DISCLAIMER: Definitely no money being made. All characters belong to Joss Whedon and ME. I own nothing except whatever characters I may make up for this story along with the storyline. I just like to play with them - I promise to put them back after I'm done!!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Please, Please, PLEASE. I live for feedback. I get irritable and upset if I don't get any, and I might not continue writing. Of course, if you don't like the story and think it sucks, you may not want me to continue!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To kinetic-kid[at]earthlink.net

By Kinetic-Kid


"I d-don't think this is a good way or time to introduce m-me to your friends." Tara stutters, trying to slow down her stubborn girlfriend.

"I've let you put off meeting everyone except for my mom, which you didn't really have a choice about, for MONTHS now. Willow figures I'm either seeing someone or just completely crazy. And honestly, I think she's leaning more towards the latter. Now, I'm starting to get a complex that maybe you're ashamed to be seen with me or you're terrified of meeting my friends." Buffy sighs heavily and looks at Tara who's trying to keep from meeting the group spending the holiday out at the beach. Knowing Tara isn't really ashamed of being seen with her, since the Wiccan surprisingly enough was very open and free with her affections when they're out in public, but for some reason Tara was extremely reticent in meeting her closest friends.

"Buffy!" Tara whimpers, searching her lover's eyes, the stubborn look obvious as is the grip on her hand that isn't letting up or going to let her have her way this time. Sighing quietly, Tara drops her gaze and looks down at the small, strong hand grasping hers gently but firmly. "I'm afraid th-they'll be disappointed with your choice, honey. That m-maybe you'll r-realize that you d-deserve s-someone so much better than m-me."

Buffy growls softly, dropping the containers she's carrying in her other hand and steps up against Tara, pulling the blonde into a full-bodied hug. The Wiccan's admittance finally letting her know what the delay was about. Aggravated in one sense about Tara not offering up the reason easily but in another way understanding where the still somewhat shy, backwards woman is coming from. The mind-fuck her father and brother had done on her all her life still rearing its ugly head more often than not that Tara doesn't believe she's deserving of being loved or cared for. Unfortunately Tara's mom having been sick the majority of her growing up and not able to run interference as often as she probably wanted to. Tara having admitted that her mom tried to help her out with her confidence and self-esteem along with what she could teach her of witchcraft, but the woman not well enough to do a lot and oftentimes concentrated on teaching Tara the right way to do magic. "I love you, Tara. My friends are going to know pretty damn quick that you're a wonderful, beautiful, caring woman and they'll probably yell at me for keeping you hidden all this time. I want you to get it out of your head that you don't deserve me, because from where I'm standing… I don't deserve you." Buffy whispers the last four words softly, staring into warm blue eyes and putting her heart into the words.

Tara's lips quiver at the beautiful slayer's words. "Goddess, Buffy. I love you, too, honey."

"Good." Buffy leans in and presses a soft kiss on full, pouty lips. "Now, we're going to meet up with my friends, grill out and play today. I may have to smack Xander upside the head a few times, or maybe toss him out into the ocean to cool him down but other than that, I'm sure everything will go fine."

Tara grins crookedly at the mischievous smile crossing her lover's lips. Everything Buffy had said about Xander, he was the quintessential guy that would probably get a serious… jolt… out of two women being together.

Seeing the smile crossing Tara's lips, that she loves to see, Buffy grins back in response. "All good, now?"

"Yes, honey. I'm sorry." Tara takes a deep breath, relaxing even more as Buffy nuzzles against her neck.

"Nothing to be sorry about. Let's go meet my friends so they can be your friends, too." Buffy nips playfully on Tara's pulse point, grinning at the hitch in the Wiccan's breath. "Plus, I'm the one bringing the meat for the grill. Xander's probably foaming at the mouth worrying that I'm not going to make it."

Tara giggles and adjusts the backpack she's carrying with towels, blanket and sunscreen in it as Buffy reaches down and picks up the relatively large cooler and carryall with other items in it before threading their fingers together as they step off the boardwalk and hit the sand. "Where are th-they set up at?"

"Who knows?" Buffy shrugs, not really worried about it as she knows they'll find them eventually. "Somewhere on this side of the dock is all I know. The beach isn't that long, so even if they're all the way at the other end it'll probably only take us twenty minutes to walk there."

Tara grins crookedly at Buffy's lack of worry, the smile on the small blonde's face and her relaxed attitude telling their own tale. Knowing her lover doesn't have a chance to relax and enjoy being a normal person that often, she silently kicks herself for holding back from meeting Buffy's friends. Lifting Buffy's hand, Tara turns it slightly so she can place a soft kiss on the inner wrist before easing their hands back down to swing slightly between them, just smiling at the questioning look coming her way.

Buffy squeezes Tara's fingers gently at the kiss and smile, easing her body as close as she can to Tara's as they make their way slowly down the beach. Seeing a flash of red about thirty yards ahead of them, Buffy sharpens her eyesight and grins at the sight of Willow wiggling as she tries to get out of Xander's arms as their best friend carries the redhead towards the water, a sharp squeal escaping Willow as she lands in the probably still somewhat chilly ocean. Oz rocking back and forth with that small smile on his face at the two's antics suddenly takes off running when Xander comes after him.

Buffy can't admit how happy she was when the three had finally gotten back on even footing after the whole fluke thing back in high school. She had honestly worried that it might have done irreparable harm to the three's relationships with each other, but they seemed to have worked through it with a few bumps and bruises along the way and were back on solid ground… or in the case of Willow and now Oz, more like sandy, chest-high, wet ground. Laughing at the two redhead's looking like drowned rats, Buffy adjusts her and Tara's angle to make their way towards the portion of the beach her friends had staked out for themselves. Anya stretched out on a blanket with a hand blocking the glare from the sun as she watches Xander, rolling her eyes at the thought of the ex-vengeance demon, silently wondering at her male best friend's demon magnet personality.

Tara looks from her laughing girlfriend to where she's looking, smiling softly at the sight of Buffy's friends playing around in the water, splashing and dunking each other, recognizing Xander, Willow and Oz from pictures in Buffy's house. As Buffy slows down and drops the cooler and bag, Tara blushes lightly as the blonde woman on the blanket looks curiously at them, realizing this must be Anya.

"Xander owes me twenty dollars." Anya smirks as she looks from Buffy to the two hands threaded together, having told her boyfriend that Buffy was dating someone, but even she's somewhat surprised at the pretty, blushing blonde that's standing beside Buffy. Buffy having always gone for the whole 'manly man' type guys, the obviously feminine, shy blonde totally opposite in more ways than just the opposite sex.

Buffy frowns and glares somewhat at Anya. "You were taking bets on me dating a woman?"

"No. That you were dating someone." Anya shrugs and grins. "We didn't bet on the sex. Hmmm…" Anya gets a calculating look in her eye as she looks out at the ocean where the rest of the gang hasn't noticed Buffy's there yet. "Do you think you can…"

"NO!" Buffy cuts off whatever Anya's going to say. Knowing the ex-demon, there's no telling what she would do or say. Hearing the soft giggle escape Tara, even as her girlfriend presses firmly into her side, Buffy slips her hand free from Tara's and wraps her arm tightly around her waist. "Tara, this is Anya if you haven't already figured it out. Anya, this is my girlfriend Tara. Be nice."

Anya ignores the glare coming her way from the slayer as she stands and offers her hand to Tara, blinking at the super soft hand that clasps hers firmly. "I take it you know all about us, and yet we don't know anything about you?"

Tara blushes darkly as Anya releases her hand and looks at her inquiringly, making her drop her head down in embarrassment.

"Drop it." Buffy states somewhat gruffly to Anya, turning to press her lips to Tara's temple to help her relax again. "Here, let me take the bag and set up our blanket." Buffy slips behind Tara, easing the backpack off her shoulder and opening it, glancing up after spreading out the blanket when she hears an excited, squealed 'Buffy' coming from Willow.

"Incoming." Anya smirks and flops back down on her blanket as Willow and Xander come barreling through the sand towards them, Oz following at a leisurely pace behind the two best friends.

Tara steps back as Willow practically jumps into Buffy's arms, shaking her head at the redhead's exuberance. If she didn't already know how strong her lover is, she would have been shocked at the sight of Buffy holding Willow aloft easily in her arms.

"You made it!!" Willow squeezes Buffy's neck tightly, giddy at her mostly MIA best friend the last few months. Buffy not really giving them a definite answer on coming to their little 4th of July get together. So excited to see Buffy, she doesn't even notice the blonde standing a discreet distance away with a soft smile on her lips watching them.

"You owe me twenty dollars." Anya smirks at Xander before nodding her head and giving an exaggerated look at Tara. "Meet Buffy's new or…"

"ANYA!" Buffy yells the ex-demon's name, giving her, her best 'slayer glare', Anya pouting but keeping her lips shut. "I will do the introductions." Buffy sets Willow back down on the ground and unconsciously reaches for Tara's hand, pulling the Wiccan firmly into her side. Letting everyone know with that simple gesture that Tara is hers, and with a relaxing of her body into the taller blonde's, and the unguarded look of adoration that crosses her face as she looks at Tara, also lets them know that she's completely gone over the woman plastered against her side. "Everyone, I want you to meet someone that's very, very special to me. This is Tara. Tara, everyone." Buffy doesn't bother introducing everyone, knowing her lover already has a name for each person as she'd shown her pictures of everybody and talked about them so much that she feels like she probably knows them better than she does herself. Not counting how often her mom has talked about the group.

Tara can't help the blush that darkens her cheeks even more as four sets of eyes watch her intently. "H-hello." She looks up briefly at the group of friends before dropping her head, hiding behind her hair. Sighing as Buffy reaches up and tucks some hair behind her ear before urging her to look up. Hazel eyes silently supporting her and telling her how much she loves her. Grinning crookedly at her lover, Tara giggles as Buffy presses in and kisses her firmly.

"Wowza!" Xander's eyes widen as with the kiss it finally sinks in exactly what kind of 'special' Tara is to Buffy. "Hummada hummada… I gotta… Okay…" He spins around and dashes back toward the ocean to cool back down, missing the more free-flowing giggles coming from Tara with the knowing look coming from Buffy.

"Told you." Buffy wraps her arm tightly around Tara's waist and takes a deep breath, finally looking towards Willow. When all she sees is mirth in Willow's eyes as she looks back from watching Xander to just curiosity replacing it, she shrugs in response to the look.

"Cool." Oz nods towards Tara, before looking at Buffy. "She know?"

"Yeah. Everything." Buffy answers simply, smiling at the werewolf's easy going acceptance.

"But we don't know… anything." Willow pouts as she crosses her arms and tries to glare, but the smile curling her lips and her eyes twinkling ruin the effect. "I mean, best friend here!! I know nothing! Nothing!! You're off doing Goddess knows what for the last few months, sidestepping all my questions and being pretty much MIA as a best friend then show up with a girlfriend? I mean…" Willow crosses her eyes and looks at the finger pressing firmly against her lips.

"Breathe." Buffy smirks and pulls her finger away from Willow's lips, laughing at her best friend as Willow rolls her eyes but takes a couple deep breaths. "Told you she babbled."

Tara nods, a slow, full smile crossing her lips as Willow huffs and flops down on a blanket, glaring at Buffy. "In B-buffy's defense, she w-wanted to introduce m-me a l-long time ago." Tara explains softly after a few minutes, a dripping Xander having made it back to the group. "It's m-my fault."

"It's okay Tara. No fault." Buffy urges Tara onto the blanket, flopping down beside her girlfriend and resting her head comfortably in her lap, a position they find themselves in frequently, sighing in contentment as short nails gently scratch at her scalp as they work their way through her hair. "Tara's a practicing Wiccan. She knows all about us, the Hellmouth and pretty much everything else." Looking up at her lover, she smiles before turning her head and watching her friends as they all get comfortable around them, waiting for her explanation. "We kind of literally ran into each other one night while I was trying to run away from a battle I was losing." Buffy rubs her cheek against Tara's leg before pressing a kiss through the long shorts against her thigh.

Tara takes a deep breath to try and get control of her nervousness, her stuttering ten times worse when she's nervous. Around Buffy and now even Joyce, she hardly stutters at all, but around other people she can't help herself. Looking down at her lover, she smiles softly, not raising her eyes to the group it helps calm her as she continues the story. "I felt a serious imbalance of darkness against light while I was on my w-way back to my dorm room that night from the library. I… heard… for lack of a better word a call for help." Tara strokes a finger over Buffy's cheek as her lover looks up at her, smiling hazel eyes giving her the world.

"She came to help, and I literally sent her flying on her ass when I ran into her." Buffy laughs at the blush coming across Tara's cheeks. "In the midst of me trying to literally pick her up to carry her to safety, the group of demons caught up to us. Tara literally set their asses on fire from where I had her tossed over my shoulder and was heading in the opposite direction until she told me they were gone for good."

"Then I promptly p-passed out." Tara offers up the information, figuring Buffy would probably skip over that part. "Next th-thing I knew I came to in a strange bedroom with Buffy and Joyce hovering over me, the w-worry coming from them so thick I c-could see it hovering in the room."

Willow sighs as she looks at the two blondes, never having seen Buffy so happy the entire time she's known her, let alone that particular look in the slayer's eyes. "Love at first sight. It's so romantic."

Oz smiles secretively as he looks at Willow, knowing he'd fallen in love at first sight of the redhead all those years ago when he saw her on a Halloween night, before he even knew who she was.

"Why'd you pass out?" Xander questions curiously, reaching for the cooler and pulling out a soda, tossing it to Buffy at the slayer holds her hand up.

"She overdid it with the fireworks display that night, since she hadn't been practicing and drained herself to the point where it almost killed her." Buffy growls the words out, it having taken a while to get the truth out of the Wiccan, but finally getting to the bottom of it after she'd seen Tara do more powerful spells without it having the same effect. Tara finally admitting she'd started practicing and stretching her abilities again after that night in case she needed them.

"I'd do it again, too." Tara murmurs softly, this always a bone of contention between the both of them as Buffy would rather she not do something like that to protect her, but she'd willingly give her life to protect the slayer, the woman that's become her world since she met her. She also knows Buffy would willingly lay down her own life for her even if she shouldn't.

Buffy grumbles to herself, as they always come to a stalemate on this subject and have agreed that they probably always will. "I was all protective gal over her and wouldn't let her do anything for days until mom literally dragged me out of the house and told me to stop smothering Tara." Here Buffy starts to grin hugely. "Then she told me it would just be easier to date Tara than try to keep her a prisoner, that she had a feeling Tara liked me, too."

Tara giggles, Joyce and Buffy both at different times had given their sides of that particular conversation to her.

"Needless to say you could have knocked me over with a feather as mom laughed as she went back to the house, leaving me standing outside to talk to myself like an idiot as I argued with myself." Buffy sits up and pops open the soda can, offering it to Tara as her lover sips gingerly from the opening before handing it back to her.

"Why'd you argue with yourself, Buff?" Willow questions curiously, even the short time she'd watched the two women together, there was a definite feeling of rightness about the two of them being a couple.

"Not for the reason you guys probably thought I was." Buffy admits quietly, looking from one friend to another. "I'd already dragged more people than I wanted to into my life and caused more pain, hurt and death than I care to admit. What right did I have to even THINK about having a relationship with anyone? After the whole Angel debacle, I'd already decided on not having anymore relationships."

"Thank the Goddess that decision went the way of the wind." Tara returns the smile coming at her from Buffy. "We ended up in this stupid argument. I h-honestly think Buffy came in looking for a fight."

Buffy's guilty look lets everyone know how right Tara's comment is.

"The next thing I know…" Tara blushes and looks down, before continuing in a soft voice. "I'm being kissed until I was literally floating off the ground."

"We both were." Buffy's face breaks out into a goofy smile of remembrance. "After that, other than classes and the occasional get together with you guys I spent every spare moment with Tara, her going with me on patrols every night and us spending…" Buffy trails off as Tara's eyes widen perceptibly at what she was about to let slip. "Well, you know."

"Oh, yes. We know." Anya grins unrepentantly as Buffy sends a glare her way and Xander just moans quietly from beside her.

"We know what?" Willow blinks in confusion until Oz whispers softly in her ear, making her face match her hair with his words. "OH! Oh, uh, yeah, uh…"

Tara buries her face in Buffy's neck as the slayer laughs deeply, a strong arm wrapping tightly around her waist.

"Damn!" Xander groans and takes off running for the ocean again, everyone busting out laughing as he dives into the water.

"See, honey? No worries." Buffy murmurs, pressing a loving kiss against Tara's cheek as her lover grins at Xander's antics as his mumbling makes its way to them from where he keeps diving into the water.

"I was an idiot." Tara admits snuggling against Buffy, and sighing in relief.

"Not an idiot. Just worried." Buffy winks at Willow as she sees an understanding look coming from her best friend.

"We're all pretty easy going. I'm a Jewish-Wiccan-Christian tolerant werewolf lover. Now, if that doesn't just scream of being open-minded, I don't know what does…" Willow grins as she stands and stretches. "Oz, are you and Xander going to do the cooking? Buffy said she'd probably show up and bring meat, but we did bring hotdogs just in case."

Buffy rolls her eyes at Willow's jibe and grin that is sent her way. "The cooler I brought has hamburgers, chicken breasts and hotdogs in it along with condiments and other cold fixings to go along with it. The other bag has buns, snacks, plates, napkins, silverware and the like in it." Buffy reaches for the backpack and grabs the sunscreen out looking at Tara. "Strip."

Tara crosses her arms over her chest and shakes her head as she looks at her lover, pursing her lips to keep from laughing.

Buffy grins wickedly at Tara. "Strip."

Tara's eyes widen at the look in Buffy's gleaming eyes. Scrambling off the blanket and kicking off her flip-flops, Tara takes off running for the ocean, a laughing slayer chasing after her. Tara smiles as strong arms catch her without missing a step and continue on towards and into the ocean with her snug against the slayer's chest.

Willow blinks and turns to watch the two women, Buffy and Tara ending up not that far from Xander as they laugh and disappear under the waves to come up a few yards further out, wrapped around each other and obviously kissing.

Xander just starts to whimper and stares up at the sunny day. "I'm gonna go to hell, I know I am." He tries to get control of Xander Junior as he refuses to look at Buffy and Tara again, as he slowly makes his way back to the blanket, only wincing slightly at the smack he gets on the back of the head from his girlfriend. "Going to have to do that a lot."

"I'm sure. Where's my twenty dollars?" Anya grins happily as her boyfriend digs around for his wallet and pulls out the money tossing it to her.

Willow rolls her eyes at her best friend and his girlfriend's antics, not even wanting to know why he owes Anya money, turning to help Oz get the grill going while watching Buffy and Tara finally make their way up the beach, both women taking off their outer clothing, showing Buffy in a small, baby blue bikini. The slayer's athletic, but small build more obvious as her girlfriend's outer clothing comes off, showing the woman wearing a dark blue one-piece underneath highlighting the fuller-figured woman to definite advantage.

Buffy reaches for the sunscreen, motioning Tara to get comfortable on the blanket as she kneels beside her.

Tara sighs quietly as Buffy keeps the sunscreen out of her reach and starts with her face, carefully layering the 50SPF onto her fair skin. Making sure she doesn't miss any spots as she works the lotion into her skin, something Buffy's done every single time they've gone anywhere when they've been outside for any length of time.

Buffy finishes with Tara's feet, closes the bottle and tosses it towards the backpack, stretching out on the blanket cockeyed from Tara, resting her head on Tara's stomach as the Wiccan had stretched out also, enjoying the warm sun beating down on them and the lazy day, the laughter and dogs barking in the distance while their friends talk, joke and tease each other feeling like family. Occasionally tossing in a comment here and there to add to the conversation, but more often just listening.

Tara runs her fingers through Buffy's hair, watching the group of young people as Oz and Xander check the grill to see if the charcoal is ready yet, Willow coating herself with her own strong SPF sunscreen.

Willow looks up and grins at Tara. "I'll look like a lobster if I don't put this stuff on every hour give or take."

Tara grins back and looks at her own fair skin. "You and me, both."

Buffy smiles as she listens to Willow and Tara, the two women talking with Anya occasionally chiming in. Willow questioning Tara and Tara telling her about where she's from and about her family and the like as they get to know each other. Not surprised when the food finally made it to the grill that Willow had asked Tara if she would mind maybe helping her out in the whole 'witch-y' department.

Tara scratches Buffy's scalp as she glances down and sees the knowing smile on her lover's face, the two of them having already discussed the fact that Willow really does need some guidance in the whole learning magic department. Glad Willow had broached the subject herself, it would be easier if she was looking for help than if it was forced on her. "I'd be h-happy to help you learn the proper use of magic."

Willow bounces happily, hoping that she may one day be able to do more than float a pencil. Not counting the whole re-souling Angel thing, since she knows that that wasn't really her that had done that spell.

"Should we just go ahead and cook it all?" Xander questions looking at the women, rolling his eyes as Buffy tilts her head to look at him, a huge grin on her face. "Stupid question, huh?"

"You said it. Xander, you eat almost as much as I do. Oz probably can right now also, since it's getting close to full moon time." Buffy rolls over and crosses her arms over Tara's body and rests her chin on her arms as she watches her friends.

"True." Oz picks up the cooler Buffy had brought and opens the containers holding the different kinds of meats. Placing the marinated chicken breasts on the grill, sniffing appreciatively of the meat. "Smells good."

"Wait until you eat it. Tara's special recipe." Buffy circles her thumb over the soft flesh of her lover's stomach before resting her cheek on her arms so she's looking up at Tara.

"Buffy seems to like it." Tara taps Buffy on the nose as she props herself up on one elbow so she can see her girlfriend. Tara narrows her eyes as Buffy's elbow slides down her body slightly and presses dangerously close to her mound, not putting it past her lover to try and tease her in front of her friends.

Buffy grins innocently at Tara, her grin turning into a huge smile as Tara slides a hand down and pinches her on the hip where the rest of the group can't see, a barely whispered 'behave' making it to her ears before teasing fingers trail up her side and stroke over the swell of her breast. Shifting, like she's trying to get more comfortable, Buffy lifts her chest up and can't help but laugh when Tara takes the bait and pinches her already hard nipple.

Tara shakes her head at Buffy's actions, their relationship having progressed very fast, but it seems like as soon as they met, they'd known each other their whole lives. The last two months having been the best of her life and she wouldn't trade them for anything in this world. Because of Buffy, she's more confident, outgoing and honestly just plain happy. Stroking her fingertips over the swell of her lover's breast, she trails her hand around to Buffy's back, ignoring the pout that comes across Buffy's lips when she stops playing with her lover. Her fingers tracing over Buffy's back, as Buffy settles back down on the blanket.

"What else did you guys bring?" Xander questions curiously after Oz finishes putting the meat on the grill.

"Toppings for the meat, buns, chips, potato and macaroni salad." Buffy rattles off the items, rubbing Tara's stomach as she shifts more across her lover.

Tara grunts quietly as more of Buffy's weight settles on her stomach, shaking her head, she lies back down fully and uses both hands to scratch across Buffy's back, the slayer practically purring. "Hedonist."

"Uh, huh." Buffy doesn't argue the point, just wiggles slightly, ignoring the curious looks at her lying across Tara. Propping her chin up on her palms, her elbows planted on the blanket, she just grins at Willow's raised eyebrow.

Willow turns from Buffy's grinning countenance to the softly smiling Tara. "You and I have to talk."

"Uh, oh." Buffy mutters, her eyes opening comically wide. Turning her gaze on her lover she winks. "Whatever she's going to tell you is a lie. Don't believe a word she says, because whatever it is it isn't true."

Tara snorts, pushing against Buffy's shoulder. "I already know all your bad habits, honey. Or at least probably ninety percent of them. I'm sure she c-can't say much to shock me at this stage of the game."

"Probably not. But I'm sure you can say a few things to shock her." Buffy flips around so she's hovering above Tara on her hands and feet, leaning down to press a firm kiss to Tara's lips. "No shocking my sweet, innocent best friends, 'kay?"

"What? Wait a minute!! I'm so NOT okay with that." Xander waves his hands around. "Come on, shock me!! PLEASE!!!!" Xander hunches his shoulders, already knowing the smack was on its way, not even surprised when the smack turns into three quick successive smacks.

Tara nips gently on Buffy's bottom lip and grins crookedly as her lover pushes herself up and stands to walk over to the food, not surprised when Buffy snatches a hot dog off the grill and eats it.

Buffy moves away from temptation. It's extremely hard for her to be right next to Tara and not touch her the whole time, as she has this insatiable urge to always be in contact with the blonde Wiccan. Her touching usually way past the PG-13 rating. Stepping around the grill, she faces her friends, her eyes taking in the group that easily accepted the fact that she has a girlfriend and said girlfriend. Smiling as blue eyes look up at her filled with love, Buffy winks at Tara as the blonde grins crookedly at her.

Buffy settles behind Tara as they get ready to watch the fireworks, having spent the day eating, throwing the Frisbee and swimming with their friends. Tara accepted wholeheartedly as one of the group. Lifting the blanket carefully, Buffy pulls it up behind her and over Tara's legs before wrapping her lover tightly in her arms to keep her warm now that the sun's gone down. Nuzzling in against Tara's neck, Buffy sighs in contentment. "Have fun?"

Tara chuckles and nods her head. "Thank you."

"They're a pretty good group of people. They've all saved my ass at one time or another." Buffy admits quietly, looking over to where Willow is settled on Oz's lap, her head resting on his shoulder as they wait for the fireworks to start to where Anya and Xander are playing tonsil hockey. Figuring those two will probably be heading home before the display is over for 'orgasm' time. Of course, she doesn't much blame them now that she has someone that actually does the whole 'orgasm' thing more than right for her.

Tara relaxes back into Buffy's body, the slayer enveloping her not just physically but spiritually also. Her lover literally blankets her in love whenever they're together, and it's something she never wants to live without and honestly if anything happened to Buffy, she has a feeling she probably wouldn't be able to live. Her heart would break and she knows that she probably wouldn't be long following Buffy as without her heart she would die. Shaking off the melancholy mood she's sunken into, she rests her arms over Buffy's, playing her fingers over Buffy's fingers.

"I love you." Buffy rubs her nose gently up and down Tara's ear before pressing a soft kiss behind her lover's ear. "Drop the Jeep off at Mom's and then go on patrol with me on our way back to the dorm?"

"Mmmhmmm." Tara agrees, closing her eyes as Buffy's lips work their way slowly over her neck and shoulders. "Make our own fireworks?"

Buffy laughs and nips gently on Tara's shoulder. "You cause fireworks every night, hon. Or at least I end up seeing pretty colors and stars."

Tara giggles and shifts, settling her legs over one of Buffy's thighs while staying between her lover's legs and keeping the blanket somewhat wrapped around them in a cocoonish way. Wrapping her arms around Buffy's neck she tilts her head and leans in for what starts off as a gentle kiss. But as they tend to do, the kiss turns deep, exploring and finally into a heated battle of give and take.

Buffy growls into the kiss as Tara nips sharply on her tongue, loving it when Tara gets that playful roughness going. Running her hand down Tara's side, Buffy rests her hand for a moment on a warm thigh before stroking her thumb tenderly down and inwards in a small circle.

Tara moans, sucking on Buffy's tongue as Buffy strokes on the inside of her thigh, brushing teasingly against her outer lips through her swimsuit.

Buffy drags her eyes open, the sounds of the fireworks going off along with the people watching oohing and aahing is on the outskirts of her awareness as she looks into hooded blue eyes, the heat from her lover, along with the obvious dampness of her arousal her central focal point. As a low whimper escapes Tara, Buffy slides her hand down the bare amount it needs so her thumb can slip beneath the swimsuit and between swollen, wet folds to glide over swollen, hard flesh.

Tara shudders, her body reacting to the strong thumb stroking over her needy flesh.

Buffy leans in and brushes her lips over Tara's, still watching Tara intently as her lover draws closer and closer to the edge. Watching her approach that point something she loves to do and as Tara hovers on the precipice, Buffy whispers three words, facilitating her climax. "Come for me." Quickly covering Tara's lips after telling Tara to come, Buffy swallows the soft cry. Cupping her lover's body tenderly as the gyrating hips slow down their motion, Buffy ends the kiss and tucks Tara's head against her neck. Eyes lifting to watch the fireworks, Buffy grins at the sight. "The fireworks are beautiful."

"They sure are." Tara murmurs, not talking about the fireworks in the sky, smiling softly at the chuckle coming from her lover. Buffy knowing exactly what she's talking about. "I love you, Buffy."

"As I do you." Buffy finally moves her hand, gently straightening Tara's swimsuit to its proper place before wrapping both arms strongly around her lover.

Nipping firmly on her lover's pulse point, Tara grins crookedly at the grunt she receives. "You're going to pay for doing that right next to your friends."

"Uh huh. I sorta figured that." Buffy rocks back and forth gently, Tara tight and snug in her arms. "As I'm sure I'll pay for all future teasing I'll do to you in front of my friends as I have for past things I've done."

Tara laughs delightedly at the smug tones in her lover's voice. "You're a glutton for punishment."

"Yep." Buffy nods agreeably as the booms of the fireworks go off and the last thundering and big finale lights up the sky. "Happy 4th, honey."

"Happy 4th of July to you, too, Buffy." Tara cups Buffy's cheek and kisses her tenderly, the rest of the group already starting to stand while they talk and gather the items together for the trek back to the vehicles.

"Come on, lovebirds. It's time to go back to the real world… or what stands for our real world." Willow chuckles at the glare being aimed her way from Buffy before she and Oz gather their items and she skips back towards the parking lot behind Anya and Xander already making their way quickly down the beach.

"We're going to be in for some teasing." Buffy finally releases Tara and flips the blanket off them, hopping up and helping Tara to her feet.

"And you're looking forward to it." Tara looks around for her shorts, shaking the sand out of them before stepping in them and doing the same for her shirt before shrugging it on, Buffy already dressed and packed what few things needed packing. Threading her fingers with Buffy's, they make their way silently down the beach after the rest of the Scooby gang. This first July 4th celebration together just the beginning of many more this group of friends, that are more like family, will celebrate.

The End

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