by Waide
Notes: Please read the warnings for this story




It was one of those split second clarity of thought moments.


As the Kongamato demon’s claws ripped into his shoulders and clamped around bone and muscle, lifting him off his feet, Xander knew he was going to die. His axe lay useless on the ground, some thirty feet below, as the Kongamato beat its huge leathery wings and with a few sickening lurches had them both suspended in the air near the ceiling of what should have been a deserted temple.


Xander could sense rather than hear, the carefully aimed but pointless shots of crossbow arrows, falling short of their mark. He could guess at the yelling which would be coming from below. Guess but not know for certain, as the thick heavy rush of his heartbeat in his ears and throat muted almost everything else. The harsh panting of the demon that held him aloft blew across his face in counterpoint to his own wheezing. Eyes of an alien shade dissected him coldly as he hung. His lungs hurt and his arms were on fire. He’d be screaming if he could have got enough air.


There was a second where Xander swore the Kongamato widened its eyes in shock, before it slammed him up against the ceiling with the force of a freight train.




There was a silence so profound that Spike visibly flinched when he broke it. His boot scraped against one of the many uneven floor stones, the battle just fought doing nothing to preserve the temple’s already ruined state.

He walked forward slowly, more about stopping anyone else from getting to where Xander had fallen than out of any real wish to see. Steadying himself on a large bit of broken pillar, he made his way around it, glad that the girls could not see Xander from where they stood watching. Hoping. Spike didn’t look at them.


The Kongamato lay further away from him, out in the open, its death spiral having taken it on a crazy momentum, smashing it into the floor with such force; one of its wings had been shorn off with the impact. Most of its ribcage was protruding through its back. Angel’s hasty weapon of choice, a long metal spear, still poked through, tilting up at the ceiling like a finger pointing at God.


The spear didn’t belong in the temple. But then, the temple didn’t belong in the Congo. Just like the Kongamato, so far from its desert home. Just a few in a list of incongruities that should have been the neon signs flashing ‘Danger!’ as soon as they’d walked into the crumbling ruin. But they hadn’t really believed what they’d been told. If the temple even existed, it certainly did not hide the type of demon the locals had said it was.

But they should have believed. The proof that it was a carrion demon attacking villages from in the Congo rainforest was plainly evident. Even though all logic pointed to the facts that the demon just didn’t live there, didn’t act that way.

They shouldn’t have been so cocky. They should have known better.


Spike crouched near Xander’s still body. Xander wasn’t even supposed to have been with them. He found Slayers. He didn’t get in the midst of big fights and end up a broken toy with springs missing. He had only been with them because the villagers had trusted him when they wouldn’t trust anyone else. They should have made him stay in the hut, but the guide who’d taken off when they’d arrived at the temple clearing wouldn’t lead them without Xander. If he hadn’t been so nice to the natives, if he hadn’t won the Chiefs over, this would not have occurred. If, indeed.


Spike had known Xander was dead the moment the Kongamato had broken past Buffy and Angel’s defences and had flown straight at him, hefting him off the ground like he weighed nothing. Spike knew that wasn’t the case. Xander had toned up, put on some muscle in the months after Sunnydale and the L.A. Apocalypse. But it all meant nothing. It had just been a matter of how many seconds Xander had had left.


Looking down at him now, Spike wished Xander would blink and smile up at him. Just so he’d quit staring with that blank look in his eye. Unerringly, his eye patch still covered his empty socket, even with his neck at such a wrong angle and his arms all loose and bloody. Spike touched Xander’s shoulder, felt the unnatural give but continued pushing until Xander’s body rolled off his front and away from Spike a little, enough to reveal his chest.


“Spike?” A female voice queried, causing Spike to roll Xander back down, hiding the gaping hole he’d known he would find.


“Stay there.” he barked, knowing his words would confirm fears and cause a hurt he couldn’t stop, but knowing the greater need was not allowing them to see this.


He rocked back on his heals and blocked out the resulting commotion. He continued to look at Xander. “Got yourself in a right mess, mate,” he said softly. Conflicting emotions held him silent for a while longer, his forehead creased in a frown. A particularly loud cry caused his eye to twitch. “You idiot.” He wanted to berate Xander, tell him off. Shake the bugger into waking up and then yell at him until he passed out. Spike lowered his head. “You’re not supposed to do things I can’t fix.” He reached out a hand and with the side of his little finger brushed the staring eye closed.





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