I don't own any of it, Joss does.
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where the bulk of my fic is located.
Tara was sitting with Willow and Amy at the Espresso Pump, waiting for her girlfriend to arrive. She had been chatting with Willow for several minutes now. She was so glad that they were friends again after the drama and angst of the forget-spell incident.
They had both decided that it would be best if they didn't try to get back together after that. Rather, they just worked at rebuilding their friendship without any romantic pressure.
It hadn't been a giant leap to see Willow hooking up with Amy, once she'd freed the witch from her self imposed transmogrification.
What had surprised them both, probably Tara even more than Willow, was that Buffy had sought out a relationship with the blond witch. Tara was back in to the Summers home, living with her girlfriend, the only difference was that this time her bedmate was the other blond in the house, not the redhead. She and Buffy and Willow were remarkably unwigged about the strange situation. The same could not be said for the younger Summers sister, who continued to do a double-take every time the three were together and Tara was in Buffy's arms instead of Willow's.
At that moment Buffy walked in, chatting with a tall, muscular man. She laughed at something he said, and put her hand on his bicep, looking up into his eyes as she continued to giggle at something he was saying.
Amy was the first to notice that Buffy had arrived. Her eyes widened as she saw the guy she was talking with. She subtly nudged her girlfriend under the table and tilted her head to draw her attention to the Slayer.
Tara broke off what she was saying as she noticed Willow's eyes widen suddenly and her jaw drop in apparent surprise. She turned to where the redhead was looking and saw her own girlfriend… flirting with some jock.
A tumultuous cocktail of emotion was suddenly dumped into her gut as fear, sorrow, anger, embarrassment and jealousy stirred together.
Willow noticed her ex's skin flush dark red and she tried to think of something to say. She got as far as, "Tara…" when the mortified girl stood up and cried, "I can't… I have to go," and rushed out of the restaurant with a sob.
Buffy finally walked up to the table with the remaining two witches and dropped into one of the seats, saying, "I thought Tara was going to meet us here!"
Amy's eyes bugged out at the clueless Slayer and Willow choked out, "You uh… um, you just missed her."
"She left?" Buffy asked. "How come?"
Amy couldn't believe the Slayer could be so clueless. "Oh, maybe because she saw you flirting with that guy just now?" she said in a 'duh!' voice.
Buffy was surprised, "Flirting? No! That was just Chad. He's this guy in my human interaction class. He was coming this way after class too, and we walked together. No flirting was occurring!"
Willow wasn't as blunt as her girlfriend, but even she was amazed. "Uh, Buffy? Hand on arm, giggling, hugging? It uh… looked pretty, uh…"
Buffy took a moment to mentally review her conversation with Chad just now.
Both witches could see the dawning realization as Buffy's face fell and her eyes filled with fear. "Oh God! You guys! I… I… it wasn't…"
Willow just said, "Don't tell us… You'd better go explain it to Tara!"
"Oh God!" Buffy exclaimed. She was up and gone in the blink of an eye.
Tara was trying to calm herself as she sat on the bed in their shared bedroom. She thought she knew why Buffy was behaving this way, but it didn't make it any less painful. The Slayer had intimacy issues, to be sure, but mostly she had a fear of abandonment. What was worse; she was so afraid of being abandoned, that she often ended up pushing those closest to her away. She would close herself off emotionally and then lament the wedge that seemed to magically appear, driving her and her loved ones apart. And, in this case, hurting her girlfriend deeply in the process.
This made the third time Tara had caught Buffy flirting with a guy since they became serious. The first time, Buffy had just blown it off. The second, Tara had calmly and rationally explained why Buffy's behavior hurt her. Buffy had said that she understood, but that she hadn't intended to be flirtatious, just friendly. Tara had taken Buffy at her word, and was relieved that Buffy understood where she was coming from, and promised to be more aware of her 'friendliness' in the future.
Now it was clear that Buffy had been lying to her.
"Well, I'm not going to let her get away with it!" Tara swore to herself. It had taken months to get over Willow- and that was only after the months she spent denying they were falling apart in the first place. She refused to let this fester between her and Buffy until she was forced to once again leave her lover behind. "Not this time!" she growled, as she stood up to make preparations.
A few minutes, several conjurings and one kick-ass binding spell later, Tara was ready to deal with her girlfriend.
Just then, there was a knock at the bedroom door and Tara frowned; she hadn't heard the front door open, and why would Buffy knock anyway?
"Oh no!" Tara thought. "I forgot about Dawnie completely!" She got up and walked to the door and opened it.
"I wondered if you were ok," Dawn said, her voice full of concern.
Thinking fast, Tara said, "Dawn, I need to ask a favor."
"Of course!" Dawn said. "What can I do?"
Knowing that Dawn didn't handle being lied to very well, and the girl always seemed to know when she was being kept out of the loop, Tara said, "Dawnie, your sister and I…"
Dawn instantly panicked, "You aren't leaving again are you? Please don't go! I know Buffy's an insensitive idiot, but you guys can work it out…"
"Dawn… Dawn… Dawn!" Tara finally shouted to interrupt the girl's worried babble. "Relax sweetie. I'm not going anywhere. In fact, that's why I need a favor."
"Oh!" Dawn said, clearly relieved. "What do you need?"
"Well, you guessed right, partly. Buffy did something, and when she gets home, we're going to deal with it. There'll probably be some yelling and screaming before we get it worked out…"
"But you're gonna work it out, right?" Dawn asked, seeking reassurance that Tara wasn't going to leave again. She loved the girl like a sister, or even a mother sometimes. It killed her when she left the last time, and she didn't want to see it happen again.
"Yes sweetie. I promise you I'm not leaving, and I'm not going to let Buffy run away from this either."
"Oh. Good. So lemme guess, you need me to be somewhere else for the whole yelling and screaming part, right?" Dawn asked.
Tara smiled at the girl's perceptiveness. Before she could say another word, Dawn spoke again.
"Don't even worry about it. I can spend the night at Janice's place. Ok?"
Tara hugged the younger Summers. "Thank you Dawnie. I really appreciate it."
Dawn packed an overnight bag and called her friend to make sure it was ok with her, which, of course, it was. She went out the front door just as Buffy turned to approach the house from the sidewalk.
"Where are you going Dawn?" Buffy asked.
Dawn shot her sister a withering glare and said, "I'm going to Janice's." Then she immediately launched into, "I don't know what you did or said to Tara, but you better go in there and make it right! If she leaves again because you hurt her… I'll never forgive you."
Buffy just stood there with her jaw hanging as she watched her sister stalk off. She turned to the house and slowly walked to the door. She felt a sense of dread as she got closer and closer- the same feeling she'd had as a young child when she went home knowing she was in trouble with her dad and mom for something or other.
Tara heard the door open and close, then a tentative voice called out her name.
"Upstairs," she called out flatly. Internally, she had to brace herself. "I am going to do this, I will ignore her tears," she chanted to herself, feeling butterflies in her stomach, but showing nothing on her face.
She listened while Buffy slowly made her way up the stairs. She stood facing the door to their room, her arms crossed under her breasts, waiting for her recalcitrant lover to work up the courage to enter the room.
Finally the door crept open and Buffy looked in at Tara. The witch noticed that Buffy had her 'please forgive me' face firmly set, puppy dog eyes and all. Well, Tara had fallen for that the last time and she refused to do so again.
"I know you're upset, Tara…" Buffy began.
Tara nodded her head, not saying anything. She wanted to see if Buffy was going to behave any differently this time.
"Tara… Baby, it wasn't what you're thinking. Chad's just a guy in my…"
Tara tuned out the rest of Buffy's explanation. She was disappointed that Buffy would lie to her about this, even though she expected it. It did, however, reaffirm her decision that her plan was the only way to handle it. If the Slayer couldn't get past her own denial, then Tara would have to break down that wall herself.
"Stop it Buffy," Tara said flatly, interrupting her rambling excuses.
Buffy was stunned. "Tara, I…" she began before being interrupted again.
"No! No more, Buffy. We both know you were flirting, whether you admit it or not." She spoke louder to override Buffy's protest. "Buffy! Stop talking!"
Buffy's mouth closed with an audible snap. This was not behavior she expected from her lover.
"I know that you are scared, Buffy. I know that being with a woman is all new and different and it s- scares you a little," Tara said, her voice thick with emotion.
Buffy shook her head, wanting to deny it; but the glare Tara shot her kept her from speaking aloud.
"And, I know you are afraid of me abandoning you- just like Angel did, and just like Riley did," Tara said, continuing more softly now. "I know that's why you try to push me away, even when that's not what you really want to do."
Tara's voice hardened and she said, "But, I can't keep letting you get away with it, Buffy. You are too important to me to let you ruin our relationship because you're scared!"
Buffy's eyes widened at the steel in Tara's voice. "Tara! I…"
Tara ignored Buffy's attempt at interruption. "And, since talking to you about it isn't working…" Tara spoke the word that put in motion the binding spell she had cast earlier.
Buffy screamed in fear as she felt herself lifted up in the air. Suddenly her clothes were torn from her and she was flung onto the bed.
Tara attached the leather cuffs to Buffy's wrists and ankles, ignoring her girlfriend's outraged cries and pleading.
Buffy found herself on her knees, her naked butt sticking up in the air while her face was pushed into the mattress of the bed. Her upper body was resting on her face and shoulders, because her arms were pulled straight back between her legs as her wrist cuffs were chained to the cuffs on her ankles. Her position allowed her no leverage to move, and she felt humiliated, naked and spread open like this against her will.
Tara picked up the leather paddle she had conjured. It was a triple thickness of smooth, black, buffalo hide; stiffened with a steel rod insert. She moved next to Buffy and reached out, turning her head so she was facing sideways, her ear against the comforter on the bed. She took in the look of outrage and laid the paddle next to her on the bed so she could see what was about to happen.
Buffy's outrage and humiliation turned to fear as she saw the black paddle. "Tara, no! You can't do this to me!"
Tara sighed, "I didn't want it to come to this, Buffy. I tried to speak to you like an adult, tried to work this out like two mature individuals, but you won't listen."
Seeing the resolve on her lover's face, Buffy started to weep. "Please! Tara, please don't do this! I didn't…"
"No Buffy. You aren't really sorry if you can't even admit that you were deliberately flirting with those guys. You aren't accepting responsibility for your actions." Tara sighed heavily as she continued, "So, I'm afraid you will have to be punished."
Buffy whined, "No, please No!"
Tara picked up the paddle and moved to the Slayer's backside. She would have much rather been licking and caressing that glorious ass, but this had to be done.
Up until the moment she felt the first strike, Buffy still didn't believe Tara would actually hit her. When the sharp, hot pain erupted where her legs met her ass she screeched in both pain and surprise.
Five strikes and the bottom of the Slayer's ass was flushed bright pink. Tara moved back up to Buffy's face and leaned down to look at her. She hardened herself so that she wouldn't give in to the tears streaming down her girlfriend's face. "Talk to me Buffy," she said- hoping that five would be enough, but fearing that it wasn't.
Buffy whimpered, "Tara, I'm… I didn't mean anything…"
Tara, saddened to find her fears justified, interrupted, "Buffy! I don't want to do this, but if you can't even admit it to yourself, then I have no choice but to continue the punishment."
Buffy cried even harder, "NO! Tara please don't. No! Please?"
Tara again swung the paddle, pushing it as hard as she could.
She paused from the flurry of blows and listened to Buffy's cries, trying to gauge if this was enough.
Buffy was crying hard now. Her ass and upper thighs were hot red and the burning pain was impossible to ignore. "Please Tara!" she cried. "I… I… I'm s- sorry!"
Tara thought that maybe this was it. "Why? Why are you sorry Buffy?" she asked, hoping that Buffy was ready to take responsibility for her behavior.
"I… I'm sorry…" Buffy whined, "I didn't mean to hurt…"
That was all the farther she got. "Dammit Buffy!" Tara raged silently. She again lifted the paddle and swung hard.
When the next blow struck Buffy's already painful backside after the short respite, it felt like a firebrand on her skin- she screamed.
Tara rained nine more blows in quick succession.
"NO MORE TARA! PLEASE!" Buffy screamed. When Tara stopped, Buffy cried out, "I did it on purpose! I'm so sorry Tara! Please, I'm so sorry! I- I was so scared and so I- I tried to p- push you away."
Tara immediately dropped the paddle and released Buffy's cuffs, tossing them to the floor.
Buffy sobbed hard. "I- I'm so sor- or- ryyyy!" she wailed.
Tara stretched herself out on the bed next to Buffy and pulled the weeping girl into her arms, cradling her tightly. "Shh, it's over now, Buffy." She cooed as she held her lover and stroked her hands over the unmarked flesh of her back.
"Please don't l- leave me Tara!" Buffy whispered. "I'm so scared that you will s- stop l- loving me!" She clutched her hands onto the fabric of Tara's shirt as she wept like a child.
Tara let her own tears flow at last as the constricting fear around her heart loosened. If Buffy could admit what was wrong, they could fix it together. "Shh, I'm not going to leave you Buffy. I love you too much to let you drive me away."
Buffy pressed herself against her lover, feeling a sense of security and comfort unlike anything she'd ever felt with either Angel or Riley. Her tears started to subside and with the admission of her fears, she felt like a weight had been lifted from her. "I love you so much, Tara!" she whispered.
Tara kissed Buffy's forehead and hugged her tightly again as a shiver ran through her body; a frisson of fear at the thought of what she would have lost if this hadn't worked. She said, "I love you too, Buffy. And I want us to be together forever, but if you can't be honest with yourself, let alone with me…"
Buffy nodded, vowing, "I will be. From now on, no matter how hard it is, I will be."
Tara smiled again and said, "Good. 'Cause I don't want to have to do this again."
Buffy nodded. After a moment she hesitantly added, "I… I…"
"What, sweetie?" Tara prompted.
Blushing with embarrassment, Buffy admitted, "I… I kinda like this part…"
Tara couldn't help but agree. "Yeah… this part is nice."