Title: Thoughts of Love (1/2)

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 PG-13 for naughty thoughts.

Spoilers: Nothing specific from the show, really, except the Mayor's Ascension plans. Spoilers for Dancing Around Love parts eight and nine, though.

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

Summary: In a devastated world without Angel, Tara considers her feelings for a certain couple.

Author's Note: This fanfic is based off the AU briefly visited in parts eight and nine of my other fanfic, Dancing Around Love.

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"Why won't it work?!" That's my little sister, losing her patience once again as she messes up another simple spell.

"Remember what I said about concentration and calm?" I remind her with a reproving look. "I know you want to help, but you won't be able to help much if you can't stay calm enough to cast a spell."

With a sigh and a nod she closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, and tries again.

But it's not long before my mind drifts again.

I love him.

Just a little over two years ago, I never thought I could ever honestly say those words and mean them. Although, I suppose I still can't. My family... let's just say the men in my family aren't very lovable, and I'm glad I got away from them... even if I am stuck in a literal hellhole now.

I don't know how I can love a man when I've never found a man attractive before. It just... it doesn't make sense.

But I guess love isn't supposed to make sense. He's not like most men. He's kind and sensitive and caring, but he's got that inner strength, the same sort of hidden strength that first drew me to his wife. They know how I feel about her, but not how I feel about him.

I love them both, but I can't tell them. It would ruin their relationship, their friendship... their marriage.

Yes, I do love her too. His wife is a wonderful woman, but sometimes, I'm jealous of her, of both of them. The scars on his face... it had taken him weeks to heal from that, and he wouldn't have them if it weren't for me. He saved my life and nearly lost his eyes and even his life because of it.

I can see the tenderness in her touch when she runs her fingers across those same scars, and my heart aches when I do. I want to feel the soft touch of her skin on mine... I want to caress those constant reminders he has of what he did for me... I want to taste her... I want to feel him inside me...

Oh, Goddess, listen to me! I sound like a lovesick schoolgirl. Okay, a lecherous lovesick schoolgirl with a vivid imagination. The mouth of hell is open, and we're all fighting a rearguard action against an army of supernatural horrors that aren't supposed to exist, and here I am, obsessing over the fact that I'm in love with a man. I really should be focusing more on Dawn's magic lesson, but...

I just hope he gets back all right. These raids are getting more and more dangerous each day, and with the eternal night the demon Olvikan -- the town's former mayor, if I understand correctly -- created, vampires are a constant threat now, even when it would normally be daylight. He's always ready to throw himself into the thick of danger when something happens...

And something _is_ going to happen tonight, something bad. I can sense it, and I'm probably not going to survive... but they will. I'll make sure of that. I'll protect them even if it means drawing in enough magic to kill me.

I just hope I have the chance to tell him before I die.

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Author's Postscript:

Okay, this little plot bunny just refused to leave me alone until I wrote it.