DISCLAIMER: Joss owns the canon.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I never really understood how or why Tara's dad would know or pretend to know that the women in his wife's family were part demon. This piece is a dark piece examining one way that he might have come to that conclusion.
SUMMARY: Tara's mother walks in on something no mother should ever see.
WARNING: Disturbing content; sexual abuse.
Once upon a time, she had been Victoria or Vicky or darling or baby. Now her name was damn it, Tori, all rushed into one dismissing word. Damnittori. Once upon a time, she'd been a little girl. Now she had a little girl named Damnittara or Yougirl and a little boy who still called her momma instead of Woman like she knew he someday would. Damnittori also had a husband who loved the little boy, tolerated the little girl, and loved Damnittori in between the sheets and in the kitchen and tolerated her everywhere else.
Once upon a time, life had been magical. Now life just was, and she had to go looking for the magic: in the air and the earth and the water. In her baby's giggles, in the awe the husband hadn't stamped out of her little boy's eyes. In the memory of the love she'd felt for the husband, once upon a time.
Then he'd asked her about the power, the gift. He hadn't understood when she'd explained about the rules, the obligations, the connection. All he'd understood was that she had power she wasn't sharing, wasn't giving, and wasn't a wife supposed to obey? That night, she'd become Damnittori, and he'd become the husband, and Tara had been conceived.
Months later, her belly swollen so far that she couldn't see her feet, he'd tried again. "That damn Billy Porter cheated me." He'd demanded that she fix it, fix Billy good: make him choke on his own tongue, make him see things that weren't there. She'd refused.
"Damn it, Tori."
She'd been expecting the words, but not the backhand that sent her flying. She'd curled up on the ground, wrapping her hands protectively around her middle, and he'd ranted and damnittoried and kicked at her, and she'd let the magic seep into her womb, protecting the baby even as Donny started wailing in the next room. So she'd told him she couldn't, that it didn't work that way, that there were limits.
"I. Can't. Work. Magic. On. Him."
"Why? You're my wife, not his. You do what I tell you to, not what you think is in damn Billy Porter's best interest." He'd leered at her. "I saw you looking at him. Saw him leering at you. You think I don't know?"
She'd gritted her teeth as he'd railed against her, and then, inspiration had struck.
"I can't work magic on him because I haven't slept with him."
Her words had stopped the husband in his tracks. She was his wife, damn it, and he couldn't very well demand she sleep with Billy Porter. Life had gone on, the baby had been born, and Damnittori went about her life in the kitchen and in the bedroom and in her children's eyes and pushed down the memory of her lie.
"There's a good girl. That's right."
Tori lifted her head from the eggs she was beating, surprised. His tone was soft, muted, not his more typical booming yell.
"Now open your mouth. Damnittara, stop crying. It's just a game. Don't you want to play a game with your daddy? Don't you want to be Daddy's princess?"
The words sent chills down Tori's spine. She walked towards the words, each one echoing in her head, her stomach rolling with the sound of it. And then she was throwing open the door, and His hands were all over her baby. Her two year old baby. He was prying open her mouth, and tears were running silently down the little girl's cheeks.
"Just a game," the husband muttered. "It's just a game."
Tori's mind reeled. A game with her naked husband and their two year old daughter.
"Open your mouth."
The power built up inside of her, and in the next instant, the husband was flying across the room. Tara stood next to her crib, frozen to the ground, her mouth barely open and her face crumbled into a child's tears, her entire body shaking.
"Damnittori, what in the hell do you think you're doing?"
She gathered her daughter to her, ignoring the husband's outraged cry. Her power was drained, and if he came at her now, she and the baby both would suffer. And what of the next time? God, what of the previous times? Had it happened before?
"How dare you?"
His words hit her a second before his fist did. In her arms, Tara's sobbing gave way to desperate sucking sounds as the little girl tried to breathe. Tori (not Damnittori, not now) stayed on her feet and looked him square in the eye. "You can't touch her like that." Her voice was quiet and even to her own ears it sounded defeated, rather than fierce. Her energy, along with her power, was drained.
"She's my daughter. I'll touch her however I damn well please." His hand rose again.
"You don't understand," Tori continued, pleading with him, and in the next moment, clarity fell over her, and the words rushed out of her mouth. "You'll hurt her, and when she grows up, she'll hurt you."
"That thing? Hurt me?" He laughed and shook his head, his body still tense with temper.
"She's like me," Tori whispered. "It's all the women in my family, and if you touch her like that, if you…"
She saw the moment he realized what she was trying to tell him.
"She'll be able to use the power on you." The words were coming quickly now, and her stomach tightened as she said them.
She should have known he would demand answers.
"When she turns twenty," Tori replied, the lies coming easily now. "She's a demon. I'm a demon, and if you touch her, it will come back to you fourfold. I won't be able to stop her."
Her words hung in the air and carried the weight of a prophesy, and after a long moment, the husband slammed out of the room.
Once upon a time, she'd dreamt of a castle and a knight in shining armor and happily ever after. Now she let her hair fall into her face, hiding the newly formed bruise and singing softly to her under her breath.
"Just a playroom, safe in my home
only a playroom, safe in my home
got no tears, no fears, and nowhere else to roam
cause my Momma wants me always
to stay home
safe in my playroom, safe in my home…"
The words caught in her throat, and Tori swore over and over again that Tara was safe, that Damnittori had done all she could to make her daughter safe.
She'd done all she could, once upon a time.
Sorry for the darkness. Please let me know what you think.