Tara smiled and paid her taxi driver- glad it was a woman, she wasn’t sure seeing a man so soon after leaving home was a good idea.
She stepped out into Sunnydale, she was going to college here, she had heard some, interesting things about it here, but she was just so glad to be able to get away from her family she didn’t care.
The sun was beaming into her face and she felt herself smiling, walking down the street, she had been dropped off right outside of town, her taxi driver wouldn’t even enter the town, she had said ‘a friend of mine went in, and when he came back he was missing an eye’, Tara understood her concern.
Walking around town, hoping to find her campus sometime soon, she was tired from the drive and just wanted to sleep.
After wondering, hopeless, for a few moments, she decided to try to ask someone to help her, looking around where she was, it looked like a bad part of town to her, but she was from a small town, everywhere looked bad.
She saw a girl, red hair, black leather outfit, by herself, Tara smiled to herself, and walked over to the woman.
“H-hello? I was- where’s the college campus?”
The woman smiled at her, her teeth were, surprisingly pointy, Tara made note of this but said nothing.
“Oh, sweet thing, you’re new here aren’t you?”
Tara nodded, and ducked her head down after.
The woman put her hand under Tara’s chin, lifting her head up to look her in the eyes, “You are just the sweetest thing. It’s not too far from here. Let me walk you?”
Tara felt a shiver run across her body, but suppressed it, hoping to make a good impression, “Okay.”
The woman smiled wide at her.
The woman- Willow was her name, lead her around town, she was being so nice that Tara didn’t say anything about them walking for more than half an hour already.
“So, college? What’re you studying?”
Tara smiled over at her, “I’m n-not really sure, yet.”
“Oh yeah, me either, undecided.” Willow said, lacing their hands together, she was leading her somewhere now, Tara felt less nervous that they were lost, maybe this girl really did know where they were going.
“Oh, that kind of family. You think they’ll miss you?”
Tara let’s a small ‘i hope not’ out under her breath, the other woman laughs, and Tara let go of the memories of her family, maybe this girl would make her life better.
Tara smiled at Willow, who know seemed sure of where she was going, ‘maybe she just got a little turned around’ Tara thought to herself.
Willow was leading her, hand in hers, to this big, black building, Tara was starting to feel nervous again, pulling her hand away a little bit, “I don’t think this is the way.”
Willow laughed, “Oh come on, I got you all the way here.”
Tara looked at her, eyes wide, as she laughed at her, just when she thought she had made a friend. Tara ripped her hand out of Willow while she was laughing, walking backwards a little bit.
Willow advanced towards her, “You didn’t think anything about following some, random stranger here, but this building tipped you off? What a bad pet.”
Tara felt like her skin was crawling, this girl had been so kind, and then turned into this, monster.
Willow’s face changed, forehead growing out, eyes yellow, already sharp teeth becoming fangs, she started walking towards her faster.
Tara started walking backwards again, falling into a wall, “Oh come on, is that all you got?” Willow said, as she advanced to Tara.
Standing still on the wall, Tara felt the other woman start to close her in, she cast a spell, as fast as she could, the other woman- thing, got sent flying across the alleyway, and Tara ran the other way.
She heard the other girl laugh from behind her, “Oh, I knew I liked you for a reason.”
Tara could hear footsteps running towards her, before she felt a hand on her shoulder, turning her to face Willow.
Before she could even tell what was happening, a pair of fangs were in her neck, blood being drained from her, she felt dizzy.
Suddenly, a loud smack, sounded across the alley.
Another girl had come, she hit Willow in the face with a metal pole, before running up to her while she was down, and hitting her in the chest with a piece of wood, Willow quickly turning into dust.
The other girl turned to her, wood still in hand, ready to hit her too, when she saw her neck.
“Hey.” She said, walking over, “you okay?”
Tara felt herself nod.
The other girl groaned, putting an arm under Tara’s, helping her walk, she thought she heard the other girl say something like, ‘god, how much blood did she get from you’, but she couldn’t be sure.
Tara felt woozy, she felt like she was gonna fall over, the other girl must’ve felt it becuase she said, “Fuck, can you wait to pass out ‘til we get back to the van.” and speed up a little bit.
“So, what’s your name?”
Tara figured it was to keep her awake, “Tara.”
“Pretty name,” The other girl started, she sounded out of breath, “I’m Faith.”
“Faith,” Tara said, feeling the word roll of her tongue, “pretty.” She was sure she sounded high, so she started laughing at herself.
“Jesus, I know shock is a drug and all but, fuck.”
Tara felt more than saw Faith putting her in the back of a white van, settling in herself and then close the door.
“I told you a sneak attack would work.” She said, holding her hand out to one of the guys in the van.
He looked small, his hair was blond, and his nails were painted black, as Tara saw when he handed Faith a five dollar bill.
“Do you have to bet, whether what you do to save people works, Faith, Oz, because what if it doesn't work and you bet on someone dead.” Tara heard a guy from the front seat say, he sounded british.
“If it doesn’t work, I’ll figure something else out, Giles, I’m not gonna let them take anyone else.”
Tara could feel the tension in the van raise, she wasn’t sure what that meant, but she figured she shouldn’t ask.
The rest of the ride went by pretty fast, it might’ve had something to do with Tara passing out halfway through.
She was woken up when they parked in front of some random apartment building, Faith put her arm under Tara’s again, with the help of another guy, he was big so he probably could’ve carried Tara by himself, she was glad he didn’t.
“This is us.” The big guy next to her said.
They propped her on a couch once they got inside, it was smaller than she was used to, but bigger than her dorm is.
The kitchen was right off the living room, with a small bathroom- by the look of it, right next to it.
Weapons were all over the place, from axes and swords to those wood things, even a crossbow.
Books were everywhere too, big books with words she didn’t understand on them.
Tara was raised knowing and learning witchcraft but these guys made her feel normal.
Everyone came shuffling back inside once they had cleaned the van out of their supplies, and the short guy came over and started patching Tara up.
“I’m Oz. What happened.”
“W-well, she was taking me to campus, and we got lo-lost, and before I knew what was happening she bit me, and then Faith came.”
“Did the girl, feed you any blood?”
Tara shudders at the thought, “No. She just d-drank some of mine.”
“And you’re okay?”
“Kinda dizzy, but yeah, I’m fine.”
Oz tapped at where he had bandaged her neck, and stood up, “Alright, I’ll go get some food, try to stay sitting down for as long as possible, and if you need help standing or something, ask.”
He shrugged his coat on, and was out the door.
Faith sat at the table with Tara while they were eating, she was freshly showered, and clean, and Tara knew she was beautiful, glad to see her no longer covered in blood.
“You okay?” Faith asked, voice low, trying not to disturb the others' conversations, but it stopped anyways, Tara could feel the others looking at them, she tried not to let it get to her.
“Better now.” She smiled, and hoped it didn’t look like a terrible grimace.
It seemed that Faith thought it looked like a smile because she smiled back at her, Tara was glad to see her look a little less rough.
After dinner one of the men sat her down, he had a british accent and dark hair with gray streaks.
“So, Tara, we know it can be tough, to know what you now do, and if you want, you can just go back to your normal life, but if you want to help, like we are, to people like you were, we could always use more help, and you seem to know how to take care of yourself already. Faith said when she first entered the alley you were running away, she said that no one had gotten away from Willow before you, how did you do it?”
Tara grimanced at him, “My mom was a wi-witch, she taught me before she-”
He took his glasses off, rubbing them on a cloth he had, cleaning them, before putting them back on and clearing his throat, “So you’re skilled?”
“Skilled?” Tara squeeks, “No no, not skilled, just,- I just know how.”
He smiled at her clasping her shoulder with his hand, he had started to walk off when Tara said, “Sir?”
“What’s your name?”
It had been almost a month with them and Tara felt at home, she had inside jokes with Larry, Giles was teaching her more about witchcraft, Oz was quickly becoming on of her most trusted friends, and Faith.
Almost as if she knew Tara was thinking about her, Faith came into their bedroom, smile on her face, despite the blood quickly matting into her hair.
“I saved someone today.”
Tara smiled at her, she was always so proud when she saved someone, Tara decided now was a safe time to ask, “Faith?”
Faith turned back to her, she was walking into the bathroom but turned around and sat on the bed with Tara, “What’s up?”
“When you saved me,” She starts, being cautious, “you said something about, not losing anyone, again,” She paused looking at Faith’s face, finding nothing hostile she continued, “what’d you mean by that?”
“Alright,” Faith said, settling herself further into the bed, “when I first moved here, I knew a guy, and I didn’t like him very much, but he took care of me, his name was Wesley, he was my watcher, and long story short, Willow’s boytoy Xander, killed him, drained him first, when I found out, I beheaded him.”
“Oh, baby.” Tara said, hugging her.
Faith hugged her tight, almost like she was making sure she was really there, she pulled back and kissed her lips briefly, “I’m gonna go wash up, thank you, Tara.”
Tara smiled at her, “Of course, Faith.” and layed back down, glad she had found people who truly cared about her.
Faith, in the shower was feeling the same way.