ONE: Willow, Tara, Willow, Tara
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including (but not limited to) Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Firefly, Supernatural, and Twilight. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++PREVIOUSLY: A terrorist attack claimed the lives of Buffy, Satsu, Faith, Kennedy, and Tara. When Xander saw how devastated Willow was, he summoned D'Hoffryn and made a wish that would change reality forever.+++++
"The dream deceives; it leads to confusions; it is illusory. But it is not erroneous." -Michel Foucault
“You’re sure about this, Dawnie?”
“Of course I am.” Dawn Summers had hitched her hip up onto her boss’s desk. Well, her desk now; her boss had just been headhunted, hired away from the company she founded. “I mean, why else would you have spent all that time training me?”
“Why indeed.” Willow Rosenberg, former CEO of TechnoPagan, smiled at her protege. “It’s my own fault for grooming you as my successor, I guess.” She took her ID badge out of her pocket -- not that anyone who worked for TechnoPagan could fail to recognize the boss, but it was policy -- and handed it to Dawn. “Well, here you go, then.”
“You really should give that to security.”
“I guess. But I feel better giving it to you.” She sighed. “Besides, it’s not like you won’t see me again. I’m still on the board, and of course I’ll come back to visit, and if you ever need me for anything I’ll--”
“Willow!” Dawn said, grinning. “Breathe!”
“Sorry.” She adjusted her suit jacket and squared her shoulders. “Okay. Time to go.”
“Not just yet.”
Dawn slid off the desk and pulled Willow into a hug. “I’ll miss you,” she said.
Willow held Dawn close -- she knew she gave good hugs; her partner said so, and Dawn said so, and her best friend in the world said so, and that meant it was true. “I’ll miss you too, Dawnie... I mean, CEO Dawn Summers.”+++++
Tara grinned across the table at her partner. “I’m glad to see Dawn got one over on you.”
“Yeah, well, my face was really red. You know how I feel about surprise parties.” Willow sipped her wine. “I mean, your going-away party was planned, and of course I made sure it had everything you like, but what if Dawn had had only shrimp catered, or... or...”
“Willow? Honey?” She reached across the table and rested her hand on Willow’s. “Did you like your surprise party?”
“Well, yeah, but that’s not the point!”
“Sure it is.” She brought Willow’s hand to her mouth and kissed it. “Now, drink your wine. Charles and Fred will be here any minute.”+
“Look, you don’t have anything to worry about, Tara,” Charles said. When he and Fred had gotten married, he’d given up on using his last name as his first name, even though Fred had kept Burkle -- Fred Gunn, she’d said, sounded like a bad secret agent, not a physicist. “Atlanta’s a very gay-friendly city. You have nothing to worry about.”
“And the company is gay-friendly, too,” Willow said. “I checked. It’s not like I’m hiding you under a rock or something, either; you’re in lots of the articles about me.”
Tara wasn’t convinced. But this was a good career move for Willow, and they’d talked about it for a long time, and anyway there were veterinary hospitals everywhere; one of them was bound to hire her. Not that they’d need the money; Willow’s offer letter had had a lot of zeroes on it.
“Baby, don’t worry,” Willow said, leaning over and kissing Tara’s jawline. “Anyone who messes with you is going to have to answer to me.”
“And no one wants the wrath of Willow,” Fred said. Her brown eyes twinkled over the rims of her glasses. “Because that means they’re going to have to take us all on.”
“Thanks, you guys,” Tara said. “I mean it. I’m just leery; I’ve only ever lived two places in my entire life, and I guess I’m worried about going somewhere new.”
“Yeah, but you’ll have me,” Willow said.
“Yeah, you’ll have Willow.” Charles smiled and put his arm around Fred’s waist. Tara had always liked the odd-couple-ness about them: he was tall and muscular, while she was slender and -- a private smile -- willowy; she was always talking about science and math and ideas while he was completely grounded in reality; and, of course, the way that Fred could eat twice as much as Charles without gaining a pound, while married life was definitely adding a little extra to Charles’s waistline. “But whenever you need to come home for a visit, you’re always welcome at our house.”
“Thanks,” Tara said again. The food arrived -- since the Hyperion didn’t have a restaurant in the building, they’d gone to Good Earth. It had been Willow’s suggestion, and she knew her partner knew it was her favorite. She appreciated the gesture. She also vicariously appreciated watching Fred absolutely demolish some sort of eggs-plus-turkey-sausage-plus-marinara-sauce concoction that looked positively horrible, although her physicist friend showed every sign of enjoying it, along with the half an omelet that Tara left behind on her plate and the five fries Willow hadn’t gotten around to eating.
Sometimes it could be downright depressing watching that woman eat.+
Several tearful hugs later, Willow and Tara were in their top-floor room at the Hyperion. “They have a really great science program at Georgia Tech,” Willow said as she sat in front of the vanity mirror, brushing her hair. “I wonder if maybe they’d want to move out there someday.”
“I don’t know, sweetie.” Tara put her hands on Willow’s shoulders and slid the straps of her nightgown down. She kissed Willow’s neck. “I’m not really thinking about them right now.”
“Oh?” Willow reached up and ran her fingers through Tara’s long hair. “What are you thinking about, baby?”
Tara nipped at Willow’s neck, which made her squeak. “Little of this...” She ran her hands over Willow’s arms, then took her wrists and held them just tightly enough to make Willow squirm. “Little of that...”
“Hush now, sweetie,” Tara said, wrapping her arms around her partner -- which had the added effect of crossing Willow’s arms and keeping her in place. “It’s our last night in LA. I want to make it memorable.”
“Every night with you is memorable, Tara.” Tara held Willow close, and Willow sighed, leaning into her. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too,” Tara said. She looked at the mirror, saw Willow’s eyes closed, saw the flush on her cheeks and upper chest. “Open your eyes.”
“Just do it, sweetie.”
Willow did, in time to see Tara’s hands move down her body. In the mirror, Tara watched Willow react to her hands on her thighs, spreading them apart. “Oh, Tara...”
“Shhh,” Tara whispered, her mouth on Willow’s shoulder. “No talking.”
Willow made a helpless noise deep in her throat, and Tara felt her thighs tense up as she raised the hem of Willow’s nightgown.
“Your skin is so soft,” Tara said between kisses. “Especially right here.” She brushed her fingertips over the insides of Willow’s thighs.
Another sound, one that made Tara want to abandon her play and take her partner to bed, but she was committed to the game now.
Her fingers moved higher along Willow’s legs.+++++
Willow held Tara’s arm against her chest. Tara always fell asleep so easily, which Willow envied; Willow could never get her brain to shut off. But what they’d just done had gone a long way to leaving Willow unable to think coherently. After Tara had tormented her in front of the mirror, Willow had turned the tables and taken Tara right there on the vanity, and that had just been the start.
Now she had a warm, soft Tara spooning her. They hadn’t bothered putting their nightgowns back on; usually they wore something to bed, just out of habit, but right now it was nice to feel Tara’s soft skin along her back and thighs.
Willow smiled a secret smile and kissed Tara’s fingers. Her partner stirred a little in her sleep and pulled Willow closer.
Their last night in LA. Tomorrow morning, they’d get up early, do a little yoga, grab breakfast at a nearby diner that Fred had recommended, and head east. She’d already memorized the route: east on the 10 until it split in middle-of-nowhere Texas, then east on the 20 until they got to Atlanta. Easy enough. They’d be driving Willow’s Lexus RX, and towing Tara’s 25-year-old Mercedes behind it. She’d offered to buy Tara a new car on several occasions, but Tara liked the old gray two-door and had resisted every one of her efforts. And, she had to admit, the car suited her partner.
She really hoped Atlanta would suit her partner. Her, too, but really Willow could be comfortable just about anywhere. They’d already gone out there and looked at houses, and all their furniture and stuff was waiting for them. They’d been living in the Hyperion for the past two weeks. Even Miss Kitty Fantastico -- almost twelve years later and the name Tara had given their cat still made her smile -- was already there, enjoying the high life in a luxury kitty hotel. Their new home was large, almost fifty years old, in a neighborhood inside what Atlantans called “the Perimeter”. Tara liked it, and Willow liked that Tara liked it. Plus, it had a solarium, and that was what had sold Willow on it in the first place.
She knew Tara had concerns about just how accepting the area was of gay couples. Her new company’s CEO had assured her that plenty of her staff was of the gay persuasion, intimating that he was as well -- Willow hadn’t found any evidence to support that; at least, not yet -- but Atlanta was the heart of the South, and she had a feeling that not everyone would be okay with the two of them.
Well, whatever. She was about to become one of the five most-powerful people in one of the world’s most influential media organizations. If her neighbors didn’t like it, they could fold their concerns up really small and stick them straight up their--
Willow turned, saw Tara’s eyes half-open. “What is it? Did I wake you?”
“You were getting tense. I felt it.”
“Sorry, baby.” Willow kissed the corner of Tara’s mouth. This close up, she couldn’t resist cupping Tara’s breast with her right hand. “Soft girl.”
Tara smiled and eased herself onto her back. Willow showed her appreciation for the increased access with more kisses, and Tara showed her appreciation when her fingers flexed against Willow’s bare shoulder.
Soon enough, Tara’s fingers were in Willow’s hair and Tara was singing softly under her breath -- some song from the musical episode of Firefly
. She only did that when she was really, really lost in the sensation. Willow smiled, hummed, and did that thing with her fingers, and Tara’s voice stuttered and cut off just before the end of the song.+++++
When Tara could breathe again, she struggled up onto her elbows and looked down at Willow, who had pillowed her head on Tara’s stomach. “I love you,” she whispered. “So much.”
Willow kissed Tara’s stomach, and Tara felt a little jolt go through her. “Love you too, baby.”
Tara sighed and let herself drop back onto the pillows. Whenever Willow did whatever that magic thing was that she did, Tara was barely able to form words, let alone turn the tables on her partner. Willow must have noticed this, because she curled up beside Tara, kissed her softly on the lips, and fell asleep with her hand splayed across Tara’s stomach.
Tara rested her hand over Willow’s and closed her eyes, following her partner’s example.+++++
+++++Your reviews are, of course, greatly appreciated.Next time: Willow hires a new secretary.Good Earth is a real place in California, and Fred's meal is the same thing I ate the last time I went. If you're ever in LA, go there; you'll enjoy the food. Also, Tara's car is my first dream car -- the one my grandmother had when I was a kid. If I ever figure out the model number, I'll post a link somewhere.