancer. And I loved a man who gave up his life so he could stay here in Germany with me because I couldn't leave. I would have given anything to leave."
There was a pause and then: "Turn out the light."
Spike moved to the wall and pushed the switch. When he turned around, Jenny's back was to him. She was sitting still, her hands flat on the table before her.
He raised the gun. She certainly must have heard the sound of his sleeve moving, but if she did she didn't flinch. Her breathing was steady. She was waiting. He didn't want to keep her waiting long: That would be cruel.
He fired one shot and it was done.
The night was amazingly quiet. The only sounds Xander could hear were their footsteps on the pavement. He held Buffy's hand tightly as they made their way to Faith's house. It wasn't a good idea, he knew, to be out here like this and going where they were headed. But Buffy had been so upset and all that would console her was having a job to do: She had to know. So Xander had offered to accompany her. He was conveniently dressed in his SS uniform, so that they might pass as a Good German couple out for a romantic stroll. After curfew.
He was making up stories in his mind in case they were stopped. Time had slipped away. He had to get her home or her father would have his hide. Stuff like that. He worried about her papers. If they were stopped they'd know she was one of the student insurgents.
Insurgents! For handing out a few flyers around campus Buffy was subject to forfeit her life. Certainly everyone knew that with the secret police running about it wasn't safe directly criticizing the government. Hell, the daily work of his own division of the SS was to take down information from citizen informants, who for most purposes, were either paranoid or hateful and certainly not above reporting their neighbors for any number of suspicious reasons, real or fabricated. The plainclothes men of the Gestapo generally were sent out to research some of the more egregious-sounding of these. The rest got filed away for future sussing out. Right now it was clear someone had it in for a few college kids. Or were there many? Buffy said that another friend of hers in the SS had made it sound like there would be a real housecleaning over at the universities. If someone as small-time as Buffy was on the list, there must be a long, long list of names the police intended to tick through.
"It's this way," Buffy whispered. She'd been remote and zombie-like ever since she'd appeared on his doorstep earlier in the evening. He'd been surprised to see her. But she'd had nowhere else to go. Xander turned the corner with her.
"That's it up ahead."
A small graystone place with darkened windows. They moved slowly to the front door. Buffy gave Xander a worried look, then composed herself and rapped lightly on the door.
"I sure hope we're not, you know, interrupting anything...important," Xander chattered nervously. Buffy hesitated, listening intently. He had a point. She decided not to knock again.
"Help me find a window."
Xander followed her around the perimeter of the place, stopping to tug at each sash, but it being winter and all, none of the windows were open. On the backside of the house one of the windows was illuminated by a light. "Give me a boost up," Buffy said. "I want to see in."
Xander stepped up and cupped his hands together to form a foothold for her. Buffy weighed nothing, and he almost propelled her skyward. "Watch it," she yelped. Hands firm on the window-ledge, she pulled herself up to look in. Xander held her legs from below.
A heartbeat and then: "Ok. Let me down. Let me down!" Her whisper was urgent, like she'd seen a ghost, and Xander almost dropped her in his haste to comply with her command.
On the ground, she doubled over. "Oh, my god, Xander....Willow."
Xander was confused, "Willow is in there?"
Buffy shook her head, straightening and running nervous hands through her hair. "Nobody's there...but so much blood. I- I think that was Jenny. And- and if they'd do that to Jenny..."
Xander couldn't meet her eyes, but he could finish the thought: "Then they'd do that to Willow...and you."
Buffy was moving back around the place again with great purposefulness. "We gotta get in there."
He grabbed her arm. "Whoa! Wait a minute. I say we get the hell out of here. What more can we possibly do?"
Buffy spun on him. "I'm sure they sacked the place. I have to see what they took. Faith...had records. She kept them in a notebook. I know I'd recognize it if I saw it. People's names, dates, plans. If they have all that, then I've got to find a way to put a warning out."
"Forget the notebook. Your life isn't worth some paper. Put a warning out anyway."
A movement from inside the house startled them both into silence.
"Someone's in there," Xander hissed, bodily dragging Buffy with him as they retreated to a safe place around the corner.
After a moment or two, the front door swung open and three men came out. Two in soldier uniforms and one plainclothes. Buffy and Xander both recognized the Gestapo officer.
"Shit. That's the guy who stopped me today," Buffy said, leaning flat against the wall as if he'd just swung a search beam at them.
Xander looked closely. "That guy works out of my office. We all call him Preacher Caleb. Used to be a man of the cloth. Now he's, you know, more a man of the plainclothes. And just about the nastiest one of them. And 'nasty' is actually saying a lot, since it's in the job description."
He turned to Buffy, adding: "By the way, he hates women, too."
Buffy's voice was distant and small. "He has Willow's photo."
The muscle in Xander's jaw flexed. "Don't worry. He won't find her. Tara's a very Good German. And so's Wilma."
Another plainclothes man came out of the building, stopping a moment to light a cigarette. He looked tired.
Buffy gasped and her body went rigid. She nodded toward him. "That's our problem: I know that one."
Xander spun: "William Blood?"
"I- I know him by another name. He goes by Spike."
Xander pondered this. "Huh. Everybody's gotta be a Big Bad these days. As if Blood isn't a name that's Big and Bad enough," He sighed. He turned to Buffy, shaking a finger at her. "And I'm not even going to ask how you know him." He paused for dramatic effect. Buffy refused to take the bait.
"You know, despite the war, there are still plenty of decent guys a girl could go out with."
"We're not going out."
"Fine. And I'm guessing he has you calling him Spike because-why?"
"Ok, so he's not as bad a Caleb, but then that's hugely relative. It's like we're talking about one serial murderer being less bad than another." He paused. "Actually, that's a pretty good analogy."
"He saved me," Buffy whispered. "When he took my ID, he told the other guy I was someone else."
"Nice. But you can't count on him to do it again. Caleb would gun him down just as fast as he would, um, just about anyone. They're all a bit...twitchy like that. I'm going to need to get you some new papers. And you're going to have to wear a hat. Maybe forever."
"Willow's got my hat."
"And, yes, dear, Willow should wear a hat, too. I'll buy you a new one."
"Can it be one of those saucy pillbox numbers?"
"I was thinking about something less stylish and more, uh, unconventional."
Buffy raised an eyebrow. But Xander remained tight-lipped. She wasn't going to like his idea, and he could tell she already knew that.
He changed the subject. "Now what's going on?"
They watched as the two soldiers went back into the house and came out again with a body bag, carrying it heavily between the two of them. Caleb and Spike fell in beside them and the four walked quietly to a parked police truck, where they loaded the package inside a bit roughly, but, then, hey, Jenny was dead anyway. They got inside and drove away.
The sight raised the hair on the back of his neck. After a long moment, Xander spoke up: "I'll be an extremely happy man if I never see anything remotely like that again."
"We're done here." Buffy's tone was more world-weary than any twenty-year-old deserved to be. The look seemed to be all the rage this year.
Willow and Tara had a new game to try: How quiet can you be? That was Tara's sultry question to shadow-Willow who had slipped silent as a cat into her darkened bedroom after everyone had retired for the evening.
The question hung between them for an awkward moment.
Willow stood in silhouette a moment, absorbing Tara's question. "Uh, am I'm too loud?" Tara almost laughed and then ached at the uncertainty in Willow's voice, a tone that spoke volumes about the vulnerability her lover felt, being young and having no idea what she was doing, with a woman, no less, and one who was older and supposedly more knowledgeable.
Tara reached out and took her hand, silently cursing the fact that the darkness made it impossible for her to read Willow's expression. She hoped Willow could see her. If so, she'd certainly see nothing but the warmth and acceptance she felt.
"No, sweetie, you're not too loud."
She could hear Willow draw a breath of protestation, so she pre-empted her: "And I love every word. I- I've never had a lover talk to me like that. You make me feel completely with you, in the moment." Tara's voice grew shy. "And I find it amazingly sexy. Please don't ever stop talking to me."
"Except tonight," Willow chuckled.
Tara hugged her. "Yes, except tonight. I really don't want to have to explain to Donald."
Willow hugged her back. "And at the risk of sounding a bit old-fashioned, I really don't want any weird sibling stuff happening while I'm, uh, naked with you."
Tara rolled her eyes. "With you 100 percent on that."
Willow leaned in to kiss Tara and missed her mouth. The kiss landed somewhere on her cheek. It took a moment before she was able to orient herself in the blackness back to Tara's lips.
"Damn," she whispered. "I guess we're in for the Helen Keller experience."
Tara leaned back into the pillows, chuckling softly. "Ok, after a comment like that I think enforced silence might not be such a bad thing after all." She watched, enthralled as Willow in silhouette pulled the slip over her head, exposing the long expanses of smooth Willow-skin Tara knew were there, in spite of the darkness. The deprivation of sight heightened her other senses. She could pick up Willow's scent, faintly, that announced her arousal. And she detected the barely audible shallowness of her breathing.
Tara sat up and withdrew her own nightgown, tossing it off the bed. She reclined again, feeling the cold that chilled her flesh and hardened her nipples.
"You're so beautiful," Willow breathed.
"You can barely see me," Tara chuckled.
"Your- your skin--it's glowing. And if it's too dark to see, then it must be some kind of heavenly aura. Or what I imagine an aura would look like. If I were in Heaven. And if I were in Heaven, I'd be dead, right? So am I dead?"
"You don't sound very dead."
Then Tara could feel the depression of the mattress as Willow's knee pressed down and she climbed onto the bed. In fact, Tara could sense through her skin the motion of Willow as the girl moved over her, straddling without touching. She stretched out her body, so that she hovered just above the length of Tara. Heat passed between them, and Tara longed to close the gap. "We'll just see about this quiet business," Willow purred. "I may talk a lot, but I'm not the only one who's vocal. You have a lovely singing voice. I could listen to it again and again."
Tara sighed, "I do love to growl out a tune, it's true. You'll have to find some way to silence me."
This time Willow managed to find Tara's mouth just fine. But Tara was far from convinced kissing would be enough to keep her voice down. And she didn't know what she was going to do about Willow.
Particularly since she had a plan in mind that was calculated to knock her socks off. Not that Tara could be sure she was wearing socks, it being so dark and all.
"Baby, I want to kiss you," Tara breathed.
Willow settled her weight down on Tara, warming their skin. She ran a hand through Tara's hair. "You are kissing me, silly." Tara could feel Willow's breath on her cheek, warm and sweet.
"Oh, That's a kiss, eh?" Tara teased. "Your powers of non-visual observation must be keener than mine." Then she bodily lifted Willow and rolled her over so that Tara was on top. "But, I have other strengths. For example, I'm stronger than you are." From this vantage point, she could see that, in fact, what small amount of light came into the room did indeed illuminate skin--this time Willow's skin--glowing it a supernatural and highly-sheened silver.
Tara spread Willow's legs and moved herself between them. "Do you trust me?"
"I thought we weren't supposed to talk so much?"
"Fuck that, sweetie. I changed my mind. Just whisper." She leaned in close, her breasts gently covering Willow's and her body settling firmly between the girl's legs. "Do you trust me?" Tara repeated. She wanted to know the answer.
"Without hesitation," Willow breathed. Her eyes sparkled. In the reflected light of the darkened room they shone blue, but Tara had memorized their green, the way the color shifted depending upon the light and Willow's mood.
Tara covered Willow's mouth with her own, demanding entrance, which Willow gave her slowly, slowly. Tara smiled. This was going to be a fun game.
She pressed deep with a gentleness and insistence that told Willow Tara was in charge. Willow's mouth was so soft and yielding, giving Tara the opportunity to explore, to languorously stroke, to see what delicious groans she could elicit from Willow's throat, to notice the moment Willow's hands encircled her shoulders and the back of her head, drawing Tara deeper and moving slowly, tilting her chin giving Tara pleasure in return. God, she could kiss Willow like this for hours, pressing in, retreating, barely touching, breaking contact, only to have one or the other of them demand it all over again, pulling hungrily to deepen the kiss again, to find the warmth and softness there, and the deftness. Tara had no doubt that Willow's tender mouth would feel heavenly between her legs, But then, she was fairly certain Willow hadn't yet imagined doing such things. So that's where the fun part came in: Tara was going to show her how it felt.
But she was going to take a roundabout way of getting there. She loved Willow's openness, her responsiveness, her willingness to meet her fully. Tara felt in awe of this gift Willow bestowed upon her: the gift of making love to her wholly, without reservation. Tara couldn't help but notice the way they matched each other perfectly, instinctively. She wondered if sex with any woman would be like this. But then Willow gasped, and Tara felt her body kick in response and she knew that, no, it was indeed this very special girl she shared this beautiful connection with.
Tara discovered the source of Willow's pleasure and surprise: While lost in the moment, Tara had drawn Willow's thigh up around her waist, tilting Willow's hips so that now Tara's belly was able to give her lover a new pressure, a new source of friction, and Willow responded by wrapping both legs tightly around Tara and beginning to rock slowly, achingly, her breath deepening, her hands moving down Tara to the small of her back, demanding deeper contact. God, she wants me to fuck her. She needs me to fuck her.
"Talk to me," Tara implored, rolling her hips in counterpoint, wringing every possible sensation the movement produced in both of them.
"Ta- Tara," Willow whispered desperately.
"I'm right here," Tara purred.
"Not a dream?"
"Not a dream. Right here."
"Good. I never come in my dreams."
"Is that what you want, baby?"
Willow was silent a few moments more, letting her hips and the gathering wetness on Tara's belly do some of the talking. Tara was keenly aware of so much: the scents of Willow's skin and the earthy musk of her arousal, the flex-and-release pressure of Willow's thighs against Tara's hips, and the muscles of her belly.
Then Willow was back. "Uhn. No dreams. Just coming. And coming. And coming. Please." Her breath was heavy as they rocked together, Willow's fingernails raking the skin of Tara's back before settling once more on the small of her back and pulling Tara into her, in sync with the pulse of her need. After a moment, she chuckled, admonishing herself: "Wow, greedy much?"
"Is that a bad thing?" Tara asked, waiting for an answer.
"Uh, I don't know."
"I'm greedy, too."
Willow chuckled again. "Yeah, I've noticed. Guess that's why we're here, when I should be down the hall. I like it. Greedy looks really, really good on you. I wish I could see it. I mean, I know it in my mind's eye. I know the look you get. But I really, really want to see you, see the want, wanting me."
"I want you," Tara said in a voice that made it clear there could be no other truth. "Maybe you can't see me. But there are other ways I could show you how much."
With that, Tara bent her head and wrapped her lips around the tender flesh of Willow's breast. That got her attention. She writhed a bit, unsure about the contact. Then Tara drew Willow's nipple into her mouth, sucking gently though insistently and running her tongue with the same tender worship she'd shown Willow's mouth. Willow moaned, her breathing increasing. Tara loved sending her lover nonverbal. She could see the girl's head thrown back, the blue-white light bathing her throat a pale alabaster. Tara wanted to go there and bite...and suck, but her destination lay further south instead. She'd come back to that lovely throat a little later.
Still kissing Willow's breast, Tara tucked her hair behind her ear and moved a hand low across Willow's belly, lower, through the gathering of hair between Willow's legs. The move meant that Tara had to break the rhythm of Willow's rocking against her stomach. And in response Willow whimpered a small, "No," at the loss of contact. Tara felt the loss, as well, the air chilling Tara's belly where Willow had marked her with the wetness of her need. But the loss was fleeting. Tara had plans.
She drew her fingers into the wetness, tracing a line achingly slowly along this slim channel that begged to be run and entered and fucked lovingly, roughly, thoroughly. And God, Tara wanted to oblige. More than just oblige, actually. Tara wanted to make a statement, to fuck Willow in a way that laid claim to her, that moved heaven and earth and inscribed on Willow's flesh and very soul that she belonged to Tara.
Tara knew that's what Willow wanted. In perhaps not the same words--probably in more words, in fact--Willow was about to ask for just that. She moved quickly, before Willow could verbalize. She pulled away her hand and replaced it with her mouth.
"Oh," Willow uttered softly in response to the change. It took a moment to register what was different, and then she amended: "Uh, wow."
Tara knew what this could feel like. Perhaps she'd never quite been treated to it exactly the way she'd wanted. The boys she'd been with had agendas that were slightly different. They saw this type of kissing as a prelude to something more conventional. But ever since Tara had first made love to Willow, she'd had this in her mind: the notion of lavishing appropriate attention on this amazingly sensitive zone. She'd mulled it over repeatedly, thinking through what she'd like herself and then determined to show that to Willow.
She knew the tongue could be incredibly soft, that the lips and breath working in concert with such a clever organ could produce sensations more delicate and precise than any hand. She knew what the warm wetness of a kiss could bring to the wet and swollen flesh between her lover's legs.
What Tara didn't know were the feelings that being so close to the source of Willow's arousal would draw out in herself. The tastes and scents were intense, concentrated. They were alluring and absolutely compelling. This was Willow's body begging at its most base and animal level to be dealt with and satisfied. As Tara drew her tongue slowly, wetly along the length of Willow toward the little nerve center where Tara intended to concentrate, she watched Willow's alabaster skin move in response: the deep intake of breath that made her smooth chest rise, the arch of her back, the arms which reached back so she could curl her hands around the headboard. Tara could feel Willow's legs spread wider, her heels digging into the mattress, and the flexing of her thigh muscles as she tightened and released, moving her hips to gather in the sensations of Tara's kiss.
All of this excited Tara in a way that shocked her. With just her mouth, she completely owned this woman. Perhaps not in every sense of the word, but in every sense of this moment. Willow literally was hanging on the anticipation of what Tara's mouth was about to do. And Tara knew that Willow had little idea of what was coming.
She stilled her lips a moment, and then brought her tongue forward to flick softly, precisely. She wasn't yet sure how much pressure and direct attention Willow could take, so she paid close attention to her lover's reaction.
Willow flexed, throwing her head back and gasping a low, "Oh." Her hips rose to meet Tara's mouth. Ok, Tara thought, that's a good sign. She repeated the motion, this time a bit harder. Willow's vocalizations grew louder and her hips thrust forward against the pressure.
Tara broke contact a moment. "Shhh. Quiet, sweetie."
Willow gazed helplessly at the ceiling. "I'm fairly sure there's no way you can continue on your present course, which of course I wholeheartedly hope that you do, that I can guarantee anything short of a full-throated scream."
Tara smiled. "I'd really like that, baby. God, it would drive me crazy. Uh, it would drive the neighbors crazy, too."
"Ah, fuck them," Willow groused.
"Exactly how much do you want to advertise my talents?"
"Oh, right. I'm greedy. And possessive. I'll be quiet."
"Just try, baby. Do your best."
Willow grinned. "You, too. Please?"
She ducked back down to her task, running her tongue softly along the length of Willow's wetness, taking a moment to dip inside, just a taste--which earned her another gasp and a chuckle--and then finished her journey at her lover's swollen clitoris. There was no mistaking she'd found the right spot. It fairly begged her to take it in her mouth and suck. So she did. A loud moan from Willow was the response. Without releasing her hold, Tara snaked a long arm up Willow's torso in a quest to find her mouth--and put a clamp on it. She couldn't quite reach, but Willow got the hint and quieted down.
Tara then tested a bit further, sucking and flicking her tongue lightly.
A sharp intake of breath and then Willow whispered: "God, what are you doing?" The question was part marvel, part ecstasy and part academic. Tara decided to answer her later. Right now she was intent on torture.
Which was working. Willow writhed as if the pressure were just on the barest reaches of "too much." Tara calibrated moment-by-moment as she watched her lover's face and felt her body react to each subtle variation. When she found just the right placement and pressure, she knew it from the way Willow's breathing synchronized with the movement of her hips and thighs. Tara sighed, a hum, against her lover's enflamed flesh. And then she introduced the next variable in her lovemaking equation. She drew a hand up from underneath her and deftly entered Willow, adding penetrating pressure to work the clitoris from both inside and out, rolling the length of it between her lips, tongue and fingers.
Ok, that got a much bigger response. Tara knew her hand couldn't reach Willow's mouth. So she grabbed a pillow from nearby and tossed it teasingly up to Willow's chest. Willow nodded her understanding, but instead of quieting down, she found her words. Tara decided this was less conspicuous than screaming, at least, so she kept her mouth and hands intent on her task.
"I have-uhn-no idea what you're doing to me."
"Sucking and fucking you," Tara would have replied if she could.
"Maybe-maybe you could, uh, show me. Later. Not like diagram it out or anything..."
Tara sucked hard, quieting Willow. Body interrupted brain with new information.
Hard to keep her quiet.
A little more pressure. Tara pulled her fingers hard from the inside and increased the urgency of the tempo she'd started there. She wanted Willow to feel this, to be absolutely beyond describing it, to let all of her energy and attention focus on this one small spot, this spot that Tara controlled entirely. She wanted to tear down Willow's natural tendency to rationalize and instead reduce her to muscle and skin, nerve and fluid, to feel her want for sex, and to surrender helplessly to it, to surrender to the fuck, to the all-consuming rutting and pumping of it so that it wouldn't matter if Donald walked in or the Furher himself or if the building were to fall down around them, but that Willow would be oblivious to it all-to anything but satisfying this brute drive to come. And come hard. Her body would carry her there, held aloft by the bidding of Tara's mouth and hand, the strength of her shoulders and arms, the strength of her desire to break Willow and rebuild her in a new knowledge of the world, a new knowledge of herself and of Tara, of the two of them as lovers. Tara wanted her to come. And come hard. She wanted Willow to experience orgasm as if understanding the shape and power of it for the first time. Not the polite kind of orgasm you have when you rub yourself to satisfaction. Not even the kind of orgasm they'd shared the other day, gazing into each other's eyes and experiencing what the French called "le petit morte," the little death, together, in a beautiful trust fall. She wanted Willow to experience orgasm as an entirely muscular thing, oblivious to Tara or herself or her surroundings, only aware of the powerful, intoxicating inevitability of the fucking: that savage, explosive release.
"Good girl," Tara thought, as she felt Willow stiffen and her muscles begin to clamp down hard on Tara's hand. She kept pumping into her lover.
"Please scream. Don't roar. How would I explain a roar?" Tara thought, knowing full well there was no way she was going to quiet Willow now. Her only option was to fabricate an explanation, which she was certain would be the far easier thing to do.
God, Willow was beautiful. Tara watched the long expanse of her body fairly glitter in the darkness. Her arms were outstretched, hands still wrapped around the headboard, her chest heaving with the laboring of her breathing, that beautiful throat needing biting, her nipples hard and wanting to be sucked, but Tara was too busy to do so. Willow's hips and thighs flexed and released, flexed and released in time with Tara's pumping hand.
"Come on, baby," Tara silently urged, bending even more vigorously to her task. She could tell Willow was high, that she'd need to find her bearings in order to know how to begin to come. Tara slowed her hand and lightened the pressure of her mouth, slowed the flicking of her tongue, and Willow's hips and thighs slowed with her. Willow took a deep breath, and then Tara felt the clenching and unclenching inside her, the first waves of orgasm beginning deep within her, before their effect could even reach her lover's mouth. Tara knew the sensation that Willow would be feeling: as if sand were slipping out from beneath her. She waited only a heartbeat and then built the pressure with her hand and mouth again, the furious teasing of her tongue. The clenching inside Willow grew more intense, until the girl's body stopped moving altogether, as she did, indeed, scream her release.
A beautiful sound. Willow had told her she didn't have a good singing voice, but Tara begged to differ. With a little practice...
"Come on, baby, move with me," Tara wanted to urge, as she felt Willow's orgasm roll from her in waves, but the girl remained rigid. Tara continued fucking, letting Willow ride as Tara did unto her. She knew how lovely it could feel to lay back and be fucked, and Tara wanted to give it to her.
And Willow did lay back and let Tara continue to give it to her, her legs still open wide and flexed hard as Tara fucked and Willow accepted it. Tara thought Willow might go back up, but finally the tightening of muscles inside Willow began to let go of their tension; the girl began to relax and her body was reduced to a series of spasms, which grew fewer and farther between. Only then did Tara release her mouth, gently kissing and running her tongue along Willow's swollen sex.
A knock at the door. And Donnie's concerned voice. He wanted to know if everything was all right. Tara was surprised his military training hadn't led him to just barge right in. Tara was even more surprised at how level and steady her own voice was. "It's ok, Donnie. She's just having bad dreams. But I've got her and she's ok."
That seemed to satisfy him because he did not barge in, and Tara climbed up her lover's body to suck those nipples, bite that throat and kiss that mouth. Willow wrapped her arms and legs around Tara, rocking her gently, savoring the afterglow of her orgasm. Tara basked in it with her for a while, until her own desire for release outweighed her desire for comfort. She wanted to fuck.
She drew Willow's thigh between her own legs and showed Willow how wet she was with wanting her. Willow's hands roamed along Tara's back to settle low. "My, god, baby, you're so beautiful," she uttered, as if to a goddess.
"I'm not done with you," Tara growled, biting Willow's throat again and eliciting a small whimper. Then, Tara's attention was drawn to the overpowering need to be fucking Willow. Right now.
Her hips started a rolling motion as if all on their own, hard, urgent, against Willow's increasingly wet thigh. With each thrust, Willow's hands pulled Tara to her.
"I want to be fucking you," Tara found herself whispering. "Inside you. I want to feel you. God, it feels like I'm fucking you."
She concentrated on that for a while: on the thought of each stroke, each thrust, pushing her inside Willow. She knew-or imagined-what that might feel like, enveloped in warmth and wet, fitting perfectly, deep, tight, Willow gently squeezing with muscles that contracted of their own accord, in sympathy with the motion of Tara entering and withdrawing. Tara grew dizzy at the power of her own imagination and the realization she really wanted Willow like that, to know Willow that deeply, and for Willow to absolutely understand the rhythm of her.
"I don't want to come. Just feel this. Oh, god, I've got to relax, relax."
"I want you to come, baby. God you smell like sex. You're covered in me. Every inch of you. I want you. I want to feel you come. I want to hear it. Let go on me, baby."
"Can't. Sometimes...sometimes, god, I love this. I just want to fuck like this all night. Oh, god. Relax, relax, relax." Tara took deep breaths, keeping the motion going, but relaxing thigh and stomach muscles that were pulling the tautness inside her-the gathering tautness she knew that with just a few more pulls would absolutely unravel her.
Willow was on to her game. She commanded Tara's hips, rolling them into her, with each thrust. "I want to feel you come. Inside me. Can you feel me? I can feel you, and I know you want it. I know you want to let go. You can scream or growl or roar, and I don't give a fuck what anybody says or thinks. I just need you to. It's just you and me. Come, Tara. And then fuck me again. And come again. God, you make me so crazy. I want to feel you let go on me, in me. All of the above. I want you to come. I want to feel you inside me. I want to hold you there until you can't help it. God, you're so wet. You feel so good. Please, baby?"
Tara knew that the excitement she'd felt making love to Willow had aroused her completely. She didn't want to come. But it would be so easy. Like sand slipping out from beneath her feet, like water pouring, she could let her orgasm take her. God, it would be so easy. And then she let it. She gave a low groan, willing her voice not to rise, and let her orgasm pour from her its intensity and light, while the world and everything in it disappeared for a few moments, replaced only by flashes of gold and red and heat. She and Willow rocked together while the sensations slowly ebbed to a low throb. And then there was only the two of them locked together. Willow ran her hands through Tara's hair and kissed her sweetly-her brow, her cheeks, her lips. Tara caught her breath and nuzzled her lover, amazed at the way their bodies fit together so perfectly, at how they both seemed to know exactly what the other needed. And Tara became aware that she had another kind of need-this one not physical at all. She simply needed Willow, despite all the messiness and impossibility.
Tara collapsed into Willow, who continued to rock her gently. Willow's mouth was near her ear, and her breath tickled. "I love you," Willow whispered.
The whisper sent a jolt through Tara. She wasn't sure what to say in return, so she let kisses say for her what her words could not.