story is a companion piece to Root Systems. Both go AU after S7 TKIM and
S4 ATS Soulless. The two form a diptych with the elder story telling the
facts, and this story the emotions of the journey Spike and Willow take
in a post-apocalyptic world, whilst also taking them much further forward
in time. The title of each snapshot of their lives come from the Simon
and Garfunkel canticle version of the traditional English folk song, Scarborough
and Spike interweave their tale together to form a canticle of their
folk songs are often darker than they appear. This one is.
This is a bleak, dark world they inhabit, and the story reflects that.
It also contains images which some people may find disturbing and references
to character deaths. NC17.
Lori, Magpie, Lovesbitca, Roseann and Karen - they know why.
Salt Water and the Sea Strand
clutched together they wake naked on the beach. Moonlight gleams on pale
skin and paler hair. Where Sunnydale had been there is nothing but devastation,
leaving only the unsullied beauty of the sea strand, and a witch and a vampire
stripped of everything and everyone. They'd lain mercifully unaware for
some hours, as broken bones healed leaving only bruises and small cuts as
a visible reminder of shared loss, before mercy withdraws, as it always
does for these two, and they stumble back into knowledge and pain.
Spike, the teeth," Willow whimpers as her mind tries to capture what she'd
seen in those last moments and recoils from it. She sits up shuddering,
drawing him up with her.
Saw it when I was trying to hold onto you," Spike's voice cracks. He pulls
her closer needing something/her/anyone, but needing.
Her tears sting the tiny cuts the sand had made in her face and blend with
his as their cheeks touch and her broken voice whispers, "They're gone?"
Her tears and
her need for comfort burn into his own wounds. "I know. She's gone. All
gone. Gotta take care of you. Promised, I did. Not going to fail her. Failed
her too much. Not failing in this, not the last thing I ever said to her."
Spike caresses her hair, with the hand not still anchored to her own.
of me, Spike?" Her free hand strokes the sand and dried blood from the silk
of his back.
seals his fate and kisses her.
She pours her
pain into his mouth as her hands pull him down on top of her. He worships
his promise into her breasts, suckling her closer to escape. She feeds on
the salt of his skin while feeling consumed, feeling so desperately wanted,
drives him higher. Her hands knead his ass as her need swallows him as surely
as her cunt. He thrusts his loss into her as she wraps her legs around him
never to let go. Pleasure grafts with grief. Need entwines with orgasm,
as the waves of ecstasy bind them together, never to be able to let the
other go, no matter how much they might want to.
Make Me a Cambric
love her the way he loved them. He loved Cecily and it killed him; of course
it killed her too later on, and his demon still gets hard over that one,
though the man shudders away from the memory. He loved Dru and she pulled
him into a whirlpool of ecstasy, decades upon decades of dancing his merry
way over corpses, until he failed; failed to be evil enough for the likes
of her, and losing her killed the Slayer of Slayers. He loved Buffy so much
he tried to kill his own demon to be what she deserved.
the demon's still there. It's the only thing that keeps him from dissolving
into the Santa Ana winds - that and his promises. Sometimes he curses that
the English Gentleman he's never truly managed to get rid of still believes
'my word is my bond'. It's not as if hasn't already been black-balled from
the Club of Life. He knows now how far beyond the pale he'll always be.
He takes comfort that his promise means he has to stick around for a few
more decades, until Willow's gone, but then he's free to go. Free to go
to his love, to her sister who loved him for a while, even to her friends
who hated him, but let him live. He hopes that saving the world four times
will let him into that warm loving place Buffy told him about, even if he
has to go through the servants' entrance to get there.
The soul made
him know she'd never love him; not the way he loved her, but losing her
still killed him. It just left him walking, talking, crying, and fucking
Willow. It was ironic really; he'd have been safely swallowed in the Hellmouth
alongside his beloved and her friends if not for his promise. When he closes
his eyes he still sees the teeth, still sees them consume his love, and
spit him out. He's always been chewed up and spat out.
He takes comfort
in Willow. She's got none to give. She needs every piece of comfort he can
give her. It breaks all the rules of physics, but two people with nothing
left to give still adds up to something. He's just trying to work out what.
Gather it all
in a Bunch of Heather
right now to be able to scratch her nose, but her hands are currently in
the Hyperion's safe. She'd float something across the room to scratch that
itch if there was anything movable left in the room. But there isn't. Spike
and Angel took everything out when she started to lose it. She'd smashed
the room up aiming the shards of furniture at her own head. She even destroyed
the television Spike brought her to take her mind off, well, everything.
She knows she destroys everything and everyone, but most of all herself.
relations with her lungs she can only speak to them with her mind.
trick freaked Connor out big time. He told her, "My Father, my true father,
taught me, 'thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.' He was right." Angel
dragged him out of the room, before Spike could kill the brat. She still
heard the arguments. Connor blaming magic and Angel for demonising Cordy
and killing her. Angel blaming himself for that, and blaming Spike for bringing
Willow here to bring about this new conflict. Spike blaming Connor for upsetting
her, and blaming Angel for everything from destroying Dru through to Buffy.
to them argue, fight, and bleed, because if she didn't she'd have to face
the truth. If she does she starts to gibber. Once she starts to gibber,
her denial - her science - slips away, and her magic tells her what's happened
to her. She can't face that truth. The magic petrifies her. Its truth, the
tendrils she feels suffusing her every molecule, is beyond the horror of
everything she ever saw crawl, creep, and chitter out of the Hellmouth.
It's been a month. She's seen CSI, she's read Gray's Anatomy - she should
be decayed. She's not. She's in more parts than a Tony Soprano victim, yet
her parts remain alive, and she can feel them. The truth the magic's trying
to tell her is that it will not let her go, ever. She can't let herself
know it. If she does she'll know that she might never see Tara again, and
She's had so
much to bear in the last days, months, years, that the reservoir, of hope,
of love, of her, which she had to keep her going has run dry. Spike's kept
it from cracking so far, but she doubts he can stop it crumbling if what
she deep down knows is true. She's fighting seeing the truth, because it's
an impossible truth. She knows it has to be impossible; she's a science
nerd. She clings to science to save her.
and all systems tend towards entropy. Humans die. She's human, she has a
pulse, she can go out in the sun, she lives, therefore, she can die. She
just hasn't found how yet. She will. There has to be an answer. She's just
not formulated the experiment properly yet. A plus B equals C - human plus
instrument of death equals return to Tara. She reviews her notes in her
mind. Poison dosages in different coloured pens, execution methods, the
mystical means she knows and has tried; all with the same ill-logical result
- she can't die.
She wants to
die with every fibre of her being. The only thing she wants more is Tara,
and Tara's gone and she failed to bring her back. She denied her friend
heaven. She knows she deserves to lose it too. It doesn't stop her wanting
it, wanting her.
Spike comes in regularly and wipes away her tears. He moisturises her face
where the tears chap her skin. He washes her hair, just as he washed away
her blood when Angel dismembered her. Spike talks to her. Occasionally she
even talks back to his mind. With her lungs and the rest of her upper torso
in the hotel meat locker it's the best she can do, and she's failing. She
knows she increasingly makes very little sense, but she can't help that.
Each time she tries to talk, to tell them, she spirals downwards closer
into madness. She knows she's getting closer to insanity each time she faces
how real, how disgustingly, horribly, un-naturally wrong, this is, but she
can't help it. When it's not cyanide, strychnine, bullets, explosives, fire,
acid, dosage and timing charts she gibbers. She hates gibbering. She's Willow,
and babbling was always of the good, but gibbering, so not her.
So she cries.
too. He takes her head down from the alcove and holds her. He strokes her
hair, talks to her, tries to make her laugh, tells her he'll not leave her
even if she's only a disembodied head, and tries to comfort her. When that
fails he kisses her. That fails too; all he tastes is salt. She can feel
him touch her, but she can also feel her right leg vibrate in the box next
to the washer-drier in the basement; she can feel all her parts, and kissing
is not enough.
The only thing
that kept her going before she was shot, before this, was his cock, him
inside her - the oak to her mistletoe. Him, heavier than he looks, wrapped
around her keeping her snug, blanketed in comfortable death, anchored to
life, tethered to sanity. She hasn't had enough of a statistically significant
sample to judge his penis by, and her data series is hardly a representative
survey, not that she'd ever want enough for a scientific paper anyway. She
still wants a woman, Tara, who she'll never touch again, but the solid weight
of him in her hands is like nothing else. Oz was alive, and a werewolf,
but still a boy. Spike's dead, and a vampire, but he's a man in her hands,
and her cunt, and she needs him.
What she wants
is to bury her face in Tara's soft breasts, but she can't. Each traitor
thought that she'll never ever be together with Tara again chips away another
sliver of sanity. His cock inside her saved her on that beach; she needs
him to do it again. She has to have him to cling to, even now when she's
nothing but a collection of body parts, and that makes her sick.
tell him that she wants him as she is. She can't lose him to disgust at
her. She'll tell him that this latest and last experiment's failed. She'll
have to hope that two souled vampires and a magic hating freak can put Humpty
Dumpty back together again. She can feel her bits, so she hopes not to end
up as an omelette. She'll draw her conclusions from her studies then she'll
watch as her sanity shatters. He couldn't fuck Drusilla back from madness;
maybe he'll have better luck with her - it's the only hope she has left.
An Acre of
wishes he wouldn't enjoy the task so much. She liked Angel, well, up until
the time he threatened to kill her, killed her fish, oh, and Miss Calendar,
but he did save her life so she did sort of like him again. A friend that
will dismember you to help you try to die is a true friend indeed, and she's
grateful. She'd mind less about Spike's palpable joy if they hadn't saved
the world together with Angel and Connor. But it makes no difference. Spike
hates Angel, Angel hates Spike; it's one of the eternal truths of the universe.
Spike's yet to break into a jig, but the singing tends to give him away,
and the broad grin each time he thrusts the shovel into the earth makes
Angel is so
changed. So old; so shrivelled.
She hates it.
It frightens her. She'll never let this happen to Spike. She sees the human
prune lying unable to walk in the cavern of his room and she can't recognise
the burly vampire she's known most of her life, and expected to continue
to know for decades more at the very least. She only recognised him from
peering inside his mind. She felt him shanshu, anguish permeating every
molecule of Angel's body as he watched his son die, face still turned away
from the father he hated. She heard one heart stop and another start. She
watched as Angel looked in the mirror and saw the ageing he'd missed fall
on him two years a day. She knew his final furious realisation that he'd
been screwed by the Powers That Be, felt his fear that he was still damned,
and the horror he'd felt at Spike seeing him like this.
Spike had enjoyed
He'd been good,
well for Spike. He'd not actually laughed in 'Peaches' face. Though since
Angel was blind with cataracts and nearly deaf, by the time they'd been
able to get back to the ruined hotel, he'd have largely been spared the
hadn't been in one piece since the long ignored fault below downtown blew
and made people's fears about 'The Big One' look like a teddy bear's picnic
in comparison. The fires had taken half the hotel, along with The Chinese
Theatre and Rodeo Drive. Only the aftershock that finally slid half the
town into the Pacific had saved the rest of Angel's lair, as the collapse
of the damaged part slowed the flames long enough for them to be extinguished.
Angel had refused
to leave his home. She'd asked him to, but he'd always refused. He'd never
given her a good answer. She only found out when she looked into his head.
He'd buried his loved ones in the garden, and he wouldn't leave them. She
respects his privacy. She doesn't tell him she knows. She let him stay in
the intact wing of the hotel. She'll ask him mind to mind where he wants
to be buried. It's a farce really. She already knows the answer, she's got
Spike digging the hard soil already, but she'll let Angel have the illusion
of choice - she's his friend, and that's what friends do.
She's got it
planned. Angel's told her that he'll leave her and, most reluctantly, Spike
everything he has. He'd never been happy with her relationship with Spike
but she'd made sure he accepted it. Sometimes she feels a little guilty
about using Lethe's Bramble to help the stubborn vampire see sense, but
she knows she saved both of her vampires some bloodshed that way, so she
lives with it.
She's getting a family of good demons to live in the basement. They will
tend the garden and make sure the rest of the hotel remains as it should
be. She'll ward the suite of rooms with Angel's and soon to be her and Spike's
possessions in them. She can't stand the thought of living in this ruin,
as the memories here both pull and repel her, but she knows she'll be back,
and that Spike will too. When they do their memories will be safe for them.
In a way Angel
had been lucky. The destruction of most of LA from the fires, the quake
itself, and the shift of much of the city into the ocean, meant that LA
made a poor terrorist target, and escaped accordingly, unlike New York,
Washington, Miami, Chicago and Philadelphia. The wars and governmental chaos
as the world economy collapsed meant that there was no money to rebuild
even a non-radioactive city, so most people left it. Demons didn't; they'd
been attracted, giving Angel and Connor plenty of punching bags to take
their pain at each other out on. She remembers those times with joy. She
and Spike had played too, until the two vampires had snapped at each other
one too many times and they'd had to leave. She'd used her magic to fight,
secure in the certainty that three super-strong men wouldn't let her made
into more of a walking cripple than she already was. She'd enjoyed that.
Spike protected her when they were alone - except when she left him to try
and find a new Tara, but they always disappointed her, so she always returned
to her vampire - but she'd loved having three men to look after her.
Angel had become
a hermit, other than when demon fighting, but his rooms had always been
tidy to the point of obsessive-compulsive. They aren't now. Everything Angel
possessed, everything his lost loved ones possessed, everything Connor ever
touched, is all in piles near Angel's bed, where he'd touched them until
he could no longer see them or move them for visitors. He won't let her
move them now they're here, and he's never had any other visitors.
shaking the soil from his boots on Angel's best Persian rug. They've nothing
to say to each other that they haven't already said a hundred times, and
neither can break the pattern even now.
into the garden, approves the hole next to the barren patch where she knows
Angel burnt the thing that Cordelia became. She felt the weight of his guilt
over killing her, and knows that the thought of laying next to even a trace
of her for eternity gives Angel some comfort. With Connor's grave on his
other side he'll rest with those he loved. She envies him the chance, but
she eases her aching bones down to the earth, and lets Angel's memories
guide her as she opens herself to her power.
She sees Wesley's
broken body buried next to Lilah, in matching plastic. She pulls a high-bred
rose with sharp, sharp thorns through the earth, and watches as blood-red
roses bloom across their graves. The Not-Cordelia found it funny to reduce
Fred down to bones only, no skin. Willow draws yellow roses over the box
that contains the Texan. A sturdy tree erupts from the stony soil above
Gunn, and shades his girl and his English. Carnations bloom over Lorne's
big heart and mutilated body. She tries to give Cordelia flowers in honour
of the girl that she'd grown to like, on a really weird level, but she's
too contaminated by darkness and the soil remains bare. She doesn't know
what flowers to give Angel. She wishes she could turn the site of the Hellmouth
into a garden for those she loves. She can't; it's sterile. So she gives
what she'd kill to give to Tara to Angel's loved ones instead, and she waters
the flowers with her tears.
The fine control
she's used tires her and when Spike yells to her she can't get up. Her skin's
broken and weeping along with the rest of her, and her knees refuse to support
her weight, slight though it is, so she has to call Spike to her. He comes
running, lifts her safe into his arms and kisses away her tears. When she
stops crying he tells her Angel's going and carries her inside to say goodbye.
Angel 's barely
there enough to hear it, but she does. She hates to say goodbye. She's said
it too often, and been denied the chance to say it too much. She knows she's
got very few goodbyes left in her.
Angel, as he'd long dreamt of but never believed possible. It gives him
satisfaction to pile the soil on that hated face, but he's surprised to
find, as he piles the last sod of earth on Angel's grave, his inner lost
boy is scared. He's lost his last piece of family. It truly is just him
and Willow now, and that scares the hell out of him. He'd always hated Angel,
but he'd always been there to blame, and now he's not. His screw-ups will
be his own responsibility, and if there's one thing Spike is certain of
it's that he'll screw up.
He tries to
find someone to love. He makes a damned fine stab at it sometimes. He's
had whole years with both a lover and a Willow friend. But he's always lost
them, and he's always taken refuge in his Willow. He's almost getting used
to losing his girlfriends, though it never stops it hurting. He's not sure
he'll ever be used to getting rid of Peaches; he's overshadowed his life
for over two hundred years after all. But he's willing to give it a try,
like he keeps trying to find love, over and over again.
For now, Willow
says words from many faiths over Angel's grave, then raises lilies for the
dead over his grave, where they mix with Connor's wild-flowers. Spike covers
his own confusion with a joke that she should have raised a creeper instead.
She punches him in the arm, but it hurts her fragile bones more than it
does him. He sees her wince and kisses her knuckles better. It doesn't.
All her pains are bone deep. But she allows him to carry her upstairs so
they can find comfort and distraction in each other, despite the pain it
causes her broken body.
A Sickle of
He loves seeing
She has a beautiful
smile, beaten only by the squeals and giggling fit she's currently in. He
loves making her smile, and laugh, and glow even more, and he's succeeded
big time. He can feel the massive grin on his own face. It gets even bigger
as he shakes the salt water from his hair all over her, kisses her face,
getting her soaked, and she makes the adorable 'eep' 'eek' noises, and,
his personal favourite, the, "You are so in trouble for that, Mister!" He
knows he's going to get spanked tonight and he can't wait.
He knew it
was a great idea to go loco down in Acapulco.
Her face when
he'd told her his idea had been a picture. She'd accused him of having an
Elvis fetish, but the way her nose did a Bewitched twitch at the image made
it worth being accused of bad fashion sense. He'd kissed her nose and she'd
giggled happily and said she wanted to see him do it. The way she'd laughed
as he danced, sang, and whirled up the hill with her in his arms was music
to his ears. The bottle of Jack Daniels he'd found in the bar overlooking
the cliff and the two shot glasses he'd cleaned enough to toast her before
setting off was a beautiful bonus.
tonight. She's in a good mood. She wants to make him happy. She's put on
the 'face, hair, and fuzzy sweater he first noticed her in' glamour he loves.
Underneath the so tangible illusion her hair now matches the picture she
makes under the moonlight. They'd found hair dye in one of the shops deserted
for two hundred years and done each other's hair. He looks like Spike, he
even feels like Spike, and it's bloody wonderful.
at the sight of the waves crashing at the base of the weathered cliff-face,
and the way she kisses him before he sets off, barefoot and shirtless, up
the long destroyed route to the ledge, makes him feel loved, wanted, cared
for by a woman he's made happy. The feeling of freedom when he dives into
the ocean - even though the sea level is higher than when he'd last been
by, before the rise in sea level - it's cleansing. Her happiness, her pride
at him, and the gleeful squeals when he climbs back up to her and she pulls
him into a kiss are the sweetest balm to his soul. It's marvellous.
It's a relief.
smiled until tonight since they'd left Argentina, and that's a long walk
for a cripple and a combustible vampire. They'd not been able to teleport.
They'd tried it before, to allow them freedom from California, the dustbowl
that of the Mid-West, and the wreckage that was most of North America, but,
after the unfortunate incident where they'd materialised five hundred feet
above Cartagena, they'd decided to walk until Willow learnt more control
over her powers. Spike's petrified that next time they'd land over water
and Willow would keep drowning over and over again. She's too frail to swim,
and he dreads not being able to find her.
turned out too bad, once their bones mended. There'd even be some people
dwelling behind the old stone walls, and booze, really strong blessed booze.
It had been pure rot-gut but Spike had spent a happy week at the bottom
of many bottles. Willow had found the best fruit juices she'd ever tasted,
and poured some of them down his throat when he was ready to come back from
his holiday. Then the 'dos Wills' had danced to drums and guitars with the
first friendly locals they'd found in a long time. She'd smiled at him and
all was right with his world.
to try and stay away from the annual trip to the Hellmouth. Willow would
scry from a distance and they'd put miles and their best efforts at trying
to free themselves from it in a new continent. Spike had breathed a massive
sigh of relief at the treason. He wanted nothing better than to be in Europe,
Asia, anywhere but North America and the quicksand of pain that it was for
him. He'd known that his Europe was gone. London long since destroyed, Paris
nuked - without even a chance to surrender, the essential Englishman in
him can't help but snark - Prague part of the fused radioactive glass that
forms most of Central Europe.
mind about Prague. He has a soul now, but his memories of it are blasted
by the horrors he and Dru did there and the horror perpetuated on Dru in
return, and he can't help but smile at the thought of those who hurt his
girl suffering and dead. He still wears her ring.
holds memories of his past sins too.
the taste of limes on the lips of his victims in Rio, and the beer, blood,
and blocos of Salvador. There's none of his favourite Antarctica beer now
in Rio - there's no Sao Paulo or Rio, both long since nuked. The 'dois Wills'
tried Salvador, whose music he'd loved, but it had degenerated into a horror
worthy of Hieronymus Bosch, and they stood out too much
as a target. He hates having to kill to protect them both. His soul screams
at each fresh drop of blood on his stained hands. He knows Willow hates
it too, but neither have a choice in a kill or be killed world, so they
hold onto each other like children lost and bloody in the ruins, and kiss
the blood from each other's fingers.
It was Buenos
Aires that nearly broke them.
to see if there was any taste left there from his days of tango, red wine
and redder blood with Dru. There was no music, but there was blood all right
- a cannibal cult. A cult that nearly took Willow's new girlfriend for dinner.
He'd saved her, but he'd had to slaughter the slavering hoards to do it.
Her face at seeing the blood dripping from his fangs and fists had shown
everything. Willow lost her.
the first girl his Willow had tried to find anything with in decades. He'd
always encouraged her to try, been there whenever she needed him, been around
generally, made nice, but it had never worked. Willow never found what she
wanted, and never did start out in her true face, for all his fond encouragement
for her to try. This one had seemed different though; she looked to have
staying power. They'd found her in the vineyards of Chile, heavy eyed, lush
of figure and a good heart. He'd liked her. He'd have been willing to share,
but that was one thing they'd never done. Besides, she'd not wanted to share
Willow; she'd wanted her all for herself. She'd made Willow smile, and laugh
and once even sing.
It had broken
girl, when she saw the true face of their life together, broke Willow's
heart. He'd known it from her face; she'd never try again. She'd give up
on the love and the pain. She'd concentrate on learning finer control of
her magic. She'd become more and more one with The Mother. She'd stay with
the easy option, with him, but she didn't smile again. Not until today,
and it's such a relief.
He kisses her,
puts his shirt and shoes back on, and scoops her up in his arms. She can't
walk easily up or down the steep streets, but he's happy to hold her, and
her smiles absolve him of so much that she's no burden at all. He takes
her back to the little hotel catering to the Mexican market half way up
the mountains. The big international hotels are half slumped and drowned
in the ocean as the higher sea level took them and the beach, so they had
to find a more modest place.
mind. It's perfect. Though it's been over two hundred years since the spores
blew in from the attack on Texas it's still deadly to humans, mammals and
even insects. So it's been left - a tropical Pompeii, lacking the lava.
Much has decayed, but most survives for them to use, and they have the whole
playground to themselves. This little hotel even has a back-up generator
with fuel in. They got their first hot shower in years this morning. It
was wonderful sharing it with her. There's reading material salvaged from
a bookshop they both noticed at the same time - much of it magazines on
the then top news of the earth liquefaction demise of Tokyo, but some books
too. They'd long ago found Willow didn't need human food to carry on, though
like him she's a habit for it, and enjoys it. They've found tins and the
chance to see if industrial quantities of preservatives can give them their
first junk food in decades.
there's a small dance-floor and bar. The pockets of people they've found
over the years usually brew their own as part of the human need to escape
the horror of this life, but he's missed a good tequila, a nice cognac,
and he's dreamt of diving headfirst into a single malt. Now he's got the
chance. He pours them both a drink and switches on the music and the lights.
He takes the
drink to his lady, who sips and smiles at him. He offers his hand and she
takes it. He leads her onto the dance floor and a strong voice belts out
Mambo No 5 and he mambos. The rhythm blasts him back into guilt and Cuba
in the fifties. He can taste the tobacco and sweat on the juicy thighs of
his victims. Cane juice soaked so deep into skin that the blood tasted of
caramel. Fedoras and toying with mafia blokes because it was fun and Dru
freaked them out. He shifts to remembering taking Buffy to this song in
a dark corner of The Bronze, thinking she needed to lose her hang-ups, to
embrace him, before he knew what a horror he was. All of it takes him out
of the music and deep into his head and the venus fly trap of his memories.
He feels the
tell-tale tickle of her in his mind looking for reasons why he's stopped
stiffening against her belly and stiffened up instead. She finds what it
is and pulls him down for a kiss. He hates her little habit, but can't call
her on it. Some things he still finds too painful to talk about and this
means she offers him the comfort he needs so much without him having to
risk her refusing. He's been refused so much that he can't ask anymore.
He never has to with Willow.
can only access the memories he lets her see and that he wants comfort over.
He doesn't let her have the key to his safe, just the rest. If he let her
into the stronghold he'd lose her and he can't face that. He knows he would
lose her if she knew, but she doesn't and never will. He found the answer
to living with a telepathic witch with boundary issues in Angel's books.
He hates magic, but he needed something to ensure his privacy while not
losing her from not letting her in. He performed the rite and now whatever
memories or events he activates the spell over she can't see. They're invisible
to her and he's safe. He loathes having to use magic but he had no choice.
He knows magic has consequences, nobody on earth that knows that better
than he does, even the woman in his arms, but he's willing to pay them in
full. He always has, he can't stop now.
If he has to
bear the guilt of scaring away Willow's last chance of love then that's
a price he'll pay. He'll never be able to let go of the guilt, which he
felt letting the girl see the demon in his eyes, when he looked at her like
she was desert to add to the main course dripping down his chin. But he
needs Willow, and he couldn't lose her. If she'd found love once again she
wouldn't need him, and he doesn't think he can cope without her now. Maybe
once he could, but not now. If the girl had been ready to play nice, to
let him have his place in his Willow's life maybe he'd have not let her
get caught by the cult. He wouldn't have let them kill her, didn't need
to, the scare worked fine, which proves she wasn't good enough for his Willow,
or them. It doesn't help much. The guilt still burns. But he's always played
with matches and he's willing to get burnt if it means he keeps what he
so desperately needs.
The song changes
to Lady Marmalade as he draws her closer. She fits perfectly. He's found
his 'soul sister' and as the singer asks 'voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce
soir?' so does he. She pulls his head down and whispers, "You know I will,
always, Spike." He melts into her and the music. As he strokes her fluffy
sweater and she pulls his head down to the comfort of her breasts he relaxes,
she's his and she always will be.
"When I was
young I always thought we, well humans anyway, would get off the rock."
She smiles ruefully, trying to keep him here in the now, in the sane. "Guess
I was wrong, huh?"
He looks at
the crumbling skeletons that are all that's left of the giant buildings
and launch platforms. Hundreds of years of hurricanes, flooding, and decay
have rotted the concrete and steels so they form Florida's very own listing
Stonehenge - only this one doesn't look like it would make another century,
built as it was of mans' materials rather than the bones of the earth. "Still
got time, pet. One thing you're not short of. Might still do it. That dirty
bomb thing might have sent people off from here for all them years, and
God knows humans ain't up to trying it now, but maybe, give it a few more
centuries. You'll get your Star Trek, luv. It was Star Trek, wasn't it?
Been so long since there was telly, I forget."
"Wish I could."
She sighs. She hates and loves this memory, but needs to use it to keep
him from remembering recent losses too closely. "Yes, Star Trek. It was
all so clean, and yay progress, go progress - it's your birthday. You know?
I can still see me and Xander watching it. I so crushed on Data. That was
set now. Bit different, huh?"
love. No telly, let alone them holo-watsits. Bit of a contrast to 'return
to the Middle Ages but with better guns meets Deliverance' we've got now.
Bloody wish it was like on them old shows. I'd even take a What's-his-name
lecture on the Death Star if it was. Anything rather than this, this pointless
fucking waste," Spike said, thinking of their latest run in with one of
the surviving villages, which had left both with a number of bullet wounds
and Spike with a lost love.
thought she was the one. She'd been warm, kind, with the delicate beauty
and big eyes he's always gone for. As a demon-girl with a life-span of thousands
of years she'd offered an escape from losing his mortal lovers. She wasn't
definable as 'good' or 'bad' under the rules of moral apartheid. She was
just her, and she'd loved him. She'd even liked and accepted Willow and
the non-negotiability of her eternal role in his life, unlike too many of
the women he'd loved. Willow had even seemed to like and accept her, unlike
some, after the same initial Spanish inquisition she'd given to his last
twenty-three girlfriends. Not that he blamed Willow, nor felt he could,
after the last-but-twenty-fourth had turned out to be a bad lot out to end
This girl was
supposed to be his eternal dance partner. He'd been able to taste it. He'd
spent centuries looking for her, failing, trying again, tasting love and
having it dashed from his lips. He's supped on the bittersweet escape of
madness more times than he wants to remember from losing love. Willow's
always brought him back, just like he fucks her back when she slips. She's
done it again now. He's pretty sure she used magic this time to help, and
that's not something she's had to do before. He'd never got that far before
in all his wailing against his losses, but this time he'd wanted to break
his promise. He dimly remembers Willow trapping him in tree roots to stop
him taking a walk in the sun, holding him through the howling, then her
talking and stroking his hair until he'd melted into a puddle of tears as
she reminded him of his pledge to look after her. The pre-Raphaelite beneath
the buckskin, fists, fangs, and the nose and forehead that don't smooth
out too easily anymore, won out on the not breaking a promise to a lady.
The fists and fangs tore the killers apart, but he can live with that -
he has before.
He's lost lovers
before, all of them in fact, except Willow. But this time it's broken something
in him. He's so tired. It's been so very long, and he's lost so many of
them, it's exhausted even his almost bottomless ability to try again.
that his girl had been his last chance to cut free of the vines trapping
his heart. He'd felt it deep down in his bones. He'd felt his heart warm
if not beat. After more than five hundred years of trying he'd finally found
the girl, the right one, the one that could give him everything he'd wanted
for all those years, and keep on giving it to him for centuries. He'd relaxed.
He'd basked in her warmth, in the thought that he'd have his love and his
Willow with him for the rest of his life. He'd felt his future lift like
one of the Zeppelins he remembers floating above Berlin - while he and Dru
munched on Nazis - serene, beautiful, and above the horrors going on below.
He never expected to lose his last chance of love, and he's crashed and
his tears start to fall. She pulls his head down to her breasts and wraps
her arms around him. He nuzzles and his hands slip down to cup her ass through
her buckskin skirt. Her arms caress his back and slip under the leather
to stroke skin. He nibbles his way up from her breasts through her neck
to seek oblivion in her mouth.
smoother now that industrial civilisation and the world population have
collapsed. She needs glamours less and less to cover the sores, the blisters,
and the flaking, and she feels so good now under his questing tongue. She's
began to use the glamours on him, when he has problems shifting back. But
that's usually for when they come across people, which isn't that often
in a world that's only recently beginning to recover from wars, unleashed
pestilence, famines, environmental destruction, and the breakdown of the
She likes feeling
his bumpies. The solid proof of the power of him gets her wet. It's a good
job it does. She's fed him for what feels like forever, whenever he can't
find any animals in the barren, radioactive, disease-ridden wilderness much
of their world's become. They've had very little choice as there's no electricity
to store blood, and very few butchers shops in the more friendly villages,
as most people slaughter and eat their own stock, or barter only with their
neighbours. Sometimes she needs his fangs in her neck and breasts. His absolute
need for her makes her feel powerful, needed, essential, her blood giving
him life, keeping him alive, vital, strong, hers. When she wants to float
off into madness feeding and fucking him are the only thing that still tether
her to the world. Besides, he can't kill her by drinking - they tried that.
She slips her
right hand inside his trousers and wraps it around his cock tethering him
to her. He pulls back from her and looks at her. She reaches up with her
left and caresses his hair, across his lips and neck, before threading her
fingers through his curls. She smiles at him gently and says, "Feed; you
know you need to."
He kisses her.
"You're tasting sweeter and sweeter, you know that? My sweet." She'd tasted
like battery acid for years, but she'd kept him going.
"Sea must be getting cleaner. Wanna midnight picnic in the sea when we get
He says, "Always,"
his fangs deeper into her neck, grips his cock harder, and starts to pump.
She owes him this. She owes him, after she killed the demon-girl that wasn't
good enough for her Spike, not for him, not for them - they fight not good
demons, they don't love them. She might have let him have his toy if it'd
been human or short-lived, but it threatened to stay forever and that just
wasn't acceptable. All it took was floating a bullet - problem gone. It
was quick and deserved. Willow knows she's not bad. She's saved him from
the not-good demon. It might hurt him for short time, but she's saved him
from far worse. Someone always has to make the hard decisions, and it's
always been her. He should be grateful really. She did it for him. Besides,
he's hers, he promised. She owns him, and she's never going to lose him,
no matter how much she hurts him, and if she does it's only for his own
To Fight for
a Cause they've long ago Forgotten
He's not human.
It's been done
before. She hung there as it was tried last. She can do it. The knowledge
she sucked still fills her; it's planted there, right in the borders of
her memory. It would be wrong not to use her knowledge. It's not as if she's
doing anything un-natural. He's already un-dead, outside the natural order.
There's no Urn needed, no gods to deny her will. He's a vampire - if she
brings him back she won't get the First as a two for one, so it's ok.
It's only a
few bad people.
it. They killed her Spike. They took what was hers. That really isn't acceptable.
They're certainly not allowed to ambush the good guy and thrust a spear
in his back. Spike and she have saved the world - she remembers doing it
- therefore, they are the good guys, they're needed, and above everything
else they're not allowed to be killed. That's just wrong. So she's allowed
to fix it. She has to fix it. She's the good guy. She knows she is. She's
only letting them make up for their badness. That's a good thing, the right
thing, she knows it is.
She can bring
this. She needs him. He's hers. She was promised. He belongs to her, and
they took him from her. They don't get to do that. They don't get to moan
and distract her either. They've already been bad; annoying isn't allowed.
She waves her hand at the five people hanging upside down in vines from
the trees, and fine stitches double with the thick twine already there,
sealing their mouths and giving Willow some blessed silence.
She looks at
the bad guys. One's hand is in danger of touching what's hers. That's not
allowed. He's hers. His bones are hers. They're not allowed to damage them.
So she twists her hand upwards and the very bad people are drawn a foot
higher up into the tree canopy. It's a much better arrangement. They swing
much better now.
of his bones being damaged, of him ever being in this state again terrifies
her. She can't lose him again. She just can't. She's lost too much already,
He's her eternal
companion in hell. He's all she has - all she'll ever have. Without him
she's got nothing, she is nothing, just an unloved, unlovable, unwanted,
unneeded, lost no-one, condemned to wander the earth alone for all time
- an eternal broken Wandering Jew.
She needs him
and she can't live through losing him again. She saw his body dissolve as
he was staked. She'd tried to catch him in her hands as he flew apart, but
he only slipped through her fingers. The nightmare's never going to leave
her. She's caught in a Mobius twist between the forest and her long lost
library, and two ancient vampires that couldn't have been more different,
for all they shared a bloodline, but who'd both left their bones intact.
She'd known in her head that Spike was almost as old as The Master had been,
but she'd never thought his bones would remain intact if he was dusted.
But then again she's never been able to face the idea of him being gone,
so she'd always shied away from thinking about it. It's not an option now.
She can't think of anything else.
his skull. His forehead shows pronounced lumpies - the main sign of his
years - along with wrinkling to his strong nose. But years of drinking blood
tied to the life-force of the planet had kept most of his human beauty intact.
His lips remained biteable and she'd never had to see him with fruit-punch
mouth, or hooves, even when the glamours wore off.
his fine finger-bones and remembers. She sees a ring on a table in a long
swallowed home that could have saved him. She remembers her amazement when
Buffy told her Angel had destroyed it, and she curses his memory. But as
she holds his hand she thinks about her problem like a good Willow should.
She knows that if she only thinks hard enough she can fix it. She tastes
the few scraps of information on the Ring of Amarra, like the rest of Giles'
books, now part of her. It's only a few clues, but, combined with a reveal
spell to know how to forge it, she's, as Spike would say, 'sorted', and
so is he.
She does the
spell, reads the scroll, kisses his forehead, looks closely at his hands
and thinks hard on how to avoid him losing the ring again. She really can't
go through this again. She runs her hand down his neck and backbones and
smiles. It's simple really - if he doesn't know he has it no-one can ever
try to take it away. She'll tell him he was unconscious, and badly hurt,
so she had to fix him with magic. He won't like it, he never does, but he's
had enough injuries and she's fixed him enough times he'll accept it like
he always does. She'll say she had to try a new healing spell and there
might have side-effects - heck, it's even the truth.
She can't wait
to see him smile in sunlight. They've only had moonlight for so long. She
knows he'll love it, and they're heroes who so deserve this.
makes a grasping motion upwards, and pulls gold and silver up from the depths
of the earth. The metals rise at her will in thin spirals that heat the
air with the stink of hell-fire. Allowing them to float in the air she puts
forth her awareness into every plant in the world until she finds the ones
she needs. She drags them from their refuge, uncaring that she leaves no
seeds behind, and there's so few of these plants left that they face extinction.
She waves her hand; they lose their connection with the soil and join the
metals in floating in supplication before her. She smiles as she makes upward
spirals with her right index finger. The earth itself breaks open as a thin
ribbon of lava answers her call. The stench of brimstone scents the air
as she moulds the very stuff of the earth into her cauldron. Before the
lava-bowl can cool she chants as she circles the metals and plants faster
and faster before thrusting them into the heat of the planet's lifeblood.
She channels the words of power, the primal life-force itself, as she takes
her knife and slits her wrist over the cauldron. Her blood, forever tied
to the sea, waters the plants, which fertilises the metals of the core.
She forces their germination into a blood-red electrum, which her mind shapes
with spells into a thin plain collar with a simple clasp. She digs the knife
into the bone and her marrow cools the collar with the sap of life, to maintain
his against all possible shears, whether he wants it or not. She drops the
knife and the collar flies to her. Then she collapses - collar still clutched
in her hand.
She lies there
exhausted as her wounds heal, recovers, stands, and walks over to his skeleton.
She caresses his skull, kisses his forehead, smiles to him, and says, "Soon,
Spike. And I promise it won't happen again, ever. I've fixed it. I'll fix
everything, you'll see. We'll be together forever." And she clips the collar
around his neck-bone and closes the clasp with a surprisingly loud click.
She takes the
knife, says the words, and glares at the bad people for fidgeting in their
bindings. She makes shallow cuts. Blood drips onto the bones. At first they
stain them, then they soak into them. Nerves form, blood vessels grow into
veins and arteries as they writhe and grow. The collar and his bones are
soon clothed as organs bud and flower, and skin blossoms. His lips form
and she steals a kiss. As the humans start to bleed dry he becomes himself.
She moulds his forehead and nose the way they should be, making him her
man from the beach again. She licks her lips in pleasure that she's put
everything right. The final drops soak into his skin and stop. She sees
his eyes start to open. She waves her hand and obliterates the drained annoyances
dangling above him. She grasps his hand and he opens his eyes.
He blinks a
few times, shakes his head, smiles at her, and says, "Thought I was a gonner
that time, pet."
She bends over
him, says "Never gonna happen, Spike," and kisses the only oasis in her
desert. She misses the sadness that shadows his eyes at her words, but even
if she saw him it wouldn't matter - Willow always knows best, and she's
fixed it, now they'll always be together.