First chapter & notes here, and Master post of whole 'verse here.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Rating: Teen. (This chapter I'd warn for goriness.)
Characters: Spike, Angel, Illyria, Buffy, Scoobies + cameos from more or less everyone in the 'verse.
Feedback: Is bloody ambrosia! (The secret ingredient is otter...)
Word count: 3000 words approx.
Setting and Summary: As before. (Post-NFA epic quest thing.)
“You do know this is all your fault, right?”
Angel’s voice was hard to make out over the din of the fighting and screaming, even though he and Spike were back to back.
But hear it Spike did, as he with a well-aimed elbow took out an opponent, before having to duck sharpishly to avoid a particularly nasty-looking axe. Jumping back up he caught the axe-wielder under the arm, and then managed to stab it through where its heart was hopefully located.
“How exactly-” Feint, parry, thrust; feel Angel’s reassuringly solid back against his own, “-is this my fault?”
The conversation was lost for a few minutes as the onslaught thickened, and they had to concentrate on the fighting - Spike killed eleven demons, got stabbed three times and almost lost a hand - but then Angel answered, as he grimly hacked away at a large burly brute.
“You... said... that you were bored!” After parting the slow but powerful demon from most of its limbs the creature finally collapsed, and Angel suddenly had a horde of 3 foot tall creatures swarming at him and had to stop talking as he concentrated on staying alive.
Spike gritted his teeth and used the anger Angel’s words caused as fuel for the fight. As if his throwaway comment could be held responsible for this situation, when the culprit was gleefully tearing her enemies to pieces just a few feet away. No - there was no way Angel was pinning this on him.
They weren’t sure how long the battle took. The murky, pea-soup green sky never changed its hue, and Angel’s watch had been an early casualty. When they were finally victorious, if exhausted and battered, the only one who felt like partying was Illyria. In fact she looked so happy they almost expected her to hum, which was very unnerving.
Ignoring her for the time being, Spike focussed on Angel who had collapsed against a large stone, clutching his stomach.
“Right mate, let’s have a look.”
Angel winced, but slowly unbuttoned his blood-soaked shirt, revealing a deep and nasty looking stab wound - the edges of the weapon had obviously been serrated and Spike smiled grimly. They could really do with getting armour of some sort...
“Well Peaches, it just so happens that today is your lucky day.”
He reached inside the duster and brought out a small compact first aid kit.
“Buffy insisted I bring this. ‘S a new slayer thing - they all have to carry them around on patrol and whatnot. Told her it’d just make ‘em soft and sloppy, but she’s like a bloody mother hen when it comes to the next generation. Anyway, should be able to fix you more or less.”
Angel just nodded silently and closed his eyes.
As Spike deftly cleaned up the wound and patched it up as best he could, Illyria came and hovered behind him, a satisfied smile on her face.
“I shall make you trophies. You fought bravely and helped restore my honour.”
After finally packing away the first aid kit, Spike slowly turned his head, a dangerous glint in his eyes.
“Wanna elaborate on that Blue? Angel dearest feels that somehow this mess is my fault, but I can’t help but thinking that it’s got somethin’ to do with a certain bitchy ex-God who suddenly started slaughtering the people we were trying to negotiate with.”
Illyria’s smile widened and she suddenly reminded them of Dru after a good night out hunting children. “In amongst their worthless prattle they revealed that once upon a time they were the servants of my sworn enemies. The blood of their ancestors was spilled in battle against me when I was defeated. This was only justice much delayed - the price for dishonour is death.”
Angel grimaced and sat himself up, thinly concealed anger on his face.
“You mean I got skewered because these guys fought against you millennia ago?”
His only answer was a superior smile.
Slowly he shook his head. “Spike - I take it back.”
Spike grinned. “Sure you’re OK Peaches? No major brain damage? Can’t remember the last time you admitted to bein’ wrong...”
Angel glared, but didn’t retaliate as his face suddenly clouded over in pain again. Spike turned to Illyria.
“So then - any idea what to do now? Don’t get me wrong, I thought that was a fun tussle, but it hardly helped us find what we’re looking for. An’ since we’ve now been to The World of Smoke and The World of Beetles before ending up in this hellhole, I thought maybe we could go someplace slightly more civilised!”
Illyria stared him down haughtily. “What you so dismissively refer to as ‘beetles’ are the descendants of a deity as brilliant as I, who once dazzled all the dimensions. Their world was beauty and splendour untold.”
Spike shrugged, indifferent. “What goes up, must come down. You wanna spend 5 days talking to a cockroach about its fabulous past, please do it on your own time in future.”
Blue eyes met blue eyes, sparked, and locked together.
“Do not presume to tell me what to do vampire-”
Angel cut her off. “Look - do you know if there’s anything edible around? Not birds!”
Spike caught his eyes and they shared a moment. World of Smoke had been mighty pretty, but food had been a moot point. World of Bugs had - apart from the roaches - not had any other discernible life except for odd little birdlike creatures that had been smaller than rats and tasted twice as bad. And instead of taking them home, Illyria had brought them to this place, where they’d finally found intelligent life before the Blue Queen had gone on her vengeance spree. But if there were demons, there would be something for them to eat.
Illyria just shrugged off Angel’s question, and Spike sighed.
“I’ll go look. Try not to bleed any more than necessary, ‘K?”
Many hours later Spike returned with an assortment of various odd looking creatures. Hunting was definitely not as much fun when injured - his stab wounds did not merit any medical attention, but the pain was pretty constant, and added to that was of course the exhaustion and the general battering he’d taken. What he’d have done without the crossbow he didn’t like to think about.
On the upside he had spotted some sort of village in the far distance, so maybe they could find a tribe that hadn’t quarrelled with Illyria back in the Cretaceous Period...
The price for dishonour is death... These god types were all the same he thought, as he with a small smile recalled pissing off Glory. Just press the buttons and watch them go.
Angel was asleep when he returned, but Spike woke him, since blood would heal him a lot quicker than a nap. Illyria had been busy, having separated several of the largest fallen demons from their skin and flesh, and she was now busy creating fantastical structures out of the bones, tying them together with the tough, long grass that covered the ground as far as they eye could see.
“You know that really reminds me of Fred...” Angel remarked with a frown, having drained the last animal - a strange three-legged, beaked, fuzzy thing that neither of them could classify, but that didn’t taste half-bad.
Spike raised an eyebrow, and Angel began explaining about Fred’s cave in Pylea and what that world had been like.
“Hey - you think mirrors work here?” Spike asked, pulling out his sword, before sighing. “Nope. No reflection.”
“Lucky for your sword,” Angel deadpanned, and Spike scoffed. “Says the guy who still has demon goo in his hair.”
Angel dragged his hand through his hair and grimaced in distaste at the sticky mess. Spike grinned and pointed out that there was a stream not far away, and Angel walked off immediately to have a rudimentary clean.
After getting some sleep they slowly set off towards the distant village, leaving behind two tall trophies set on a small hill, visible for miles around.
“Can anyone tell me why we’re not going home?” Spike asked. “This place doesn’t appear to have anythin’ except thick demons and sharp grass. And Angel’s still hurt and probably can’t fight better than a kitten.”
”I’m fine. And we won’t need to fight if no one starts any fights!”
Angel’s jaw was working, and Spike sent him a look. “I didn’t start anything. And if you’re fine, why don’t you go hunting tonight?”
That earned him a scowl and they kept walking in prickly silence, until Illyria suddenly spoke.
“Before I metered out my punishment, the blasphemers spoke of a minor deity residing in this dimension, not far away. We will find It and see what power and knowledge It possess.”
Spike and Angel shared a look. That actually made sense, although as usual Illyria had kept her knowledge to herself until she deemed the time right.
The hilly country took a lot longer to cross than they had first estimated, and what Spike had first thought a small collection of huts turned out to be a bit bigger than they had anticipated. A tall wall of logs surrounded the large village, the ends sharpened in a way rather worrying for a vampire, and there were heavily armed guards at the gate. Illyria of course walked straight up, fixing them with her cool, unnerving stare.
“Take me to your leader.”
Spike nearly choked and did his very best not to look at Angel. Getting the giggles now was probably a bad idea, but he had a terrible suspicion that Illyria was actually channelling Fred...
As they walked through the randomly arranged huts, Spike half-wondered what sort of demi-God would be happy in a place like this. It looked more comfortable than anything else they’d seen so far, but it was dirty and smelly and a far cry from the opulence Glory had surrounded herself with. Finally they arrived at a large building, dwarfing the surrounding huts and decorated with simple, but ornate symbols. A well-endowed female demon was waiting for them, smiling and letting them know that her Master was willing to see them now.
Angel elbowed Spike, muttering to stop ogling her chest, but it really wasn’t easy. As demons went she really was something special, if possibly a bit on the chubby side for Spike’s tastes... but what was he supposed to do when she wore a dress so low-cut that it appeared to defy gravity? Ilona had nothing on this chick.
Thankfully she turned around and led them into the temple. Taking his eyes off her rather fetching behind, Spike looked ahead to see who their host could be. And then the giggles that he had managed to suppress at the gate came back hundred fold.
Angel and Illyria both stopped and glared at him. Angel was beginning to look very pissed off. “Spike!” he hissed. “What is it now?”
Reaching out and leaning on Angel’s arm, Spike tried to find enough breath to speak, as he waved weakly towards the creature sat on the large throne on a raised dais at the end of the hall. “It’s... it’s Olaf!”
Illyria looked from Olaf the troll to Spike and back again. “You have encountered this being before?”
Wiping his eyes, Spike nodded. “You could say that... well been thrown around by him at least.” Seeing the look on Angel’s face, he tried to explain a little more.
“Um... he was trapped in some mystical ball or other and Willow accidentally freed him - back in Sunnydale. He broke The Bronze to pieces. Oh and he was Anya’s ex - she was the one who turned him into a troll...”
He sighed, for a moment lost in memories. “Good times.”
Angel ran a hand across his face. “Does any of that actually help us, or...” but Olaf cut in.
“Who are these puny creatures? I was told that they were Champions, but they are clearly far too small and fragile for that. Throw them in the dungeon and we will sacrifice them to the wild animals for sport at the next games.”
Illyria stiffened in outrage, but Spike put a hand on her arm. “Hold your horses, your Majesty, remember we’re here to extract some information, yeah? Let me talk to him.”
Stepping forward, he smirked at the ugly green face. “You might not remember me, but we met once - just after Anya’s witch-friend freed you from the crystal thingy...”
“You are a friend of Anyanka’s?” Olaf interrupted, anger forming like black clouds on his face.
“Well I was before she died...” Spike replied, but at his words Olaf’s whole demeanour changed.
“She is dead? That is good news. Aaaaah, very good news! Wench!”
The comely demon reappeared.
“Spread the news in my kingdom that this is to be a day of feasting. Slaughter the biggest oxen and the plumpest babies and gather all the most attractive young girls!” Grinning he turned to Spike.
“Anyanka’s death was my most cherished wish. Impossible, infuriating woman, making my life arduous and troublesome with her ridiculous need for love and reassurance at every turn. I should have dumped her before she had the chance to exact vengeance! And her body was far too angular and lean.”
The booming words caused Spike’s world to go red in an instant. Every trace of laughter disappeared from his mind as he remembered an evening more than 3 years ago. An empty shop and a woman with a broken heart...
“When, really, I ... can't sleep at night, thinking it ... has to be my fault, somehow... What if it was just pretending? What if he never wanted me ... the way I wanted him?”
Unable to stop his eyes from turning golden with anger, he stared at Olaf, hands clenching into fists at his side.
“You sure about that?”
Olaf laughed heartily. “You - the bearer of glad tidings - shall have my comeliest wench for your own, and shall sit at my side as we celebrate this glorious day! Never shall Anyanka aggravate a man again!”
The troll’s entire round countenance appeared to glow with goodwill, and Spike could feel the raw, ragged edges of grief tearing at him, as memory upon memory flooded his mind. Why was it always the good ones who died?
Speaking coldly and deliberately, he fixed Olaf with a fierce glare.
“Some of us like our women to be aggravating... And a man would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to want a woman like Anya.”
Then, letting the demon out, he continued - sharp, cruel fangs a welcome feeling.
“So today just happens to be your lucky day, since I can arrange all of those!”
And in a single fluid motion he brought up his crossbow and fired an arrow straight into the troll’s left eye.
Roaring in pain Olaf pulled out the dart and stood up, furious and wild, but Spike had already reloaded and the next arrow took out the right eye. Flailing wildly, Olaf toppled off the dais, and the next instant Spike was on top of him, dagger in hand, cutting out first his tongue then slicing off an ear. Putting his mouth close to the one ear still intact, Spike spoke, voice icy. “My blue friend over there has a saying - ‘the price for dishonour is death’. I think she’s onto something. Anya was a bloody amazing woman, an’ she died saving the world. Whereas you were only ever an ugly waste of space!”
Olaf’s strong hands were trying to pull him off, but Spike tore off the second ear, and whilst the pain was distracting the troll, Spike jumped clear. Then he slowly drew his sword, waiting for the green giant to get to his feet, before with cold precision decapitating him.
For a moment he contemplated the bloody, mutilated head at his feet, smiling grimly; thinking it was a shame Anya couldn’t see this. Then turning around, letting his human features come forward again, he suddenly realised that Angel was yelling at him.
“What the fuck did you do that for, you braindead moron? You are without a doubt the single dumbest vampire to ever have been sired in this or any other dimension! Christ Spike - how are we ever going to get any information if you slaughter those we talk to?”
“I liked Anya,” Spike replied, then realised that this was not going to be enough for Angel.
“An’ we had... a thing. Once. And this guy was a total jerk towards her - he’s had this coming for eleven hundred years. Like what Blue said - it was much-delayed justice!”
He caught Illyria’s eyes and smiled. Turning only her head she looked at Angel. “Defending a friend’s honour is noble indeed.”
Looking back at Spike she asked, “Will you keep the head for a trophy?”
Picking it up by the unruly red hair, he studied it more closely. “Might, you know. Will need somethin’ to decorate my new digs, won’t I?”
He could see Angel ready to launch into another tirade, but then the doors burst open and a horde of angry demons flooded through, yelling something about vengeance.
As Spike and Angel instinctively took up positions back-to-back to fight off the onslaught, Angel angrily threw one last irate comment over his shoulder.
“This time it really is all your fault!”