All About Spike - Print Version
Six Foot Deep
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By Kita (Donna M.)
Yup, just let us know where.
Spike/Buffy. Yes, Donna and Jess are writing Spike/Buffy. The
moon should be turning to blood any day now.
is a bitch.
Ummm... R? Sex. Violence. Dead squirrels. Really
gross French poetry.
"To coin a popular Sunnydale phrase, 'duh.'"
What's the Numfar of this fic? Joss is the malevolent god that owns
We all come
into this world in the same way. Naked. Covered in blood. Screaming.
No one really
remembers birth. Which is good, she supposes, because who wants to remember
violence. The feeling of alone-ness chewing up your cells.
if we are blessed, we aren't alone anymore. After, there are warm blankets
and the steady
of a heart. Milk and lullabies. The safety of being kept, the surety of
being held. This, Buffy remembers.
in her memories of Mother, she is not an infant.
She is not
made of flesh.
But she knows
She knows Peace.
She knows Heaven.
know much of anything for the first three days.
He knows he
needs a cigarette. He's stretched out in the back of Xander's car, too
battered from his ten-story
fall to sit
up straight, a blanket shielding him from the early morning sun. He needs
a fucking cigarette, and if he
can just concentrate
on the intricacies of lighting and inhaling then everything. will. be.
okay. But one of the
has pierced through his skin- he can feel blood pouring from the wound,
soaking his jeans, and
when he digs
his cigarettes out of his pocket they are soaked with blood.
There are hands-
Xander's? Tara's?- that carry him to the back room of the magic shop,
draw the shades tightly against the sunlight. Willow, her eyes distant
and hands shaking, perfunctorily examines his wounds and declares that
most of the bones that had scarcely healed from his tryst with Glory have
been re-broken in his fall from the tower. And that's when he figures
it out: it's not supposed to get better, he's just supposed to get used
then, joining the others in the shop- he can hear the low murmur of voices
making plans, deciding what Must be Done. Only Dawn stays, holding his
hand, her small, bloodstained fingers tightly clenched in his broken ones.
He can't look at her; her eyes are the same color as her sister's. He concentrates
instead on a small shard of sunlight cutting through the blinds: if he
stares at it long enough, he thinks, maybe his brain will shut the fuck
up. Maybe that voice in his head will stop screaming her name over and
over and over again. The arm that isn't fractured stretches towards
the window and his fingertips brush against the light. The burning makes
his mind stay quiet for a few seconds until Dawn reaches up and bats his
hand out of harm's way.
says softly, and there is something frightening in her voice, something
so much older than her
"Not you too, Spike. You're not going anywhere."
on you to protect her//
But it *is*
the end of the world, he thinks. Dear God, it's the end of the fucking
and Giles wakes up Dawn, who has fallen asleep on the floor next to the
vampire's makeshift pallet. "Will he be okay?" she asks sleepily as Giles
leads her away. Spike doesn't answer. The bleeding hasn't
he can still feel his ribs shifting underneath his skin, trying to knit
themselves back together without even asking his fucking permission.
It hurts too much to move. Xander pauses at the doorway, looks back at
him. There's something vaguely akin to sympathy in his exhausted, bloodshot
"What do you
need?" he asks.
his eyes shut, swallows hard, and speaks for the first time that day.
he says hoarsely. "Whiskey. Anything."
a curt nod and leaves. When Spike wakes the next morning there are three
bottles of Jose Cuervo beside him. He doesn't know, until much later, about
the hypnotic spell Willow is forced to cast on the undertaker so they can
procure a coffin without producing a body, or the grave that Giles and
Xander dig without Spike's aid. The next two days are a merciful blur.
let me help," Dawn says petulantly. "I mean, I know her fashion sense better
than anyone. I've
clothes often enough."
out the window at the late afternoon sun and tries to block out the sound
of Dawn's voice. She's
a goddamn idiot, sharing all the funeral-preparation details that Spike
would rather gargle holy water than hear, but he's not about to tell her
to shut the hell up. The funeral's scheduled for two hours after sunset,
just long enough for Willow and That Fuckhead to drive back from L.A. That
should give him plenty of time to get good and intoxicated before the event.
No way is he facing the ponce sober. No fucking way.
was all like 'but Buffy hated that dress, she'd never forgive us if we
buried her in that' and then Tara
'for God's sake, Willow, just pick out a dress already' and you should
have seen the look on Will's face.
like Tara'd slapped her or something. And then she started just screaming
and crying and stuff started flying all over the room like in *Poltergeist*
and I figured it was time to bail." She takes a sip of her first beer,
the taste, as he drains his sixth and tosses the bottle into the trashcan
behind the magic shop's
kick his ass if they knew he was giving the Niblet alcohol hours before
her older sister is to be
"Can I have
a cigarette?" Dawn asks abruptly. She looks anxious, as if he might refuse
or even reprimand her. He takes one from the pack, lights it, and hands
it to her silently.
slightly at the first drag, then smokes in silence, watching the smoke
curl around her fingers. "I feel
like I shouldn't."
"Be here. Like
I was made to open a door that's closed and locked for good." She stares
out the window and
"Kept alive to save a world that doesn't need me and wouldn't notice if
I was gone."
He stubs his
own cigarette out on an Orb of Thesula. "I know how you feel."
He hates funerals.
He can't remember his own, but remembers crawling out of the dirt to find
a tall Irishman he
standing at his graveside, smoking a cigar.
"She was supposed
to meet you here," he said dryly, "but she forgot."
*hates* funerals. Remembering human life as if it's something important.
Recognizing death as if it's
monumental. Bollocks. Fucking melodramatic humans. Just part of the
process, is all. He'll get through.
and a half, three and three-quarters and there's alcohol waiting for him
back at the crypt.
image of Buffy's funeral he might have cultivated in his mind, the event
of a disappointment. He keeps on the edge of the group, chain-smoking,
Dawn hanging on his arm, while Angel stands next to the coffin as if it's
his God-given right, and that's enough to piss Spike off from the get-go;
silly Spike, to think he has any rights in this matter when he's never
even fucked the lady in question before expediently leaving town. No, it
certainly wasn't supposed to turn out this way. In one final, humiliating
display of bad taste, they get into a fistfight at her graveside following
quite figures out who started it- too little blood and sleep and too much
tequila for three days now. He remembers- much later, when he is
sober- that Angel said he had no right. No right to have been there
when it happened,
and no right to be here now. And Spike wishes it were true. Wishes that
it had been Angel,
have fucked up.
And he realizes,
of course, that the fucker has a point, that he has no sodding place here,
but he'll be damned if he's gonna stand there and listen to that overgelled
wanker *say* so when he was a hundred miles away when it happened.
It's a really fucking bad idea, he knows, but can't bring himself to care.
Kicking Angel's ass- or getting his ass kicked by Angel, whichever it is-
makes him feel alive for the first time in three days.
He keeps expecting
Will to do her "separate" bit again, but she stares right through them
both as if they aren't even there. He punches Xander in the nose
when he and some skinny, bespectacled mini-Giles attempt to pry the two
vampires apart and is rewarded with a splitting headache to supplement
the black eye, bleeding nose, ribs cracked for the third time in two weeks.
He can hear Dawn weeping hysterically.
((not now spike
*please* not now))
Not now. Not
while it's so inappropriate, so fucking inconvenient, and she's oh so sacrosanctly
*dead.* And he never wanted this, to be the one expected to behave in front
of the children. He killed his parents and siblings well over a century
ago and he doesn't want to be Dawn's big brother now. He can't stand to
be around them anymore, to look into living, breathing faces marked with
regret and stupid Shoulds and Have Tos. Fucking wankers. He wants out,
but. He fucking *promised,* didn't he? Idiot.
Cordelia says, rubbing mascara tear tracks from her cheeks with grimy fingertips.
"He won't say so,
but he is.
He feels bad about what happened." And Spike isn't sure if she means what
happened tonight, or
that's happened for the last hundred and twenty years, but it hardly matters
anymore. In the car, the ex-Watcher mops blood off Angel's upper lip.
deserve any comfort. Neither one of them do. But- fuck it.
feels bad about something." Shuffles out his cigarette, staring at the
dirt. Lights another. He feels
Cordelia and her raccoon-smudge eyes, embarrassed to grieve in front of
someone who called Buffy a friend back when he was still trying to kill
her. Because Angel was right. He doesn't have any right to be
with you, pet. on the slayer's grave.))
He looks around,
half-curious, for someone to dance with.
here," she responds flatly, gaze sweeping across the desolate cemetery.
It's been how long
been back in Sunnyhell- a year, two? He wonders if she misses this fucking
hellhole. "There's nothing
here, especially you. Sooner or later you're gonna realize that, Spike."
She sneaks a look over her shoulder for her coworkers, then plucks the
Marlboro Red from his fingers and takes a deep drag. "This stupid town's
made up of cemeteries, you know?"
that everywhere, I guess."
"No. Not like
it is here." She takes another drag and watches a vacant-eyed Giles shepherd
Dawn into the car,
and he wonders,
briefly, if she misses Buffy. Misses gossiping in homeroom or sipping lattes
at the Bronze or
fuck it is they did in years past. He doesn't miss her, because she never
gave him anything to
but a few fading bruises and some halfassed regrets, and he's not crying
because he hasn't
cry about. He hasn't. And he really shouldn't be here.
Three. If he
can just get past today. Then it will be four and that, at least, will
be something different.
their time here waiting on each other to die," Cordelia muses. "It's such
his cigarette back and wonders what it would be like to follow. Taking
refuge with a Grandsire who
less dead or grieving than he, and they could take their pain out on each
other in spades and the hating
good, like something sharp and clean, like blood that flows in bright trickles
and never dries in dark-brown patterns on concrete or hands. Like something
that still made sense. In the car, Angel angrily shoves Wesley and his
handkerchief away, and Spike sighs and shuffles out his cigarette. He wishes
he could be like Angel, pushing love and affection away with a martyr's
complexion and an oh-I-must-be-going-now voice; surely it must be easier
to live that way, to love that way. But he can't. Spike reaches out
with both hands, grasping anything resembling love with greedy claws, and
pulls it tight to his chest, snarling at anyone who attempts to take it
away. It has always been thus, and Spike knows he won't go where he's not
wanted; he's already died once this month. "Go home, Cordelia."
"So you just-
quit on her? Is that how it is?"
your fucked-up life: defanged vampire standing in the Hellmouth's largest
grocery store with the dead
best friend's recently un-brainsucked girlfriend, arguing about your responsibility
towards a teenager who
exist. He should have fucking stayed in Prague.
"She asks about
you every day."
are fiery, her jaw firmly set. Spike awkwardly swings his basketful of
Guinness and Marlboros back
in one hand, avoiding that gaze. The witch and the Key are on aisle seven,
picking out breakfast cereals. "I can't, okay? I just can't." Can't go
back to the Summers house, full of dead memories of dead women
who gave him
ax-blows to the head and pipe organs to the spine. Can't go back to that
house where he drank
and stole sweaters. Can't.
you blame her," Tara says seriously. "For what happened to Buffy. Do you?"
He almost laughs
in her face. Because it's so ironic. In, you know, a sick kind of way.
around for her lover and then drops her voice to a conspiratorial whisper.
"I know you loved her,"
almost tenderly. "The others might not believe it, but I do."
his grip on the shopping basket and looks away, his throat tightening.
God, this was so fucking much
he was trying to kill them all the time.
"And you know
it's what she would have wanted," Tara presses. "For you to be there for
Dawn. For us all to take
care of her."
'Til the end
of the world, Spike thinks again. Even if that happens to be Day Nine.
"Fine," he says hoarsely. And thus becomes a reluctant quasi-member of
the fucking Scooby Gang.
Xander snaps, eyes blazing, "you really have the *least* right, of any
of us, to be complaining about
kicks a spool of wire out of the way and glares at Spike.
can't help myself. I love you))
"I just don't
see why we're looking for the goddamned thing."
start this program over?))
the body about an hour ago, wires tangled and twisted in heaps of rubble;
he closed his eyes against
They still can't find the head. They've been looking since nightfall.
blonde strands in a pile of wreckage awhile ago, but aren't sure which
Buffy they belonged to. Patterns of fluid on the ground from the fractured
skull. Fucked-up Rorschach that doesn't want interpreting. He
watching the broken bones shift beneath her skin as Giles carried her body
back to the car.
start this program over?))
She was dead
when she hit the ground. He *knows* she was dead when she hit the ground.
Mystical energy, Willow said a dozen times or more, like a mantra.
That doesn't make it any easier. She cracked the concrete when she landed,
frail body hitting hard enough to bounce. He saw.
start this program over?))
"We need it,"
Xander says stubbornly. He grinds his teeth and paws through a pile of
scrap metal. Nothing. Rats
"The hell we
"We can't do
this without her," he says plaintively, and Spike knows he doesn't mean
behind them- "Found it," Dawn says softly. She holds the head carefully,
wrapped in her fuzzy
sweater. "Let's take her home."
The first thing
thing he sees when he entered the living room is her head on the coffee
table, wires trailing from her neck like bright silver entrails. The body
lies sprawled on the floor, legs akimbo, plastic flesh glaring brightly
through clothes tattered from the fight. The synthetic skin has torn and
pulled away in places, exposing dull nickel and gleaming copper, snaking
along the curves of her body. As he watches, a sallow-faced Willow plugs
a cord in the back of her neck and taps the keys of her laptop until lips
twitch and eyes snap open.
head says enthusiastically.
He fights the
urge to vomit and runs headlong from the house. After that, the nightmares
get worse. It takes Dawn a week to convince him to return.
He's the bitchboy,
he knows, and can't bring himself to care. They only call him when they
need something and
otherwise. They bitch when he can't be reached; he got a cell phone for
that very purpose. Well,
stole a cellphone,
and they bitched about that, too; Slayer of Slayers, former Master of the
and the wankers
won't even let him get away with petty theft anymore. He starts baby-sitting
Dawn in mid-July,
abruptly stops filling the post. "He isn't feeling well," Willow explains
hastily. Giles is drunk. In the
thou-shalt-not-speak-of-it Scooby lexicon, it means that Giles is drunk.
Spike is very proud of the
he's falling to pieces in a much more subtle manner than the ex-Watcher
is. The vampire is, after all, Coping. Or at least the closest semblance
of it that anyone's likely to see.
They yell at
him for being mean to her, as if he's hurting her fragile little plasticene
feelings; and it's fucking ironic, he thinks, that he's the only one who
seems to remember that it isn't real. Bits of plastic and programming and
wisps of fake blonde hair and he's the only one who still realizes that
it isn't. her.
that, six months ago, Willow would have gone crying to Buffy if the Big
Stupid Vampire had hurled the better part of Joyce's crockery at her head.
Now she just narrows her eyes and deflects the pots and pans with
a light gesture
and some muttered Latin, doubtless aware that he wasn't aiming that well
on eventually, after all, and contrary to popular belief Spike isn't *that*
"I don't see
what right you have to complain about it," she says hotly. "You're getting
what you paid for, after
dish shatters inches from her head and he winces at the searing flash of
pain behind his eyes.
"Will you calm
down?" she screeches, fear starting to tremble at the edges of her voice.
"I'll reprogram your
if it bothers you that much. Just get out."
He goes home,
and there's pictures of her, and stakes, and sweaters, and goddamnit if
he can't bear to look
at those either.
Giles has that
look, the look of a man about to rabbit off. Captain Cardboard looked that
way most of last year; at least the old man had the decency to wait until
she was in the ground.
patrolling and it's another night in Sunnyhell. The vamp is easily twice
Spike's size and has
to the ground and neither one of them has a stake; and there's really no
fucking point to two vampires
kill each other without a stake, which is the *real* reason that vamps
don't attempt to fight to the death very often, because it's all a big
damn waste of time. So it's all punching and kicking and clawing and each
trying to break the other's neck, until he finds himself with his fists
full of dust, being straddled by the Buffybot, stake in her hand and triumphant
smile on her face.
"I like this
position best," she chirps, slipping the stake into her waistband.
He closes his
eyes. When he opens them he can see the others on the edges of his vision
and knows they've gone pale, their expressions stunned. He's tired of this.
So fucking tired. "Get off me," he says sickly.
"You can make
me if you want to. I like it when you make me do things." Cheery inflection
unchanged, eyes utterly devoid of hurt or even basic understanding, and
how had he ever thought this could be *her*?
I can't do
this, he thinks, panic rising in his chest. Oh my God, I can't do this,
eighty, eighty-one, eighty-two and I just can't. "Get the fuck
off me," he growls, and the Bot blinks in confusion. The Scoobs look sickened
and horrified- all but one. And Spike realizes. That Willow hasn't fixed
the bot, hasn't even attempted to fix the bot, and she did so on purpose.
Because she's making sure he gets what he paid for. He's being punished.
you know I love it when you- "
He can feel
a scream of grief and rage building in his throat before Willow rushes
forward and hits the switch at
the nape of
her neck. The Bot's eyes flutter closed and her head sags to one side.
He shoves her off his lap and
beside him in a heap of plastic. He sits up slowly, fighting tears. The
others are stunned into
Willow looks panicked, terrified of what she just allowed to happen. "I'm
sorry," she babbles, "I'm
sorry, I didn't-"
His fist slams
out quickly, making sharp contact with her cheekbone. It'll bruise tomorrow,
bright patterns of purple and blue, and he will enjoy seeing it: proof
that he's still really here. For now, he curls on the grass in agony. The
chip has gone off with such viciousness that his vision goes gray and his
nose spurts blood. He lies on the cemetery ground, badly shaken, synapses
Tara both lunge forward simultaneously, furious, and Xander nearly decks
Spike before the Watcher pulls him back. "Go home," he says sternly. "All
of you, go home." He then turns, offers a hand to Spike, and
back to his crypt.
"If you lay
a hand on any of them again," Giles says sharply, "I'll stake you myself,
never mind the bloody chip."
care; he just wants Giles to leave. He's sitting on the stone bier, arms
wrapped tightly around his
rolling silently down his cheeks and he feels like he's about to crack
into a million pieces.
"In any case,"
he continues, his tone becoming more kind, "I'll talk to Willow about reprogramming
the bottle of whiskey from a nearby shelf and offers it to him silently.
"You know," he says softly,
it gets easier with time clearly didn't have a bloody clue."
up over the lip of the bottle and realizes. "You're leaving, aren't you?"
he asks flatly, and Giles nods.
you, y'know" he says quietly. He doesn't know why. Maybe because Giles
looks like he desperately needs to hear it. Maybe because he wishes desperately
that someone could have said it to him. And he realizes in that moment
how much he hates all of them for that. For their chance to be able to
treasure that memory of friendship when all he has is the memory of bruising.
another eighty-two days, he thinks, another two hundred, another thousand,
he'll be able to forget his rage and grief and pain and simply remember
that he once loved her. Remember that there was once something good
about that. He hopes.
A hundred and
It hurts, but
that's okay. Part of the process, yeah? 'Cause he think things are gonna
be all right, maybe. That
he can keep
going, even if he can't move on. In late August Spike arrives to drive
Dawn to her first high-school
stands in the doorway and watches her primping before the mirror, confident
that the glass will not
maudlin, defanged vampire-babysitter who loved her dead sister. All she
sees is an excited girl
a pretty white dress, and that's how it should be. Buffy's dead. When he's
awake, Buffy finally feels
dead to him.
But: He still
dreams about it, every. fucking. night. Rolls over crushed ribs to see
her fall, graceful, swan-dive,
cruciform, eyes accusing. //i'm counting on you to protect her//until the
end of the world//
And part of
him, the part that does not want this guilt, doesn't want this goddamned
ache, still believes that
ended that night. That they're all dead and none of them have the sense
to lie down. He doesn't want
this, so he
wakes. Wakes and shakes his head hard to clear it, breaths in acrid
lungfuls of crypt dust. Lights a cigarette and draws his knees up to his
It's just a
dream. And this, too, shall pass.
feeling her mother nearby. No physical sensation of it, just a comforting
certainty. She remembers knowing that the world was still intact, dimensional
walls sturdy and strong. She knew that Dawn was alive, that her friends
were safe. Sad without her, perhaps; but they would be okay.
remember thinking of Spike at all.
No one alive
remembers this because her friends didn't know her then, and Dawn
and her Mother
(Mommy is dead).
But: when Buffy
was seven, she fractured her arm in three places. The bone stuck out through
her skin, shiny and
the white keys on her father's piano. She remembers how the doctors looked
at her when she quietly
the door of the Emergency Room alongside her mother. She clutched the wounded
arm tight to
and just stared at the men in their white lab coats. "In shock," they said.
They gave her pain medication through a needle in her vein. "Unusually
high tolerance for pain," they said. She didn't understand the
understand why they were so surprised that she never once screamed.
scream when The Master killed her. When his fetid breath washed over her
face and his talons closed
neck, and she knew she was going to die. She was sixteen then, and she
was not ready. But it never
her to scream.
scream when she had to kill Angel. When he stared up at her, innocent and
stripped, and she thrust a
his gut and sent him to eternal damnation. She cried for three months.
She saw his face in every
but she never once woke up screaming.
scream when her Mother died. But oh, she'd wanted to.
The world tilted
and her insides came rushing out. Guts and blood, milk and cornflakes.
Choking her so she couldn't
vomited instead, and when she was done, Giles was there. She sobbed into
her pillow all that night,
and when she
woke up the next morning to buy a coffin for her mother, she had no voice.
But when the
hands came (she remembers them as hands though they couldn't have been
hands, because there
was no flesh
there, no form; but they seemed to be hands, huge and cold and hard as
marble) and tore her away
from the place
where she was Finished,
When she woke
up in her own coffin to feel her skin creep and stretch and knit itself
back together over rotted
bed is too soft and there are too many pillows. The paneled walls are too
dark, and the canopy is too
close to her
face. Drabbles of sun filter through the blinds. The window is open, she
can feel the outdoors creeping in. Wet, hot and confining, no breeze. A
filmy pink glow crawls over Angel's bare chest and arms. He
She can smell
pancakes downstairs. They're burning.
She rolls over
to face Angel. He is still, his skin is warm. Between her legs, sweat,
and the scent of sex.
but he remains asleep, wrapped in layers of linen. Too many damn linens.
her cheek as the light shifts. Splinters from the walls she can brush with
outstretched fingertips. Her
dirty. The canopy drapes across her face and chest, sticky, heavy. Hot.
whispers, pulling her closer. Thrumming of a heartbeat by her ear now,
steady and strong.
"Shh," he says.
"We don't have a lot of time left.")))
When she took
her first breath and coated her new, pink lungs in cemetery dirt and dung
shower, watching the water run over white tile in never ending rivulets
of red and brown. He is
her hair, and the dirt falls away in clumps, swirling, swirling, until
the drain is clogged with it.
"Give me your
hands," he says, and she does. Watches in silence as he digs the clay from
beneath her nails, and
the gashes on her knuckles with sweet smelling white soap.
are white too when he carries her back to his bed. Lays her upon the clean
beneath her until she can feel it. It spreads until the shape around her
body is outlined in dark colors
Dirt and small scurrying things. It spreads until she can see it, and she
tries to scream.
But Angel is
kissing her, and he tastes like cream and sugar, and she forgets everything
else. So familiar; this
muted pillowtalk, this broad chest as her bedframe. Which is strange really,
because it never actually
she whispers into his mouth, "Your soul."
"I can't be
truly happy, Buffy," he assures her. "Not without you.")))
When she punched
at the wood encasing her under six feet of earth and realized that her
strength did not return
sleep and sex, her limbs aching and heavy. And there are maggots crawling
in his sheets. They
like a thousand tiny batwings. She wants to shove them away, wants to scream,
but she can't. She
and she can't move and she can't-
of the Dead//
"Shh," he says
again. He is standing by the bed, looking down on her and the maggots.
The light catches the
around his neck. The damned pancakes are still burning.
the Warrior of the People//
breathes, "is Willow here?"
here, Buffy," he tells her, sinking down onto the filthy mattress beside
her. He doesn't seem to mind
and they do not come close to him.
His arms slide
around her, lift her, and she is boneless, weightless and without form.
breathes again. Breath can make things real. Breath can make things happen.
Breath can make things.
says again, but there is no sound.
She is crumbling.
Bits of her falling away, skin and teeth and nail, until Angel holds nothing
but slivers of golden
hair and clumps
//Let her cross
"Made of clay,
Buffy. In the beginning, we were all made of clay."
says, staring at the memory of his bare chest.
He rubs his
dirty palms on his jeans.
he says. "You know there are things that I can never give you." )))
When she dug
and clawed and cried out for god but no one answered,
Her face is
grave-pale, her eyes bleary, squinting at the light. He remembers.
way out of her coffin, that's how."
and bloody knuckles and he can *feel* that vicious tightening of claustrophobia
in his throat. Dirt
and dust a
hundred and twenty years old and he remembers: Boy William in a box, trapped
in one of those slender
that passed for a casket in the nineteenth century and beneath her, beneath
them, oh so
all. Fingernails scraping for purchase on his own coffin-lid and
he couldn't breathe and didn't yet
he no longer needed to. Does it matter? Fear is fear.
*Was it easier
for her?* he wonders, staring at her bloodied hands in horror. *Or harder?
Who's weaker, a
or a fledgling vampire? Her coffin was modern, stronger, oak and steel,
but her grave was shallower. Only four feet and not six- Xander and Giles
dug to exhaustion and I was still useless, a broken-boned,
They bury them deep in England, lest the bodies float to the surface when
the rains come. But I
to breathe.* He's channeling William now, and he knows it- three days old
and terrified and he remembers scrabbling to the surface, choking on dirt,
mint-cool sharpness of the night air, the ember of his grandsire's cigar
glowing in the chill darkness, the betrayal of being left in a box. //she
was supposed to meet you here, but she forgot.// *They forgot, those bastards
forgot her. Oh, God, her hands.* Bloody knuckles gleaming brightly
in the lamplight. Torn, ragged skin. He remembers how small
and perfect her hands once seemed to him.
whispers, and glances down, as if ashamed. Because there's nothing glamourous
about being neither
here nor there.
"That's what I had to do."
"Done it myself,"
he murmurs. She's here. He's not dreaming, she's here.
But is she?
Her fingers are lank and lax in his trembling hands; he stares into her
eyes and she stares back but
he knows she
doesn't see him. "How long was I gone?" she asks, and he wants to reply,
"Are you sure you're
forty-seven days yesterday," his voice responds automatically. "Hundred
and forty-eight today,
doesn't count, does it?" Do you know where you are, Buffy? Do you
know who's holding your hands? Can you feel how hard I'm shaking?
Where were you? Where are you now? I don't remember anything,
just Dru's fingernails and the warmth seeping from my body, and waking
to darkness and cold, and three days had felt like only moments. But you...
"How long was it for you, where you were?"
says softly, and he just nods.
And then they
come in, all screeching and screaming and human blather and pounding of
feet. He shrugs the
silence of the grave off his shoulders, and slams the door when he goes.
The brat and
the demon emerge ten minutes later, find him weeping quietly behind the
tree where he has spent so many nights. "I hope you're not going to start
your little obsession now that she's around again," Xander sneers, and
Spike realizes that the game is up. Bleeding in the backseat and tequila
offerings and how many times had he saved the whelp's life in the last
five months? How many times had he patrolled so that the rest of them could
throw dinner parties in Xander's cozy apartment that he didn't care about
not being invited to? How many times had he watched Dawn so the rest of
them could hang out at the Bronze? But he'd done it all and he hadn't
bitched about it once, because he thought it meant something, that he was
doing something she would have wanted, paying some kind of penance, and
he mistook their strained politeness for appreciation when all they had
been doing was baiting the super-strong bitchboy so he would return to
save their asses once again. Oh, but the game is up, the game is so fucking
up, and who the fuck cares about the chip when he slams the boy up against
the nearest tree? What the hell is one measly headache after the last hundred
and forty-eight days?
tell me," he grates out, throat choked with sobs. "You brought her back
and you didn't tell me-" He's
at how betrayed he feels. Christ, this is where loving her has brought
him. This is what it's done to him.
you know," the kid says snottily, and Ways to Kill Xander Harris When I
Get the Chip Out, Nos. 317-322 are quickly added to Spike's mental list.
"I worked beside
you all summer."
tell you. It was just ... we didn't, okay?" Fucker. Stupid,
growls. "I've figured it out. Maybe you haven't, but I have." Because they
forget. Spike is frequently irresponsible and always immature- he considers
it one of his inherent charms- but they forget that he's a hundred and
twenty fucking years old, he's seen death and horror and apocalypse that
they can't even imagine, and he knows better. That there are some things
that you don't try to fuck with; you just try to keep living in the wake
of the collapse, the way he's been trying to do every day for the last
five months. And these stupid, ignorant children, even after years of living
on a Hellmouth, still haven't figured out happy endings are just a pretty,
half-assed falsity. Especially that arrogant little bitch who thinks she
can take life and death into her own hands. "Willow knew there was a chance
that she'd come back wrong," he says insistently, "so wrong that you'd
have-" He can't say it. "That she would have to get rid of what came back,
and I wouldn't let her. If any part of that was Buffy, I wouldn't let her.
And *that's* why she shut me out."
"What are you
talking about?" Xander says nervously. "Willow wouldn't do that."
"Oh," he says
slowly. Willow has done that, and Spike knows she will do more. "Is that
covering. Don't tell me you're not happy," the boy says defensively, and
Spike snickers. Does Xander
all better now? Does he think it's *over*? Christ, it's just beginning.
And Spike thinks ((knows)) they're
all daft not
Always. consequences. Repercussions. Pound of flesh.
And you pay
and you pay and you pay.
she dreams. Scraps of song, dark and brutal, hint of rent flesh and shattered
bone. She follows the
down. Whispers and shadows in a crypt. He is reading by candlelight, his
thick accent reminiscent,
see his face, just the barest curve of jaw, the familiar tilt of head.
He does not turn when she enters.
swarmed on the putrid vulva, then,"
flinches. Breathes. Heat and sin, and all around her the scent of melted
wax. "What the hell kind of
"A black tumbling
rout would seethe,"
to love sonnets?" she asks him, fingers reaching for that long, dirty brown
hair, brown coat
shoulders, brown ribbon in the tangled curls.
thick like a torrent in a glen,"
He shrugs off
her touch without bothering to face her. Continues to read aloud with a
smoother voice she still
It sounds so young. She can't remember young. Dark. She remembers dark.
rags that lived and seemed to breathe."
"What are you
talking about?" she demands; angry. Not afraid. Not of him. His posture
He slams the
book closed and gestures to the four post bed where Angel lays still, silent,
asleep. "Why don't you
save the deep
thoughts for naked-boy, over there? That's really not why I'm here."
for him again, feels the swell of light muscle and crinkle of leather.
He turns to face her, now
sharp. The scar on his left brow is open.
"Why are you
here then, Spike?"
The book hits
the floor with a dull thud and a small splash, and her gaze follows the
sound. Sees his thick black
in crimson, seeping from the steel spikes which nail both his feet to the
"Just where the fuck do you think I'm going to go?"
she's alive, it's over. But it hasn't. stopped.
And that night
he dreams the same damned dream all over again. Watches her fall. Hears
the crunch of bones.
And the night
after that. And the night after that. And the night after that.
In waking hours
too, she comes to his crypt, drawn to the scent of dust and mold. Dirt
and earth. His eyes drop
when she enters,
in an expression of deference she never would have expected from him. It
angers her as much
else. He offers her a seat, talks to her of forgiveness, promises her that
from now on he will catch
her when she
falls. And she wants to laugh, wants to say, "Spike, don't you see? You
*did* save me. You're incompetent and you're weak and your failures got
me into Heaven. It was all the rest of them that damned me to
But of course,
she doesn't. She sits there half the night, and she doesn't say anything
at all. He lets her stay
smells like Death.
And she wonders
what it would be like, to wrap her legs around him and take that scent
into herself. Because he
is not Angel,
and he does not have a soul, and he would kill her. Once upon a time, he
him, naked and pale, covered in a thin sheen of sweat. The firelight paints
his skin, molds monsters
out of wide
planes, shapes demons out of sharp angles. Orange and yellow licking at
his toes and sweeping the backs of his legs.
She sees him
bathed in flame, his coat curled around his feet, his bare arms outstretched.
She wonders how long
it would take
before the fire turned him to dust. She wonders if he would scream.
Next time they
meet it is in the shadow of midday. She offers her secret to him there,
like a child, open palm
Then she walks into the sunlight where she knows he cannot follow. She
feels his stare for hours.
which follow, his presence is steady and solid, and for reasons she has
no desire to explore, comforting. She doesn't comprehend physics
or theology, the laws of the natural or supernatural order of things.
She does not
want to learn. It is sickening enough to understand that she is not really
Alive, but not Undead like
His demon animates him, but what animates her? What makes her cells divide,
what forces her out
of bed each
day? Raised from clay by the obscene will of her friends, and kept walking
by the endless tears of a
is as much an abomination as she is.
Not like Anya
who bubbles, chirps and talks conspiratorially of making new life. Not
even like Willow who has
take new life, in silent and secret trade for reanimated Slayers.
No longer dead.
That is what she is. And it is not enough. It is not enough to coax her
out of bed most
nearly enough to care. Spike seems to understand at least that.
lights go out.
The good power
cables- the ones he nicked from the Home Depot last spring- go to the TV
and refrigerator. The
out the window, trail through the back of the cemetery, and directly into
the power supply of some
Sunnydale inhabitant- Spike's nothing if not ingenious. They haven't failed
him once- come rain,
snow, or apocalypse,
he's got blood, beer, and Junkyard Wars.
The other cords
are shabby and threadbare, hauled out of the local dump. They're for the
he doesn't particularly need, the stereo that doesn't do him a bit of good
since Harm trashed his
coffee maker he doesn't use. Those cords are notoriously unreliable and
they've shocked him more
No matter; he lights candles. Mouse-quiet, he never hears her enter, but
from below he smells the
Finds her upstairs, palm stretched flat over the guttering flame, skin
reddening first, then blistering.
he said gently, the first two or three or four times it happened. "Don't
do that." Now he just lets
her, and bandages
the burns afterwards. She doesn't listen to him anyway, and it's best to
just leave her alone to feel whatever she still can.
She comes after
sunset and sits in the chill silence of the crypt, speaking her confusions
and fears in murmurs and half-formed phrases. Finishing sentences
is just so fucking tiring these days, and here with Spike is the only place
where she doesn't have to. She speaks of her vague, cloudy memories
of Heaven, of the terrible persistence of wakingupinabox nightmares, of
the exhaustion and frustration that greets her every fucking morning- climbing
out of bed, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sending her little
sister off to school, getting through one minute and the next and the one
after that. She asks about life and death and immortality, and he
tries to tell her the truth, but it usually comes out sounding like bullshit;
he's not sure if she minds. She asks about her funeral, and he doesn't
say "I was drunk, and your ex-boyfriend called me a worthless loser and
knocked me unconscious, and I couldn't look your little sister in the face
for a week afterwards. And for a moment there- just a moment- I hated
you more painfully and viciously than I've ever hated anyone. Hated
you and your goddamn sacrificial-lamb hangups for making me hurt this way."
So he says something lame about the flowers instead, or how Dawn
tucked Mr. Pointy, a picture of Joyce, and Angel's silver crucifix into
the coffin's silk lining, or how he brought red roses to her grave every
day for a month until her little sister discovered he was stealing them
from the local florist's and made him stop. This seems to appease
have?" she says one night, abruptly, and for once he doesn't quite follow.
She lets him
call her that. It sounds sweet, like cotton candy and thick clouds. It
doesn't feel real; if it did she'd
make him stop.
"What they did." Tore her out. Brought her back. Damned her. He shakes
his head. "Why?"
is dead." And that's the difference between them, after all: no one is
asking him to pretend. She
puts a hand,
impulsively, on his still chest.
mean peace," he reminds her, and tonight his eyes are hooded and dark.
He's still mourning her.
okay; she's still mourning her, too.
She still starts
when she opens the back door in the morning, and hears the Angels singing.
Dawn told her it was
but Buffy knows.
She still sees
her Mother, sometimes. Sometimes she is sitting on Buffy's bed, head buried
in her hands. Sometimes she is laying on the couch downstairs. She always
looks alive. She is always crying.
And Buffy may
be only half-here, may be already half-crazy, but she realizes. How fucked
up it is. That in her
dead mourn for the living.
She still can't
bear to look at her own hands, missing chunks of skin and nails, left somewhere
in the dirt, buried in
a coffin that
wears her name. Soon, the slithering things will eat all it all. Another
small part of herself lost. Another chapter in her endless rape.
she still dreams of Willow, her face covered in someone else's blood, doubled
over in pain. She
silent horror as a serpent winds it way through her flesh, out of her open
mouth. It slithers onto the
in Willow's blood and bile.
she still sees Xander, lying cold on the ground, one eye plucked from its
socket and resting like a
against his gray cheek.
And she still
wakes up screaming.
In the morning
she brushes her teeth, and the dreams cling. Cobwebs and toffee. In the
by breakfast. She can remember the summer after she'd killed him, how he
would visit her at night.
sometimes he was still there. She could smell him until her first cup of
coffee. Then he was always
Now the dreams
hover for hours.
was it for you, where you were?"
at herself in the mirror, the mint paste gathering around her lips, spilling
down her chin. A mad dog,
doesn't really occur to her to wonder how long she has been standing here
brushing her teeth.
was it for you, where you were?"
not even sure how long she has been... here. Been Not Dead Anymore.
she follows the jagged sounds of mewling into the back garden. Finds the
neighborhood cat stalking
a small squirrel.
The squirrel is torn and bleeding because the cat doesn't understand it
is not a willing participant
in this game
of hide and seek. Or maybe the cat just doesn't care. Maybe the cat is
just doing what comes naturally to it. And maybe the squirrel should have
picked another goddamn yard to gather its winter stock.
It's over in
moments, the cat tossing the small, furry body into the air and batting
it along the grass with a
glee. It is only when the squirrel is completely still that the cat pauses
to wonder why its toy no
Licks his chops and walks away, tail in the air.
her there, crouched in the grass, still watching.
The cat had
torn the thing limb from tail until its innards dangled between blood spattered
teeth. The squirrel
a sound. Maybe squirrels never do. What remains of it lies on the ground,
already covered with a
swarm of black
ants. The ants are terribly efficient, really. Buffy bends down to get
a closer look.
When Dawn comes,
Buffy is rubbing her fingernails over what is left of the thing's tail,
still soft and fuzzy despite
caked on the white fur. The ants just scurry on around her hand.
high, tight little girl voice. "What are you doing?"
what you can't, I'm doing what you won't, I'm dealing with the death and
the decay and the ugliness
want to see, I'm becoming what you made me, Goddamn you, isn't this what
you brought me back for?))
It takes a
moment to dress her face in stone. She looks up, brushes stained hands
across her lap.
she says. "I'm not doing anything. Let's go make some lunch."
It takes time,
Spike had told her. He was right. Every day, she learns to fake it better.
When the call
comes, she says, "Who can that be? Everyone I know lives here." Even though
she knows that will never be true.
They meet in
a cemetery, and that's ironic on more levels than she cares to dwell upon.
Not her town, not his,
but a familiar
scene nonetheless. Death looks the same pretty much anywhere.
Angel is standing
by a crumbling tomb when she jumps the gate. Hands in his pockets, waiting
He is solid
and dark and his lashes are wet. He whispers her name. She leans into the
Angel has an
old, striped picnic blanket in his trunk, and her head still fits perfectly
into the hollow between his
his neck. She thinks maybe they could stay right here, in this haven of
the dead, forever. She was
he still is, and it's peaceful after all.
The dull lights
filter through the trees like sputtering votive candles. They sit together
on someone's grave beneath a cracked statue of the Virgin, and they speak
their offerings. Shanshus and Epiphanies, deaths followed
and deaths followed only by hollow, gray mourning. But neither are Priest,
and both have been banished from the Kingdom, and forgiveness is an elusive
thing in any case.
They were supposed
to be in love until it killed them both. Then it sort of did.
her cry for a very long time.
"You know the
worst part?" she whispers later, against the soft gray silk of his shirt.
He is silent. The question
and the topic could be anything. Her mother's death, her own. The fact
that in less than two hours
the sun will
rise and she will have to let go of his hand.
"No one ever
says good-bye. Everyone leaves, but no one says good-bye." She can feel
him wince at the obvious
and doesn't pause to allow him a reply
"My dad snuck
out of the house in the middle of the night. Did I ever tell you that?
I got up at 2 a.m. to get a drink of water, and there he was, creeping
down the stairs with an overnight bag slung over his shoulder. I was
14. One of
the clearest memories I have of my own father. And it's his back."
She lets him
pull her close, and he tries not to think about fire engines and exploding
high schools. About how
looked standing in the middle of it all before he turned away. About what
he must have looked like from
you scream in Hell?" Suddenly, softly. He stares at her, wondering if this
is somehow meant to be
for the earlier exchange, but he has never known her to be randomly cruel.
tense as he draws a breath. "No," he says. "No, I- they... wouldn't let
she whispers into his neck.
It is enough.
He isn't spying.
Spying is what he did last year; this is just... observation. See How in
Control of the Situation I Am, he thinks, as he lights his eighth
cigarette and waits patiently for Buffy to return. He watched her leave
half an hour ago, hiding in the shadows as she slipped into Joyce's SUV
and drove away. She's never worn perfume for him and hasn't worn
lipstick since she Came Back. He knows where she's gone.
He leans against
a tree, knuckles biting painfully into the rough bark, blood running in
cool trickles down his hand. The cigarette quivers hard in his shaking
fingers. He concentrates on the pain, fighting to supress the rage
burning in his throat. He wants to scream, cry, chase her down so he can
tear her into little pieces. With him, she's with him, and it's never
gonna end. He's been gone for two years and wasn't even there when
she died, but where does she go running the moment she gets back?
They're still acting out their goddamned Romeo and Juliet
Spike knows he will never be anything more than second or third or fourth
best. He drives his fist into the tree trunk so hard he can hear
finger-bones snap. The pain is a bright red flare that travels up
his arm and almost reaches his brain to silence the voices there.
But not quite.
cigarette falls from his grasp. He lights another, cradles his broken and
bloody hand. Waits.
the cemetery just as purple sky melts into pink. By the time they reach
his car, small wisps of smoke
curling around his coat. They never have been any good at judging when
it's just too damned late.
He crawls inside
the safety of the Belvedere, and she leans in to kiss him one more time.
A breath- hers, his- and
he draws away,
cradles her face in his palms and tilts her head downward. She feels his
lips brush her forehead,
firelight. Essence of Angel.
Buffy," he says.
him close his door against the light.
His hand hovers
in the air a moment (and he can almost hear himself thinking what do I
do, what do I do now that it's finally real, how do I touch someone that
actually wants to be touched) before coming down to clench possessively
on her shoulder. His fingers tangle tightly in her hair and he can feel
her insistent tongue invading his throat, raping his mouth. She's devouring
him, bending him to her sick little will, taking him to pieces and it feels
good. so good.
She stops for
breath, pulls back slightly. "Buffy-" he starts. Unsure what exactly he
plans to say, but the
the fuck?" come to mind.
clenches his shoulders hard enough to bruise. "Shut up, Spike," she grates
between clenched teeth before pulling his lips to hers again.
Her eyes are
hollow tonight. She sits in the corner and stares sightlessly as he brews
her some coffee, strong.
drinks it, just warms her hands. "Leaving," she says softly. "All of them,
you know? Dad, Angel, Riley,
They all just..." Her voice trails off. Still so hard, after all
this time, to quarry speech, but he can still hear what goes unsaid.
say anything. He knows he'll never leave, but he also knows that she couldn't
care less. She lets him
kiss her again
before she goes.
The night of
Willow and Dawn's car accident, Buffy lets Spike drive Dawn to the hospital.
As soon as Buffy
is up to leave, glancing once at Dawn and nodding. Green walls and shiny
floors, stench of anti-septic, fear and //death// and Buffy wants nothing
more than to follow him into fresh air.
But Dawn is
grasping her wounded arm to her side, rocking back and forth with eyes
tightly closed. They've given
for the pain, but it hasn't kicked in yet, and she is biting her bottom
lip and moaning.
down beside her, wraps her arm around Dawn's good shoulder, and kisses
"It's ok, Dawnie,"
she whispers. "It's ok. You go ahead and scream."
She comes to
him nearly every day now, never failing to bait him with a barb or complaint-
usually about the temperature of the crypt. He wonders, sometimes, if reminding
him that he's dead somehow makes her feel better. Wonders if it's a game
to see who will feel shittiest at the day's end. "It's cold in here," she
says, and he gives her a "duh" look that doesn't offer to fix the problem.
He doesn't have a fireplace or a space heater; she's not sure he owns blankets.
He doesn't need them, and he's not about to make exceptions for her lingering
humanity. "How do you stand it?"
He made love
to Dru in the snow once, her cold nails tearing gashes in his flesh, the
blood freezing in patterns of
on the surface of his skin. He remembers that the cold never reached his
bones, and that, he thinks, is the difference between them.
She made love
to Angel under blankets. Chaste. A single lamp throwing warm light on what
she could see: planes
of back and shoulders and careful fingertips.
He lets her
undress him first, blue eyes wide and lips slightly parted, like a whore's.
He doesn't light candles and
shaded with threadbare cloth, barely filters the moonlight. His skin seems
silver against the black
she peels off and tosses away, littering the dusty floor. He has Drusilla's
name tattooed in delicate
the hollow of his left hipbone. "When's the last time you wore color?"
she asks, teasing gently. His curves aren't smooth like Angel's; he's all
pale, flat planes and sharp angles, strong muscle and jutting bone. In
the moonlight he looks like the corpse that he is and she wonders
his body will
hurt against hers, stab and bruise and draw blood.
tosses the word away, somewhere over his left shoulder, and briefly hoods
his eyes with long black
blue like ice, and they make her feel so cold. She imagines dark handprints
of Drusilla's blood on
and realizes: he's still doing penance. Even now.
to make a lot of noise in bed. He was vocal with his pleasure, and his
love, open with her in a way she
reciprocate. But they were ..*human* noises, mortal sounds of lust and
Angel was always
silent, kissing, petting, making love. As if they were in a church, and
being close to her was
sacred, or forbidden. Like if he made the smallest sound, he would be caught,
and forever banished.
remembers that first surge of feminine pride when he finally opened his
mouth and groaned her name.
quite been able to shake the feeling that if he hadn't, if she had just
left him with his idiotic, stoic
then his soul would not have left. And then neither would he.
The sound is pure, maledemonanimal. She cannot confuse it with either of
her former lovers. These
is grateful for small mercies.
Spike with her eyes closed. Riding him, thighs clamped tightly around his
hips, fingernails scraping
in his chest. Dark hair tumbling between shoulderblades, eyelashes cutting
black shadows on her cheekbones, and she threw her head back and shrieked
like a banshee. The name she said was never his, and he
bit down hard
on his lip and tried to shut out the sound of her voice.
him with eyes open. Unfocused. Hair and skin and lashes pale, fading into
the bedsheets, face impassive as he bends over her, his fingertips trailing
down her cheek. When he moves inside her she stares past
over his left shoulder, silent. Stares past him at dusty biers and
crumbling crypt walls. Because Spike might be ice-cold, but he doesn't
look all that dead when he's fucking, and Death is all Buffy can see these
days. He's usually on top; he doesn't much feel beneath her anymore.
He knows, of
course he knows. That he fucks her to feel alive, and she fucks him to
feel dead. But he figures, poetic justice. Even trade.
The love of
his life is a cruel, heartless bitch. It has always been thus. He's so
very busy performing that he
what he was originally meant to be; dead shell, indeed. There are limits,
you know. On his better days, he realizes this. That there's only so much
kiss me-kick me that anyone can take, even him. But he hasn't reached that
limit yet, and he can be strong, right? It's not real unless it hurts.
He has to believe that, because if it isn't true... well, then, it's never
been real at all.
his body, his own better judgment, betrays him.
is not about sex. He'd still be with Harmony if it was about sex. No, this
is that ache in the middle
of his chest,
the voice in the back of his head that hasn't stopped whispering or muttering
or screaming her name
once in the
past four goddamned years, and that is why this will never end. But
he gets these odd flashes of autonomy sometimes, moments where a
clear, rational voice he barely recognizes speaks up and distinctly says
*this is killing her, and it is killing you, and it. must. stop* and he
feels his hands itching to push her away. Moments when he thinks he might
actually be independent of this psychological three-ring circus. There
are limits, yes, there are limits and there are bright, blessed moments
where he very nearly believes that he has finally reached them.
She leans in
to kiss him, and this time he bolts. Sick with self-loathing and nearly
screaming it ((you don't want me you don't please stop making want to believe
you ever could, *please* stop)), and he knows she can hear him. And oh
he wishes that it was enough to deter him, even for the slightest fucking
second. "Does it matter?" she asks hotly.
//i know you'll
never love me//
by a nagging suspicion that he deserves better than this, but he's never
had much of a basis for
and he's not quite so fucking poetic as he used to be. He'll settle,
he knows he'll settle; he always has. "Of course it matters, but-"
Snappish, defensive, deeply ashamed. Ashamed because- "That's what I am,
Her whore. When she kisses him, he closes his eyes.
Over a year
with the damned chip in his head, ten times worse than the twenty years
he spent as William. But at
chip taught him something. That ideas kill almost effectively as fangs,
that words bruise as readily as
that everyone. everyone has a weakness.
"So, you talk
to him lately?" One brow and half a lip raised with the question.
asks, without looking at him. She's still a horrible liar.
"You know perfectly
well *who,* pet. He know about this yet?" Wider grin, predatory now, as
he motions to the
of denim and satin, his jeans, her panties, laying on the bare floor.
one shoulder and sits up to face him. "Fuck you, Spike. You don't get to
hurt me that way."
rubs a light hand over the blue bruise on her cheek. "S'all right. I'll
take whichever way you wanna give
become a horrible liar too.
But he can
throw insults and her own garlic at her, hurl her crosses and her half-assed
accusations in her face.
it feels better than throwing punches. And every time it gets him laid.
And no matter
the level of depravity
was the most humiliating, degrading experience of my life
yeah, me too//
when he wakes
she's always still in his bed, tiny form curled close to the very edge
of the mattress, as if thinking
too hard about
the situation at hand would be enough to send her tumbling, all pale hair
and frail bones and childlike fingertips, somewhere even more beneath than
she already is. And he's not allowed to touch her right
it isn't *convenient,* not without inviting an angry stare and a bruised
jaw; and he's certainly not
love her, not without inviting injury much worse. It was inappropriate
to fight over her when she lay
dead and it's
inappropriate to fight for the right to love her now, and he isn't allowed
to feel anything at all. So he
curls up beside
her, but not too near: chill inches in between, fingers tracing the contours
of hips and shoulders
a hair's breadth away but never touching.
sworn this was what he wanted.
She wakes an
hour later to hear the noisy buckling of a belt, angry stomping into mud-encrusted
boots. There is
about Spike, he has no grave-silence to give her anymore; even his glare
is screaming at her. She pulls the sheet around herself modestly, a useless,
He sits opposite
her, lacing his shoes without ever taking his eyes from her face. "I hate
you," he says, almost
and for the first time she really believes it. Fear and venom and predatorial
anger before, but
you from fucking me," she says harshly, but it sounds wrong. She wants
to talk like he does, full of
heedless bile and effortless, unchecked expletives, the voice of Misbehavior.
And she tries, tries to drink his whiskey and smoke his cigarettes and
fuck his cold, shameless, unapologetic body in hope that some of his anarchy
will rub off onto her skin and allow her to scream, yell, curse, let *go*
for once but it never seems to work. It's forced, like everything else
these days, and she pulls the sheet tighter around her body to keep her
insides from spilling out. She's suddenly beset by the panicked certainly
that she has no fucking clue what she's doing, that she thought she had
a talent for fucking vampires but maybe she was wrong, maybe Spike isn't
Angel after all. Maybe she doesn't even know him, any better than she knows
He pulls his
bootlaces circulation-cutting tight. "You're underestimating my astonishing
lack of self-respect, pet."
He grabs his
duster and stands; the sun is just setting. His eyes are liquid, nearly
begging behind the anger. His voice trembles just slightly.
"Please be gone when I get back."
And he's gone.
Not just his presence there in the crypt, but something she had sensed
in him that had been
let her take his body without giving her heart, whatever part of him hadn't
yet tired of the game. He
for convenience, and maybe she had assumed he would just stay that way.
He'll be back, she knows,
but now she'll
have to see the same hate in his eyes that she knows glares out of her
own, and she won't be able to pretend that this is simple or justifiable
quickly, with cold, shaking fingers that drop her boots and send them clattering
to the floor. She
the cold stone and that's when she sees it, corners poking out from under
the tattered quilt that covers his bed. And she pulls the shoebox out,
and opens it, because she doesn't respect him enough to give him his privacy
and she *needs* something. Some scrap of understanding to take away with
her of this man, this beast
letters and photos, most of them tattered with age. Reverse-chronological:
the top layer reveals a
movie ticket from the Sun Cinema here in Sunnydale, some tasteless horror
flick from her junior
year in high
school. A handful of fliers underneath that; rock concerts, she thinks,
but the language is strange.
She lifts the papers to reveal the first photos: a blue-haired Spike, cigarette
from his lower
lip. "1993," declares the date scrawled in the lower margin.
The next pictures
are black-and-white, four in a strip, the kind you take in booths at carnivals
looks even more like Billy Idol than he does now, and Drusilla is decked
out in bangle bracelets and
There's a whole batch of them: grinning, kissing, groping, and a few at
the bottom of the
Buffy stares at in stupified fascination. He'd told her about candle foreplay;
he'd never told her about
flips the last photo over. Same unintelligible, left-handed scrawl: Orlando,
underneath bears no date- a ten-year anniversary card with an extra zero
added to the end of the number, a blood rose pressed inside, so withered
and dead that it has turned black and is crumbling to dust. A single word
in delicate, old-fashioned script: "Always."
unfair about that word that makes Buffy's breath catch in her throat.
She digs deeper,
shaking fingers scrambling though delicate sheets of paper. A torn Woodstock
poster. A photo
of Dru on
a dark street, blood-spattered hands and wickedly stained smile strangely
uncongruous next to her
dress and the daisy-chain braided in her hair: New York, 1969. The two
of them in a seedy bar, dancing close, giving the camera dark smiles. Her
beaded dress falls in ruffles just below her knees; he's wearing
suit and those funny-looking gangster shoes. In the background she can
see other couples and a few musicians: a trumpet-player, a pianist. New
Orleans, the back of the image declares; 1932.
hair dark and slicked against his skull, perched upon the hood of a primitive-looking
car. A huge smile
across his face and the familiar cigarette burns between his fingers. Berlin,
1904: "Automobile," the
simply. Next, a sepia-tinted daggeurrotype of two women. Drusilla sits
in a tapestry-upholstered chair, ankles daintily crossed beneath the lace
hem of a muslin gown. Behind her stands a
fair hair and a cool gaze. Darla, she remembers. Angel's sire. Her hand
rests on the younger vampire's shoulder and their slim fingers are entwined.
The date printed in the lower right-hand corner reads June 1899.
And the next
thing Buffy knows, she's reached the bottom of the pile. Last slip of paper
resting in her hand.
catches in her throat and her fingertips tighten around the edges of the
photo. Them. Both of them.
and her most recent. No date on the picture but it's old, *old* and Spike
wears a cocky grin and a sheaf of wheat-colored (she thinks; the image
is brown-gray, creased and faded) hair over his eyes. Behind his left shoulder,
smirking sardonically, stands Angel.
That's not the point. He *should* be a stranger, this proud, long-haired
killer in the photograph, but he's not, and she wants more. Whatever she's
not allowed to have. "For a hundred years I offered ugly death to everyone
I met," he said, and she displayed self-righteous indignation at those
innocent deaths as befitted her trade, and sorrow at the pitiful irony
of being a Slayer who loved the deadliest vampire of them all. But
she knew then and she knows now that the real grief lies in those hundred,
two hundred, two hundred fifty years that would never belong to her. In
those centuries that she's not able to touch, that knowledge which will
never be hers. She can feel it welling up inside her again for the first
time in years, the anger, the resentment at the goddamned *unfairness*
of it all, the fucking lack and loss and inconstancy of "always." When
Spike returns to the crypt he finds her on the floor beside his bed, bent
over the tattered, ancient photograph, sobbing.
like a wild animal. Stares at him, darts her eyes back to the picture in
her hands, stares at him
long were you with him?" she snarls, her fingers tightening around the
picture, and he wants to tell
her to fucking
go easy on the memorabilia but he can't bear to yell into that tear-streaked,
grief-stricken face. "*How long?*"
she echoes softly, bringing the image close to her face. "I've been alive
for twenty years."
or less," he amends. "He'd fuck off once in awhile. Sometimes with Darla,
sometimes alone. Always came back, though."
She doesn't even seem to notice the steady stream of tears coursing down
her cheeks. Her hands are shaking.
long was it for you?"
She scoffs. "No. Two and a half."
He tilts his
head to the side, studying her, and suddenly he gets it. "You- you're jealous."
Her eyes flash
fire as she scrubs the tears away with the back of one hand. "Go to hell,
"No, it's okay,"
he says gently. "I mean... I get it." He wishes he didn't get it.
He wishes he could imprint her fragile brain with the memories of harsh
fists and razor-sharp fangs and leave it at that. Wishes that the cruel,
careless, all-consuming force of nature he called Grandsire was something
tangible, containable, something he could take and hold out to her
in trembling, bloodied hands and say "see. See where the path of blood
and betrayal and Family leads. See that Destruction that bites away
at the edges of my thoughts as I sleep and that fucked-up, incestuous tragedy
that won't let me go. Look into the face of what you are oh-so-much better
off having never known, and be grateful for the two and a half years
that left you relatively unscarred. Because you, child, cannot begin to
fathom the demons that your ex-boyfriend has left in his wake, dwelling
and screaming under the surface of my skin." He wishes that it were that
simple, that those painful memories were all he had left.
him in bits and pieces. The proud curve of shoulders and uplifted head,
the careful smirk, the eyes that burned fiercely with amusement or disapproval
or rage. Trying to remember more than one detail at a time, he finds, makes
his chest tighten up and his head ache. Spike remembers those hands the
most, hands that could caress or crush but either way left him feeling
as if he'd been shattered into a thousand pieces. Strong, steady hands
that never trembled, never once hesitated.
((and you wanted
that, wanted to be him, wanted everything and everyone he ever had, didn't
No. No, he
didn't want to be his Grandsire, Spike reasons desperately, only... admired
him. Angelus was never afraid, Angelus never fucked up, and he couldn't
be bothered with the burden of concern for others. Mothers in Romania still
whisper his name darkly into the ears of children that refuse to go to
sleep, Spike muses, and *she*- she has no idea. No idea that she once had
Death Himself within her grasp, curled in her fingers and trapped
between her thighs. Buffy's lover, the souled version of the Scourge of
Europe, was a pale, sad shadow in comparison, a pitiful copy that made
Spike's eyes ache. Angelus was never just another vampire; he was a plague
of blood and broken bone, an uncontrollable force of disaster, a sight
to behold. Spike can't make her see that: the undaunted creature his grandsire
was, the way he burned, the way he bent and broke everything around him,
shaping it to his will. He can't give her those memories, and isn't sure
he's cruel enough to try.
"What was William
like?" she asks, finally, guileless and golden in the wobbling torch-light.
lights a cigarette. "You'd have to ask Angelus or Dru that one. I never
met him personally." He impresses himself by meeting her eyes when he says
And God knows
Spike doesn't want to be William again, doesn't want redemption, doesn't
want to be a Good Little
Boy. But he
thinks he could find a sort of salvation in her motionless little body.
Atonement for his sins, which are darker and so much more convoluted than
the simple wrongs of mortals. If she takes him, perhaps that means
He has fantasies
about turning her. Shagging her into a defenseless heap for the last time,
and tearing her throat
while she lays silent and unresisting. Counting coup on a third Slayer,
and having the added bonus of keeping this one around Forever.
Though he doesn't
much picture Forever, doesn't usually get past the first part of the fantasy
where he kills her
her and they run off to LA. Find the ponce with the soul and put him out
of everyone's misery once and
Spike has always
been a big fan of irony.
that way Spike could finally shake the fucking notion that he was created
solely for the purpose of
property safe until he decides to return for it.
One night when
she comes to him, she is wearing a scarf around her throat. Lacy, filmy
thing, with a small knot
to one side.
He strips her body bare in moments, but she guards her neck and the scarf,
keeps it tied there, with
a look he
And it's what
she wants, it's what he wants, it's on fucking *offer*, and so of course,
he can't. Oh, he reaches
for it, fingers
working at the knot while he works his hips against hers as she perches
on his lap. His fangs drop
and his mouth
bloody well *waters*. But instead of undoing the silk, he finds himself
tugging on it, until he is
ends of it tighter and tighter against the milk white skin of her throat.
Blood wells beneath the material, he can smell it. Can smell the jolt of
her fear. Can smell the musk of her arousal as her legs clamp tighter round
his. He tugs harder
for her to push him away, punch him in the skull, something. She doesn't.
She rests her
hands on his shoulders and she closes her eyes. Lets him strangle the breath
out of her slowly, with
a piece of
flowered lace and cotton. And oh it would be so easy. On offer.
Her eyes open,
cloudy blue irises rimmed with red from lack of oxygen, and
the scarf just as she comes, or maybe its the other way round. She makes
whimpering scratchy noises like a dying kitten, and he comes then too,
with a violent shudder at the sound.
*whimpering* for him, and his skin is buzzing and his hipbones ache and
he should feel- something.
isn't so akin to nauseated and resentful.
But he expected
so many things out of fucking this Slayer, and discovering she is sicker
than he was never on his
list. She is slumped against him, panting in hoarse, shallow breaths, and
he brings his knuckles to his
//Free if the
But fuck it,
its been a hundred and twenty-two years since he's been anything remotely
resembling free, and he
where to begin now, and
It was her
eyes. Her eyes as he strangled her. They were dead. Glass eyes, doll's
eyes, robot eyes. Lifeless and
just like after she'd leaped off the tower, before Giles had leaned in
to close them for the last time.
Dru's eyes after the attack in Prague. And he. Can't. Because even with
pain, he was always so much
receiving than giving, and he just. can't. do this.
He rubs her
shoulders, whispers in her ear. "I'm sorry." Unsure what he's apologizing
for; loving her too much to kill
her, or not
enough? He didn't really want to apologize in the first place, but he thinks
it's probably the first time in
and twenty six years that he has ever said those words and actually meant
know what he expected in return. But it certainly isn't the sharp, swift
knee to the groin. Isn't the kick
to the ribs
or the angry shriek of protest which follows as he lays curled in fetal
position on the hard stone floor.
get to decide this for me! Least of all you!"
And he gets
it. Slow maybe, but not stupid. Pavlov's dog, and all.
It takes him
a good five minutes before the pain in his balls fades enough to get to
his feet. Only takes him
grab her by the back of the head, and slam her into the wall. She barely
fights him off, and he pounds
her into the
concrete with just enough force to fracture a normal girl's skull. Slayer
strength and stamina mean
that she merely
grunts once or twice, then finally shoves him away. Crimson matted sticky
and wet to gold strands and she reaches up with steady fingers to test
He bats her
hands away, and licks them free of the stains.
When she makes
no move to stop him, he buries his face in her bloody hair, nuzzling and
chewing until she is nearly clean.
he has a wicked scarf collection.
been two hundred and ten days and he's really fucking sick of paying for
something that's no
wrong, a once fuck-up revealed to be the kindest mercy. It was good to
let her die. It's good
that he keeps
her dead now; he's only doing what Buffy would have wanted. So he lets
her spend her nights
he never apologizes again.
maybe this time he'll get it right.
She comes to
him each night dressed in silk scarves, and she limps home without them
well before dawn. She
good-bye and her knuckles are always bruised when she leaves, in the perfect
opposing pattern of her
imprinted on his cheek. She is not the masochist, after all, and it is
not the pain which she craves.
It's the control.
And that is always hers; when she beats him, when she fucks him, when she
leaves him alone
on his bed
of stone and ash. Spike is the only thing she can hope to control now,
and the knowledge is precious
She could shatter
him. She may yet.
And it's certainly
not that she doesn't know how wrong this is. It's just that it's oh so
hard to care. Every morning
and the first thing she hears is the screaming. It took her a week to relearn
how to use a goddamn spoon, and she still can't seem to see the difference
between sugar and stardust. It's too much, it's just all too
and if she needs a sturdy home for her rage and her grief then surely using
Spike as her chalice is
surely it is sanctified, for what is he when all is said and done, but
a soul-less thing?
Her head is
full all the time now, with the language of the living and the memories
of the dead. She's not *supposed* to know these things, but she does; they
came back from the grave with her, embedded beneath the
dirt in her
nails and the slippery sheen she cannot wash from her hair.
On Feb. 5,
1986, her Mother spent the day drunk, laying on the couch watching soaps,
and her father spent the
night in the
Bahamas with his secretary. No one came home from the hospital carrying
a girl-child, and asking
Buffy if she
would help care for it.
Dawn did not
cry when their Father left, did not lock herself in her pink daisy covered
room for days, because
never a pink room, and Dawn has never even met Hank Summers.
ago, Buffy's Mother found out that she was the Slayer because of Angelus,
not because Dawn found Buffy's diary. Dawn met Angel once. At Buffy's funeral.
both carefully altered realities sit side by side somewhere in her skull,
and when she is quiet, she can hear the neurons firing, tiny cells rearranging
inside of her to make room for recollections she is not supposed to have.
Angel in chains,
covered in scars and burns.
Her own face,
covered in demonic ridges, and the blood hunger welling in her belly.
There are too
many doors behind her eyes, too many lights and too many memories. And
each so vivid, so bright
she is sure that her head simply isn't meant to fit all this inside. She's
just a girl, how can she be
carry the Knowledge of Heaven and walk around every day inside of Hell?
If she could just purge it, if
bleed it out of open wounds and pointless tears -
she would be empty.
But she still
would not be dead.
At night when
she is alone she covers her ears with pillows for fear that everything
will come rushing out of her,
once more with nothing.
//A dead shell//
And she can't
have that. So she tries never to be alone at night. She has to hold something,
has to feel something, has to *know* something *here* anything, my god,
even Spike, because otherwise there is only the
that this is all wrong, that there's been some horrible mistake and she
is *it*, and it. will. never. end.
But when she
fucks him, when she wraps her legs around his waist and he wraps his thumbs
around her neck,
when she doesn't
breathe, then she doesn't think, then, oh- then -
remembers the dancing.
entwined in Faith's, palm to sweaty palm, music throbbing through them
like a heartbeat. How she
then. That Faith was already dead, and just didn't have the sense to lie
down. That a Slayer really
is just a
killer, spilling cold blood night after night, staining warm flesh. That
Faith kept herself alive with the heat
And she danced.
Angel, silhouetted darkly against the back wall of the Bronze, and the
horror in his eyes when he
saw them together,
caught in that endless dance and realized that his lover was no less of
a monster than he.
That all those
you-should-have-a-normal-life excuses already spinning around in his brain
were merely that.
That she could
make a monster of him. Again. And would.
Spike is already
She walks home
every night through the cemetery and the eyes of the gargoyles follow.
She can feel them. That is all right. Even monsters get lonely.
(It used to
be the cherubs, but they don't seem to talk to her anymore.)
She read somewhere
once that Angels always have one wing dipped in blood. That they carry
savage weapons even in the Kingdom of Heaven.
She used to
figure they needed them. Not everyone goes gently.
Now she knows
better. Angels lie. All those pretty faces hide teeth of ivory and bone,
velvet and lace voices used
only to hasten
someone's painful death. Angels never tell you that tidings of comfort
and joy are rare and fleeting.
That God doesn't
guarantee you eternal peace when one of your friends is a High Witch. That
even the finest love
turn from you, cloaked in darkness and good intentions.
tell you that there are just as many Angels in Hell.
She has no
patience now for dualities, for the cabal or tired metaphor. She wants
to know what something *is*
when she looks
at it, wants to name it and therefore own it.
Spike is simple in that sense; no soul, and so he has bared all that he
possesses. All that he is. Lonely
handsome and evil, rarely trying to be much else, and when he does, failing
so miserably at it that
it hard to hold his pretense against him.
He just is...
what he is, and in that way he is easy to objectify. Easy to name, and
oh, so damned easy to own.
Angel and Heaven;
gold and glittery things never meant to be hers. She belongs to this place
now, and if she
back clothed in tatters and screams in the beginning, well, she is not
screaming anymore. If she
to live forever in Hell, then she will open wide and embrace it, wrap determined
fingers and strong thighs around it.
it. Fuck it.
She will fuck
knows they fucked her first.