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.
The two individuals had long flowing white robes and hoods obscuring their faces. They stood silently for a very long time and Skye began to see clear visions of Will as he was before the shooting - running, climbing, chatting happily, playing with (Lex)ander, and helping her around the house. And then she saw the forest from above as he would have seen it before the spell struck… and felt the thrilling sensation of flying before a sudden jolt, and she was aware of the visitors again.
The figure on the left began to speak in quiet tones.
“You have requested healing for one of the forest’s own, a being you have cared for, indeed have displayed a familial level of love for (as you have with his companion). Surely there was no more reason for your devotion than general compassion. And it is but one creature… why must we intervene now? Why is his wellbeing so important? Surely if it is too much for you to bear, then there must be human facilities to address such issues!”
Skye was beside herself! Her dear boys, and now… All this effort and the cats and a spell and now… now these supposedly higher powers were telling her to just… walk away? She stood up mid pentagram, no longer willing to kneel to beings apparently so callous, then felt a warm strong male presence behind her as Brad stepped into the magical space.
He leaned forward and whispered, “Don’t know what you’re seeing or hearing lover, but if they’re not availing themselves, then let’s just call it quits and look after our boys and this bloody forest as best we can… Come on Skye … as best we can… I’m here… I’m with you.”
He saw his partner stiffen as she began to address whatever manifestations she could see, and did not fail to notice that the two cats were forced to absent themselves. The felines had given their all, but had to return to their children to rest – their small forms not able to continue to support the amount of power required. As a consequence, Skye was fast being sapped of her life force to sustain the contact. Brad slid his arms around his partner’s waist and added his energy to her own, enough for the conversation to continue and for him to see the two figures she was addressing.
Skye addressed the faceless figures, “You bastards!! I, *we* asked you for help, and all you do is recommend we lock them away?! Our boys?!! What, would you have me attach a leash to (Lex)ander and send him to some human version of a ‘pound’ as well? Well F@#K that! …”
Skye was now crying too hard to go on, so Brad took the floor, still holding his partner tight. “If you can’t help then fine, if you can then do. We love the changed boys as our own, and we love this forest and all its creatures… We will do what it takes alone if you won’t help. *Sorry* to trouble you.”
(Lex)ander had stirred during Skye’s outburst and awoken completely as Brad began. The ex-dog rallied and moved into the space also to accept an embrace from his carers and add his own energy to the mix. He eventually turned to growl at the two figures as Brad finished his brief speech.
The figure on the right moved forward a little to address the tight knit group as though in confidence, “We needed assurance that your motives were pure…” He turned to the other figure, “It seems, dear sister, that our mortals here have a calling… Nobles oblige toward our creatures beyond that of others… but I wonder how deep it goes.” The figure stared at each in turn, “Your stricken friend was willing to die for another and may still do so. So… what are *you* prepared to do to ensure your beloved Will lives?” The entire group paled at the thought of losing any one of their little family. Even the ex-dog apparently fully understood the meaning of the message.
(Lex)ander finally broke their reverie by howling long and loud in frustration and grief, and though he had been standing now fell into full down supplication and tried desperately to form words, to offer himself… anything to help his Owill live.
Neither Brad nor Skye could conceive of life without their partner. Skye swivelled in Brad’s hold and kissed him desperately, reassured by his whispered, “We do this together.”
Skye pulled away slightly and gently stroked her beloved’s handsome face, said “I love you”, then turned to back to the white pair. “We have nothing but ourselves to offer. All we ask is that you take us together and provide Will and (Lex)ander with another carer.”
The white figure on the left simply said, “No.”
Skye was frantic, and instantly very, *very* upset. “No??? What no? We *have* nothing else! Surely a two for one deal… He’s of the forest and was *helping* and now you would let him die because two lives forfeit are not enough!?! So why bother coming? What? It amused you or something?? You absol…” Skye was silenced with the wave of the right figure’s hand, and Brad found himself voiceless also. (Lex)ander whimpered a little on the ground and shuffled across a little until he pushed against Skye’s ankle for comfort though remained in a full down position.
“We are uninterested in taking your lives. If you want your ‘boy’ to recover then you must *both* commit to becoming protectors of Gaia’s forests and all they contain. Also acting spiritual guides to any whom seek her.
“Daily you will walk as you do now, work as you do now, age as you do now. But nightly your spiritual selves with emerge. Your bodies will remain resting as you pursue your task. You will be the protectors, your task to monitor and keep all Gaia’s plants and creatures from human harm, and if you cannot, then to appeal to her and ease their way. And when your human bodies fail, your spiritual role will encompass your all, you will manifest and commune as needed in human, beast or vapour form.
“You Skye, will be tied to the owl, and Brad to the dog. They pair as you pair so it is just. Their original bodies will be mimicked by your spiritual ones and eventually they will join you in your quest also.”
The figure on the left took over the speech, “If you agree, your friend will survive and recover in full. If you do not then…”
Without even slowing down the two began to agree then remembered, and Brad asked, “But Will and (Lex)ander… they have no say in this?”
“Their fate is to be determined by your choice. They are yours to protect or let die. If you do the latter, their spirits will be lost to us forever. Do you honestly think they would prefer oblivion, to not be with you, their friends, their *parents* in situ?”
As though to confirm (Lex)ander chose that moment to pull Skye down to sitting again and crawl into her lap for a hug, alternating between licking under her neck and rubbing his cheek against her ample bosom.
Skye looked up at Brad who now spoke for all of them, “We agree. We relinquish our nights and our spirits the service of Gaia, and understand it will be our role to protect the creatures and the plants that live on her from destruction from human sources. In exchange, you are agreeing that our beautiful Will is to be restored and join our family once more.”
Both figures nodded and “It is agreed.”
There was a bright flash and several minutes later the three human forms came too sprawled on the floor, the pentagram apparently blown apart and the candles all out. Brad had fallen hard and had an obvious bump on his temple and very sore hip, the others had not fared quite so badly.
Skye struggled up, left (Lex)ander in Brad’s care and moved to feed the mage and his family – leaving a number of extra tasty treats as a thank you for their trouble, before making a nest of old cushions lined by a hand crocheted rug. The family settled down to snooze for the rest of the evening.
Skye and Brad too decided that it was better they sleep for a bit before returning to the hospital. They did as they had done several times since the crisis with Will, they took (Lex)ander into their bed, hugging him from either side and giving comfort.
By mid morning they were back at the hospital. Will was still struggling but apparently improving.
Five nights of very odd dreams later and they visited Will in a regular ward. The infection had resolved itself, his lung was back in action (just) and for the first time he felt the pressure of someone touching the soles of his feet with a needle. It seemed the swelling in and around his spine was beginning to reduce.
Two days on and he had the breathing mask off and was able to respond to his dear friends, his family, properly for the first time. His pain medication was still very high but at least, less sedated, he was able to interact a little. Squeezing hands and smiling occasionally, he finally giving a rather raspy “Hoooooo” after his beloved (Lex)ander kissed him hello.
Will had no idea of the price that had been paid, and Skye and Brad were satisfied that it was worth it, but they were still coming to terms with their new nightly regime.