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

Amazing Grace
By Ari
For Dariclone

Tara knows she shouldn't have come to Berkeley, and yet -- it was irresistible, the way Stonehenge is to some wiccans, the way the moon is to Nina. And for one week, one shining, dancing, twirling week of drinking tea and eating local and windowshopping at Pride boutiques and herbalists', one week of feeling that she'd really, finally, left Sunnydale's light and LA's darkness behind with all her demons -- for one week it was perfect, unmarred by any frantic phone calls or unbidden memories. She and Nina made a home, made a nest, made the first shallow beginnings of a life.

And then at Lunesane Local -- she insists, though Nina claims she's fine, doesn't need a helping paw to get her through the wolf nights, "Just you, Tara. Just hold me in your magic and I'll be safe." But Tara insists and then pays for it, as soon as they take their places in unpadded folding chairs -- she looks across the circle and there she is, unchanged except for her eyes, which are dark and unknowable.

Tara reaches for Nina's hand and averts her eyes from Willow's black ones. There is no safety in the world. Willow's eyes are dangerous, Nina's teeth are dangerous, her own hand is dangerous in Nina's, gripping tightly enough to draw blood -- her fingernails curve into Nina's palm.

"Oz," says Willow's boy. "Wolf." He diagnoses himself stoically, stating a fact, a hint of irony in his eyes.

"I'm Willow. A wiccan in love with a werewolf." If Willow were smiling any harder, she'd break her cheeks. She loves him so much, and Tara can feel her heart compressing even with Nina's warm hand against hers, slightly sweaty, solid and familiar.

"I'm Shayne," says the next person, and zir lover Cliff is the werewolf.

Then them. "I'm Nina, and we just moved to the area. I -- I'm a werewolf." She shrugs her left shoulder, still apologetic, unused both to her lycanthropy and her honesty about it.

"I -- I'm T-t-t -- Tara. S-sorry. Sorry. I can -- I can't." She looks at the cheerful blue linen of her skirt and wants to cry. She promised she wouldn't live this way, looking backward, glancing over her shoulder for the silver bullet and the holy cross ready to exorcise the difference, the queerness, the dirtiness in her and in her lover. They were supposed to be safe here, and the threat is closer than ever.

"Let's go, honey," Nina whispers, and pulls Tara to her feet. One last look at Willow -- she can't help it, not with Willow so happy, not with her eyes so bright, not with her so close. The way she fits into Nina's curving body doesn't match the way her magic mixed with Willow's to make the sweetest, strongest wine. She can't look away, not from that grin, not from Oz's wave -- "Let's go. You need to be away from here."

"You -- you should stay. Talk to them. The other, you know, wolves." She can name the moment she started being a fan of support groups, the moment she first believed that the power of many was stronger than the safety of two: it was the last moment she loved Willow, the last moment that they were whole, the last moment before Willow fell away from her.

"I'll go back some other time," Nina promises. "Right now you need -- something. Coffee? Kittens?"

"I could use some kitten cuddles," Tara agrees. "But I think a glass of, um --"


"No, thank God. Just wine'll be good, promise."

"I always thought she'd be more... impressive," Nina says. "The Wicked Witch of the North."

"She's misleading like that," Tara agrees, and they dart across the street, holding hands, invulnerable. They keep running, skidding a little on uneven pavement. Nina's chasing down the moon, and Tara -- Tara's running from.

"I bet you don't want to talk about it some more," Nina says when they twirl into their studio apartment, a little breathless from jogging halfway home, and giddy from their escape.

"I bet you're right," Tara says. The sweet, incensey smell of their apartment, the glimmer of the tealights Nina lights, the half-finished paintings leaning against the wall, the mew of a kitten, are just right, just theirs. The sip of wine, the uncomfortable futon, the first soft kiss of the evening, the weight of Nina's leg across her lap, the spilled wine, the candles flickering into darkness, the moon far away and Nina so close by, leaning into her, her lips teasing -- this is theirs.

Nina's breath is sweet, her movements sure. Her breasts are heavy in Tara's hands and her nipples pucker against Tara's mouth. Her bluejeans unzip to show pale white thighs and sensible underwear, a few familiar scrapes from other loveplay, other moons. The night falls into familiar patterns; Tara's hands follow familiar paths. When her fingers slip into Nina, Tara slips into herself, the dark wick at the center of her flame, focused, intense. She has no past. She makes no apologies. Here is safety.