Disclaimers: Joss owns them. I just get to play for a few minutes.

Spoilers: None. Set in my own special S5.

A/N: I'm normally asleep long before the ball drops. I blame any undetected typos or mistakes on exhaustion and the fact this is the first time I've seen my muse in weeks.

Buffy carefully opened the door and crept inside. Stupid vamps. They'd waited until tonight, of all nights, to run amok in Restfield. Not last week, when she'd been so bored she'd sat on the Aaronson mausoleum and sang her favorite Christmas carols. No. Tonight, when she'd promised Tara she'd be home in time for the big moment.

The house was quiet except for a low murmur of voices from the living room. After storing her remaining stakes in the weapons' box in the closet, Buffy headed that way.

Crap. She'd completely missed it.

Fireworks lit up the television screen, and Dick Clark smiled inanely in the foreground. To top it off, Xander snored on the couch with Anya sprawled (also sleeping) across his chest. There was no sign of Tara.

Lamenting life as the Slayer, Buffy made her way upstairs. Might as well get a good night's sleep before crawling to campus to apologize to Tara. Walmart would be open. She could stop on the way for some flowers. There wouldn't be anything decent left, but it was the thought that counted, right? She practiced what she'd say.

"Sorry I missed you last night. It was busy…" True, but so very lame. "Tara, I really wanted to be there last night, but… You know what Giles always says about duty." Ugh. That was worse. She was screwed. Tara was never going to forgive her.

"Buffy, are you hurt?" Tara asked.

She was so intent on finding the right apology that Buffy thought Tara was speaking in her mind. When she realized Real Tara was sitting cross-legged on her bed, Buffy had to muffle a very unSlayer like shriek.

"Sweetie?" Tara asked again. "Are you hurt? What's wrong?"

Wonderful. This was either going to go well – and Buffy could salvage the night – or she wouldn't have to wait until tomorrow to watch Tara walk out of her life. "I missed New Year's. I'm sorry, Tar," Buffy said remorsefully. "I even left for patrol early, but it was like the vamps were having their own party in Restfield. All they needed was the demon version of Dick Clark and some fireworks."

Tara's giggle eased some of Buffy's tension. She loved that sound, and Tara's trademark half-smile.

"I really am sorry," Buffy said again.

In response, Tara climbed off the bed and pulled Buffy into a hug. "Sweetie, how long have I been part of the gang? Hmm? Did you think I'd be mad because you were doing your job? If you remember, I offered to patrol with you. I knew you probably wouldn't be home in time to watch the ball drop."

Oops. Buffy had forgotten about that. She cleared her throat and shuffled her feet.

"Silly Slayer." Tara tapped Buffy's cheek with a single finger. "Go take a shower, sweetie. I have a surprise for when you come back." She stepped away and waited resolutely until Buffy backed out of the bedroom.

She hurried down the hall and took the fastest shower in history. Luxuriating under the hot water was nice but not as nice as cuddling with Tara. Especially when Buffy had believed the night a disaster. Within fifteen minutes, she trotted back down the hallway with her body in one towel and her hair in another. "I'm back," she announced.

"So I see." Tara grinned and winked. "Did you at least take time to wash behind your ears?"

"Ha. Very ha." Unable to resist the teasing, Buffy laughed. "Just so you know, Aunt Tara, my ears are clean. All vamp dust was scrubbed off and sent down the drain." With a happy sigh, she tossed both towels over the back of the desk chair then hopped into bed next to Tara. "What's my surprise?"

Warm hands traced over her shoulders and massaged her arms.

A massage. Awesome. If Tara's strong fingers didn't turn her into a puddle of Buffy Goo, maybe they'd do a little celebrating of their own.

"Get comfortable, Buffy." Tara slipped off the bed and waited while Buffy rearranged herself face down in the middle of the mattress. She returned and straddled Buffy's thighs. Warm oil drizzled down the middle of Buffy's back. "You know, New Year's is overrated," Tara murmured. "Party hats. Alcohol. Drunk drivers."

Very true. "You forgot the kissing, Tar." Buffy didn't want Tara to forget the most important part. "There's counting down, kissing, and fireworks." Her words cut off on a moan of appreciation as Tara pressed on a particularly tight spot.

"Kissing is better than booze," Tara allowed. The massage continued, and Buffy drifted – until Tara's hands were replaced with her lips. They skimmed Buffy's back, drifting lower and lower before Tara placed a smacking kiss on Buffy's right butt cheek. "How you doing up there, sweetie?"

Buffy rolled over, holding Tara's hips to keep her in place. "I don't know, Tar. You only worked on one side. My chest muscles seem to be really tight, too."

Tara's smile flashed for a second. "Hmmm. So you need me to massage them, too?"

"I don't want you to hurt your hands," Buffy told her solemnly. "I have Advil in the nightstand. I'm sure that will take care of it."

"It might. Won't it take a while to kick in, though?" Tara reached for the bottle of massage oil sitting on a candle warming plate. "If you're sore now, I don't want you to have to wait to feel better." Oil drizzled over Buffy's breasts. Tara quickly sat the bottle back on the plate and ran her hands through the slippery, warm oil.

Buffy didn't know about "better". She was certainly feeling. Her hips moved restlessly. Their positions meant each rise and fall of her body pressed her pubes into Tara's. Her eyes slid to half-mast.

From her neck to her nipples. "Ah!" Buffy bucked as Tara squeezed her nipples. Rolled the hard peaks between her fingers. "Tara…"

"Buffy," Tara teased back. She slid back toward Buffy's knees so her hands could drift lower. Ribs, stomach.

The room was silent except the soft sounds of Tara's hands gliding over Buffy's skin and Buffy's increasingly labored breathing.

One finger dipped into Buffy's navel. Swirled. Disappeared.

Tara's weight shifted. A click sounded a second before voices exploded into the room. "…New York, seconds before 2002 begins." Her hands came back and stroked through Buffy's pubic hair. "You can hear the countdown," a man stated.

Faintly, Buffy heard a crowd scream "Ten!"

One finger brushed her clit. "Did you know that there is this great invention called a VCR, Buffy?" Tara inquired.


"We can tape and then watch shows that we might miss because of patrol." The finger moved and traced Buffy's labia, slipped into her pussy. A second joined the first. Tara's thumb flicked Buffy's clit.

The voices on the television were just so much white noise. Buffy's attention was entirely on Tara and those long, slender, talented fingers. In, out, in. The thumb over her clit circled the bundle of nerves yet avoided touching the top. Buffy's muscles tightened until she quivered.

So close. She was so close.

"Almost there, sweetie." Tara must be reading her mind. Her movements grew more deliberate. "Three." The fingers plunging into Buffy dove deep. "Two." Tara's thumb pushed the hood away from Buffy's clit and then settled right on top of the sensitive head.

Buffy's hands closed desperately around the bedclothes. Her body was rigid, poised right on the edge.

"One." Tara's fingers curled inside Buffy and brushed over a spot just inside her pussy – and Buffy exploded. She shuddered beneath Tara as those tormenting fingers continued to stroke and play.

When she finally dropped back onto the mattress, Tara leaned down and kissed her softly. "Happy New Year, sweetie. I love you."

Fireworks popped from the television and their bright lights colored the room in crazy patterns. "I love you, too, Tar."