Buffy – Eruditio Ab Ardoris – Prologue: “Transformation”

Subtitled: “Passion” Revisited, or Through Another’s Eyes

Setting: Set during the S2 Episode “Passion”, and continuing on it’s own from there. Inspired by the movie Disney’s Brother Bear.

Premise: The people of the Kalderesh Tribe who originally cursed Angelus with a soul are a notoriously crafty people, renowned for their unique methods of revenge. With only one living member left, Janna (AKA Jenny Calendar) has decided to play both sides of the fence. Along with her continued work on translating the original curse that would again ensoul the vampire, she also began work on a backup plan. A curse that would only go into effect if she herself was killed before the work on the soul restoration spell was complete. It was a drastic, last ditch maneuver, designed to render Angelus harmless. Little did she know that her deceased brethren had a slightly different plan for this new curse… And one thing was for sure: Angelus would never be the same again.

Summary: Sometimes a curse can be a good thing. And people can be surprised when they discover where they truly belong. (Alternate Season 2, Angelus POV)

Disclaimer: Not mine. Not a one of them. Want to sue me? Go ahead. All you’ll get is a few stuffed animals and my lava lamp.

Dedication: This is dedicated to TrinityLast, who, through her writing and friendship, has shown me more than I could ever imagine, and taken me to worlds beyond my wildest dreams. Thanks, TL… This one’s for you.

 

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I’ve always loved that sound. That decadent sound of bones snapping, even as the eyes glaze over and the lifeless body drops to the ground. No sound compares to it, really. And the way that bitch Jenny’s neck cracked was particularly satisfying. How often can a vampire HONESTLY say that he’s killed the last of an entire race? Or, at least, an entire tribe.

I looked down at the gypsy’s crumpled body and didn’t even bother hiding my smirk. This fragile little human thought she could take down the Scourge of Europe? It was laughable. Almost as funny as the look on that little blond Slayer’s face when I informed her she was a “real pro”.

A screech of tires from outside the school drew my attention away from Jenny Calendar’s corpse. A small brown form was being tossed unceremoniously away from the car that had tried to stop a moment too late. My night vision easily identified the hit-and-run victim as a small dog I’d seen several times before near the school. Usually skulking around the cafeteria.

Stupid dog. Never understood why the kids called him “Hawkeye”. I mean, if you can miss an Audi barreling down on you, how the hell good are your eyes, anyway?

I snorted absently and started to walk away, when an… intriguing idea struck me. I could just imagine the look on that old Watcher’s pathetic face if he were to find, say, the body of his girlfriend in his bed. Oh, that was too good of a chance to pass up. I’d have to set up a camera or something, though.

I turned around and stooped to gather the Gypsy’s body into my arms, but I was distracted by an eerie bluish light that seemed to be filtering through the windows. Thinking that it might be a helicopter, I stood back up and turned to look. What I saw, however, made me wish it HAD been a helicopter.

Hell, the FBI would have been preferable. Humans I could kill.

As a general rule, the Northern Lights do NOT manifest themselves in California. But, on the Hellmouth, I suppose anything is possible. Still, there was no doubt in my mind that I was seeing them. Multicolored, ever changing swirls of light danced in the sky outside the window, though the most common colors seemed to be shades of blue. Something about those lights… not just the fact that they had no business being there, mind you… something about them disturbed me.

Then, with a suddenness that made me jump and plaster my back against the hallway wall, a shaft of undulating blue light seemed to push it’s way through the window and illuminate the entire hallway. Blinded momentarily, I threw my hand up to shield my eyes. When they adjusted, I found that the light was pouring through the glass of the window. And I use the word ‘pouring’ literally.

Once inside, the light was not behaving like light, but more like… water, I suppose. I had a momentary irrational fear that the light would fill up the entire hallway and I would drown. Of course, that was just stupid. I’m a vampire. I don’t have to BREATHE. Even getting a lung full of water wouldn’t kill me. It’d be annoying as hell, but it wouldn’t kill me. However, I had no idea what a lung full of LIGHT would do. And this was light. Freaky light, but light. Light that was acting as if it were water. Blue, glowing, sparkly light-water that pooled all up and down the hallway, lapping at my shoes and washing over Jenny’s body.

Needless to say, I was beginning to get a little annoyed. I was having a perfectly fine night until this stupid… whatever it was started happening. And at the same time, I knew that I was feeling a bit nervous as well. Though that didn’t have as much to do with what I was seeing as what I was hearing. Voices. Whispered voices instead of the sound of lapping waves. I couldn’t make out the words, but I was pretty sure that the language wasn’t English. It was familiar to me, but it wasn’t English.

I couldn’t move at first. A mixture of morbid curiosity and fascination, I suppose. With a little fear thrown in for good measure. But the fear began to get a bit more pronounced when I started picking up enough words to recognize just what language those odd voices were speaking.

Romani. They were speaking Romani, the language of the gypsies.

I began to back slowly toward the door at the end of the hall that I was closest to, wading through the now ankle deep light-water. The water seemed to know what I was doing, however, and a particularly violent swell washed to the door before I could get there and slammed it shut. This little action by the light-water served to do two things. Number one, those little bits of fear I’d been feeling turned into a moment of full on panic. And number two, losing that way out sent me running for the door at the other end of the hall. I wasn’t bothering being subtle now. I just wanted to get the hell OUT of there. Before I could reach the other door, however, the light-water had blocked that way out as well. This left me with two options. One, go back to standing still, or two, leap OUT the window the light was coming in. Something told me that the second option would not be a very intelligent thing to do, so I went with option one and froze in my tracks.

I wish I could say that I turned bravely to face the still pouring shaft of light-water then, but the truth is that I… did! Yeah. I turned and growled at the light-water, unafraid and definitely not shaking or wishing someone other than a corpse was there with me. Preferably Darla, but at that point it might have been nice to have ANYONE there. If I was scared, of course. Which I wasn’t. Of course.

Meanwhile, the whispering voices had slowly begun to transform into a quiet, melodic chorus. And the words to their little song made me wish that I didn’t understand Romani.

“Come with us,

We’ll take you now.
To a place that you fear.

Through our own mistakes,
Your heart has turned,
Away from us.

And we will make you,
Understand…”

I felt myself being drawn toward the still pouring shaft of light-water. I couldn’t seem to stop my body from moving toward it. Slowly, as if mesmerized, I reached out one hand and touched the tip of one finger to the pouring light. I was totally unprepared for what happened then. The moment my finger touched the water, the entire shaft seemed to EXPLODE!

Okay, so maybe I was a bit scared now. One might even say terrified. My body was under my control again, and I used that moment to stagger back from the blinding flash of light. I threw my hands up to shield my eyes as the cool blue shaft blew itself into a cacophony of oranges, greens, reds, and yellows. The Northern Lights that had started this whole thing outside were now INSIDE, and swirling around me.

Within the swirls of bright colors, I began to notice indistinct shaped moving throughout. Unidentifiable sounds enveloped the once darkened hallway and transforming it into a variable zoo of colors and sound. And still, that infernal singing continued.

“Everything will become clear to you,
When you see things through,
Another’s eyes…

Everything will become clear to you,
Whatever’s meant for you,
You will find…”

My eyes adjusted to the light, and I was shocked yet again as the shapes moving within the colors became clearer. The shapes were animals. All different kinds of animals, running, flying, and swimming through the sea of colors that filled the hallway. Wolves, bears, fish, birds, cats and dogs of all shapes and sizes. It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t so damn terrifying. Not to mention that I was nearly flattened by a lumbering pair of what appeared to be wooly mammoths.

Something made me turn then, and look at where Jenny’s body still lay. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw what appeared to be some kind of hawk fighting it’s way out of her chest like one of those creatures in the Alien movies, without the gore. The hawk seemed to free itself and it’s screech was added to the zoo of sounds that filled the entire hallway. I didn’t know whether to put my hands over my ears or my eyes.

I backed away from Jenny’s body, but the animals almost seemed to be herding me toward the very window they had entered through. Outside, I could see what looked like another shaft of light-water, golden this time, surrounding the body of the little brown dog that had been hit by a car moments before. I couldn’t help but stare as the dog’s body seemed to dissolve in the light-water. Suddenly, what had to be going on began to hit me. But if this was some kind of gateway to some bizarre gypsy afterlife, I sure as hell wasn’t interested in going. Despite my growling protests, however, both the song and the shoving animals continued to move me toward the window.

“Come with us,

We’ll take you there,
To a place where you’ll see,

Everything you need,
To be the one,
You need to be…

And all of those things,
That you feared,
Will disappear…

From view…

In time…”

Against my will, I was lifted off my feet and pulled up into the light. Somehow I must have been pulled clean through the glass of the window without breaking it, because I could suddenly look down and see the parking lot and streets below me.

Have I mentioned that I HATE flying? There’s a REASON I take boats, and it isn’t just for the scenery and easy food.

Flying alongside me was the very hawk that had emerged from Jenny’s body. How I knew it was the same hawk, I’m really not sure. I just knew. I didn’t know if the hawk WAS her, or even if it could hear me, but I was cursing a bloody blue streak at it in as many languages as I could remember. My shouting abruptly stopped when I found myself shoved inside the golden shaft of light-water that had surrounded the dog’s body moments earlier. And, once inside, I felt myself begin to whirl around, faster and faster, as that infernal singing finally began to reach what I hoped was it’s climax.

“Everything will become clear to you,
When you see things through,
Another’s eyes…

Everything will become clear to you,
Whatever’s meant for you,
You will find…”

My body convulsed suddenly, shaking, and my ears popped painfully. I felt as if my eyes were on two separate circuits from all the spinning, and was suddenly irrationally glad that I hadn’t eaten Jenny or I probably would’ve been throwing up by then.

I was dimly aware of being slowly lowered to the ground, but I kept my eyes closed as tightly as I could. Every time I opened them, my vision was so distorted from being dizzy that the light animals still circling me seemed to be dancing. The last thing I saw clearly before everything went mercifully black was the fearsome face of a bird of prey, staring at me with inquiring golden eyes.

I felt my body touch the ground, and the moment the cool asphalt touched my cheek, consciousness left me completely.

For the first time in my centuries long existence, I fainted.

Chapter 1