By Isabel Ortiz
Spoilers: Through The Gift
Disclaimer: Don't own them, not making jack off 'em. But we're having fun :)
Author’s notes: I wouldn’t feel like a legit BtVS author if I didn’t do at least one post-Gift themed piece.
Story Notes: This oneiric vignette actually takes place somewhen in my History Lessons AU Season Seven universe, but it’s essentially all Spike-post-Gift (hopefully that last will make sense once you’ve read it.)
Don't hope for too much
Or grieve without leave
--from numb, by u2
He moved slowly through a silent damp darkness, alone. Sorrowful. Disconsolate. Hollow. Numb. But mostly alone.
He gradually became aware of a tingle. He struggled to identify the invading sensation. Anticipation? Yes, that was it. The dangerous kind. Anticipation coupled with dread. A familiar feeling, really; funny how slow he was to recognize its intrusion. Dread and movement were slow in this place, though. Sluggish. Stagnant. He didn’t try to fight the dread. It was steady, implacable. Like his movement. Forward. Progress. Each step a struggle, each conscious breath a sigh. The place was strange to him. The total darkness. The lack of orientation. Still, he moved, compelled, one foot in front of the other. Strange, though, to be alone. There should be someone else there with him. Someone who belonged there beside him. A certain someone. Someone who...no, stop thinking, and his mind ceased its struggle to merge emotion with image; with memory; with elusive, unformed questions.
Time passed in silence, in darkness, in dread. Still he moved, total darkness slowly giving way to manifold shades of gray. There, low light illuminated swirling, gliding, flowing mists, a river drawing him along as an integral, inevitable part of the cool current, movement fluid and precise, not like before, not slow and steady but swift, like fate.
He came against it then, there, before him, now close enough to touch. Deja vu. For a long moment he simply stood there, motionless, facing the formidable, familiar door. Oak. He knew oak. By the grain, the rings, the scent. Unique. Solid and strong and real, like...no. Here. The source of light. Not the door, but behind the door. Peeking through, there, underneath. Light. Soft. Bluish gray, like the mist.
He hung his head, stared at his feet, stared at the patterns the mist made around them, like rivers around rocks, like rocks at the base of a waterfall, but a small fall, a soft fall, not like the kind that fall from great heights, churning earth and stone for tens, maybe hundreds of feet, not falls like Yosemite whose echoes drown out whispers and whose pounding rhythmic rush are a heartbeat gone awry, churning up black memories of loss and fear...NO. His vision blurred as tears filled his eyes. He blinked to clear them.
His fingers unfurled from rigid fists, always rigid no longer. He reached with one hand toward the door. He paused. The sense of dread that had dogged his footsteps returned. Dread. Fear. Behind the door lay... what? He needed to know, yet feared the answer. He hesitated, then with assurance and a conviction born of desperation he grasped the knob, turned it, pushed. The door opened with an ease that belied its weight. Head bowed, eyes squinting against the light, he entered, gasped, and fell to his knees.
He wanted to run away. He wanted to draw near. He wanted to reach out. He wanted to hide. He wanted to speak, to shout, to whisper, to cry. He wanted to crumble, he wanted to fly. He wanted to take the still, slight, naked form in his arms, wanted to hold her, warm her, stroke her awake, caress her, protect her, shield her, love her.
He could do nothing. Like a fly caught in an intricate web he was powerless, helpless. Impotent. He could not move, he could not speak, he could not make a single sound, he could only stare, transfixed, at the crumpled form lying an eternity of feet before him, bathed in the soft light which had no source, but rather seemed to emanate from the woman herself. She lay as before, as she did then, as in that moment, in the rubble, as in that instant when all time stopped and hell began. Like before, only different. Here there was no sound of weeping, no shattering of glass. Here there were no desperate warnings, no cries of anguish, no shouts, no screams, no futile gestures. Here there was no blood. Here there was no crowd, no faceless formless shadows of her friends, her Watcher, all speaking in tongues. Here there were no maddening, uncomprehending, compassionate hands drawing him away, forcing him to relinquish his hold, to surrender his life.
Here there was only a once-dead woman, and the vampire poet who loved her.
Behold her. Untouchable. Untouched. Stare with longing. Long to touch her. Know you can’t. Imagine you can. Your fingers in her hair, on her skin, feel her breath, taste her lips. Look, look at her, truly look upon her. See her beauty, her courage, her strength. Look your fill, look your last; she’s gone. you’ll never have another chance.
He knew then that he was dreaming, but a part of him wanted to stay here. With her. There was something he could do for her, a way he could help, he was certain of it. He could change things. He could. So he found his voice and whispered a name. The sound was a marvel, a plea, a prayer, filled with wonder and tinged with passion. He needed to move; tried, and did. Slowly. Deliberately. Toward her. A man in a dream. Toward Buffy. Inching slowly forward he reached out his hand toward the slender face, traced living flesh with trembling fingers, brushed his face through the honey blonde hair that absorbed his tears and muffled his whispered words of truly eternal love and devotion…
Spike woke with tears still flowing, his mind chasing the rapidly fleeing, fleeting images as he turned and gathered his Slayer to him, gratefully, held her tightly in his arms. Love you, love you, love you… Not dead. Alive. Vital. He could feel her now, feel her strength, her solidity, her warmth.
For now, it would have to be enough.
(feedback craved. no, really, it is.)