Author: Trina a.k.a. Katherine
Rating: R for language and situations, trying to rate on the safe side.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tara nor do I own any of the Anita Blake characters mentioned within the story. Those rights belong to Joss Whedon and his people and Laurell K. Hamilton respectively.
A/N: I was quite excited to receive echo as the person to write for. I know that I have enjoyed her writings and in no way could even think to compare to her quality and level of writing. I hope that she enjoys what I’ve come up with.
Anita Blake mini-fic-a-thon
Person being written for: echo
Max rating: NC-17
Type: romance or PWP
Characters: Cordelia, Connor, Fred, Spike, or Tara
One thing you want to see: someone awkward and naked
One thing you don’t want to see: unhappy ending.
Title: Teaching Relationship
Tara blinked as she looked around her home, that wasn’t quite the right word for where she was living. Simply because her home had been with Willow and Willow was not here. After her sudden and rather painful demise at the hands of Warren she’d found herself tossed into a very new situation, one where apparently there were stated appointed vampire slayers or whatever the term was. Also vampires were protected by the law and viewed as normal.
She had a job now, as an English teacher at the local Junior High. It was just a little different from Sunnydale where the aura’s and personality’s had been tainted by the energies from the Hellmouth. The air was so pure in St. Louis, except of course for in the section known as The Blood District where the vampire owned businesses were located. But there was still one very big difference that Tara could point out so easily but was afraid to try. The laws against magic were strictly enforced by the Master of the City and his Triumvirate… Tara had a meeting with them tonight to receive permission to continue living in the city.
That was the worrying thing, if Tara was evicted from the city. Where was she to go? She had no family nearby or many friends that could take her in until she found a new home. She could only hope the meeting would go smoothly. Right now she was waiting for someone named Jason to arrive who would drive her to the Circus of the Damned which was the home for several vampires.
Out of everyone she’d met at the school, the nicest fellow had to have been Richard Zeeman the Science Teacher. He’d stopped by her classroom once while she was marking a few essays and making notes about what to cover when she returned the papers. That had been when he invited her out to lunch, his treat, at someplace called The Lunatic Café. The next day she’d heard the most interesting gossip in the Teacher’s Lounge, one lunch out and Tara was Richard’s new girlfriend. How on earth did that connection get made?
A knock on the door kept Tara from musing anymore on that first meeting. Standing she gathered her purse and jacket, “I’m coming Jason.” She called out as she turned off the main switch but left a lamp on near the door just so that she would have a welcoming light when she returned to the apartment.
A naughty and knowing smirk greeted Tara as she left to attend the worrisome meeting, “I know something you don’t know.” Jason sang softly as he led the way down to the waiting car.
“You know lots of things that I don’t know Jason.” Tara paused, paling suddenly as a thought came to her. “He isn’t evicting me is he?” She gulped, “Please tell me I’m not being evicted from the City.” Tara grasped Jason’s arm, turning him to face her.
“Miss Maclay this isn’t an eviction… Really. Do you think he would send me to fetch you if it was bad news?” Jason swallowed his laughter, making a muffled snorting sound, “If it was an eviction Jean-Claude would’ve come himself and told you face to face.”
Tara relaxed slightly, “then why the meeting? I can understand wanting to have a one on one meeting if it is about the magic issue and wanting to make sure that I’m not a threat to his position of power. But the three of them? Isn’t that a little overkill?”
“Nah, not really. It’s just they heard some of the most interesting tales from one of Anita’s friend and Jean-Claude is curious to know if it’s true.” Jason glanced back at Tara as he opened the car door for her, “And I find myself curious about if you and Richard are an item.”
“That rumor is still going around?” Tara sighed in relief, “I can tell you this, one lunch together does not a relationship make.” Tara laughed softly, “I don’t think I even want to know how these things get started anymore. Next thing I know I’ll find out that Richard and I are engaged to be married because we were seen walking together at night.” She missed the serious expression Jason tossed at her as he started the vehicle and began the trip to the Circus.
Jean-Claude looked at the other members of his triumvirate and tried to hide his amusement, “Ma Petite I ask that you try not to scare Miss Maclay too much during our meeting.” He held up a hand as Anita prepared to interject that she didn’t always strike fear in the hearts of others, “I want your word that you will try hard not to scare Miss Maclay into running. I feel that having her here in town is very good for many reasons.”
Richard seemed interested in the discussion, “Tara is coming here? Then why do you want all of us here?” He glanced at Anita as she gave a disgusted snort and fondled her Browning.
“You will see Mon Loup.” Jean-Claude smiled suddenly as one of the security guards alerted him that his appointment had just arrived and was on her way down. “Now, please go outside and wait in the next room. I will send Jason to fetch you when it is time for you to join us.”
Anita stood and muttered something about cryptic hint dropping not working for Master Vampires. Richard had to agree with the sentiment, but then again he was looking forward to meeting with Tara again without Anita and her weapons or Jean-Claude lurking about with that knowing sparkle in his eyes.
As Tara entered Jean-Claude’s office, she couldn’t help but wishing that Jason were coming in with her. However that was not to be, simply for the fact that Jean-Claude didn’t want there to be anyone else listening to their discussion. Well a little privacy was always a good thing.
“Ah, Mademoiselle Maclay, Thank you for being so prompt for our meeting. I trust you know why you were asked here tonight?” Jean-Claude was just oozing charm and politeness; it was more then a little nerve-wracking.
Tara curtsied carefully, trying to remain calm and polite when right then she’d rather have been anywhere else. “I understand that you wish to make sure that my remaining in the city will not be a risk to you as Master of the city.” Tara stated with just a slight hint of a stutter as she accepted the seat he had indicated. “To be honest, the only magic I have performed is just a few charms to protect my apartment from being at risk of any robberies.”
“I would prefer that in the future if you feel the need to do any magic that you would send a letter of request to me so that I will be kept aware of all things in my city.” Jean-Claude glanced at the blotter and pieces of paper on his desk, “If you will please be patient when my two other visitors are entering we will discuss the other reason I asked you here today.”
Tara paled slightly and nodded, not even turning when the door opened again to admit Anita and Richard. There was one familiar and comforting presence while the other felt like an agitated snake just waiting for the right moment to strike.
“I believe you have met with Monsieur Zeeman before, and Ma Petite Anita.” Jean-Claude nodded as the pair sat down on another pair of available chairs, Anita watching Tara like a lion watches its prey. “I called you here because it came to my attention that you and Monsieur Zeeman were in a relationship. I wish to know what your reasons are for choosing him.”
“Excuse me… But how on earth did one lunch together become a relationship. If so I had no idea, I probably would have declined it.” Tara jumped slightly as Anita growled something unintelligible low in her throat “Is there something I should know? Other then your Petite seems a little aggravated and seems like she would love nothing better then to use violence.” Tara moved in her chair so she felt a little further from the dark haired executioner.
“Anita, control yourself. You are scaring our guest.” Jean-Claude warned, “And if you do not control your agitation better then I will have to ask that you leave the room.” The vampire smiled comfortingly at Tara, “as you know I am in a triumvirate of power with Anita and of course the Ulfric of the local wolf pack.”
Tara glanced at Richard, “that would explain why you feel like the earth and Moon… how nice.” Tara laughed softly, “I’d wondered about that when you took me out to lunch and most of the people there felt like that.”
“You aren’t upset or anything?” Richard asked, glaring at Anita as she reached for her gun.
“No, not at all, I met my girlfriend’s old boyfriend who was a werewolf… It wasn’t a very good meeting.” Tara shifted, turning her attention back to Jean-Claude, “If that is all… do you think I could leave. I’d really like to go back to my home; I’m a little freaked about being here among so many preternatural creatures.” Tara stood and nodded to Anita and Jean-Claude before smiling at Richard, “I’ll see you at school tomorrow then. It was nice to have met you outside of work.”
“Maybe we could have another outing or two then. I’d like to get to know you a little better.” Richard ran a hand through his shorter hair and then stood to escort Tara to the door. As soon as she and Jason were safely on their way back to the parking lot Richard turned to Anita and growled in frustration, “Must you behave so much like the executioner whenever I think about dating someone who isn’t you? You remember that you and Jean-Claude have your something. Why can’t I choose someone for myself?”
“Because I don’t think she’ll understand it when you leave her at home alone when you have to deal with pack business. Do you really think that Paris is going to be all that happy about you starting a relationship with another human?” Anita stated icily.
“I don’t think this is about Tara being home alone or even Paris. I think this is about you not really wanting me moving on with my life and making strides to be stronger.” Richard turned his attention to Jean-Claude, “I’ll take my leave now, but don’t pull the power crap with me again.”
The next day, Tara smiled as the final bell rang letting the students free for the weekend. “Remember there is a test Monday over chapters Five through Eight, study hard. I will be including an essay on one of the chapters.” Tara called as the students packed up their books and hurried out the door. A few minutes later Tara frowned slightly as she noticed someone standing in the doorway. “Yes? Oh Richard, you surprised me.” A smile flashed across her face as she waved Richard in, “Is there something that matter?”
“I’m curious to see if you’d like to go on a date with me. Something casual of course, Chinese Take-Out, movies at my house, and getting to know each other better.” Richard smiled slightly, “and hopefully no interruptions from Anita or Jean-Claude.”
“Sounds wonderful, but one problem, I don’t have a clue as to where you live.” Tara organized some pop quizzes for grading and slid them into a folder and then began placing her own home work into her shoulder bag. “Do you have a solution for that?”
“I’ve already taken care of that little detail. I figured that you lived near the school, I recognized your car because I’ve driven past the apartment complex on my way to work.” Richard held out a folded piece of paper, “I’ll see you at seven. It will give me time to get my house tidied up and make sure the evening is distraction free.”
“I’ll be there then. Thanks for being so understanding and not being so pressuring. I’ve had problems with relationships like that before.” Tara stood and pressed a kiss to Richard’s cheek before heading to the main office to check her mail slot one last time before heading home.
The evening went well enough, Richard was the perfect gentleman making Tara feel comfortable on her first date since she had been dropped into her new world. During dinner they compared notes on past relationships and what they did when not at work teaching students about Science and English. It was about two a.m. before either began getting tired.
“We can finish the movie in the morning.” Richard stated, punctuating his statement with a yawn, “I don’t think either of us is really up to driving right now. We can share a bedroom, I promise not to do anything inappropriate.” Richard helped Tara to stand before leading her to his own bedroom where he left her sitting on the edge of the bed while he went to find something comfortable she could sleep in. The best he could find was a large loose t-shirt with a sleepy puppy on the front. “I’ll go make sure all the doors are locked up before I get ready. I won’t be long.”
Tara nodded and changed into the offered sleep shirt before turning down the covers on the bed and fluffing the pillows to make them a little more comfortable. As she heard Richard coming back upstairs she slipped into bed and tried to keep as much on one side of the bed as possible.
Richard smiled at the sleeping blonde as he turned off the lights and prepared for bed himself, having completely missed seeing the blinking light on the answering machine in the kitchen, and more importantly the number of messages that had been left during the course of the evening. Amazing how when one wants an evening of peace and quiet, something bad usually happens.
It was eight a.m. before the destructive force that defines Anita Blake burst into the Zeeman residency with Browning at the ready in case there had been foul play afoot. Keeping her ears open she headed towards where she could hear some sounds stirring in the master bedroom. Kicking the door open she frowned at the scene that was being provided. “What the hell is going on here?” She demanded of Tara.
Tara had been in the process of getting changed for the day when the bedroom door was kicked open. Fortunately it wasn’t Richard who was in the bathroom getting cleaned up; unfortunately it was the ex-girlfriend. It was awkward enough with her fellow teacher and date in the attached bathroom, but she was standing there very much with the nakedness and trying to explain why she was in Richard’s bedroom without risking a bullet somewhere on her person. “I think I can explain… Just could you put away the gun?” Tara grabbed for the discarded shirt and pulled it in front of her body protectively.
Richard frowned as he came out of the bathroom wiping the shaving residue from his face, “What’s going on Anita? Who the hell gave you permission to come bursting in here like a bat out of hell?”
“There was an emergency involving the pack and since you in all your infinite wisdom decided to mute your phone we couldn’t get hold of you to get it straightened out properly.” Anita smiled icily at Richard before waving her gun at Tara, “Want to explain what she’s doing in your bedroom undressed?”
“We had a long date and I offered her a place to crash for the night since we were both too tired to see straight and it wouldn’t have been safe to drive by the time we called it a night.” Richard stated calmly but with this little tick in his jaw.
Tara deciding that it was far safer to grab her clothing and go change in a different room to minimize the risk of overhearing any of the fight that was brewing between the two, smiled nervously at the pair and then slipped out of the room. It was a few hours before either realized she’d even left the premises entirely. Anyway, Anita was too riled up to care less about Tara at that moment.
When Richard realized that Tara’s car wasn’t in his driveway, and that he hadn’t seen her for most of the morning, he went and searched the upstairs rooms for the shirt he had loaned her to sleep in. He found it in the guest bedroom that was also used as a storage room. A note was folded on top of the garment, written in her cautious but soft hand writing.
Richard – I know this morning didn’t end exactly the way you wanted it to. There’s just something about a person with a gun and an itchy trigger finger that just scares me to death. If you’d really like to try the date thing again, please don’t hesitate to call and let me know. It’d be nice to just walk with you under the stars sometime and talk some more. Love, Tara.
Richard went downstairs and picked up the phone making the call to set up a nice walk with Tara for next weekend, preferably when there weren’t any pack problems to deal with. He waited, holding his breath as the phone rang three times and then was picked up.
“Hello? I really hope this isn’t Miss Blake threatening me with disembowelment or evisceration.” Tara paused, “Not to say that being stalked by a vampire or a gun is any better…”
“Tara, its Richard. I’d like to set up that walk under the stars. Does next weekend sound good? I’m sorry that you had to be woken up that way, I thought Anita was better then that.” Richard bit his lower lip worriedly, “I think that with time we could be more then just good friends.”
“I think that would be nice… It’s nice to have a friend like you Richard. I’d love to take that walk with you next weekend. Maybe you could come by my apartment after work someday this week and I’ll make us dinner.” Tara leaned against the kitchen counter and smiled slightly as her little orange kitten came scampering in from the living room. “I know that Thursday is the full moon and you’ll be busy with that. But I’d like to treat you to a nice dinner that doesn’t involve little cardboard boxes.”
“We can talk over the details tomorrow; I’ll stop by your apartment with a proper apology for Anita’s less then stellar politeness record.” Richard smiled, “I’m glad you aren’t giving up on a potential relationship between us.”