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Turning into Meg I think I'm turning into Meg I really think so - Words in the Heroes' Tongue
I have a variable-sword. I urge calm.
Turning into Meg I think I'm turning into Meg I really think so
A little while back I did a meme of "predict what will appear in your 'Friends' page", and I included a couple of fic parodies. For theohara I parodied her habit of continually starting new brilliant stories with a snippet of a Tara-centric fic called 'Sweet Home Alabama', with a summary of 'What if Tara was a Vampire Slayer? And straight?'

Alas, a plot bunny seized me and wouldn't let go, and even though I know people are waiting for updates of other stories I haven't been able to resist giving in to it. Here, as a teaser, is the Prologue and the start of the first chapter. If I hadn't been writing this I'd have been watching 'Bulletproof Monk' and playing 'Rome: Total War', not writing anything else, so don't think you're missing out on the BuffyBot because of it.

Sweet Home Alabama

Summary: What if Tara was a Vampire Slayer? And straight?
Rating: Don't know yet, 'G' so far.
Pairing: Spike/Tara.

Prologue: Come Back To Me

Shortly after Season 4 Episode ‘The Freshman’ …

“Another Slayer.” Giles’ voice was carefully neutral.

“Why should that surprise you? You know that Faith was Called after Kendra. It was inevitable that another should be Called after her death.” Quentin Travers gestured at a chair. “May I sit down?”

“Of course. Tea?” Giles put the kettle on as Travers sat down, and then returned to the reason for the other man’s visit. “I’m surprised only that you think it should be anything to do with me. You made it quite clear that I had failed, was of no more use to the Council.”

“I was wrong.” Travers sighed as Giles looked at him searchingly. “This isn’t easy for me, Rupert. I admit it. I was wrong. You have done a magnificent job with Miss Summers. Our tried and trusted methods may well be out of date and inappropriate for this new breed of American Slayers. The Cruciamentum is indeed a barbaric hangover from an age in which no value was placed on human life. We want you back.”

Giles raised his eyebrows and used one finger to push his glasses further back on the bridge of his nose. “I seem to remember the words ‘incapable of clear and impartial judgment’. The expression ‘useless to the cause’ may have cropped up as well. And you want me back?”

“I do.” Travers leaned forward in his chair. “I’m quite prepared to grovel. I was wrong, you were right. Traditional Council methods gained us a Slayer who first went rogue and then was killed fighting on the side of a would-be demon lord. The man we sent as your replacement proved to be a dismal failure until he went against our instructions and took his cues from you. Your methods kept your Slayer alive against all odds and prevented what could have been a massacre of cataclysmic proportions. It is clear that you are the one suited to this environment, and I’m prepared to admit my error. We need you. I can offer you a restoration of your salary backdated to the point when you were fired, full restoration of pension rights, and a twenty per cent increase from today onward.”

Giles delayed his reply until he had made tea and poured out two cups. “I take it you are not merely asking me to officially resume my position as Buffy’s Watcher. I am foolish enough to be acting in that capacity anyway, despite having no backup and no financial recompense, and I’m sure you are well aware of that.”

“I no longer consider that foolish, Rupert. You carry dedication to your young charge to extremes, perhaps, but excessive devotion to duty is hardly a sin worthy of any great condemnation. No, I want you to take charge of the new Slayer.”

Giles looked coldly at Travers from over the rim of his teacup. “I’m not deserting Buffy. You couldn’t offer me enough to induce me to leave her.”

“Of course, Rupert, I’m well aware of that. I wouldn’t expect you to, and it’s unnecessary anyway. The newest Slayer has enrolled as a student in the University of California, Sunnydale. She’s already here.”

“And her existing Watcher?”

“She doesn’t have one. Oh, we located her not long after she was Called, and we made contact and attempted to take her under our wing, but we weren’t entirely successful. Her family is, shall we say, a little eccentric in their ideas.”

“One would have thought that eccentricity would have made them more approachable, not less,” Giles commented warily.

“Oh, I know of your initial difficulties with Mrs. Summers, and I see your point,” Travers told him, “but this is a particular form of eccentricity. Bible Belt Christianity, with just enough of a smattering of occult knowledge to prejudice them firmly against anything smacking in the least of demons or witchcraft. Our designated Watcher left Alabama at the point of a shotgun barrel.”

“And you expect me to take over this – this Beverly Hillbilly?” Giles sniffed. “You don’t have anyone else who will risk failure, that’s why you are calling me in, isn’t it?”

“You are the man on the spot, Rupert. You have advantages a new Watcher couldn’t bring to the task. An existing retinue of youngsters who are enrolled at the same University, and who already trust you. I feel confident in your ability, Rupert. I’m sure you’ll succeed brilliantly.”

“You think there’s a good chance I’ll fail, but no-one’s career will suffer in the process,” Giles deduced. “However, if it will enable me to continue to watch over Buffy and give me financial security at the same time, I’ll accept the additional duties with a couple of provisos.” He went on to negotiate some changes to the deal, and Travers proved flexible and reasonable when working out a mutually satisfactory compromise.

“Very well, then, Rupert,” Travers said at the conclusion. “The backdated salary will be in your account within a week. Here is a little dossier on your new charge. Her name is Tara Maclay.”

* * * * * *

Chapter One: The Ugly Duckling

During ‘The Harsh Light of Day’ …

Tara hastened across the campus, her arms laden with books. She was feeling nervous. One of the most feared vampires of all time was in town and she was under strict instructions to stay in her room that night. The Slayer of Slayers. She would be a target, and she lacked the experience to defend herself. No, she had to stay in, and leave him to the other Slayer and her associates. She felt relieved, but also rather ashamed. They didn’t seem to think much of her. Buffy Summers was so much more capable than her, so much more confident, and had observed her fumbling efforts at vampire slaying with scornful eye-rolls and sniffs. Willow seemed nice, and Mr. Giles was polite and reassuringly calm and non-threatening, but she didn’t think she’d ever feel part of the team.

A strand of hair blew into her eyes, and she raised a hand to brush it away. A man was crossing her path, not looking where he was going, and they crashed together while she was unsighted. Her books tumbled to the ground. “S-s-sorry,” she stammered, bending to retrieve the books. He bent at the same time, and their heads collided.

“Ouch!” she exclaimed, recoiling. It hadn’t really hurt; normal knocks and bumps didn’t hurt these days, a high pain threshold being part of the whole Slayer package, but she still had the conditioned reflexes. “Sorry. Again.”

The man rubbed his head and grinned at her. His eyes twinkled. They were blue, very blue. His features were classic, as if sculpted by Michelangelo, and his cheekbones were so sharp that they probably counted as concealed weapons. His hair was dyed platinum blond, slicked down close to his head, giving him an air of danger and rebellion. Tara felt her heart leap. He was gorgeous. Of course in a movie the collision and the knocked heads would be the start of a relationship; Tara spent a whole two seconds dreaming of that before bringing herself forcibly back to reality. She was plain, mousy, Tara Maclay, who stammered whenever a man looked at her twice; not that anyone ever did. No romantic encounter here, just a straightforward collision with a – vampire?

The tingling sensation was just like the one she’d felt when the Slayer – the other Slayer – had dragged her round the cemetery to find vampires. It couldn’t be right, though; it was broad daylight. The feelings must be wrong, it had to be her reaction to this attractive man. Ignore them.

“Don’t mention it, pet, no harm done,” he assured her, and bent once more to pick up her books. His voice was smooth, rich, sexy, with a hint of a quirky British accent. Tara felt her knees going weak, and wished fervently for ears that didn’t stick out, for hair that was definitely blonde rather than an undistinguished sandy colour, and most of all for the confidence to speak to him without stammering.

“Th-thank you,” she addressed him, her voice immediately betraying her. “I’m s-sorry, I should have b-b-been w-w-w- looking w-w-where I w-w-was going.” ‘Idiot!’ she scolded herself. ‘Choosing a whole series of words beginning with ‘w’, brilliant idea there, Tara.’

“There you are,” he smiled, handing her the books. “Sorry about not watching where I was going.” The smile died as their fingers touched. “Slayer.”

“W-w-what?” Tara recoiled. His eyes were now cold, sizing her up not as a girl but as a target.

“Slayer. How come? That annoying Summers bint was fine last night when I had that run-in with her.”

“You’re Spike,” Tara breathed, beginning to back away.

“Heard of me, then?” He grinned proudly. “William the Bloody. Saved you the trouble of saying you that ‘w’ there, pet. Kind of me, innit? The Slayer of Slayers. Which ought to make you bloody nervous, seeing as how you’re a Slayer and all.” He snapped his fingers. “The other one. That bint who was making a bloody nuisance of herself. Never actually met her, but I heard about her. She got herself offed? And you’ve won the booby prize. A quick death. You’ll make a decent appetiser before I visit Summers for the main course.”

“I’ve got a stake,” she lied. Her voice trembled. She looked around for help, but the other students on the same route had moved on, and there was no-one close by.

“Don’t much care, love. A Slayer must always reach for her weapon.” His face rippled into the terrifying visage of a vampire. “I’ve already got mine.”

“W-w-w-w,” Tara began, couldn’t complete the word, and gave up. She raised the books and struck at him as he dived for her. He brushed them aside, sending them tumbling to the ground again, and punched her in the stomach. She gasped for breath and punched back, a clumsy over-arm blow. He deflected it over his shoulder, stepped in, hit her on the chin with his elbow and seized her by the shoulder and the back of her head. His head dipped and his fangs touched her throat.

And stopped. “Well, that was bleeding pathetic,” he told her. “You’re the worst excuse for a Slayer I’ve ever come across.”

“S-sorry,” she replied, lowering her eyes. She made a futile attempt to free herself and then stood still. She closed her eyes and resigned herself to death.

To be continued ...

The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.

So, what do you think of it so far?

Current Mood: hyper hyper
Current Music: The Vapours, "Turning Japanese"

18 comments or speak 2 me
hieispike From: hieispike Date: October 23rd, 2004 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Liked very much! =)

Enjoyed the way Giles saw through Travers' entire negotiation speech, and the subtle way he answered, without his temper rising (or at least not showing it.)

And the whole "Spike was polite until he realized she was a Slayer"? Spot on. It was a little strange that Tara would be right away attracted to Spike, but then, she's straight here and not gay, so yeah, it does make sense.

Liked the "Fool for Love" reference, too.

And now I'm hooked on another fanfic... wonder how things are going to go now? (Hopefully Spike won't get chipped.. Is that too much to ask?)
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: October 23rd, 2004 09:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's totally AU. I've always been held back from writing Spara because of not being able to get around Tara being gay; until it occurred to me that if she's different enough to be a Slayer she could be straight too.

Spike's chip? Did you read the original entry (my LJ October 13th)? He's got the chip in that. So, alas, looks like he's going to get chipped in this too.

hieispike From: hieispike Date: October 24th, 2004 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
*slaps forehead*

Somehow I missed that post, so I went back and read it. So much for the chip, but whatever way this story's going, I'm settling in for the ride. =)
debxena From: debxena Date: October 23rd, 2004 10:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooh - I am intrigued! Will keep an eye out for more of this ...
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: October 24th, 2004 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, there'll be more, probably quite soon. If my wife doesn't lynch me for starting something new while I've still got two other major WIPs, that is. But I've had 3 WIPs going for months now, and 2 just didn't seem right.
evilawyer From: evilawyer Date: October 23rd, 2004 10:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like your Travers. He's not only prepared to grovel, but he also quite ready to dish out the shameless flattery. Gotta love that in a rigid-minded man.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: October 24th, 2004 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Note complete absence of Nigel, Lydia, or any others of his retinue. Grovelling and shameless flattery doesn't count if there's no-one around to see it. He'll do whatever it takes to get the job done. Even act nice.
flame81 From: flame81 Date: October 24th, 2004 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Ever seeing 'Chance' Spara became a favourite of mine.. I wish they would have let her wear less uglier closes on the show...
Great start with the story, I remember Kantayra wrote a Tara-turnt-Slayer Spara, but it was set after Buffys death in the gift, so no real comparison..
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: October 24th, 2004 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I love kantayra's Spara fic "Pedestal". The Slayer Tara in it is the familiar witch Tara who crosses into an AU in which Tara was the Slayer, Buffy in that universe having been an ordinary girl, an ex of Willow's, killed in a car accident before the dimension-hopping, so I think mine will be pretty different as it will centre around a Slayer Tara who "lives her life in shadow" - Buffy's shadow. I'd never rip anything off from Kantayra, who is one of my favourite people.

Actually I'd never knowingly rip anything off from anybody, although sometimes other people's fics do spark off plot bunnies in me.
flame81 From: flame81 Date: October 24th, 2004 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
By no means I wanted to accuse you of something like plagiarism! Your plot-bunny just reminded me of kantayra's... It was the first Spara I've read and I really really liked it very much and I see the same potential in your fic!
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: October 24th, 2004 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
My favourite fic of all time is Spara: Miranda's Quiet as a Mouse. And so is my second favourite, missmurchison's Quick and Bitter, Slow and Sweet.

theohara From: theohara Date: October 24th, 2004 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Whee! I would do the happy dance, were it not for the hangover.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: October 24th, 2004 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
You like, then?
theohara From: theohara Date: October 24th, 2004 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yes. My happy dance is rarely used to express displeasure.

And as I am slightly less hungover now...

I think this premise is utterly awesome... I love seeing how Tara's meekness translates to her handling of Slayer powers, and Buffy's reaction to her makes total sense. Travers' speech was fantastic as well, and I loved Giles' oh-so-subtle gloating. The notion of Donny running off some young protp-Wesley at the end of a 12-gauge was lovely. I can't wait to see how Spike reacts to the essence of William, made Slayer.
theohara From: theohara Date: October 24th, 2004 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
That should, of course, be "proto" Wesley. Damn the Newcastle.
enigmaticblues From: enigmaticblues Date: October 24th, 2004 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! My second favorite pairing is Spara, and I've been longing to see something like this from you, never mind the fact that you've got two other WIPs. Loved Travers groveling, loved Tara (because isn't that just how it would be?), and I loved Spike's snark. Because who doesn't like a snarky Spike? I'm going to have to run along and find that Oct. 13th post now, because I don't remember seeing it.

:happy sigh:
bogwitch From: bogwitch Date: October 25th, 2004 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
is Travers feeling alright? No wonder Giles' eyebrows are raised. makes a change for the pompous old git to see some sense.

And Tara a the worst Slayer? Spike would so fall for that, after all she isn't worth fighting.

Have you thought of posting this over at spiketara? I'm sure there'd be lots of people over there who'd like to see this.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: October 25th, 2004 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
is Travers feeling alright?

Cost efficiency. Palming her off on Giles, who already has a residence there, is easier than moving in a new Watcher, and cheaper even with the pay rise. And this way channels of communication to Buffy are re-opened to some extent. Also, if the Powers arrange for Slayers to move to where they are needed, the second Slayer turning up in Sunnydale points to there being some Bad Danger coming, and a single team would be more efficient at combating it than an official Watchers' Council Watcher/Slayer combination operating in parallel to Giles and Buffy.

I'll post it in Spike/Tara if my application to join the community is approved. And I'll debate some of your comments there, too.
18 comments or speak 2 me