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Dreamless – Chapter 2
When the roar came — urgent, raw, reverberating through her body — she remained still, undaunted. She waited for it, the final agony before oblivion, the price for peace. Her heart raced, her body screamed to defend itself, but she wanted to go without a struggle; she wanted her last moment on this earth to be dignified.
“What the bloody hell’s the matter with you?!?”
The lizard spoke English?
Her eyes snapped open to the sight of a dark and leathery lump hurled into the same broken tree that’d saved her earlier, triggering another explosion of white-and-pink petals. The lump stumbled to its feet, and suddenly, she locked gazes with a pair of familiar amber eyes, their intensity threatening to overload her fight-or-flight instinct.
“One and the same,” he snarled in a thick voice, and wiped at a gash across his forehead with the back of his hand, smearing blood all over his bumpies. “Now snap out of it, Slayer!” — he tossed her a sword — “And gimme a hand!” Before jumping back into the fray.
Her face hot with shame, she feigned outrage. “Hey! I was handling it! Find your own giant lizard!”
“Believe me,” he grunted out and, with a two-handed swing, buried a battle axe in the monster’s armoured back. Using it as leverage to climb onto its shoulders, he shot back, “If you’d been ‘handling it’ I wouldn’t’ve intervened!”
Incredibly, he was trying to put the monster into a chokehold, which probably would’ve worked better if the creature’s immense neck would fit into the crook of his elbow.
“I was…strategizing! Searching for weakness!” She covered, leaping out of the way as Spike was thrown bodily from the monster’s back.
“This ain’t sodding chess, Slayer! Hop to it!” With difficulty, he peeled himself off the ground, not even bothering to dust off the old leather before making another bone-headed attempt to — was he really trying to wrestle with the beast?
The only thing worse than losing a battle was watching someone else lose it, while knowing exactly what she would do differently, how she would win. Standing on the sidelines while Spike teased more than fought the demon was unbearable. Buffy gave the sword a practice swing. Comfortable grip, good balance, oiled blade, sharpened edge; it would do.
Looked like she was going to save his hide — again.
He wouldn’t purposely throw a fight just to spur her into action, would he? Lay his unlife on the line because he figured that in the mind of Buffy Anne Summers, he was more than capable of committing such blunders on the battlefield? After all the times he’d proven to be a formidable opponent? What did he take her for, someone who’d never dropped out of college Psych 101 because her professor got skewered by her own bio-mechanical demonoid Frankenstein? (And by the way, that bitch so deserved it!)
Take now, for example. Spike had somehow fallen into the monster’s grip, pounding and kicking to no avail.
Exasperated, she yelled, “Where’s your axe?”
“Not…here…” he said lamely.
“Ugh!” Seriously, she had zero patience for headgames. If she was going to live through tonight, and it looked like she was headed in that direction, she might as well come out on top.
She swung the sword up and over her shoulder like a baseball bat, a powerful starting position.
After aiming for the popliteus muscle stretched thin in the back of one of the monster’s knees, she brought the sword down with a decisive stroke. The beast screeched, the wounded knee crashing to the ground. Both claws rushed to staunch the flow of — yuck — green demon blood.
She pulled a slightly dazed Spike up to his feet and safety.
He shook his head as if to clear it. “Ta, Slayer.”
“OK, time to talk strategy.” She kept an eye on the monster. On the lizard’s back, bowed low enough to permit Buffy a glimpse, something glistened.
“Wait a minute…” she muttered. There, jammed between two plates of armour, was Spike’s battleaxe. And with a running start, a step and a leap, followed by a hard wrench, Buffy wriggled the hefty weapon free.
“Was stuck,” grumbled Spike, when Buffy handed it over.
Buffy snickered. “Was not.”
Spike’s next words were drowned out by the anguished wail of the giant lizard gingerly getting back up. Buffy cut him short.
“Listen to me. This thing’s big, but nimble it is not. It’ll have trouble keeping track of both of us — that’s how we’ll take it down. You handle the squishy front, and I’ll attack it from the back. Be light on your feet and ready to move. Oh, and watch out for that wrecking ball of a tail. Deal?”
He gripped the axe tighter and nodded, eyes glowing with admiration. “You’re hot when you’re in charge…”
She rolled her eyes, unable to stop a smirk from spreading — vampires, not clear on the time and a place thing — and gave him a play-shove. “Go!”
New positions assumed, they fought in tandem, and soon found a rhythm. Attack and retreat and reposition, alternating between offense and defense. With complementary moves choreographed to kill, they turned the battle into a beautiful but lethal dance, the beast trapped between them. Until finally, separating the two dancers no more, it collapsed upon the ground, a ghastly swan song emanating from its throat.
Triumphant but covered similarly from head to toe in blood and demon goo, Buffy and Spike took one look at each other and burst into laughter. In good company and good cheer, the voices from the abyss of her mind ceased; in their place a victory song surged. Gasping for breath, delirious from exhaustion but also from something akin to happiness, Buffy had one thought above all:
She could’ve danced all night.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/593842.html