His question was: So where's the fic of Buffy and Willow getting drunk on July 4th and making out under the fireworks?
The answer was here: That Other Kiss, written ten days after the first fic but set three years earlier. And here's the commentary.
That Other Kiss
>> The title, of course, relates to the first fic in the trilogy: 'That Kiss'. However, note that I had no intention at first of writing this: the first fic was supposed to be stand-alone. For that matter, this fic wasn't supposed to have a sequel either...
Buffy was really happy. Really really seriously very happy indeed. There'd been a bit of minor demon slayage earlier that day, which always helped her relax; but there were no - count them, none - big looming evils to worry about right now.
>> Buffy is also drunk. Really really seriously very drunk indeed. I wondered how to depict that in the fic - I didn't want to do anything too in-your face like slurring all her words, or simply describing her from an omniscient narrator's point of view. Instead, I decided to tell the story as if she herself was telling it, in that over-precise, exaggerated, over-the-top and yet oblivious way some very drunk people adopt.
>> For best effect, imagine Buffy has half-draped herself limply over you, and as she tells this story her breath on the side of your face is all warm and laden with so much alcohol you could probably set fire to it. :-)
And Riley had called from DC to say the enquiry thingy was finally over and he'd be home before the end of the week.
>> I apologise to Riley, but I had to get him out of the way for the purpose of this fic. You can see the way Buffy forgets about him as a foreshadowing of what would later happen to their relationship, if you like. You may recall from 'Restless' that Riley had to go to an official enquiry in Washington about the fate of the Initiative; I'm assuming he was there for quite some time.
So here she was: lying down on the grass - which seemed like a good idea because her legs didn't appear to be working too well at present - and watching the pretty firework display.
>> It's the Fourth of July. That means fireworks, apparently - or so I'm told by people more familiar with American culture than I am. :-) I'm not entirely sure where Buffy is at the moment, except that it's outside, on some grass, and also somewhere private enough that the three of them don't worry about being disturbed. Maybe it's in Anya's garden, if wherever she lives even has a garden and if Anya is prepared to let anybody visit there. ("Come in! Enjoy my personal space!" she tells Willow through gritted teeth in Season 7.) Or maybe Joyce is out of town and Buffy volunteered to let Anya hold her party at Revello Drive, and they're in Buffy's back garden. Or even somewhere public, and Willow and Tara have cast a "Don't notice us, nothing to see here!" spell.
And Willow, who was her bestest dearest friend in the whole wide world, was lying next to her with a half-empty bottle of tequila, which Buffy had just decided was her favouritest most yummy drink in the whole wide world.
>> Did I mention Buffy was drunk? Well, Willow is also drunk. The bottle of tequila was mentioned in 'That Kiss', so I had to reintroduce it here. Also, both Sarah and Alyson are tiny little things, so it probably doesn't take much liquor to get them both legless.
Willow was explaining something about fireworks to Tara, whom Buffy didn't really know all that well. But since she was Willow's friend she had to be her bestest best friend's (er...counts under her breath...) friend in the whole wide world too!
>> Here's the thing. I was writing a fic set in S4/S5 where I somehow had to get Buffy and Willow to end up kissing. I was quite happy to dismiss Riley with a casual line about him being away on business in Washington. Dismissing Tara in the same way seemed out of the question somehow - I'm not sure what that says about me, or about the characters. :-) But the fact was, as I tried to work out the plot of this fic, that Tara was going to be there like it or not, and I'd have to find some way of getting Willow to kiss Buffy while her girlfriend was watching...
>> Note that this fic takes place in the summer between Season 4 and Season 5, so Buffy has met Tara a few times and knows she and Willow are a couple, but doesn't yet know her all that well for herself. Remember 'Family', when Willow invites everyone to Tara's party and nobody can think of anything to say about Tara except "She's nice"? Well, that episode hasn't happened yet.
So she smiled blearily across at Tara and thought up something really intelligent and insightful and thoughtful to say to her.
>> That's a play off "Fire bad. Tree pretty!" of course. The sad fact is that Buffy is so sozzled, she's convinced that what she just said really was insightful and thoughtful...
And Tara smiled and blushed and ducked her head and glanced towards Willow for moral support, then agreed with her that the fireworks were, indeed, pretty. Which made Buffy happy. Happier. Because obviously Tara was a kindred soul - even though Buffy honestly didn't know the first thing about her - and they were bonding. Like two bondy things.
>> Buffy's exceptional lack of vocabulary for similes comes into play again. Incidentally, while Tara has also had her fair share of the tequila, I don't think she's anything like as drunk as the other two right now - I doubt she'd trust herself to let go around a stranger like Buffy. So her slight hesitation is not only for moral support, it's also to let her think of a suitably polite response to Buffy's inane drunken blathering. :-)
So Buffy tried to think of her best gallant and witty come-back to show just what good friends they were.
"You're pretty too."
Tara looked kind of stunned at that, then looked away and wouldn't meet her eyes. Which made Buffy sad, because obviously Tara wasn't used to getting compliments and that made Buffy feel all hurty inside on her behalf.
>> Aww. How sweet. :-)
>> Our old friend the Unreliable Narrator is coming to visit now. When I first started writing this I planned to make it in the third person omniscient, but I had real problems keeping the focus; for such a short fic it kept jumping around so much to what Buffy thought, what Willow thought, what Tara thought. So I decided to go the other way, and make it extremely limited to Buffy's POV only. And because Buffy is drunk, her normally keen insight is rather seriously impaired right now. That means there are various hints in the fic that the conclusions she's jumping to are not altogether correct... but you can only guess at the true facts. Well, until I wrote this commentary anyway to lay them all out for you.
>> In this case - yes, Tara is indeed unused to getting compliments, and rather taken aback by someone like Buffy calling her pretty. But also, remember that Buffy is basically straight. Questioning and up for a little experimentation at times, maybe - something that was only speculation when I wrote this, but is now canon *g* - but fundamentally, her sex drive is focussed on men. If she compliments another woman's appearance, to her it's just a simple compliment with no ulterior motive behind it. For Willow and Tara, though, it's potentially a lot more than that. For both of them in their different ways, Buffy's words have just rung a mental alarm that says "Did she just come on to Tara?"
But Willow seemed to perk up all of a sudden, and she shot Buffy a Look. Or at least she tried to: it was as if her friend's eyes were having some trouble focussing. Which made Buffy feel a little smug and superior, because Willow was clearly drunk - whereas Buffy was the Slayer and had superhuman stamina and so could hold her alcohol and wasn't drunk at all. Really.
>> Denial, thy name is Buffy. Well, sometimes it's also Willow. Or Xander, or... well actually, Denial, thy name is The Entire Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Incidentally, I think Willow's reaction here is a mixture of "Oi! Keep your hands off my girlfriend!" and "Woohoo! Buffy is secretly interested in girls after all! I knew it! I knew it! Well, not 'knew it' in the sense of having the slighest idea, but I knew there was something going on with Faith!"
Well, she had to be honest with herself. Maybe she was just a little tipsy.
"Hey Buff, you trying to make me jealous here?"
What? No! She didn't want to upset Willow, because Willow was her lovely friend and she loved her. So she told her just that.
>> "No, Willow! I'm not t-trying to make you jealoush. You're my lovely friend and I love you! *hic*"
And she didn't want Willow to feel jealous over what she'd said to Tara, so she told Willow she was pretty too. Which made Willow blush and get all stammery and say that's not really what she'd meant.
>> Willow wanted Buffy to stop coming on to Tara, not to start coming on to her as well. This is because that would be awkward and confusing and make her feel all sorts of bad wrong thoughts, not because she doesn't like the idea...
That got Buffy worried she wasn't getting her message across about what a good friend Willow was, so she leaned over and planted a big wet sloppy kiss somewhere in the general vicinity of Willow's lips.
Willow went all rigid then, and when Buffy pulled away her eyes and mouth formed three perfect 'O's.
>> If there's one talent Alyson Hannigan has an an actress*, it's showing through facial expressions exactly what she's feeling. Mere text doesn't do her justice. Willow is currently in a state of shock.
>> *She does actually have more than one talent. Lots of them in fact. :-)
Plus Buffy found herself wondering, àpropos of nothing, why Willow would be feeling so cold all of a sudden on such a warm summer evening.
>> Willow's nipples have just gone hard. Um, in case that wasn't obvious to anyone from what I wrote. Poor Buffy continues to be clueless, however.
But then Willow shot a desperate, panicked look towards Tara, and Buffy realised, muzzily, that maybe she'd just done something wrong.
>> Here's the thing. I've mentioned before that I suspect Willow of nursing a secret crush on Buffy for a long time - ever since 'Welcome to the Hellmouth', in fact, although Willow certainly didn't think of her feelings that way back then. (She might have lain in bed some nights worrying about it, but then dismissed the idea as silly. Buffy was just her friend, wasn't she? And if the idea of imagining her and Angel together made her feel all tingly, well - it was because of Angel, surely? He's hot, isn't he? Buffy thinks so, and Buffy is so cool and self-confident and adult and pretty and sexy and - no, not sexy, darn it! Quick, think of something else! Think about getting married to Xander!)
>> So anyway, Buffy kissing Willow is one of Willow's dreams - or at least, one of her sexual fantasies - coming true. But it's also really intensely awkward, because she knows Buffy is probably too drunk to know what she's doing, and anyway she's in a relationship, and Tara is right here now... and so she panics.
So she rolled back hastily away from Willow - and suddenly realised she was feeling all wet below the waist. Which puzzled her a second, until with a wail of horrified misery she saw the upturned and empty tequila bottle lying there caught between them.
>> The wetness is, of course, a smutty innuendo. Which will be taken up later in the fic.
Willow looked equally upset at the sight (although perhaps just a smidge relieved at the distraction) and jumped up with a cry of "I'll get some more!"
Or at least Buffy guessed that's what her friend intended to do - what she actually did was say "Arrlgessumor!", push herself halfway up, then collapse in a giggling heap back on the grass
>> My one concession to slurred-drunken-speech in the fic. Both Willow and Buffy probably sound like this all the way through, actually. Given that Willow is 19 in this fic and she lives in a country with bizarre laws on the legal drinking age, we can only speculate on where she plans to find more tequila at this time of night.
(and also, coincidentally, sprawled partly across Buffy as well). Tara looked at the two of them blankly for a moment, then started to struggle to her feet with a muttered "M-m-maybe I should g-go..."
>> Willow fell down accidentally - unless her subconscious was playing tricks on her - but the fact that she and Buffy are now entwined in a giggling heap on the floor isn't exactly something she hates. Tara, of course, sees this as evidence that Willow has really wanted Buffy all along, and now she has her she won't be interested in Tara any more. So she's about to run away into the night all alone and cry herself to sleep.
Willow looked surprised and a little hurt for a moment, then grinned wickedly and reached across to pull Tara down into the middle of the wriggly Buffy-Willow heap.
>> Willow, on the other hand, knows she loves Tara (even if she also has a mild case of unrequited lust for Buffy) and at first is thinking that Tara wants to leave her. Of course she doesn't want that, and she knows how to fix it using magic...
" 'Ve got better plan. We should try that spell, y'know...?" Buffy couldn't see Tara's reaction from her angle, though she was acutely conscious of the girl's warm, slightly alcohol-laden breath on the side of her face as she said "You mean the invocation of Dionysus? Now? W-won't Buffy mind?"
>> Dionysus is the Greek god of Wine and Revelry. The idea here is that invoking him will summon more alcohol for them to drink. Note that this early in their relationship. Tara is still thrilled by the idea of casting powerful spells with Willow rather than questioning whether summoning a God just to fetch more booze is perhaps an abuse of magic.
>> Dionysus's female worshippers - the Maenads - used to strip naked and engage in wild drunken orgies with each other and any men they could capture - although sometimes they also tore them limb from limb. While Willow's proposed spell probably won't go that far, it's a fair bet that it would involve nakedness. And possibly an small private orgy. Hence why Tara is surprised at Willow suggesting it with Buffy there... But note that she doesn't exactly hate the idea. Now she knows Willow still wants her, and the prospect of casting sexy exciting spells with her girlfriend is offered, Tara is starting to enjoy the situation.
"If this Dio-whatsit spell brings more tequila Buffy won't mind at all!" she said, then added plaintively "I mind more that my pants are all wet. Can't you use some magic to dry them for me?"
"S-sorry." Tara wiggled around to face her, which felt distracting and confusing and kind of nice;
>> Buffy is starting to get turned on herself by the situation, although she hasn't quite worked it out yet.
and Buffy was quite surprised to see that Willow's supposedly shy, quiet girlfriend had what could only be described as a sly grin on her face. "We're not supposed to use m-magic for trivial things, so perhaps you'd b-better just take them off instead?"
>> Yes, I admit. In my mind Tara is actually quite raunchy and dominating in sexual situations; it's just that she's so shy and insecure that that side of her personality almost never emerges except behind the locked door of her and Willow's bedroom. (We saw a little of it in Season 6, such as her comments about Spike getting a cramp in his pants. Also there's a clip on YouTube of Amber Benson describing how she and Alyson once ran around the set of the Magic Box making obscene suggestions on what they'd like to do with the candles being sold there, but how one wouldn't be big enough to satisfy them so they'd need to put three together...)
Buffy felt herself blushing, and though she didn't know why she suddenly shivered with that odd sort of quivery rush like the last time she faced off against six vamps with only Mr Pointy to defend herself.
>> So Buffy is confusing sexual arousal with the adrenaline rush of fighting to the death. Yeah, no issues there. And there's nothing at all phallic about the symbolism of Mr Pointy, and why Buffy thinks of it as a defence.
But the important thing was that all her friends were happy and she was too, and this spell of Willow's sounded like a really good idea, because obviously getting more to drink wasn't a trivial thing - even Tara agreed with that! And so it didn't matter that she was all buzzy and wet - with spilled tequila, dammit! -
>> Like I said, the tequila innuendo returns, and this time it's obvious that Buffy is in denial.
and that Will and Tara were giggling and kissing each other - which reminded Buffy that it wasn't fair for her to have only kissed Willow, so perhaps she should do it to Tara too, to be equal. And after she had, Willow looked at them both, and kind of bit her lower lip, then leaned over very deliberately and kissed Buffy herself. For a long, slow time.
>> Willow just decided "What the heck, this will probably be a once in a lifetime opportunity so I'm gonna enjoy it as much as I can!" And while there have been lots of drunken wet sloppy kisses exchanged already in the fic, this one is The One. That Other Kiss of the title.
And her hands were smaller than Buffy was used to, which felt kind of surprising, but they knew exactly where to go and what to do, so when Willow came up for air and started to pull away, Buffy pushed against her so the touching wouldn't ever stop.
>> Yes, Willow is not only kissing Buffy, she's feeling her up. I told you she was making the most of her chance. And Buffy isn't hating it.
But then Tara grabbed one of Willow's hands with a rather proprietorial air - although she left the other where it was -
>> Tara doesn't mind what Willow does to Buffy as long as it's still clear she's her girlfriend.
and took one of Buffy's in her free hand, and smiled at them both.
"Let's make magic."
>> You can decide for yourself whether the "magic" they make is actual magic or a metaphor for "hot sweaty girly sex". Or, indeed, both at once. Bear in mind that when I wrote this, I wasn't planning to write a sequel set twenty minutes after the end of this fic...
>> I don't often write epilogues to my fics, but this one seemed to demand it, for reasons of comedy. Although after the sequel was written not everything in here quite fits any more.
The following morning, all three of our heroines mutually agreed never to talk about this evening ever again. Buffy was mortified at how oblivious she'd been, and how she could easily have wrecked Willow and Tara's relationship by coming on to each of them in front of the other. (Oddly, the effect on her relationship with Riley never crossed her mind. That might have disturbed her, if she'd ever actually thought about it.) The gay thing in itself didn't really bother her too much; she just chalked it up to excess of tequila and lack of recent boyfriendage.
>> I like 'boyfriendage' as a Buffyism.
Willow, on the other hand, was terrified that it would bother Buffy a great deal, and that she'd ruined their friendship forever by introducing - or rather, revealing - a sexual element. Denying that the whole thing ever happened seemed like the best plan.
>> Although we didn't see much of it on screen, there are hints that realising she was gay was a huge and difficult experience for Willow -
>>"I wasn't exactly Ms. Available either. I kept secrets. I hid things from everyone."
>>"That's not your fault. I mean, you were going through something huge -"
>>"I wanted to tell you. But I was so scared…"
As for Tara, once she was reassured that Willow wasn't about to leave her for Buffy she'd actually had a wonderful time - but there was no way on the Goddess's green earth that she'd say so out loud. At least, not until the next opportunity...
>> Tara's hidden raunchy side comes out. She's much too shy to actually suggest another threesome, but she'd love it if it did happen. I have to admit, though, it's possible I'm exaggerating this side of her personality for the sake of this fic... :-)
So, one more fic left to do, and it's the X-rated one...