The paring within this fic is a femmeslash paring, if that offends you or if you find it icky, click the back button now.

This is a piece I've been agonizing over, mainly because I wanted to do the pair, and the trouble that they face, justice, which is pretty hard. Femmeslash is not my forte, nor is it a favorite of mine. This just seemed so…right. There's always something odd that reaches up and grabs me, and in this case, I'm glad it did. Hope you enjoy.

~*~

Amara Aquilla checked her watch and noticed that it was getting closer and closer to seven and then impatiently glanced out the window. Tabitha was nearly an hour late for their excursion to the mall, but then with Tabby, that was on time. She really should have known, and shouldn't have been waiting around for so long.

Suddenly she caught a blur of movement as a car cruised in through the gates much to fast and Amara let out a laugh knowing that it was Tabby. There was a loud honk as she got to the front door. She wrenched the door open and ran down the steps.

"Hey, there's my girl!" Tabitha shouted as she spotted Amara coming down the stairs. "Hop in babe, we're hittn' the mall!"

Amara pulled the door open and climbed in to the old beat up car. It was painted red, something which probably made Tabitha love it more. "Do I even want to know where you got this car?"

Tabs sent her a wild grin. "No, pro'lly not. Come on 'Mara, go with the flow."

Amara smiled sidewise at the girl sitting beside her and allowed her mutant power to take over her hand. "I always go with the flow."

"Haha!" Tabitha let out in her abrasive laughter, her head thrown back eyes off the road. "That you do girl, that you do. Hit the tunes will ya?"

"Sure."

Music, loud and fun, blasted out of the stereo and began to shake the car a bit. Amara rolled the window down and leaned her head against the headrest of her seat, which thankfully didn't fall off when she let her head touch it.

~*~

Tabitha screeched the car into a parking space, narrowly missing the two cars on either side. Amara laughed as her friend sent her a wild grin, and grabbed her purse off the floor. There was some little niggling feeling that always shot through her when Tabitha sent her that grin, but Amara could never figure it out.

"What first?" she asked, climbing out and slamming the door shut.

"Music store," Tabs stated, walking backwards up the row of cars towards the mall. She reached out and grabbed Amara by the hand and start to pull her along. "Come on, we can listen to a few song bits and then we'll shake the place up by dancing down the isles again."

"No one else thinks of doing these things," Amara teased.

Tabitha yanked on her arm once again, pulling the other girl next to her, and then draped her arm over her shoulders. "Then you are damn lucky you've got me 'Mara girl."

"I suppose I am." Amara turned to look at Tabby. "After the music store, let's hit up a few dress shops. I want to make a splash at homecoming."

Her friend only rolled her eyes. "Like you wouldn't anyways."

"I have a feeling that's you Tabs."

Tabitha broke out into another wild grin. "Excellent point. Hey, if no one else dares to be different we'd all be Queen Jean and her friends."

Amara brought her hand to her face in a shocked gesture to tease. "The horror!"

"It would be!" Tabitha insisted. She reached out and grabbed Amara's hand. "Now lets get started. Thoroughly busy day ahead of us."

A half an hour later Amara and Tabitha found themselves being shoved out of the music store by a couple of mall cops. Personally, Amara didn't think that they had really been disturbing anyone, but then she had been having a good time.

"Bastards!" Tabby shouted, waving her fist back at the store. "This is a free country! Down to the manner of dance!"

She reached out and grabbed Tabitha and spun her around to face forward. "Speech was what the outlined in the US constitution," Amara reminded her quietly, while giving her a nudge. "I highly doubt any country has stated that all dance is free."

"They should. Make life more fun." Tabby stopped and turned back to the entrance of the music store they had just been escorted out of. "You're just damn lucky we weren't dancing naked in there! That would really be disturbing the peace!"

Amara caught the guard coming towards them out of the corner of her eye and quickly grabbed her friend by the arm. "Let's go somewhere else before we get thrown out of the mall," she said as she dragged Tabby away.

"We should do that sometime," Tabby said decisively , giving Amara a nudge with her shoulder.

Amara turned a confused look towards her friend; sometimes she wasn't able to follow Tabitha's thought train. "Get thrown out of the mall?"

Tabitha giggled, and shot her a look. "No silly, dance naked."

She could feel her eyes widening at the idea. "Completely naked?" Amara asked, wondering if she was understanding all of this correctly.

"What else does naked mean to you?" Tab commented with an eye roll. "Of course. I mean, probably in your room at the mansion, doors locked, curtains closed so none of the boys can hover outside and watch." She smiled, seemingly lost in the planning. "It would be fun and liberating."

The image of Tabitha naked spun into Amara's brain. The two of them naked in her bedroom came even faster. She shook her head to get rid of the images that were plaguing her and the thoughts of where they could go. And how she could like them. "I don't know," she said nervously shrugging out of her friend's grasp

Tabby got in front Amara and grabbed her by the shoulders. "Have you ever danced naked?"

"No!" Amara insisted close to horrified.

"Not even all by yourself after a shower?"

Amara titled her head so that her nose was a bit higher in the air; it was what was often referred to as her "princess look." It was most definitely needed here. "Why would I do something like that?"

Tabitha let out a sad sigh. "I have completely failed in corrupting you haven't I?" Her arm was once again wrapped tightly around Amara's shoulder and pulling her close, somehow feeling comfortable and uncomfortable all at the same time. Now Tabitha was grinning at her again. "Never fear, I'll win out in the end."

"That's what I'm afraid of," she replied in a small voice.

All Amara got in return was a wild laugh. "That's what they all say. You'll love it, I promise."

That was what she was afraid of.

~*~

Amara stood in front of the full length mirror in her dressing room. There was a large collection of dresses she'd already tried on hanging up on a "no" peg, and the few that she had yet to try on another one. But she had a feeling this dress was the one.

Only one way to find out.

She pushed the door open and walked out into the hallway. She spread her arms wide and turned in a circle as she knew Tabby would instruct her to do. "What'd'ya think?" she asked.

Tabitha let out a large whoop. "God girl, hottie commin' through!"

"Shh!" Amara hissed, stopping to glare at her friend, but the action failed to reach her mouth as she was still smiling. "I don't want to get thrown out of another store." Amara looked back down at the way the dress hung on her before glancing up at her friend, fiddling with one of the thin straps of the dress. "You really like it?"

"Yeah, I really do," Tabby said, her voice seemingly softened as she nodded. Her crazy grin returned within a few seconds. "You look completely fab."


Amara walked towards the three way mirror at the end of the hallway and took a moment to check herself out. "It does look good doesn't it?" she asked. The aqua dress had an almost tie dyed look to it, and reminded her of the ocean, or of the hot water spring they had stopped in on their cruise trip.

In the reflection she could see Tabitha roll her eyes. "Christ, yes. You're a princess Amara, don't forget that. We should so get you a tiara to go with it," she said, half teasing, half serious. "Complete the image."

Amara considered it and she could nearly see it. Thinking of the names others would call her she scrunched her nose and shook her head. "It would be a bit over the top. It's not like anyone here cares anyways."

"They should."

"I'm a mutant Tab, everyone knows it." She shrugged carelessly. "So I get the cold treatment instead of the royal treatment."

A dark look came over Tabitha's face. "I could teach them a lesson for messing with my girl."

Instantly Amara lit a small ball of fire on the tip of her finger. "I can handle myself."

"I know. Proved that with the sirens." Tabitha gave her a little shove. "You kicked serious ass girl."

The memory of the wild and free times spend with the other girls at the Institute, regardless of how foolish they may have been was comforting. "I don't think we are ever going to live that one down," Amara said, shaking her head, resisting the urge to bury her head in her hands. Sometimes one of them would find the old articles out of the local paper shoved under their doors by one of the guys or she would get an odd comment about it and she wished that they would let it rest.

All she got in return was that ever familiar grin. "We looked damn sexy in those outfits."

"Yeah and you still wear yours." 'And it does look fabulous on you,' Amara's brain finished for her.

"Hey, it fits and it has pads in the appropriate places."

Not knowing how to respond to that, Amara returned to checking herself out in the mirror. The blue complimented her golden skin perfectly and it hung off of her in all the right places. She did wish she had a bit more cleavage to fill out the top of the dress, but there were some things even she couldn't change.

"So are you going to try anything on?" Amara asked, noticing that Tabitha was just kind of looking around the store aimlessly.

Tabitha didn't turn around, but gave a listless shrug. "I dunno."

"I thought we were going together."

Tab narrowed her eyes at her friend. "Wasn't there a stipulation about dates?"

"It's not going to happen." She got an incredulous look in return and sighed. "Seriously Tabby, no one else is going to ask me."

Tabitha crossed her arms and gave Amara a stern look. "You sell yourself way too short. Anyone would be lucky to have you as a date. Don't forget that."

Amara wished she could really believe that, but as she was either thought of as a mutant, or a stuck up, airhead princess, she doubted anyone would feel they were lucky if they snagged her. She pouted at Tabitha. "Try something on, please?"

She threw her hands up in the air. "Alright, if you're going to give me puppy dog eyes. I still say you look fab in this." She forcefully turned Amara around to the mirrors again. "If you wear you're hair like this."

Tabitha reached out and twisted Amara's hair up on top of her head. Her arm brushed across the younger mutant's neck as she did so, and it somehow spurred every nerve ending in Amara's body to come to attention.

Something about the way they looked in the mirror together got to Amara too. Feeling uncomfortable she stepped away from Tabby and refused to look at the other girl. "Alright, well, I'm just gonna change."

"I'll start lookin' for some things," Tabitha said as she headed off to the dress racks in the store.

~*~

Amara looked absently at the accessories that lined the wall. Gloves, necklaces, earrings, feather boas-which were right up Tabitha's alley, and yes, even little tiaras. She picked off one of them and began to turn it around in her hands.

"I think we've found it!" Tabitha's voice cried out breaking her out of her trance.

Amara quickly hung the tiara back on its rack and walked back towards the stall Tab was sequestered in. "Le'me see."

Tabitha's dress was mid-calf length with jagged edges. The sheer top layer was gathered to make the illusion of a hip high slit and it was crimson red. She looked fabulous.

"Put the blue one back on so we can get a full image," Tab instructed without missing a beat like her friend did. She opened the stall door wider. "Here, you can change in here."

When had it gotten so bad that the idea of changing in the same stall as Tabby seemed like a dangerous idea? "Are you sure?"

In return she got a look that questioned her sanity. "Of course."

'You're being stupid Amara. This is Tab. It's not like she thinks of you in strange ways, even if you think of her like that occasionally,' she scolded herself mentally. 'Just get over yourself and change.'

She quickly began to strip but the close quarters were getting to her. She quickly threw the blue dress over her head and tried to remember how to breathe as Tabitha zipped it up for her.

"Look at us! What a pair."

The image reflected back at her was a stunning one. Tabitha, pale skin, straw like blond hair, bold colored dress that was loud and wild. Herself, dark skin, long dark hair, an elegant flowing dress. Somehow the picture looked just perfect.

"Yeah…" Tabitha moved closer. "Tab."

"Yeah?"

What was she thinking? She couldn't possibly risk it all on a simple feeling. Amara shook her head. "Nothing."

"You can tell me 'Mara girl."

She glanced down at her watch and caught the time. Ten minutes till curfew. She had never been so glad to see that she needed to leave. "Damn, curfew! I'm going to be late."

Instantly she was struggling to get the dress off of her and her clothing back on.

"Oh shit!" Tabitha started stripping as well, and was quickly pulling on her own pair of pants. "Alright girl, let's get you out of here."

"I'll pay," Amara said, shoving her shirt over her head and reaching for Tab's dress.

"No, M, seriously, I can make my own way."

"And I want to do this for you." And suddenly she could not have meant anything more. "I'll let you buy yourself shoes and stuff okay. I have the cash Tab," she managed with an honest smile. "I want to do it."

She got a crazy grin in return. "Alright, who am I to complain about free clothes? I'll join you in a minute."

"Kay."

Amara stepped out of the dressing room with her own dress over her arm. She felt beyond confused. Terrified of what she was feeling, elated that she was going with Tab to the dance. Hopefully she would make it through the next couple of weeks.

~*~

It's just a dance, we're just friends, we're going as friends, it's not that big of a deal. It's not a big deal at all. You hang out with Tabitha all the time. It's nothing out of the ordinary.

"Amara, Tabitha is here!" Jean's voice called up the stairs, breaking her out of the mantra she had been chanting for the past hour as she'd been getting ready.

Amara quickly gave herself one more once over in the mirror and smoothed out her dress to make sure she looked alright before taking off for the stairs. The mansion was alive with the sound of everyone else getting ready to go. Kitty and Rogue were fighting over something, Jamie was pouting because he couldn't go with everyone else, and she could hear Kurt begging Scott and Jean for a car for the evening.

Tabitha was waiting at the bottom of the stairs in the red dress, her hair done up wildly with twists and clips. She looked fabulous, and sexy. And it was back to those thoughts that she did not want to be having, although Amara had the feeling that those moments would be happening a lot tonight.

"Hey," Amara called out weakly, hoping to get Tabitha's attention.

She watched as her friend turned and glanced up at her. That bright, nearly wild look came into her Tabitha's eyes and the crazy grin spread across her face. "Hey. You got the tiara!"

Amara's hand flew to her head and she touched the tiara on her head. She felt kind of foolish wearing it, but it looked alright in the mirror. "Yeah."

"Told you it would look kickin'." And the reassurance from her friend, accompanied by her huge grin smoothed out all of her concerns. Tabitha held out a flower on a elastic band. "This is for you."

Amara slipped the cluster of blue flowers over her wrist and smiled at. "Thanks. You look great too."

"You ready to go?"

"Yeah."

"Later losers!"

~*~

"I think we got the best pictures by far. Did you see the look on Blue's face when the photographer asked him to hold his hands properly?"

"Yeah. This has been great."

"Freaks!" a classmate yelled at them as they passed.

Tabitha stood up and shouted right back, "And damn proud of it!"

As much as she appreciated Tab's attempt at defending them, Amara wasn't in the mood for more attention. She stood to pull Tabitha back into a seat and into conversation, hopefully away from that of freaks and such. She only wished what the freak line was referring too.

And then a pair of girls who were in Amara's grade, who she hated stepped out to ruin any attempt for the two of them to blend back into the background.

"Knew you were a mutant Aquilla," Stephanie sneered, "didn't know you were a queer too."

The hit was too close to home and she didn't know how to counter it. "I…"

Stephanie's eyes strayed to Tabitha next. She ran her gaze over her once, still sneering. "No one's shocked about you Smith, you have dyke written all over you."

Tab instantly stepped toe to toe with Stephanie. "Hey, who the hell gave you the right to talk to us like that?"

"You two were clearly asking for it dancing out there like that," Ashley returned nastily. "Don't you dare deny that you two have the hots for one another."

Instantly Tabitha's chin raised, challenge issued and accepted without question. "I won't. Come here baby."

Suddenly Amara felt Tabitha pull her close and she felt her breath leave her body. She tried to wrap her mind around what was happening but it seemed like one of those odd dreams she found herself having.

Before she knew it her lips were crushed to her friend's. And it felt good and right and wrong all at once. She found herself returning the kiss half out of instinct before she could think about what she was doing or the consequences. Somehow her arms lifted to Tab's shoulders and Amara held on for dear life.

And then the spell that was woven was broken when she could hear the shocked voices of others. She pushed away from Tabitha as the tears began to fall down her face and she ran.

The last thing she heard was Tabitha calling after her, "Damn it. Amara!"

Amara burst through the bathroom door like she was running from a fleet of sentinels. Luckily the bathroom was empty and she didn't have to worry about the prying eyes of the other nosy, snotty girls that happened to populate Bayville.

Amara sat on top of a toilet seat in the bathroom stall crying her eyes out as she felt her world falling to pieces at her feet. Everyone knew now, not just suspected it like Stephanie and Ashley had, not just chalked up to Tabby's crazy personality and her foreign background, not just because they were freaks by nature, but because she liked it.

She was alone now, she had seen the looks the other girls who had been gabbing by the mirror had given her as she had raced in there. They had left shortly after she had locked herself in the stall. Probably out to find out what had sent her in the bathroom in tears. By tomorrow morning the entire school would know.

The chain reaction of a phone call to Professor Xaiver, coupled with the gossip in the mansion, then a phone call home to her parents. And then her life really would be over.

"Amara? Is that you?"

She didn't respond, but she instead worked on calling back her tears. If she was going to face Tabitha again tonight she wasn't going to do it while she was crying.

She could hear Tabby lean against the stall hard and her friend's own upset got to her too. "God Mara, I'm sorry. I was pissed and I took it too far. I shouldn't have kissed you in front of everyone to prove a point, that I don't care. Just because I don't give a damn doesn't mean you don't too. I mean, who do I have to answer to but me, but you... I screwed up okay?"

Amara gave no response. Of course it was just Tabitha, caught up in a moment, not thinking. She had known that when it happened, but hearing her say so. It hurt, but she knew she couldn't hide from the truth anymore. Tab had forced her hand and she should have hated her friend, but she couldn't manage that.

"Amara?" Tabitha's voice echoed to her again. She sounded a bit more frantic this time. "Come on girl, talk to me."

"Maybe I liked it," Amara said finally, soft enough that she could barely be heard.

There, she'd said it aloud.

"What?"

Amara took a deep breath and opened the door to the stall she had sequestered herself in. She found herself face to face with Tabby. "I said, maybe I liked it."

She sat back down on the toilet seat, not catching the look of surprised happiness that crossed Tabitha's face. "You did?"

Amara didn't look up, she continued playing with her nails. "That was what I was trying to tell you the other day. Look, think of me as a freak, I'm kinda getting used to it, just don't stop being my friend." She looked up near tears again. "I don't think I could handle that."

She tried to figure out what Tabitha was going to say next, as she had adopted a stern but soft look. Tabby crouched down at Amara's feet. "First, who said I would stop being your friend? And secondly, who said I didn't like it?"

Amara felt her own eyes widen. Was there actually a glimmer of hope in all of this for her? Could there be? "I thought…"

Tab actually let out a laugh and it echoed around the empty bathroom. "I thought you didn't like it." Hope continued to well in Amara as Tab nudged her knees. "Speak up next time 'Mara girl."

Tabitha grinned at Amara stood. She quickly pulled Amara to her feet and into her arms. "Where would you be without me?" she asked, half teasing, half serious, before laying a quick kiss on Amara's lips.

Emotions swirled in Amara and she let herself lay her head on Tabby's shoulder. She found herself holding on for dear life, and for comfort. "I don't know."

As nice as it felt to be held by Tabitha, it was still strange. It wasn't supposed to feel this nice to be held by a girl, or at least not nice in this way. Amara felt Tabitha's warm lips come in contact with her neck and she jumped back in shock and out of Tabitha's arms.

Instantly she wanted to apologize. How could this all be so easy for Tabs, and why couldn't it be easier for her? The last thing she wanted to do was make Tabitha think she didn't want her, to make this stop. But she didn't know how to go forwards either.

Amara looked up at Tabitha, trying to figure out what to say to get her point across, to find her friend sending her a lopsided grin. Tabs just snaked her hand out and grabbed hers with it, giving it a strong squeeze. "Come on, lets go rock this house down and show them how to par-tay!"

Amara nodded as a group of other girls gossiping loudly about a couple being caught half naked behind the bushes bustled in. Tabitha squeezed her hand again and dragged her back towards the dance floor.