Title: House of Cards
Author: Janine
Fandom: True Blood
Pairing: Tara/Naomi
Rating: PG-13
Word: 1,022
Disclaimer: I don't own them.

Tears stream down her face. She wants to stop them, but she can't. Naomi's nimble fingers and her clever tongue have uncorked some deep store of emotion inside of Tara and there is no containing the emotional release that follows her physical one.

Naomi's lips are on her skin, pressing gently against the inside of a dark thigh, and then her lips are brushing against Tara's hipbone before moving to touch the quivering muscles of her stomach and finally trailing up between full, heaving breasts until their mouths are pressing together. Delicately muscled arms curl around Tara then, and Naomi's lips move to her cheek, gently kissing away the tears streaming from Tara's eyes, and Tara rolls into her body, burrowing into the warmth and comfort of Naomi's embrace.

"Baby?" Naomi whispers softly, pressing her lips against Tara's forehead as Tara clings to her like a buoy in a violent sea.

Naomi's voice is tender and concerned and Tara wants to laugh away her tears. She wants to tell Naomi that it's fine, that she's fine and make a joke about Naomi being a grandmaster of the ancient Chinese art of cun-fu. But Tara's not alright, she hasn't been alright for most of her life, and for once there's someone holding her, there's someone taking care of her and loving her and if only for a moment she doesn't want to have to pretend to be strong. She just wants to be held, because she's never had this feeling of safety before, she's never had this simple intimacy before, and she wants to revel in it while she can. Because as much as being with Naomi has helped her heal, she still can't quite believe that good things last, not for her.

Eventually the tears begin to lessen and reluctantly Tara emerges from the emotional bombardment that had followed her orgasm. She realizes how tightly she's holding onto Naomi, and that Naomi's chest is damp with her tears, and her hand automatically lifts to wipe away the salty slickness.

"I got you all wet," Tara murmurs, voice quivering uncertainly as a small, nervous smile forms on her.

A part of her still sees emotion as weakness and she can't help but worry that Naomi will see it that way too, that Naomi will think less of her because of her tears.

"No surprise there," Naomi breathes out, lifting her hand to capture Tara's, stopping her motions so that she can draw Tara's hand up to her mouth to place a gentle on the back of it, "Being near you always does that."

The words draw a real smile from Tara and at the sight of it Naomi smiles too and then dips her head to meet Tara's lips in a kiss so sweet that it threatens to let loose a new wave of tears from Tara's eyes.

"I'm sorry..." Tara begins when the kiss breaks and Naomi pulls back slightly.

"Do you feel better?" Naomi asks, interrupting Tara's completely unnecessary apology, her thumbs stroking across Tara's cheeks gently, wiping away the remnants of her tears.

Tara's eyes track to the side in thought as she mulls over Naomi's question. She feels shaky and a little faint, but there's lightness in her heart and a feeling of peace rolling through her that she can't remember ever really feeling before. Her mind is sluggish and her limbs heavy. Her heart is beating slowly once more, in time with Naomi's she notes, and she wants nothing but to stay right where she is. For once in her miserable life there's no itching inside of her to move, there's no squirrely impulse to run or hide. She's warm and safe and loved and ... content.

"I do," Tara mumbles softly, a touch of amazement in her voice as she looks up at Naomi with wide, vulnerable eyes, both scared and excited to feel so good.

"Then there's nothing to apologize for," Naomi breathes out, stroking Tara's cheek once more before dipping her head down to bring their lips together.

"You're so good to me," Tara says, blinking rapidly to stop herself from crying again before she angles her head down and presses her lips over Naomi's heart.

"Baby," Naomi whispers fiercely, seeing the thousand hurts inside of her girlfriend though Toni's never actually talked about what caused the sadness that so often lurks in her eyes, "Toni," she says looking directly into Tara's eyes. "You deserve it. Everyone deserves it, and fuck anyone who's made you think you don't."

Tara closes her eyes and flexes her arms around Naomi, holding her tightly once again, as if Naomi's body could shield her from the lies she's told, because she knows she doesn't deserve it. She's making progress, but she's still ten different kinds of fucked up, and the complex web of lies she's been telling to the angel in her arms is testament to that. Naomi is so good, and so kind, and deserves far better than her lying, traumatized ass, but she can't let go of her.

Despite herself, she's come to love this woman in her arms, but their relationship is a house of cards, and Tara knows that one day the lies she's told will catch up with her and everything she's built up will collapse around her, like everything else in her rotten life.

However, with Naomi's big brown eyes staring down at her, Tara can't help but believe for a moment that it's true and she does deserve love. She basks in the light of Naomi's faith in her, in her love for her, and when Naomi looks away to reach for the sheet tangled at their feet, Tara prays. She prays for something good in her life to last, and though it's probably madness, she prays that when the cards collapse and she falls from grace, that Naomi will still be willing to catch her.

The End