Thoughts of Love

Author: Cyclone <cyclone[at]>

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG-13 for naughty thoughts.

Spoilers: Nothing specific from the show, really, except the Mayor's Ascension plans. Spoilers for Dancing Around Love parts eight and nine, though.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: In a devastated world without Angel, Tara considers her feelings for a certain couple.

Author's Note: This fanfic is based off the AU briefly visited in parts eight and nine of my other fanfic, Dancing Around Love.

Chapter 1

"Why won't it work?!" That's my little sister, losing her patience once again as she messes up another simple spell.

"Remember what I said about concentration and calm?" I remind her with a reproving look. "I know you want to help, but you won't be able to help much if you can't stay calm enough to cast a spell."

With a sigh and a nod she closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, and tries again.

But it's not long before my mind drifts again.

I love him.

Just a little over two years ago, I never thought I could ever honestly say those words and mean them. Although, I suppose I still can't. My family... let's just say the men in my family aren't very lovable, and I'm glad I got away from them... even if I am stuck in a literal hellhole now.

I don't know how I can love a man when I've never found a man attractive before. It just... it doesn't make sense.

But I guess love isn't supposed to make sense. He's not like most men. He's kind and sensitive and caring, but he's got that inner strength, the same sort of hidden strength that first drew me to his wife. They know how I feel about her, but not how I feel about him.

I love them both, but I can't tell them. It would ruin their relationship, their friendship... their marriage.

Yes, I do love her too. His wife is a wonderful woman, but sometimes, I'm jealous of her, of both of them. The scars on his face... it had taken him weeks to heal from that, and he wouldn't have them if it weren't for me. He saved my life and nearly lost his eyes and even his life because of it.

I can see the tenderness in her touch when she runs her fingers across those same scars, and my heart aches when I do. I want to feel the soft touch of her skin on mine... I want to caress those constant reminders he has of what he did for me... I want to taste her... I want to feel him inside me...

Oh, Goddess, listen to me! I sound like a lovesick schoolgirl. Okay, a lecherous lovesick schoolgirl with a vivid imagination. The mouth of hell is open, and we're all fighting a rearguard action against an army of supernatural horrors that aren't supposed to exist, and here I am, obsessing over the fact that I'm in love with a man. I really should be focusing more on Dawn's magic lesson, but...

I just hope he gets back all right. These raids are getting more and more dangerous each day, and with the eternal night the demon Olvikan -- the town's former mayor, if I understand correctly -- created, vampires are a constant threat now, even when it would normally be daylight. He's always ready to throw himself into the thick of danger when something happens...

And something _is_ going to happen tonight, something bad. I can sense it, and I'm probably not going to survive... but they will. I'll make sure of that. I'll protect them even if it means drawing in enough magic to kill me.

I just hope I have the chance to tell him before I die.


Chapter 2

"Xander!" I pull him into a friendly hug, resisting the urge to grope that gorgeous butt. "You're back," I smile breathlessly.

He smiled, "Yeah, I am. I ran into someone while I was out. Woman named Anya. G-man's giving her the heads-up, so she should be stopping by soon."

I try not to look upset when I pull away and give my sister her chance to hug him. I'm not jealous. I'm not.

Okay, so maybe I am. The guy's married, and he's got me ready and willing to jump his bones in case Willow's not enough, and he goes and meets someone out in _that_ warzone?

I suppose I'm not really being fair, though. Survivors are rare, and finding someone new to town before they get turned or killed is always good news, and new arrivals do tend to be more comfortable with whoever pulled them out of there, but still...

"C'mon, Dawn," I tug her arm back inside when the happy couple start snuggling. I can guess how they're going to celebrate, and I only wish I could join them.


"Battle alert," I say in a hushed whisper as I feel a cold ball of ice form in my gut. The air raid siren's not supposed to go off unless a full-scale assault's under way.

Dawn looks up at me, "We go?"

"Yeah," I say absently as I reach into the nightstand and pull out the small handgun stored there. It's a 9mm Beretta M9, standard Army issue, according to Xander. With the way things are and the abundance of such weapons available, there's practically a gun stored in every room.

I'm not really a very good shot, but I know I can't rely on my magic if it's a full-scale assault on the compound.

I step out and see a Willow holding little Buffy, along with Xander and a woman I don't recognize. I look at the only man I've ever loved and ask, afraid of the answer, "A battle alert?"

He nods, confirming what I fear.

"Well, come on!" The woman -- that's probably Anya -- picks up the shotgun we keep next to the front door of the suite and shoves it at Xander, demanding, "Are you just gonna stand there? Let's _go_!"


It's a warzone out here. The base has been overrun. It looks like Adam must have reprogrammed one of Warren's Terminator robots to open the gates.

Xander just ordered a full evacuation, the only reasonable course of action. With the perimeter breached and the base under siege, we can't hold our position.


"Xander!" I call out to his retreating form. "Where are you going?"

He turns, and I can see it in his eyes. He doesn't expect to live. "Get out of here, all of you. I'm gonna blow up the armory. We can't let Adam get that much firepower."

He's going to sacrifice himself for us. Well, not if I can help it. Shaking my head, I mimic Willow's Resolve Face, "No, I'm going with you."

He hesitates, but he doesn't argue. "All right." Turning to the other woman -- Anya -- he pleads, "An, take care of my wife. Please."


Shotguns are loud, especially at close range. They're very powerful too, but even up close, they're not enough to kill Adam's hybrids.

Certainly not enough to kill Adam's brother. But it's enough to stun him. A grenade later, and we're there. I recognize the three men who had been holding their ground. I'd been tutoring Jonathan in magic, and he's got a lot of potential. I hope he lives long enough to achieve it. I don't know the Wells brothers that well, but aside from Mr. Giles, they're the experts on demons.

Xander's ordering them to get moving while I survey the situation. The armory's got a lot of stuff, and it's a pity we'll have to destroy it, but Xander's right. We can't afford to let Adam get ahold of all this.

But Jonathan's not leaving. He may be small, but he's one of the bravest people I know.


"I'm done," I look up, and Xander signals Jonathan to go first.

I breathe a sigh of relief when I see him go off to safety, but movement catches my eye, and I'm able to protect myself a little from the explosion.

I peer through the clearing air, and my heart leaps to my throat. Riley's standing over Xander, ready to kill him. "Vis zenobia! Solvere!"

The spell flings the hybrid through the wall, and I rush over to Xander's side. "You okay?"

"Yeah," he says absently, but his attention's on the detonator. "Damn. Riley blew up the timer."

"So we stay and detonate it manually."

"No, _I'm_ staying," he says. "_You're_ getting out of here."

"I can't leave you here, Xander," I tell him, shaking my head.

"Go. That's an order."

I can feel my lips curl into a smile. "I'm not a soldier. I'm not leaving."


This is it, my chance to tell him.

"I love you, Xander. And I can't just run and leave you behind to die."

I don't give another chance to argue and pick up the detonator. He wraps his hand around mine. I look into his eyes, eyes I could get lost in forever. He doesn't know what I'm going to do.

But he will soon enough.

"Take care of Willow."


I can't protect both of us. Even the strain of protecting just him will kill me. But I made a promise.

I blink back tears, weave the spell... and press the button.

Goodbye, Xan-...