Story: (one warning, it's weird)
Buffycup ran to the edge of the hill, watching with horror as the Man In Black went bouncing down to the bottom. As he went, his mask was ripped off, revealing dark hair.
"Oh, my sweet Xander, what have I done?" Buffycup whispered. Then, without a second thought, she threw *herself* over the edge, and went rolling down to meet him. (a more pragmatic person might've *walked* down, but, hey, this is a romance)
One hill behind them....
"They've disappeared, the bloody wankers!" Count William said.
"He must've seen us coming and panicked," said Prince Angelus. "And unless I'm wrong, and I'm never wrong, they're heading straight into the fire swamp."
Back to our heroes....
Once she reached the bottom, she just laid there for a moment, wondering if it was all just a dream. Her answer was given to her when Xander crawled over to her, and gathered her up in his arms.
"Are you hurt?" he asked gently.
"You're alive.." Buffycup whispered, who was clearly not moving past that concept for a while, "If you want I can fly."
They embraced, then Xander drew back as he smoothed a long lock of her blonde hair out of her eyes.
"I told you I would come back...why didn't you wait for me?"
"Well....you were dead."
"Death cannot stop true love." Xander said with a smile. "All it can do is delay it for a while."
"Like five years?" yelled a passing snowshoe hare in a very belligerent tone, but the two reunited lovers didn't pay attention to the rabbity comment. As their eyes met once again, Xander's lips slowly descended over hers-
"No, please, *no*!"
"What? What is it?"
"They're doing it again. Can't we skip the kissy parts?"
"Oh, alright. You might not mind someday, though."
"Yeah, and pigs will start flying. Let's get on to the fire swamp, that sounded good."
"*sigh* You're sick, so I'll humor you. Okay, where were we...."
Buffycup and Xander raced along the ravine floor. Looking up, they saw Prince Angelus and his men riding along the top of the hill.
"Ha!" said Xander, "your undead fiance is too late. Just a few more steps and we'll be safe in the fire swamp."
"We'll never survive." Buffycup said pessimistically.
"Nonsense," Xander countered, "you're just saying that because no one ever has."
Once they entered the fire swamp, though, even Xander's high spirits were dampened somewhat. Huge trees blocked out the sun, and a mixture of sand and gook carpeted the ground. The croaking of frogs replaced the singing of birds, and all in all, it was not the sort of place that you'd build a summer home.
As they walked along, they suddenly stopped as a strange popping noise filled the air. Glancing at each other with raised eyebrows, they were carefully continuing to edge forward when a huge plume of flame shot up right on the spot that the popping noise had originated from. While fortunately both Buffycup and Xander were far enough away that they didn't lose any limbs, the bottom of Buffycup's gown (which had really seen better days at this point) caught on fire. Thinking quickly, she tore the majority of her hemline off (which left her gown significantly shorter - in fact it could now be best classified as a mini-skirt) and tossed it to the ground, where Xander beat out the flames before they could spread.
"Well," Xander said, "that was certainly an adventure. And by the way, I like your dress."
With a withering glare, Buffycup changed the subject by asking him to tell him just where he had been for five years. ("And you had better have a good excuse," she said with a dangerous glare. "Because the Dread Pirate Roberts has been marauding for twenty years, and you only left me five years ago.")
So Xander explained how his ship had been attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts (tm), and how Roberts had been intrigued by Xander's calm plea for life and his description of Buffycup. So for three years, Xander had served as a deck hand, learning everything there was about pirating. Every night Roberts said to him, "Good night, Xander, good work. I'll most likely kill you in the morning."
Eventually the two became friends, and one night Roberts asked him to come into his cabin. Sitting him down, Roberts said to him, "I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts. My name is Riley, and I inherited this ship from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, whose real name was Kendra. The real Dread Pirate Roberts has been retired for fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia."
"That's incredible!" Buffycup interjected. Xander nodded in agreement, and continued with his tale.
"The important thing is the name, because you need something to strike the appropriate horror into the hearts of the other ships. I mean, no one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Xander. So we pulled into port, picked up an entirely different crew, and Riley stuck around for a while as First Mate, all the time calling *me* Roberts. Do you understand it all?"
"Of course." Buffycup said, while at the same time shaking her head 'no'. Pausing a moment to just gaze into each others' eyes, they then started walking again. Unfortunately, Buffycup stepped on an odd-colored patch of sand, and suddenly shot down. Recognizing the lightening sand (*after* Buffycup stepped on it, of course), Xander cut a long piece of vine and dove in after her.
While they were down there, a shadowy figure walked by. Sniffing at the edges of the lightening sand, it cackled and moved to hide behind a tree. Long minutes passed, until suddenly a hand was thrust out of the sand, and Buffycup and Xander pulled themselves out of the lightening sand, using the vine as a rope. Collapsing against a fallen log, they sat for a while while re-introducing their lungs to oxygen. As Xander started to get up, he caught sight of a long shadow coming from whatever was standing behind the tree, and heard a low growling. Quickly tugging Buffycup up by the hand, he started walking, keep up a chipper line of conversation.
"We're really doing *quite* well," he said, "I mean, what are the terrors of the fire swamp? One: the flame spurt. No problem! There's a popping noise before any spurts, so it's easy to avoid. Two: the lightening sand. Since you were clever enough to discover that, we'll have no trouble recognizing that in the future too."
"But, Xander," Buffycup interjected, "What about the D.O.U.S's?"
"Demons of Unusual Size?" Xander asked. "I don't believe they exist."
A sudden growling and light show proved them wrong. With a loud crashing and truly impressive background music, the D.O.U.S rose from its place of hiding behind the log.
Well, 'rose' being a very subjective word. The demon was not more than four inches tall.
"FEAR ME!" it squeaked. Or, rather, it did before Buffycup solved the problem by stepping on it.
"You were saying?" she asked Xander. He shrugged, and they continued walking. After a few hours, they reached the other end of the swamp. Pausing a moment to revel in their triumph, they held each other close and smiled at each other.
Well, until Prince Angelus' men jumped out, holding their crossbows at ready, and the Prince himself rode up on his massive white horse.
"Surrender!" he called to Xander, who was holding his sword at the ready.
"You chose to surrender to us? Very well, I accept." Xander said. Behind him, Buffycup wished desperately that she had a rocket launcher of some kind.
"I give you full marks for bravery," Prince Angelus sneered, "Don't blow it all by being an idiot. Now surrender!" the testosterone level in the area went a notch.
"It will not happen." Xander said, adjusting his grip on the sword. The testosterone level went up another notch. Behind him, Buffycup was noticing just how many soldiers there were.
"I tell you again, SURRENDER!" snapped Prince Angelus, pulling out his own sword for emphasis. The testosterone level shot up. Buffycup was carefully weighing the odds, and coming up with a very discouraging number.
"DEATH FIRST!" roared Xander in defiance. The testosterone level broke all all previous records, even the formerly unchallenged record of men in a hardware store.
"Will you promise not to hurt him?!" yelled Buffycup, having decided on a course of action.
"What was that?" asked both men, quite surprised that she had interfered in this very male moment.
Aware of all eyes on her, Buffycup carefully stepped forward. "If I return with you, will you promise not to hurt this man?"
"I swear, it will be done." Prince Angelus said. Behind her, Xander smacked his hand to his head.
"He is a sailor on the pirate ship 'Twinkie'. Promise to return him to his ship!"
"May I live a thousand years, and never hunt again." Prince Angelus swore. As he sheathed his sword, Buffycup turned to look at Xander. While her attention was elsewhere, Prince Angelus said to Count William: "Once we're out of sight, tie him up and throw him into the Pit of Despair."
"I swear it will be done." Count William said. (only this guy actually planned on keeping his word)
"I thought you were dead once," Buffycup whispered, "and it nearly destroyed me. I could not bear it if you died again, knowing that I could've saved you." Xander didn't say a word, just watched as Prince Angelus scooped her up and rode off. The soldier circled him and herded him to where Count William sat on his horse.
"Come along, mate, we have to get you to your ship." the Count said.
"We are men of action," Xander said as the soldiers bound his hands. "Lies do not become us."
"Bloody well put," the Count said with a wide grin, which showed off his excellent fangs. Seeing this, Xander smiled broadly.
"You have fangs," he commented. "Someone was looking for you." Apparently not liking the turn that the conversation was taking, the Count punched him in the face, knocking him unconscious. They then dragged him away.