SUMMARY: Spike is being tormented by the First Evil and by his own dreams, but Buffy's words help him hold on. Takes place post-Never Leave Me.
DISCLAIMER: Joss is God.
The only thing stopping her from strangling him is his hands around her throat, and Spike knows it. It's amazing how they make a contest out of everything. They always manage to hurt each other in the ways others can't. They always make each other cry themselves to sleep. It's as if every slit on Spike’s chest was made by Buffy’s hand. Just as every claw mark left on her body was left by him.
“I’ve got chunks of your skin under my fingernails,” he tells her quietly. “I pick them out with my teeth late at night just so I can taste you again.”
“Spike, you can taste me now,” she replies. “I’m here. With you.”
“I tried to rescue you as they held my head underwater,” Spike explains. “Tried to save you from myself. Thought if I made myself choke… maybe It would just kill me. And you would be free of me and the burden I bring you. I thought maybe it would make me go away.”
“But you’re still here now,” she continues as she leans in next to his ear. “So you can do what I’ve always wanted. You can take away my pain, Spike. That’s all I’ve ever wanted from you. Will you do that for me? What would you do to take away my pain?”
“Anything,” he rasps out. “I’ll do anything.”
“Kill me,” she whispers.
Buffy pulls her shirt collar back to reveal her swanlike neck to him. Spike’s hands are still wrapped around it. He would like to strangle her, but he doesn’t want to prolong her suffering. He begins to dive into her throat, but before he can go through with it, he pulls back sharply. She looks at him with hurt in her eyes as he turns and begins to stagger off. He’s got to get away from her, from this illusion, has to—has to—
“You think you can run from me?” she barks out from behind him, and he trips, falls, turns to look up at her. “You can’t run. You’ll always fall, because you're nothing without me.”
Spike blinks, once, twice, and realizes he is still in chains. He groans silently and sags forward, exhausted. His head is throbbing and every bone in him aches. There’s something he’s forgotten, he knows, something he’s supposed to remember… but it’s too hard, so tired, he’s so tired… If he could just rest… He looks up to see Buffy’s figure again, walking toward him. Suddenly she shifts into Drusilla’s shape. She steps forward, eyes narrowed and glaring.
“I made you into everything you are,” she tells him. “My bloody plaything. Your limp body does everything I tell it to. You obey me now just as you always did. You bleed so much, so pretty. I keep it in jars.” She stares off into space for a few moments, then snaps back to look at him again, coming even closer.
“If you won’t cooperate, I’ll just get myself a new doll, and won't you be sad, my beautiful little Spike,” she says quietly. “But don’t worry, my love for you will last long after your body decays. The rot on your skin still tempts me, you know. Every touch softer than the last. Fear of breaking my precious toy. How I'd love to slap you around. You used to love that. You used to love me. But don't worry; I'd never hold her against you. She's going to be dragged down here too, you know. Her screams will echo in this room for hours before her tongue is ripped out. She lied and said she believed in you, and for that, she'll have to be punished. I'll protect you, don't worry, beautiful. You just have to listen to me, Spike. Just listen.”
No, no, don’t listen, don’t listen. Can’t. Have to—have to—remember—have to—hold on—have to believe--
((I believe in you, Spike))
Sometimes in moments like these it feels like nothing matters anymore; the things he gathered his breath for and fought for with every bone and fiber in his body disintegrate into warding off another onset of welling heartache rushing through like a deep heady suffocation.
He’ll cling onto the seeming solace words used to bring as if he has nothing else to show of how much he is worth…
((I believe in you, Spike))
And that really is all he has. Nothing else has ever mattered to him. Well, maybe his poetry, but that doesn’t matter anymore. He left his collection of poems in his last drawer, the numerous scribblings abandoned in scraps and files, the briefly lit conceived notions past beauty discovery of certain phases and dreams that he could never let go of. Devotion and beauty and effulgence. Poor William, so naïve and foolish, to believe that love was tangible. No, love has always slipped between his fingers and slid into the black abyss, never for him to touch.
Buffy took him so close, though. She still does. She takes him that one step higher as if he saw the stars and now could never turn back. And he was afraid of pulling her down, but he knows now that throughout everything, she will always be the one true thing he’ll never have. Buffy is always the one he finds his best alluding to, and she gives him comfort in knowing that, maybe, somebody out there does give a damn. That somebody thinks that he can be something—that someday his existence will have meant something to someone.
((I believe in you, Spike))
The words spoken and exchanged, promises broken and sustained… Eternity will never have quite the same ring to it. Everything he’s done, everything he has tried to be, it has been for love. To hope that some day, he will be worthy. So he will hold onto her words, repeat his mantra over and over, because he knows she would want him to. And everything he does is for her.
Good or bad; it is all for her.