Spoilers: Seeing Red s6e19
Summary: AU of Seeing Red, set when Xander came to the bathroom, except Tara finds Buffy instead.
Warning: Deals with sexual assault.
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No profit made, no infringement intended.
Author's Note: A big thank you to my fantastic beta mammothluv, and to pylarwoman for introducing me to the fandom and watching all 7 seasons with me :D.

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The sound of the doorknob turning makes Buffy flinch, but she bites down a cry.

"Buffy? Is everything ok? I though I heard-" Tara cuts off when she sees Buffy on the floor, fighting tears.

Tara searches Buffy for signs of injury, her eyes landing on the bruise on her thigh. Buffy shifts her robe to cover it, not meeting Tara's eyes. Tara moves toward Buffy slowly, kneeling beside her. She holds her hand out for Buffy, prepared to wait until Buffy is ready. Buffy finally takes Tara's hand and allows Tara to help her up. She leads Buffy to her bedroom, gently easing her onto the bed, and then sitting beside her.

"I- I know a spell," Tara whispers softly. "It helps healing and recovery, but it shows me what hap-ppened. Would you be ok with that?"

Buffy's eyes slowly come up to meet Tara's, searching and pleading. Tara can see strength and hardness trying to form in Buffy's eyes. While those qualities are vital for the slayer's survival, they can also pull her away from the friends she needs most in a moment like this.

"It would help with flash-flashbacks and nightmares," Tara whispers tenderly, her brow furrowed, "and if any still managed to come, I'd know instantly, no matter where I was, or even if I was sleeping. No one else would have to know then."

"Ok," Buffy whispers, biting her lip and looking away.

"Lay back," Tara whispers, forming the circle on the bed. "Take my hand," she tells Buffy as she lies down beside her.

Both women gasp as the air is knocked out of their lungs. Tara whimpers softly as the event spills over her. Buffy watches it replay from far away, her struggling body under Spike's just a blur. She watches, cold and detached, until she notices Tara in the bathroom, chants humming from her lips, and sparks flying from her fingers. The protection spell forcefully throws Spike from the blurry Buffy's body. The watching Buffy allows herself to move closer, her eyes focusing on the girl lying on the bathroom floor. Her lungs suddenly fill with air, and she has to fight not to choke. As sputtering finally turns into actual breathing, Buffy realizes she's back in her bedroom, and the spell is over. Buffy finds Tara watching her hesitantly, her eyes full of knowledge, sorrow and anger. The tears that disobediently flow down Buffy's checks threaten to turn into sobs, and Buffy leans against Tara, burying her face in Tara's long brown hair.

"I know," Tara whispers, "I know."