FIC

1 September 2008 10:27 pm
timba: (hussy)
[personal profile] timba
For those of you who are not used to seeing fic here, please bear with me, it should be a rare occurrence.

For those of you who are pretty big on reading post- (or pre- or just simply) apocalyptic fandomy stories, go to [livejournal.com profile] apocalyptothon and enjoy.

Big, HUGE thank you to my betas [The Elder Sibling] and brynwulf.

With no futher ado, I present!

Title: Scenes from the Great Apocalyptic Novel (or, Xander wakes up a lot)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] timba
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] gryvon
Fandom: Buffy
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Possible Season 4?
Warnings: Boy kissin'.
Word Count: 4,677
Summary: Spike and Xander attempt to find and kill one of the many demons trying to destroy the planet...while not killing each other.







She’d begged me to go, to leave the safety of the group to do combat one on one. And how could I deny her? After all the battles fought and all we’d shared together, how could I refuse? I had no choice but to gather my meager belongings, and head off to save the world.

The demons were almost upon us.

Bartschi demons. Seems like such a foolish name, doesn’t it? They didn’t look like much up close, either. So we assumed that an encounter with the Slayer and they’d either be dead, or wishing she’d killed them as they fled back to whatever God-forsaken dimension that had spawned them.

We were wrong.

Information was scarce. The Watchers books and legend had one entry on them; simply a name and one incomprehensible account written by the man who named them. Unfortunately, none of our group could translate his terror-filled ramblings into English. Texts could offer no assistance. So we went into the underworld seeking truth.

Other demons killed themselves rather than pass information to us and risk the wrath of the World Killers, the Eaters of Life and Harbingers of Destruction. And it wasn’t until the first desert appeared that we realized there had been a reason for their silence, and the evocative name.

So, we learned as we went along, fighting blindly; a dangerous proposition. They weren’t like regular demons. They annihilate everything that lives. Everything. People, trees, even the grass as they stand upon it. It’s something in their touch. We couldn’t kill them. We couldn’t even stop them from destroying the city. Then they claimed the state, and spread from the coast like a virus; humanity fled, overwhelmed as the last flicker of light as the candle burns away

It was the traitor that discovered their energy source, the poor enslaved humans, bewitched for their amusement, then later consumed. For this revelation, the Slayer spared his life. For this, she allowed him to join the fight. And appointed me his Keeper. I don’t trust him, and it is only on the Slayer’s graces that I accompany him as we separate from the others to stop the demons from transforming our home into theirs.

It seems a simple enough thing, but my mind is far from easy. I’ve stared into the mouth of hell, and yet I’m terrified. Our world is ending, and I’m not sure that we can stop it this time.


~~

“What’s all this, then?” Spike’s voice broke the silence in the small room.

Xander jumped; hastily closing the book he’d been writing in and looked up. “Nothing,” he replied, a bit guiltily. “Why?”

“Looks like something,” Spike said, almost happily. He pulled himself off the bed, and sauntered across the hotel room to the small desk in the corner. There’d been nothing to do since he’d been sent on this merry little mission, and he was sodding well BORED.

“Look, back off,” Xander bit out. His harsh tone was at odds with the fact that he was slowly backing away from Spike’s advance. His retreat had nothing to due with fear; he hadn’t been afraid of Spike for years…but he SURE as hell wasn’t going to give the vampire something to mock him for until the end of time. It was hard enough putting up with him as it was. He clutched his book tighter to his chest, and continued to maneuver until the bed separated them.

“Give us a look,” Spike replied, his eyes glittering with something approaching glee as he circled the bed, stalking Xander as if the boy was prey. He allowed a small smile to cross his face before he leapt over the bed. Giving the boy a few points for not screaming like a little girl, he pressed forward, forcing Xander to the wall. “Give us a look,” he repeated softly and menacingly.

“No.”

Spike’s eyebrow rose. Brave little toaster wanted to test him, did he? “Do you really think it’s smart,” he began darkly, “to test my patience when I could snap you like a twig?” On the last word, his hand snaked forward and snatched the book out of Xander's sweat-slicked hands. Then, after crossing back to the other side of the bed, he flipped the book open and began to read.

After a few pages he let loose a snort of laughter. “Oh, Harris, this…this is rubbish. The written word hasn’t been abused THIS badly in over 400 years. And I should know. I did it!” He tossed the book away, shaking his head.

Xander darted forward to pick up his manuscript, and ran his hands over it almost lovingly as he checked it for damage. “It’s just something…” he began, then stopped and sighed. “Nevermind. It’s not like there’s anything else to do.”

“I’ve got something,” Spike said, his brief amusement gone. “Maybe you could bring yourself to come help fight the monster. Isn’t that what your lot does?” he asked, voice dripping with sarcasm. “Beat the bad guy, save the day?”

“Sure,” Xander snapped. “I’d be happy to do some monster-slicing…if you could manage to find any.”

“Oh, and you can, then?”

Xander stalked over to the desk, journal forgotten for the moment, and pulled out a map of the city. He unfolded it on the table, and jabbed his finger at a cluster of houses on the east side. “There.”

“And when were you gonna share this little tidbit?” Spike demanded. “I’ve been rotting in this room for two bleeding days…”

"Well if you’d bothered to listen to me, instead of constantly whining, I could’ve told you!" Xander shot back. "So, here's your chance to get out of here and DO something."

“Ah, but this isn’t about me, is it? Why don’t you go show us how it’s done, then, Harris?” Spike taunted.

“Fine.” Xander drew in a breath, grabbed an axe, and stormed out the door.

~~

“Oh, joy,” Spike drawled in a voice that conveyed everything but. “You’re alive. Can you walk?” He threw up a hand to stave of a reply. “No, you know what? I don’t care, ‘cause I don’t intend to carry you if you can’t…”

“I got it, Peroxide,” Xander snarled as he struggled to his feet, using the wall as leverage. After a few moments, he was standing mostly on his own power. “What happened?”

“You got thrown into a wall. Then stepped on. And then he noshed on your head for a bit.” Spike cocked his head to the side and grinned, amused by the memory. “Oh, no need to thank me for saving your life, by the way. I was just killing the demon for you, while you were being tossed about like a wanker.”

For me?”

“Yes, for you. You certainly didn’t do much,” Spike replied derisively. “Unless you’re counting all that valiant bleeding to death in the corner! Should’ve left him to eat you. I’d be better off on my own.” He turned and began to walk away, but stopped, drawing in a sudden breath and reaching for his head as something very solid made a profound thwack on the back of his skull.

Xander reached for another piece of rubble as Spike looked behind him to meet his glare. “Screw you,” he spat at the vampire. “You wouldn’t have MADE it to the demon without me. You can’t drive during the day to ambush the nest that *I* found, you refuse to do research, and you certainly can’t bother to report in like you’re supposed to! Where do you plan to get your information from?” He pushed away from the wall, anger covering his pain for the time being. “Wait! I’m sorry; I forgot that you’re a BIG, BAD vampire that doesn’t need any help. Oh, right. Except you can’t fight with the enslaved humans. How IS your little mechanical problem, by the way?”

Spike spun around, returning the glare with interest as he stormed up to Xander. “You really wanna play this game, you obnoxious little snot?” Spike said, as he began counting Xander’s faults on his fingers. “Let’s have a look at YOU. You’re a bloody wreck. You can’t fight, you can’t seem to wrap your brain around hiding…you’re practically keeling over where you stand! Worse off, you keep this up, and you’re bound to get me done in. So why don’t you just toddle on back to the hotel, and see if you can find any information on the next demon I’M gonna have to kill? Think you can handle that without bleeding everywhere?”

Fueled by pain, Xander’s fury won out over reason, and he struck out before he had time to think.

More from surprise than the force of the blow, Spike’s head rocked back. A bit of blood trickled down from his nose and he wiped it away with the back of his hand. Xander was breathing heavily, and wobbling slightly.

Through sheer force of will, Spike forced himself not to react. To stand still, to hold his emotions in check…which lasted exactly as long as it took for the mental image of Xander sprawled flat on his ass to form. Fuck it, he thought, and slammed a fist into Harris’ self-righteous face. Immediately, his head exploded into a thousand bright lights of agony, as his “little mechanical problem” fired electricity into his brain. He grabbed his head in pain.

When he was able to speak a moment later, his voice was murderously soft. “Be glad that I can’t repay you for that in full, Harris,” he said slowly, “because that’s something I doubt you’d walk away from.” Then he turned once more and strode to the car and peeled away in a hail of sand.

~~~~~

It has been a month since I was sent on this mission, and I fear that we are no closer to its success then we were when we began.

My companion and I have fallen into an uneasy ceasefire of sorts, and together we have dispatched demons of all shapes and sizes, but we have yet to find a Bartschi. We’ve disposed of many of their slaves, but have yet to find their nest. Based on our limited resources and the intelligence we’ve been able to gather, we are aware there is one in the area. But as our territory covers all of the former state of Nevada, we have no idea where it might be located now. We can only follow the path of the desert it creates as we--


Xander opened the desk looking for a new pen, and tried to figure out exactly where in his life he’d gone wrong. Sure, he hated his parents, but everyone who met his parents agreed that it was mostly warranted. His eyes falling to the Bible in the drawer, he wondered if that whole ‘honor thy mother and father’ thing was really that important. Or was it ‘cause of when he kind of cheated on Cordy? Will hadn’t been married or anything, but maybe that still counted as coveting.

No pens. He closed the drawer with a bit more force than necessary.

As he continued his search, he mentally ran through his rather eventful life but he still couldn’t think of anything he’d done to deserve this mission from hell.

For weeks now, he’d been stuck road-tripping with a psychopathic vampire who, until very recently, had been a mortal enemy. Immortal enemy. Whatever. And on top of Spike, he had to try and find a batch of demons that seemed determined to turn Terra Firma into a carbon copy of Death Valley.

Honestly, though? He’d take the demons. ‘Cause, really, in either case, there was that whole “kill you dead” thing. A small nagging voice in the back of his mind pointed out that Spike hadn’t actually tried to kill him recently, and had actually seemed appreciative of his help. He sternly told his little voice to shut up. It didn’t.

Alright, fine, he conceded. Maybe Spike hadn't tried to kill him , but he did seem determined to make Xander want to kill himself. That had to count against Spike in some way. He was pretty certain that if he decided to abandon the vampire and shack up with the demons he’d at least have his dignity. He was sure they would, at the very least, not laugh at him as they enslaved him, or turned him into goo. They didn’t seem like they were so much into the laughter and having a good time.

Granted they probably weren’t much for conversation, either. That would make the rest of his undoubtedly short life slightly duller. And he didn’t want to think of what he’d be reduced to if his life got much LESS interesting. Lord only knew what he’d come up with to pass the time, especially given the fact that he’d resorted to penning the Great Apocalyptic Novel after only two days of broody silence from Spike. The fact that he was continuing his tale was simply because it seemed to bother Spike so much.

Finally, he spied the package of pens, hidden under the chair cushion. He grinned as he opened it, knowing the sound would wake Spike.

~~~~~

Xander came to slowly, which was probably a good thing. If he’d moved any faster, the pain would have just made him pass out. Again. “Oh, God,” he moaned. “My…everything.”

“Well, I’d imagine being digested would have that effect on a body,” came a sardonic reply.

He blinked his eyes hard several times, forcing the blurriness away, and grimaced as Spike’s face slowly came into focus. Well, mostly into focus. There was a persistent green haze he couldn’t seem to clear out of his vision.

“Digested?”

Spike blew out an exasperated breath. “Yes, you great git. You got eaten. At some
point during our battle with the twenty foot tall slug, you came up with the brilliant plan to let it bash your head into a wall for tenderizing and then have you for lunch!”

“That would explain a lot,” Xander said woozily, blinking greenish blood out of his eyes.
He peered up at Spike, who was also covered in the gelatinous substance. “Did we win?”

Spike bit back a grin at the sight before him. “Cut your way out,” he offered, mildly impressed despite himself. He managed to keep the approval out of his voice. “’Course, then you fell out of his stomach and landed on your head. Scrambled your brains a touch it seems.”

“Ow.”

“Like, I said, clearly you’ve given yourself brain damage.”

“Well, at least there’s no real harm done, then.”

Spike snorted. “That’s the truth.” He paused and regarded his partner. “Can you-“

Xander cut him off with a wave of his hand. “Yeah, yeah. Not gonna carry me. Gotcha. Can you just pull the car around?”

Spike jogged off, and was standing in front of the car before it occurred to him to wonder at what point he’d started doing favors for the boy. And for that matter, when had he started considering Harris his partner
~~

After returning Xander to the hotel, Spike tore through the wasted city in search of the hospital, as he’d done for 6 weeks and as many towns. He whistled as he drove through the deserted streets, merrily slamming his stolen car into the abandoned ones that littered what was left of the road. When it ran out of gas, or was too destroyed to run anymore, he’d just leave it and get another. This one had an almost full tank and a sturdy looking frame. He rather thought it’d last until he found the hospital at least. Where ever it was.

The whole feeding process was a pain in the ass, really. What with Little Miss Bossy assigning him to the Dead Zone--And, really? The Dead Zone? Where was the creativity, people? Well no matter what they were calling it, meals of any real variety were few and far between here. And there wasn’t likely to be any relief from the prepackaged monotony unless he started nibbling on Harris. No real harm there, in his opinion.

Well, alright. Harris had stopped that last demon from making a pile of dust out of him before he’d been flung into the wall. Not that he’d ever say that, of course. Had his reputation to protect, didn’t he? So maybe his little bit of human baggage wasn’t completely worthless. Still though. Boy spent most of his time bandaging himself up, or sleeping off head injuries.

Ah, there was that chipper blue sign, pointing the way.

It was a good thing his blood supply was low, Spike reflected, as they were also nearing the end of the gauze and that horrid-smelling antibacterial stuff Harris insisted on spreading all over his injuries. He could hit the blood reserves, and grab some First Aid gear while he was there, save Harris a trip. Wasn’t safe for humans out at night…not that he was worried about Harris, mind. He’d just be damned if he was gonna deal with a brassed off Slayer if the moron finally managed to get himself killed. That’s all.

~~~~~

We found the demons today. It’s worse than we thought. There are two of them. It is so much clearer now, how they were able to destroy so much in so short a time. They were working in small teams spread out across the country. I find myself worried about our similar strategy to take them down. I’m not sure that our two-man teams, meant to rescue the humans, are sufficient to handle more than one demon.

Be that as it may, we have no choice. We plan to go after the pair we found shortly, as they tend to be weaker during the day. Unfortunately, the same holds true for my partner, who must avoid the sunlight. It is my devout hope that the interior of these fiends’ nest is as void of light as the habitats of the rest of their devilish kin tend to be.

I hope to be able to report back to headquarters with news soon.


~~

Xander woke suddenly, unable to hold back the cry that escaped him. Pain shot up his leg as it was jostled again, and he clenched his teeth against another scream. He pushed himself up on his elbows, eyes scanning the room for danger. Finishing his inspection, he looked to the foot of the bed.

Spike was holding Xander’s ruined ankle in one hand, a brace with the other, and had a book propped up on the bed in front of him. “Take a couple of those.” He inclined his head to an open bottle of pills on the table next to the bed, and then turned a page, muttering to himself.

Xander’s hand shook slightly as he poured out a pile of pills on the table. He fumbled until he had two in his hand, chewed them and swallowed them dry. He turned his attention back to the foot of the bed and to Spike who had stopped reading and was looking up at him.

“Don’t you want to know what those were?” Spike asked.

Xander simply shook his head, unable to speak through the pain, and hoped that whatever they were, they kicked in soon.

There was an awkward silence as Xander didn’t mention Spike’s thoughtfulness in providing the drugs and he said nothing about Xander’s faith that it WAS medication.

After a moment, Spike turned his attention back to the foot of the bed. “This’ll hurt,” he warned.

Xander wrapped each hand around the bed to support himself, and nodded once more. The moment his ankle began to move, he screamed. He could keep silent through the steady stabs of pain and the sight of his bone through the skin, but movement was too much.

Spike looked at the other man for a moment, thinking, and sighed before speaking. “Can you trust me, here?”

The room remained silent as Xander jerked his head in a nod.

Spike nodded, and walked to Xander’s side. He pulled a needle out of his coat pocket, and before his patient had time to realize what he was doing, he jabbed the point into Xander’s upper arm

“What is WRONG with you?”

Spike said nothing, he simply stood above the bed, waiting.

Xander wondered what he was waiting for. He realized the answer when it occurred to him that he wasn’t in pain anymore, at about the same time a freight train of lethargy drove over him, and he wondered aloud if the ceiling had always been that amazing shade of kitten.

“Sleep, mate.”

Xander slept.

Only when he saw that Xander was well and truly unconscious did Spike return to the foot of the bed. Concentration wrinkled his brow as he lightly placed hands around Xander’s ankle. His movements were steady and deliberate as he pulled Xander’s ankle towards him until the bone withdrew into the skin, and it looked properly aligned.

Using one hand to keep the tension, he slid the brace under Xander’s ankle and fastened it. After double checking to make sure it was secure, he pulled a chair near the bed, and sat.

~~

Spike woke to the sound of a car alarm going off down the street. It died after a moment, and Spike settled back in his chair before he remembered that there were no people left in the city to turn off alarms. The demons were close.

“Bloody Christ, I’ve led them right to us.”

Xander opened his eyes, and looked at Spike. “What?” he asked sleepily.

“Earlier. I grabbed you and hauled ass out of there. I thought I’d lost them in the city.”

“Oh.”

“Oh? Is that all you have to say?” Spike demanded as he rushed to the window.

Xander giggled.

Spike turned to look at Xander. “You’re stoned.”

“Very possibly.” He grinned at Spike, the image of a man who is seeing something far too wonderful for the minds of the sober, and whose sole worry is the strange roaring sound in his ears.

Demons have a way of negating any pleasant feeling, drug induced or no. There was no
warning growling, no shattering door as they entered. The demons simply walked through a wall as it disintegrated, silent as death.

Spike rolled his head, cracking his neck and put on his game face. “There’s a shotgun under the bed,” he tossed over his shoulder as he faced the two demons.

The demons approached slowly, growling now as they moved away from each other and began to maneuver between Spike and Xander, seeking to cut off the weak from his protector.

The taller demon lunged, claws outstretched, and Spike fell backwards, desperate to avoid the poison in the claws that would turn him into dust, just as sure as a stake. The demon’s swing missed, and instead another section of wall fell to the ground on top of him, some raining down as sand as it touched the demon’s claws, the rest falling with a dull sound as it landed on the vampire.

Xander let loose a strangled cry when he saw Spike drop. He reached down, grabbing for the shotgun under the bed. He lost his balance as he finally wrapped his hand around it, and he tumbled off the bed. Shaking his head in an attempt to clear his vision he hauled the gun to his lap, and checking to make sure it was loaded, brought it up to his shoulder.

He made eye contact with Spike, and mouthed “duck”. Waving slightly from the effects of the fall, and the ungainly weight of the shotgun, he aimed as best he could, knowing that it could do no damage. He closed his eyes, pulled the trigger and hoped that it would at least buy some time.

“JESUS BLOOMIN’ CHRIST. Were your eyes closed?”

“I am very heavily medicated…”

“I don’t give a—” Spike stopped in the middle of his outraged reply, gaping in amazement.

The smaller demon had taken most of the shotgun blast to its head, and the force had knocked it back into its taller companion. The damage was slowly healing. Neither man was shocked as they knew that the creatures could regenerate. What was miraculous was the bleeding wound in the center of its chest that wasn't knitting itself together.

The corpse toppled over, sliding off the arm of the demon still standing. For a moment, there was no sound in the room, save the sickening squelch, and finally a small thump as the demon hit the floor. With a high-pitched wail, the Bartchi fell to its knees beside its ally’s bleeding form. Still keening, it gently ran its claws down the face of its companion, raising and lowering its voice in song as the body slowly crumbled to dust.

Then, closing its glowing eyes, it drew its claw across its throat and tumbled to the ground.

“Well, that was…anti-climatic,” Xander said, as he and Spike stared in amazement at the body on the floor.

Spike strode to where Xander lay on the floor, and hauled him upright by his lapels. “I could kill you.”

“I…why?”

“That was the single stupidest thing I have EVER seen you do, Harris. And I’ve been stuck with you for a while, so it’s quite a list to top!”

“What? I didn’t even leave the bed!”

“You stopped to pick up the damn book! The demon was right behind you, and you STOPPED and TURNED AROUND to pick up a BOOK!” Despite his anger, when Spike moved Xander to the bed
gently. “Damn thing chewed through your ankle like butter! It could have killed you!”

“I figured that’d make you happy,” Xander said quietly.

It took Spike a moment to process that, and to reply. “What makes you say that?”

“You don’t like me.”

“I don’t hate you,” Spike offered.

“Oh.” Xander reached up to brush sand off Spike’s collar. “Thank you for saving me,” he added quietly.

“You’re welcome.”

Xander’s hand was still moving at Spike’s collar, though the dust was gone. Without conscious direction from him, it moved to settle at the back of the vampire’s neck, and pulled him forward.

Spike felt the slightest pressure of lips on his, and leaned forward, deepening the kiss.
After a moment, he jerked his head back, eyes wide with the realization of who he’d been
kissing. He stared at Xander in disbelief.

Xander removed his hand. “That was just a-a a fluke, right? I mean, here we are, heat of the battle, we’re alive and it’s-it’s natural right? To celebrate the…not being dead?”

Spike ran a hand across the back of his neck, and replied a bit shakily. “Right. Just adrenalin or the like. Nothing serious…or meaningful in any…” he trailed off, eyes dropping to where Xander was licking his lips.

“Right. I mean, you’re…older, and have dealt with this kind of thing before. All sorts of manly bonding, and, and…shenanigans going on that had nothing to do with…feelings or attraction at all. Nope, nothing going on here. Just some demon killers with energy to burn, and…”

“Harris. Stop.”

They stood in silence, both looking anywhere but at each other. Xander broke the stillness by shifting on the bed, and clearing his throat.

“Will you please kiss me again?” he asked when Spike turned to look at him.

“God, yes,” Spike breathed. In the blink of an eye, he was pressed against Xander, hands gently cradling the other man’s face.

~~~~~

And so, it was not the power of the Slayer, nor the might of the combined Armies of the world that saved the day. No, it was the two mismatched heroes in the Dead Zone, that discovered how to kill the--

“Xander?” Spike called. “What are you doing? We should have been on the road 20 minutes ago!”

“…nothing,” Xander replied a little guiltily as he shoved the leather wrapped journal into his bag, and stood.

Fin.
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