Semi-series of short post-ep musings, from Spike's POV
During/after Get It Done.
Get It Done
Humans do it all the time, after all. God knows, being all soul-having doesn't make them good. Not any of them, whatever they might think.
She wants the demon, she'll get the bloody demon.
He strides down the corridor, reawakened fury swirling around him amid the folds of the coat like the opposite of a halo. Buffy's principal - his rival, his legacy, he thinks - watches from the shadows, hard-eyed.
Where did you get the coat? The question is posed pleasantly, but it's a loaded crossbow aimed at his undead heart.
New York, he answers, just as not-casual, silk and steel. Accepting the challenge.
This, the civilized veneer over violent death, the not-at-all-veiled sting of well-aged bloodlust; this he understands. The one thing that does surprise him is that it no longer feels quite so familiar. He used to imagine that violence was the one pure thing, but he is starting to suspect that, as with so many things, he had not quite possessed the whole picture.
Not clean at all, not really. A death leaves so many ends untied. Unfinished business, grieving loved ones, parents, watchers, lovers. Not-quite-lovers who go on nonetheless, shells of their former selves because unlike normal people, they can't forget. Children.
One of the things that comes with the soul is an awareness of consequences. The demon's greatest gift is its obliviousness to such things. After everything, it's almost funny that it's the demon she wants. But that was always true, really, and he does understand it.
It's the part of her that may or may not want the man that he's never been able to figure out.
Not going to worry about that any more. Might as well try to understand the ocean. She comes and goes in her own time, and there's nothing he can do about that.
Bitch, he thinks, and grins.
As the hulking demon kicks him in the stomach he remembers the one thing that should never have been forgotten: pain is strength. Every scar is a victory. This is an ancient truth, simple as they come, and he laughs through broken lips because it's all so bloody obvious, and how did he ever get so lost?
The world narrows down to a motion blur in which tendons stretch and bone yields with a slick, grinding crunch beneath his hands. Life passes through, and is gone.
He holds it for a second like an indrawn breath, then lets the body slip to the ground.
Oh yeah. This is what it's all about.
How the fuck could he have forgotten?
Leaning against the alley wall, he pulls the ever-present cigarettes from the pocket of his jacket - left there how long ago? but not thinking of that - and lights up.
Somewhere beneath his grinning demon he can feel the other thing, the soul, chewing over itself. Braces himself for the stab of remorse which never comes. Laughs when it doesn't, because for the first time in a long time, there's no question at all about who he is and what he's good for.
He's just going to help Buffy save the world. Doesn't have to change it.
For the first time in a long time, he feels good.