Title: The Troll Hunt
Summary: Trolls took the Amara treasure which has something Buffy needs to battle the Mayor. Along the way she runs into an old… frenemy.
Warnings: Off camera death of a major character
Notes: I asked the ladies I chat with for some prompts, this is what I came up with. By the way, Happy Troll Day! Don’t ask, just go with it.
“Spike, get your ass over here,” Buffy hissed. “If you don’t help me out of this thing, I won’t tell you where that stupid rock of yours is.”
“I don’t know, Slayer. You look just fine and dandy right where you are.”
“If I end up being sucked dry by a spider, I’m going to come back to haunt your ass for the rest of your life and beyond.” Buffy struggled against the sticky spider webs. “I haven’t seen Xander since we were captured.”
Spike glanced over his shoulder. “Yeah, about that. The Studebaker sized spider thought Harris was a nummy treat.” He had thought he was imagining the Slayer tingles up and down his spinal cord until he’d stumbled across the exsanguinated body Buffy Summers’ best mate.
“I was afraid of that,” Buffy replied. She didn’t have time to grieve over the loss of her friend. She had a mission to fulfill.
An angry, pain-filled roar echoed through the cave causing Spike and Buffy to freeze.
“The spiders caught one of the trolls,” Buffy said in a low voice.
“That explains their size.”
“God, I hope it’s not the one I need to find the treasure of Amara,” Buffy muttered, not thinking about the vampire standing six feet away from her.
Spike narrowed his eyes in speculation. The Slayer knew the location of the Gem of Amara. If he rescued her now, he could go ahead and kill her later after they’d found the treasure. He smirked to himself as a plan formulated in his mind. “Sun’s almost down. Let me help you out of that, Slayer.”
“What day is it?”
Spike tilted his head to calculate what day of the week it was. “Tuesday.” He stepped closer to Buffy, and he pulled on the webs.
“Crap, I’ve been here since Saturday night. I bet Giles is really worried. I hope he hasn’t called Mom yet. She’ll really freak out.” Buffy struggled out of the sticky cords holding her prisoner.
“We need to get moving while the spiders are distracted with the troll.” Spike pulled Buffy towards the mouth of the cave. He paused when the sound of skittering echoed down the passage between them and the exit. He pushed Buffy against the wall. “Don’t move.”
“What are you doing?” Buffy tried to look around Spike.
Spike pressed Buffy closer to the wall. “To the spiders, I’m dead flesh.” He held his breath when the spider crawled past them, dragging a troll wrapped in netting behind it. Spike enjoyed the feel of the Slayer’s nubile, young flesh pressed against his own. Maybe there was another reward besides just killing her for helping.
“Gotcha,” Buffy said. She stood as still as she could while several more spiders pulled their prey to the feeding chamber.
“Let’s hurry.” Spike grabbed Buffy’s arm, and he dragged her out of the cave. The burning rays of the sun were hidden by the hills, but it was still light enough for Spike and Buffy to see without the use of any supernatural powers. When they were free and clear of the spider infestation, Spike slowed down. “So, Slayer, what are you doing in the Alberta Rockies exactly? This is pretty far from good old Sunnyhell.”
Buffy contemplated how much to tell the vampire. She probably should just stake Spike instead. However, Buffy’s grandmother had always pressed upon her young granddaughter a certain amount of politeness, even if Buffy ignored those lessons most of the time. “Have you heard about what’s going on in Sunnydale?” she eventually asked.
“Haven’t paid that much attention, Slayer. Had other things on my mind.”
Buffy resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She didn’t want to hear about that big old ‘ho Drusilla again. “Well, the Mayor I don’t know… sold his soul or something because he’s been around almost as long as you. Anyway, he’s gonna ascend and do it at graduation. So, we’ve been researching, and Giles found this bracelet thing of some witch-goddess Aradia he thinks will help.”
That’s interesting, Spike thought. Two magical pieces in the same treasure. “What does this bracelet do exactly?” he asked aloud.
“It’s supposed to block all spells cast against the wearer. “ Buffy shrugged. “I don’t know anything else about it. Anything for an advantage, I guess.”
“How come your sweetie pie didn’t come with you?” Spike wasn’t jealous. He wasn’t!
Buffy glanced away in what was clearly embarrassment. “You were right,” she whispered. “About us.”
“What was that, Slayer?” Spike cupped his ear. “Did you just say that I was right about something?”
“You don’t have to be an ass about it.”
“Just never thought I’d hear you say something like that to me.”
“Whatever!” Buffy executed a precise turn and marched away from Spike.
“Hold up now, Slayer. Why are you stompin’ off? Here I am helpin’ you, out of the goodness of my heart, and you…” Spike put his hand over his chest while following Buffy.
“Spike, you’re a vampire.” Buffy interrupted. “I’m fairly sure it’s against your vampire oath or creed to have any goodness in your heart.”
Spike caught up with Buffy. “Slayer, you wound me.”
Abruptly the Slayer and the vampire found themselves suspended in midair, trapped in a large net. They both struggled, but it was quickly apparent to both of them that they weren’t escaping. The netting was too heavy duty even for their supernatural strength.
“I sure hope whatever wanker set this trap doesn’t wait all night to check it,” Spike grumbled. He shifted around, trying to get comfortable without brassing off the Slayer.
“Worried you’ll be Mr. Big-Old-Pile-of-Dust?” Buffy stiffened. “That better be your stake happy to see me, buster.”
“Shhh.” Spike put his hand over Buffy’s mouth. “They’re here.”
Buffy couldn’t see anything. It was too dark for her human eyes. That’s when she noticed the noises. She wasn’t sure how many creatures were out there, but she was sure it was more than she and Spike could handle together, especially if they happened to be supernatural too.
“Bloody Hell, we’re surrounded by a herd of giant, furry Ewoks,” Spike muttered.
“E-w-ks,” Buffy questioned from behind Spike’s hand. For about ten seconds she considered biting him to make him let her go, but then she figured he’d probably like it too much.
“Sasquatches? Bigfeet? Yeti? Do you comprehend any of this?” Spike hissed.
“Sass-quashes ‘r r-ul?” Buffy’s muffled voice asked.
The sudden drop to the ground caused both Spike and Buffy to lose their breath. Before they could react in a fashion befitting a century old vampire and a lithe, agile Slayer they were surrounded, tied by their hands and feet to poles, and relieved of their weapons. Then, they were carted off into the darkness.
“We are never mentioning this to anyone,” Buffy declared.
“I’ll deny it with my dying breath,” Spike vowed in return.
One of the Bigfeet growled, and Spike and Buffy fell silent. There would be time to plan an escape later.
A short time later, Buffy felt the uncomfortable sensation of magic creep along her skin. They burst out of the darkness into a clearing filled with firelight and buildings. The scent of cooking food wafted through the air.
Buffy’s stomach growled, and she realized how hungry she was since she hadn’t eaten in days. She briefly wondered if trolls, spiders or she was on the night’s menu.
“What did you catch this time, Springfoot?” A voice called out in English.
The lead Bigfoot growled out a response.
“They escaped the spiders? Well, let’s see these intrepid campers of yours.” A handsome dark-haired man stepped out of a skin and bark hut into the light.
“Let us go,” Buffy demanded.
“It’s no use, Slayer,” Spike commented. “He’s not one you can appeal to.”
Buffy twisted her head to stare at Spike. “What do you mean?”
“Don’t your fine Slayer senses tell you anything?” Spike jutted his chin out at the man.
Buffy sighed while she rolled her eyes. “Not with you around I can’t. You always throw me out of whack.”
“Lawson here is a vamp.”
The man arched an eyebrow. “Do I know you? I don’t think we’ve met.”
It was Spike’s turn to roll his eyes. “Cut the crap, Lawson. The only difference is my hair color, but I know you can sense family.” He looked around the clearing once more. “I see you’re doing just fine for y’rself since we parted ways. I even learned some Kraut just for you. Fick dich ins Knie, wixer.”
“God, don’t insult him, Spike,” Buffy grumbled.
“You understood what he said, little girl?” Between the words that spilled from the man’s lips and the name that spilled from the girl’s lips, Lawson knew the identity of the male prisoner.
“No, but knowing him, he just told you to go fuck yourself,” Buffy explained. She wasn’t sure how she was going to get out of her current situation, but she figured it wouldn’t hurt to play nice. She needed more intel on the trolls – and the spiders.
Lawson hummed under his breath. “A Slayer working with a vampire? Don’t see that very often.”
Buffy shrugged the best she could in her bindings. “Wouldn’t be the first time.”
“And you?” Lawson turned to Spike. “Working with a Slayer?”
“Seemed like the thing to do at the time,” Spike replied. “Now, are you gonna let us free, Lawson? This is startin’ to cut off my circulation.”
“Springfoot, take our guests to the longhouse.” Lawson was interrupted by the growling of Buffy’s stomach. “Find them both something to eat.”
Springfoot growled at Lawson before he gestured to the creatures carrying Spike and Buffy’s poles. They were taken to another skin and bark building that was larger than the hut that Lawson had exited. Spike and Buffy were tied to poles by the ankles using the same extra strong rope that made up the nets. Then, they were left alone.
“You’re just havin’ a bad time of it, aren’t you, Slayer? First spiders and now Bigfeet.”
“Hardy, har, har.” Buffy plopped down on the ground, and she rubbed her wrists. “Giles is in so much trouble when I get back to Sunnydale. ‘Oh, it’ll be easy, Buffy. Just lure the trolls into the sunlight, and they’ll turn to stone. Then, you can recover the treasure’. Bullshit!”
“Slayer, you kiss your mother with that mouth?” Spike teased.
A small female Bigfoot entered the longhouse. She held two bowls in her hands. One was filled with a delicious smelling stew swimming with vegetables, and the other was filled with a red liquid. She put the bowls down where Spike and Buffy could reach them. Then, she backed away and left.
“Dinner is served.” Spike picked up the bowl of liquid. He gave it a sniff. “Doesn’t smell too bad.”
Buffy wrinkled her nose at Spike before she picked up her own dish. “Is it human?”
“No. Almost, but not.” Spike dipped a finger into the blood. He stuck the digit in his mouth, and he sucked it clean. “Doesn’t taste too bad either.”
Spike and Buffy ate in silence. Buffy was tired. So, when her stomach was sated, she started to get drowsy. The next thing she knew she was being hissed at by Spike.
“Wake up, Slayer. Lawson’s on his way for a little chit-chat.”
Buffy didn’t even open her eyes. “Tell me about him.”
“He’s one of Angel’s from… well, after the soul, Slayer. Sorry.”
“That explains so much.” Lawson stepped into the longhouse. He directed his next words towards Spike. “I assume you had no idea?”
Spike shook his head. “Not till a few years ago.”
“How?” Lawson looked back and forth from Spike to Buffy.
“You field this question, luv,” Spike told Buffy.
Buffy finally opened her eyes. “Nothing good comes from pissing off the gypsies.”
“Angelus always was good at brassin’ off everyone he meets.” Spike turned his attention to Lawson. “Say what you need to say, Lawson.”
“Springfoot said you used the spiders catching some trolls to escape the cave and webs before you walked into our net.”
“Sounds about right,” Spike replied. He glanced at Buffy. He wasn’t ready to give up his information on the Gem of Amara yet. There’d be time for that later when he had the Slayer at his mercy.
Lawson studied the Slayer and the other vampire. “So, what are the two of you doing out here? And together?”
“Enjoyin’ the great outdoors,” Spike answered.
Buffy wasn’t sure she wanted to explain to yet another vampire what she was doing out in a woods that housed trolls, huge fucking ass spiders and apparently a Bigfoot tribe. Buffy let out a sigh. “So, Lawson, you know anything about Sunnydale, California?”
Lawson shook his head. “No, not really.”
“Boca del Infierno?” Buffy asked.
Lawson’s forehead scrunched up in thought while he translated the words. “The mouth of Hell.”
“A.K.A the Hellmouth,” Buffy replied with a nod. “Sunnydale sits over the big one.”
“There’s a smaller one in Cleveland,” Spike said in a helpful voice.
“Anyway, lots of weird stuff happens in Sunnydale. One of the weirdest is the Mayor. Giles, my Watcher, found out that Wilkins sold his soul and plans on ascending on graduation day when there’s going to be an eclipse.”
“Should be a walk in the park for you, Slayer,” Spike said. “I mean you kicked old bat face’s arse and Angelus’. What’s one little soulless human?”
“He has the other Slayer in pocket, Spike.” Buffy looked away, her face flushed with anger and embarrassment. “He’s stronger than the Master or Angelus. I need that piece of jewelry that the trolls stole. If Wilkins ascends, it’ll be worse than anything either of them dreamed up. Anya took great pleasure in telling me all about that other dimension where the Master tried to make a human blood sucking factory.”
Spike made a tsk-ing sound in his throat. “Old Heinrich always was good with a plan.”
“That explains how he got trapped underground in a church for sixty years,” Buffy said in a sarcastic tone.
“Heinrich?” Lawson asked, clearly confused.
“The Master. He’d be your great great great whatever, but don’t worry about him. He’s ground up into dust and tossed over running water.” Buffy pulled a packet of herbs from her pocket. “I don’t even need the whole treasure. This bag of herbs and a few words, and I’ll know which items have magic. You guys are welcome to everything else. I just need the bracelet.”
Spike hid his pleasure at the thought of a spell leading him to the Gem of Amara. Things couldn’t be going his way any better if he had tried. Now, all he needed was to get Lawson on board. He turned to the other vampire. “What do you say, mate? You could buy your pets their own tract of land, far away from giant spiders and trolls. Somewhere out in the boonies.”
Lawson thought about his friends and their three prong set of issues; the encroaching humans, the roving band of trolls, and the big ass spiders. The Bigfoot tribe he lived with needed to move. “I’ll go along. What’s the plan?”
“Find the treasure, do the spell, and get the hell out of this place,” Buffy said. “I’ve already lost a friend trying to find this stupid piece of jewelry. I just want to go home where the big bads are vampires, not … what did you say before, Spike, about their size?”
“Studebaker sized,” Spike replied.
“Yeah, big.” Buffy nodded. “Can you let us out of these ropes now?”
“I suppose, but I’ll let you two fight over the magic doodads. I’ll just stick to the regular jewelry.” Lawson moved to the door of the longhouse. “Hey, Springfoot, come let out guests go.”
The leader of the Bigfeet ambled into the hut. He growled at Lawson while he untied Spike and Buffy.
“If you own the land, no one will bug you,” Lawson said to Springfoot. “There’re all kinds of ways to own land these days.”
“Get a few human front men, and all your neighbors will just think you’re a hippy commune that likes to dress up as Bigfeet.” Buffy shrugged. “Heck, you could probably come to Sunnydale and live out in the open. Nobody even notices the herd of Fyral demons living down by the railroad tracks.”
Lawson stared at Buffy in speculation.
“That’s good old Sunnyhell for you,” Spike commented.
Buffy stood up and stretched. “So, anyone know where the trolls keep their treasure?”
Springfoot grunted while he pointed north. Then, he made a few more gestures.
“The entrance to the troll cave is a few miles north. One of the scouts told Springfoot that the trolls are all in a tizzy right now.”
“Probably because of all the ones that ended up spider food when the Slayer and I escaped from their nest.” Spike shook his head. “I don’t know how it happened, but being around the trolls made them grow. I’m sure of it.”
Lawson had a thoughtful look on his face. “How many were captured?”
“Hmm, I saw six being dragged into the feeding chamber,” Spike replied.
“That leaves only five. If we get into the cave by sunrise, we can hide out until they go to sleep. They’ll sleep until sunset, when we can leave again.” Lawson stepped towards the door.
“The sooner we start, the sooner we’ll finish.” Buffy joined Lawson. “Can I have my stake and daggers back now?”
“We’ll pick them up on our way out of the village,” Lawson replied.
“There’s the cave entrance,” Lawson said, pointing to a dark impression in the stone cliff face. “The trolls should be here in the next few minutes. They hate the sun almost as much as we vampires do. We dust, but they turn into stone statues.”
“Huh, interesting,” Buffy said. “You know, Giles was showing me these pictures of stone troll statues. He wanted me to be able to identify them when I saw them. They were fairly accurate. I wonder if they were really trolls.”
“Probably. Let’s get inside and get hidden.” Spike stepped towards the cave entrance. “Get in there, Lawson, and find us our hiding spot.”
“Right.” Lawson pushed ahead of Spike. “Shouldn’t be too hard. I explored all these caves before the trolls and spiders showed up.”
“How long have you been hidin’ out here in the boonies?” Spike asked.
Lawson shrugged. “Since the last time I checked up on Daddy dearest. He was eating rats in an alley.” He shuddered. “That was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen. At least, Springfoot and his kind can make the decision to give of their own free will.”
“That was overgrown Ewok blood you gave me?” Spike had a strange look on his face, like he wasn’t sure what he thought about the idea of drinking Bigfoot blood. “Really?”
“Sure enough.” Lawson entered the cave. He led Spike and Buffy to a side cave that was filled with empty baskets and blankets. “We’ll hide in here. Hunker down, and get comfortable.”
Buffy curled up in one of the huge baskets, and she pulled a blanket over her. The next thing she knew Spike was shaking her awake while calling her name. She rubbed her face before she crawled to her feet. Buffy had been worried about it being too dark to see in the cave, but she noticed a faint glow on the walls. When she leaned in for a closer look, Lawson tapped the wall.
“It’s something magical that the trolls do,” the dark-haired vampire said. “Okay, the trolls sleep down the left tunnel in a big chamber. The treasure is down the left tunnel in a smaller chamber. I’ll keep watch while you and Spike collect the magical items. Then, you two can stand guard while I fill my bag.”
“Sounds good.” Buffy looked around. “Where’s Spike?”
“Checking up on the sleeping beauties.”
Buffy shuddered. “You need to get your definition of beauty looked at, mister. Let’s get this done. I really want to go home.”
Lawson muffled a chuckle before he led Buffy out into the main cave. They quietly tiptoed down the wall until they found Spike staring into the hallway where the trolls were sleeping. He turned to put a finger up to his lips, and then, he gestured down the other hallway. Lawson nodded as he took his place as lookout.
Spike and Buffy crept down to the treasure room where they set up for the spell to expose the magical items within the treasure. Buffy spread out the herbs while Spike whispered the instructions to her.
One by one different pieces of jewelry started to glow an eerie blue.
“It’s working,” Buffy said softly, like she’d been unsure the spell would produce any results. She started to gather the glowing items, examining each one to find the item she was looking for. “Found two bracelets, but I don’t know which one is the one I want. There wasn’t a description.”
“Take them both.” Spike joined Buffy where she’d collected the magical jewelry. “Anything else interestin’?”
“There are a couple of necklaces and a few rings.” After putting the bracelets in her waist pack, Buffy held up one ring after another for Spike to see. “These two rings seem to match.”
Spike picked up each of the trinkets starting with the pendants. He dropped one immediately, and said, “You keep that one, Slayer. I don’t think me or Lawson are gonna want that one.”
Buffy picked up the necklace, and she slipped it in with the bracelets. “Thanks.”
Spike had no idea which item was the Gem of Amara. It wasn’t like he could try each item on and stake himself to check. Bloody Hell, he hated vague descriptions. They were as bad as prophecies. The spell magic wound down, but one of the necklaces still glowed. Spike poked it with a forefinger, and the blasted thing burned brighter.
“Oh, that one doesn’t like you,” Buffy said. She picked it up and the glow died back down. Then, she stepped back from Spike, making the brightness dim a bit more. A few more steps backwards, and she declared, “Yeah, a vamp detector. I like this one. I’ve got plenty here for Giles to play with. You take the rest, Spike, and this better not come back to bite me on the butt.”
Spike leered at Buffy. “It is a very bitable butt, Slayer.”
“Whatever. Let’s go give Lawson his turn.” Buffy whirled around, and she marched away from Spike. She could feel his gaze on her jean encased ass.
“Right behind you, luv.” Spike sauntered after Buffy.
At the fork in the cave, Lawson stood poised and alert. When he saw Spike and Buffy, he gave a little nod before he hurried back into the treasure cave. He was back in under ten minutes with his bag bulging. They snuck along the hall towards the entrance, but when they turned a corner a troll was standing in front of them.
The troll was covered in spider webs and two different shades of blood. The wounds on the troll’s arms and legs were oozing green blood making the black blood on the creature’s face and hands most likely spider blood. It looked at them with dazed eyes for a few seconds before it let out a loud grunt as it advanced towards them with outstretched hands.
Buffy spun to the right while Spike spun to the left. As one, they ducked under the troll’s arms to deliver powerful punches to the monster’s midsection. The troll grunted and stumbled backwards. It was tired from its battle with the spider. Not to mention, it hadn’t been expecting a fight from the puny humans invading the territory.
Lawson swung the bag of treasure over Spike and Buffy’s heads. It smacked the troll upside the head hard enough it crashed into the wall. Then, it fell to the ground.
“You knocked it senseless, Lawson,” Spike chortled. “Good show, mate.”
“Thanks, chief,” Lawson replied. “Now, let’s get out of here in case this woke up his friends.”
Buffy stepped over the troll. Looking down at its face, she let out a small, sad laugh. “You should have seen Xander’s face the first time we ran into the trolls. There was a girl troll with them that took a shine to him.”
“Your boy was a demon magnet,” Spike said with a chuckle.
“Yeah, he was. What am I gonna tell Willow? They’ve been friends since kindergarten.” Buffy led the vampires out of the cave. A mist had fallen over the woods since they’d been in the cave.
Spike glanced at Lawson for a moment. The Slayer was actually not being her usual bitchy self. Maybe instead of killing her, he’d give her a freebie. There was always next time, and once he figured out which of the rocks in his pocket was the Gem of Amara, he’d be unstoppable.
Next time, he’d kill the Slayer. Spike could afford to be generous. He’d grant the Slayer one last boon.
“Those spiders won’t bother Lawson or me, Slayer. We could drop Harris’ body off someplace for you?” Spike said.
“You’d do that? For me?” Buffy asked. She studied Spike’s face. When she realized he was serious, she nodded. “That would be awesome, Spike. Thanks.”
“No problem, Slayer.”
Lawson nodded. “I’ll have to get this stuff assessed. It won’t be a problem.”
Buffy glanced around the woods. “As long as Xander makes it home I’d owe you one.” She stepped up to Spike, and she kissed him on the cheek. “Thanks for everything, Spike.”
“It was nothing, pet,” Spike said. He resisted the urge to put his hand to his cheek. He wasn’t some weak-kneed Nancy boy anymore. There were definitely no squishy, warm feelings for the Slayer either. She was his mortal enemy, not some romantic prospect. At least that was what he kept trying to tell himself.
Buffy stepped away. She turned to saunter off into the mist, giving a wave of her hand over her shoulder. “See ya, Spike.”
“See ya, Slayer.” Spike turned to Lawson. “Let’s get this over with.”
“Sure thing, chief.” Lawson gave Spike a speculative look as he watched the Slayer leave. “What’s with all this? I was sure you’d be killing the Slayer as soon as we had the treasure. Are you planning on telling me exactly why you were so interested in it?”
“Just lulling her into complacency. The treasure I can tell you about along the trip back to Sunnyhell. We have a body to pick up first.”
Lawson shook his head back and forth. For some reason, he knew that Spike didn’t mean what he said about the Slayer, but he was willing to go along with him for now. It had been a long time since he had the company of family, or any other vampire for that matter. He wasn’t like other vampires, and something told him that hanging around with Spike would never be dull.
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.dreamwidth.org/817714.html