Rating/Warnings:PG13 for mild sexual reference
Timeline/Spoilers:Set during BtVS S6 'Older & Far Away'
Disclaimer:Not mine. We all know that.
"Okay," said Tara. "Let me make sure I understand this. You're saying the apocalypse is coming, and the only way to save the world is to have sex."
Anya refilled both their glasses. "Yes. And it has to be new sex. Existing partners don't count."
Tara sighed. "Can't we just have another game of Monopoly?"
"No. We've played that six times already, and even I'm sick of making money. Watching Xander declare bankruptcy so many times has become kind of disturbing. It's definitely time for games about sex, now."
"Why do I have to go first?"
"Because you owe me 3.2million Monopoly dollars."
"And I can't pick Willow?"
"No. It has to be a new partner. Otherwise it's no fun. I already know you want to have sex with Willow. That's no surprise."
"Okay then. Um, I guess I'd pick Gillian Anderson."
"The woman from The X Files?"
Tara shrugged. "I like redheads. It's a thing."
Anya shook her head. "No, that's not going to work."
"Think about it. Even if you managed to find out where she lives - or is filming, whatever - and got there before the apocalypse happened, what are the chances that you'll get to have sex with her? You can't just walk up to people and say 'I want to sleep with you.' Especially not famous people. It doesn't often work, believe me I know. But you haven't got time to wait for her to fall in love with you, and if you tell her the truth she's going to think you're crazy and have you locked up."
Tara nodded. "Right. You take your games quite seriously, don't you?"
Anya looked surprised. "Well, yes, of course. How else am I going to win all the time?"
"Okay. So it has to be someone I know, then. Someone I have a reasonable chance of actually having sex with. Quickly."
"Okay then, I pick - " Tara looked round the room. "If I really can't have Willow - "
"Then I pick - Spike."
"What? Spike? You can't pick Spike."
"Why? You don't think he'd have sex with me either?"
"No. I mean, yes. It's obvious he'd have sex with you. But he's a - well, a he."
"Tara. You're gay."
"I was last in a gay relationship, to be perfectly exact. And anyway, does being gay mean you can't be curious?"
"Curious? About men, or just about Spike?"
"Spike, mainly. I mean, I've had men before, but not -"
Anya put down her drink and leaned forward. "You've had sex with men? When? Does Willow know?"
"Yeah, she knows. Well, mostly. When my mom died, I - well, I kind of went off the rails for a while."
"And you had sex with men."
"Yeah. My mom was everything I'd been brought up to believe a woman was supposed to be - sweet, kind, gentle, patient. Virtuous. She was wonderful and everyone loved her. And she still died. So I figured, what the hell. Might as well try the not-so-virtuous path, see how that turned out."
"And how did it?"
"Not that good. I'm not really much of a party animal. You might have noticed."
Anya tipped the wine bottle over Tara's glass, and then realised that nothing was coming out. She looked around, and snagged another from where it had rolled under the table. She uncorked it and poured them two new glasses.
"Nonsense," she said. "Drink up. So, was that when you discovered that you preferred women?"
Tara took the offered glass and took a long swallow. "Yeah, I slept with a lot of - of - partners in those days. But it was usually the girls I felt most at home with. So I just tended to stick with it."
"I can't believe you had all this male sex and I didn't know. Does this mean I have to start worrying about leaving you alone with Xander, now?"
"No! Good heavens, no."
Anya eyed her. "And why not? If you like men then you should like Xander. He's attractive and very good in bed. Why don't you want to have sex with him?"
"Anya, don't be insulted. It's not that I think he's unattractive, I don't, I just - I don't think of him that way."
"But you do Spike?"
Tara swallowed another mouthful of wine. Funny thing, with cheap wine; the more you had, the better it tasted. Just like magic. She giggled. "Well, not all the time, just - sometimes, I guess."
She'd found herself watching him, lately. Ever since Buffy's confession: the things I let him do to me. So she'd watched him, and she'd wondered exactly what those things were.
Anya nodded, her eyes taking on a faraway expression. "Well, he does have a very good body. And I suppose the vampire thing could be a plus point for someone who had -" She paused. "Experimental tendencies. I have to say, Tara, I'm very impressed with your open-mindedness. Most people are very uptight about sex, they don't want to try different things. There was this one time I asked Xander if he'd be interested in -"
Anya's voice faded out as, from across the room, Tara saw Spike break off from an earnest-looking conversation with Clem and slowly turn his head to look at her. Her caught her eye and smiled; a slow, deliberate smile from under half-lowered lashes. Her stomach lurched, sending hot contracting waves low down in her body at the same time as her heart seemingly forgot how to pump. Her lungs also decided to come out in sympathy, and the air whistled uselessly in her throat as two words made their slow, ponderous way into her coagulating brain: vampire hearing.
"Tara? Are you okay? Where are you going?"
"I'm fine, Anya. I just need - I'll be right back."
"Are you going to masturbate? Did thinking about Spike make you -"
"What? God, Anya, no. I'm just going to get some water. I think I drank too much wine."
"Okay. If you say so."
"I do. I do."
She got up, a little unsteadily, and began to move. Of course, the flaw in the getting-water plan was that it involved taking her through the lounge door into the kitchen. Through the same lounge door that Spike and Clem were standing by.
She took a deep breath, and carried on walking. Maybe he hadn't heard anything anyway. He'd been talking to Clem, and there was plenty of other noise going on in the room; Dawn's boyband CD on the stereo, Buffy and Willow and Xander shrieking with laughter over some old high school story. And he would have had no reason to be aware of her conversation with Anya. No reason to be aware of her at all.
Maybe she'd just imagined the look in his eyes - that glint of knowing that she'd read in his smile. Maybe she'd just walk past him without notice, just like always.
She reached the doorway and he casually stepped sideways, blocking her path.
"Hey," he said, and oh God how was it possible to get so much heat and dirty promise into just one word?"
"Sp-Spike," she said, keeping her head down.
"So, you need any help with - whatever it is you're off to do, pet?"
Why hadn't she ever learned a spell to stop herself blushing? Her skin was on fire.
She mumbled something that she sincerely hoped came out sounding at least a bit like no, and tried to walk around him. Immediately, his arm shot out and leant against the door frame. She looked up then, straight into his grin.
"Sure you're okay there? You look a little - hot."
And now her skin wasn't just on fire, it was sending up distress flares. She took a deep breath, which just served to make her feel even dizzier, and tried to look normal. If she had any idea what that was, around Spike.
She shook herself. She could deal with this. She'd taken on demons, werewolves and fittings for Anya's bridesmaids dress, and come out alive. She could face down one horny vampire.
Before her nerve failed her and decided to spend its time examining exactly why she'd chosen the word horny, she stood up straight and looked him in the eye.
"Are you going to move your arm, or am I going to move it for you?"
"Ooh, feisty," said Clem. He sounded approving.
Spike smirked. "What can I tell you? It's always the quiet ones that are the worst."
"That's right," she said, realising too late that he probably hadn't been referring to her magical prowess.
He let the smirk linger as long as the slow, blatant up-and-down look her gave her, but at the end of it he lowered his arm.
"Thank you," she said, aiming for Buffy-level irritation but horribly afraid that she just sounded grateful.
"Anything for you, pet," he said as she skittered past, and what was it about his voice that had the sudden ability to turn her internal organs to lava?
It's his sex voice, said her inner Anya. He's never used that on you before. Never looked at you like that before, either. Like he wanted to possess you. Like you were the single sexiest damn thing he's ever seen. No-one's ever looked at you quite like that before. Not even Willow.
She fumbled a glass out of the kitchen cupboard and ran it under the tap. When it was full she held to her face, letting the beads of condensation break on her fevered skin.
I am in control, she told herself. I am not losing my grip, I am not lusting after Spike. I like girls.
You like anything, came back that inner voice. Remember Joseph Randall? You knew he was half Rayfnor demon, you were curious about the extra -
"Shut up," she said aloud.
"Whatever you say, pet. Got to say, I do prefer to get straight down to the action myself."
She spun round, her back against the sink. Spike moved toward her, all loose hips and coiled power, and the only word that could do it justice was prowl. She was caught in his eyes, as immobile as a mouse in the paws of a hunting cat.
"Spike," she said. "What - what are you doing?"
So close, so terribly, terribly close. She could smell the bourbon fumes clinging to the leather of his coat. Suddenly she wanted nothing more in all the world than to touch that coat. To roll around on it. Naked.
"What do you want me to be doing?" he said. "This?" His hands went around her waist, pulling her against him.
"Spike," she said again, trying not to be aware of how good his name seemed in her mouth. Wondering what else of his might be good in her mouth. "You're drunk," she said.
"So are you."
"Yeah. Yeah, well, that's what I mean. We - we're not thinking right."
He took one hand from her waist and began to run it through her hair. "Oh, I don't know. I think this feels pretty right, doesn't it?"
And her mind betrayed her, running again all those images of him and Buffy instead of sending instructions to her feet to get her moving, get her away from him. Pictures of him and Buffy together, naked, both so beautiful and feral, a tangle of limbs and tongues and desire.
"So," he said, a millimetre from her ear, "That's why you were so interested in the, uh, cramp in my pants, huh? Never would have guessed."
His tongue flicked out and ran along the line of her jaw. Tasting me, she thought, and she had no choice but to put her hands on his body just to stop herself from falling in a heap at his feet.
"It's a real persistent old cramp," he said. "Can't seem to get rid of it no matter what I try. Think you could help me out?"
He reached down, pulled one of her hands away from his chest and placed it firmly on the bulge in his jeans. Even as she froze, part of her mind was reacting with a kind of incredulous pride. I did that, it said.
She tried to speak, but it just came out as a sort of strangled whimper. She swallowed hard and tried again.
"Spike, it was - what I said to Anya, it was just a game. Make believe."
"Sure it was, pet." His brought his mouth back to her ear, and nibbled gently at the plump skin of her earlobe. And now it was her voice betraying her, because instead of telling him to stop it was moaning softly.
He pushed himself against her hand, which she noticed had also failed to do what it was supposed to do and move. Was any part of her body on her side tonight?
"I love games," he said, his lips cool as they brushed against hers. "If you decide you want to play, you know where to find me."
And then he was gone, leaving her breathless and trembling and with a heavy, raw ache between her legs. She turned back round to the sink, running the cold water over her hands and lightly splashing her face. Then she smoothed back her hair and walked out of the kitchen.
She hesitated in the doorway, but apparently her legs were joining the rest of her in the mutiny, because they were taking her up the stairs instead of back into the living room to join Anya.
Well. She'd come to this party with a hope in her heart, hadn't she? The hope of desire fulfilled. That was why she'd come, why she'd hit the wine so hard; hoping to give herself the courage go act on that desire.
She'd just thought it would be Willow that she ended up following into a bedroom.