Pairing: Gen [unless you squint]
Warnings: Angst, also spoiler warning between bars, highlight to read   /major character death/



Jackhammers


by
Rayne Jelly


Ugh he was tired, a stiffness lingering in his bones from last night, or any dozen last nights he could name. Tired and the light filtering through the curtains, dark as they were, made him want to bury himself in blankets until it went away. Was he cold too? He might have been cold. And someone down the street must have been doing construction, because there were a ring of jackhammers around his head, loud and thunk-thunk-thunking into old, dead wood. He felt himself start to groan, start to snarl with morning grumpiness and was glad, for once, that Anya hadn’t stayed over. Cold and tired and surrounded by noise and light and now his face was itchy and he just wanted to sleep, but there was a nagging in his gut telling him he was hungry too, and what the hell had he gotten up to yesterday that would leave him feeling like a hung-over Fyarl?

One of the jackhammers hissed, urgently and low, “What the hell did you do?” But it didn’t make any sense, because he hadn’t done anything, and maybe he was dreaming. Still asleep, still asleep and when he finally pried himself out of bed there would be a heap of pancakes the size of his head. It felt like a pancake kind of morning. Maybe with bacon. Lots of crackly, meaty bacon. Maybe he’d skip the pancakes altogether and order a steak.

“Couldn’t stop it.” Another low rumble, like gravel in a plastic vat – the concrete was stirring in his head, and in the dream he reached for it, tried to pour it over himself.

Thunk-thunk-thunk. “He wouldn’t want this.” He took a sucking breath and held it, rolled over to feel the rubber-band stretch and pull in each frozen muscle, fingers extending like cat’s claws on the ends of his hands and lungs slowly pushing the air out between his teeth. It was the best kind of languorous Sunday morning stretch, spine-cracking, toe-curling arc from hip to shoulder, and he would be having a word with his city council members – preferably non-demonic – because the hammering was right on top of him, insistent and pressing and he just wanted to reach out and take it away.

He thought he was awake, no one could sleep in these conditions, not with this light threatening to melt his retinas, not with the noise and the chill and the hunger eating at him. He thought he was awake, but it still didn’t make sense when the jackhammer said “I’m so sorry, Xander” before a sharp and sudden starburst of pain in his chest exploded and consumed him.




The End



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