Title: The Rules of the Game (Prologue/?)

Author: X_tremeroswellian

Email: X_tremeroswellian@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: Only in my dreams do I actually own anything. All are property of Edward Allen Bernero and John Wells.

Rating: R for language, violence and sexual content

Spoilers: Up through and including "233 Days."

Summary: Bosco and Faith find themselves in a predicament in which they can use only their instincts to survive.

Distribution: My site Only Time, 55-HQ, and fanfiction.net. Others, just ask and I'll probably say yes.

Category: Story

Subcategories: Action/adventure/thriller/suspense/romance/friendship/drama/angst...does that narrow it down too much? *wink wink*

Feedback: Makes me write faster.

Author's Note: I sort of got this idea from a third season episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But just for the very general plot idea. The rest came out of my own messed up mind. :)

Dedication: For Dem and Bree

The Rules of the Game (Prologue)

"I can't go any farther."

Bosco stopped and turned around, taking the moment to catch his breath. "You don't have a choice, Faith. Come on," he urged. He could hear the dogs barking off in the distance.

She shook her head and leaned against the trunk of a large oak tree. "I can't. Just go on." She waved her hand at him.

"Yeah, right," he replied sarcastically.

Faith looked at him, beads of sweat glistening on her forehead. "Bosco, just go."

"I am not leaving you here," he said firmly. He walked over to her, wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her forward. "Come on. We have to keep moving."

For several long moments, all Bosco could hear was the crunching of leaves and twigs as the two of them moved through the dense forest. Then there was another sound, soft at first.

She stopped, grabbed his arm. "Do you hear that?"

He could see the fear in her eyes and it made him nervous. It wasn't a sight he was used to seeing. "Yeah. It sounds like--"

"A horse," she finished.

"Come on. We gotta get out of here," Bosco said urgently.

"Yeah, but which way is it coming from?"

He paused momentarily. She had a point. In the woods it was easy to get disoriented and it was hard to decipher what direction one particular noise was coming from. He turned in a full circle, then nodded uncertainly to their right. "Let's go that way."

Faith nodded and started to follow him. They walked quickly for a short distance.

The noise was getting closer. He could hear the sound of hoofbeats galloping through the foliage. He glanced at her sideways. "Run!"

She didn't have to be told twice.

Bosco hoped to God there weren't anymore traps hidden under the dead leaves, but at the moment, he was more worried by the thought of the horseback rider catching up to them.

He heard Faith cry out from behind him, and he immediately turned. He saw that she was lying on the ground, clutching her ankle. Shit, he thought as he rushed to her side. "You okay?"

She looked up at him, her face contorted with pain. He could tell she was trying not to cry. "I think it's sprained."

He closed his eyes momentarily, then opened them again, looking around. His gaze settled back on her. "Can you walk?"

Faith swallowed hard. "I don't know."

He held his hand out and pulled her to her feet. He saw the look of pain flash over her face, though she tried her best to suppress it.

"I don't think so, Boz," she said, shaking her head as she leaned back against the nearest tree, keeping her weight on her other foot.

He hesitated only a moment. "Put your arms around my neck."

"What?" Faith asked, frowning in confusion.

"I'm gonna carry you. Put your arms around my neck."

She shook her head in refusal. "Forget it. You're just gonna have to go on without me."

"Like hell," Bosco replied, taking a step toward her.

"Bosco, I'll just slow you down. This way at least one of us has a chance of making it out of here."

"I'm not leaving you here, Faith, so forget it!"

"There's no reason for both of us to get caught," she argued.

"If you get caught, so do I. Deal with it," Bosco told her, knowing without a doubt that if the situation was reversed, she wouldn't leave his side.

Before she had a chance to respond, the whinny of a horse pierced the air. He turned to see a big man on the animal's back, just yards away from them.

"Oh, fuck," he said under his breath. There was no time to run and no place to hide. This is it, he thought. They'd survived for four days and now they were going to be caught.

"Bosco," she whispered fearfully, her hand clutching his arm tightly.

He turned to look at her, emotions crashing over him. There was so much he wanted to say to her. "I'm really sorry," he whispered.

"Me, too," she whispered back.

Bosco reached out and gently touched her face, tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. A wave of fear surged through him and he turned to see the man on the horse galloping toward them. He didn't even care at this point what happened to him. But he was terrified of what would happen to Faith. He stepped in front of her protectively, glaring at the man as he stopped the horse only a couple feet away from them.

The man grinned, looking down the barrel of his shotgun at them. "Well, well, well. Lookie what I found."

-End Prologue-

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