Author: Dark Star
Summary: Times, they are a-changing.
Rated: Adult for darkish bits.
Notes: There is a battle outside and it is ragin’ ~ Bob Dylan.
Thanks to Jo for the beta.
Buffy quickly buttoned up her woollen coat, shivering in the cold wind rippling the trees. It was exceptionally cold, and the ground was slippery from the recent rainstorm. She was not a happy Buffy. What she wanted to be doing was having a fun night with Willow, watching TV, griping about boys and fashion and monsters and all that girlie stuff. Yet here she was, charging about in the miserable dark looking for some nasty big hairy thing that had been eating people and leaving bits of them lying about in the park.
The path she was on lead downhill, leading through dripping wet bushes, and as she pushed through, her sleeve caught on a sharp branch and ripped open. There goes another good coat she thought grumpily.
Underneath the offending bushes she found an opening, big enough for her to slip inside. Not something she really wanted to do, given that she was hunting something that ate people, but nobody had asked her if she wanted to do it, so she pressed on.
The opening was dark and slippery and she shone her flashlight down inside the hole. Some kind of rocky passage led down, and she wondered for the hundredth time how many of these subterranean tunnels ran under Sunnydale. She slipped on the wet leaves lying on the floor inside of the tunnel, making her sword chink on the ground and graze her knee on the rock. She bit her lip to avoid making any more noise than she needed to. She had no idea if the flesh-eating creature was anywhere in the vicinity, and she didn’t want it chopping anything off that she might need.
Stepping more carefully into the passage, Buffy shone her flashlight down the narrow space, hoping there was nothing lurking there. The walls and floor looked… sticky, somehow. Some of the marks on the floor were clearly blood splatters, but the walls seemed to have some kind of sticky residue on them, kinda like a giant snail had left trails all over the place. Was that what she was hunting? A giant snail? She grinned, imagining a huge shelled thing chomp-chomping about. And then she remembered what it chomped on, and suddenly it wasn’t so funny any more.
The end of the passage looked lighter, and Buffy could see where an opening in the ceiling let the moon shine in. Good, it meant she could turn off her light. She dropped it back into her coat pocket, and carefully picked her way into the moon-blessed room. At the entrance, sticky tendrils grasped at her face, and she brushed them away, irritably. Cobwebs? Yuck. And then she frowned, taking another look at the size of the cobwebs, and her blood ran cold. How big was the damned thing?
Behind the tendrils, more webs spread across the entrance but these were even bigger, thicker, and too tough for her to just push aside so she ducked underneath, afraid that at any minute the creature would swoop down and bite off her head, and she grasped her sword tighter, just in case.
She made it under the massive web safely, trying not to touch its gluey face any more than she needed to and paused. She suddenly felt very odd, and she wondered if the creature might be secreting some kind of poisoned mucus or something. Euw.
As stealthily as possible she crossed the cave. In front of her she found a table, and she wondered what the room was used for originally, since the spider probably had no need for furniture. Then a movement on the other side of the table caught her eye and she stood absolutely still, trying to see what was hiding in the corner of the room. As her eyes adjusted better to the light, she saw a hairy appendage sticking out and shuddered. Jeepers! look at the size of it! Her eyes travelled back over the length of the giant spider; it appeared to be asleep, thankfully. The body alone must be at least six foot long!
A heavy wave of nausea suddenly washed over her, and for a moment she felt disorientated. If it had poisoned her, she needed to get rid of it and get out of here. But the table was lying in her way, and incongruously, there was a metal bucket on the table. In spite of the ghastly smell coming from the bucket she couldn’t resist, and leant forward to look inside; something was floating in the water, but she couldn’t make out what. She didn’t want to touch the water so instead she gave the bucket a little nudge, and a severed hand floated up into view. The unexpectedness of it caught her unawares, and she covered her mouth quickly to stifle her gasp of horror.
She’d had enough for one night. She needed to get rid of the monster so that she can get on with her fun night with Dawn.
Nausea cracked down on her like a wave. Dawn…? She frowned, severely disorientated. Wasn’t there something she was meant to do?
She shook her head to try and clear it. Giant Spider. Kill. Go Home. That’s all she needed to focus on. But first she had to shift the table so that she could get through. Her hand grabbed hold of the table and a wave of sickness so strong made her gasp out loud, and her hand, resting on the table, slowly began to change.
The hand gripping the edge of the table shoved hard; with an awful grinding noise the table moved enough for Angel to squeeze past. He felt disorientated and nauseous. What was he doing here? Wasn’t it something to do with Buffy? Right… a phone call. She was taking…Dawn… to a show, and wanted him to track the monster down. He was in Sunnydale anyway because… he had no idea, really. But it was a good thing he was here and not Buffy, because the thing curled in the corner was a B’shtak. There was no way she would have got up close enough to kill it, as it responded to living flesh with a savage gusto he had rarely seen in any other creature, alive or dead. It wasn’t interested in vampire meat, so at least he stood a chance of getting close.
He rushed forward, axe rising above his head, and went to work.
In a monastery far away, the monk nodded in satisfaction. Another piece of the puzzle finished, but they must hurry. She was coming.