Disclaimer: All hail Joss, the great and powerful. Don’t sue me, the small and meek.
Rating: There’s naughty language here, and adult thoughts, so I’d either give it a strong PG-13 or light R.
Spoilers: Takes place before ‘Lessons’, but only gives away the fact that Spike’s insane in the school basement.
Summary: What does having a soul mean exactly?
Feedback: Please sir, may I have some more? You can contact me at Neblina2000@aol.com. My livejournal account name is behindblue_eyes if you’d rather do that.
Distribution: My own website at http://www.angelfire.com/hi4/DowntheRabbitHole. If you want this for yours -- and I doubt you will -- then I’m flattered and grant you permission, with a blush and an “aw, shucks” thrown in for good measure.
I've always thought that the soul can be found residing in one's veins, churning and flowing through the body in a whirlpool of corpuscles and deoxyribose.
That's why vampires drink it, and replace a human's blood with their own during a turning. We are hollow, empty shells without our original blood, which our Sire so kindly takes. We may be immune to the evils of time, but we always hunger for what is lost from inside us. Always. We search and search for a substitute but find them all ultimately lacking. So we go and search some more, and some more, leaving a trail of bodies in our wake.
When you think about it that way, there is no greater punishment than to force someone to take inside them a demon. It insures a half-life of constant weariness and longing.
Try explaining that to an aging librarian who sends a child into the darkness to kill my kind. Not quite tea cozy material, if you follow. Add to that the fact that we're usually either running for our lives or trying to end theirs at every opportunity and it's really no wonder the Watcher's Council hasn't the first clue about how vampires think. For a definition of irony look no further. Of course, that's just my theory. It's certainly not the first thing that pops into a fledges mind when he digs himself out of the dirt, myself included. I'm sure the poofter has plenty of ideas about free will and divine sparks, if you'd rather go listen to that.
But now that I'm looking at it from another angle, I'm not sure what to think. I should be sated, able to rest with my guilt and ghosts without the overwhelming need to hunt. I should feel complete for the first time in a century. The demon should have ripped my body in half with the first stirrings of the duality that the soul presents. It shouldn't be possible for both to coexist within the same entity, and yet here I am, standing here talking to nothing. And yet, I can smell the blood of the construction crew on the other side of this wall and have to physically restrain myself from tearing it down to feed from them. What does it mean if I can't think of a single reason not to other than it would add to the body count sobbing over my shoulder?
What does it mean if I'm still starving?
"You never did figure out what rhymed with lungs did you, mate? Maybe that pathetic soul and the demon are more alike than you ever imagined. What a lovely thought. Ribbons of poetry spelled out for miles in blood and gore. You've seen it, haven't you? Sonnets carved into the chests of hundreds of ladies throughout the world, all of them too dense to realize how you'd composed it all for them. You loved each and every one of those girls didn't you? Enough to write them poetry they'd keep with them for eternity...and they were too petty and cruel to notice. We should teach them a lesson, mate, them and all their sisters. You're good at lessons aren't you? Lesson the first - "
Her blood boils and churns underneath a veil of fragile skin, pulsing, hypnotic to the ears. I can almost taste it - a glorious sizzling heat sliding down my throat and pooling into these cold veins. It would taste of Buffy and sunshine and cotton candy, and isn't that odd because I'm not sure I've ever tasted sunshine and I've never really liked cotton candy. It always gets stuck in Dru's hair and we have to cut it out. Shame that - Drusilla's hair is one of the most beautiful things about her. I've spent entire days combing and plaiting and just plain petting those locks. You could find midnight in her hair, and galaxies in her eyes.
Nibblet has beautiful hair, too. Long and dark, like Dru's only not so curly. I remember I spent a whole evening once flipping through magazines and offering advice on which style would suit her. Weighing the pros and cons of the pixie style and whether or not her ears would stick out too far to pull it off. Despite the hours of debate she'd eventually left it the same length, saying that Buffy had liked her hair best long, and would often compliment her on it when feeling particularly big-sisterly. That was back during the Summer of Sad and a small stream of light had slipped from the corner of her eye as she spoke, and I'd reached over to wipe it away. A green glow surrounds my fingers still, the afterimage of her luminescent pain eerie in the half-light filtering under the door.
And I'm certainly mad now, if I think Dawn cries green light. She hates green. It's her second least favorite color, just below neon orange and marginally above puce. That's a troubling thought, that I'm just another crazy in Dawn's world now. How she would hate me for it, if she knew.
Oh god. Am I like Drusilla now? The stars never talked to me, even before I was crazy. What if they hate me, too? Please, I don't want the stars to hate me, Dru says that our destinies are written in them and if they hate me then they'd make mine so horrible that I'd stay down here with the mean ghosts forever and I don't want that.
Mean hateful stars. Nothing but sparks of light in the sky, how dare they try to control us from so far away! They don't know what we need or how we feel. They can't control us, they can't, it's not fair! Hateful, nasty, cruel sparks!
"He had such a lovely spark in him, Daddy, can I keep it? It could warm my fingers at night and light the way for the frogs when they come to call."
Effulgent was a bad choice, bad, bad, bad I know that now. What else could fit? Gleaming was perfect, the way her hair glistened in the sunlight, but the only thing that rhymes with gleaming is screaming. If only I weren't dead now I could write her such beautiful words, she'd never have any need to say those horrid things. Horrible, horrible things. There are billions, trillions of words with more being invented every day, why can't I think of a simple rhyme for her? God, what's wrong with me?
"You're doing it wrong again, William! The pen goes in the right hand, not the left, how many times must I tell you? Why must you insist on doing things the hard way? If I have to thrash your knuckles raw, you'll learn, by God."
Stop it! You're not real. Go away and leave me alone!
"That hurts, Spike. Not believing in your princess anymore. Solid as sin, I am, and twice as malevolent. Ooooooh. It's getting dark, Spike, and you want to leave me here all alone. Remember your vows? You promised to always keep me warm. How could you, Spike? How could you hurt me so?"
Oh, damn it. Now that song is back in my head again. No matter how hard I try to think of something else it always pops right back in there. Not even singing 'God Save the Queen' as loud as possible can get rid of it. Both versions, and usually the Sex Pistols number can take care of anything. It's like Big Horny stuck it in there way the hell back in Africa, nestled right next to the angst and slightly to the left of my sudden desire to wear tweed.
The soul's like that, only not quite so annoying. The song of my life echoing over and over again until I think my ruddy head'll explode with the insanity of it. And it's not even the exceptional memories that make the rounds either. Bits of torn paper falling onto the dirty ground, a woman screaming curses in Italian, ancient lace crumbling under calloused fingers, tea spilling over the edge of a white cup and onto the cusp of my sleeve, the delicate pain as ear, brow, nipple, and tongue are pierced and shot through with silver. And the blood. Can't forget that. Oceans of it pour into my mind and out the necks of the moaning masses lined up inside my scull. Just the phantom smell of it makes my mouth water.
And the eyes gazing out of smooth porcelain faces are deathly pale in the moonlight of my mind. They stare across time and memory, mocking and screaming in terror, though their painted lips never move. Scraps of silk and satin only make their accusations louder, and harder to drown. There are so many that I can't see anything but those damn eyes.
"Mrs. Deacon is being very naughty, staring at my boy that way. Hush now, or it's the coal bin for you, just like it was for Miss Edith. He's mine to play with, and you shan't have him."
"Anytime, ducks. If she's naughty while I'm away you just scream and I'll come arunnin'. I can't stand to see my poor knight in pain."
And when did I get to the basement, anyway? The last time I was down here I realized I could hurt demons. And that it was just as much fun as killing humans, only without the tasty red bits. Mother always did scold me for playing with my food. There were hungry vampires in LA who would gladly take what I was wasting, even if they would complain and feel guilty about it afterwards.
And what about that? I had expected there to be guilt involved here, somewhere. You get a soul and the guilt comes with it in one of the world's most fucked up two-for-one sales, that's how shit like this works. The only thing worse was that silly cheese and jerky thing Slim Jim had going. But there's hardly any guilt at all, only pain and a bit of nausea, which are two things I'm quite familiar with, thank you very much.
But I don't feel different at all, really. I'd thought there'd be more gnashing of teeth and self-flagellation with palm fronds but on the whole --
"No, please stop, it hurts!"
Ohhhhgodnobadsorrypleasemakeitstopneveragainneverevereverpleasewon'tohgodforgive mehelpsomebodymakeitstopmakeitstopsosorrybadbadbaddirtyevilthingmakeitST OPstupidwrongwhywhyjustbequietstopscreamingithurtsmakeitstopmakeitstopSTOPSTO PITSTOPITSTOPITSTOPSTOPSTOOOOPPPP!!!!
"Shh, shh. There now, don't cry, baby. Mummy's here. I'll make it go away, just like before. The bad things can't hurt you if you're with me, see? You just have to let me in, lovely. Just let me in and it'll turn out all right. Just let me in."
But it hurts so much mother and you're dead too so you can't help not this time and I'm afraid of what's down here with me and I'm sooo hungry just a taste god shut the hell up won't you please shut up shut up or I'll shut you up you filthy fucking bitch I played cat's cradle with your lower intestine and swallowed your heart whole so back the fuck up you can't hurt me anymore I made you all pay for laughing at me shit stop laughing!
"William? Spike, can you hear me?"
Heart's blood tastes like candied cherries. Would you like some? Inspired by your beauty...ancient, brilliant, present, pleasant? Come out, come out wherever you are! Stagnant, blatant, pregnant, fragrant? Fuck, yes, that feels good, pet, lower. Dormant, raiment, sentient, serpent? She tasted glorious. I want another. Judgment, prudent, migrant, pigment? Hello, Cecily. Remember me? Ah, nothing fits! Nothing ever fits! Useless, useless, why can't I get this one rhyme right? I'm so sorry, Dru, I'm sorry, I couldn't get it right, I didn't mean to get you hurt, I'm sorry, please get better, please?
"Well, you're no good to me like this. If you can't pull out of it I'll just have to find another vampire; it's not like you're an endangered species or anything."
I'll show her beneath me. Bitch. Make her pay. Make them all pay.
"Oh, I like you, Spike. You're so beautiful in your agony. I want you to be with me forever. I need you to be with me. We could make such lovely poetry with your pain. You don't want me to get a new favorite and leave you here for the others when the time comes, do you?"
No, please, don't leave me, don't go. I'm sorry. I'll pay attention, I promise. I'm a good pet, ask anyone, just please don't leave me alone again.
"William. If you want me to keep the others away, then pay attention to your lessons."
Yes. I'm sorry. I'll be good. Please continue.
"Try to stay with me for this next part, it's important. Lesson the last, and this one's just between you and me: Beneath them is the perfect place to be. Only after they've shown you their bellies can you rip their guts out and swallow their flesh whole. We'll do it together, shall we? It will be such fun."
"Just you and me, William, together in the dark where they can't find you. Just you and me, here where we belong."
All right. Whatever you say. Only, not just now?
"Of course not, William. There is an order to things - a plan. You needn't know the details, but I can guarantee that you'll enjoy the fruits of your labor."
It's just that I can't seem to think straight. Everything's spinning.
Oh, there you are. I could hear you but I couldn't see. How long have you been hiding in the wall, Buffy?
"You've had an awful long day. Why don't you have a rest and then we'll talk, hmm?"
Rest? But they come when I rest and it hurts more then --
"I know, William, I know. Don't get upset. What if I sing you to sleep? Would that help, do you think?"
Oh, yes, please? Lullabies are always nice. They keep Dru's nightmares away if I sing them to her before bed. There was one that'd worked particularly well...
"Shh, William. You just rest and I'll take care of everything. Have you found your song yet?"
Yes. I heard a fair maid sing in the valley down below...
"Good boy. You're a good man."
Thank you. Goodnight, Buffy. Oh, don't deceive me...
How could you use a poor maid so?