Disclaimer: All non-original characters herein belong to persons such as Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, UPN, WB, etc, etc, etc, rather than me, myself and I. No compensation is received by me, only the pleasure I take in writing it.
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Spoilers: Takes place sometime between Dead Things and As You Were.
Summary: Buffy needs Tara’s help preventing yet another apocalypse.
Buffy Summers angrily walked out of Willy's Bar, her fists clenched in frustration. She glanced back at the entrance to the bar and considered for a moment going back inside to look for something to slay, but instead she stomped off in the direction of the campus.
By the time she reached Stevenson Hall, Buffy had calmed down considerably. She paused on the steps of her former home and considered her options as the occasional student filed past her, going to and fro in their nightly business.
"Ah, the hell with it," she finally mumbled to herself and opened the glass door leading inside.
As she made her way up the stairs, Buffy reflected on all that had occurred since she moved out of this building. Her mother, the battle with Glory, her own death and resurrection. It was that last event that had profoundly affected the people she loved the most, including the current resident of the dorm.
Buffy hesitated outside the door, wanting to knock, but wondering if she had the right to put any of her friends in danger again. However, before she could decide, the door swung open.
"Buffy?" Tara asked.
"Tara!" Buffy squeaked. "How did you know I was here?"
"I could feel your agitation through the door," the blonde witch replied. "Please, come in." Tara took Buffy's hand and led her into the dimly lit room.
"Thanks," Buffy said as Tara closed the door behind them. The Slayer crossed to the desk and turned the chair around. She sat down, glancing at the cover of the open book on the desk—Style and Civilization by A.L. Kroeber.
"Which class is this?" Buffy asked.
"Not a class, just researching my options. Kroeber was a famous anthropologist from UC-Berkeley. I was thinking of t-transferring there next semester."
"Oh," Buffy said in a small voice. "Are you sure?"
"No, Tara sighed. "I'm not sure of anything these days." Deciding to change the subject, Tara asked, "What's up, Buffy?"
"Oh, the usual...yet another apocalypse on the Hellmouth." Buffy said bitterly. "Only this time, we're the only ones left in town."
Tara blinked in surprise. "Where is everyone?"
"Xander and Anya are off for a romantic pre-wedding vacation. Willow is visiting her parents at some conference in Sacramento and you knew Dawn went on that school trip." Buffy replied, looking down at her hands in frustration.
"Last resort," Buffy asserted and Tara dropped the matter, silently agreeing with the Slayer's decision.
"Tell me how I can help," Tara said.
Buffy took a deep breath. "I took a pass by Willy's bar tonight, just part of my regular patrol. Willy wasn't too happy to see me, what few customers he had quickly cleared out when I came in."
Tara smiled, "Usual occurrence when the Slayer enters a demon bar I take it?"
"Yeah, and Willy was pissed as always, but I could also tell he was scared. And the place really was bare, even for a Wednesday night."
"What did Willy say?"
"He said a lot of his customers have decided to get out of town for a while. In fact, he himself was planning on closing shop for a few days. Sunnydale was not going to be a very safe place tomorrow...well, less safe than usual."
"Tomorrow?" Tara mused. "Valentine's Day?"
"Valentine's Day," Buffy growled. "Willy didn't have any details, just that something's going down tomorrow. Why do these things always have to be so vague?"
"Hence your agitation," Tara smiled.
Buffy returned the grin. "Yeah. So—wanna help save the world?"
"Oh why not?" Tara joked. "Not like I haven't done that before."
"Thanks, Tara," Buffy said, the warmth and sincerity evident in her voice. "I know it's getting late, but perhaps we can start with the books at the Magic Box."
"Always a good bet," Tara agreed, getting her coat and bag.
"Have you eaten yet?" Buffy asked.
Tara shook her head.
"Me neither," Buffy continued. "Let me call for a pizza and we'll pick it up on the way to the shop."
By the time the leftover pizza was cold and the soda all fizzled out, the two women were no closer to solving their puzzle than when they first started.
"Why is it I always feel research is a waste of time?" Buffy fumed. "I just want to go out and kill something!"
"Patience, Buffy," Tara said trying to calm the frazzled nerves of the Slayer. "We'll find something."
"I know," Buffy sighed, picking up another book. "We always do, but it's just so damn boring!"
"Bull!" Tara exclaimed.
Buffy looked up in surprise at Tara's tone. "Huh?"
"I said, bull," Tara reiterated. "Apocalypses are not boring, Buffy. They're frightening and no matter what we do someone always gets hurt or killed. So just point that cute nose of yours in that book and let's get on with it!"
Buffy looked at Tara with a dazed expression on her face, her mouth hanging open at Tara's words. Her brain was a-buzz with surprise at the blonde Wiccan's confident attitude. She tried to remember if Tara had ever spoken to her that way before and could not think of one time. Finally, deciding to meet the outburst with a touch of humor, she asked, "You think my nose is cute?"
Tara's expression changed as her own lips quirked into a smile. "Yes. Now…back to work!"
"Yes, ma'am!" Buffy replied and returned to her book.
A half hour later, Tara suddenly jumped up and grabbed another book from the shelf. Buffy watched in silence as the blonde witch found the page she was looking for and then finally sat back down at the table.
"Oh my," she whispered.
Buffy put her own book down and asked, "How bad is it?"
Tara sighed. "Could be worse," she said and then smirked. "But it could be better."
Buffy laughed. "Then tell me so I can go out and stop it."
Tara frowned. "Okay, from the beginning…long ago, during the Maya period, there was a cult of religious fanatics who had perverted the tenets of Hanah Ku, one of the Mayan creator gods. The Mayan rulers and priests became frightened at their growing influence so the leaders of the cult and many of their followers were exiled. Supposedly they fled north and Mayan records speak no more of them, but old folk tales from indigenous informants indicate they might have moved as far north as California."
"And I'll bet they found their way straight to the Hellmouth," Buffy said, sarcastically.
"Don't they always?" Tara smiled back. "The Council reports show vague references to Hanah Ku's cult, indicating that it survived its exile, but without significant power. They must have gone deep underground."
"Didn't you say this Hanukkah guy was a creator god?" Buffy asked. "Creator gods are usually good guys."
"Hanah Ku," Tara absently corrected. "Yes, he is, but any god's mythos can be corrupted."
"So what do his followers want and what's it got to do with Valentine's Day, which I doubt the Mayans celebrated?"
"An old prophecy from the few Mayan historical records that managed to survive the Spaniards." Tara picked up her book and read, "In the land of the sun, on the day of love, Hanah Ku will claim the fresh lovers and with the power of their blood, he will open the passage to the underworld and bring forth his followers to claim their glory."
"Fresh lovers?" Buffy asked. "What the hell does that mean?"
Tara shrugged and flipped through the musty book. "The problem with translation. It could also mean young lovers."
Buffy stood up and started pacing, her restless energy getting the best of her. "So, 'land of the sun,' that's obviously Sunnydale…if only I had a dollar for every time that showed up in prophecy I wouldn't have to flip burgers for a living. 'Day of love,' that's Valentine's Day. And 'passage to the underworld' is the Hellmouth."
"So the cult will probably sacrifice some poor couple and use their blood to open the Hellmouth," Tara added.
"Not while on my watch," Buffy said, picking up one of the display swords and swinging it in a broad arc. "We'll just have to stop them."
"Um, Buffy?" Tara began as they walked back to the dorm, unconsciously moving closer to Buffy. "How have things been with Spike?"
Buffy sighed, knowing this conversation had to eventually come about. "I'm trying to see less of him, but…"
"But you haven't decided to break it off completely with him, right?" Tara asked.
"No," Buffy confirmed. "I'm just afraid…"
Tara looked at her friend walking beside her and then decided to take a chance. She reached out and grasped Buffy's cool hand in her own and gave a squeeze. "What are you afraid of, Buffy?" she asked.
Buffy looked down at their joined hands, marveling at the soft warmth of Tara's hand. She tried to remember the last time she felt that sensation and almost forgot about Tara's question.
Finally she looked up into the witch's sparkling blue eyes and said, "I'm afraid that without him I'll lose all connection with myself. That I'll forget what it is to feel and just disappear."
Tara nodded. "And when you're with him, how does he make you feel?"
"Dirty, cold, degraded," Buffy confessed. "But even with all that I also feel alive."
The two were silent as they continued walking. Tara loosened her grip on Buffy's hand, but the Slayer tightened hers, not wanting to lose the contact, possibilities and alternatives running through her mind.
At Tara's dorm, Buffy reluctantly let Tara's hand go as the blonde witch unlocked the door. Tara swung open the door and then turned towards Buffy.
"Tara…" Buffy began, unable to express what she was thinking.
Tara looked into Buffy's eyes and knew. She slid a gentle hand along Buffy's neck and pulled the Slayer forward until their lips met. Buffy's eyes closed as she sank into the sweetness of Tara's lips. She pressed forward, molding her body into the taller woman's as her arms moved around Tara and tightened, pulling their bodies closer.
The kiss deepened. Buffy moaned as she felt Tara's lips part, inviting her in and she gladly accepted. Tara's tongue was warm and sweet and filled her head with a cloud of passion she never knew she could feel again. Her breathing quickened and after a few minutes she broke away.
Buffy leaned back, hands locked together around Tara's back unwilling to let go. She looked into Tara's eyes and licked her lips, wanting to taste Tara again.
"Tara, I'd like to come in," Buffy said.
As Tara looked into her eyes, Buffy felt like the blonde witch was looking into her soul. "I'd like you to come in, Buffy," she finally said and Buffy let out a soft sigh. "Do you want to stay?"
"I want…" Buffy began and, unable to meet Tara's probing gaze any longer, pulled the other woman in closer and rested her head between Tara's generous breasts. "I want you, Tara," she whispered.
Tara's arms tightened and she held the Slayer closer. "I want you too, Buffy. I want you to be able to feel close to someone without all the bad stuff. I'm so happy you're alive and I want to help you live again."
"Are you really?" Buffy asked, lifting her head and looking at Tara. "Are you really happy I'm alive?"
"Oh yes, Buffy," Tara smiled. "I'm so glad we brought you back. Maybe I'm just being selfish, but I like this world a whole lot better with Buffy Summers in it. It was too sad a place while you were gone."
Buffy returned the smile, for the first time in such a long time not feeling as if it was forced or contrived. "You mean that," she stated.
Tara knew Buffy wasn't questioning her, but wished to reinforce her statement. "I do," she said and moving away from Buffy she took the Slayer's hand in her own and led her into the room.
Buffy sat on the edge of Tara's bed as the witch moved silently around the darkened room lighting candles. Without asking what she wanted, Tara brought Buffy an opened bottle of spring water. Buffy took the bottle and drank deeply from it, not having realized how thirsty she was.
"You always know, don't you?" she said as Tara kneeled on the floor in front of her.
"What?" Tara asked, putting her hands lightly on Buffy's legs.
Buffy put the bottle on the nightstand and rested her hands on Tara's. "How I feel, what I'm feeling. And not only me, but you also know with everyone else. How do you do that?"
Tara shrugged. "I listen to people with more than just my ears. With you, I noticed you licking your lips, as if you were thirsty. Are you nervous?"
"Yes," Buffy nodded. "It's been a while since…"
"Since you've been with a woman?" Tara asked, her eyebrow raised in a question. "Since Faith?"
"How did you…?" Buffy said, surprised.
"Willow knew," Tara explained. "Why do you think she hated Faith so much?"
"Willow knew?" Buffy's mouth hung open. "When? How?"
"Since high school, when Willow was the mayor's hostage. Faith couldn't resist taunting Willow with it, knowing how much it would hurt her."
Buffy was stunned. "Willow never said anything about it."
"No," Tara said. "She figured if you had wanted her to know, you would have told her. You're a wonderful person, Buffy, but you're not very good at sharing your feelings."
"I'm sorry," Buffy said. "You're right, I guess. It's not easy being the Slayer. I feel like I have to be strong all the time."
"You don't have to feel that way here, Buffy. With me, I mean. I want you to feel comfortable."
Buffy smiled and began to rub Tara's arms. "I'm feeling more comfortable every minute I'm with you." She tilted her head as she looked down at Tara. "What about you? Are you nervous?"
"Oh yes!" Tara laughed. "Very."
Buffy's face crinkled in confusion. "You are? You don't seem to be. In fact, I haven't heard you stutter in a long while."
"Buffy, think about it. I'm sitting in a candle lit room with the Slayer, superhero of the world, the beautiful woman who has saved my life countless times, not to mention the same person who stood up to my family and made me a part of her own." Tara leaned forward and gently placed both hands on either side of Buffy's neck, caressing the Slayer's face with her thumbs as she looked into her eyes. "So yes, I am nervous, but I'm also very excited. And I never stutter when I'm excited."
"Me too," Buffy said and brought her arms up, pulling the witch closer. "I mean, I'm excited, not that I don't stutter when I'm excited. I mean..."
Tara stopped Buffy's rambling with a kiss. "I know what you mean, Buffy," she whispered.
Buffy pressed forward, deepening the kiss. She felt the heat from Tara building between them and infusing its way into her body. She could feel Tara's heat push away the coldness that had filled her since she clawed her way out of her coffin. The time she spent with Spike always left her cold afterwards, but somehow Buffy doubted Tara would leave her cold.
"Mmmm, Tara," she purred as the witch's hands moved down Buffy's back and under her shirt, her fingers lightly scratching as they traveled up its length. "That feels good."
"May I?" Tara asked as her fingers rested on the clasp of Buffy's bra.
Buffy simply nodded and leaned in to nuzzle Tara's neck. After they released the clasp, Tara's fingers moved underneath the now loosened bra and slowly traveled around to gently cup the Slayer's breasts. Buffy's breath quickened and she arched her back, wanting more pressure against Tara's hands. She moved her legs apart, allowing Tara to move in closer.
Tara accepted the invitation, tightening her grip against Buffy's breasts until the nipples hardened under her touch.
"Buffy," Tara breathed. "Please..."
"Yes," Buffy answered, standing up and pulling the other woman to her feet. She lifted her arms as Tara pulled the shirt and the bra off of her in one motion. As she let the garments drop, Tara laced her fingers with Buffy's and brought them down and around until the Slayer's hands were positioned at her waist. Tara then let go and slowly raised her own hands and looked Buffy in the eye, a small smirk on her lips.
Buffy lifted Tara's shirt over her head. Tara's hands came down to rest on Buffy's shoulders and the Slayer reached around to unhook Tara's bra. Buffy smiled in appreciation as the bra came free and, dropping it quickly, she reached to draw Tara into her embrace, relishing the feel of their naked breasts pressed together.
"Oh Tara," Buffy whispered, head buried in the taller woman's neck, gently caressing it with her lips. "I want to feel you. I want to touch you. I want to taste you. May I? Please?"
Tara softly pushed Buffy back until her legs encountered the edge of the bed and the Slayer was forced to sit down. Tara knelt once again at Buffy's feet and lifted her legs one at a time to remove her boots. Buffy leaned her weight back on her arms as Tara ran her hands up Buffy's legs and teasingly over her hips as she reached for the fastening. Buffy watched, an amused smile on her face, as the witch slowly undid the zipper, fingers playing along the inside of the fabric, giving Buffy a hint of things to come.
"You're really good at that," Buffy remarked as Tara pulled the jeans and panties off her with one motion. "Two for the price of one, eh?"
Tara smiled seductively. "I don't like to waste a lot of time. When I decide I want something, I go straight for it."
Tara took her time running her eyes over Buffy's body. Buffy could see the desire and the passion in the witch's eyes and she surprised herself at her own self-confidence. With her other lovers, she had always been a little shy in the beginning, but this time was different. She wanted Tara to see her and felt her own desire course through her as she opened her legs wider to give Tara a better view.
"Like what you see?" she asked.
"Yes," Tara answered, her blue eyes darkening as she returned to her feet.
Buffy leaned forward and pulled Tara towards her by the waistband of her skirt, moving her hands around until she found the zipper. With her own motions as quick as Tara's had been, Tara was soon standing naked before her.
"You are so beautiful, Tara," Buffy whispered, looking up into Tara's eyes. "Do you know that?"
Tara smiled. "I do when I see it in your eyes, Buffy."
Buffy looked mesmerized at the glistening sight only inches before her. Her arms moved up the backs of Tara's thighs and gently cupped the cheeks of her bottom, pulling Tara close in order to place a gentle kiss on the swell of her stomach. Buffy breathed in Tara's arousal and it was intoxicating to her Slayer's senses. Tara was spicy and earthy and full of promise and Buffy wanted to lose herself in Tara's folds.
"Tara," Buffy breathed, pulling the witch onto the bed and rolling on top of her.
"Buffy," Tara returned, pressing her lips onto Buffy's in a passionate kiss.
As much as Buffy loved kissing Tara's mouth, she wanted more and moved downward to take Tara's dark nipple into her mouth, gently sucking as it hardened to a point. Tara groaned underneath her, one hand holding Buffy's head tightly. As Buffy suckled, Tara's legs opened wider, allowing the Slayer greater access to her center and Tara's hips arched upward wanting more contact.
Buffy released Tara's nipple and continued her journey down Tara's body, traveling over the gentle hills of her stomach, her kisses exploring the bony terrain of Tara's hips until they reached the soft forest of hair covering Tara's mound. Buffy again breathed deep of Tara's essence and, moving her thumb along the damp slit, she leaned forward. Tara's body arched up as Buffy's tongue entered her and ran its way up her length.
"Oh goddess!" Tara cried at the touch. "Buffy!"
Buffy was intoxicated, drunk on the feel and the taste of the beautiful woman writhing in pleasure underneath her. Her own high school experiments with the dark slayer were nothing compared with making love to Tara. Faith mostly cared about herself and even though Buffy was pleasuring Tara, the witch was giving back so much more. Buffy knew by the movements and sounds Tara was making just how wonderful Buffy was making her feel. Buffy could feel her own pleasure in Tara's pleasure and it only served to make her want to give the other woman more and more of herself.
When Tara's thighs tightened around her, Buffy knew that Tara was close, the strong muscles twitching and spasming as the witch approached climax. Buffy circled Tara's clit with her tongue, increasing the pressure as she pushed her face closer, her nose digging deep into Tara's mound. As she felt Tara near the edge, Buffy plunged two fingers deep within Tara, seeking out the tiny knob of pleasure high within.
At the feel of Buffy's fingers, Tara was pushed over the precipice, her orgasm rocking through her body, lifting the both of them nearly off the bed. Buffy clung to Tara with her free hand, holding the witch down as she clung to her to maintain her own position in order to draw out every last ounce of pleasure in the other woman's body, her own body experiencing its own form of release in response.
After a few minutes Buffy realized that Tara's breathing had slowed and her body had stopped twitching with the occasional aftershock. "You okay?" she asked.
"Oh goddess," Tara laughed. "I am more than okay."
Buffy looked up at Tara, a satisfied smirk on her face. "That good, eh?"
Tara returned the smile. "Oh yeah, that good. C'mere and I'll show you how good."
"Promise?" Buffy said perkily and climbed her way back up Tara's body until their lips met again in a passionate kiss.
Buffy was lost in sensation and didn't know just how Tara had rolled her over and was now lying halfway on top of her. She relished Tara's weight and her leg came up to hook itself around Tara's, pulling them closer together. Tara lifted her face and looked down at Buffy.
"Tara, I want..." Buffy panted, desire for Tara's touch filling her being.
"I know, Buffy," Tara said and slid her hand between them and moving down to cup her damp curls.
Buffy's back arched upwards as Tara's long, slim fingers moved past her curls into the wetness inside, sliding along the length, exploring the Slayer's inner warmth, always moving, drawing out pleasure with each stroke.
"Oh, Buffy," Tara panted, her face pressed against Buffy's. "You feel so good. So soft. So smooth. And, oh goddess, so wet."
"You do that, Tara," Buffy moaned. "You make me feel that way. You make me feel."
"Yes," Tara whispered. "I want you to feel, Buffy. Feel for me."
"Oh god!" Buffy yelled as Tara plunged her fingers inside and then slowly withdrew, her palm continuing to stroke against Buffy's clit as she moved. Tara's hands continued her movements, gradually increasing in tempo. Buffy's mind was in a fog, but it was different than the fog she had been in since returning to life. This was wonderful and she felt herself giving over completely to the sensation as every nerve ending in her body exploded.
"That's it, Buffy," Tara said, slowing her hand movement. "I've got you."
Buffy realized she was her breathing was sobbing as she came back into her body. "Oh god, Tara," she panted. "Oh god."
"It's okay," Tara said, caressing Buffy's cheek, wiping away the tears. "It's okay."
"I know," Buffy smiled. "You made it okay."
"I'm glad," Tara said.
Her tears gone, Buffy broke out into laughter. "You also damn well know how to keep a promise don't you? That was much more than good."
"I never break a promise."
Tara's smirk rekindled Buffy's desire and with a joyful laugh she rolled on top of the witch to begin again.
"Changed a bit, hasn't it?" Tara remarked, standing next to the Slayer in the mid-morning sun, just inside the high fencing surrounding the construction area of Buffy's high school. The former debris of the ruined complex had been removed and the site bull-dozered flat. Piles of building materials, a mobile office and several port-a-potties filled the large area.
"When Xander told me they were rebuilding Hellmouth High, I honestly didn't think he was serious," Buffy said.
"It's been over three years, Buffy," Tara replied. "I'm surprised they haven't done it before now."
"I know," the Slayer sighed. "Just makes me worried about what prompted them to do it now. Let's hope Dawn graduates before they finish it. Come on. Let's see if we can find a way to the basement. I'm sure they didn't fill that in. Heavens forbid they should seal the entrance to the mouth of Hell."
Tara chuckled as she followed Buffy. Just beyond the office they found a medium-sized shed. Buffy broke the lock and inside they found a metal staircase leading down.
"Looks like this is it," Buffy said.
"Here," Tara handed Buffy a flashlight that had been sitting on a table and grabbed one for herself.
"Thanks," Buffy said, but then paused at the top of the stairs. "Uh Tara? Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, I'm sure it's gonna get hairy. These things usually do."
"Just because I moved out of your house doesn't mean I'm no longer a Scooby," Tara assured.
Buffy sighed. "Okay, but stick by my side. I don't want you hurt."
"Same here," Tara said. "We'll both be careful."
The pair descended into the basement and Buffy tried to orient herself. "This way…I think," she said, leading the way.
As they walked, Tara suddenly remembered something. "Buffy?"
"Why is the site deserted?" she asked. "I mean, Valentine's Day is not a bank holiday so why isn't the crew here? And should there be at least one security guard?"
Buffy stopped and looked at her. Tara could see the wheels turning in Buffy's head. "Xander said the company gave them half a week off, some kind of audit thing or something, that's why him and Anya were able to get away," Buffy explained. "Xander said the crew complained about the lack of overtime, but they were happy about getting paid. Kinda unusual in this business, I guess. No work, no pay, that sort of thing."
"Seems convenient, doesn't it?" Tara observed.
Buffy scowled. "Too convenient."
Tara followed closely behind the Slayer, her heightened senses trying to detect any kind of magical traps. However the only thing she could sense was Buffy's growing frustration and confusion.
"Have I ever told you how much I hated this place?" Buffy growled.
"Only about forty or fifty times," Tara said, drolly. Buffy looked at her from the corner of her eye.
"Okay, I'll stop now," she said.
"No, hey, it's okay," Tara said. "If I had to make as many frequent trips back to my old high school as you do, I'd be grumpy too. And as far as I know, we never had an apocalypse. Just the occasional mid-term c-crisis."
Buffy laughed at the joke and then grew serious as she noticed Tara's stutter. "I take it high school was not a picnic for you?"
Tara's smile grew wry. "No, it wasn't. Being the only known lesbian in a rural town does not make for the most pleasant of times."
"You were out in high school? Wow, that was brave. We only had one out guy, but no one messed with him since he was a football jock."
"Brave had nothing to do with it, Buffy," Tara said. From the distance they had walked, it seemed they must be near the center of the site by now. "I didn't choose to be out. Gossip made that decision for me."
"Oh," Buffy said. "Did your girlfriend spill the beans?"
"No, we got caught," Tara shrugged. "Adrian went to a private school and I hope her father's money spared her from what I had to endure."
"Didn't see her after that?" Buffy guessed.
Tara shook her head. "Nope, I tried though. I snuck out one night not long after Mother died and made my way to her school. Got nabbed just as I was trying to sneak into her dorm." Tara laughed. "Came so close, but now that I think about it, I don't think she would have wanted to see me."
"Why not?" Buffy asked, confusion on her face. "Gods Tara, anyone would be honored to have you break the rules for them!"
"Charmer," Tara smiled, and Buffy blushed.
Tara was just about to add something when she felt a rumbling under her feet.
"Buffy?" she yelled, grabbing for the Slayer's hand. She heard Buffy curse under her breath as the rumbling turned into a roar. Chunks of concrete and cinderblock began to fall from the ceiling. Through the dust and debris that filled the air, she could see red-colored robed figures approach them and then the world turned black.
The first thing Tara realized when consciousness returned was that her hands were painfully bound underneath her. Nausea filled her as she tried to open her eyes, and for a horrible moment she thought she was going to vomit around the gag filling her mouth. As she concentrated on breathing through her nose, the nausea finally subsided and she was able to take a look around her surroundings.
She was resting on a block of stone in a large, rocky walled chamber. She felt warmth to her left and painfully turned her head. She could see the Slayer lying next to her, equally tied and unconscious, but not gagged. Tara extended her senses and could feel that Buffy was coming to.
A noise alerted her and, turning the opposite way, she saw three of the red-robed figures enter the chamber. Tara guessed they were priests of Hanah Ku. They were carrying censers and chanting in some archaic language. All of them were wearing large obsidian daggers at their waists.
Not fresh lovers, Tara thought to herself. New lovers. And Buffy and I just got tagged 'it.'
To her relief, she felt Buffy begin to struggle against her bindings.
"Hey!" the Slayer called. "This is so not fun, guys." The priests simply continued their chanting.
"Huh?" Buffy said, confused. "What?"
Tara tried again. Buffy, listen to me.
"Tara?" Buffy said, aloud.
You don't have to speak for me to hear you, Buffy. Please be quiet. Tara didn't want the priests to know they were able to communicate.
I'm sorry! Buffy thought. Is this working? Can you hear me?
Yes, Tara projected.
How cool is that! Buffy thought and Tara could feel the Slayer's delight.
Xander always freaks out when we do it with him, but Anya only gets annoyed. Listen Buffy, this is serious though...if I'm not mistaken, we're about to become the main ingredient in these guy's plans to open the Hellmouth.
Yeah, I figured that. Got any ideas?
They obviously know that I'm a witch, which is why I'm gagged and that you're not.
Slayer strength is not helping me here. Buffy struggled uselessly.
Tara looked over and saw two of the priests approaching. Buffy, you need to cast a spell to break yourself free.
Uh, Tara, in case you didn't know...I'm not a witch!
Buffy, I can cast the spell through you. You have to let me in, though.
"Hey! Hanah guy! Leave her alone!" Buffy warned, struggling harder against her bindings as the red robed priest stood next to Tara, drew his dagger and lifted it up into the air, chanting in his arcane language.
Buffy! You need to relax. Let me in and we'll cast the spell together.
Let you in? What do you mean? Tara!
Tara tried to concentrate as another priest approached Buffy and also lifted the razor sharp obsidian. She figured they only had moments left.
Like last night Buffy. Just relax. Open your senses. Let me enter you.
Oh god, this is so not sexy! Buffy thought, but tried to do as Tara said.
Tara closed her eyes and regulated her breathing, giving every effort to ignore the danger she knew was only moments away. She could feel Buffy doing as she asked, giving her a measure of trust that went beyond even what they had shared the night before. Buffy laid her soul bare for Tara to possess and Tara was grateful for it.
The Slayer opened her mouth and said, "Eximete!"
The priest closer to Buffy suddenly found his own dagger implanted in his chest as Buffy jumped up in one fluid motion and grabbed the dagger. Hopping over the stone block she had been laying on, she launched herself in Tara's direction just as the dagger in the other priest's hand began its descent towards the witch's chest.
"Hey!" Buffy said, grabbing hand holding the dagger and stopping it less than an inch away from Tara. "I said this was so not fun. Why can't you guys just listen for once?"
Buffy twisted the arm holding the dagger around as she spun the priest around. The third priest plunged his dagger into the chest of his companion as Buffy used him as a shield.
"Not only deaf, but stupid!" the Slayer quipped as she dropped the body and landed a kick on the priest's chest as he looked on in horror.
"Hanah ku will live!" he shouted as he recovered from the blow and launched himself at Buffy.
"Not in this lifetime, doofus!" Buffy grabbed him by the head, and twisted it until his neck broke with a sickening snap. Tara winced at the sound, but sighed in relief as Buffy returned to free her.
"Hey, you okay?" Buffy said as she removed the witch's gag.
Tara choked as her nausea returned when Buffy lifted her to a sitting position.
"I will be," she said. "I just need to rest for a bit."
"Let me get you to the hospital," Buffy said, helping Tara to her feet.
"No, not necessary," Tara insisted. "I just need to rest, I'll be okay."
"You sure?" Buffy said.
"Yes," Tara said. "You know us Scoobies. We're tougher than we look.
"Well, let me get you back to the house then. It's closer than the dorms," Buffy said.
"Uh no, not the house," Tara said and Buffy looked at her.
"No one's home, Tara," she said, thinking the other blonde wanted to avoid a certain redhead.
"I know, Buffy," Tara smiled. "But I really want to seduce you again, and I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that at the house."
Buffy's smile melted Tara all over again and she felt her energy returning.
"Okay," Buffy said. "When you put it that way how can I resist?"
Tara pulled the Slayer close for a hug. "Mmmm," Buffy purred. "As much as I'd like to get you home as quickly as possible, I'd better make sure all these Hanah guys are gone. You up for that?"
Tara nodded and rose to her feet.
Back at Tara's dorm, Buffy joined the blonde witch in a shower and then the two snuggled comfortably in Tara's bed.
"Buffy," Tara said, holding the Slayer in her arms. Buffy's head nestled in Tara's shoulder.
"Thank you for coming to me for help," she said.
Buffy shifted slightly so she could look Tara in the eye. "Hey, I'm the one who should be thanking you, Tara. You helped prevent another apocalypse. The world owes you teensy measure of debt."
Tara was silent, waiting for Buffy to continue, knowing she would.
"Thank you for this, too," Buffy said.
"Us this," Buffy said and Tara could feel the heat of the Slayer's blush. "Last night and tonight."
"Oh," Tara smiled. "That this."
Buffy laughed. "Okay, fine...make fun of the Slayer. But I'm trying to be serious, Tara."
"I know, Buffy. I'm sorry," Tara said, squeezing the slight woman in her arms gently.
"No, it's okay," Buffy said. "It's just that you told me last night that I never share my feelings, but with you I know I can without fear of being judged."
"Who am I to judge the Slayer?" Tara asked.
"Humph, you're a Scooby," Buffy said, the sarcasm clear in her voice. "That pretty much gives you free rein."
"Well, not this Scooby," Tara said. "I'll leave that to Xander and Willow—they've got that particular task well in hand."
"They mean well and I know they love me, but I guess after all these years..."
"They do love you, Buffy," Tara whispered. "As do I."
"I know you do, Tara," Buffy said, her tone getting even more serious. "But I know you're still in love with Willow."
"Does that bother you?"
"No!" Buffy said, sitting up and looking down at the blonde witch resting against the pillows. "Gods Tara, there is nobody in this world who would be more happy if you two got back together. Do you think you might?"
Tara breathed in deeply before answering. "After what she did to me Buffy, I'm not sure if I can trust her ever again. But I'm not quite ready to give up on her entirely yet. And she's been doing so much better. I think there might be hope. And if there's hope..."
"Hope's a good thing, Tara," Buffy said.
"It is," Tara agreed, then swung the table around to Buffy's side. "And Spike?"
"Spike," Buffy said, heaving a big sigh. "Like you, I'm not quite ready to give him up entirely yet. Does that sicken you?"
Buffy's expression caused a wrenching in Tara's heart. "No Buffy, it doesn't. I told you before, it's okay. I don't like that your relationship with him is based more on violence than on love, but I understand."
"Thank you," Buffy whispered, her features relaxing.
Tara smiled, deciding to lighten the mood a little. "Anyway, I think Dawn would beat you out on the happy department if I took Willow back."
"Maybe. Maybe not," Buffy chirped, welcoming Tara's mood swing. "But I'm sure my reaction would be more dignified than hers. After all, I have a reputation to uphold."
"Hmmm," Tara pondered. "Speaking of reputations...is it my understanding that slayers have super stamina?"
"So they tell me," Buffy grinned. "But then again, I never did get the handbook."
"Hmmm. Perhaps we need to test that, then?"
"Perhaps we should," Buffy swung her leg over Tara's waist and leaned close. "What about witches? Not so much with the slayer stamina I know, but I hear they can cast a wicked bit of magic at just the right moment."
"Oh yes, definitely that," Tara ran her hands down Buffy's naked back and cupped both cheeks firmly, pulling the Slayer into a more closer position, arching her hips upwards in a desire for more direct contact. "But I wouldn't want you to take my word for it. Perhaps I can show you?"
"Perhaps we can show each other," Buffy whispered.
Tara moved up into a sitting position, and Buffy shifted so she was sitting comfortably in the witch's lap with her legs wrapped around Tara's waist.
"You're pretty strong for a non-slayer type," Buffy said, her breathing growing shallow as Tara's lips claimed a nipple. Tara could feel Buffy's heat in her lap and the sensation clouded her thinking so much she was unable to formulate a comeback to Buffy's jest.
"Mmm hmm," she hummed, closing her lips tight against Buffy's breast and pinching the nipple between her teeth, her tongue stimulating the tip.
"Oh gods," Buffy cried, her head falling back as she arched into Tara.
Tara reached a hand between them and cupped Buffy's wetness, long fingers moving through her folds, seeking and exploring. The Slayer's body jerked as Tara's finger came in contact with her center, sliding easily through the silky smoothness.
"Oh yes!" Buffy cried. "So good! So close!"
Tara let go of Buffy's nipple and with her free hand, pulled the Slayer's head to her own, lips meeting lips. Tara thrust her tongue deeply into Buffy's mouth as she increased the rhythm of her hand. Buffy's legs tightened around Tara as a new wetness filled the witch's hand.
"Stay with me, Buffy," Tara panted as she lifted Buffy over on to her back and pressed her full weight down on the Slayer's still twitching body, knowing she wouldn't hurt her. Tara pressed her pelvis forward until she could feel Buffy's engorged clit rubbing against her own.
"Tara..." Buffy managed through ragged breath. "Want you...now!"
"I'm not done with you yet," Tara whispered, looking down at the beautiful woman writhing underneath her.
"Please?" Buffy whimpered.
Tara smiled sweetly. "Well, if you're gonna beg..."
At Buffy's moan, Tara relented her teasing, and her heartbeat quickened even faster as she swung her leg over and smoothly reversed positions. She leaned down, breathing in Buffy's scent, her mouth watering at the dark muskiness of the Slayer. She felt Buffy pull her down and moaned as she felt the Slayer tasting her. She wanted a taste of her own and she lowered her head, slipping her tongue past Buffy's blonde curls. As she closed her lips around Buffy's clit, sucking it into her mouth, she felt Buffy's tongue on her own and she nearly lost herself in the sensation.
As she continued her motions, Tara could feel herself approaching climax and sensed Buffy was also. She pressed her hips down, wanting more contact and felt Buffy pressing her face deep into her. She grabbed Buffy's ass in both hands and sunk her fingers in as she felt herself crash over the edge. Her cries were muffled in Buffy's cunt as the Slayer too bucked up against her, even more wetness pouring out of her, filling Tara's senses.
Tara collapsed on top of Buffy, her muscles unable to support her weight, grateful again for Buffy's strength. Finally recovering a bit, she rolled off of the Slayer onto her back, her chest still heaving. After a moment, she felt Buffy lay next to her and her arm automatically pulling the other woman closer as Buffy snuggled in her arms.
"Oh wow," Tara breathed, smiling a bit.
"Wow is right," Buffy said. "I always knew magic was a good thing."
"I don't know about magic," Tara answered. "But that definitely was a good thing."
"Yeah," Buffy said.
They lay together quietly for a few moments and Tara could feel herself drifting peacefully.
"Happy Valentine's Day," Buffy said. "With the impending apocalypse and all, I didn't have time to get you anything."
Tara smiled and kissed the top of Buffy's head. "That's okay, Buffy. Next year get me some flowers. I like flowers."
"Alright," the Slayer replied, yawning sleepily. "Let's just hope next year is a happier time for us all."
"I'm sure it will be," Tara said. "Happy Valentine's Day to you too, Buffy."
Buffy just mumbled as she fell asleep.
Third Place Winner in the Starcrossed Valentine's Day Fan Fiction Contest
Graphic courtesy of: CN Winters.Send Feedback to Author Back to Susan Carr's Stories...