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

By Maybedarkpink
For Faithtastic

This still doesn't seem like the real world to Buffy. Her parents' hugs and smiling faces are surreal, and this life seems more like a dream than the universe she had constructed in her head. Coming home from the hospital is an adjustment. Everything is so perky and cheerful. She loves her parents, and she missed them (God, she missed her mom when Joyce was dead, although she was never really dead, was she?), but she just wants them to leave her alone for one second. Her mom makes batch after batch of cookies until Buffy can't look at a chocolate chip without retching, and her dad keeps buying her these stupid little stuffed animals, like he thinks she's ten again.

Her doctors, her parents, and her various therapists all agree on one thing: readjusting is going to be hard. No shit! Buffy wants to scream, and occasionally, she does. Nobody can decide what do with her, education-wise. They won't listen when she tells them that she already graduated from high school, thank you very much, and that she's been studying and learning things this entire fucking time. Finally, she convinces them to let her take her SATs, and she aces them, just like she did in Sunnydale. After that, they let her take her GED and everyone is shocked at how well she does without even studying.

After that, well, she's lost. She wants to try college (again), but everybody says she's not ready. She wants to get a job, but they say it will too much stress. Nobody seems to understand that staying at home, with her mom hovering over her, is more likely than anything else to drive her back to insanity.

She thinks she needs to go out and make some friends. "Hi, I'm Buffy," she'll say. "I'm just recovering from being insane."

Months go by, but finally her parents start letting her go out of the house by herself. They call her cell phone constantly, just to check, and she always reassures them that yes, she's okay.

Buffy's looking at clothes she can't afford in a little store with a stupid name when she sees her. Her heart starts beating and she clutches a fugly cashmere sweater she'd never be caught dead in to her chest. The saleslady swoops down on Buffy, as if she has a blood pressure monitor built into the walls, and looks at Buffy as if she's a nervous thief.

"Are you all right?" the woman asks.

"I'm fine," Buffy says. Just a little insane. She doesn't make eye contact, just slips the purple monstrosity back on the rack. She's staring at the girl across the room. Tara.

Only it's not Tara, it couldn't be Tara, because Tara, like everyone else that matters, is just a dream, only a delusion.

"Miss? Miss?" The saleslady is flustered, and touching Buffy's shoulder. "I'm going to have to ask you to leave, Miss." And Buffy just wants to down her with a sidekick, but then the bitch would call security and then how will Buffy ever find Tara again?

"Okay," Buffy says robotically. She tears her gaze from Tara and walks out the door. She leans against the wall next to the door, dizzy, waiting for Tara to emerge.

The girl who walks out barely looks like Tara at all. Her hair is dyed black, and she's dressed in a sleek, tailored cream blouse over a hot pink camisole and jeans. She's even wearing gorgeous, pointy-toed shoes.

"Tara?" Buffy whispers, stepping towards her. And then, louder. "Tara?"

And it's definitely her, the same beautiful face, sensuous lips, but the eyes--- they're not Tara's eyes, because Tara's eyes were always filled with love and compassion and this girl's eyes are blank.

"That's not my name," Tara says. "Get away from me, freak."

And Buffy stumbles away. Before she knows it she's on the cold cement, sobbing, and strangers are gathering around her, staring, calling 911 on their cell phones.

Buffy's hand slips into her sweat pants and she starts touching herself frantically, each thrust of her fingers a kind of prayer, Tara, Tara, Tara, Tara.

And then Tara's leaning over her, her hair blonde and soft again, the kindness back in her eyes. "Welcome home, Buffy," she says smiling, and leans over to kiss her on the lips.

They take Buffy away in a straitjacket.