Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

The Voice Of Your Eyes
By Olwen
For Gigi Devilkitty

Dinner was not going smoothly.

"There's pigs in there!" Tara's voice was whiny, and she leaned away from the spoonful of yogurt.

"Sweetie, no, this is peach, it's your favorite." Willow was careful not to show any of her irritation in her voice.

"No! Peaches are just tiny pigs without legs..." Tara was pouting now, and Willow could see that there would be no yogurt eaten tonight.

Willow sighed and surrendered. At least she'd been able to get some soup and crackers into her, and that was more than she'd managed yesterday. She took the remains of dinner to the kitchen and cleaned up, as Tara wiggled back and forth in her chair and hummed tunelessly.

Keeping one eye always on her girlfriend, she laid out the assigned after-dinner pills. At least these would be easier to get into her, since she'd discovered that Tara would drink anything... as long as it was in a mickey mouse glass.

After the medications were completed, she asked, "Do you want to watch SpongeBob, Tara?" as she turned on the television.

"If there's no Robert, only Bob, just the one Bob, then okay, it's all right, its safe." Her face was worried but hopeful as she turned to the flickering screen.

Willow was at a loss for a moment, as she had no idea if that meant Tara wanted to watch or not. But she swiftly became engrossed, mimicking the dialog a moment after each character, so Willow had to assume that SpongeBob was safe.

Willow blessed the silly cartoon, since it gave her a moment's respite. Quickly, she tidied up the room. She sorted the laundry, hoping she'd have time to actually wash some of it soon. Not being able to get to the Laundromat, she was running out of clean socks. The weeks assignments were given the same treatment, sorted into piles for each class, with the fervent hope that she'd have time to actually do them soon.

She was worried, about how much time everything took. She could begrudge Tara nothing, love demanded no less. But still, if this kept up... she was going to have to drop out of college. There were not enough hours in the day.

Willow tidied and regimented her papers, the back of her mind wishing Tara was back, wishing there was more time, wishing she was... free? No, not that, never that, and with that thought she opened a desk drawer and dropped the papers in. Tara would come first, school be damned.

When the show was over, she gently led Tara to the bathroom. "Time to brush our teeth," she said, in a bright and cheery tone. "We want to have happy teeth, don't we?"

"I scream, you scream," nodded Tara, taking the brush.

"Um, yeah?" Willow didn't really much care, as long as no one actually started screaming.

"I scream, you scream, we all scream for happy teeth," Tara went on, smiling broadly as the toothpaste dribbled down her chin.

"Oh, yes, certainly," Willow agreed hastily, dabbing Tara's face with a washcloth. She helped her to finish, and wash her face, wondering all the time if Tara was actually trying to communicate with these broken phrases. It almost made sense sometimes, but if there was a message there, Willow couldn't find it.

She tucked her in, then dimmed the light. Snuggling beside her, Willow sighed a little. These were the best moments of the day. In the cool evening shadow, it was possible to pretend that Tara was back, sane and whole again.

Until she spoke of course.

"When will we burn?" Tara asked, solemn and soft.

"W-what, no, we won't burn," Willow said swiftly, taking Tara's hand.

"But... I miss it."

"Tara, what..." Willow turned to her, concerned. She could see her face dimly, and Tara didn't seem upset, or frightened. More wistful, really.

"There used to be burning..." Tara smiled and reached out, gently cupping Willow's breast.

It was all she could do to keep from flinching. It was wrong, her mind whimpered, Tara's can't possibly know what she's saying. But her flesh responded to the familiar touch, the nipple hardening under Tara's fingers.

Willow shivered, and carefully took both of Tara's hands in her own. "Tara, sweetie, it's late, and you need your sleep. We can't... um... 'burn' right now."

It didn't seem to be getting through, as Tara just wiggled closer, and slid her arms around Willow's neck. "We can sleep when we're dead," she said, the light tone at odds with the words. "I want fire now."

Tears prickled at Willow's eyes, as the warm body of her beloved snuggled close. This was a sort of torture, to be offered a bitter sham of the love she'd once known. There was no way she could let Tara make love to her in this state. But perhaps she could at least offer comfort.

"Yes, my love, you should have your fire." Willow kissed her, then pushed her gently down on the pillows. Tara lay back, smiling, her hair a skein of pale silk on the pillow.

Willow kissed her again, and then slowly unbuttoned Tara's pajama top. She told herself that this was no different from washing her, or feeding her. She almost believed it.

Still, in loving her, in touching her warm sweet skin, she found there was a measure of peace. Willow kissed Tara's breasts, and the act was not the poisonous lie she feared. Something primal moved between them, a truth that ran deeper than words. When she ran a fingertip over her bare stomach, and Tara giggled and shivered happily, she was able to enjoy seeing her so happy.

Willow had never forgiven herself for letting Tara be hurt. Since Glory's attack, her mind had been a stew of recriminations and self-hatred. A thousand times, she had re-played the afternoon, working out ways that she could have saved her.

But now, loving her, holding her close and tasting her again, Willow found a fragment of forgiveness. Tara did not speak, save for the look in her eyes, a silent melody of love and joy intertwined. Tara's body remembered her, and responded, and perhaps someday her mind would recall as well.

Afterwards, Tara snuggled in her arms and snoring softly, Willow whispered, "I'll bring you back baby. I swear I'll bring you back."