The beginning starts here.
The left passage curved away from the cavern in a gentle arc. The torches continued along the wall every few meters, becoming more spaced out as they traveled further along the passageway. Buffy allowed Angel to take point, knowing he’d have a better chance than her of hearing or smelling anything ahead.
“I’ll rip his head off and eat his eyeballs from their sockets,” Spike muttered to himself from the rear position. “Don’t think I won’t. Thinks I’m his tame vampire, does he? I’ll show him tame, the little nerd.”
“Spike…” Buffy warned, studying the walls around her. Was it her imagination, or was the passage getting slightly more narrow?
Spike heaved a sigh worthy of any drama queen. “Fine. Said I’d be good, didn’t I? After all, I want my reward.” She could hear the leer in his voice without even looking at him. She turned around and flashed him a grin.
“I know you do,” she cooed, walking into the arms he held open for her. She ran her thumb up the curve of his eyebrow and down his cheek to his open lips. He shuddered, biting her thumb lightly with his blunt teeth, and his eyes dilated in the flickering torchlight. She let her finger go wandering, down his Adam’s apple and across his shoulder blade, then tracing an abstract pattern down the front of his shirt. “You’re doing such a good job,” she said in the breathy voice that she knew drove him crazy. “You just have to keep working as hard as you can.” She gave a squeeze to the appropriate part of his anatomy, then pulled away as he tried to gather her in for a kiss. “If you’re good.”
“Oh, that’s it,” Spike said, his eyes darkened with lust. “Someone wants a spanking.”
Angel heaved a long-suffering sigh from the front position. “Do you two mind? I’m right here, you know.”
Buffy winced. “Sorry. Honestly. I didn’t mean…”
“Whatever,” Angel said, waving her off. But is it just me, or…”
“Is the passage getting narrower?” Spike finished. He eyed the walls warily, and Buffy frowned.
“I think you’re right,” she said slowly. “Also, have you noticed that the torches are getting further and further apart? It looks darker up ahead.”
They looked at each other wide-eyed for a moment. “I don’t like this,” Angel muttered. “Why don’t we try the other passage?”
At his words, a loud rumbling filled the passageway behind them. Dust and smoke filled the air and sent Buffy into a coughing fit. When the air cleared, she peered back to see that the tunnel had collapsed behind them. The return to the cavern was completely blocked.
“Well, that takes care of that,” she said.
Spike rolled his eyes. “Nice one,” he said to Angel, who raised his hands in defense.
“What? I didn’t know it would do that!”
“Come on,” Buffy said, taking up her sword again. “There’s only one way to go. Keep moving forward, you two.”
The passageway was indeed narrowing, and soon it was only wide enough for them to walk in single file. Buffy kept her breathing deep and even, fighting the claustrophobia she could feel closing in on her. The encroaching darkness didn’t exactly help matters. With a snarl, she dug out her flashlight and turned it on. The wide beam swung across a large crack that opened in the wall a few feet ahead of them. A sign was posted next to the crack. With a look at Angel and Spike, she went ahead to read it.
IT IS PITCH BLACK. YOU ARE LIKELY TO BE EATEN BY A GRUE.
“That… doesn’t sound good,” Angel said.
“What’s a grue?” Spike asked.
Buffy shrugged. “No idea. But I’d rather not be eaten, thank you. So, what do we do now? Keep going straight, or see where this crack goes?”
If you want our trio to keep going straight, go here.
If you want our trio to see where the crack goes, go here.
The right passage widened out as they went along until all three could walk abreast. The torches on the walls shone brightly, but Buffy kept a tight grip on her sword anyway. She walked slightly ahead of the other two, listening as they brought up the rear.
“Pink velvet handcuffs?” she said before she could help herself. “Really, Angel?”
Spike collapsed against the wall with a howl of laughter. Buffy winced and looked apologetically at Angel, but couldn’t help giggling at his peevish expression.
“They’re not for me, okay?” he growled, crossing his arms. “I mean, I use them. I don’t wear them. And I can’t believe I’m discussing this with you two.”
“Ooh,” Spike said, straightening up and wiping his eyes. “Looks like wolf girl’s got a spot of kink in her. Let me guess – she discovered she likes it when you chain her up once a month.”
“Hey! Don’t talk about Nina like that!”
Spike waved this away with a snort. “Oh, don’t get all dainty on me now. I know what you’re really like, you dirty old bastard.”
Angel narrowed his eyes. “Yeah. But at least I’m not the one who gets off on getting beat up by women.”
Spike’s eyes softened and his shoulders slumped, all liquid grace and heat. The look he shot Buffy was pure sex. “Bloody right I do,” he said proudly. “The right woman, that is. The one who makes it hurt in all the right places.”
Buffy swallowed around a suddenly dry throat. “TMI territory,” she said, turning back to the path. “We’re moving on.” She knew Spike was totally looking at her ass, but there nothing to do about it. Nothing, that is, except give her hips an extra switch as she walked. She knew it would drive him crazy, which served him right.
Spike was still goading Angel behind her. “Oh, come on. You’ve dated a Slayer. You know what it’s like.”
“It wasn’t like that with us,” Angel growled. “Besides, I may be a masochist, but you’re just… perverse.”
“And you know that better than anyone, don’t you?”
“Are you two finished?” Buffy called over her shoulder. “Or should I get you a room? Come on, there’s something up here.”
She paused to let the two vampires catch up with her. A dozen feet ahead the road split into two branches. If she listened carefully, she could hear a faint noise coming from the right-hand path – a growling or snuffling noise, almost below the range of her hearing. She turned to the others. “Do you know what that is?”
Spike and Angel listened carefully for a moment and then shook their heads reluctantly.
“No,” Angel said. “But it’s definitely coming from that side. I don’t hear anything from the left passage. So, what do you want to do?”
If you want our trio to take the left passage, go here.
If you want our trio to take the right passage, go here.
They must have waited for about twenty minutes, and Buffy was ready to climb the wall in frustration.
“If he doesn’t show himself soon, I swear to God…” she started. As if on cue, Andrew suddenly popped into view next to her. She grabbed his arm and held on tight before he could disappear again, giving him a good twist when he tried to wriggle away.”
“Hey, ow!” he whined. “Is violence really necessary?”
“I’m thinking it is,” Angel said. He strode over to Andrew and held himself to his full height, eyes raking the boy over slowly from head to foot. Andrew wilted in Buffy’s grasp.
“It’s just for fun!” he protested. “It’s a game! See, Jared owes me a favor from last year, and he’s a tenth-level warlock. I planned the scenarios and he set up the spell. Come on, guys! This quest is going to be awesome!” He looked from Buffy to Spike pleadingly, ignoring Angel’s glare. “…I’ll split my winnings with you?” he offered.
“Wait a second.” Buffy squeezed his arm a bit harder, relenting when he let out a squeak. “Are you saying you set this all up…and bet on us?”
“No! I mean, yes!” He crumpled. “Yeah, okay. There’s a dozen of us in on the pot right now.”
Spike looked interested. “Is that right? How much are we talking?”
“Spike!” Buffy hissed. “Not helping!” She turned back to Andrew. “Look, I don’t know what you had planned, but you can’t treat us like your little action figures. Somebody could have been hurt.” She eyed Andrew threateningly. “Someone may still be hurt.”
“And again with the violence,” Andrew complained. “Is that a Slayer thing, or were you always this testy? And no, you wouldn’t have been hurt. At least, I don’t think so. Jared wasn’t quite sure about that part of the spell, but he was, like, 85% sure that no physical harm would come to you.”
Buffy exchanged glances with Spike and Angel and rolled her eyes. “Here,” she said, tossing them her captive and collecting their weapons. “You two hold onto him. You…” she pointed at Andrew, “…get us out of here. Now.”
“But, my deposit…” He glanced at Spike pleadingly, then up at Angel’s closed face and shuddered. “Oh, fine.”
With a gesture, he opened a door in the wall.
“Right through there,” he said sulkily.
Buffy patted his shoulder. “Good boy. This way you keep all your limbs. Let’s go.”
She strode through the passageway and found a rough set of stairs that seemed to lead back up to the surface. She followed them upward, listening as Spike and Angel corralled Andrew between them.
“Hey, are you guys going to stop for some slaying on the way home?” he was asking. “Because I could totally help. Ooh! Or maybe some dinner, because it’s been a while and I could really use a little something. Hey, Buffy, did you bring Dawn to L.A. with you?”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/394184.html