Okay, make that three parts. I couldn’t quite get the whole thing finished today by the midnight deadline, but you the final part should be available in my journal sometime tomorrow. [ETA: up now, but not the final part. TBC…]
Title: Jack the Giant Killer
Author: The Deadly Hook
Disclaimer, Summary: See Part 1.
Rating: PG-13, I guess, for this section, for some violence. __________
As soon as she was confident that Spike was at least waking up, Buffy moved quickly. Made a hurry-up reconnoiter, her feet sliding and slipping across the icy cave floor as she examined the limits of their prison, as quietly as she could. There was one exit, a vast open doorway, but it only seemed to lead further into the complex, a twisting and turning passage that she didn’t dare follow too far for fear of getting lost.
Turning back, she made a circle of the room instead, weaving a path through the scattered bones. Some were animal, reindeer or caribou, but some were human–other unfortunate hikers, the remains of their packs and brightly colored winter clothing lying around their picked-clean corpses in shreds.
Buffy gathered up an armload of bloodstained rags and carried them back to where Spike lay, along with some other booty she’d found by searching through the abandoned backpacks.
A full bottle of Absolut. And a lighter.
“Here.” She propped up Spike’s head, prodded his lips open. Poured the cold vodka into his mouth in a thin stream. Massaged his throat to help him swallow. Repeated the action until less than a third of the bottle was left, and his eyes and mouth were working more freely, the brittle frozen look retreating from his face.
High school chemistry might not have been her favorite subject, but the part about alcohol having a different freezing point–that, she remembered. From the bottle of Limoncello liquer she kept chilling in her freezer, probably.
“I am so mad at you right now,” she hissed softly, even as she smoothed his hair back, kept feeding him small sips. Worrying that, in all likelihood, she’d eventually end up with a vampire who might be mobile, but also dead drunk.
Big help in a fight. Not.
He nodded a little. The neck movement was a good sign.
She set the bottle aside. Made a small fire from the shreds of clothes. It smelled pretty bad–burning synthetics, probably toxic and sure to bring whatever monster owned this cave running, but they were short on time. She needed to get Spike warmed up and on his feet, or odds were good that they were both dead. Not that their odds were particularly good anyway.
“Why did you do it?” She couldn’t help but ask again, even as she tended to the fire, one eye on the huge open doorway. “I mean, what was the plan?”
“Thought I could keep up.”
“And if you couldn’t? What was your plan for that? Tip your head back,” she ordered without letting him answer, and then poured the rest of the vodka into his open mouth like a college-party drinking game. “I can’t believe you really thought I’d be okay with this happening to you. Freezing. We’ve been…. it’s been months, months and you never–”
“Didn’t want to let you down.”
“Let me–? I can’t believe you. You’ve been in pain this whole time, haven’t you?”
“It wasn’t that bad.”
“Great,” she snapped. “I want that on my next epitaph. ‘Buffy Summers: The pain wasn’t that bad.'” Before he could add anything, she went on. “Because you can say no to me, you know. It’s not like I’ll curl up and die if I don’t always get my way. Or dump you, if that’s what you’re think–”
They were interrupted by the sound of a hiss. Both pairs of eyes tracked immediately toward the huge open passageway.
A shadow was approaching. A huge, gray shadow. Blocking out the light filtering into the icy cave. Buffy swallowed, her mouth dry. “Can you move yet?” she whispered.
He tried. “Not yet. Soon, though. Where are we?”
“Den of some people-eating monster. It looks like a castle, only ice. Huge. Bones everywhere. Heard of anything like that?”
“Well… there’s giants, I suppose.”
“Frost giants. Old Norse legends. Evil. Enemies of the gods. Supposed to have great fortresses in the north.”
“Oh, great. So how do we fight them?”
“Dunno, not like the legends were clear–hold up.”
The source of the shadow emerged into the room.
It was a giant. Covered in shaggy hair, at least three times their size, it shambled toward the pair like an albino bigfoot, open mouth letting out a howling sound like a groaning wind. Without preamble, it lunged forward and grabbed hold of Spike, snatched him into the air with an enormous clawed paw.
“No!” Buffy lunged for the creature’s leg, aimed her fiercest kick. It ignored her completely, lifted its chosen meal toward its mouth.
“Hey!” Buffy shouted. She smashed the glass bottle into its furry foot, got a furious growl in response. “You don’t want him! I taste way better! Come and get me!”
Foul breath steaming from its gaping maw, the shaggy monster swiveled its head in her direction.
“No!” Spike struggled ineffectually in the creature’s grip. “I’m the nummy treat here. Stick with your instincts, you got it right. C’mon, fuzzy. Chow chow chow.”
“He’s all yucky and dried out!” Buffy bounced up and down, trying to draw the monster’s attention with her movements and bright colors. “I’m juicy and tasty! Yummy yummy yummy, you want me in your tummy!”
“Don’t listen to her! My flavor’s concentrated! I’m unusual and delicious!”
“He’s chewy and tough!”
“I’m a rare taste sensation!”
“Oh, stop,” a third voice chimed in. “All this drama.”
Slayer, vampire, and monster all looked toward the source.
“You saucy villain, you shall pay for this. I shall broil you for my breakfast.”
Another giant. A much BIGGER giant. Twice the size of the first one. Covered not only in hair, but in an array of decorative necklackes made all out of bones, artfully interlinked.
“You have to forgive my dear Grognor,” the new giant said mildly, as it approached. “He’s young, and hasn’t quite gotten out of the habit of playing with his food.”
“That’s okay,” Spike croaked. With the huge claws digging into his chest, he was having trouble drawing breath enough to speak. “He can play. We’re alright with it.”
Grognor made a squeaking, growling sound that might’ve been a laugh, and poked at Spike’s bright head, shook him a little.
“I don’t raise children with bad habits,” the new giant sniffed, and gave the youngster’s hand a little slap. It howled.
“So you stifle his creative impulses then,” Spike hollered over the din. “Some father you are.”
“Mother,” the giant hissed. She snuffled at Spike. “Such an unusual smell.”
“I told you he was no good,” Buffy called up from the floor.
“Awww.” The mother giant turned her attention to Buffy. “Aren’t you two sweet. I mean, it’s kind of a waste of time, because we’re gonna eat both of you anyway, but don’t let me stop you. This is certainly more entertaining than the usual begging and pleading we get. The giant threw up its paws in exaggerated mimmicky. ‘Oh, no, please don’t eat me, no! Oh, Johann, Sven, Piotr, Hiroko, aaaahhh!‘” She laughed. “Gets a bit repetitive.”
Buffy made a disgusted face. “Let us go,” she demanded.
“Ummm… lemme think about that. No.”
“We can catch food for you.”
“Reindeer. Or… polar bears. Whatever you’ve got. We’re hunters, see? We can–”
“Actually, you’re more like soup starter. Stop that, Grognor! Let me have it!” Mommy giant slapped her baby’s hands, and took hold of Spike by one leg, held him up. The baby giant howled, deprived of its new toy. “Stop that crying, now. They all taste the same anyway once they’ve been deboned, so–owwwww!!!!”
The mother monster shrieked. Buffy had thrown the burning rags onto her fur, set her leg on fire. The giant batted out the flames frantically, unfortunately using the hand she was holding Spike with. He grunted faintly between clubbing hits.
Buffy swung into action, a caribou’s long thigh bone wielded like a battleaxe. “Let. Him. Go!”
She got in a couple of good hits before was slammed across the length of the cavern with one mighty blow.
“Hey!” Spike called out faintly, hanging limply from the mother monster’s hand while she blew on her burnt leg. “How about a deal? You up for that? A deal?”
“No,” the mother giant snarled, picking at her singed fur. “At this point, I’m mad enough to eat you both raw. As soon as I’ve–”
“Try it and I’ll kill you.” Buffy was back on her feet, swaying slightly, the thigh bone once again held up like a weapon. “I don’t know how, but I will.”
“Uh-oh. Now you’ve made her mad,” Spike said, upside down, swinging like a pendulum.
“Hah!” the giant huffed. “Puny humans! You–you–”
The mother giant was hopping on one leg now. The baby giant was cowering in the corner, wailing, throwing up bones in full-on tantrum. Buffy was circling the room, leaping in to attack at random intervals, making the mother monster shriek and hop as if plagued by a mouse.
“Alright!” she shouted finally, dodging out of the way of Buffy’s latest attack, the thigh bone in her hand swishing through the air like a samurai sword. “I’ll let you have a contest. Alright? Contest!”
“What kind of contest?” Buffy growled.
“Challenges of skill and endurance,” the giant said. “That’s classic, right? That’s what you heroes go for?” Its gaze darted back and forth between Buffy and Spike, looking for confirmation, and when it got no answer, either positive or negative, it went on. “If either one of you can best me in any one feat of strength or skill, I’ll let you go. Although,” she grinned, showing off gray-yellow teeth, stained with heaven-only-knew how many years of gore. “I probably should mention that I’ve never lost a contest. Ever.”
to be continued in Part 3
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/116827.html