Characters: Xander, Spike
A/N: For Duille.
Xander’s first and last line are from the book The Incredible Adam Spark by Alan Bissett.

Near The End


“is it time…” Spike’s voice was nothing more than a quiet whisper in the silence.

“My watch is broken,” Xander looked up at the crimson sky, “But,” he scooted closer to the broken vampire, “I think we’re near the end.”


He ran.

God, he ran.

So fast he could swear his feet didn’t even touch the asphalt. His lungs were burning spreading a fire through his veins. The shambling creatures following him shrieked and stumbled past the burnt out cars.

Xander took the corner so fast he almost fell, his shoulder scraping against the red blood spattered bricks. Zigzagging through the many alleys finally gave him a chance to get ahead of his pursuers. He headed into the darkness of what had once been a fancy restaurant. The food was rotting on the tables and the kitchen was overrun by rats. Xander leant against the cool wall and tried to catch his breath.

He scanned the room. Apparently it was true when people said rats and cockroaches could survive anything. The nasty creatures were swarming over the tabletops their feet making a scratching noise against the stainless steel.

He breathlessly knelt down and watched two rats fight over a rotten tomato.


Xander checked the alley before he quietly moved the large piece of plywood away from the opening in the wall. He stood still checking one last time before he put the bags of half rotten food down on the floor inside the opening and moved the plywood back in place.

One more stop before he could return for good.


He stood hidden by a truck. Its driver was laying halfway over the dashboard, a large red stain on the windshield. Xander could hear the car radio hissing inside the truck.

Nothing but static.

He closed his eyes, took a deep breath before he peeked out from behind the truck. He couldn’t see any demons but that didn’t mean they weren’t there. His eyes suddenly caught a strange flicker behind a crashed police car on the other side of the road. He narrowed his eyes and tried to focus. Another flash of green. Something blowing in the wind.

A scarf?

It looked like a scarf but the wind wasn’t blowing so how…

The scarf stopped moving around and a young woman’s face seemed to magically appear just behind the police car. She was waving the scarf to get his attention. Xander held up his hand in a strange parody of a wave. His fingers splayed but not moving.

She smiled brightly and then slowly stood up, the scarf hanging limply down against her knee. Xander took a tentative step away from the truck and finally let his hand fall down on his hip. He rubbed his hand against the dirty jeans and looked up and down the street to make sure they were alone.

The woman did the same, her brown hair falling into her eyes. She waved at him, gesturing to him. She wanted him to cross the street. He shook his head. No way was he going to cross the street in clear view of any demons that happened to come by.

He could see the woman hesitate before she suddenly pushed herself away from the police car, propelling her slim body across the street. She stumbled over a piece of wood. She let out a startled yelp. Xander took a step back and frantically checked the street again. The woman pressed a muddy hand against her open mouth as if she was trying to capture the sound.

She got up and ran as fast as she could past a few stranded cars. She ran around the truck and slammed her body against it. Xander stared at her. The only sound her heavy breathing.

“hi,” she whispered and rubbed her hand against her bleeding knee.

Xander nodded in greeting.

“you got any food?” her voice sounded like it had been sanded down.

Xander shrugged, his eyes locked on her neck for a split second. She was examining her knee and didn’t notice it. “no,” he mumbled.

“too bad,” she looked across the street and then closed her eyes, “i could eat,” she leant against the truck again, “haven’t eaten for days.”

“i know where we could get some food,” he nodded down the street.

“yeah?” she moved closer, “where?”

“i’ll show you but…” he slowly raked his eyes down her body, “it’ll cost you.”


“Hey,” she smiled as she bit into the bread he’d found in the closed cabinet, “This is really good. Not even that moldy when you cut the green bits off.”

Xander entered the restaurant kitchen again, two bottles in his hands.

“Uh…” she said and reached out for the red wine, “Wanna get comfortable before you get your half of the bargain?” she tried a sultry smile around a piece of bread in her mouth.

“Yeah,” Xander nodded and put both bottles down on the steel counter. A cockroach ran over the dirty surface.

“Oh,” she picked up one of the bottles, “This one’s empty,” she shook it to illustrate.

“Yeah,” Xander nodded again.

“You don’t say much do you?” the woman asked and tilted her head, “Good thing you’re cute.”

Xander looked around the kitchen. All the utensils were still hanging from their hooks on the walls. A wooden knife block caught his attention and he soundlessly made his way over to it. The rats scuttled away from him and he pulled the biggest knife out of the block. He held it up as he listened to the woman’s chatter.

“I haven’t met anyone else for weeks. I mean,” she continued, “After everything went to hell,” she looked up when she heard Xander snort, “Well…anyway I haven’t met anyone apart from…well…you.”

“hmmm,” Xander put the knife back in the block. It was far too big and it felt awkward in his hand.

“So…” she went on, “You got a place where I can pay you back?”

“Here,” Xander pointed at the filthy steel countertop.

“Here?” she sounded surprised.

Xander picked out a smaller knife. It felt good in his hand. Light, easy to handle.

“What’ve you got there?” she started walking over to him and Xander slipped the small knife into his back pocket.

“Nothing…” Xander shook his head and took her hand.

“You wanna get something to drink first…before…” she looked over at the countertop.

“You want something to drink first?” Xander asked.

She laughed and he was suddenly and painfully reminded of Anya. He blinked a few times trying to erase the image.

“Yeah…” she sounded nervous, “Yeah, I could do with a drink.”


“My husband,” she slurred and waved her green scarf around, “He just got dragged out of the car and this thing…this big green,” her hand let go of the scarf and it fluttered down on the dirty floor, “It just ripped his throat right…out.”

Xander looked down at the floor, “Shit happens,” he mumbled.

“Shit hap…” she snorted, “The world goes to hell in a hand basket and your response is that shit happens?!” she started laughing, the sound of it loud as it echoed off the walls.

“Ssshh,” Xander reprimanded, his finger pressed against her lips.

“Sorry,” she sheepishly looked around the kitchen, “You don’t think anything heard us?”

“No,” Xander said, “Pretty deserted this area. Most of the demons don’t come here…”

“Nothing left to eat,” she solemnly concluded and then focused on Xander, “So…guess I should pay you,” she said.

“Yeah,” Xander moved away from the table and grabbed the now empty bottle and put it down next to the other one on the floor.

He watched as she started to undress.

“You want me to take it all off or…” she coyly asked and batted her eyes.

“No,” Xander walked up to her and stopped her hands from reaching down to the zipper of her jeans.

“No?” she looked confused.

Xander leant closer and whispered, “Close your eyes.”

“Okay,” she agreed and did as he’d asked.

Xander took a deep breath, swiftly reached down for the empty wine bottle, took a step back and broke the bottle against her temple.

She made a startled whimpering noise when she tumbled to the floor. The woman’s legs twitched as she started to seizure. Xander sobbed once before he managed to get a hold of himself and pull the knife out of his back pocket. He put it on the floor just out of her reach then he began to rummage around in the cupboards. He lined almost clean bowls up on the steel counter.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered to the quiet kitchen, “I’m really really sorry.”


“You find anything?” Spike asked from his position on the ratty mattress.

“Got you some blood,” Xander said and put down a whole bag of wine bottles filled with thick red fluid.


“is it time…” Spike’s voice was nothing more than a quiet whisper in the silence.

“My watch is broken,” Xander looked up at the crimson sky, “But,” he scooted closer to the broken vampire, “I think we’re near the end.”

The End

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