From Out of Nowhere
Part 2 Walk Like an Egyptian
“Spike? I really don’t think I can do this.” Xander was scared. His whole body had tensed up in fear and anticipation.
“Easy there, pet. You can do it, I know you can. Just go slow.”
Xander leant forward and focused hard. As he reached out, his hands began to shake violently. “Oh god, oh god.” He swallowed down as much fear as he could and forced has hands to stop trembling.
Spike hissed under his breath as Xander moved a little too quickly. “Careful,” he warned.
Xander pulled back and looked up at his lover, giving him a small but nervous smile. Okay, Xan, you can do this, you can. Just concentrate. With one last shaky breath and a brief closing of his eyes, Xander reached back out and carefully pulled out the small wooden block, placing it gently on top of the wobbling Jenga tower. He sat back, relieved that it was over.
“Jesus, Spike. I really thought it was gonna go.”
“Me, too, babe.” Spike edged along the floor, mindful not to kick over the precarious tower, and pulled Xander into his arms. “Well done, luv. I think that deserves another kiss.”
“Not gonna argue with that.” Xander pushed his lover onto his back and crawled seductively over him. “Give it to me, Blondie.” He plastered himself over Spike’s cool body and captured his mouth in a bruising kiss.
Spike twisted and moaned beneath Xander’s hot embrace. God, he wanted this. He needed this. It had been nearly two weeks since all the trouble with Talzar and since then Xander had seemed reluctant to initiate anything more than gentle kissing and hugging. But Spike had seen the way Talzar had touched him, and he’d heard Xander’s desperate screaming. He had understood that his boy just needed time. Hmm, looks like times up eh?
Xander sat up, straddling Spike’s hips and ripping his shirt wide open. “Want you, Spike.”
Spike wrapped his arms around Xander’s body, pulling him back down to claim another desperate kiss. “Want you too, Xan,” he whispered.
Xander broke the kiss suddenly, gazing with slight confusion into Spike’s eyes. “Spike? Why are you shaking?”
Spike looked back at him with an expression that was even more confused. “I’m not bloody shaking. You are!” He was clearly offended.
“Spike, it’s okay. You can tell me.”
“I said I’m not bloody shaking, idiot. But you sodding well are.”
“I’m not. What’s the matter with y…oh, hang on…Is that a…?” Before Xander could finish his question, the Jenga tower fell, and they both jumped in surprise.
“Earthquake. Yes. Fuck it.” As Spike spoke, the shaking intensified and the entire apartment shook in powerful waves. He pulled Xander to a standing position and dragged him over to the hall doorway. He pushed his lover back to the floor and crouched over him, cradling his head into his chest.
The shaking continued and the whole apartment began heaving from side to side. Pictures and ornament flew from the walls, the furniture shuffled around the floor in circles and the kitchen cupboards emptied themselves.
Xander pressed further into Spikes body as unidentifiable knick knacks crashed passed them. Spike instinctively gripped him tighter and knocked away several objects with his forearm. Something sharp caught his neck and he swore loudly.
“S’okay, pet. Hold tight. Nearly over.”
As the shaking died down, other sounds filled the air. Dogs barking, car alarms ringing, people shouting and screaming. The two lovers stayed entwined in their protective embrace, both afraid to move in case the vibrations started again.
Xander finally moved first, popping his head up and peering over Spikes shoulder. Another ornament crashed down from a nearby wall and Spike clutched at Xander’s body, yanking him away from any further danger. “Stay,” he commanded. Xander nodded his head in acceptance and watched Spike get up and stalk around the room.
When Spike was certain that nothing else was going to fall and decapitate one of them, he beckoned Xander over to join him.
“Spike, you’re hurt.”
“I am not.” The vampire replied defensively.
Xander rolled his eyes and grabbed at a towel that had somehow worked its way into the lounge. He pressed it to the back of Spikes neck and tried a different approach. “Okay, so you’re not hurt, but you are gonna drip blood on the carpet any minute now.”
“What?” Spike looked down at the towel that Xander now held under his now nose and growled. “Sod it.” He snatched it out of the Xander’s hands and replaced it back on his neck. Spike finally noticed Xander’s concern and his expression softened. He placed a comforting hand onto Xander’s cheek. “I’m fine, pet. Really. See?” He lifted the towel away to show Xander that the bleeding had already stopped. Xander smiled in relief and looked over to where they had been cowering.
“What the hell hit you, Spike?” He glanced downwards and, grinning, answered his own question. “Well, if you will hang a samurai sword on the wall.”
“What a fucking mess.” Xander stood in the middle of the kitchen, sweeping up broken plates, mugs and other assorted shattered items. He felt two cool arms creep around his waist and he leant back into the purring figure behind him.
It was obvious to Spike that Xander was still a little shaken from the quake, he could hear the anxiety in his lover’s voice and, as he embraced him, he felt the tension in his body. Must make him feel safe. Nothing or No-one will hurt him, not ever again. Spike nuzzled at Xander’s ear and purred gently.
Spike continued to purr and he dropped soft chaste kisses onto Xander’s neck and shoulder. “What, luv?”
“Shouldn’t we be cleaning up?”
“Naah, lets just leave it.”
“Spike, we’re gonna have to do it eventually. So lets get on with it, Yeah?”
“I meant, let’s leave it completely. We’ll go get another place.”
Xander spun round in Spike’s arms. “Are you completely mad? This is your home. You can’t just leave it…”
Spike interrupted, careful to keep his voice casual and not alert Xander to how nervous he suddenly felt. “I want to leave. I want a new place...for us.” The last two words were almost a whisper and Xander had to strain to hear them.
“For…us?” he repeated. “You wanna move to a new place...with me?”
Spike had been trying to build up the nerve all week to ask Xander to live with him. But as the words had finally left his mouth, his nerves shattered and suddenly he couldn’t look at Xander’s face. He leant on the counter top, put his best casual face on and popped a cigarette into his mouth. “Yeah, why not? We practically live together anyway. Just thought that maybe we should make it official.” He shrugged and finally managed to look up at his lover, eager to gage his reaction.
Spike wasn’t sure he’d heard correctly. “What’s that again?” He pushed himself off the counter and moved to stand directly in front of Xander.
“I said Okay. I would love to live with you…but”
Spike’s widening grin dropped suddenly as he registered the but. He grabbed Xander’s hands and quickly pulled him closer, any attempt at feigning casual indifference completely forgotten. “What is it, luv? Whatever it is, we can work something out. I will work it out. I can fix it…”
Xander hushed Spike’s worried babble with a comforting kiss. He stroked his hand through curly blond locks and looked deeply into Spike’s panicking eyes. “It’s just that...I don’t have any money, Spike. I’ve got no money and no job. How can I afford a new place?”
Spike rolled his eyes. “Is that all? Come ‘ere, idiot.” He wrapped his arms around his lover and squeezed tightly. “You don’t have to worry about money, pet. I’ve got plenty. And you don’t have to work either...”
“No, Spike! I’m not gonna live off you. No way. Nuh-uh. Forget it. I’ve got to work!” Xander had pulled away from Spike’s embrace and was standing with his arms crossed defiantly. His expression dared Spike to try and argue with him.
“Okay, pet, okay. We’ll compromise, yeah?”
Xander nodded, waiting for Spike to come up with an acceptable idea.
“I’m gonna sell this place and use the money to buy another one for us.” He clamped a hand over Xander’s mouth as a protest looked like it was about to leak out. “When you have a job you can pay for stuff. You know, shopping, take out, shit like that. But, and it’s a big but, Xan, I don’t want any rent. I don’t pay any, I own this place outright and I’m not letting you give me money. You can buy stuff for us and the new place, but that’s it.” Spike cautiously removed his hand from Xander’s mouth and waited for his reaction.
“Well, I guess that would be okay…You promise you’ll let me pay for stuff?”
Xander flung himself back into Spike’s arms and hung on like his life depended on it.
“I’ll take that as yes, then”
It was a mammoth task. But finally Xander succeeded. He had convinced Spike to help clean up the rest of the apartment. He tide up the last bag of broken dishes and ornaments and looked around the room. All done.
“So you’re sure?...Uh-huh, Uh-huh, and the Hellmouth? You’re positive?...You’ve checked?...I see…Yep…Whatever.”
Xander smiled to himself. He loved Spike’s telephone manner, blunt, to the point and rude. And he always said ‘whatever’ at the end of a phone conversation. Most people said ‘goodbye’. But then again Spike wasn’t like most people. Xander just found it endearing.
“What?” Spike looked suspiciously at the Xander’s dozy expression.
“Nothing. Was that Giles?”
“Certainly was, pet. And you’ll be glad to hear that the Hellmouth is still shut tighter than a nun’s vag.”
Xander frowned slightly at the imagery that was now swirling around his brain. He really wished Spike wouldn’t say things like that. “So it was just an ordinary quake then? No impending apocalypse? That’s great. And did Giles say everyone was alright?”
“Don’t worry. Everyone is fine. No-one got injured…..well, no-one that we care about anyway”
“Okay. So let me get this straight. The Hellmouth is still closed. The end of the world is not nigh. No-one is hurt. And the apartment is clean.”
“Right on all counts, sweetness.” Spike hoped his suspicions were right about where Xander was going with this.
“So I guess we had better get back to what we were doing before the quake hit.”
“Jenga?” said spike playfully
“Sadly, no. I don’t know how to tell you this, Spike…The Jenga tower didn’t make it.”
Spike put on an expression of mock grief. “It didn’t make it?”
“No. There were parts of it scattered everywhere. It was better to just let it go.”
“Oh, well. Never mind. Such is The Game of Life. So if we’re not gonna play Jenga, what are we going to do?” Spike asked innocently.
“Well, I remember starting something earlier, and I didn’t get to finish. Now, if I’m not mistaken, I believe I left things just about…here.” Xander ripped open Spike’s shirt, not caring that it was the second one that he had ruined that day. “And a distant memory tells me, that was when the earth moved.”
Xander walked backwards through the hallway. Spike was stalking him, never letting his prey get more than two feet away. Not that his prey particularly wanted to get away.
Xander tugged at Spike’s open shirt and brought him closer for a desperate kiss. Spike fumbled with the bottom of Xander’s T-shirt, finally finding the edge of the material and ripping it up Xander’s body and over his head.
“Baby, you’re so beautiful.” Every time he looked at Xander’s body he was amazed. He wondered why he hid himself under all those awful baggy clothes. Well, those clothes were going to be the first thing to go. He wouldn’t force Xander to wear anything that he wasn’t comfortable in, but he could still improve his wardrobe just a little.
Xander reached out and pushed Spike’s shirt over his shoulders and onto the floor. He ran his hands over Spike’s smooth ivory chest and placed slow tender kisses over his collar bone. Spike purred his approval and moved his hands down to unfasten Xander’s jeans. “Want to see you, Xan. Now.”
Xander nodded his approval, and Spike claimed his lips, tasting and exploring as his hands unbuttoned Xander’s Jeans. Slowly he eased them down over tanned hips and Xander gasped as his lover went down with them. Spike helped him step out of his clothing before grasping Xander’s hips and nuzzling his face up one of his thighs.
He could feel Xander trembling slightly and knew he wouldn’t be able to hold out for long. They had not done anything like this since the night he had been forced to call Angel.
Spike gently grasped Xander’s heavy length and he ran his tongue over the head, tasting and savouring a small droplet of pre-cum. Before Xander could react to this new sensation, Spike deep-throated him.
“Spike! God. Sp-Spike” Xander moaned his lover’s name, gripping Spike’s hair firmly in his fingers as his lover continued to suck and lick relentlessly. “Spike, please. You...really are…gonna have...to stop that, or…I’m gonna...”
Spike stood slowly, a seductive smile twitching at his lips. “Like that, do you, pet?”
Xander climbed backwards onto the bed “Yes…good.” He swallowed and tried to get his breath back. “But do you know what else I would like?”
“I would like to see you naked. So get them off now.”
Spike felt himself get impossibly hard at Xander’s command. He did what he was told and quickly removed his jeans, climbing onto the bed and crawling slowly towards his lover.
As Xander watched the big bad vampire crawl seductively towards him, he was reminded of a cat creeping up on a mouse. Spike was the cat, and he was his helpless victim. Xander started to pant as he waited for the the pounce.
Spike suddenly moved faster than lightning, seizing Xander in an iron grip and crushing his lips to the boy’s vulnerable neck. Needle sharp fangs pierced his neck and Xander cried out, both in surprise and pleasure. He twisted underneath the vampire, desperate to feel all of Spike’s flesh against him. As their hard lengths brushed together they both moaned loudly and Spike responded by rocking his hips back and forth, setting up a steady rhythm as he drank.
“Ready, pet?” Spike asked as he released Xander’s neck and began nuzzling over his jaw.
Xander hissed his reply as Spike deliberately ground his hips harder and faster into his body. “Yessss. Spike, need you inside me…Mmmm, now, Spike. Now.”
Spike wasn’t one to be told twice. He reached over to the night stand, opened the drawer and lifted out a small tube. He could feel his own desire and need burning inside him and he wasted no time in covering his fingers and erection in the slippery gel.
Spike looked down at the young man lying beneath him and the sight overwhelmed him with a feeling of total love and happiness. He took a moment to reassure his nervous lover with small smile. Xander gave him a shaky smile back. “I love you. Spike. Go slow, Okay?”
“Never hurt you, Xan. I love you too. Relax, baby” Spike whispered as he stroked soothing circles on Xander’s belly. When he felt Xander relaxing, he carefully began to ease a finger inside him.
The pain was only slight and Xander concentrated on trying to relax completely, which wasn’t easy considering he was staring up at a real live sex god! He finally exhaled a long breath, relaxing his muscles and allowing Spike’s finger to slide deep inside.
“Okay, pet?” Spike asked. He wasn’t going to go any further than Xander wanted to. Xander only had to say the word and he would stop.
“How about this?” Spike crooked his finger and Xander nearly shot off the bed. “Is this okay?” Spike now held an expression of both deviousness and delight.
“Gods, Spike! Yes! What the hell did you just do? Actually, forget that. Just do it again!”
“My pleasure, luv” Spike angled his finger and hit the magic spot again. Xander cried out and gripped the bed sheets tightly.
Spike resumed the stroking action on Xander’s belly and slowly introduced another finger. This time, the pain was more intense and Xander emitted a different kind of cry.
“Ssh. I have you. It’s okay.” Spike waited patiently for Xander’s tight muscles to relax again and when they did, he still waited for his lover to give him permission to continue. Xander saw the unspoken question and nodded his consent.
Spike slid his fingers back and forth, stopping occasionally to tease Xander’s prostate. When he felt Xander was ready he positioned the third finger and waited again for permission. Xander gave it and Spike began to insert the last digit. There was much more resistance this time.
“Xan? You ok, pet? Want me to stop?”
Xander just shook his head, all words seemingly lost long ago. He wanted this. He wanted Spike. With great effort, he managed to force one word out. “Now.”
Spike was ready. He was so hard it hurt. Just watching Xander writhing and moaning beneath him was enough to make him want to come. He removed his fingers, hearing Xander’s sobbed protest at the loss.
“Still here, luv.” Spike leaned over his lover kissed him hard. Pulling back, he pushed up Xander’s legs so that his knees were level with his chest, and positioned the tip of his erection at the tight ring of muscle. Again, he waited, and when Xander gave the signal he slowly and steadily eased himself inside.
Xander felt like his body was on fire. There was so much pain yet it felt so good. Spike was suddenly still as a statue, his concerned blue eyes staring intently into his own. He needed more reassurance that he could go on. Xander was sure that the need for release was blazing through his lover’s body as much as it blazed through his own. Xander took a deep breath and pushed himself firmly backwards, impaling himself fully on Spike’s cock.
Spike felt himself jump, he hadn’t been expecting that. “Holy Christ, luv” He took the hint anyway and, slowly at first, began thrusting. Spike felt the pressure building up and he reached down to stoke Xander’s throbbing length.
“Oh gods, Spike. Faster. Spike, please!” Spike wasn’t sure which of his current activities Xander was referring to. So he took a chance and did both. He felt his release approaching and knew he couldn’t hold back any longer. He thrust furiously into Xander’s body, pumping his lover’s straining erection in time with each push of hips. As his orgasm approached, he felt Xander’s body tense up beneath him, readying to release.
Xander suddenly felt his orgasm rip through his body and he bucked and twisted with pleasure that was threatening to swallow him whole. He reached for Spike’s arm and pulled a silky white wrist to his lips. Blunt teeth bit down hard and Spike howled up at the ceiling, cuming inside his lover’s body.
Still panting un-needed breaths, Spike sank down beside his lover and squeezed him tightly. He stroked thick dark curls of hair out of Xander’s exhausted eyes and placed gentle kisses along his damp forehead. “Mine.”
The boy’s eyes slowly slipped shut as he spoke “Forever.”
Xander rolled over to look at the clock. 2.30. Mmm, Night time snuggles. He turned over to burrow into Spike's body, and was shocked to find him gone. His eyes shot open and he sat up quickly. “Spike?”
Spike sat on the end of the bed, tying his boot-laces. “Alright luv, don’t have a coronary. I’m right ‘ere,” he laughed.
Xander shook his head to clear the fog of sleep that was wrapped around him. With much effort, he focused on Spike and frowned. “What are you doing? Are you going out?”
“Very perceptive, pet”
“But-but it’s the middle of the night.”
Spike shot him a puzzled look. “err…”
Realization finally dawned and Xander flushed brightly. “Oh, yeah. Forgot. You vampire guy.” Xander thought about it a little more. “Hang on a minute, were you just gonna leave me? Without saying good…”
Xander never got to finish his complaint. Spike pounced and Xander found himself pinned to the bed, flat on his back beneath a surprisingly heavy vampire. “Never leave you!”
Xander stared up at him. “What I actually meant was, were you going to go out without saying goodbye.”
“Oh” Spike shrugged, casually lifting himself up and moving to sit next to Xander. “Yeah”
Xander was offended “Spike!”
“What!?! I was gonna leave a note!”
“You could just wake me. It’s not like I have to go work in the morning. Or any morning for that matter.”
Spike could literally feel the misery that abruptly rolled up and around his lover. He shuffled closer and pulled him into a comforting embrace. “Chin up, luv. Somitt’ll come up soon. What about that job at the supermarket?”
“They never called,” Xander replied, miserably.
Spike tried to keep his voice cheerful “Well, their loss, then. And you know there’s no hurry, yeah?” He waited for Xander to nod before continuing. “And I know you say you have to work, but until that happens, it just means we have more time for us…”
“If you didn’t keep leaving me on my own,” Xander interrupted in his quietest voice.
“Oi! Firstly, first time, yeah? And secondly…” Spike kept count by tapping on a second finger. “Err …secondly.” Damn it. Can’t think of a secondly. “Secondly…urgh, fuck it. You wanna come with me?”
Xander wanted to hang on to his sulky face a while longer, but found that he couldn’t “’Kay” He kissed Spike firmly on the lips and bounced off the bed. “Give me ten, yeah? Wanna shower.”
Spike waited until Xander had disappeared into the bathroom before lighting a cigarette and heading into the living room. He switched on the T.V and thumped his boot-clad feet onto the coffee table. Grabbing the remote control, Spike surfed through numerous cable channels until he came across a local channel that was showing a news report on the quake. The video footage showed a huge crevice gaping across the desert floor. Spike swung his feet to the carpet and sat staring, open mouthed, at the T.V. The crevice had to be at least a mile long, and according to the report it had opened up when the quake had hit. “Bloody hell.”
“What you cursing at now, bleach boy?” Xander had just emerged from the shower. He was naked apart from a towel wrapped around his hips and another one draped over his head. He rubbed furiously at the latter in an attempt to dry his hair quicker than was humanly possible. Xander noticed the absence of a reply and peered out from underneath the damp towel. “Spikey? Hon?” He glanced around the room and finally spotted Spike’s backside sticking out of the coat closet.
“Yeah?” Spike emerged from the closet looking positively gleeful. “Come on, luv. Get your skates on. We got somewhere to be!”
Xander groaned at the site before him. A hysterically happy Spike was dragging numerous ropes out of the cupboard. “I know I’m gonna regret asking this, but where are we going and what’s with all the rope?”
“We are going caving.”
Xander groaned again and went into the bedroom to dress.
“Shit!” Xander tripped, and Spike reached out to stop him from kissing the ground…again.
“Bleedin’ hell. Is it actually possible for you to stay upright for more than a minute?”
Xander shot his lover an annoyed glare. “It’s alright for you, oh creature of the night. Some of us don’t have freaky un-dead night vision.”
“So? Point the torch at the ground, idiot.” Spike couldn’t quite hide the amusement from his voice.
“I am pointing it at the ground!”
“Oh yeah, I forgot about your ability to fall over your own feet, even in broad daylight.”
“Fuck off.” Xander swung an arm out to hit his lover, missing him by mile as Spike hopped nimbly out of the way
“Now, now. Any more of that kind of language and I’ll be forced to put you over my knee.”
“You wouldn’t dare.” Xander re-thought his last statement and quickly retracted it. “I didn’t mean that.”
“I know, pet.” He wrapped an arm around Xander’s waist and whispered into his ear. “Still gonna put you over my knee, though.”
Xander swallowed hard to push away the feeling of approaching arousal. “Okay. And that would be when?”
Xander let out a long sigh. “Are you absolutely sure it’s safe for us to climb down a newly opened mile long crack in the desert floor, also taking aftershocks into consideration?”
“Not absolutely sure, no.”
“Keep your flippers on. We’re not going down the big crack, just one of the little ones.” Spike rolled his eyes at Xander’s blank, unblinking expression. “The bint on the T.V said that when the ground opened up, it caused lots of baby fissures, too.”
“Baby fishes!” Xander said incredulously
“Fissures, idiot. You know, cracks, fractures, crevices.” Xander held up a hand to signal his comprehension and Spike continued. “Well, these fractures all eventually join up to the main crevice, but we’re not gonna explore that far. Yet”
“And why exactly are we exploring?”
“Coz it's fun, pet!”
Spike smiled to himself. “Those pesky feet getting in the way again?”
“Just let go!”
Xander had refused to let Spike carry him down, afraid that the vampire might drop him. Instead he decided to do it the good old fashioned way and use the ropes. That plan went to hell when Xander lost his grip on the rope and ended up dangling precariously from a bunch of loose wobbly rocks.
“You promise you’ll catch me?”
“Of course I’m gonna catch you. Who do you think I am?”
“I think you’re an evil un-dead vampire.”
“Evil and Un-dead is quite correct, yes. But throwing all that aside just for a second, would you please just trust me? C’mon luv, let go. I will catch you. I promise.”
Xander thought about it for a few more seconds. Spike would catch him, of course he would. Sure, Spike had been known to play a few jokes here and there. The one with the tree was most prominent in his memory. Spike had said he would catch him then, but instead he had let him fall face down in a puddle of mud. Still, that was years ago, and he hadn’t fallen far. Just far enough to warrant a string of expletives to spill out of his mouth like a demonic limerick. No, Spike would catch him now. It was a long drop and he would be seriously hurt if he hit the ground. He took a deep breath and let himself fall.
What’s the matter with the bloody brat? Doesn’t he trust me? Bloody Hell, starting to brood like my sodding sire now. Snap out of it. So Xander doesn’t FULLY trust you yet. You can hardly blame him considering who you are and what you’ve done in the past.
Spike stood thinking for a few moments about what he could do to make his lover trust him properly, when his vampiric senses felt an abrupt shift in the air. He looked up sharply to see a body hurtling rapidly towards him. Fucking Hell, babe. A little warning would have been nice. Spike reached up and caught Xander easily, setting him down gently onto the cave floor.
Xander tangled himself around Spike’s body and kissed him passionately. “Mmm. Good catch.” He bent down and retrieved some of the ropes from the floor and grinned up at his dazed lover. “Which way, Blondie?”
The duo had been walking for about half an hour.
“This place is weird, Spike”
“And kind of creepy”
“Yeah, the place does chill the old bones a tad.”
Xander shone his torch above his head and stopped. “What are these strange markings?”
“Hieroglyphs, I think. Though why we’re finding ancient Egyptian writing in a cave in the middle of the Californian desert is a bit of a puzzler.”
“Uh-huh. So we should probably tell Giles about this?”
“’Course, pet. But not yet. Let’s look around a bit”
Xander wasn’t looking particularly pleased. “I’m not so sure this is a good idea.”
“Come on, luv. This place has just opened up. No-one has been down here for a bloody long time. Couple of thousand years, I’d wager. Let’s go see some history, yeah?”
“Yeah, okay. What’s the worst that can happen?”
“Bloody Hell! Get back here!” Spike grabbed Xander’s arm and wrenched him back hard.
“Hey! Easy tiger! Hello? Frail human here. What’s the problem?”
“The problem is that you’ve just traipsed over a sodding sacred mark.”
“Well, you didn’t say.”
“I didn’t bloody see it, did I, you bleedin’ twerp. Not ‘till you plastered your great big clown feet all over it.”
Xander stared down at the said feet and sighed. He looked back up at Spike with big glassy eyes. “Sorry.”
Not the puppy dog eyes. Anything but that. For god sake, do not…Look… directly…at them…Damn. Spike wasn’t really angry. Well, only at himself maybe. He always made a great effort to keep hold of his big bad persona, but one look into Xander’s beautiful brown eyes made him crumble like a badly made house of cards.
“Come ‘ere, luv.” Spike pulled Xander into his body and folded comforting arms around him. “I didn’t mean to snap. It’s just that walking over a sacred mark is never a good thing.” Spike turned Xander around and pointed toward the strange red hieroglyph written on the ground. “That is the entrance to a tomb. It's sacred ground, pet. That mark is a warning to go no-further.”
“And what happens now I’ve stepped on it?” Xander asked. No sooner had the words left his mouth than the earth began to rumble. “Okay, so either that’s another Earth quake or someone just answered my question.”
“Fuck.” Fear reached into Spikes Gut. Earthquake or a curse? It didn’t matter. He had to get them to the surface. He grabbed Xander’s arm and hauled him back down the passage.
In an instant, the quiet rumbling became a deafening roar and the ground beneath them started to crumble. “Spike!” Xander slipped as the earth at his feet gave way. Spike squashed them against wall and watched in horror as the floor along the other side of the passage literally disappeared. He kept his grip tight on his lover and quickly side-stepped them along the remaining ledge.
Xander squeezed his eyes firmly shut and let Spike guide him. Nice one, Xan. Only you could mange THIS. Why am I surprised?. You’ve always been a stupid, pathetic… The cavern heaved suddenly and Xander found himself being catapulted forward. As his eyes shot open in an involuntary reflex, he screamed at the seemingly unending drop beneath him. Time seemed to slow down and he wondered exactly how far he was going to fall. There was only blackness beneath him, blackness and death.
Spike was sure that his un-dead heart had thumped out a few beats. In a split second Xander had been thrown away from him. Spike snatched at the falling human, just managing to clasp the boy’s sleeve. Xander’s weight wrenched Spike to his knees and Spike fought desperately to keep hold of the tearing fabric while his other hand searched blindly for purchase on the crumbling wall. No. Never let him go. Never.
The fabric in Spike’s hand tore again and he was left with just a whisper of cotton. He realised with earth shattering clarity that he had only seconds left, seconds left to grab any part of Xander’s body before the fabric tore again and his love plummeted to his death. In a smooth swooping motion, Spike braced his legs against a large fallen rock and, letting go of the wall beside him, he swiped his arm in a downward arc to catch hold of Xander’s wrist.
As his sleeve finally gave way Xander screamed again and he felt a cool hand wrap around his wrist. He grasped at a leather-clad arm with his free hand and he felt himself being lifted up. Strong arms heaved him onto the ledge and he was slammed heavily against the wall as the ceiling collapsed and fell past him in one huge clump.
Spike scanned the passageway for an exit. His heart dropped into his stomach at the realisation that they could not go back the way they came. The floor had completely dissolved into the blackness bellow them and all that remained was the small ledge that they now stood on. As Spike leant his head back against the wall in a defeated gesture, he saw something that made his eyes spark back to life. The moon.
The levels above them had caved in completely and all that remained was the beautiful night sky. With a feral growl of determination, Spike hoister Xander over his shoulder and started to climb.
It was a long way up, at least a hundred feet. But Spike climbed quickly and methodically, crashing his fists into the rock to retain some sort of grip on the shaking wall. Xander hung loosely over his shoulder and had no choice but to look into the deep chasm bellow. “Oh gods. Spike? Hurry! Something’s coming!” A luminous green mist swirled out of the darkness bellow and rushed up towards them like an inverted waterfall.
Spike didn’t bother to ask what was coming. By the panic in his lover’s voice, he knew it couldn’t be good. He shifted into his gameface and used all of his strength to leap up the last thirty feet.
The luminous cloud was trying to take form. Xander thought he could see the outline of a huge clawed hand. He was just about to scream another warning to Spike when abruptly the world Spun and he was left looking up into Spike’s face.
Spike landed securely on the ground beside the crevice. He carefully but quickly placed Xander onto the desert floor and took stock of his surroundings. As he looked towards the crevice that had nearly become their grave, the ground ceased to shake and he caught sight of the green mist, as it abruptly disappeared.
Xander placed a shaky hand on his lover’s shoulder. “Now can we go home?”
Spike decided that as soon as the clock hit nine am, he would call Giles and tell him everything. The tomb, the miles of underground passageways, the hieroglyphs, the quake, he would tell him everything. He needed to find out what they had done. Whose tomb had they disturbed? And what were the consequences?
He glanced at the clock again. 8.45. Shit. Why is time going so bloody slow all of a sudden?
“You know, a watched clock never boils.”
Spike looked up in surprise. He hadn’t realised Xander was awake. They had arrived back home just before the sun began to rise and Xander had all but collapsed on the couch. He had been fast asleep ever since.
“Morning, luv. Just waiting for nine. Calling Giles, remember?”
Xander rubbed sleepily at his eyes. “Uh-huh. You’re really worried about this curse thing are you?”
“Naah, ‘course not.”
“So why have you got your thinking face on?”
“Just thinking about why the hell an ancient Egyptian tomb has shown up in North America. Very weird. I’m curious as to what Giles will make of it, that’s all.”
“Okay, I’ll take your word for it,” Xander relented, not taking his word for it at all. “I’m gonna hit the bathroom, clean some of this cave grime off me.”
Xander headed to bathroom and turned on the shower. Typical. An Egyptian curse. Just lovely. He tried to brush aside the feeling of impending doom and got underneath the hot spray of water, wincing at the heat. Damn shower, never the right temperature. He fiddled carefully with the temperature dial, feeling much like a safe cracker searching for the correct combination. No, too cold. Ahhh, too hot. Eeeeek, far to cold. Fucking, stupid, no good, damn……..ooh that’s much better. Mmmm. Xander relaxed and let the water fall steadily over his chest. He opened his eyes to grab the soap and felt his heart miss a beat. Oh my god.
Spike was on the phone to Giles. He had told him all about the caverns, tomb and hieroglyphs and had just mentioned the quake which had started when Xander had stepped on a warning mark. Giles was most displeased and had taken a description of the mark for researching. Giles had also promised to contact Angel to discuss the situation with him.
“Yeah, I know it was stupid, but there’s not a lot I can do about it now. Just get the others and research this bloody thing. I don’t wanna take any chances that Xander’s hands will turn blue and drop of. Yeah, I know that, but…now hang on… Whatever!” Spike hung up.
“Bloody watcher” He said to an empty room. Spike walked into the kitchen and turned the kettle on. He opened a cupboard and searched angrily for the teabags. Yep, this situation definitely calls for a cup of tea. He finally found the unopened box of PG Tips and fiddled anxiously at the plastic wrapper. “Xan! Xan, you want a cuppa?” he called out to the bathroom. There was no answer. “XAN!” he called louder. Still no answer. Spike concentrated hard and was able to pick out the sound of Xander’s heartbeat; it was going way to fast for someone who was meant to be having a relaxing shower. He dropped the box of tea and charged towards the bathroom.
“Fucking shit!” Spike wasn’t sure what was more shocking; his lover’s sheet white catatonic face, the blood pouring out of the shower head or the blood that had covered Xander’s shivering body.
“Fuck me, what the bloody hell…?” He wasted no more time trying to think about it and quickly reached into the shower cubicle hoisting his lover out and half dragging the unresponsive boy into the hallway.
“Xan, Pet? You okay?” Spike had grabbed a towel and was trying, ineffectually, to wipe off the blood.
“Xander, please speak to me. C’mon, luv. Snap out of it.” Spike shook him slightly, as panic starting to set in.
Xander finally looked up, his eyes wide with shock. “Euuwwwww!”
Spike had cleaned off the last traces of blood from Xander’s body. The ruby liquid flowing from the shower head had eventually turned back to good, plain old American water and Spike had finally managed to coax Xander back into the cubicle.
“Right, pet. Soon as the moon hits the sky, we’re going to see Giles.”
“What else, what?” Spike asked, confused.
“This cursing business. What else can I expect?”
“Dunno.” Spike shrugged. “Plague of locusts?” He suggested, not too helpfully.
“Joyness!” Xander was starting to sound hysterical.
Spike wanted to take Xander’s mind off things. There was no use sitting about and getting all upset. Not, at least, until they had seen Giles tonight. No, he had to distract him. But How? Hmmm, what a puzzler. More chocolate? No, didn’t have a bar big enough. Telly? No. Daytime T.V was crap, apart from passions, of course. Jenga? No. Tower bit the dust. What else was there?
“Mmmm, Spike, that feels nice.” Xander murmured appreciatively at the soft fingers tracing over his throat. Another set of fingers went a little further south and Xander’s eyes shot open in surprise.
“Spike!? I really don’t think this is the time to…oh, oh, mmmm, okay, forget I spoke.”
Spike chuckle mischievously. “You’re so easy, pet.”
Spike laughed again and slipped down his knees, pulling away the beech towel Xander had been using at a blanket.
Xander whimpered softly as his body was fully exposed to the air.
“Lie back.” Spike commanded, lightly pushing him back into the couch. Slowly he began placing small kisses along the inside of a warm thigh. Xander’s breathing became a little faster and he reached out grasp Spike’s hair. “Oh, no you don’t”
“No touching. Just relax, luv. Let me steer.” Spike licked his lips and Xander shuddered with anticipation.
The vampire leaned back down and nuzzled his face along the other thigh. He stopped when he reached the top and bit carefully into the soft flesh. Warm coppery fluid flowed into his mouth and he purred happily into the silky skin. Xander cried out with pleasure at the small bite to his thigh and it took all his strength to not reach out and just grab.
Spike felt like he had never been this hard before, but then again, he always felt like that around his Xander. Spike unzipped his jeans and pulled himself out. He took Xander deep into his throat and lavished long firm strokes onto himself.
Xander was mumbling nonsensical words that were far from any known language. He bucked helplessly in Spike's tight, one armed grip, trying desperately to increase the pace. Xander looked down and saw Spike stroking himself and that was enough to bring him right to the edge. He screamed up at the ceiling in frustration. “SPIKE!!”
Spike was nearly deafened by the frantic plea. He felt his own release approaching fast and suddenly he needed to feel Xander’s blazing body beneath him. Spike grappled his lover to the floor and thrust against him, but Xander was done being restrained. My Turn.
In a seemingly effortless move Xander flipped them over and straddled Spike’s hips. Pinning his arms to the floor Xander ground his hips twice into Spike’s and pulled back to flick an evil grin at his prisoner.
Spike growled in an unthreatening gesture. “My wicked pet.”
“Oh, yeah.” Xander twisted his hips into his lover again.
“Bloody hell!” Spiked thrust hard against Xander, making completely sure that their cocks rubbed together with heavenly friction.
Xander pulled up again and hovered teasingly over the near frenzied man beneath him. “Want me?”
“Yes.” Spike's face had become deadly serious.
Spike stayed silent, but his expression was another clear-cut yes.
Xander threw himself down onto the vampire’s body and bit deeply into the exposed neck. Spike howled his release with unrepressed gratitude and elation, driving violently against Xander’s needy body and squeezing out the boy’s own relief.
Panting heavily, Xander pushed himself up onto his elbows and stared into Spike’s eyes. He wanted to say something. Something that neither he, nor the vampire had said since the night Talzar had attacked them.
Spike saw the words forming behind the boy’s eyes. He knew Xander’s insecurities were stopping the words from forming audible sounds and he felt a tinge of sadness that Xander was not yet secure enough in their relationship to be able to say the words that were now hanging from his lips. It would take a while, but Spike would make Xander trust him. Give him reasons to trust him. “Love you, Xan.”
Xander let the smile invade his face. He loves me. “Love you, Spike”
Xander nestled happily into back into Spike’s waiting arms and let sleep take him again.
Xander was unusually quiet. The two lovers strolled towards The Magic Shop, neither in a particular hurry to hear whatever bad new Giles had to give them.
“Penny for ‘em?”
Spike reached over and lightly ruffled Xander’s hair. “What’s going on in that overactive brain of yours?”
Xander stopped walking and turned slowly to face Spike.
“He’ll come back, won't he?”
Spike looked up at the night sky and thought hard. Why is he thinking about that wanker? “I don’t know,” he replied, honestly. “Maybe. Try not to think about it, luv.”
“I can’t help it. I know we’ve got more pressing worries right now, but it just makes me think. He could come back at any time. He could be back now! He could be here already. We would never know. Here we are all distracted, thinking about blood showers, quakes and whatever is coming next and he would be able to…”
Xander’s voice had morphed into a shrieking tone and Spike pulled him into a soothing embrace. “No. He’s not here. I’d know. And we do have more pressing matters. Let’s just get to the shop, pet. We can talk about Talzar when this is all done.” Spike kept hold of Xander’s body as he waited patiently for a response. None came.
“C’mon pet, talk to me.”
“SSSH! What’s that noise?”
Spike cocked his head to the side and listened. A sound that could be likened to radio static was slowly building in the air. It seemed to be coming from the sky and Spike and Xander looked up to study the skyline. The buzzing static got increasingly louder and Spike’s vampire vision spotted a black cloud rising on the horizon. “Hold up, what the fuck …?”
“What is it?” Xander got no reply. He looked pleadingly at his lover for a sign of reassurance, but he found none
“Bugger me!” Spike took Xander by his elbow and dragged him down the street. “We gotta move, NOW!”
Xander kept one eye on the sky as he was yanked down the street. The terrible noise increased in volume and the huge cloud became visible to his human eyes. “INSECTS!”
“Yep, got that already, pet. Locusts. C’mon, we’ve got to get inside.”
The vast cloud of insects descended onto to streets of Sunnydale, rushing towards them at an alarming speed and overtaking them. Spike could see The Magic Box at the end of the street and he ran faster, desperately trying to ignore the locusts as they whirled and swished around him.
Xander could not ignore them. They were in his hair, in his eyes and in his mouth. He suddenly found himself struggling to pull air into his lungs. A locust had lodged in his throat and he tried frantically to expel it. He was choking. He felt himself begin to fall, his head dizzying from the lack of oxygen, but his body never hit the ground. He became dimly aware of being supported on both sides and being dragged indoors and away from the pulsing mass outside.
Xander continued to choke. The insect was firmly lodged in his windpipe. He kept his eyes closed and held tightly to his throat, willing it to come loose. Spike sat him on the floor, tipped him forward and gave him a colossal slap on the back. The insect shot out of his mouth and Xander retched in reflex. Precious air filled his lungs and Xander leant back, panting, against his lover. He opened his eyes and focused on his surroundings. The Magic Box. All around were his friends. The air was filled with cries of “Eeeeek!”, “Aaaaah!” and “Gross!” Arms flailed and feet stomped as the last of the locusts were eliminated from the room. One figure stood perfectly calm and still. The figure squatted in front of him and stared with a concerned gaze.
Xander’s vision cleared completely and he stared back at the vampire. “Angel.”
“Osiris?” Buffy squinted and attempted a brain scan. She was sure she had heard the name before.
Willow chipped in the desired answer. “Osiris is an Egyptian God, ruler of the underworld and the realm of the dead. He was married to Isis, Goddess of the Earth and the Moon...”
“She was also his sister,” Tara whispered helpfully
Willow continued, ignoring Buffy and Xander’s wrinkled noses. “And he was apparently quite pally with Anubis, who was God of the dead.”
“So, I’m guessing that it was Osiris’ tomb that me and Spike stumbled on?”
“You stumbled on, babe.” Spike said, not unkindly.
Buffy crossed her arms and turned to Angel. “But I thought Spike said they didn’t enter the tomb.”
“They didn’t. But they may as well have. Xander stepped on the sacred mark of Osiris, and thereby requested entrance into his tomb.”
It was Xander’s turn to be confused. “So what was so bad about requesting entrance, not that I meant to, mind,” he added, quickly.
Angel spoke with patience that could only have taken 300 years to learn. “Osiris’ tomb could only safely be entered by a priest or pharaoh. By desecrating his mark you have angered Osiris’ spirit.”
Spike huffed. “Can we get to point here, chaps? What’s happening to Xander? And how do we stop it?”
Giles stepped up to the table and leaned heavily against it with both hands. “Xander has woken Osiris from two thousand years of slumber, brought him back from the realm of the dead where he was perfectly happy, I would imagine, and now he will seek revenge on the one who disturbed him and continue on to plague and destroy the world.”
“Okay, so I get why he would be pissed at me, but why take it out on the world?”
Angel heard Xander’s voice shake on the last two words and he placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, ignoring the territorial growl from his childe. “Osiris was murdered by his brother, Seth, a mortal. Legends say that if ever he should rise, then he would seek to destroy all mortals in his brothers’ form. Men. Satisfaction, for the wrong they have done to him.”
Buffy was astonished. “Overreact much? What’s this guy’s deal? So he was murdered by his brother. But there’s no reason to take it out on the rest of us.” Buffy looked to Giles for confirmation.”
“Quite. But don’t forget, Buffy, we are dealing with a God. They never react well to being murdered.”
Spike rolled his eyes; he was growing ever more impatient by the second. “Angel?”
Spike didn’t need to ask the question; Angel could see the panic in his Childe’s eyes. Spike didn’t care about the rest of the world, he cared about Xander. And he needed a solution to protect the one he loved. “There is a way to stop him. We need to go back to his tomb, dig up his hand, re-bury it and restore the sacred mark.”
“Sounds easy. How do we restore the…hang on. Dig up his hand?!” Buffy asked in astonishment.
“Only his hand was buried in that particular place,” Angel said without a proper explanation.
“Um, for those of us without a degree in Egyptology, why would that be?” Xander asked
Willow provided the information. “You can’t just kill a God and expect him to stay dead. When Seth killed his brother, he needed to be sure that he couldn’t be resurrected easily. So he cut him up and scattered his remains all over the world.”
Buffy’s eyes began to glaze over and she turned back to Angel.
“If ever Osiris’ body was whole, he would be able to resurrect at full power and take full form. His strength would be immense. He could plunge the world into eternal darkness with nothing more than a whisper. So, Seth sealed the numerous remains in tombs all over the planet, ensuring that if Osiris’ spirit was ever awoken, it would give mankind a fighting chance to defeat him.”
Spike was intrigued now. “How the hell did a mortal manage to scatter the remains of the God of the Dead over the entire world? Considering that we are talking about two thousand years ago, would that not have been bloody difficult?”
“That is a wonder. Legends seemed to have glossed over that part. Personally, I would guess that he must have had help from an immortal. Isis maybe. The myths do say that their marriage was not a happy one.” Giles adjusted his glasses and continued. “Anyway, that is neither here nor there. As Angel said, we need to dig up the hand of Osiris and somehow re-bury and seal it back up. Now Angel has brought with him details of the ritual, however we need the sacred mark.”
“The Mark I stepped on?”
“No,” said Angel. “That mark is desecrated now. We need to find another one. Another mark of Osiris, which would have been blessed at the time of his death.”
“We can’t just…draw one?” Buffy asked hopefully.
“No. As I said, it has to have been blessed at the time of death.”
Xander sighed and slumped into the back of his chair. “Great. Not gonna find one of them in a hurry.”
“Actually,” Angel grinned. “I know where we can get one.”
Xander sat up straight and looked at him with wide saucer sized eyes. “Really?”
“Really. Each body part was transported in a trunk. The trunks were each sealed with the mark to prevent any resurrection taking place before the burial ritual was completed. After the burials were done, the trunks were just discarded. A few of them have turned up in museums. One in the British museum, one in the Berlin museum of Egyptology and one…”
“And one right here in Sunnydale’s own museum!” Willow screeched.
Angel got up from his chair and walked around the table to face Giles. “What do you mean no? There has been one here for years. We talked about this.”
“Yes, you are quite right Angel. There was one here for years. I did some research while I was waiting for you to arrive.” Giles turned to Xander and Spike. “I’m sorry. The trunk was stolen six months ago.”
Angel covered his face with his hands and walked away from the table. “Then we go to England. We…”
“We don’t have time visit the other side of the Atlantic! There has to be another way!” Buffy had gone into mega-panic mode.
Spike started to laugh. The rest of the group slowly turned to face him, expressions of disbelief and annoyance dominating the room.
Willow started to ask what his problem was, when Xander raised a hand to stop her. “Spike? What’s funny? What is it?”
Spike stopped laughing and tenderly stoked his fingers through Xander’s soft dark hair. Spike had seen a small flash of hurt steal across the boy’s face when he had started laughing, but now he saw a face that was trying to trust. Good boy. Trust me. He turned to Angel. “A big black trunk?”
“A big black trunk stolen from the museum?”
“A big black trunk, stolen from the museum, with a big red squiggly mark on the underside?”
“A big black trunk, stolen from the museum, with a big red squiggly mark on the underside, which is currently stashed in my bedroom closet?”
The room smiled at him. Spike the evil, soulless vampire. Spike, who saw what he wanted and took it. Thank heavens for him. This was going to save them the trouble breaking and entering and hopefully buy them some time.
Spike kissed the top of Xander’s head and jumped up. “I’ll go get it.”
As Spike walked away, Angel called after him. “Will? Why did you steal a trunk from museum?”
Spike shrugged “Needed a place to put my socks.”
“Buffy, please understand. Xander has to go. His blood is needed for the ritual, and it has to be fresh, spilled at correct moment.”
Spike returned and walked into the middle of an argument. He placed the trunk on the floor and walked over to join Xander.
Xander was keeping quiet. He was sitting at the table away from the others. He’d lowered his head onto his arms and was looking over at his arguing friends. Angel had said that Xander had to go with them back to the tomb and Buffy didn’t like it. Willow had said that Giles couldn’t go because he was a man and mortal and therefore it was too risky. Giles didn’t like it. Buffy, Tara and Willow said they were going, and because they were mortals, Angel didn’t like it. Angel said that he and Spike could go because, although they were men, they were also technically dead so they would not be obvious targets. Willow didn’t like it.
Spike knelt down beside a miserable Xander and ran a comforting hand down his back. “You all right, luv?” He motioned to the others with his head. “Want me to tell ’em to pipe down?”
Xander explained all the different arguments and Spike tensed slightly when he got to the part about him needing to give blood at the ritual. Spike had considered that this would be the part of the proceedings and as much as he hated the idea of his Xanpet going back to that place, he was not going to upset him further by making a big fuss. It had to be done. Instead, he took charge. He, Xander, Angel, Buffy, Willow and Tara were going. Giles was not, Osiris would go right for him and attempt to take him over to the realm of the dead. He would not be so concerned with the girls or he and Angel. Xander was the one in real danger. Osiris would make every effort to take him and kill him.
Angel explained the plan. They would climb down the fissure, where Spike and Xander had gone previously. Then they would find the tomb, find the hand, put it in the trunk and perform the ritual. The first priority would be to protect Xander. Osiris would be gunning for him from the beginning, needing to kill him before he can release himself and unleash his power on the world’s male population.
The gang loaded up the van with the trunk, ropes and weapons. They got inside and drove in silence towards the desert.
Angel parked the van about a mile from the fissure. It was safer that way. If the ground crumbled as it had done before, they did not want to lose the van. As battered as the vehicle was, it did not quite belong in the realm of the dead.
“I’m surprised to see you, Angel, I gotta say. Why are you here?” Spike was suspicious. Although he and Angel had managed to settle most of their differences, there was still uneasiness between them.
“I just want to help. When Giles described the sacred mark to me, I recognised it straight away. Do you know how serious…?”
Spike cut him off, his voice suddenly angry. “Course I do. I’m not bloody stupid!”
Angel was careful to keep his voice low and steady; his Childe was suddenly ready to blow. “I’m just trying to say that I thought the situation was serious enough for you to need an extra hand.”
The two vampires walked in silence for a few minutes before Angel spoke again. “What’s wrong, Will?”
“What do you bloody well think is wrong?”
“There’s something else. What is it?”
Spike sighed heavily and looked up to the sky as he spoke. “It’s me. This is all my fault. If I hadn’t dragged Xander down that sodding hole, then we wouldn’t be in this mess.”
“It’s not your fault, Will. These things sometimes happen. You are living on a Hellmouth, remember?” Angel’s tone was sympathetic.
“S’not the point. It was because of me that Xander got cursed, and....” Spike stopped walking and locked his eyes with Angel’s. “It was because of me that Talzar tried to kill him. And it will be because of me that Talzar comes back and tries to kill him again.”
“What makes you think he will come back?”
“Bloody obvious innit? They always come back.”
Angel nodded in agreement. “Then be ready, Will. When I get back to L.A I’ll look into getting some sort of spell. Perhaps something that can warn us if he breaks out of hell. In the meantime, let’s just concentrate on what’s happening now. Go catch Xander up, and stay with him. And stop thinking that any of this is your fault. It isn’t. It’s just life on a Hellmouth.”
Spike strode forward to catch up with his lover, but he stopped after a few steps and turned back to face Angel. “I’m glad you’re here.”
Six faces peered cautiously down into the fissure. “I don’t get it. That’s the ledge we jumped onto when we went down.” Xander tugged on his lover’s sleeve and pointed down to the said ledge.
Spike nodded his acknowledgement and turned his head to face Angel. “That ledge disintegrated. How could it come back?”
Angel shrugged. “I don’t know. Some effect of the curse, I assume,” He said as he walked away from the edge and grabbed some of the ropes. “Lets just get this over with. We can discuss details afterwards.”
“I’ll second that.” Buffy waved away the ropes Angel held out for her. She jumped down into the cracked earth and landed easily on the ledge bellow.
Angel tied the ropes around Willow and Tara and gently lowered them into the fissure. When the two witches reached the bottom they untied the rope from their waists and tugged firmly on it to signal Angel to pull it back up.
Angel gave the cord to Spike. Like him, Spike did not need a rope to get down to the ledge bellow, but Xander did. Spike reached around his lover’s waist with the rope, but he was stopped by warm hands on his arms. “No. I don’t need it. I trust you.”
Spike smiled, dropped the rope and wrapped his arms around his lover. “Hold tight, pet.”
Angel watched with a smile of his own as his Childe placed a tender kiss onto Xander’s lips before hopping smoothly over the edge. Satisfied that everyone had made it down safely, Angel tied one end of the rope around a nearby rock and dropped the other end down the hole. The mortal members of the team would need easy access to it to get back out if something where to happen to him or Spike.
Spike couldn’t stop staring at his lover. A look of wonder was plastered over his face. Xander looked up to meet his gaze. “What?”
“You didn’t let me carry you last time.”
Xander looked down at his feet. “Sorry. It’s just that, sometimes, I find it hard to trust people. But I’m trying…”
Fuck. His parents really did a number on him. Spike growled and pulled him forward until their bodies were flush with each other. “Don’t ever apologise for that. It’s not your fault.” Spike cupped Xander’s face in his hands and softened his voice. “I understand that you need time to trust me properly. I can wait.”
Angel landed quietly beside the embracing lovers and cleared his throat. “Okay, Spike? You lead the way.” Angel kept a tight hold of the trunk and followed his Childe along the ledge and into a dark passageway.
Tara shone the torch above her head and gasped. “Oh my, hieroglyphs, we must be getting close.”
Willow followed her gaze upwards and frowned. “Very close. And I’m wondering why nothings happening yet.” She spun to face Angel. “Something’s wrong, it’s too quiet.”
“You’re right. I would have expected something by now. Buffy...?” Angel looked at the Slayer and reeled with shock. “SPIKE! Keep Xander back!”
Spike instinctively grabbed his lovers arm and pulled the boy behind him. He looked towards Angel for an explanation; he couldn’t see what the sudden panic was. “What? What is it?” Angel was silent and Spike felt violent irritation surging through his veins. “ANGEL! What the fuck is...?” Angel pointed at Buffy and Spike felt his jaw drop. “Bloody hell! Witches, get back here! Stay with Xander.”
Tara and Willow obeyed, and shuffled quickly along the wall, meeting Xander and pulling him further back. “What’s going on, Wills?” Xander followed Willows gaze and he felt his legs buckle at the sight of Buffy. “Oh my God,” he whispered.
Buffy stood perfectly still. Her skin was deathly white, and had developed a pearly transparent quality. Her lips were as black as the night sky, but they did not move as the voice reverberated from within her. “BRING ME THE BOY.”
Dropping the trunk, Angel stepped in front of the possessed Buffy and sent out a silent answer of no.
Spike whipped around to face Xander and the witches. He addressed Willow and Tara. “Go! Get to the tomb. Take Xander.” Spike turned back and stood firmly in the door way. No way in hell was this Buffy-bitch going to get past him.
“BRING ME THE BOY.” Buffy’s eyes shifted from a bright white to a metallic green as she looked between the two unmoving vampires. She pulled out a gleaming silver sword “THEN DIE.”
Angel quickly pulled out his sword from his coat and held it defensively in front of his face. The Buffy-bitch swiped her weapon at Angel’s body and Angel swung his sword to meet it, backing away sharply. Angel was torn, this was still Buffy. How could he kill the woman that he once loved? He didn’t have time to think as the Buffy-bitch charged at him, her sword raised and her voice screaming like wild banshee. Angel heaved his weapon into the air and met Buffy’s swing with a terrific clash. For what seemed like an age, the two combatants stayed locked together, swords entwined over their heads. Finally the Buffy-bitch moved backwards. She twirled the sword to the sword to her side, and with frightening speed, swung it back towards Angel.
Spike watched the frantic battle from the doorway, unsure whether he should move to help his Sire, but risk opening the path for the possessed Buffy to pass through. He watched as swords clashed and sparks flew. Shit He reached down into his boot and pulled out a small knife, when the timing was right, he flung it down the passageway.
The knife caught the Buffy-bitch in the shoulder and she dropped her sword, squealing in pain and surprise. This was it. This was the opportunity that Angel needed. He raised his sword briefly before lowering it again. Could he really do this? Could he strike her? Could he kill her?
“Angel, c’mon, man. Do it!”
Angel herd the urgency in Spike’s voice and Angel responded by swinging his sword back to a striking position. For Spike. For Xander. For everyone.
Willow, Tara and Xander raced down the corridor as fast as they could. At every turn they expected the curse to strike. They almost wished it would. The silence, except for their harsh breathing and clattering feet, was unnerving. At last they reached tomb and they stopped outside. The door had crumbled away since Xander had been there last and the sacred mark had all but disappeared.
“This is it?”
Xander nodded and Willow took Tara’s hand and stepped into the tomb.
Xander followed close behind and pointed to a large stone sarcophagus in the centre of the room. “Do you think the hand is in there?”
“Looking good, but only one way to be totally sure.” Tara smiled happily and threw one of the shovels to Xander. “Let’s see if we can prise the top off.
Xander and Tara struggled for a few moments, failing miserably to even move the top of sarcophagus a few millimetres. Xander looked at Willow and cracked a false smile. “As much as I’m loving the exercise, could you do the Wicca thingy now?”
“Oh, sorry, Xan.” Willow casually waved her hand toward the stone lid. Yellow and orange swirled from her fingertips and encased the sarcophagus. Xander and Tara instinctive moved back and the large stone box vibrated. With a loud bang the lid exploded into thousands of tiny pieces, showering the them with dust and stone.
Xander stood slowly and brushed the flakes of stone out of his hair. “Thanks, Wills.” he said, not sure if he really meant it. He looked into the stone box and his breath hitched as he saw a small bundle stuffed in the corner. Xander picked it up and unwrapped it. This was it. The hand of Osiris.
“Where are the others? Shouldn’t they be here by now?”
Xander looked over at Tara and then to Willow. “Yeah, where are they?” Where’s Spike?
Willow opened her mouth to offer some reassuring words, but closed it again at the sound of a faint cracking.
Tara grabbed Willows hand. “What’s that?”
Xander turned in circle, trying to work out what the noise was and where it was coming from. “Well, whatever it is, I’m thinking that it’s not of the good.” As he spoke pieces of the wall fell away and hundreds of snakes poured into the room.
Willow and Tara were forced into a corner by the sepents, and Xander backed up against the opposite wall. He watched with morbid fascination as the snakes continued to pour in. Cobras, vipers, Pythons, Boa Constrictors, the snakes were now ankle deep and Xander looked down in horror as they started to slither up his body. Oh God. Spike, where are you?
Angel swung his sword into an attack position. “I’m Sorry Buf…”
As Angel spoke, the Buffy-bitch’s head flew from her neck and rolled over to where Spike stood guard. Angel followed its movement before looking back up to see the headless body fall forward and reveal another Buffy.
“B-Buffy?” Angel pointed to the decapitated corpse that was slowly disintegrating into the ground. “I thought that was you.”
Buffy grinned up at the vampire. “With that skin? Are you kidding me? Thank you very much!”
Angel pulled Buffy into a hug tight enough to crush an ordinary person. “Angel? Shouldn’t we be somewhere else?”
Spike listened to the muffled voice emanating from Angel’s coat. “The bint’s right. C’mon, it’s this way.” With a quick wave, Spike waved them in his direction and raced down the corridor towards the tomb.
The python tightened its grip. Xander pulled with one hand at the snake which was wrapped around his neck. “Willow,” he croaked. It was getting harder to breath. Xander dropped Osiris’ hand and sunk to his knees.
Spike rushed into the tomb but was stopped by the wall of snakes. He looked at his lover crouched down and nearly entirely covered by the snakes. “Bloody fuck!” He waded through the see of reptiles, scooping up armfuls of them and tossing them behind him. Angel and Buffy followed close behind, dodging the flying snakes and throwing more armfuls out of their way.
Buffy made it over to Willow and Tara. “Wills? Can you work the mojo? Maybe get rid of a couple of slippery serpents?” Buffy pulled a small hand axe from her jacket and chopped at a Reticulated Python that was wrapped around the two witches.
“I’ve tried Buffy! But it just makes things worse.”
“More snakes. I can’t stop them. We need to get out, get the hand and get out.” Buffy nodded and looked around for the rest of her friends. Angel and Spike were tearing snakes from Xander’s body. Angel met her gaze.
“The hand!” he shouted. “It's underneath!” Angel gestured to the room full of serpents and went back to helping Spike unwrap an anaconda from Xander’s legs.
Xander felt dizzy and a little bit sick. The snakes had wrapped themselves around every part of his body and as the vampires slowly released him, he swayed heavily. Spike caught him. He placed a steadying arm around his waist and began unwinding another Python from his thigh.
All around the room, Xander’s friends were shouting and screaming to each other, digging beneath the reptiles to find the hand. The panicking increased by the second and more and more snakes filled up the room. He had dropped Osiris’ hand amongst the serpents and now it was probably buried four foot deep. Xander became aware that the voices of his friends were gradually fading out. As the room darkened, Xander wondered if he was about pass out. But he didn’t feel faint. He felt completely awake.
Xander looked around at his surrounding. His friends and the snakes were nothing but a dark blur and their sounds were now just dull, quiet murmurings. A feeling of complete calm filled his mind and not a trace of fear or panic now existed in his body. As a light breeze flowed through the room, ruffling his hair, a brilliant blue light streaked passed him and settled onto the far wall. Xander watched with calm curiosity as the pulsing light took form. A woman now stood before him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Ivory skin, glowing blue eyes and black wavy hair that flowed down to her beautiful bare feet. Xander stood and watched her with awe; she had to be some sort of Goddess.
The entrancing figure floated towards Xander, her long turquoise dress flapping gently in the breeze. “Hello, Xander.” Her voice was soft and held an almost dreamlike quality.
Xander felt no malice from this divine creature. He smiled sweetly. “Hello.”
“Do not fear me, young one.”
“I don’t. Who are you?”
“I am Isis, Goddess of the Earth and Moon.”
Xander nodded slowly and waited patiently for her to continue.
“Osiris must be stopped, for he will bring pestilence and death to my beautiful Earth.”
Xander nodded again and continued waiting. Something told him that this was not his time to speak.
Isis gestured slowly at the oblivious, darkened figures scattered about the room. “You can stop him, you and your friends.”
Xander frowned. He had lost the hand. It lay buried beneath thousands of serpents.
“I will help you, Xander. But you must do something for me.”
Isis gave him the most genuine smile he had ever seen. “Take me. Take me out of here and away from him” Isis’ smile disappeared and she glanced worriedly behind her. “He comes. Trust me as I trust you.”
Xander shielded his eyes. The ghostly figure of Isis exploded into a flash of blinding blue light. The light streamed into the centre of the room and disappeared into the mountain of writhing serpents.
The room lightened and came back into focus, and the voices of his friends once again became clear. “Xan, luv? You alright? You gonna pass out on me?”
Xander heard Spike clearly, but he was too distracted to answer him. The snakes near the centre of the room appeared to be agitated. They hissed and spat at each other, all the while wriggling to get away from whatever had upset them.
Everybody stood up and watched the strange serpent behaviour. Tara looked over to Angel. “What are they doing?”
“I don’t know. It’s looks like they are trying to get away from something.” Angel glanced at his Childe. Spike was staring worriedly at his lover.
Xander’s eyes were locked onto the centre of the room, his heartbeat was wild and his breathing came out in short, fast puffs. Suddenly, he saw her. A small Python slithered upwards and turned to face him. The snake’s black eyes flashed a brilliant blue. Isis
Angel began to wade through the reptiles towards his Childe and his lover. “Xander?”
Without warning, Xander suddenly threw himself into the writhing mass.
Angel and Spike both yelled and lunged together. “NO!” They were too late. The boy had already belly-flopped into the mass of serpents.
Xander gripped the snake firmly and began to pull her out of the mass. His body began to drown in the sea of serpents and he felt two pairs of strong arms lift him up. Angel steadied him while Spike ran his hands over him. “What the hell was that?!? Have you gone completely crazy? XAN! Are you listening to me?”
Spike sounded furious, but the look of concern on his face gave him away. Xander wasn’t sure what to say to him or to the others. They were all looking at him strangely. In answer to their wondering gazes, Xander held up the snake he had grabbed. Five jaws dropped as their eyes were drawn to the object looped in the serpent’s tail. The hand of Osiris.
Buffy and Angel helped everyone out of the room and into the corridor. Angel had left the trunk outside the tomb and he now knelt in front of it. He reached up to take the snake from Xander, but the boy kept a near death grip on it. Spike came to the rescue. “S’okay, pet. Just need the hand.” Spike gently prised the snake from Xander’s hands and untangled the hand from the serpent’s tail. He passed the dusty hand to Angel and looked back to his lover.
“Don’t kill it. Please.” Xander stared at Spike with the famous kicked puppy dog eyes.
“Okay, pet. I’ll just put it back.” Spike went to walk away, but a warm hand on his arm stopped him.
“No, you can’t. We have to take it home.”
“You wanna keep it?” Spike sounded somewhat surprised. “I didn’t think you were that keen on reptiles.”
“I’m not. But that’s not an ordinary reptile.”
Buffy, Willow, Tara and Spike all spoke in unison. “It’s not?”
Spike dropped the snake. “Bleedin’ ‘ell!”
Xander caught the Goddess before she could hit the ground. “She’s not evil,” he protested to the shocked and frightened faces of his friends. “She wants to get out of here as much as we do. She said that she would help us if we got her out. Well she got us the hand and now I have to keep my side of the bargain.” Xander held the snake protectively against his chest.
“Okay, Xan. Keep her with you for now.” Buffy was uneasy, but the determination on Xander’s face made her realise that arguing with him would waste a lot of time. Spike simply nodded. If his boy wanted to keep the snake, that was fine by him. And if the Slayer or anyone else wanted to try and take it from him then they would have to go through a pissed off, killer vampire first.
“Willow, Tara, Stand over there. Spike, you go that side, opposite Xander. Buffy keep watch.” Angel passed an old red book for Tara and Willow to share. He didn’t need it. He had already memorised the incantation. Finally he passed a long sharp dagger to Spike. Xander’s eyes widened when he saw the exchange, he knew the knife was for him.
“It’s okay, luv.” Trust me.
“Okay.” I trust you.
Angel spoke. “Are we ready?” The others replied with a nervous yes and Angel began the ritual.
Buffy stood in one of her classic defence stances and quickly glanced over at the ritual behind her. Her friends stood in a sort of circle around the opened trunk. Angel, Tara and Willow chanted in a weird guttural language that seemed to be void of any vowels. Spike and Xander stood opposite each other, Xander clutching his new pet and Spike holding tightly to a silver dagger. Buffy shivered. She wasn’t sure how much of Xander’s blood they would need. She hoped it wasn’t much.
“KNF JRLL FNY KYTH”
Spike looked over at his trembling lover and felt rage building inside him. Why Xander? Why does this shit always happen to him? All the disgusting lowlifes out there, and fate picks on a sweet kid like my Xan. Spike thought about the silent promise he had made to himself. He was going to make Xander’s life so much better.
“BYR KYTH KNF GLYT SHRYL”
The earth began to rumble and the floor cracked violently. The chanting continued and Angel nodded to Spike to begin the second phase of the ritual. Xander caught the signal and automatically held out his arm to Spike.
“KRYG JRLL SHRYL KYTH DYTH”
Spike wanted to say something reassuring to the boy, but words would interrupt the ritual. Instead he took Xander’s hand and kissed the upturned palm. He locked eyes with his lover and tried to communicate his reassurances without the use of words. Xander flashed him the briefest of smiles to say that he understood, and Spike ran the knife quickly across his palm.
Xander closed his eyes and sucked in a sharp breath as the pain of the cut hit him. He felt Spike’s fingers interlock with his own and he opened his eyes to see his blood being squeezed into the trunk bellow.
“BLYD HND TY HND KYTH BLYD”
As Angel and the witches shouted out the last line of the incantation, they all felt the ground begin to give way beneath them. Buffy growled with frustration. She was the Slayer. She was built for fighting. But how could she fight nothing? No demons, no vampires, nothing that she could beat the shit out of. How the fuck do you protect someone from thousands of snakes, millions of insects, bloody showers or a collapsing corridor?
The floor continued to buckle and a fierce wind whipped around the circle of people. On Angel’s word the six friends dived onto the trunk in an attempt to close it. The wind grew stronger and part of the floor crumbled away, nearly taking Tara with it. She scrambled back to the trunk and held on for dear life.
Buffy continued to press down on the open lid, frustration snowballing in her gut. More of the floor fell away, and she realised that they didn’t have long. She turned her head to the side and came face to face with Xander’s snake. The serpent’s eyes glowed bright blue and Buffy quickly looked at the others to see if they had noticed. No-one had. A beautiful voice resounded in her head and she turned back quickly to face the strange snake.
“You are the Slayer. Use what you know.”
The serpent’s eyes transformed back to the normal black and Buffy realised what she had to do. She had to use her Slayer strength. Close the trunk. Close it and everything will be over. So simple. She let go of lid and backed up as much as she could without falling down a crevice. Then, with a war cry that would have scared Dracula himself, she launched herself forward and somersaulted into the air. She landed firmly onto the half closed lid, using all of her power and strength to close it completely.
The rushing wind reversed and sped back the way it came. Xander was dragged back by Spike as the ground began to close up around his feet. Tara had to shout to be heard above the wind. “WHAT’S GOING ON?”
It was Angel that shouted back. “IT’S GOING BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS.” Sure enough, as he spoke, part of the floor rushed back up from the dark depths bellow and locked into place like a giant jigsaw. Angel had a sudden burst of inspiration. He grabbed one side of the trunk and pulled it towards one of the open cracks. Xander saw the intent and moved to help him. The snake had gently wrapped around his neck, so Xander was able to use both hands to lift up the other side of the trunk. He winced as the weight pressed into the fresh cut on his palm. Together, he and Angel heaved the trunk down a closing hole and watched as the ground literally swallowed it up.
In flash, it was over. The wind gone and the floor was back in place. The gang slowly got to their feet and nervously looked around. Xander looked towards the tomb and was relieved to find it sealed back up, exactly as he had found it the first time. He frowned in puzzlement at the floor. There was no sacred mark. Spike stood behind him and circled protective arms around his waist. “Don’t need a mark, pet. Bloody hand ain’t in there no more. Right?” Xander allowed his head to fall back onto Spike’s shoulder. He was exhausted.
“Bloody good job that mark didn’t go back to its original place?”
“Cos you would be standing right on it!”
“Oh!” Xander looked shocked only for a moment before grinning sheepishly at his lover. “Ooops.”
Spike grinned back. “Idiot”
One week later
“C’mon, Isis. I know you want it. Come and get the tasty…dead mouse.”
Spike crept up behind the human sitting on the floor and whispered into his ear. “You’ve got to swing it, babe”
“Ahh!” Xander jumped in surprise, swinging the mouse wildly in the air. The snake struck unexpectedly and grabbed the dead rodent from his hand. “AHH!”
Spike chuckled and pulled his lover into a playful embrace. “Sorry, pet.”
“Christ, Spike. Between you and the Isis, I’m gonna end up having a heart attack.”
Spike nuzzled another apology into Xander’s neck and ran his hand over his chest. “Want me to feed her next time?”
“Yes please. That would be golden goodness.”
“She done the blue-eyed flashy thing again?”
“Nope. Well, not that I’ve noticed. Do you think she’s still in there? Isis, I mean?”
“According to Giles she is. Trapped in the snake’s body until we can find a way to release her. I guess we’ll have to look after her ‘til then.”
Xander turned back to the little Python. “Mmmm.”
Spike noticed the dreamy quality in Xander voice. “What, luv?”
“Nothing really. It’s silly.”
“I don’t believe for a second that it could be.”
Xander closed the vivarium door and left Isis to swallow her meal. Turning back to Spike, he kept his eyes downcast. “It’s just that...when I was a kid, I always wanted a pet. Something I could take care of, something I could love and would love me back.”
Spike was shocked. “You never had a pet?”
“No. My parents wouldn’t let me.”
Spike felt the misery pouring off his lover. He put his hand beneath the boy’s chin and lifted it, guiding Xander’s gaze to meet his own. “Well, you know you’ve got me to love you back now, yeah?”
Xander nodded, a slight smile appearing on his lips.
“And you can pet me any time you want!” Spike said cheerfully. This earned him a bigger smile and an armful of human.
“Yup. Oh actually, any time apart from now.” Spike yanked Xander to his feet and led him to the door. “We have got a house to view.”
“Now! It’s past midnight.”
“Oh, you wanna wait ‘till morning?” Spike said in a mock sarcastic tone.
Xander swiped him across the back of the head. “Be nice to me.”
“C’mon, idiot. Lets go. Don’t wanna be late.”
Xander followed Spike out the door. “Spike?”
“Can I pet you in the car?”
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