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: This is just a little short story more than anything (EXTREMELY SHORT). It wiggled its way into my brain so I decided to write it. Feedback: 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! But if you like and enjoy GIMME, GIMME, GIMME!!!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To kinetic-kid[at]earthlink.net

The Key
By Kinetic-Kid


Buffy places small, soft kisses over Tara's shoulder, slowly working her way down her chest, a small smile crossing her lips as she hears the change in her lover's breathing. Knowing Tara's awake she continues slowly making her way to Tara's breasts. Circling the areola as it crinkles and the nipple hardens, Buffy blows a warm breath of air over the flesh before teasing the nipple with the tip of her tongue.

Tara growls softly at Buffy's teasing kisses, threading her hands through her hair, she arches up into her mouth, urging her to take her nipple fully in her mouth.

Taking the not so subtle hint, Buffy captures the flesh and suckles gently for a few long minutes while trailing a hand up to play softly over her lover's other breast.

Tara moans softly, before groaning loudly at the knock on the bedroom door. "What Dawn?"

"You promised to drive me to school today since I have to take in my project." Dawn reminds the Wiccan, smirking at the sound of her sister bitching.

"Shit!" Buffy buries her face in her lover's chest. "She's always interrupting my morning lovings." Buffy growls softly.

"I'll be down in a few minutes, sweetie." Tara calls out to the teen, before gently scratching her nails over her lover's back. "I'm sorry, honey."

"It's not your fault." Buffy grumbles, brushing her cheek over Tara's breast.

"You know, you could keep the bed warm while I take Dawn to school and hurry back here to spend some quality time together today." Tara hints, smiling crookedly as Buffy's head jerks up and her eyes look hopefully at her.

"You're not teasing me, are you?" Buffy's whispers, her eyes wide. "You have classes today."

"Nothing that I have to be there for. I can call and get notes from a couple friends." Tara grins crookedly as Buffy yells and wraps her arms around her, hugging her tightly. "I think we need to talk, anyway."

Buffy slowly raises her head to look at Tara, seeing the serious look in her lover's eyes she furrows her brow and contemplates the Wiccan.

Tara's surprised by the guarded look in her lover's hazel eyes. "Buffy?"

"When you get back." Buffy hoarsely whispers, pressing a loving kiss on Tara's lips. "I love you, Tara."

"I love you, too, Buffy." Tara hugs Buffy tightly for a few moments before the slayer finally shifts and lies to the side watching her dress.

Buffy silently watches as Tara dresses. Smiling as the Wiccan leans down and kisses her. "Be careful."

"I will." Tara brushes a finger gently down Buffy's face before winking and heading out of the room.

Buffy rolls onto her back and stares up at the ceiling, silently wondering if her lover's memories have come back to her and that's what she's wanting to talk about. Feeling a streak of fear shooting through her, Buffy shifts her arm to cover her eyes as she waits for Tara to come back home.

"Have you heard from Giles lately?" Dawn bites her bottom lip, knowing that this is a sensitive subject for Buffy and Tara both.

Tara glances quickly to the teen before her eyes look back at the road. "A couple days ago. They still have Willow sedated and under magical seclusion so she can't inadvertently hurt someone." Tara clenches her jaw as she thinks about the redhead.

Dawn hears the tension in Tara's voice, something she'd noticed the last few weeks whenever Willow's name was brought up, deciding once again not to say anything, Dawn sighs and looks out the window as they draw closer to the school.

Tara sighs quietly as she pulls into the school's parking lot. Putting the Jeep in park, she turns to Dawn and looks at the teen. "They've come back?"

Dawn slowly nods her eyes wide in surprise and shock as she looks at Tara. "You, too?"

"Yes." Tara admits softly, running a hand through her hair, her eyes shadowed with pain.

"You aren't going to leave, are you?" Dawn whispers, tears flooding her eyes.

"Oh, Dawnie." Tara reaches out and gently pulls the teen to her over the console, hugging her gently. "No, Dawnie. I'll always be there for you, sweetie. You know that. But Buffy and I have to talk."

"Hers, too?" Dawn whispers almost afraid to voice the question. Knowing she's done everything she can, now things have to play out.

"I'm not sure." Tara admits, tears coming to her own eyes. "I'm scared." Tara whispers softly.

"Do you really love her?" Dawn questions a few minutes after Tara releases her, looking at the kids entering the school, knowing she's going to have to leave in a few minutes.

"Yes." Tara answers simply, her heart in the single word.

"That's all that matters. Love and family." Dawn whispers before easing out of the Jeep, opening the back door to pull her project from the back seat before kicking the door shut and heading into the school.

Tara watches Dawn, running a hand through her hair. "Thank you, Dawnie." Tara whispers before double-checking and pulling out of the school parking lot. Deciding to stop and pick up some breakfast sandwiches for Buffy on the way home.

Buffy listens to the Jeep pull into the driveway. As Tara unlocks the door and comes in, Buffy hears her lover lock the door before tossing her keys on the coffee table and slowly makes her way up the stairs.

After Tara and Dawn had left, she'd just gone to the bathroom to take care of her morning rituals before coming back to bed to wait for Tara to come home. Silently wondering how things are going to be different now. Not having told Tara about the fact that her true memories came back, afraid that it will change things. Realizing that no matter how they came to be together, she doesn't want it to change.

Looking at the doorway as Tara walks in, Buffy's eyes zero in on the bag in her lover's hand and the large drink in her other hand, a quick smile coming to her lips at the smell of the bacon egg and cheese biscuits.

"Here." Tara hands the bag to Buffy, watching as the slayer shifts up in the bed and sets the bag in her lap already pulling one of the sandwiches out and unwrapping it, surprised when Buffy holds the sandwich up for her. Setting the drink on the nightstand before gently easing down on the bed beside the slayer, Tara accepts the sandwich and looks into worried hazel eyes. "How long?" Tara questions softly, seeing the truth in her lover's eyes.

"Over a month." Buffy admits softly, her eyes dropping back down to the bag of food. Pulling out another sandwich and playing with the wrapper, sighing quietly.

"Why didn't you say something?" Tara questions in surprised shock, her own memories having not started to return until about two weeks ago. Finally realizing that all of them were back and there weren't going to be any more yesterday.

Tossing the sandwich back in the bag, Buffy sets it on the nightstand and pulls her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around her legs. "Because I didn't want you to leave. The reason we're together may have been a spell and a bunch of lies, but…" Buffy looks down at Tara's hand that has moved to rest on her bare knee derailing her from her explanation.

"But the feelings are there. The love, the caring… the desire." Tara whispers, watching Buffy intently as she slowly lifts her head to look at her. Brushing her fingers gently over Buffy's cheek, she smiles softly as she leans into the caress. "Our memories may have been pretty much erased and because of a backfire to the spell, it made everyone believe we were together. But what if it wasn't a backfire? What if someone or something stepped in and made it happen? What if they wanted us to come together?" Tara questions quietly, wondering herself what might have stepped in to make what should have been a simple forget spell, change everyone's memories and drive Willow insane.

Buffy considers her lover's words. Easing her legs out in front of her, she lifts Tara and settles her on her lap. Wrapping her arms around the Wiccan, she buries her face against Tara's neck, pressing a soft kiss against her pulse point. "You have too many clothes on." Buffy smiles as Tara chuckles. "Why did they come back?"

"I don't know. Dawn's gotten hers back, also. I don't know if Xander and Anya's memories have come back." Tara smirks as she feels Buffy's fingers working their way down her top, the buttons coming undone under her lover's nimble fingers.

"How long have yours been back?" Buffy questions curiously, gently easing the shirt down Tara's shoulders, smiling as the Wiccan's luminescent flesh is uncovered to her eager eyes.

"They started coming back two weeks ago. They finished yesterday." Tara admits softly, closing her eyes and inhaling deeply as Buffy's fingers trail over the edge of her bra.

"It took two weeks for all of them to come back?" Buffy frowns as her fingers still on Tara's chest.

"Yes. You?" Tara shifts her head looking curiously at her lover.

"They came back all at once." Buffy finally admits, closing her eyes and resting her forehead against Tara's shoulder. "I didn't want to tell you. I was afraid you would leave me. I realized that I had fallen in love with you and whatever reason was behind it, I didn't want to lose you."

Tara closes her eyes as she feels the tears slowly flood her eyes. Shifting slightly, she wraps her arm around Buffy's shoulders and hugs her tightly. "What were you hoping for, honey? For me not to get my memories back?"

Buffy bites her lip and barely nods her head. "The time we've been together, even based on false memories has been the best time of my life. The months of us actually being together, not the false memories, but the true memories… I wouldn't trade them for anything, Tara. And God forgive me, but I couldn't take the chance of my world being torn apart again. So I shoved the returned memories under a ton of other things and spent every extra moment that I could with you."

Tara swallows hard as the tears finally trail down her cheeks. "I love you, Buffy. And I would dearly love to spend whatever time we have together laughing, loving, crying, fighting, and whatever else you can think of."

"Keep the crying and fighting to a minimum. I would rather laugh and make love." Buffy smiles at her lover, her eyes searching Tara's blue eyes. Silently wondering exactly how long she's liked the Wiccan without realizing it.

"So, are you telling me you'd rather be gay and in love with me?" Tara lets out a low chuckle, wiping her tears away as she looks into her lover's hazel eyes, seeing nothing but love and caring looking back at her.

"Any day, night, week, year, century, millennia, universe…" Buffy laughs as Tara's lips cover hers to keep her from continuing. As the kiss becomes more serious and deepens, Buffy moans and looks at Tara with desire filled eyes as the Wiccan slowly pulls back, ending the kiss.

"Miss Buffy Anne Summers, I'd like to make love to you, for the first time with both of us with our actual memories in place, and knowing everything. May I?" Tara questions softly, her eyes serious.

"God, yes." Buffy answers, her voice low and rough with love and desire. Raising a shaky hand, she cups Tara's cheek. "May I make love to you back, Tara 'My Love' Maclay?" Buffy whispers, knowing her lover doesn't have a middle name.

"Any time you want. Forever and a day." Tara answers, leaning in to kiss Buffy lovingly.

Across town, a slow, happy smile appears on 'Dawn Summers' face. Laughing delightedly as she feels the two women finally connect with nothing holding them back anymore, she ignores the strange looks coming from her classmates and her teacher asking her if she's okay.

"Oh, I'm wonderful." Dawn answers the teacher before turning back into her natural form. As she opens the portal to another universe, Dawn leaves a streak of green light behind her that slowly disperses all memories of her being on this particular world, except for a pair of blondes making love at this moment. Whispering a soft goodbye to the pair Dawn arrives on another world.

"Now… Where are you two and what kind of problems am I going to have getting you hooked up here?" Dawn slowly takes on her human form again as she searches out the two signatures of the soul mates. "They knew I was the 'Key', and I could open portals to other worlds. Funny how they never questioned why I could do that." Dawn laughs delightedly as her eyes twinkle with a green light before finally locating the two women on this world.

"Off I go." Dawn heads for the closest one, praying silently that this time it won't take as much machinations to get the two women together.

The End

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