Summary: AU Comedy/Adventure. Buffy and Spike must learn to rely on each other as they hunt the deadly Jabberwock through a world fraught with deadly peril (and bad jokes).
A/N: Thank you to EnigmaticBlues for the beta work. Although this is my own bizarre version of Wonderland, some quotes and characters are courtesy of Alice in Wonderland and Jabberwocky, both written by the very gifted Lewis Carroll. Chapter titles courtesy of the song White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. Mr. Carroll, please don’t spin-this was merely for fun.
Disclosure: None of these characters are mine, nor will I make money from them. They belong solely to the imaginative pens of Joss Whedon and Lewis Carroll– I just wanted to watch Buffy and Spike wrest information from a Dormouse.
Rating: G 22,500 words 7 chapters complete
Story begins here
Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!
Buffy: “Speak English, not whatever they speak in, um….”
Some Assembly Required
When Logic and Proportion Have Fallen Softly Dead
“Is there some sort of requirement that we have to follow the book’s entire plot? Go through each and every single scene? I’d still like to be young when we leave.”
He frowned, trying to remember how the spell had worked. It was so long ago and he’d been so very, very drunk. “Honestly, Slayer, my memory is a little hazy, but I don’t think so. Seems I remember Dru and I spent a lot of time on the beaches and very little anywhere else. She didn’t like boats and I just wanted a sunny vacation day.”
He snapped his fingers. “I’d almost forgotten, somewhere in the beginnin’, you’re given a map, so you can choose where to spend your time. Sort of like speed readin’.” He looked down at the rabbit. “We need to go through his pockets.”
It didn’t take long to discover the small scroll. Unrolling it on the floor, they could see the old-fashioned map was easy to decipher. But whenever they traced a path with their finger, no matter how much it twisted or doubled back, it seemed to have one destination. Every path eventually led to a large shaded area in the left bottom corner.
“All roads lead to Rome,” he muttered.
She traced the Latin calligraphy lightly with a finger. “What does it say?”
“Something the ancients used to put on uncharted places. It says ‘Here be monsters’.”
“Okay, now that’s just over the top.”
“It’s a soddin’ game.”
She tilted her head to look up at the tunnel above their heads. “I’m not afraid of your stupid monsters. I fight real monsters every single day.”
“Who are you talkin’ to?”
She shrugged. “I dunno, just wanted to make a point.”
“Riiiight.” He hid a smile. “It’s time to move, Slayer. Find one of the characters and see if we can learn anythin’ to speed this little adventure along.”
She handed over the scroll. “You’re in charge of the map. I can’t read it anyway.” She gestured at the doors Spike was staring at. “I tried those doors earlier before you did your Mir imitation. They were locked up tight.”
“The rabbit probably had to make his showin’ first. Try one of them again.”
“Yeah, that sounds plausible.” She raised her voice. “Okay, we’ll take door number three for the win, Monty.”
He raised an eyebrow and she shrugged. “Just making sure.”
This time the doorknob turned easily. The wooden door opened to reveal a sweeping, sunlit meadow where puffy cotton-candy clouds floated serenely across an azure sky. Golden butterflies flitted among colorful purple, red and pink wildflowers swaying in a light summer breeze. Perfectly clipped Hawthorne hedges full of chirping bluebirds grew as far as the eye could see. Beneath the hedges, red-breasted Robins hopped, searching in the cool shady dirt for fat, succulent earthworms. A clear running stream burbled along flat, smooth brown rocks, disappearing into low hills, where lambs frolicked in a bucolic scene. All in all, it was an idyllic, picture-perfect wonderland chock full of English beauty and serenity.
Simultaneously they looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
Let the game begin.
“I think we should turn left. We haven’t seen anyone on this path.” Buffy pushed her bangs from her sweaty forehead and automatically kicked her leg out behind her in a move that had become habit already.
Bleating, the lamb about to press against her legs reluctantly moved away.
Spike leaned against the huge elm tree–all the trees in Wonderland were enormous, leafy Elms full of chirping birds and frolicking squirrels–studying the nearly useless map. “It just shows this forest goin’ on for a couple more miles on either path before both dead end at unlabeled locations.”
“I thought the map would tell us what was supposed to be located where.”
“Guess the spell adjusted–making it harder for us.” Wishing for a good case of Dutch elm disease to run rampant through Wonderland, Spike ducked another smelly present from a pair of cardinals on the branch above him. He stuffed the map back in his duster. “One choice is as good as another.”
“It always depends on where you want to go,” commented a smooth voice in the tree.
Buffy traced the line of a branch with her eyes. “Oh! It’s the Cheshire cat– I can see his grin.”
“And he can see yours, Slayer.”
“Yeah, well, it’s just exciting to finally talk to someone who can help us.”
Spike waved a hand and startled two sheep grazing by his feet. “So, ask him somethin’. I vote for where we can get a good sheepdog.”
Shading her eyes, Buffy tried to locate the cat again. It appeared to be high noon all the time in Wonderland and she briefly debated the merit of asking where they could locate a good sunscreen, but they might only have one question so she refrained. They’d just have to deal with smelly sheep and an overly bright sun on their own.
“Excuse me, could you please tell me which way we should go from here?”
The striped cat stretched lazily. Looking down at her he ignored her question completely and posed one of his own. “Did you know curiosity killed the cat?”
Buffy frowned, confused. That didn’t make any sense. Why would the cat ask that? Unless Wonderland had zombies or vampires besides Spike, everything here was alive. At least as much as characters in a game could be. The image of an undead cat she’d dealt with a couple years ago crossed her mind, so just in case she took an experimental sniff in the cat’s direction. Nope, alive.
She cut her eyes to Spike and he gave her a slight shrug, clueless. She was obviously on her own with this one. Okay, then. Always go with a classic.
Mentally crossing her fingers, she dredged up the rest of the old saying. “But satisfaction brought him back?”
The cat’s fluffy tail twitched and his eyes narrowed to tiny slits in that certain way cats do when they’re contemplating something important that you’re not in on. After a long couple of moments he nodded. “Quite so.”
Relieved, she watched as he slowly floated upward, hovering a few inches above the branch. He smiled, displaying a set of Crest commercial worthy teeth. “You’re sure to get somewhere if you only walk far enough.”
Disappointed, she watched the cat slowly fade until only his disembodied head remained.
“However I’ve always thought the right path in life would be the most interesting.”
His body reappeared quickly, startling them both. “But be careful of the Jubjub bird!”
Still grinning widely the head winked out.
“I hate cats–always think they’re so bloody superior, like they know things we don’t.”
“He did know something we didn’t” she pointed out. “Aand at least he finally told us, too.” She watched Spike push away from the tree, causing the sheep to scatter.
“We need weapons. You heard the cat, there’s something down that path and we’re going to have to fight it.”
“The Vorpal blade went snicker-snack!” He muttered.
Buffy’s mouth dropped. “You know the poem by heart?”
“Know a lot of poems by heart.” Seeing her speculative expression he realized that in trying to downplay that fact he’d only made it worse.
Her lips curved. “You and poetry? Now there’s a combination I’m having trouble seeing without Edgar Allen Poe mixed in somewhere.”
Spike thought that he’d rather be staked than go down this conversational road, so he rushed to get her back on track. “Our first priority needs to be findin’ the Vorpal blade, Slayer. That’s all I’m sayin’. You’ll never be able to defeat the Jabberwock, or any other beasties without it.”
Amused, Buffy watched Spike freak out over the poetry subject. There had to be something juicy there and she’d figure a way to worm it out of him. Later. Shelving the subject for now, she amiably agreed that yes, they did need to find the sword pronto.
Wading through the sheep, they turned for the left path.
Next Chapter Here
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/338409.html