Caleb. He's creepy, huh? Well, he's also in Sunnydale. And Tara is the only Scooby in town who isn't trapped in their own mind, fallen prey to The First's spell. But first, another little Tara flashback. She's ten or so. (Quick warning for child-abuse implications and situations).
Father always stood like that. Towering above her, so much taller than she was. It was like he had all of the power in the world… even though he looked so relaxed. When he stood like that, she knew he was going to hit her.
She crumpled against the wall for the fourth time this week, sniffing back the blood welling in her nose, fighting back the urge to wipe it away with her hand. It's just, if she stayed still enough, she might blend so perfectly into the wall that he would be able to walk past her without seeing the way she quivered. She squeezed her eyes shut. It's like playing statues, just like playing statues…you gotta hold still till the music starts again.
"God I hate it when you cry like that." The southerner-drawl of her brother's voice made her belly knot. "You look gross."
Tara grudgingly opened her eyes, looking up at older brother and blinking him into focus. He stood like her father did. All-power, no-effort. His eyes had the same cold, uncaring, deadness to them as well. He reached out a hand to her and she flinched. What now? She couldn't take much more.
"Get up turd, I was tryin' to help you."
She frowned, taking his hand warily. He pulled her up. At sixteen, he was now as strong and tall as her father. She was quite sure she was more scared of him now than she had been when she was younger. In a second swift movement, he shoved her back hard against the wall, his arms pinning hers at her sides. She struggled against him, feeling the horribly familiar feeling of dread spread over her, making her entire body tense and freeze. She shoved her knee into his crotch, but he dodged her blow, chuckling lightly.
"None of that," he smirked. "You're ten years old Tara. Do you really think you're stronger, faster or smarter than me?"
"I'm s-s-smarter," she spat angrily. His hand pulled back and slapped her hard across the face. She felt the print welling on her cheek instantly, and her nose began to bleed again. Roughly, Donny shoved a thigh between her legs, pressing hard up into her crotch. She squirmed away from his touch, wriggling in his grip. But as always, he was stronger. Stronger arms and stronger legs…harsh fingers that raised bruises and left blood in their wake. His hands tightened around her and he hissed against her neck, raising a hand and tugging her hair, making her whimper in pain. Donny grunted, grinding against her writhing form. She felt the inevitable tears begin tracking down her cheeks as she splayed her palms against the wall…maybe she could still sink into it and never have to come back. Never again have to remember how disgusting she was. She was already numb all over. Forgetting might be nice. Then she'd really have nothing left. She whimpered again, bracing for the inevitable pain of Donny's next move. Nothing left. Nothing at all. Not now, with her feet not quite touching the ground, with her body pinned under a weight twice her own. He'd taken everything from her…Her father, Donny…they'd left her with nothing. Except.
She screamed. One long, high, keening note. And with it came the most powerful thing she'd ever felt. The magic coursed through her like fire and built so strongly she thought she'd explode. And explode she did. A massive burst of light and energy sprayed from her body, Donny flew backward, hitting the opposite wall, a murderous look in his eyes. Tara shuddered, sinking to the floor, her body quaking with the sobs welling deep inside her chest. Donny quickly stood running out of the room. Before closing the door, her turned, a slight smirk now gracing his pale face.
"Later, pretty girl."
"Hi pretty girl. The name's Caleb."
Tara very slowly turned around, her eyes widening to saucers as her gaze fell in the preacher-man in front of her. His eyes were dark and menacing, but his stance… it was so relaxed. Like he had nothing to fear in the whole world. And, as if she was twelve years in the past, her stomach twisted, her limbs went cold, her whole body instantly became numb. Despite the fact that the cruel men with harsh eyes and southern accents hadn't touched her in six years, her body still readied itself for their torment.
Willow sobbed deeply. She felt the way Tara's entire being reacted to the man before her, the way in made her feel…and Willow wept for her love. What more could she do? Whilst she could not help Tara, she could still be there to feel what she felt…let her know that she had nothing to fear. That she loved the beautiful blonde witch with all her heart, body and soul.
The scoobies slowed their fighting, all looking up in interest.
"Now," Caleb said, "they're mine at the moment, aren't they?" He gestured to the possessed scoobies.
Tara just stared at him, unable to even open her mouth. It was like she was frozen.
"Huh, quiet one." He shook his head, slowly circling Tara. The Scoobies had all broken apart now and where watching with interest. The man had power over them… they knew that…they'd do anything for him. Vamp-Buffy slowly strode forward, gazing up at him reverently, licking her bloodied lips.
"You'd be the Slayer wouldn't you," he smiled.
Buffy was facing the biggest internal battle of, like, ever. This guy before her was obviously mucho-evil, but her stupid vampy-body was all gasp and swoon for him. She'd never felt so ridiculously helpless to what her body was doing…well, actually, she had once before. That Halloween where her ridiculous Victorian-Girl costume had enabled her to single-handedly set feminism back 1000 years.
"And I'd be the other one," Murder-y-girl Faith strolled forward while wiping Anya's blood off her hands on her leathers, with the usual loping grace in her step that had always reminded Buffy of a lioness stalking her prey. You know, if lions ate creepy preacher guys. Well, the non-possessed Faith probably would have eaten him. This one looked like she wanted to kiss him. Her eyes met his with an adoring gaze, her pointed tongue darting over her lips as she smiled softly. Damn her girlfriend was hot, Buffy thought to herself. But that so wasn't the issue right now. She needed to stop herself and Faith from doing something stupid. Like killing Tara.
"Now, my little playthings. I'm havin' of a job for you."
"Anything," Buffy breathed through her fangs.
"Yes," Anya nodded. "Whatever you request, Caleb. We are all completely enthralled and willing."
He smiled. "Thank you. Now, I know that Tara here sent your little Potentials away, but I want you to go get them. And kill them. However you like."
"I enjoy torture," Anya supplied.
"Then torture to your heart's content. As long as the end result is death. They're too impure to deserve to be spared."
Oh no. Oh shit oh God oh crap oh holy frigging no way. Buffy struggled against herself, pushing with all her might to move her own limbs, to raise a fist and send this creep-tastic douche flying. But no-go.
"No sparing, check," she heard herself say, and she strolled out the door into the twilight, Faith and the other scoobies following closely behind.
"Uh, just a moment," Caleb said softly. "I count the slayers, the demon, the human, the wolf, the key, the watcher, the vampire… where is the witch?"
"Right here," Giles gestured to Tara.
"No no, this witch was not meant to be turned as the rest of you, she's for me to deal with. I mean the dark witch."
"Willow," Tara breathed.
"So you can talk?" Caleb smirked.
"She's in England," Giles said, tone bored as he stalked out the door after the others.
"Willow," Tara repeated, locking eyes with Caleb.
"Oh," he said, beginning to laugh softly. "So she's not just your little witch-buddy then?
"Willow," Tara murmured a third time, beginning to feel the numbness that had cascaded through her at the familiarity of her situation alleviate.
"How un-biblical of you," he mused. "You know, the good-book frowns on your kind of relationship."
"Tara," Willow whispered, projecting every ounce of her remaining strength and love to her quivering soulmate.
"Willow," Tara hissed, "is my everything, and I personally d-d-don't care what you have to say." She tripped over her words slightly, wishing she was coming off a little stronger. She could hear the fear in her own voice. And Caleb obviously could too. He took two steps forward, until he was so close they were practically touching. Tara could feel her knees begin to weaken and her hands shake.
He's not them, the sweet little voice in her head said. He's not them baby, he can't touch you. Not when I'm here with you.
Kennedy was running as fast as she could, but her pace was getting slower by the second. The throbbing, burning pain in her shoulder was relentless. She could feel whatever poison it was the werewolf teeth were imbued with already coursing through her veins. How could this have happened? Oz bit her and now… No. No. She couldn't think about it right now. She had to protect the girls. Tara had entrusted them to her and she had to get them somewhere safe.
"Violet!" She called, "do a head-count while we run."
Kennedy shuddered. She didn't know how many girls were left. There had been at least three casualties.
"Thirty-four!" Vi's tired voice called back.
"Shit," Kennedy whispered, slowing to a jog. They'd lost seven girls to those stupid ubers. It had all happened so fast, the Scoobies changing and the attack… Things just… they couldn't get any worse than right now. Kennedy was so distracted she almost slammed into the blonde who was standing in the middle of the road.
"Hey Kennedy," and Buffy bent her head and sank her fangs into Kennedy's neck.
CLIFF HANGER. Lol don't worry, I promise update in 2-3 days. Reviews might get you one sooner?