An Independence Day in the Life
by Susan L. Carr
Copyright © December 2004
story belongs to KJD <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Feedback: Always welcome.
Spoilers: BtVS, AtS and Watchers: Season 1
AU – Takes place during the summer between Watchers Seasons 1 & 2
Author's Notes: This story was written for KJD at her request who wanted to see what a typical day for Willow and Tara would be like in the Watchers Universe. This story belongs to her.
Special thanks goes to Chris Cook of Through the Looking Glass for creating the screen caps used in the story. Thanks, Chris!
Summary: A simple day in the life of Willow and Tara in Cleveland.
Background Notes: When Anya interrupted their date in Entropy, Tara, concerned for her friend, went after her and helped Anya pick up the pieces of her messed-up life after the Spike debacle. So Willow and Tara never got back together that night and were not together two days later when Warren came for his revenge. Instead, thinking Buffy was killed again, Willow freaked out and went all veiny, murdering Warren and going after Jonathan and Andrew. Tara saved Buffy from dying, and together they tried to stop Willow's rampage. Horrified by her own actions and realizing that her chance for a normal life with Tara was gone, Willow tried to kill herself with magic on Kingman's Bluff, but was saved by Xander.
Unable to face Tara after what she'd done, Willow went to England with Giles, hoping to get control of her magic. Tara graduated from UC-Sunnydale and got a teaching job at the new high school. She shared an apartment with Anya, enjoying the quiet when her roommate was off exacting vengeance. She spent that summer preparing for the new school year, helping Buffy patrol and train Dawn, but mostly missing Willow.
When Willow returned, Tara felt guilty at Willow's injuries from the gnarl demon and threw herself into her work, avoiding the Summers home as much as possible. However, with D'Hoffryn sending his minions after Anya, Buffy insisted they both move in for their own safety. Tara was the only woman Scooby not affected by the magic jacket in Him, but in Conversations With Dead People, the First appeared to her as her mother while Willow was tormented by Warren.
Things between the two grew tense when Giles arrived with the first of the Potentials, one of whom started showing an interest in Willow. Although the redheaded witch was not interested in the beautiful Latina, she still felt unworthy of Tara, despite Tara's attempts to reconnect. One night, Tara overheard Kennedy telling Vi that she was going to fake illness to avoid the vision quest Giles was planning and attempt to get close to Willow. Tara made sure that Kennedy went with the other girls and then adopted Kennedy's plan as her own. Telling Willow she needed help with one of her students, she lured Willow on a date to the Bronze. At first Willow was uncomfortable, but slowly she relaxed. At the end of the evening when Tara leaned in for a kiss, Willow's guilt at what she'd done triggered Amy's hex, and she turned into Warren. Tara managed to convince Willow that despite everything she was worthy of love and happiness.
After that, the two slowly began to find their love again, growing closer until they finally made love in Touched. When the apocalypse came, Willow and Tara combined their energies to activate the Potentials, and both survived. Tara was almost as devastated as Xander at Anya's loss, but she had Willow to lean on and threw herself into the new Council with all of her energy.
When Rowena arrived, Tara was the only one who trusted her, and the two soon became good friends. After Anya contacted her at Samhain, Tara convinced Willow that they needed to help Xander and persuaded Xander to perform the ritual with Willow to heal his eye. After finding a home at the Council, Xander took a liking to Rowena, and Tara was delighted when the two started dating.
Despite their rocky start, Tara and Kennedy also became friends. Unfortunately, Tara was in England to receive her third degree from the Coven when Kennedy started to go downhill and was unable to prevent the Slayer from making her rash decisions. Tara was furious with Kennedy for getting people hurt, but she helped the Slayer get back on track.
In May Day, Tara gave Willow her third degree initiation and, along with the others, saved Willow from the Engineer's evil plans. She tried to convince Rowena to stay and not break Xander's heart, but knowing the Canadian's secret, she reluctantly let her go, hoping that in time Rowena would find as much happiness as she had with her beloved Willow.
Watchers Council – Willow and Tara's Suite – Early Morning
Willow groaned and cracked open a sleepy eye as the sound of the phone broke the early morning silence.
"Oh gods," she moaned as Tara reached over her to pick up the handset. "Not again!"
"Hush, Sweetie," Tara admonished and then said into the phone. "Good morning, Ro."
Willow brushed the cord dangling in her face as Tara talked to the Canadian Watcher calling from England. Finally giving up, she scooted under the blanket and threw the covers over her head to avoid the nuisance. Despite her efforts to go back to sleep, Willow couldn't help overhearing Tara's side of the conversation.
"That's perfectly all right, Ro," Tara was saying, and Willow could imagine Rowena's profuse apologies for calling so early. In addition to her progress reports, the Watcher had called Tara nearly every day since going to help Robson. Willow had made a nasty comment about the cost of the personal calls, but felt terrible when Tara offered to pay the bill. Since then, she mostly kept her mouth shut when the subject of the woman who had terribly hurt her best friend came up."No, Sweetie," Tara said into the phone. "He hasn't finished the new targets yet. We only received the delivery of the lumber the other day, and today is a holiday."
Tara paused and listened while Willow, finally realizing the futility of going back to sleep, decided it was time to play. She pushed up Tara's nightgown and ran one fingernail along the underside of the blonde's bent knee and smirked at the resulting goosebumps that appeared.
Tara brushed Willow's hand away as she continued to speak to Rowena. "Ro, you just need to talk to him, tell him what's going on. I know Xander, he'll understand. I promise."
Willow caressed Tara's leg, as the blonde's voice grew more distracted.
"R-rowena," Tara said, patiently, "I really think that's something you need to ask Willow, don't you?"
Willow paused a moment to listen, but then shrugged her shoulders as Tara grew silent. She went back to Tara's leg, giving the smooth skin tiny nips with her teeth, slowly moving upwards from the knee.
"No, it's okay, I understand," Tara said, moving one hand under the blanket to stop Willow's progress. Willow smiled as Tara's fingers bunched in her hair, holding her back from her goal. "Rowena, I need to go. Willow needs me. Call me later, and we'll continue, okay? But really, please consider calling him…all right…yes, goodbye."
Tara hung up the phone and then threw off the blanket to reveal a wickedly grinning Willow. "And what do you think you're doing, Missy?" she asked."Seducing you," Willow said simply.
"Uh huh," Tara said. "With heart-sick Rowena on the phone?"
Willow shrugged. "She was pouring her heart-sickyness out to you, not me. Since sleep was no longer an option, I had better things to do."
"You're wicked, you know that?" Tara said.
"Uh huh," Willow said unrepentantly and returned to nibbling on the inside of Tara's thigh.
"Are you hungry, Willow?" Tara asked, her blue eyes darkening. "Should I go make us something for breakfast?"
"Nope," Willow replied as she moved closer toward the apex of Tara's legs. "I've got all I wanna eat right here."
"Dirty mouth," Tara admonished, her legs opening for her lover in spite of her words.
"I thought you loved my mouth," Willow teased before running her nose along the blonde's moist slit. Tara groaned at the sensation and gently grabbed Willow's head to guide it where she needed it.
"I do," she breathed. "Now shut up and put it to use."
Willow smirked and used her thumbs to open her lover. She paused a moment to appreciate the sight. "Goddess, you are so beautiful."Tara smiled lovingly and then threw her head back in pleasure as Willow ran her tongue along her length from bottom to top. Tara's legs tensed as Willow gently circled her clit for a moment before surrounding it with her lips and sucking with more force.
"Oh yes," Tara said, her feet moving to embrace Willow's back. As Tara's hips rose up, Willow let go of her lover's clit and, flattening her tongue, moved it up and down, easily matching Tara's rhythm.
Tara's hands moved over her head and grabbed the headboard in a tight grip. "That's it, baby," she encouraged, her eyes meeting Willow's as the redhead looked up, her tongue remaining firmly in place. "That's it, let me ride you...oh goddess!"
Willow's green eyes twinkled as Tara's head again arched backward. After a few more strokes, the blonde's entire body stiffened, her back coming off the bed as her toes curled into Willow's sides. As her body momentarily relaxed from the powerful release, Willow once again surrounded the swollen clit with her lips, but this time she sucked hard. Tara immediately spasmed again. Willow continued to caress the sensitive nub, as she eased a single finger into Tara's tight opening.
"Oh Willow!" Tara cried. "More."
Willow pulled out and added a second finger, curling both fingers up. Tara cried incoherently as Willow continued to stroke in and out, her fingers rubbing against the sensitive rough patch deep inside until Tara's cries rose to a keening crescendo and Willow was bathed in a flood of moisture.
Willow gentled soothed her lover through several aftershocks, laving the well-loved flesh with gentle strokes. Finally, Tara reached a hand down and encouraged Willow to join her. She kissed Willow relishing her own taste on her lover's lips.
"Satisfied?" Tara asked with a quirky grin.
"Ummm, yes," Willow said. "But I'll probably want another portion later, please."
"Lucky for you it's a dish that never grows cold."
"Nope!" Willow agreed cheerfully. "It's always hot."
"Hmm," Tara said as she rolled them both over, pinning Willow's hands over her head. "I think I'll have a taste now."
"Help yourself," Willow grinned as Tara began to make her way down.
Watchers Council – Willow and Tara's Suite – Sometime later
Tara was just pouring a cup of coffee into Willow's 'Lick a Witch' mug when the redhead, still fresh from her shower, sat down."Thanks," Willow said, taking a sip.
"You're welcome, Sweetie," Tara replied and spread some cream cheese on her bagel.
"Oh! A postcard from Marsha," Willow said as she scanned through the pile of mail.
"From where?" Tara asked.
"Mount Rushmore," Willow answered. She read aloud. "She says I'm absolutely right – the monument is a desecration of a sacred site and urges me to use my magic to restore the Black Hills to the state they were in before, quote, us stupid Euro-American conquerors got hold of it, unquote."
Tara rolled her eyes, "You're supposed to be teaching her Slayer survival skills, Willow, and not your own personal biases."
"Respect for indigenous cultures is an essential skill," Willow said as she grabbed a fresh bagel.
"How?" Tara looked askance at the redhead.
"Well, by studying the diverse human cultures, Slayers can gain an appreciation for the many different demon cultures as well," Willow carefully explained. "They learn that it's not simply a matter of good versus evil, there are always two sides to the story."
"Uh huh," Tara said, thoughtfully chewing. "And the fact that your mother forced you to sign a petition requesting the government to restore the Black Hills when you were a kid had nothing to do with Marsha's cultural lesson."
"Of course not!" Willow said, and Tara laughed at her blush.
"Uh huh," Tara said doubtfully. "Anyway, it's great that Marsha's getting to see the country this summer. What do her folks do?"
"Not sure," Willow replied. "Marsha doesn't talk about her family much. Seems to be a common theme around here."
Tara nodded. "Any special plans for today?" she asked.
"Other than watching the fireworks tonight with my special girl?" Willow grinned. "Just some routine paperwork and…oh…I promised Andrew I'd help him with the duty rotation schedule. He's having trouble re-arranging it with a lot of the Slayers gone for the summer. You?"
"I'm sitting with Jeff again this afternoon, so I w-wanted to spend the morning meditating in the coven room to prepare."
Willow noticed the stutter. "The healing sessions are not helping?" she asked sympathetically.
"No," Tara sighed. "Lily's not improving at all, and Jeff's getting more and more frantic."
"You shouldn't keep expending your energy like that if it's not helping, Tara," Willow said, worry in her voice.
"At this point, I'm spending more of my energy to calm Jeff than I am to heal Lily."
"Please be careful, won't you?" Willow asked.
"I promise," Tara smiled. "And I promise to be nice and perky tonight for the fireworks."
Willow returned the smile. "Great. Thanks for breakfast." Tara leaned in for a kiss.
"Mmm," Willow said after a moment. "What did Rowena ask you? You know, when you said she should ask me."
"Oh," Tara said looking uncomfortable. "Umm, she's not thinking straight, Willow. She misses Xander so much that sometimes she just comes out and asks the craziest things."
"Then she shouldn't have broken his heart," Willow said, her eyes flashing angrily. "What did she want to know?"
"Oh, it's nothing…" Tara said and looked away.
"Tara!" Willow said, and the blonde sighed.
"She…she wanted to know if Xander was a good lover," Tara finally answered.
"What???" Willow asked, shocked.
"I told you, Sweetie, she's not thinking straight," Tara hastily explained. "It's not that she's jealous, she's just curious. She thinks that you shared something with Xander that she'll never have, and it's breaking her heart."
Willow closed her eyes and blew out a sigh. "You're right, Tara," she finally said. "She should ask me. I'll be glad to give her an answer."
"But only if you tell her the absolute truth, Willow," Tara said. "And only if you tell her as her friend…not as a rival."
Willow pouted. "Harm none?" she asked."Harm none," Tara nodded. "Okay?"
"Okay," Willow said.
"Meet you for lunch?" Tara asked.
"See you then," Willow said, and the women went to prepare for their day.
Watchers Council Kitchen – Late morning
Willow rested her head on one hand as she watched with bored eyes as Andrew added the final name to the dry-erase board that dominated one wall of the large kitchen. She sighed as he included a few curlicues and other various flourishes before capping the marker and carefully placing it on the rack.
"There!" Andrew said with a satisfied smile. "All done. Thanks Willow."
"Not a problem, Andrew," the redhead said and gathered her notes in the folder. Andrew quickly moved to refill her coffee cup and poured one for himself. Willow looked at him out of the corner of her eye as she added sweetener and cream to her cup. With a small smirk, she noticed he was trying to be casual about something, but obviously needed to talk about something.
"Pretty quiet here without most of the Slayers and Watchers in Training around," she mentioned.
"Yep," he said. "Kinda lonely."
"Sure is," she said and fell silent, waiting for him to continue. When it appeared he wouldn't, she said, "Tracey's away too, isn't she? Vacation?"
"No," he answered. "She's doing that internship in Toledo. I promised her that her job would be waiting when the new semester starts. To tell the truth, there's not enough to do around here for the moment."
"That's good," Willow said, sipping her coffee. "You two seem to have gotten pretty close."
To Willow's surprise, Andrew blushed to the tips of his ears, and she watched as his eyes quickly darted to and then away from the butcher block dominating the center of the kitchen.
"Yeah," Andrew said finally. "Um, Willow…can I ask you something?""Sure Andrew," Willow said with a nod.
"People used to think one thing of you, but then you decided that you were another thing," Andrew said, and Willow's face scrunched up in confusion.
"And…um, and what I wanted to know was…is it hard?" he asked. "I mean, is it hard standing up to your friends and family and telling them that their expectations of you are not what you really are?"
Willow sat back in her chair and looked at the young man, thinking quickly. She remembered all the conversations and jokes she and Xander had made regarding Andrew, and she blushed as she realized that Tara's admonitions against those jokes were absolutely correct. She and Xander hadn't given the sensitive young man full credit, and she decided to remedy that.
"Yes, Andrew," she answered, putting on hand on his arm. "It's hard, but I think if you have trust in your friends and family that they love you, then you won't have anything to worry about."
"It's just that…" Andrew paused as he unconsciously put one hand over Willow's still resting on his arm. He continued to look into his coffee cup. "It's just that I know who people think I am and I thought that maybe that was who I was too, but then something happened to make me think that no, maybe I'm someone else, and now I'm at the point where I'm just confused."
Willow absorbed that for a moment. "I get it, Andrew," she said. "But I think the most important person you need to be is Andrew. Don't try to be someone you think other people expect you to be, just be yourself."
Andrew nodded at that and then finally looked at the witch with a smile. "Thanks Willow," he said.
"Anytime, my friend," Willow replied. "Anytime.
Watchers Council Main Dining Hall – Noon
Tara walked into the dining hall and looked around. A group of girls were sitting by themselves in the corner, and Tara took notice of Kennedy and the Asian-American Slayer Mia sitting together and looking quite cozy.
She noticed Faith sitting by herself at the main staff table and made her way there.
"Hi Faith," she said sitting down next to the Slayer.
"Hey," Faith said. "Go get some food. Andrew made chicken stir-fry, and it's not bad.""My favorite," Tara said. "But Willow should be here soon. I'll wait for her."
"Hmmm," Faith snorted. "You're a better woman than I am, Tara. I'd never wait for Robin, not when there's good food around."
"I don't think he expects you to, Faith," Tara laughed. "I, however, am not a Slayer, so I can wait."
"How's the potential Watcher situation coming along? No interviews today?" Faith asked.
"It's a holiday," Tara reminded. "But tomorrow I have five scheduled, plus three teachers coming in to interview for Lily's position."
Faith thought a moment. "Oh yeah! I forgot. Last year we were so busy moving to Cleveland to celebrate, and the year before that I was still in the joint, and you can just forget about fireworks."
Tara gave her a ghost of a smile. "Willow and I are going to the Flats to watch the show. Why don't you and Robin join us?"
"Will there be fireworks this year?" Faith asked. "I heard the city couldn't afford it."
"Well," Tara drawled. "Let's just say that there was a last-minute anonymous donation into the city coffers."
"Gotcha," Faith nodded and took another forkful of her stir-fry. "All part of the Council's civic improvement project, I gather."
"Exactly," Tara said and waved as Willow finally entered the hall.
Tara stood up and greeted her love, and the two went over to fill up their plates from the buffet. Before they were done, Faith had refilled her plate.
"I asked Faith if she and Robin wanted to join us tonight, Willow," Tara said when the three had reseated themselves.
"Yeah?" Willow said. "That'd be great. We haven't doubled in a long time."
Faith laughed so hard she nearly spit out her lunch. "Hey, Red, didja ever think back in high school we'd ever go out on a double date?"
"Nope," Willow laughed. "Of course, back then a double date for you was a quickie with one guy in the back hall of the Bronze and then another with a someone else in the balcony."
"Willow!" Tara said in a shocked voice, but Faith just laughed.
"It's okay, Tara," she said. "She's right, but fortunately, those days are over."
"Thank the goddess," Willow said. "My days of judging you are also over, but at least now can be friends."
"Besides, back then your ass was wound so tight that all I had to do to get your goat was make a few well-placed comments," Faith snickered.
"Yep, and with you constantly hitting on my two best friends, I was always so green with jealousy that I was busy looking for spells to make your perfect breasts sag and maybe add a wart or two to your nose.""Willow!" Tara said again as Faith laughed heartily.
"What?" Willow protested innocently. "If she had tried anything with Oz, you bet I would have, too!"
"Anyway Tara, I'll check with Ace about tonight, but I don't think it'll be a problem." Faith scooped up the last of her lunch and then dropped her fork on the plate. She picked up her tray and said, "I'll catch you girls later."
"Bye," Willow and Tara both echoed.
Watchers Council Xander's Workshop – Late afternoon
Xander was bent over his industrial-sized jigsaw carefully cutting out a large practice target made from joined lumber. One of his assistants was working at the sander smoothing out the edges of another and behind him a pile waited for painting and finishing.
Willow walked into the busy area and looked around with satisfaction. Projects in various stages of completion filled the room. Along the outer wall, the windows were opened wide to allow the warm summer breeze in to mingle with the cozy scent of sawdust and the faint metallic odor of machine oil.
As Willow approached, Xander noticed her and turned off his saw. He straightened up and removed his safety goggles.
"Willow!" he said. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"Why are you working, Xander?" Willow asked. "It is Sunday, you know."
"I know," Xander said. "Just want to keep busy."
"Do you have to torture poor Harry here?" she asked indicating his assistant, who chuckled.
"It's okay, Ms. Rosenberg," Harry said. "I could use the overtime."
"Where's Tara?" Xander asked as he led her over to his office.
"Resting," Willow said. "She spent the afternoon with Jeff and Lily. That always takes a lot out of her. Anyway, we're going to watch the fireworks tonight…wanna come?"
"Nah," he said. "I think I'll stick around here, maybe catch a movie with Andy.""You sure?" she asked, her eyes sad for him.
"Yeah," he nodded.
"Okay," she said, deciding not to push. "Xander…Tara said that she'll be back. She just needs some time."
Xander looked at her. "And Tara's never wrong, is she?"
"Nope," Willow said. "Not often and never about things like that."
"Thanks, Will," he said.
Cleveland's Flats District – Evening
Faith charmed the hostess of Shooters on the Water into giving them the best table near the river. The Cuyahoga was crowded with small and medium-sized boats, while ferries and tourists on the Nautica Queen serenely sailed past. After the waitress took their order, the two couples enjoyed the view."You patrol here often, Faith?" Tara asked. As head instructor of the "academy," Tara wasn't often involved with the Slayer duties.
"Yeah," Faith answered. "The warehouses give vamps and other no-good demons a place to hole up, and the drunken tourists offer a tasty snack."
"And you've got the added bonus of the best nightclubs in the city to work off that post-slay steam," Robin said.
"Speaking of which," Faith said as she grabbed Robin's hand and dragged him to the dance floor, which was filled with energetic young people.
Willow looked at her lover, who was sipping her drink and watching the scenery around them.
"Happy baby?" Willow asked.
Tara's face glowed as she turned to Willow. "Oh yes," she said. "No regrets about leaving California?"
"Maybe a few," Willow admitted. "Especially after last winter, but no…no regrets. We're doing good work here."
"We are," Tara agreed. "And here is where we're needed the most."
"Wherever you are," Willow said. "That's where I'm needed the most."
"I know, my love," Tara said. "So, wanna dance?"
Willow looked toward the dance floor where Robin and Faith were moving sensuously to the music. "Looks like fun," she said raising her eyebrows suggestively.
"Oh yeah," Tara said and led Willow to the floor. Putting her arms around her lover she pulled her close and leaned in to whisper in the redhead's ear. "Just think of this as a preview of what's to come later tonight.""Us, I hope," Willow said, and Tara returned her chuckle, causing the flesh on Willow's neck to ripple in anticipation of what it promised.
"I love you, Willow," Tara said.
"I love you too, Tara," Willow said. "Always."
Tara leaned in to capture Willow's lips. As they moved together to the music, fireworks began to explode over the river in the new city they now called home.
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