DISCLAIMER: All hail Joss Whedon, UPN, the WB, FOX, Mutant Enemy and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation. Theirs, not mine.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: JMW Turner is the artist that Spike and Tara discuss in this fic. If you haven’t seen his work, check it out.
Part 5: Loved
“Meow,” she replied, as she stared at me with expressive green eyes.
“Look, Demon.” I picked her up and peered in her face. “Do you understand the difference between a ball of yarn and a sweater?”
“Meow,” said the small fluffy cat. She shook her head, and the bell on her collar tinkled.
I looked down at the blue tangled mess in my hand. “Well, yeah, good point. There isn’t much of a difference now.”
Tara came in the room and put down her bag of books. She wore a corset and a long full skirt, made of soft velvet the color of moss. “I missed you so much!” she exclaimed as she grabbed the kitten from my hands and twirled her around. I cleared my throat loudly and raised my eyebrows, which made her laugh. She put down the cat and kissed me sweetly. “I missed you too,” she said with a smile.
I held her close and kissed her neck. “So how were your classes today?”
“Life Drawing went pretty well,” she said, “I’m not really happy with the angle of the left arm in the sketch that I’m doing, but I think I know where I want to go with it. English Romantics was a bit challenging. We were assigned a research project.”
“Speaking of English romantics,” I said, as I cupped my hands over her breasts.
She gently pushed them away and gave me a peck on the cheek. “I have to keep my grades up for my scholarship, and spending the day in bed again isn’t going to help,” she said regretfully. “Will you come with me to the library?”
She bent over the book that she was reading. Her hair fell over her cheek and hid one eye from view. I watched the rise and fall of the lace that constrained the fullness of her breasts. Just one firm pull on the tightly knotted cord and I could slowly pull the lace free of the hooks that held it. It would be so easy to slide the corset over her shoulders, and remove the blouse underneath. My hands itched to touch the rosy flesh of her breasts, and my mouth yearned to taste her delicate nipples.
“I bet I know what you’re thinking,” said Tara, a smile on her lips.
“Sorry?” I said to her as I quickly adjusted myself under the table.
“You were thinking about how amazing Turner’s use of light was,” she said as she gestured to the large art book that was open on the table in front of me.
“Right,” I said as I looked down at the book.
“Did you know there is a special collection here at the University? There are some of his papers, and a few oil paintings and watercolors. We could go look at them,” she said.
“Whatever you want, pet,” I said. We stood up from the table and walked through the cavernous library to the information desk. Tara showed her ID badge and signed a log, and received a key from the dour clerk. I followed Tara’s swishing skirt up a small flight of metal stairs.
“Turner was a true master,” she explained as she walked along a long gallery. “No one has ever been able to duplicate the quality that he brought to his work.” She stopped in front of a door and opened it. She led me into a large room that held a long table, glass bookcases, and artwork displayed on the walls.
I walked over to a large painting. The sun rose over the mountains, rose and amber streaks across the canvas signaling the birth of a new day. “This really is quite beautiful, “ I said to Tara. I felt her come up behind me. She slid her hand into mine and turned me around to face her.
”You’re beautiful,” she said softly as she undid the buttons on my shirt.
“Tara…” I gasped as she slid the shirt off my shoulder and brought her mouth to my nipple. She stroked her tongue across it, and licked gently. I pulled her up, and kissed her hungrily. “I want to touch you,” I whispered in her ear. She led my hand to her corset, and I freed her from it as she kissed my neck. Her warm mouth slid over my skin as my hands pulled off her shirt. She was naked underneath, and I pressed her bare chest against mine.
“I love the way my skin tingles when we touch,” she said.
I ran my hands over her shoulders and across her breasts. I bent to kiss each nipple gently in turn. “I love how soft you are, how sweet.”
She unbuttoned my pants and slipped both hands inside. I gasped as her delicate touch ran up and down my shaft, around the head, and gently cupped my sack. “I love it when you’re hard, so hard and full of need, and I know it’s because of me,” she said as she stared up at me. Her eyes were so wide, so honest, and so true.
I held her face as I kissed her deeply. Her hands worked me, and I bent my mouth to her neck and bit her, as I got closer to my release. I rocked against her, lost in the feel of her delicate fingers around me. She drew away from me and sank to her knees. Her hair brushed over my belly as she enveloped me in her warm mouth. She sucked tentatively at first, and then harder. “Oh God,” I moaned, and then I came as colored sparks flared in my mind. She held tightly to my thighs, and drank me down.
She stood up and looked at me uncertainly. “I hope…“ I crushed her mouth to mine as I swept her up and placed her on the table. I lifted up her layers of skirt and pulled off her damp panties. Gently I spread apart her silken thighs and slipped my tongue inside her. I probed her depths, focused narrowly on my task. I needed to fulfill her, wanted her to gain pleasure from my body, from me. She grabbed my neck, and I sucked her clit into my mouth. She shattered with a scream, and I lapped at her gently until she had stilled.
I pulled away and looked up at her. She looked spent, her eyes closed and her features soft. “I’m not done with you yet,” I said in a low voice. I grabbed her hips and slid her down the table, and moved my cock inside her. She wrapped her legs around my waist, and I basked in the sight of her spread out on the table, her hair trailing over the dark wood. Her beautiful face was flushed with sex, and her body was tight with passion. She bit down on her lip.
“Tara, I love you,” I said desperately as I clenched her hips tighter. “Don’t hold back.” Her head thrashed back and forth, and her walls tightened around me. “Talk to me,” I said gruffly.
She bit down harder and a bead of blood sprang up on her lip. I pulled her up to me, and wrapped my arms tightly around her back. I kissed her, and tasted the heady nectar of her blood. “Please, let yourself go,” I gasped. “Please.” I moved within her slowly, methodically.
She opened her eyes, and they were full of tears. “I love you,” she said softly.
I stilled. “Why are you crying?” I asked, concerned. “Am I hurting you?” I moved to pull out of her, but she held me tight.
“I’m so happy,” she said.
“You’re crying because you’re happy?” I asked, perplexed.
“You make me so h-happy,” she cried. “I l-l-love y-y-you so much.” I withdrew from her and cradled her in my arms. I sat down on the floor and stroked her hair.
“God, baby, what’s the matter?” She cried so hard that her whole body shook.
“M-m-my m-m-m-mother,” she said painfully. It hurt to see her in so much pain, so twisted in knots she couldn’t even speak.
“You lost your mum when you were a teenager,” I said, not understanding.
“A-a-a-a-a,” she stuttered. “A-a-a-a-and W-W-W-W...”
“Willow?” I supplied. She nodded, and rested her head on my shoulder. I waited for her to calm down enough to talk.
“My w-whole life, only two people have loved me,” she said sadly. “My mother, and Willow.” I kissed her gently on the brow. “And you tell me that you love me,” she said slowly, “and I can’t believe it.” Anger fired inside me, and pain. I struggled to push it down, to let her explain. “It has to be the spell,” she said. “I don’t think that you would feel this way otherwise.” I kissed her lips, and focused on her taste, her sweetness, and her giving heart. Our love was true, it was real, and I knew it in my bones. If I lashed out, if I lost it, I would lose the fragile girl that I loved.
“I know that I love you,” I said softly. “And I know that you love me. I don’t believe that it’s just a spell, and I can’t go on with you not trusting in us, in what we have.” I looked deeply into her eyes. “We’ll do research at the Magic Box. We’ll call Giles. We’ll ask anyone you like, do whatever you need to find out that the spell that healed me did not cause the way we feel.”
She looked at me in relief. “You’re not angry? You won’t leave me?”
I rocked her in my arms. “I’ll stay with you forever, pet. I’ll stay as long as you’ll have me.”
We sat at the table in the Magic Box. The surface was piled high with volumes and papers. “I didn’t come up with anything,” Tara said, as she pushed away a large stack of books.
I looked down at a page of notes. “According to all the sources I checked, there is no way the healing spell could have acted as a love spell.” Tara fiddled nervously with her hair. “But, there was one footnote in Amalfi’s Grimoire that indicated that the healing spell that you did could also be used to grant the heart’s greatest desire.”
She looked up at me, and her eyes were thoughtful. “We could do a reveal spell,” she said seriously. “If either of us was under any enchantment, that would dispel it.”
“Can you do that?” I asked her.
She shook her head. “I’m too emotionally involved. It might skew the spell.”
“Do you want me to do it? I do know quite a bit about magic,” I said.
She shook her head again. “Same problem.”
“So do we need to find another witch to perform the spell?” She sighed and rubbed her neck.
“It’s actually very simple,” she said. “It’s really just tossing some dust in the air and saying a few words. Anybody could do it.” Xander walked through the front door and pecked Anya on the cheek. Tara and I exchanged glances.
Xander looked at me quizzically. “So I just throw some dust at Tara, and then read from a paper?”
“Right,” I replied. “And then you do the same thing to me.”
He raised his eyebrows. “So do you want to explain to me what this is all about?”
“Not especially,” I replied.
“Okay. But then you have to do me a favor.” He looked at me earnestly.
“What kind of favor?” I asked him.
“Anya and I are getting married next week. I do this for you, you come.” He took a deep breath. “There’s going to be a lot of demons there, and I’m a little worried about that. So I want you to step in, get rid of any of them that start stirring up trouble.”
“You want me to be a bouncer at your wedding?” I asked incredulously.
“Pretty much,” he admitted. “But don’t tell Anya. I don’t want her to get all bent out of shape about how I don’t trust demons. I don’t need to hear the ‘demons are people too’ lecture again.”
“I’ll do it, if you do this for me.” We shook hands on it.
Anya rang up Tara at the cash register. “Thirty eight fifty,” she said with a smile. “I gave you a five percent discount because you’re my friend.” Tara laughed.
We watched Tara as she ground together herbs with a mortar and pestle. She ended up with a fine light green powder. Tara and I stood side by side, and Xander stood in front of us and held the bowl and a sheet of paper. “Coriale disnot finar libolba!” he read awkwardly, and tossed a handful of dust at Tara. It glimmered around her for a few seconds, and she shone brightly as a star. The light flared and then faded away.
She turned to me and smiled. “I don’t feel any different.”
“Coriale disnot finar libolba!” he read again, and tossed the powder at me. Immediately it flared into a heavy golden heat that coated my skin like warm honey. I glowed brightly, and light filled the room. The light flared, and then dropped away, and golden glitter littered the floor.
“Thank God this is over and we can put it behind us,” I said. She stared at me in shock and turned heel and ran. “Tara!” I screamed, and fear and pain turned it into a mighty roar.
I started to run after her, but Xander grabbed my arm. “I don’t know what is going on,” he said firmly, “but I’m not going to let you hurt her.”
I pulled my arm away. “I’d never hurt her, you stupid git! I’m in love with her.” I ran out of the Magic Shop and down the street, and I called her name. I tried to feel her, to locate her scent, but she was nowhere near, or she was using magic to hide herself. I walked the streets of Sunnydale for hours. I checked the art studio, her room, the bookstore, everywhere I could think of. Finally I made my way to my crypt. As I descended the ladder, I saw that a small figure sat on my bed in darkness. “There you are, sweetheart,” I said with relief. “I’ve looked everywhere for you.”
As I neared, I realized that this wasn’t Tara. It was Buffy. She was curled up on my pillows, and she held one of my shirts. “I’ve been here every night for two weeks,” she said. “But you’re never here. Where are you spending your nights?”
I turned on the lights, and she walked over to me. “It’s none of your business, Slayer. Please get out of my home.”
She grabbed my shoulders and slammed me into the wall. She gazed deeply in my eyes as she held me pinned. “I love you.”
“What?” I asked, incredulous.
“I love you,” she said deliberately. I shoved her away.
“What the hell are you playing at?” I asked angrily.
“I want you back,” she said baldly. “I should have told you that I loved you before. You didn’t have to go off and find someone else just because I didn’t.”
“It’s not just a matter of saying it, it needs to mean something.”
She lost her patience. “What do you want from me? I want you, you want me, and I gave you what you wanted. Why aren’t you happy?”
“It’s not enough.”
“I love you, okay? That’s as good as it gets. I missed you, and I want to be with you.” She looked at me earnestly. There was desire in her eyes, and need, and even affection.
“You want to be with me?” She nodded. I grabbed her hands in mine. “So we’ll march on back to your house, and call all the Scoobies over, and tell them that we’re in love, that we’re together.”
She pulled her hands away. “I can’t do that. They wouldn’t understand. They’d be so disappointed in me.” Her eyes filled up with tears.
“Just like you’re disappointed in yourself,” I said flatly.
“Of course I’m disappointed in myself,” she said angrily. “You’re a demon. You’re evil. You’re not...” She broke off.
“I’m not worthy of you,” I finished. I cupped her face in my hands and looked down at her. “If it makes you feel so wrong, so terrible, that’s because it is wrong. Wrong for me. Wrong for you.”
“But you’re the one I want,” she said. Her face was so soft, so open, and I knew it really was the truth.
“But not the one you need,” I said firmly. “What we had is over. It’s done.”
“Because you don’t need me now?” she said, furious. “Because you found some whore, someone who likes all your kinky little games, who gets off on all the perverted things you like to do?”
I turned my back on her, and she threw me to the floor. She straddled me and held me down. “I don’t want to hurt you,” I said, “but if you don’t get off me, I will.”
“Tell me all about her,” she said bitterly. “Your little girlfriend, who likes to be used, who likes to be hurt.”
“What we have isn’t like that. I don’t have to play games to get her attention. She loves me, and I love her,” I said harshly.
“You love her?” Her eyes widened.
“I love her, Buffy. Not you. Not anymore.” I didn’t want to hurt her, but she needed to understand.
She slammed her fist into my jaw. “You’re a liar! You love me,” she said, as she plowed her fist into my eye.
“Get off him,” said a cold voice, and Tara stepped out of the shadows. Buffy scrambled off me. “Don’t you ever hit him again,” she said fervently.
“Tara,” said Buffy, “I can explain.”
“I know that you beat him before,” she said. “I patched him up, I fixed the damage you did. I won’t let you do it again.” She came over and helped me up. “Let’s go home.”
“You’re taking him home with you?” asked Buffy.
“I’m taking him to my home, where he belongs. As you so tastefully put it, I’m the whore,” said Tara, her eyes hard with anger. “Now get out.”
“This can’t be real,” said Buffy in disbelief. “This can’t be happening.” She turned and left.
“Are you okay?” said Tara worriedly, as she gently touched my eye.
“I’m fine now that you’re here,” I said softly. “I looked everywhere for you. I didn’t know where you’d gone.”
“I walked and thought and pulled myself together. I came here to apologize, to make amends for the spell,” she said. “For making you fall in love with me.”
I kissed her. “Tara, I never told you why I came to you the night that you healed me.”
“You wanted me to do a spell,” she said.
“I wanted to be free of Buffy. To not love her, to not need her so badly that I’d do anything, take anything just to be near her.”
“And I was so lonely and so sad. I wanted someone to share my life with,” she said.
“We both got our hearts desire,” I said, “The spell is gone. The love is forever.”
Continued in Part 6: Found