Title: Haunting (working title) - Prologue
Fandom: Buffyverse
Prompt: 343 – Incorporeal Taming the Muse
Warnings: reference to the comic book Illyria:Haunted, and possibily up to the Buffy Season 9 Welcome to the Team comics.
Rating: Gen
Summary: Illyria enjoys some of her past glory, and it doesn't end up very well.
AN : So, this is the prologue of a story I've begun writing. It focuses mainly on Illyria, will probably have a lot of Spike too, and other characters, but I haven't decided which one yet. It hasn't been beta'd, and facts are sometimes based on Buffy Wikia as I haven't read every comics yet. Feel free to stop by and discuss if things diverge from canon and "canonish" material.

Disclaimer : I don't own anything here, only my ideas.

In the scale of greater things, humanity was but a mere drop in the ocean. Humans had no idea of the things that once were, creatures more incredible than what their narrow imagination can figure out, gifted with powers without limits. She had been one of this magnificent demons, ruling over thousands of others, feared and worshipped by all of them, before she was trapped in the Deeper Well. But she escaped. Those pesky humans had tried to understand her. They even tried to rip her off her might. But they had failed.

Illyria stood on a beach with Pancakes, her Yastigilian pet. She liked to come here to be at peace, away from the pollution that was humankind. The place was quite, letting her feel the sensation of her powers, now back to her. She didn't use to think about them, when she was stil God-King of Vahla ha'nesh, but now that she had experienced life without then, she cherished them more deeply than ever. They were back, all of them, for her to enjoy sas much as her weak human body would allow her to.

The wind blew in her all-blue hair, messing with the locks, but she ignored the inconvenience, only focusing on the song of the green it carried. She was in contact with the real-life of this planet again, and it sang its happiness at their reunion. The multiple voices merged into one perfect hymn, more moving and beautiful than that music Spike once insisted for her to listen to. Those 'Sex Pistols' were nothing compare to the sweet melody of trees and fern. Such delight was her own private concerto for she was the only one who could hear it.

Slowly, one voice surged from the smooth collective chant, rising gradually above the others. It was a bit different, not really singing along the chorus, but rather pleading for her attention. She focused on it, listening while it became more and more powerful. It was the voice of a creature she thought she would never hear again ; so much of the demons from her time were now gone, or so weakened they could barely be seen as alive. Still the voice seemed to be coming from a svapna demon. Like the nightmares, they used to walk the earth, tricking the weakest into and endless torment of hidden fears. Had they known the pitiful fate of their relatives, trapped in human heads forever ?

This one seemed to be only a little more than a mere voice, paying its respect to her superiority. Like nightmares, it lost its body, but was at least free to travel the astral plan. Illyria remembered the floating sensation, the levity of an astral trip. It had been ages, literally, since she experienced it herself. Now might be a good time to live it again. She would come to her newfound follower in the very form it wore.

Turning to Pancakes, calmly staying next to her, she informed it of her intent, reassuring it with her comeback. She trusted it to protect the body she would have to leave behind, for the seconds it would take her to come back if anything went wrong.

Illyria closed her eyes and, while her astral self left her body, she smirked at the thought that noone in Angel's entourage never suspected she could leave that shell so easily. Of course, she couldn't do it for an extended amount of time ; she still needed a corporeal form to maintain herself in this world.

And it wouldn't bring Fred back. Even with the body left to itself, the very essence of the scientist was gone for good. Nothing could bring it back in the shell it once occupied. As Illyria's astral form parted with the body, it slowly recovered the look of its previous owner, blue hair and eyes reversing to brown, white-blue skin looking healthy again. But it stayed empty, fallen on the sand waiting for the only essence that could claim it now, Illyria's very own.

Free from human anchors, the Old One tasted the liberty of this incorporeal form for a few moment, enjoying the feeling of invincibility it procured her, before focusing once again on the svapna's voice. She summoned it herself, and the creature's essence appeared before her, looking like a multi-armed smoke cloud.

"My Great Lord, Who Subjugate Its Ennemies," it said with the same voice only she could hear. "I am your humble servant. Please accept my fearful and meek homage to Your greatness."

This one knew how to properly address a god. She hadn't heard such a pleasant introduction for a long time. Maybe she should bring the svapna with her, to teach the humans and half-breeds the manners of royal court.

"Your homage is accepted, Svapna. I am pleased to see your kind has survived the millenia, even if in this weak and pitiful form."

If the demon felt hurt, it didn't show it. Instead it kept its submissive tone to speak to its master. "This state is a shame indeed, My Lord. But if Your Magnificient Terror would give me assistance, I should find a way out of this misery."

This creature's call was of course self-interested. Illyria had suspected it, naturally. In this world, nothing was given for free. Even this thing they called love came with the price of being loved in return. But she was still the Mighty Illyria, who had the power to choose the price she was willing to pay.

"Your kind has never been to be trusted. As soon as you would be reincorporated, you would try to overrule me. I shall not help you to my own ruin."

"It is too bad, because you already have."

The mere second it took Illyria to realise what was happening was enough for the svapna to fulfill its plan. She tried to stop it, but it was too late ; in front of her helpless eyes, the demon took possession of the shell she left on the beach, and Winifred Burkle seemed to raise from the dead in the glowing sunset.

To be continued ...

AN : Let me know what you think, and please be nice =)