How To Make Friends And Influence People
by Netgirl

Tara had never had many friends growing up, as a naturally nervous child other kids had made her feel awkward and out of place so she had avoided them, keeping her own company, observing others from a distance, quietly envying their closeness.

She had gotten used to the constant loneliness in her life, she hadn't expected anything to change once she went to college. Then she met Willow.

Willow was the first person since her mother that she felt comfortable around, the other witch had a certain aura that made Tara feel warm and safe, Tara couldn't but relax around her, maybe that's why they fell in love, it's hard not to love someone who can make you feel all warm and fuzzy just by being in the room. Tara was captivated by the stories Willow told her of her friends, by the time she met Buffy, Xander and Giles she felt she knew them almost as well as Willow did. It seemed natural to count them as her friends as well as Willow's.

It was different with Anya, Willow hadn't said much about Anya, certainly not enough to prepare her for the reality of the former demon. Anya was brash and tactless and, at least to Tara, utterly fascinating. Tara saw a kindred spirit in Anya, the ex demon seemed to feel as uncomfortable around the rest of the scoobies as Tara did, but rather than trying to blend into the background like the witch, Anya went out of her way to hog the spotlight, often making comments about sex or vengeance in the middle of Buffy's reports, Tara found herself having to hide her mouth behind her hand so no one would see her grin. More and more often she was finding herself sitting on Giles' couch, fingers safely entwined with Willows, just gazing at Anya. She entertained little fantasies about just sitting casually with Anya watching the play of emotions on the ex demons face as she told stories and jokes.


"Why do you keep staring at me?" Anya demanded, cornering Tara outside Giles' flat after a meeting. Willow, Buffy and Xander were in conference with the watcher.

"S-sorry. I wasn't staring...I...Sorry," Tara had been waiting for an opportunity to speak with Anya alone for ages, but now, backed into a corner with Anya staring keenly at her she was hard pressed to think of anyplace she wanted to be less.

"Don't deny it, I've seen you staring at me when Giles is talking about boring things. I've checked, I've got nothing between my teeth and I'm looking very attractive today. So why are you staring?"

Tara gaped, "It's not that you look really nice," Anya beamed, "It's just that...I thought maybe we could be friends." Tara felt like an idiot, she had practically said Do you want to be my friend? How very grade school.

Anya gave Tara an appraising sort of look, "Ok, we could do that," Tara grinned at the other woman, who smiled back.

"Hey ladies," Xander beamed, emerging from Giles flat. He pulled Anya aside. "Listen honey, we've got some anti-Adam recon to do. You can wait here until I get back and I'll walk you home," he raised an eyebrow suggestively.

"That's ok, I'll go with Tara, she proposed friendship and I accepted."

"Oo-Kay," Xander drew out the word for as long as possible, before heading up the stairs with the slayer and redhead on his heels, Willow gave Tara's fingers a last squeeze as she left.

Anya rounded on Tara, "Well I think you should walk me home. After all you have those nifty magic powers and I'm just a defenceless mortal." Tara could almost hear the silent sigh at the end of that sentence.


"So why haven't you and Willow told anybody you're in love," Anya questioned as they wandered slowly down main street.

"How do y-you know?"

"It's obvious, all those longing looks you guys keep giving each other. Xander has told me honesty is a fundamental part of human friendship, so if we're going to be friends you should probably tell me about it."

"I-It's just I think Willow is worried about how Buffy and Xander will react, y'know, when they find out about us."

"That's silly," Anya declared, "Buffy is too self involved to care, and Xander keeps telling me how he likes the thought of two women together," Anya gave Tara an evaluating look that caused the witch to blush violently.

"I don't mind waiting until Will's ready, I l-love her," if Tara had ever been sure of anything in her life it was that.

"Yes, I see that, it's sweet really, shame it's the sexless sort of love."

"I-it's the W-what!? No it I-isn't!" Tara stopped in her tracks and stared at Anya; appalled.

Anya turned back and patted Tara's shoulder sympathetically, "Of course it is. I learned all about it as a vengeance demon, you can have The Big Love, or The Big Passion, not both. You're probably better off with true love, most of the vengeance calls I got came from big passionate relationships. I'd hate to see anything happen to you seeing as we've just become friends."

"I h-have p-p-passion Anya." Tara stammered, not sure why she was being so defensive.

"Maybe," Anya's fingers brushed over Tara's collarbone, "Just not with Willow. I mean you haven't even had sex with her yet,"

"H-how did?..."

"Vengeance demon training, I can tell," Anya looped her arm through Tara's and towed her down main street.

"I don't mind waiting for that either, I've ne...I guess I've never had that Big Passion you were talking about."

Anya suddenly looked very sad, "everyone should have a bit of passion in their life." She grabbed Tara's wrist and pulled her off the road into the alley between the espresso pump and the book shop, Tara followed along meekly, "W-what's goi-," the rest of the question disappeared with the rush of breath that was forced from her mouth as her back hit the brick wall. Anya's hands were holding Tara's wrists and the former demon had a look in her eye's that was slightly frightening, and also very arousing.

The witch managed to make a small 'eep' sound before her mouth was covered with Anya's, it was like being struck by lightening, she felt every hair on her body stand on end, she could hear the blood rushing in her ears. Anya's lips were warm and tasted of cocktail cherries, one hand kept a tight hold of Tara's wrist the other trailed down Tara's neck and across her shoulder, she felt her flesh leap into the contact.

Tara's mouth opened, and Anya's tongue snaked in, one of her hands twisted in Anya's short brown hair and she trailed a finger down Anya's pale throat to cup one of her pert breasts, she felt a nipple stiffen between her fingers through the thin fabric of the dress Anya wore and she felt the other woman sigh into her mouth.

It was never like this with Willow, the few kisses she'd exchanged with Willow had been full of love, but mostly chaste.

"Oh," Tara pulled her mouth away from Anya's as the other woman worked her knee between Tara's thighs sending a throb of pleasure through her body. Anya ran her tongue down Tara's neck as her hands with their short, pink nails tried to find a way through Tara's, somewhat excessive, layers of clothing.

Tara relaxed against Anya's body, enjoying the new sensations she was experiencing, suddenly she stiffened. This was Anya causing her to feel these things, it was Willow she was in love with, Anya was Xander's girlfriend, Anya was her friend.

"Anya, Anya, St-stop it," Tara pushed the smaller woman away.

"What?" Anya demanded, looking irate, "I was just starting to enjoy myself!"

"It's not right, we're just friends."

"That's right, we're friends. What's a little groping between friends?"

Tara avoided Anya's eyes, focusing on straightening her many sweaters, "That's not how it works with humans, y-you can't just go around k-kissing your friends."

Anya looked thoughtful for a moment, "That's stupid. But I'm human now so I should accept human ways. Kissing is not a part of friendship."

"A-alright, w-we should, um, get home before anyone worries." Tara hurried back to the road with Anya trotting after her.

"Tara, can oral sex be a part of friendship?"


"Joke, sheesh."


Anya flounced into Xander's basement, her errant boyfriend was out making money. There was a piece of paper pinned over the bed. It was headed 'For Anya', it was split into two columns, one titled 'Good Touching', the other 'Bad Wrong Touching'. Anya picked up a biro and added to the bottom of the second column 'Groping is not a part of platonic friendship.'

Xander never asked her about it, he assumed everyone would be happier that way.


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