Fred shifted in the chair, drawing one knee up to her chest. "I guess
that's kind of why we're here. Well, I can start. You said you've
heard of Pylea before, right?"
Tara nodded. "One of the covens I've worked with had an interest in
inter-dimensional travel. I was helping them research for a little
while ... from what I remember, it's a pretty nasty place, if you're
Fred got a slightly far-away look in her eyes. "You have no idea ..."
"... Angel saved me and brought me back. After that, I ... well, I
just kind of stayed. I didn't seem to fit in anywhere else." Fred
finished, nearly an hour later.
"Fred ..." Tara breathed, staring wide-eyed at this seemingly demure
woman. How, she wondered, could somebody so small and fragile-looking
survive so much torture? How could so much strength be hiding in such
a small body? "So you stayed with Angel, Cordelia, Gunn, and Wesley?
You didn't go home?" she asked, not having much else to say.
"Yeah," Fred shrugged. "I mean, once you've seen it, once you've
lived something like that ... I don't know, you stop having any
delusions of a normal life. Besides, I can't know what is out there,
what can happen to people, and not do anything about it."
Tara nodded. "It's as if you have two choices, knowing what we know.
You can turn your head away, pretend that you never saw anything ..."
Fred leaned forward excitedly, placing her hand on Tara's. "Which is
what most people do ..."
"Right," Tara nodded, feeling the electric feeling of soft hands on
her own. Nearly forgetting what she was saying, she looked down
quickly at their stacked hands. Her breathing grew a little more
rapid and her heartbeat raced in anticipation. Shaking her head, she
smiled at Fred. "Or you fight it ... which is what we do."
Fred looked down at her hand over the blonde woman's and blushed. She
hadn't realized that she had reached out to her ... she had been so
excited that somebody understood that she had acted without thinking.
This person wasn't telling her that she should go home, or get over
it, or to go back to the way things were before. That was the problem
with Gunn, she realized. He wanted the Fred that he could protect, a
pure, innocent girl who needed to be encouraged to leave her room.
Someone to take care of.
She wasn't that person anymore.
"Tara?" Fred asked, dragging herself out of her own thoughts. "What
*is* it that you do?"
Tara smiled, and brushed her hair back with her free hand. "Nothing
too interesting. I'm not a demon-hunter or a slayer or a vengeance
demon or a vampire with a soul. I'm just your run-of-the-mill witch."
"I doubt it. There is nothing run-of-the-mill about you." Fred said,
holding Tara's blue-gray eyes with her own.
Tara blushed now, dropping her head and studying the pattern of the
bedspread. "What is the matter with me?" she wondered, recognizing
her old nervous habit. "I haven't done that in years."
"Well, after I left Sunnydale," she started, realizing it was her
turn to show and tell. "I was drifting. I didn't know where to go or
what to do, but I knew that I needed to leave."
"Why did you leave?" Fred asked bluntly, the absent-minded strokes
she was placing on Tara's hand clashing with her frank words. "They
never really knew, you know. Willow was afraid that she had done
"I know." Tara nodded, the old familiar pain mixing with a new
anticipation as she noticed the beautiful brunette stroking her
fingers. "She didn't. It was *me* ... so much of my life had centered
around my inherent evil, the demon that I held inside of me, that I
didn't know how to separate the person I was from the demon I thought
I was. I could never know if my decisions before that day were my
own, or if they were all prompted by some desperate desire to live
life while I could, or worse ..."
"Worse?" Fred prompted.
"... or if they were prompted by self-loathing," Tara whispered,
Fred reached over to Tara and brushed a strand of hair out of her
face. "It's hard to imagine someone like you hating herself," she
admitted. "So you left?"
"I left," Tara nodded, sighing a little and leaning into the kind
hand brushing at her temple. "I had to figure out what I was doing,
why I had gone through it all. I knew that, no matter how much I
loved Willow..." a sharp pain ran through her. "No matter how much I
loved them all, I had to do it on my own."
"And you found it?" Fred asked.
Tara smiled a thin, watery smile, simultaneously sad in its hesitance
and proud in its strength. "I did. I was found by a very powerful
coven who said they had been watching me since before my mother died.
She had been a part of their group, but had left them to marry my
father. They took me in, trained me in Wicca in a way that I had
never been trained ... I became so connected to the elements, so
grounded in my magic, that they sent me to train other covens."
"You train witches?" Fred's eyes widened as she pulled her errant
hand back. She had thought that little could surprise her anymore,
but this fierce woman had managed it. "You're ... what? Like Glinda
the Good Witch?"
"Kinda," Tara grinned. She'd heard the Glinda joke once or twice
before. "Better clothes, fewer minions, but ... maybe a little."
Fred looked up and nodded decisively, as if she had come to a
decision on an unasked question. She leaned in toward Tara, her eyes
narrowing a little and her head tilting to the left. "We have a lot
in common, I think."
"Really?" Tara whispered, wondering what was going on. If she didn't
know better, she would swear that Fred was about to kiss her. "How is
"You had a normal life once. So did I." Fred leaned in further,
tracing the line of Tara's jaw with one long, thin index finger. "We
aren't chosen ones, we aren't destined or prophesied. We're just
women who saw what was out there and chose to keep our eyes open."
Fred's other four fingers reached up to meet her index finger and,
cupping Tara's jaw lightly, she leaned in and kissed her.
Tara's entire body felt the shock of soft lips and gentle hands and
uncertain touch. She pulled back, staring at the small woman whose
hand was still on her face.
"F-Fred?" Tara stuttered a little, studying the reaction of the
beautiful woman in front of her. "You're ... straight? And have a ...
boyfriend, right? And ... what are ..."
Fred cut her off with another kiss. "Do you want this?" she asked in
a slightly lower whisper, suddenly afraid that her bravery was
Tara lifted her hands up to brush long brown hair out of Fred's face,
to smooth out a furrowed brow line ... she had no idea what she
should do. But she knew what she wanted.
"Yes," Tara stated simply. "I want this more than I've wanted
anything in a long time." Leaning forward, her lips claimed Fred's
lips with more passion, more fervor than she had felt in years.
A/N: I tried to finish this, to write the steamy NC-17 sex scene that Fred and Tara so desperately deserve, but ... it's just not happening. So, I guess it ends here.