Disclaimer: Tara and Faith and all others belong to Joss and Fox and Mutant Enemy, none of which are me.
Distribution: Forever Faith: http://mysticmuse.net/faith
The Mystic Muse: http://mysticmuse.net
All others, please ask first.
Feedback: By all means, feed my addiction.
Author's Notes: Femme slash and domestic violence. If either squicks you (not that I'm for domestic violence), turn away now.
I'm glad my mother can't see me right now. It would kill her, well, if she weren't already dead. She never would have thought that I could turn out like this. And it's not like I really want to be doing these things; if you saw me from the inside out, the way I see myself, you would understand how and maybe even why. How I'm not the way I may seem.
I look at myself in the boots, tight jeans, checkered shirt buttoned down low and tied up at my stomach in a flannel knot. I know I don't look like a poor seventeen year old or someone who's just lost the good part of themselves. I look like a cowgirl, better yet, a woman.
My mother can't see me now or ever again. At least I hope she isn't watching from whatever heavenly dimension keeps her because I don't want to disappoint her. I am glad that the Tara Maclay she took to her grave was the sweet girl who laughed a lot. Who cuddled in the top bunk with her mom when daddy made her sad. I was her little angel.
Daddy's gone to pick Cousin Beth from the airport because Uncle Tommy and Aunt Bev said we need a new woman of the house. Someone to do the cleaning and cooking, they said, little Tara can't do it all herself. No one could compare to her mother, they sighed, strong woman too. Power of ten men in that woman, they lamented with shaking heads. They didn't know the half of it.
The woman that vaguely resembled a person, the thing they buried, was the antithesis of my mother. From the time she became ill throughout the months she became skeletal, they all seem like one moment in my mind. Because the mother I remember was strong. Some people would call it weakness, what she had, to stay where she was, but it was strength. I saw it, shining through her, spilling out of her. I think that's what killed her, she had too much power bottled up. It ate her from the inside out like a parasite.
So I'm not going to hold it in anymore.
I move out of the bathroom and through the kitchen of the trailer and swing the door open. There is a burnt odor in the air, because the sun set a little while ago and the bonfires are being lit. That's what we do here, we get drunk around bonfires. It's not exactly the good life.
My brother Donny is sitting on the lawn chair, sipping a beer and giving me a strange look.
"Where the hell do you think you're going dressed up like that?" He asked looking at my outfit longer than my face, I shudder. "A Halloween party?" He guffaws and slaps his knee, I glance down at the pile of empty beer bottles by his feet and shake my head.
"I'm going out. I'll be back later." I call as I make my way down the dirt path to the park's entrance.
"What the hell are you talkin' 'bout?" Donny's voice twangs. I think he tried to stand up but he can't quite keep his balance. "Tara you better get back here right now! You told dad you'd be in all night."
"Yeah, I- uh – have to go visit a sick friend." I turn and call back to him.
"That friend's gonna be sending *you* sympathy cards and flowers if you ain't back here before eleven." He slurs threateningly. My heels turn on the dusty road as I wave an acknowledgement. He can't see me roll my eyes. Donny's all talk, Dad would never let him lay a hand on me and he knows it.
Hoots and catcalls are thrown at me from different directions. I ignore them, you'd think that dressing like this, the praise would make me feel good but it's not like that. I feel a pang of guilt, a twinge of shame, but I just keep walking. I'm better than them, and I add a sway to my hips to prove it. That's what a cowgirl would do.
There are some kids screaming on the makeshift playground that is a tire swing and rusty old slide. They are laughing and running wildly, I bet they feel free with their parents not there to watch them. I walk faster.
I head through the old barn that serves as the registration, arcade and convenience store of the park.
"Henry?" I call to behind the empty counter. An old, thin man enters from the office door.
"Tara, my, my, don't you look nice!" He smiles crookedly, showing his missing teeth. Henry's the nicest man I know, but he's also the oldest and a contender for the smelliest too.
I smile sweetly to him. "Thanks Henry, do you happen to have the phone number of a nearby cab company?"
"Sure do, sweetheart." He fumbles around with an old phonebook before producing a sheet of paper with numbers scratched on it. He copies a series of digits onto a piece of loose memo pad. He pauses and looked at me for a moment. "Does your daddy know you're going out like this?" I nod quickly, hoping he doesn't notice that I divert my gaze to the paper. Tearing it from the top of the pad he hands it to me, I take it with a smile and make my way to the payphone.
"Where to darlin' ?" The gruff voice from the front seat asks as he peers at me through the rearview mirror.
"Uh- is there any place that has some good…um…vibrations?" I ask innocently, and he cranes his neck to eye me up and down. His face resolves something and he turns back to the road with a sigh.
Good Vibrations is a lonely bar on the side of the road. There is a tall neon light that peers over the nothingness from the parking lot and winks at passersby. Cars are scattered throughout the lot as the cab pulls in by the entrance. I didn't expect it to be especially busy on a Thursday night and it's not.
I pay the driver and walk to the door. Chewing on my bottom lip, I steal a glance down at my outfit. All of a sudden I feel like a little kid playing dress up. With a sigh I push the door open and enter as I am greeted with cigarette smoke and jukebox music.
Because the inside isn't so big, it almost looks half full. The room is littered with dancing women. I walk nervously towards the bar and sit on the first empty stool I find. The bartender leans over the counter towards me.
"What's your pleasure?" She asks, I can tell that the warmness of the room isn't just me because blonde wisps that escaped her ponytail are clinging to her forehead.
"Water," I reply as she quirks a brow and grabs a cup, filling it from the tap in front of her. She slides it to me and I thank her before taking a sip. I swivel in my stool to face the dance floor while I drink my water.
There are some couples dancing, leaning on each other and the letting the droning melodies push them this way and that. Other women linger on the outskirts of the dance floor, watching and waiting to be asked to dance. My gaze is pulled to a girl standing by the only pool table. She is looking at me and smiling, blonde curls framing her porcelain face. She's one of the prettiest women I have ever seen. I return her smile and she walks towards me, taking a seat beside me.
"Hi, I'm Karly." With her full tooth smile she reminds me of a model in a magazine and I can't really believe she's talking to me.
"I'm Tara," I say quietly between watery sips. I want to be sexy and mysterious like her, but I can't really figure out how. So I just give her a half-smile and place my empty glass on the countertop.
"Two long island iced teas." She calls to the tender and hands me one of them after they're fixed. I take a tentative sip of the drink that tastes nothing like the iced tea I used to sell on hot days in the park when I was little. But after every gulp I want a little more, until there is nothing left except a silly little smile on my face
Her look of amusement tells me she knows I've never really gotten drunk before. I'd tried the beer that my dad and Donny kept in the fridge, but it tasted bitter and had a fizz I couldn't stomach. She orders us two more, which we finish quickly, before asking me to dance. I hesitate but she pulls my reluctant body up with her to the dance floor.
My skin feels especially warm with the liquor in my blood, causing me to shiver as her hands brush the exposed flesh of my midriff on their way to my hips. I drape my arms over her shoulders. Some slow oldies tune is playing and Karly is looking at me in this bold way that no one has ever done before. She's studying me and I can tell that she is making a decision. We're about the same height, so we're naturally eye-to-eye, her breasts touching mine as we move.
My head is really full of thoughts I can't quite sort out but wish I could. There is something swimming beneath the echoes in my brain, an underlying danger. The song must have ended because a new one is playing now and Karly's softness is closer and we're leaning on each other. Actually the leaning is kind of one way, she's pretty much all that's holding me up.
"Want to go out back?" Her lips tickle my ear and I shiver again. Inwardly, I hesitate; there are parts of me that know I shouldn't go, but those parts are far too drunk to compete against the ones that function perfectly well with a little liquor. I nod into her hair.
She's guiding me to the door with her stable arms and before I can even say anything, my back is up against the cement walls of the building and her lips are on mine. At first I'm startled and make a noise, something between a gasp and a whimper, into her mouth. But it feels so good, so right. It's like finally someone is saying "Yes, Tara, you *are* beautiful and wonderful and special." These are words I haven't heard since my mother died, words I half-expected to never hear again.
Her mouth is moving down past my chin and a cold hand is massaging one of my breasts. I moan as she begins to kiss the sensitive skin of my neck. She is licking and sucking and kissing my neck and it feels so good, so good – until it hurts. A lot. The pain is shooting out into my head and knees. I make the startled noise again, but it's not muffled by her soft mouth but by her firm hand this time. I can't breathe let alone say anything to save myself.
After only a few moments the loud sucking noises stop and she is pulled off of me. I clap one of my hands over the wound on my neck and slide to the ground. Karly's face has transformed into something much less smooth and is on her back a few feet from me. We both look in surprise at the attacker of my attacker.
The first thing I notice is that she isn't very big, well, actually, the first thing I noticed was that there were two of her but then my vision cleared. She's wearing an outfit that doesn't seem oxygen friendly; her tight, low shirt displaying her cleavage. And then I realized she's smiling, as if she stumbled onto something she's about to enjoy.
"Hey, didn't I ask you to dance earlier?" The dark-haired girl smirks. I think this is a strange question given the situation but she continues after taking a swig from the bottle she's holding. "Sorry, I just don't take rejection well." With that, she kicks Karly in the face causing the demon-thing to roll over. "I hear it's a flaw I have."
"You're going to have a lot of flaws when I'm through with you, bitch." The blonde thing hisses while getting to its feet. The brunette takes another gulp from the bottle and slugs Karly so hard she staggers back.
"Are you even trying?" She laughs condescendingly at the seething creature.
"You're dead," Karly threatens as she lunges at her.
"I'm dead?" The strong, smaller girl muses before flipping out of Karly's grasp. "Throwing stones from glass coffins gives you a lot of broken glass." A mischievous grin grows on her red lips. "Kind of like when you do this…" Holding the neck of the now empty bottle, she smashes its bottom on the pavement and chucks the remainder at her target. It hits Karly square in the stomach, but she just laughs.
"That won't kill me," she states as both her hands encircle the bottle's neck and it makes a sickening suction noise as she pulls it out.
"Good call." The brunette draws a stake from the back of her leather pants and advances. But Karly is ready this time and ducks before it can touch her. She pushes her assailant against the wall beside me. "Damn, you really got a thing for being the butch, huh?"
Karly grabs the girl's wrist and turns the stake so that it's now facing its owner's chest. Her brown eyes go wide as Karly chuckles.
"Volubilis" I shout and both of them look at me quizzically for a moment before turning back to their fight. The blunt end of the weapon smacks the girl's chest as they realize the stake reversed itself. Without a second thought, the brunette juts the wood forward piercing her adversary's breastbone. I gasp as she turns to a fine, glittery dust.
"That—That was a vampire," I realize slowly.
"What gave it away? The neck wound or stake-through-the-heart routine?" She quips as she extends a hand helping me up.
"Both." I half-smile weakly. "Thanks."
"Hey we're even," she shrugs. "How did you do that whole hocus pocus thing?"
"Magick," I answer.
"No kidding." She seems slightly impressed and then looks me up and down. "You a witch?"
I nod eagerly.
"Huh," she resolves under her breath.
"Huh what?" I prod with a smile.
"Nothing, just thought witches looked different is all."
"You mean more like the Wicked Witch of the West?" My smile grows.
"No, I mean less like Annie the Texan playmate Oakley," she grins back.
"Oh." I look down at my outfit; the shirt is unbuttoned even lower than before and my jeans are undone, also courtesy of Karly. "Yeah, I don't usually dress like this…"
"Do you usually neck out back with vamps?" Her large brown eyes are surveying the alley.
"Old habits die hard," I reply, a little too convincingly because her gaze snaps to me in shock. She realizes I'm joking and her face softens.
"Faith," She says.
"I could use a little faith these days," I sigh.
"My name," she corrects me with a raised brow. "I'm Faith."
"Oh." I blush as my statement takes on a new meaning. "Tara. Me. Tara's me." I stammer pointing to myself. She nods slowly like I'm crazy but she doesn't seem to mind.
"Well, Tara, you, think you'll be okay?"
"Um, yeah, I just need to get to the bathroom and- uh- clean up." I try to take a step towards the back entrance and my legs give out as I start to fall. But she catches me. She feels as strong as she looked while fighting and her strength startles me. She looks tough, but not as capable as I can sense she really is.
"Here…" She's holding me and guiding me to the door. I'm not having a really good night considering the fact that I've been in the arms of two beautiful women so far.
We get into the bathroom and it's not the nicest public restroom ever. A few women are fixing themselves in the dirty mirror beneath the dim lighting. Faith's standing on the side the wound is on so the few people around probably just think I had a little too much to drink, which is partially true.
As the others clear out Faith pulls a bunch of paper towels and hands them to me. I press them against the sore spot on my neck and wince. She pulls a few more out and wets them from the rusty faucet.
"Let me see," she instructs. I obediently remove the reddened crumple in my hand and she dabs at the bite mark. I wince again and shudder.
"Should I, um, go to the hospital?" What would I tell Donny or my father? *Oh sorry, I got bitten by a vampire at a lesbian bar, could you come pick me up at the emergency room?* I steal a nervous glance at her concentrated features, awaiting her opinion.
"Nah, you're five-by-five. She didn't have time to the suck the blood from your toes," she can tell I'm not too comforted by this as I furrow my brow, and she continues. "You're fine, I have lots of experience with this stuff."
"Yeah," I start appreciatively. "You seem pretty, well, experienced."
"It's my job," she states, but I can feel something beneath her matter-of-fact tone. Something desperate, something strained.
"Unemployment office people got something against you?" I offer softly.
"It kind of chose me." She shrugs. "Besides, makes for a colorful resume." She takes some more towels and dries my neck, holding them in place cueing me to take them from her. "So you from around here?" She shifts the conversation.
"Yeah, not too far. You?"
"Boston." She shrugs again and I get the impression that she likes to pretend things aren't as big as they really are.
"Wow, New England? That's a long way to come by yourself." I know I'm digging, I'm scratching her surface. But her energy is quaking around her, something flexible yet strangely fragile keeping it in place.
"Yeah, well, my traveling companions sometimes end up dead so…" She lifts herself and sits on the counter. "Anyways, I'm on my way to Sunnydale."
"Sunnydale?" It sounds familiar. "Oh, I think they have a University there, when I was looking through colleges I came across it. Are you on your way to school?"
"Sort of, but high school actually. I need to find some chick, Bu—," she stops herself and glances at me. "Actually there's this whole secret identity bit so I guess I should just call her B." I nod in compliance.
"You came all the way from the other side of the country for her?" I hesitate. "Must be an important girl."
"Yeah, B, she's like me. Well, we're in the same line of work." She stops and squints out the blackened window. "Me and her. We're pretty much the only ones." Her tone is distant.
"It doesn't seem like people would be lined up around the block for your position," I offer, trying to bring her out of her dark thoughts. I notice a bruise is forming over her heart from where the stake hit her, I move to her and brush my fingertips over it gently. "You're hurt."
My light touch jolts her and sends a wave of something I've never felt before straight through me. "I'll deal," she mutters as she looks away.
I can feel her fear as if it were my own, but it has an unrecognizable edge to it. "Will you?" I keep my voice soft as to not offend. Slowly her brown eyes lock onto my blue ones. I want her to find solace in me, but I'm not sure if I can offer the sanctuary she needs.
"I'm not running away." Her tone isn't as defensive as the statement itself, she's trying very hard to sound convincing.
"I think we're all running away." Finally I break our connection and look at myself in the mirror. "Even when we're standing still."
"Yeah?" She peers at me, interest rising in her. "What are you running from?"
I swallow. "My mom died." It's not really an answer, I don't know what it is, but it satisfies me to say it. Her gaze has intensified, I've stirred her all up inside, there is something showing on her face. Tears start streaming down my pale cheeks and I'm still watching this disheveled cowgirl in the mirror, I'm seeing her cry. Faith nods her head slowly in acceptance.
She hops off the counter and moves to me. Placing her hands on my head, she runs her thumbs beneath my eyes. Stroking the damp flesh of my face before bringing her soft lips to the trail of tears there. I know she understands, because there is something beyond sympathy radiating from her touch, it's a familiar knowing. My mouth is trembling, anticipating her kiss and finally she gives in. Our tongues meet and I bear witness to her true nature full thrust. Her power is contagious and I push back as we try to conquer each other.
My hands move instinctively to her waist and roll down her leather clad hips. Accordingly, her palms slide down to my breasts and she massages them with her firm grasp. She's smaller than I am, not by too much, but enough that it might have looked a bit absurd as she so easily hoists me up as my legs wraps around her. My hands are in her hair now and the tight denim of my pants is creating friction against me.
Obligingly she undoes the front of my jeans and slips her free hand in. Her fingers find my sweet spot and she teases it furiously. I break the kiss to throw my head back against the wall and gasp. I feel Faith's lips move to the virgin side of my neck and suckle it tenderly. Without warning, she slips two fingers inside me and I inhale sharply. I moan, I pant, this cowgirl's been set free.
She's moving in and out of me and I cannot believe I'm doing this, let alone in a public restroom of a gay bar. And I don't care. Some people go numb when they are hurting, other's hurt so much they have to get rid of it quick. I don't know what category she and I fit into but we seem to fit each other and that's all that matters as I build towards my climax. Her pace quickens, and my mouth somehow finds hers again and we are throwing our pain back and forth. Beating it to a bloody pulp with our frantic embrace. Finally, my muscles spasm and there is this violent peace all through me.
I sigh and unwrap myself from her, she holds most of my weight until my feet are back on the floor. The bathroom door swings open and the woman smirks at us, I recognize her as the bartender. Faith and I look at each other and we smile, mine's embarrassed but hers is mischievous. I pull Faith into the largest stall and shut the door. Locking it behind her she leans back against it. I get to my knees and start unbuttoning her black leather pants.
She's not wearing underwear and I'm not exactly surprised. She looks down at me and absentmindedly licks her lips. This is the horniest girl I have ever seen, her eyes are dripping with lust and there's this unnatural hotness emanating from her. It burns me and gives me power. The fact that this superhero of a young woman is in my control makes me feel different than I've ever felt.
I peel the leather down her sweat-slicked legs and move my mouth to her navel, dipping my tongue in the small indent of her stomach before traveling downwards. I take my time. When her scent overwhelms me, I lightly flutter my lips over her heat, causing her to shiver. I then slip my tongue in and taste her. She's like cinnamon crackling my taste buds, with this soothing hum of an after flavor.
She entwines her fingers into my hair roughly and squeezes the blonde threads. She's not pulling so there's no pain, but she gives this animalistic air to it all. Like she's trying to control my control over her and but secretly loving every second of powerlessness. Her hips jerk and buck and she screams as she comes. I swallow her salt as it flows into me, and I know this is her only release because she's too tough to cry. Too busy acting solid.
I'm probably one of the few who know the truth. That there is this whole other part of people that not everyone sees. But it's just as important. I'm not talking about the inside, but the outside of the outside. And it's even more powerful than this dark angel standing in front of me, pulling up her pants and helping me to my feet.
We fix ourselves up as best we can and she breaks the silence comfortably.
"Buy you a few drinks?"
I smile and nod.
The fires are out and the sun is going to rise soon. I keep thinking that someone is singing to me, walking along beside me crooning beautifully, but then I realize it's just me and I giggle. I stop when I get to the trailer because I can hear movement inside. Donny should have been passed out a long while ago.
I kind of just stand there, my shirt wrinkled, my boots in hand and my hair in disarray. I'm not quite hunched over but I certainly can't be standing up straight because the earth seems to be at this weird, slanty angle.
Before my hand can even miss the door handle, the swinging screen is thrown open and I stumble back in surprise. I thought maybe I did that by accident but then I see Donny staggering out in front me. He's not drunk though, he's sobered up a lot, I can tell by his face. There's no glaze over his anger, it's pure and he's enraged. Before I can even guess how he got that black eye and swollen lip, my dad's figure emerges from behind him.
I can't breathe. He wasn't supposed to be home yet. Airport, he was supposed to be at the airport. Donny is supposed to be asleep on the lawn chair and I was supposed to climb into bed before he woke up or daddy came home. I wasn't supposed to get into trouble. But I should have learned by now that nothing ever goes the way it's supposed to for me.
"Tara…" My father breathes. I am sure that there was a hint of relief somewhere but all I could focus on was the frighteningly low tone in his voice. I can only move my mouth quietly. I can hardly comprehend what's happening now, so you'll understand why I had no idea what was coming and barely did even after it had happened.
My face hurt. I thought my father was reaching out to hug me, but then my face hurt and I was looking at the ground. He grabbed a hold of my chin firmly and jerks my face to his.
"This will not be tolerated young lady." His eyes grow colder. "You have never given me any reason to lose my temper on you before Tara. But this is ridiculous. I will not have a hooligan of a daughter, I already got a drunk for a son. You will not disappoint me. Do you understand?"
I study this grieving, furious stranger before me. He's not a large man but he's hurting my jaw with his grasp. I must have nodded because he seems satisfied and releases my face sharply.
Without anything, not even an apology in his eyes, he turns. I'm too shocked too speak. I'm breathing rapidly, I think, because I'm shaking, but I could just be shaking for the sake of shaking too. My eyes glance to Donny, whose rage isn't as quiet as my fathers. His eyes are bulging and his fingers are twitching. I realize that my father won't protect me anymore.
After his back disappears into the trailer, Donny moves to me. There is some dried blood on his lip and his eyes are wild, one outlined in a pretty blue. Donny never scared me before but beneath the scent of beer and sweat I can sense something lingering. It's the odor of a beast who has just been released from a cage, I know it because I felt it only hours ago. Mine was pleasure, his is pain.
"You bitch." He seethed. "Look what you done to him." What I've done to Dad?
The back of his hand reminds me of my father's previous disappointment. I'm blinking tears that refuse to be harnessed, my shock has subsided to something worse, a surge of helplessness passes through me. Another blow to my reddened face. I can taste the ground now as my cheek is cooled against the dirt.
"Donny, p-please…" My voice is soft but I am sure he can hear me.
"You weren't supposed to leave!" He screams at me.
"Donny, I-I'm sorry."
"You weren't supposed to leave us." His voice is almost shrill and his face screwed up in an intricate blend betrayal and anger. I realize that it doesn't matter what I say, he's not talking to me anymore. I close my eyes and anticipate, anything, I tense every muscle in my body in preparation; but it's my ribs that respond. He's kicking the breath out of me, all the while crying to and scolding our mother.
I'm far too upset to be able to focus and the liquor is still warm in my veins. "Macero." I whisper to the earth beneath me. His swift foot is meeting the fragile bones around my organs and all I can do is soften the blows.
I must have fallen unconscious at one point, because I twitch awake with the afternoon sun pouring down on my face. Slowly my throbbing head orders my eyes to open and I can see my father's denim clad legs from the view on my side.
I look up into his stern face. He clenches his jaw repeatedly before finally speaking.
"Get up Tara. Beth needs some help with the laundry, then you had better get started on the dinner." He pauses as if he expected me to reply, but I can barely form thoughts. "I trust we will never have another incident like last night?" His tone is all but inquisitive.
"N-n-no s-sir," I confirm with downcast eyes.
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