All About Spike

to be a man
By BuffyX

SUMMARY: All the small interactions lead up to the defining moment. A series of drabbles through the entire span of season seven; S/B, S/D, S/X and S/W friendship.
RATING
: R
SPOILERS:
Through "Chosen."
FEEDBACK: I'm a feedback whore.
DISCLAIMER: Joss, please, don’t sue me. I’m really, really poor.
AUTHOR'S NOTES:
This actually is based on McSweeney’s Lists, the website, which is where all of the drabble titles come from. I had much fun surfing through the lists to get my inspiration. :-)



Nicknames for Jesus (during Beneath You)

He’s draped himself over the cross, slumped and slagging, as though all of his strength has been drained. Smoke curls up in silver trails from his form, and the stench of rent, burning flesh infiltrates her senses. And yet she is frozen, paralyzed by fear and heartbreak and emotions that are older than time itself. The power of revelation.

And then he’s lifting himself off and turning. Burned arms like charcoal and smoldering cheeks, and his mouth is curling into a grim, thin smirk, baring bloody teeth. Moonlight spills a blue-gray cast over his figure. Makes him look haunting. Suddenly he’s stumbling, zigzagging steps, weaving back and forth. Without a word, he halts in front of her, sways for a bit, and collapses at her feet. On his knees, burying his face in her shoes. Crying, crying now, looking up at her with eyes that are still so blue. So blue. Spike and William, the same, but… not. A turbulent storm of identities.

“Buffy.” He says her name as if it is reverent, and reaches up to touch her, but she fears her touch will burn him, too. Destroy him even more than he is now.

So she turns. Turns and flees, flying through the church doors and sprinting through the cemetery. Tearing until she passes through the tall, ivory black gates, and suddenly there’s a curb she didn’t see, and she’s falling. Her hands break the fall, skidding against the asphalt and leaving burning scratches against her palms. She pulls herself up to her knees to nurse her wounds and realizes that she’s already sobbing.

She sits and she weeps, weeps for him and his sins. Weeps for her and her own wrongdoings. Weeps enough for them both. Because there is nothing she’s learned to explain this, nothing of why lives have to be so hard, some harder than others, or if the love of God is greater for those who suffer more, or if there is anything left to believe in at all.



The Only Thoughts I Remember Crossing My Mind Today (post-Help)

She left him alone.

He asked her to stay, to help her, and she left him there. Alone with the darkness, with the demons in his mind. Alone to destroy his already-shattered self even more with the guilt, to become even more lost in his sea of insanity. Alone.

During the day, kids with different problems file in and out of her office. A boy who has parents getting a divorce. A new girl to the school who has been having trouble making friends. Students with school problems, social problems, home problems. Problems of all kinds. Buffy nods and listens and tries to care, but there’s this tiny part of her, a piece inside of her that she keeps buried and locked off, that is simmering with resentment behind her forced smile.

Because, well, fuck. When she was their age, she had the weight of the world thrown onto her shoulders. She never got to worry over the little things, like her popularity or if the boy she crushed on would invite her to the formal or if she would be able to try out for sports teams. She never got to be a girl, because every day she was fighting, fighting so that they wouldn’t have to, forsaking her entire life for the rest of the world. All because it was her destiny, a destiny she’d never asked for in the first place.

It still burns a little, even now. Thinking of that. Knowing that her life isn’t fair. That it never will be.

These kids say that they’re alone, but they don’t understand. Don’t understand what true lonesomeness is. Even with her friends, they could never understand the aloneness of it all, never know of the isolation. Never could understand what it was like. What it means to be the Slayer.

((It's like all of a sudden I'm not cool enough for you because I can't kill things with my bare hands))

((Hey Buff, maybe you oughta leave the work behind sometimes. You're not always on Slayer duty, you know?))

((Keep your Slayer friends out of our dreams))


They just didn’t get it, not ever. Not really. And yeah, there’s a part of her that, even now, is bitter about it. Bitter that they had the chance to be normal, that none of them had predestined fates, not the way she did. She knows that it isn’t a rational way to think, that it isn’t fair to her friends, because they love her, and she loves them, too. And it is not their fault that they don’t understand; they just can’t. They can’t understand what she is. Can’t understand why she can’t just cover herself in the darkness, step inside and walk around in it, and not come back out as a sunny, cheerful girl. Can’t understand that there are facets to her that she can’t even comprehend completely, streaks of the Slayer that are never dormant.

He, of course, understood that about her. Better than herself, really. He understood the darkness, the primal of it, the ferocity, the savageness running through her veins. And because of that, he touched her in places that no one else ever had. He tore down her walls, brought down her buildings. It all crumbled, until all she was left with to stand in was rubble. More naked and exposed than she’d ever been.

Yes, she knows aloneness, knows even insanity. The only difference between hers and his is that she does not show hers. It is not external, only because she’s lived with it for so long that she knows how to suppress it, how to conceal it. If she lets herself think of it for too long, she knows that she will only end up drowning in her own mind.

Her darkness is braided into her DNA strands, looped around the ribbons that compose of her genes, something irrevocable that she can never change. He brought his pain upon himself, and sometimes, she thinks he deserves it. Deserves to rot away in his literal hellhole.

She doesn’t like thinking that way. Doesn’t like letting such ugly, horrible thoughts invading her mind. Because no one deserves that-- no one deserves to fester and decay and be shattered the way he has been. She never asked for it, but he’s there, and she can’t just ignore it, even if it’s the easiest option she has. This entire thing with Spike is so new, so momentous, that she still can’t wrap her mind around the enormity, the vastness of it. She thinks that maybe she never will.

And now all she can think of is how she left him down there, all alone.



Sixteen Phrases That You Won't Find in Peru, in Any Language (Post-Selfless)

He finds himself often dreaming of Dru, and it hurts to think about her. Not because he feels guilt at what he’d done with her in the past-- but because he doesn’t, because he misses her, sometimes, because he remembers the years they spent together, the places they traveled to, with a strange kind of fondness. And it’s the fact that he can reflect on those times and not feel sick with guilt that makes him-- well, sick with guilt.

It’s a big, complicated inner turmoil thing, one of the countless clauses of the soul that he never had imagined there would be, and he doesn’t even try to sort it out anymore. Guilt is guilt, right?

But he remembers the places. The countries. Sweeping through continents, all over the globe, bathing themselves in blood and come. He especially remembers the times they spent in Peru. It was before fucking Prague with the damn fucking mob, and one of the few places that Dru liked well enough to stay for more than just a few weeks.

Spike had loved Peru, too. He recalls it well-- it was where Dru taught him the trick with the candle wax, for starters. He remembers how giddy, how exultant he’d been. Laughing as they fucked in churches, in temples, in places of worship. Getting drunk on blood and booze. Getting drunk on Dru.

She used to tell him things, nonsensical things, that sounded like ancient, clandestine magic. Fragments of verse he could almost taste on her tongue, weaving its way around him, alluring, bewitching, beckoning him with her poetic words. Rolling together white on marble white and bodies slick with arousal and excitement. Kissing, biting. Savaging and hurting and loving.

“Remember this, William,” she’d murmured against his lips once, straddling him on top of the steps to an olden temple, writhing against him, her lips still wet with blood from a fresh kill. It was winter, and the snowflakes were drifting down, dusting in her dark, luminous hair. And suddenly the clouds in her eyes had cleared away, and she’d appeared lucid, sane, even if only for a moment. “You’re mine, always. Always.”

Because some bonds can be remade, but never, ever broken. And blood is the strongest call of all, allowing him to forget again until the next night, when he knows the memories will come flooding back. Her deft, lofty fingers and scheming, clever hands. Dark, almond-shaped eyes that burned into his very being. Black hair draping across his naked torso. Words spilling from her blood-splattered lips, enchanting him into delirium. And he would remember, remember the emotions. The hate. The lust. The love.

Most of all, the murmurings that stained his heart like blood.



The Seven Stages of Drunk (Post-Him)

He used to be a rowdy drunk. Used to get in bar fights, brawl with anyone and everyone. Went crashing through glass windows and knocked out by wooden chairs to the head more times than he’d like to remember. Always had loved the fighting-- back up against the wall, clawing his way out, not always knowing if he’d make it out in one piece. Fist and fangs, wasn’t that what he’d said once? Lifetimes ago, but he remembers that. Among other things.

Now he sits with Harris at the kitchen table, staring at the amber liquid that the boy has poured into his empty glass. Xander takes the rest of the bottle for himself and plops down in a chair across from him. Puts his mouth over the lip of the bottle and dips his head back, taking a long, heavy swig. Sets it back down and glares at the vampire with tired eyes.

“I still hate you,” he blurts out bluntly, “even if I am sharing my liquor.”

“Yeah, you should.” Spike doesn’t look up, just takes another drink. The beer is shit, but at least it’s something. Dulls the pain, even if only a bit. All he really wants to do is go lie down, but he knows he’ll just start dreaming again, and he just isn’t in the mood. Not tonight.

He used to be an unruly drunk, but now he’s just quiet. Sullen. Downs the glass and takes more. Him and Xander pass the bottle back and forth, back and forth. Slowly getting more and more sloshed, the alcohol buzzing through his bloodstream, and it feels nice. Like floating, far away, except…not.

Suddenly he realizes the wanker has been talking some time now, slurred words spilling from his drooping mouth. Rattling on about why his boss at work sucks, about how the patrolling is going, about friends who overdose on black magic and love that isn’t supposed to end but does and getting fucked over by life in general. Spike would snort if he had the energy. Getting fucked over is something he knows all about.

Fuck. He really, really needs to stop getting drunk.

Makes him all petulant and, dear god, almost… broody. Merely the thought makes him shudder. Goes through these stages, he does. First, there’s the quietness. Being still and silent, letting himself soak in the nothingness alcohol brings, the numbness. Then comes the desperation; the needing to be something other than what he is, gulping down drink after drink and trying to focus on the warmth. Third comes the reflection. Memories, good and bad, some monumental and others not so much, drifting through him. Dru and Angelus and Harmony and Buffy. Oh, Buffy. After that, there’s the self-loathing, bitterness balling up in his chest. And then finally there is nothing but…sadness. A hollow, empty ache. Hurting.

“Y’know, Anya never was much of a drinker.” The boy is still yammering on, and he tries to focus on the words. “Didn’t like me drinking, either. Said it sounded like something my father would do. I hated when she said that.” Xander’s face scrunches up, then stretches out as he takes another swallow. “God, I miss her.”

“Mmm.” Spike gulps down some more, savoring the taste burning in his throat. Everything’s starting to get that inebriated hazy glow now. The ceiling is spinning so he sets his head down on the table, cheek resting against the cool wooden top. It feels soft, comforting. “Buffy always had this face she did-- it was a ‘blah’ thing. Cute, it was. Really liked that about her.”

Right. Sixth phase-- reveal something you should be trying to forget, and piss someone off.

“So don’t want to hear about it,” grumbles Xander, pushing his chair back clumsily and standing up. He sways on his feet a bit as he sets the beer bottle down on the table. “I’m going to bed. Have fun with beer-on-vampire bonding. Or whatever.” He waves his hand vaguely toward the leftover beer and stumbles off. Shuts the door to his bedroom, and within minutes Spike can hear the sound of drunken snoring.

Seventh, and he’s back at the beginning again.



Items From the Neiman Marcus 2002 Christmas Book (Post-BotN)

It’s Christmas and he isn’t here.

It’s a stupid thing to think, and she knows it really should be irrelevant in the scheme of things. Big scary imminent evil, the Ubervamp kicking her ass royally, a new group of scared teenage girls she is now in charge of, and already one of them has been killed. She doesn’t have time for this, to be thinking of the holidays and feeling lonely, even when her house is more full of people than it has ever been.

At school, the other ladies in her office decorate. Little green wreaths with silver bows bedecking the walls, glittery ornament globes and fuzzy red stockings dangling from desktops. They offer her to join in on the Secret Santa group, but she declines politely. Barely any time to even shop for Dawn and a few others in the household, never mind anyone from work.

Some of the kids bring her presents-- small trinkets, little odds and ends. Candy canes and little boxes of chocolate. A petite bottle of perfume, which she decides to save for Dawn. One of the students is trying to push her to buy something from a gift catalog, and she scans through it absentmindedly during her lunch hour.

She flips through the pages, and she finds herself wondering what he would have liked her to buy him, if she had the money and if he were here. There isn’t really anything that catches her eye. Gift wrap, postcard sets, wall clocks, picture frames. There’s an array of vanilla candles he might have liked-- he always had them lit up in the crypt, especially for when she would come over. She remembers that thing he always used to with the hot wax. The memory she’s conjured up makes her blush in embarrassment, and she quickly flicks to the next page, trying to dismiss the thought.

She’ll make it through this. And if she’s lucky, she’ll bring him home in time for Christmas.



New Year’s Events You May Have Missed (Post-Showtime)

This year, there are no party favors, no tacky hats and silver balls dropping in Times Square. The house is abandoned tonight, completely empty, because everyone else is off at The Bronze, taking the girls out for some lighthearted entertainment. They need it, she knows, in order to face what is going to come. What they’re going to be up against.

God knows she needs it, too. So many new faces, new bodies in her house, and she hasn’t had time to just…be. She likes the quiet, relishes the fact that she has the bathroom to herself for eight whole hours, that she isn’t fighting her way just to get to the kitchen. She knows she should be savoring her solitude, be catching up on much-needed sleep, watching television, relaxing, anything. But she’s not-- instead, she’s been spending the entire evening perched on the edge of her bed, watching him.

He woke up earlier in the day, opening his eyes but having no strength to speak, and now he’s drifted off again, lost in restful sleep. She gazes down at him, at his purple bruises marring the porcelain white of his skin, the deep cuts across his chest that are covered in thick white gauze. Symbols, but she doesn’t know what they mean.

The bed creaks, and suddenly he shifts, pale blue eyes opening through swollen slits. He shifts, lips parting to say something, but he is unable to make a sound, except to make a few indistinct moans. She shushes him, gently smoothes a hand over his forehead. Fingers linger a little in the downy softness of his blonde rumpled curls. Her other arm slips down to his, taking his palm in her hand. Pressing it up to her cheek, trying to heat the coolness of him with the heat of her own skin. Strange, now, how easy it is for her to be like this. Nurturing, soft, caring. So used to inflicting the pain, causing the bruises, and now she finds herself trying to heal them, to ease his hurt away as best she can.

Something flickers across his face, the corners of his mouth tugging upwards in a faint smile. He still can’t find the voice to speak, but his body language says it all. The slight tremor of his hand, his slow smile that spreads across his face like molasses, the glittering softness of his eyes. She smiles back, lays his hand back down. Lets her fingers stay intertwined with his. Right now, they both need this.

She glances at the clock sitting on her nightstand out of the corner of her eye. It flashes from 11:59 to 12:00, but tonight, there is no ringing in the New Year with loud cheers and the sound of party favors being blown. There is only her, and a vampire in her bed, bloodied but not broken, and the complicated mess that lies between them.

Tonight can be a new start, she thinks, watching as Spike’s eyelids flutter shut once more, the smile still on his lips. Everything can change.



How To Make Classic Chicken and Rice (Post-Potential)

It’s not conventional midnight snack, but it’s something. Hey, it isn’t like she ever claimed to be the goddess of culinary arts anyway, right? Magic is her thing, not cooking. Besides, it’s all there is left over from earlier in the evening. Stupid Andrew had to go and decide to proclaim it Chicken and Chinese Night. What was he still doing here, anyway?

Willow sighs, rummages through the white paper bag. Sticks a plate full of chicken and rice into the microwave and presses a few buttons. She’s standing there, drumming her fingers idly on the counter, when suddenly she hears a deep voice from behind.

“Couldn’t sleep?”

She starts at the sound, jumps up and whirls around quickly. It’s Spike, standing there, just looking at her. He lifts an eyebrow, and her stomach flutters. It has a tendency to do that whenever she sees him lately. They rarely talk at all-- in fact, this is probably the first time since the high school basement that it’s just been the two of them.

“Yeah, too much caffeine, I think,” she explains, rambling a little, her stomach still doing jittery flip-flops. It’s a lie; she hasn’t had really barely any caffeine today. But she’s not about to explain to him that she can’t sleep because there’s a girl upstairs in her room that makes her stomach flip-flop too, and that can’t be a good thing, because it’s an entirely different kind of flip-flop, and she’s still mourning Tara, and she shouldn’t be--

“I can leave if you want.” The words interrupt her inner monologue, and the expression on his face is a little embarrassed, as though he’s intruded on her in the middle of some kind of private ritual. She just blinks at him, a little flustered, and shakes her head.

“You don’t have to,” she hastily says, pulling the heated plate out of the microwave. “I mean, unless you want to.”

He looks hesitant for a moment before nodding uncertainly, and that is something new, just one more thing she still isn’t used to. She never knew Spike well before, but she’d always known him to be cocky, rude, an arrogant bastard most of the time. This is a quieter, more reserved version of him, and it’s unnerving, to say the least. They sit at the table, and for a long time, it’s just her eating. Him watching.

“I’m sorry about Tara,” he suddenly says, barely audible. Eyes trained on the table. “I know it doesn’t mean anything, but I heard what happened, and… She was a lovely girl. Didn’t deserve to go that way.”

Willow stops chewing, stares at him. There’s a long silence, and something flashes in his eyes. A kind of panic, like he’s said the wrong thing, and he’s worried that she’s going to scream at him or hit him or turn him into a toad. But she doesn’t. She just looks at him, quietly.

“No,” she finally says, softly. “She didn’t.”

They sit there for a long time, her eating the chicken and rice, and him watching, in comfortable silence.



Like A Fox (during Get It Done)

Dawn finds him sprawled out facedown on the floor, amongst splintered floorboards and chunks of plaster. There’s something about it that makes her heart hurt, something about the way he just lies there, unmoving. Defeated. She wishes he would get up, get angry, get something. Anything other than staying so motionless. So still.

He didn’t used to be this way. He used to be like a fox. Cunning and crafty, with sly, predatory smiles spreading across his face. Moving like liquid when he fought, so smooth and effortlessly. And just as easily, he used to slip into his role of being her protector, her guardian. Her best friend.

Not anymore, though. Those days are long past.

She bends down beside his limp body on the floor. Tries to look at his face, tries to touch his split lip, the one that’s all cracked due to the punch that sent him straight through a ceiling. His eyes are closed, He looks… broken. Like he’s been split into pieces and can’t quite pull himself together yet. Biting down on her lower lip, her fingers reach out, brush lightly against the coolness of his skin. Trace the curve of his jaw line.

“Get up,” she whispers to him, and his eyes flicker open slowly. Startling blue irises from beneath heavy lids.

Quickly he moves back, evading her touch and batting away her hands. He rolls up to his feet without a word. Doesn’t look at her as he shuffles out of the room, a slight limp prevalent in one leg. She watches him as he leaves, and again, her heart tugs in that way that she wishes it wouldn’t, because it’s easier to pretend not to care. Easier to think of him as someone else completely. It isn’t too hard.

He’s no longer a fox; he’s become merely a ghost of who he used to be.



Steps in the Creation of a List (Post-Dirty Girls)

Reasons Not To Love Spike:

1. Last year. The bathroom.
2. The fucked-upedness of his behavior back then.
3. The fucked-upedness of my behavior back then.
4. What everyone else would think.
5. Everything is still so new and awkward since the soul.
6. Caught him flirting with Faith. Manwhore.
7. He isn’t Angel.

Reasons To Love Spike:

1. Last year. Being able to confide in him.
2. He got the soul. For me.
3. He came back.
4. The way he looks at me when he thinks I’m not looking.
5. We’re both so different now.
6. Let’s face it. The sex is mind-blowing.
7. He isn’t Angel.




Sentences I Wish I Hadn't Written (during Touched)

Dear Spike,

I had to leave, because hey, past experience tells me I’m not so great with the whole morning after thing; the guy I’m with always either isn’t there, or has gone evil, and it’s just something I’d rather avoid to spare us both the pain and



Dear Spike,

Thank you for last night. You’ll never know how much it meant to me, to have you there just holding me all night in your arms, and there’s something I really, really want to say, but I’m not sure I can put it into words even if I tried, because I’m scared shitless, but maybe if I



Dear Spike,

I think I’m in love with you.



Dear Spike,

I’m okay. At home. Meet me there.

~Buffy




Actual Answers to the Question "What or Who Is the Greatest Love of Your Life?" That Were Not, to My Surprise, "You" (during Chosen)

Kissing him again is like instinct. The moment her eyes land on him, it feels as if the years just melt away, and everything is clicking into place. Soft lips and gentle mouth. Strong arms encircling her waist. It’s all so familiar, the memories flowing back, and it just feels like intuition.

Isn’t this how it goes? Angel always rides into town, and they get to relive their doomed love for one night only. Intimate talks that always end with the same barricades they’ve always had-- curses and destinies standing in the way. Sometimes there are stolen kisses in seemingly private places.

But Spike saw, and for the first time, she was ashamed of what she’d done. In the past, she’d always excused it-- it had always seemed as though she and Angel never really had an ending, that they could fall into this pattern and it was perfectly okay. But now, now she regretted it. Because it hurt Spike, and she didn’t want to hurt him. Not anymore. She’d done enough of that.

And yet… even if it hurt him, he’s forgiven her. Loves her too much and himself not enough to turn her away. Welcomes her into his bed, into his arms without anything more than a second thought. She probably doesn’t deserve it, but she’ll take it, because she needs it so badly. Needs the comfort he provides.

Now, they stand across from each other in the basement, only feet away, but it may as well be miles. For a long time there is only silence. And then she’s crossing the room, picking up speed, and suddenly-- oh, yes-- she’s crashing into his arms. Into his lips. Fuck being fragile, being delicate. They both have scarred hearts, neither are restrained when it comes to passion, and never have been.

He seems to understand. Reciprocates her need, and the intoxicating taste of him, the desperate, unrestrained fervor of love: it's almost like being in ribbons again, like she was when she could still remember Heaven. Like not being numb. Like it's something big and important and urgent, and it matters. Because they’re both different now, oh, they are, and why deprive themselves of what they both long for? What they both need?

This time is unlike their others, though. It is slow, warm like honey, open-mouthed kisses pressed against her neck, down to her navel. She pulls him down to her, takes his mouth into hers. His hands still know the contours of her body, running down the gentle curve of her breast, down her narrow hips. Painting beauty across her flushed skin. He slides against her, and then into her, face-to-face. They move together in smooth, slow harmony, rocking into one another, desperate to sustain this contact. Breathing heavily, her heartbeat pressed against his chest, their entire bodies trembling, because this is everything she’s ever wanted, everything she’s ever desired, and so, so much more. And then he’s capturing her mouth in another kiss, so soft and tender, making her melt in his mouth like sweet caramel. Kissing her into climax.

And this, she thinks. This is what making love is all about.



Things To Do In Hell

He’s glowing. He can’t really move to look, but he can tell. It strikes him as ironic, really, because he still remembers. Bad poetry. Heartbreak. Dru. An alley. Longing for something glistening. For effulgence. And then everything after, the blood and sin and fighting and endless search for something better. Falling in hate and falling in love. Oh, how he fell.

And who knew that this is how he’d be in the end. Luminous, blindingly bright. Everything he’d ever wanted.

Except for her, but that’s all right. He’d come to accept that. She wanted to be here, wanted to stay, hold his hand. Finally uttered those three words, those three little words, that he’d desired, that he’d strived to hear for so long. Went to the ends of the earth to hear those words. In the end, he knew. Knew that she still had yet to learn what love really is, still had yet to open up her heart and truly embrace it.

But that is his final gift to her, he thinks. Because now she is able to. She can go on, and she can love, with all of the feeling and passion he knows lies inside of her scarred heart. She’s going to live and love again. And maybe, in a small way, he’s somehow helped her to do that. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll be able to remember him like this. Not as a monster, but as a man. As a hero.

Maybe.

The light from the amulet is streaming into him now. Filling him up from the inside out, spilling out across the Hellmouth, and it’s warm. Warm in a way he hasn’t felt before, even as it burns. Burning, burning, and this is the end, he knows, it’s the end for him. But it’s okay. He’s done here. He’s doing the right thing, and he’s okay. He’s okay.

And, come heaven or hell, he’ll be able to remember that. He’ll be able to sit there, even as he’s being stabbed by hot pokers and tortured with knives or whatever they do to you down in the place of fire and torment, and he’ll be able to remember. Remember that he went out fighting, he went out in a literal blaze of glory, and that’s all that he ever really wanted, anyway.

Fists and fangs, baby. Fists and fangs.



Updates (post-Chosen)

“Wolfram and Hart Law Firm, this is Angel speaking.”
“Angel?”
“Buffy? Is that you?”
“It’s me. So, want to tell me why Harmony was the first one to pick up?”
“Harmony? Oh, right. She’s…um…kind of working for me. As my secretary.”
“Harmony. Secretary. Uh huh. Okay, gonna need some time to process that one.”
“It’s a long story. So what’s going on with you? Where are you? Did you guys make it out of Sunnydale okay?”
“We made it. The First is officially squashed, with the help of the handy-dandy folder of information you brought. We’re in England right now, staying with Giles. I was just calling to thank you for your help, let you know you can call off the troops for now.”
“Good. Well, don’t need to thank me. I’m just glad you’re all right.”
“Yeah, I’m alive.”
“Buffy, are you okay? You sound…off.”
“I’m okay. A little tired. It’s been a long--- well, a long past eight months, actually. Still kind of in shell-shock, I guess.”
“Did anyone-- did everyone else make it through okay?”
“No. Not everyone. There were a lot of girls who didn’t make it. And…”
“And what?”
“Spike. He--he didn’t make it, either.”
“Oh.”
“He saved the world.”
“Wow.”
“I know.”
“Buffy, I’m… I’m sorry. About Spike.”
“You shouldn’t be.”
“Maybe not. But I am.”
“Thank you.”
“So he was a-- a hero?”
“As big as they come.”



Oh, The Times We Had

He is gone, but not forgotten.

There are times when she remembers him, when something triggers her to conjure up the memory of little, insignificant things. How he quirked his scarred eyebrow at her. The sound of him clucking his tongue. The smell of his leather. The brand of cigarettes he used to smoke. The way he tilted his head at her when he was being sincere.

She remembers the big things, too. Dreams of fists flying and fucking up against a wall as the world crumbles around them, dreams of burning flesh and wounded chests, dreams of pleas for release, for death, and tears leaking from his eyes. Often she dreams of their last night, of how he was inside of her, and then of their last moments. Of how their hands clasped and she never thought she’d be able to let go.

Sometimes, she cries. Not often, though. Because she knows that he was okay with what happened. That he loved her, even in those dying moments, and that he knew that she cared for him, even if she was not ready to love. He died as a hero. He died as a man.

Through it all, it’s that one truth that she’ll remember best.

He was an incredible man.


~finis

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