Capture the Flag

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Here’s my entry for Seasonal Spuffy. Vaguely fairytalesque.

Also wanted to mention that one of the images in my last post was from Cappiness, a fine place to find images from BtvS and AtS.

Pretty fluffy stuff :)

Edit: I am an airhead. I forgot to thank my lovely beta cindergal. You complete me :) 

Capture the Flag

Buffy snuggled down into her sheets and was soon fast asleep. Before long she was there again, walking down the long, musty corridor, finding the cell at the end of the hall, seeing him there, chained against the wall. Bruised and battered. Cut and bleeding. He rose his head, slowly, and stared right at her, gasping, “Buffy. Help me.”

She woke with a scream. She was taking in deep gulps of air to settle herself, when Willow ran into the room. “Buffy? What happened?”

Buffy took her hand as Willow sat beside her on the bed. “Nothing. Just a dream.”

“The same one again?”

“Yeah.” She squeezed Willow’s fingers. “You go back to bed. You must be zonked.”

“It’s okay. I just feel bad for you. This summer’s supposed to be a vacation, and here you are, not sleeping. Not very resty.”

“It’s so weird, Will. I know that for some reason I’m hashing over what happened to Spike. But if it’s guilt for what happened, why am I dreaming about saving him? I mean, I did. I got him away from the Ubervamp.”

“Mind’s a tricky thing, Buff. Maybe it can’t face what finally happened. And you shouldn’t feel guilty. Spike saved us. He went out as a hero. His choice.”

“It’s just…” Buffy wiped at a small tear that threatened to form in the corner of her eye. “These dreams. They’re so clear. So real.”

“Like Slayer dreams?”

Buffy nodded. “Yeah. Just like Slayer dreams.” She lay back against her pillow. “But why? Spike’s dead.”

*****

Giles poured her a cup of tea from his mother’s Staffordshire pot. “You sure you don’t want more breakfast?”

“No,” Buffy replied, “I’m not that hungry.”

“Well, then. Are you ready for another riding lesson?”

“Sure.”

He gave her a concerned look. “You don’t seem too enthusiastic. Another restless night?”

“She had another bad dream,” Willow piped in.

He was about to express an opinion when the telephone rang. “I’ll be right back.”

In a moment he returned from the living room. “Buffy, it’s for you.”

She flopped in her chair. “Giles, I can’t deal with any Council business today. Tell them…”

“Buffy.” He cut her off. “It’s Angel.”

******

It was a struggle just to keep the phone to her ear. All the colour had washed from her face. “But why can’t you? France? I don’t… What circle?”

When Willow finally came in the room she took the receiver from Buffy’s hand, hearing the loud buzz of the dial tone. She led the young woman to the couch and sat beside her. “Buffy, what happened? What’s wrong?”

“Angel said,” her voice was small, like it came from far away. “Angel said that he has to go to France to fight the circle. I don’t really know what it means. But he can’t do it, you see, so he called me. I’m going to LA. I should make arrangements. I have to get a ticket right away. Do you think Giles could help? I have things to do. I…”

“Buffy.” Willow snapped her fingers in front of her friend’s face. “Look at me. Focus. What’s going on?”

“I have to go to Mercy Hospital, and find a woman named Illyria. She’ll be with Gunn. You remember Gunn?”

“Buffy,” she spoke as clearly and precisely as she could, “tell me what’s going on.”

“They were fighting a demon army. That’s what he said. And they almost won, when this big creature grabbed Spike and took him. So I have to go find him and get him back.” For the first time she looked straight at Willow and met her eyes. Her face was wide with shock. And something akin to joy. “Spike’s alive, Will. Spike’s alive.”

*****

Buffy shoved clothes into her travel bag, as Willow pulled them out again and folded them before replacing them. “I have to do this alone.”

“No, you don’t. I’m coming.”

“No, you’re not. It’s not your fight.”

Willow crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Okay. So if it’s just the big scary monster, you can handle it. Slice and dice. But you told me Angel said they took him through some portal, or dimension, or something.” She put her hand on Buffy’s shoulder. “And I’m all about the mystical. You need me.”

Buffy’s jaw tensed. “He told me this Illyria could help me get there.”

“Good. Then she can take us both. I’m coming.”

*****

They found Charles’ Gunn’s room in the intensive care unit. A tall, blue-haired woman stood with her back towards the door, staring down at the man on the bed.

“Are you Illyria?” Buffy asked.

The woman turned around, fixing her gaze on the women at the door. “Do not waken him.”

Willow’s eyes widened. “Fred?”

The woman strode between them, leading them into the corridor, and away from Gunn’s room. “He may yet cease to be. These doctors do not know.” She looked at Willow, tilting her head and considering her. “Fred is the shell I wear. I am not she. I am Illyria.”

Willow had a million questions, but Buffy spoke first. “Angel said that Spike was captured. That you could lead us to him.”

“The warrior exaggerates. I can take you to the place of the portal. I may remember the equation… incantations to open it. I may not. But this one,” she pointed towards Willow, “Has great power. Together we can send you to him.”

Buffy had already started down the corridor. “Let’s go, then.”

But before Illyria could follow, Willow stopped her. “What happened to Fred?”

For an instant, the woman who answered was a brown-haired girl in a yellow t-shirt and dazzling smile. “Don’t go crushin’ on me, Willow. We have work to do.”

Willow blinked as Illyria turned and followed after Buffy. Wondering if she had imagined what she had seen, she chased after them.

*****

Illyria led them to an alleyway. Blood of various colours stained the asphalt. “They took the fallen ones with them when they left. All but that one, for some reason.” She gestured to a large shape against the far wall.

“Is that a dragon?” Willow gasped.

Buffy didn’t look. “How do we get through?”

“You will need weapons.”

Buffy reached down into her totebag. “I brought one.” The blade of the Slayer scythe gleamed in the sunlight. “Bitch getting it back through customs, but worth it.”

Illyria nodded. “It is a good tool.” Without warning, she grabbed Willow’s hand and started chanting, “Grplx wrthng plxdl, give me your power, witch, bltn rtgf ntlb.”

The portal swirled before them. It swept Buffy up in its maw, then, as Illyria released her hand, Willow.

What had been day in their world was now night. They stood before a huge grey stone castle. Giant torches illuminated the carvings of the Wolf, Ram and Hart.

Buffy looked up, firelight dancing on her face. “This is the castle from my dream. Spike’s inside.”

“Ah, Buff?” Willow asked. “If you rescue him, how do we get back? Cause Illyria? She didn’t come.”

*****

The entrance to the castle loomed huge before them. Buffy pulled on the big metal rings and pulled the door open.

“I don’t like this,” Willow stated. “Shouldn’t there be thorn bushes everywhere, or trolls guarding the doors, or something? I don’t even fell a blocking spell. Nada.”

“I guess they weren’t expecting visitors. Come on.” They stepped into the entrance way. Tapestries hung the height of the walls, more depictions of the Wolf, Ram and Hart. Depictions of the creatures tearing apart and eating human beings. “Nasty,” Buffy exclaimed.

The entrance way opened into two corridors. “Which way?” Willow asked. “Not that either one is too inviting.”

Buffy stopped and considered. “This way.” She moved towards the left corridor.

“How do you know?”

“I just know.” She started running, hitting what felt like a plexiglass wall. The impact knocked her onto her backside. “I think I found your blocking spell.”

Willow helped her to her feet. The wicca ran her hand over the surface of the invisible wall. Her eyes darkened, as she whispered, “Shatter.” With a tinkling noise the barrier was gone. “Easy peasy.”

The two woman ran down the corridor, Buffy looking for familiar landmarks from her dream. “There!” she cried. “That door. It opens to a set of stairs that leads down to the dungeon.” She pulled it open. Without warning, two demons dropped from the ceiling, growling and slashing their long red claws at the women. One glazed Buffy’s shoulder, tearing the fabric and leaving a red trail of the Slayer’s blood. With a look of determination, Buffy swung the scythe at one of the creatures – and it passed through as if it had been made of smoke. “Will! I can’t hit it.”

Willow was frightened, but she called back, “These things are magical. You can’t fight them, but I can. Go, rescue Spike.”

Buffy started down the stairs, turning her head back for a moment to see a cluster of silver sparks as Willow cried, “There. Take that!” Trying not to worry for her friend, she felt the steps with her feet in the ever growing darkness.

Finally she came to the bottom of the stairs. She felt her way into another corridor, finding an unlit torch hanging against the wall. She reached into her pocket, pulled out a silver lighter, and lit the torch.

She knew this corridor. She knew the look of the cobwebbed walls, the musty smell. She knew at the end of it there would be a cell. And in the cell would be a vampire. Torch in one hand, scythe in the other, she hurried down the hallway.

Damn. The door was locked. She held the torch up to the small barred window, but the light couldn’t extend far into the room. But she heard a voice. “No. Please. Not again,” it moaned. A familiar voice.

She put down the torch and scythe, and with everything she could, pulled against the door handle. Her muscles burned with exertion. But finally, with a loud crack, the door came off its hinges. She picked up the torch and scythe and hurried inside.

He was hanging against the far wall. Bruised and battered. Cut and bleeding. He rose his head slowly, looked right at her and gasped, “Buffy? Go. Oh, god, run.”

Another figure stepped from the shadows. Huge and ugly. Grey and lumpy as the stone of the castle itself. Its hands were tipped with blood. Spike’s blood. It laughed. Deep and cruel.

“All these long days have I tortured you for my masters, seeking the whereabouts of the prime Slayer. All these days you would not tell me. And here she is, come to my door. Surely you must see the irony in this.”

“Irony.” Buffy raised the scythe. “I was never all that good in English class.” She swung the scythe, separating the head of the beast from its body, then splitting its brain for good measure, just to be sure. “I think this fits somewhere in the definition of irony.”

She ran over to the vampire chained to the wall, breaking the manacles with the blade of the scythe. “She was right,” Buffy beamed as Spike fell against her, falling into her tight embrace, “This is a good tool.”

After a time of holding each other, of coming to grips with the reality of each other, Spike raised his head and looked into her eyes. “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”

“Then don’t get captured again.” She kissed him, gentle with his battered face, both reminded of their first kiss. “Don’t leave me again,” she sighed.

“You guys gonna just stand there and make out, or what?” Willow called from the door to the cell. “Time to go.”

Supporting Spike’s weight between them, the three headed up and out of the castle.

They realized that wherever they were, the place extended no further than a few yards in any direction from the castle. Beyond that there was only a void. “Great,” Buffy said. “Now what?”

“I could try to use a spell,” Willow replied, “If I had some idea where to start.”

“Or we could use that,” Spike gestured. Beyond them a portal swirled. “Can’t be worse than here.”

*****

Illyria stood on the other side. They were in the parking lot of Mercy Hospital. “Half Breed,” she said, “I see she has found you.”

“Good to see you too, Blue.”

“You left us,” Buffy said with accusation.

“I chose to remain with Gunn.”

“Charlie?” Spike asked. “How is he?”

“He shall live. I am, I think, relieved.” She held out a bag of blood. “I found this. I thought you might be in need of it.”

“Thanks, pet.” Spike bit into the bag and let the liquid flow down his throat. He drained the bag dry and tossed it into a trash can. “There. Feel better already.” Smiling at Buffy, he leaned towards her.

“Right. Like I’m going to kiss you with blood breath. As if.”

“If you’re gonna get snippy, I won’t let you rescue me next time.”

Illyria turned to Willow. “I do not understand this. Is she not the one he loves? Did she not risk all to save him?”

“It’s a long story,” Willow answered. “Let’s go grab a cup of coffee in the cafeteria, and I’ll try to explain. You do drink coffee, right?”

“I do not know.”

They left Buffy and Spike arguing in the parking lot. Five minutes later, an intern passing the bench at the side entrance of the hospital saw a couple kissing passionately. Seemed odd that the blond guy was only wearing a pair of black jeans. They both looked to be injured, and he thought about saying something, but the guy gave him the finger without breaking the kiss, so he just moved on.

 

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/73554.html

redeem147

redeem147