Author: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Prompt: 155: The Lord of the Rings
Word Count: 363
Summary: An angle on a scene from "Epitaph Two" (so SPOILER warning).
As Topher makes it up the stairs, it almost feels like someone helps carry him. His precious machine, the one he kept in his head for so long, until it ate almost every coherent thought just to maintain it, weighs a ton and there's no elevator here anymore, just a long grueling walk up. Yet somehow it's the easiest walk he's ever made.
Not that he deserves help, he thinks as he starts setting up the machine, biting his finger nervously as he slides the ring that fastens the tripod into place. He knows that. He ended the world. He caused so much pain and death he can't even wrap his head around it. And let's face it, as heads go, his is a pretty big one. This isn't a heroic sacrifice – not that he's knocking the atonement angle, Arnie sinking in liquid steel, Spike burning up in the hellmouth, all that stuff makes for great stories. But that doesn't make it heroic. This was his fault to start with, and him dying doesn't really make any difference one way or the other.
When he switches it on, there's a couple of seconds where he could run. Make it at least down to the floor below. Or jump out the window and at least feel the breeze. But there's no way to live with it, and besides, some last remaining rational part of him points out, the problem was never the tech. The tech only does what you program it to do. And who programmed it, eh, who can build a new one, he thinks as he pushes the last buttons.
Then just before his device goes off, he sees the wall. The wall of photos. And he feels something lifting him, and the two thoughts come simultaneously.
Even Gollum may have something yet to do.
I'm glad you're here with me. Here at the end of all things.
He smiles at the pictures. They look so... "Huh." Precious.
In the split second before the blast hits him, it almost sounds like eagles' wings. He's carried on a shockwave of a million minds exploding. Then the flames of Mount Doom engulf him.