The coffin

Author: Koos van Winden <koosfanfic[at]>

Rating: R

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters in this fic. They belong to Whedon and Mutant Enemy

Beta: Keith

Timeframe: After S7 Chosen

Warning: This is my first attempt at horror, kind of. I'm NOT gonna tell if any of the characters are gonna die or not.

Summary: A strange coffin appears out of nowhere and keeps the group busy.

Feedback: Please do

Chapter 1

9.30 PM Scooby house in Cleveland

Xander gazed intently at the repairs to the living room bookcase. He didn't sense the shadow coming up behind him. It moved slowly forward until it reached his back.

Xander looked up from measuring a piece of wood, a sudden chill running along his spine. His head snapped around to look into a pair of shining eyes. He jumped back, one of his working tools hitting the ground.

"Hey, Dawn."

The key grinned widely. "Hey, how're you doin'?"

"Fine. How's Dawnie?"

"Great!" The younger Summers looked at the bookcase. "Modern style?"

Xander grinned. "Just using some iron elements in it. Makes it more Slayer resistant."

Dawn smiled. "I heard rumors that you and Jane are gonna have a date tomorrow."

"Oh? Rumors? So, there are rumors about her and me?"

"Of course there are. Everybody can see how you look at her and how she looked at you. And she's cute."

"How would you know?"

"Hey, I can see when a girl is cute. Besides Willow and Kennedy confirmed it."

Xander laughed. "Are they jealous?"

"What do you think? Like Hell."

His smile faded when a sudden flash lit up the room bathing it in red. Xander turned around, his mouth dropping open as he saw a coffin shifting from out of nowhere into the middle of the room. He traced his eye over its metallic skin and over silver coloured flowers. He sniffed and couldn't place it other than that it smelled . . .sweet. Like perfume. He couldn't figure it out. It's as if he not only could smell something familiar, but also could taste it . . . even feel it.


10.00 PM

Faith's slayer senses went wild as the coffin radiated an aura of pure love and hate. It was hate like she had never felt before, not even in her evil days. It was love she couldn't even dream of. She didn't know what it meant or if the others could feel it. She saw how the group stared collectively at the coffin. She looked carefully around, taking in their gazes, but their expressions didn't match with her own feelings. Only Xander came close. After having watched how several Slayers had tried to open it with every means possible she swallowed nervously and walked to the coffin. She closed her eyes and sniffed the air, it smelt like a thousand roses. But she also smelt blood and sex. She bent down and touched the coffin with one hand. Shocked she jerked her hand away as a burning pain rushed through her nervous system. In that same instant she also heard screaming voices. It terrified her. She took a deep breath and tried again. This time it was different. It felt pure and strangely enough human, as if she touched a soft skin. She loved it. It was addictive. She felt the skin shiver as she let her hands roam over the coffin. It was at its prime as she touched the first flower. She turned it and felt all the love fade away. She smiled proudly. She opened the coffin further and her eyes widened. "What the fuck!?"


More obsessed by how Faith was handling the coffin Xander hadn't looked inside. The carpenter looked around as he saw how the group gazed at the coffin, their eyes wide. He instinctively knew that it somehow had to do with himself. He moved one step to get a better view and felt his stomach curdle at the body lying wrapped half in a white shroud. Blood was everywhere. He saw why: one hand was missing from it's wrist. The body was staring upwards with one eye wide open.

Dawn squeaked while Willow screamed. "Xander!"

He felt everyone turn to him, but couldn't rip himself away from his own image. He gazed into the staring eye and just before he could free himself from the horror in front of him, he imagined that the eye moved to look at back him. It was filled with the deepest sorrow and agony that Xander had ever witnessed, as if the person in front of him had faced something beyond his worst nightmare.

Chapter 2

10.10 PM
In the living room

The group was sitting on the couch. Dawn and Willow were flanking Xander, holding him. The girls' expressions were even more worried than Xander's. Even though they had brought the coffin to another room, the stench of blood still hung heavy in the air.

"Where's that coffin come from?" Faith asked.

Giles rubbed his glasses. 'I-I don't know. The coffin appears to be made in the 9th century," he paused for a while before continuing. "Willow, can you perform a spell to date the coffin and the body?" he looked at Xander. "I-I mean-."

Xander nodded. "I know."

"It's all so awkward," Buffy confessed for the group.

Willow nodded. "Sure. I'll get on it right away."

The redheaded girl let go of Xander and walked out of the room. Her place was taken by Buffy. "His, uhm, your hand. It's severed from your arm. He died by blood-loss."

The room felt silent as Buffy finally spoke the words that had bothered them the most. Xander could see it in their faces. He could hear it in Buffy's tone.

"It seems that it was removed by something that appears to be a knife of some kind. Considering the way it looked it seemed that it has been done in a hurry," Giles explained.

Fear took master over Xander's emotions again. "But why? Why would they need my hand?"

Giles sighed. "I don't know, Xander. They could have needed it for many kinds of spells or rituals. However, we can't tell if it was done after or before you died."

"It was before," he muttered remembering the way the other Xander had looked at him.

He felt a squeeze from Buffy. "He looks like you. But he isn't. We don't know what or who he is-"

"He's human," Giles said. "I'm afraid he's you."

Xander looked around, nervously. "But not necessarily. Right?"

"Not necessarily," Giles reassured him. "But most likely."

"C'mon, dude. It won't be you. We won't let it happen," Faith supported him.

"Won't? As in the future? As in not happened yet, but could?" he asked even more nervously.

Faith frowned. "Well, yes. What else?"


10.30 PM

"He's me? From the future?" Xander asked again.

"I've checked everything, Xan. The coffin and the body, uh, I mean, you, or, well, they are from the near future. I checked it with your DNA and several kinds of spells. I'm sure."

Xander took in her words. "Define 'near'."

Willow looked at him. Her face showing more worry than his. "Tonight."

The group fell into silence.

"What?" Dawn asked as first.

"Tonight at midnight precisely."

"How? How did it get here? Where did it come from. What's going to happen?" Xander freaked out.

Faith stood up and closed the distance. She crouched down until she was at eye-level with him and laid her hands supportively on his shoulders. "Don't worry, Xan. That guy in the coffin . . . consider him history."


11.00 PM

Dawn, Giles, Wood, Andrew and Willow had been researching for the last hour straight. Kennedy, Vi, and Rona were patrolling the area as Faith and Buffy were checking out the latest demon bar.

They were standing in front of the bar. Faith pulled the barman over the counter as he didn't cooperate according to the Dark Slayer's high standards. "I'm asking one more time before I rip you apart piece by piece. What do you know about this coffin?" she asked him as she pressed a photo in his face.

"Faith, calm down," Buffy interjected by pushing her away from the poor man.


Buffy ignored her and slapped the man hard on the face while holding him. "We so do have not the time for this. Tell us . . . Now!"



"Nobody knows anything," Buffy growled as she walked in with Faith.

"You didn't give that man a chance to say anything," the Dark Slayer crowed.

"Like you would have."

"In between the screams? Yes! Besides, I was willing to do that strip-tease."

"Buffy," Dawn rushed over to her, her voice slightly raised in panic. "We haven't found anything."

"I've called Wolfram and Hart. Angel said he'll put his whole research team on the case, but he can't guarantee anything," Giles informed her, "He's never heard of the coffin or a similar case before. Neither had Spike."

Buffy nodded and looked at the group who were still in full research mode. They all looked nervous, like she felt. Without anyone telling her she knew they were all thinking the same. She looked around. "Where's Xander?"

"He's in his room," Willow said. "I just came back from him. He's . . . I've never seen him like this before, Buffy. Oh my God! Only a half-hour before-"

Buffy laid her hand on the Wicca's shoulder. "It's alright, Will."

She stared in her friend's red-trimmed eyes as Willow spoke. "I feel so helpless."

Buffy couldn't deny that she felt the same. "I'll check on him. Faith, you and the rest of the Slayers make sure that everything is secured."

The Dark Slayer nodded. "No one comes in or out."


11.35 PM



"How are you?"

"Fine . . . I think."

The blond Slayer sat down next to him on his bed. "It hasn't happened yet, Xan."

"I know." Buffy's skin crawled as she heard the deathly calm in his voice. It frightened her. "But it will."

"Xan. Don't-"

"Buffy, I've thought about this. I'm leaving."

"Xander. You don't have too."

"I do. We don't know what's gonna happen. We only know that I'm gonna die. I don't want you or any of the others staying here when this happens, you could all get killed."

"We won't let you. I didn't say a word, but I could see it in the eyes of the others: they'd rather die then let you go and face this alone." Buffy could see a spark in his eye, but it dimmed quickly.

"I know. That's why I have to go. Please let me."



Buffy placed a finger on his lips. "For the past seven years I have felt the same, Xander. Day in and day out. You and the others would never let me go."

Xander was quiet for a few moments. "This is not the same."

"Yes, it is. And I understood why you wouldn't. I understood why you took all those risks."

Xander sighed and nodded.

"Come. Lets go downstairs and face whatever will happen together."


She hugged him tightly. "You know I love you."

He smiled. "I know."

She continued hugging him. "Uhm, Buff. I think I got the message."


"Okay, I didn't."

Finally she let go of him. "Sorry, hugged for Will too."

He grinned. "Well, at least my shirt stays dry from her tears. That's good, 'cause I need to have it clean before I'm gonna ruin it." Buffy saw him thinking. "Sorry, I just can't come up with any of Cordy's snarky comments." She could see him smiling genuinely at her. "Thanks."

"No thanks like dollars -." She paused. "Forget it."

They stood up and walked to the door. "So, this is how it feels to be in the spotlight. I must say that it's kind of, uhm, shinny."

Buffy smiled. "And the shadows are creepy . . ." She wrinkled her face. "And all touching," she muttered.

Chapter 3

The whole group was present in the living room. The coffin had been placed against the wall, but with some space in between it. It was open with the body laid in it. Rona and Vi stood at each side of the door and everybody was armed. Willow stood ready with a couple of magic books. Moonlight shown through the window, reflecting on the coffin and lightening Xander's face. It was the only light together with some candles that made up the light source as one of the girls accidentally broke the lamp.

"You know, I wouldn't mind if you guys would close that coffin,' Xander said.

"We need to be fully prepared," Giles explained.

"Yeah, but he's looking funny at me. Like I'm wearing something of his." The girls looked at him. "Well, maybe he's still angry at me for me going to waste his favorite shirt and-."

Faith who was sitting at his left side stood up. She looked around warily, her eyes scanning the room. "I feel something."

Everybody looked around. "I didn't feel anything," Buffy said and she looked at Vi and Rona who both shook their heads. Kennedy gave Faith a nasty look as she squeezed Willow's hand.


Faith shrugged. "Well, I thought I felt something."

Buffy flashed a smile and nodded. Faith sat back and turned her eyes to Xander who's clearly nervous.

Minutes go by. The expensive Swiss clock ticked its seconds away, very slowly. Nothing happened.

Dawn suddenly perked up. "I think heard something. Did any of you hear something?"

Buffy, Faith, Kennedy and Willow shook their heads. "I think I heard something too," Robin said.

"You're sure?" Faith asked.

"No, I'm not."

"I didn't hear anything," Vi said. "Me neither," Rona followed.


"C'mon guys, there must be something, right? There's only 15 minutes left."

"We have to wait, Dawn," Giles said.

The next two minutes crept by, until they all heard something scratching against the window. Faith and Buffy rushed up and looked outside.

"You see something?" Dawn asked, her voice a tremble.

"Nothing," Faith said,"Was probably the tree ticking against the window."

"You sure?" Willow asked.

"The Slayers outside would have seen something for sure and warned us if not."

Willow nodded. They were quiet again. The only sound was the clock again, until Willow didn't hold it anymore as she spoke. "This is killing me." They all looked at her. "Nothing and it's almost time."

"Thirteen minutes and 40 seconds to be precisely," Giles said, earning him a nasty look from everybody.

Xander suddenly stood up. His eye looked sternly over the group and his face determined. "I can't stand it any longer. I'm leaving." Faith rushed over and quickly grabbed his arm as he walked away. "Faith, let me go." She slid her hand in one of her pockets and pulled out a handcuff. Xander struggled and fell to the ground. "Faith, no!"

Faith ignored him and pulled him to the bookcase and tied him to a long iron cylinder. "You're not leaving, unless we know you're safe."

"Do you need to tie me up?"

"That or I knock you out. You choose." Xander scowled at her, but remained quiet. Faith nodded at Kennedy and Dawn and they nodded back.

"What? You three planned this?" the young man asked.

"Don't be angry with them," Giles said, "It's for your own safety."

"Well, thanks. Whatever was gonna get me killed, at least it's without the blood chilling chase. Thanks. Makes me feel so better."

"Xander, be a sweet puppy and shut up. When they come, I'll snap it in a sec." Xander only scowled at the Dark Slayer. "Until then you stay cuffed." Xander jerked at his chain. "Don't sweat it, hunk. It's stainless steel."

"We are all on the same ride here, Xander. As the Slayerfleet's flag ship worthy we deal with the mission. Without any internal troubles. Like Gene Roddenberry wished it," Andrew lectured him.

"You're not going to die without Willow at your side. That is what you want, isn't it?" Kennedy asked.

"Thanks for reminding me."

"God, you're so stubborn. Xander, you saved Willow. Now she wants to be there for you." She paused. "I haven't forgotten why you have lost your eye. We both wanna help you."

"Yeah for Xander and his gay girls," he muttered. He looked down as if had given in.

Willow smiled at Kennedy who held her and the Wicca stood up. She walked over to Giles and handed him a flagon. "We must do something, Giles. I can't stand it any longer."

Giles looked at the flagon and raised an eyebrow. "What's this?"

"It's a Triple Time poison. We can stop whatever brings it back in time. I only have to pour it over the coffin and after a couple of minutes it'll protect it-"

Giles frowned. "Or bring it back. I don't think that it's wise to use it, Willow."

"Maybe it is," Dawn said raising attention to him. "Maybe this whole time-loop is the cause of this and we have to break the cycle."

"Like a self-fulfilling prophecy?" Wood asked. "Could well be the case."

"Isn't it then smart not to make such a poison at all?" Kennedy asked.

"We don't know if it's self-fulfilling, sweetie. We don't know anything, except for that horrible coffin over there. We need to be prepared."

"Looked pretty much self-fulfilling to me," Faith crowled, "Look at how you all behave. Nobody can fuck with our heads more than us. Believe me, I know."

"So we cut Xander's hand off and put him in the coffin and sent him back in time!? Is that what you're saying!?" Willow shouted.

"Relax, Red. Relax."

"Will . . ." Xander said softly, "It's okay. I'll stay."

""You would like to kill him yourself, is that it!?"


Willow looked at Buffy and then back to Faith. Her slightly red eyes faded away. "I-I'm sorry. That was uncalled for."

Faith's hurt eyes move back from the ground to face Willow's. "It's not . . . I do care, Willow." The group fell quiet again.


Dawn grabbed at her nose


Giles fiddled with his glasses.


Buffy played with her hair.


Faith shuffled on the couch.


Kennedy sniffled softly.


Willow looked at Kennedy.


Kennedy looked back.


Faith looked at the clock.



Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock

Giles' cell-phone rang and everybody jerked up. After a few seconds he managed to press the phone button.

"Yes? Angel . . . Nothing strange has occurred until this moment. No? . . . Yes, thank you." They all looked at him with high expectations which quickly changed as he spoke. "He hasn't required any valuable knowledge. He'll continue working on it."


Xander studied his cuffs.


Andrew stared at Faith.


Faith looked back.


Andrew looked to the ground.


Faith flashed a wry smile.


Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock

A shout outside shook them out of the awkward silence.

"Oh, God! It's beginning!" Willow shouted as she rushed up.

"Calm down Red. Kennedy, Robin, and me are gonna have a look."

"I'm coming with you," Willow said stubbornly.

"You better stay here, sweetie. Protect him."

Giles put the flagon on the table next to the coffin. "I'll go with them, Willow," he said with a reassuring smile. Willow pouted, but nodded. "It's 11.50 and 43 seconds now. The rest will stay here as well. We only have to stall for time."



An older woman was walking with her dog. The dog suddenly barked.

"What is it, Pippy?" She looked around and saw another dog. The dog growled. "Pippy, shut up."

She lost her grip on the lease and the dog took off. "Pippy!" the woman shouted and ran after him. She saw Pippy taking a turn around the corner and she followed in pursuit, but tripped and shouted as she fell.


Nelly was a sweet, shy, sixteen year old Slayer from North Dakota. Her little kitten, Molly, had been armly welcomed by the group when they'd both arrived. But Molly was an adventurous cat with a mind of her own, who liked to discover things.

Chapter 4

"I heard a noise," Willow shouted at the same time as the Slayers looked at each other. "Vi, Rona do you want to look?"

The two Slayers nodded to Buffy before walking out of the room. "I think it's Molly. I'll be back in a minute," Dawn informed the others before leaving, ignoring Buffy's protests.

Buffy and Willow looked at each other and then to Xander who was sitting on the ground. "How can you be so calm?" the Redhead asked as if it was ridiculous.

"It's only a few minutes, right. There's hardly enough time left, right? I mean, killing costs time and there's not much time left . . . right?"

Buffy flashed a wry smile. "Right."

"H-How much time?" Willow asked.

"About eight minutes."

"More or less than eight minutes?"

"Andrew!" Buffy suddenly shouted. "Stop playing with that lighter!" Andrew jerked up. "Go to your room!"

"B-But, I wanna stay. I wanna defend Xander heroically with my life and die with him at his side-. I-It's my destiny in everything that's Saint Anya. I pray to her."

"Andrew! Go away."

The youth pouted, but did as she said and strolled towards the door, leaving the three core Scoobies alone.


The moment he had almost reached the door Xander saw Andrew's lighter drop in slow motion and bounce on the carpet until it laid still. The moment Andrew was out of the room Xander heard the door slam shut. His mouth dropped open when Willow and Buffy flew back against the wall and were being held there by an unseen force.

Fire erupted in front of them.

"Buffy! Willow!" Xander shouted. He jerked at his handcuffs and screamed for help. He saw the terror in their eyes as the fire slowly moved closer towards them and only to them as the flames behind the fire ceased to exist.

"No!" Xander shouted again.

Holding his breath he saw how Willow moved her mouth to chant something. Helplessly the man had to watch his life-long friend's lips sewn shut with a few large stitches of thread. He grimaced in pain and held his chest feeling like it was ripped open by a slash over the heart each time another black strand was stitched over her mouth. There was only enough freedom left for the Wicca to scream.

He was snapped out his trance as he heard Kennedy and Faith yell from outside the room and bang on the door. "Break through the door!" Kennedy snarled.

Xander heard a loud slam on the door, but it held. He looked nervously around and saw nothing. He pulled as hard as he could at his chain, until he heard a blood chilling laughter echoing through the room. Xander's head snapped head around, looking in every direction.

After a few laughs, the voice faded away. Xander saw how the flames moved slowly, but steadily forward. His path of sight passed the coffin and the table and with a huge eye he helplessly watched how his best friends frantically tried to get away. He pulled and jerked at the chain. "Who the fuck are you!" he yelled.

Suddenly a squared box appeared at the other side of the coffin, directly behind it. Xander could see a big red button on it.

"What!? What's that!? Oh, my god. Help! Someone hit that button! Help! . . . Please."

In panic he looked around, breathing hard and saw that the window had turned black. He could only hear people bouncing on it. He started to smell the same perfume again as the mysterious smell slowly filled the room.

"Please," he begged softly.

As he realized that nobody could help him he hastily shuffled his hand over the ground and grabbed a piece of wood. He closed his eye and paused as he tried to calm himself by breathing in and out deeply several times. He fully focused his eye on the device and tracked the path to the switch and tried to imagine the distance. He threw the piece of wood to the box. His breath stuck and his heart pounded wild as he saw in slow motion how it flew through the air and . . . hit it . . .

It bounced a couple of times right next to the button and his heart dropped as the piece of wood landed on the ground.

Another laugh echoed in the room.

Petrified he moved his hand over the ground searching for things within his reach, throwing them one by one towards the box.

Every time he missed and each time it was accompanied by terrifying laughter. Each time the voice became more and more familiar, finally he recognized it after the last throw.


He looked at his best friends and saw how the first flames had reached their feet.


With his single eye bulging, his hand frantically searched further until he grabbed a saw.

"I love you, Xander . . ." she spoke with deep passion, ". . . We'll be together again, surrounded by your loving friends . . . Forever."

The End