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With a Whimper.

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Summary: “Quarantine,” Buffy explained, “looks like we're surrounded by the army, navy and airforce, I expect the Marines will storm ashore later.” A strange disease sweeps through Sunnydale and vampires are dying from the 'flu'; who will be next?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > General(Recent Donor)DaveTurnerFR151233,229110415,67220 Dec 1310 Jan 14Yes

Chapter Twelve.

12.

Wednesday.

Giles' Apartment.

'My dearest Buffy...'

Early that morning, Buffy and Willow had driven through the strangely quiet streets of Sunnydale. Although Buffy's driving skills had not radically improved (even after all the practice she was getting) over the last few days they'd not been stopped by either the army or Sunnydale PD; there was simply no one else out on the streets. After arriving at Giles' apartment they'd made their way through the little complex and down to his front door. It was there they'd found the envelope taped to the door.

Giving Willow a concerned glance, Buffy took down the envelope and opened it, unfolding the single sheet of paper she started to read the hand written letter. Before she'd even got half way through she'd gasped as she placed her hand to her face. Passing the letter to Willow, Buffy sat down at the little table next to Giles' front door where he used to sometimes eat his breakfast. Giving her friend a worried look, Willow opened out the crumpled piece of paper and started to read.

'My dearest Buffy,

If you are reading this it means that I'm already dead. I don't know how, but I contracted the disease sometime in the last twenty-four hours and must have died of it last night. Do not try to open the door and find me because I think my body will still be infectious and I wouldn't what my remains to be the cause of your or anyone else’s deaths. I, of course, am beyond caring and you can do nothing for me except survive.

The latest information I received from the council in London is most worrying. It seems that the disease has broken out around all the hellmouths, although Sunnydale is by far the worst affected location so far. The US government has decided, with the other nuclear powers, to use nuclear weapons to 'sanitise' the infected areas if the disease is deemed to have got out of hand. In all probability Sunnydale will face nuclear destruction in the next day or two if a cure cannot be found. The first indication that the government is putting 'Operation Clean Sweep' into action will be the sudden withdrawal of troops and medical staff from the town...
'

Willow stood there for a moment as she realised they'd seen no troops patrolling the town that morning.

“My god!” Willow gasped as she looked around to see Buffy weeping quietly into her hands, “Buffy, we've got to do something, stop them dropping the bomb or something...Buffy?”

Buffy didn't seem to be listening so Willow continued to read the letter.

'In this event my advice to you is to leave Sunnydale immediately by whatever means you can, do not stop for anything. Your only hope of survival is to flee immediately. I suggest you head for the mountains and find somewhere isolated to hide out in until this madness has passed, I would suggest six months at the very minimum.

Although it might not have seemed like it at the time, I have always loved you and cared about what happened to you. Yourself, Willow and Xander have been like the children I never had and will now never have. It has been a privilege to know you all. It has been a particular privilege to be your Watcher and my only regret is that I will not be there to guide and teach you to become the slayer and woman I know you would have become if things had turned out for the better.

Give my love to Willow and Xander and your mother.

I remain your most bemused, perplexed, exasperated and loving Watcher,

Giles.

PS; I heard that Snyder was one of the first to succumb to the disease, you know what they say about silver linings?
RG.
'

Wiping a tear from her eye, Willow looked around only to see Buffy stand up and head for the door to Giles' apartment.

“NO BUFFY!” Willow cried out as Buffy smashed open the door, “Giles said not...to...”

The words died on Willow's lips as she watched Buffy march into Giles' home. Standing by the doorway, Willow admitted to herself she was scared, she didn't want to die and if not dying meant not going into her mentor's home, she'd stay right here by the door. Anyway she could see Giles' body perfectly well from where she stood. He sat slumped in his favourite chair a book on his lap and a glass of Scotch near his hand.

Buffy stood stock still in front of him, staring down at the corpse of the man who'd been more like a father to her than her real father these last couple of years. Her face was bereft of all emotion, she'd even stopped crying. To be frank, Willow didn't feel like crying either, she felt too numb and anyway she'd cried so much over the last few days that she felt like she was all cried out.

“Buffy,” Willow called softly, “we've got to go, Giles said...”

Buffy didn't appear to hear so Willow called louder.

“Buffy, we've got to go,” she called, “they're going to blow up the town...”

“I don't care,” Buffy replied in a toneless voice.

“Well, I do!” casting her fears aside, Willow marched into the apartment; taking hold of Buffy's arm she steered her towards the door, “Giles wouldn't want us to get burnt to a crisp by a nuclear bomb, so...move your ass slayer!”

Much to her surprise Willow got Buffy out of the apartment. As soon as they were out in the daylight again, Buffy seemed to snap out of her gloom, she looked at Willow questioningly.

“Nuclear bombs?” she asked.

“Look,” Willow explained as they headed towards the stairs to the parking lot, “Giles said the government is going to drop nuclear bombs on Sunnydale to destroy the virus or whatever it is.”

“Right,” Buffy followed Willow towards her mothers SUV, “and he knew this how?”

“The council in London,” Willow cast a nervous glance at the sky as she imagined bombers loaded down with big, fat nuclear bombs heading towards Sunnydale right at that moment. “Buffy,” Willow took Buffy by her arms and looked deeply into her eyes, “I don't think now is a good time to question where Giles got his information. I think now is a good time to be heading out of town.”

“Yes,” Slayer Buffy appeared to have come back from wherever she'd gone and pushed little, frightened, teenage girl, Buffy out of the way. “You're right,” she ran around to the driver's door and pulled it open, “lets get gone!”

0=0=0=0

Later.

Although no one knew it at the time, destroying Sunnydale with nuclear weapons only made things worse. The alien super-virus that had originally been designed to kill off the world's vampire population had started to mutate almost as soon as it made contact with Earth's atmosphere. It mutated particularly quickly around the Sunnydale Hellmouth. The effect of the electromagnetic pulse from the exploding tactical nuclear weapons over Sunnydale only served to make the virus mutate at an even faster rate.

Sensing the explosions seconds before the bombs detonated, Buffy was able to drive her mother's SUV off the highway. The two young women were far enough away from ground zero not to be affected by the fire ball and the blast effects swept over them doing little more than stir up the dust and trash at the side of the road. The real 'killer' was the EMP which trashed the SUV's electrical systems, leaving the girls to continue their journey on foot.

Having only stopped to grab some bottles of water and snacks from a deserted gas station, Buffy and Willow weren't properly equipped for survival in the semi desert that surrounded Sunnydale. However, by moving at night and hiding up during the day they escaped the worst of the desert heat and avoided contact with other people. Eventually they reached the mountains to the north of where Sunnydale had stood and were lucky enough to find an old, tumble down shack hidden deep in the forest and near a stream.

0=0=0=0

Unknown to Buffy and Willow world events were moving on apace. At first it seemed that the destruction of Sunnydale had stopped the virus in its tracks. The major outbreaks in Cleveland and LA appeared to have been contained. Around the world one or two other cities had had to face nuclear sterilisation, but again the smaller outbreaks of the virus were being contained and it was hoped that no more nuclear weapons would have to be used.

About a week or ten days after the destruction of Sunnydale the virus seemed to have blossomed into a new deadlier, faster acting version of itself. The virus burst from the containment areas killing people within only a few hours of infection. As the virus swept through the population the government used bigger and bigger nuclear weapons in a vain attempt to get ahead of the disease. Soon the authorities in urban centres stopped reporting outbreaks of the virus for fear that the central government would nuke their town. It didn't matter either way, everyone died and whether it was from nuclear fire or from the virus made no difference, other ro the people being killed.

Around the world, countries that were only suspected of having nuclear weapons used them to settle old scores with their neighbours. North Korea fired missiles at South Korea. Pakistan fired missiles at India, India retaliated and utterly destroyed Pakistan. Iran used some fairly primitive bombs loaded into trucks on Israel. In retaliation, Israeli submarines, firing from the Indian Ocean, obliterated most of the Arab world's capitals. It didn't matter, the virus came and wiped out whatever populations remained after the radioactive dust had settled.

0=0=0=0

Up in their mountain home Buffy and Willow knew nothing of this. They lived by raiding nearby settlements for food, clothes and any other needs they might have. It was always Buffy who went on these raids, leaving Willow to look after their camp. Going into these settlements now populated only by the dead, Buffy felt sure that her slayer metabolism would protect her and if there was anything bigger than a virus waiting to attack her, well, her slayer metabolism could deal with that too.

It was three weeks after the destruction of Sunnydale, that the radio the girls had found in a deserted house stopped picking up any broadcasts. A couple of days after that Willow grew sick and died within hours. Willow had guessed that her early exposure to the virus (when she'd got some of Angel's pus on her hand) must have been protecting her, unfortunately it didn't protect her from the newer, deadlier form of the virus. Buffy was devastated, she'd convinced herself that Willow was protecte and that she'd never catch whatever it was that was even now wiping out the remains of the world's human population.

Having watched helplessly as her friend had died, Buffy went outside and dug a grave. As she dug down into the sandy soil Buffy thought it odd that in all the death and destruction this was the only grave she'd dug. After laying Willow to rest, she filled in the grave before sitting down and waiting for her own death to come. However, Buffy still didn't die, she'd been right, the fact that she was 'The Slayer' protected her, she was just too tough for the virus.

Unfortunately her 'slayerism' didn't protect her from radiation poisoning. A lot of the nuclear weapons fired had been primitive 'dirty' ones and had been set for ground burst that had thrown up great clouds of radio active dust. Those areas that escaped contamination by fallout were destroyed by the virus. By the end of the twelfth week after the first case of the virus had been reported, Buffy Summers was possibly the only human being still alive on Earth.

0=0=0=0

“Here she is,” Academic Assistant Venka called as she walked up to the tumble down porch of the shack.

Buffy lay slumped in an old rocking chair, her body gaunt from lack of food and the ravages of radiation poisoning. Most of her hair had fallen out as had her teeth and her gums bled almost continuously. Junior Academician Vilchjo came to join his assistant and waved a scanning devise over Buffy's still form.

“Radiation poisoning,” he announced a little surprised at his findings, “odd there is no trace of the pathogen in her system.”

“Most odd,” agreed Venka, “do you want me to take samples?”

“Yes do so,” Vilchjo nodded.

Of course neither Vilchjo or Venka were physically there, their real bodies were still safely aboard their starship in orbit around Earth's moon. They were using the Projection Technology that allowed them to visit potentially lethal environments while still enabling them to use there own senses and collect samples for later study.

“I simply do not understand what has happened here,” Vilchjo explained as Venka pressed a device against Buffy's arm and took her samples which were immediately 'beamed' up to their starship. “The pathogen should have only killed off the infestation and a few of the weaker aborigines. I never expected anything like this to have happened.”

“Perhaps there were some environmental issues that the probes did not pick up on?” Venka suggested as she stood back from the barely breathing human and checked that her device had collected a full range of samples from the subject.

Yes thought Vilchjo that must be it. He couldn't be blamed for what had happened here if the equipment he'd been given had been faulty or there had been unexpected conditions.

“She is the last of her kind,” Venka announced as she looked down at Buffy's poisoned and wasted form; she looked at Buffy closely, “From the images I have seen she would have been thought of as sexually desirable...it is a pity we can not preserve her as she once was...” she glanced over at Vilchjo, “...put her in a museum I mean.”

“No,” Vilchjo shook his head firmly, he had no wish to have his 'mistakes' preserved for all to see. “it's too late now,” he checked one of his scanning devices, “she's almost dead.”

The truth was that Vilchjo could have 'preserved' Buffy, the GOD had technology that was quite capable of bring living creatures back from the dead. He could have had Buffy taken to his ship. The medical systems aboard could have cleansed her system and nursed her back to health; Buffy could have lived out eternity as a living exhibit in one of GODs vast museums believing that she was still on Earth amongst her own kind living her life over and over again. No doubt the label on the pod where her material body would be stored would read, 'Human, Teenage Girl, Earth'.

But Vilchjo didn't want anyone to be reminded of the mistakes he'd made here on Earth. As long as no one in authority had their attention drawn to the disaster here no one would notice. After all the galaxy was a vast place and not even the Academic Guild could keep track of everything that its members did, they were only sentient beings and not some all knowing mythical deity. As long as he was careful what he published he'd be safe and his reputation and career would not be damaged. After all he had succeeded, the infestation had been completely eradicated.

“Look,” Venka gasped, “she moves!”

0=0=0=0

Groaning and wondering why she was still alive, Buffy opened her eyes, the world began to spin as she tried to focus on the two beings that stood in front of her. Buffy wanted to die and she cursed the fact that it was taking so long for her to shuffle off this mortal coil; she wanted to be with her Mom and Willow and Giles and Xander and all her other friends. Why was it taking so long? Why did it hurt so much?

One of the beings said something and drew Buffy's attention to it. The beings were vaguely human looking, they were dressed in white, a white so bright that it hurt her eyes to look at it. Their skin seem to glow with health and vitality and their hair was like a bronze coloured halo around their heads. They regarded her with golden eyes that held no pity for a seventeen year old girl who couldn't wait to die so she could be with her family and friends again.

“Bastards,” Buffy croaked as she looked up at the angels, “you did all this...” Buffy made a weak gesture that still managed to encompass all the desolation around her, “...you killed everything...”

Summoning up her last reserves of strength Buffy tried to push herself up and confront the killers of her race, to make one last 'slay', to die fighting as the protector of her people should. But she never made it to her feet, she was too weak. Slumping back into her chair Buffy fixed the two angels with her gaze and cursed them and their kind, it wasn't much but it made her feel better for a moment. Taking one last shuddering breath, Buffy stiffened as the end came, soon...soon she'd be gone.

As her brain shut down due to lack of oxygen, Buffy saw her mother and her friends waiting for her on the porch of her house. Running up the pathway of her home she threw her arms around her mother's neck and hugged her.

“Mommy...” whimpered the last girl in all the world as her life finally ebbed away.

0=0=0=0

“She is dead,” Venka announced not even bothering to look at her scanner.

“Time for us to go,” observed Vilchjo; half a second later they were back aboard their starship and found themselves standing in the medical containment area.

Watching as Venka checked the stored samples they'd taken, unaware that the virus had already escaped the containment field it had been placed in; it had become a 'Hive Intelligence' and something as simple as a medical, containment field could hold it now. Vilchjo smiled to himself. It was time to put Jegfidoc behind him and start on a new project. They'd been in orbit around the planet's moon where they'd been studying some interesting ruins on its dark side and had been too preoccupied to notice what had happened on Earth. He'd also started his initial research for his next project. He'd been looking into sex and all things connected with it and he'd been particularly looking into what had been thought attractive in a sexual partner over the eons. He'd been correct in his earlier thoughts, Venka was, by most of the standards of history, a very attractive female. As she was also his assistant he wouldn't have to spend very much time finding a new and equally attractive subject for his project.

“Venka,” Vilchjo called as the female finished storing away the samples taken from the dying human girl, “I'd like to talk to you about your part in my next project...”

“I hope it will not involve the extermination of any other sentient races, however primitive they might be.”

If Vilchjo had been familiar with the concept of 'sarcasm' he'd have recognised Venka's words as an example of that mode of speech.

“No,” Vilchjo replied lightly, he coughed before continuing with his explanation, “I was wondering if you would be willing...” Vilchjo coughed again, he smiled apologetically at his assistant, “...I seem to have something caught in my throat...”

Starting to cough uncontrollably, Vilchjo fell to his knees as the ship's corridor began to spin around him and his body temperature increased at an alarming rate. Backing away from him, Venka watched in horror as sores broke out on Vilchjo's sink, burst and started to ooze pus, He coughed some more as he brought up large amounts of mucus and blood. Finally his entire body went into spasm before he relaxed and died right there in front of her eyes. Wondering if she was going to die as well, Venka ran along the corridor towards the bridge, she had to warn people to keep away from Jegfidoc.

Venka never reached the bridge of the living starship. The ancient vessel had lived to protect the peaceful civilisations of the galaxy, it knew where its duty lay. The ship was also old and would welcome the death that could come only by its own actions. As Venka ran for the bridge the ship switched off the containment field around the gravitational anomaly that powered its systems and gave it life. In the blink of an eye, had there been anyone left alive to blink, the ancient ship was sucked into the black hole it had created within itself and vanished.

The peoples of Earth had been avenged by Buffy Summers who had made her last and possibly greatest slay.

The End.

A/N-1: The next story I post will be a lot more upbeat...promise.

A/N-2: Yep it was an 'everyone dies' fic. I don't think I've written one before and I don't think I'll write one again (however, I'll still knock off individual characters if it seems like the right thing to do for the story) but this idea has been bugging me for some years so I had to write it to get it outta my mind. This last chapter might seem a little 'rushed' but I got here and found I'd nothing much left to say. The actual 'end' went through several rewrites, the one posted came closest to what I was trying for.

Anyway, as I mentioned, the next story I post will be more upbeat, funny even, with not too many people dying.

The End

You have reached the end of "With a Whimper.". This story is complete.

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