Born To Bleed
Title: Born To Bleed
Rating: R, might go up.
Disclaimer: Don’t own any of them.
Spoilers: Underworld the movie, S7 for BTVS.
Notes: For the purposes of this story, the vampires of the Underworld movie will be portrayed as the same species as the vampires of BTVS.
The war had come.
Everyone knew that it was coming. There was no way around it. The lines had been drawn, the hostilities on both sides reaching immeasurable heights. Most of the elders had fallen, though hardly any of the young ones understood the reason why they had died. Events had been blurred, purposefully no doubt, and now both sides ceased to even care what had really gone down. It was back to being about the feud, about the blood and battle. It was back to being nothing but meaningless death.
I’m beginning to think that’s the only way it can be.
I thought I was done with wars and battles once the First had been defeated, but I had been so very wrong. It was easy to think that once the Hellmouth was closed for business that I could indulge myself into some sort of normal life. Well, normal for me anyway. I would spend the time with my friends, helping the endless stream of new Slayers understand their new abilities and duties. All of us had great plans for the days following the collapse of Sunnydale.
None of us had planned on me losing my powers.
It was kind of funny, in a morbid way. I could still feel the power of the Earth; I could still sense the Slayers all over the world, awakening with confusion to find themselves infinitely stronger than before. I could still do all that, but I couldn’t do another spell to save my life.
Quite literally in fact.
It could be that I over did myself in Sunnydale that day. It could be that in overturning the rules that had guided Slayers for thousands of years, I reached my peak and squandered all my power on that one spell. There were a number of different theories, but not one could be proven to be true. After awhile, it didn’t become important to know why it happened, only to know what it meant. And it meant that I, Willow Rosenburg, was no longer a witch but an empath of startling proportions.
Empathy turned out to be not as good a defensive weapon as my magic had been. Another lesson that I had to learn the hard way.
I felt things I should not have been feeling. I sensed things that I was better off not knowing about. I became aware of conflicts that did not concern me, though I was too foolhardy to know that at the time. The true battle between the Undead and the Lycans had only begun when my friends and I stepped out of the ruins of Sunnydale. I could feel the anger behind it, the raw hatred fuelling both sides. That should have been enough to keep me far away from the war brewing.
But I also felt him. And I made the worst decision I have ever made in my life.
I decided to interfere.
We were too damn cocky, that was our downfall. We had taken on the First and lived to tell the tale. We felt invincible, people thought we were invincible. One measly war between vampires and werewolves seemed to be an entirely too easy problem for us to handle. After you’ve successfully smacked down the First Evil, feuding immortals don’t really seem to be all that formidable.
I forgot how stupid we all could be when we wanted to.
We thought we could end it. A war that had been raging for centuries with no sign of slowing down, and we thought we could put an end to it. We had an army of Slayers, a handful of Watchers, the odd human here and there, and me-the former witch turned empath. We thought we held all the cards. We thought we could end the damn thing before it even got started.
We were wrong.
I should have known, the first time I ever felt him. His energy was all screwed up, like there were too many parts too him. He seemed incomplete but whole, a creature made up of halves that warred with one another endlessly. It was as if he shouldn’t have existed, but there he was. He disturbed things, riled everyone up. He made a lot of people angry simply by being who he was.
I probably should have figured out exactly what he was before I decided to help him. But then again, how was I supposed to know that this man was the vampire-lycan hybrid that had stirred this ancient war up once more? He certainly didn’t make any mention of it when we first met.
Of course, it might be difficult to talk when you were busy biting the foolish redhead who had come to your rescue.
Yeah, he bit me. He didn’t mean it, or so he says. Sometimes I can’t tell with that man. I’m told that before his transformation he was quite the nice guy, all honest and helpful. But once he became what he did, a wild streak became more evident than before. I couldn’t tell when he was telling the truth or just playing with me. I still can’t tell, not even to this day. I would like to believe that it was all a horrible accident, but there was always that chance that Michael knew what he was doing.
I have to take my share of the blame in all this. I went to Michael, approaching him when I knew that it probably wasn’t safe. I don’t know what I was thinking. I should have recognized the Change having spent so much time watching Oz go through it. But Michael’s Change was different from others, his was something else. I guess I wanted to help that man, screaming and thrashing on the wet sidewalk. I got too close and I ended up paying for it.
I should have known better, I knew that there were lycans and vampires alike running all over the ruins of that warehouse. The Slayers were at my back, shouting frantically to each other as they tried to stop the slaughter we all knew was coming. Of course, these creatures liked to play with guns and all sorts of other neat toys Slayers shied away from. A crossbow is pretty damn intimidating unless the other guy has a grenade in his hands. I shouldn’t have broken from the group, rushing to the sounds of the screams that I thought belonged to an innocent.
His Change is beyond pain. I cannot even begin to find words to explain it. My empathy let me feel what he was feeling and I had the insane urge to go to him, to try to stop his pain. It was only after that I touched his shoulder did I realize my mistake.
I saw the flash of fang first and then the truth hit me, but not fast enough. I scuttled away from him, intent on calling to Buffy for aid. The blonde would have been at my side the second she heard my voice.
But I didn’t even get the chance to scream.
He moved fast, too fast, even for a shifter. All I could register was sitting upright one second and being knocked on my back in the next. His teeth were in my neck before my head could clear and that was when I finally got a scream out.
I’m pretty sure that it was Buffy who pulled him off me. I’m also pretty sure that she tried to kill him for what he had done, but it was Selene who saved his ass once more. Since I was unconscious for most of it, I can’t tell you what really went down between the Death Dealer and my best friend, but I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant.
All I knew was when I awoke, I was in a bed, Xander asleep at my bedside and Michael watching me forlornly from the doorway. The first thing he did was apologize and I thought for sure I could see shame on his face. Maybe that’s what made me think it was all one big accident, that he truly could not control himself in the heat of the Change. But I would see plenty of things later on to make me question that, and to question him.
The things that came after my infection were confusing and often disheartening. Bodies kept piling up and I think us Scoobies finally got a gist of what we had stuck ourselves in the middle of. But by that time, it was too late to get out, especially for me.
Kind of hard to avoid a war when you’re an active participant in it. Of course my participation was not voluntary, more of a consequence of my condition due to Michael’s bite. I was a lycan now, a werewolf with empathic powers. No one knows quite how that worked out, or how it ever worked out with Michael. His bite had the ability to turn people into vampires and lycans, but he never came close to recreating a creature quite like himself.
Well, not through biting anyway. Michael would find other ways of passing on his unique condition, ways that I would be heavily involved in. But as it always seemed to be with Michael, I didn’t know what I was doing until it was too late to go back.
I know it sounds bleak, but that’s because it was. And it only got worse when Marcus stepped onto the scene. But I’m getting ahead of myself now. Marcus became a concern later. But in the early days, I was more concerned with Michael and Selene. To this day I can never be certain of their sincerity, of their roles as the good guys. Yes, they were a step up from Marcus and his plans, but they were still creatures of the night, of the dark. A person could not trust them implicitly because to win the war, they would have done anything. They crossed lines time and time again, barely retaining their hero mantles through it all.
And they made me the exact same way.
My name is Willow Rosenburg and I am a twenty-four year old lycan caught in a war that was never mine.
This is my story . . .