All About Spike - Plain Version
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The Poor Side of Silence
Sequel to Dig My Earth
Summary: Spike gets a taste of the open road.
Spoilers: AtS Season 5
Pairings: Spike/Angel, Spike/Dru, Spike/Other(s), mentions of Spike/Buffy
Rating: Hard R.
Category: Hard angst.
You're not supposed to be here
Not supposed to be looking for me
This is the poor side of silence
This is the white noise
of the abandoned appliance
This is The Captivity
- Leonard Cohen, from Death of a Lady's Man
So it came to be that the road was in his bones, and so was Angel, and that's when he knew he'd been hanging around for too long. He'd always been unpredictable, and that was why he was a good fuck, a worthy opponent, and he was both of those things and he bloody well knew it. But he was ridiculously predictable in matters of the heart, and that wouldn't do. Not anymore.
Angel wouldn't suspect him to leave, ever. Everyone else always left. But Spike was leaving this time, certainly. Spike had already left the building.
California was chock full of girls in their summer clothes, infernal sunlight, Angel and his hulking, eternal presence. It was the most sodding idiotic place in the world for him to be, really, so of course he went back to England. It wasn't home anymore, and that was the point.
The weather suited him. He walked the streets without a home under cloud-cover with his collar turned up and clashed with his own kind; his reputation preceded him. But they scented the soul on him, weighty and clinging. It was bad, for awhile. He was always bleeding, and he found he hadn't entirely lost his taste for that kind of thing.
He walked more slowly, those days.
So the Slayer was in Europe. Where exactly, he didn't know. He had bloodstained dreams of finding her in this place, maybe under a streetlamp, all alone in the spotlight and trembling kittenish at the sight of him but with a steady hand, and when he took her her blood would be thick as candle-wax, and taste like it, and then he would be back in that church with parts of him missing. Are we in the sodding engine?
The mechanism whirred and hissed inside of his skull, always. He found himself waking up screaming half of the time. It was a piss-off. It shamed him. Children woke up screaming. Drusilla woke up screaming, broken, with her hands like caged birds, and he wasn't broken anymore. Far gone from being a child.
And so it whirred.
Girl came up to him during the bar-rush over coffee, under harsh florescent lights. All dolled up with rouge and a push-up bra and big, faux-winsome eyes. Tramp. Took one to know one, he supposed.
"S'cuse me." She came close, closer than altogether necessary. "Can I borrow a fag?"
"Borrow, love?" he asked, bemused.
"There something you want in return, then?" Not even bothering with innuendo, but that was fine with him. He was too weary to play with his food anyway. Ennui had fallen over him as dusk falls.
"Lots of things that I want."
Soon after, she sucked him off with her painted lips while he lounged against a wall, thinking that he was done with back-alley sex, thinking Angel, thinking Buffy. Said her name right out loud, in fact. He was slipping.
The girl rose. "That's all right," she said. "You call me whatever you want," and feeling came rushing back suddenly, not ebbing, but flowing, and he hated the Slayer so intensely in that moment that he nearly loved this girl with her sad, sad eyes.
Something had been negated.
When he took her forcibly by the shoulders, she must have seen something in his face even though he didn't change his masks because she struggled, she screamed. He let this go on for awhile, her a butterfly pinned to a page and him just watching her as if he were a passerby.
But when he let her go, and she had fled, he wept.
"Excuse me. Can..."
"Fresh out of smokes," Spike said flatly, dashing at the last of his tears viciously.
"I was just going to ask you if you'd turn around," the voice said pertly. "I'm not the type to take a man out from behind. Not that you're, you know, a man."
He whirled around, and she was standing there beneath a streetlamp that was like an artificial sun, twirling a stake as if it were a baton, or his heart.
She wasn't Buffy, but when she bashed her fist into his face with such familiar immediacy, it was almost the same, and it was throwing him off. Twice she had him down on his knees, and he knew she liked that, looking down on him like that, and he knew why, whether she'd admit it to herself or not. Had some experience in such matters.
"Sod off," he told her, when he thought she'd had enough fun. "You don't even know who I am."
"I know what you are," she informed him, and brought him down again with a sharp arc of leg.
"Not what I said, you stupid bint."
"I know what you said," she told him snappishly, but when he yanked that leg out from under her she landed sprawled across him gracelessly, and there. He had her now. He had her, just like he'd had all the others. And he had maybe a millisecond before she had him.
It was easy to do what his body told him to. Was ridiculously easy, really, but she was just a sweet young thing. Well. Survival of the fucking fittest, right?
When the stake puckered the flesh, he rolled out from under her, and when she shifted to keep her position, that was enough. He batted that instrument of death out of her hand and took her with him, slamming her back down against the pavement so that her head cracked hard. He could smell tar and blood and oil. She was just bleeding everywhere, laying there and watching him with hateful, unfocused eyes. Her fingers twitched towards her stake, but that was all.
"Tell me what I am," he said, but she couldn't. Then he was crying again, on his knees again, in this place again, and why?
He tasted her blood listlessly. It tasted like sugarwater.
"S'all right," he told her corpse gently, choking on the words. "Know what you'd say, anyway."
He'd tasted her blood.
He had the dream again that night, but this time he was awake. He walked shell-shocked down narrow streets. They seemed narrow. He passed a church and a bell tolled in his mind, like a death knell.
He kept walking. He walked all day. But the sun was conspiring against him again.
He walked into arms. Those arms were like branches. He recalled flip-flopping like a fish in strange arms such as those.
"Don't fret, pretty," Drusilla crooned. "Mummy knows what you are."
He stayed with Dru for a good long while. She'd commissioned another warehouse for herself, had herself a nice, big bed that she lay him down on that night, undressing him and calling him precious. He liked that bed. He spent a lot of time in it.
Drusilla let him sleep as much as he wanted to, all of the time. Except for when she brought him home treats, but he couldn't do it, he couldn't take them, and it made her so angry but he just couldn't, until one night, (or one day?) starving, weak, he bit down on one of them and drank deep. He never saw her face, but she was a peach. Ripe. Glorious. They fucked, not him and that nameless one, but he and Dru, and it had been a long time coming and the body was there on the floor still, and he woke up screaming again and in the closet. By then it was to be expected.
"Won't you come out, my little mouse?" Drusilla murmured, crouching. "Hiding like a little mouse, you are."
He drew in a shuddering breath. "Give us half a mo', Dru."
"Can't I be the kitty again?"
Dru played her part well. He tried to leave once, twice, and she bound him all up just like she used to and scratched at his chest with her little kitten claws.
The second time. "You've been very naughty," she told him. "You were supposed to be my wise, brave knight." He just lay there, having no other option left to him, and waited for her to make it hurt. "You were supposed to be my foreverboyfriend," was all she said, and there was no weeping and gnashing of teeth, but it did, it hurt.
"I have to leave, pet. Have to. 'M leaving everyone this time, not the other way around. Off to find myself, and all that rot." Trite, it was. He sickened himself.
"You'll do not such thing, my Spike. Don't you see? We've all kept little pieces of you."
"Ah, Dru, love," he sighed out. "Don't I know it."
She gazed down at him sadly. "I miss you all the time when I remember to," Dru said, and it was almost like she was there with him for once, all there. When she pulled a girl, stupid with shock and fear, from some dark corner into his line of vision and had herself a little snack, she kept her eyes on him the whole time so that he couldn't look away.
Afterwards, she kissed him with her bloody mouth and cut him loose, but it wasn't anything like being free.
Like all of his plans, this one fell through.
Running away? Him? It was absurd. He wasn't meant to be a lone wolf. He had a pack mentality, and he missed those calls in the night. He knew of the secret places belonging to the most infuriating women, the most brutal men, the most human beasts, and he loved like an animal himself; he'd crawl if he had to.
Was strange, having no one to crawl for.
He was his own dog now, but he found that he didn't know what to do with that. One night, he ended up in a church and proceeded to break every window there. Stained glass crunched in an unsatisfying manner beneath his boots. The wind blew through and through and he could see the graveyard outside, the grass brown and patchy in places, too green in others.
He boxed himself in the confessional, and pushed at the sides of it with his palms, just about as ready as ever to tear out of his own skin. He thought then that with Drusilla, sin had never tasted so sweet, with the Slayer, never so bitter. And Angelus was sin, fucking Satan, that damned fallen angel, bringing them all to this fate.
It rained for three days straight through, and on the fourth day power lines were down everywhere and that bane of his existence was waiting for him on a street with no streetlights, which he was sure was symbolic of something, probably something fairly insidious.
"What, did you think you were being low-profile?"
Spike lit a cigarette, or tried to, the pack was soggy, and he couldn't shake the tremor in his hands for anything. "Had my illusions," he said, and fingered his lighter absently. "So, how'd you find me, then?"
"I had no illusions," Angel told him sourly. "Jesus, Spike. Giles said she was the best one. Said she could have been great one day."
"Her death was never going to be pretty, mate."
Angel tensed. "Probably not. But her death was going to matter."
"Yes, of course. Just like your continued death matters to all of mankind, right? Get off the high horse, you arsehole. I can't believe you came here and brought your moral superiority along for the ride. I need this like I need another hole in the head, let me tell you." He jabbed his finger at his temple and mimed pulling the trigger.
"Spike, you unbelievable moron. Could you be any more of a drama queen?"
Fuck it all. "Her death was going to be a long, incremental process, and by the end of it none of that great girl would have been left in her at all. That's what her death was going to be."
"Be that as it may," Angel said smoothly, and it made Spike want to shove his fist down his throat, but he didn't think that would go over very well, and he was still too weak besides. "You did not have to finish her so soon, and you know it."
"It was to kill or to be killed," he said, but he knew it, he did. "You know how it goes."
"You and Buffy never managed to kill each other in all those many years," Angel pointed out.
"Well, obviously one of us should have put the other out of their misery," Spike said, feeling wild, wanting to set fire to flame. He fumbled with his cigarette again, and got it lit, but then he kept dropping it. Couldn't believe that the old man was seeing him like that, trembling and burning his own fingers.
"Okay," Angel said, taking this in, and his voice wasn't hard anymore, not as hard as it usually was at any rate. "Come with me."
Angel regarded him blandly. "You look terrible."
"Don't fucking do that. You're not supposed to be here."
"And you weren't supposed to leave."
"Sodding hell, Angelus. That whole time I was there with you, you know you only wanted to bury me alive with the rest of your sordid past."
"Did I ever give you the impression that I didn't want that anymore?" And there was that hardness back in a moment.
Spike took one look at him looking the way that he did and spun around as if to get the hell out of dodge, but Angel had him down right off, on the pavement and under a blue teardrop of a moon, and if that wasn't an ironic position to be in after everything then he didn't know what was.
He looked up through the red haze and he was her, and he heard that wolf-song, recognized the possibility for skin, teeth, pain. Saw Angel, himself, the beast. It snapped its great jaws.
He spit in its face.
He was thrown onto a hard motel room bed, feeling the springs bite angrily into his back.
"Don't move," Angelus said flatly.
Spike scrambled towards the headboard, pushing with his heels, but big hands that he remembered so well took him by the upper arms and slammed him back down, and he choked on air he didn't need, wheezing out an expected, "Make me."
"Don't. Move," Angel repeated. "You're coming back with me in the morning. Don't move."
I'm never coming back from where I am, Spike thought, and nodded, and kept still. Quiet as a mouse, Dru.
It was easy to get away from Angel, as easy as it had been to kill that Slayer, a single blow and her brains spilled all out just as if she were a normal little girl. Ridiculously easy if you knew what to do, and Spike did.
It had been hours since he had last moved, but Angel's eyes were still open, watchful.
They were expectant when Spike began unzipping zippers, unbuttoning buttons. But his face never changed; he fisted his hand in the hair at the nape of Spike's neck and just held onto him as if he were a pup while Spike heard himself make furious, strangled little noises. It wasn't brutal, at least not in the way it usually was between them, but it wasn't soft either: it was just something that happened. It was brief and messy and it was what he had to do.
Spike swallowed and swallowed, hating the moment, the room, the place. And Angel was like winter, his kisses just melted away. Soon enough it was over, and all the bastard said was, "I thought I told you not to move."
Spike rolled away. "You still gonna make me go with you?"
"That was what this was about?"
"What the fuck else would it be about?"
Angel stared at him tiredly, the chickenscratch Drusilla had made of his chest, and waved a hand. "Go."
"Right, then." He smiled, and it must have been gruesome, because it made Angel sit up, made him look as if he might recant, even after all of it.
Spike left him there with that half-realized expression on his face.
Felt better than he had in a good long while, really, as calm as the eye of a storm. He doubted it would last, somehow.
It didn't last at all, and although he didn't think of Angel for days, he couldn't look at himself too closely for fear of catching sight of the bruises present, recalling those that were long faded, of dying in his mind as he'd taken her mind from her. But which her? Did it matter? They were all her, weren't they?
But when he did think of Angel, everyone was him.
He felt boxed-in, trapped. He would have liked to fly apart into sparks across the sky, but instead he stayed in his body now that he had one again, and lay with other bodies, and sometimes he'd say, "I'm using you, and it's killing me," just to say it and to see what they'd do, and sometimes they'd cry. Which used to be his favourite part, but now.
In this new life of his, sex was different, just as imperative but entirely changed. Whereas before he'd wanted to dig his way beneath the flesh, stain the soul, be in the thoughts always like background noise or a distant memory, now he just wanted to dig his way out of himself. Maybe that was how Buffy had felt. He almost hoped so. God, how he hated her and loved her and her hateful little o of a mouth. Her tiny birdlike bones that he could feel through her skin and that hurt them both so.
It hadn't been like dancing with Nikki at all, that dark poison apple of a woman. Nikki, generous bosom heaving, full lips, a dare and a promise in her eyes so that even when he'd snapped her neck he'd remembered that look and it hadn't been enough. But Buffy hadn't been enough either, or rather she could have been but wouldn't be, so maybe it was just that the dance had never ended.
If it was still going on, he'd lost the tune, that was for certain.
Then there was a boy. He was alive and he was warm, and Spike liked him for the thub of his heart, mostly, but also for the way he smiled with both his eyes and his mouth and the way he trembled after he came, and said, "I love you," even though it wasn't right. He was perfect, pretty as a picture, too pretty to be saying such things at such an early stage in the game, at any rate.
"Fuck off," Spike thought to say on one such occasion.
"It's okay, I mean, that you don't love me back. I don't mind."
Spike looked at him. Something twinged familiar.
And for the first time, he didn't leave in the night. He stayed and he slept and he woke up on the floor in a pile of sheets and limbs. The boy turned him over. "You were screaming," he said quietly, lips drawn thin.
"Disturbed your beauty sleep, did I?"
The boy frowned. Back on the bed, Spike held him down by the wrists so that the flesh bloomed purple. "Don't move, all right?"
"I tell you not to move, you don't move, right? Not one bloody buggering inch."
"I won't," the boy promised, but when Spike was the one who didn't move, the boy brought him down to his level coaxingly and kissed him with his hot, sticky human mouth, so soft and honeyed that it hurt more than anything, ever.
And so it came to be that the road was in his bones, and so was the boy, and that's when he knew he'd been hanging around for too long.
The boy slept with his face all mashed into the pillow, throat bare, and Spike watched him and thought, I could put him out of his misery, and thought it for a long time, but in the end let it go.
Had to get used to letting things go, he supposed. Because he was the one leaving this time. It hurt less that way and he was glad to be free of them all for just that reason, although he longed for their ghosts, and he haunted himself still.
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