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Finding Me Here

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Buffy: I'm never gonna find them here.
Tara-figure: Of course not. That's the reason you came.
-"Restless"

Tara was surprised to see Buffy when she answered the knock at her door. She hadn't realized Buffy even knew where she lived.

"Hey, Buffy."

"Hey, Tara."

"Do you wanna, um, come in?"

"Yeah. Yeah that'd be good."

"Is there anything I can do for you? Do you wanna talk some more or--" They were both sitting on Tara's bed and Buffy leaned over and cut Tara off with a kiss.

Tara jerked away. "Buffy!"

"I know, I know. Million levels of wrongness."

Tara waited.

Buffy looked surprised. "Aren't you gonna yell at me now? Throw me out? Something?"

"You're not done talking."

"What? I don't so much do talking. Slaying, fucking, primal wordless things. I'm good at those. I don't exactly talk things out. Tend to be more secretive really. Side effect of being a Slayer, but really it's a personality flaw. I keep secrets from my friends, run away from them, lie to them, the whole nine yards." She paused.

Tara waited. "You still haven't told me why you came."

"What? The kiss? That didn't tell you?"

"You came all the way over here to kiss me mid-sentence and then let me throw you out?"

"Well, um, not exactly."

"Well what then?"

Buffy took a deep breath. "I couldn't stop thinking about you last night. You're the only person I told about Spike, and you didn't hate me, and god I wanted you to hate me. And last night I kept thinking about being with him, and it started turning into being with you. And god, I use everyone around me. You're going to forgive me now, aren't you?"

"Buffy, I'm not going to sleep with you just because you're hurting. That would kill you just as surely as sleeping with Spike just because you're hurting would. And it would kill me. And it would kill Willow. I love Willow very much, even though I can't be with her. And you're her best friend. If we ever did get together we couldn't keep it a secret. We have to be honest."

"You heard the part about how I'm not good at that, right?"

Tara looked at her sternly.

"Okay, okay, I'll give it a try. Wait, this means you wanna give it a try, this whole dating-me thing. Wait, when did that happen? Have we mentioned the part about how I'm a horrible girlfriend? And I'm kinda new to this whole dating-a-girl thing and -- "

"Buffy, you're an incredibly beautiful, strong, woman. I've always admired you."

"Yeah, well I admire Giles, but that doesn't mean I want to do date him. Although, I hear he's a stevedore in bed." Buffy laughed.

"Would you like to go look for him?" Tara asked kindly.

Buffy eyed her warily. "Are you trying to get rid of me?"

"No, not at all. I just want you to do what makes you happy."

"So long as it doesn't include having illicit relationships which I hide from my friends, right?"

"Well I would argue that such actions don't ultimately make you happy."

Buffy sighed. "I suppose you're right." Quiet for a moment. "What was it like when you were first with Willow and none of us knew?"

Tara took a deep breath. "It was difficult. And it was wonderful. Being with her, that was wonderful. I'd been with women before, but no one that I could do magic with. Most people -- lover or no -- I couldn't even tell about magic. And here was Willow, and we could do things together, teach each other things, learn from each other, and it was just amazing. And even when we weren't doing magic, or talking about it, she was this wonderful intelligent sparkling personality. And I loved just being around her. And I loved that she loved me. I'm a different person, a much stronger person, than I was before I met her.

But it was hard, too. Not meeting her friends. Feeling like we were hiding, like I was hiding like she was hiding me. And I felt so special when she said that she shared everything with you guys but she didn't want to share me. But it also hurt, because I understood that feeling -- I didn't want to share her either, but of course I already was. And even when I met you all, when I started hanging out with you, you all were still her friends. I never really fit.

But at least I could try. So yeah, it was hard hiding, and it was hard not hiding, but ultimately the not hiding was better. And it meant I got to know Willow better. I mean, not just that I got to spend more time with her -- though that was good, too -- but also that I got to know who she was around you guys. I understood her better understanding her world, and it made me love her more."

They were quiet for a time. "And now here I am, stealing my best friend's ex," Buffy said.

Tara looked at her seriously. "Buffy, I'm not an object to be stolen, or to be owned. You know that."

"Oh of course I know that. It's just a figure of speech. But yeah, I know what you mean, not an object." She looked at Tara. "I'm not really anything like Willow. I mean, I can't do any magic. I don't even really know anything about magic."

"I'm not going to love you like I loved Willow. Just like I didn't love Willow like I had loved anyone else before. But I will -- I do, love you like you."