by Twinkledru J.

Giles began to see her after leaving Sunnydale again -- she had followed him, for some reason.

It was a long time, though, before he could get her to begin talking to him.

Tara was an unusual ghost. Though benign (she carried the same air of wise, quiet sadness that she had as a human, but it seemed it was multiplied a hundredfold) she seemed to have some kinetic power, similar to that of a poltergeist. It had startled him when, seemingly tired of simply walking around his home in England and staring, she began to move things. She'd been reading over his shoulder; he was used to it by then, but then she reached down and flipped back a page. He'd jumped and stared at her. Tara gave a quiet smile, concealing just the tiniest hint of a smirk, and then, after checking something, turned back to the page he'd been on and walked off.

She seemed to enjoy her time there, though he couldn't for the life of him understand why she might've chosen him to haunt. Tara was as quiet as she'd been in life, but there seemed to be a little more humor to her now, a certain amusement at the world in general, less of a tendency to take things seriously.

Of course, that was all speculation, since all he had to go one was her face.

She was silent for several weeks, growing more and more at home as it became clear that he had no intentions of exorcising her. He'd begun to expect her to stay silent forever, or to speak only of the most mysterious and divine things, things befitting the sad silent ghost of a sad silent witch.

But instead, one afternoon, she'd simply peeked into the bathroom, glared at him and said "You really should have more towels, Mr. Giles."


It's not really cold, like I thought it would be, it's more like cool. April cool.

He doesn't understand why I'm here, but he's nice to me. I never even considered staying in Sunnydale, I couldn't be with them. I couldn't stand seeing them and having them look at me and be sad, try to make me feel better and move on when honestly, I don't think there's anything I'm trying to move on from.

Mr. Giles doesn't ask me if things are wrong, he takes it on faith that I have my reasons not to leave. He doesn't treat me like I'm still alive, but he doesn't make a big deal out of the fact that I'm dead, either. We read and talk and he eats and drinks and I sit and watch.

Sometimes we talk about Sunnydale or magick or demons, and sometimes we just talk about our memories and the things we've seen and the people we've known.


A dream had been bothering him that day. He couldn't remember it, not really, but Tara was there and she was sad. It was something about it that prompted him to ask her hours later, when the house was dark except for the lamp he was reading by and her slight glow.

"Tara," Giles said quietly, and she looked at him, her eyes giving him the odd impression that she had some suspicion of what was coming, "were you ever -- intimate -- with a man?"

She looked at him, blinked, and disappeared.

"Tara?" he asked, knowing full well that it was no use; she may simply have been invisible or she may truly have been someplace else, but she wouldn't be coming back until she wanted to.


After three days without any sign from her, Giles was beginning to worry. It was silly, maybe -- she was a ghost, after all -- but he liked the girl, and god only knew what her reaction meant she'd been through. But it was up to her; if she wanted to come back, she would. A summoning spell would only hurt her further.

So he settled for occasionally saying that he was sorry if he'd offended her and not sure whether he should feel silly or not.


I shouldn't be angry with him, I know, Mr. Giles is only curious. I caught a flash of his dream that morning and it's strangely accurate; maybe he heard me thinking about it in his sleep.

Willow asked me the same thing once, if I'd ever been with a boy, and I just mumbled "yes, once" and clammed up if she tried to get more out of me. She said I was wearing my family face then, the one I'd wear when I talked about Dad or Donny or anyone but my mother, but that it looked about five times sadder, and then she kissed my forehead and told me not to worry.


Finally, nine days after she'd disappeared, he walked back inside after a day in the Council library. Someone had grabbed a book from under his arm, he smiled and grabbed for it, to have it jump just out of his reach. They'd continued the game for some time, and he heard her laugh distantly before she finally handed it to him.

She remained invisible for a while longer, but he knew she was still there.

"I missed you," he finally told her one evening with a sheepish smile.

Tara said nothing, but he entertained the fantasy that he'd caught a glimpse of her shy smile hanging in the air for a heartbeat's time.


She liked to sing. Giles barely noticed when she'd begin to sing softly, and only realized that he'd joined her when they both stopped. Her voice would give out on the lower notes, but she could go fairly high, and her tastes, he found, were far more eclectic than he'd given her credit for, running the gamut from Puccini to Pink Floyd.

He'd heard her singing on the other side of the house once, too softly for him to make out the words, and spent several minutes trying to figure out what it was before realizing with a start that it was "All Along the Watchtower".


It was as he was falling asleep one night that she finally let him see her again, glimmering in the darkness and seated at the foot of his bed. "Yes," she whispered as he peered at her. She merely an impressionistic blur when he looked at her without his glasses.

"What?" he asked quietly.

She just looked at him. "Yes," she repeated. "But I -- I suppose you'd figured that out by now. There was a man, once, when I was seventeen."

And then she wouldn't say anything else, but rose and walked out of the room.


"My family told me I should be afraid of magick," she said quietly as he ate breakfast.

"Your family were all superstitious pillocks," he retorted angrily.

"Except my mother," she said. "She was just afraid. She always thought that what they told her was true, that her powers and her beliefs were really something evil."

"It was your mother who taught you magick, wasn't it?" he asked her, curious.

"W-well, yes. She taught me some of the basics, and she taught me about the elements and harmony and all the things you need to be in balance with when you do magick. And she always told me that even though they were powerful forces that I couldn't really control, if I respected them, I'd have nothing to fear. But then she died," Tara added, her quiet voice betraying nothing.

"Did you continue your learning alone after your mother died?" Giles asked.

"I was angry," Tara said, staring at him. "Very angry, you need to understand that, I didn't -- "

"Black magick?" he asked softly.

She looked down. "I didn't understand how dangerous it was. Well, no, I did, but the way he taught me...it was like he knew what I needed to hear, what would make me think that what we did was okay, that it was all in harmony with what my mother had taught me."


She trailed off in the middle of "All I Want is You" and looked over at him. "He told me to come to Sunnydale," she said, and then began singing again.


One day she looked at him and held out her hand with a grave expression on her face. He nodded, and she walked over to him and placed her hand on his temple. He felt her cool fingers slip through the skin without effort and then saw what she wanted him to.

Late nights sneaking out of the house to meet him, a man old enough to be her father who carried himself like an ageless vicious god. Drifting far from shore on a black sea of magick when his breath whispered spells in her ear and she'd a natural talent for it, for seeing people's thoughts and memories when she really wanted to.

She'd learned to enjoy scaring people on the street, whispering to them all the things they wanted no one to know about.

And when she finally pulled her hand away, he looked at her and was almost horrified.

"He called me Terror," she said finally, turning away from him and staring out the window. "He left to go back to Sunnydale in September of 1997. If he hadn't left, I don't think I'd've stopped."


I wanted to go to Sunnydale when he left, I promised him I would be there soon.

But as I was preparing to leave I grabbed a necklace of Mom's and just fell onto my bed and started crying.

My powers atrophied, I went so long without using them. I stopped trying to grab at people's memories, but sometimes I couldn't help but see them, if they were really emotional or I made skin-to-skin contact with them.

I recognized Mr. Giles the first time I saw him. He was older than I remembered him being -- or, well, older than he had been in Ethan's memories. It was wierd, looking Mr. Giles and seeing the nice man who took care of the woman I loved and her friends for so long and then getting a flash of sex and drugs and black black magick and Ripper. It took a long time for me to adjust to it.

He's not angry with me. It's a little bit of pity -- I was a child, I was grieving, I was scared, Ethan could talk as sweet as homemade clover honey -- but mostly it's that I escaped, just like he did.

Sometimes we get drunk, or he gets drunk and I just finally say the things that I might say if I were drunk because I know he'd never tell, and then we talk about things that we can't talk about normally, like how cedar incense turns Ethan on and how irritating it can when Willow walks around like she owns the place because she's made it past the new security systems on the site for the coroner's office.

Hee calls me Terror then, and I call him Ripper, and we wear the names like scars in places only a lover can see.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style