This will be a short story that takes place in the during season 3 episode 9 - Everything is Broken then goes slightly off canon. Each chapter will show a flashback of Tara and Jason's relationship over the years and how their feelings developed for each other. Enjoy!
The flash back in this chapter is based on a flashback of Jason/Tara shown during season 1 episode 4 Escape from Dragon House.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter 1 - First Love
"Oh God…oh God! What we gonna do, Tara?" Jason was down on his knees, his eyes wide with shock and horror. The smoking rifle he used only seconds ago lay at his side next to a puddle of blood and goo that had once been the vampire, Franklin Mott.
Tara stared blankly at the vampire's remains. He's dead. He's really dead this time.
Three weeks ago, Franklin had kidnapped, tortured, raped and threatened to turn her into his vampire bride. She suffered at his hands for close to a week until she managed to escape the Mississippi plantation where he'd held her captive. Her body trembled, recalling the last words he said to her right before he drifted into a corpse-like sleep.
Promise you'll never try to leave me again. If you do, I will find you. And next time, Tara, I will not be as forgiving.
She feared his words had been true, even as she bashed his head in with an iron mace the next morning. Somehow she knew one day he'd find her and take his revenge. If not for Jason Stackhouse, she would be a drained corpse right now.
"C'mon…we gotta do somethin'…we gotta hide…this." Jason's panicked voice drew her back to the dire situation at hand. They had just murdered someone. Even if that someone was a psychotic 600 year old vampire, they could go to prison for this.
She slowly stood from her crouched position against the side of Merlotte's building. "I need you to dig," she said in a voice so calm, it surprised even her.
Jason's brows rose high on his forehead. "What?"
"Dig," she said more forcefully.
Jason began clawing at the ground with his bare hands while Tara gathered Franklin's boots and blood soaked clothing.
"Start up the truck. Put these in the back. We'll find a place to burn 'em."
Jason hesitated before taking the bloody items out her hands.
"Go. I got this," she said, staring into his troubled blue eyes. He hurried off towards his truck while she finished kicking dirt over the rest of the evidence.
Anger and disgust coiled within her stomach. Franklin had violated her in ways that she never thought possible. He made her feel weak and helpless. That was something she could not tolerate. She spat on the ground. "I hope you rot in hell, you psycho piece of shit!"
"C'mon, Tara. We gotta go," Jason shouted from the truck.
Tara stared down at the shallow grave at her feet. "You dead, sick motherfucker."
"Tara, we have to leave now!"
Tara quickly turned away and ran towards the truck where Jason, her savior, the only man she could ever count on, waited to whisk her away to safety.
Tara was eight years old when she decided she would one day marry Jason Stackhouse. She remembered precisely the day it happened. Tara had woken up early while her mother, Lettie-Mae, was sprawled out on the couch in a drunken slumber. Wearing her only clean pair of shorts and a sleeveless tank, she tiptoed into the kitchen and opened the cabinet door under the sink where her mother kept most of her supply of liquor. She smiled to herself as she unscrewed the top on a fifth of gin and watched the clear liquid disappear down the drain. The night before, she devised a plan to get rid of all the liquor in the house, that way her mother couldn't get drunk in the morning and would have to fix them a real breakfast. Her stomach growled at the thought. Her mother used to cook hoe cakes with bacon grease for breakfast when she was sober which seemed an eternity ago.
She was pouring out the third bottle of liquor when her mother stumbled into the kitchen looking worn and disheveled. Tara spun around, trying to hide the half empty bottle, but it slipped from her small hands and spilled on the dingy, linoleum floor.
Fear crept up Tara's spine as Lettie's eyes darted to the two empty bottles on the counter then down at the one that had rolled towards her feet.
"You… stupid…little…bitch!" Lettie sneered. "You in here pourin' out my good liquor and wasting my damn money!"
Tara thought buying liquor was a waste of money, especially when they barely had enough to pay their bills, but she wasn't going say that to Lettie's face.
Her mother moved ominously closer. Rage burned in her red-rimmed eyes as she towered over Tara. "I'm gone take every penny outta ya skinny black behind, ya hear me."
Tara cowered against the sink, bracing herself for the first strike. It came fast, leaving a fiery sting across her right cheek. The next blow was a fist against her left temple that sent her sprawling to the floor.
"How many times I gotta tell ya not to touch my shit, huh?" Each word was punctuated with a slap, a punch or a kick.
Lettie reached down and pulled her up by the hair so hard that the pain shot from Tara's scalp down to her gums, causing her to grind her teeth.
"The bible say you 'spose to do what yo' you mama tell ya. You gone learn, girl, even if I gotta beat you within an inch of yo' useless life, to do what I say!"
Tara reached over her head, trying to grab at her mother's hands to free herself, but it was no use. Even half drunk, Lettie was bigger and stronger than her. She kicked and screamed as Lettie pulled her by the hair out of the kitchen and into the small cluttered living room. Her heart thundered in her ears. She knew what was coming next.
"Please, Mama, don't!" she pleaded. "I'm sorry. I won't do it no more, I promise…please!"
"You damn right you won't!"
The phone extension cord cut like a string of razor blades as it struck Tara's tender flesh. She curled up in the fetal position, doing her best to protect her face from the succession of biting blows her mother landed against every accessible part of her body. She screamed until her voice was hoarse and all she could do was whimper. Finally, Lettie fell back against the couch sweaty and exhausted, the extension cord still wrapped around her right hand.
"Now get the fuck up and fix me a whisky sour and you betta not spill a drop."
Tara rose to her feet like an eighty year old woman. Her limbs were beyond pain, they felt numb. She limped slowly towards the kitchen.
"Make it quick too," Lettie warned. "You don't want me comin' in dere after you."
Tara quickened her steps. She opened an overhead cabinet and took out a glass, smearing it with the blood on her hands.
She rubbed the smudge vigorously with a dish towel. More blood dripped from the open cuts on her arms and hands. She put the glass down on the counter and got out a plastic cup instead. At least it would cause less injury if Lettie decided to throw it at her. She retrieved a bottle of Captain Morgan from under the sink. As she unscrewed the top, she glanced out the window. A few yards away, she could see Sookie and Jason's grandmother's house through the clearing. It was an old house, but bigger and nicer than the one she and Lettie lived in. And it was where Tara had spent some of the happiest moments in her young life.
"What the hell's takin' you so long?" Lettie called from the living room.
Tara froze, staring out the window. I could run over there right now. Mama wouldn't dare follow me. She's scared of white folks.
"Girl, you best to hurry up with my drink." Lettie hollered from the next room.
If I run now, she can't stop me. She might be bigger, but I'm faster.
She glanced at the side door in the kitchen. She could slip out now, before Lettie even realized she was gone. Holding the bottle of whiskey in her right hand, she crept towards the door and turned the knob.
"Tara! You hear me talkin' to you in dere?"
Tara took a deep breath, eased outside, and silently shut the door behind her. As soon as she reached the edge of her yard, Tara threw the bottle of Captain Morgan to the ground and watched it shatter. The kitchen door flew open and Lettie stood in the doorway.
"Tara! Tara! You get yo' ugly self back here!"
Tara ignored her, running as fast as her skinny legs would carry her across the clearing and to her best friend's house.
She banged her fists on the front door. "Sookie! Open up, open up!"
Jason opened the door. His blond hair was mussed up on his head and an oversized basketball jersey hung on his narrow shoulders. He yawned and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. "Hey, Tara. Sookie ain't home," he said groggily.
"She's comin'. Please, let me in." Tara pleaded. Jason took a step back from the door and she rushed in, but before he could shut it, Lettie was already running up the front porch.
"I'm gone crack you like you ain't never gone forget."
Jason stepped in front of Tara, shielding her from her mother's wrath.
"Is there a problem here?"
"You bet your tidy white ass there's a problem. That little bitch hid my Captain Morgan."
Tara peered over Jason's shoulder. "I didn't hide it, Mama. I threw it out."
"My gran's at the market and I ain't 'suppose to let anyone in when she's not home."
"You let her in," Lettie said pointedly, glaring down at the pubescent boy that stood between her and her daughter.
"Well, I know her!"
Lettie raised her fist and grabbed him up by the front of his jersey.
Tara shrank behind Jason, fearing what she might do next.
Jason stood his ground, lifting his chin defiantly. "Maybe I should call Sherriff Dearborn and have him come throw you in jail where I guarantee there ain't no Captain Morgan waitin' for ya."
Lettie released him and took a step back. Obviously, his threat had scared her. One thing her mother feared more than white folks was the white police.
"This ain't over." she said grudgingly before bounding down the steps.
Jason slammed and locked the door.
Tara's heart pounded against her rib cage. No one had ever stood up for her like that before. She stared up at him with surprise and wonderment. Lettie Mae was older, bigger, and stronger than Jason, but for some reason none of that stopped him from protecting her.
"Those cuts on your hands and arms look bad," he said, taking hold of her hand and raising her arm for a closer inspection. A tingle raced through her.
"I think we got some medicine I can put on the cuts so they don't leave scars."
She followed him into the living room and sat down on Gran's floral couch. The room smelled of fresh flowers and Pinesol, not liquor and old vomit like at her own house.
"I'll be right back," Jason said.
A few minutes later, he returned with a first aid kit. He sat down beside her and began to doctor her wounds. She gritted her teeth to keep from whimpering when he cleaned her cuts with alcohol.
"Why she do this to you?" He asked. She hated seeing the look of pity in his eyes.
"Because she can," she answered solemnly.
"Tara, I know this ain't none of my business, but I really think you should tell somebody what's goin' on at your house. Maybe they can help you or somethin'."
"How? By puttin' me in foster care with a bunch of strangers?"
"Maybe you'd be better off if they did."
Tears prickled her eyes, but not from physical pain. "I wouldn't be able to see Sookie and Gran no more." And you, she wanted to add, but that wasn't the type of thing you say to your best friend's brother.
"They might find you a nice family who live in Bon Temps then you could visit anytime you want."
Tara shifted her gaze from his. "Nobody wants me Jason, not even my own mama really. Maybe if I was a cute little white baby, somebody would want to adopt me, but I'm not and I got nowhere else to go."
Jason turned her chin back towards him. "You know you're always welcome here, Tara. You're like family."
Tara smiled, but knew that even though Gran had always treated her kindly and Sookie was like the sister she never had, there was no way they could take in another mouth to feed. Besides, Lettie wouldn't stand for it.
"Don't mention it."
He finished putting the bandage on the back of her hand. To her surprise, he bent down and gently pressed his lips against it.
Her cheeks warmed. "Wh…What you do that for?"
Jason lifted his head and smiled at her. Tara's heart did a flip then another. He was definitely going to be a heartbreaker some day.
"I used to get a lot of cuts and scrapes when I was little. My ma used to tell me a kiss makes the wounds heal faster. "
Tara raised a skeptical eyebrow. "And you believed her?"
"Nah, but what harm can it do, right?"
He got up and went to turn on the television. "You wanna watch some cartoons? I think GI Joe is on."
Tara hated GI Joe. She preferred watching the Smurfs.
"Sure," she said. "That's my favorite show."
Jason eyes lit up. "Great! We can watch it together until Gran and Sook get back."
He flopped down on the couch and put his arm around her shoulders. She leaned into him as if it was the most natural thing for them to do.
The heat of his breath feathered against her temple as he spoke, "Tara."
"Huh?" She answered, staring absently at the small television screen as the Joes battled against the evil forces of COBRA.
"If you're ever in trouble again, I want you to come to me or Sook, okay?
"Alright," she said, but knew her voice didn't sound convincing.
"I mean it, Tara, if your mama or anybody else tries to hurt you, I'll do my best to protect you, I promise."
She lifted up to stare into his intense blue eyes. He was just a couple of years older than her and no match for the likes of someone as mean as Lettie-Mae Thornton, but the look on his face told her he was serious.
"Why?" she asked.
"Because…Because I know how much Sook cares about you, so I guess that means…" His cheeks turned an adorable shade of pink. "I…I care about you too."
Tara couldn't hold back her grin.
She turned and settled back into the crook of his arm. It was at that moment; Tara knew that one day she'd grow up and marry Jason Stackhouse.
I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of Saved Me. Please leave a review and tell me what you think. Remember your feedback is what makes me want to crank out more Tara-centric stories for your reading enjoyment.