All About Spike

Five Things That Never Happened To Spike
By Kita (Donna M.)

Title: Five Things That Never Happened To Spike
(A part of the 'Five Things That Never Happened' challenge)
Author: Kita (Donna M.)
Email addy:
Rating: R-ish for some language, violence, disturbing imagery including nearly-fluffy Spuffy, and smut of various varities. Nothing too graphic.
Summary: Er...five things that never- yea. That. Set in seasons 4, 5, summer following S5, & two post-S7s, respectively.
Thanks: Surfal, Daki, Jess, Te & Wolfing.
Archiving: Lists. Others ask me please.
Disclaimers: Not mine. Joss'. No profit. No sue.
Feedback: Adored.

Five Things That Never Happened (To Spike)

i. Mirror (s4)

He dreams in color. Predator vision behind his eyes, streaks of yellows and browns, endless landscape for the hunt. Blur of beige and gray falling beneath him, then glorious splatters of red. He dreams of killing. He dreams of sex.

When he is awake, the colors fade. They feed him when they remember, the blood is cold and finite. He thinks of dead flesh and caged animals; it's the boredom that does them in. The bathroom is his cage, endless white tile, a morgue, and he is just another corpse beneath fluorescent lights.

He closes his eyes and thinks of other things.

Sometimes Giles' house smells like despair. Sometimes Spike can breathe the scent of it in on his tongue. Sometimes it tastes a bit like home.

And he imagines burying himself so far inside the man that he wouldn't even need his fangs to taste the Earl Gray and misery, riding just underneath the aging skin. There are silver strands in the Watchers' hair, and Spike would taste the color. Salt and pepper, simple things. Things that end.

He wonders what it would take. He could do it. He was made to do it, after all. Because he died pretty, he died *because* he was pretty, and he's gonna be fucking pretty 'til he's a pile of dust and ash. Pretty golden boy, they called him. When they were in a good mood. When they loved him. When things shined.

It may have been over a century, but it's not as if Spike hasn't played at being someone's boy before. Hasn't spent nights chained to things, awakened to find a figure looming over him (red eyes and red waist coats, a blur of blood and bruise). Breath reeking of expensive bourbon and misplaced lust.

He's not certain the Watcher smells like lust, exactly, so much as loneliness, and a touch of insanity. It's been a long time since Spike has been able to tell the difference anyway. It's all still red to him, it all still sings.

And pride has gone calling on stature these days, someplace far away from here where Spike can not follow. Someplace where Slayers' necks twist and bleed, where their eyes hold anything but pity. He can't remember the last time he was touched with care, and beggars cannot be, and all that rot.

A sweat slicked fist around his cock- even if it's his own, and then hands wrapped cruelly around his throat, his back arched toward heaven-Spike long ago learned to trade sex for death and religion. For sanity.

What is the Watcher's religion these days, now that the girl prays to army boys instead of him? What's the religion of men who bide their time waiting to die?

Spike finds the careful, cruel words. Is only half surprised by the result.

Bones remember how to break, and skin remembers how to cry, and Spike remembers that Giles once had another name. He claims that he gave it up, for duty and Slayers and the Good of mankind. Spike knows him for a liar.

His teeth are sharp, his fists are cruel and these things never do sleep. Not really.

Hand on the back of Spike's neck where skull meets spine, face pressed so hard into the pillow that he can scarce make out the whispered expletives falling with sweat and spit onto the small of his back. Painting stained glass visions behind his eyes, and on his flesh.

Someone calling on god in a voice that sounds much more leather than tweed.

Someone making him alive.

When he closes his eyes he is no longer reminded that he is dead. The Watcher has fine lines around his eyes from too many tears, not so fine lines around his mouth from too many smiles. But Spike doesn't have those, and he never will. And when Angelus broke Spike's knuckles, they didn't heal bent and misshapen, so that the pinkies each curve in a small bow. Giles had not screamed, but his face flushed, pink and red, swirling shadows of  life and pain. Spike cannot blush. He bears none of the imperfections, and wears none of the colors of man.

But he can pant and he can holler and he can come. And he can close his eyes. Just like the Watcher.

What does Giles see while he and Spike rut like dogs on a bed stinking of whiskey and unwashed bodies? Does he recall that time in the mansion? Think of Spike sitting passively in his wheelchair, while Drusilla stroked his erection and Angelus counted to ten, slowly, using the fingers currently bruising Spike's upper arms? The fingerprints Giles leaves there will be uneven. And they will not last.

Maybe that's why he fucks Spike from behind, so he can close his eyes and not see anything at all. Pale hair and paler skin beneath him, squint and watch it blend into the white sheets, just a form, just an outline of a man. Conjure instead the mystery fellow Spike supposes came with that tattoo which Giles is always so careful to hide around the children. Spike may know nothing of majiks except to stay the hell away, but the green and blue brand on the Watcher's bicep crackles with... something. Powerful enough to give any demon passing by a hit. Powerful enough to be the image Spike sees when he jacks off in an old man's bathtub.

That energy, black and malicious and ancient, creeping through the Watcher's pores with alcohol sweat, hiding beneath the stubble of his five day old beard, because he only bothers to shave if he thinks his Slayer is coming over, and she doesn't make much of a habit of that anymore. That seductive sucking whirlwind of pain and pain, reminiscent of times, worlds and (clan) which Spike tells himself that he is long over.

Or maybe Spike's on his godamn knees again because he is lonely, bored, and not just a bit desperate himself, an expatriate in a town full of children who look older than he does, and maybe he would give anything for one night in a bed not made of porcelain and steel. Maybe he's afraid he is fading, swirling watercolors down this godamn drain, until one day he will be gone.

Maybe the Watcher can relate.

And maybe, just maybe, they have both lived too long to live in hope.

The Watcher's sheets are plaid and dark, and they hide the blood stains.

Tomorrow, the Slayer will come. She will bring her witch and her boy, and Giles will make mint tea and wear a crisp, clean shirt. He will speak the way Spike's headmasters once did, and not at all like Spike himself. Spike will spend the day tied to a chair, a monster without insight into the desperations of men who too quickly grow old.

The world will be just a sketch, simple black and white. A safer place for children.

But tonight, Spike will be bruised purple, blue and yellow. Tonight, he will scream in color.


ii. Crush (s5)

He doesn't remember them doing it. Doesn't remember the hands

(strong hands, how could they have been strong enough, no one's felt that strong since fatherAngelusDrusilla, been so long since anyone else tried)

holding him down.

Doesn't remember needles.

Drusilla. Speaking. Inside his head. Outside his head. "Eyes like needles, and he told me you were far away. I wouldn't believe him, no, Daddy, how do you know my Spike is gone how do you ..."

"...know this stuff even works on them?" a man's voice finishes. No, *finished*. That was before, that was when fingers poked his side and contempt on the last word, and he wanted to spit wanted to hit wanted to.

(scent of of sick rooms and child death. Isabelle was four when it took her, and the house never smelled right after. Stunk like smothering, tasted like laudanum. They had given her more and more at the end, said it would ease her passing, but William wanted to ask, how do you know?)

"We don't," and another poke in his side but that one was needles. Needles under his skin. In his dead veins where blood doesn't flow so they needed another dose. Shouted because (fuck) fire burning burning

"burning baby fishes I told him. He still has them, Daddy. Under his skin and deep inside and we just have to get them out," Dru says. Now.

"Damn no, we're gonna have to use more, this one is -"

"strong, my Spike is. He won't let this stop him from being my big, bad doggie"

Bloody right I am, strong, I am. Big and when I get out of here I'll kill you all I'll kill you I'll

"-kill them all instead of fucking around with them like this?"

"Would you rather we experimented on you, soldier?"

But that was then, so he doesn't remember.

Spike doesn't remember being unable to move (oh fuck oh fuck oh) when he heard the drill, felt the --crack-- without really feeling it because, yes, the local anesthetic worked on vampires (thank you god oh thank) but the general anesthetic did not. So he was awake for the screaming in his head and the bite block in his mouth, for being turned face down and then the blood and vomit, chunks of flesh on the floor. (Is that mine?)

"yes, dearie, bits of you, teeny, tiny bits of family and promises and lies, but we're going to put it all back together, aren't we, my Spike?"

Unable to move because there are straps -leather straps, Drusilla always loved leather, and there are chains. Chains rattling, rattling, rattling, and that's wrong. There weren't chains. Not then. Not for him.

Twilight sleep. That's what it was. Like the doctors used to do for women-folk when they had babies so the stupid bints would forget all about the pain involved and just keep breeding. But they were awake during, just awake enough during, so that they could-

"-cooperate and this would go so much easier."

"Sod off, motherfuck-" chokewhitecoldelectric jolt brain to balls and the wood in his mouth the only thing that kept him from biting his tongue in half. Long, quivering line of drool from his lip to the floor. Scent of burned flesh.

"He set us on fire. I really didn't like that part."

There's fire. And singing. He really doesn't remember singing. A lot of cursing and pens scratching, the smell of medicine and hard, painful death, but no singing and no fire and no- Slayer.

"She's here, Spike, here to watch. You always loved it when they watched our little games, didn't you? Now say hello, Slayer, say hello you wicked girl."

"Go to Hell."

Sizzle and bacon flesh and the Slayer doesn't scream. Which is impressive, truly. Spike screamed, often. But of course, he doesn't remember.

Small hands on the bow of his back, whispers and nonsense.

"I tried, my lovely, I did try, but it's in so deep and these silly tools.." Clatter of metal on concrete. Tried, she tried (oh god oh fuck). Bits of brain and blood on the floor.

"Drusilla," voice. He has a voice. Yes, of course he does, Drusilla wouldn't gag him, no she would never- she would just strap him to a table and stick her hands inside of his (oh god oh fuck).

"You're awake, love!" Cooing and the hands on his back. "Good! This will be so much more fun if you can play with me. Nasty Slayer's gone all to sleep."

"Cattle prods will do that to a girl," he says, calmly. That's always the way with Drusilla. Calmly, slowly and she will untie him and he can assess his injuries and later, much later, he can figure out how the fuck she got the cattle prod from him in the first place. 'Cause last he remembers-

(Angelus had tortured this minion for days. Fingers came off first, to the tune of Mozart, he thinks, and screaming. Toes. Feet. Hands. "God, they last so long," Angelus said, smiling. "And they always," he paused to look at the mangled flesh that no longer resembled a living creature at all, barely a hunk of meat on a butcher's hook. Kicked it. And it *groaned*. "They always stay conscious. That, my boy, is immortality for you. Sentience, even like this. And if I let it live? He may even remember all of it. Forever." Angelus didn't let it live. It was the only time Spike can remember his sire being merciful.)

"I tried, Spike, I did. But it's no good. No. No good." Dru is crying and he wants to turn to her, to see her, but he can't move his head and he can't figure out why she would tie his head down. He can see the Slayer's stomach rise and fall.

"Dru, untie me, love. Come on, now. Let's get Spike up and we can take-"

"No, no. It's no good. I'm sorry. But I won't leave you this way, I won't do that to my shining boy, I won't-"

She's stepped away and now he smells the smoke.

"Dru! Dru for fuck's sake untie me!"

Wet cough, blood spatters on the Slayer's legs. "You're not tied down, Spike."


"I'll tell everyone you killed her, my precious." More blood on the floor at her feet, and the Slayer's stomach isn't moving anymore.

The flames smell like sickness. They creep closer, dancing in rhythm; Drusilla is still singing.

He wonders if this means he is forgiven.


iii. Bequeath  (post s5)

She sleeps on the floor of his crypt, her head pillowed on Buffy's old, fuzzy blue sweater. She's wrapped in a leather coat (not his). She wears it every night, even though it's stained with Willow's blood. In sleep she is silent. In sleep she does not dream. In sleep, she is innocent.

At least that's what Spike tells himself.

(("Spike?" and he was awake, her scent among his death and dust- but it was wrong.

"Bit? Jesus- what the fuck - Bit!" she collapsed and he caught her. Brushed matted hair from her face, clumps of flesh and bone, smell of sage and superhero. Covered in it, a second skin of murder and rage.

"Who did this? Dawn! Who did this?"

Opened yellow eyes and smiled at him. "Me."))

She's dyed her hair. Jet black, terribly passé really, but she's fourteen and therefore finds it the height of gothic irony. Not as if she can see herself in the mirrors anyway. Her fingers curl and uncurl around the sweater she uses for a pillow. Tonight, she has painted her nails bubble gum pink. She is very small. She has no one else. He tells himself that a lot too.

She killed every one of them as soon as she rose, covered in dirt and her own blood. They were still grieving Buffy, still frantic over Dawn's disappearance, so of course she was ushered into the house without second thoughts. Willow didn't make it to the bathroom to clean her up. Had to use surprise against the witch, after all.

She let Xander linger a while longer. "I always thought he was kinda hot," she'd said.

Anya was almost an after thought, but Giles- he proved somewhat harder to kill. "But this skin," she told Spike, twirling slowly in front of him in her strawberry shortcake baby tee and low slung jeans, "man, it makes everything so much easier."

He disposed of Willow and Xander while she ransacked the house. When she met him at the foot of the stairs, she was wearing Buffy's leathers. And he must have froze for a second. Because she snorted, fondled the lapel on his long, black coat and said, "like you have room to talk?"

Later, he threw the Watcher's body into the river. There were deep gouge marks on his face, down both cheeks and across his forehead. "He never really loved me," she said.

She still smells a bit (little bit) like Buffy and he can't quite figure that one out. There's not a drop of Summers blood lingering in her dead veins now, and her skin is pale, and cold. But sometimes, when she sits on his lap, if he closes his eyes....and in a town that eats its own dead, he can't help but be grateful that it decided to give this one back.

The second night she came to him dressed in red. "I want to go dancing, Spike. Take me dancing?" She started swaying back and forth, and her hair was black and her nails were red and she reached out to run a finger down one of his cheeks and- he grabbed her wrist.

"What's wrong, Spike?" Her eyes were darker now, her smile old and feral. She bared her shoulders. "You used to call me Niblet. Don'cha want a nibble?"

But he didn't and they haven't and he won't. Won't. She's not Dru, she's not Buffy, she's (not) Dawn. Dawn. And there has to be something of that girl left inside her. Has to be. Because god knows there's too much William left in him. Still.

The third night she arrived carrying plastic bags filled with junk food. "Killed the guy at the 7-11," she explained, popping a pink coconut covered confection in her mouth.

"Dawn, love, you have to be- more careful," he said slowly.

She rolled her eyes, then jumped into his lap. "Why don't you teach me? We could kill stuff together. It'd be fun." She leaned in close enough for him to taste the decay on her tongue. Death and marshmallows. His mouth watered.

"Can't," he said, disentangling himself from her long, no longer awkward limbs and standing up. "Chip."

"Right!" she said, smiling, and wrapped her hands around his waist from the back. "Looks like you need me as much as I need you then, huh?"

Such small hands. She snaps necks with them like she was born to. And who the fuck knows, maybe she was. Slayer's blood, ancient green energy.

Whatever. His belly is full of warm, human blood every night for the first time in two years. He covers her kills with the efficiency born of his age and necessity. He tells himself that this is keeping the promise. He is taking care of her after all.

She gave up all pretense finally, after about a week. Stood before him naked, covered in someone's blood- probably a blond girl's, she's always killing blond girls- and reached out with those small hands to undo his trousers. But he stopped her and her human face melted into fury.

"What? Buffy was good enough, but I'm *not*? That it?"

"No," he said, keeping his eyes on her face, the ridges and slopes of a demon older than them both.

"Well, what then? You think I'm some kind of virgin? *Please*. Those boys who turned me had other things on their minds besides biting."

He said nothing.

Two days later he found a nest of teenage vamps. They all died very slowly.

She was fourteen when she died, and she's going to be fourteen forever. She whimpers in her sleep, the way he must have when he first came back. Today, she snapped a girl's neck in the middle of the street. She wasn't hungry, she just wanted the girl's shoes. The vein in her neck is robin's egg blue. She would taste like buttermilk.

"We should leave here, Dawn." He told her earlier tonight. He calls her Dawn now, and she likes it. Makes her feel all grown up, she says.

"Why? There's no Slayer, and this is the *Hellmouth*. Pretty much the only place to be." The lollipop she was eating made her lips sparkle.

"Because there *will* be a Slayer. And questions. Eventually. We don't wanna be here when someone comes callin'. Ponce in LA, for instance."

Dawn smiled around her red lollipop. "Grampa? Pft. I'll send him an email, tell him we're all fine- Oh! Better idea! We can pay him a visit! He'd love to see me. Probly make me cookies. Cordy said so, at the funeral."

Spike frowned. "What the hell would I wanna see him for?"

"Cause he's all souled, and lonely."

Spike frowned some more.

"And missing poor, dead Buffy. And probably? Really, really easy to kill."

And it wasn't that he couldn't relate to anyone's hatred of the old man. He just couldn't quite figure *Dawn's*. In reality she met him only once, at her sister's funeral. Any imaginary memories she had of him must be pretty damn vague. How old could she have been when he was around, anyway? Angel probably scarcely noticed her.

"Yea," she said," *he* always loved her best too."

It's a lovely daydream, but he isn't planning any trips to LA. He isn't planning much actually, beyond getting in someone's car and driving until Sunnydale is just another nightmare, like Prague, and bad poetry.

She'd surprised him by agreeing quickly to leave, kissing him on the nose like a pet and saying, "I have something I have to do first."

"Be back before dawn," he told her.

Then it was a half hour before sunrise, and she wasn't back. He  tracked the scent of her to the still-standing tower in the middle of the town. She stood at the very edge, arms outstretched, blood dripping from both her wrists and belly. He looked up, the drops fell on damp earth, his hair, and his coat. Her eyes were closed.

He'd climbed to the top, listening to the creaks and groans of metal pipes as he walked carefully across them. "Dawn?"

She didn't open her eyes. She was wearing that dress, that damned princess velvet dress that had once heralded the end of their world. It was tattered and stained in blood.

"I'm real," she said.

"Yes," he answered, advancing slowly toward her.

"Nothing is happening. No portals," she said.


"And if I fall now? I don't die."


"But she would. She *did.*"

Spike stepped close enough to touch her. Her eyes opened.

"Yes," he'd said.

"Would you still save me? Still die trying?"

He did not hesitate. "Yes."

"But I'm not Dawn. Not anymore." She held out her bloody arms, thin rivulets ran down her wrists and fell to the concrete below.

"Probably not," he'd said.


She stirs and mumbles something in her sleep and he notices the blood still under her fingernails. Wonders whose it is. Without opening her eyes she reaches for him, and he lets himself be pulled down. Her confidence belies her body- small, waif like, with barely budding breasts and young boy hips. But she moves like a woman, and purrs like a demon. Her tongue is certain, electricities and dark majic.

He will save her.

He falls.


iv. Shine (post s7)

The day after the world ends, Spike goes out for a drink.

Willy's place is right where he left it, buried a bit under the rubble, but otherwise relatively unscathed. Some tall, green fellow behind the bar takes his drink order and calls him 'petunia.' So long as the Jack Daniels keeps coming, Spike couldn't give a fuck.

There's not a human in the place tonight, but someone's installed a karaoke machine, and a huge, revolving disco ball center stage. A Krevlak demon is standing beneath the artificial silver lights, mouthing the words to a song Spike can't quite make out. When he's finished, a Moresh demon takes his place, and Spike figures the mike must be broken, because he can't hear a damn thing this guy is singing either. By the looks of the crowd, he also figures this is for the best.

"Depends how you're lookin' at it, tulip," the red eyed bartender says, and Spike wordlessly holds his glass out for another refill.

The demon pours. "I mean, it's kind of hard to read someone's future when there isn't any, you get my meaning?"

"Not at all," Spike says, dropping his glass and reaching for the bottle.

"Well, you'll find out soon enough I'm afraid, buttercup."

Spike growls. "First off, if you don't stop calling me flowers, I'm gonna rip off those horns and stuff them where your green sun don't shine, and second-"

"Woah, woah, sweet pea. Let's not mutilate the messenger."

Spike sets the bottle down on the countertop with a dull thud, and stands. "Yea? Well what's the message?"

The bartender points to the corner, where a short, balding fellow is busily arranging what appear to be slices of Swiss. He looks up at Spike. "The cheese always stands alone, you know."

Spike blinks.

Shakes his head, and walks toward the door.

"Hey!" the bartender calls, "you sure you wanna go out there?"

"Why the hell not?" Spike asks, already opening the door. The demons cower in the corners of the bar.

And the light is so bright Spike can *hear* it, a wet, slow thumping sound that makes him cover his ears and close his eyes and want to fucking well whimper...

Over the din he can hear the barkeep shouting at him.

"I don't think you're ready...."

The desert. In his Desoto. Angel is at the wheel, driving with one hand and attempting to fold a map with the other.

"Why are you driving my car?" Spike asks, and Angel looks up, as if seeing Spike for the first time.

"Why are you letting me?"

"I'm not let-" and as soon as the words are spoken he is in the driver's seat. Angel doesn't appear to notice.

"What *is* that?" Spike asks.

"It's a map," Angel says slowly, in his Patient voice. Spike hates patient voice. "It's actually for you."

Spike takes it and looks it over. "I can't read this, it's not even in fucking English."

"I thought you spoke Fyaral."

"This isn't in Fyaral!"

"Oh. Right. Sorry."

"Look, what- why the hell are you here?"

"I have a message for you," Angel says, his voice dropping half an octave. The car pulls toward the side of the road without Spike's assistance, and finally crawls to a stop.

Angel slips closer to him, cups the back of Spike's head in one large hand, and Spike flinches in spite of himself.

"Shhhh," Angel whispers sweetly against his mouth, "Congratulations, my boy, you're finally  one of us...." His tongue glides across Spike's lips and presses its way inside, and oh- oh god, no one has touched him since he got his soul, and he wants to cry because he didn't know, he didn't know, he-

grabs Angel's biceps and moans into his open mouth, but those lips slide away across his cheek, kisses wet and heavy with breath and need. Tilts his head back to expose the vein, still and false and blue, begins chewing on the rope of skin there.

"Are you ready?" he whispers, and his grip tightens on Spike's shoulders even as Spike tries in vain to pull away.

Then there are fangs.

Then there is just pain.

He wakes with dust in his eyes, on the dance floor of the Bronze.

"Hello, Spike," she says, reaching a hand down to pull him to his feet.

"Slayer..." he says, softly, voice almost breaking because he thought she- he thought they all-

"I was gonna be a fireman," she says. " Did you know that?"

"No, I didn't." He stands toe to toe with her, but he doesn't dare reach out. Her hair is long, straight and the color of wheat in sunlight. He would give anything to see her in sunlight. He doesn't think he has anything left to give anyway.

"What happened, then?" he asks finally, fingers twitching at his sides, a gunslinger waiting for draw.

"Kept saving the world," she says, saving him again by grabbing one of his hands in her little fingers. She rubs her thumb across his knuckles and looks at him. He can't help it. He brings her hand to his mouth, and kisses her palm. She doesn't move.

"Right," he says, then, "y'know, I was gonna be a poet once."

She doesn't laugh. "What happened to you?"

"Nothing as grand as all that. Died, is all."

"I'm sorry," she says, looking small and for a moment he sees her on her bathroom floor, bruised and afraid and looking like- a girl. Just a girl.

"So'm I, luv. So am I."

And in the silence between them, he can hear the world again. Sirens and screams. Whispers and wind songs. He used to bite the pale white flesh inside her elbow. She used to sigh.

He pulls her close before he can stop himself. Feels arms slip around his waist, hair spill across his shoulder. Closes his eyes and sees shimmers of pink and red, bougainvillea clinging to the rocks. He sways her slowly back and forth.

"Spike?" she whispers, looking up.

"Yea?" and to hell with his broken voice, to hell with the end of the world, to hell with-

"Are you ready?" she whispers, and the wood spears his back before the words are out. Her face is empty and he tastes his own ashes.

Summer in Brazil; the night smells like jasmine and blood.


"Hullo, pet," he says wearily, and she grins. There are bodies under her feet. He tries not to look too closely at them.

"My Spike, I was just thinking about you."

"Were you now? What were you thinking?"

She takes his hand and begins to swing on his arm. "I was remembering," she says, "the night I killed you. Do you remember?"

He nods. Hay and tears and the small wounds of a small man. It hurt. He remembers that it hurt.

"You tasted sweet. Like bumblebees."

Waking up in a box with a pain in his chest and mud in his eyes and mouth. He choked because he didn't know he didn't have to breathe. Alone and afraid, he'd screamed for his mum, but no one came. He didn't know they were there, waiting. He didn't know they'd heard him screaming. All night. It took him all night to claw his way out because he was young and he was weak and he just didn't know.

"You were so pretty, Spike."

He threw up on his own grave, after. Dirt and sawdust and tears. Angelus looked disgusted, but Dru kissed him anyway, and he had never known the moon had so many colors.

William died. But he survived it. And he's kind of always figured that if a man can survive his own death, there's not much else that can take him. The moon is huge over the jungle, tonight. And either it all makes sense, or he's finally gone completely insane. Dru would know. But she would never tell. He smiles.

"Sometimes I miss you, Dru," he says.

She smiles back, leans in to whisper in his ear. "Are you ready this time?"

And he nods.

Opens his eyes to dirt and fire. The stench of a battlefield, death and black majiks, fear and rot. No one left to bury the bodies. And maybe after all he's done he deserves to have it end this way, broken and unmourned, hallucinating random images of people he is never going to see again. But she deserves better, he thinks.

He can't remember what happened now, probably because his head is split and it's only that pesky immortality thing keeping him alive while his brains leak out his ears. It's all right though. He doesn't really want to remember how she died, how Dawn died, how Angel died. Whose name she called, in the end. If anyone else is left. If they failed to save the world.

The sun will be up soon.

He closes his eyes.

There's a bench a few feet away, he walks towards it and sits down. Undoes his coat and waits. It's already becoming warm. A prickle behind his eyelids. He curses, he will not cry now, not- but it is just the light. It's been over a century for him, and the coming of the sun is unfamiliar, glorious. Terrifying.

Another breath, and he can smell her.

And on her, all those women who have made him what he is, what he never was.  He thinks maybe spring is coming.

"Hello, Spike."

He turns his head.

"I didn't think it would be you," he says, as Joyce smoothes her skirt and sits beside him.

"I know," she says, reaching out her hand. He takes it, and she wraps her fingers around his.

It's been years since he's thought of his mum, decades since he has wanted to, but now she is here, with the promise of warmmothercocoacomfort. And the tingling behind his eyes isn't from the sunrise anymore; he is weeping, tired and hungry and weeping and just so. fucking. tired.

She pulls his head toward her shoulder, and he lays it down against the rays of the first sun. His feet are warm.

"I'm ready," he whispers.

"It's ok, Spike," she says. "You can rest now. You can rest."


v. Dance  (post s7)

He doesn't wear glasses in the sun. He squints instead; tiny, invisible teardrops leak from the corners of both eyes. The road sometimes blurs, and even with the visor down he nearly hits things. He still refuses to wear the glasses. He spent one-hundred-and-fifty years without sunshine, and he’s not going to hide from it now behind some ugly pair of Raybans.

He raises a hand to the level of his eyebrows and squints some more, nearly missing the turn-off. The tires squeal in protest as he throws the turn and Buffy rolls her eyes at him. But she's smiling. Sometimes when he takes a reckless corner she'll tell him he’s being an idiot, and she'll even laugh.

He's always thought she needed to laugh more, hell, wasn't that their point of contention even before the soul? “Lighten up, Buffy,” “Live a little, Slayer.” Far be it from him to begrudge whatever it is makes her happy now.

Phone calls to Xander in Bumblefuck, Colorado. And yea, Spike still hates the overbearing lout, but Buffy comes out of those phone calls looking- pink. Young. Sometimes she sleeps through the night afterward.

Visits to the cemetery- and who'd have thought that would make anyone but a vampire happy, but he's so damned far removed from irony at this point, Spike isn't sure heed know it if it bit him on the neck. They're all there, laid out like some macabre row of sandwich cookies, two by two by two. Willow and Tara. Anya and Giles. Dawn and her mum. A gray marker for Angel, right next to Cordelia, and beside them, the graves of Wesley, and some fellow named Gunn, whom Spike met only once. If one could call tossing an ax at a bloke and shouting “behind you” a proper introduction.

Buffy likes to bring white flowers, and arrange them neatly by each headstone. Spike likes to stay the hell out of her way. She never cries, not there, not while she's awake. And he supposes that she of all people would know that they really are in some kind of better place. That she'll see them all again some day.

He harbors none of these illusions for himself. Has no idea why he's still here, but is well aware that when he's not here any longer, he sure as – he sure isn't going wherever Buffy goes.

And maybe he should begrudge his old Sire that much, finally. The eternity of harps and puffy white clouds Angel will get to share with his Slayer. But Spike gets warm kisses in the morning's light and silent, sleeping tears on the pillow they share. He gets long drives like this, with the top down, and sometimes, if he drives fast enough, she grips his hand hard- so hard- as if seeking some kind of protection. And Spike figures that he got the better end of the deal. All that white just makes him think of hospitals anyway.

(“God, it hurts it -hurts,” crying and scared, and ashamed. She'd never had to deal with this kind of physical pain before, all those Slayer cells carefully designed to promote quick healing so the next battle could be fought. But now there was no next battle. And Slayer strength and healing had gone the way of demons and vampires, apocalypses, and old friends.

“Course it hurts, pet, you broke it.” She cradled her sore arm and the heavy cast against her chest while he fed her pain killers and ice water.

“Why does it have to hurt so much?” she asked, and he knew damn well she wasn't talking about her arm.

“’Cause you're only human, luv.”

“Well, I don't like it,” she said seriously.

He sat back on his heels and looked at her. “Yea,” he said. “I know exactly how you feel.”)

Oh, but it's not so bad, is it? This being human, this being a kind of man.

“Don't smoke anymore,” she pleaded with him, one night. Two AM and he had been sleeping. She woke him with the table lamp shining in his eyes and her hair stroking his face as she straddled him.

 “Just quit,” she said.

He blinked up at her.

“I can't- you can't die too.” Her belly was kitten soft against his and her toes were cold on his calves; she was here, and she was his, and he'd said, “Sure, luv. Promise.”

But he sneaks a smoke sometimes, and he can really taste them. And he can eat and be full, and drink and be drunk, he can walk and squint and drive in the light of day, and she will hold his hand.

When they make love he counts the meter of her breaths. He finds the beginnings of haikus in her sharp gasps

/oh oh oh oh oh/

iambic pentameter in the groans of his name

/please, Spike more/

and he finds himself wanting to make rhymes for them. Some testament to the transient, something immortal from the finite. He never does. He hasn't put pen to paper in decades, and he isn't about to start now. But he counts. He arches his body just so, to force the sigh he needs from her when her rhythm won't quite match the one in his head.

Then she opens her eyes and looks at him. And worlds without end slip through his grasp again, suddenly all he can remember is that he was once an evil poet and a bloody awful man- or . No matter. The last line is ever the same.

/But we are still here/.

It won't last forever. He knows this. Just a grand, cosmic accident, some prophecy hiccupped and he is living -*living* on borrowed time. On divine benevolence. On god damned luck. They've made love every day for the past five years, never once bothered with any sort of protection, and she still bleeds by the dark of each moon . Fool for love, but never a fool. He has the moment, but an ex vampire and an ex Slayer will not be allowed to breed.

Because warriors are never allowed to build temples. Because there are days when she just sleeps, and days when she won't eat, and some days she won't move from the seat by the bay window. She stares out at the street, and she doesn't cry and she barely breathes, and he wonders. What she sees. He hopes it's Heaven. He knows better. There are no more monsters, and the earth is rid of all her ghosts. But his Buffy is still haunted.

He holds her together with lullabies and fairy tales, trips to the zoo and picnics at the cemetery. He brushes her hair until it falls like water between his fingers and she lets him plait it into knots and elaborate buns. “Where'd you learn to do that?” she asked him once.

“Had horses when I was a boy,” he lied. He spent over a hundred years braiding Dru's hair, but there are things he will never speak of here, in their house. There are some shadows that if seen would bode weeks of winter, and Spike has found he prefers the respite of warmth.

“Oh,” she'd said, accepting, trusting, and leaned back against his bare chest. She might have smiled. And for a while, it was living rather than lingering.

He turns to her now, letting his eyes leave the road for a second, and she is smiling. Looking at him, right at him; he wonders again what she sees.

She pulls the scarf from her hair, and sends it flying behind her as he floors the gas pedal. Feels her light pink fingernails dig into his palm. And it doesn't matter what she sees now, when she looks at him. (All that's left of her past, her innocence, those she once loved. A living embodiment of some fable, the monster who became a man. Her consolation prize.)

Because when he looks at her, all he sees is grace.


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