All About Spike - Print Version
Five Cinders That Never Burned
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A 'Five Things
That Never Happened' challenge response. This one offers different tracks
things could have gone for Spike from 1880, Entropy, Bargaining, Chosen, and
ATS S5 - regular casting spoiler only, speculation only - but didn't.
Belongs to Joss, ME, Fox, etc.
for the wonderful beta, help and support. Magpie, as ever. Diva Stardust and
Miggy for sharing their respective birthday presents, and the magnificent
Lovesbitca. Kita for the challenge.
Rating: NC 17.
Multiple. It's a set of 'what if?'s after all.
Character Deaths - some on an epic scale. Strong language, sexual content,
adult future Spawn, shameless sentimentality, gratuitous Glam Rock references,
and images that some people may find disturbing - especially lovers of
the Buffy character - I'm really, really not kidding on this.
He looks down at
it. It's the fifth to have burnt his fingers and seared his heart. It's the
last one he can ever receive, and the last thing in the world he ever wanted.
It's a simple thing, the simplest in fact - only a piece of paper. Just words -
but it's the end of his world. It seems wrong that he gave the telegraph boy a
tip for tearing his heart out, but he's a gentleman, and gentlemen do what's
right and proper. He always has.
It's given him
everything. His darling Cecily - the best wife a man could hope for. The five
sons she gave him, the joy and pride at their achievements. Three beautiful
daughters, their dark curls taking the best from both of them and making them
look like angels. He'd give anything for the girls not to have been taken with
the fevers, but he knows he can't begrudge them to God. It's old fashioned,
though as an old man in his sixties he's allowed to be, but he still finds
comfort from the ring made up of their hair. He hopes Cecily feels the same, as
she wears the matching brooch, but Cecily isn't one to talk about her feelings
- she's a lady.
He's got the
hardest thing in the world to do now. He has to tell her: his Lady, his
beloved, the angel of the home, his beloved Madonna, that all their sons have
now been taken from them. Taken in the service of King and Country. He tries to
be proud, but it's been harder and harder each time.
His fingers caress
the black ribbon across the corner of each photograph on his desk. Will - the
eldest, the published writer, and his pride and joy, whose fingers, far
cleverer than his own had ever been, are now stilled forever in the Flanders mud. Arthur - whose love of Kipling had taken him to
his own deeds of daring do on the North-West frontier, even before the War to
end all Wars. The strangely martial son he'd never understood - fallen so close
to the topless towers of Illium that the schoolboy in him can't help but recite
the verses from Homer over the pyre of his warrior boy and his colonial
phalanxes. Richard - whose marriage into such a good family gave Cecily so much
pleasure, though no grandchildren to grace the nursery - gassed and sent home
to die, drowning on dry land, and the sight of whom had sent the last of his
own hair white. Gentle David - slaughtered on the Somme.
And now Alfred,
the baby of the family - swept away in the conflagration that's taken so many
of their friend's sons, and now all of theirs. Cecily's sweet Affie - the only
one she unbent her stays enough to play with, before sending him away to school
like the rest. The popular boy always in demand for weekend parties at his friend's
country houses. The darling young man all the debutantes wanted to catch, and
with the face and sparkling blue eyes that made his mother and everyone who met
him love him. The young man that made his mother proud, and who did
effortlessly everything his father never did very well. The banter over a game
of billiards, small talk over the port and cigars, and the charming of the
ladies in the drawing rooms of all the parties he'd never deny Cecily, but
never enjoyed. All so easy for his youngest, but all taken so lightly and with
such a glint in his eyes and irresistibly wicked wit that William's never
resented his son's bond with his mother. How could he? He still misses his own,
dead so soon after his wedding.
Cecily had been a
paragon among women when he lost his mother to that ghastly sickness that
consumed her, supporting him in his grief, while arranging everything to
minimise his pain, clearing everything away that could set off his tears. She'd
been a tower of strength each time the girls sickened and died. His mourning
angel armoured in black silk bombazine and a backbone of steel, despite her own
tears. He's indulged her passion for spiritualism and strange people with odd
smells in the parlour because of it, though his own strongly held beliefs
restrict him to talking to the vicar.
He hates to admit
it, but Cecily's arms work better at giving him comfort than the words of God.
She's the moon and the stars to him, and he blesses the evening she amazed him
and said 'yes'. When she told him she wanted a quick engagement and wanted
nothing better than to be his wife as soon as possible he knew he'd have to pay
for tasting heaven on earth. Now he has - the fruits of that heaven all gone to
And he has to tell
her. Then he has to be the man of the house and do his duty to the servants,
tell them that Young Master Alfred has died in the service of the King Emperor.
And he will. William's always done his duty. And it's so hard. He wipes away
the tears, digs his nails into his hand until he has the control to do that
duty, and eyes the whiskey decanter he's going to take refuge in when
everyone's taken care of. Control won, he swallows hard and walks out to
She must have
heard the knock on the door earlier, and her eyes are enormous. They're also
quick, darting down to the telegram still gripped in his hand. One look at his
face and she knows that her baby's not missing or wounded, or best of all a
prisoner of war. He's gone, and the only thing holding Cecily up is the whalebone
of her corset, then as he reaches her, his arms. The telegram drops to the
floor as he holds her and allows her to cry herself into coherence on his
shoulder, while his own tears soak into the silver silk of her hair.
Once she's cried
herself out he settles her on the sofa, and uses the bell for a stiff brandy
for both of them. It helps a little. The spark of warmth allows him the
strength to say, "Thank you," to Daisy for doing her job, and it
allows Cecily to gather her strength. He loves it when she allows him to
comfort her, to be her strong knight, but he loves her strength too, and he
blesses it now, when he needs it so very badly. He'd rail at God if he didn't
have her, but he does, and he's never needed her more than now, and, as ever,
she's not let him down. She's strong enough to insist he goes to the Servants
Hall and that she won't need her maid sent. She'll wait until he comes back,
and she kisses him with the salt still damp on her cheeks.
Once he's gone she
And she appears
with her customary aplomb. "Hallie!"
With the pain
rasping in her voice Halfrek asks, "Why do you keep doing this to
"'Why go for
the death when you can go for the pain?' You know that's what D'Hoffryn always
says. And you've provided such great entertainment for the Lower Beings. All
those lovely deaths, marrying him. You're very popular with them, and with the
war and invention of film that's quite an achievement. You should be very
proud." Anyanka smiles at her friend-former colleague.
"So why do
they keep refusing to give me back my powers. By Mighty Gathros, I've tried
hard enough to ask, to show myself worthy, and failing that to replace my power
centre." Halfrek's wrinkled hands claw at her throat never finding the
right necklace amidst the chokers and cameos that ornament it.
You lost it. Necklace crushed under the wheels of a train, you know D'Hoffryn
would never forgive such carelessness. Putting your power centre on a child
annoyed at its widowed mother spending more time mooning after William, of all
people, rather than with her, and then letting her get knocked under a moving
train at Paddington Station. Really, Hallie, you know that's far too
embarrassing for D'Hoffryn ever to let you come back from." Anyanka says,
a tad bored at having to repeat this each time Halfrek loses a child. Anyanka's
sure she should have got the message by now. She knows she would, if she was
stupid enough to be in the other woman's shoes.
"But was it
really necessary to curse all my children to die?"
"I was just
doing my job, when you married the object of the annoyingly flattened
offspring's widowed mother's affections, you know that. She'd been scorned, she
was owed a wish, and the one she came up with fitted the bill for D'Hoffryn. It
was that or the assassins. Hey, at least you got to live this way! She just
wished you to know the pain of losing all your children: your everything, the
way she did. She was very vehement on that point. So I did the curse. If he'd
noticed her, I couldn't have done it." Anyanka's eyes fix on the portrait
of William and Cecily on the wall. "Why you did marry him? I've never
really known, even if I did help you by immolating the real Cecily you were
impersonating. And let me tell you, I got in trouble for helping you that much.
I couldn't teleport for anything other than work for a month!" Anyanka
won't be making that mistake again: not even for Halfrek.
stay as Cecily in her house for long, they'd have noticed the difference.
Besides, William was rich, his mother wasn't long for the world - especially
when I helped her out of it - and well, he had potential. But mostly I needed
out of that house, he was convenient."
long. He's all you have now, isn't he?" Anyanka enquires for form's sake,
though she knows the answer.
running a tontine on when you lose him too. I've got June 1923. It's one of the
later dates, so I doubt I'll win, but hey, a girl can't win 'em all! You
haven't. Sorry, I can't stay, have to be in Brazil.
Have a good funeral! Bye, Hallie."
At which Anyanka
disappears leaving Halfrek to go back to her facade as Cecily, in the full
knowledge she hasn't seen the last of her losses. So she pulls the bell for
another brandy. William will be back soon and he's not much, but he's all she
has left, and she might as well get the most out of him, if he's next.
It's the wrong
blonde hair he's buried his face in. It's the wrong thin, powerful body he's
buried to the hilt in. It's the wrong nails tearing into his back. Everything's
wrong. It's not supposed to be this way. He's supposed to be inside Buffy;
that's where he belongs. It's where he left his heart, but she's blown it to
ashes as surely as she did his home. He loved her and she's destroyed him with
a smile on her face. It just hurts so bloody much. He's an ever-bleeding wound
from Buffy and he just wants it to stop.
So does she. Spike
sees the same agony in Anya's face, the same weeping wounds. The same why
didn't they want me? What was wrong with me? He needs an answer to
most painful word in the language, next to 'love' - why? He wants to
cry, to rend, to tear, to wail, to shred, to weep, to kill. He wants to end it
all, shake some sense into the bitch, throw himself at her feet begging, to
destroy this feeling. He wants to make a run for it before everything that was
him is consumed by the ice-furnace that is Buffy Summers and his own desperate
need for her - but most of all, Spike just wants it to stop.
helping. The whiskey's helping. The agony's still there. He can feel it's still
there for Anya too, but as they're driving each other closer to orgasm the
pains twisting into pleasure and he can actually stop thinking. Spike wants
nothing more than that, so he concentrates on doing what he's good at, what
he's been trained at, the only thing he's ever had any value to others for, and
he makes his partner come, and follows along in his own escape.
It works for Anya
too. He can see it in the softened lines of her sharp, tear-stained face as she
manages a small smile. In her own inimitable style, she tells him, "That
helped." But as he rolls off her, and she takes a look at the debris he
swept off the table, her face falls. "The orgasm did help, and the
alcohol, but, it's all coming back now. The pain in my chest, the rejection,
the ruin of the wedding, and the why didn't he want me, and why am I doing this
with you when I should be in a very expensive hotel on honeymoon with the man
that tore out my still beating heart? It stopped hurting for a minute, and it's
started up again. Why? It doesn't make sense, Spike?"
Maybe we're sobering up? Always a bad idea, I reckon."
She looks at him,
in a more commanding way that should be possible for a woman currently hunting
for her shirt, "You're right." And, more forcefully, "We clearly
need more alcohol, and possibly also more sex. It worked before, so it will
work again. We need more liquor." But the confidence and self-assurance in
her voice is a rice-paper thin veneer that's already cracking. "But Giles
only left one bottle, and I don't want to do any more damage to my shop. It's
all I have left."
He can't help
caressing her cheek free of the tear. And he can face anything but going back
to the ruins of his crypt, and the ashes of his life right now, so he tries
hard to smile at her. "Sounds a workable plan, pet. Liquor store block
down from the back door, should still be open. How 'bout we get us some
bottles, get somewhere else, get pissed, take it from there and see if it
She tries bravely
to smile back at him. "I like this plan. And no more damage to my
He kisses her as
she picks up her purse. "No more damage."
They go out of the
back door of the Magic Box. Entering the liquor store, Spike hears what sounds
like metal hitting wood, but he's got Anya's fingers gripping his arm like a
lifeline while she pays for the booze, and that feels good, feels needed, stops
him thinking, stops the pain for a moment, so he ignores it. The hurt's to his
heart and all he wants to do is to stop it. Slayer can sort out any naughty
demons trashing Sunnydale. She's made it abundantly clear she doesn't want help
from the likes of him. Doesn't stop the pain in his heart for knowing it, but
the promise of more alcohol to cleanse the wounds, and more of those seconds of
oblivion inside Anya helps. Doesn't help a lot, but it does help.
They're half way
to Anya's, when she starts crying about not wanting to be anywhere that she
thought Xander loved her. That she wants to be away, somewhere that's not
Sunnydale, anywhere that doesn't have Xander not wanting her. Spike knows the
feeling exactly, and right now, it seems as bloody brilliant an idea as getting
pissed and burying himself in Anya to forget the smoke and rubble that were his
hopes and dreams. So he kisses her tears away, puts the bottles in her arms,
and picks her up and carries her to the motorbike.
They blast past
the Leaving Sunnydale sign, and don't stop until the road signs for Sunnydale
are long behind them and the bike needs gas. The Gas, Food, Lodging turn-off
offers little but a gas station, a waffle house, Mickey D's, and a Motel 6. But
with the alcohol they've already had almost all consumed on the way, it has to
do. Anya books them in with her acceptable human ID and credit card, while
Spike gets to feel as pathetic, broke, and not a man as ever. But, as ever, he
buries it and dives headlong into a bottle of Jack on the bed with Anya.
in Anya with half of Kentucky's finest down his throat, he's almost
So's she. She
shows it when they run out of bottles and face the appalling idea of leaving
the bed and having to think again. They've just finished a round and he's still
in her when he raises the need to leave to get more booze.
Her face falls.
"It's me again, isn't it? You want to leave me, like everyone's always
left me. You want to be with her." He can't hide that he does, but he
soothes her into orgasm anyway. She comes back from it and decides their main
problem is the need to be further away from Sunnydale in particular, California generally, and the US of A to cover all the bases.
Next thing he
knows, he's in a totally different hotel room somewhere a lot hotter with the
tang of the sea in the air, and he's still buried in Anya. She grins at him and
says, "Teleportation. It's very useful, and you were inside me. We were
linked, so you came along for the ride." He's seen and experienced pretty
much everything over the years, but this one, this is a real turn up for the
Turns out they're
in a resort outside Cancun owned by some Telnap demons who owe her a
favour for eviscerating an unfaithful son-in-law. Room service is excellent.
Over the coming hours, days, he's not sure, he and Anya bury themselves into
Jack, Jose, Ron, and each other. Every time they stop the pain comes back. Both
of their lives are devastated shells, the rejection and exclusion still burn
like acid, so they don't stop. They drink, fuck, and sleep. Rinse and Repeat as
needed, and they need so bloody badly its agony.
He's still trying
to neutralise the pain in one-half-rum one-half-Anya when the room changes
again. Gone is the earth tones and jewel embroidery of bottle-strewn Mexico; it's pitch black, and the demon part of him feels so
much stronger it's a frightening joy. He shifts into vamp-face to see better,
and slips out of Anya as she looks freaked and gets off him. She clutches the
pendant that's all she's got on, and which she hasn't taken off anywhere
they've done it. She's shaking her head, denying having anything to do with
their sudden change of locale, when a woman just appears and looks at them.
Sweetie! So much better than the last one."
Anya sounds scared, which is just wrong to Spike's ears.
bloody hell's going on? We were a bit busy. Not looking for a bit of
interruption, if you know what I mean." Spike can't help his voice rising
as Anya's look gets ever more panicked.
there. Why can't I feel it? Where is it, Hallie?"
there, Anya? And why you clutching that bloody amulet?"
In a small voice,
Anya answers. "The Earth. I can't feel it. I can't teleport to it. It's
getting panicked himself. "Can't be gone. Was just there. Must have hit
the necklace a bit hard there, pet, sorry. Can't be anything else."
"Of course it's gone, silly. You know what that was. You've felt it
before. It was the automatic recall for all vengeance demons in a world about
to be destroyed, bringing us all back to Arashmahar."
His mind and voice
seem to have divorced; it's the only thing he can think of to account for the
calm of his voice saying, "Buffy, the Bit, Dru?" while inside he's
dissolving. He can hear Anya crying out for Xander, but it's like hearing
through cotton wool, nothing's real, it can't be happening.
But it is, the
woman's all smiles about how proud D'Hoffryn is of Miss Rosenberg. The pleasure
of the Lower Beings at the destruction of the Earth dimension before the First
could start its move against them. Spike's hearing the words on how Willow
killed Buffy and Xander before draining Giles of his borrowed magic, burning
the world to a cinder for Tara's funeral pyre, but he can't take it in.
It's too much, and none of it makes sense. Not to the girl, the people Spike
knows, knew, loves, lost.
There's a scream
inside him building up strong enough to destroy the walls of reality itself,
let alone his sanity. But it's still choking him, as Hallie kisses Anya on the
forehead before her parting words of praise, for her not being there to stop,
"That unfriendly but obviously very powerful red-head from the
wedding." There's a frankly jealous look at him before she continues,
"D'Hoffryn is so much happier you're with a vampire now, so much more
fitting for a Vengeance Demon of your standing, Anyanka. He's sending you both
to the World without Shrimp. Next time - burlap and blood larvae."
Bang a Gong
Spike smears the
glitter across Dawn's cheek as she applies his eyeliner, tongue sticking out in
concentration. She grins up at him. "I bet this takes you right back,
won't get her belated eighteenth birthday prezzie if she's not careful. No
T-Rex tribute band for you, missy. Told you about Dru and the feather boa in
No Slayer of Slayers
should ever have to shake a glitter-covered finger at, well, anyone - let alone
a delectable little piece like this one unless he was planning on having her
for dessert. But then no Slayer of Slayers ever promised a Slayer to take care
of said delectable piece of Nibblet until the end of the world. Spike hadn't
thought at the time he'd survive the night, let alone what would happen when
she got older, so he continues to try to resolutely ignore thinking about it,
about her being all grown up, or as near as dammit. It's a policy that's kept
him going for years. It's hard, and it's frequently not the only thing that has
been, but it's what's kept him his girl. Kept him in this house and not a
dustbuster, so he concentrates on marking her third eye with glitter and not on
how very soft her skin feels.
"I bet you
looked good, all glam-rock boy though." She sprinkles golden glitter in
the curls she's insisted he leave un-gelled for the evening, and distributes
it, fingers dancing through his hair.
Its feels far, far
too good, and he's being good, for Her, and for his bit, doing what he has to
for Dawn - be what he promised. So he tries to distract her and himself with
disclaimers. "Was all Dru's idea. She liked all the elves and pixies bits.
Made her feel right at home. Well until the whole visions bit about leaping
lamp-posts anyway. Moved on at that point. Could get some juicy meals with good
guitar at Bowie concerts. 'sides, a bloke had to listen to
something before punk came along."
He loves her
laugh. It took them both a long time to laugh again when they got here, back to
Bath, back to throwing himself - and his charge - on the mercy of the Watcher
his presence, gave him the basement bedroom because he got Dawn out of
Sunnyhell when the demon bikers tore it up, and because she wouldn't let him
leave when he got her safe back to the Watcher and the Mother Country. Took him
in with the bit; despite it being bleeding obvious that being a father to Dawn
is just about the last thing Giles wants, and that having him there as well as
an un-living reminder of all that Giles has lost is an equally unwanted pain.
As constant a pain, in fact, as the duty the man throws himself into in an
attempt to deal, and equally un-shirked.
Spike and Dawn see
Giles when he's not throwing himself into Council business in London, or with
the witchy birds down in Devon. Giles never leaves Dawn solely in Spike's
charge for long, but more often than not, he's the one to pick her up from
school on dark winter afternoons, and drag her home from the pub and her mates
in the long summer nights. She loves the English drinking laws, and their
flexible implementation, and has settled down fairly well. She screams in
nightmares less and less, and never after a few ciders with her little friends,
so Spike lets her, and often joins them with his own pint of bitter before
bringing her home. The fact that those little friends act like flies around a
honey-pot when he's there, and that Dawn gets major cool points for his presence,
all leather, smoke and attitude, is a bonus for both of them.
Though Spike is
convinced that Giles used Council connections to get her into the only Catholic
school in the area purely to wind him up with all the crucifixes at parent
teacher night. Spike would laugh at the perfection of the payback for his
crashing into the Summers' lives if the memories didn't hurt so bloody much.
The only thing that really makes the pain bearable is being there for his
little girl, being needed, wanted, loved, being everything to his bit.
He's tolerated for
an occasional drink. There's moments when there might be more, like when he
told Giles about going back for the others, once he'd got Dawn stashed all safe
like, told him about the sight of Buffy's little friends, torn apart. He's one
man to another over a bottle of scotch. Just as he'd been when the two of them
had gone back to Buffy's grave after the original ceremony, to pour concrete
over the coffin, make her all safe like from desecration, while avoid hurting
the others with that possibility. He's grateful he managed to slip that rose
into the concrete while Giles wasn't watching though. The thought that it's
still there with his lost love, that she at least was safe from the desecration
of her town, slaughter of her mates, and from seeing the bloodbath he made of
the killers, helps a little, but it's still like laying rose petals across a
So Spike does what
he always does. He throws himself into the now, into the music, the booze, the
smoke, and the one he loves. He takes his bit to the club and it's going back
to the glory days of the seventies. It's not his favourite bit of the
seventies, but the memories of blood and glitter are still sweet, and it's so
good to have his girl in his arms to dance with - even if it's another one he
can't have. But he can teach her the right moves for the music - that's all
acceptable like. All approved, above board, kosher, cushtie, meeting the 'what
would Buffy do' that he uses in place of the much vaunted soul crap.
He's doing well
until the line about the 'universe reclining in your hair'. It does, and he
can't help stroking it. There's fine red glitter and silk slipping through his
fingers, and it's blood, and the tower, and its her and the ages old child/woman
in his arms sighing with pleasure from him stroking her hair. There's a chance
he could pass it off as another example of the need to touch each other that
they've had since the slaughter in Sunnydale, and he tries. He really does.
But it's the wrong
song, it's 'Bang a Gong', and he is a vampire for her love. When he tries for
playful, to shift the mood, save them both with a mock bite - well nibble, no
fangs - to her neck she melts. And he can't help getting it on. She can't help
it either. She doesn't look back; she pulls his head up to her mouth and the
Her kiss, it's
everything he's ever wanted. It's love, its being wanted, being needed, being
loved absolutely and by one person he wants to be loved by. Her acceptance is
her tongue in his mouth, and not recoiling from him like he's toxic waste. Her
fingers caressing his hair make the gold mingle with the red glitter in cloud
of blood red light in the club lights, and it could look beyond tacky, but it
doesn't, it's shining, its perfect. As is the taste of her, her body in his
arms, where she so clearly feels she belongs, and isn't going anywhere that
doesn't involve closer contact with his skin.
He's kept her on
the edge of the crowd, kept her safe from being battered by the dancers. But
now he can't keep her safe from him anymore, and from the way she's moving her
hands down his back, holding on to him like she's never going to let him go,
letting him keep her safe from him is the absolute last thing she does want.
They've gone backwards towards a dark alcove in the wall. It's not a bed of
roses. He knows he'll have to get her out of here, that it's not right, that
her first time deserves something better than this, but the lipstick's smeared
across her face and he can taste it. He can taste all of her, and it's too
much, yet nothing's never ever going to be enough. It's driving him wild. His
hands and legs enclose her so tightly it's got to hurt her delicate skin, but
they're dancing on the right side of the cracks of pain/pleasure doom, so his
chip's not firing. But even if it did, right now, he doesn't know if it could
stop him. He's got her tight little arse in his hands, her moans are music to
his ears, and it's all going straight to his cock.
He knows that
Rupert will know from looking at them what's happened. He knows it'll be the
stake for him. He knows that if there's no other reason in the world that he's
going to hell, and there are thousands upon delicious thousands of them, this
will. He's going to burn in hell for this, but he can't help it - it's a bloody
incredible way to burn.
God only knows he
knows that he shouldn't want his little bit like this. But he does. He's wanted
her for so bloody long. Tried to deny it to himself and her. Tried to ignore it
when he couldn't. Tried to make himself think of her as the little girl in his
crypt that loved a monster's stories, loved him. Used her succulent little
friends to take the edge off and keep her up on that pedestal. Keep her his bit
on that sodding Tower, his responsibility; the beloved failure he can never
make it up to. It'd been ok to use the tempting little tarts that hang around
Dawn to drool after him; he's home, back in the land of sweet sixteen being
legal, socially approved an all. He looked it up and everything. Buffy would be
proud of him, looking up what he's supposed to do, trying to do what's best for
But she'd never
approve of this. And he can't help that that's no longer enough.
cupping him through his jeans and that'd stop most men's thought process, and
there's nothing right now in the world that he wants and needs more than to
have her right now. And there's nothing in him to stop it. His brain's shutting
up shop. His cock and his demon are in charge; it's 'take, want, have' and it
feels so fucking good! Dust to dust if it has to be. At least he'll go out
loved and wanted.
Second left from Valhalla
He's spent over a
hundred and twenty years avoiding going into the light. Danced with it - sure.
Drawn by its fire - utterly. Warmed himself on the wildfire of love - big time.
But now there's nothing but light and fire. He's often expected to go out in
fire. He never expected the light.
thought the whole 'going into the light' thing was a cliché; certainly not
something for vampires, even ones that chose to get their souls back. After all
he's done, he was expecting something a little blacker, with a distinct whiff
of brimstone. But it's not, it's glowing, gleaming - it's purest gold. He knows
now he was wrong about where he's going, and he laughs. He can feel the light
in every fibre of his being. He can feel the light surround him and call him.
It's ending, and
he knows it. He's going down the way all of him always wanted. William's become
something truly effulgent - and it's still a perfectly perfect word. The One's
said she loved him, even if he doesn't need that anymore. The Slayer of Slayers
has beaten the crap out of the biggest baddest there is. He's won. He's gone
down fighting, winning, and he's given the one he loves a chance to really
live. So he goes into the light with a smile.
And finds he's not
Anya grabs his
left hand for dear life. Amanda holds his right for a moment, until she sees an
old couple beckoning to her, and her face lights up as she shouts,
"Grandma! Grandpa!" and runs into their welcoming arms. The other
children are soon scooped up in loving arms, leaving them alone.
"Guess we're both a bit past our expected check-in dates, huh?"
Anya only has time
to give him a rueful grin before a familiar girl with purple streaks in her
blonde hair emerges from the white light. She smiles up at him and says,
"Thanks. You know, the whole helping try to save me thing, and the
fighting the First, sealing the Hellmouth deal. Sorry, you both get me, but,
hey, no one expected you guys, not demon/former demon guys. They're still doing
the decide-y thing on what to do with you both. While they do, wanna get a
Spike could kill
for a nice cold beer, though the English real beer snob in him would never
admit it, but figures killing for an ice cold in Heaven - or wherever this
white light place is - would be a bad start. So he follows as a door opens,
Cassie beckons them to enter, and he and Anya pass through it.
Straight into his
It's a good job
Anya's still gripping his hand for dear death or he'd think it was all a
hallucination as his brain boiled. It's not. His mother's right there, sitting
on the couch with Joyce, and they're both smiling at him.
easily, clearly free of the consumption that was draining her far more cruelly
than he ever did any of his victims, and embraces him. For the first time he
can remember, he feels absolutely and totally loved. He lets himself relax, and
he feels boneless in his relief. An entire solar system could be born and die
before he comes back from this, and it would still feel too short. But the fact
that she's here, and it's real, makes it more than enough. But he still
remembers his duties. The manners she and Nanny Mary instilled in him come back
like he'd never tried to turn his back on them. "Mother, Anya - Anya, my
mother. Anya's a friend."
dear," the well-bred drawl makes the blush reach the tips of his ears, but
his mother ruffles his hair free of gel and continues to Anya, "Call me
Anne. I know that customs have become somewhat informal nowadays. Joyce here's
been telling me over the last couple of years. Welcome to my home."
"Thank you. You have a beautiful home with many valuable antiques."
Joyce stands up
and joins them. Looks at Anne and says, "We've had many happy hours
looking at the paintings. You never told me you had so many lovely things,
Spike hangs his
head. "Couldn't face thinking about it, Joyce." He lets go of Anne
and says, "Sorry for burning the house, you know, after... Just couldn't
face seeing it again, not after..."
She hugs him and
says, "It's all right, darling. I forgive you, all of it. I did years
ago." He cries in her warm arms as the sense of absolution suffuses him.
Anya suddenly hugs
Joyce and says, "I missed you. It all went badly when you died, and it was
never right again. I tried to help, I did. And there was that time Buffy tried
to kill me, and shouted at me in front of everyone, but I did try to be her
friend, mostly, but we all needed you, and you were dead, like I am now, I
suppose. It's not so bad so far; I'm agreeably surprised. But I'd still rather
be alive, even though it was all so hard."
Joyce rubs her
back soothingly as she has her own girls so often. "I know, dear. We've
been watching. Passions is a poor substitute for keeping an eye on my girls, on
all my children. I saw you all. Everything - the tears, the flowers, the
funeral, having Buffy back for a while even if she doesn't remember too well,
and what came later. So many times I wanted to hug or hit you all."
He looks up.
"You saw? All of it?" He dips his head in shame.
Anya stands back
as Joyce turns to Spike. "This time last year I'd have found an axe from
somewhere. Now, I'm proud of you, Spike. I really am. I did see everything, you
know. The whole trying to help, to be there for Buffy without asking for
anything, choosing to get your soul back. And isn't that supposed to be
something eerily close to Spike's own, "Not for my boy!"
"And we do see and know everything up here. I know you'd never hurt her
again. I saw you heal the wound that Angel left in her. I never liked Angel,
you know? I saw you set her free. I'd forgive you for that alone. But I don't
have to. I forgive you for you. Come here."
So he does, and
she gives him a hug, rubbing soothing circles on his back too. After what seems
an age, he stands back and sniffs, before smiling his thanks.
"Besides, you gave me my new best friend up here. Way more fun than book
clubbing with Pat."
Anne smiles back
at her. "You're much more entertaining than my older friends. Besides,
we're almost family. If there'd been longer, we might have been."
are." Joyce takes her hand and points to some comfortably overstuffed
Anne asks, and they all sit.
Spike sups, and
joy and guilt war in his face. "Tea like Bessie used to make. I'm sorry
Dru and me ate her. Sorry about all of them."
Anne takes his
hand and looks at him. "She knows. We all know. And you are forgiven. Know
that." She swallows hard and continues, "You have to know that. You
aren't going to be here very long. And I don't know to be happy or sad about
that, darling. I don't want to be selfish, and I've missed you very much, but
it seems you have a destiny - something about a prophecy."
prophecies. Never liked them! Sorry, Mother; about the language, I mean. Been a
dear. No biggie. Is that the right modern term, Joyce?"
worried. "So, if Spike's going back, what about me? Where's Hallie? My
parents? Not that I remember my mother very well since she died when I was a
very small child."
Joyce passes her a
scone with jam and clotted cream. "Try this, dear, no calories here for
us. But, sorry, Hallie's somewhere 'warmer'. You father, I'm told, is in
Valhalla - something about going down fighting while off on a 'viking', or
something like that - sorry, not my period of expertise. Since you never knew
your mother very well, you get me to talk to, not that I didn't also want to
see Spike again before he goes. And eat up, Spike, you're too thin!" Spike
dives into the scones and cakes before Joyce turns back to Anya.
problem for them. Your body count would normally send you off to be with
Hallie, but you've helped save the world more than once. But you died sword in
hand, fighting the bad guys. Valhalla is an option. If that appeals, we're
second left from Valhalla when you go out of the door."
Anya? Lots of beer, fighting and song," Spike asks.
of a you thing," she replies.
The armour thing, nah. Not exactly a knight in shining armour, luv. The Black
Knight from Python, maybe."
"No mentioning of That Movie. I'm still emotionally scarred!"
before you got here, that you looked like one of those Grail knight paintings
you used to like so much, darling," Anne says, putting down a delicate
Spike blushes and
covers it by turning to back to Anya. "March of the Valkyries then, pet?
Nice steel breastplates, horned helmets, and booming music?"
"Xander would have liked that. We should have tried it. I'm not sure it's
the right choice though"
"Only if she wants it. She's going to get the choice. As the other options
come up we'll know, and I'll tell her. Anya can choose where she wants to go.
In the meantime, she's welcome to stay here with us. We'll take care of
The sight of his
lost love sitting on Angel's desk rips at Spike. All those years of loving her
against the sure knowledge that, as he is now, he can never be with her ever
again. It hurts worse than the acid mist that has burnt out his and Angel's
sense of smell for, according to Fred, the next three hours twenty-five
minutes. But at least all they've suffered is a temporary loss of one sense,
his black darling has lost hers for a hundred and forty years, and that old
need to take care of her, to love her, to coddle her and just dance through
life together just won't go away. Spike doesn't think he could face it if it
ever did, even as that bloody soul nags that they are over, which he'd known
even before the soul, when he'd fallen for Buffy and the forces of good - in
that order. It doesn't help, he can feel every conflicting emotion, every
exposed nerve play out across his face, as surely as if his skin had melted
away with the acid.
Dru's face falls,
and she sniffles. "My sweet, aren't you pleased to see me?"
"How did you
get in, Dru?" Angel asks. Only decades of practice in deciphering
Angel-face, and some recent post-training talking sessions over some of Wolfram
and Hart's finest whiskeys, make it possible for Spike to read the overwhelming
guilt in the other vampire's face at the sight of his embodiment of his worst
"I told the
nice man at the desk I was his master's daughter. He got a pretty lady to bring
me here. I was good, daddy, I was. I saved some for you. I know you're
Angel moves round
the other side of the desk. Sure enough, there's an unconscious girl with blood
staining her white Agnes B shirt. He presses the button to call the medical
division as Spike moves towards Dru.
His fingers reach
out to stroke her hair, a century of love and nurture in the gesture. The need
not to have to do the unthinkable out-screaming the soul, he hears himself say,
"We don't hurt the humans here, pet. They help us, see?"
He can see her
fractured mind try to understand, and feels the old heartbreaking joy as she
smiles at him and nods. "I'll be good."
He also gets the
accompanying fury boil up inside as she beams at Angel. "I'm always good
for daddy. If I'm good he'll hurt me again. And I've been very good; the moon
told me. You will hurt me, won't you, daddy?"
Angel's grimace at
the sweet voice makes Spike really want a tire-iron back in his fist. "Why
did you come back, Dru. You know what I have to do," Angel says sadly.
a party, with such pretty screams, the bells all ringing, and the bad sun. I
brought presents for everyone. Presents for Grandmummy, caught between the
clocks. Presents for my little Spike, burnt in Hell by that nasty Slayer."
she murmurs, running a sharp nail along his cheek. "I couldn't help you
then, the stars wouldn't let me. I can now, my darling. It's all right. It'll
be perfect. You'll be safe. Mummy's made it all better." She licks the
blood off and Spike can't help shivering. "And you, my Angel."
you done, Dru?" Angel orders.
-" Spike croons.
"I saved you.
I saved both my beautiful boys from the bad Slayer. She was coming back to hurt
you. The pixies told me." Dru smiles with the shattered innocence that
tears at both vampires in such different ways. She opens up a bag beside her, takes
out a severed blonde head, and holds it out to Angel, "She thought I was
you, daddy. It was so easy. But you're safe now. We're all safe from the nasty