Sands of Burning Time - (1)
Disclaimer and Distribution notes are listed on the Index page of this story.'Single' quote marks surround thoughts in this story. "Regular" quotes are around spoken words.
OCTOBER 31, 2001
"Dawn," Buffy yelled. "Dawn, are you okay?" She threw a worried glance at Spike and Giles. The vampires were all dusted, but her sister wasn't anywhere in sight. "If you're not here in 5 seconds, Dawn, you're gonna be grounded for a month."
"Hold your horses, Buffy," Dawn muttered as she stumbled out of the woods. "You could show a little bit of sympathy, here. I had to dust Justin, my date." She pulled some twigs from her hair.
"You okay, Nibblet?" Spike asked. He moved to stand by the Slayer. Once he realized that Dawn was unhurt, he growled, "Now, what did I tell you about going out with boys you haven't seen out in the sun?"
"I saw him in the sun just a few days ago," Dawn whined. "It's not fair. Buffy can go out with you, and no one says anything." She stomped her foot in anger.
"No! No! No dating! Patrolling, Dawnie," Buffy sputtered. "Spike and I patrol only." The Slayer was unable to get the deer-in-the-headlights look off of her face. She glanced sideways to see the all too familiar smirk on Spike's face.
"Me thinks the Slayer doth protest too much," Dawn shot back. She saw the surprised looks on the other's faces. "Hey, I pay attention in class."
Any response to Dawn's words was interrupted by a whooshing sound. Four sets of eyes turned towards where the noise came from. A big swirling blue vortex opened and out lurched a dusty, mummified creature. It grabbed Dawn by the arm, and before any of the others could react, it pulled the teenage girl back through the vortex with him.
Buffy and Spike looked at each other, and then back at the vortex. They shrugged at each other before walking towards the portal. Buffy grabbed Spike's hand firmly, telling herself that she didn't want to lose him during the ride to where ever they were going.
"What are you doing, Buffy?" Giles shouted. "You don't know where that portal goes?"
"Dawn's on the other side, Giles," Buffy answered. "There's no way I'm going to let that blue thingie close and not go after her."
"Me either, Watcher. You coming with, or stayin' here?" Spike smiled down at Buffy before looking at the vortex again. "Well, Slayer. Till the end of the world?"
"Even if that happens to be tonight," Buffy answered softly. She smiled brightly when she felt Giles take her other hand, and the three of them stepped through the portal together.
UPSTATE NEW YORK, CHARLES XAVIER SCHOOL FOR GIFTED STUDENTS
OCTOBER 31, 2001
Logan, aka Wolverine, felt restless, but couldn't pinpoint a reason why. At 2 a.m. he was wandering up and down the halls of the school for mutant children.
Earlier there had been a huge Halloween party and the students had all had a blast. Logan had a good time watching Rogue interact with the other kids. He felt a bit sorry for the girl since her power tended to cause others to be a little standoffish.
"Logan," Rogue's sweet voice called out of the darkness. "You having trouble sleepin'?"
Logan nodded while he pinched the bridge of his nose. "Just feeling out of sorts, is all. How about yourself?"
"I woke up a little hungry," Rogue said. "Want to go raid the kitchen with me?" She grabbed Logan's arm with her gloved hand and dragged him along behind her. In the huge kitchen, she sat him down on one of the stools before she moved to the fridge to peer inside. "I could make us a sandwich."
"Sounds good," Logan said. He watched as the young girl took everything out of the fridge and put it on the counter. Logan found himself thinking about how beautiful Rogue was, but berated himself for being attracted to someone so young. He was attracted to Jean Grey, too and she was head-over for her fiery eyed warrior. What was it with him and his damned attraction to unattainable women?
"When are you going to be leaving?" Rogue asked quietly. She had hoped that Logan would stay around longer, at least until she fit in better. She nervously reached up to stroke the newly acquired white streak in her hair.
"In the morning," Logan replied. His heart clenched at the sad look that passed through the girl's eyes. Logan felt guilty when Rogue quickly brushed tears away from her eyes. He quickly covered her gloved hand with his own. "I have to do this, sweetling. You know I do."
"Doesn't mean I have to like it," Rogue muttered. "Wish I could go with you." She pulled her hand out from under Logan's and started to finish making his sandwich.
Both mutants were startled by a strange hissing noise. They looked up in astonishment when a blue swirling vortex opened next to them. A pair of desiccated arms reached out to catch Rogue, pulling her inexorably towards the opening. Logan growled with anger as he watched the girl disappear before he could grab her. As the vortex started to close, the mutant made a snap decision, and he jumped through the portal.
EGYPT, LOST PALACE OF NEFERTIRI
OCTOBER 31, 1941
"Rick, do you have any ideas on how to get us out of this?" Evelyn O'Connell asked. She was use to seeing strange deaths after being married to the adventurer for just over eighteen years, but this one was beyond anything she'd ever seen before.
"No, not really, Evy," Rick O'Connell answered. He and his wife were trapped between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The only way out of the pyramid they were exploring was across an expanse guarded by the ugliest creatures that they had ever seen before in their lives. The young man who had accompanied them inside the room had attempted to cross the expanse, only to be torn to bits by the creatures.
Suddenly two blue swirling portals opened, dumping four people out on the floor at the O'Connell's feet. Rick and Evy blinked in surprise, glanced at each other, and then back at the newcomers. Three of them seemed to be merely dazed, but the fourth appeared to be knocked out.
"We didn't die," the petite blond girl whispered joyfully. She grinned broadly at the bleached blond man holding tightly onto her hand.
"Were you really expecting to die, Buffy?" an older gentleman in glasses asked. He loosened his grip on the girl's hand in order to take off his glasses and wipe them on his handkerchief.
"Giles," Buffy hissed.
"Come off it, Rupes," the blond man grumbled. "You know what happened last time she jumped through a swirling blue vortex. Girl's a bit twitchy, now." He broke off when one of the creatures roared its displeasure at one of its companions. "Bloody hell, I thought those were extinct."
"What, Spike?" Buffy asked. She glanced at the creatures and shuddered. "Damn those things are ugly."
"Agoru demons," Spike replied. "They only see living flesh. I thought they became extinct in the 1940's when a tribe of Bedouins rounded up the last of them and slaughtered them."
"Where the hell are we?" The previously unconscious man asked groggily. He sat up slowly, shaking his head as if to clear it.
"You're in the Lost Palace of Nefertiri. It's Halloween of 1941," Evy answered. She waited until the four newcomers digested that information. "I'm Evelyn O'Connell. This is my husband, Rick. We're archeologists and explorers. What the heck just happened, and where did you come from?"
"Glad to meet you, Mrs. O'Connell," Giles said. He held his hand out in a gesture of goodwill. "This may sound a little strange, but my companions and I are from the year 2001."
"We've fought mummies, zombie pygmies, and giant scorpions," Rick muttered with an eloquent shrug. "What's a little time travel?"
"Yes, um, quite so," Giles replied before forging ahead bravely. The manís attitude reminded him a bit of Oz. He seemed to take their appearance in stride. "My name is Rupert Giles. My two companions are Buffy Summers and Spike."
"Just call me Logan. I'm from 2001, too," the third man growled. He sniffed the air cautiously before his eyes lighted on Spike. "You're not human."
Spike glared at the other man and simply spat out, "Nope." He wasnít sure how the man was able to tell, but there was no use hiding his identity anyways.
"If we could get to those levers." Evy pointed across the room to several large stone levers set into the wall. "A gate should come down, trapping the Agoru demons so that we could pass safely."
"Living flesh, huh?" Buffy laid her hand on Spike's arm and gazed up at him. "Can you do it?" she asked.
Spike sighed and nodded his head tersely. He'd do anything Buffy asked. He knew it. She knew it. Hell, even Giles knew it. He took off his coat and slung it over the Slayer's shoulders. No way was he risking the precious leather against shredding claws if he was wrong about these creatures. With one last look at the Slayer, he was about to step out into the room when Evelyn grabbed his arm.
"You need to know what the symbols mean," the archeologist told him. "The levers have to be depressed in a certain order."
Spike smirked down at the woman before looking across the room at the hieroglyphs. "Middle lever, halfway down. Left lever, all the way down. Right lever halfway down. Middle lever all the way down. Right lever all the way down."
"Spike, quit showing off and get to work," Buffy grumbled. "Do you need a weapon? And don't go telling me you already have yours."
"But you know it's true, luv." Spike chuckled when Buffy rolled her eyes at him. "I'll be fine. Just keep your stake handy." He started out across the room, stopping just once when the Agoru demons turned to look his way. In just a matter of minutes he had the levers depressed and the demons trapped behind the gate.
"What are you?" Logan demanded after the others had crossed the room unharmed. "If those creatures can see only living flesh how come they couldn't see you?"
"Because I'm not," Spike answered. He took his coat from Buffy's shoulders, chin tilted at an arrogant angle as he stared down his nose at the stranger. "Living flesh, that is. I'm a vampire."
"Oh my God," Evy exclaimed. "Are you going to kill us?" She stepped back from Spike towards her husband. Time travelling vampires?
"Bloody hell. No, I'm not going to eat you." Spike tilted his head towards Buffy. "The Slayer here'd stake me while the Watcher held me down. I've no desire to lose my unlife before we find the Nibblet."
"The Nibblet?" Evy asked.
"Dawn," Buffy answered. "She's my sister. She was grabbed by this nasty, old mummy guy and pulled into one of those blue vortex things." She bit her lip as Spike suddenly threw his arm around her shoulders and whispered reassurance into her ear.
"Same thing happened to the young woman I was with," Logan announced. "The vortex opened, and something grabbed her. I jumped in after her and ended up here."
"Master O'Connell." A young dark haired man ran into the room. "We found the treasure! Come quickly." He gestured wildly for them to follow him. A few minutes, and a several corridors away, they stepped into a room that positively glittered, heaped as it was with chests of gold, jewels, and coins.
"Wow," Buffy muttered, her eyes wide with awe. "We need something like this back in Sunnydale. Then the bank manager would have given me a loan."
"Loan, pet? You could have had an auction and be filthy rich with something like this." Spike suddenly stopped beside a table of jewelry. He picked up a ring and studied it closely. "Slayer, come here."
"What's up, Spike?" Buffy stood beside the vampire. She glanced at the ring that Spike was holding. "Why is that ugly thing so familiar looking?"
"This is the treasure of Amara," the vampire stated quietly. "And that ... is my ring."