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Fic - Wanre Niht

This is based on one of the first set of prompts, from Week One. (That is still OK, isn't it, mods?)
Seamus Heaney did an amazing translation of Beowulf - there will be fifteen-minute chunks of him reading from it every night next week, my trusty Radio Times tells me, BTW.

Eons ago, possibly not long after the death of Grendel's Mum, I had to study the original. One line has somehow stuck in my head ever since:

Com on wanre niht scriðan sceadugenga.
In the dark night a shadow-walker came gliding.

That's where the inspiration came from for this. Decide for yourself who the "Sceadugenga" actually is.

PG for some mild language.
972 words. (Slightly longer version on my own LJ)




Com on wanre niht scriðan sceadugenga.



He liked to think of it as gliding through the night. Not “slinking”, and certainly not “slithering”. Creature of the night, yeah, but a bloke had his standards – he strode, he didn’t slither. Vampire here. Not some bloody snake. Glide or stride or whatever, he was outside her house before he’d arrived at the right vocabulary. He lit up a fag.
He rested comfortably against his tree. Stars in the sky, a sliver of moon, the chance she’d forget to draw the curtains before going to bed. Unlife wasn’t too bad. The street seemed pale in the half-light, one or two street lights still glowing faintly though it was past their bedtime.

A fox barked in the distance. Or possibly one of those weird New World beasts. Coyote or some such. Tasted foul, so he’d never had a lot of interest in tracking them down.

The noise came again. Louder and closer. Funny, that. Some beastie then. He shifted his weight, flexed his knees and jumped into the branches above his head. From there, he noted with interest, he was more or less on a level with a certain window. Worth remembering, that.

A terrified screech drew his attention back to the street. The moggy tore along the pavement, fur on end, caterwauling. His hairs rose, just a little, and he gripped the rough bark a touch more firmly. Had to be a big bugger, could do that to the local cat.

Someone else thought the same. The window across from him opened. Nice. Blonde hair. Good. A slim leg, thigh revealed. Very nice. Shouldn’t ought to wear a skirt like that to climb out of a window in, mind. Could give a bloke ideas. He touched his tongue to his teeth, for a moment carried away by his imagination.

Oh bugger. Couldn’t exactly perch here and watch her being attacked without helping. But drop out of the tree now? He fondled his nose. He knew exactly how it would fare if he did that.

He sat tight.

She stood, alert in the gloom, arms crossed forbiddingly. The golden hair glinted and flicked as she peered along the street.

And then it was on her. Huge, pustular, razor teeth, horns, too many limbs, tipped with claws. Nasty.

Same problem – if he helped her he’d pay for it. But the bloody thing was enormous, twice her height. The long tail scraped the ground, creating a rumble as it swished from side to side.

Spike leaned forward for a better look, just as Buffy reached for her nearest weapon. A garden rake? What had he told the silly bint? That thing had all it needed and some to spare, and the lumps on its spine glinted and oozed as the muscles coiled for a leap.

Bloody stupid. No choice though. He hollered at the beast – distraction at least gave the girl a chance. Nothing for it. He shifted his weight, gripped the branch and allowed himself to roll down.

That was the theory. Slimy branch said different. He belly-flopped, face down, wrong way round, arse to head, head on beastie’s arse.

His face shifted and his fangs sank into the thing’s tailbone. Bloody hell it stank. It was moving now, alright, trying to get its jaws at him – like some bleeding pup chasing its tail. He gripped tighter as the thing began to rock and buck. When had he signed up for a sodding rodeo, anyway? His dug his heels as hard as he could into whatever they were touching. Neck? Spine? Didn’t bloody care.

At least the girl must have gone by now. The roars were too loud for him to hear her dainty little footsteps, but he guessed she would retreat into the house, leave one disgusting monster to fight it out with another. Then she could come out and sort out the survivor, battered and shattered as it would be, whichever of them it was.

The ruddy thing was rearing up now. He dug his hands deep into the muscles of its groin. Oh for nails like Dru used to have. Still, even this thing had squidgy bits. He grabbed something lower, softer, and twisted.

The roar turned to a yelp - he heard the snap of something. Bugger, the bint was going for a two-in-one staking with her rake handle.

And then, miracle, the thing went limp. No sense of life in it at all – and believe me, he knew such stuff. Dead as a parrot. His muscles started to scream as he released his hold and tumbled off the monster.

“Spike” She was tapping her foot. Her glorious hair not an inch out of place. The rake was embedded deep in the thing’s skull. Gardening tools good for any sort of cleanup, it seemed. “What in hell were you doing in that tree?”

“Out for a stroll, Slayer. Saw that thing, got out of its way. What’s your excuse – a bit of midnight gardening?”

“Heard it, saw it, slayed it. You were in a tree looking straight in my bedroom. Why?”

“Just passing. Bloke’s got a right to roam. Creature of the night here. Glad to help your little Keep Sunnydale Tidy effort. Gotta be going now, though.” With an attempt at insouciance he limped off into the night.

Buffy shook her head, yawned and made a spot decision to leave clear-up till daylight. There was a heap of cigarette ends under the tree, too, yet again. Strange, that. Shrugging, she turned and leapt for the return route.

Beyond the next street light, Spike watched the vision vanish back through the window. Just another jolly night in Sunnyhell. But he’d helped save her – sort of – and spoken to her. And he might feel bruised, but she hadn’t punched his nose.

He was ahead on points. Whistling, he limped away.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
missus_grace
Sep. 25th, 2013 12:10 am (UTC)
Love your Buffy and Spike. Nice banter ;)
gillo
Sep. 25th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC)
Thank you. Poor boy, he wants to impress her and it never quite works.
shapinglight
Sep. 25th, 2013 10:13 am (UTC)
Yeah, no nose-punching. He'll have to chalk that one up as a win.
gillo
Sep. 25th, 2013 08:35 pm (UTC)
By Spike's standards it's a win with bonus!

Thanks for reading.
relurker
Sep. 25th, 2013 01:18 pm (UTC)
Spike's internal monologue is hilarious!
Liked it very much.
gillo
Sep. 25th, 2013 08:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much.
dragonyphoenix
Sep. 26th, 2013 04:06 am (UTC)
In the dark night a shadow-walker came gliding. I can see why this line struck you. It's brilliant.

Slimy branch said different. He belly-flopped, face down, wrong way round, arse to head, head on beastie’s arse. *laughs*

Lovely story.
gillo
Sep. 26th, 2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
I'm so pleased it made you laugh. And, yes, there are lines from Beowulf that still zing.

Thank you.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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