Disclaimer: Still not mine.
Chapter 12 has been edited and then ending altered slightly. So pelase re-read.
Warning: Character Death!!!
His prey was running again. It happened every time he got close, but he didn’t mind. The longer it ran, the more he could draw this hunt out. He cackled to himself and then took off running after his prey. Sooner or later he’d catch up and the vampire would pay for the cub’s death.
Spike tripped and slammed hard into the concrete, unneeded air being expelled in a rush from his lungs. He hadn’t expected this when he’d gone after the kid, he’d just wanted payback for the way the whelp had threatened him. Coming back to town thinking he was so bad, except....he’d been listening while running and apparently the kid was as good as he claimed.
Spike scrambled to his feet and then stared in shock, a dead end. He turned to run only to hear that freaky cackle of Harris’. The mortal prowled into the alley, everything about him screaming predator and Spike found himself backing away. The scariest thing was the whelp’s eyes, they glowed green, sure, but they were also dead. That was the last thought he had as something hit him, then all he knew was pain, before he gratefully surrendered to darkness.
Xander stared down at the vampire he’d strapped to a wire frame he’d found in the warehouse. Capturing him had been almost too easy in the end; a stolen blaster from the Initiative had taken him out in seconds. He’d heard about how Buffy had once tortured a vampire with holy water and he’d decided to give it a try.
Spike need to pay, for Jesse and everything else he’d done. But...torturing for information to save lives was one thing, this was something different. He reached for the holy water and his hand wavered as he struggled to decide. His hand lashed out and he plunged the stake into the unconscious vampire’s heart. He would not sink to that level; he would not become what he hunted. And for the first time in over a month he heard the soldiers quiet voice, offering condolences and congratulations, even the hyena was purring away happily.
Xander stared at the piled wood for a few moments before slowly lowering the lit torch to it. The gasoline caught easily and soon the pyre was burning away merrily. He’d been so consumed with making Spike pay that he hadn’t been able to bring himself to do this before, luckily he had picked up a preservation spell from one of Giles’ books or else his car would have been smelling rather rank after a month with a body in the back seat. He didn’t know anything about the funerary rites of Jesse’s people but if it was good enough for ancient kings and modern hunters then it was good enough for Jesse. He’d even salted the kid’s remains just to be safe.
Dean and Sam watched as Bobby paced restlessly. They both knew why the older hunter was so agitated and it was why they hadn’t commented on his behaviour. No one had heard from Xander in two months. Apparently he’d vanished from Sunnydale the night of Adam’s destruction, though Giles had seemed concerned about something when Sam had spoken to him. They’d even called the LA group but they’d heard nothing either. It was like the kid had dropped off the face of the earth. It wasn’t like Xander to do something like this though and all three groups were worried. Bobby had spread word with other hunters to keep an eye out for his nephew but no one had seen anything.
Sam split his time between looking for Xander, hunting the demons that had escaped the graveyard, and trying to break Dean’s deal. And it was taking a toll on him. He knew it but he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t lose Dean and he needed to find Xander. Xander...he’d opened up quite a lot since they’d first met him and Sam liked spending time with him. If he were truly honest he liked Xander a lot more than he would ever admit out loud. He couldn’t lose both his brother and best friend, he couldn’t. But Dean’s deal would be up soon and there was no sign of Xander anywhere.
Dean watched Sam as closely as he dared. He hated seeing so much pain in his little brother’s eyes but there was nothing he could do about it. Sure the time loop was broken but Sam still remembered watching him die how many times? And they all knew the next time would be the last. Add to that the fact that Xander was still missing? Sam was just one big walking angst fest these days. And to think he’d begun to hope that when his deal came due Xander would be there to help keep Sam together, like he’d tried for Dean when it had been Sam that was dead. But Sam and Xander were a lot closer than he was to the kid so maybe it would work better for Sam than it had for him.
Dean knew that Sam hated the fact he’d made the deal but what else could he have done? His baby brother, pretty much his sole reason for living, was dead and it had been his fault. How could he not have offered the trade? Sure he would have preferred the standard ten year deal but he’d thought he could live with only having a year. It was still one extra year with Sammy by his side. But the deal was killing Sam almost as surely as it would kill Dean in a few very short months. Sure, some of Xander’s contacts had come up with ways to extend the deal but none had found a way to break it without Sam paying the price.
He’d also noticed something in the interactions between Sam and Xander that had thrown him for a bit, but after consideration had made him happier. They were attracted to each other. Xander, after close watching, obviously knew about his feelings and was simply hesitant to act. Sam was the amusing one since it was obvious his brother had no clue he was feeling way more for Xander than friendship.
Dean had half hoped that one more good thing would come of his death, the two of them finally admitting their feelings to each other. He knew that Bobby had figured it out as well and didn’t mind his nephew possibly getting together with Sam romantically. It would keep Sam nice and close to people who could protect him. He’d seen Xander fight to keep Sam safe and he had to admit it was kind of scary.
But with Xander still missing that wouldn’t happen. He knew Bobby had nearly blown up at Giles over their last phone call when the British man had suggested maybe it was time to report him as dead. Dean nearly snorted at that, one thing he’d learnt about the kid, who really wasn’t a kid anymore; don’t count him out till you see the body. And they had yet to find a body.
“Yeah Sam?” Dean turned to face his brother, trying to look calm for his sake at least. The kid was obviously close to tears and he didn’t want to make things harder for him. Not that things could get much harder, Dean would be in hell before the night was through, Lilith wanted Sam’s head on a plate, and Xander was still missing.
“Being the reason you’re going to hell.” Sam answered softly and Dean froze for a second before walking over to sit beside him.
“I’m not.” Sam’s eyes went wide at Dean’s calm statement.
“I’d do it again for you Sammy. When this....when it’s done you stay with Bobby, you hear? He needs you to keep him sane while looking for Xander.”
“You think he’s still alive?” Sam asked and Dean smiled to see hope in his brothers eyes.
“Won’t believe he’s dead till I see the body and salt and burn him myself. That kids as good a survivor as anyone and he does have a few tricks up his sleeves. You just give him hell for me for having worried everyone like he has, okay?” Dean tried to stay cheerful but it was hard.
“And hurry up and sleep with him too.” He added and Sam nearly jumped.
“What!” Sam’s eyes were wide with shock and a little fear. Dean grabbed him gently and forced Sam to look at him.
“I’ve known for a while Sam, awesome big brother here remember? It’s cool Sammy. It’s obvious you make each other happy.” Dean told him and Sam smiled at him.
“So you think he?”
“Oh.” Dean frowned at Sam’s tone.
“What?” Dean asked and Sam shrugged.
“It’d just...when you and Bobby left us after we were shot, it’s like he couldn’t stand to be near me.” Dean thought it through and then had to laugh.
“Think about it Sammy, enhanced sense of smell, hidden attraction and being stuck in a house together? Poor guy must have been going nuts!” Sam stared at him in shock for a while before smiling. Xander liked him!
“You find him and sit on him if you have to but make him admit it.”
“Sure.” Sam couldn’t help glancing at the clock and then moving closer to Dean as the hands got ever closer to twelve.
“I want you to go before it happens Sam; I don’t want you to see.” Dean ordered and Sam shook his head.
“I won’t let you...I won’t let you die alone Dean. You didn’t let me.” Sam told him and Dean relaxed, even though he didn’t want Sam seeing him turned into some hellhounds chew toy he also didn’t want to die alone.
“Alright.” Dean got up and began to lay a circle of salt and goofer dust.
“But you stay in this till it’s over with. Just...talk to me or something if you can.” Sam nodded.
“I will.” He grabbed Dean in a bone crushing hug and for once Dean didn’t fight it, in fact he hugged back just as hard. When they parted Sam got into the circle and sat on the floor while Dean sat against the wall, nearby but not close enough that he could accidentally break the circle if he thrashed when attacked. They fell silent as midnight approached and held their breaths as the clock chimed but nothing happened.
“Dean?” Sam called hesitantly and Dean shrugged.
“I don’t know Sam.”
“Dean stop!” He slammed on the breaks at Sam’s shout, thankful that the road was empty since it was nearly two in the morning.
“Sam?” He checked Sam over but he appeared as unharmed as he had been when they’d gotten in the car six hours earlier after having torched dear Mr. Jones’ bones.
“It’s Xander’s car.” Dean looked to where Sam was pointing and sure enough Xander’s car was the furthest in the motels lot. Dean pulled in and parked next to it. They carefully studied it before popping the trunk and getting into the hidden compartment Bobby had added for Xander’s hunting supplies.
“He’s down to the bare minimum.” Dean whispered and Sam nodded. They each had a hand on a gun as they made their way to the room the car was parked in front of. At Dean’s nod Sam knocked and called for Xander. After waiting and sensing no movement Dean knelt to pick the lock. They both froze as the door swung open once unlocked, able to feel the magic in the air. Pulling their guns, they entered the room, only for Sam to let out a strangled cry and bolt across the room.
“Sam!” But then Dean saw what Sam had and his gun fell from numb fingers.
Sam was sitting on the floor, Xander’s still and bloody body cradled in his lap. Dean forced his eyes away from the two to study the room. He didn’t recognise the spell work lining the walls but from the rush of air when the door had opened plus the fact that there had been no detectable smell outside he figured it was meant to isolate the room. He then knelt beside Sam and studied Xander’s wounds only to go deathly pale himself.
“Dean?” Sam asked voice watery with tears.
“Hellhounds, his wounds were made by hellhounds.” Dean finally managed to get out. He stared down at Xander’s body in shocked horror. How? Why?
“He took your place?” Sam whispered and Dean searched wildly only to stare at the clock in shock.
“Sam.” He pointed at the clock which still held the date of Dean’s deal.
“The clock, there’s no smell, signs of...of decay....” Sam stared around and Dean said nothing about the fact that Sam was still holding Xander’s body.
“It’s a spell. He set this up, maybe months in advance. He took your place and made sure no one would think to look in the room.”
“Then how did we...he must have keyed us and maybe Bobby in. Knew we’d eventually pass by even if it took years.” Dean finished.
“We need to take him to Bobby.” Sam whispered and Dean nodded.
“I’ll get things ready.” Dean told him and then left the room. Sam didn’t notice as he stared down at Xander’s blood splattered face. He gently closed the unseeing brown eyes and ran his fingers through still soft hair.
“Why Xander? You didn’t have to do this.” Sam couldn’t hold back the tears anymore and cried, burying his face in Xander’s hair. Xander’s work had been so thorough that his body was actually still slightly warm though it was cooling rapidly now. Sam pulled back and gently kissed Xander’s lips before laying him on the floor and standing. He pulled the quilt off one of the beds and lay it out on the floor.
After that he got a cloth and wet it before kneeling beside Xander and gently washing the blood from his face and anywhere else he could. Once he was done he shifted the body onto the quilt and wrapped it gently. When Dean came back in they gently carried the body out to the Impala and lay him in the back seat.
Bobby looked up and smiled as he heard the Impala pull in. He went to greet the boys but froze as something about the way they were moving warned him. He remained frozen as they removed a quilt wrapped bundle from the back seat and then his legs gave way as it hit him. Xander was dead.
Sequel to come.