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 Seduction
By maybedarkpink
For Voleuse

Tara didn't miss Willow. Not much. She was settling into life in L.A. The city was big, which would have scared her, but she felt safer there than in Sunnydale. There was no hellmouth in L.A., and more perverts than vampires. What's more, there was no Willow, to kiss her and chant magic over her skin and tell her bittersweet lies. In Los Angeles, Tara's heart was safe, or so she thought.

Tara got a job at a café, serving herbal tea and crunchy sandwiches on whole wheat bread. The people she worked with were kind, and she made enough money in tips to pay for a small studio apartment and college part-time. Without Willow or Miss Kitty Fantastico (whom Tara was sure was happy in her new home), the apartment could seemed empty. But most of the time, Tara didn't mind. It was hers, all hers, just like everything else in this life. If she didn't let anyone in, there would be no one to hurt her.

The smell of incense and the taste of magic still reminded Tara of Willow, but she joined a Wiccan circle anyway. She wouldn't let the memories of Willow destroy her religion. When Abby, a pretty girl with black hair and bright eyes from the coven, asked Tara out for coffee, she declined.

Life acquired a pattern. Tara ate, she slept, she worked, she went to class and met weekly with her coven. She spent her free time watching old black and white movies on the television. She told herself she was happy.

Then she met Lilah.

She was wearing a perfectly tailored suit, and in her short skirt and stiletto heels, her legs looked as if they would stretch to infinity. Tara had to swallow, because looking at this woman made her ears buzz.

"What can I get you?" Tara asked.

The woman smiled. "I've never been here before," she said, and her voice was silky smooth, almost a purr. "What do you recommend?"

Tara didn't get asked her opinion much. Most of the customers who ate at the café were regulars, and knew what they wanted before I stepped in the door. "Do you want something to eat, or just a drink?"

There was the smile again, and was this woman... checking Tara out? Tara smoothed her hands over the front of her apron nervously.

"I'd like both, Tara." Tara must have looked shocked because the woman pointed at her nametag. "I'm Lilah, by the way."

"Okay, Lilah." Tara tried her best to sound nonchalant. "Everything's pretty good here, but my favorite meal is the Portobello mushroom wrap with mint iced tea."

"That sounds lovely, Tara. I'll take it." Lilah spoke as if she wanted to take more than just lunch. She was definitely flirting with Tara. Goddess, there was no in line behind Lilah, either. In fact, the whole café was just about deserted. It was just the two of them, and...

"Right!" Tara replied cheerfully. "Mint tea and a mushroom wrap it is! That'll be $5.75."

Lilah removed the cash from her chic, black purse and held it out. Tara reached for the money, and as Lilah gave it to her, their hands brushed. Lilah smiled, and caressed Tara's palm with her thumb in a touch so brief, it was over before Tara could be sure it had even happened.

Tara fumbled opening the cash register, something she hadn't done in months. She was scared. Lilah was a beautiful woman, and Tara felt more desirable than she had since leaving Sunnydale. But she mustn't let herself be attracted. She couldn't fall down that abyss again. Willow had taught Tara that no matter how good love felt, it was only a lie.

Tara poured Lilah's iced tea and pushed it across the counter. "You can go ahead and take a seat. Your food should be ready in a couple minutes."

"Thank you," Lilah said, and pushed what looked to be a five dollar bill into the tip jar. Tara turned around and moved to start making the wrap. Lilah reached to stop her, lightly holding Tara's arm.

"Wait. Before you start that, I was wondering if you'd like to have dinner with me tonight?" When Tara was silent, Lilah hastily added. "No, of course you don't. I'm sorry. I don't do this very often." There was a predatory gleam in Lilah's eyes that suggested she did this very often, indeed.

"Yes, I'll have dinner with you." Tara hadn't intended to say that. It just slipped out, as if her voice, or maybe her entire body, was separate from her brain. She had to back out of this, stop this date from happening before it was too late.

"Wonderful. What time are you off?"

"Six." There was her voice again, disobeying.

"I'll meet you back here at 6:15, then?"

And if Tara had control over her throat, she would have at least said she needed time to drop home and change first, but her traitorous larynx just said, "Okay."

On their first date, they talked about mundane things. Tara's classes (philosophy, art, anthropology) and Lilah's work (she was some kind of lawyer). Lilah gave Tara a ride home in her limo. She was evidently a rich lawyer. They kissed goodnight on the doorstep, and Tara dreamt of the tips of Lilah's long hair running over her naked breasts.

On their second date, the conversation moved to issues of politics and belief. Tara was amazed to learn that Lilah was interested in the occult. They made out in the back seat of the limo, and Tara felt more like a teenager than she had when she actually was one.

On their third date, they talked about more intimate things. Tara told Lilah about Willow, and Lilah, who confessed she was bisexual, told Tara about her last boyfriend, Lindsey. They made out again, and as Lilah's hand slid up Tara's shirt, she whispered into her neck, "Come home with me, Tara."

And Tara did.

Lilah's apartment was nothing like she had expected. It was smaller, less lavish. They stumbled to the bed. Lilah was on top, straddling Tara, her skirt hiked up to reveal black panties, her lips hot on Tara's collarbone. Tara moaned and started to unbutton Lilah's blouse.

"Tsk-tsk, Lilah," a strangely familiar voice interrupted them. "No sampling the merchandise."

Lilah rolled off of Tara with a muttered curse, adjusted her clothes. "I'm sorry," she said, as a dark figured emerged from the shadows. "I took the seduction too far."

"What's going on, Lilah?" Tara asked, and then she recognized Willow. Only this was a Willow Tara had never seen before, her skin glowing bone white, her hair a deep midnight, her eyes black and empty as death.

"Come here, my sweet Tara," Willow cooed.

Tara screamed.

"I'm sorry, Tara," Lilah was talking to her now, and the regret in her eyes seemed genuine. "I wish it could've been different, but I have to do what the client asks---"

"Shut up, Lilah!" Willow commanded. She held up her hand, and blue fire snaked from her palm, throwing Lilah against the wall. Tara heard Lilah mutter something about earning a bonus, and then Willow-who-was-not-Willow was upon her.

"I missed you," Willow said, and her voice crackled with power. Where she touched Tara, it burned.

"You're crazy," Tara hissed.

"No, Tara, you're the one who's crazy. It was crazy to leave me. But don't worry," she forced a tar-flavored kiss against Tara's unwilling lips, "soon you won't remember."

She chanted something sinister, and Tara went limp in her arms. Willow cradled her like a child, and picked her up as if she were a feather.

"I won't be needing you any more tonight, Lilah. I'll make sure the firm rewards you tomorrow." Willow carried Tara out.

Alone in her apartment, Tara's sweet taste still on her lips, the scent of what could have been in her nostrils, Lilah put her head in her hands and wept.