All About Spike

Shades of Madness
By Darcy K.

Characters: Spike (plus supporting cast)
Spoilers: Spoilers for beginning of Season 7, although nothing specific.
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui, Sandollar, 20th Century Fox, and whoever else may have a hold upon them; I do not mean to infringe upon any copyrights.
Author's Note: This was written for the second round of the Buffy and Angel Lyric Wheel. The lyrics I was sent are here.
I'd love feedback, as always.

Thanks: to the lovely Monanotlisa for being a wonderful beta, and to Girlwithjournal for giving me confidence initially that the story had merit.



There are rats down here, rats and blood and shadows. The perfect refuge for one as despicable as he; maybe no one will find him to know what he has done and see what he has become. But he can see, always sees, always knows.

***


"Soon," is what she says. "Soon."

He forgets, sometimes, that she is ever there; at other times he believes that he has her forgiveness and weeps himself to sleep, still unable to find forgiveness of his own. In what may be his more lucid moments (if he is mad; he's still not sure), he wonders how she manages to appear at what must be all hours of day or night. There is no time down here in the mazed darkness. She would never deign to visit him anyway, though, so there is proof positive that he has drifted slowly insane. Somehow, he's lost his mind. He knows, because she tells him as much.

Ghosts talk to him, now, ghosts of the dead and perhaps of the living, whispering vile suggestions close to his ear. "No," he wants to protest, "not any more, not to her!" But then she appears and points out that he has committed such atrocities in the past, and why not now; after all, she will never forgive him regardless. And he sees himself, taunting, a sarcastic smirk playing over his features, dangling sanity like a withered carrot in front of his own nose. Redemption? It's a figment of the imagination, something that now he knows to be unobtainable. So he spends all day staring at the ceiling, making friends with shadows on the wall, pools of utter blackness in the pervasive dark, and they chatter and gabble in his head and outside it, as soon as his back is turned. And their myriad voices mingle with the pleas and cries and curses of all those he has killed in over a hundred years.

Now there is a song stuck in his mind, nigglingly familiar and apparently set to play on an eternal loop, until after the hundredth, five hundredth time it begins to irritate him. So he screams experimentally, loud and raw, the noise exploding from his lungs.

"You don't have to yell about it," she scolds him tartly, from her position just behind his shoulder.

"Don't I, pet?" he mutters, somehow unsurprised at her presence. "Thought it'd help. Didn't, though. Got too much in my head, can't hear it all, can I?"

He wants comforting arms around him but knows that he doesn't deserve them. The last person that he had wanted or deserved comfort from was his mother, when he still had his soul. His soul, which, once more inhabiting his body, is rusty for lack of use and stained black with deeds that it never countenanced. Even so, he can tell that it belongs to him, despite that it fit like a glove in days gone by and now chafes the creases of a hundred years in storage against his mind and heart.

"You're a killer," she points out, coldly logical. "You could kill her. She doesn't expect you." A slow smile spreads across her face. "I should know."

"Oh, William, darling," his mother croons, "what has she done to you? How could she do this to my poor boy? You're too good for her, I've known that from the start. But I didn't wish to crush your fantasies, you've always been so emotionally delicate."

Then she disappears, and he stares into space, wondering if she was really there. Catches himself humming that godforsaken tune under his breath, and puts words to it. Oh don't deceive me, oh never leave me. She hadn't left him, he hadn't let her. A regular Norman Bates he would have been, only there was no body to lug from place to place. So now she haunts his dreams, apparently, and doesn't that just serve him right?

He buries his face in the crook of her neck, and as the song fades from his mind, so do the memories.

***


Drusilla is standing by him, humming softly, although he rather thinks she wasn't there previously.

"Too late to be a real man, but I saw you in the moon last night. The walls were crying, they said you were to tell them a secret, and you took back your word. Naughty Daddy, leaving me for a fancy Slayer. Come back, and Miss Edith will tuck you in. If you're out too late, the stars will go down, and I won't have my Spike anymore, so don't stray far." She leans over him, brings her lips close to his ear. "A lark sang to a maiden, and she swallowed him like a wiggly jiggly worm. It was juicy, and it squished. You don't want to squish, do you, pet? Play a game with me, and there'll be no squishing."

Then she isn't there any more, though he's sure that he saw her, his sweet Dru, only that doesn't make sense, does it? He puts his hands to his head in confused anguish and shouts at his tormenting spirits. "Sod off, why don't you!" Only silence answers him, almost mocking in its absoluteness.

***


"Spike, don't worry." Her voice is calm, rational, an island of sanity to cling to. It soothes his jittery mind. "Everything will be better, soon, we'll have you right in no time. In control." There is a pause; does time pass, or does he just imagine it? He's not sure of anything any more.

"You never should have gone to look for your soul," she tells him. "It won't help. Just get rid of it, you know it's driving you insane."

I'm not crazy, he wants to say. But he's not certain that's true, and he claws at his chest, at his heart, wondering if he can manage to take her advice. His fingers scratch impotently across similar lacerations that he has little memory of putting there. Pain blossoms, physical to echo the constant pain in his mind, and his efforts trickle away in a salty tide that sweeps through every limb and leaves him sobbing raggedly into his own arms. When he looks up, she's not there.

"Soon enough you're gonna think of me," he insists wildly, threatening the air. "You're gonna know who I am, and how I used to be, and I'll serve you what I ought to have done before!"

When she reappears, he is muttering in the corner. "I hear them whispering, you know. Think I don't hear them, but I know they've all been talkin' about me." He looks up at her, hair straggling down his forehead, and barks out hysterical laughter. Madness. "Is there something wrong with me, pet? All the hours. All the hours, down here, thinking somehow I've lost my mind. Have I?" He rises from his crouch, lunges towards her. "I'm not crazy, I've just gotta..." his hand flails incoherently before him, "gotta get...." Puzzled bewilderment scrawls itself across his face, and he trails off into the shadows.

***


At some point, he can hear shouting and rouses from his slump on a packing crate to head towards a possible door in the darkness and investigate.

"Why bother?" she asks him pointedly. "No one will be happy to see you, you know that."

He has no answer, and stands with his hand resting on the breathing fabric of the wall. There is scratching at the door, and when it stops he unlatches it anyway, lets it swing open. Her astonished face gazes up at him from beyond the threshold. Before him and behind him, they stare in equal measures, twinned faces reflecting nothing of each other.

Like she can hardly believe it, as if she hasn't been there day in and day out (he knows because he's seen her, talked to her, and she's standing right behind him now, isn't she), she breathes his name. And all he can do in response is stare.

"Spike?"

THE END



Unwell
by Matchbox 20

All day staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something

Hold on
Feeling like I'm headed for a breakdown
And I don't know why

[Chorus]

But I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know right now you can't tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me
I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired
I know right now you don't care
But soon enough you're gonna think of me
And how I used to be...me

I'm talking to myself in public
Dodging glances on the train
And I know, I know they've all been talking about me
I can hear them whisper
And it makes me think there must be something wrong with me
Out of all the hours thinking
Somehow I've lost my mind

[Chorus]

But I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know right now you can't tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me
I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired
I know right now you don't care
But soon enough you're gonna think of me
And how I used to be

I've been talking in my sleep
Pretty soon they'll come to get me
Yeah, they're taking me away

[Chorus]

But I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know right now you can't tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me
I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired
I know right now you don't care
But soon enough you're gonna think of me
And how I used to be

Yeah, how I used to be
How I used to be
Well, I'm just a little unwell
How I used to be
How I used to be
I'm just a little unwell

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