August 28, 2011 – See How It Feels
Summary: **Part of the 2011 LiveJournal's Twisted Shorts August Fic-A-Day** series. Tara wasn't going to watch another woman suffer because of what she was.
Challenge: for the livejournal 2011 August Fic a Day Challenge. And #6471 on TtH.
Timeline: post-season 6 'Seeing Red' for BtVS; season 1 'Open the Door Witchcraft' for Bewitched.
Warning: not exactly Darrin-friendly, but not bashing either.
A/N: I wouldn't consider myself a feminist – in the Gloria Steinem fashion – but Darrin pisses me off.
Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Bewitched characters belong to Sol Saks and Sony Pictures Television. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
"So what you're saying, is that my life was exchanged for Buffy's because we took her away from the afterlife?" Tara double-checked. The being nodded, so she continued, "And to serve as further…atonement, I need to help others before I can go to my afterlife?" Another nod. "Willow, Xander and Anya…will they have to do this too?"
A different voice answered from the air around them, "That depends on what they do with the rest of their lives; it is no longer your concern."
Morning Glory Drive
Tara read her assignment for the umpteenth time, wondering at the irony of this. She just spent the last year trying to convince Willow that magick wasn't to be used lightly. Now she was supposed to do basically the opposite for Samantha Stevens. Convince her not to give up her magick.
The difference between the two, however, was that Samantha was born and raised using magick while Willow learned about it. Plus, they used two different kinds of magick. A weird comparison – but the best she could think of – was the difference between a swimmer and a fish. While a human being could learn to swim, the water wasn't the natural environment for them. On the other hand, it was vital to a fish.
The same was true for Samantha and her magick.
If she gave up magick for good, it would destroy a part of her. And this is where the fish analogy didn't work perfectly. Samantha would still live, but she would be – in effect – disabled by giving up her powers.
All because her husband, Darrin, was uncomfortable with that part of her.
Tara felt an uncharacteristic growl welling up inside her whenever she thought of Darrin Stevens. She always tried to be compassionate and non-judgmental, but for some reason, he brought out the worst in her, and she couldn't figure out why.
Using her stealth mode, Tara entered the house to watch them interact – except for when they were being intimate. Viewing it live and in person was far different than watching a summary of the past. What she saw made her even angrier.
Okay, so some of his attitude was understandable…sort of, because in that time period, the roles between men and women were different. Samantha was to be a housewife while he went to work to earn the money for their bills. That part Tara could forgive since the Equal Rights Amendment hadn't been passed yet.
It wasn't until she heard him command Samantha not to ever use witchcraft again that Tara finally understood why she didn't like him. He sounded just like her father and brother when they would tell Tara that she would turn into a demon on her 20th birthday. Sure, Darrin wasn't telling Samantha she was a demon, but it was obvious he felt the same way about magick that Tara's family did. That it was unnatural and evil or something like that.
A few minutes later, Tara saw red. What a hypocrite!
First he accuses his wife of misusing her powers, then orders her to give up that part of herself, but now? Now he said it was fine for her to twitch her nose to open the garage door! So basically, he wanted to have it both ways; a normal life but with the added convenience of witchcraft whenever things got too tough for him.
They both needed to be taught a lesson, Tara decided.
For Samantha…Tara would show her a life of always compromising and changing herself to suit Darrin's whims. Since the magick Tara used was far different from Samantha or Endora's, Samantha knew it couldn't be any witch or warlock she knew of showing her this possible future for herself.
And what a future it was. Samantha didn't recognize herself. She always thought of herself as a spirited woman, but this woman was cowed by her overbearing husband. And fickle, too. When future!Darrin would leave for work in the morning, he would tell – not ask, but tell – future!Samantha what to make for dinner. Then just before leaving work, he would call and change his mind, or suddenly invite people over when whatever she was making was only meant for two people.
Then he would belittle her in front of his guests, pretending that he gave her plenty of time to be properly prepared. The men would pat him on the back, saying how unlucky he was to get stuck with somebody like her; the women would sneer at her for being such a screw up.
A beautiful blonde showed up, wiping away the future scene. "My name is Tara. I grew up with men who didn't like my mother or I having the ability to do what you call witchcraft. They were more direct about it than your husband, though, saying that we had demons in us and that we needed them to control us to keep the demon from taking over."
She reached over to take Samantha's hand and said, "I know you love your husband, but every time you compromise who you really are, you are taking one step closer to this future. If he loves you as much as you love him, he should accept all of you, not just the parts he likes. After all, you wouldn't ask him to give up being an advertising executive because it made you uncomfortable, would you?"
While Samantha was considering her answer, Tara switched over to Darrin. What to do with him… Maybe walking a mile in Samantha's shoes, figuratively speaking.
Tara created a world where Darrin lived among witches and warlocks. Samantha wanted him to act like everyone else, but he found it easier to do things the mortal way – which oftentimes led to disaster because he had to pretend to do them with magick. He had to re-learn everything he knew how to do, but with using magick instead, and learn it practically overnight so he wouldn't embarrass her in front of her friends and family.
Every time he didn't use magick, Samantha would show her disappointment in him. Every time something strange happened, she would accuse him of doing mortal stuff and wouldn't believe him when he promised he didn't – even though it was the truth.
And even though she would apologize later, each time she did it, it felt like a knife to his heart.
"That's what you are doing to Samantha by insisting she give up witchcraft," a blonde woman announced, clearing away the mirror world. "She doesn't mind doing some things the mortal way, but to make her will eventually destroy the woman you claim to love."
Feeling defensive at the sneer he could hear when the woman emphasized the word 'claim', Darrin retorted, "I do love, Samantha!" Remembering what he just experienced, he became distraught. "Is that really how I make her feel?"
"Sometimes," she answered. "She is a very forgiving person, and loves you enough to stand up to her mother. If she makes some compromises for you, don't you think it's fair for you to compromise a little too? She really shouldn't have to give up weddings in Egypt just because mortal means make it difficult to get there," she added, reminding him of a time when his attitude stopped her from being with her family.
Talk about making him feel like a heel. Darrin ducked his head in defeat. "I understand. Are you another one of her relatives? You seem too subtle to be related to Endora," he muttered under his breath. Oh well, whether she was or not wasn't the issue. If Samantha felt even half of what he just experienced, things would have to change. "Is it too late to make this up to her?" he asked.
The blonde shook her head, "Not as long as you are willing to try. Just remember, if you feel tempted to tell her behave in a certain way, ask yourself how it would make you feel if she did the same to you."
The next time Endora stopped by to visit her daughter and Durwood, she got the shock of her life. Samantha was using witchcraft in front of the boorish lout, but he wasn't complaining about it. What the devil was going on? She couldn't feel any spells manipulating their behavior, so they obviously were acting like that on their own. How peculiar! Maybe she was wrong about…Darrin after all.
A/N: When I watched the show before, it didn't bother me, but a couple months ago, I was watching it again and was livid at the way Darrin was treating Samantha. Now I've vented a little and feel better.
Tomorrow's (hopeful) fic: Wes/Calvin & Hobbes