All About Spike - Print Version
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Semi-series of short post-ep musings, from Spike's POV.
These were written in the week immediately following each ep, so if
some things don't jive with later developments, that would be why.
Begins with Showtime, right after Buffy cuts him loose
from the Big Evil.
As she cuts him free the whole world is somehow lacking in weight.
It's soft, like you could fall through it, and full of little prickles
of pain. Cotton candy and metal shavings. Don't drink the water. Her
shoulder under his hand is the only solid thing.
She looks at him with dark, liquid eyes, filled with a tension that
he cannot read. When did she become opaque? She's asking something,
or maybe promising, but probably even she can't tell you what she means.
She never did speak with words.
She turns under his hand, slipping his arm around her shoulders, slipping
her hand around his waist. She's warm, and although that shouldn't matter,
it does. Her heat surrounds him like a benediction. The other one -
she was never warm. He never noticed the difference until now.
Her house is different from the way he remembers it, boarded up and
under siege and full of strangers, painfully young girls with staring
eyes. It reminds him of a boarding school. Is he supposed to know these
people? Their eyes are full of awe and fear, but they're not really
looking at him. They are hers, he can tell. Just like he is. They worship
her. Just like he does.
Her grip on him is tighter, as though she can protect him from the
silent questions that surround them. Maybe she's protecting herself.
He can sense that he's an oddity here now, a marvel and a mystery. They
look like they want to poke him with sharp fingers, to see if he'll
bite. He lowers his eyes to the carpet. Blood and fear. It doesn't work
that way any more, but some things never change.
Someone asks a question. The voice roars in his ears, and he doesn't
hear the words but he imagines it's something like, "You're bringing
him here?" Her shoulders shift under his arm, and she snaps
back a reply that would freeze molten rock. She has never liked those
kinds of questions, not about him. Questions like, Why are you doing
this? What am I to you? Why now, after everything fell to shit, after
trying and trying and failing so hard, why do I have your belief and
your soft words and your arm around me now, when I finally understand
how little I deserve it?
The strangers are not asking these questions, of course, but neither
is he. He has begun to learn that there are worse things than living
in doubt. When you know the answers, there's no such thing as hope.
He expects her to take him to the basement, back to the familiar safety
of chains and concrete and the subtle torture of her presence. But instead,
inexplicably, she is leading him up the stairs towards the bedrooms,
and this is when he begins to understand that things have changed. What
they have changed into, he has no idea. But as she lays him gently on
the bed - her mother's bed, the witches' bed, but not any more apparently
- a treacherous peace is seeping through him.
She is standing somewhere to the side now, not close but not far away
either. He can't see her, but he can feel her presence, making the air
around her restless, like a distant storm. He keeps expecting her to
grab him, haul him into a chair, tie him down, but she just stands there,
making the hair on his arm stand on end.
"Not safe," he mumbles, meaning that it's not safe to leave
him unbound, that she is not safe from him.
"I can handle it," she says, and he could swear that she
is smiling. She turns away, digging in the corner, and when she turns
back she is covering him with a blanket. For a moment he thinks she
misunderstood, but when he looks at her to protest, it's clear that
she means that she can handle him. Unexpectedly, this is comforting.
"Don't eat anyone," she adds, after a pause.
"Don't think I could. State I'm in." His eyes are closed.
He is very tired. He can hear her moving around, feel her retreat. "Don't
leave," he says, without thinking, already less than half-conscious.
"I'm not going anywhere."
Later, he will be surprised by this, and somewhat confused.
They are in a foreign country now.
Semi-series of short post-ep musings, from Spike's POV
This part is during/after Potential.
Unexpectedly, he finds that he enjoys playing the tutor. He's done
it before, but mostly for minions, which was all violence and swagger.
This is different.
He always used to love hearing himself talk, but now she is the one
doing the talking, and he provides the show to back it up. He likes
backing her up, likes the sense of purpose. Likes the wary respect and
genuine fear that flickers across the girls' faces when they look at
It seems there is something of himself left, after all.
He stalks them for her, because she asks him to. It's a mockery of
the real hunt, heavy footfalls and clumsy lunges, but these girls are
easy prey. There are vague stirrings of real bloodlust when he pins
them; he is, after all, still a vampire. The effort required to suppress
the hunger is not great, but it feels almost like free will.
Plus, it's funny, watching them squirm.
Catching her eye, it's clear that she shares the joke.
As they walk together in the graveyard, a little apart from the gaggle
of girls they are supposed to be instructing, there is a sense of...
not contentment, exactly, but something like it. They're not talking,
but the silence is gentle, and she is very close. Close enough to brush
against his arm as she sidesteps something in the grass. He finds himself
remembering that they were comrades, before, and something like friends.
It's easy to forget that last part, with everything that came after.
His mind strays. They were on the ground, before, he on his back and
her sitting on him, probing for injuries from the fall she'd had him
take. This is a pattern for them, and he is aware of the irony. He had
also been very, very aware of their positions, of her solid weight on
his hips, and her hand, cool against his tepid skin. Of the heat of
her groin against his, and the way that her hand had curled around his
when he pushed it away from his cracked ribs.
Her eyes drift across him now when she thinks he's not looking. In
this context, among strangers, they speak less and communicate more,
and she is willing to meet his eyes, which is also a new thing. She
looks at him differently now, and he doesn't know why. The defensiveness
is gone, and something else is there instead.
He knows he shouldn't be worrying about this any more. That whatever
once lay between them is irrevocably altered, that he is unlikely to
be invited back inside in this life. More than anything, he realizes
what a stupid dream it was in the first place, to believe that because
she chose to meet him on his own level, that it meant he had any claim
She is her own woman, he understands now. Despite the desperate need
with which she'd sought him out, again and again. Despite anything she
might have whispered in the dark.
Usually so sure-footed, graceful as a hunting cat, she stumbles into
him for the third time tonight.
As her shoulder touches his arm, a couple of forbidden thoughts crowd
through his mind. Darkness and sweat, soft cries and empty promises.
Some dreams are not meant to see the daylight, he tells himself, but
it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference.
Semi-series of short post-ep musings, from Spike's POV
During/after The Killer In Me.
The Killer In Me
If you'd asked him a year ago - maybe even a month ago - if he wanted
it out, he'd have laughed. It was what he'd wanted for years, wasn't
it? The chip, the sodding chip, agent of his downfall. He'd blamed it
for everything, for making him weak, for making him an outcast among
his own kind, for castrating him. For making him soft enough to love
her, and that was the root of it all, wasn't it? Really?
It's hard to remember, now, what it was like before she invaded his
skin and made him hollow. Different, he thinks, without conviction.
Now it's tearing his head apart and isn't that more reason than ever
to want it gone? And he wants the pain to be gone, more than anything,
but in the moments between, when she's sitting beside him with that
strange guarded sympathy, he looks through this and finds on the other
side the vague twin shadows of death and freedom. Release, he tells
The strange thing is that both ideas are terrifying.
Maybe they didn't expect me to last this long, he told her. And knows
that this is true. He was supposed to be run through a maze until they
got tired of him and spiked the cheese. Not supposed to be released
into the wild. He doesn't have prophecies or a destiny mapped out, full
of future engagements that can't be missed. He rather suspects that
whatever plan there might have been was cut short long ago in an alley,
and that he's been living on borrowed time ever since.
Something else you and I have in common, eh, pet?
But the truth is that he does have a place in this life after
all - more or less - and in the newfound spirit of honest introspection,
he is uncomfortably aware that the chip is what anchors him to it, keeps
him in place. Keeps him safe. It's a leash, as surely as the chains
around his wrists, and while he wears it, he is a good dog, and he can
run by her side. It's not what he wants, not exactly, but it's almost
And now it's killing him. Cutting through his undead brain like a hot
knife through butter. Chains cannot substitute for self-control, a leash
does not pay for a life, and the truth of it is that the idea of dying
almost comes as a relief, because it's become pretty clear to him that
without the leash that's what happens anyway, except that it comes by
her hand and he wants to spare her that for as long as he can.
She makes phone calls, looking for government agents in a flower shop,
and behind the pain he finds himself admiring her insecurity and her
bravado. It's funny, he thinks, that she is the one who is fighting
for his life, the way he once fought her for hers.
Despite his somewhat morbid resignation, he finds that going gentle
into that good night isn't really in his nature. So he goes into the
the Initiative instead.
The place is halfheartedly closed up but not sealed, a noisesome testament
to government inefficiency. Still full of dessicated skeletons with
grinning fangs, and as dark as the grave he once dug his way out of.
She is with him, of course.
The thing has a distinct X-Files theme to it, secret government agencies
and enormous flashlights, and he feels an unexpected pang of nostalgia
for a time when he spent entire sleepless days watching reruns and talk
shows on daytime television. He misses television. He misses a lot of
things. Ties to the world, he thinks, remembering something else he
told her long ago, and almost smiles.
They are attacked. Of course things survived, how could they not? There
were demons here, and of all the kinds of demons there are more than
a few that thrive on darkness and death. This is their place, and there's
no reason to leave. The thing that hurts, a lot more than his head -
which also hurts - is his inability to leap to her defence. A gallant
nineteenth-century impulse, that. And empty, because she rescues him
again, but he can't help that part.
He is genuinely surprised when the government boys show up, but too
out of it to react. Everything is thick and full of knives. She is leaning
over him in the split second before the lights come up and he thinks,
the thumping of humans moving around must've gotten lost in the being
pounded by demons. He hadn't expected them to respond to her plea. A
flower shop indeed.
Told you it was a government conspiracy, she mutters, as though it
were a joke they shared. Despite the dazzlingly bright lights and the
fact that his head is splitting in half before her eyes, he does register
After that things are fragmented. Someone is shooting molten lead into
his skull and trying to gouge his eyes out with hot pokers. But they're
doing it extremely slowly, and he just wishes they'd get on with it
so that it can stop hurting so damn much. He's pretty sure he's going
to die. Why would they help him? They're just here to claim the body.
Somewhere in the haze, either very close or very far away, he hears
one of them talking to her, and understands something else. He is not
going to die. They're here, against all reason, to save him.
This is something he didn't forsee. Never imagined they would be able
to muzzle him, make him safe again.
There's another option, though. Anxiety almost pentrates the wall of
pain. Would they really take it out and let him live, reigned in only
by a fractured conscience and dubious powers of self-control?
Unconsciousness is nipping at the soft parts of his brain as he hears
them offer the choice to her.
He lets it swallow him before he hears the answer.
Semi-series of short post-ep musings, from Spike's POV
During/after First Date.
Just when he thinks that he is starting to understand some things,
it all changes. Again.
She freed him; she has faith in him. She believes, but what does it
mean? She is dating again. He tries to tell her that he's okay with
it, that he's given up the dream, but what he really means is, I've
given up hoping that it might come true.
She's beautiful when she's happy, he thinks wistfully, drinking in
the sight of her, dressed in what technically qualifies as underwear,
glowing in the reflected light of the afternoon sun. He is pointedly
ignoring the invisible knife twising in his stomach. It's amazing that
something can still hurt this much, after so long.
When she leaves, the house is full of noise but empty of her, and he
retreats to the basement. Stretches out on his back on the cot, staring
at the ceiling, and studiously avoids thinking about what she might
be doing right at this moment. It occurs to him that it would be safer
- especially in his current state of mind - to chain himself up like
he'd promised, but he can't summon the energy.
At some point, activity from upstairs penetrates his awareness. He
has been intensely studying the concrete ceiling, tracing watermarks
and seams and pipes, and carefully not thinking about what she might
be doing, right this very minute, with someone other than him. There's
a junction here, and here, and new pipe through this section. Impact
marks on the ceiling there, and they're serving the main course, and
she's smiling and making conversation. Watermarks on the far side of
the room, from the pipe she broke. She's standing in the dark with water
around her ankles and despair in her eyes that somehow, only he can
see. She is tucking her hair behind her ear with her little finger,
dropping her eyes as she offers a small, self-deprecating joke over
dessert. He goes upstairs.
It's possible that there is a God, after all, because Xander is in
trouble. Spike has nothing against Xander, exactly, except for a sincere
and long-standing mutual distrust and dislike, but right now he hopes
that something incredibly nasty is trying to take a bite out of the
True, he could check it out himself if he wanted to, with Willow or
Giles, but surely it's better to get the professional on the job. Miracles
do happen, because she also forgot her cellphone.
I'll go get Buffy, he tells them for the fourth or fifth time, and
leaves before they can form a more cogent protest.
He follows her scent to a small, hidden restaurant tucked away in an
alley that smells like butter and garlic and vampire dust. Sweat lingers;
he'd recognize her fighting style anywhere. Not just hers, though -
there's a male scent here too, mixed in with the action, and not at
all afraid. He suppresses the entirely uncivilized urge to growl. He
can bear the idea of her having dinner with someone else, but the mental
image of the two of them fighting back to back makes him want to hurt
He slips inside. She's easy to spot. Always is. He watches a moment
- they're on to dessert now, and she does indeed look genuinely happy.
Part of him wants to stay right where he is, not go any closer, but
he knows it's only a matter of moments before she senses him. Instead
he opts for the direct approach, appearing noiselessly beside the table
just in time to watch her accept a bite offered from the other guy's
fork. How nice for them, he thinks ironically.
There is a beat, and then she turns around. Her reaction falls into
the broad category of Buffy behavior that he no longer feels qualified
Xander's in trouble, he tells her, and they leave right away.
It's obvious that something other than a simple date is going on between
Buffy and the tall black guy, but he's not certain what. Not attraction
- although there is that, too - so much as some confidence shared. He
doesn't ask. He sits in the back seat, watching the other man trying
to watch him in the blank rear-view mirror, watching him assessing the
link between the beautiful blonde Slayer and the stranger who has presumed
to interrupt her date.
He'd find it somewhat satifying to be so distinct an intrusion, if
it didn't hurt so bloody much.
Afterward, when they have fought off the demon - a beautiful black
girl with golden eyes, which would have been a coup for Xander if she
hadn't turned out to be evil - and freed the boy, she runs immediately
to his side. He can see the question in her eyes - are you hurt? and
understands that it contains several meanings. Meeting her gaze, he
takes her hand for a moment, and squeezes reassuringly.
In his peripheral vision he can see her date, the Principal, watching
them. As she leaves him to check Xander, he sees an understanding in
the other man's eyes, and a tangible disappointment that is deeply familiar
to him. You love the girl, of course, because everyone does. And she
is as beautiful and unassailable as the sunrise.
Later still, when he meets her in a darkened living room in a rare
moment of quiet, he offers to leave town. He does mean it, sort of,
but what he really means is that there are limits to endurance, even
for him. Being useful is not the same as being loved, but it's something,
and there has to be something.
Got another demon fighter now, he tells her.
Her response takes him entirely by surprise.
That's not why I need you.
Something red and sharp and too hot to touch prickles through him,
so big that he can't put a name to it at first.
This is hope, he thinks dimly, and understands that hope is the most
dangerous thing of all.
Semi-series of short post-ep musings, from Spike's POV
During/after Get It Done.
Get It Done
Everything changes, and nothing does. She summons the demon, and the
demon comes, and the funny thing, he thinks, is how good it still feels.
Oh, he has the soul, and it's as firmly lodged within his room-temperature
flesh as it's ever been, but what he has forgotten while buried in the
depths of his own pain is how small a thing a soul is, and how easily
it can be overwhelmed.
Humans do it all the time, after all. God knows, being all soul-having
doesn't make them good. Not any of them, whatever they might think.
She wants the demon, she'll get the bloody demon.
He strides down the corridor, reawakened fury swirling around him amid
the folds of the coat like the opposite of a halo. Buffy's principal
- his rival, his legacy, he thinks - watches from the shadows, hard-eyed.
Where did you get the coat? The question is posed pleasantly, but it's
a loaded crossbow aimed at his undead heart.
New York, he answers, just as not-casual, silk and steel. Accepting
This, the civilized veneer over violent death, the not-at-all-veiled
sting of well-aged bloodlust; this he understands. The one thing that
does surprise him is that it no longer feels quite so familiar. He used
to imagine that violence was the one pure thing, but he is starting
to suspect that, as with so many things, he had not quite possessed
the whole picture.
Not clean at all, not really. A death leaves so many ends untied. Unfinished
business, grieving loved ones, parents, watchers, lovers. Not-quite-lovers
who go on nonetheless, shells of their former selves because unlike
normal people, they can't forget. Children.
One of the things that comes with the soul is an awareness of consequences.
The demon's greatest gift is its obliviousness to such things. After
everything, it's almost funny that it's the demon she wants. But that
was always true, really, and he does understand it.
It's the part of her that may or may not want the man that he's never
been able to figure out.
Not going to worry about that any more. Might as well try to understand
the ocean. She comes and goes in her own time, and there's nothing he
can do about that.
Bitch, he thinks, and grins.
As the hulking demon kicks him in the stomach he remembers the one
thing that should never have been forgotten: pain is strength. Every
scar is a victory. This is an ancient truth, simple as they come, and
he laughs through broken lips because it's all so bloody obvious,
and how did he ever get so lost?
The world narrows down to a motion blur in which tendons stretch and
bone yields with a slick, grinding crunch beneath his hands. Life passes
through, and is gone.
He holds it for a second like an indrawn breath, then lets the body
slip to the ground.
Oh yeah. This is what it's all about.
How the fuck could he have forgotten?
Leaning against the alley wall, he pulls the ever-present cigarettes
from the pocket of his jacket - left there how long ago? but not thinking
of that - and lights up.
Somewhere beneath his grinning demon he can feel the other thing, the
soul, chewing over itself. Braces himself for the stab of remorse which
never comes. Laughs when it doesn't, because for the first time in a
long time, there's no question at all about who he is and what he's
He's just going to help Buffy save the world. Doesn't have to change
For the first time in a long time, he feels good.