Anya stands up slowly, looks down at her body lying sprawled on the bloody floor of Sunnydale High School. She turns to the figure next to her.
"So that's it then?"
"That was dying?"
"Huh." She looks down at herself. "I don't look any different. Shouldn't I be ... carrying my own head or see-through or something?"
DO YOU WANT TO BE?
"No . . . I look good. I'm a very pretty dead person."
She preens a little, but then looks back at the carnage. Watches quietly as Andrew, hidden away behind the last monster she'd killed, pushes the body away and stands up, aided by one of the Slayers.
"He's all right then. Good. I chopped that bastard up all right! I didn't know I'd do that well. And the end wasn't so bad. Just a thump! Barely even pain. And then. . . . "
The figure beside her, black-robed, deeply silent, just nods. Twirls his scythe slightly. Watches with her as if he has all the time in the world. Which, come to think of it, is odd, because he ought to be pretty busy, what with all the dying going on.
"So do we have to go yet?" asks Anya, feeling kind of guilty. "Because I kind of want to see how it ends."
Death nods his head. SO DO I.
"Oh, so you've been interested in the battle too?"
I AM. I HAVE ESCORTED SEVERAL SLAYERS TO THEIR REST ALREADY.
"Oh!" Anya claps her hands. "The spell worked!"
"And some of them died. Well, like I didn't see that coming." She rolls her eyes. "Probably got a big head about all their powers, and next thing you know, bam! Sword in the gullet." She ponders a moment. "Like me. But without the big head."
Xander suddenly pitches past, calling her name but of course getting no answer. He yells raggedly until Willow finally drags him away from the scene and out of the building.
The roof and walls start to shake, but Anya doesn't feel it. And when a big chunk of plaster comes down on her body, it doesn't touch her or Death. More chunks come down, burying her body along with those she has riven.
Suddenly the scene shifts a little: Death is pulling her along beside him. She sees her body moving fluidly away, along with the north hall, the walls going past, and suddenly they are standing in the sun, watching the potentials – the new Slayers – and the surviving civilians load themselves onto a school bus.
"Oh, good idea! I bet Giles thought of it. All that booklearning lets you think sideways. I'd just be running down the street screaming my head off."
The high school begins to fall noisily into its own pit, and Anya has a sudden thought.
"Are you the Death for all those ... monsters from the Hellmouth? And if you are, shouldn't you be down there with them?"
Death turns his head away from the school and looks at her for a minute. If eyesockets could be assessing, his would be.
NO. THOSE CREATURES HAVE THEIR OWN DEATH. YOU ARE THE LAST.
THE LAST HUMAN CASUALTY OF THIS BATTLE.
Anya stops for a minute, then nods. "Oh. Then everyone else gets out all right? On the bus?"
"And Xander . . . he goes on okay? Even without me?"
YES. FOR NOW. I CANNOT TELL YOU THE FUTURE.
"Oh, um . . . that's all right." She watches the bus dwindle into the distance at a racketing speed, while Sunnydale crushes itself into dust and powder.
"Wow," says Anya eventually. She and Death now appear to be standing on air, because the earth has dropped itself about a hundred feet straight down. "Now that's a big hole in the ground."
Death says nothing. For a moment, both of them stand in the stark silence of a town that doesn't exist anymore. Then Death turns to her.
IT IS TIME TO LEAVE HERE.
Anya smiles. She is not nervous. It's like a new step in the adventure she'd been having ever since she made her choice to be human.
"So where are we going now?" she asks.
WE SHALL SEE, says Death.
The two of them disappear to all sight, but an adept listener might have heard Anya enquire, "Are there bunnies . . . there?" and might even have heard Death's reply:
DO YOU WANT THERE TO BE?
Note: If you have read the Discworld books, you know that Death talks in capital letters. If you haven't, you probably didn't get this far, or if you did, you're going, "Wha? Huh? Wha?" But anyway, he does. He just does. Title from Velvet Underground's "Beginning to see the light": "Here comes two of you. Which one will you choose?"
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