Tearing the Veil
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and News Corp. own all things BtVS. George Lucas and News Corp. own all things Star Wars.
Beta: Leigh. Her’s are the small things that bring the narrative to life.
Crossover: BtVS & Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Note. Complete AU for Buffy. AU for Star Wars, but will feature more Star Wars canon.
Seeing Through the Veil
The blue and orange pyrotechnics of Katherine Madison's spell wash over me as I scream. Agony, like I'm being ripped open from my insides on out... Her magic consumes me. You screwed up, Buffy, shoulda moved behind the ceiling mounted swivel mirror instead of rushing her. Too eager for the kill. The only sound is the accelerated thumping of my heart.
As I fall to my knees, I see a horror-stricken Willow rush through the door, quickly followed by an equally upset Xander. I struggle to stand, can't let the witch get Willow. The effort takes everything I have as I manage to get one foot under me. No luck on the second. I'm spent. Nothing left in the gas tank. I topple over onto my side with a thud. Shit!
The last thing I see before the blackness overwhelms me is Amy striking the back of her mom's head with the red fire axe. Blood gushes, splashing me as I fall to the floor. Feeling a hand take mine, then nothing. Nothingness.
Am I dead? Someone’s with me. I try to open my eyes to see who's there, but I can't no matter how much effort I put into forcing them to comply with my wishes. The presence feels safe, warm. Kind and loving. Relaxing into its embrace, I stop struggling.
My heart stops or at least I can't hear it anymore. Crushing pain slams into my chest as my breath goes. A blinding white light beckons with a siren's call of bliss. Clear, even through my eyelids. Peace. Warmth. Finished.
And suddenly I know who's with me. Willow. Where I'm beckoned, she can't follow. Not her time or her place. But I've already passed through the veil. I can't go back
, I hear in my mind. Then I'm staying with you
, I think. A second white light engulfs us, rips us the rest of the way from our existence. BtVS
A hole rips open in the fabric of space-time with a pulsing glow and we pass through, about 5 feet above the floor, so we fall. I land first, on my back and with a jarring thud, only to have Willow land on top of me, face to face. I want to stare into her eyes for some reason, but it takes everything I have just to try to get my lungs to expand. Breathe, Buffy, breathe.
I feel two fingers trail down my left cheek as the singing of countless drops of water splashing into shallow pools fills my ears. My senses are coming back to me. Willow’s face finally comes into focus as I catch my breath.
“Are you ok, Buffy?” Willow asks softly.
I give her a quick nod, smiling. “Yeah, I think so.” Why do I feel like I want to kiss her? I’m not...am I? Finally, I look into her eyes. I’m lost, hopelessly smitten. Why now? And yeah, I think I am. Wow. “Can I get up now?” I ask, taking the chicken’s way out.
“Uh, oh yeah,” she says, rolling off me to the side.
As I sit up, I notice at least a dozen men and women, all wearing thick brown robes, surrounding us. A couple of them are demons, judging by the pair of shoulder length tentacles growing from the tops of their heads. One of them is sea-foam and the other cerulean. All the monks hold metal tubes in their hands, pointed in our general direction. Weapons of some sort by their stances. None of them tingle my spidey sense.
“Uh, Willow, I think we got monks,” I say. We sure aren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto. Countless water fountains surround us.
“Ya think, Buffy?”
Ok, I stated the rather obvious. I’m still at a loss for words. Not up for my usual banter. Being blasted through a portal by an evil, insane witch tends to do that to a girl.
An old man, maybe fifty? Sixty? Ancient enough to be wrinkly, anyway. He steps forward and speaks. Nothing but gibberish comes out of his mouth. I answer him anyway, sure that my words confuse him as much as his me. “Sorry, what was that?”
He frowns and speaks again. Four of the monks move in on Willow and me, coming at us from four corners, like a shrinking box. Hopping to my feet, I reach a hand down to Willow, lifting her until she’s standing, the two of us waiting, me hoping I’m fast enough to protect her.
I’m turning my head rapidly, back and forth, trying to keep tabs on the positioning of all four monks trying to box us in.
“Buffy?” Willow questions as I take a fighting stance, ready to pounce at their next move. My skin buzzes with the contact, even through my shirt, as she puts a hand on the back of my shoulder. “We don’t know enough…What if they’re the good guys, Buffy?”
She rubs soothing circles into my back, her fingers pressing down gently, the arc of the pattern she follows expanding slowly. As I relax, the box closes and the four men grab us, each taking an arm by the shoulder.
I’ve only known her for about a week, but I know her well enough already that I’d be a lot more comfortable if she’d babble. She doesn’t realize it, but she is so cute when she does. I guess she’s too frightened. She stands there with two men holding her, each by an arm, rigid, looking more than a little dazed.
Suddenly an idea pops into my head. I have no idea how I know how to do this, but I reach into the old man’s mind and take his language. It’s not a gentle thing, what I do to him, but it won’t hurt him, not really. Strain twists his face as I learn, loathing filling his eyes. He’s frozen, desperate to stop me but unable. The tubes they’re all holding ignite into what I guess are laser swords of many different colors.
“Wait,” I say before they can spring on us. As they hesitate, I add, “I was just learning your language. I meant no harm.”
The old man nods as he says, “Sabers down.”
The pretty laser swords disappear. Some of the monks go so far as to clip their tubes to their belts. None of them relax though.
“Come with us,” he says, turning away and heading for a far archway, expecting us to follow. The four men guarding us ensure we do. BtVS
The old man is really pissed, I can tell that from his body language as he leads us into a large, circular, domed chamber. Windows covering most of the rounded walls look out over an immense city built so high up I can’t see the ground. Cars fly by the window in what appears to be a predetermined traffic lane. The city goes on forever. There’s no end to it from my viewpoint.
Me and Willow take the position indicated by grumpy in the center of the chamber. About thirty chairs surround us in a half circle, maybe half of them occupied, as we stand there under their scrutiny. Willow shifts nervously back and forth on her feet. I give a relaxed appearance, though I’m anything but. Most wear the same drab brown robes as grumpy, but a few sport bright colors. One woman is dressed all in long, white flowing robes that match the color of her hair.
“Buffy?” Willow finally says something. I guess the shock has kept her mute. I wish she’d said more than my name.
“Yeah, Willow?” I hope I hide my fear. She doesn’t need to know just how scared I am. Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Yeah, right. More like Buffy the scared little girl who wants to hide under a desk.
“What did you do to the old man? He seems really mad.” She looks so confused.
I can’t lie to her. Even if it’s only been a week, she means too much to me for me to lie to her. “I reached into his mind to learn his language. He thinks I’m tainted, something called a Sith.”
“Oh,” she says. I ignore their murmuring. She can’t understand them and I don’t really care to at the moment. I’m more concerned with her reaction. “How?” She asks.
“I dunno. It just came to me and I knew how.”
“I didn’t know you could read minds,” she says with a hesitant, shaky voice.
“I can’t,” I say. “Just language. No thoughts.” She looks relieved. I wish I knew what she’s afraid of me knowing. “Willow? You don’t have to be afraid of me. I’m not a monster...”
Her eyes open wide and her mouth forms an o
shape. “Buffy, I could never be afraid of you... I... I know I’ve only known you for a day over a week and maybe it’s because you’re my only friend who’s a girl I ever had, but you’re my best friend and I’m not afraid of you. I don’t think you’re a monster. Can you teach me?”
“I don’t know how to teach you, but I can give you their language,” I say.
Her face scrunches in contemplation. “Will it hurt?”
“I think so,” I say, honestly. “But you’ll...”
“...understand what’s going on around me,” she finishes. “Do it.”
I give her a quick nod. Concentrating, I reach into her mind and make room for the knowledge. Taking in her strained face for a moment, I ease their language into the space I make as gently as I can. She sighs when I’m done. Her color’s a little paler than usual and sweat beads her brow.
“...Master Vrook,” a short, wrinkly green gnome says to grumpy as he gets out of his chair and moves our way. “The power you describe this one having...” He points at me. “...is by its nature a neutral power. Sith it makes her not.”
Grumpy scowls, crossing his arms and answering, “They appeared out of thin air in the room of a thousand fountains. Master Vandar, they’re up to no good, I tell you!”
“The readings on the disturbance I’ve seen, Master Vrook. A vergence in The Force it is. Meant to be here are they.”
Grumpy grumbles under his breath and scowls at me. He’s rather angry at what the gnome has to say. Apparently, the rest don’t find us as scary as he does. “This one,” he points at me. “She has a dark heart. Mark my words.”
“Frightened and confused she is...as she should be,” the gnome says. “Evilness in her I sense not. Many of lives this one has saved.”
He points at Willow. “Much potential this one has. The Force flows through her. She must be taught control or a dark path will she tread.”
“Hey!” she says as I say, “Wait a minute here!”
“So you already decided to train them before we even arrived?” Grumpy states more than asks.
The gnome points at me again. “Powerful Force sensitivity this one has shown. Leave her for the Sith, would you? Very powerful is she...” He squints up at me, holding my gaze with his will, peering into I don’t know what. Fidgeting, I try to look away but I can’t. The gnome doesn’t look entirely comfortable with what he sees. “...very powerful. Trained they will be. The Force wills it...”
“Hey, don’t we have a say in this?” I interrupt. Willow nods her head emphatically, backing me up. “Your robes are nice and all, but cults really aren’t our thing.”
“Yeah,” she adds.
“Where would you go?” Vrook asks, surprising me. “I dare say you’re not from this world. Judging by the way that you arrived, I doubt this is even your reality. So I ask, where would you go?” Oddly, he’s no longer grumpy looking. Just old and tired. And he has a point. Damn!BtVS
“You’re names, what are they?” the green gnome, Vandar, asks.
We’re in a small, windowless antechamber, seated around an oblong conference table with three of the so-called Masters, Vandar, Vrook and the woman in white, Atris. They’re very annoying, mostly ignoring us as they gabble amongst themselves, deciding mine and Willow’s fate without even considering us, what we want. Vandar’s question is the first they’ve addressed us since we moved to this room.
“Buffy,” I say.
“Willow,” she answers.
Vrook stares at me, scowling, his gaze intent, probing. Grumpy’s back. Finally, he asks, “Where did you learn the power you used on me?”
I stare back at him wide eyed, at a loss for words. I really have no idea, so I tell him, “Clueless.”
“Hrmph!” he says, leaning back into his chair.
“Force affinity,” Atris says. “It’s not unheard of.”
“Yes,” Vandar says, drawing out the word.
“What does that mean?” Willow asks.
“Your friend has an instinctual knowledge of the Force,” Atris answers.
“The what?” I ask.
“All life gives off energy,” Atris says. “The Force is what gives us our power. It surrounds all things, penetrates all life. The Force binds the universe together. A few people, like you, have so much power they can use the Force instinctually. How the Force responds to you is based on the emotions driving you at the time. Love and compassion are the light side. With them, you can heal and protect. Anger, fear and aggression lead to the dark side. Once down that path, evil will consume you. That is why you must be trained, to resist the lure of the dark side.”
“Oh,” Willow says.
“Then how come Grumpy here isn’t a baddie?” I ask, pointing at Vrook. He glares at me.
Vandar answers my question. “Personality matters not. Control of your emotions as you use the Force is key.”
“Can’t you send us back?” I ask.
“We know not how,” Vandar replies.Continued