This is the End
LEGAL A/N: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
and all characters belong to Joss Whedon, 20TH Century Fox Television, UPN, The WB and CW. The Dead Zone
and all characters belong to Shawn & Michael Piller, Stephen King, Lion's Gate Television and USA Network. Monk
and all characters belong to Andy Breckman, Mandeville Films, Touchstone Television, NBC Universal Television and USA Network. Psych
and all characters belong to Steve Franks, Tagline Pictures, NBC Universal Television Studios, GEP Productions and USA Network. The 4400
and all characters belong to Scott Peters & René Echevarria , Renegade 83, American Zoetrope, Paramount Network Television Productions, Viacom Productions Inc. and USA Network. Final Destination
and all characters belong to James Wong, Jeffrey Reddick & Glen Morgan, Hard Eight Pictures, Zide-Perry Productions and New Line Cinema. No profit is being made off of this and no copyright infringement is intended or implied. All ownership not mentioned here is acknowledged and respected. 5: This is the End
The sun began a slow descent over Los Angeles, sinking behind the hills as Xander, Shawn, Adrian and Johnny wondered aimlessly through the street crowds on the sidewalk of a busy corner. They were now about a mile away from the shore of the Port of Los Angeles and had been walking for miles, afraid to get in a car again.
Xander gazed around cautiously, but not as much as he would’ve expected. Overcome with exhaustion, he stopped at an outdoor café called the Coffee Beanery and plopped down in one of the metal chairs, resting his head on his hand. The other three men joined him and gazed around nervously at the crowd surrounding them, unaware of the presence of the marked men.
“Are you okay, man?” Johnny said, gazing over at Xander with concern.
“Okay?” he repeated. “Sure. Except for the fact that I’m next on Death’s list.” Shawn, Adrian and Johnny gave each other looks.
beat it,” Shawn said optimistically. “It skipped us… It’ll skip you, too.”
“But what happens after that?” Xander asked, frustrated. “Does it end? Or does it come back around for us again?” He sat back in his chair and wiped the sweat off of his forehead, the outdoor heat of the café baking him mercilessly. “This isn’t over,” he said, shaking his head bitterly.
The other men sat back with drained expressions as they descended into contemplation. “Since my car accident,” Johnny said thoughtfully, “I always figured waking up from the coma was my second chance at life. Everything else was just overtime.” With a sigh, he decided, “If this is the end… I can accept that.”
“At least you completed something
,” Shawn declared. He mused over his experiences, and commented idly, “My dad always told me that I had done nothing with my life. And in the past eight hours… I see now that he was absolutely right.” He gazed around the table with an expressionless look. “But you know what – that was my
choice. Maybe I shoulda done more. Shoulda got married. Shoulda grown up. But that’s… that’s the way it is.”
Adrian stared out into the blankness in front of him as a small smile just barely formed his face. “I was married once,” he whispered. “Her name was Trudy. She was…” The words faded away as warmth washed across his face. “If this means… I can be with her, then…”
He fell into thoughtful silence again as John replied, “You’re not afraid?”
A wider smile stretched his face as he nodded his head. “Yeah…” he breathed, comforted. “I’m not afraid.”
The three of them looked over at Xander again who watched the dozens of people on the sidewalk who walked passed him and the dozen more in the café surrounding him, the world still spinning exactly the way it should be. “I lost somebody, too,” he answered with a sad tone. “I lost her to the most dangerous job in the world.” He shook his head slowly, in awe of the events that transpired. “And to think that now – after all I’ve seen – I’m afraid of staplers and cotton balls. I’m afraid of everything
.” He glanced up at the sky and let his mono-sight sink to the people around him again. “I don’t think I can live my life and be afraid all the time.”
They looked away from him with a pitied expression. Adrian wiped the sweat off his brow with his handkerchief and placed it on the table beneath his hands.
Johnny stared at Xander with a half-frown. “So do you still believe it’s a dream?” he asked him forwardly.
Xander looked up at Johnny, caught off guard. His mind at a loss, he looked around at the others as he tried to force himself into saying the word ‘yes,’ but it wasn’t coming.
“Guys,” Adrian whispered softly. He was staring down at his handkerchief as a red spot of wine bled through the cloth and grew. They watched as the crimson spot spread across the white linen as they stared at each other ominously.
A gust of wind blew across Xander’s hot skin and he knew.
All four of them lifted their eyes and began to glance nervously around the café. The customers around them continued to eat and carry on their conversations, the pedestrians on the sidewalk chatted with each other or on cell phones, the traffic on the street moved by quickly. Xander’s attention fell on a television set sitting on a nearby bar next to the register.
The male anchorman sat behind a desk and read the news to Xander and the other three. “Our top story tonight, the Center for Disease Control has ordered the Los Angeles City Morgue to be shut down when several of its staff fell ill and died a few hours ago at local hospitals, succumbing to a deadly virus hosted by a deceased carrier. The body was brought to the morgue shortly before noon today for autopsy, having supposedly died of unknown causes. Staff and officials were not aware of the contagiousness of the virus or that the man was even infected…”
The sound drowned out into the crowd around them. Xander felt a quivering inside of his stomach as the sweat dripped off of his face. He remembered accurately the body which Adrian had correctly identified as being of a sick man. His blood was boiling, his body temperature soaring as he glanced back at the other three. Johnny, Adrian and Shawn were now experiencing the same symptoms as Xander as the each clutched their insides and struggled to stay upright in their chairs.
Xander was hit with a wave of dizziness as the world around him began to spin. The voices of the customers rose to a blaring level as the lights of the setting sun and the outdoor fixtures sparked and burned his retina. He felt himself falling through the air, the taste of bile crawling into his mouth, and he collided with the pavement, staring up at the fiery orange sky. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest as it suddenly began to slow down dramatically.
The innocent chatter around him erupted into screams as strangers stared at him, gazing down at him with horror. It’s a dream!
he screamed to himself in terror, the world around him darkening. It's all a dream! It’s not real… It’s only a dream… I don't...I don't believe...
He could hear nothing else as he submerged into the darkness of unconsciousness.
He felt the ground beneath him lightly tremble. It sounded as if he were in a wind tunnel as mumbling voices could be heard all around him. Dim light poured into his eyes as he stared up at the night sky above. Xander noticed a crowd of people standing over him, staring down at him in shock. Every once in a while, a bright white flash of a camera went off nearby. I’m not dead
, he realized. A blurry figure leaned directly over him, its face close to his. The picture cleared as he gazed up at the concerned face of a young man in his early twenties with light brown hair wearing an expensive dark suit and light blue collared shirt. Xander blinked as he stared up at the young man, a familiarity surrounding him.
“You’re gonna be okay,” the familiar stranger declared with a calm voice and a half-smile. Xander’s eyes drifted from the stranger to the concerned faces of Johnny, Shawn and Adrian, who also stood over him, and slowly they began to smile in relaxation. They were alive and well.
“Can you see all right?” Johnny asked. Suddenly, Xander realized what the strangeness in his sight was. He had two
eyes again. He sat straight up in shock as he reached for his face and saw the black eye patch lying on the ground. A woman reached down and handed him her compact mirror and he gazed at his two hazel eyes in shock. Xander looked around at the whole world with bewilderment and his eyes drifted over to a young TV news reporter standing in front of a camera with a microphone in his hand.
“This is Brian Cummings with KTTV 11 News reporting live from San Pedro Bay,” the reporter announced to the television camera. “‘Miracle healer’ and former head of the 4400 Center Shawn Farrell rescued four men tonight at a local café and subsequently saved Los Angeles from an outbreak of the deadly Cordilla virus, released earlier this morning. According to officials, these four men who had been seen leaving the Los Angeles City Morgue shortly after noon today, were the only surviving carriers of the terrorist virus which was released on the deck of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson this morning, docked in the bay for military test flights…”
Xander glanced back at the other
young man whom Dawn had been crushing over as Shawn Farrell stood up and began a retreat through the crowd. “Hey, that’s the guy from The 4400
!” Xander exclaimed, pointing at him.
“Well, yeah, he’s one of the 4400,” Johnny shrugged carelessly. “Everybody knows that.”
Xander jumped to his feet and watched Shawn Farrell leave through the crowd before the mob of reporters could reach him. “Hey, wait!” he called out. Shawn paused and turned back to face Xander before stepping off of the sidewalk. An instant later, a city transit bus zoomed passed him as the healer jumped back in horror. The crowd gasped as they realized that a second later, he would’ve been flattened by the speeding bus.
Xander’s eyes went wide as Shawn Farrell backed away towards him, he and the crowd staring with jaws agape. “Whoa,” Farrell said, glancing over at Xander. “Close call, huh?”
Xander glanced back over at Johnny, Shawn and Adrian who had equally stunned expressions and wide eyes which were filled with horror. “It’s really not
over,” Shawn Spencer breathed. Shawn Farrell looked down at them, confused by their sudden fear.
The crowd jolted as the sound of an explosion was heard from high above. The five doomed men glanced up as they saw a white parachute open in the distance against the black backdrop of the sky. With another explosion, an unmanned F-18 fighter jet burst into flames as it began an uncontrolled dive towards the street corner.
Xander’s eyes opened wide as he saw the burning bird of hell plunging down towards them. The crowd erupted with a collective scream as his heart stopped in terror, realizing that there was no escape this time.
“Xander!” he could hear Buffy harshly snap.
His eye popped open as he found himself sitting on the couch in the Los Angeles hotel room. Dripping with sweat, Xander looked around the darkened room, his sight darting from corner to corner. He found the television set as the closing credits for Psych whizzed by. His heart was pounding in his chest as he looked over to see Buffy, Dawn and Willow glaring at him with unsatisfied expressions.
“I can’t believe
you were asleep the whole time!” Dawn complained. “You totally missed out!”
“Where’s…” Xander whispered, his heart still throbbing. “What…?”
Xander looked over at her, and then back at the television set as something boring enough to sleep through – an episode of Nash Bridges
– began to air.
“I’m too awake to sleep,” Buffy declared as she glanced at Willow and Dawn. “I think I can stand to sit through the movie if you still wanna—” They looked over at Xander’s stunned, horrified and confused face with puzzlement. “Xander?” Buffy asked. “What’s wrong with you
“Whoa, Xander,” Willow laughed, staring at him strangely. “Don’t give yourself a heart attack.”
Xander turned to her, white-faced, and then he glanced back at the TV. A commercial was now on television with the huge words ‘OVER STRESSED?’ crowding the screen. The computer-simulated X-ray picture of a beating heart slowing to a stop appeared on the television.
He could hear the Mortician’s rolling, deep voice in his head like the distant rumbling of thunder: “Have you ever had a dream that felt so real that your heart couldn't save itself from the fear? It couldn't distinguish the line between hallucination and reality?
The words ‘THESE SYMPTOMS COULD LEAD TO DEATH’ appeared on the TV. Then the commercial suddenly switched off as lightning flashed in the sky. The signal was lost and the screen flooded with static. The thought suddenly filled his mind – Shawn’s cousin’s neighbor who killed himself by thinking that he was going to die. Scared to death
, he thought to himself.
Xander had almost believed. He almost believed he was going to die. Was that real enough for Death? Was everything that he just experienced only a bad dream… or was it Death’s plan for him? If so, did he just cheat it?
“Crap,” Buffy rolled her eyes as she stared at the static-filled screen. She let out a long, disappointed sigh. “That’s the end of that.”
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