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Her hands shook as she picked up the scissors; and she approached the mirror with trepidation, frightened by what she might see there.

“Ain’t no demons there,” she muttered, “none of that supernatural bullshit. No one’s going to be looking back at you but your own self, Tara Mae Thornton.”

Maybe that was the problem though, she was just so tired of her own self. Even if she didn’t have a demon in her, she was still fucked up.

“That’s going to change though,” she whispered, “If Sam Merlotte can do it, then so can I.”

She blew out a long shaky breath and met her own eyes in the mirror. Yup, just Tara, angry, pissed off, ‘why don’t I just let the whole world fuck me over’ Tara.
“Not anymore,” she said to herself, and opened the scissors.

She had a moment of weakness when she ran her free hand through her hair, remembering how Eggs used to lift it away from her neck and kiss her awake in the morning. She let her hand drop as other memories flooded through her: Franklin lifting her hair in some sick perversion of Eggs’ gesture, but never to kiss her; Jason wrapping one of her braids around his finger before she kissed him, finally, Jason had always been fascinated by her hair, she remembered, even when they were kids. She pulled her hair taut and made the first cut, tears falling unbidden from her eyes.

It got easier after that first cut, but she couldn't stop herself from crying as her tumbled around her. Finally she stopped and looked at herself again. Her braids hung ragged around her face but it was easier to look into her own eyes now, like she was meeting the new Tara for the very first time. She shook her head experimentally, watching her hair swish from side to side. It felt lighter, of course, but an all-over kind of lighter. Different.

She blinked back the last of her tears and splashed water on her face, pushing her hands back through what was left of her hair, exploring the crisp texture of the freshly cut ends. Remembering what she'd been told, she reached for a bottle of conditioner and slathered her hair in it, gently rolling each braid between her fingers as she worked it in. She left it alone to soak in for a while and fetched the dustpan and broom from downstairs so she could clean up.

She swept the floor meticulously and scrubbed the sink out after cleaning off the last remaining hairs. It seemed kind of crazy, looking at the state the rest of the house was in, but it felt right to do it, somehow. Especially since the thing with Maryann was all down to her, really. She shook her head at the memory of Maryann, laughing, telling her she'd summoned her, she'd caused all that.

"No," she said firmly, hoping this time she could believe it, "That was just some crazy pharmacist lady drugging me and making me see shit, not me summoning some fucking...maenad." Just feeling the word in her mouth was enough to make her want to spit, too many names for supernatural freaks she never wanted to hear again. Hell, she wished she'd never heard them in the first place.

She pushed the thoughts out of her mind, replaced the cleaning supplies and went to fetch her comb to finish taking out her braids. She couldn't find it in her room, and then she remembered that Sookie had borrowed it a while ago, before she even went to Dallas. She hesitated before going into Sookie's room to look for it, when she and Sookie were kids her Gran had never let them go in there without her, and old habits died hard. She wondered briefly if Sookie ever felt the same way, she'd talked a lot about how difficult it was before she'd moved into the room, but they hadn't spoken about it since.

She pushed open the door and drew in a deep breath. Jesus, it looked like...Tara didn't even want to think about what it looked like. Not with all the shit that had gone down lately, anyway. It seemed like Sook was almost as fucked up as she was these days, with Bill, and now Russell, and that guy Alcide who seemed so nice except for the part where the first time they met he'd been a giant fucking wolf. She picked her way over to the dresser and found her comb under a mess of knocked over bottles, and got out of there.

She retreated to the bathroom, armed herself with a bottle of conditioning spray and prepared to comb out her hair. She breathed out, and rolled her shoulders to relax a little. She'd learned the hard way that she couldn't treat her hair with anger and frustration, and after an emergency trip to the salon she'd finally begged her stylist to show her how to do it properly. She'd hated that, being a grown-ass woman who didn't know how to take care of her own hair.

It was the kind of thing her momma should have taught her, really, and she'd been sure she saw a look of pity in her stylist's eyes. It hadn't always been like that, when she was really small Ruby Jean used to love taking care of her hair, even if her momma never did. She used to treat Tara like a little princess, or a doll, Lettie Mae had the little girl she'd always wanted. That had all stopped when Lafayette said he wanted to join in one day. Tara smiled at the thought of it. "Be careful what you wish for," she muttered.

She spritzed the first braid to loosen it as she started gently teasing it out with the comb. She frowned at herself in the mirror, concentrating hard until she got in the rhythm of it. It was strange, but she hadn't felt the usual twist of bitterness when she thought about her momma. When they'd argued earlier, when Momma said what she said, about never being happy with Tara in her life, she'd felt like something was breaking inside her, and now it was gone. She'd wished her momma happiness, and meant it. It was all too clear they couldn't find happiness together, however much she'd wanted it, so it was time to see if they could find it apart from each other.

She kept working at her hair, the repetitive motions were oddly soothing. It wasn't easy, exactly, but shit, she only wished it would be this simple to start untangling all the problems in her life. Sam had told her it would be easy for a girl "like her", whatever the hell that meant, to start over, but she wasn't so sure she believed him. She'd thought she could trust him, a week ago she would have bought it; she'd been thinking she needed someone more solid, normal, she could even have overlooked the barking...but finding out he turned into an actual dog? Hell no, that particular bombshell was just a little too much.

She combed out her last braid and shook out her hair. She looked in the mirror, and it wasn't such a pretty sight. Crazy Tara all over, the psycho bitch. She fluffed it experimentally and twitched her lip into a half smile for her reflection. It's a little crazy, she thought, but I can work with that.

She slipped off her clothes and stepped into the shower. She closed her eyes as the spray hit her face, hoping she would be able to shower alone this time, without any unpleasant memories. Her eyes snapped open. Nobody there, of course. Just her. She tipped her head back and laughed to herself, then showered until the water ran cold.

She went back to her room to get dressed, then sat quietly on the bed drying her hair. She couldn't believe it was really hers sometimes; when she'd been seven and having as many sleepovers with Sookie as she thought she could get away with, she'd thought her life would be perfect if she could just have a room like this. "I guess that just proves that seven year olds don't know shit," she said out loud, breaking the peaceful silence, "Not seven year olds like me, anyway."

It was easy to leave, in the end. She straightened the bed and took a last look round at all the detritus of her life. She thought about packing a bag, but it didn't feel right, so she just walked out and closed the door. It was just a room, anyway. Even if it did beat the hell out of sleazy motel rooms. Or Momma's house. Or anywhere else she'd lived except at...she didn't want to think about that. "Don't even go there," she muttered, and headed downstairs.

She was caught out by the sound of Sookie's key in the door. Her first instinct was to run, but she fought it. This was Sookie, after all, they didn't have to hide from each other. Shit, she probably wouldn't be able to hide from Sook even if she tried. She kept on walking, and tried not to respond to Sookie's shocked exclamation. She looked at her, finally, and realised that Sookie couldn't really hide from her either, no mind-reading needed.

She'd thought she wanted to get away, but it was good to sit down and eat with Sookie and just talk. Sookie was turning out just like her Gran, always ready with something to feed people. That shit was wasted on the vamps, of course. She bit down on the urge to tell Sookie that because hell, she had been too much of a bitch lately. And it felt good, shooting the shit and all. Tara could feel her resolve wavering a little; Sookie had been her family, her real family, for a long time now, and when it came down to it she wasn't so sure she wanted to start over without Sookie. At least until they got onto the fucking supernaturals again. She could see it written all over Sookie's face, whatever she might think, she wasn't done with that shit at all. Maybe she never would be, and the new Tara wasn't going to deal with that crap any more.

They might be nearly sisters, but sisters grew apart sometimes, right? It happened all the time. Still, she felt like shit when she told Sookie she was just going to run to the bar, when she didn't know if they'd ever see each other again. Hugging her goodbye was the worst thing she'd felt since Eggs...well, since Eggs.

She did go to the bar though, she hadn't lied about that, and she needed to see Lafayette. He'd been through so much with her, he understood all that family stuff like no one else really could. When she got to the parking lot though, she changed her mind. Normally she could feel her skin start crawling as soon as she pulled in, and she would try and run to the door before the memories broke over her like a wave. It wasn't just her who felt it, either, Lafayette had come into work shivering the week before, blaming it on all the bad juju outside.

Not tonight though, tonight it just felt like the bar she'd stormed into so she could blow off steam to Sookie, and then ended up behind the bar. She didn't need to go in, and she didn't want to. If anyone could understand, it would be Lafayette. Hell, he'd run off to be a fucking go-go dancer without saying a word, and they'd worked things out afterwards. Eventually. And Sam...he had no right to judge for skipping out, but she didn't feel like telling him to his face that he was losing another employee. He'd figure it out, dogs weren't that stupid.

So this was it. All the times she'd dreamed about leaving Bon Temps, all the shouting, the screaming, the anger. All those things she was going to when she just got the hell out of this crazy redneck town. And now it was time to go. Tara blinked hard, and drove. She didn't look back.