By Tara R.
Summary: Glimpses of a life: Spike
Notes: Spike/various others, including M/M implied situations... gee that boy gets around.
Usual disclaimer stuff: Wish it belonged to me, but it don't, except most of the words in that particular order, and even then I've used loads of poetry. Nope, the rest belongs to that creative Wunderkind Joss Whedon and co... Also, owe half the title to Pablo Neruda. Oh, and if you wanna know who the poetry is by, look at the section heading!
With thanks to Codename Joaquinista, beta-reader extraordinaire, and Spicywings, for her great advice!
New York, 1977 (Pablo Neruda)
“I always wondered if Neruda was a vampire.”
The ceiling fan rotated sluggishly. It was so hot, so muggy, that the dusty plastic fan had to slice its way through the thick air. A fly thrashed between the dusty curtains and the window. Its buzzing was driving Spike mad.
“He’s dead.” Drusilla said flatly, “All wormy in the ground.” She licked each of her fingers slowly, then left Spike’s lap, sitting up on her knees. Her creamy satin nightgown fell back over her hips, catching on Spike’s arm where his hand nestled between her thighs. She moved away from him, and his arm dropped back to the musty cotton sheets.
She crawled across the bed, towards the window, staring at a beam of sunlight slicing through a gap in the curtains. Spike watched her concentrate on the beam of light: the play of dust; the twist of his cigarette smoke. It was too hot to sleep. She reached her fingers out slowly.
“Don’t play with the light, love. It burns, remember?” He knew she was well aware of the danger, but also knew that sometimes she didn’t care.
She twisted her body, looking at him with the intense focus she had just been granting the beam of light. He loved the sight of her there, almost all silhouette, bottom resting on ankles, hips flaring juicily. “Again.” She said simply.
He picked up the worn paperback book resting on its spine beside his hip, and started again. Something pertinent, he thought, with an inward smile.
“A black yearning sun is braided into the strands
Of your black mane, when you stretch your arms,
You play with the sun as with a little brook
And it leaves two dark pools in your eyes...”
He stopped as she crawled back towards him, a grin on her face. She settled her body on top of his, laying her cheek against his bare chest. “I play with the sun too, don’t I.” She said confidingly.
“You do,” he replied, stroking her black hair. “A little too much sometimes.”
Thank fuck the sun was starting to set, Spike thought. Maybe we’ll be able to get cool, go for a walk somewhere with breezes, then maybe go dancing. Somewhere filled with the smell of hot beating human flesh. Instead of staying in this crummy hotel room with only that fucking fly to eat.
“But I prefer to talk to the stars. They’re my friends.” She said perkily, and rolled so that her back was to his chest. “Can you see them?”
He looked up at the cobwebbed, cracked ceiling. “No.” he stated baldly. Sometimes he liked to go along, but it was too hot for that. Damn, it was too hot for anything. Even fucking. It was a sorry state of affairs, he thought, when he didn’t even feel like a screw. Drusilla hummed and swayed her head a little, and he wondered if she was having a vision. And that if she was having a vision it wouldn’t be irritatingly obscure and pointless.
Dru started to talk quietly to… something, so Spike picked up the poetry book again. He had meant it. Sometimes he did wonder if Pablo Neruda was a vampire. His poetry had that urgency, that consuming urgency that Spike felt every time he wanted to feed. Or the other thing. Vampires were truly above humans, he thought. More alive that those that were really alive, they felt everything more brightly, more intensely, more greedily and more overwhelmingly than anything that breathed. And Pablo Neruda knew what that felt like. He read aloud, hoping to bring Dru out of her stupor.
“We have lost even this twilight.” He read.
“Daddy.” She moaned: sublime. Spike paused, then continued reading.
“No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world
I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.
Sometimes a piece of sun
Burned like a cloth between my hands…”
So this poem reminded her of Angelus too. They had been in LA, found out that he’d been seen there during the fifties, but had gone north. Something about a double murder, a hotel. It had given Spike a flare of hope, until they had been told that the murdered men had been shot and hung. Not drained. So they had come north too. Figured that at some point Angelus would make his way to the Big Apple. To good old New York New York. Fucking hot New York, thought Spike, shifting in the sweaty sheets. Drusilla was crying gently now.
“…Always, always you recede through the evenings
towards where the twilight goes erasing statues.”
And then when he arrived, they could get some answers to their questions. Where did you go? Where did Darla go? Were you together somewhere? And a smaller, more childlike voice, that Spike tried to suppress as often as possible; Why did you leave us?
They had spent the rest of the fifties in New Orleans. He had hoped to meet Angelus there. Would have liked to share the cooling and heating of jazz with his sire, the magnolia blossoms and rich, wine-like blood of the locals. He had loved New Orleans. It reminded him of Chicago and Absinthe and Speakeasies in the Twenties. Something else he would have liked to experience with Angelus.
This poem, this sad, sad poem, reminded him of Angelus so much it made his jaw clench. He resisted.
Venice, 1888 (Lord Byron)
“I always wondered if Byron was a vampire.” Angelus commented huskily. “Or maybe he was in love with one.”
“Thought us vampires were too manly to write poetry,” Spike said cheekily, squeezing the sponge over his body.
They were sharing a claw-footed bath, Spike spooned against Angelus in the steamy room. It was February and icy outside: the canals at midnight, as they hunted, frozen over, solid. Angelus had insisted they come during the carnival months; he said it was easier to hunt in the chaos and debauchery. So far, however, Spike noted that they had hardly left the bedroom.
“Listen to this.” His sire ordered.
“There was in him a vital sign of all:
As if the worst had fall'n which could befall,
He stood a stranger in this breathing world,
An erring spirit from another hurl'd;
A thing of dark imaginings, that shap'd
By choice the perils he by chance escap'd…”
“Hmm,” said Spike, not really paying attention. “Very… vampiric.” From another room in the pensione he could hear Dru singing nursery rhymes to her dolls.
He turned onto his belly, slopping steaming water over the edge of the tub, and kneeled between his Sire’s bent legs. He dipped the large sponge into the water again. It became dark and heavy in his hands; he liked the feel of its weight. Lifting it out of the water, he squeezed it over Angelus’ chest.
“Do you not like poetry?” Angelus asked, putting the book down on its front and lying back, allowing Spike to bathe him. Spike blushed at the question, thinking of the last humiliation of his life. No he bloody well didn’t like poetry.
He shrugged. “It’s alright. Bit poncy.” Spike grinned and licked his tongue against his front teeth. He dropped the sponge into the water, over Angelus’ belly, and reached for the book that had been cast aside. He had vague memories of studying Byron at Oxford. But then wondered if that was someone else’s memory. Sometimes he seemed so much that man that it seemed nothing had changed. And then at other times that man, that William, seemed like a complete stranger. He shuffled the pages, mimed pushing a pair of glasses up his nose, gave a slight ‘ahem’, and read aloud, putting on a over-the-top upper-crust accent. It was all eerily familiar.
“In him inexplicably mix'd appear'd
Much to be lov'd and hated, sought and fear'd.
Opinion varying o'er his hidden lot,
In praise or railing ne'er his name forgot. Huh, sounds like you.” He said with a half-laugh. Angelus smiled almost secretively. Their eyes met. Something told Spike there was more to this than just poetry. “Did you know him?”
Angelus laughed, pulling him forward and kissing his forehead fiercely. “Some things, my boy, are better left none of your business.”
Spike fell forward and relaxed against him, his head tucked under his Sire’s chin.
“Is it a big secret? Can I ask Darla? Did you kill him? Did you screw him? Why can’t I know?”
Angelus cuffed him gently on the ear. “Enough.” He said lightly, but it was a warning, nonetheless. It made Spike want to know even more. It must be good if it was a secret. A door slammed outside their room and he heard Darla tread down the hall and into Dru’s room. It seemed she had taken exception to the incessant singing.
“It’s late. Even Darla is trying to sleep.” Angelus commented, settling his hand on the back of Spike’s neck, his hold loose but possessive. Spike shivered at the feel of his Sire’s strength, his control. Angelus felt the tremors and sat up, taking Spike with him. “And this water is cooling. Dry yourself off and get into bed.”
They both got out of the bath, and Spike shivered at the rush of cold air. The worst part about such warmth and comfort was the way it felt when it was gone. Which was inevitable. All things had to end. He watched as his sire slung a towel around his hips and walked into their adjoining bedroom. And he remembered: the poem ended:
He had (if 't were not nature's boon) an art
Of fixing memory on another's heart.
It was not love perchance, nor hate, nor aught
That words can image to express the thought;
But they who saw him did not see in vain,
And once beheld, would ask of him again.
New York, 1977 (Pablo Neruda)
“Sing me another one, pretty Spike.” Dru turned to him and stroked his face, bringing him out of the past.
“Sorry pet. Are you feeling better? Did you have a vision?”
“No, the stars were whispering but it was all sour, so I stopped listening.” She ran her fingers across his chest and he shivered through the heat. The fly hammered against the glass. The ceiling fan droned. The sun slowly sank.
“The witching hour is coming, Spike.” Drusilla stretched on him, writhing against his growing erection. He growled, grabbing her upper arms and rolling over until he had her pinned to the bed. She giggled.
Spike rested his head against her breast bone. It was just too hot. The window was nailed shut, presumably to stop people from dodging the rent, so they couldn’t get even a hint of breeze. The fly buzzed incessantly. The poetry sang in his head. The fly buzzed incessantly. On and on.
With something between a growl and a roar he sat up and smashed his fist through the window, taking the curtain with it – it was the only thing that stopped his hand from catching fire. The glass tinkled to the ground below, a back alley. Someone shouted up, swearing. But at least the buzzing had stopped, Spike thought with a wry grin, picking tiny glass shards out of his knuckles. And maybe now they’d get a hint of breeze.
“That was very naughty, Daddy.” Drusilla said with an excited frown. She reached out and licked his knuckles, flecked with tiny cuts, oozing slightly. “Mmm, yummy.” She licked her lips slowly, and he watched her. “Can we go out to play soon? I can hear the pretty people’s pretty hearts. All pumping…”
“Soon as the sun sets, Dru.” He said, wiping his knuckles on the sheets and lying back down. It couldn’t be long now. Maybe half an hour: he could feel it. She lay with her head on his shoulder.
“Go on go on, another, again.”
It took him a second to realise what she wanted. Then he picked up the book, and turned away from the sad poems. Love poems. Love poems for his black goddess, that’s what was called for. He flicked to the front of the volume. These were much better.
“Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs,
you look like a world, lying in surrender.
My rough peasant’s body digs in you
And makes the son leap from the depth of the earth.
I was alone like a tunnel. The birds fled from me,
And night swamped me with its crushing invasion.
To survive myself I forged you like a weapon,
Like an arrow in my bow, a stone in my sling.
But the hour of vengeance falls, and I love you.
Body of – ”
He stopped abruptly because Dru had sat up. She had her hand over her mouth and was swaying. He realised that she was having the vision now. Sometimes it happened that way: there would be an opening act, an intermission of almost startling lucidity, and then the true show would begin.
She was moaning now. “Its not me. Its not me. Its not me.” He slid forward slowly: no sudden movements.
“Shhh Dru, love, what are you talking about. What’s not you?”
“Noooo,” she wailed loudly, right in his ear. He flinched back. “Its not really me, it’s the other me, the one surrounded by darkness… my picture in the mirror...”
“Dru, you don’t have a reflection.” He explained patiently.
“Its dark where she is… and there are worms in the earth… big ugly worms and darkness and earth and teeth and Angel…” she babbled.
“Angelus? Do you see him?” he asked urgently, taking her by the upper arms. She had started to sob. “Dru, where is he? Is he near?” He breathed in, restraining himself from shaking her with all his might. “Dru!”
He let her go and she fell back on the bed. Tears ran down her cheeks. She hiccoughed, seemed to be coming out of it. He turned away, running a hand through his hair.
“The slayer.” She moaned faintly. He turned back at this.
“Slayer? There’s a Slayer here?”
“The Slayer. Kill the Slayer. Kill her Spike… Kill her for Princess?”
Spike grinned. At last, something interesting was happening. A Slayer. Opportunity #2. “Yeah…”
He looked over at Drusilla. Now that the vision had stopped, she was looking almost normal. He pushed her back onto the bed with the weight of his body almost crushing her, and kissed her, hard. She giggled girlishly into his mouth, and he bit her lower lip roughly. It started to bleed, and he sucked it into his mouth, tasting her.
The thought of killing another slayer was making him hard again, and he crushed Dru’s wrists in his grip, sliding his tongue into her mouth, pushing a knee between her legs. Fuck the heat, he thought. Literally. She writhed and gasped beneath him. The sheets tangled, and their bodies wept with sweat as the stars came out.
Sunnydale, 2002 (Pablo Neruda)
He was reading. He hadn’t read for years. He read when he missed her and could still smell her on his fingers and it made him crave her even more. He was reading:
I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
Distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it’s not true.
Even if Neruda wasn't a vampire, he should have been, Spike decided ruefully. All that passion.
He was reading this when she arrived. She kicked the door in, and she was a weapon.
“Tell me you love me…”
End of Part One
Continued in Part Two: Fighting