Scenes From (Not) An Affair
by Netgirl

The End

As she pulled away Anya caught Tara's lower lip between her teeth, eliciting a sigh from the other woman. From the kitchen of Anya and Xander's small apartment the sounds of Willow and Xander's yelling could no longer be heard, a decision must have finally been reached.

When Willow and Xander re-entered the living room, Willow looking self-satisfied, Xander looking resigned they found Tara and Anya sitting at opposite ends of the couch looking for all the world like two people who hadn't spent the previous two months betraying their lovers.

Willow placed her hand her hand on Tara's shoulder and squeezed, "That's it, we're bringing Buffy back next week. We're all agreed." Xander smiled tightly, Tara nodded, and Anya snorted derisively and slumped against arm of the sofa but said nothing.

"Um, sweetie?" Tara stood, smiling weakly at Willow, "I'm going to go back to the house, Dawnie's probably starting to get on Spike's nerves."

"Oh, Ok. I'll see you at home then."

"I'll walk with you," Anya said, standing and swinging her coat on. For a second Xander looked like he might object, but he knew Anya's feelings about the Bring Back Buffy plan better than anyone. And he didn't relish the idea of refereeing a Willow Vs. Anya grudge match.

They walked through the streets in silence. It was only when they were almost at the Summers house that Anya spoke, "We don't have to do this. We could just tell Willow that she's clearly being stupid and that raising a zombie slayer is a very bad idea that will lead to the violent and unpleasant deaths of all of us. Particularly me, but also you and Xander."

"Maybe Willow's right. I mean she seems really sure that we can get Buffy back the way she was before," Tara shrugged, "And even with Spike's help and Willow's..."

"Alarming new powers," Anya filled in.

"We can't manage the Hellmouth without a slayer."

"This is it then, we're really going to raise the dead."

Tara didn't want to have that discussion with Anya again, they'd been over it and over it. But now the decision had been made there was another conversation they needed to have. "Yeah. I, the thing is, I-I've been thinking, and especially now that we're going to get Buffy back and things are going to go back to n-no," Tara couldn't bring herself to say normal, "how they were before. This thing," Tara gestured vaguely between herself and Anya, "we have to end it." She tensed, waiting for Anya to say or do something Vengeance demony.

Anya didn't look angry, nor did she look her usual perky self. She shrugged dispassionately, "I know. I like you, you're pretty and a very good kisser. But this entire summer has been very odd and I don't think the kissing in secret was making it any less odd for either of us. Plus Xander and I are getting married and I don't think he'd like me kissing you when I'm his wife." Anya frowned, "Oh who am I kidding, he'd love it. But it'd probably still be wrong."


Anya reached inside her high-necked red top and pulled out a thin gold chain. Dangling from the chain was her engagement ring.

Tara reached out and took the ring between her thumb and her forefinger, "It's beautiful."

"Yes it is," Anya announced proudly, "Xander said it wasn't right to tell people right after Buffy had died, but now that she's coming back we can tell everybody and get married."

"I'm happy for you," Tara really was happy for Anya, it wasn't a lie the way it had been when she'd told Willow she'd be happy for her and Oz. She supposed that she and Willow would get married as well someday. Willow had tried so hard to make things better between them and every touch made Tara's stomach churn unpleasantly. Anya's ring really was beautiful, Tara didn't think that she's ever be able to look Xander in the face again. It really was best if they moved past this blip. This mistake.

They came to stop in front of the Summers house. Tara reached out and gently clasped Anya's hand, "So I'll see you tomorrow."

"Where we'll pretend this whole unfortunate affair never happened."

"Hey! Blonde and Blonder!" Spike came tumbling down the front steps tugging on his duster. "You here to take over Dawn duty, bloke's gotta eat sometime you know?"

"Tara is," Anya responded brightly, tugging her hand sharply away from Tara, "I'm going back home. You can walk with me, perhaps if you save me from being eaten Xander will stop threatening to stake you."

Spike rolled his eyes, "Talk about an offer you can't refuse." He turned to Tara and said in a gentler tone, "you might want to have a girlie talk with the platelet, she's been having a rough night."

Tara nodded and watched Spike and Anya retreat back towards the centre of town. For all the times Anya had ended it with her, for all the times she'd told herself and told Anya that it had to end she had the feeling that this time it really was the end. And even though she'd always known that it would end this way she couldn't help the sense of loss that she felt.


The Beginning of the End

"Well that was a colossal waste of time," Anya pronounced.

Tara privately agreed but she didn't say anything, keeping her attention focused on the road ahead. Anya had driven on the way to LA but after having at least ten years shaven off her life expectancy Tara had insisted on driving home. Now Anya was lounging in the passenger's seat. She had reclined so that she was almost lying down, her bare legs stretched out in front of her, the heat sticking her floral dress to her thighs and the upholstery.

"This really was a stupid idea of yours."

Tara nodded, it didn't sound vindictive coming from Anya the way it would have coming from almost anybody else. Anyway she was right, it had been a stupid idea.

Willow was right about one thing, the scoobies couldn't control the Hellmouth indefinitely without the help of a slayer. Tara had thought that perhaps breaking all the laws of nature by bringing the dead to life wasn't the only option, Buffy hadn't been the only slayer. So Tara had rented a car and driven to LA with Anya to see Faith in prison. Willow had said it would be useless, and she'd been right. Perhaps Willow was right about Buffy as well.

"I'm not surprised Faith wouldn't help us, she tried to strangle Xander once. Bitch. Even if she had agreed to help then we would have had to explain to the police that we needed them to release a murderer to help us fight vampires on the mouth of hell, and that would have landed us in an asylum. You really didn't think this through." When Tara took her hand off the steering wheel to turn on the hand brake at a set of lights Anya nudged it with her own, Anya's version of an apology. Tara was usually very strict with herself about keeping both hands on the wheel when driving, (that was what had freaked her out most about Anya's driving, frequently neither of her hands were on the wheel,) this time she left her hand in the gap between the seats, hooking her pinkie finger around Anya's.

Tara was ashamed to admit that at least part of her reason for wanting to come to LA had been to be alone with Anya for a few days. But it was different outside Sunnydale. For the first time she found herself thinking of Willow whenever Anya kissed her - perhaps the Hellmouth had some sort of strange guilt suppression properties?

"If I was still a vengeance demon I'd have to smite both of us you know," Anya said randomly.

"What would you do?" some masochistic part of Tara made her ask.

"Probably something involving the removal of our internal organs with rusty instruments while we were still conscious." There was something very disconcerting about the straightforward way Anya spoke. "Whatever I did we'd be well and truly smote. Is smote the past tense of smite or is it smitten?"

"I'm not sure," Tara replied, blushing. "I think maybe being smitten is when you like someone."

When they passed the battered Welcome to Sunnydale sign they untangled their fingers and Tara went back to driving with her hands at the ten and two position.


The Middle

'Xander, on your left. Giles! Behind you,' Willow's instructions to the others rattled in Tara's mind as Anya's lips tracked from her ear to her throat. She half heartedly wondered if Willow could read her mind. She wasn't sure if she would care, the crypt wall was cold against her back and Anya's hands and lips were warm against her hips and throat.

Tara had told Willow that she couldn't remember anything from the time Glory was in her head, but that wasn't true. She remembered being convinced that there were cockroaches crawling under her skin, that they were chewing and biting to get out. She remembered a feeling of slime in her throat that she couldn't get rid of, she recalled that every tiny touch was like being scalded. She knew none of that was real, but she also remembered Willow taking care of her, giving her pills, feeding her yoghurt with a plastic spoon, changing her clothes, washing her and taking her to the bathroom. She wasn't convinced that two people could ever look at each other as lovers again after living like that.

"Do you think Willow can read our minds?" Anya asked, after she'd pulled her attention away from Tara's neck to look up into her eyes.

"I don't think so, if she could she'd know I'm having an affair with her best friend's girlfriend."

"This isn't an affair, if it was an affair we'd be having sex," Anya said, as she stepped back from Tara and removed a compact mirror from her pocket to check her lipstick.

"What is it?" Tara asked, because she really wasn't sure.

Anya shrugged, using her finger to smudge her lipstick to her desired shade, "Vengeance waiting to happen," she suggested.

'Tara, sweetie, where are you?' They both hear Willow's question in their heads.

"We'd better get back," Anya noted, "possible maiming and death await."

Tara followed considering what this thing between them is if it isn't an affair. Comfort after Buffy's death? Perhaps that's what it is for Anya, but for Tara it's different, it's her own private little rebellion. An escape from being Willow's other half, from being expected to go along with breaching everything magic should stand for, an escape from Glory. An escape from herself; from the being a person who was incapable of standing up to their lover, even when they knew they were right; from being the sort of person who could only express their discontent by kissing another woman in a crypt secretly hoping they'll be discovered.


The End of the Beginning

"Well that's it," Anya said as she slammed down a shot of vodka, "we're all going to die." She offered the bottle to Tara who shook her head just as she had all the previous times.

They were sitting at the table in the Magic Box, Anya drinking from the bottle of vodka she'd stashed next to Giles' bottle of Scotch. "I suppose you agree with her?" she shot accusingly at Tara.

"No," Tara said quietly, she surprised herself by saying it, never in their relationship had she contradicted Willow. But this, raising the dead, it opposed everything Tara had ever believed in, everything she'd been taught since she was a child. She hadn't yet told Willow what she thought, although Willow hadn't asked. She was so sure Tara would agree with whatever she decided that she hadn't asked.

Anya ignored Tara and poured another shot of vodka into her glass, "A zombie slayer running around the Hellmouth, that's just perfect. We'll all have our brains eaten before I can say 'I Told You So,'"

"I thought Zombies didn't really eat brains?" Tara wasn't sure why she fixated on that particular detail.

"Regular zombies, no; zombie slayers, who knows; they could eat other parts too for all I know. And Xander will just go along with it, even though he knows it's a bad idea, just because his precious Willow thought of it," Anya practically spat Willow's name. "You'll go along for the same reason. It's like I'm the only one with any sense!"

"Anya," Tara reached out to try and appease the other woman. Anya reeled out of her seat and stood over Tara, seething. Willow wasn't here to take her anger out on and she wouldn't take it up with Xander.

"This is your fault, before you came along Willow was some harmless little computer nerd who never hurt anyone, and then you came along with your spells, and your magic, and your 'spells,'" Anya emphasised the second 'spells' in a way that implied she didn't mean anything to do with magic.

Tara stood she was actually an inch or two taller than Anya but the ex-demon in full eruption was still intimidating.

"You came along," Anya continued, "And Willow becomes this power hungry magic machine that goes around turning people into demon magnets and raising the dead. You turned her into this, and you do nothing to control her, you can't even tell her that you disagree with her. Yes Willow, no Willow, three bags full Willow. I don't know what that three bags reference is about but I've heard it used and it sounds appropriate-"

Then Tara found herself kissing Anya, to shut her up, because Anya was wrong, because Anya was right, because Anya's eyes glinted the colour of steel when she was angry. Because she'd been wanting to do this again since the funeral.


The Very Beginning

"It's nice to see you out of those pyjamas, they were beginning to get a little ripe." Tara looked up from Buffy's grave to see Anya standing next to her smiling. It's the first smile she's seen since before she had her mind sucked.

"Yeah, I guess," she conceded. She remembers the pyjamas well, when everything got back to normal at the construction site she'd had to take care of Dawn, make sure someone had called an ambulance and see that Spike got out of the sun when all she'd wanted to do was get out of those clothes that smelled of death and insanity and human waste and burn them.

"This sucks," Anya says, nodding down at Buffy's grave. Very concise of her.

"Yeah," Tara agrees. It's the day of Buffy's funeral, not that it is much of one, Giles, Willow, Xander, Dawn, Tara, Anya and Spike under a blanket standing solemnly around a tombstone out in the woods trying to figure out what to do.

It hasn't really sunk in with Tara that Buffy's really dead. Ever since the construction site everything's been a blur, there were hospitals, doctors and paperwork to fill. Dawn and Willow were crying all the time and Tara had tried to comfort them even though she didn't want to touch anyone, all she really wanted to do was curl up in a ball and shout at everyone to leave her alone.

Several minutes passed before Tara realised that she and Anya were alone at Buffy's grave. "Where's Willow, and the others?"

"Gone to do some People Who've Known Buffy Forever memorial thing, Willow asked me to stay with you."

"She thinks I need someone to look after me?" Tara sank down onto the grass next to the tombstone, Anya looked distastefully at the dirt but sat down next to Tara anyway.

"She says you're not yourself, I said of course you're not yourself, you had your brain sucked out by a hell god and spent several weeks as a gibbering idiot having to be looked after like a baby by someone you were used to seeing you as a lesbian sex kitten."

"L-lesbian s-sex kitten?"

"Yes, well obviously not when you were an idiot, the drooling was very unattractive, but generally yes, a sex kitten," Tara blushed bright red and Anya continued, "Anyway I told Willow all this, but she thinks it's something else. You know Willow, everything has to be about her."

"Her best friend died, Anya, this is about her."

"I guess she could do without worrying that the two of you aren't having sex as well."

"H-how d-did..." Tara spluttered and wheezed.

"We're all staying in Buffy's old house, I'm sleeping one room away, I'd know if you were. Do you want to talk about it? Sex is my area of expertise."

Tara was struck by the lunacy of the entire situation, sitting by the grave of a vampire slayer discussing her sex life with a thousand year old former demon. "I think Willow wants to, maybe she thinks it'll make her feel better, but I just can't. Every time she touches me I think of Glory, I can't help it."

"Is it when anybody touches you?" asked Anya. Tara shivered at the touch through the two layers of fabric of her skirt.

"I-I don't know..."

Anya slid her hand up Tara's thigh and across her abdomen. Tara jolted backwards slightly when Anya's fingertips grazed her left breast. She didn't know what was happening but she knew what wasn't. Anya's hand continued further, her fingers cupping Tara's neck.

Tara tilted her head to lean into the touch of Anya's hand on her neck. Maybe it was because Anya wasn't as associated with Glory in her mind as the others but she didn't feel the aversion she'd felt at their touch, and best of all she couldn't hear Glory in her head. Before she realised what she was doing she'd leaned in and pressed her lips to Anya's which were soft and cool with some recently applied gloss. Anya pushed back and Tara opened her mouth slightly under the gentle pressure and she could feel the tip of Anya's tongue begin to move against hers.

She felt Anya's body jerk at the same instant as her own when she heard the crunch of a branch being stepped on. The two women jerked apart, getting to their feet and wiping the dirt off their clothes.

Tara turned, awaiting the arrival of her lover. That, whatever it had been with Anya could not happen again.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix