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

Dreaming When The Moon Is Void
By Ari
For Lexus

Dawn closes her eyes and spins, and spins, and spins. No one's hands hold her shoulders; she is spinning freely, freefall. She's no longer aware that she's moving her feet or spreading her arms; she is dizziness. She spins so fast she could leave the ground, fly away to the stars to live forever, never have to clean her room or go back to school. She spins so hard she spins herself real. She spins so hard that when she finally slows, then stops, her hand, gripping a felt donkey tail, is shaking. Her eyes are closed and covered with a bandanna; she feels her way along a wall and touches the tail to it.

Laughter; someone pulls the blindfold off. Buffy. The room is still laughing shakily, or shaking with laughter; Dawn doesn't know. "You came close," Willow whispers condescendingly. Dawn's tail is nowhere near the donkey's butt. Nowhere near the donkey at all. It's somewhere in the stratosphere.

Willow won this game too. She cheated. She always cheats.

The fairest way to divide Dawn's birthday cake would be for Joyce to cut it in eight slices, enough for Dawn and all her (sister's) friends. One for Willow, one for Xander, one for Anya, two for Tara.


"I want to give you the most things," Dawn tells her happily. "Remember when I bought you the incense burner?"

Remember when you had to take it back to the store and tell Anya you'd stolen it?

That never happened; it was only a dream. They never found out, and Tara burns her incense and makes the house safe and calm, filled with good wishes and well-being.

"Wake up, sweetie pie." Tara's fingers brush her forehead, but she turns over, buries her face in the pillow again. "Is everything okay?" Tara asks, her voice far away. Dawn doesn't know how to tell her what the dream said. She feels her way back to the birthday party. She puts a noisemaker in her mouth, blows out, bweee! in Tara's ear. Tara jumps, and, stuttering, apologizes for being too easily startled.

"It's okay," Dawn tells her. "Surprises can be fun."

"All right, girls!" says Mom. "We're going to open presents now."

"I bought you the biggest present," says Willow, but she's looking at Tara when she says it. Tara's package is covered in silvery stars, and she tied a bow with blue and purple ribbon, curled and cascading. Dawn smiles at her and chooses another package, smaller, wrapped messily.

"From me," Buffy tells her. Tara's face falls.

"I'll open yours next," Dawn whispers. "When the others aren't looking."

"We don't have to keep it a secret," Tara says. "It's me they'd blame, remember? I'm supposed to know better."

"Do you?"

Tara answers: she puts her mouth over Dawn's, pressing just hard enough to qualify this as a kiss. Dawn doesn't mean to open her mouth, but she does. Her tongue sneaks out along a familiar path.

She crawls out of bed, knots her sheets together, fastens them to the bedpost, unlatches the window and down she goes, sneaking out every night, to loiter at the Magic Box or patrol at the park. (Buffy asks, "Are you trying to get yourself killed?"

Anything to numb the boredom.)

Her tongue sneaks out, and curls up in a familiar corner of Tara's mouth. Tara smiles against her, expands to receive her, encompasses her. Tara's everything, this short, glowing witch with tawny hair is Dawn's universe, and Dawn inhabits her. She is always running away from home, fingers from the safe place holding Buffy's hand, tongue from its coiled-up retreat inside her head, into Tara. She is running into Tara everywhere, finds her at the mall and in the Magic Box and after school, entirely on purpose on the UC Sunnydale Campus.

Tara spots her across the quad, and, arms full of heavy books, shouts "Dawn!"

Dawn rolls over and grumbles, "I don't wanna."

"They'll blame me," Tara says. "I promised your sister I'd get you off to school. I'll make breakfast, okay? Pancakes?"

Dawn, awake now, groans. "Oatmeal's fine. Instant."

"Oh. Well... okay." Tara gives her a strange look before heading downstairs. Dawn sits up, reaches for the ceiling. She's wearing flannel pajamas with cartoon frogs on them. Tara has seen her wearing cartoon frogs. Tara knows what she looks like when she wakes up in the morning and has heard her screaming fights with her sister.

Tara, she remembers, fully awake and preparing to take a shower, saw the shoplifted stash. Tara knows what Dawn is like, and so Tara will never.

She shampoos the hair that Tara will never lift to her nose, saying, "You smell so sweet."

She washes the back that Tara will never massage with soft, slick oils, washes the hands that Tara will never press between hers, whispering, "You're mine."

She shaves the legs that Tara will never touch with gentle fingers, gliding from toes to thighs in one smooth movement before planting a kiss on Dawn's clit.

She rubs her clit, furiously, guiltily, her back against the shower wall and her eyes closed, surrounded by steam and anxiety, her jerking movements familiar and confident. Two fingers stroke her clit, one teases at her cunt, and she tries very hard not to imagine Tara's face when she comes with a gasp.

"Hurry!" Tara calls upstairs. "Your oatmeal will be cold."

When Dawn joins Tara in the kitchen, Tara is sipping tea. She smiles at Dawn. "Busy day?"

Dawn shrugs and eats her oatmeal, gross and tasteless. "I guess."

"I have art history in the afternoon, but maybe after I'm done, I can come to the Magic Box and help with your homework?"

Dawn's stomach turns over; she sighs and tries another bite of oatmeal. Still gross. "That's cool. Are you in the mood for geometry madness? Points and lines and rays!"

"I'm always in the mood for math with my Dawn-girl," Tara says, her smile bright with whimsy.

Dawn looks at her half-eaten breakfast. "I'd better go. I have a feeling if I'm late for homeroom one more time, I'll have two weeks of detention."

"Go ahead; I'll do the dishes before I have to leave for class. Have a good day, sweetie." When she stands up, Dawn towers over Tara. She is tall, a mountain, and, like a mountain, impassable. She fights for stoicism. Tara can't move her, Tara can't hurt her feelings, Tara won't stop her from stealing, and Tara isn't anyone, just Dawn's sister's best friend's ex-girlfriend. No one. She could bend down, kiss Tara's zig-zaggy part, and be gone before Tara had a chance to stutter, "Dawnie, you can't...." She puts her oatmeal bowl in the sink. She remembers the familiarity of dream-kisses, and gulps back a declaration.

"You too, Tara," she says, hoists her backpack over one shoulder, and runs away.