The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:14 am 
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Ok, so I was reading ReallyBigPineapple's wonderful fic Butterfly...and in the feedback she mentioned that she was using Opera as a metaphor for sex in much the same way spells had been used in canon...so all the non-opera fans should just ignore the music and concentrate on the smut...which got me thinking...what else could be used as a metaphor for Willow/Tara lovin'?

Metaphorical Smut Challenge

1.) Come up with some activity that is generally not considered sexy (taking out the trash, welding, washing the dog...you get the idea) and use it as a metaphor for hot wiccy lovin'

2.) Pairing must of course be Willow and Tara or Tara and Willow, whichever you prefer

3.) Smut can be leather or vanilla or any other permutation your fevered little brains can come up with, but it must be entirely metaphorical...no actual smut smut

4) At some point one of them must use the phrase "What we need here is a good doily!" (just trying to be as random as possible)

5) As always it should be in one post

Have fun...I can't wait to see the results

umgaynow/Sandi


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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:39 am 
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Yay! What a geat challenge.......

I can't wait to get with the reading!

_________________
GOOOOAL!!!!!
Tonto rides again!


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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:11 am 
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Title: Roses on a Field of Thorns
Author: Chris Cook
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Evil flourishes in the care of its champions.
Spoilers: None.
Copyright: Based on characters from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, and, vaguely, some of the Warhammer 40,000 setting created by Games Workshop (Wyches). All original material is copyright 2005 Chris Cook.
Feedback: Please. Here, or to alia@netspace.net.au

WARNING: This fic is rated EE for Extremely Evil - it contains violence, death, evilness, you get the idea. Think of it as an uber-vamp-W/T fic. They're not vampires, but they're the evil incarnations of Willow and Tara that we're mostly familiar with as Vamp Willow and Vamp Tara. Same people, but morally inverted, if you like.

This is not a story about good triumphing over evil. It's just a story about evil. Hopefully, it's interesting to read as well (i.e. I hope I don't have to go into hiding and change my name just for writing this one).

[hr]

[center]ROSES ON A FIELD OF THORNS[/center]



Willow reaches out a jewelled hand and draws back the curtain to her reserved box. The metal sleeves on her fingers - woven gold, with rubies set like glittering sand-dust over her knuckles and down to her wrist - rasp against the edge of the thick velvet curtain, idly scratching the cloth-of-gold edging as she holds it back and lets it fall closed behind her. Everyone else here has attendants, servants and menials and bought lovers for the evening, but Willow is alone. Those already seated in their boxes and galleries, all around the circular stage, look to Willow's box, one of the few in the lowest tier, closest to the performance space. They know what it means that she is alone tonight.

Whispers take life and travel. The rumours were true, they say. The Queen would never be seen alone, if hers wasn't going to perform. They say, the Dream is going to perform for her Queen.

Willow stands for a moment at the edge of her box, hands on the thin gold balcony rail. It is almost a duty - people of her rank attend as much to be seen as to see. But it is one Willow fulfils without interest. She unclasps the eagle brooch at her neck, lets her the deep red cloak, matching her hair, fall to the floor. Tonight she wears a simple gown, white cloth from her neck down, sheer - it doesn't quite hide her body, slender curves accented with applied gold-dust, sex concealed by red satin, pierced nipples anchoring tissue-thin gold teardrops cupping her breasts.

Others dress to flaunt themselves; Willow lets herself be seen behind gauze, to flaunt her unavailability. Her lover - even absent - is an invisible presence that none here, not even the high-born and beautiful-arrogant, would compete with.

She takes her seat, settling cross-legged, and raises a lazy hand. A grey-robed functionary, fearful of delay, slips through the curtain and delicately places a lead-crystal glass in the waiting hand, gathers up her fallen robe, and leaves without so much as a hint that he, or she - impossible to tell, beneath the robe - is worthy of noticing Willow's presence. Willow gives a faint smile, sure that it will be seen by enough, through opera-glasses and spy-lenses, and make its way back to the office of the manager. No money will change hands, for the use of Willow's box. A smile from her pays for all, in currency more precious than coin - a smile, and the Dream performing. The establishment's name will be spoken in high places for weeks to come.

Willow sips fine wine and affects indifference to the arrivals around and above her, in the other boxes. The high-born predominate: generals, cardinals and abbesses, justices, senators, captains of ships-of-the-line, each with their entourages of fawning sycophants, carefully-outrageous artists making a show of cultural rebellion, sparking controversy in the orbits of the men and women who pay them to do so for the mentions of their names it will bring, silent servants, bonded-slaves or freemen, decorated trophy-wives and husbands in threes and fours, adorning their benefactors like a peacock's feathers. Here and there in the crowd a prosperous plebian-born, moving and talking and standing and breathing in practised imitation of the high-born, never quite able to shrug off the self-awareness of their station, no matter how much coin or trade or slave-force they command. And gaily-coloured men and women making their rounds, offering gentle smiles and coy glances, with boys or girls following in their wake, wearing their colours, carrying notebooks and whispering negotiations with the vassals of those their masters and mistresses exchange a word or a glance with, arranging to whom and for how much their lofty owners will sell their bodies to for the next few hours.

Five minutes, ten, and the theatre fills. The wine is light this evening, and Willow allows her glass to be refilled, her eyes drifting to the stage just below where she sits. Soon, she thinks. Only a moment or two. There are no curtains to ruffle as stagehands dash behind them, but Willow imagines the out-of-sight activity, the bustle of almost-preparedness.

Her concentration is interrupted by a change in the voice of the gathered hundreds. New words are being exchanged, and the amalgam-susurration takes on a note of caution. Scanning the patrons still arriving and taking their seats, Willow finds the pebble dropped in the lake.

'Angelus,' she mouths, as his eyes lock on her. 'Willow,' his lips form in reply. He dares use her name - only the very powerful would do so, rather than choosing a safe pseudonym, 'Queen' or 'Red Lady' or 'Scarletess'; Angelus is one such. Master of the Aurelius, captain of a thousand loyal fighting men, the death of Carthage who left the land salted and the towers fallen and the ships burning at their moorings. He is a feared man, feared by the generals who command him, feared by the businessmen who sell him food and goods for his campaigns and buy their spoils, feared by the courtesans he chooses to share his dining room, or his bed.

Separated by the width of the stage, Angelus lifts his head to Willow, questioning. She gives a nod, satisfying him and challenging him at once. While on the surface she tells him yes, her lover will perform - a confirmation which raises gasps and nervous chatter from the audience, as news spreads from those studying her - her eyes tell a different story. They say, I know who you've brought here, Angelus. She won't outshine my Dream. Willow doesn't fear Angelus, either his ire now, or the vengeful wrath she expects later.

Angelus glares, and is distracted by an ill-timed remark from one of his entourage. He snarls and dashes his glass in the man's face, leaving him reeling and bleeding from a slashed cheek. The man knows better than to protest - he gasps silently, and Willow chuckles to herself, watching the studied indifference of the rest of Angelus' lackeys and hangers-on, each brutally reminded of the potential consequences of a wrongly-placed word or look.

Functionaries move semi-invisibly in Angelus' box, ignored by all. Two lift the injured man and help him stagger out, another clears up the remnants of the broken glass, a fourth uses a cloth to clear the spilt wine. Willow imagines dialogue for them. Whoops, the Master's smashed another face in, that's the third one tonight. He'll need more flunkeys at this rate, send someone down to the shop to see if they have any in stock. Look at the mess he's made of the serving table, what we need here is a good doily! Honestly, the state of the gentry nowadays…

Willow grins - she knows the insolence that lurks beneath the polite fear of those in the service of the powerful. It amuses her to think how ignorant Angelus and his like are of their empires of slaves and vassals - they think of them as servile machines, but the slave knows his master for a boorish oaf. Willow has bought men and women cast off from Angelus' stable, and spent evenings listening to their tales.

Light signals the beginning of the entertainment - the nobles settle in their seats, stern glances silence conversations, confidence-men and expensive whores suspend their trade as magnesium flares burst into life, jetting into the tumultuous night sky like dying suns in miniature. The pre-seeded clouds take their cue, silently rumbling sheet lightning from horizon to horizon, lighting the stage like so many strobes, cold and white.

Two more flares burst on the stage, and when the brilliant light fades she is there. A common trick, Willow knows, simply a concealed trapdoor opening and closing while the white-hot flame burned too brightly to look at - but effective. A gasp passes through the audience, then a whisper, contagious: Her! The rumours have prepared their palette for her, better than sheer surprise could have.

She stands still, calm and composed - no theatrics, no playing to the crowd. She never acknowledges the eyes on her, and they love her all the more for it. Death Dream, they whisper to each other; only Willow whispers her lover's name, 'Tara.'

She is beautiful - a dream, truly. Her golden hair is tonight woven into a single braid, swaying like a tiger's tail down to her hips and tipped with a steel-and-sapphire ornament in the shape of a spear-point. Her attire is new - even to Willow, who acquiesced to Tara's whim to keep it secret, even from her, until this evening, this time. Blue-tinted steel crosses her shoulders, reaching down, spreading to cover the centre of her breasts, leaving teasing swells on either side, and her cleavage too, bare. The armour-brassiere narrows as it dips, thinning to a single chain descending from each breast over Tara's stomach, reaching to the tips of a steel plate hiding her sex. She turns, surveying the stage as if seeing it for the first time. Behind her the twin metal arcs from her shoulders merge into one between her shoulderblades, and another thin chain from the steel vee's nadir descends between her firm buttocks.

It is a calculated appearance - performers have worn less, but only because they do not understand why they are watched. Willow knows Tara knows - she will have directed this attire's fashioning herself, working with the artisans Willow bought her for months, perfecting. The thin strips of metal and chain seem so poised - they do not move, and Willow doubts they will, but to look at the Death Dream seems a woman on the edge of a cliff, where the slightest motion could, maybe, perhaps, see her coverings slip out of place. Willow smiles knowingly. The audience will pant and point like hunter dogs sensing their prey almost within reach - she knows so many of them will for weeks be kissing and fucking and masturbating with her lover's image in their minds. The knowledge tickles her.

She glances at her lover's feet, and wonders. Tara wears steel-rimmed leather, clasped tight below her knees and encasing her to her toes, but the work-of-art boots are a departure from her usual style - they hold her heels high, but the toes are flat on the ground, to a rounded point. It has been years since Willow has seen Tara perform - publicly or privately - without dancing on boots fashioned to perfect ballet-toe points, sharp enough to spear through solid oak. Whenever her lover, in a whimsical moment, has asked what it is about her that Willow finds most attractive - most erotic, most captivating - it is the way she balances, always poised, perfect. Few can move as she does, and none so easily. Willow wonders why, tonight, she has foregone her usual style. And she notices Tara's gloves, too - like her boots, steel-wrapped leather, from elbow to fingertip, but in each palm there is a steel disc, small enough that she can still close her hand without impediment, yet solid and unbending.

Willow thinks, there's a surprise coming. At that moment, for an imperceptible instant, Tara's eyes find hers, and they share a communication, instant and silent, unseen by any of the spectators. Tara says, yes, love. You'll see, soon. Willow takes a sip of wine and settles in.

A second pair of blinding bright flares - Tara faces away, as if by chance, though certainly carefully choreographed - and another figure is there. Showy, Willow thinks, having already guessed who would perform alongside her love tonight.

Her costume reveals more. White leather straps spread web-like from ivory rings, bright against her deeply tanned skin. They criss-cross her torso, hiding little - a central ring, a halo around her navel with its silk-thin umbilical snaking out, slipped beneath a vertical strap and pulled tight. That strap travels her cleavage, another two branch out, beneath her arms. Between the three a silver-wire cage, five shaped strands of metal across her breasts, the topmost passing through her nipples, the others cupping from beneath. Leather around her neck, splitting and reforming at smaller rings. A single strap between her legs, thin, and her thick labia bulge either side of it, sporting silver ornaments. Her hair, the colour of rich, dark chocolate, is tight against her head, woven into a silver sunburst ornament that surmounts her like an aureole.

Angelus looks on proudly, Willow notes with a quick glance. Faith is his: his bodyguard-captain, his prized possession, his whore, and heir-apparent. Willow conceals a wry grin, finding it distasteful to humiliate him so callously by showing amusement at his woman's unsubtlety. Spectators leer and smile hunter's smiles at her as-good-as-nakedness. They'll remember my Dream, Willow thinks, keeping her thoughts from her face for form's sake.

Faith wears the same boots and gloves as Tara - hers white leather and silver, but identical in design. Willow wonders, and does not trouble herself at not knowing. She will soon enough, her love has told her.

The two performers are back-to-back, and turn to acknowledge each other. They clasp hands quickly and lean in, sharing a pair of phantom kisses, one in the air an inch from each cheek, dictated by ritual. That done they stalk together, lithe on their high boots, just beyond arm's reach of each other.

The last players on the stage arrive. No fanfare entrance for them, simply a gaping doorway, and they stumble on, pushed by a press of bodies, the last herded by the door swinging closed behind them. Willow knows some of their faces, has never seen others. Murmurs pass around the audience, gleeful vindictiveness at an enemy on show, anxiety masked by callous laughs for those in the crowd who think, there but for the grace of God. The newcomers move in a disorderly formation, spreading cautiously, afraid of being alone yet mistrustful of those alongside them. Criminals, enemies of the state, prisoners of war, men and women fallen out of favour with a powerful senator or justice or man of God. They are each of them naked, and each carries a weapon: swords, war-sickles, talon-edged nets, spears and pole-arms, whips glistening with pain oils.

The identities of the two performers pass among them, from those who know their faces from their former lives. The Death Dream, they whisper in fear, and Javelin or Faith. Willow allows herself a smile at the scowl on Angelus' face. His woman hasn't earned the name-silence yet - few do, so thoroughly that a condemned will not break it. On other nights, Willow has even heard her own name spoken on the stage, by those with nothing left to lose. But not Tara, never Tara. The honour of Willow's lover is beyond even the desperation of the damned.

There is a sound akin to a hundred swords being drawn, and the stage blossoms like some metal-forged origami work. The floor segments and folds, breaking into platforms and paths and junctions, vanishing between them. Beneath the stage, the maze-like remains of the smooth floor, a bed of needles wait like a deadly crop. Each five metres high, thin as a spider's silk at its tip, widening only to the breadth of a wrist at their base, deep in the shadows. Razor-sharp, none more than a foot from its neighbour. Willow discerns a spiral-fractal pattern in the lethal needle-tips, guessing at the arrays of spikes hidden beneath what flooring remains atop them - no body could contort enough to fall between the points without being impaled. The walking-dead shy away from the edges of the floor-plates left beneath them, acutely aware that a fall now means death, fast or slow.

Willow grins openly - the manager's staff will take note, and be pleased - as Faith and Tara move, abandoning the safety of the narrow walkway left beneath them by the retraction of the stage. Their boots, steel-soled beneath their toes, allow them to balance on the needles, to walk safely across them, fluid motion lending them balance.

The condemned watch them, fearful - their weapons seem an insufficient advantage now, even to those who deluded themselves into thinking this a fair contest at first.

Faith goes left, Tara right. They slow, and each lean forward, crouching with the steel-plated palms of their gloves balanced on spikes. Tara's eyes lock with Faith's, but at the same time her mouth moves slightly, a smile seen by and meant only for Willow herself.

Willow favours Tara with a long, ardent look, then turns her attention to the condemned, anticipating their slaughter.

The two killers stalk their prey, each in their own manner. Faith is fast and brutal, darting forward, challenging her opponents to face her or flee. One stands his ground while the others run, a middle-aged man - once a Prefect, before making the wrong alliance, letting a word be whispered in the wrong ear. He is tall and strong, and the way he holds his barbed spear shows knowledge of its use.

He thrusts into Faith's charge, a sound tactic were he not so hopelessly outmatched. She leaps and parts her legs, allowing the point aimed at her stomach to instead whisper between her thighs. In mid-air, reaching behind herself, she grabs and pulls the spear-tip, jerking the man off balance. Her leap carries her into him as he stumbled forward, off the safety of solid ground. As his feet fail to find purchase and the spines of the arena floor pierce his calves, Faith catches his head between her legs, tossing her own head back, giving the watchers a savage smile as he howls his pain into her almost-bare cunt. She twists her hips, the scream is cut off with a crack of bone, and when she walks away his body falls lifeless and sinks slowly onto the dozen points beneath it.

Tara is calmer, more patient. She doesn't charge or threaten, but instead simply strides with raptor grace around the group of damned, as if knowing they will come to her in time. She is right: one of those fleeing Faith's onslaught, a lanky man, a face Willow recognises from the senate floor, finds himself face to face with the blonde, and essays a slash at her with his sickle in panic. Tara doesn't seem to even see him - her eyes, at that moment, are wandering aimlessly around the edge of the arena, as if she is appreciating the inlaid patterns in the walls. Some of the audience gasp - they haven't seen her fight before.

She leans back, arching, her palms finding a pair of spikes to balance upon while the nobleman's blade slices above her. Too quickly to avoid she kicks upwards, one foot knocking the sickle high into the air, the other reaching further to crack against the man's jaw, stunning him. It seems as if she will simply let her opponent fall and be pierced through as she completes her lazy handstand, but instead of raising her legs high she rocks her hips to counterbalance herself and catches the falling man, her ankles beneath his shoulders. The victim stares down for a second, at the razor tips inches from him, then looks at Tara, and at last Tara meets his gaze. It lasts only an instant, then the falling sickle buries itself in his back. His last act is to drop her eyes from Tara's gaze and stare at the bloody point emerging from his pale chest. This intervention done, Tara lets him go, and he completes his interrupted fall onto the bed of needles.

Willow passes an expert eye over the crowd as Tara pivots languidly to her feet, amused by what she sees. In the time it has taken Tara to allow her first to die, Faith has killed three, and each of their deaths was provocatively lustful, split-second mock-sex acts with the struggling victims. Yet Tara is the one they watch. Their eyes stray to Faith while Tara takes her time, but when she held her once-noble victim for the falling blade all eyes were on her. Willow sees artists among the entourages, sketching furiously. It is well-known, and strictly enforced, that the Death Dream allows no recording of her performances - she is never captured, not on film or crystal or stream of data or the mind of a recording empath. I am the Lord thy God, she quotes from the old ways, when asked why she will suffer no duplication of herself beyond the revered art of a brush or a charcoal stick. Thou shalt have no other god before me.

In the arena, there is a momentary sensation at a flamboyant execution: Faith has captured an opponent's sword, and uses it to split her open from neck to crotch. The audience watches in horror and guilty fascination as blood and entrails spill and catch on the spine floor, hanging like decorations as the fading woman finally topples over. Tara pays no notice to the gore, or the roar of the crowd. She chooses a dark-haired, olive-skinned beauty as her next, and with a slow glance sends her backing away until her retreat is cut off, with only the field of spines behind her.

Her raven opponent flings her weapon, a thin net strung between weighted steel talons. It is a clumsy throw, Tara could jump it or duck it and leave her opponent unarmed against her. She chooses neither. She plants her feet wide and leans down beneath the net's flying edge, but leaves a hand raised to snag it, risking injury as the talons swing in to strike her. But they miss - she whips the net around, controlling the multiple momenta to perfection, and in the same moment her adversary feels the elation at surely having inflicted a wounding blow, Tara stands unharmed, and the net is closing around the dark-haired woman herself. She screams, first in shock, then in pain as a dozen heavy talons wrap around her body and pierce her flesh. Tara is upon her as she loses her balance - to deliver a killing blow, the audience at first think. Willow suspects otherwise, and smiles at herself when she sees the struggling pair still in a new configuration: Tara upright, holding the centre of the net in one hand, braced against the weight of the woman caught in it, her ankle crushed under Tara's boot, the rest of her body held out above the spikes.

It is a moment of beautiful cruelty. Willow watches the dark woman's eyes as she realises the futility of her position - as she struggles the net's talons dig deeper into her body, agonisingly piercing muscle and organs. But where they do not dig in, they falter, drawing shallow gashes across her skin and letting her slip ever closer to her death on the arena's razor floor.

The dying woman screams weakly for a moment, as the rise and fall of her chest slowly tears open her modest breasts against the hooks. Willow watches Tara watch her. Her eyes are calm and kind, patient. After a few agonising seconds more, the victim makes her choice, and with a painful twist tears free of enough hooks to fall free and spear herself through. Tara lets her go, smiling in understated pride as the fallen woman's body slowly slides down the half-dozen or so shafts impaling her.

Knowing Tara will not hurry, Willow takes another moment to observe the crowd, her eyes leaving Tara only as they might to study a work she had created. Many are rapt, caught by lust or admiration or fear, or a mixture. Some openly horrified, either at the brutality, or seeing it emerge from such a serene beauty - they are for the most part guests of patrons, and will not return, though only the very foolish will voice their disquiet in public. Willow spots the Duchess, widow of the first man Tara killed, staring inscrutably at her former husband's executioner. She wonders, her eyes slowly returning to her beloved, whether it is in rage or gratitude, or even jealousy. She catches a glimpse of Angelus in passing, and enjoys his conflict - proud of his woman's efforts, bitter that they are being overshadowed. He has leaned forward in his seat, and Willow sees Faith notice this, and obey the command she is sure has been issued.

Her curiosity is short-lived. Tara is stalking her latest, and probably last, victim of the night, a compact young man whose cowardice is making him poor sport, and thus - Willow is sure - whom Tara is taking special care to make a memorable spectacle of. On the other side of the arena Faith scoops up a pair of dropped blades, and flings them at the duo. Willow knows Tara better than to fear for her - she drops flat on the bed of spikes, hands and feet keeping her safely suspended less than an inch from their tips - but her would-be victim is not so skilful, and falls with his neck torn open and gushing bright arterial blood.

Willow gasps quietly as realisation spreads through her. Her hand drops to her lap, and her metal-sleeved finger rasps against her sex through the thin layers of fabric. The insult Faith has paid Tara is unmistakeable, and retribution cannot be waived. The redhead strokes herself, her chest rising and falling in excitement, like lust. Now Tara is going to fight - not perform, but truly fight.

The stagehands waste no time. The scattered platforms and walkways remaining in place flip and slide out of view, toppling the few remaining condemned to their deaths. Their passing is ignored - all eyes are on Faith, who remains upright, defiant, and Tara, balancing prone, waiting. Faith shoots a glance at her owner, seeking the formality of his blessing on the challenge he himself set in motion. A murmur passes through the crowd as Angelus raises a hand, his jewelled index finger held high. Faith's eyes turn back on Tara, staring violence toward her. She remains still, and doesn't have to look to Willow - the redhead would never deny her love anything. Willow's gold-clad raised finger signals her champion's acceptance of the challenge.

Kettle drums ring a harsh pulse over the stage - somewhere, hidden in the wings, bio-empaths are fixing their inner eyes on the combatants' hearts, and the drums will be stilled only when one of the two beats is likewise silenced. Faith takes deep breaths, readying herself, stalking. She moves easily over the spikes, her eyes never leaving Tara. Tara, in turn, pushes herself into a lazy handstand, and arches over onto her feet, poised still, balancing perfectly upright on the two needle-tips beneath the soles of her boots.

Willow is calm, the rest of the crowd, frenzied. Even Angelus sits forward in his seat, his powerful gaze set on the arena. He knows the stakes, and Willow thinks him brave enough to count the risk worthwhile. Tara could fall - the victory would be worth more to Angelus than an entire campaign, in prestige worth more than any captured spoils of war. The other spectators are far more mercenary in their excitement - their bloodlust, their common, base lust at seeing a thing of beauty destroyed, will serve them no matter who triumphs, for both Faith and Tara are legends. Tara is widely reckoned more proficient, more elegant - more controlling of herself, and her victims. Faith is wild and careless, but gains advantage both from the killing rage that drives her, and from the cocktail of stimulants and aphrodisiacs her umbilical is pumping through her body. Tara has always refused the fighting drugs, preferring to keep her mind and body her own. There have often been predictions that this would be the choice that dooms her; perhaps tonight, the spectators think, not daring to whisper it.

Willow is calm, because she knows Tara cannot be taken from her. Faith will die; or Tara, and Willow has measured the steps to the balcony rail in front of her, and the short fall to her own death beneath. Whether she will be joining her beloved in afterlife or oblivion, she doesn't know, but she will join her.

The two circle each other, two hungry tigresses with no prey between them, reconciled to the prospect of cannibalism. Faith waits longer than her impetuous nature would seem to suggest, yet eventually she makes the first move - the silver strands crossing her chest spring open, but for the topmost which hold her breasts steady, leaving her with razor-sharp spines protecting the sides of her torso. Tara betrays no surprise. Faith's hands reach to the ornament wound through her hair and bisect it, letting her brunette mane fall freely, and coming away with two half-moon blades in her grasp; again Tara remains impassive, but for a flicker of emotion which only Willow knows her well enough to see. She is pensive, re-assessing her options - Faith is threatening, and the blonde is not sure whether or not the threat is too great.

Willow surprises herself with a pang of guilt, that it was she who consented to the challenge. She comforts herself with the knowledge that Tara would never, never, turn her back on her fate. Nor would she love Willow for sheltering her - that would be to stop her being Tara. And yet, Willow is anxious, and would beg forgiveness, if Tara were standing before her.

Faith attacks, quickly, savagely - blades swinging, up, up, left, right, kick, right, forcing Tara back. Their speed is extraordinary, moving across the field of spikes like mist dancing on a lake. Tara retreats, evades, blocks now and then, using her armoured palms as tiny shields, calculating each motion to precision - half an inch here or there, and Faith would tear her hands to shreds. Willow strains to keep her composure, knowing the thrill running through Tara's body, so alike passion as to be indistinguishable. The others watch a duel, but Willow sees something akin to masturbation - Tara using the threat of death as a tool to bring herself to climax.

Tara's usual strategy would be to kick, to use the points of her toes to wound, but she has little opportunity, with balance so precarious, and her favourite target area on Faith's body guarded by her ersatz armour. She isn't retreating as a prelude to attack, she is retreating because she must.

Willow's sex tightens in animal fear, beyond her capacity to intellectualise. Faith is too fast - the drugs allow her to push her muscles further, faster, and it is too fast. Tara, dodging a kick and a slash at once, misses a step, and almost falls - slamming her palm onto a spike to steady herself, one leg dangling between the razor points, a thin red gash on her thigh from one of them.

Willow can almost feel the points piercing her, sending her to Tara.

Tara whips her head around, as if to blindly shield herself, turning away from her attacker in a moment of panic. Faith's glee is cut short as the tip of Tara's braid, encased in sapphire-dotted steel, slashes at her face, forcing her to turn away for an instant. She is proud, too proud to mar her beauty even for the few moments it would take to repair herself later.

Pride costs her her life.

Tara's hand crosses Faith's stomach, lightning-fast, gripping, pulling the umbilical from her body. A whip of metal, two feet of flexible steel, is wrenched free of her body, the tiny sub-channels branching off it cutting her navel as they are torn free, belching floods of stims, hallucinogens, combat aphrodisiacs that spill uselessly into the air. Faith howls in agony, pitches over backwards - Tara could kill her in an instant, a simple kick would topple her. She lets the brunette live a moment longer.

Tara stands and steps back, letting the audience see Angelus's champion, spewing blood and bile from her mouth, whimpering, grasping spastically at the trailing umbilical. Fifteen years of dependency on the heightening drugs invisibly wrack her now, making her retch even when her stomach has nothing to give, staining her eyes with blood as vessels burst. Tara lets it go on - it seems cruel, but Willow knows better. She is simply allowing Faith's body to torture itself, neither helping nor hindering now that the damage is done.

Faith is too proficient to die that way, though - at last her hand closed around the whipping cord, and she clutches it to her navel desperately, like a starving child seeking her mother's milk. Slowly the length snakes back inside her, rediscovering and refilling her body of its own accord. The shaking subsides, the blue tinge to Faith's skin fades as she finds her lungs at her command once more… she stands as much as she can, her balance too damaged to lift both hands without falling. She faces Tara.

Her blades have fallen - she is unarmed, and more than that, she is spent. Her survival was the first strike to overwhelm Tara, and when that failed she died. As befitting her status and reputation, she meets her death bravely.

Having allowed Faith this measure of respect, Tara wastes no time. A leaping kick proves to be a decoy for a swipe on the landing, knocking the brunette's lets from beneath her. Faith falls backwards, arms flung upward to find a spike to brace herself against - one does, one misses, and spears itself through the wrist. Willow sees the drugs take effect, slow now that their dispenser has been damaged - the moment of agony on Faith's face, then the euphoria that masks it.

Tara is atop her, pushing down. In a desperate gambit, unwilling to accept inevitable defeat, Faith bends her legs beneath herself, freeing her good hand to reach for Tara's neck. The blonde allows it - Faith can't quite reach far enough to crush her windpipe, and can only close it. Tara's face remains benevolent as Faith tries to suffocate her, and her hands remain on Faith's shoulders, slowly pushing her down.

That slow descent is all the motion they give, for a long moment - that and the heaving of Faith's chest as she hyperventilates. Tara isn't breathing, content to wait out Faith's attempt to choke her. She is rewarded when Faith relents, and in childish spite digs her fingernails into the blonde's shoulder and cuts her. Tara, breathing deeply once more, glances quickly at the superficial wounds, then leaves one hand on Faith's shoulder, takes Faith's hand in her other, and calmly impales her forearm.

Faith cries - tears streak her face, washing away the traces of blood she spat up. Tara leans closer to her and whispers, and Willow, intimately familiar with her lips, reads the words, it's alright, don't be afraid.

The blonde shifts her grip, one hand around Faith's neck, the other palm flat on her forehead, as if giving a benediction. Faith stares up at her, lost in her eyes - perhaps seeing into them for the first time.

Her eyes close. Tara looks up, and finds Willow. They connect.

A quick, brutal shove. Bone breaks, flesh parts.

The drums fall silent.

Tara stands, still fixed on Willow. The body that had been Faith remains motionless, bent backwards, one spike through each forearm, and the last, driven through the base of her skull, glinting crimson between her full lips.

Willow gives the most imperceptible of sighs. Later there will be business to attend to. Faith's body to be treated, preserved against decay and added to Tara's garden at home, a statuesque monument to this moment. In its shadow, most likely, Tara will tenderly cut a shallow gash in Willow's thigh, and dig her nails into her shoulder, so that they wear their scars together.

Angelus is gone - Faith's master left once the result of her challenge became obvious. No doubt he will exact some revenge upon Willow's household, and more blood will be spilled than that of a single performer.

But in this moment, Willow and Tara have only one thought, one acknowledgement of their shared life, not we or us, but I - I am alive.

[center]THE END[/center]

To read is human, to leave feedback, divine.

(Edited, because I can't believe I forgot to remove the HTML paragraph tags...)

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Last edited by Artemis on Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:46 am 
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:shock Wow. Just wow. That was amazing and others words with similiar and stronger meanings. I- just wow.
It was incredible how you managed to mix the beauty and brutality together in the movements of Tara and her fighting. I am completing inraptured by this one Chris. :bow :clap

I am completely speechless.

P.S. The outfits and you're descriptions of them are remarkable. I loved how Tara's was so revealing yet somewhat modist when compared to what others were wearing.
I would have also would have loved to actually see this battle over spikes, I can't help but think to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, with the scene of the two fighters running on the water. That's how I saw this battle, only with spikes instead of water and even better fighting movements.

:applause :applause :applause

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:19 pm 
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Artemis

Wow...that's all I can say...I was thinking fluff pieces when I made this challenge, but...WOW...the buildup and anticipation, the slow tease and the final climax and completion...good metaphor...twisted and deeply disturbing, but very well written...and a gold star for use of the word susurration!

Good job...and at the same time <full body shudder>

umgaynow/Sandi


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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:47 am 
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Chris, that must count as one of the most intense and powerful fics I've ever read. It isn't our world, is it? It's one where human life is worth nothing, where the demand for entertainment and the need to prolong the sensations of sex are intertwined. You used the metaphor so well here. The pursuit = dating; sizing each other up = foreplay; and of course the well known le petit mort which results in a true mort.

Willow's position and power was so absolute; her every motion and expression so well studied by the masses. But unlike the Angelus / Faith relationship, this relationship between the Queen and her Death Dream is that of equals, and that is what makes them so pwerful.

Tara is the very picture of desirability in this story. From her attire, to her countenance, to the way she performs the death rituals.
Quote:
She is beautiful - a dream, truly.

But of course she belongs to one and one only.

Quote:
Tara looks up, and finds Willow. They connect.

There is no actual sex here, as per the requirements of the challenge. But what you have shown us is something far more raw and powerful than sex. They kill together. Every person that Tara kills is for her Willow.
Quote:
Tara will tenderly cut a shallow gash in Willow's thigh, and dig her nails into her shoulder, so that they wear their scars together.

And that to me, reaches through their bodies and souls and to levels deeper than sex.

Awesome, Taskmaster.
[br]

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:32 pm 
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:applause Gotta say that I really enjoyed this. I have never read anything quite like this before.

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 5:19 pm 
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Chris
What a dark and evil world you've portrayed. Your descriptions of the lavish surroundings, clothing and jewellery along with Willow's hauteur emphasise that this is a world where power and privilege are ruthlessly applied. And then the 'performance' turns out to be something along the lines of the Ancient Romans gladiator fights to the death, with a dissimilar imbalance in the combatants ... until Faith challenges Tara.

Your descriptions of F&T's costumes (beautiful, by the way. I'd love to see you do those as images for your gallery.?) and fighting styles - one almost frenzied, the other languid, controlled, and horribly empathic with the victim - heightened the impact of those scenes and presented a stunning visual. Willow's casual reference to Tara's 'garden' gave me the cold grues.

The interaction between W&T, their awareness of each other, and the moment when Tara finally looked at Willow conveyed their connection and desire like one of those sensual latin dances: circling, swaying, strutting, apparently unaware but actually totally focussed on their partner, culminating in a passionate union.

Colour me impressed.
Anne

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:16 pm 
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You know, Chris, I really shouldn't be doing this. I'm supposed to be writing. I'm sure watty will have a few choice words for me when she sees that I'm replying here rather than focusing on my word count. But, I had to stop in and say a few words.

I took the opportunity to quickly read through your story last night. I haven't been able to do a thorough read, but I will. You know how I am about your stories -- I can't read them just once.

I had to tell you though, before my careful reading of this story, how beautiful I think it is. 'Beautiful' seems an odd word to describe the evil and violence depicted in this tale. But it's the one that comes to mind. Somehow you have found a way to turn the fighting and gore into a beautifully choreographed dance. It's graceful. In some ways, it's delicate. Okay, perhaps Faith's fighting style/tactics can't be described as 'delicate', but it's certainly graceful.

Watty told me that there was a good possibility that I wouldn't like this story because of the blood and gore. She knows I'm a rather sensitive soul when it comes to things like that. But, you wrote it. Therefore, I had to read it. And, yes, there is blood and gore and killing and extreme violence and pure evil here. Truly, you've created anti-Willow and anti-Tara. But there is something so compelling in these characters. Their connection, their committment -- so clear. So wonderful.

Okay, I know I'm not making sense right about now. So, I will end it there. Like I said, I just wanted to add my voice to the cries of "OMG!" Well done, Chris.

Carleen

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:48 pm 
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Chris,
I feel that my feedback will not be able to live up to the power of this piece. When I saw the first part, I was absolutely moved, yet that hint of what was to come was just that: a hint. This is so much more. This piece is absolutely beautiful in its power and richness. It is one of the most finely crafted strories I've ever seen. The opulence and grandeur of the setting is described with such care and detail that it makes the reader almost seem to be there (shudder to think). The descriptions could lead the reader to think that the event will be an opera or symphony. Instead: evil gladiators! Or something to that effect. Both Faith & Tara are powerful and evil instruments of death. Their contrast is so well described. Faith, the on the table, insane and drugged killer and Tara, the Dream. Tara seems fully performer, almost artist with her skills.

It is incredibly impressive that you are able to convey such a level of committment and love between Willow and Tara although they never speak, never touch, and barely make eye contact throughout. In fact, the entire story is told from Willow's pov, yet we know absolutely the depth of their committment to each other. Willow's calm and passionate acceptance that she will join Tara should Tara fall, in other settings would seem foolish, wasteful. Here it seems absolutely right. Their relationship is obviously perverse, twisted, evil, yet is is lovely in its own way.

Bravo!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:22 pm 
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That was just surreal. Chilling. I've been replaying, rereading your words in my mind and on my screen. I loved every moment, every word, every space, every image your descriptions evoked. Goodness, I need my thesaurus for another way of saying outrageously beautiful.

And what I loved the most (though you had no real control over it) was the fact that your story brought me into a universe similar to the book I'm reading. Though you are anything but sparse with your descriptions, especially those of the armor/outfits/costumes which were absolutely striking, there was like a deceptive placidity overlaying your story. Even when you described how the victims were killed, how they were brought to the point at which they needed to beg for mercy, there was this calm that lay like a sheet over the events that unfolded. Oh God, and that's what was so wonderful. The peace between Tara and Willow was just reflected through the flow, the structure, and just... maybe it's not what you intended but I just got that feeling from it.

What a beautiful creation. I'm going to gushing for the next week or so!

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:18 pm 
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Artemis, I read this a few days ago and I've been trying to compose adequate feedback but I'm not sure anything I say will do justice to the magnificient setting you've created. I found it to be deliciously sinister. I wanted to stop reading because it was disturbing to picture Willow and Tara like this, but it was like a horrifying accident (yet so exquisitely written) that I just couldn't turn away.

While reading, I was picturing the Romans sending the Christians to be eaten by lions. And, oh but what a lovely pair of lionesses you've created with Tara and Faith. The contrast in their killing styles is perfect. Faith is fast and reckless, while Tara is so much more artistic in how she delivers her torture.

The scene you've painted is so vivid and frightening. Just brilliant. Thank you for sharing.

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:18 pm 
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Well, Chris. Well. The subject matter so cruel and gory, and your writing is so beautiful and elegant. What an intersection. WOW. This story draws out like a thin deadly blade glistening in the moonlight - there are hard edges and sharp points and glittering metal.

Like watty, I also was struck by the image of Tara and Willow later on cutting a gash into her thigh and fingernail marks into her shoulder so they wear their scars together. They are truly one, or as close as they can be.

This fic is chilling, and powerful, and reeks of evil, but also beauty, and love, and commitment, and the need to feel things or create intense situations because in their world, it's how people know they're alive. I'm not sure if I can sum up the feeling that your fic created in me - it's a creepy feeling, but not in a bad way, if that makes sense. Really great stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:20 pm 
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Title: Squeeze These Plump Melons
Author: SallyMcFine
Feedback: Yes!
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, and there are no financial fruits coming my way from this story.
Setting: Contemporary

[hr]

Willow pushed her shopping cart around the knot of people who surrounded the display of fruit. "FRESH LOCALLY-GROWN PRODUCE," a sign proclaimed, and the yuppies that frequented this grocery store couldn't seem to get enough of them.

"Look at the size of those blueberries!" one woman said. She held up the carton for her friend to see.

"They must be organic," her friend said. "No pesticides to stunt their growth."

Willow rolled her eyes. These people wouldn't know organic produce if it bit them on the nose. In her experience, organic fruits and vegetables were rarely uniformly plump and perfect. The very lack of pesticides meant that some of the fruit fell prey to bugs and competing weeds. Her sharp eyes noted that the sign didn't say "organic" anywhere; California laws were strict about what kind of produce could be labeled organic. Clearly whatever company was selling the berries was hoping that people would associate "locally grown" with the coveted "organic" label. From the looks of the crowd, it seemed to be working.

"Excuse me," she said, allowing her irritation to seep through. A man moved slightly to allow her by, and she pushed past.

Willow didn't like this particular grocery store - it was too often crowded with the kinds of yuppie posers that were now in her way, especially in the evenings. But its convenience could not be denied - it was right on her ten-minute drive home from work, and the other grocery store was fifteen minutes in the opposite direction, a drive she didn't feel like facing in rush-hour traffic. She blew her bangs upward in frustration as she finally moved past the throng of berry-pickers.

She selected a head of romaine lettuce, inspecting it critically for signs of wilt before putting it into a plastic bag. Pushing her cart to the left, she began to head down the apple aisle when she stopped in her tracks.

Before her stood a vision. A blonde girl was at the end of the aisle in front of the cantaloupe display testing the melons. As Willow watched, transfixed, she picked up a melon and held it to the side of her ear while she rapped on it gently with her knuckles. Apparently not liking what she heard, she selected another one and knocked on it. This melon apparently passed muster, and she brought the end of it to her nose. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply, and slowly let out her breath with a rapturous sigh. She placed the melon carefully in her shopping cart and moved away.

Willow watched her as she walked down the aisle. She was dressed in a pair of hip-hugging navy blue track pants with a white stripe down the sides, and a form-fitting gray shirt that outlined the swell of her breasts and hips. Her blonde hair was caught up in a ponytail, and on her feet were a pair of gray running shoes with red eyelets. Her gaze strayed to the girl's butt, which was toned and round while still conveying a sense of pliable softness.

But most compelling of all were her eyes and face. Her eyes were large and even at this distance Willow could tell that they were a striking blue. She had features that were at once delicate and warm - graceful cheekbones, a perfectly shaped chin, adorable ears. She wore no makeup, and for that Willow was grateful - her beauty needed no accent, and any embellishment would have only served to distract from her perfection. The combination of casual clothing with such beauty inflamed Willow's fantasies. There was just something about a gorgeous woman in sweat pants that brought up all sorts of fantasies about the gym...

"EXCUSE ME."

Willow jerked out of her reverie and mumbled "Sorry," to the annoyed man behind her. In her stupor over seeing the blonde, she had blocked the entire apple aisle. She hurriedly pushed her cart to the end of the aisle. She cast a guilty glance around and picked up the cantaloupe that the blonde girl had discarded and put it in her cart.

Rounding the corner into the dairy aisle, she caught sight of the blonde up ahead. She was perusing the selection of gourmet cheese. Willow pushed her cart casually to the center display of yogurt that was on sale - two for one - and pretended to rummage around for different flavors as she watched the blonde out of the corner of her eye.

The girl took as much care in the selection of her cheeses as she had with the melons, inspecting the small wheels of brie and camembert, turning them this way and that, reading the expiration date, and holding them briefly to her nose before deciding they were okay. She put these into her cart also and moved on to the milk.

Willow absently put a few tubs of yogurt into her car as she watched the girl. The milk at the front of the dairy case usually had an expiration date that was sooner than the milk toward the back, and the blonde seemed to know this as well, bending over and rummaging until she selected a half-gallon of 2% milk. Willow's hand stilled in the yogurt bin as she was presented with this vision of the girl's round butt. Her gray shirt pulled up as she bent over, exposing a strip of creamy white skin. Willow thought her eyes would pop out of her head.

"Are you going to stand there with your hand in the yogurt all day, or can someone else have a turn?"

Willow started, coming to her senses. "Sorry," she muttered to the impatient woman behind her. She tossed one more yogurt into her cart and moved on, following the blonde girl who had disappeared from view into the next aisle.

She had a moment of panic when the girl wasn't in the fruit juice aisle, but relaxed when she saw her in the deli meat section. She was holding a kielbasa in her hands, reading the nutrition label.

Willow's mouth went dry at the sight. The kielbasa was almost the same shape and size as a vibrator she had at home, and once the association had sprung to mind, she couldn't shake it. In her mind's eye, she saw the girl standing naked in her bedroom holding the vibrator with one hand as she fastened the straps around her waist, looking up at Willow through lowered lashes, with dilated pupils and unmistakable intent.

Cut it out, Rosenberg. You're in public.

She shook her head and watched as the blonde placed the kielbasa in her shopping cart. With horror, she noticed that her momentary flight of fancy had apparently had some side effects, as she saw her nipples poking against her shirt.

This would be the day I wore a camisole and no bra. I should go to the freezer section and cool down. Wait, that would just make it worse.

"Do you mind, miss?" said an exasperated voice behind her.

Willow turned to see a backlog of three shoppers behind her - a woman with two children in her cart, and the two people she had already previously blocked. "Sorry," she mumbled, moving her cart to one side to let them pass.

"Honestly, I hate this grocery store," said one of the women to the others as they walked by. "There are all these spacey twentysomethings here who think it's their own personal playground. Some of us have to get home to make dinner."

Willow would normally have taken umbrage at such a statement, but right now she was too distracted by the blonde girl to notice. As soon as the people had turned down the aisle, she pushed her cart in hot pursuit.

She walked by the aisles, glancing down each one as she passed. Canned vegetables - no blonde. Coffee and tea - not there either. Condiments - devoid. Baking supplies - ahhhh, there she was, standing in front of the assortment of icing and frosting, hands on her hips as she surveyed the large selection.

Willow's mind again strayed as she thought about frosting. It wasn't unheard of for her to sit down on the couch to watch a movie on a Friday night and consume an entire can of frosting, much to her friends' disgust. She didn't know what it was, there was just something about frosting that she liked more than ice cream, or cookies, or even the cake that normally accompanied it. And with recent images fresh in her mind, her traitorous brain conjured up a picture of the blonde girl with frosting smeared all over her luscious boobs, a dollop on her nipples, a line of frosting descending from between her breasts down her belly to the top of her...

"What we need here is a good doily," the blonde said.

"What?" Willow blurted out, before she could stop herself.

The blonde glanced up. "Oh, sorry," she said with a little laugh. "I was talking to myself - I do that sometimes."

Willow's heart was hammering wildly in her chest. "Oh, no problem, I talk to myself all the time," she said, hoping that her elevated heartbeat didn't make her voice quaver. "Did you say a doily?"

The blonde nodded. "It's a brand of frosting that we have in my hometown," she said. "Doily Madison."

Willow winced.

"I know," the girl said ruefully, nodding her head. "Awful name, isn't it? But their frosting is just heavenly. I've never tasted anything like it. And I'm not really sure what to buy now - I haven't made a cake in ages."

Willow cleared her throat. "Well, it just so happens that I'm a bit of an expert on frosting," she said. "I've tried most of these flavors at one time or another, and if you like chocolate, this is definitely the best." She reached down to the bottom of the shelf and picked up a can of Betty Crocker triple-fudge extra-chocolaty frosting.

The blonde accepted the can studied it. She pulled off the plastic top but stared in disappointment at the safety seal.

"Bummer," she said. "I was going to taste it to see if it's really as good as you say."

Willow smiled. "Well, trust me. It's really that good - and better. Tell you what - if you take it home and taste it and don't like it, then I'll buy it from you."

The blonde tilted her head to the side and gave Willow a half-smile. "Okay. I'll take you up on that."

"My name is Willow."

"Willow - that's a pretty name," she responded. "I'm Tara."

"Tara," Willow repeated with a smile, extending her hand, which Tara grasped and shook firmly. It may have been her imagination, but it seemed to Willow that Tara held her hand for slightly longer than was strictly necessary.

"Um, hey," Willow said as they dropped each others' hand. "I notice that you have some melons. I mean, one melon," she said hastily. "A cantaloupe. I was wondering, I don't know how to tell if they're ripe. Would you mind telling me if mine is?" She indicated the melon in her shopping cart.

"Oh, sure thing," Tara responded. She reached over and picked up the cantaloupe and held it up to her ear. Willow watched as she rapped on it with her knuckles.

"It's not ripe," she said.

"How can you tell?"

"Come on, I'll show you," Tara said, indicating with her head that Willow should follow her as she pushed her shopping cart down the aisle back to the produce stand.

Willow followed, trying desperately not to stare at Tara's butt the entire time. And not succeeding. Tara swung her hips slightly as she walked - it didn't seem to be an affectation; rather, it was simply her way. Willow let out a little sigh of pleasure.

Tara parked her cart near the pile of cantaloupes and put Willow's original melon to the side. "The thing about cantaloupes," she said, "is that there are two ways to tell if they're ripe. First, you thump it," she demonstrated, holding the melon near her ear.

"What is it supposed to sound like?"

"Well, it's supposed to sound kind of hollow..."

"Hollow?" Willow frowned in confusion, trying to work that out.

"Well, not hollow exactly," Tara said. "Resonant. Here, listen to this." She held the melon up near Willow's ear and rapped on it. "Hear that?"

Willow nodded.

"Now listen to this one," Tara said, picking up the melon she had declared as unripe. She thumped it near Willow's ear.

Comprehension dawned on Willow's face. "I get it," she said. "That one sounds kinda...more solid."

Tara nodded. "As the melon ripens, it gets a lot softer and juicier," she said. Willow unconsciously licked her lips as Tara said 'juicier.' "The fruit is a lot more pliable, and silky. If you cut it open, the juice will run all over the counter if you're not careful."

"Sounds dangerous," Willow offered weakly. She was having a hard time keeping control of herself, as images of Tara sprawled atop the mound of cantaloupes, all ripe and soft and juicy, kept intruding into her mind.

"Now the second thing is smell," Tara said, picking up the ripe melon and caressing it gently. She held the end up to her nose and inhaled. "Ahhhhhhh," she said, the same rapturous expression flitting across her face as before. "There's nothing like a ripe cantaloupe."

She proffered the melon to Willow, but didn't relinquish her grip when the redhead took hold of the globe. "Smell it," she urged.

With nary a thought to the spectacle the two of them must be creating in the produce section, both holding on to the same cantaloupe, Willow leaned forward to smell it.

The sweet, succulent scent of a ripe cantaloupe drifted up into her nostrils, and seemed to reach into the furthest recesses of her brain. A soft Oh escaped Willow's mouth and she closed her eyes. It seemed to her that she had never smelled a ripe cantaloupe in her life before this one. The heavenly scent seemed to reach out and caress her cheek.

Actually, something was caressing her cheek. She opened her eyes to see Tara looking at her with dilated pupils, her chest rising and falling with elevated breath, and Tara's hand cupping her cheek.

"I really like cantaloupes," Tara said, reaching around to the back of Willow's neck to run her fingers through the redhead's hair.

Willow let out a whimper. "I can see why," she whispered as Tara ran her nails along her neck and traced her jawline with a knuckle.

"I can't wait to take this ripe cantaloupe home and cut it open, all juicy and squishy on the counter, and drink the juice, and run my tongue all along the hollow where the seeds are, and sink my teeth into the succulent flesh."

Willow was speechless.

"Willow," Tara breathed.

"Yes?"

"Would you like to come home with me and have some of this plump, ripe melon?"

Willow's eyes widened. She didn't know what goddess she had pleased to have this offering made to her, but she wasn't about to pass it up. "More than anything," she said, following Tara to the checkout line.

"Do you want to put that yogurt in my cart so we can check out faster?" Tara asked. The yogurt was the only thing in Willow's cart.

"Oh, um, not really. I don't really want it," Willow said.

"That's right, you were only pretending to shop for yogurt when you were watching me," Tara replied as she unloaded her groceries onto the belt.

"Wh-what?" Willow stammered, momentarily thrown for a loop.

"You were watching me, right?" Tara said. Beet red, Willow nodded. Tara laughed. "I thought so. Why do you think I bent over to get the milk on the bottom shelf? I had to pique your interest some way."

Willow blushed even further as she helped Tara remove the groceries from her cart. Her hand stilled on the can of frosting.

"I have a confession to make," Tara said as the cashier rang up her purchases.

"What's that?"

"I'm not really baking a cake."

"Then why did you buy frosting?"

"I was hoping that you would talk to me," Tara said. "I've seen you here before, and I've noticed your frosting obsession."

Willow's eyebrows shot up. "You've noticed me before?"

Tara's eyes crinkled in a smile and she nodded. "Quite a few times, actually."

"Well, if you're not baking a cake, do you still want this frosting?"

Tara nodded again. "Oh, I think we'll find a use for it," she said as she swiped her credit card through the machine and picked up a bag. Willow stepped forward and picked up the other bag, allowing the cashier to place the receipt inside. She followed Tara out the door, eyes still fixed on Tara's bottom.

"Damn kids," said the cashier to his next customer as the redhead and the blonde left the store. "Why can't they just go to a singles bar like everyone else?"

"Tell me about it," replied the next customer. "They think this store is their own personal meat market."

THE END

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Last edited by FineyMcFine on Wed Dec 28, 2005 8:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 5:16 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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That was erally sexy and sweet. I have only one comment though about the following line:

Quote:
She shook her head and watched as Tara placed the kielbasa in her shopping cart.


Um, correct me if I am wrong, but at this point Willow hasn't yet learned Tara's name, and because Willow doesn't know it, in the narrative you have created, neither should we.

I know, I know, I'm being obsessive and picky. But I thought you might like to note the inconsistency.

Otherwise though, I really enjoyed it!!

Cheers
DW

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 5:51 pm 
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Ack, you're right, DW! I'm going to go edit the post. Whoopsie! :blush

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:14 am 
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LMAO, Sally...that was great! I've never quite had that experience when shopping for melons. I must be doing something wrong. :-D Thanks for the laugh.

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:36 am 
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Sally,
How adorable. I love that Willow starts out so irritated with the store and the way it is and then gives up that irritation to join into causing trouble for the other shoppers. Way to be a completely adorable hypocrite! Seriously, nice to see Tara playing Willow so well. I mean the melons and bending over for the milk and then asking about the frosting? Lol. So very well done.

On this line
Quote:
"They think this store is their own personal meat market."
I probably would have gone with the homonym but it works either way. Well done.

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 4:39 am 
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Sally: :lmao I love the image you painted of Tara as an everyday-grocery-shopping-sexy-goddess - the track pants, sneakers, her hair in a ponytail, she's the epitome of 'sexy casual'. And she sure snared Willow good :) I was really tickled to find she'd done it on purpose, knowing Willow was watching - that added a touch of spice to the already-spicy proceedings :x And the periodic interruptions from other customers (who hadn't noticed Tara's hotness, what's wrong with them?) kept the story moving along nicely, and provided a kind of tempo that I enjoyed reading. If that makes any sense at all. In conclusion, yay :bow

And now, some feedback-feedback:

Missocki: Thanks :) I hadn't thought of the running across the lake bit in Crouching Tiger, but now that you mention it, that's a very good visual of what I was hoping for - to be honest, I only had a vague idea of what the motions of the women over the spikes would look like. Thanks also about the outfits, that's exactly what I was trying for: Tara's outfit being at the same time revealing, and concealing (at least, compared to Faith).

Sandi: Thank you. My first thought on reading your challenge was fluff too - I honestly can't remember how the idea of a deathmatch turned up in my head, now that I think back. It's somewhat like stories I've done before, in my days as a Warhammer 40k writer - I used to like writing 'evil stories', with no heroes, just villains fighting other villains. Although (without planning it) I tended to always have the dramatic, enthusiastic villain triumph over the mundane, uncreative villain - which happened here too, in the conflict between Willow and Angelus. 'Full body shudder' is pretty much the reaction I hoped for, so thanks :)

(As for 'sussuration', I like the word... re-reading it, 'amalgam-sussuration' sounds like something China Mieville would write, and I recall I was reading Iron Council when I started writing this, so there's probably some influence there.)

Watty: Thanks. Well, it's kind of our world - I tried to keep the introduction vague about what, exactly, the setting was, but some hints crept in later on that it's something far-future-ish. I was kind of picturing the rise of a new Roman-style empire spreading across the galaxy, then slowly decaying (pretty much like the real Roman empire, sans the spaceships). I didn't actually plan the metaphor in as much detail as you mentioned, but it did kind of pan out that way - I guess I must have figured it out on some level. Or I just got lucky, one or the other.

I did really have fun with Angelus being essentially impotent against Willow - he wants so much to have the power she has, but he doesn't understand what it is, so he'll never get it. I did kind of think that Angelus and Faith were equals too, though - they each regarded the other with the same mix of lust and disgust.
Quote:
But what you have shown us is something far more raw and powerful than sex. They kill together.

Yes, that's it. Probably literally, in many instances - the slightly freaky thing is that I've got plenty more material about the Evil Lovebirds, probably enough for a story or two. But I think that'd be gratuitous - I'm happy to leave this fic as is, just a glimpse into their world.

Caz: Thanks :) I've never written anything like this before, for Willow and Tara at any rate. It was interesting to try to find the characters with their moral centres completely inverted, yet in other ways still themselves.

Anne: Thank you. I felt it was important to retain Tara's natural empathy - without that, it seemed to me she wouldn't really be Tara (and hence, the whole story would just be a gratuitous kill-fest). Ironically, that made Evil Tara all the more horrific, because she can really connect with her victims as human beings, and still kill them. As for her and Faith's wardrobe, I didn't base them on anything existing (that I know of), so Photoshop won't be able to help (and my artistic skills freehand suck mightily), but it's possible I may be able to figure something out. I like your latin dance analogy - another one (like Missocki and Crouching Tiger) that I hadn't planned, but that seemed to turn up on its own, which I'm grateful for.

Carleen: Thanks for braving the chastisement of Watty to leave feedback :D Anti-Willow and Anti-Tara is a good way to describe them - they are that, but (I hope) they're definitely not un-Willow or un-Tara. I kind of fell back on my Star Trek experience, with the mirror universe - the idea (at least initially) was that the mirror-Kirk, mirror-Spock, et al, were the same characters, but morally inverted. That's what I tried to do. Plus all the fighting, which I took on as a kind of technical challenge - I admit, the notion of writing a 'beautiful' kill was enticing, just to see if I could do it.

Elvis: Thanks :D I did keep the nature of the 'performance' vague on purpose, up until the big reveal. In a way, that helped me with the early stages too - I had fun playing with the idea of this very prestigious venue, sort of like a grand old opera house, which in turn made the contrast between the audience and what it is they like watching much more stark. 'Evil gladiators' is as good a name as any - though I changed the setting all over the place (mostly just making stuff up as I went), I had the idea of Wyches from Warhammer 40k in mind, and that provided the notion of killing as a performance art, as well as the idea of Faith's combat drugs. That part with Willow being ready to kill herself, essentially without hesitation, was something I rewrote a few times before I was happy with it - I knew it would work, but it wasn't easy to get it into the narrative smoothly.

Beanie: Thanks. I did try to have a kind of peace between Willow and Tara throughout - as it was from Willow's point of view, I tried to show that in the way that Willow pretty much automatically accepted whatever Tara did. I think it comes from the pair of them knowing their destinies - whether Tara lives or dies, Willow goes with her, and vice versa. I think, in their minds, that reduces everything else in importance. They have preferences about which way events may go, but in their minds, it doesn't really matter.

Tiggrscorpio: Thank you. I was actually hoping this would generate conflicting feelings - obviously I didn't want it to be completely ugly, and if anyone found it completely beautiful, that's a bit of a worry... I like the dualities in it: Tara vs Faith, Willow vs Angelus, civilised cruelty vs barbaric destruction. And blurring the lines between those was fun too :) I mean, who is more evil, Angelus because he probably doesn't much understand or care how he hurts people, or Willow because she does, yet she does it anyway?

Sally: Thanks. I should give credit for that identical scarring thing, I was inspired by 'The Scar' by Chine Mieville on that one. Although in that the two Lovers scar each other, which as the book mentions ends up being somewhat masturbatory at the length they take it to. I like the idea of Willow and Tara not doing it for pleasure - or rather, the pleasure they take is in being one, so if Tara had come through unscathed she and Willow would be equally pleased to just remain as they are, rather than just cutting each other for pleasure as The Scar's Lovers do. So it's kind of the same action, but with a different reason driving it. And it worked to reinforce the bond between the two of them - they share the responsibility and consequences of what they do. Willow experiences the same pain as Tara from her injury (and would have died the same, if it had gone that way), and she's just as much Faith's killer as Tara is. Like canon W&T, they share everything :)

Well folks, that's it from me - time to go write some Smut Bunnies :D

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:53 am 
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14. Lesbo Street Cred
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Sallypants

What fun! Sweetness and light, MELONS!!! MELONS!!! MELONS!!!

Love how Willow snorts at the yuppies in the store, posing and generally cluttering up space. Would it be that the other shoppers who had to ask her to free up some space think the same thing of her? snerk.

Quote:
hip-hugging navy blue track pants with a white stripe down the sides, and a form-fitting gray shirt that outlined the swell of her breasts and hips. Her blonde hair was caught up in a ponytail, and on her feet were a pair of gray running shoes with red eyelets.

:lol sounds like an entry in the What are you wearing thread. Seriously, I like the details, the trackpants (oooh, Debra isn't gonna be pleased, she doesn't like trackpants :P) has a white stripe; the shirt isn't just gray, it's form-fitting; and the red eyelets on the sneakers! But most of all, a carefree ponytail. Sigh. S-e-x-y. Tara must have looked like an angel.

Laughed at the constant rude interruptions Willow is getting. But dayum, the care that Tara put into choosing her melons, her cheeses, the 2%, the frosting. Oh btw, I looked up Doily Madison frosting, it um seems to be a figment of Tara's imagination. [*and Sally rolls her eyes at watty*] :P

I don't think they need frosting to have a good time though.
Quote:
"That's right, you were only pretending to shop for yogurt when you were watching me," Tara replied as she unloaded her groceries onto the belt.

Love how Tara tells Willow that she knows. And she wants too.

Good stuff, this fluff.
[br]

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 5:57 pm 
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Sally: Oh, man. I can't believe how funny I found this fic. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to like it when I started reading it, but by the end, I was just laughing. There's something to be said about semi-hidden innuendo.

Chris: Dude, everytime I read one of your fics, I manage to be surprised. I mean, I never thought you could top "Smut Bunnies", and then you wrote "Gold". And then I though that there was no way you could top that, and then you wrote this. And then I thought that there was no way you could top that, and then you wrote "Stardate: Christmas Eve". Honestly, if I could write fic as great as you did (smut or otherwise), I wouldn't exactly be hung up on writing as I am.

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:23 pm 
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DarkWiccan:

Hey DW, thank you so much both for the feedback and the quick catching of the little mistakey-poo with Willow not being supposed to know what Tara's name was yet. I'm usually somewhat obsessive too about that kind of continuity stuff so I REALLY appreciate your letting me know. Thank you!

[hr]

VMarie

Hey Marie - I've never had that experience shopping for melons too but I don't think that either of us are doing anything wrong. :) Glad you liked it, thanks!

[hr]

JustSkipIt

Hey Debra, hee hee! Yeah, I get annoyed at grocery stores sometimes but when I'm in a browsing mood I'm guilty of what bugs Willow too, so hey, karma at work even in the most mundane of places. Actually I always have been somewhat obsessed with grocery stores as meeting/hookup places and for a while I thought I would meet the love of my life at a grocery store. While I didn't (I met her at work), I decided to write it up for Willow and Tara.

I think you're right; the homonym of "meet market" would have been funnier. I had also thought about having WT really having had been together for a few years and using the grocery store routine as a way to spice up their lives, but decided not to go in that direction. Anyway...thanks!

[hr]

Artemis

Hiya Chris, sexy casual rules! There's something about really attractive women dressed up in casual/workout clothing that I like a lot - much more so than formal wear and heavy makeup, etc. And yes, vixeny Tara being on to Willow and playing her like a violin is additional grist for the mill. Thank you!

[hr]

watson

wattytrackpants! Hee hee. Yeah, I wanted to write some fluff-o-rama after the very pensive process of writing Candle. I'm sure the other shoppers think Willow is a bit of a spacey gal and an annoying shopper for sure.

I'll have you know, watson, that I briefly had written Tara as wearing navy capri sweat pants but I decided against it ultimately because it was too self-serving and the full-length navy track pants with the stripe seemed sexier, dunno why. I love me some hot chicks in workout clothes, lemme tellya.

I must say that the care Tara puts into selecting her food is probably analogous to the care watty puts into selecting her food, am I right? At least your gourmet cheeses. Doily Madison frosting isn't real - it was a play on words of the "Dolly Madison" brand of snack cakes that are big here in the USA. Not eye rolling so much as an affectionate "Oh, that watty!" Thank you very much, my friend.

[hr]

SithLordWiccan

Hm, this is the second time in a feedback you have told me that you weren't expecting to like it! Should I be paranoid? :) Anyway, thanks for letting me know that you thought it was funny - I appreciate it very much.

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:08 pm 
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SallyMcFine wrote:
SithLordWiccan

Hm, this is the second time in a feedback you have told me that you weren't expecting to like it! Should I be paranoid?


Not really. That time I was worried because of all the angst involved. This time it was because of the whole camp factor. It was funny, but not exactly what I thought I would like.

Nevertheless, it was good.

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Last edited by SithLordWiccan on Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:13 pm 
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loved this :lol :lol
Quote:
"I notice that you have some melons. I mean, one melon"


Great story...funny and informative, I had no clue about tapping/listening to a rockmelon to tell if it's ripe.


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 Post subject: Re: Smut Challenge...of sorts
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 5:27 pm 
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hin768

Thank you; I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And yeah - the thumping of the melon isn't necessarily as reliable as the smelling of it. It should smell strongly of cantaloupe and it'll be ripe and juicy if it does. Thank you! :)

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