ALIVE OR DEAD
The morning after the night before is not turning out well for Buffy. Well, you should never play poker with a drunk Fable Demon! Everyone knows that.
Rating: PG13 for language and sexy thoughts.
Buffy clambered through the swaying branches of the beanstalk, following Spike as he hauled himself effortlessly upwards. She gazed down once, and gulped.
Heights didn’t bother her, but they were now hundreds of feet over Sunnydale and still the beanstalk stretched above them, disappearing into the dark, thunderous clouds.
“Need a rest, Slayer?” Spike teased.
“At the same time you do!” she shouted up at him.
“Thought you might be tired after last night.”
Buffy pushed off with her feet, leapt in the air and caught the branch he was holding. Her weight bent it almost double and with a roar Spike was catapulted off and only just managed to stop himself falling to the ground by grabbing hold of a lower branch.
“What were you saying?” she called down sweetly as she worked her
way nimbly through the leaves.
Spike growled, then grinned. He knew when he was loosing the fight. Mind
you, he bloody well wouldn‘t tell the Slayer that.
Buffy suddenly stopped and let him catch her up. “Do you really think we need
to do this?”
Spike nodded gloomily. “Afraid so, pet. Otherwise the giant will come down the
beanstalk, then all hell will break loose.”
“I’m trying to remember the story. Didn’t Jack climb up and down several times? There were golden coins and golden eggs, weren’t there? I remember reading it to Dawn when she was little. Well, I didn‘t, of course, but you know what I mean.”
Spike looked even gloomier. “That’s the trouble with sodding fairy-stories. Every time they‘re told, they take on a character of their own. It depends who’s telling them.”
“So if I don’t want there to be a giant, there might not be one?” Buffy said hopefully.
A crashing noise close by shook the beanstalk. Now it was easy to
understand that it was footsteps they could hear, not thunder. Spike frowned. He had a nasty feeling that if this fairy-story was being influenced by the Slayer’s brain, then it could be very different from the usual fun and games and happily-ever-after rubbish. There could be blood and death and destruction – probably his!
Buffy frowned. “Hey. What if it’s sunny up there?”
“Worried about my ashes floating down on Sunnydale, pet?”
Buffy struggled to pull off some waving emerald bean tendrils that were tangling in her hair, then was forced to stay still as the vampire reached across to free her. She glared into the blue eyes that were suddenly so close to her.
“Anyone who doesn’t know that he’s playing cards with a demon who’s that dangerous deserves all he gets!”
“You were there, too!” Spike protested. “You saw him. Tall bloke, long cloak. Very drunk. You could have warned me. Anyway – ” He shrugged cheerfully, “It’ll be fairy-sunlight. Can’t hurt me. Don’t often get the chance of experiencing it. Dru and me did once when we fell into The Little Match Girl story, but there was loads of snow, too, and Dru killed her before she lit the matches so – ”
Buffy stared at him in horror, then turned and grimly began to climb again, sure that it was the damp clouds that were wet against her face, not tears.
“What?” Spike shouted up after her. “What? Hey, vampire here, Slayer. Always have been. Always will.”
Buffy pushed her way through dark mist and bright green leaves, angry with herself for being angry with him. She was having to face the fact that what annoyed her wasn’t Spike carelessly ignoring what the Fable Demon could do, but that he’d had an adventure with Drusilla. Their years together shouldn’t have worried her, but like a mosquito bite, all she wanted to do was scratch the itch.
Which was ridiculous because she wasn’t in love with Spike, she was only having sex with him, trying to find some feeling in a world that seemed endlessly distant since Willow had brought her back from the dead. But sleeping with Spike was turning into an enormous problem that she didn’t know how to solve.
She could imagine what her friends would say if they discovered her secret. They’d so think she’d lost her mind!
Suddenly, the tendrils grew shorter, the leaves smaller and Buffy found herself scrabbling off the end of the beanstalk, onto bright blue earth. She felt the thud of Spike’s body next to hers as she rolled over and peered around.
To her amazement, everything was blue – the ground, the grass – which swayed feet above her head, bushes the size of trees and trees the size of skyscrapers. The only green in this world came from where the top of the beanstalk could be seen, torn shreds of mist swirling around it.
She fet she’d been catapulted once more into a strange new world and almost welcomed it. She couldn’t remember what her heaven had been like, but this soft blue light was oddly comforting.
“What do we do next?” she whispered.
Spike lifted his head and peered around. “Find the giant. I reckon he’ll stay close to the gold. We grab the cash, then leg it down the beanstalk, back to Sunnyhell. Once the gold is down there, that will be the end of the story, the beanstalk will shrivel up and we can all get back to normal.”
Buffy stared at him suspiciously. “This isn’t just a plan to get your hands on some cash, is it?”
Spike rolled his eyes at her. “Oh yes, Slayer. I really love climbing sodding hundreds of feet into some bloody fairy-tale before I’ve had my morning blood! Anyway, it’ll be fairy-gold. Not real.”
“Well, where is the giant?” she hissed in return.
Just then the air quivered and the grasses over their heads shuddered and flailed as a roaring noise resounded around them, then a long high pitched whistle tore at their ears and a wind threatened to blow them back down the beanstalk.
Buffy clapped her hands over her ears as the roaring and whistling sounded again and again. “Jeez! Spike! What is that!”?
Spike stood up cautiously, fighting against the wind that was trying to blow him over. Buffy gazed up at him. To her astonishment he was laughing. “I think we’ve found the giant, pet.”
“Where?” She stood up, grabbing hold of his arm as the roaring came again followed by the whistling wind.
Spike grabbed her hand and pulled her forward, pushing the grass aside. Suddenly he stopped and she peered over his shoulder. At first she couldn’t work out what she was looking at, then realized as a foul wind hit her in the face, that it was a vast mouth, three times taller than her, wide open, full of crooked yellow teeth.
Above two nostrils the size of small caverns contracted, the roaring hurt her ears and she braced herself as the wind came whistling out of the mouth again. The giant was lying in the grass, fast asleep and snoring.
“He’s enormous,” Buffy whispered.
“Giants often are, sweetheart!”
Buffy glared at him. “OK, Mr Smarty Pants, let’s find this gold and get the heck out of here before he wakes up and goes all Kong on us.”
Spike opened his mouth to say, “Hey, that was a fable too at one time,” then decided that perhaps this wasn’t the best time to tell her that they could have fallen into the story of Kong if the statue of the big ape had been in the demon’s box last night.
Cautiously they crept along the length of his arm. From what Buffy could see, he was wearing a leather jacket with short sleeves. The hairs growing out of his skin were as thick as her wrist.
“Where do you think the gold is?” she whispered.
Spike shrugged. He was hungry, irritable and getting a crick in his neck from gazing up at the mounds of heaving flesh. And the snoring was hurting his ears. He hoped bitterly that the sodding Fable Demon was lying in a gutter with a severe hangover this morning. The next time he saw him he’d –
“Look!” Buffy grabbed his arm. Clutched in the giant’s sausage shaped fingers was a floppy bag with a drawstring neck. It was made of some soft red material and bulged alarmingly with hard, coin shaped shapes!
She ran forward, ignoring Spike’s hoarse whispered warning. She tugged at the material, trying to tear it, but whatever it was was too tough. “Have you got a knife?”
Spike froze as the huge fingers twitched, then relaxed again. “Oh yes, Slayer, I always stick a bloody knife in my pocket when I get out of bed.” He reached out and grabbed at the bag. “Pull!” he hissed and as the material stretched tightly between them, he vamped into game face, and brought his fangs down to slice through the strongly woven threads.
“Team work, pet. Works every time.” He shimmered back to human and grinned down at her, frowning as she sent him an odd slanting glance. Then she plunged her hands into the bag and pulled out a handful of coins. They glittered in the odd blue light.
“We’ll never carry it all,” she said under her breath, trying to push coins into her pockets.
Just then the fingers clutching the bag, moved and the world went mad. Buffy and Spike were sent flying through the air to crash down into the grass yards away as the giant rolled over and climbed to his feet.
“Fee, Fi, Fo Fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread!”
The voice roared out, making the very air shake and quiver. Huge feet crunched towards them and hundreds of feet below in Sunnydale, people gazed up at the angry sky and sheltered from the thunder.
“How can he smell you?” Buffy yelled, diving behind a vast sapphire flowering bush and ducking as a midnight blue and violet bee the size of a robin zoomed around her head.
Spike rolled sideways as a vast hand swooped down, missing him by inches.
“Bloody hell, I don’t know, Slayer. Maybe he’s French! Always hated those poxy buggers.”
“Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman.”
“Head for the beanstalk,” Buffy yelled and bending low, she zigzagged towards where the green shoots spilt out over the bright blue ground.
She was feet away, with Spike at her back, when a roar shook the air around them. She was flung to the ground, Spike covering her body with his own. Then, even as she squirmed to get free, she felt the vampire being plucked away from her.
She turned to see the giant holding Spike, his legs kicking helplessly. “Spike!”
“Go, Buffy! Take the gold down the beanstalk. It must touch the ground or else the story won’t end – ” His voice broke off as, roaring once more about Englishmen and blood, the giant turned and carried him off.
Buffy slid head first through the gap in the ground, grabbed the beanstalk and swung herself down the first couple of branches. Then stopped. She could feel the gold in her pockets, knew she should slide down to the ground and let the beanstalk disintegrate. She knew she had to leave Spike to his fate. He was a vampire. No one would mourn his passing. Her friends would be glad and it would solve all her problems. She would never have to tell them now that she was sleeping with him. Her personal “giant” problem would be solved. Yes, there was no choice. She had to leave him.
And she reached up and began climbing – upwards.
To be continued in Chp 3 which will be the final part.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/119759.html