DISCLAIMER: All hail Joss Whedon, UPN, the WB, FOX , Mutant Enemy and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation. Theirs not mine
“I need you to help me,” I said thickly. My lips were swollen and it was hard to make the words come out right.
“Oh, Spike,” said Tara, horrified. She reached out her hand to touch my face, but I pushed it away.
“That’s not why I’m here,” I said. My head swam a bit and I leaned forward sharply. She caught me before I fell, and my face pressed into her shoulder. She smelled the way I remembered, sweet like honey and spicy like cloves. It brought back the memory of her tending my wounds after I was pushed off the tower, her kind attempts to soothe me as I fell apart with grief.
“Everything is going to be fine,” she said as she pulled off my duster. “I’m going to take care of you.” She helped me to her bed, and laid me down on soft pillows. Quickly she unlaced my boots and tossed them on the floor. The witch moved her hands steadily from my ankles up my legs.
“I’m fine,” I said to her. “She just went for the face.” She slid her hands over my ribs, and I gasped with pain.
“Whoever she was, she hurt more than your face,” Tara said angrily. She stepped away for a minute, and I closed my eyes. I felt so disoriented, like my head was floating far above me. My face stung with pain, so fiercely that it felt like it was on fire.
I smelled Tara strongly again as I felt a cold sharp sensation drift up my chest. I opened my good eye to see her cutting off my new shirt. “Don’t do that,” I said faintly. “I’ll have to steal some more clothes.”
“I’ll buy you what you need, don’t worry about it,” she said as she pulled off the pieces of clothing. She made a pained noise when she saw my chest. It was covered in small lacerations, with deep black and blue bruises that hinted at broken ribs.
“It’ll all heal by itself,” I explained to her. “No need to worry about it.” She looked up at me, and her eyes were filled with tears. “No use crying over me, ducks,” I said. “I’m just an evil thing.”
“You’re more than that. And no one deserves to be hurt like this,” she said through clenched teeth.
“It’ll be all healed in a few days,” I explained. “No reason for anyone to get upset about it.” She held one of my hands for a moment and placed it gently down.
“Well, if you’re going to let yourself be victimized, I guess I’ll just have to get upset for you,” she replied. She wiped the tears from her cheeks. Carefully she ran her fingertips over my chest and gently prodded around my ribs.
“I came here for a spell, Tara. You don’t need to take care of me,” I said. I moaned in pain as she touched a particularly sore spot.
“You can’t take care of yourself, obviously.” She turned away and rummaged in a chest at the foot of the bed. “There isn’t a bruise or cut on your hands. You didn’t even try to fight back.”
“Drop it, Wicca,” I snapped.
“You let someone torture you tonight.” She looked at me with soulful eyes. “Why?” Her stare burned into me, and it was as if she could see straight into my heart.
“I’m leaving. I can find another witch who can leave well enough alone.” I stood up with difficulty and moved to the door.
“Please don’t go,” said Tara, and I turned to look at her. She held several small stone jars in her hands. “I’ll do whatever spell you need, just let me heal you first.” I saw the sincerity and concern on her face, and nodded my assent. The pain of the movement hit me like a hammer, and this time I lost my balance. Face first I hit the floor. A gruesome crunch rang in my head and then it all faded to black.
I woke up fiercely coughing, my nose and throat raw. My head rested in Tara’s lap. The bodice of her robe was an interesting swirl of scarlet ribbons. She leaned close to my face, lips pursed.
“I blew some kiriana powder in your mouth,” she said distinctly. “It will make you more alert so I can tend you better.” She sounded remote, like she was trapped in a well.
She helped me to my feet and led me by the hand. I felt hyper aware of my surroundings, more so than the night I was first turned. I followed her down a dark corridor, and the security lamps that were placed here and there glowed like beautiful stars. She opened a door to a cold, quiet room. It shone brightly in the moonlight, the walls and floor covered with large white tiles. The ceramic floor felt odd beneath my feet.
“I don’t want to upset you,” she said, ”but this is really messy and we need to do it here.” She pulled back a curtain and revealed a small shower. Carefully she put down a large clay jar on the floor. “This might hurt you,” she said earnestly. “But I am hurting you because I have to.”
I laughed loudly, and it sounded weird and harsh in the stillness of the room. “No one ever wants to hurt me, they just do it despite their nature.” She looked at me oddly and then reached in and turned on the water.
She began to undo the buttons of my fly, and I swatted at her fingers. She looked up at me with her wide trusting eyes. “Pretend I’m a nurse. I just want to help you.” Her hands fumbled at my pants as she pulled them down around my thighs and off my legs.
“Dru and I used to play doctor and nurse, but I don’t think you want to play that game,” I told her seriously.
She smiled at me and led me into the shower as she pulled shut the curtain. The shower was a living thing, and I listened to the water breathe. I could hear each bead of water as it rolled over my skin. It danced over my body, and sang a song to me. “Tara, can you hear the water sing?” I ask her in wonder.
“It’s the kiriana,” she explained. “It is great for keeping you on your feet and masking the pain, but it’s a powerful stimulant and slightly hallucinogenic.”
She gently turned me to face her. A stream of water splashed the front of her kimono, and the red lines on her bodice began to spill and run. “Was that my blood?” I ask her.
She looked down at herself. “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.” I stared at her chest, and the water flowed over the pink silk of her robe. It became transparent and revealed the darker coral of her nipples underneath. She leaned over and picked up the jar and placed the cork stopper on the ground. “Try to hold still while I do this.”
Tara shoved her hand into the vessel, and pulled it out covered in a thick white paste. She massaged the cream delicately into the skin that surrounded the eye that was swollen shut. I whimpered despite myself. It wasn’t only the pain, but the softness of her hand that unmanned me.
“It’s okay,” she crooned. “It’ll be over soon.” She dipped her hand into the cream and smoothed it over my brow. The pain slid away, and my skin tingled. I stared into her eyes and found that there was so much light there. It was a haven that held a peace that I had never felt before.
“I wish I could live inside your eyes,” I said to her. She smiled at me as she continued to do her work. Her hand caressed the side of my face, the lobe of my ear, the sweep of my jaw. Everywhere that she touched me tingled as if kissed by starlight. “You make me feel like a shining thing,” I explained to her earnestly. “I feel so bright, and warm. I wish you could touch me forever.” Her hands caressed my neck, and I shuddered with arousal as her nails grazed the sensitive skin.
“I’m so sorry,” she apologized. “I’m trying so hard not to hurt you.” She put her jar on the ground. “I’m going to heal your ribs now,” she said seriously. “This is more invasive and it will probably cause more pain than the drug can fully hide.” She whispered to herself and began to glow. Her hair shined a bright, pure gold, and her face illuminated from within. She looked like an angel.
She placed her hands upon my ribs. Sensation flooded between the two of us. I moaned as a heavy golden heat surrounded my bones, and I could feel the breaks knit together. Tara’s face was radiant, her eyes closed as she focused all of her energy on me. The flood of light intensified, and I felt like we were the center of the universe, the only two beings that existed. As the golden light began to dissipate, Tara fell against me, and I caught her in my arms.
We were pressed close together. I held her tight and waited for her breathing to slow down, but it only increased. I tilted back her head and saw that her eyes were still tightly closed. When her eyes finally opened, they were no longer tranquil, but stormy and unsettled. “Tara?” I said questioningly.
“I’ve never felt like that before,” she said slowly. “I was inside you, and it felt so good. So perfect.” Her voice broke. “And then it was over, and I was all alone again.”
“I’m still here, pet,” I said. I ran my hand down her cheek, and she shuddered. She arched towards me, and her hard nipples pressed into my chest. Her touch still felt like golden fire, and desire flared up inside me. A moan escaped her mouth and she reached up to grab my hair.
“Do you want me to touch you?” I asked softly. She nodded, a small nod. “Here?” She shook her head no. I picked her up and carried her from the bathroom. Her open door spilled out light into the hallway, a beacon in the darkness.
Continued in Part 2: Claimed