“The mouth is a front-gate for all misfortune.”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed as she watched Oma’s lips turn upward. “Has anyone ever told you to bite them?”
The elder of the pair raised a brow as she moved around her pupil, face serene. The petite blonde shifted to keep the phosphorescent woman within her peripheral vision and allowed the silence to stretch wide to engulf them.
“Why must you fight the path you have been given?”
Buffy crossed her arms and turned to face her, “I’m not fighting anything. You talk in circles and expect me to understand. Sorry Glowworm I didn’t take Buddha 101 in college.”
Oma shook her head, “You mishear what is spoken and grasp at illusions.”
“You speak in brainteasers and give others headaches.”
Defeated, Buffy folded herself down to sit in the tall grass. She ignored Oma as the Ascended shifted through the greens to kneel before her. Avoiding eye contact she grabbed at a nearby flower and began to absently pull the petals off one at a time. Her chest shuddered with the urge to cry, scream. Do anything that would release the grief that had been building in the last few hours.
She was alone, her eyes drew helplessly to Oma and she amended in her head that she was mostly alone. A higher power-that just sounded wrong-wanted to help her reach the road to enlightenment and she just wanted to reach the road to home.
“Pleasure-pain, cause-effect are like a wheel.”
Buffy’s throat constricted and her head rose to angrily met the other woman’s dark gaze. The sympathy she found there stopped any waspish retort and her shoulders dropped. She took a deep breath and repressed the pain-it was what she was good at.
“What if I don’t think I deserve this enlightenment? If I can never see past my failures and reach your path?”
“It is not my path you must reach but your own. Life is a lamp-flame before the wind. It flickers, bends and every so often, before its time it is doused but the memory may live on.”
“So my flame was doused? Yippee.”
Oma shook her head and rose. “You judge yourself by the sum of your deeds and not the course of your action.”
“My course was unsteady at the best times.” Buffy frowned, had she just answered back in a riddle? Great now Oma had her doing it.
“Why must all of our actions carry such weight?”
“Because all that defines us are our actions.” Buffy rose her head clearing, “They determine whether we are good and evil.”
“All that we truly are our thoughts.”
The petite blonde sighed, Oma had already said that but with the words a small spark of understanding lit in the back of her mind and she whispered back, “Thought leads to action.”
“And thus the cycle is born anew.”
Buffy smiled at the first light of hope burst through her and Oma inclined her head in acknowledgement of her discovery. Her pupil was vastly more intelligent than she perceived herself and was already emerging.
The ethereal cloud melted into the form of a human woman as she watched the flames eat away at the planet’s surface. Her features pulled down tight with a frown as the devastation spread outward. The dense undergrowth of the forest crackled and the trees burst from the heat’s compression. She sighed as the fire moved closer to a small village and their crops.
A roll of thunder spread across the sky of the planet as she focused her attention on the delicate eco system. As the first drops of rain escaped onto the surface the Ascended felt another presence and the storm cloud she had created dispersed.
The Slayer turned toward her guide, the anger she felt with being all-powerful but helpless evident in the set of her jaw.
“What are you doing?”
She sighed and watched the fire’s destruction spread to take its first life. Rage bloomed inside her and an unseen wind began to dance around her slim form. The invisible tendrils lifted the image of her hair and shifted through the soft robe that draped around her.
“I hate this.”
Oma looked downward as the straw huts caught fire and the smoke danced upward to greet them as they stood above the soon to be ruins. The villagers fled, the few belongings they could gather, in their arms. A small child tripped and fell to his knees.
The storm cloud built around them once more and the elder Ascended sighed. “We can not interfere.”
“The others will stop you, if I do not.”
Buffy forced a gust of wind to stagger the mother of the fallen child and she turned, an infant wrapped in her arms. She retraced her escape to scoop the boy onto her back and once again began to flee. The wind changed course, pushing her forward even as another gust kept the fire at bay and gave the humans the few precious moments they needed to escape.
Oma winced at her most difficult pupil and stretched her will to engulf the Slayer’s and pulled them from the planet’s surface and back to Earth. Neutral ground.
Buffy spun away from her allowing her form to dissolve into the soft radiance of eternity. Oma watched the ebb of her as the emotions played throughout her formless nature, the lights flickering and folding into one another as if moved by an ocean of power. She bobbed, caught in Oma’s will and helpless to free worlds of lost people she considered her own. The shimmering white and silver darkened to cobalt and black, vibrant, dark colors that screamed her unhappiness to her guide.
Oma pushed her presence forward and engulfed the other woman as she silently screamed out her misery. Her essence wrapped around the pureness of the Slayer and soothed her anguish, even as the rage still boiled beneath her pain.
A flash of light speared through both of them until they faded back into their first forms and Oma wrapped her arms around her sobbing frame. Buffy gripped the other woman’s robes and they fell to the dirt intertwined.
“I feel like I can’t breath.”
“That is because you do not need to.”
A small laugh escaped with her and she shuddered against Oma. “I want so badly to help them.”
Oma gently brushed back the strands of hair caught on Buffy’s tear stained cheeks. “We can not.”
“I don’t even know who I am any more.”
“Neither fire nor wind, birth or death can erase our good deeds.”
Buffy pulled back from the other woman and allowed the image of tears to fade from her face as she stared clear-eyed at her enlightener. She pondered the words of cryptic wisdom and shook her head at the absurdity of her life.
“I’ve been enlightened for what, three years now?” Oma nodded and she sighed. “I feel like I haven’t learned anything.”
“The universe is infinite.”
“Yadda, Yadda…so is my mind…blah, blah, blah …one day young grasshopper you will truly understand.” She cocked a brow at her teacher. “Tell me Oma have all your student’s been this ignorant?”
“Do not dwell in the past or dream of the future. Concentrate on the present.”
“In other words, no.”
Oma sighed and reached out to brush her knuckles across Buffy’s cheek and the Slayer felt as small tug of conscience. Oma had not made the rules that they abided. She only wished to control her own path and help others to theirs.
“Hope is a waking dream, right?”
The raven-haired woman inclined her head and smiled softly, surprised by her words. “Yes.”
She reached up and lightly rapped the side of her head. “Like a steal trap.”
Buffy allowed her form to thicken and fall back against the ground. She embraced the caress of the blades of grass beneath her and welcomed the grit of dirt as it clung to her form. She smiled into the brilliant sunlight and allowed her senses to be aware of the crisp scent of unpolluted air as currents of wind that had not existed in her reality spiraled upward.
Her rage at being forced to stand idly by as others suffered was pushed back. Forced into the darker recesses of her essence and locked from Oma’s all seeing mind.
“Name the clouds with me?”
Her tutor watched her, eyes narrowed and face pulled into a slight frown. “Buffy we are not Gods. For us to interfere with the lives of lowers goes against the laws of the others.”
The Slayer blinked and turned her head to gaze at Oma. “No, we’re not Gods but we have such a capacity to do good. Real good and we waste it.”
Oma sighed. “If you truly feel that way, then help me.”
Buffy sat up her face bewildered. “Help you?”
“Once I have guided someone to find their path, some may be like you and find difficulty following our ways. I could send those I foresee as having that difficulty, to you.”
Buffy sighed. “Do you think I could help?”
“Alright, I’ll give it a go.”
“That is all I ask.”
Buffy had one other question. “Do I have to keep dressing like you?”
Author's Note: Thank you for reading and fair warning SG-1 will not be making an appearance for a few more chapters.