Change your shape, change your destiny (1/?) by dutchbuffy2305
Author's note: This takes place just before the Season 5 opener.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Joss
Feedback: Yes, please, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Willow woke up to being smothered by a huge demon. It was lying on top of her, and she could hardly breathe. She tried to push it off, but only succeeded in flapping her arms uselessly around. She must be suffering from lack of oxygen, because her arms felt heavy and resistant. She tried to yell for help, and a surprisingly strong, reverberating sound came out of her mouth. This shocked her awake further, and she discovered she wasn't even in her own room, so there was no point shouting for help. Tara wouldn't hear.
She took a deep breath, which seemed to cause the demon lying on top of her to swell, and tried a last desperate push. All that happened, again, was the pink meaty demon hands waving in the air, and the feeling that her head was lifting off the pillows. Oh. Oh no. Those hands were powered by her will! She was in some demon's body… She tried sitting up, which didn't work for some reason, although she tried hard, and took a good look at herself.
Oops. No demon. Just a very, very fat woman. Willow looked own, and all she could see were the mountains of her huge breasts, with a glimpse of stomach hill a little further down. Her arms were gigantic, her fingers sausages. She was in an unknown room. There were lots of possibilities; the room could be the body's room, or she was being held prisoner by some agency (probably demonic). Or. It was hard to think. The body was really hungry. Willow checked again under the folds of the huge flowered nightgown, but there were no restraints. There should be no reason she couldn't just sit up and get off the bed.
She tried sitting up again. What could be the reason it wasn't working? Maybe her stomach muscles just weren't up to the job. After some undignified attempts to roll over, she succeeded in getting up by way of rolling on her side and levering herself slowly up with the help of her arms, her head, and the headboard of the bed. Well. She was sitting up. She couldn't see her feet. They must be there. She wiggled them. Yeah. Fat people could walk, couldn't they? She stood up, again needing several attempts. Her weight dragged at her, hung on her shoulders and hips, her knees hurt. Being fat must be no fun at all. Carefully she started walking to the small mirror that hung at eye height on the opposite wall. Gravity was a bitch…
Willow peered at her reflection. Youngish woman, with a face made piggy by fat cheeks.
When she spotted a phone, she realized she'd better call Tara, who would be worried. She punched in the numbers, and let it ring all thirteen times, but no answer. She tried Buffy's number.
"Go away!" a voice screamed in her ear. "Go away! Nobody lives here! Stop calling!"
Whoa. She stared at the number she'd punched. She wasn't completely sure that it had been the right number, although she'd never forgotten a number in her life. Perhaps in a different body her brains weren't working so good. She'd better be quick and find the others, before her mental processes deteriorated completely. She should get dressed and get herself to the Magic Box. It wasn't open yet, but by the time she got there it would be.
Showering was a challenge, or more accurately, the drying off. Her unknown host did have huge towels, but reaching every crevice, not to mention her toes, was impossible. How would she normally do that? Willow had never contemplated the challenges the fat must face every day. Not the fat, the weight challenged, she corrected herself. Dressing was almost as difficult. Try standing on one foot to get into your panties when you weigh 280 pounds. Willow resorted to sitting down for it and wearing a dress instead of pants. Putting on sandals was like blind man's buff: find the shoes and get your feet in correctly.
She wandered through the apartment looking for the kitchen. As it consisted only of the one bedroom and a living room besides the kitchen, it wasn't hard. The fridge was well stocked. Willow contemplated the lure of all the goodies like cheese, eggs and salami that were available, but resolutely settled for low-fat yoghurt.
Who knows how long I'll be stuck in this body, she said to herself. I'm not going to be responsible for those knees if there's any more food put in this stomach. It can starve a bit. After the meager breakfast, she began her journey to the Magic Box. She hadn't been able to find car keys, and no means of knowing if the woman even owned a car. At the last moment before leaving, she found a purse, containing keys, ID and some money. No driver's license. Imelda Bonham, 32, librarian. Maybe her thought processes were safe after all. Cheered up by this notion, Willow made her slow and arduous way across Sunnydale. It seemed kind of quiet for a weekday, and there weren't a lot of cars on the road.
Walking was hell, she discovered. Her feet hurt, the sweat gathering between the folds of her belly itched, and she got out of breath easily. She was exhausted by the time she spied the Espresso
Pump, and only the promise of caffeine powered the last hundred yards.
"Your usual, Miss Bonham?" the new young Afro-American attendant asked her.
"Um, no, a triple black espresso and a glass of water, please," Willow said. "I thought you were new here, I never saw you here before."
Tears gathered in the girl's eyes. "I didn't know what else to do except go to work like usual," she said. "I woke up and I looked like this, and I was a in a strange house and all, and…And all I could think of was to do something normal. It's so scary. You think it's a punishment?"
"You mean you're Rachel?" Willow said. "I'm Willow Rosenberg! You know, white mocha latte?"
"What do you mean? Are you in a different body too?" Rachel burst into tears for real now. "I thought it was just me. I'm sorry to be so happy about it, but I'm so glad I'm not alone!"
"Don't worry," Willow said. "Me and my friends do this kind of stuff all the time. We'll help you!"
After further reassuring Rachel, she tried to sit on a stool, as she always did, but had to concede defeat and move to a chair. The edges pinched her buttocks. She sipped her espresso and looked thoughtfully at the few other patrons. It was noticeably quiet in the Pump. Maybe, just maybe, everybody had undergone a body change? When she'd finished her coffee and water, and her heart rate had calmed down somewhat, she walked over to a morose looking man in the corner, who kept stirring his empty coffee cup.
"Um, sir, can I ask you a question?"
"Sure," the man said, without looking up.
"Did you, um, maybe wake up in a different body today?"
His head whipped up sharply. "How do you know? Does it show? Can everybody see my shame?"
"Um, no, sir, but it happened to me, too. And the girl behind the counter. So I just thought I'd check with everyone here, because if all the people have different bodies now, and have woken up in strange houses, people are gonna feel kinda weird…".
He stared at her as if she was insane. "This felt so personal. To put me in the body of the man I fired and humiliated. Did it happen to everybody? I'm not singled out?"
He leapt up. "Well, whatever body I'm in, I'm still me, and I'm gonna show them." He strode off.
"Go, stranger," Willow said, bemused, and moved over to the next coffee drinker.
It was as she had been starting to suspect. All people had woken up in strange bodies. It seemed completely random, male into female, young into old, thin into fat.
Willow started on the last leg of her journey to the Magic Box with a head full of facts and speculation. Why? What was the point? Why everybody? Who stood to gain? How had it been done?
By the time she had reached the shop, she couldn't care less. She wanted to sit and not move again for several hours. The exhaustion was overwhelming. How did Imelda ever manage to get in a full working day? There was a little group of people standing silently before the still closed shop door. A little girl of about nine years old, Willy from Willy's Demon Bar, a, two men, a young one and an older guy.
"Hi!" Willow said perkily. "I'm Willow. Who are you?"
They all started talking at once.
"Whoa, guys!" Willow said, using her new powerful voice to silence them all. "One by one. Giles, you in there somewhere?"
"In here," the little girl said sulkily, but with a notable British accent. "This is really insufferable! I can't even get into my shop, because of course my real body has the key!"
"Let's just break in," the young man suggested. "Not that I have my Slayer strength, but I'm sure we could get around that!"
"Buffy!" Willow exclaimed, and embraced the young man, who withstood her onslaught bravely.
Willow turned to Willy. He smiled sweetly at her and dipped his eyelashes. "Tara, sweetie!" she exclaimed and folded Willy's skinny body in a hug. They kissed, a little clumsy because of the differences in their loaned bodies, but Willow was hugely relieved anyway.
"So! About time you asked me who I was," the old man snapped angrily. "You never stop making me feel I'm not one of you, don't you?"
"Hi Anya," Willow said resignedly.
"Alright, so how do we get into the shop, preferably without breaking in?" the little girl said tartly, with a look at Buffy, who stood with her hands in her pockets, a feigned innocent look on her face.
"Um," Willy said softly, "I found some weird tools in my pocket. D'you think these might be…?" She held them up.
"Absolutely perfect," the girl Giles said, and snatched them with alacrity from Willy/Tara's fingers. "I think I remember how to do this…." She stuck one of the thin little instruments in the lock and stood with her eyes closed while she fiddled with concentration.
"Giles, when exactly were you a burglar?"
"Hah!" Buffy snorted. "Don't you remember Giles in his Ripper reincarnation? Scariest thing I've ever seen!"
Giles looked at her warily, but when the expected follow-up didn't materialize, he bent over his task again. It seemed to take hours, and Willow kept looking around nervously, any moment expecting police cars to come riding up with flashing lights, and cops jumping out and pointing guns at her. Reason told her the cops would be as confused in their different bodies as they were, but the fear couldn't be rationalized away. She sighed with relief as Giles finally jimmied the lock and the door went open with a click. The shop bell rang merrily, startling her into an undignified bleat.
"You all right Willow?" Giles asked perfunctorily.
"Do you mean, as such, apart from the whole terrible body change thing, or as in how are you coping with the situation? The last, huh, I can see it by your face, well, I'm kinda freaking out. And I have to sit down, 'cause even if these legs are made of triple enforced concrete, they're pretty damn tired by now."
Tara sat down next to her. "You went by the Espresso Pump, didn't you? You know all that caffeine is bad for you, honey…"
"Yeah…" Willow leaned back into Tara's stroking hand and indulged in some sorely needed support getting. "How did you wake up, sweetie?"
Tara's voice trembled, but she kept up the stroking. "In Willy's bed, with his wife. Who was really something else, I guess, speaking some kind of demon language. It was kinda scary…"
"What?" Giles' voice sounded aghast. "The demons are included in this whole body-swap thing? The chaos is going to be massive!"
"That's why we need to research, of course!" Buffy said perkily. "And kick the evil bastards' asses!"
Willow sat up a little straighter. Her tiredness was wearing off, and anyway, this was all way too interesting to miss. "Where is Xander? Riley? Who knows what happened to them!"
The shop bell rang and Riley walked in. He started walking towards the back, but stopped short when he saw the odd assortment of people in there." Hey!" he said. "Not the people I was looking for. Shop changed hands or something?"
He turned smartly on his heels and marched out, shirttails flaring out behind him.
"Stop!" Giles said authoritatively. "It's me, Giles. Were you somehow spared the body swap, Riley?"
Riley turned slowly and looked at them in surprise. "Body swap? As in everybody?" When Giles nodded, he said, "I take it this is the Scooby gang, then? Who's who?"
It was kind of funny the way they stuck up their hands and identified themselves. Riley scratched his head. "Alright, then. Might as well 'fess up. I'm not Riley, I'm Spike, your friendly neighborhood vampire. Thought it was just me, when I woke up in Soldier Boy's bed this morning."
"Did you see Buffy? " Willow asked. "I thought Buffy was staying over at Riley's last night."
"Well, I did and I didn't, see? It wasn't really Buffy, I understand that now, so whatever you're thinking, it doesn't matter. It wasn't your little fearless leader."
"Ew, Spike! What did you do! That's just gross!" Willow said.
Buffy just glared at him. Willow admired her restraint. When Faith had played her a similar trick she'd been a lot madder.
Spike grinned and shrugged, which was very disconcerting on Riley's boyish face and huge frame. "You know what boys are like when they wake up, don't you?
He threw a huge wink at Tara, who blushed painfully.
'S only natural to do what we did. I am kinda curious who was in there though. Kinda like to meet her again…"
"Maybe it was a him," Willow sniped, but Spike only shrugged again.
"Who cares? It's the imagination that counts, not the body someone's in."
"Now that we all know how Spike spent his morning, I'd like us to focus on the job at hand," Giles said stiffly.
"Shouldn't we try to find the others?" Anya said. "I want to know my Xander is safe and well!"
Giles smiled. "Spike. Now that you have the opportunity to be out and about in sunlight, I'm sure you don't want to waste another minute of it. Why don't you go and find Xander and Dawn?"
"That may sound reasonable, Rupert, but it isn't. They could be anywhere; I wouldn't know where to start. The smart thing to do is wait here until they come to you. The others did. I did! Why wouldn't they?" Spike said, not budging an inch from his comfortable perch on the ladder.
"Perhaps he's trapped, or imprisoned!" Anya said, panicking. "What if they're really after him?"
Willow and Giles looked at each other in horror. "They're after Buffy, of course. Who else?"
"You don't know that!" Buffy objected. "I'm still here, free as a bird. Someone could just be after a bit of fun and games, for all we know."
Spike got up and walked over to Buffy. He bent over her and stared deeply into her eyes.
"Spike! Go away!" Buffy said.
"Of course. Slayer," Spike said, and sketched a little mock bow before retreating from her. "You know what? Rupert here was right after all. I'll go put my ear to the ground in the demon community, try to find out what's up and all that."
Before any of them could say anything he was up and walking out of the shop.
"Who knows, he might even find out something useful," Giles said dismissively, and bent over his stack of books again. "Willow, if you'll take the Magic Codexes, and Tara the Chronicles of the Templars, I'll take the Liber Maleficorum. Anya, for you the Demonic Index, Buffy the Illustrated Guide."
Anya grumbled a bit, but they all settled down quickly in the familiar routine. Willow hardly noticed the peculiar shapes everybody was wearing anymore.