Title: Whisper 1/?
Rating: PG-13 to R
Pairing: S/X, references X/Anya.
Warnings: Character death, though not the boys.
Summary: After ‘Sacrifice.’ Post apocalyptic struggles.
Notes: This fic came about because I was craving some apocalypse stuff, and I had this vision of what would happen in times of crisis. I saw this fic, as I was writing it, really visualizing it, and I tried to make it like when you watch ‘The Body’ and everything is mostly sensual(meaning the use of your senses). Images are sharp and numbing and this was my intent with this fic; I’m not sure whether I lived up to that, but hopefully it’s not a suck fest. I’ve been told it’s creepy so be warned. Thanks to jjean65 and lunabee34 for all their help. Feedback=love.
“Xander.” There was a pause. “What are we going to do?” Dawn’s rough whisper in the dark was a cold sound, a terrified scratch in the multitude of silence surrounding them. It was dark in the closet; a small strip of light beneath the door was the only illumination in the small space. The smell of moth balls and leather drifted around them, the comforting scent breaking through their terror. Buffy’s old raincoat was around Xander’s shoulders, and the smell of rain and damp left him with an icy sense of foreboding.
Dawn let out a small breath; it rattled as adrenaline made her shudder. She tried to maintain silence while the outside world went to pieces. The shoes on the floor of the closet were uncomfortable beneath them as they crouched in the darkness.
Xander’s hands clenched on his knees, and he kept his voice calm as he responded, “I don’t know Dawnie. Just-just be quiet for now.”
The silence descended upon them, and Xander’s hands shook. There was a scuffing noise as Dawn shifted; her hand brushed his arm, and he tried not to jump. Dawn pressed herself up to his side, trying to squeeze in between him and the back wall of the closet. Xander gave in and pulled her into his lap, his arms coming around her as she turned her head to face the closet door. Her hair held the faint scent of flowers, and Xander shuddered into the small amount of familiarity.
There was a loud sound outside the closet, most likely outside the house, like a bat hitting something solid and hard. Dawn jumped, and her arms tightened on him. There was the sound of breaking glass, and then a rattle, like someone turning a doorknob.
Xander brought his arms up around Dawn, pressing her to him, as he in turn pressed them both into the closet wall, as if they could melt into it. Dawn let out a soft gasp, breathy and frightened. A scratching and scuffling came from beneath the closet door as they trembled in the dark. The noises got louder, and they heard a low hiss, like a cat might make or some sort of snake. Xander put his mouth as close as possible to Dawn’s ear before whispering, “Close your eyes. Don’t think about it; don’t scream.” He paused, and Dawn began to nod shakily. He continued, “Think about good things. Your mom, remember your mom.” Xander’s voice shook, and he tightened his hold on Dawn.
The scuffle continued to grow closer, and there was a large thump on the closet wall. Xander felt Dawn’s tears through his shirt; they mingled with his own.
There was a sudden rattle, and the door handle on the closet turned. Dawn’s breathing increased, and Xander held his own. The handle turned, rattling and creaking, for what seemed like forever. Xander had broken the lock from the inside, but something smart and strong could open it. The rattling stopped, and there was a thump outside the door. A footstep landed just outside, and Dawn’s nails dug into Xander’s arm.
Suddenly, the wood around the doorknob splintered, and the handle pulled free from the slab of wood. Dawn made a quick sobbing noise as the door opened. Spike stood on the other side.
Spike was vamped out with a cut along his temple. There was blood on his neck and a bruise on his jaw. Dawn let out a louder sob, and Xander let out a breath as they gazed up at him. Dawn crawled off Xander and stood shakily, moving out of the closet and into the hall. Spike un-vamped and immediately turned to her, checking her over. She latched onto Spike, and he grasped a hand around her shoulders.
Xander’s knee popped as he stood, Buffy’s raincoat tangled around his arm as he ducked out of the closet. He knocked the coat away before stumbling into the hall and into Spike. Spike steadied him before Xander could regain his balance himself. Spike’s eyes met Xander’s, and they both shared the same wide-eyed look of fright.
Spike cleared his throat and pried Dawn from his arms; as he did so Xander noticed a large gash running from his hand up his arm. His duster, a victim as well as he, was ripped. When he spoke, Spike’s voice was hard and quiet, scratchy and unused sounding, but determined all the same, “We have 10 minutes to leave.” He turned to Xander. “Go into the kitchen and get food and any supplies you can. Use anything you can to carry them with.” Spike’s eyes met Dawn’s. “We’re going to go get clothes and supplies from upstairs.”
Xander nodded dumbly, but didn’t really think about the question. Instead he gazed at the dead demon oozing blood not two feet from him. The demon was large, with green mottled skin and bright green blood. Spike had probably killed it before it could get to them.
“Xander!” Xander’s head whipped around, and Spike came into focus.
Spike extricated himself from Dawn’s renewed grip to grab Xander’s arms and his attention. “Xander. Can you go into the kitchen and gather food and supplies?” Spike spoke clearly, as if Xander was a concussed patient on a medical show.
Xander nodded again, this time understanding. Spike nodded in response, “Good. Listen.” Xander’s gaze wandered to Dawn; her cheek was bleeding, a scratch marring her face. “Xander look at me.” Spike’s hand forced Xander’s face to turn and face him. “Look. Don’t think about it. Go into the kitchen and find supplies. Dawn and I will be upstairs.” His hand dropped from Xander’s face. “Ok?” His eyes were wide, a bright blue, with a look of determination guiding him.
Xander nodded and turned toward the kitchen. He stepped over the demon, smearing the green blood across the wood floors. He heard Dawn and Spike’s awkward footsteps upstairs as he entered the kitchen. The backdoor was nearly off its hinges and broken glass spread over the ground like shiny paint splatters. Xander never knew he could feel such terror from one broken door. Xander stared at the glass for a moment, his heart in his throat, before a pounding footstep from above caused him to unfreeze.
He moved methodically, pulling food out of cabinets, pushing everything into the one box he found beneath the sink, and all the old shopping bags by the fridge. He didn’t really pay attention to what he was doing, concentrating more on the pounding footsteps of Spike and Dawn as they rushed to gather things from upstairs. A scream filtered in from the outside air, and Xander found himself holding a butcher’s knife. The smooth weight of the knife was comforting as the steel shined mockingly up at him. He placed the knife gently on the counter before continuing with the task at hand. After he’d cleared the cabinets and all usable items from the fridge, he emptied the silverware drawer into a bag, shoving plates, cups and bowls inside. He found batteries, candles, flashlights and a few other items in a drawer in the island. He packed everything into the bags, ignoring the clangs and clatters of things falling to the floor as his heart beat unevenly in his ears.
Once he was finished, Xander moved the few bags and the box to the front door, setting things neatly next to the stairs. He leaned heavily on the banister and waited for Spike and Dawn. The moonlight came in from the windows in the front door, giving the house an abandoned, cold sort of look. Xander fidgeted nervously and noticed a long trail of blood ran down the hall. His own blood ran cold and he idly wondered if the blood had belonged to Spike. A thump from above drew his attention away before he could give it more thought, and Spike and Dawn came lumbering down the stairs, each with a suitcase in hand.
“Did you get everything?” Spike asked as he reached the first floor. Xander nodded and started to pick up some of the bags. “Wait.” Spike stopped him, “We need weapons.” He looked toward the living room before glancing out a door window toward the street. He rushed toward the living room, to peer out those windows, before turning back to Xander and Dawn.
Spike rushed forward, grabbing Dawn’s suitcase. “I’m going to go and get the jeep. I have to go outside and back the car up to the door.” Dawn was already shaking her head in disagreement. Spike looked at her intensely.” I’ll be fine, I just need to get the car.” He turned to Xander. “I want you to lock the door behind me and don’t go anywhere; you two stay here. Ok?”
Xander’s voice creaked from disuse as he nodded. “Ok.”
Spike gave them an even stare, not really looking at them-as if preparing himself to go outside, before opening the door and rushing out. Xander closed the door behind him and flipped the lock. Dawn was silent as they peered out the front door windows. Dawn’s dress sleeve tickled Xander’s wrist, and he pushed away the lace and velvet. Dawn looked sharply at him before turning back to the window.
The jeep slowly backed around, so that the back end was facing the front door. The tail lights glowed red, and Xander was caught up in the sight of them. He was fairly sure he was in shock, but he didn’t want to think about that right now.
Dawn gave a jerk beside him, and she screamed. Xander spun around to the sight of a vampire trying to bite her. His arms were around her middle, flattening her own arms to her sides as she kicked and screamed trying to get away. Xander rushed forward, unsure of what to do, as Dawn struggled in the vamp’s grip. Dawn’s leg connected with the dining room doorframe as she kicked out, and the vamp was halfway pushed toward Xander. Xander took the opportunity and punched the vamp in the face, his knuckles rebounding off cheekbone with a satisfying thump. The vampire reeled, and his hold loosened on Dawn. She jerked away from him as the door burst in. Spike barreled through the door with a stake in his hand. He shoved the stake home, and the vampire exploded into dust.
Dawn, breathing hard, clutched her stomach, trying to calm down. Xander’s hand started to ache from the punch as Spike turned to Dawn, checking her over.
“J-Just a vamp.” She blew her hair out of her face and stood up straighter. “I’m fine.”
“Somehow I doubt that, pet, but let’s just load up the car.” Spike proceeded into the living room as Xander gathered up his grocery bags. Dawn lifted the other suitcase and started toward the car.
“Wait.” Xander stopped her. “Let Spike go first.”
Dawn nodded and took a step back, resting the suitcase on the floor. Xander handed her two grocery bags and lifted the rest into his arms. They didn’t speak, and a moment later Spike came forward, Buffy’s weapon’s chest in his arms. Spike heaved the chest outside and into the awaiting trunk of the jeep. Dawn quickly followed him out, shoving the suitcase atop the trunk and pushing the grocery bags over the trunk and into the back seat of the car.
Xander stepped onto the porch, the summer air like still waters, no wind to caress his face, only sharp moonlight and the vague smell of blood. Xander shoved the rest of the groceries into the back of the jeep as Spike helped Dawn into the car. Once she was in he turned to Xander. “I left an axe on the couch. Can you go get it?”
Xander nodded and turned back to the house. He crossed the threshold and moved almost zombie-like into the living room. The living room still looked mostly alright, everything still in place. Xander reached the couch and saw the axe among the cushions, tearing a hole in the mocha fabric. He hefted the axe and turned to leave but his eyes caught a picture on the desk by the doorway. It was the old picture of Buffy, Willow, and himself. They were smiling at the camera, all the epitome of high school. Xander’s fingertips touched the cool glass surface, and he left a dirty fingerprint on Buffy.
“Come on! Xander?!” Spike’s voice called from outside.
A large growl erupted from the other end of the living room, and Xander turned to see a demon looming in the doorway. Xander didn’t think as he grabbed the picture and turned to run. His pulse pounded as he rushed through living room, through the front door, and down the steps. He heard another growl from behind him as the demon’s footsteps followed him. He made it to the car and reached for the passenger side door of the jeep. He pulled it open and scrambled inside as Spike slammed on the gas, pulling away from the house. Xander dropped the picture frame onto the dashboard and slammed the door shut as the car sped away.
As they left Revello drive, Xander started to notice more demons. Things were getting harrier the closer they drove toward down town. A soft gasp erupted from behind him, and Xander turned to find Dawn with her faced pressed against the window, staring at some nameless crime a demon was committing.
“Dawn.” Spike’s voice was clear, almost harsh. “Don’t look at it, turn around and close your eyes. Don’t open them until I tell you to.”
Dawn turned around, tears on her face and her cheek still bloody from the scratch. She nodded and closed her eyes, a look of determination and forced calm crossed her features.
Xander turned around to face forward, and Spike sped up. They took an abrupt turn after about a mile, and Xander watched the city slip away. They inky black of night filtered in through the windows, the dark becoming more of a comfort and less of an anxiety. Xander laid his head back, the stress of the past few days and the shock of everything finally starting to wear on him. He closed his eyes and let out a breath he hadn’t been meaning to hold. His head was pounding, he had cuts and bruises, and he’d almost died. His family would be dead in a matter of hours, if they weren’t already, and his real family was already dead.
Xander tried to stay awake as long as possible, but it was all too much, and when he did fall asleep, there were tears in his eyes.
End for now.