Willow was perched on the window sill of her dorm room, an open biology book propped on her lap. Her pencil had long since fallen to the floor and there were none of her careful made notes in the margins. Instead, her eyes were misty and blank as they stared out at the pristine, snow covered campus. At any other time she would have thought the snow beautiful and yet now she knew exactly what it did... concealed the ugliness that lay beneath. The entire world was ugly... ugly and cruel in the fact it allowed men like Tara's father to not only live...but to get away with the evil they perpetuated. With a broken sob Willow let the textbook slid to the ground and she curled up her legs, hugging them to her chest.
All she wanted to do was be at Tara's side, holding her hand and watching carefully to make sure she ate every single bite of her meals. She sobbed even harder when she recalled Tara's insistence that she return to school and not fall behind in any of her work. Even when she was lying in a hospital bed, Tara could only think of Willow.
There was a scraping of the door handle as it turned. Willow hastily choked back her sobs and scrubbed at her eyes in a vain effort to wipe away all traces of evidence that she had been crying. It did no good, when Abby walked into the room she was still choking and her eyes were even puffier and redder than before.
"Will?" the tiny brunette asked in a concerned voice.
Abby dumped her books on the bed and crossed the floor to sit on the opposite side of the sill. Her hand reached out for Willow's, enfolding it gently in her fingers.
Willow looked up and met her sympathetic gaze, she managed a weak, tight-lipped smile, "Sorry, I really need to stop crying like a baby all the time."
"Since when was crying reserved solely for babies?" Abby smoothed Willow's hair back from her face, "Even the bravest people on the planet cry... and you and Tara are the two bravest people I know."
Willow sniffed, her hands wiping her cheeks only serving to smudge the tear tracks there. Abby's words were sincere and she genuinely believed them... although Willow knew differently. While her words were definitely true of Tara... Willow knew for a fact that she herself was not at all brave.
"I'm so scared Abby... how can I be even the slightest bit brave when I'm so scared?"
"It's understandable to feel that way Willow..."
"Understandable? It's overwhelming... I mean, what if Tara's father decides to come back? What would I do Abby? How on earth could I possibly protect her?" Willow looked down at her tiny hands and in turn the tiny fists they made.
Abby had no answers to give. She reached out and laid a gentle hand on Willow's knee as she watched various painful emotions flicker across the girls face. They were both completely out of their element, upper class girls who knew nothing other than dependency on their parents, which would in turn set them up for dependency on their husbands. It was clear to both of them that Willow could not lie to her parents for the rest of their lives and yet what were the alternatives?
"I don't know Willow..." Abby had to admit, "But I'm sure..." Abby sighed, she couldn't be sure about anything.
"I remember it seemed like a fairytale... dancing along the banks of the Seine in Paris with Tara in my arms and now it seems..."
"Like a nightmare?" Abby suggested.
Willow shook her head softly, "No... no matter how bad things seem, life with Tara could never ever become a nightmare. It's just more... real... I never realised that the world could be so cruel. I mean why couldn't Buffy see how happy I am and just accept that this is the life I want for myself. And why couldn't Mr Maclay let Tara go instead of having a primitive urge to try and assert ownership over what he sees as his property... all he had to do was let her go... why couldn't they? Why does it have to be like this?"
Abby shrugged, moving her hand from Willow's knee to rest it on her shoulder, "I don't know that either Will... maybe..."
"Maybe if Tara and I never happened... she'd be fine..." Willow grimaced, "What am I saying? Her father is a complete moron and to think of her living in the same house as him..."
"Not to mention the fact that you and Tara were meant to be together. You'll be fine... the both of you will," Abby said softly in what she hoped was a confident voice.
Willow looked up and smiled sadly, "You don't know that... I don't know that..."
"I do too know it... the love you and Tara have for each other is mind-blowing..."
"You can't live on love," Willow remarked miserably, her gaze sinking downwards once more.
Abby sighed and tilted Willow's chin up, holding her gaze, "Cheer up doll, Tara has faith in you."
"At times like these I'm beginning to think that faith is decidedly misplaced," Willow said bitterly and immediately regretting her words.
"Willow Rosenberg...if Tara has placed her faith in you then she's done it because she believes in you and trusts you," Abby said in a firm, almost scolding tone, "Do you trust her so little in return?"
"Of course not," Willow said guiltily, a hot flush creeping into her cheeks.
Abby nodded with satisfaction, "Well, what are you going to do then?"
Willow swallowed slightly, "I-I'm going to finish school and then hopefully I can find a job. Maybe lecturing, teaching... and then I can look after both of us without worrying about my parents."
"A job..." Abby sounded as though she had never given any serious thought to the idea.
"I know... I never thought I'd actually have a job but now I like the idea of not depending on anyone... scares me to death though, what if I'm no good at anything?"
"You are good at everything you do..."
Willow smiled and looked at her watch, "I have to get going. Joe is coming with the car."
"Are you going to go and pick Tara up from the hospital?" Abby asked as Willow collected her hat and mittens, "If so I can make sure all the girls find somewhere else to be tonight so you two can... be with each other..."
Willow flushed a bright red, "Um... thank you but I thought we would stay the weekend at my house. My parents aren't coming back from Europe until Tuesday at the earliest so I was looking forward to being able to spend quality time together... take care of her and the like..."
Abby smiled warmly, "Tara-pampering?"
"Much," as Willow took her heavy coat down from the coat rack she turned to Abby with a warm smile on her face, "Thank you so much for everything... I don't know what I'd do without you or the other girls."
"We love you Willow... and Tara."
"Love you too," Willow blew her friend a kiss before rushing out the door.
Joe placed Tara's small suitcase just inside the door of Willow's room before closing the door on his way out. Willow and Tara were left in complete private for the first time since it had all happened and all Willow could do was stare awkwardly at her feet, not making any movement.
"Will..." Tara whispered, feeling incredibly awkward herself, "T-thanks for letting me stay here."
Tara's stutter immediately drew Willow's gaze up from her feet and she smiled tremulously, reaching out a hand for Tara. With the blonde's fingers entwined in her own, she drew Tara to her. Her other hand snaked around Tara's waist until it was resting comfortably in the small of her back. Applying just a little pressure she drew their bodies ever closer together until they were standing cheek to cheek. Willow's cheek only lightly grazed Tara's as she was fearful of agitating the blonde's bruises. It was Tara who nuzzled first, burying her nose in Willow's silky hair as both hands rested on Willow's buttocks, kneading gently.
"Tired baby?" Willow whispered tenderly in Tara's ear.
"Just a little," Tara replied.
"Want to go to bed?"
"More than a little," there was a hint of a smile in Tara's voice, Willow quickly found one of her own tugging at the corners of her lips.
Willow pulled out of Tara's embrace but did not move away. Instead her hands went to the buttons on Tara's cardigan.
"I can still undress myself Will!" Tara laughed lightly as Willow began undoing each small button a little awkwardly.
Willow looked up at Tara, her eyes shining with mischief, "Let me do it for you?"
Tara nodded slightly, pleased to see Willow looking happier than she had at any moment in the awful week that they had both been through. She submitted herself to Willow's careful, slow ministrations. The thick cardigan was tugged down over her shoulders and tossed aside. Willow ran gentle, soft fingers over Tara's shirt covered sleeves, up her arm and across her shoulder blades until she reached the throat of her shirt. With gentle fingers Willow began undoing each of the buttons, remembering the time Tara had done the same for her when she had been too drunk to do it for herself.
She gradually peeled the cotton away, exposing Tara's chemise. As she moved down her body to kneel on the floor in front of her Willow lifted the smooth cotton undergarment to bare just a fraction of Tara's stomach. Her eyes drifted hungrily over the smooth, milky white skin just before she brushed her lips against it. She felt a tremor run through Tara's body at her touch but she did not linger too long. Instead she stood slowly to her feet and stripped off both the shirt and the chemise to leave Tara in her bra and skirt. The skirt went next, pooling down around Tara's shoes and the blonde stepped out of it.
Willow ran her eyes over Tara's almost naked body, wincing at the mottled bruises on her arms. Tenderly she reached out, wanting to be able to touch the bruises and make them disappear. She stopped just short of touching Tara, knowing even the barest touch would hurt her.
Tara reached out and took Willow's hand in her own, pressing it instead to her heart, "It's okay Willow... I'm going to be okay."
"Tara... I..." Willow stopped, unable to convey exactly what she was feeling with words.
Tara smiled gently, "Enough talking, why don't you help me out of the rest of my clothes... and then help yourself out of yours."
After much lingering over the divesting of clothes, Willow took Tara's hand and led her to the bed. She peeled back the covers and as she lay on her back, she gently drew Tara down with her until the blonde's head was resting just beneath her chin, tucked away like a small child's. Willow stroked her hair gently.
"Where are your parents?" Tara asked, remembering Willow had said they would have the run of the house to themselves.
"Europe somewhere I think... they were supposed to be back this week but they called last night and said they were extending their stay," Willow replied with a shrug, "I'm just glad they're not here... the only person I want bugging me this weekend is you."
Tara smiled, "How can I ever thank you for everything you've done for me?"
"Well," Willow said a low voice, "I can think of a few ways."
Tara felt her lips curl upwards despite the fact that her lip stung slightly at the movement, "Just a few?"
Willow giggled and blushed like the innocent she no longer was.
"We should go to sleep... you need your rest."
"I thought there was going to be mischief," Tara whispered quietly, running her hand over Willow's stomach.
"We can't... I mean... Tara you're hurt," Willow said in a concerned voice.
Tara sat up, shifting back onto her haunches. Her face was downcast in the pale lamp light, casting her face into shadows. Willow propped herself up on her elbows with a gentle frown, wondering what had just happened.
"Can you not make love to me when I look like this?" Tara whispered, her fingertips subconsciously rising to touch the bruise on her cheek.
Willow's expression shifted quickly from a frown to one of absolutely sincerity and tenderness. She quickly rose into a sitting position herself, sitting in front of Tara. Gently she reached out and tilted the blonde's head up so she could see all of her face once more.
Tara met Willow's emerald eyes, they were gazing into her own with a barely restrained passion. She knew almost at once that Willow had never at any time found her ugly or repulsive. She believed that it was selfish of her to need this kind of reassurance and yet Willow was only too happy to provide it. The red head gently pressed her lips to Tara's, careful not to hurt her spilt lip and at the same time wanting to taste all of her fullness. Tara found her lips moving against Willow's, a slight stinging was easily ignored in favour of pleasant shivers running down her body and pooling between her legs.
Willow drew back but only slightly, she nuzzled Tara's nose with her own.
"You are breathtaking Tara Maclay... and I want to make love to you."
Tara caught her breath, "Right now?"
Willow just nodded and gently pressed Tara back against the bed until she was lying beneath her. Her naked body capturing her gaze completely. She ran her eyes over Tara's breasts, her stomach and down the triangle of honey coloured curls at the apex of her thighs. Willow reached out with a trembling hand as she replaced her gaze with her touch. She followed the same path, lingering over Tara's breasts but only long enough to tweak her nipples slightly beneath her fingertips. Down over her stomach, ever so tenderly because she knew Tara's ribs had been broken and were far from healed. Finally her hand came to rest on Tara's soft mound, cupping it gently. Tara bucked her hips slightly but even at the slight movement of her ribs she winced and Willow saw.
"Just lie still," Willow whispered as she moved to straddle Tara, one knee on either side of her body, barely resting any weight on her.
Leaning forward until her arms were on either side of Tara's shoulders, Willow lowered her head. Her mouth found Tara's breasts and she uttered a slight sigh even as she took one into her mouth. Every moment was gentle, every caress so light...and tender. She lavished attention on both of Tara's breasts until they were coated in Willow's saliva, her pink nipples budded.
Tara lay back on the pillows, watching her beautiful girlfriend worship her body. Willow moved downwards, all the while bathing Tara with her tongue and lips. She moved slowly without stopping until she was poised between Tara's legs, a little uncertainty creeping into her expression.
"Will I... hurt you?" Willow asked as she knelt between Tara's legs, paused to spread them apart.
"Only if you stop," Tara whispered throatily.
Tara spread them herself, opening up to Willow to show just how much she wanted her. She then spread her folds apart with her fingers, leaving absolutely no doubt as to where she needed Willow's tongue next. At the sight of Tara's glistening sex, Willow no longer felt the need to resort to words. She dipped her head, not tasting immediately, just enjoying the arousing scent of Tara's sex, nuzzling at it with her nose.
"You're a tease," Tara whispered with an urgency in her voice, moving her hips upwards as far as she could without hurting her ribs, she inadvertently caught her breath as something twinged.
"Baby?" Willow looked up anxiously.
"Please don't stop," Tara encouraged, bestowing a glowing smile on the concerned red head.
Willow return with a smile of her own before dipping her head once more. She concentrated on teasing Tara even further by exploring the insides of her thighs, always keeping just out of reach of her sex. She trailed kisses all over the pale flesh, knowing full well she was driving Tara crazy.
When Willow's tongue finally flicked out to touch her most sensitive flesh Tara shivered with delight. She caressed lightly at first before intensifying into long, lavish strokes. Tara kept her eyes on Willow the entire time, her mouth parted slightly as she watched the red head bobbing between her legs. Her breathing intensifying with each passing stroke of the tongue. She finally began concentrating on her clit, rolling it around beneath her tongue, sucking at it hungrily.
Tara was so incredibly wet, already aroused from Willow's earlier attention. She could feel her climax approaching and ignored the protestations of her ribs as she moved her hips in time with Willow's strokes. Her breathing was coming fast and heavy, a slight whimper escaped her throat just before the waves of pleasure broke.
"Will... oh god Will!" Tara couldn't feel any pain in her body at all as Willow's tongue brought her crashing over the edge into glorious orgasm, "Will! Oh... my... Willow!"
Even as she came Willow continued to lap up all her moisture until her tongue had caressed every bit of Tara's sex seeking out all of it. With a last kiss bestowed on the top of her mound, Willow moved back up the bed until she was lying nestled against Tara's side.
Tara twisted her head slightly so she could look at Willow. The red head had a very self-satisfied smile on her face. The cat had definitely been in the cream.
"I love you baby," Tara whispered, reaching up to brush one of her honey curls from Willow's chin, "Thank you."
Willow burrowed into Tara's side contently, she was practically purring, "You're welcome beautiful."
Willow smelled something absolutely divine before she had even opened her eyes and for once, it wasn't breakfast. There was the gorgeous sensation of a warm body tucked beneath her arm, a cheek nestled against her breast and soft hair fanning across her torso. She opened her eyes slowly and enjoyed her chance to watch the peacefully sleeping blonde. Pale eyelashes resting against a yellowing bruise beneath her eye, ugly stitches above her eyebrow failing to mar her beauty in anyway. Willow was unable to stop her hands from wandering and stroking, even though she had more the her fill of Tara-skin last night.
Tara moaned softly in her sleep, shifting slightly by rolling over. In doing so she opened up one breast to Willow's reach and the red head grinned with delight. Light fingers brushed over the nipple.
I hope Tara doesn't mind being molested in her sleep, Willow thought with a naughty grin, hoping Tara would roll over completely to allow for further molesting.
Little did she know in that peaceful moment, cradling and touching her sleeping girlfriend, that everything was truly about to come crashing down around her.
There was very little warning when it all happened, just a scrape of the door handle turning before Sheila Rosenberg marched into the room, "Willow, I need to talk to you about something..."
Oh holy fuck! Willow instantly felt ice cold all over.
Sheila stopped in mid sentence when her eyes came to rest on Willow and Tara lying in a naked embrace. The sheets were pooled down around their legs, leaving absolutely no question as to the fact that they were stark naked in bed together. Tara was still asleep, although she had begun to show the first signs of wakefulness as Willow shifted hastily to try and reach the covers.
All the while, Shelia continued to stare goggle eyed, her mouth working soundlessly as she tried to digest fully what she was seeing. When the fact that her daughter was lying naked with another naked woman draped across her body finally registered she turned and made a very unglamorous exit from the room. Hitting her head on the doorframe in her haste to leave, she slammed the door with an intensity that should have sent it flying off its hinges.
Willow stared at the door in horror.
Tara lifted her head in fright at the sudden sound. She looked around the room in a daze before settling on Willow's stark white face. The red head's mouth was open in shock as Tara frowned.
"Oh god..." Willow whispered, "I forgot to lock the door..."