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

So Much History In A Kiss
By s.a.
For A Secret Slasha Dropout

When Dawn walked into the library, she was expecting certain things. Books, for one thing. Maybe some people reading newspapers. Not Tara.

Tara had left Sunnydale when Willow betrayed her, and the world had never been the same. Life, of course, went on, and there was a minor apocalypse averted towards the end of that school year that at least got class cancelled. And, of course, a mopey Willow got old after the first few months, and everyone got sick of hearing her talk about how she couldn't manage to keep her lovers around. But then Willow went to Los Angeles for the fall, and Xander went to England to visit Giles, which changed everything. Suddenly there was just Buffy and Dawn living in Sunnydale. Things got a little quieter.

Five years later, Dawn was twenty-one and walking into a library and seeing Tara.

She looked good. Dawn watched her walk around the lobby, showing a group of children to the picture book section. She had on clothes that suited her, for once, and the smile on her face wasn't at all close to breaking. Dawn felt her heart beat faster, and she couldn't help herself.

"Hi, Tara."

Tara looked up, and the look on her face was almost comical as she recognized who had just spoken to her. Her mouth dropped down in a little "o," and Dawn had to suppress the smile that wanted to break free.

"Dawn. Dawn, hi. How are you--what are you doing here? In Chicago? I mean, hi, how are you--oh, god," Tara said, stopping herself mid-sentence.

"I'm good," said Dawn, clutching the notebooks in her hand tightly. "I'm just her for a couple days, doing some research. I--well, I didn't expect to see you here."

"Oh," said Tara, obviously flustered. "I've been here for a couple years. I liked Chicago, and I finished my degree in the city."

It seemed such an insufficient answer for the years when they heard nothing. "We wondered about you," Dawn said softly, unable to bring herself to look Tara in the eye.

"I'm sorry," Tara said, stumbling over the words. "I just didn't know how to tell you where I was, with everything that happened. It seemed better to just...go away."

Dawn ran a hand through her short hair and sighed. Come to Chicago for texts in Sumerian, you get emotional whiplash. Figures. She tried on a smile. "It's really good to see you, though, Tara. Can we maybe get dinner while I'm in town? I want to know how you're doing, what you've been doing."

Tara smiled tentatively in return. "Yes, of course. I wanted to know how you grew up. You're so...tall," she said with a trace of bemusement.

This time Dawn's grin was real. "It happens," she said with a wave of her hand.


They made plans to get together the following evening, and Dawn left the library. She was in no mood for research just then.

When Wednesday rolled around, Dawn found herself more concerned with her appearance than she had been for her senior prom. She checked her hair three times in the mirror before finally telling herself out loud to step away. She grabbed her coat and went down the elevator, walking out into the cold Chicago winter.

It was a short cab ride to Tara's apartment. Tara had scribbled the address down on a sheet of notebook paper, and Dawn stared at the long, loopy handwriting with trepidation. She hadn't told Buffy that she'd run into Tara when Dawn spoke to her on the phone last night. She hadn't known what to say.

With a million thoughts on her mind, she buzzed Tara's apartment and received an answering click at the door. The walk-up was nice, clean and well-kept. The door to Tara's apartment was open, and she heard Tara's voice from the kitchen. "Come on in, I'm working on the pasta," Tara shouted.

Dawn took her coat off and laid it on a chair. She liked the white lights that were over the fireplace. They lit up the Georgia O'Keefe print that was framed and leaning against the wall. The whole apartment was very homey, not like Tara's dorm room had once been, or the room she and Willow had shared at the Summers' house. This was more open, more white. It seemed more like Tara, but not like a Tara Dawn had ever known.

Tara came into the living room, wiping her hands on a towel. "I'm really glad you came," she said, and Dawn felt herself relax slightly. God, she'd loved this woman. With all the teenage angst her heart could possess, she'd loved Tara and hated her, just a little, for leaving.

So she said, "Me too." They sat down for dinner. The fettuccine was good, and the wine was better. As the meal went on it got easier and easier to talk to Tara, to tell Tara things about her life that made Dawn who she was today. She told Tara about watching the Potentials turn into Slayers, about deciding to go to school away from Buffy, about why she decided to go back to the Watcher's Council even though she could have made a life for herself outside that world. Tara, in turn, told Dawn of finally coming to Chicago after three years of drifting, of going back to school, of building her life. For the first time in five years, they were connecting. It felt wonderful.

When Dawn finally said she had to leave, Tara's face fell. "It's okay," Dawn said. "I'm going to stay until next week." As Tara walked her out the door, she made to kiss Dawn on the cheek, but Dawn turned at the last moment and kissed her on the mouth. Tara looked surprised again, just as she had the day before in the library. But Dawn smiled; she knew what she had come to Chicago to find, and it wasn't an ancient Sumerian text.