Title: A Rogue's Heart – Part 18, Chapter 10

Author: Wicked Raygun

Summary: For Xander Harris, the Hero of Ferelden, sacrifice is only the beginning. He ends the Blight, only to return to the home he no longer has a place in. Xander/Leliana.

Disclaimer: Based on characters created by Joss Whedon, and Bioware. I am merely borrowing them to put on a puppet show. Watch them dance.

Notes: This story is mostly a series of character pieces with sporadic action thrown in for variety. There's no real plan for this. I'll post chapters as they come to me. I'll be referring to events in the "Dragon Age: Origins" video game using Interludes. Chapters will actually continue the story forward.

Spoilers: And how! Events take place in the summer after season 3 of BTVS, moving into season 4. And all the events of "Dragon Age: Origins", possibly including the various DLC are up for grabs. If you aren't familiar with Dragon Age, then lower your head in shame. Go on. Lower it.

Distribution: Ask and you shall receive. Just email me and I'll get back to you quickly using new-fangled technology. See, I get email on my phone now. Surely jet packs and flying cars are just around the corner.

A Rogue's Heart

Part 18, Chapter 10 – Before it Gets Better

Xander stared at Spike in open-mouthed shock – for exactly half a second.

In one graceful spinning movement, Xander had retrieved his bow and quiver, notched an arrow and fired a random shot. He hadn't aimed. He just wanted to cause a distraction.

It worked. Spike and his minions tried to duck out of the way, one took the arrow in the abdomen – not a kill shot. But these arrows were covered in Mortuus Interfectorem – the killer of the dead – a poison deadly to vampires. In about thirty seconds he would likely fall over in agonizing pain. In a few hours, barring drinking slayer's blood, he would be dead – permanently. But, unfortunately, with their supernatural speed and strength they could still do a lot of damage in the thirty seconds it took for this stuff to work.

He quickly fired a second shot, this one aimed at Spike. But the vampire managed to grab a minion and placed him in the path of the missile. This arrow hit dead center of the chest, piercing the heart and dusting the vampire.

This was not a fight Xander could win. He needed to find Buffy and the others. He grabbed a stall of merchandise and tipped it over, hoping to slow the vampires down. He fired one more wild shot and then turned and ran for the backdoor.

Unfortunately the backdoor required a key, which would cost him precious seconds. He unlocked the door, and immediately slammed it behind him. A moment later he felt a heavy weight slam against it from the other side. The door was metal and locked automatically. The vampires could probably get through if they were dumb enough to try. But it would simply be faster to go back out the front and double back. He hoped they wouldn't realize that, but Spike was smart. At best he bought himself a few seconds.

He leapt onto a green dumpster and used the leverage to grasp the roof of the building next to the Magic Box. With an agile movement he pulled himself up and over. He sprinted across the rooftop. He heard the shouting from the vampires. They were already doubling back. Damn.

He thought briefly about hiding in one of the neighboring buildings or maybe an alleyway. But his pursuers weren't human. They would sniff him out in no time. He needed speed, not stealth. He heard the faintest noise behind him.

They had already caught up to him.

He spun and fired an arrow. This one hit the vampire just off from dead center so he didn't dust, but he slowed down enough that a second arrow slammed into his skull, dropping him to the floor like a sack of flour.

Xander growled in frustration when he saw a second vampire leap onto the rooftop from below. Rather than fire an arrow, he continued running away. The neighboring building was two floors higher than the roof he was on. He spied a fire escape, planted his foot on the lip of the rooftop and leaped ten feet across. He caught the metal grating, but the impact jarred his shoulder fiercely. He ignored it and climbed up anyway.

A vampire landed on the railing next to him. Xander grabbed its head by the hair, yanked back, and then slammed it against the brick of the building, sending the undead monster reeling to the ground below. Xander continued to run up the stair of the fire escape and reached the roof.

There was a door leading down to the building. He checked it. Locked – of course. He ran to the other side of the roof. The next building was a floor lower. He took a deep breath.

He leapt, hit the roof and tumbled several times to bleed the excess momentum. Not the worst landing, but no picnic either.

He turned around to see a vampire staring back at him, shocked that he had just jumped another roof. An arrow in his eye socket was his reward.

Xander looked for a way down, and saw a large amount of trash bags piled in a corner – two stories down.

This could hurt.

With a resigned sigh, he vaulted over the lip and fell, trusting himself to the whims of gravity once again. He hit the bags and managed not to break his neck. It still hurt pretty severely. Luckily the adrenaline was enough to get him up and keep going.

He ran and ran. After a while he started to think that maybe he had actually outrun his pursuers. So of course that was the moment when an arm appeared from behind a corner and clotheslined him.

With the momentum, he lost his footing and landed on his back, his bow flung far away from him. The sudden pain of the fall nearly overwhelmed him, but he managed to roll away quickly enough to avoid having his skull caved in by a heavy boot. He looked up to see Spike smirking at him.

There had been a time when Xander would have been terrified of facing Spike alone. But that was a time before he slew dragons, built an army and crushed the Blight.

That was before he had become a Grey Warden.

A dexterous flick of his wrist launched a vial of holy water at the vampire. Apparently, despite what had occurred at the Magic Box, Spike hadn't thought he would fight back, so he was shocked enough by the sudden action that the vial collided against him, smashing open and dousing his chest.

Spike howled in agony, which left Xander a moment to pull out his gladius and stake. Xander opened with a series of slashes from his sword, with the hopes of putting Spike out of balance enough to strike him with his stake.

But of course it would not be that easy. Spike dodged every strike in a way that seemed almost to taunt him. Xander stabbed, spun, slashed, and thrusted but nothing landed with any impact. Deciding on a new tactic, Xander mimed throwing the stake, sending Spike diving to one side. Xander took the moment to toss his weapons in the air, spin around and catch them with different hands, all while putting him in a better position to strike.

He led with his off-hand, now holding his stake, in a new series of lunging feints. The wooden weapon making the vampire a bit more cautious then he had been when faced with the sword. He would punctuate the stabs of the stake with an occasionally flurry of slashes from his sword, but those were nothing but token gestures meant to stall until the right moment. His sword was coated in Killer of the Dead. His new plan was to wait for an opportune moment to strike and wound Spike, poisoning him.

Xander just barely sensed a presence behind him. He spun and drove his sword deep into the heart of a vampire sneaking up on him. The vampire's eyes widened, and then rolled into the back of his head as he collapsed on the ground and Xander removed his sword.

Spike tried to grab him, but Xander spun around stabbing his stake into Spike's shoulder and then planted his sword into the vampire's abdomen. He viciously twisted the blade and then withdrew it. He then lifted his leg and kicked him squarely in the chest.

The vampire legend, one of the Scourge of Europe, who had taken on three Slayers and defeated two, collapsed on the ground in an ungraceful heap, a stake lodged in his shoulder, and a hand holding his guts from spilling out of him. Spike could not remember being in more pain.

"Goodbye, Spike."

Xander would have taken great pleasure in watching the final moments of the bleached blonde vampire, but just then the remaining of Spike's flunkies arrived. If they expected an easy fight they were sorely mistaken.

He held his sword in a two-handed style and waded into the monsters like a hurricane of vengeance and doom. One by one, they felt the sting of his poisoned blade, and one by one they fell cursing, screaming and dying. The few vampires that hadn't died nearly immediately were comatose and would die when the sun rose that morning.

Xander breathed heavily and shook with the intensity of his dropping adrenaline levels. He spat on the ground in disgust and chuckled shakily. He turned around.

His eyes widened in surprise a moment before Spike's fist collided with his face, sending him flying back several feet.

Xander stood up shakily and feebly brought up his blade, but Spike ripped it from his grasp in a casual movement and then leaped into the air and kicked Xander in the chest, sending him sliding across the concrete for fifteen feet, stopping only when he slammed into a metal trash can.

Xander coughed up blood, and dazedly turned his head for a moment to see Spike licking the blade of his sword. The vampire's lips smacked together as if he were savoring a vintage of fine wine.

"Hmm, good old Mortuus Interfectorem. Haven't seen this stuff in ages. Easy to make, low cost ingredients with a fruity aftertaste and a hint of jasmine. Hurts like the dickens, I have to say. One wonders why this stuff doesn't get used by more hunters and slayers. Oh, wait, I remember now. It doesn't always work. And it especially doesn't always work on blokes like me who've had a taste of a Slayer."

Spike casually dropped the blade and walked over to Xander's slumped over form.

"Sadly for you, Lil' Spikey here already got his shots. So unless you've got something else up your sleeve, it's time to say goodnight."

Xander's head rose up to meet his gaze, and Spike was shocked to see a glowing purple smoke coming from his eyes. And then he spoke, in a haunting otherworldly voice.

"I can probably think of something."

End of Part 18