Title: Dancing Around Love (1/13)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966

Rating: I'm gonna go say R for semi-explicit sex.

Spoilers: Begins immediately after Tabula Rasa but with spoilers up to Older and Far Away (at least). This part only spoils up to one scene in Smashed, though.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: What if Buffy wasn't the only one with an illicit affair?

Author's Note: Okay, so we've got major T/Xness, along with some W/X, W/T, and the A/X demanded by the time setting. I'm not fond of A/X. You have been warned.

Well, we will have all that later on, anyway. ^_^'

* * *

Xander pulled his shirt on and checked his pockets. *Keys, check. Wallet, check. Decently dressed, check.*

"Where are you going?"

He looked up and saw his fiancee eyeing him with equal parts curiousity and suspicion.

"I'm gonna find Tara, see if she's okay."

Anya scowled, "Why?"

He crouched down to tie his shoe laces and sighed. Anya had been getting progressively more possessive ever since he'd proposed to her last summer, and it was starting to wear on him. "Tara's a friend, and she's hurting now."

"So is Willow. Why aren't you going to check on _her_?"

Xander finished tying his shoe laces and stood, grabbing his jacket, "Because she's got Buffy and Dawn to turn to. Tara doesn't. Plus, Wills did mess with our heads, and I'm not sure I'm willing to forgive her for that just yet."

"When are you coming back?" Anya asked plaintively. She wanted sex.

Xander shrugged his jacket on and said, "Late, probably. Maybe not 'til morning." He shot her a reassuring smile, "I'll call." With that, he left.

To the empty room, Anya muttered suspiciously, "You'd better."

* * *

"Tara, you in there?" Xander asked, knocking on the hotel door. It hadn't been easy to track her down, but it only took him a few hours. For some reason, the hotel seemed familiar...

His train of thought was derailed when the hotel door opened. Tara smiled and said, "Heyyy, Xander. How'd you fin' me?" He could smell the all-too-familiar scent of alcohol. The blonde witch was clearly intoxicated.

With a disapproving frown, he commented, "You're drunk."

Like a little girl, Tara jumped and clapped her hands happily and squealed, "You noticed!" She grabbed his hand in both of hers and leaned back, tugging his arm and squealing cheerfully, "Come in, Xander, come in."

He let her pull him inside. She practically danced around him and closed the door, leaning heavily against it. He licked his lips cautiously and asked, "Tara, why are you drinking? I mean, this isn't you."

Her previous cheer suddenly vanished, and she asked sadly, "How can you be so sure?" Looking away, she said quietly, "How can you be sure of anything?"

Xander furrowed his brow in confusion, "What?"

"Well, Xander?" Tara asked earnestly, shooting him a penetrating gaze and straightening up, striding toward him. "How can any of us be sure about anything? Willow, sh-sh-she..." She broke into tears and collapsed into his arms.

He held her comfortingly and said soothingly, "Hey, hey, it's all right. I'm here."

Tara looked up, still crying, "She changed our mem'ries. All I know... everything... it could all be a lie she put there. I could be a straight girl; I could even be your girlfriend, and I wouldn't know." She buried her face in his chest and mumbled, "I just... I can't trust my memories anymore. None of us can."

He stroked her hair and gently rocked her. She needed comfort, and he was a comfortador. It was what he did best. "Oh, Tara..."

She looked up at him, biting her lip. There was something in her eyes...

"Kiss me."

He started, "What?"

"Please..." she sobbed, "I... I need to know... if my gayness is..." she choked for a moment, "...a lie."

"It's not, Tara," he said firmly.

She looked up again and trembled, "Please?"

He tried. He really did. But she looked -- and felt -- so frail, so fragile, so vulnerable. He was afraid of holding her too hard for fear she might break. He was suddenly very aware of her attractive figure pressed against him, enfolded within his arms.

*Forgive me, Anya,* he thought, closing his eyes. Opening them, he looked down into her eyes -- liquid orbs that reflected a mixture of hope and fear -- and whispered, "All right." He leaned down and captured her lips with his.

At first, Tara's lips were cold and tasted of alcohol, but there was something indefinable about the kiss that inflamed him. He lost track of time, and her lips melted against his. Suddenly, she felt so incredibly warm and alive, no longer the frail little porcelain doll he had been holding a moment ago.

She moaned, and Xander didn't resist as she pushed against his chest, pressing him back gently. He sat reflexively when he felt the hotel bed touch his calves. He pulled away, "Tara..."

"Please, Xander," she pleaded, her voice cracking slightly. "I want... I _need_... something... that I know is real. _Please_." She caressed his chest and slid a hand into his pants.

He was Xander. He was the heart. He gave comfort when it was needed.

And this was just another form of comfort.

He relented.

* * *

"Anya's gonna kill me," he pronounced, staring at the ceiling.

She curled up against his side, "I-I'm s-sor-..."

"Don't be," he interrupted. "It's okay. You needed someone, and I was here. I'm glad I could help, and I'm not above letting you know that I enjoyed every minute of it."

She breathed out a sigh and thought morosely, *So did I.* Tara looked up at him and said, "Th-thank you, Xander." She paused, "We probably shouldn't... no one needs to know."

He looked at her, concerned, "You really think we can keep this a secret?"

She quirked a smile, "As long as it doesn't happen again. And, y'know, me gay." She desperately tried to hide how she felt.

How much she had enjoyed it.

"We tell no one."

"Right."

* * *

"Where the _hell_ were you?!" Anya demanded.

"I told you last night. I was with Tara," he said. "I tried to call, but the phone in the hotel room she's staying at was out."

They'd come up with the story fairly quickly, and it wasn't too hard to move her to a room where the phone really _was_ out.

He'd also realized why the hotel looked so familiar. It must have been some cosmic fate thing or something, but it was the same hotel Faith had stayed at.

Which made this the second time Xander had done something in that hotel that would break Willow's heart.

* * *

Tara cut through the parking lot, heading back to the hotel she was staying in. It was dark, and she didn't want to be outside at night any longer than necessary.

"Tara!"

She looked up and smiled, "X-Xander. Wh-what are you doing here?"

He held up the grocery bag and placed it in the trunk of his car, "Just doing a little late night shopping." He reached down to pick up the last shopping bag.

"Here, let me help," she said and reached over to take the bag from his hand. Their hands touched, and she felt an electric jolt run down her spine. She absently laid the bag in the trunk and closed it, mesmerized by the look in his eyes.

It was an almost animalistic lust that both frightened and aroused her -- more the latter than the former. He took her hands in his and pulled her close, leaning down to kiss her. She raised her head, and her lips met his halfway.

She felt his hands run across her back and returned the favor, caressing his back and buttocks. She moaned as his hands slid up the front of her shirt and began teasing her breasts.

Panting, she broke the kiss and pulled away, leaning on the car with one hand even as the other fumbled with her pants. She felt his strong arms wrap around her and undo her pants for her.

Succumbing to her lust, she begged, "Take me, Xander. Take me hard. From behind. Oh, Goddess, yes! Yesss..."

* * *

"Do you think you'll ever get back together?" Dawn asked.

"I wish I knew."

"But you still love her."

"Very much," Tara reassured her. "I just... sometimes... other things get in the way." *Like Xander...* she thought sadly. She was betraying Willow. They weren't together, but she was cheating on her, and she knew she wouldn't stop.

She couldn't stop.

* * *

Author's Postscript:

And if anyone feels Xander gave in too quickly, I would like to remind any such person that only twice in the entire series has Xander ever turned down sex, and one was when he knew he was directly responsible for it. Even then, he was still sorely tempted. So there.