All About Spike

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Threadbare
By Annie Sewell-Jennings

RATING: R
SPOILERS: Through "Sleeper"
DISCLAIMER: Property of Joss and company. I only borrow.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Extreme angst ahead. In response to the "Spike tied to a chair in Buffy's bedroom" challenge. Written in a day, on a whim, and hopefully will not be jossed to all hell tomorrow night. But hey.

Thanks muchly to Alanna for the website design and for the supreme beta services, and to harmonyfb for her bodacious beta-ness. Y'all are fabulous -- much love, as always. :)



can't stop what's coming
can't stop what's on its way
Bells and footfalls and soldiers and dolls
brothers and lovers she and I were
now she seems to be sand under his shoes
there's nothing I can do
can't stop what's coming
can't stop what's on its way
and now I speak to you are you in there
you have her face and her eyes
but you are not her
and we go at each other like blank ettes
who can't find their thread and their bare
--Tori Amos, "Bells For Her"



They talk. Make their plans. Speak in loud voices and pretend that he can't hear what they say. Maybe they just don't care, circled around the table with cups of coffee and sharp, cutting conversation while the wind blows in through the broken window and blows at the fire in the hearth.

"You can't trust him, Buffy. Everything he says could be a lie, even if he wants to tell you the truth."

"What about the blood? I know how that is... One taste of it, and it's... He might not be able to help himself."

"I don't give a rat's ass about the soul. If he tries to hurt you, and you can't do it, then I'll stake him myself."

All of those voices, those arguments. Those accusations. They fall off of him like water on feathers, and yet her voice does not ever rise. Rustling noises behind him, the occasional frustrated, annoyed sigh. Eyes on the back of his head, but there are other eyes that he looks into. Eyes that are smoky and soft, and she is crouched at his feet, her hands wrapping around his, and that soft, ethereal smile on her lovely face.

Don't listen to them, she murmurs softly, all golden hair and strong, sweet warmth. The fire burns bright behind her, and her small hands brush over his face. Lips on his lips, just a sip of solace. They don't mean anything. They're wrong about you. You're brave, and smart, and they don't know what you need. I do, don't I? Because I could love you, you know. I felt it when you were inside of me, and tonight, if you'll just show me again, just kiss me, just climb into the bed...

"Don't tell me how to do my fucking job."

She stands before him, blocking his view of the fireplace, and Spike blinks his eyes, furrows his brow. Too many of her, too much of her. What's reality now? What's fantasy? What's insanity if all of this is manipulation and big scary evil and how's he supposed to know the difference? Oh, God. It's all fucked up now. Starts to cry, starts to sob.

Buffy stares down at him with eyes that are blank and glacial, not full of warmth and fire, and says the words in a dull voice:

"If he's too far gone, then I'll kill him. I'll do it."

He buries his face in his hands, and listens to the sound of her barking orders in brisk, brash tones while some other strain of her voice hums pure, pretty tunes and the wind pushes softly at the fragments of glass still left in the window frame.

Sounds like bells.



She wishes that it didn't have to come to this, but she cannot take her chances. Not after...

He explodes in a sudden fury in the living room, snarling and snapping those awful teeth, and Dawn screams and grabs for a weapon. They're all on top of him, Willow muttering incantations and Xander reaching for a stake, but Anya's there beneath him suddenly, his fangs aiming for her bare neck, and then it's Buffy's hands on him, pulling him away. Something in him breaks when he sees her face, smells the blood on her sweater, and he crumbles into sobs.

"So sorry... So terribly..."

She's sorry, too.

The rope has to be tied tight. Careful, make sure that he doesn't lash out again. There are things around him that are making him do this, and it's not his fault, but still. Still. There is a sister in the next bedroom who has to be protected, and a gaggle of friends in the living room who will kill him if he does this again. The sight of Xander's red and angry face is sharp in her mind, a bewildered and shaken Anya in his arms.

"You can't keep that thing in the house. No way."

But they don't understand that he's not a thing. That he never was.

They don't understand at all.

One careful jerk of the ropes to make sure that they're secure, and Spike flinches. Guilt stabs at her, and she thinks that she should apologize, but no. This is business. He understands that. Never did he argue when she pulled the chair into her bedroom and wrapped the length of rope around his body. Just stayed still, his head bowed in shame and resignation while fat tears slid down his cheeks. He cries so often nowadays.

He cries enough for the both of them.



burning burning blood in his stomach blood everywhere her blood his blood so much blood tastes like life tastes like heaven tastes like love and emotion and power and power and power and take it take it take it take

She walks around the room; she sits on the bed. She sighs out wistful apologies; she stares at him in stoic silence. A hand against his face; a stake against his chest. Howls and writhes, wants something, needs something more, doesn't know what's happening. Doesn't understand. Ropes around him, yes, have to make sure he doesn't hurt the girl. But which girl? They both bleed temptation, both flush with power and life. Both smell of rainwater and June, and he doesn't know.

Tries to tell her.

"Which one's you? Tell me, tell me. I canít make it out, it's all blurred together. It's so hazy, love, tell me which one's you. Tell me, please, just tell me..."

They both answer in tandem.

"It's me."



"Tell me about the basement."

"There were... Voices. Shapes. Don't know some of them. Man in a suit, laughed at me. Something about firecrackers... Told me to sell my soul. Knew a bloke who took his. But mine's not worth anything, not worth a farthing, so stained... Useless... Bad man, I am, and won't you kill--"

"Stop it. Stop it, Spike. Pay attention."

"She's there... Glory. Sticking her fingers in my chest, trying to... Trying to eat my heart. Says it tastes like candy. Asking me who the Key is, and I won't tell her, love. I won't. Can't put you through that, can't hurt the bit, can't hurt the girl..." Shakes his head, frowns. "No. Other ones. Warren. Says you'll never... You'll never love me. Can build me something fake, cause that's all I can have. Don't deserve the real thing. Just lies, pretty lies and plasticine. Too shiny. Smells like wires."

"Spike."

"Sorry, sorry. Terribly sorry. Tell them that, you know."

"Who do you tell? Be specific. Concentrate."

"Them. The ghosts. The ones... The ones with the holes in their throats and their bodies all mangled up and I laughed when I did it but it's not funny. It's not. No laughing matter, and they're going to bury me one day, love. They're going to... So hungry. Oh, fuck, it's coming, it's coming, need it, need it..."

And then the bloodlust takes over, and she has to knock him unconscious.



She's so gentle.

Touches his hair, kisses his cheeks and tastes the tears on his skin. Unties his restraints, picks up his hands and wraps his fingers around her waist. Kissing him, oh god, and she tastes like zinfandel and peach. Bubbly, bright. Effulgent.

Pulls him out of the wooden chair and onto the floor, and they start to make love while her words come out in a flood of rushing confessions.

It's you, it's you, it's always been you. Oh, Spike, touch me. I'll take care of you. I'll love you. I'll be everything that you ever wanted, and we'll live happily ever after, your teeth, your tongue, your cock... Just love me, take me, just show me that it's real. Make me feel it again.

It wants him to take her.



She gives him an hour to sleep it off, and then wakes him and tries again.

The butcher's blood is not sufficient, and she can see that now. He's nervous, edgy. Tense. Sweat beads on his brow, and he looks paler. More gaunt, like he's losing weight by the minute. Licks his dry lips, and tries not to look at her. But he's more coherent, like the blow to the back of his head might have knocked some sanity into him.

Buffy holds the mug to his lips, remembers a time like this a couple of years ago. When he was locked up with chains in Giles' bathtub, and she looked at him with disgust for what he was. He mocked her then, sneered at her and promised horror and bloodshed when he got free. But a couple of days later and they were going to be married, going to be together forever. Silly, that idea, but she can still remember the way that she looked at him.

He was never a man to her, but when she loved him, he was wonderful.

The blood is gone, and she puts the mug away with sharp, jagged motions. No time for pity, no time to reflect. This is not about him, not about them. Not about her. It's about what's doing this, what's making him kill and making him mad. The thing beneath them, devouring with every snap of its wicked teeth.

"When was the first time you saw it?"

Frowns, licks his lips. "I... I think it might've been in Africa," he says slowly, haltingly. She frowns.

"Africa?"

Ducks his head again, and she sees that embarrassed part of him take over. "It's where I went to get..."

"Oh."

"Told me things... Brought me back here. Wanted to stay in the cave, knew I wasn't... Wasnít ready. But it was you, brought me to this place. I think that there was magic... Don't really remember. Sorry. But then I was here, and you were in the school, and told me that I should come back with you... Down. Into the basement. And then there were others. The ones I told you about before."

He followed her. Not her, of course, but the vision of her. The mirage of her own body. It led him into the basement, where it could put him in agony and twist his reality until he's reduced to this. A broken, frightened man tied to a chair in his former lover's bedroom, begging for blood and hating himself.

What have I done?



More questions, more answers.

"What did it say to you? Tell me."

It's said a thousand things. So many things.

"It said... Said you were above me. Knew that, of course, because it's true. And it told me that you... That there were things coming. Coming for you. Told me that I'd... I'd hurt you. Time and again, no matter that I got the soul. I'm just a monster."

A silence, and he can hear her suck in her breath sharply. "That's not true."

But her words are hollow, and he knows the truth.



"I won't."

Xander is stubborn, staring at her with hard, needled eyes. It's not hemming or hedging, because then Buffy could push him into doing what she wants. No, this is resolve and permanence.

She tries again. "Xander, you don't understand. The blood we're giving him... It's not helping. He's incoherent, and how am I supposed to find anything out while he's babbling like a nut? He needs--"

"Not a chance in hell, Buffy. I'm not giving that guy human blood. It'll make him stronger, and he could hurt us. You saw what he almost did to Anya."

"I know... I know, Xander. But--"

"No. I won't risk it. It's not just your life you're playing with, Buff."

No. It's his life, too.



"I think that it's me."

She sits on the bed, facing him, the dagger still in her hand. Clever girl, for keeping that. She'll probably need it in the end. But there's a confused look on her face, and she shakes her head.

"No, Spike. It's not you. It's that thing, that thing that's beneath us."

"But isn't that me?" he asks. "Said it once, you did." She flinches, looks away. Like the memory pains her. "Beneath you. Beneath everyone. And maybe... Maybe it's all me. Maybe I'm the one who's going to devour us, and God, Buffy, I don't want that. Can't. It's why I... Why I did what I did."

Her voice, just a whisper of air. "I know."

"It picked me," he whispers. "It knew... Knew I was weak. Knew I was a monster, that I could kill. That I had that capacity. Picks its people well, you know. The images it uses. Only dead people, notice that now. Dru, the Master, Warren, Glory... Dead things, all of us. Dead, evil things."

"But it shows you me," Buffy says softly, hopefully. "I'm not dead, Spike."

"No," he agrees. "But you were, once."

She cannot argue with that.

He swallows, twists his wrists. The ropes are uncomfortable, confining, as they very well should be. But he won't complain. Won't beg for freedom. At least not that kind of freedom. The only kind of release that he wants is what her stake can deliver, but every time he pleads for her to do it, she only asks him more questions and gets this look on her face that breaks his heart.

"You say it picked you. But you... You have a soul, right? Why would it--"

"Because my soul's weak," he whispered. "Thought... Thought it would be good enough for you. A lover's soul. Once upon a time, I thought I was a good man, but... But I'm not. Not a good man. Not if I can still hunt and kill. Not if I can still look in the eyes, and want--"

blood sex fire violence power death

Spike shudders. "Want bad things."

Her voice is slow, wary. "It picked you for a reason."

And then her questions start changing, and it gets worse.



She unties him around noon, when he seems calmer and more coherent. Maybe the sunlight makes the voices stop, though in the morning around nine, he was screaming at something in the corner that she could not see. But Spike is okay now, and his wrists are bleeding, and for some strange reason, it seems very important to her now that he not be in pain.

It might be because she knows the truth now.

Tell me everything, Spike. Not about the monster. About you.

Spike is rubbing his wrists, looking down at the mug of blood like it's acid that will eat him through and through if he has even a drink. He seems to prefer the sandwich that Willow made for him, dear Willow and her attempts at kindness. Xander won't speak to her now, and Anya's frightened. Dawn sulks and storms, but Willow... She understands.

And now Buffy does, too.

He has the soul of a poet buried underneath his harsh exterior, and she can see it now in his eyes. Things fall into place, like something is clicking, and for the first time, she really sees Spike. Like, really really sees him. Not just the big bad, not just the broken pile of sad he's been since he came back, but the man underneath. It's in his eyes, soft and glowing (what's a word means glowing? has to rhyme), in the quiet mannerisms that are different from the sprawling, careless grace that he once possessed. She can hear it in his voice when he says things in a different cadence, can feel it...

This is the man he wanted to become for her.

Buffy cannot say anything, and so Willow has volunteered to do the talking for a while. Buffy stands at the counter, numbly drinking coffee, while the redhead sits across from him and quietly, gently asks him questions. Willow's so gentle. So kind. There's a hushed tone to her voice, very patient. But she supposes that Willow has had practice with this, taking care of Tara after Glory's catastrophe. It feels so long ago.

Yesterday seems a thousand miles away.

"You're not drinking," Willow murmurs. "Spike... You need to drink something. Something to substitute what your body wants."

"Blood. Can't do it." His voice is so ragged, so full of pain. "I can... I can smell it, Red. Not animal blood, what you're trying to give me." A whisper now, shredded and decimated. "Can't... It's not right."

Her heart feels like it's in a vise. Everything hurts, and she cannot look at him. Cannot see what sort of mess he's made of himself, and can't think of what he used to be. What he is again. God, how did it all come to this? How did it all come to this?

You're dead inside!

"Tell me about the visions, Spike," Willow says gently. "I know it's hard. It's hard for me to think of what I saw. What did it say to you? Do you remember anything recurrent, like something that might have triggered the attacks? Triggered the memory loss?"

"Her," Spike says brokenly, and Buffy does not have to turn around to know what he means. His eyes are burning into her body, and her hands are shaking. Because it's the vision of her that sets him off. That makes him kill. Because that girl whispers commands, and Spike always, always listens.

There is nothing good or clean about you! You don't have a soul!

"What does she say?" Willow asks gently, and Spike shakes his head.

"She doesn't say anything. She sings. And so does he. They all sing, and... And I don't want to remember what happens after that."

Willow lets things rest after that, and Buffy tastes teardrops in her lukewarm coffee.



He can hear them talking.

Just outside the door. Door's still open, of course, because they can't let him out of their sight. Not like he blames them. Could do something wrong. Fuck up again, and the bells could start ringing in the distance...

"He needs blood."

"Buffy, I know. I do. But that was the last of what I could get from Willy's, and I can't rob the hospital, because wow, that's wrong."

"I know... But Jesus, Willow. He looks like hell. It's driving him insane. Well, more insane."

"I think that the music's what does it, Buffy. It's like that movie, with the playing card. A trigger. It's singing to him, making him lose control, and then he doesnít remember what happened after that."

"God. How did they... God, Spike..."

There are tears in her voice, and Spike doesn't know why. It's all that he expected of himself, isn't it?

Just a monster after all.



The darker hours start to approach, and there's a rustling wind outside. Something that chills her to the bones, cuts through her like a knife through bone.

Something's coming.

He's dreaming now, muttering in his sleep. He always did that, and sometimes when she wasn't feeling so mean and so dirty, she thought it was charming. And it was, kind of. Endearing. The way that Spike's hands and feet would twitch like a dog dreaming of running through open fields, and he'd snort and snuffle in his sleep. Mutter in that low, gravely voice of his that sounded like sandpaper and honey about silly nonsense things, and he'd even smirk and smile when he dreamed about her. About having her. About loving her.

"Don't, don't... Don't deserve... Hair and fire, rhymes... Rhymes with..."

He dreams differently nowadays.

She has information. Something, whatever is haunting them, and God how it has fucked him up. Fucked him up so good that she's beginning to wonder if anything will ever bring him back. There are questions floating through her mind, dust kicked up in the wake of his revelations and ramblings, and Buffy swallows hard as she hugs her knees to her chest and stares at him with saucer-large eyes.

"Buffy?" It's Dawn, standing in the doorway, a worried expression on her face. "Are you all right? Is everything... I mean, do you need..."

"No," she says softly, never taking her eyes off of Spike. "He's sleeping. Did you ever notice that he looks softer when he sleeps? And he talks. Always has."

Her sister takes a cautious step into the room, and Buffy can see her looming over the body of the vampire. Frowning, not sure. "Buffy..."

"He can be soft sometimes," she murmurs. "I thought it was a fluke when it happened. Like an act or something. But there were times when... When it was nice. Gentle. When he would say these words and I'd tell him that he copied them out of books or stole them to make me love him. But he didn't. He really thought those things. He still does."

Slowly, Buffy turns her head to Dawn and whispers the words: "He loves me, Dawn. And something's destroying him. I can't..."

A hand passes across her shoulders, and then her arms are full of teenage girl.

"I know, Buffy. I can't kill him, either."



There's blood all around him, and God help him (please, please help me), but he wants it.

Can see it. Can sense it. Dawn in the neighboring room, all hot, ancient, holy blood. She smells different from the rest of them, must be the Key in her still, and he can sense the greenness of her, the purity. That bright energy that must mean he really is butt-crazy, because only the insane can see that, right? Well, he knows it now. It's beautiful. It's awe-inspiring. It's life, eternal, incredible, and oh how he wants to take it.

He's smirking in the corner, his blue eyes (mine?) sparkling and glinting.

Go on, mate. Take it. She'd kill you if big sis would let her have the chance, you know. Threatened you once, and she hates you now. What, you thought she'd welcome you back with open arms? Guess again, you poor sod. Got a stake with your name on it, and she's just itching for the chance to do it. And hey, if the Slayer won't do it, then all you have to do is take a taste of the bit and she'll be more than happy to--

"It's here," he rasps to her, and Buffy freezes behind him. "I'm here. It's here. Telling me... Telling me to..."

Early one morning, just as the sun was rising...

Something's breaking, something's ripping. Oh, no. Not now. Not while the bit is walking towards them, and he can feel himself slipping...

Growls out the words. "Get Dawn out of the house. Do it now. Get her out."

Her voice is ragged and terrified. "Oh, God. Oh my God..."

As she runs to take care of her sister, runs to help her, he hears himself singing, and then the ropesó



There is destruction everywhere, and music screams throughout the house. Hard rock, blasting from the speakers, so loud that it's hurting her ears as she huddles in the corner of the bedroom and claps her hands over her ears. Tries to drown it out, all of that awful wailing, but even with the volume turned up to the max, she can still hear him.

Can still hear him screaming.

Blood on the carpet, Dawn's blood. The screams of her sister as Spike scraped his teeth down her arm still haunt her, still eat her from the inside out, and Buffy does not know what to do. What should she do? There are weapons merely inches away, and she cannot kill the thing that is making him do this. Oh, how she wants to. Not just because of what it can do, not just because it's awful and evil and going to hurt them all.

She wants to kill it because it's killing him.

Snarling, howling, screaming. Roaring and growling with an insanity that is absolutely devastating. Begging for blood, begging for release. Begging for her to kill him.

"Please, Buffy, canít do this... Kill you all... Kill me..."

But she just rocks back and forth on the bed, tears streaming down her face, because she does not know what to do. Not about him, not about herself. Her heart is being eaten alive, consumed, devoured, and every bite out of her soul is agony, absolute. Buffy feels his misery, feels his anguish, and has not a clue what it means or why his sobbing is so devastating. So destructive.

But she knows for a fact that she has done this to him. Not just the evil. No, her fingerprints are smudged all over his murders and his madness. Her cruel words are tattooed over his skin. She hears the rattling of the chains they've had to resort to, and Buffy cries in time with the blaring of the music that does not drown out whatever he is hearing.

But she knows that it's singing to him in her voice, and she's been singing that song for years.

The song of the evil, dead thing.



"Please."

She sobs. She weeps. She stands in front of him with the stake in her hand, staring at him with tearful eyes, and her shoulder shake and tremble. The stake is aimed at his heart, and he knows that she possesses the ability to do it. To give him his release.

He's spent the past hour trying to tell her everything. Counting his victims, adding them all up, and presenting to her his sins in the hopes that she'll do it. Put the stake through his heart. Make him into dust and ash, so that he won't hurt her. Thought that the soul would protect her from him, but he was dreadfully wrong. He's more dangerous than he ever was before, and she needs to end his life before he ends hers.

"You know that it won't stop, love. I'm not... I'm not strong. Weak man, is all."

Her voice is weak, too. "Is it here, Spike?"

Shakes his head. "Not yet. But it'll come back, and... And I can't fight it off. It's taking pieces of me, Buffy. Help me. Kill me. You have to. It's what you have to do. Can see it. It's all so clear..."

A moan escapes her lips, and she closes her eyes so tightly that he can see the tears squeezing out from behind her scrunched-up eyelids. So beautiful, she is. Loves her so much. Loves her enough to lay down his life for her, and he's told her that before. This is the time, though. It's over. Can't fight it anymore, not after what he did...

"Can remember it, Buffy. Remember Dawn's blood. Would've killed her if you hadn't stopped me. You have to stop me again. Have to kill me. No good for this world, I am. Bad. Wrong. It's using me, and the only way to... The only way to stop it..."

She shakes her head, dry-mouthed and afraid. "I can't, Spike, don't make me. I can't."

"Why?" he shouts then, desperate and distraught. "Why? Please, Buffy, just--"

"Because it's you," she screams back. "Because it's you, Spike. And I..." Then her eyes widen, and she stares at him with something that's unrecognizable, and she gasps like lightning's just jolted through her. The stake is suddenly steady, and he closes his eyes. She'll do it. She's going to do it.

But the stake falls from her hand, and she drops to her knees. There's all of this gold in his lap, so fragrant, and she's sobbing onto his knee. It makes him weep, too.

Because he'll kill her.



I love him.

She stands in the corner of the room, eyes wide and hand pressed to her mouth, like she might accidentally spill the words out and make them real. But it's real already. She knows it. Feels it like a jolt to her system, as everything slams into her again and again. Again and again.

I love him.

She cannot kill him. It's an impossibility, something that she cannot do. She tried to do it a moment ago, held the stake in her hand and listened to him telling her that it was all right. It should have helped, that he was ready, that he understood like only he could. But it did not. It only made matters worse. Because there he was, accepting his fate, because he would rather die than harm her.

The world feels so small right now. The outside has disappeared, and her universe is this bloodied, bedraggled bedroom where a bewildered vampire sits in restraints and sleeps awful dreams. Everything has somehow vanished, and all that Buffy can focus on is Spike. Memories sweep through her system, and she is assaulted by what she can no longer deny.

Spike in his bruises, sitting on the sarcophagus, whispering in a hurt voice that he'd rather die than see her in pain.

Spike at the bottom of the stairs, telling her that he'll protect her sister until the end of the world.

Spike holding her hands in his, giving her his count of days that she was gone.

Spike in the harsh fluorescent lights of the Doublemeat Palace, telling her that he'll give her money, anything to make her misery end.

Spike in her bed in a hallucinatory flash, giving her solace. Giving her comfort.

Spike in the tunnels in a devastated tunnel, surrounded by the ash and ruin of their romance, his heart shattered all around him.

Spike in the church.

He's loved her all along. Loved her like no other man ever has, even when it was soulless, even when he was confused and did not know the right thing to do. Even when he hit her, even when he fucked her, even in that awful bathroom on that awful night, he loved her. Loved her so much that he did the impossible after he hurt her. Loved her so much, and she denied it, because... Because...

Because I don't deserve this.

For the first time, Buffy looks at him and knows that he's not the one beneath her.

And she knows what she has to do to save him.



"Shh. It's okay."

The voice stirs him out of troubled dreaming, and there's a warm hand against his cheek. Soft, so delicate. Like one touch might break him, but silly, for he's already broken. So broken. Lips against his cheek, kissing away the tears that he must have cried in his nightmares. The scent of heaven and rainwater, of cleanness and April. Buffy, Buffy.

A thumb brushes over his lower lip, and he looks at her with fear. "Is this real?" he whispers, and there's a sad nod of her head. The soft quirk of a smile.

"It's real. It's me."

Confused, so confused, but she swallows hard and runs her hand down the side of his face. Touches the side of his neck, puts her hand on his shoulder. Lands kisses on his jaw, down his throat. Heat and warmth, surrounded by heat. Her heat. The kind that speaks of solace and refuge, sanctuary and sweetness. "Buffy..."

Two fingers against his lips. "It's all right, Spike. Shh. You need this. You..." She swallows, and her voice is a ragged whisper. "You deserve this."

Before he can utter another protestation, her lips descend on his, and she kisses him so softly that it's like tasting clouds. Blue sky flutters behind his eyelids, and her tongue dances across his lips. Teases the tip of his, but not in a cruel manner. Not like their crushing, furious kisses. This is something different. Something like champagne and feathers. And from the first taste of her, that first ecstatic fall of her mouth on his, Spike knows.

This is really her.

Her hands are all over him, her dainty palms pressing against his chest, and Buffy kisses him like she's never kissed him before. Different, decadent. Delicate. Like she might bruise him, or hurt him, and she's so silly because that's his job. His terrible, awful job.

"This is about you," she whispers into his ear then, and he watches with wonder as she steps back and smiles at him. So certain, like this is really what she wants. Like it's really okay. And then her hands reach down to the hem of her white sweater and pulls it off, her fingers steady and calm as she unfastens her jeans. She steps out of her underwear and unfastens her bra, and oh. Oh. She's so lovely, so slender. Poetry springs to his lips and he wants to give her words that might match her magnificence, but he knows that such words do not exist. Buffy is a sonnet in her own right, and nothing can ever compare to her.

He wants her. Oh, how he wants her. Can feel arousal churning inside of him as always, and how he wants her. Hardness growing in his jeans, and he moans a little as she leans down and kisses him again. The hot curve of her breast brushes his chest, and Spike hisses, arches against his restraints. "It's all right," she murmurs again. "Oh, Spike. My poor love. It's all right."

Love...

Amazed, he pulls away and stares at her. "Buffy... What is this?"

Another kiss, this time against the tip of his nose, and her hands are everywhere. Caressing. Touching. Loving. "I'm giving you what I should've given you a long time ago."

Oh, her hand, down on his chest, unbuttoning his shirt, moving down to his jeans. "Oh... And what's..."

"Everything, Spike. I'm giving you everything."

Oh, God...

Freed suddenly, hard and wanting her so bad, but he'll hurt her. Tries to tell her, but Buffy just shakes her head. Kisses his cheek. "You won't hurt me. I want this. I want this for you. For us. We need each other. It's what... I think it's what that thing is trying to prevent. Us. We'll be strong together, Spike. We'll fight it. I'll... I'll save you. But God, save me. Save me, too."

And because he can deny her nothing, he nods her head, and she settles herself on his lap. Straddles his waist, her face so close to his. Breasts against his chest, and he's moaning as she sinks down onto his cock. Heat, warmth, life. Vibrancy. The life and the fire.

The spark.

It burns now, consumes, and God, he never thought that it would be like this. For the first time, he sees the soul as an asset rather than a curse. It amplifies his love for her, makes him love her in ways he's never understood before, and he stares at her as she gasps and thrusts, moves up and down on him. "Oh, God," she whispers. "You love me so much. How do you... How can you..."

"Because you're Buffy," he whispers, and she kisses his cheeks with the salt of her tears.

Coming, coming. Something's coming, and it's then that she tells him.

"I love you."

Oh God.

"I love you, Spike. Love you so much. You're everything, you saved me, and I never... Oh God... It's you. It's always been you. I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry that I did this to you, and I'll save you if you'll let me. Save us. We'll be... Oh, Spike... Spike..."

Ecstasy is written over her face, and as she opens her eyes and stares into his, he sees it. Sees it.

She loves me.

Arms linked around his waist, and he cries as she repeats it. "Love you. Love you forever, no matter what. I can't kill you. I love you too much for it. I'll save you, I'll help you, I'll give you... Give you..."

And then her hand wraps around the base of his skull, and she meets his eyes with resolve and calmness. She tilts her head, bares her neck for him, and lifts her chin with an elegance that breaks his shattered heart.

"Give you everything."

Blood. The blood that his body craves, the blood that his body begs him to take. Human, hers. And he gasps, and tells her no, pleads with her, but she shakes her head and smiles at him with a clarity that is astonishing. This is what she wants. She knows what it means, and she gives it to him nonetheless.

"Please, Spike. You need this. Let me give you something for once in my life. Please."

His vision doubles then, and he can see them both there, identical expressions. Is it the pleasure? Is it the pain? Is it the other? Oh, God, but he doesn't know.

"Drink."

And then his teeth are within her, and he can taste everything.

history magic blood beauty laughing dawn mom dad balloons candy sunshine seawater dust wood death blood angel willow xander giles dead blood evil spike sex loss guilt apocalypse duty faith mayor falling death 730 smoke goodbye riley marriage love spike slayer dreams dawn mommy lies dawn farewell numb riley glory spike wrong mommy mommy kiss tower dawn gift bliss hell spike spike spike spike

Yes. Drink her. Drain her. Take her life.

With a gasp, Spike pulls back, and sees her lolled against his chest. Blood oozing down the side of her throat, spilling onto her shoulder, painting her skin crimson. And the other is standing behind her, dead and milky white, all but that awful jagged cut. White eyes, unseeing eyes.

Dead eyes.

And she's singing...

Horror fills his heart, and as he screams and howls in anguish, the chains snap and--

She smiles.



When she comes to, there are hands on her, and she wants them to be his.

"Buffy? Oh, God -- Buffy! What did he do? Oh my God..."

"I'm all right, darling," she whispers dreamily. "You did right... You... See? I told you. Told you that I loved you. It's all right."

Hands pushing at her, pulling her up, but Buffy's all right. Don't they see that? She's all right. Spike is saved, he's saved. He's going to be all right, and she loves him so. Loves him like there is nothing else in the world but him. She's done it, she's given her heart to him, and given him her body and her blood. Given him everything, and it is enough.

It's enough.

"That bastard, that fucking..."

"Where did he go? Oh my God, the window... The chains... He's gone, he's gone..."

"Christ, look at her neck. What did he do to her, oh my God, call an ambulance..."

He didn't do anything. I gave this to him. Where's my lover? Where's Spike? Oh, darling...

A haze, and there's a hand in hers. Soft and gentle, and she can hear Dawn crying. "Buffy... Buffy, hold on."

A dreamy, drifting smile. "It's all right, Dawn," she whispers. "I love him, you know. He's safe now. He's going to be all right. Everything's going... Everything's..."

And behind them all, behind them, she can see someone. Can see him, standing there, and why don't the others see him? He's so beautiful, so strong. So lovely and she reaches for him. She's given him her blood, given him her life. He'll be so beautiful now, so strong. They'll be all right.

He smiles at her, and cocks his head, and begins to sing:

Thus sang the poor maiden,
Her sorrows bewailing,
Thus sang the poor maid,
In the valley below.
O, don't deceive me,
O, never leave me,
How could you use
A poor maiden so?




can't stop loving
can't stop what is on its way
and I see it coming
and it's on its way
--Tori Amos, "Bells For Her"


The End

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