Summary: What if Tara jumped? BTVS/ AB:VH
AN: This is completely a work of fancy and I own nothing. Feedback is my friend. Italics= thoughts and Bold= emphasis. UnBETA’d so feel free to volunteer.
Chapter 1: Too Late
The first thing Tara could think of was the pain. It felt like sharp knives being shoved into her brain. She opened up her mouth to scream but no sound came out. After what had seem to be forever, it ended and all that was left was a dull throbbing ache. She realized she was half stumbling, half running with Willow who was pulling her by her arm to relative safety. Willow was talking to her, but Tara was too disoriented to pay any real attention. She looked at a rickety tower and shabbily dressed people milling around and Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies fighting off Glory’s minions and— Glory!!-She was lost and afraid and it was dark and something was coming for her and she had to run, run, RUN!!!!
-She wants to go home, everything is wrong here, she doesn’t belong with the dirt and sweat and crawling and the-
-Have to be good, mustn’t make a sound, or THEY will find her and munch munch munch at her bones and make her a yummy snack-
-All she needs is this key, a simple key, and she can go home. Back to her servants and her home and her mother and were things didn’t hurt and itch and drive her to tears and madness. Just need the key to-
-Run, run, running. Can’t be caught. Gotta go, go, go, GO!!!!
Tara came back to herself suddenly. It could only have been a moment because Willow was still talking to her. She interrupted her. “Willow?”
“Yeah baby? It’s me, I’m right here, oh Goddess, are you okay?” Her voice was rough and wet and Tara couldn’t help but to hold her.
“I am, I’m just— Just confused is all, but it’s okay because you saved me.” She kissed her and held her even tighter. Pulling back Tara rested her brow against hers, “Always my brave Willow-Tree,” She smiled, kissed her for the last time and released her. “Now go help the others. I’ll be fine and they ne—need you. I just need to sit down for a second.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, now go, hurry!”
“I love you Tara!” Willow threw over her shoulder as she went to help Xander and Anya fight off a group of scabby minions.
A sad expression settled onto her face. “I love you too baby.” Tara started her way to the tower. She had to end this, before it was too late.
She made her way across the lot staying on the fringe of the crowd and shuffling about like those who weren’t lucky enough to gain what was stolen from them. When she reached the stairs, she had to stop herself from just running all the way up. She couldn’t draw attention to herself. But if she was moving just a little quicker than anyone else, no one noticed.
After an eternity, she could see the ledge. She was almost there; she couldn’t mess it all up now. Her heart was pounding and she feared that it would still be too late. “Go slow,” she said to herself, “go slow or they’ll see you”.
“Too late.” He was a heavy set man with stained pajamas. His eyes were wild and desperate when he stared at her. “The clocks ticking birdie and you’ll miss your flight. The kittens got the cream so run, canary, RUN!!!”
She turned the last corner to see a small elderly man cut Dawn while muttering to himself.
“ Tara!” Dawn screamed. And the man turned to her.
“Too late.” His smile was a cruel and vicious thing and it hurt Tara to see it. But his words echoed strangely to her and she had an odd moment of déjà vu. When she came back to herself she saw that the man was still talking and slowly moving towards her.
“… and Her kingdom will be great and beautiful and She will be merciless to her enemies.”
Tara pulled from within herself deeply like she had never done before and when she spoke her words echoed with power. “AWAY!
” He flew off the tower and into the night as if something had hooked around his waist and dragged him away. Tara turned towards Dawn.
“ Tara, help me, please!” She was crying.
“I’m right here, Dawnie.” She picked up the fallen knife and cut the ropes that held Dawn to the tower.
As soon as she was free Dawn grabbed Tara’s arm and tried to drag her away. “We gotta get out of here, Tara!”
“We can’t, Dawn; it’s too late. The ritual’s already been started.”
Dawn’s face was pale and ashen “I—I have to die, don’t I?”
“No!” Tara hadn’t meant to yell and she shocked herself and Dawn with her forcefulness. She tried again. “No, Dawnie. I saw a lot of things in Glory’s mind and—”
“Wait, what do you mean? You were in her mind?!” She looked horrified.
“Yes Dawn, I know it sounds c-crazy but I was. And I remember things. I remember that our information on the key wasn’t all there was. We didn’t have everything. It takes your blood to open the portal and the more you add the faster it will grow.”
There was a sound like the tearing of fabric and eerie glow was all around them. A dragon flew up in the sky.
“How do we stop it?” Dawn was scared.
“It needs a sacrifice, a willing one.”
“Who would do…” She understood it suddenly, what Tara was trying to say to her. She understood and she was horrified. “No, Tara! You can’t!”
“I have to, Dawn; there’s no other way. Listen I need you to, I need you to take care of my W-Will-Willow for me. Tell her I love her and I want her to be happy,” Tara couldn’t help but cry. “Tell everyone that they were my family and that they gave me so much joy and happiness every day. Even Spike.” Her smile was crooked as she listened to Dawns watery chuckle. “Be brave Dawn, so I can be brave too okay?” She held Dawn tightly for far too short a time. “Bye Dawnie, I loved you all.” She turned and she ran and she leaped.
She didn’t hear Buffy yelling her name at the top of the stairs, or Willow screaming her heart out to the Goddess. She didn’t hear anything at all.