Title: Dancing Around Love (13/13)

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: Up to As You Were and Forgiving.

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: Getting dark from here on out, so consider yourself warned. We've got A/X, B/X, T/X, W/X, and W/T and various combinations thereof up ahead. Finally, if you're a fan of season six Amy, I suggest you stop reading right now.

* * *

"Well? Who will it be?"

"I said 'no'!" Xander shouted, whirling around and swinging the sword at Amy. She blocked the blade with a glowing forearm, and he said in dead earnest, "I would rather die than forsake any one of them."

"So be it," she spat, backing away and flinging her arm out. A bolt of purple lightning shot from her fingertips toward him.

"Xander!" Anya yelled. The spell around her shattered, and she leaped toward Xander, knocking him out of the way and taking the full brunt of the magical blast. She collapsed into a motionless heap.

"An!" Xander cried.

Amy ignored him and turned to the other three. Tara and Willow stood, their hands joined, their eyes black. They were the ones who had broken the spell. Buffy charged toward her, and she flung up a hand, but her spell was blunted by the two witches, and the Slayer quickly had her in a full nelson, despite her weak and untrained but furious attempts to fight her off.

Tara and Willow raised their hands... and stopped.

"W-wait. Sh-she's..." Tara stammered uncertainly.

"Yeah, she is," Willow said grimly.

Amy's eyes widened in fear, and she redoubled her struggles to free herself from Buffy's grip.

"Begone!"

Amy's shriek was bone-rattling and resonated within the mansion, rising into a howl that penetrated everything. A ghostly mist with the vague image of a face at the front fled from her open mouth and shot out a window. The nude young woman suddenly slumped into Buffy's arms, unconscious.

"Anya!"

They turned to find Xander crouching over the ex-demon, who lay on her back, looking up at him.

"Don't do this to me, An," he begged.

She shook her head. "Sorry, Xander," she coughed. "I don't think... I'm going to make it."

"Don't say that, An," he said desperately. "You're gonna be okay."

"Liar," she said with a crooked smile. "You men always lie. I'm... sorry."

"Shh," he said, "don't worry about it."

"Thank you... Xander," she said.

"For what?" he asked in honest confusion.

"For... loving me," she said. "For... believing in me. For... forgiving me." Each word came out harder than the last, and the pain crossing her face attested to that.

"An..."

"For... proving me wrong. And for giving me... the answer."

And she knew she had the answer. The answer to D'Hoffryn's question was now crystal clear in her mind. Redemption gave what nothing evil could give: A sense of self-worth... the knowledge that she had left this world better than it was when she entered it over a thousand years ago.

"Good... bye... Xan-..." her voice trailed off as her head fell back.

He shuddered and reached down to pull her eyelids shut. Closing his own eyes, he shuddered again and sat back, wrapping his arms around himself.

* * *

Xander nodded toward Amy, "What happened with her anyway?"

They were back in the Summers home. The Madison girl was twitching nervously and looking around fearfully while Tara and Willow watched over her.

"I think she was possessed by her mom again," Buffy said. "She remembers being turned human again and Willow filling her in, but when she went into the bathroom, she saw her mom in the mirror and... well... 'Poof!'"

"She gonna be all right?"

"I don't know," Buffy replied. "I mean, she pulled through okay last time, but she's still dealing with the whole rat thing as well as the whole possession deal, so... it's a lot."

"Well, at least we're here for her," Xander said. Then he noticed Buffy scowling at him. "_What_?"

"I'm _not_ sharing you with _three_ women," she declared.

His eyes practically popped out of their sockets, and he asked, his voice climbing an octave, "What? Share? I-is there something I should know about?"

"Well, yeah," she grinned naughtily. "Me and Tara and Willow all love you, and we don't want to fight over you, so we agreed to share you." Her expression slid into a mask of innocence, "You don't mind, do you?"

"Uh, well, no," he stuttered as images danced in his head. "O-of course not."

She pulled him into a hug and whispered in his ear, "Look, Xander, I know losing Anya hurt, but... maybe I can help?"

"Buffy..."

Whatever he was going to say was cut off as she tiptoed up and kissed him.

After a long moment, she pulled away, gasping for breath, and stared in wonder, "Wow. So _that's_ what you do with your tongue."

He blinked and flushed, "You've been talking about me?"

"Hey," she shrugged, "we're girls. We gossip."

"Xander?"

He turned, "Yeah, Tare?"

"Can I talk to you? In private?"

* * *

"What is it, Tare?" Xander said as he entered the kitchen.

She wordlessly pulled him into a savage kiss, which startled him, but after a moment, he returned it with equal fervor.

"Mmm..." she moaned and ran a hand down his back.

"Tara," he said when they broke the kiss, "um, is now really...?"

"Oh, shut up," she said impatiently, kissing him again and sliding a hand down his pants.

* * *

Tara rose out of the bed and walked over to the window. She leaned thoughtfully against the wall next to the window and peered out into the deceptively peaceful night. She had convinced the others to let her have one last night alone with Xander before they started taking turns and... experimenting... with other possibilities in the strange little love quadrangle they had agreed to.

Her eyes twinkling unnaturally in the night, she turned back and smiled at his sleeping form, but it wasn't her usual sweet smile.

There was only one thing to say.

"Mine."

* * *

Author's Postscript:

"When does The End... appear?"

Right now.

At least until I get to the sequel, anyway. ^_^