(Warnings and Disclaimers in Chapter One. Thank you once again to Jason for your patience with me and working so hard with me on the plot line! Thank you to everyone reading and reviewing this story; you’re definitely the driving force behind helping me create this. Please remember this is just fanfiction, and its taking place in a sci-fi and a goth/fantasy setting… anything is possible.)
Tara tried to keep her distance as she followed her lover down the street. It took all the courage she had not to keep from jumping at every little shadow as she quietly tailed the red haired witch. Over the past couple of months, Tara had noticed the behavior of her beloved as it changed. Willow always seemed so tired and forgetful, more than once, if Tara ran into her lover unexpectedly it would take a moment for the girl to respond and even then Willow acted as if she had just woken from a dream.
Then there was the magic. Ever since she had brought Buffy back, Willow used it almost non-stop, for every little thing. On Halloween, just before Giles left, he made the comment about Fantasia as Willow used her powers on a broom to sweep the store. Before anything else could be said about it however, Xander had announced his engagement to Anya. Using magic to decorate for an impromptu party had sparked another of the ongoing arguments between Tara and her lover.
The shy blond witch still felt guilty about the spell she had cast on the Scoobies when she thought she was going to turn into a demon. It had been a hard lesson to learn, and a small part of her was still trying to find a way to make it up to them. At some level of her subconscious Tara knew her love of Willow and gratefulness of being saved from the hell Glory put her through, she was blinding herself to some of the changes she had witnessed, coming up with excuses and willing herself to believe the fault lay within her own weaknesses, not Willow.
As she followed Willow through the night her suspicions became increased when she saw the redhead disappear in the middle of the street. Going to the area, Tara could feel the slight pull of magic, in a town like Sunnydale, if she hadn’t been looking, Tara would have easily passed by the shallow dimension shift without a thought. After a deep breath she took a step forward to find herself in dingy little room just in time to see a tall man seductively running his fingers across Willow’s jaw line before guiding her into another room.
Her eyes were clouded with tears as Tara turned; running away from what she could only conclude was a cheating lover and her boyfriend…
“Oh, here’s one for you, Dawn,” Jack started as they all stood around the kitchen. He cradled a mug of hot chocolate in his hand, poking at the mini-marshmallows floating in the hot liquid. After his recent trip down to the South Pole, he was still trying to break away some of the chill that had set into his body during his visit to the Antarctica Base. “Ever almost been shot down by an alien probe being guided by a Scottish geneticist?”
Joyce’s head came up suddenly, her eyes wide, as she looked at her fiancé, half in concern for his well being, half in disbelief. After a moment’s consideration, she realized she didn’t want to know the truth behind his comment.
“Um, can’t say that I have, ooh, but I forgot to tell you, my sister was cloned was into a robot.”
Joyce made a face of disgust, turning from the kitchen counter where she was preparing dinner. “Please, honey, don’t even bring that up. I still get shivers just thinking about that… thing. Between it and Ted, I don’t think I can handle any more robots in my life.” Turning back, she shook her head and began chopping some celery.
“Well, Jack wa…” Cassie’s voice was suddenly muffled as Dawn’s hand quickly stopped her from talking.
“Jack was what, Cassie?” Joyce asked looking back at the two girls.
“Um…” She noticed Jack shaking his head in a slight movement behind his fiancé, and making a motion of ‘cut’ across his throat. Joyce glanced over her shoulder in time to see him cover the movement by scratching at his neck. “Nothing… was just gonna say how he was… um… frozen in a block of ice for a few months.”
The blond woman scrunched her face in disgust. She had a good guess about what Cassie was going to say since Jack had told her privately about some of the missions he had been on, but at that moment, Joyce didn’t want to think about that type of stuff. “Girls could we drop this ‘comparing of weirdness scars’ for a little while.” She leveled her stern gaze on Jack, “You too mister. Speaking of ice, I think I’ve had about as much as I can handle, especially after talking to Buffy this morning and finding out about poor Rusty.”
“Rusty, the guard at the museum?” Dawn inquired.
Joyce nodded, “It seems last night he was found frozen in a bunch of ice after a diamond was stolen.” She sighed and turned back to the counter. “I hope his wife is taking this alright.”
Jack looked guiltily at the girls and mouthed a ‘gulp’ before covering up a chuckle with a cough as Joyce turned to eye him suspiciously.
Oh, how she wished for access to some of the technology she once had. A Hand Ribbon for one would come in very handy at this moment. Once in the room alone with Rack, she demanded he show her how to access the powers locked within her host body. Fighting the strength of will her host possessed was beginning to take its toll. If she were unable to tap into the magic, she would be forced to find a new host soon.
Rack laughed at the young woman standing before him, “No.” He smiled teasingly at her, watching with glee as anger rushed into her face. Quick as a vampire, and with nearly the same physical strength, the woman before him moved so her hand was closing around his throat.
“You will assist me, or I will kill you,” the metallic tinged voice ordered, eyes flashing gold in her rage.
The black magic dealer roared in laughter before his face went cold. He reached for her neck and dark tendrils of magic did his bidding, winding their way down her throat, obstructing her airflow. The symbiot felt her hold over the host draining as the body began to weaken under the assault. Her grip fell from Rack’s collar, she thought briefly about trying to take him as a host, before realizing she was too weak to begin another fight. The Goa’uld couldn’t take the chance on another of these humans being so powerful.
She felt Racks hold loosen slightly, but she was drained already, on the verge of her own death. After sleeping for millennia in the jar, she decided to use caution and allowed herself to go into a type of hibernation while she and her host regained their strength before she would either try to take over again, or find a new body.
Coughing, Willow blinked, her vision was fuzzy as she regained consciousness, “Wha… where am I?” She asked cautiously, more to herself than anyone else.
Rack sat back on his chair as he regarded the beautiful little redhead on his floor. First thing he noticed was a difference in her voice. ‘So, the strawberry is possessed.’ He thought as a sadistic smile crossed his face. This was unlike any possession he had ever seen; however it was Sunnydale, so that didn’t mean much. Taking advantage of the situation, he crossed to her and touched her back gently, “You came here so I could help you, Strawberry. Don’t you remember?” He gave his best smile as Willow looked up at him uneasily.