harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote in spanderverse,
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Old Friends, Chapter 3 of 5

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

POV: Shifts Perspective

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and Spanderverse: stories.

Notes: Eighth story in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Tensions”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse. ‘Old Friends’ takes place the day immediately following ‘Tensions’; Chapter 6.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

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Old Friends

Ch 3- Appointment

 

A woman sat in a small office, her door open so that she could hear if anyone needed her assistance. She was confident in Sheila’s ability to handle showing patrons around, but she was still relatively new here and some customer’s could be prickly and demanding.

 

She sat at a desk which was old and beautiful. It was of a dark cherry wood oiled and polished to a gleaming shine in the iridescent lights from the ceiling. The desk was a genuine antique, hand made with loving care in 17th century Philadelphia. It was invaluable and the woman had been offered obscene amounts of money in the past to part with it. The actual owner of the piece however, considered it a most-valued heirloom and had refused to place it on the market, as the rest of the pieces were. She was grateful, as using the desk made her more conscious of the beauty around her.

 

In the main room, Sheila Wining pointed out the pieces that would soon be removed from display. The third Thursdays were especially busy at the gallery as regular collectors knew that this was their last chance to make their decisions on some of the most expensive pieces.

 

Tomorrow would be equally busy as those same collectors returned to see the brand new pieces that would be placed on display. They would want to be the first to have the opportunity to purchase these singular antiques. By keeping the inventory constantly refreshed, Joyce had been able to establish a regular clientele presence in her employer’s gallery. Foot traffic had increased by thirty-five percent since she’d taken over management and Gloria Van Ryes now let Joyce basically do whatever she wanted.

 

When the telephone rang, she answered with, “Exotic Antiques and Fineries, Joyce Summers speaking”.

 

Unnoticed by the others in the gallery, she stiffened when she heard the familiar voice of Doctor Wains. Of course, this phone call was inevitable but that didn’t make it any more welcome. Unnoticed, Joyce’s voice dropped to a near whisper though no one was near enough to listen in on the call.

 

“Hello, doctor,” Joyce said. Her voice was far more reserved than usual, almost dour.

 

“I have a slot open in the MRI room, Ms. Summers. As you know, I don’t believe that we should wait. Can you be here tomorrow, around 2pm?”

 

She agreed to make the appointment, one hand shaking on the desk as the other clutched the phone. His suspicions had seemed so far away before, but now she was almost sure that they would be borne out. As if, if he just hadn’t called, they could have ignored things and they’d go away on their own. She knew that was silly, she even recognized that her sudden panic was senseless, but right now her heart was overruling the logic that her head tried to use to comfort her. She was scared.

 

After hanging up with the doctor, he reminding her again that she should prepare her daughters in the event that the scan proved positive, she took several deep breaths. When she felt sure that she wasn’t going to scream, or possibly collapse into a puddle of hysterics she returned to her paperwork. She had just sold a Japanese Kabuki mask from the late 1800s and had been ecstatic until now. Joyce had a special love for hand-carved masks from all regions of the world and anytime she was able to inspire others to collect them, she felt a particular sense of satisfaction.

 

That was washed away in one phone call from a doctor trying to prepare her for something she didn’t want to be prepared for. Her hands began shaking again as she gripped her pen; this time from anger. How dare he interrupt her life this way? How dare he share his vague suspicions and mention the ‘C’ word to her? How could he understand that she had two girls who needed her?

 

No, Joyce raged, no. I simply refuse to accept this. I am not sick. You will not do this to me, she directed out at the universe. It’s all just a mistaken diagnosis.

 

When Sheila approached her mere seconds later to enquire for details on one of the divans, it was all Joyce could do not to explode at her in a torrent of insults. And minutes after that, when she’d realized how much rage she’d had in her moments ago, she was afraid once again. That simply wasn’t like her; she didn’t get angered easily… concerned and maybe plaintive, but not angry. It bothered her that now she didn’t know if it was because of the circumstances; her worry and fear, or if it was the insidiousness of the mutant cells that could be attacking her brain at this very moment.

 

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Tara Maclay swept into her room, a large smile on her face. Her latest test in American History had gone far better than she had expected. Not that she doubted she’d pass, but she hadn’t expected to ace it and she was giddy with joy.

 

Dropping her books, she wondered if Willow would be up to celebrating on the town that evening. Poor Willow was even now, by Tara’s reckoning, sweating through her Trig exam.

 

Willow was so brainy that everything seemed to come easily to her. And with her genius level ability in algebra and geometry, she found herself flabbergasted when she began having problems with Trig. Of course, it wasn’t as if she was taking any old Trig course, but that didn’t really matter to Will. If she wasn’t acing it, she’d feel like an idiot, no matter how advanced the studies were. Tara had been trying to be supportive for two weeks now, but really, her suggestion that Willow just drop the course and take a lower level math class had been met by apoplexy. Even her suggestion that Willow could take it again when she had more math experience behind her didn’t seem to soothe the situation. Sometimes, Tara felt, she could really put her whole leg in her mouth.

 

She decided after several minutes that she could convince Willow to go out, no matter how she thought today’s test went. She walked over to her phone to make reservations, but as she went to pick it up, it rang and startled her.

 

She looked at the handset as it rang again. A feeling of foreboding swept through her. She felt like when she was a little girl and a violent thunderstorm was carrying on right above her head.

 

Tara smiled to herself at her silliness and cheerfully answered the phone. Her smile quickly died on her lips and she grew markedly paler.

 

Tara? It’s your father. I know you’re busy there, so I’ll keep this brief. You’re twentieth birthday is coming up. I’m sure we can expect you to be home soon?”

 

She stood frozen to the spot, the phone growing heavy in her hand. She didn’t know how to answer, so she fell back on her rote response to anything her father said.

 

“Y-yes, sir,” escaped her lips before she realized she had spoken. “I-I mean, n-no. I-I have classes, daddy. I can’t come home right now.”

 

“Well, of course not. I’m not talking immediately. I just want to remind you that times-a-wasting. I know you have a few months yet. Just promise me you’ll be especially careful over the coming weeks, Tara.”

 

“Oh, I will sir. O-of course.”

 

“We don’t want you to hurt anyone. I’m sure you wouldn’t want that either. I know you sometimes can’t help just tossing a glimmer around or doing… something… to make your life there a little easier, like your mother used to do. But, Tara, as your birthday approaches, you’re gonna be tempted to do more, to resort to that magic-garbage more often. Now, baby, you have to promise me you’ll resist. We don’t want everyone around you being infected with your darkness, now do we?”

 

“I-I-….”

 

“Well, I have to go now. There’s work to be done around here and some of us don’t have time to sit around with our head in a book. You just mind me, girl. You resist that calling you’re going to feel until we can get you home where you and everyone around you will be safe. ‘Bye, now, honey.”

 

“Bye-bye, daddy,” Tara said after the dial tone began sounding in her ears.

 

She looked around her room at the spell books and the herbs in their plastic sealing bags. Her eyes noted the number of candles she had in the room and the Wicca symbol for protection hanging above the head rail of her bed.

 

Tara felt sick. She shook slightly and tried to suppress tears of worry. She didn’t feel evil or wicked. She felt like a regular woman, except for her ability to summon magic. But her daddy had always told her that her mother had thought the same thing, until the day those magicks had consumed her.

 

She’d been seventeen then, and had been staying with her grandmother in another town. Her mother had told her it was so that she wouldn’t be stuck with living the same sort of life that she had been stuck with. It wasn’t until after she’d succumbed to illness that her father had explained it was because of the magic. He’d loved Willa with all his heart, but he couldn’t get her demon to stop tapping the magical powers she had access to and in the end, he’d explained, the power turned on her as evil always did.

 

Her daddy loved her as well, she was sure. It was hard to tell sometimes, with the way he was always so severe. She reckoned it was because he had to live with the knowledge of what may happen to her someday. If he couldn’t keep control of her demon, the very power she tried to use for good could turn on her, too. She’d forgotten that, being surrounded by Willow and the Scoobies. It was so easy to turn to when they were fighting evil and saving people. And she didn’t feel any evil from it. Willow didn’t seem evil when she cast her spells, either, and she was even more powerful than Tara was. Still, her daddy was so sure….

 

She walked over to the corkboard and ran her finger over a picture of Willow Rosenberg hanging there. She wondered what Willow would do if she suddenly saw the part of her that wasn’t human. She easily accepted Spike’s help, but she wasn’t sleeping every night next to the vampire. How would Willow react if she knew Tara had part demon in her? How could she ever be expected to kiss her again, to love her?

 

Tears fell from her eyes down her face as she considered what her life would be like once she had to return home. Even if Willow didn’t reject her out of hand for lying this entire time about who… about what… she was, her father would never allow the relationship. Her lesbianism marked her as partly evil as surely as her spell casting did. She’d lose Willow, her friendships here, everything she’d worked so hard for in college. Unless she could find a way to suppress the hidden danger that lurked within her, everything would be ruined.

 

She wiped at her eyes and grabbed her purse. Running across the quad of the college grounds, she raced up the stairs of the library to the Myths section. Looking for the books that spoke about demons and magic (as superstition, of course) she began looking for any hints as to how to stop what her father had told her was inevitable. If she could keep the demon in her bound and hidden from view; powerless; she wouldn’t have to give up the life she built for herself.

 

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End Ch3

Tags: btvs, buffy, fanfiction, harsens-rob, old friends, spander, spanderverse
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