Famous Last Words

Author: Lori Bush <lwbush[at]charter.net>

WARNING: A very dark, depressing story, but it's just the lead in for about five more stories in the series. Things get better.

Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, etc. owns Buffy. You know the routine.

Summary: Xander's thoughts during a bad situation.

Pairing: A/X - sort of.

Rated: PG-13

Author's Notes: (Written during Season Sux.) Okay, I was in a dark mood, and even a little angry. I still love the show, but I do feel like there's a pit being dug from which there is no way out. I could more easily envision Buffy's return from death than I can her coming back from the depths to which she's currently sinking. So out this came.

After I finished it, I saw the possibility of more. So it gave birth to a sequel, already written. Then I felt that story was still open-ended, so it's spawning a series - The "Words" series. More to come.

Dedication: To Jen (Saturn Girl) at the Dead Xander list, 'cos she got me thinking about it in the first place.

It's ironic, I think. I mean, I always knew a demon would kill me, and I'm still surprised by this. I could see every danger that ever threatened "my girls," but couldn't see the one that was gunning for *me*. It's just a matter of time, now.

Damn - tried the chains again, and they're just as secure as they were the last dozen or more times. Besides, struggling like that against the broken arm was what caused the pain and made me pass out earlier. Huh - after all the broken bones I've had, they just don't get any easier to endure, do they?

And chained to my own dining table, too. It had such good memories before. I remember many a breakfast here with Anya. Singing our fears to each other when that screwy demon had us all pouring out our hearts in song. That night we. God, I loved this table. But no amount of sexcapades could redeem it now. Not that I think I'm gonna live to get a new table once this is over. Reminds me, though. "What did you do with Anya?" I demand, and like the last hundred or so times, the demon just ignores me.

I can't open my left eye anymore. I'm not even sure it's still in the socket. There's the broken arm. I can't feel a hell of a lot, but I do feel the blood seeping from the gashes on my chest. Not that I was ever pretty, but I'm fairly sure I look like shit-on-a-stick now. It's not like anyone will see me - there's nobody left to save me. All the times someone came crashing in at the last minute and pulled my fat out of the fire - not happening here. They're all gone.

Buffy is gone. Not physically - she's probably not too far away, her resurrected, pulled-from-heaven-by-her-selfish friends body still walking around Sunnydale. But that body doesn't hold our Buffy - my Buffy - anymore. We did so much damage she may never heal, emotionally. Her psyche probably looks about like my body right now. Shredded beyond recognition. Why else would she be with Spike? Not like I'm one to talk - Anya was once just as bad as he is. I like to think my love changed her, though, and made her a real person. But Buffy doesn't love Spike, I'm pretty sure. He's just a place to run away to. I hope he doesn't kill her - again. At least this time, she might get the rest she so desperately wants. The rest we stole from her. Rest I think I'll soon get to find out about.

Willow. God, I don't know who she is anymore, either. Her anger at Tara, her indiscriminate use of magic - that's why I'm here, now. I'm pretty sure that this demon is here thanks to her summoning it. Willow won't save me. In fact, I think it's Willow who needs saving. Or that people need to be saved from. All the things that are going on, and I find myself wishing I could get free not for my own health, but for Tara. This demon was meant for her, not me. I just got caught in the crossfire. She's the next in line, and I just want to protect her, too. She's become one of "my girls."

I just realized - I thought earlier that I could see every danger that threatened my girls, but I couldn't. I didn't see any of this coming. I didn't see Willow going off the deep end, and losing it all, taking Tara down with her. I didn't see Buffy hollowing out, didn't see the danger in us bringing her back, even though I had protested. My objections would have been insurmountable if I'd seen this coming. I never thought I could lose Anya, but I'm pretty certain she's gone. I see Dawn slipping into darkness now, too. It's funny how clear your perspective becomes when you know you're gonna die.

I'd pray, but the last god I met sort of turned me off of deities. I wish Giles was still around, but I doubt he'll come flying in from England to rescue the one member of the Scooby Gang he'd probably not mind too much seeing dead. My options have pretty much run out.

Anya always loved that knife - she bought it from some late night TV ad that promised it would never need to be sharpened. It still looks pretty sharp as the demon holds it over my chest, and I know with startling clarity that my heart is about to be carved out. "Yesss," the demon growls in its deep scratchy voice, "The heart was the problem, so we'll remove it."

"I want to talk to Anya one last time," I demand, with as much strength as I can force past the lump in my throat.

That humorless laugh twists through my gut. "She doesn't exist. She never did. You were deceived, and you deceived her in turn. You couldn't love her enough." Funny, as awful as that face is, it looks worse when it scowls. "Love is never enough."

Why fight the tears? It isn't as if anyone will know, or care that I wept as I died. "I truly did love her. I'm sorry I couldn't do it better." As the knife descends to finish me, I can't scream through the sobs, but I can choke out one last word, my killer's name. "Anyanka."