disclaimer: Not mine. Tara belongs to Joss Whedon. The other characters belong to Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, and Danny McBride.
AN: Meant to be a little silly. Please take this as lightly as I meant it.
She was a little stiff when she tried to sit up. Just a little. And her pants were gone. Tara gasped. She was on a little cot in a dark room that looked not at all un-dungeony. Her sneakers were on the floor next to her cot. Her pants were nowhere to be seen, and she looked too. Well, that was just... odd. She still had on clothes. Cotton underpants and her t shirt. Her bra even. Everything was accounted for except her pants. Tara looked around the small, dark cell again. This time she was more aware, not just in search of her pants.
She could feel eyes on her.
"H-hello?" She looked around. "Are my pants being cleaned or something? I'd like them back please."
No one answered her.
Still no answer.
"D-don't make me bust the door off of its hinges. I can, y-you know."
Tara sighed. Well, maybe they didn't know, but if they didn't release her and return her pants, they'd known. Tara sighed again. She did so hate having to use her witchcraft here. It was a different plane. Her magic seemed more... potent. More like Willow's had been. It was just forceful here. Only it never got away from her. She could tell it never would. It was different here, this world. The flow of it had taken some getting used to. Her new friends had taken some getting used to also. What exactly did you call a 'Scooby Gang' that consisted mostly of werewolves? Or lycans as they seemed to be more commonly referred to in this plane, what did you call that? What did you call a 'Scooby Gang' that was helmed by not a slayer and a watcher, but a vampire assassin and a hybrid lycan? Half lycan, half vampire. A higher breed of creature. Or an abomination. Depended on who you asked.
Tara wasn't sure how she fit in with this group. She was with them though. She was the lone human among them. She'd been plunked down in this place in the middle of a war. It wasn't bad enough that she had gotten shot and died before her lover's eyes in her last life. No, she had been reborn in this place. A place with layers of reality. Not totally unlike the place she'd come from, but different enough for her to feel those differences in every day. Most humans saw what they wanted to see. They had in both lives she had lived. The rest of the beings around either lived in both worlds or the one underneath.
She lived in both. She remembered all.
Someone had obviously kidnapped her though. And heisted her pants.
"All right... if no one wants to give me my pants back..." She muttered as she stuffed her feet into her sneakers. "I guess I really will have to come and get them."
The door banged open. "And why would you want to do that?"
Tara assessed him in less than a second. Chiseled. Male. Vampire. Not a minion or an underling. Not in that shirt.
"Because I happen to like those pants."
"You're the sorceress. His sorceress."
"I am?" Tara paused. "He... who?"
"Michael." He spat.
She flinched. His tone in using Michael's name told her much. It was not love and devotion or anything remotely like either of those two things that she was picking up from him in reference to Michael. She'd heard the whispers of the time before her arrival in this place, and recently, many a blank had been filled in for her, so she guessed...
"Who was it that spoke of me? Him..." He spat, then he practically purred. "Or was it Selene?"
Interesting. So Selene hadn't been exaggerating about the whole denial and obsession thing he had going on. It was sort of... dare she say... attractive on him. If she liked boys and vampires, he could pose a definite problem here. As it was, for a non-female, he was adequately sexy. He just wasn't her type. Especially since he was apparently carrying the biggest honking torch she'd ever seen for one of her friends. Tara couldn't really blame him though. She'd had a big crush and some serious lust for Selene when they'd first met. Funny that his obsession made him a bit more attractive. Not that she was truly interested, but Tara could appreciate what a fine specimen of undeadliness he made. He was no Spike or anything, but he wasn't an absolute eyesore either.
"It was Selene, if you must know."
"What did she say?"
Too eager of him. Tara just smiled slightly. He was like a puppy begging for a strip of bacon... and she didn't think he'd appreciate that comparison at all. "I think I sh-shouldn't tell you."
He laughed, very fake-like, as if he was merely humoring her. "You're cautious. That's good. You should be."
"Can I have my pants back now?"
"I like you better without them." He replied huskily, eyeing her legs hungrily.
Tara made a face. Oh goddess. Was he flirting with her? Tara rolled her eyes. Gross. Sure, he was sort of sexy and all, but that didn't mean she wanted him acting all sexy with HER. He didn't have the right equipment for that... or he had too much 'gear'.
"What?" He asked, sounding a bit suspicious.
"You'd get further here without your penis."
"What?" He snapped.
"I like girls." Tara smile a wry little Mona Lisa smile. "You and I shared a crush even."
He had the most incredulous look on his face.
"Sh-she's very lovely. Dangerous too. All that dark hair, that pale skin, those dark eyes, her preference for wearing binding clothing made mostly of vinyl... I don't blame you for being obsessed."
"I think you know I'm talking about Selene. She's an undead hottie. It's too bad she likes Michael a whole, whole lot. You should see them together. They-"
"Shut up." He interrupted He even stomped his foot for angry emphasis.
She could have sworn his eye twitched when she'd said Michael's name, but she couldn't be sure. She'd been too busy trying to needle a reaction out of him to notice. Tara clenched her teeth together so not to giggle. She was absolutely terrified, and she did not know what was possessing her to be such a smart-mouth with him, but at the same time she was recalling things Selene had mentioned offhandedly about Kraven. Specifically about Kraven and his penchant for temper tantrums and over-dramatizing things.
"You'll get to see her when she comes for me." Tara said, taking that attitude she'd used with Spike in reference to the cramp in his pants. Seemingly bored and just observant, but really zinging barbs exactly where she meant for them to be.
She could nearly hear the grinding of his fangs in his mouth.
"Her and Michael."
This time she was sure he flinched when she said Michael's name.
"They work so well together. They take good care of me, and when Lucian is risen again, we shall-"
"Ooops. Did I mention a crucial part of the plan?"
"That's not possible."
"Sure it is. I just mentioned it."
"I meant..." He seemed to be trying to control his temper. "That it is not possible for Lucian to be again. The silver-"
"It's improbable, since we haven't located where is body is hidden yet, but not impossible." Tara said politely. "I've helped raise the dead before. Someone killed by mystical energy. Sure, not in this plane of existence, but I have been part of the process."
She could practically see the tension vibrating from him. Selene had mentioned what a sore subject Lucian was to just about any vampire, but specifically Kraven. There were definite issues.
"You're the one who sounds nervous with that stutter." He snapped.
"I am... but I'm the hostage here, right? I have a reason to be nervous."
From above them there sounded several loud crashes and some rapid gunfire. Tara smiled widely. She knew they'd come for her. She was like their pet. In the non-kinky and non-servant meaning of the word. They took care of her. If she was lost, they found her.
Tara turned her grin to Kraven. "And now it looks like you have a reason to be nervous too."
A blonde girl rushed into the room. Tara looked at her appreciatively. If the girl wasn't wearing enough leather for three cows, she might be ever more adorable. Her curly blonde girlie hair didn't seem to go with her leather ensemble. Tara's appraising looks had gained both Kraven's notice and his complete irritation.
"Not now, Erika!" Kraven snapped.
"It's Selene, Kraven... and HIM." Erika's eyes darted quickly to Tara. "They've come for her."
"Can I have my pants back now?"
"No!" Kraven roared at her. Then he turned on Erika, practically shoving her from the room. "Go! Be useful! Stall them!"
He slammed the door behind her.
"That was a little rude, don't you think? She could have stayed. I mean, how's SHE gonna stall Selene? Have you tried? It's usually not a doable thing... unless you're Michael. he's pretty good at distracting her."
He just stared at her. He had this look.
"Wh-what are y-you..." Tara started, but she knew.
When he snarled at her, his fangs bared, Tara gave a little shriek of alarm and jumped back. She even used her foot to kick the little cot she'd been on at him. Being a vampire, he avoided it easily though. His eyes were that inhuman sky blue as common to all the vampires here as the golden eyes were to the vampires of a life past in Sunnyhell.
"St-stay back. Don't make me h-hurt you."
"You..." He hissed. "Hurt me?"
"Well, she might not, but I'm certainly up to it." Another voice said.
Kraven spun about with a snarl.
"Selene." Tara breathed.
"Did he hurt you?"
Tara shook her head, relief flooding through her. She sagged back against the wall. She had thought for a moment Kraven was actually going to succeed with his intention to infect her with his vampirism. And that was what he had intended. He was planning to bite her because she technically belonged to Michael. Michael had once taken something from Kraven that Kraven considered his. Not that Selene had ever truly been his. He didn't even have to say though. Tara could sense it in his every move. Vampires here could be so blatant in their motives. She could read some of them like books. Children's books. You know, short with small words.
Michael stepped through the door next, sporting mostly a pair of jeans and his dark hybrid skin. He looked a little angry to Tara, but then again when he was all dark with his liquid black eyes and claws and fangs and funky ribs, he always looked menacing to Tara.
The dynamic monster duo seemed to have been backed up on their rescue mission by a horde of pissed off lycans. Since killing the vampire elder and her former mentor Viktor, Selene had spent most of her time organizing and rallying the remaining lycans. Though they had initially been distrustful of her for being a vampire and a former deathdealer to boot, word quickly got out that she had been in league with Lucian and had been the one to carry out the rest of his plan of a hybrid. That got her some instant lycan street cred.
"My lady?" One of them addressed Selene.
She was looking, rather evilly, at Kraven. Like she was finally having a moment she had been wanting to relish for a while now. "Bag him."
"What?!" Kraven snapped, fairly shouting and looking even less in control of his irritation now.
"They're coming, you know, the covens. Planning to kill you for not killing Lucian, lying about it for centuries, and for allowing the lycans to kill Amelia for her blood. Just as they are planning to kill me for allowing a hybrid to be born, killing Viktor, and playing at being queen of the lycans. I'd rather not let them have the honor of ripping you to shreds. I think that particular honor belongs to Lucian."
Kraven's angry eyes snapped back to Tara. "You know necromancy. That's what you mean by Lucian's return."
"Well, if you think that having raised the dead before counts as necromancy, then yes, I know necromancy."
"The three of you are playing a very dangerous game."
"So were you when you just took icky skin bits instead of killing Lucian." Tara replied calmly.
He glared at her.
"Selene likes to tell bedtime stories. I know a lot about you."
"How fortunate for you."
"Not really." Tara sighed and looked around. "I would like to go, I think."
Michael had changed back to a more human visage. "Where are your pants?"
"They took them. They won't give them back." Tara made a face. "It's a little irritating, you know?"
Selene came around to stand closer to her. "See anything you liked?"
"Well, I'd LIKE my pants back, but if we can't find them, I thought the blonde vampire girl that fussy britches there..." She gestured to Kraven. "Was so snappy with was s-sorta pretty."
"Blonde vampire girl? You mean Erika? Erika?"
"Erika!" Michael snapped, telling what he thought about that particular vampire.
Selene glared at him. Michael glared back. They glared. While all this glaring was going on, the group of lycans seemed to recall Selene's previous order of bagging Kraven and commenced with that... much to Kraven's struggling and very loud shouts of protest. It was sort of fascinating to Tara that Selene and Michael were perfectly still. Like statues, just staring one another down in the foreground, while Kraven and the group attempting to bag him up were violently in motion in the background. Finally they managed to bag him... which was to say the vampire was now struggling from the confines of a giant sack. It was slightly comical.
When he was in, Selene finally ended her stare and looked at the sack 'O' Kraven with a wicked grin. Then she looked at the waiting lycans. "Please bag the blonde for our necromancing lady friend here."
Tara raised an eyebrow at Selene.
"Erika helped me once to help herself. I just thought I'd return the favor."
Tara looked doubtful and a bit suspicious. Michael's face held the same sort of look.
"Fine." Selene said dryly. "I think she's a terrible brat, but I also think she's a fool to seek Kraven out. She does things to solely get his attention. It's already gotten her into plenty of trouble."
"You're one to talk." Michael mumbled.
"I heard that."
"I know you did."
Tara smiled at them. They were sort of... adorable in this annoying way. Michael was usually content to let Selene steer the ship with the two of them, but sometimes he liked to pick innocuous little fights with her.
"Let's leave place please." Michael said. "We got all that we came for."
"But my pants..." Tara started.
"We'll get you some new pants."
"I think we have time to locate the pants." Selene said.
"No." Michael replied. "We have what we came for. We are still a little on the run here. We should go before THEY find us."
"And I think we should look for the pants."
Tara looked from one to the other. Sure, their little tiffs were sort of cute, but were they really gonna have it out over a pair of pants?
"I don't need pants."
Michael and Selene were glaring again.
"Really. Pants... highly overrated. I... I was th-thinking of starting a 'just wear your panties' fashion trend. It would be easier. less material used. I mean you could make way more p-panties than pants."
Selene relented. "Fine. She's stuttering and babbling... about rather ridiculous things to keep us from arguing it. Perhaps we SHOULD go."
Michael put an arm around Tara's shoulders in a comforting manner as they made their way out. She'd been waiting for that from the moment he and Selene had busted in. It was usually him more than Selene though when something bad happened to Tara and she needed a hug. The former deathdealer wasn't much for cuddling. Selene's eyes narrowed at Michael's arm about Tara's shoulders... even though it was nothing. He'd done it a thousand times. The vampire could be desperately jealous at times. Tara sighed.
"I could give you my pants."
She looked at him and laughed. "I wasn't..."
"They might be too big for you though."
"I can't joke?"
"Of... of course you can. That's not what I..."
As they made their way out Tara was thinking that she should have taken him up on his offer of the pants. You'd think their little werewolf-y horde of minion-like soldiers had never seen panties before. Granted, they were yellow panties with little pink flowers on them, but still. Though all her parts were technically covered, their stares made her feel horribly naked and underdressed.
"Selene mentioned Lucian. Does that mean you found his body finally?"
"I h-hope I can-"
"Have some faith, will you? I know you can do this. The lycans will have their leader again, and the world under the human world can negotiate a new era.... all because some little witch didn't die. Because she landed in another plane."
"But I'm not supposed to be the special one." Tara whispered. "I'm not supposed to be the one who holds everyone's hopes. Other people have always been the ones who held everything together, who held fate in the palms of their hands."
"That was your past. Things are different here. You know, not all warriors fight with swords or guns like Selene. Some use other means to bring about the change, to affect. I know you miss there. I know you miss your Willow and your friends. I miss my life before lycathropy. But I can't go back. Neither can you. You're here now, and here is likely where you'll stay. Here is your hope. Here is your future. Fresh slate. Different use of power." He wiggled his eyebrows at her as he said the last bit. "Possible vampire girlfriend."
Tara rolled her eyes at that. Then she changed the subject. "What are you going to do with Kraven?"
"Well, if Lucian doesn't eat his liver and suck the marrow from his bones then crack his skull open like a melon, Selene has this crazy idea of giving him over to some nice lycan girl."
"But he's kind of full of himself, isn't he?"
"Well, maybe Selene will change her mind and hand him over to some backbiting dominatrix lycan girl who'll beat the insolence out of him daily... with whips and chains."
"You see... that's what I was thinking. Well, maybe not the whips and chains, but that blood-swilling ass taking a few beatings works for me."
"One can hope." Tara said, laughing... until she got a look at his serious expression. "Michael, I was joking."