As Tara's mind came back into consciousness, her eyes slowly took in her surroundings, she was in her bed. She looked around sensing another presence within the room and saw her dad looking back at her. Tara sat up wondering if he was angry at her for leaving her room.
"Dad?" she squeaked her voice tiny from lack of use, he approached the bed in a fluid motion of steps.
Her father was a tall middle aged man with well defined cheeks bones and worry lines under his eyes. His dark caramel hair was already beginning to gray. Many at work knew him as "ripper", but at home he went by Rupert or Giles.
"Hey that was a close one..." Rupert said with relief, he sat on the side of
Tara's bed and lovingly pressed the back of his hand to her forehead to see if she was feverish.
"Dad..." Tara started to say, but Rupert cut her off, "too close..." he said, he removed his glasses and began to clean them on his shirt.
"What happened?" Tara asked, she felt the bed spinning underneath her,
but it was only in her head, which was buzzing from the after affects of whatever it was Rack had done to her.
"Your going to be all right, that's all that matters..." Rupert placed his glasses back on and turned to face Tara giving her a reassuring smile as he took her hand in his.
Tara couldn't help but be comforted by her father's familiar scent of cologne and the way his big and warm hand gently held hers. She loved her father dearly, he had been the only person she had ever met in her life, before she met Rack. He had taken care of her and had taught her how to read and write, he informed her of the twisted ways of the new world in which they lived, warning Tara never to venture out alone, for the world could be cruel to a girl with a demon inside of her.
"Are you mad I was outside?" Tara asked her eyebrows furrowing.
"Shhhh... no Tare, you missed your medicine and fell unconscious..."
"There was this warlock..." Tara said trying to explain that Rack was the reason she passed out.
Rupert shook his head "nonsense" he scoffed, "Please be more cautious, you could have gotten hurt".
Tara sat up more "B-but it was real dad..." she protested.
Rupert didn't listen he was beginning to get annoyed, he uncapped an orange clear bottle with a white label on it, he shook out a white pill with small numbers indented into it.
"I am the doctor, and I'm your father, please Tara drop it" he said his voice said sternly, he handed Tara the pill and went over to the bedside table and got her some water.
"Something could have happened to you, you need to be more responsible!" Giles snapped at Tara.
She shuddered and lowered her gaze from his, her father was very frightening when he was angry with her. Rupert glanced over at the small portrait of Tara's mother that hung on the wall he let his anger fall away and be replaced with sadness.
The portrait seemed to glow brightly and almost seemed to call out to the father and daughter in dismay.
"The curse that took your dear mother from us, passed from her and into your veins, I'd be lost if I were to loose you... I will stop at nothing to keep you safe..." Rupert shivered and grew defensive, he would do anything for Tara, she was his, no one elses, she couldn't leave him ever, he needed her with him. If he couldn't look over her, he may go mad.
Tara sensing his sadness pushed back the blankets and got up off the bed and walked over to her father, "I'll take my meds dad don't you worry" she reassured him.
"Just until I find a cure..." Rupert replied.
He gave Tara a warm smile, but it didn't reach his eyes they remained heavy and sad. He kissed Tara on the top of her head, he wrapped an arm over her shoulder and looked down at her protectively.
"Your mother rest her soul, would be so proud of you, though you cannot see her she is here with you, we will always be there for you in your time of need, Tara your the world to me".
Rupert gave Tara a short hug pressing her face gently into his warm chest, then released her and rummaged through his pocket, pulling out a small ring of keys, he found the one to Tara's room and locked the door behind him.
When Tara finally heard her father's retreating footsteps she sighed and set the medicine and water down on her desk.
Tara looked up at the portrait of her mother and sat down on the floor her back pressed into the door, "How much of it's the curse? how much of it is fate? how much of it depends on the choices that we make? He says I have her eyes too, I also inherited shame..."
Tara shook her head in disgust, she hated this stupid curse, why did her mother have to pass it to her? What did she do to deserve this? She walked past her small telescope and opened up the curtains to reveal the world once more. She opened the latch to the Window and pushed it open, the dark air from outside felt warm and gentle on her skin.
" I want to go outside..." she whispered earnestly, she gripped the window ledge and pressed her face outside as far as she could without becoming fearful of losing her grip and falling.
She looked out into the eternally dark sky, it was still morning according to her watch, but she could see the stars. The stars could always cheer her up when she felt lonely, and music, music definitely cheered her up.
She walked over to her laptop and pressed shuffle and play on one of her many playlists. A soft guitar began to strum a slow beat accompanied by the singers voice echoing in whispers as Tara increased the volume.
"If you be my star, I'll be your sky,
you can hide underneath me and come out at night,
when I turn jet black and you show off your light
I live to let you shine,
I live to let you shine.
You can sky rocket away from me
and never look back if you find another galaxy
far from here with more room to fly,
just leave me your stardust to remember me by..."
Tara changed into a small white summer dress, the material was thin and smooth and accented her curves perfectly. She went back to the window and brushed her hair out an hummed along to the song, feeling better instantly.
Willow Rosenberg, a slender 18 year old with fair skin, dark red hair and seaweed green eyes wandered through the alley ways. She caught sight of Rack just as the walls of the alley ended, he was gazing up at an open window in a house across the street.
She had never seen the gaunt looking man before, but she remembered the house which he so fondly gazed at. That house in particular was said to be the home of a crazy surgeon who kept his only daughter locked away in the attic after he murdered his wife. She had heard the story when she was little and was always curious to see if the tale was true every time she walked by.
This was the first night she had seen the window open. Her curiosity grew as she approached the gate a few feet away from the creepy man.
Before Willow could fully study the man's face, her attention was pulled upwards when she heard singing coming from the open window from above. Willow walked closer until the window was in full view and the lithe form of a girl her age in a simple white dress, she was brushing her soft dark blonde hair and studying the stars in the sky that stretched out far above her.
The mysterious girl was humming an unrecognizable tune, but with each brush stroke of her glossy hair, her scent was carried off by the wind straight to Willow's senses.
Willow breathed in deep, the smell of honey and clover lingered on her lips and nose, she shivered and gazed, entranced by the figure before her. The only thing that filled her mind were the questions of what her name was? What color were her eyes? Was she the girl from the story?
Her eyes flickered quickly back to Rack, her jealously grew like heat in her chest. How dare this creepy guy stare at this godess like some pervert! Willow had to restrain herself from getting large with her butch side, which rarely showed. She felt very protective of this girl.
She couldn't help but wince as the watch on her wrist buzzed with an incoming message. She sighed and tore her eyes away from her beautiful discovery and pressed a button on her watch.
"You have... 1 Incoming message from... The master" the computer's voice spoke from within her watch.
She grumbled and began to walk quickly past the house looking forlornly back at the window and then returning her attention back to the message, she hit the receive button and let the recording play as a small hologram projected from her watch and took the form of the master.
"Rosenberg your late where are you?!" he growled.
"I got sidetracked I'll be in shortly..." she replied and then ended the call.
Willow Rosenberg at the age of fifteen, after the death of both of her parents was forced into working for the master as his own personal witch. She was forced to conjure things that amused the master and his children; Angelus, Spike and Drusilla. All of them treated her terribly, her hand instinctively covered the bandage on her neck, it was from the last time she had been late, as punishment the master let Drusilla feed off of her.
Her latest wound had only started to heal, she shivered at the thought of Drusilla drinking from her again. She knew that would be her punishment if she didn't hurry up.
A few blocks away was Willow's destination, it was a large tower , that had been added on to an old club called The Bronze. The ominous looking building seemed to glare down at her like a bent tree that would moan in the wind. She headed over to the door of the entrance and swiped a card into the access slot and was let through.
Willow walked quickly through the lobby of the bronze and climbed the stairs until she came across the elevator to the additional levels. She pressed the white button and watched it light up, while she listened to the distant sounds of the elevator plucking a small "ding!" every time it hit the next floor.
Rupert Giles sat alone in the red velvet chair, in the second floor hallway of his house. The walls were littered with various pictures of Tara's mother, they all seemed to gaze viciously down at him, Rupert shuddered and thought back eighteen years ago...
Once upon a happier time...
two lovers, Rupert and Allison, a happy marriage, a child on the way, the perfect life until Allison got sick...
Rupert thought he had found the cure, but instead it caused the death of his beloved wife, with time running out and Allison losing blood, Rupert could only save one. So he performed a C-section and saved Tara, killing his wife in the process...
Rupert shook his head forcing back the dreadful memories from his past to the back of his head, but he failed in vain, Allison's face was everywhere, her voice inside of his head demanding why he killed her.
"Where did our daughter go? It's me she must escape... by burdens I can't erase... the mother i might have saved...." he whispered under his breath,
he could hear the Watch-man inside of his head whispering to him "Assassin! Murder!er Monster!" it declared accusing himself with self loathing.
Again memories flashed before his eyes, he saw himself kissing Allison, she was wearing a white wedding dress, he was in a black suit. It was the memory of their wedding day, they had been so young and so happy... His mind pulled him back into the reality of the dimly lit hallway the darkness buried his form, he was a prisoner to this house.
"Ally, I need you now... look what I've become... the nightmare that she should fear... is the father you left alone!"
Rupert gripped the wall, his rough nails cut into the wall as he clenched his teeth to hold back the tears welling up inside his eyes.
No tears, he couldn't cry, he didn't deserve to cry, he needed to be strong for Tara, he needed to be punished for what he did to Allison and for how he forced Tara to stay inside all of her life, making her serve his sentence of damnation along with him.
Rupert banged his head into the wall groaning in agony, he couldn't help remembering that last empty memory,the corpse of his wife, pale and lifeless, her stomach covered in blood from the operation and himself kissing her on the cheek goodbye.
Rupert had been accused of murder by the master of the vampire race, who delighted in forcing Rupert to work for him as a watch-man it was the only way he could remain out of prison. Tara could never know that her father was no longer a surgeon who worked at the hospital. No he was a dark disgusting creature transformed slowly through the harsh years into a killer.
"I am only living out a lie..." he whispered to himself, he pocketed the glasses he no longer needed and moved downstairs.
He walked towards the fire place and moved one of the little knick knacks on the shelf above it, he then was able to pull the fire place from the wall as if it were a door. He headed into his "office" where he took some of his victims to extract their remaining blood for the master before he killed them.
Willow exited the elevator and entered the room, Drusilla sat splayed across a couch which faced the Master's desk. Spike and Angelus sat upright on either side of their sister and turned around to grin as Willow walked in. They cast taunting smirks at her knowing something that she did not.
"Just keep looking down don't make eye contact.." she thought to herself as she approached the desk.
The master glared down at her, on his chin were a few stray trails of blood. Willow could never get over the fact that he looked like the love child of nosefratu and lord voldemort.
"Miss Rosenberg, nice of you to show up, and why are we late?" the master said, his yellow eyes glared at the red head before him.
"It won't happen again sir" she replied conentrating on her shoes.
"I don't care for your excuses" he got up and sat on his desk, crossing one leg over the other, he was so close to Willow that she could smell the rotting flesh on his lips.
Willow's heart began to thump wildly she could feel her pulse becoming erratic. The master reached up and stroked Willow's hair and her cheek.
"you've been very naughty haven't you girl?" he asked.
Willow was frozen, she felt like trapped and vulnerable, all the warmth from within left her body. The master grabbed her hair and yanked it forcefully, Willow began to tear up he head throbbed.
"I asked you a question" he spat.
"Ye-yes s-sir" Willow replied, he teeth clenched and her eyes squeezed tight, all she could do was hope the pain would go away, try to focus on something to distract her from it.
"Dollie has been very naughty, can I teach dollie a lesson?" Drusilla said, as she approached Willow and wrapped her arms around her waist from behind.
The master nodded and released his grip on Willow's hair and left the room to attend to other bussiness. Drusilla smiled and grabbed the red head's wrist dragging Willow on to the couch with her.
"You sing the sweetest little song. Won't you sing for me, hmm?" she whispered into Willow's ear, she forced Willow to sit on her lap.
Willow struggled to get away from Drusilla, but the vampire held her fast.
"I'll pout if you don't sing dollie" Drusilla said, she eyed the bandage on willow's neck and ripped it off.
Willow Bit her lip, while Drusilla licked the wound. Willow had feared this would happen, she couldn't bear this humiliation again, she wasn't even a human anymore when she was in their presence, she was simply their drinking toy, who would cast spells for their amusement.
"p-please let me go, let me go" she whimpered, her whole body rejected Drusilla, it shook with fear and disgust.
Drusilla ignored Willow's pleas and bit down on the wound letting it reopen and run into her mouth. Willow cried out in pain, she could hear her blood sloshing down Drusilla's throat, she was going to be sick. Willow couldn't get her wrists free from Drusilla's grip. She was stuck, Willow panicking searched her mind for a spell, anything to get her away from these creatures.
"Ego dico super thee vesta, dea of incendia, servo mihi ex ira!" Willow whispered.
Drusilla drew back in pain from Willow and screeched, Willow's skin felt like liquid fire. She examined her finger tips and saw that steam was rising off of them. Quickly seeing that she was free Willow stumbled off the couch and ran to the elevator jamming her finger on the lobby button. The doors closed before the others could catch her. Willow caught her breath and felt her skin begin to cool down. She sank down on to the floor clutching her knees to her chest taking deep draughts of breath.
"Thank the gods" she rasped, Willow waited anxiously for the elevator to stop, she could feel warm liquid on her neck trailing down onto her shirt staining it dark red. Willow placed a hand over her neck applying pressure to the wound. Every vampire in town would smell her if she didn't hurry to a shelter.
She sprinted out of the elevator as soon as it opened and headed to the right not sure of what to do or where she was going.
After waiting a good hour Tara snuck out of her room, she had to go back for her things she had left at her mother's grave. She crept down the hallway and saw no trace of her father, so she went ahead with her plan. She entered the secret passage way, walking fast towards the door to crypt.
Tara entered and gathered up her things from earlier that lay askew, but to her relief undisturbed. The door to the graveyard had been left open, so Tara decided to explore just a little more. She had a curse ready in mind if she came across Rack again. She felt daring and rebellious, her father couldn't keep her locked up forever.
Still she looked in both directions scanning the area for any forms of life. She continued on her path, she felt free, more free than she had ever felt all of her years.
"Thanks the gods" she whispered smiling as she looked up into the sky and the stars smiled back at her.
Willow turned sharply into the graveyard running fast, her shoes slapping wildly against the dirt and grass, she was out of breath and her throat felt like it was going to explode.
"I need a place to hide, I need a place to hide, I'm going die oh gods I'm going to die, all the vampires in sunny dale can probably smell me.." her mind raced, searching frantically for a place to hide all she could see was headstones and trees.
She heard a crunching noise, and sped up her pace, she glanced behind her and ran into something, knocking her and whatever she banged into down. She cursed under her breath feeling her head throb from the impact.
Willow opened her eyes, she had fallen on top of a girl her age. Willow got up and offered a hand to the girl, then gasped, it was the girl from the window.
Tara gazed up at the hand the stunning red head in front of her offered. She gently took it and felt a spark run threw her skin, making her shiver. She gazed up at the green eyes and she knew.... they both had felt it, and whatever "it" was it felt amazing.
Tara noticed the dry blood on Willow's neck that now stained a huge portion of her shirt.
She got up still holding Willow's hand, before she could ask the red head's name she caught sight of a group of dark figures running towards where they stood. Tara understood Willow was being chased and without a second thought, pulled Willow away with her. The two began to run hand in hand back into the masoleum of Tara's mother to hide.