Title: Thirteen Days
Author: Bastard Snow
Pairings: B/X, and Dawn flirting a lot.
Genre: Horror, romance, comedy, zombies (zombies are a genre)
Story warnings: Violence, gore, bad language, sex talk, suicide, zombies, sexual assault
Summary: Zombies. A mall. Xander and some other people.
Author Notes: Thanks to Drake for the beta. Thanks to Capcom, George Romero and Zack Snyder for making Dead Rising and 2 Dawn of the Deads, respectively. Thanks to Max Brooks for writing World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, which has sort of been acting as a muse for me recently.
Accompanying media: An interview with noted Zombie Historian Max Brooks about the impact of the living dead on the history of the world.
Disclaimer: I own none of this. I'm not even gonna lay claim to the OCs, cuz I don't really want them.
Feedback: Yes, please.
Xander woke with a gasp.
“What is it?” Buffy asked. His gasp had pulled her fully awake – a skill she’d honed in Sunnydale.
Buffy sat up in their bed as Xander caught his breath.
“I don’t know,” he said. Xander sat up and turned to look at her, his hands bracing himself against the mattress, as if he expected it to fall out from under him. He looked around the room, and his eye landed on the window of the hotel room. “Listen.”
“Xander, what –”Buffy started. He held up a finger, and Buffy tilted her head. She heard nothing, and said as much.
“I know,” he said. “Nothing. Our room is right by the interstate.”
Buffy frowned, swung her legs off the bed and padded over to the window. She flung the drapes open and looked outside. “It’s empty,” she said.
Xander walked over and stood behind Buffy, wrapping an arm around her midsection. Abandoned cars littered the road.
Suddenly, an 18-wheeler barreled down the highway, horn blaring. It slammed into one of the cars, sending it spinning off the road. A few people hung on to the side of the cab, and a few more grasping onto the back of the trailer.
“Okay,” Buffy said. “There’s definitely something weird going on.”
“Yeah,” said Xander. “Let’s um. Let’s get dressed and head out.”
“We’re supposed to pick up Dawn at her apartment,” Buffy said.
“I know. We’ll go get her and then figure out what to do. Come on, let’s –”
The door to their motel room shook as something slammed up against it and then began pounding relentlessly. They moved as one, Buffy spinning around Xander and somersaulting over the bed as he reached into a bag, grabbed an axe and tossed it to her.
Buffy stood up on her tip-toes and looked through the peephole, then relaxed and tossed the axe onto the bed. She flung the door open.
“You would not believe what’s going on out there,” Dawn said. She rushed into room, her shirt and pants spattered with blood. She gave Buffy a quick hug and sat down on the bed, dropping her purse, her keys, an axe and a handgun. “Well, that’s not true, you would, but you wouldn’t believe the scale it’s happening on. And don’t worry, the blood isn’t mine.” She looked around the room. “Hi, Xander.”
Xander, standing there in his boxers, waved.
“What’s going on?” Buffy asked, hoping that Dawn would not notice her current state of near-nudity. While black-lace panties were very becoming on her, it was not the way she wished her sister to find out that she and her long-time best friend had finally taken that next step into –
“Oh my god, you guys are totally sleeping together!” Dawn said, as she took in their unclothed state and the fact that there was only one bed in the room. She looked at them again. “Um. I’ll um. I’ll go wait in the bathroom while you get dressed.”
“Yeah,” Xander said. “I actually think I’m going to take a shower, so… why don’t I go do that… and you two can talk. Sound good? Good. Okay.”
“Traitor!” Buffy called after him with a smile, as he slipped into the bathroom with a change of clothes.
Dawn and Buffy stood there looking at each other for a moment.
“Sis, as much as I love you,” Dawn said, “I don’t need to see your what passes for your boobs. Can you put something on?”
Buffy glared at her sister, then crawled over the bed, grabbed Xander’s shirt from the night before and slid it on over her. It covered her to mid-thigh.
“Listen, Dawn,” Buffy started.
Dawn waved her off. “We can get into the complete awesomeness of you and Xander being together later, and your loserishness at not telling anybody. We have bigger worries. Can I borrow one of his shirts while you’re at it? I’m covered in… well, other people.”
“What’s going on outside?” Buffy asked, handing her sister one of Xander’s clean shirts. “We saw a truck tearing down the highway with people hanging off of it.”
“Probably not people,” Dawn said, shaking her head. “I don’t know how it happened, but… the whole town has been taken over by zombies, and we need to get the hell out of here.”
“What do you mean, ‘the whole town?’”
“I mean like, the whole town,” Dawn said. She pulled her shirt off over her head and replaced it with Xander’s. “As in pretty much everybody.”
“How is that possible?” Buffy asked.
“I don’t know. But they’re everywhere.”
Buffy shook her head. “How can this town have that many dead people?”
“It’s not just the dead people. I couldn’t tell for sure, but it looked like they turned people like vampires, only way faster.”
“By sucking their blood?” Buffy asked.
Dawn rolled her eyes. “By biting them.”
“It was a fair question, don’t roll your eyes at me!” Buffy said.
“Well stop being stupid,” Dawn said, sitting down on the bed. “Honestly, who the hell ever heard of a zombie that drank blood? It’s all brains and flesh and moaning and groaning.”
“What, because I’m all of a sudden a zombie expert? Vampire Slayer, remember? The job description says nothing about zombies.”
“Whatever. Make your excuses, we all know the truth.”
“Oh, and what is the truth?” Buffy asked.
Dawn grinned and leaned back on the bed. “That I’m the better sister.”
Buffy pouted, sat on the bed next to her sister and laid her head on her sister’s shoulder. “Are we talking 28 Days Later here?” Buffy asked.
Dawn sighed. “No, they’re slower, like Night of the Living Dead.”
Dawn nodded and wrapped her arm around her big sister. “Yeah.”
Buffy smiled. “We had sex on this bed. Beneath and above the covers.”
She felt Dawn shudder. “Uncle.”
Dawn nodded again. “Yup.”
They sat silent for a moment. “Ask what you want to ask,” Buffy said.
“Was Anya right?” Dawn asked.
Buffy laughed. “Did she ever lie?”
“Slut,” said Dawn.
They heard the water turn off, and a minute later a clean and cleanly clothed Xander stepped out of the bathroom. Dawn and Buffy started cracking up.
“Okay,” said Xander. “I’m suddenly self conscious.”
Buffy hopped up off the bed, grabbed a change of clothes and kissed Xander on the way into the bathroom. “Catch him up,” she said.
As Buffy turned on the hot water, she heard Dawn dissolve into a fit of giggles.
* * * * *
“What’ve we got in here?” Dawn asked.
Xander sighed. “Not a whole lot, most of it’s out in the trunk. My axe, yours, Buffy’s sword, half a dozen stakes – not that useful here – various crosses, holy water, your gun, a taser, a flare gun, a –”
“A flare gun?” Dawn asked.
“What?” Xander said. “That’ll light a vamp up and as an added bonus, tell your sister it’s time to come rescue me.”
“It’s true,” said Buffy. “In Lebanon – Oregon, not the Middle East – Xander was cornered by a few vamps, and I didn’t see it. He shot a flare right at one, and it stuck in the guy’s neck. So this vamp is like running around screaming while the fire is eating into him. Well, the light and the noise caught my attention, so I run over just in time to see the vamp go up in flames.”
“And the great thing was,” Xander said, “the other vamps were so shocked by this guy running around with a flare in his neck, they totally forgot to kill me. And your sister came in and kicked their asses.”
Buffy nodded. “It was good times. A solid third date.”
Dawn rolled her eyes at them.
Xander smiled at her. “Anyway, we may not have a whole arsenal in the room, but we’ve got enough to make it to the car. Should be home free after that.”
Dawn walked over to the door and looked through the peephole. There were half a dozen zombies in the parking lot. “Not too many in the way, either.” She turned back. “Morality question: do we go out of our way to kill zombies knowing that they were innocent people? Or do we leave them alone, knowing that they could create more zombies?”
Xander rubbed his chin. “I say kill. They’re dead anyway, they just haven’t lay down yet, and the more we get off the… well, the more we dispose of, the fewer there are to infect the rest of the population. It’s like vampires, only they can’t talk to you.”
“I agree,” said Buffy. She hefted her backpack onto her back. “Xander, you take an axe and the keys. Your first priority is getting the car started. Dawn, you take both guns. You’re the best shot here anyway.”
“Only because guns scare you,” Dawn said.
“It doesn’t matter why. I’ll bring up the rear with my sword. Dawn, you’re in the back seat. Pull down one side of the seat for trunk access. We’ve got all sorts of goodies in there.”
“Got it,” said Dawn.
“We ready?” Buffy asked.
Dawn and Xander grabbed their weapons and nodded. They stood behind Buffy. She lifted her leg and kicked the door. The doorframe shattered and the door flew out into the parking lot.
Buffy stepped back. “Xander.”
Xander nodded and led them out into the parking lot at a quick jog.
“Steady pace,” Buffy said. “They’re the slow ones, no need to rush.”
“Got it,” Xander said, slowing. A couple of zombies turned their way and began ambling towards them. Dawn raised a gun and fired, catching the zombie in the heart. It slowed for a moment, but continued
“Head, Dawn,” Xander reminded. “Gotta take out the head.”
“Right, head. Forgot,” said Dawn.
“Jeez,” said Buffy. “Who ever heard of a zombie that died from losing its heart?”
Dawn stuck her tongue out at her sister and shot the zombie in the head. Bits of bone and grey matter exploded from the back of its head, and the zombie fell to the ground, lifeless.
Xander stepped out and swung his axe, severing another zombie’s head. The head flew a few feet and landed with a loud splat on the pavement. It cracked open, leaking brain onto the asphalt.
“Okay,” Buffy said, pausing in her stride. “That was gross.”
“Come on,” Xander said, pointing his axe about thirty feet away. “Car’s right up here.”
Buffy breathed a sigh of relief when they reached the car. Xander unlocked the car and they all got in. He turned the key and the engine revved to life.
“Hold on,” Buffy said. She reopened her door and ran back to the motel – but not to their room.
“What is she up to?” Dawn asked.
As they watched, she kicked another door in and ran inside. A moment later she led a man and a woman out of the room, past another couple of zombies, and took them to their car. Then she ran back to the motel, kicked open another door and led another man out to his car.
Xander looked around the parking lot. There were still almost a dozen more cars.
“Hey Dawn,” he said, pressing a button on the ceiling of the car and opening the sun roof. “Want some target practice?”
Dawn smiled mischievously and stood up, squeezing herself through the sun roof. She raised her gun, using the roof of the car as support, and shot and killed a few more zombies, leaving blood and grey matter splattered all over the parking lot.
Dawn leaned down for a moment. “Admit it. You just wanted me up there so you could ogle my ass.”
“I’ll admit that had crossed my mind as an advantage of the situation, yes,” Xander said. Dawn stood back up.
“You know you coulda had this,” she said, very matter-of-factly.
“I am aware,” he said.
“So why didn’t you?” she asked, firing her gun. The zombie fell to the ground leaking blood and vitreous humor.
“I never thought it would be right for me to make the first move,” he said. “Also, with my track record, I thought it best to spare you.”
“Spare me but not my sister?”
“We have… similar track records.”
Dawn knelt down again, ejected the clip from the pistol and slammed home a new one. He turned to look at her. “Well just so you know, if you hurt her, I’m gonna have to kick your ass.”
“I expect there’ll be a line,” he said.
Dawn leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. “You’ll be great together.”
Xander smiled at her, then looked out the windshield.
“Look around. Do they look like they’re gathering?”
Dawn stood up. “Yeah. There’s a lot of them coming this way, actually. And by the way.”
“Yeah?” he asked. Dawn wiggled her butt.
“If you guys break up, I’ll be making that first move.”
Xander smacked her on the ass. “I look forward to it.”
* * * * *
“You ready?” Xander asked.
Buffy flopped down in the passenger seat. “Zombies are gross,” she said. She flicked her wrist a couple of times, sending a few bits of viscera to the pavement. Buffy swung her legs into the car and shut the door. “Chance of timely exit, 100%.”
“Take a left out of the parking lot,” Dawn said. “Freeway entrance should be about a mile up on the left.”
“What do you think caused this?” Buffy asked as Xander pulled the car out of the lot.
“No idea,” said Dawn.
“Maybe Hell got backed up,” Xander suggested. Buffy looked at him oddly. “Hey, you don’t know, it could happen. A lot of people go to Hell.”
“Hell’s plenty big enough,” Buffy said. “We should call Giles.”
“Tried,” said Dawn. “Cell service is out.”
“What about your satphone?” Xander asked.
“I um. Used it to bash in a head. It’s pretty much a loss.”
“Damn,” said Buffy.
“Well, what about yours?” asked Dawn.
“Didn’t bring it,” said Xander. “Vi’s got smashed in a fight, and we were just coming to Cleveland. Plenty of cell service and land lines here. Whoa…”
Xander slowed the car down and they all looked to the left. A half-dozen cars were clogging the onramp, half of them ablaze. There was no room to get around them.
“Okay…” said Dawn. “Next onramp is about four miles from here, near the mall. Keep going for about a mile and a half, then hang a right on Winstead.”
“Winstead, got it,” said Xander.
Buffy revised her estimate. “Chances of a timely exit, 85%.”
Xander smiled at her. “We’ll get out.”
“I know,” she said, patting his hand.
“So how did you guys get together?” Dawn asked.
“Alcohol,” they chorused, then broke down laughing.
“It was um, Faith’s birthday,” said Xander. “She was well and truly sloshed, and – this was after the blow-up with Robin – and she’d been spending a lot of time with us, so I guess we were all out drinking. Anyway one thing leads to another, and we all end up back at my place, Faith with her head over the toilet and the two of us just talking the whole night. And at some point… we just…”
“Kissed,” said Buffy, squeezing Xander’s hand.
“I was willing to let her draw her own conclusions,” Xander said, smiling at Buffy.
“Winstead,” Dawn said, pointing.
“Right,” said Xander. He pulled the car around the turn and headed towards the interstate.
“So we just kind of took it from there,” Buffy said. “Slowly.”
Buffy and Xander smiled at each other.
“Watch out!” Dawn screamed.
Xander spun his head just in time to see the grille of a Ford truck coming straight at him. His foot slammed to the floor and everything went black.
End Chapter 1