Pairing: Tara/D (NonShip)
Disclaimer: I don’t own Buffy or Vampire Hunter D. Buffy and related characters belong to Whedon. Vampire Hunter D and related characters belong to UrbanViz and Hideyuki Kikuchi.
Warnings: Spoilers for a Previous One-shot of Mine
A/N: Well, this is it. The 31st fic in the 2011 August Fic-A-Day Challenge. I can’t believe I made it all the way here. Well, I’m glad I did. Anyway, this fic is set, obviously, post season 7 of Buffy, disregarding the comics save for a few fun things here and there. As for Vampire Hunter D, I take a lot from the novels—since I’ve read almost all the English translation ones, including the manga based on them. Enjoy!
There was one thing that had always baffled Tara about her awakening. Why had she been cuddled up close to a vampire—Noble, as they were mostly called now? It bothered her more than she said, since she was pretty sure her Willow Tree would have never buried her with a vampire. Granted, a lot of time had passed since then, so Willow probably had no idea that her Tara would wake up—ever.
It hurt Tara to think about Willow, to think on how she was probably long dead and dust. That was something she didn’t like to talk about it. Goddess knew, though, that Left Hand—the demon, spirit, whatever that possessed D’s left hand—liked to egg her on. He talked almost constantly to her, trying to get her to talk about her life before she had awakened with the Noble. The records that D had found—D, the half-blood vampire she had stuck to like glue despite his threats to leave her in the next town, and the town after that, and so on—had actually nothing about why, specifically, the vampire who had found her had decided to keep her alive and us her as his personal teddy bear.
It seemed she would never know the truth behind it, as the trio moved almost constantly through the land now known as the Frontier. When she had finally talked D into showing her a map of landscape, she had gasped. The “Frontier” was what she had once known as Europe and Asia, which raised even more questions for her. She had been buried in the good ol’ US of A. How the hell had she gotten to Europe?
“You might just wanna give it up, sweetheart,” Left Hand said one night as they made camp. “Records from your time are few and very, very far between. Nuclear weaponry tends to do that.”
Tara shook her head. “I wouldn’t expect to find a record specifically mentioning me. I w-wasn’t very important. But my friends, Buffy, Willow, Xander… all of them, even Spike… there should be some record of them. I mean, they did great things… well, Spike mostly killed people.”
“Spike?” Left Hand asked.
Tara waved her hand. “Vampire who had a crush on Buffy, big time.”
“I’ve never heard of a noble named Spike,” D said, causing Tara to jump.
D didn’t speak much. He was more of kick-ass now, take names later kind of guy. She never really knew when to expect the monotone dhampire to put in his two cents.
“Historical name of William the Bloody?” she offered.
“Wasn’t that the vampire who claimed that the Sacred Ancestor owed him money?” Left Hand asked.
Suddenly, Tara’s eyes widened. “You mean that Dracula is this Sacred Ancestor you two keep talking about? He’s the one who ruled all the vampires when they were in their heyday?”
“You know him?” D asked, sounding genuinely interested in her for the first time.
“Well, not personally. But Buffy… she fought him. He came to Sunnydale for her.”
Left Hand and D exchanged a look, which was friggin’ hilarious considering the fact that it was D’s own hand. Suddenly, the dhampire stood.
“I need to take you somewhere,” he said.
It took him only moments to pack up the camping gear he had set out specifically for the witch. In another flash, he had pulled her up on his black steed, sitting her in front of him. With one crack of the reins, they were off into the night.#
Tara wasn’t sure when she had fallen asleep, but when she had woken up once more, it was daylight. And they were crossing a long drawbridge into a castle that looked largely abandoned. She shook herself into alertness, running through a list of spells in her mind that might be useful for whatever it was that might be up ahead.
“Don’t bother,” Left hand said. “D cleaned this place out eons ago when he—argmh”
D tightened his hand around his reins, cutting off Left Hand’s sentence. Tara looked back at the stoic hunter, narrowing her eyes at him. When he what? Something told her that he wouldn’t have answered her when they finally came into the center of the castle’s dead garden in the courtyard. D dismounted, pulling Tara down beside him.
“Follow me,” he said as he entered the castle as if he had done this a million times before.
And for all Tara knew, he had. The castle was dusty, and Tara sneezed at least twenty times before they cleared into the main foyer of the castle. Once there, she gasped. Even through the cobwebs, the place was magnificent. Its floors were a polished red color, and she couldn’t figure out what the material was that yielded such a rich tone. The musty drapes that hung from all the columns around the room were just as red, hemmed in gold. Two broken staircases still tried to wind their way toward the upper part of the castle. And in the center of the staircases, on the bottom floor, was a large computer.
Tara narrowed her eyes. The computer just seemed so out of place, especially considering the large ornate portrait of Dracula hanging above it. It was then that she paused, her eyes darting back and forth between the painting and D.
“Your father?” she asked, but received no answer.
Instead, D just made his way over to the computer, hitting one of the larger buttons on it before finally typing something in on its keyboard. His hand paused, hovering over another button. He turned back to Tara.
“Your lover, Willow, she was a powerful witch, wasn’t she?” he asked.
Tara pursed her lips, nodding. “How do you know that? I’ve never mentioned her being a witch to you.”
“I know because I’ve met her.”
He hit a single key on the machine, and a holograph, all static-y, projected itself on the floor behind D and Tara. Tara whirled, eyes wide.
“Willow?” she whispered.
“Tara,” she said, and the blonde witch gasped, choking back the tears that threatened to roll down her cheeks.
Tara gasped, shaking her head. It was Willow, without a doubt, but there was something definitely different about her. Her hair was long and black, and she wore a long mauve dress that looked like it belonged to a time before this one—even before Tara’s. Her pale face was too pale, blue veins edging in on her cheeks. And her eyes… her eyes were black
“It took me a while to figure out what Dawn had done,” Willow explained, and Tara had to remind herself that this was nothing but a recording. “I felt it when I visited your grave for the first time. You weren’t dead. You were only sleeping. When I knew what Buffy was going to do, I had a feeling that Sunnydale wasn’t going to survive. So I moved you, Tara. I buried you out near Stonehenge, because you said that that’s where you wanted to buried, remember?”
“I remember,” Tara nodded.
“I’m getting off subject,” the holograph sniffled. “Things happened, Tara. So much that I can’t possibly tell you here. Buffy made many slayers, we fought, and in the end, it was for nothing. The big bads still won. And I changed. The magic I had used all those years had an… interesting side effect. Goddess, Tara, when you find this… odds are I’ll still be alive.”
Tara blinked, shock running through her body like electricity. Holograph Willow shook her head.
“It was fate, Tara, not coincidence, that made Dawn use the wrong spell. I see that now. You have to find me Tara… and you have to save me. I won’t be the Willow you knew.”
She grinned, a little wryly. Tara shook her head. Save her? From what?
“One more thing, in honor of Andrew, wherever he is now,” Willow said, seeming to motion at the fact that she was in holograph form. “Save me, Tara Maclay, you’re my only hope.”
Tara laughed, a tear rolling down, as the holograph turned itself off. She turned toward her dhampire companion, who only stared evenly back at her.
“I have to do it. I have to save her,” Tara said. “Will you help me?”
“You’re barking up the wrong tree, sister,” Left hand scoffed. “This one is nothing if not for a—”
Tara grinned at D as Left Hand let out an indignant, “What?”
“Where do we start?” the vampire hunter asked.
Tara grinned. “Stonehenge. I don’t know why, but I think that’s a good starting point. Besides, I’d like to know if the stones are still standing.”