Title: Twelve Hours
Fandom: Buffy: the Vampire Slayer
Rating: NC-17 (violence, language, sex trifecta)
Disclaimer: Joss is a veritable God. I merely play with the eye candy.
Spoilers: For Buffy S7. Follows my version of after the series
Summary: On a mission in the jungles somewhere in South America, Spike and Xander experience twelve hours that end up changing everything.
Notes: I originally intended this to go longer into the night, but the characters had other ideas. Hope it's close enough to the prompt!
Written for the Sneezefic Annual Challenge 2009 for Bunny 20
“It's got to be this way,” Xander insisted, looking at the map and reading the compass by the light of his flashlight.
Spike shuffled along behind as the passageway was too narrow to do otherwise. “Can't help but point out that's what you said an hour ago, and then an hour before that.”
Xander folded the map and quickened his pace. “Well, this time I mean it. This passage looks familiar, doesn't it?”
“It's a bloody pyramid. All the passages look the same.” Spike didn't mention that there was no set of footprints in the dust underfoot that came before the ones they were making now. Whether they were close or not remained to be seen, but they sure as Hell weren't somewhere they'd been before. “Xander, do you think we could rest for a second?”
Xander plodded on at his pace. “We're almost out. We can rest then.”
Spike coughed and tried to keep up.
“Hey, look on the bright side. At least we're not lost.”
They were lost, if you asked Spike.
“This is it. I can feel it. This is it,” Xander repeated to himself like a mantra.
“Oh shut up,” Spike muttered so quietly Xander might not have heard. Then, louder, “I need to stop, Harris.”
“I'm a little tired, too. But you're half-vampire. If I can do this, you can do this. It's just a little further.”
Overwhelmed and annoyed, Spike slumped against a wall of stone and clay and closed his eyes. Strong coughs caught hold of him and he pressed a sleeve cuff to his streaming nose.
His symptoms called out to Xander, who finally stopped and turned. “What's wrong with you?”
“What do you think?” Spike froze, then snapped forward. “eh-IHShhhh!”
Xander walked over and put a hand on Spike's shoulder. Then he checked the vampire's forehead. Spike wasn't sure what the man was hoping to find; even a sick vampire wasn't going to run a temperature of any sort. It just didn't work that way. But whatever the man found put a frown on his face. “You're sick.”
Looking hurt, “It's not my fault I didn't know. All you were doing was whining that you wanted to stop. You should have said you weren't feeling well.”
Spike looked him right in the eye. “I'm not feeling well.”
Xander sighed and turned back around. “Well we're almost out. We'll deal with that then.”
Spike pushed himself off the wall and steadied himself once more.
“Hey,” Xander said, as they continued walking. “At least by the time we get out of this, the sun will be setting.”
They stood at the entryway to the pyramid for a few seconds before pulling back.
Spike was forced to stay in the shadows, because the sun was only just setting over the dense, South American rain forest. The bright yellows and oranges had struck his skin and done him no favors. With his nose stuffed, he couldn't smell his skin with light smoke rising from it.
Xander recoiled instead of celebrating the finding of the exit because of the hundred-something warriors standing right in front of them, brandishing spears and poison dart guns right in his direction. The tribe looked beyond angry; murderous might be a better description, really.
Several warriors were already mounting the stairs towards them with ropes and bindings and spears with something moist and dangerous on the tips.
Between a rock and a hard place, Xander could only look over at Spike. “At least we found the way out.”
Several warriors finished tying the two of them to the trees, using tight ropes and vines around their wrists, arms, and torsos. Xander's legs were bound together as well, because he'd managed to kick one of the warriors in the crotch while struggling.
The chief had explained the situation quite plainly, but Xander hadn't heard a word, not because he didn't understand the native language but because he'd been knocked unconscious after spitting in the face of one of the warriors.
When the bindings were tight and secure, the warriors left the two there. If Spike had been still a full vampire, that much sun during the trek from the pyramid to where they were now would have reduced him to dust easily. As he was, all it did was burn him dreadfully.
Spike sat there helplessly. He watched as his burnt skin very slowly began to heal itself. He was glad for the last of the blood he'd swallowed from his canteen right before being captured. He sat and sniffled, rubbing his nose against his shoulder, wishing he had a hand free so he could blow his ticklish nose. He waited for Xander to regain consciousness so he could explain their predicament. He wished he hadn't agreed to come along on this absurd mission in the first place.
“Nguhhhh…” Xander moaned and raised his head wearily. He took in the situation and tried not to look at Spike's charred and burnt but reconstructing face, lest he might be sick. Weakly, Xander said, “At least we're together.”
“Let me get this straight,” Xander said, trying to work it out for the tenth time. “For violating their sacred temple they've bound us here for the night. If we die during the night, they'll give our bodies a sacred burial as honored sacrifices but if we survive they'll kill us for being impure?”
“Salem witch trials all over again,” Spike replied, nodding. “But the chief also said something I can't translate.”
Xander looked like he didn't want to get his hopes up.
Spike opened his mouth with every intention of saying the name, but he sneezed instead. “ihShhihhhh!” Without the use of his hands, he sneezed freely out in front of him. And he sniffled wetly.
“Funny thing for him to say. You sure you heard him right?”
Spike was suddenly glad his hands were bound. He could never have killed Xander, but he certainly would have liked to after that. Here he was making jokes while Spike was feeling miserable and about to die. Through gritted teeth, “The chief explained why no one ever made it through the night. He said 'Inguiti'.”
Xander's lone eye widened and his face, pale already, went as white as Spike's. “At least we found the demon we were after then.”
“You're getting worse, aren't you, Spike?”
“And you're brilliant. If we're going to die here, do you think we could do it without your inane comments?”
Xander sighed and looked away from Spike, whose face other areas of exposed skin had healed up nicely by now.
Xander looked back, a sympathetic expression on his face. “Bless you.”
“What did I just say about your comments?”
Xander sighed again. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Sniff! Not unless you've got a hanky you can give me. Sniff! Or, you know, something to cut a rope and kill a mad demon.”
Shaking his head, “At least it's just a cold.”
“Your teeth are chattering, Harris.”
“S-sorry.” Xander clenched his teeth and tried to make his shivering stop. It was getting cooler now, and he was getting scared. Whenever he'd landed in shitty situations before, he'd always had the hope of being rescued or escaping or something. But this time he couldn't think of how he would get out of this. It was bad enough being sent to kill an Inguiti demon, but being sacrificed to one without any way of defending one's self was a terrifying prospect.
And Spike was absolutely no help in the matter. All he was doing was sneezing and sniffling and occasionally swearing.
“Don't think you could sneeze the thing to death, could you?” Xander asked after a while.
Spike winced as though the stupid suggestion had actually physically hurt him. Spike brought his knees up and managed to rub his nose on his knee. If he'd had his full vampire powers back, he could have broken out of his bonds in about a second. But all the pulling and yanking he'd done had only made his wrists red and raw.
“hehShihhh! Ihhh… ihhh-Hihshhh! Sniff!” Straining, Spike rubbed his nose on his knee. “Harris?”
“Sorry. I'll try not to think about the cold.”
“No.” Spike looked at him, several trees over. “I just wanted to say…” He wasn't sure what he wanted to say. So he settled for “If I had to die with anyone…” and then he didn't know how to finish.
“Same here, Spike.” Xander took a slow, deep breath. “At least there's that said then.”
“Is it? I can't hear it.”
Spike nodded. His super vampire hearing might be gone, but it was still better than the average human's. “It's far off, but it's coming.”
Xander lowered his voice. “Think if we're quiet, it won't know we're here?”
“I think we're in its hunting grounds now. That's why the tribe moved us. That's what they're counting on. It's letting the demon do their dirty work for them. And in exchange, the demon probably leaves them alone. I think it's going to find us sooner or later no matter what.”
“If it's all the same,” Xander whispered, “I'd prefer later to sooner.”
There was silence for a while, a long while, as Xander strained to hear something and Spike tried not to hear what he could hear.
“Aren't you going to try to find something good in all of this to annoy me with?” Spike asked finally.
Xander chuckled. “At least you haven't lost your sense of humor.”
The worst thing about facing a snarling Inguiti demon while being tied to a tree was the utter helplessness and worry that you might have to watch it murder your friend right before your eyes. It was bad enough knowing it was going to kill you, but not knowing which of you would go first was torture. Utterly terrifying, in fact.
And the best thing about facing a snarling Inguiti demon while being tied to a tree was that the Inguiti had long, sharp claws. And if you shifted around the tree you were tied to, chances were good that he'd slice right through the ropes binding you before it killed you. Either that or it would get slice your hands off. Either way, you'd be able to get away alive.
“Not the hands,” Spike whispered as if it would help. “Please not the hands again. Please eh-HIHShhh!” And then Xander screamed.
A cold chill ran through Spike's body. But then Xander was there with a knife, frantically cutting him free and rattling off a whole string of short sentences. “Hold still. Don't move. Don't sneeze. Definitely don't sneeze. Can you stand? Can you fight?”
Spike held his breath and held back a sneeze. He nodded as his bonds were cut. He leaned forward, pulling free. He shifted around so Xander could get access to his wrists to cut him completely free. As Xander cut, Spike stared right at the demon. It charged him. Spike pulled, but the cords weren't yet cut. The demon came closer. Spike pulled again and felt like sneezing. The demon was almost upon him. Spike pulled his hands free, dropped, and rolled to the side. He coughed and pushed himself up to his feet. Instantly he jumped into the fight.
“Not sure how long I'll last,” Spike told Xander honestly.
Xander nodded sympathetically. He had his knife out, and he smiled. “At least we've got a chance now.”
The Inguiti was relentless. Spike had tried wrapping the remaining ropes around it, but its claws cut straight through. Xander stabbed at it a few times, but spent more time jumping out of its way than getting close enough to it to do any damage.
“This isn't working,” Spike called over, feeling exhausted. His fist struck the demon's body and glanced off without doing damage. He'd never give up, but he knew when he was fighting a losing battle and it was time to try something new.
“Can we get it into the pyramid?” Xander suggested.
Spike understood. In those narrow passages, the demon wouldn't be able to strike. The wild, swinging arms would have less movement. The low ceilings would make it hunch over. “You're brilliant,” Spike said, without a bit of sarcasm intended. “I'm going to try to lure it over.”
Spike sprinted. As he ran, he tried to figure out how he could possibly survive. He was putting himself in Xander's hands now, and maybe that was okay. There'd be no escape once he was inside. It'd be just him and the demon. And if Xander didn't strike it down from behind, Spike gave his life expectancy ten minutes at best.
Standing in the passageway, in the dark, facing the Inguiti, Spike felt the rush of adrenaline pump through his body, overpowering his cold. He got in a few excellent blows, too, before the demon shrieked and dissolved.
Panting, Xander hovered over the pile of dirt that had once been the Inguiti. They stared at each other, then they both turned their attention towards the opening of the pyramid where warriors were again assembling. Maybe they'd been watching the whole time or maybe they'd heard the noise of the lengthy battle.
Either way, Xander looked back at Spike, smile. “Well, at least we're no worse off than we were a few hours ago.”
They wouldn't, couldn't kill people. But that didn't mean they couldn't do damage while trying to save their own skins. And with their demon gone, the tribe really didn't put up as strong a fight as anticipated.
Leaving a few injured and a handful unconscious in their wake, Xander and Spike sped off through the thick vegetation on their mopeds.
“Think we should leave out the part about being tied up for hours when we get back to Scotland?” Xander asked, yelling back to Spike over the noise from their bikes.
“Bloody right,” Spike said. “ihhh… ihh-Hish! Sniff! And I'll not mention the part about you wetting yourself if you drop the bit about my cold.”
Xander coughed. “You, ah, you noticed that, did you?”
“My nose might be stuffed but I have eyes. Sniff! You've faced hundreds of demons, Harris, what was so different this time?”
Xander slowed his bike down, and the brake light flashed in Spike's face. He slowed as well and then the two stopped. Xander took off his helmet and rested his bike against a tree. He walked back to Spike. “Because this time you could have died.”
Spike took his helmet off and rubbed his sleeve under his nose. “What's that?” He sniffed and coughed. “You mean we, right?”
Xander nodded. “We… except I didn't care about me so much.”
Spike stared at Xander Harris, a dark gray silhouette, a one-eyed form amidst the rain forest, all but confessing something they had no business discussing while on the run. “Fuck,” Spike managed.
Shrugging, “At least you agree.”
Xander panted heavily as he rolled off of Spike and onto a nearby grove of ferns covering the ground. Sweat trickled down the sides of his face, which shown with the light of someone who'd just had sex.
“Didn't know you had that in ya, Harris,” said Spike, sitting up and trying to sort out the various items of clothing they'd discarded hastily an hour before in their haste.
“If I'd known it would be that good, I would have tried it long before now,” Xander replied.
“ihh-ihh-HIHShh! Just wait until I get over this cold. Then it'll really be something.”
Xander gave a start. “Better than what we just did?” In his estimation, 'defeated a demon and nearly escaped with my life' sex was the best there ever was.
But Spike knew better. He just smiled to himself, and that made Xander go weak. Spike gathered the man up in his arms. “Bloody Hell, Harris. You do have a fucked up idea about this sort of thing, don't you?”
Xander laughed and ran through a quick list of his demonic romances. “Makes a vengeance demon look like an angel, doesn't it?”
Spike smiled and ran his hand through Xander's floppy brown hair affectionately. “If that's what got you here, then I wouldn't want to change a second of it.”
“At least…” Xander began, then paused, staring back at Spike, unable to finish. Spike looked at him imploringly. Xander tried again. “At least—“ He couldn't finish.
But this time he couldn't finish because Spike was kissing him. Strongly. Passionately. Hand cupping cheek, other hand cupping hip, thigh against crotch and, oh, body against body.
Xander pulled back for a moment, looking humbled and excited. “We're not expected back until late tomorrow. We've got all night if we want it.”
Spike spread his kisses outward from lips to jaw to ear to neck, rocking his body against Xander, who didn't even care about the constant sniffling. “Then let's at least pretend that this night will never end, pet.”