Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters portrayed in this story, nor am I making any money from this.***Dark God Rising***What if: The Scoobies often referred to the Hellmouth as if it were an entity; alive, sentient, evil, and aware of the world around it. They blame things on it, swear on it, hate and fear it, yet they also guard and protect it like the tomb of a fallen god left in their care. What if that were true? What if the Hellmouth really was alive, a being of amazing power? And what would happen if it awoke?A "Prophecy Girl" rewrite & AU; told from the POV of the Hellmouth...
The Hellmouth stirred. Even in its dormant state, it could sense swirls and ripples of energy, heat, and magic with the tendrils of its very being as they stretched out around it. Lazily, sleepily, it sent out a pulse of energy from its incorporeal core to the very tips of all of its incorporeal tentacles. Then the Hellmouth settled itself and drifted in the heat thrumming up through the ground to which it was tethered.
Eventually the mild pulses of energy returned, sliding seamlessly into its core from its tendrils of smoke and shadow. Heat-Light-Anxiety from above. A large group of beings radiating Lust-Anger-Hunger-Death were gathering off to one side. Fear-Hope-Life moving from above to below. And waiting with menace and cruel hunger from below was The Master along with...something unexpected. Different.
Long dormant instincts flared and The Hellmouth tugged at its tendril of energy and power, trying to reel it back in. The insubstantial tentacle wiggled, nearly free from the prison of black magic and pain that had trapped it for so long. Freedom! The Hellmouth yearned for it, hungered for it. Confused and sleepy, its attention and awareness slid down the tendril even as it tried harder to break free.
The Master's prison of ice cold energy and the blackest of magics swam into the Hellmouth's mind and it remembered. It remembered how its tentacle had been captured and chained with pain, magic, and ennui by Empty-Hunger-Ambition-Hatred. That's when the suffering began. A steady drain on its power and energy to fuel a magic spell, a spell to trap the being called The Master. Oh, at the time it didn't know that. It had only sensed the being as Rage-Hunger-Lust-Cruelty-Death.
But now, oh now...the spell was faltering and the prison was shimmering in and out of existence. If it could just break free...
Then suddenly, the being the Hellmouth recognized as Fear-Hope-Life vanished in a burst of fear, anger, and denial while a dark ripple of joy flashed across the prison walls. And that wash of emotion carried just enough power to short circuit the spell. Nearly frantic, the Hellmouth ignored the escape of The Master and the arrival of two other beings. Instead it desperately tried to free itself from the remnants of the spell before its own power and energy healed it. It didn't like the constant drain on its own being. Bad enough its core was tethered to the earth, worse still that one of its tendrils was tethered to this bit of black magic.
A rush of power and heat heralded the unexpected return of Fear-Hope-Life. Startled, the Hellmouth stilled its efforts to study the pulse of power and energy that had already been snuffed out only to return stronger and more powerful than before. Destiny shimmered and wavered around the one-time prison.
Just as Fear-Hope-Life shifted to follow after The Master, the Hellmouth realized its mistake. Inattention at a critical moment caused it to lose its chance for freedom from the spell. A spark of magic, a flare of heat, and then the flash-fire of power reset the wards and spells. The prison was once again functioning and drawing energy steadily upon its being. The Hellmouth barely took notice of the being trapped within the prison before it shook with frustrated Rage-Anger-Hatred.
After an eternity, or perhaps only seconds, the Hellmouth was yanked cruelly from its fury by Rage-Hunger-Lust-Cruelty-Death; the being known as The Master. The blood magic of The Master wrapped itself tightly around its core of energy-power and pulled.
Pain and agony.
Tearing and rending the Hellmouth.
Slicing it apart.
Hunger-Joy-Violence sliding through its middle, crawling through its very being to give birth to itself from Beyond.
Death. Cold and sharp.
As suddenly as the torture began, it ended. The Hellmouth shivered and writhed, desperately pulling itself back together. Warmth-Light-Magic siphoned off its own energy and poured it into the gaping wounds of the Hellmouth and the healing began.
The Hellmouth was unsure how much time passed before it was sufficiently healed from the attack by The Master. As soon as it could, it turned its attention elsewhere. The first thing it noted was that The Master was no more. It was unsure if The Master had traveled beyond the limits of the Hellmouth's awareness or if it had been rendered onto Hell in a swirl of disrupted blood magic.
With caution and curiosity, it poked its awareness into the above where The Master had last been felt and searched for the beings that gathered there to worship, fear, and protect it. The Hellmouth had vague memories of the beings battling against The Master when it had attacked and now it had a vague sense of worry, curiosity, and possessiveness concerning its warriors-priests-worshipers.
Heat-Light-Anxiety was there; endless thoughts and a thin thrum of dark-sharp-chaos swirling within it. Fear-Hope-Life was there; still wrapped in a thick cloak of Destiny and Violence. Off to the side, close to a source of humming and tamed electricity was Warmth-Light-Magic.
The Hellmouth swept another tendril of power through the space above and sought out the other being. Chaos-Love-Fear was not there.
Curious and wanting its last being back where it belonged, the Hellmouth stretched its awareness out further. It brushed past Magic-Lust-Betrayal and Cruelty-Anger-Hatred-Envy. It brushed over heat and light and warmth. It brushed over cold and dark and hunger.
Then it shifted.
Stilling itself and nearly shivering with power and hope, the Hellmouth shifted again; this time with purpose. Its core of energy-power-magic-shadow moved. Joy and hope pulsed throughout its being as it moved again. And again. And again.
For untold eons it had been tethered and chained with magic and destiny and pain to the very earth. Unmoving and unmovable, it was only able to seek and learn of its world through its limited tendrils of power and shadow. Now...now it was free.
It didn't know why this had come to pass. It vaguely wondered if The Master's attack upon it had sheered it free of its chains, but that wasn't as important as being free. At long last!
With a joy and happiness that it rarely felt thrumming through its being, the Hellmouth shifted itself, rising out of its prison and floating away through earth and stone and rock. Since the dawn of time it had felt a cycle of heat-light-fire-life-energy washing over the world in steady waves. It was above...far far above and it wanted that power for itself. It wanted to explore it, absorb it, hold that heat-light-fire-life-energy within its own cold-dark-magic-energy-power core. Even now it could feel all that amazing power thrumming into it, through it, bringing heat and light and life.
Until it jerked to a halt, yanked back towards the earth by a single tendril of power that was stretched thin. Its awareness slid down the tendril and found the spell that formed The Master's old prison. The Hellmouth was still tied into it, a source of power and magic that kept the spell alive.
Hope crumbled into anger and it vowed vengeance upon Empty-Hunger-Ambition-Hatred. That being would know agony for trapping the Hellmouth's tentacle, for using it in the creation of The Master's magical cage.
Shivering with anger, the Hellmouth drifted back down; through air and then through earth and stone. It turned its attention and awareness upon the spell, seeking a way to undo it, disrupt it, unweave it into nothingness. It tried to drain the energy from the spell in the way that the spell drained energy from it. It tried to simply yank and tear its own tendril lose from the sticky dark grip of the magic. Finally, it shook and raged in frustration at its failure to free itself.
It was the sharp spike of fear-regret-anger that finally caught the Hellmouth's attention and banked its fury. There, incredibly close to its core, was Chaos-Love-Fear. Broken pieces of Destiny swirled around the being in a dizzying rush and the tattered remnants of Primal-Feral-Hunger-Joy that still clung to it in patches were digging in deeper and deeper through cracks forming in the beings' psyche.
Stilling, the Hellmouth was glad to have found the last of its warrior-priest-worshipers, but it was curious as to why the being was here in The Master's prison. Hovering and quiet, it studied and waited. Chaos-Love-Fear stayed, its emotions rolling from fear-anger-regret to hope-hunger-yearning.
Occasionally Chaos-Love-Fear bathed in the still pool of dark magic and life that The Master had periodically sunk down within. More often Chaos-Love-Fear simply took a small bit of the dark magic into itself. Hunger and fear grew within the being and the cracks in its psyche became wider and deeper. The small bits of Primal-Feral-Hunger-Joy became stronger and then slid deep into those cracks. The broken Destiny that still swirled about the being began to crack and shatter, little slivers of fate that wedged into those cracks as well, sealing some up and widening others.
And still, Chaos-Love-Fear didn't leave. Eventually, it occurred to the Hellmouth that the being couldn't leave. That the being was trapped in The Master's prison as surely as it was trapped in the spell.
Filled with curiosity, and without even the faintest idea that it shouldn't, the Hellmouth extended one slim tendril of shadow and power towards Chaos-Love-Fear. Carefully, gently it slid that tendril down into one of the larger cracks in the being's psyche. It slid in, in, in, further and further until with a rush of pleasure-joy-awe it became.
Never ever, not even once in all of its eons long existence did the Hellmouth experience the exquisite and overwhelming sensation of being solid, a physical creature of flesh and blood.
The Hellmouth turned physical eyes upon the prison and marveled at the sight. Gleaming golden candlelight shifted, sending patches of soft light to dancing and flirting with the deep shadows. Warm damp air prickled against sweaty skin, the scent of damp, rot, salt, and old blood thick in its nose. Noise thrummed against his ears, tickling and vibrating tiny bones as loud whooping hysterical laughter echoed and bounced back from the stone walls of the cave.
"Oh god...I'm finally going crazy..."
The voice was a cracked croak and filled with horror and despair. The Hellmouth marveled at the sound even as it ignored the content. Instead it turned its attention to the body it was currently within. It enjoyed the play of muscle, bone, and tendon as it flexed and moved and shifted about. It delighted in the texture of skin and cloth, stone and water. It thrilled at the sharp bright pain from touching an open candle flame and it hummed and murmured nonsensical noise just for the sheer joy of hearing the sound and feeling the vibrating sensation within its throat.
Eventually, the Hellmouth noted the clawing pain and emptiness that burned bright and hollow deep in the core of the body it inhabited. Hot and empty, it churned and ached. Yearning need and growling displeasure. Hunger.
Amused wonder bubbled up out of the Hellmouth in a chortling sound that throbbed and thrummed around it even as it poured power and energy and magic into that bleak hollow pain. With slow deliberation, the tight ball of pain relaxed and smoothed out. Warmth and a soothing sensation of filling up eased the discomfort into a sense of rightness.
The Hellmouth had sensed hunger in other beings before, but it had never truly felt it. Until now. There was a lot to being a solid physical creature that it just didn't know or understand. And it wanted to know. It had never considered it a possibility before. Instead, it had been content to drift in a dormant state of half-awareness until The Master had awoken it with the agonizing attack against itself. Now, for the first time since the Old Ones had left this world, the Hellmouth was awake and aware. And it too hungered. It hungered for knowledge and understanding and a sense of belonging.
With a soft sigh of damp scented air, the Hellmouth turned and walked over to the throne that had once been The Master's and ascended the steps. Turning it sat on the throne and turned its awareness inward to the burbling and frantic mind of Chaos-Love-Fear...and found Xander Harris.
The Hellmouth opened its eyes and noticed that the last of The Master's candles were burnt down nearly to their stubs. Soon there would be no more light in this dank cave of a prison that it and its host were trapped in. And after endless millennia with no eyes with which to see, it didn't relish the idea of being stuck in the dark.
There were other issues that needed dealt with as well. Its host, The Xander, was slowly starving to death. Physical beings of flesh and blood required food in order to sustain life and there was no food in this cave. No food, and no way for them to leave and get some. Oh, they had water. A big pool of it that was tainted with the darkest of magics gone awry. Although, the Hellmouth was unsure if that tainting came from The Master, long proximity to its own being, or from their mutual enemy Empty-Hunger-Ambition-Hatred.
Drinking the water and using its own power-energy-magic could slow down the process, but not put it off eternally. Without food, its warrior-priest-worshipper turned host would perish.
Its own brand of hunger, knowledge and understanding, had been sated in part due to spending several weeks trawling through his host's memories. Not that it was easy since The Xander was experiencing a state of being known as insane...at least according to its own memories and thoughts.
The Xander believed that his insanity was the result of the enforced isolation from his fellow warrior-priest-worshippers; the ones it called The Willow, The Buffy, and The Giles. The Hellmouth accepted that and confirmed for its host that the remnants of Primal-Feral-Hunger-Joy, which The Xander called The Hyena, still swirled within its host’s mind and soul.
It was unsure what to do about the situation. It had spent so long asleep and only vaguely aware of the world around it. It wasn't used to having to exert itself to accomplish things. Things merely happened around it. The Xander was the exact opposite. Its host had spent all of its brief life doing things, making stuff happen through action and word.
Freedom of choice. It was a startling and unexpectedly frightening concept. The Hellmouth could do something. It could affect its circumstance. It could do and not just be.
But what? What could it do to alter its circumstance? It really had no idea.
Suddenly, The Xander threw up idea after idea after idea. Many of them were ridiculous, the ravings of an insane mind. The others...well; it wouldn't hurt any to try them. Right?
The Hellmouth remembered how it had slid into The Xander. It had entered the host's body and mind. Now, if it could just slide a tendril of smoke and shadow into one of its other warrior-priest-worshippers, then it could communicate the need of food-knowledge-companionship.
Settling itself more comfortably on The Master's abandoned throne, the Hellmouth reached up up up into the above with one of its tendrils of smoke and shadow. It swept over warmth and light and stillness. Then, suddenly a burst of hope rolled through it as it swept its tendril through Warmth-Light-Magic.
A wellspring of love bubbled up inside it from its host and a single word whispered past their lips, "Willow..."