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

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 Post subject: 'Home is Where...' (updated 9/2/08)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:16 am 
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17. Mega-Witches
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Hi, Kittens!

This is my first fic, with all that that implies, so... well, just be advised. :)

It's very AU, set in a post-apocalyptic world where people live in small communities, and the entire way the world works is in accordance with the paradigm of each community. Like each community is a world of its own, with its own gods, magics, and general ways-that-things-work.
Occasionally someone will be born into a community that they just don't fit into, and when that happens they tend to wander until they find a place that is right for them. Until they find home.
Most of the story is set in Newhaven Plateau, a community that sometimes doubles as a sort of halfway-house for these 'misfits' to stay while they learn to more fully know themselves. Sometimes, they end up staying.

All feedback is appreciated! OK... ((deep breath)) Here goes!


Last edited by thiswomanswork on Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:32 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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 Post subject: Chapter 1
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:52 am 
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[center]Image[/center]

[center]Chapter 1: Home is where you find yourself.[/center]

Rating (by chapter): PG. There will be smut, but not for some chapters yet!
Disclaimer: Willow, Tara, and any other Mutant Enemy characters that might creep in are not mine. Nobody's getting paid for this, and that's really just fine.
Feedback: Yes, please!
Distribution: Oh, anywhere is fine, just ask first? I like knowing where it goes.
Spoilers: None, it's AU.
Notes: Many thanks to dlline, for looking the first chapter over and pointing out some places I could improve.

Summary: Tara, a 14-year old gifted (or cursed) with telempathic powers and cast out of her tribe, comes to the settlement of Newhaven Plateau looking for help, home, and family.

As she approached the building that had been pointed out to her, the girl wondered if she had made a mistake. The building was unremarkable for the area, being an old two-story house from the time before, and she could see nothing to mark it out as a library.

As she hesitantly stepped inside, however, she found it a very different story. The building had clearly been thoroughly converted, all the usual wall-decorations replaced by the shelves of hardcovers and paperbacks that now surrounded her. Even the smell was distinctive--a musty paper scent that, while subtle, was pervasive.

She breathed deeply, finding the scent comforting, and allowed a bit of her tension to drain, the comfort of having come to the right place a much-needed balm for her nerves.

Thank goodness it's the right building. Now, to find who's here...

Bookshelves in various states of fullness greeted her eyes as she stepped into the main room. She quickly glanced around, but saw no one; merely a large open space amongst the bookshelves, full of tables and chairs. She considered calling out, announcing her presence, but found herself not wanting to break the silence.

She wandered amidst the tables, feeling out of place yet somehow comfortable with that. On one of the tables lay a neatly-stacked pile of books, which she leaned over to examine.

"The Serpent and the Rainbow," she quietly read, brushing aside the strands of blonde hair that fell over her face, "Modern Rites of the Mother, Hekerzan's Grimoire, Sacred Magicks of Abra-Melin... Secrets of the Left-Handed Hummingbird?"

"Oh, it's fine," said a loud voice from a few feet behind her, causing the girl to jump in shock. "It's not really about a bird with hands or anything."

She spun around, her heart trying to escape her chest, and found a girl her own age, maybe a little younger, standing there. She had fiery red hair and a very welcoming smile, which was a little hard to see, because her mouth was still moving at ninety miles an hour.

"Well, I say it's fine," she continued, her green eyes bright and eager, "but really, even though it's not about a scary mutant bird or anything, it's actually about an ancient and really bloody death-god... the name's a literal sort of translation of Huitzlpoctli, which sort of means, 'the warrior god that sits in the left side--that's the South--of the heavens'. Lots of ritual sacrifices and stuff, with hearts being cut out and big pyramids and... you don't want to hear about it. I mean, I don't want to hear about it, and I'm reading it!" She frowned, tilting her head a little. "Not that I don't enjoy the reading, of course, it's just that I'm taking more of a... scholarly interest in it, than a practical. 'Cause I'm all up on the magics and things, don't get me wrong, I'm definitely study-girl, but not so much with the heart-removal. Oh! And I'm Willow, hi. I mean, it's just like me to get all nervous meeting someone new, and go on babbling for five minutes about Aztec sacrifices and not even give you my name... well, not usually about Aztec sacrifices, it's not a subject that's on my mind a lot, obviously, except for now when it doesn't seem like I can shut up about it!" Willow's eyes had grown a bit wide, as though she was watching her words go by like a stampede, but wasn't quite able to stop them. "But I can shut up about it, and I am going to... right now!" She took a couple of breaths. "See?" A grin.

Throughout this excited flood of nonstop verbiage, the blonde's emotions had swiftly gone from startlement to intimidation, but as Willow's babble had gone on and on, a smile had crept its way unbidden onto her face. She held out her hand.

"I'm T-Tara," she said, rolling her eyes at the stutter that always crept into her speech when she was nervous. Thankfully, the other girl didn't seem to mind it.

They shook hands, and smiled at each other, and somehow Tara knew that they were already friends. In some way that she didn't know and couldn't understand yet, they just fit.

[center]-------------------[/center]

Well, that handshake went on a little longer than it needed, the short, dark haired woman observed with amusement. She had walked into the room moments ago, alerted by the sound of Willow's welcome, but had stopped in the doorway and watched. As the two teenagers continued their introductions, the woman seemed to come to a decision and quietly left the room the way she'd come.

[center]-------------------[/center]

The librarian looked up from her note-taking as her lover literally ran into the room, an impious grin on her face. "Come on, you've got to see this!" she enthused.

The librarian chuckled. The dark-haired woman before her was practically bouncing, and she found it extremely cute. "If it's the new girl, I already know she's here." Her lips quirked into a wry smile. "I could feel her before she got to the building, actually."

The other woman's face showed surprise for a moment, but she quickly shrugged it off. "No. Well, yes, her, but... oh, just come and see for yourself!" She held out her hand impatiently.

"Alright, alright!" Laughing, the librarian allowed herself to be dragged out of the room.

[center]-------------------[/center]

"Oh. Yeah, I see what you mean."

This time, both women were standing in the doorway. The girls in the middle of the room were oblivious to their presence, chatting away as though they'd been friends for years, totally focused on each other. "Well, I suppose that explains a few things," the librarian observed.

The dark-haired woman nodded. "The destiny we felt pulling on Willow. At least we know it's not about to pull her away before she's ready to face the world."

"Nope," agreed the taller woman, watching the way the girls interacted. "Looks like it came to her, instead."

[center]-------------------[/center]

"So where are you from?" the redhead asked Tara. "I mean, I know you're not from Newhaven Plateau, because I've been here nearly six months already and I'd have totally noticed you. I mean, there's no one else here that's near our age. There's one kid who's about seven--his name's Gareth, he's adorable--and a bunch of adults, but like I said, no one our age except me. And you, now."

Tara waited a few extra moments. When she felt reasonably certain that the flow of words had stopped, she responded. "I come from the land of the horse-clans, several weeks walk to the Northwest. I'm not sure how far, exactly--I w-wandered a lot, and stopped several places along the way." Willow was still looking as though she wanted to hear more, so she continued. "My people follow the herd animals of the plains. We share the land with our brethren, the horses. Well, I g-guess they're not exactly my p-people anymore, though," she concluded.

"Did they throw you out," the redhead inquired, "or did you leave on your own?" Tara thought she must have looked uncomfortable, because Willow rushed on without waiting for an answer. "I was thrown out, you see, from where I grew up. It was one of those places where nobody uses magic, or any sort of tech, really, beyond the most basic. Kinda backwards. Anyway, long story short, when I started feeling magic inside me no one believed me 'till I finally got kinda tired of not being taken seriously and just... showed them." The corners of her lips curled down into a frown. "They didn't like that very much. Called me a witch and banished me. Well, eventually banished me, anyway, after the burning didn't work out."

The frown disappeared as quickly as it had come, and Willow drew herself up proudly. "And I am a witch--a good one! Yup, that's me, powerful witch right here."

"Th-that's great, Willow," the blonde enthused, feeling a surge of pride for her new friend. "I..." she tried to think of a good way to talk about how she had come to depart her clan. The events, which had led her eventually to where she now stood, still weighed heavily on her heart, but she was surprised to find herself wanting to talk about it.

"I s-sort of left before they had the chance to kick me out..."

[center]-------------------[/center]

The women of Clan Maclay, the woman reflected, had always been special. She herself was often hailed as the most gifted and sensitive of Eponian priestesses, women who were connected empathically to the Great Mares that ruled over the herds. Yet it was that very specialness that was causing her current worries, for her daughter displayed talents that were far beyond her own. Talents that were now putting her in danger.

"Tara, this is serious," she urgently whispered to the girl in the tenuous privacy of her tent. "It's alright to be able to share our feelings with the horses--it's what keeps us bound together as peoples--but our own people can't handle it the way that the horses can. It scares them, makes them..." she shuddered, thinking of Tara's father, "..dangerous."

"I know, Mother," the girl replied, her eyes filled with her mother's worry and her own. "It's just that I can't help it, any more than I can help seeing with my eyes, or being seen. It's always there, in the air all around. What everyone's feeling, what I'm feeling, it's just out there, in all the spaces between us. I've tried to stop, I promise!" They both started crying with the fear and frustration that, because of Tara's irrepressable talent, they were sharing completely.

The woman took her daughter into her arms, giving comfort in the only way she could. But she could not relax her own tension. "Oh, moh veelah shtore, I am so afraid for you."

Tara smiled in her mother's embrace, her own fears calming a bit. Here, with her mother, was the one place she had always been able to feel safe. The stutter that so plagued her speech never showed up in this tent. "'My thousand treasures'. Mother, you haven't called me that in years."

"You are wrong, my daughter. In my heart, I have always called you that."

They shared a few moments of quiet warmth, but it could not last. "Tara, your father..."

"I know," Tara interrupted. The girl was still and silent for a moment. When she spoke again, her voice was uncharacteristically flat. "He'll kill me. If I don't leave, he'll kill me. He'll call it protecting the clan, but really he's afraid. Afraid of being seen, afraid of being known."

The priestess gripped Tara tightly in her embrace as her worst fears were confirmed. With the support of the clan behind him, fearful as they were of the girl's uncanny insight, there was no way that she could prevent him from his murderous course.

Donal, Tara's father, had been handsome in his day, and strong, and she had been young. Too young and inexperienced to recognise the flaws in his character that, as he came to power in the Clan, would inevitably deepen into pettiness, resentment, and bullying. At the time she had paired with him happily, and, if truth be told, she had rarely regretted it because of the daughter they had made. Yet now she could feel nothing but regret, because the very same man would now drive Tara from her life, or kill her.

But a mother must sometimes rise above her own feelings for the sake of her child, and she was a good mother. So she held onto her daughter for another few precious moments, trying to drink in the experience enough to make it last a lifetime in her memory, and then she gently pushed Tara away.

"It's time for you to go," she told her, looking squarely into blue eyes that were so like her own. "You know by now that your place isn't here. I've taught you enough of the old stories, you know that somewhere in Gaia is a place for everyone. Because...?" She trailed off, indicating Tara should finish.

"Because Gaia is mother to us all, and a mother has a place for all of her children in her heart," Tara finished dutifully, adopting a brave smile.

"Yes," her mother told her, trying to push as much meaning into that single word as she possibly could.

"I know, mother," Tara said, and the woman knew that she was replying not to the words but to the powerful emotions behind them. And that would have to be enough.

"Go, then." She took up a full traveling pack from the floor near her feet and held it out to her daugher. "Rations, water, all you will need. You'll have to go on foot; if you took one of the horses, I fear he would pursue you. Follow your heart, and it will lead you to tribe, family, home. My love goes with you."

[center]-------------------[/center]

"And that's what I did, and here I am."

Willow seemed impressed. Sometime during the tale, she had taken a step closer to the blonde, as though drawn in by the story, and her green eyes were full of sympathy and of something like wonder.

"You... wow. Your mom really loves you. You're really lucky. Well, I guess not so much, the whole psycho killer dad thing sort of evens it out, but..." her voice quieted a bit, "my parents mostly ignored me. That is, until the whole 'witch' thing started--then my mom tried to burn me at the stake." Suddenly she broke into a gently self-mocking grin. "Which, let me tell ya, not fun. But anyway... wow, telempathy! That's really cool. Guess you've really learned to control it during your travels, though, huh? I'm impressed--I've heard it's really hard to learn that sort of control on your own, but I haven't felt a single one of your emotions this whole time!"

Tara's eyes widened in shock and confusion.

"No, I-I... I didn't learn... wh-what's happening?"

"Ah," a voice called out from the doorway, "Don't worry; that's just me."

TBC


Last edited by thiswomanswork on Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...'
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:17 am 
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13. Big Knowledge Woman

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DIBS Yeah for me.Wow this looks very good so far.I can't wait for more.
I love AU stories and this one looks to hold much promise.You should calm down now..LOL
It is very good and I think It will be well receipted
by the kittens...Good job.
Rosemary


Last edited by hondos on Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...'
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:55 am 
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12. Recently Gay
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This is a fantastic start to what looks like being another great fic among many on the board. I echo Rosemary's sentiments, this will be very well recieved,they are a friendly bunch (so far ;-) ) around here so you won't have anything to worry about.

Looking forward to exploring another AU, I like the concept of finding somewhere you can be accepted for who you are - just like the kittenboard!!

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...'
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:23 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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I like this fic and the whole new AU world that you are creating.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...'
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:45 am 
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3. Flaming O
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I really like the idea and the new world you have started here. I can't wait to see where you go with it.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...'
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:51 am 
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3. Flaming O
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Really, really interesting!

They're super young here, is a lot of time going to pass?

Just curious.

Keep at it, when I finished reading the first part, I wanted there to be more immediately.

M.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...'
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:03 pm 
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Hello Sera,

This is a wonderful start. I like the setting. :)

I can't wait to read more :)

Friendly,
Julia

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...'
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:18 pm 
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Great beginning...

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...'
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:15 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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awesome start! I enjoy the uber au's, they're always unique and creative. A lot of times the stories in the buffyverse get a bit repetitive until a wave of new ideas hit. so uber au's are always a nice treat if they're written well, which yours is, so yay! looking forward to more!

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...'
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:51 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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HI. I like your concept, and the girls are very cute. You have me wondering who are the mysterious librarians.

Looking forward to more.
Anne

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 Post subject: FB to FB
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:38 pm 
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hondos - Thank you. I'm trying to calm down. ;)

paint the sky - Yes, the kittenboard is rather like that, isn't it? Thank you for the enthusiasm, it's very encouraging!

taralover - Thanks! Technically, it's not a new world, at least not for me... it's one that's been with me for awhile, and it seemed like a good place to let W & T play for awhile, while giving me a familiar setting for my first fic.

willowfan - I'm glad you like it! Hope it continues to hold your interest as it goes on. :)

chance - Yep, after the first couple of chapters we'll be skipping ahead a few times. Otherwise I'd never get around to the smut!

julie - Thanks! :) You don't have to wait long to read more...

zampsa1975 - Thanks!

obsidianesper - I'm a big fan of uber au's, too! Happy to get in there and shake things up.

spells42 - You'll find out more about the librarian and her lover in the next chapter, no worries. :)

Thanks everyone, for the support! ((hugs all around))


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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...'
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:07 pm 
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1 - Hello... icon love.
2 - Hello... screen name love. ("The Dreaming" is my favorite album.)
3 - Hello... and welcome here with your intriguing new fic. Your girls are full of smarts and bravery (and babble), and two enthusiastic thumbs up to this start.

Shazam!


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 Post subject: Chapter 2
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:20 pm 
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[center]Chapter 2: Home is where they always help you out.[/center]


Rating (by chapter): PG-13.
Disclaimer: Willow, Tara, and any other Mutant Enemy characters that might creep in are not mine. Nobody's getting paid for this, and that's really just fine.
Feedback: Yes, please!
Distribution: Oh, anywhere is fine, just ask first? I like knowing where it goes.
Spoilers: None.
Notes: This one's kind of short, mostly just there to introduce the supporting characters & go into the psychic stuff a bit more.

Summary: Tara meets her new teacher, gains some hope for her future, and gets hit with a little culture shock.


Tara was feeling so lost in her confusion that it took her a minute to register the new voice. So by the time she turned around, she found that two women were already standing nearby.

That's the second time in a row, Tara thought to herself ruefully. I have to start paying more attention!

"Hello! Wh-wh-who are you?" she managed to get out.

"Oh!" came Willow's voice from behind her, before either woman could reply. "You haven't met them yet, of course!" She came forward to stand beside Tara, and nodded to the shorter of the two women, a brunette smiling a tolerant smile. She looked around fortyish, and Tara thought she seemed very pleasant. "This is my teacher, Kate. She's teaching me all sorts of things--magic, and history, and, oh, all sorts of stuff! Even cooking!" Her face fell. "Though that last part isn't going so well..."

The other woman coughed a 'hello, I'm here too!' sort of cough, and Willow grinned, her chagrin at whatever cooking difficulties she was dealing with forgotten as quickly as it had sprung up.

"And this," she said with exaggerated drama, "is the librarian."

She doesn't look much like a librarian, Tara reflected. About the same age as her companion, the woman was taller and muscular, with dyed-red hair a few shades darker than Willow's , a silver hoop in her eyebrow, and at least half a dozen such hoops in her left ear. I don't know what she looks like exactly... but not a librarian.

"Oh, I like that," the woman was saying with mock-seriousness, sitting down on one of the tables with her arms crossed over her chest, looking thoughtful. "'The Librarian.' I could get used to that. Who needs a name when you've got a title?" She glanced over at her companion. "What do you think? Too pompous?"

The brunette spoke for the first time, and her voice was touched with a pleasant accent Tara didn't recognise. "Too pompous for you? Do you really think that's possible?" The teasing words were tempered with an affectionate smile.

The librarian seemed to be giving the matter serious consideration for a few seconds, then broke into a grin. "Yeah, definitely too pompous." She nodded to Tara. "I'm Jody. Good to meet ya. I imagine you'll be seeing a lot of us for awhile, 'cause we'll be putting you up at our place at least until you've got your gift a little more under control. Now, since Willow here has neglected to introduce us more fully, maybe you'd like to tell us your name?"

"Oh! I'm T-T-Tara." She was a bit tongue-tied. The easy communication that had just been natural with Willow wasn't coming to her aid now, in the face of these two strangers who seemed to already have plans for her future.

"So you can help me?" she asked hesitantly, not daring to get her hopes up. "T-to..." how did she put it? control my gift? "So I don't always have to..." she waved her arms in frustration, "feel everything? So p-people won't have to have my feelings in their heart all the time, and m-maybe won't be scared?"

The two older women shared a glance, then Jody leaned forward, her face serious. When she spoke, her voice was quieter than before.

"Tara," she said, "can you feel what I'm feeling right now?

More than a little embarrased at being put on the spot in front of her friend, Tara lowered her head, relishing the security of being mostly hidden behind her hair. I don't feel anything except embarrased... wait, that is mine, right? Yes... yes, that's me. And Willow is really excited and sort of nervous, and the other woman, Kate, is... well, that's sweet, she's all nurturing and protective... but...

She looked up, brow creased into a frown.

"No, nothing."

"How about now?"

Confidence, security, a pleasant feeling of being in good company... Tara had already sat up straighter and half-smiled before she realized that it was Jody's feelings she was experiencing rather than her own.

Her eyes widened, and her mouth started quirking up into a smile. "Yes, I-"

"Then how about this?" The confident feeling was replaced with mellow relaxation, then a few seconds later with a mild tension headache, then moments later with an intense craving for shrimp.

As the shrimp craving faded, leaving Tara excited at the possibilities, a little overwhelmed, and (truth be told) a bit hungry, she saw Jody nod and sit up straighter. "If I can do all of that, Tara, then you can learn to do it, too. That and lots more." She smirked and stood.

"We'll let you two keep on getting aquainted now," Kate said firmly, taking
the other woman's hand. "I think you've had plenty to think about for your first day here, Tara. If you need anything just come to the office. Willow can show you where it is." That said, she headed out the way they'd come in, pulling Jody along good-naturedly behind her.

"They're so cute together," Willow said with a smile in her voice. "Even at their age, after all those years. I hope I find someone that I can love like that, even after we've been together for years. Don't you?"

Tara looked at the floor. "Y-yeah," she mumbled. Then, a moment later, "Wait, they're a... a couple?"

The redhead sat down at the table, behind her pile of books. "Well, yeah, dummy. They're about as couple-y as you can get. Geez, whatever the librarian's doing to keep your senses down, it must really be working!"

Tara was stung. Okay, maybe I'm not the smartest mare in the herd, I know that, but that wasn't fair... and... how can they be paired? They're both women! Her thoughts rushed unbidden to a time when she was just beginning to have... interests. Unfortunately, her empathy had surfaced at about the same time, and so she had known exactly how the other girls felt when she...

"Oh my goddess! Tara, what's wrong?" Willow stood hastily, knocking one of her larger books to the floor in her rush to get to Tara's side. "Oh no, oh no, I called you a dummy! Well... well, that's where I'm a dummy, because you're totally not, obviously, there's no reason you should know all that stuff when you just got here, and having your gift dampened down is probably a lot like being blindfolded, and... and I'm such an insensitive jerk sometimes!" She reached out and laid a hand on the older girl's arm in apology.

It was the oddest electric sort of feeling, and it snapped Tara out of her unhappy reverie. She looked up and saw her friend's worried face, so apologetic and concerned, and she found she couldn't be angry.

She smiled, a little half-smile. "It's okay. And I don't think you're a jerk."

The relief that she could feel from Willow was enough to make her grin. "Come on," she said. "Tell me about what you're studying."

[center]-------------------[/center]

"Well, she's definitely very strong."

The two women were in the office, talking over tea and chocolate-chip cookies. Jody was talking about her new charge as she absently watched her lover add milk to her teacup.

"How strong?" Kate murmured distractedly as she prepared the drinks. She took tea very seriously, which the other woman found adorably amusing.

"Strong enough it's no wonder she was never able to get a handle on it on her own. A gift like that, it doesn't creep up on you and give you time to figure it out. It just jumps in and kicks your ass." She accepted her teacup, took a grateful sip, and continued after a moment. "She's kinetic, too, and maybe even something else. The TK is only just now starting to surface, thank god. If she'd been having to deal with poltergeist effects too, she'd be way more fucked up than she is."

The brunette finally sat down with her own tea. "She's messed up?" she asked, ignoring--as she always did--the other's language.

"All 'paths are messed up, at least in the beginning. If you learn to adjust to it all, you generally turn out well--really well--but before that... adolescence is hard enough without having other people's issues inside of you. Or so I'm told. When your own mental landscape is blending with so many others, while at the same time you're dealing with growing up and hormones and rebellion and body changes and being interested in people that way... well, it fucks with you. Sometimes, it fucks you up permanently." She glanced thoughtfully at her love over the rim of her cup. "But Tara's OK. Social anxiety, repression, major esteem problems, but all in all she's come through it well. A shitload better than I had at her age. A little help and time, she'll blossom." A laugh. "Give it a year or two, she'll probably even notice that she's in love."

Kate laughed as well. "It's adorable, isn't it? I do hope they come together without too much angst. I mean, I can feel the ties of Fate swirling around them, drawing them together, so I know they'll make it eventually, but there's so much that can happen in the meantime." She smiled a little sadly at her lover, who returned the expression.

"Guess that's our role in this, then." Jody took a bite of one of the cookies, and closed her eyes for a few moments, cherishing the joy of the rare treat.

"Making sure that they make it through as prepared and healthy as they can, and don't make mistakes that are too totally disastrous? I've been a parent once already, Jody. I don't need to re-experience it."

Jody just smiled knowingly at her, not saying a word, until finally Kate's false resistance broke. She rolled her eyes. "Yes, well, I suppose it will be rather fun..."

"My thoughts exactly."

TBC


Last edited by thiswomanswork on Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated 2/13/08)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:38 pm 
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11. Fish in the Bowl

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Hey I just got a chance to read your story! Great work can't wait for more


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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated 2/13/08)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:26 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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This is a great fanfiction and I like it that you also set it in an imaginary world of yours. Maybe one day I will set a W/T fic in one of my imaginary worlds.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated 2/13/08)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:50 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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Really, really, really great!

Loving it.

M.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated 2/13/08)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:58 pm 
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:read I'm all caught up now. I'm really enjoying reading your story. O'm really interested to see were this story is going.
btw- Love your avatar! :D

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated 2/13/08)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:36 pm 
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another great chapter for this ubery goodness. can't wait for more! though I'm curious, are other canon characters going to show up in time, or is it just going to be Willow and Tara? I do like the whole gang, so I hope they do show up.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated 2/13/08)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:11 am 
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32. Kisses and Gay Love
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Hello Sera :)

It is Julia, not Julie ;-)

That was a nice update. Poor Tara. It is going to be a long way for her.
But at the end it will be nice.
I hope it will be not too much angsty too though. Hihihi :)

Friendly,

Julia

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated 2/13/08)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:10 pm 
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Hi all!

katjetson - 1. Glad you like it! Women with swords make me swoon, what can I say? 2. Yay, another Kate Bush fan! You know, when I was a teenager, I was the only one I knew who'd even heard of her. Now I keep running into more and more fellow fans, it's great! 3. A thousand thank yous for your thumbs up! I hope it continues to intrigue and entertain.

whatmakesyouhappy - Thanks! More is on its way.

Thomas - Thank you muchly. If you ever do write such a fic, I shall enjoy reading it!

chance - ((curtseys)) Thank you!

mskittyb - I'm happy you're enjoying it. Glad you like the avatar. Saw the movie Gryphon and immediately knew I had to screencap it for an Amber-the-hot-swordfighter pic.

obsidianesper - :) Unfortunately, chances are low (though nonzero) for more of the gang showing up in this one. However, the sequel story (when I get around to writing that) will be chock full of them.

Julia - Sorry! It was a typo, not a misspelling. :) There's always angst to get through, but I agree, it'll be worth it!


So anyway, I actually don't intend to keep up this updating-every-day sort of schedule, but I couldn't miss out on a valentine's day update. I figure if I'm not having a good day, at least the characters in my fic can! So, new update on its way!


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 Post subject: Chapter 3
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:31 pm 
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[center]Chapter 3: Home is where you rest your head.[/center]


Rating (by chapter): PG.
Disclaimer: Willow, Tara, and any other Mutant Enemy characters that might creep in are not mine. Nobody's getting paid for this, and that's really just fine.
Feedback: Yes, please!
Distribution: Oh, anywhere is fine, just ask first? I like knowing where it goes.
Spoilers: None.
Notes: The song sung by all the people preparing food is really rather fun. I'd link to it, but of course I can't link yet. :) But I highly suggest going to youtube and searching for 'old dun cow'. And singing along, because why not? Seriously, choose one where there are lots of people singing (I suggest the Kentucky Highland ren faire folks) and sing along--it'll enhance the experience, I promise you!

Summary: A week after their initial meeting, Willow spends an evening with unshielded Tara for the first time.


"Willow, are the leeks ready yet?"

Willow was shaken from her reverie by the sound of her teacher's voice calling to her from across the big community kitchen.

The leeks... yeah... OK, they're done when you can put a knife through to the middle of the thickest part without resistance...

The vegetables passed the test. "Yep!" she replied, raising her voice to make it heard across the busy pavillion. "Hey, Virgil, give a girl a little help?" She held out one of her oversized woolen mittens to the tall, bearded man who was at the table nearby shelling almonds and pecans. He flashed her a friendly smile, and the two of them carried the steaming pot off of the fire and onto the central prep table.

"Watch out, folks," she announced with exaggerated warning as they set it down onto the cool marble surface. "These babies are really steamed!"

Ignoring the groans and raspberries this earned her from the families who were at the table chopping and peeling, she scampered over next to Kate, who was putting blueberries into a pie crust. "Mmm, pie!"

The older woman laughed at her enthusiasm and gave her a couple of berries, which Willow eagerly ate. "The wheat and amaranth were plentiful this year. There's been enough flour for little treats like pies and cookies."

"Mmmmm", the redhead enthused, rubbing her belly to emphasise her point. "That sounds like a good year in my book!"

The laughter this earned was almost as great a reward as the extra berries Willow snuck out of the pie. She tossed two in her mouth as she turned to go help Jackie and Mason with the salmon.

"She'll catch you doing that eventually," Mason warned her good-naturedly as she sat down and took up a filleting knife, shoving the remaining blueberries in her belt-pouch.

Jackie snorted with amusement. "There's my man's eagle eye at work. She knows already, you great lug, it's a game they play." Her fond smile gave the lie to the insulting banter. "Now, what was that song you were singing the other day? Let's hear it again."

Mason grinned and started to sing. Soon the whole kitchen was picking it up, and even Willow, who usually let others do the singing, joined in on the chorus.

Some friends and I in a public house
Were playing dominoes one night
When into the room a fireman came,
His face all chalky white
"What's up?" says Brown, "Have you seen a ghost?"
"Have you seen your Aunt Moriah?"
"Me Aunt Moriah be buggered," says he,
"The bleeding pubs on fire!"

And there was Brown, upside down
Mopping up the whiskey on the floor
"Booze, booze" the firemen cried
As they come a knockin' at the door
"Well don't let em in till it's all mopped up,"
Somebody shouted, "MacIntyre"
And we all got blue blind paralytic drunk
When the Old Dun Cow caught fire!

"Oh," says Brown, "What a bit of luck
Everybody follow me!
It's down to the cellar if the fire's not there
Then we'll have a grand old spree."
So we all went down with good old Brown
And the booze we could not miss
And we hadn't been there ten minutes or more
Till we were quite like this...

And there was Brown, upside down
Mopping up the whiskey on the floor
"Booze, booze" the firemen cried
As they come a knockin' at the door
"Well don't let em in till it's all mopped up,"
Somebody shouted, "MacIntyre"
And we all got blue blind paralytic drunk
When the Old Dun Cow caught fire!

Then Smith ran over to the port wine tub
And gave it just a few hard knocks
He started taking off his pantaloons
Likewise his shoes and socks
"Oh no," says Brown, "That t'ain't allowed
You can't do that there
Don't be washing your trotters in the port wine tub
When we got some Coors Lite beer!"

And there was Brown, upside down
Mopping up the whiskey on the floor
"Booze, booze" the firemen cried
As they come a knockin' at the door
"Well don't let em in till it's all mopped up,"
Somebody shouted, "MacIntyre"
And we all got blue blind paralytic drunk
When the Old Dun Cow caught fire!


The rest of the time passed in much the same way, with more songs and cameraderie and cooperation. Willow only cut herself once, and didn't burn herself at all, and if she had ruined any food, no one had noticed yet. All in all, she felt she was getting better at this cooking stuff.

Then it was over, and people were drifting back and forth with the food, some eating in the kitchen, some at their home. The spell of the cameraderie slowly faded and Willow was left with her excitement and nervousness.

Carefully, and with much attention to detail, she boxed up two meals worth of food into two of the bento-ish lunchbox things that everyone used here. Catching her teacher's eye, she grinned and set off with the boxes.

[center]-------------------[/center]

It was a pleasant walk up the path that led to the section of homes she was looking for. The sun was rapidly approaching the horizon, lending the sky a reddish hue, the birds and insects were starting to make their evening noises, and the smells drifting up from the boxes she carried were making her very hungry indeed.

Arriving at the third house on the row, Willow found Jody sitting on the porch. The librarian stood as she approached. She had dressed for the occasion, in a very flattering loose-knit red sweater, and she had her hair pinned up with two slender wooden sticks. But her expression was serious.

"Last chance, Willow. Are you certain you're up for this?"

Willow gave the woman her most confident smile. She knew she was an open book to her, unable to hide her nervousness. But I'll just bet intention counts, too. And determination, and trust, and all those other things. So, since I know Tara won't hurt me, and I'm determined to be careful and remember my meditation if I have to, and since I know the nervousness is really just because it's something out of my control that I haven't experienced before, and since... oh, goddess, I'm just standing here looking like an idiot, aren't I?

"One hundred percent!" she quickly answered.

An amused, knowing look was her response.

She's not a telepath, Willow reminded herself, she's like Tara, can't read thoughts, only emotions. She definitely does not hear the babble in my head!

Jody stepped down off the porch and winked at her as she passed. "Yeah. You'll be fine. Anything I should know?"

"Nope! She's waiting at the kitchen. Enjoy your moonlight picnic!"

Willow swallowed her nerves, and went inside the house.

[center]-------------------[/center]

Willow followed the sound of a stringed instrument being fumblingly played. It led her to a room at the back of the house where she found Tara on a stool, hunched over a battered old guitar and repeating scales over and over. Willow found herself concentrating heavily, even single-mindedly, on the music, until Tara happened to glance up and the spell was broken.

"Willow!" shouted the blonde, who carefully leaned the guitar against a wall and rushed over for a hug.

"Hold on, let me put these down..." Moments later, the hug was returned. Tara was beaming as they seperated, and Willow found she couldn't stop smiling either. She was just so unbelievably happy to see her friend! Why had she even bothered to be nervous before?

Oh, yeah, she reminded herself. This is why.

Aloud, she said, "We're looping, Tara." She giggled, trying to keep her composure enough to give the message. "Positive feedback. I'm happy to see you, which makes you happier to see me, which makes me happier to see you..." She drifted off. It really wasn't important, all that was important was being here with Tara and how amazing it felt...

But the message had been recieved. Tara's eyes widened and then closed as she began breathing deeply. The extreme euphoria started to wash away, and Willow was able to calm down and order her thoughts. Pretty sure that the guilt and shame she was starting to feel weren't hers, she reached out and put a hand on the blonde's shoulder. After a moment Tara opened her eyes, though she wouldn't meet her friend's.

"S-sorry I-" she started, but Willow interrupted.

"You kidding? That was kinda fun. Did that used to happen a lot?"

Tara shook her head. "No..." Ducking her head a bit, she let her hair obscure her face. "I g-guess it's still getting s-stronger."

"Well," said Willow with an air of cheerful smugness, "Either that, or you've just never had a friend you were so happy to see before." She picked up the boxes of food. "Shall we dine?"

Tara's expression was enthusiastic. "Yes! I'm really hungry!"

"Me, too," Willow laughed. "Of course. Lead the way!"

[center]-------------------[/center]

The dining room was very pretty, by Willow's standards. She'd eaten here a few times before, as a guest, but it felt different when it was just her and Tara. Sort of empowering. She set the boxes down on the table and started opening them, while Tara got them some water.

"I hope you're not hungry for shrimp," Willow called out, "because I didn't bring any."

The sound of her friend's laughter echoed from the next room. "That was so weird. I wonder why she picked shrimp, of all things!"

Concentrating, Willow carefully unpacked Tara's meal and set it up in a pretty arrangement in front of one of the chairs. She scrutinized it for a moment, then reached into the pouch tied at her waist and pulled out her remaining blueberries and the chocolate chip cookie she had saved from yesterday. She quickly unwrapped the cookie from its cloth and set it down in a carefully chosen spot for maximum presentation. The blueberries just got dropped next to the salmon, because she heard Tara coming back into the room. Quickly, Willow dashed around the table and started calmly unpacking her own food.

"I brought some wine, in case you wanted it," Tara was saying as she came in with a tray loaded with cups, water pitcher, and wine bottle. "Jody said as long as we only have one glass each, we-" She stopped short, staring at her place setting, and Willow took the sudden rush of wonder and gratitude as a sign of a job well done.

"Willow, I... You..." Tara put the tray down on the table and went to stand in front of her food.

"I wanted you to have a special meal. I know not being able to go anywhere without Jody must suck sometimes. Not that she's bad company, just that you get stuck here a lot when she goes off to do something. So... I thought this might help, a little."

The blonde slowly sat down, staring at all the food arranged before her, clearly preplanned and set up with care. "Willow..." she started, then stopped. "Willow, wh-what you said before... What y-you said about never having a friend I was s-so happy to see before...", she looked up at Willow, meeting her eyes through her draping locks of hair, "I-its true."

The air was thick with embarrasment and earnest feeling, but Willow breathed through it, using the meditative exercises Kate had drilled into her months ago. "Me, too," she said simply, smiling a shy smile, and picked up her fork.

They ate in silence for a while, the room being thick with emotions rushing by too fast to be labeled or identified. Eventually things calmed a bit, and conversation started.

Willow was the first to break the silence. "You look nice in your new outfit," she said, referencing the black belted tunic her friend was wearing, with a deep blue skirt and blue knit jacket. "I mean, your travelling clothes were great--who doesn't like leather?--totally great, but this is a nice change, too. Less like you're gonna up and go, and more... comfy, you know? And it totally brings out your eyes!"

Tara didn't seem to know how to respond, just staring at her food and smiling, mumbling something that could have been 'thanks', so Willow changed the subject. "So, I think I'm doing better. At cooking, I mean. I'm not screwing things up nearly as much, or hurting myself, um, very often. And I think I'm even starting to enjoy the experience."

Tara made a sound that Willow realized a moment later was her trying to hold back a laugh. "I figured," the girl said, her voice thick with repressed laughter. "I could hear you shouting 'MacIntyre' all the way from here!"

Willow blushed. "Well... it's a fun song!"

They sat for a moment in silence, looking at each other, identical looks of mischief on their faces. Suddenly they both lifted their heads and belted out, 'MacIntyyyyre!!!', before collapsing into fits of giggles.

This time it was Tara that regained her senses first. Pushing the laughter down, she asked, "Why does she insist on you learning to cook, anyhow? I know it's a great skill to have, but the way she insists on it makes it seem particularly im-p-portant, somehow."

"Oh, it is! It's a parallel skill, in a lot of ways. Preparing a meal and preparing a spell have a lot in common--for instance, you can either put a lot of preparation and thought into something, and spend time and attention on it, and you'll get something wonderful, or you can just sort of throw things together at the spur of the moment, and it'll probably be OK, but it won't get you the same quality of results. Also, learning how to anticipate the results of the mixing of different elements--of power, or of flavour--to create something new... it's all related. What?"

Tara had a strange look on her face. The feelings wafting around weren't anything Willow could get a handle on, so she didn't have any clue what her friend was thinking.

Tara shrugged. "I just enjoy it when you explain things," she said simply.

Willow determinedly held back another blush. "So what about you, then? Playing guitar doesn't sound much like a way of taking control of your psychic powers."

Tara nodded. "Yeah, I know. Turns out it is, though. It's... music is a way of, of channeling your feelings. It's powerful, and direct, but it's just indirect enough that you can seperate yourself from it, sort of. It stays honest, but it's coming through something, so there's sort of a distance..." She frowned with a look of disappointment. "I'm not explaining this well."

Willow shook her head. "No, keep trying. You can do it."

The blonde's disappointed frown stretched up into a little smile. After a few moments, she started again. "The empathy is like... there are these feelings, and whether they're coming in or they're going out, you're connected to all of them, like they're part of you. You know?"

The redhead nodded thoughtfully. It certainly matched her own experiences of being inside the field of emotion, so far.

"Well," Tara went on, "making music--really reaching out with it--is sort of like, there are these feelings, and whether they're coming in or going out, they're not about you, exactly, they're about the music. You're there, you're participating, but it's not all you. You're not so directly connected. And that's how it works with the gift, too--the more you learn to set up that space, that lack of total identification with the feelings... once there is a boundary that deliniates you from not-you, then the gift starts becoming a part of you, instead of something that encompasses you. You see?"

"See?" Willow grinned. "I more than see, I totally get it. You explained perfectly."

"It's h-harder than it sounds," Tara said with an embarrased look.

"Oh, yeah, I get that. Oh! Oh, I really get it a lot, all of a sudden. It's like, emotions, feelings... they hit us below the level of reasoning. They grab us by the gut, by the heart, and that's just way, way deeper than thought. It's deeper than the place where we say 'this is me, and that isn't', because that's how feelings work, how they motivate us, by pushing and pulling on the deepest, most basic parts of us. Of course it's gonna be hard to exert any sort of control over that, even once you know what you're doing! You're having to sort of change the flow of your whole subconscious, like changing all the pipes around in a dark, flooded basement. Wow, Tara, that's amazing. You're like, the bravest plumber ever!" She was quiet for a moment, not moving. Then, too embarrased to change expression, "I just said something amazingly lame, didn't I?"

Tara smiled, a crooked little smile that Willow was really starting to look forward to. "No, Willow. It was perfect."

The two sat there for a while, letting the happiness and connection flow around them. Then as one they got up to clear off the table and take care of the dishes.

[center]-------------------[/center]

The dishes finished and the food boxes put away, Willow stood outside at the water pump with her friend. The night air had developed a bit of a chill to it, and Willow was regretting not bringing a shawl.

Maybe Tara will let me borrow a blanket for the walk ho-

"Want to stay over tonight?"

"Sure!"

Well, I guess I don't have to worry about that!

Tara's room had only one bed, but between the two of them they were able to bring together enough pillows, cushions, and blankets to make a very comfortable nest-y sort of thing next to the bed. Tara put out all the candles in the house and the two lay near each other, quietly talking about nothing in particular, for a while. Sooner than they realized, though, sleep claimed them both.

[center]-------------------[/center]

"Looks like things went well."

"Did you ever doubt they would?"

"Nah, I guess not."

"Do you think they know yet, that they're made for each other?"

Hushed laughter. "Oh, hell yeah. It's written all over them. But they don't know that they know, yet. Stubbornly dense, these two."

"You should talk. How many years did it take before you finally--"

"OK, OK, I surrender. I'm dense, too." A pause. "They're dreaming the same dream."

"You stay out of their dream! They deserve their privacy."

"I will, I will..." A low chuckle. "I suppose I'll just have to be in your dreams tonight, instead."

"You always are. Let's go to bed."

"Sounds good to me."

TBC


Last edited by thiswomanswork on Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated Valentine's day '08)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:39 pm 
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Yay for update-y goodness...

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated Valentine's day '08)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:38 pm 
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awesome chapter! too bad the rest of the gang wont show up, but that's OK! Willow and Tara are great on their own. Looking forward to more!

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated Valentine's day '08)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:03 pm 
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LOL-that song was funny. Thank you for the new fic chapter.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated Valentine's day '08)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:11 pm 
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Wow! this is great! :pinky


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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated Valentine's day '08)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:53 pm 
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I really don't want to keep saying "really, really, really great" -- but it is.

There's something about your story that's amazingly unassuming, but grabs me from the first word until the last. There's an incredibly visual sense of place, described well, realistic enough that it breathes.

Willow has some of her beloved Willow qualities - intelligence, ability, babble. Tara has some of her beloved Tara qualities -- empathy (whoa), emotional intelligence, shyness. There's a parallelism between the canon and the world you've created here in terms of character that takes them away from the characters we know so well, paints them in a new light, and keeps them as themselves. It's lovely.

And Judy and Kate (is that right? it seems like it is) are great. Like Kitten Board commentators watching them sleep:

Quote:
"Looks like things went well."

"Did you ever doubt they would?"

"Nah, I guess not."

"Do you think they know yet, that they're made for each other?"

Hushed laughter. "Oh, hell yeah. It's written all over them. But they don't know that they know, yet. Stubbornly dense, these two."


I'm sorry, it's Valentine's Day -- I should be getting ready to go out. I hope this makes sense. Thanks for writing!

M.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated Valentine's day '08)
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:01 pm 
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What a great story, thanks for sharing it!

I'm happily anticipating your next update :)


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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated Valentine's day '08)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:02 am 
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Hello Sera :)

Their relationship seems to build itself nicely. :)
Tara must be going through a lot and it is nice to see that willow isn't afraid of helping her new "friend".
Nervous at some points maybe, but not afraid.

Willow cutting herself only once and not even burning herself is a good thing! LOL
That was a funny part. :)

And their guardians of some sorts are nice too.

Thanks for sharing.

Friendly,

Julia :)

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"Joie est mon caractère, C'est la faute à Voltaire; Misère est mon trousseau, C'est la faute à Rousseau." Gavroche. Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (chap. XV)


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 Post subject: Re: 'Home is Where...' (updated Valentine's day '08)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:30 am 
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12. Recently Gay
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:11 pm
Posts: 1666
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Location: Belfast
Tara’s talent seems to a curse as well as a blessing. It’s reminiscent of Buffy’s aspect of the demon in earshot, and I imagine would eventually have the same consequences if left to develop without learning control it.

Their relationship is developing nicely, it comes across as so natural and easy, and I can’t wait to see how they deal with the other feelings as they arise. Tara’s talent better be under control by then or they ‘loop’ into orbit :-D

Really looking forward to the next chapter.

_________________
People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built. Eleanor Roosevelt


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