The beginning starts here.
“Huh,” Spike said into the darkness surrounding them. “So this is a grue.”
Buffy groaned and kicked at the rubbery wall. It rebounded with a rumble and a groaning sound.
“Slayer, let’s try not to make the nice monster angry, shall we? Especially when we’re already inside it?”
“You’re only saying that because you couldn’t find a way out,” Angel muttered.
“Hey!” Spike said. “I notice your sword didn’t work any better than mine. Besides, it’s your fault we’re in this mess.”
“Mine?” Angel said incredulously. “How was I to know we were walking right into the creature’s open mouth? It looked like a normal passageway!”
“Yeah, if you ignore the rocks sticking out of the floor and ceiling,” Spike groused. “I knew they looked like teeth. But no, you had to go waltzing in like the great moron you are.”
“Shut up, Spike!”
Buffy shut her eyes against the darkness and tried to ignore the slapping and wrestling sounds next to her. It would be useless to try and separate them – better to let them fight it out. It would probably be better for her nerves that way. In the meantime, she had to try to figure a way out. Her flashlight wasn’t working and the fleshy walls seemed to be impervious to their swords. She tried very hard not to think about possibly being inside some monster’s stomach.
“Ow!” she said as the two wrestling vampires careened into her and bounced off one of the walls. “Do you two mind?”
The cavern gave a great rumble and shake, as if disturbed. Buffy held her breath as the rumbling increased, then gasped at relief at the lightened opening that suddenly appeared ahead of her.
“Come on!” she yelled at Spike and Angel, who had stopped grappling each other and were blinking at the light with dazed expressions. Grabbing their swords, they ran for the light. The fleshy cavern collapsed behind them with a disgruntled squish. In a minute, they found themselves panting in another passageway – one with real rock walls.
“I think we’re out,” Angel said, looking behind him.
Spike looked slightly nauseous. “Do I want to know what end we just came out of?”
Buffy shuddered. “I guess we didn’t taste so good. Look!”
The passageway took a sharp turn. Beyond the light of the last torch, it opened up into the clear night sky with a spattering of stars. At the exit was posted another sign.
YOUR ADVENTURE HAS ENDED. THANK YOU FOR PLAYING. PLEASE TRY AGAIN.
The three of them ran out of the cavern into the open sky. They were in a park, and Buffy could hear the muted sound of nighttime traffic in the distance. When they turned round, the passage had completely vanished behind them.
“Griffith Park,” Angel mused, looking around. “I think we parked just up that hill.”
“So. That happened.” Buffy ran her hand through her hair and winced at the slime that came away in her fingers. Spike and Angel didn’t look any the better, and she wrinkled up her nose at the sight they made. “No offense, but everyone here could seriously use a shower. I say clean up now, deal with Andrew tomorrow.”
Spike grabbed her sword away from her and took off at a run up the hill. “Last one in gets no hot water!” he called over his shoulder.
“Hey!” Angel called, sprinting after him. “Get away from the car until I can put a towel down or something. If you mess it up, I’ll kill you. I have a date tonight!”
The crack they squeezed through was narrower than Buffy was expecting. At one point Angel almost got himself wedged in, and it took some serious pushing and pulling to free him.
“That’s it, we’re definitely not going back,” Spike said. “This one won’t be able to fit his gigantic head through that bitty opening a second time.”
“Quiet,” Buffy said, sniffing the air. “I think it’s opening up just ahead. Does it smell cleaner to you?”
“It smells something,” Spike muttered. “Which means we’re probably about to be eaten.”
Indeed, the crack in the wall widened into a regular passageway. The floor was rougher and there were no torches, but the flashlights allowed them to see their path easily.
“There!” Buffy said, pointing to where the passage curved to the right. “Lights!”
“Great. More lights,” Angel said gloomily. “If Andrew is here, I’m hitting first and asking questions later.”
They rounded the corner into another brightly-lit cavern, this one even bigger than the first. Buffy stopped dead in her tracks, and Spike and Angel slammed into her back before getting control of their momentum.
“Well,” she said, forcing a note of calm into her voice. “No Andrew. That’s not good.”
“Yeah,” Spike said with relish. “This is better!”
The three of them spread out from each other slowly, keeping their backs to the passage they had just exited. The crowd of twenty or so vampires that stood at the other end of the cavern turned to face them as one. All were in game-face, all had blood-thirsty grins, and all of them were taller than Buffy.
Big, dumb and ugly. Just how she liked ’em.
“Thank God,” Angel muttered fervently. “I’ve really been wanting to hit something.”
Buffy unslung the sword from her back and held it in her right hand, grabbing a stake from her waistband with her left. “Okay, guys,” she said breezily. “If I take the dozen in the middle, do you think you can handle the rest?”
Without waiting for an answer, she ran right at the two vamps who stood front and center. They stepped forward to meet her, just as she was expecting. She ducked the punch of the first – and he got a stake to the heart for his troubles – and then double-fisted the sword to sweep the head off the second. Both of them crumbled to dust. The rest of the vampires stopped dead and stared at her fearfully.
“Aw, come on,” she pouted, blowing hair out of her eyes. “Is that all you’ve got?”
And with that, it was on. Between her lunges and strikes she caught glimpses of Spike and Angel wading into the fray with fangy grins and flying fists. She rolled over the back of one vampire and kicked him towards Spike, who used an underhand flourish to stake the creature while it was still off-balance. He blew her a kiss, then turned back to the fight. Show-off, she thought fondly.
It was all over within ten minutes, and none of the three were worse off than a few cuts and bruises.
“Is that it?” Spike sounded disappointed. “I was just getting warmed up!”
“Look!” Angel pointed at the other end of the cavern. Two new passages had opened up. One was labeled “DANGER”, and the other “REWARD”. Buffy walked over to them and peered inside, but couldn’t see any immediate differences. Both appeared to travel straight ahead, the roads disappearing into the torchlight.
“Another one?” Buffy groaned. “I’m getting tired of this. What do you think we should do?”
The snuffling and growling got louder as they walked along. After a hundred meters, the passageway opened up into another cavern even bigger than the first. At the opposite end were two more openings. And standing guard in front was…
“Is that a troll?” Buffy asked.
“Looks like,” Spike said. He eyed the hammer the creature held over its shoulder. “I don’t suppose you brought one of those little numbers tucked into your pants, did you?”
“Okay,” Buffy muttered, approaching the troll gingerly. “Maybe we can talk our way out of this. Spike, offer him some grog or something.”
“Halt!” the troll said, planting its hammer on the ground and holding one meaty hand palm outward. It looked the trio over, blinking its little eyes at them. “Who would pass along the Road of Death must answer me these questions three, ‘ere the other side he see.”
Buffy looked at Spike. “What? What’s wrong? You look… how is it possible for you to look paler?” She glanced in Angel, who shrugged in puzzlement.
“Let’s just get this over with,” Spike said heavily. He addressed the troll. “Go on, ask your questions.”
The troll cleared its throat and looked at Buffy. “What are your names?”
“Uh, I’m Buffy.” She looked at Spike, but he just shrugged. “The Vampire Slayer. And this is Spike and Angel.”
The troll nodded. “What is your quest?”
“To kill Andrew?” she said brightly, gripping her sword just a little bit tighter. To her surprise, the troll nodded again.
“What…is the capital of Assyria?”
“What? The capital of what now? I don’t…”
Spike clamped his hand over her mouth. “Uh, just a moment,” he told the troll, and dragged Buffy off the path.
“Ow! What is your deal?” she said, smacking his arm away.
“I’m just trying to remember the way this goes. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, okay?” He glared at Angel, who was sniggering at him. “Shut it, you! You could help, you know.”
“Seen what? What are you talking about?”
Spike gave her a pitying look. “One day we’re going to have to work on your cultural appreciation, love.” Stepping back in front of the troll, he addressed it. “I’ll be finishing this up. Give me your third question, mate.”
The troll looked back and forth between Spike and Buffy for a moment before leaning on its hammer and staring at Spike. “What… is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?”
Spike stared at the troll for a moment, swallowed hard, and said, “Bugger it.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/394327.html