As Willow and Tara walked, Tara instinctively took Willowís hand. In response, Willow squeezed her hand and turned to face Tara.
"I never thought Iíd ever feel like Hansel and Gretal," Willow offered.
Tara added, "I never thought Iíd see a gingerbread house."
Willow smiled a goofy grin. "At least we got out okay. Iím still hungry though."
"Willow, youíre insatiable!" Tara exclaimed.
Willow lightly hit Taraís arm in protest and then smiled at her. As she looked ahead, Willow noticed that there was another house in the distance. "Hmmm..." Willow pondered.
"I donít think we should..." Tara started.
"I want to see if the house is empty," Willow declared before pulling Tara towards the house. Tara sighed as she let Willow drag her to the new place. They looked in the closest window and didnít see any inhabitants.
"Letís go in and see if thereís any food," Willow suggested.
Tara playfully rolled her eyes. "Didnít you learn anything from the last house honey?"
"This time no one is home...and Iím hungry!" Willow happily replied.
Tara gave in and they cautiously entered the house. They stopped in the middle of the room and observed their surroundings. It was surprisingly cleanÖand quiet. There were three beds that were neatly made. A large painting of bears hung on a far wall. There were no dishes around except for the three bowls of porridge on the table.
"Hey, three untouched bowls of food," Willow noticed before adding, "This reminds me of ĎGoldilocks and the Three Bearsí."
Suddenly a low growl disturbed the peace. "Wow Willow, you really are hungry," Tara remarked.
"Uh, Tara, that wasnít my stomach," Willow replied nervously.
An unfamiliar voice interrupted, "Baby bear, this is the first time Iím glad you left the door open. What do we have here?"
Willow and Tara slowly turned around to face three talking bears. The largest one stared hungrily at the two women and licked his mouth. "Now our snack will be extra special."
"What is it with eating visitors?" Willow asked rhetorically.
The three bears growled in unison as they moved towards Tara and Willow. The two women backed away but they were not fast enough. The mother bear swiped her claw at Tara and cut her leg. Tara winced and cried out in pain.
"Tara!" Willow screamed as Tara hunched over and grabbed her leg. Willow immediately had a flashback of seeing Tara after Glory had stolen Taraís mind at the multi-cultural fair. Feelings of panic and anger rushed through Willow. She turned to the bears and shouted, "Be gone!"
As quickly as they came, the three bears were pushed out the door by an invisible force of wind and the door slammed shut. They tried to claw back in, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
Tara limped over to a chair and sat down, holding her leg with the hope that the pressure would make the pain subside. Willow kneeled in front of her girlfriend and asked if she was okay.
"I think I need Nurse Willow," Tara said as she forced a small smile.
Willow raised her eyebrows and grinned. "That was fun...but we need to fix your leg." She proceeded to look down at Taraís leg and noticed that her skirt was torn as well.
"Donít worry about that; itís just a piece of material," Tara assured Willow, "A bandage would be nice though."
Willow quickly jumped up and looked around the room for some cloth. On a small wooden table in the corner, there was a set of folded white sheets. "I donít know whatís weirder," Willow thought out loud, "the fact that the bears fold their sheets or that they have beds to put them on." Willow chuckled as she picked them up and started to tear one into strips.
"Donít forget that the bears talked too," Tara added, prompting a smile to grace her loverís face.
Willow walked over to the sink and picked up a large bowl. She filled it with water and dipped a small strip she had just torn into the cold liquid. While the water soaked into the piece of material, Willow returned to Tara and sat in front of her.
"Well, I canít disinfect your wound, but at least I can clean it a little," Willow stated confidently. "Okay baby," Willow started as she picked up the wet cloth, "this may sting a little."
Tara placed her hand on Willowís shoulder and replied, "Alright, Iím ready."
Placing one hand around Taraís leg to support it, Willow gently dabbed the moist piece of fabric on the slightly bloody cut. Tara had to close her eyes because of the sharp pains that were shooting up her leg.
When Willow glanced up, she noticed that Tara was squeezing her eyes shut. She rubbed Taraís leg to try to comfort her as she finished cleaning the blood off. When Willow was satisfied with the appearance of the wound, she dropped the cloth back in the dish and picked up another longer strip. She wrapped it around Taraís leg a few times and then tied a knot in it. To signal her completion, Willow gently kissed Taraís knee and then looked up at Tara.
"Iím done," Willow said softly.
Tara opened her eyes and was greeted by a pair of beautiful green eyes looking up at her lovingly. "My leg feels a little better. Thanks sweetie."
Willow smiled, "Anytime."
Tara returned the smile and then changed the subject, "And now itís time to go. Do you think we can get past the bears outside?"
Willowís hunger overtook her again. "Iím still hungry," she declared, "Iím going to try some of that porridge." Willow stood up and then sat on one of the chairs next to Tara.
"Do you feel like Goldilocks?" Tara inquired.
"Well, except for my red hair and the fact that Iím a lesbian, yes," Willow responded with a smirk.
Tara giggled as she turned to face the table. They each took a spoonful of the porridge and tasted the strange concoction.
"Well, itís no home-cooked cuisine, but Iíll eat almost anything," Willow commented.
The two finished a bowl of the food before Tara wondered about the bears. "Do you think that we can lock the bears in this house like we did with that old woman?"
Willow smiled. "Together we can!" she exclaimed. She then got up out of her chair and crept over to one of the windows. Outside, the bears lay sleeping next to a large oak tree. "The bears are sleeping," Willow observed, "we can sneak out and do a moving spell to transfer the bears inside."
"Then we can put a shield around the house so that they canít get out," Tara suggested, "like you did when we were hiding from the Knights."
Willow smiled broadly at her girlfriend. Tara was so smart and beautiful, Willow thought to herself. She then walked over to Tara and helped her up. "You can lean on me for support," Willow offered.
They slowly opened the door and walked about 50 yards away from the house undetected. Tara and Willow joined hands and chanted softly as the bears levitated above the ground and drifted through the open door. When the door closed shut, the couple recited another spell to create a shield around the house. The bears woke up and unsuccessfully tried to get out of their abode.
Noticing that their spells had worked, Willow squeezed Taraís hand and cheered in delight. "We did it!" Willow shouted.
Tara grinned, "Now we have to get to the castle...."
Back to Chapter 5 :: On to Chapter 7