Chp 1 "Does Everyone Know?"
“Feelings! He’s a vampire! I thought we’d finished all that nonsense with Angel.” The jealousy and anger inside her fought to escape. Having secrets meant having power. She didn’t want Tara to have either.
Tara turned away and picked up her hair-brush again. “It’s sort of nice for Buffy, in an odd way. To have a partner who’s nearly her equal in strength and....I don’t know....not being ordinary.”
“So, not just a one time thing?”
“No, I think it’s like, you know, when they’re together.”
Willow didn’t reply. She gazed round the bedroom - she still found it difficult to think of it as “their” room. It had been Joyce Summer’s and although all her possessions had long been packed away by Dawn and Buffy, it still retained her character, her warmth. The drapes had been chosen by her, the quilt on the bed was one she’d made. Willow still felt a guest in what should have been her own domain. And she hated it.
She wished Tara would hurry up and come to bed. She needed to show her who was the leader in their partnership, who was in charge. Sometimes she wondered if Tara really understood how powerful she was becoming. She loved Tara, of course she did, but sometimes the other witch wasn’t as quick at working things out as Willow would have liked. She was so good, that was the problem, of course. Not that good wasn’t good. But, oh sometimes Willow longed for her to rebel, to say no to whatever her lover suggested, to make a stand, argue, rush out of the room, banging the door behind her. But Tara would never do that. She would discuss, not fight: debate, not yell or do some magic that was just a shade darker, a hint more dangerous.
Tara slipped into bed, her head nestled against Willow’s shoulder.
“So, how long have you known?”
There was a silence and then, “Oh, not long. Buffy was worried about it. We talked. That’s all. She said not to tell anyone, but then you’re her best friend, so that’s cool.”
And long after Tara had fallen asleep, Willow lay staring into the dark, welcoming it into her mind. Buffy had talked to Tara, not to her! Best friend? Had she ever been that? Buffy and Spike were lovers. Was she the last to know? Were Xander and Anya having little bedtime chats about it? And Giles! Did even Dawn know before her?
Eyes aching, every muscle in her body taut with an anger and jealousy that wouldn’t be denied, she longed for morning to arrive. She was desperate to talk to Xander. He was an even older friend than Buffy: she couldn’t believe that he would have kept this news from her. But the little voice inside her head that told her that Buffy would always come first with Xander, went on and on, insistently, all night long. And the dark magic power that she was beginning to love so much, built and built, longing for release.
Buffy limped into the house the next morning, hair dishevelled, her lips swollen, eye-lids heavy, aching in places she never knew she had places. She sat at the kitchen table, wondering if she had the energy to pour herself a glass of juice. How could she let him do those things to her? How could she possibly enjoy them so much? Her jeans rubbed against her and she almost groaned, realising that once again her panties had long gone, torn away by hard thin fingers that quested, found and gave her such pleasure she thought she might die, again! And what was worse than behaving like this was that she knew it wasn’t just the physical side of her being with Spike that was so good. She liked hanging out with him, enjoyed his conversation, the way he knew what she was thinking, often before she knew herself.
But that was bad - weird. She was probably still recovering from the whole being dragged out of heaven thingie. And you did strange things were you weren’t fully back to being normal Buffy girl.
“How was patrolling?”
She glanced up, blinking at Willow’s sudden appearance. The red-head had an odd expression on her face. “Oh, OK. Busy. Lots of running and fighting and - well, you know.”
“Did someone punch you on your mouth? Your lips are are swolleny.”
Buffy fought to keep the colour from mounting into her cheeks. She knew only too well why her lips were swollen and from what they’d been doing to get that way! “Oh, yeah. Vamp. Got too close. Staked him finally.”
“Best thing to do with vamps.” Willow’s words sounded strained, almost sarcastic. “I mean, you wouldn’t want to be friends with one, would you? Even Spike.”
“Mmmm.” Buffy couldn’t think of a sensible reply. The best thing to do with her own particular vamp was to pull him down on top of her on his wide, crimson covered bed in the darkness of his crypt, lit only by a few flickering candles that turned her body from white to gold to rose as he plundered it...on and on and on....
She jumped up. “Must shower. Dawn will be up soon. Breakfast...pancakes...see you later, Will.” And raced for the privacy of her own room.
The day passed slowly, every hour adding to Willow’s sense of frustration. Buffy was elusive, Xander was at Giles’ apartment; apparently he was building him a whole wall of bookshelves. Tara had decided today would be a good time to clean the house from top to bottom and just frowned when Willow said it would be far quicker and easier just to magic it done. Wherever Anya was she had no idea and didn’t care. She was just impatient for the evening to arrive because apparently they were all having pizza together before Buffy went off the Double-Meat for her night time shift.
But somehow her plan didn’t work out. The response she got to her statement that Buffy was spending too much time with Spike annoyed her beyond belief.
“Yes, yes, Willow. Not good for Buffy to patrol with Spike every night. She might get lazy, let him do all the work.”
“But Giles, they’re not just patrolling - are you, Buffy?”
“Does Captain Peroxide have to feature in every conversation anyone has in this house?” Xander sighed. “So not interested. Now Giles, look at this diagram. If I move the window over an inch or two, we can....”
“Will - don’t!” Sitting next to her, Tara reached out to touch her hand in reproach, her eyes wide with anxious disapproval.
Giles had turned away and was bent over some sketches that Xander had produced, their heads close together, muttering about oak or cedar, nails and screws, brackets and polish and how long it would take before Xander could start on new closets in Giles’ bedroom.
“Vampires, like demons, can be very useful members of society,” Anya said briskly, munching on a slice of pizza. “Especially Spike, because of the chip. But most demons, even ex ones contribute in lots of little ways. I expect he is teaching Buffy all sorts of things.”
Willow glanced at Buffy whose face had gone scarlet. She knew she couldn’t even begin to imagine the sort of thing Spike was teaching her.
“Why are you doing this, Willow?” Tara whispered. “It’s Buffy’s personal life, nothing to do with us.” She stretched out her hand across the table towards the Slayer. “I’m s...sorry, Buffy. Not our business what you do. We just want you to be happy.”
Willow felt a cold anger begin to flow through her. So Tara cared more about Buffy’s feelings than she did for hers. Why did everyone want to protect her? If she was sleeping with Spike then it was dangerous, as well as wrong. Very wrong. Why couldn’t Tara and the others see that?
“Do you really think having sex with Spike is going to lead to puppies and rainbows?” she said angrily.
Buffy tossed back her hair; fished a length of ribbon from a pocket and tied it back in a tight knot. “You wouldn’t understand,” she said, choosing the worst words she could have chosen when speaking to Willow.
“So, what are you? A couple, partners, lovers - ” The anger bubbled up again. “Oh, why not go the whole way, Buffy. Get engaged to Spike!” And she clicked her fingers twice, pushing all the magic she knew into her words.
“Willow - sweetheart - ”
“Oh Tara, stop being so good and understanding!” And the fingers clicked again.
And now she couldn’t stop, because it was all so easy and she could arrange everything just as she wanted. Xander and Giles looked up, startled. “And you two might as well be married to each other!” Click. Anya pushed back her chair and started round the table towards her. “Be gone - anywhere that isn’t here!” Click. And the ex-demon girl vanished.
Dawn spun round, her face a picture of scared puzzlement. “Willow - “ she began and then: “Dawnie, remember nothing about what happened this evening!” Click! Click!
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