Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Two long time, but very different, friends are caught up in a spell and changed forever. They learn to cope and must rely on each other to survive in their new forms.
Spoilers: None! Definitely AU
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Disclaimer: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.
Some time early the next morning, Owill woke still in a tangled form of limbs with his dear, former canine friend. The fire had gone out and they were both cold, particularly as he was without his feathers and his friend sans fur! He could not work out exactly what to do, but had seen their mage pull a patchwork rug over himself many a time and spied the same on the ancient couch.
The changed owl was still struggling with his form, in particular his hands, so simply opened a mouth that was so recently a beak and bit down on the rug pulling it over both of them. The floor was hard, but at least now they were a little warmer. He and the changed canine cuddled close and slept.
As the birds outside heralded the dawn, Owill woke.
It was a chance to take comfort and take stock of their situation.
The former owl experimented with his new mouth, first moving around his human tongue. He ran it over the teeth, neat rows with slightly prominent eye teeth, then licked his lips and brought his right hand up to touch the tongue, and immediately began to grieve the loss of his wings. The pale feathers that had enabled him silence in flight were all gone and the limb heavy, he felt around to his backside… his tail too was missing, his wonderfully effective rudder in flight and he realized something more… without flight, how was he supposed to hunt?! He began to grieve anew and felt hot wet tears track down his cheeks.
Eventually he uncurled a little and examined his torso and legs, and the strange appendages between the long white limbs. They seemed ridiculously vulnerable just hanging there. He pushed away the long one and felt the strange floppy sac behind. Stroking over it and squeezing it gently made him feel a very odd tingle and he noted a change in the state of the front item. He quickly removed his hand from the region and curled up on his side in what would have been an impossible position in his previous form, and tried his voice again.
The sounds were easy enough but seemed to need more…something like the Mage’s speech. He tentatively tried his usual call, then added in the new tongue and finally just tried his own name. He managed “Wwwwoooiiiiii….ll.” then “Wiiiillll” then just “Will”. He experimented with a few other words he’d heard the mage utter, but finally just gave up and returned to simply uttering a series of mournful “Hooooo”s.
Lex stirred with the sound of his compatriot’s experiments. His dreams had included vague images of master, and the owl, and digging in the forest, and a very pretty golden retriever.
He woke suddenly and moved to clean himself as usual… but to his horror, was no where near flexible enough to lick… *anywhere* important(!) and remembered his change with a jolt.
The changed owl watched sadly as his companion of nearly three years cried out with a human voice before doing as he had, examining his new form with renewed horror.
His ears were in the wrong place, his paws gone, teeth blunt and muzzle… missing! He knelt up on all fours and turned again and again looking for… His tail was gone!! How was he to show pleasure or balance if his tail was gone? He slumped down onto the floor and began to do much as his friend had, he experimented with his voice.
The barks were much the same – though a higher pitch, and howling sounded similar but growling was very tricky. He too tried his name but found the ‘x’ all too much so ended up trying his full name a few times unsuccessfully though did manage “Aaaanddd” then finally “Aaaandrrrr”. It was a start. He smiled sadly at his dear pale friend.
Will reached over with his new hands and pulled his dark companion into a hug. They lay together in front of the dying fire, and a small black cat returned to snuggle against them as the last of the embers burned themselves out.
Hunger woke them both late morning, and the cat immediately took off to a safe spot on the sill of an open window.
Will made another attempt to stand, this time with the support of several pieces of furniture, and was successful. It was very strange… to be this high without perching on something, yet being fixed to the ground. His feet were still very inconveniently flat but slowly adjustments were made and after making his way around the room a few times, it still felt odd but somewhat balanced. He managed to let go and walked five steps across a doorway, unsteadily with legs set apart and bent a little like a small child, but he was proudly unsupported.
His dark friend tried to follow suit – but the former owl had always balanced on two legs, whereas the only time the dog had been upright was either sitting and lifting a little to beg, or when hauled up by his master to be held and supported (front paws on master’s shoulders) for an impromptu ‘dance’ once or twice.
The former canine pushed to all fours but then dropped to his knees, crawling to the settee, his legs not articulating as he was used to. He watched the owl’s progress before starting to claw his way up the settee then the bookshelf and finally struggling to his feet to stand *very* unsteadily and beginning to make extremely slow progress around the room, following the path of his friend.
Will finally collapsed onto the settee, sitting as a human for the first time, his toes still trying to claw the carpet instinctively and watched as (Lex)ander moved slowly around the space, falling to all fours as he had to navigate the two doorways, but eventually, on the fourth circuit, making it to the other side as a biped. He too collapsed onto the couch and the two embraced and rested for a time.
Will worried. He had eaten two mice and a vole the previous night, but (Lex)ander was far bigger and obviously hungry (if the growling stomach was anything to go by).
But what were they to eat now? They were both barely able to walk – how on earth were they to hunt?
A black cat that smelt vaguely familiar, jumped up onto the lounge with them. (Lex)ander made an attempt at growling but the cat stood its ground, indeed made its way from the ex-owl to the changed dog rubbing itself affectionately, jumping up and licking in particularly sensitive places around ears and necks, and purring loudly.
In the end (Lex)ander followed black feline on all fours into the kitchen, where the rather small black cat pawed at the old fridge door then finally gave up all pretence of being frightened and grabbed the faithful ex dog’s collar in frustration claws exposed… A yelp and slight struggle ensued, but eventually (Lex)ander understood and was able to pull it open with his now human hands.
Will stood leaning on the door jam and smiled at the tussle. He had followed more slowly, his progress on two legs becoming a little more confident by the minute – though holding something for support was still preferred.
The cat could smell the meat and paced impatiently as (Lex)ander pulled at a white paper package of fish inexpertly, with hands that now could grasp with their opposable thumbs. He inadvertently knocked down several fresh eggs and two apples in his rather clumsy effort to retrieve the prize. Will joined them on all fours and they all assisted in tearing open the paper and shared the packet of raw fish then lapped up the remains of the eggs.
It was raw and barely enough, but the problem of being human (or in the case of the mage, animal), was so much more than a single mealtime with no one around to assist.
Three days later, the three friends were still struggling. There had been some wins… the former dog had found he could turn taps on and off. They all drank deeply from the flow several times a day. Eventually Will also learned the skill, and discovered rather by accident that turning one tap produced a hot flow, and the other, cold water. They were both walking more confidently and had boldly taken to sleeping in the mage’s bed – far warmer than the floor now the fire was out. The cat always slept with them.
Door knobs were mastered though toileting was still a worry until the cat managed to lead them through to the strange little room attached to the side of the house where a round hole on a broad soft piece of wood indicated a place one might defecate. The pit toilet was a blessing with no flush to master, the cat now realized.
The changed mage had his own toileting spot in the garden just on the edge of the forest. And he too was still coming to terms with his new form, however his human thoughts had not yet been usurped by his cat instincts, which had advantages for his dear friends.
He managed to tug the cupboard open on the second night and pawed at two sets of pants with clawed paws, dragging them down, but as yet he was unable to convey that the newly formed humans needed to put them on, nor how!
By the third day, both Will and (Lex)ander had tried and enjoyed other food objects found in the fridge. The red and orange fruits were a surprise… tasting sweet, and the yellow (cheese) was salty and satisfying. The dog had sampled them before at his master’s invitation, but they were all new taste sensations for the ex-owl. The difficulty was their new larger forms seemed to crave more… and unless something changed, now they were faced with hunting or starving. Will had hunted from the first month he could fly, but had no idea how to proceed as a human. (Lex)ander had not hunted so much as accompanied and fetched in the past.
By day five, the two humans were hungry and miserable. A futile attempt at catching a rabbit that had bounced into their master’s neglected vegetable patch was foiled by their own still unsteady legs, and lack of strategy. But the cat had had an idea the day before and was strangely absent on the fourth night of their time in human form.
Brad trailed reluctantly behind his partner Skye, convinced that this time, she really had lost the plot.
He was blissfully happy when they had moved into the tiny abandoned cottage at the edge of the wood in their first year after the sun festival. The local farmer had tolerated the two blonde, dreadlock sporting, hippie tenants, and been amenable to the idea of the derelict cottage being repaired and rent paid in kind (eggs, home grown vegetables, preserves, and the occasional salve for his prize sow and one rather poorly old horse.) Skye sold her balms and home made soaps at the local markets, and Brad sold his art through an agent in the village. Their existence was comfortably…‘at peace’.
Brad had been open minded when Skye began experimenting with astral projection in their ninth year together, though never really succeeded to find the ‘plane’ himself… But this latest took the cake! Now they were following *a cat*, a black one no less, through the forest to some unknown destination, his partner claiming the animal was a wizard who had been changed and who’s friends needed help.
In the end Brad, had accompanied her reluctantly with the intention of keeping her safe and perhaps guiding her to the local village and some sort of medical assistance if the behaviour really was the signal of a return of the ‘episodes’ she had apparently suffered as a teenager.
After almost three quarters of an hour of stomping through thick forest, however, he had to admit error. The cat had led them into a tiny clearing with a perfectly maintained ancient shack in a rather shabby little garden, the latter being picked over by a bunch of enthusiastic hens, two pigeons, and a wild rabbit.
The cat sprinted up the path and scratched at the door.
Skye grabbed her dear partner’s hand as a totally nude male figure wearing a collar pulled the door open, then promptly overbalanced, corrected and dropped to hands and knees. A second very pale man, also naked, could be seen assisting the door opener back up onto his feet.
The rainbow clad Skye simply whispered, “See!!! It’s true. *Just* as he said! Oh Lover! It’s *true*! We *have* to help them! Oh the poor loves! Just imagine?!”
He couldn’t, but followed her anyway.