Title: First Sights, Last Sights
Summary: Ramblings and memories. Buffy's thoughts on Spike.
Spoilers: Until season 7, "Selfless". Tiny, tiny spoiler for AtS, fourth
Disclaimer: All owned by Joss, Marti and the rest of the brilliant scribes
Thanks to: HonorH for a quick beta.
First sight, or second: he's standing in the alley, applauding. You're a
bit flushed with the satisfaction of a job well done, but what you call
your spidey sense is still alert, and you just know he is anything but
"And what happens on Saturday?"
"I kill you."
Sheesh, you think, vamps are such posers. This one might look better than
the Master and his minions did, but he's all with the big talk and the
threats. In a fake-sounding English accent, too.
(You know your English accents now; this guy doesn't sound like Giles at
Come parents' night, you find out he isn't all talk. He's pretty good,
actually, and able to reply to your quips, which no vampire since Darla has
been up to. Fighting him is a challenge, and you might have lost that first
time, lost for good, if your mother hadn't been there. Mom with the axe. He
never forgot that. All in all, this encounter ends well: your mother is
proud of you, and you were able to save most people at the school. Xander
is muttering something about Angel, but when isn't Xander? You're left
feeling pretty good about yourself and eager for a rematch. Because, this
guy? Way better to fight than those losers the Master left behind.
Something of a hottie, too. Your appreciation doesn't go further than that;
you're completely, utterly in love with Angel, and know with the certainty
of your sixteen years that it will be forever, that nothing will ever come
between you. So, a rematch, and you'll stake the Bleached Menace, who
advertises himself as the Slayer of Slayers.
Fighting Spike, that year: when you and Kendra are going after him and his
sidekicks, that's when you discover you've grown sort of possessive about
him. Of course you had to switch places with Kendra. You're going to be the
one to finish Spike off. The wish to kill him is pounding in you at this
point; he's been trying to kill Angel for his Drusilla, after all. Still,
the actual event is sort of an anticlimax. There's no staking him, just the
wreckage of the building, and you had imagined seeing his look when you put
the stake in his heart, that brief moment before he'd fall to dust.
Surprise, Spike. I'm better. No more Slayers for you. And leave my
(Years later, in another building falling apart around the two of you, you
do see that look of surprise: but the girl who'd have treasured it is gone,
and there's just you, watching him watching you, for a moment not sure
whether you had finally done it, staked him, or whether you really went
through with what's been in your blood ever since.when?)
Not fighting with Spike; there's a whole other series of memories. Kendra
dead, Willow injured, police on your trail, and Giles taken prisoner, and
there is he is, turning up like a bad penny and a perverse glimmer of hope.
Giving you a spiel on why he wants to save the world. Happy meals on legs
indeed. Walking with him to your home, between anger and despair and the
desperate hope you will be able to come through for Giles and the world
after all, there's the sudden realisation that he's totally checking you
out. Just in a gross "vampire looks at prey" way, of course. He's doing
this for his loony of a girlfriend, after all, the one the shell of your
boyfriend, who isn't, isn't, isn't Angel, has probably been boning since he
lost his soul. So you take Spike in your house, and you make your plan, and
listen to his promise never to return to Sunnydale again. In all honesty,
you don't care whether he keeps it or not. If only all this stops, and the
world doesn't end. Then your mother wants to have the talk, and there's no
more room for thoughts of vampires, save for the one whom you'll have to
kill in a few more hours.
One year later, and Spike apparently thinks it's simply hilarious, turning
up at your mother's for chocolate and sympathy. If he'd killed her, you'd
have staked him then and there, no matter which hostages he had, but here's
the odd thing: Spike and Mom always got along. He liked her. Willow tells
you he brought flowers for her funeral, and it doesn't really surprise you.
Perhaps that was why you told him, that night, sitting beside him at the
porch. About the cat scan, and your fear of what it might mean. He didn't
say anything in reply, which was just was well. Most things Spike said to
you were designed to infuriate.
That night. That night to top all bizarro nights, well, save one, that is
when he takes the veil from your eyes, and starts to become blind himself.
Once you told Angel you couldn't lie to Spike, for some reason, and one of
the many annoying things about Spike had always been his ability to see
things about you nobody else could. That night at the Bronze, he reaches
the apogee of his insight, and then starts to look at you through glasses
thicker than Giles ever wore, glasses showing him only what he wants to
see, right until the moment when the pitiless light in your bathroom glares
at both of you. The night the tide starts to turn, though, when you listen
to him bragging about the Slayers he killed, the glasses are still off. Oh,
he is full of it, of course. Having the time of his life, taunting you with
what you had not known, had not realised until that night.
"Every Slayer has a death wish. Even you."
And there he is, death's avatar, and your desire to fight and stake him
takes a very different colour.
"You think we're dancing?"
"That's all we've ever done."
He comes close to killing you that night, you understand later, with the
gun he carries. What he doesn't know is how close you come to killing him.
It was that or kissing him, you feel, there in the alley where you first
spoke to him, when he comes closer and closer, but you have your confidence
still, your confidence and your wish to live, and it saves you. So you go
for a third option.
(Beneath you, he murmurs, not one year later, I'm beneath you right now,
but not as you thought I'd be, right, Slayer?)
Xander and Giles don't really get it, when you launch into your rant about
Spike. Well, they get you're grossed out about the stalking, and the
photos, and the stolen underwear, but they don't understand why you feel
this reflects on you. How could they? They don't know you felt it that
night, that this makes you ashamed and even more angry. They must never
Then Mom dies and the whole Spike affair becomes irrelevant for a while.
The sight of him, covered in wounds. Why did he let her do this to him, you
think, and forget to be disgusted about the robot for a while. You're still
going to slap that Warren guy silly when you meet him. You go on with
imitating the 'bot, and then it hits you: he truly didn't say anything to
Glory, and he did it because of Dawn and because of you. This goes way
beyond the dark undercurrent of unfulfilled promises of death and sex
between the two of you which he brought to the surface with his words. This
is real, you think, and then, you step forward and kiss him. The kiss is
unlike any of the kisses you shared when Willow put the whammy on you two
and made you believe you were engaged. There's nothing teasing or sexual in
it at all. He chained you up, pulled an incredibly stupid "love me or die"
stunt on you, stalked you and had the gall to order a sexbot in your image,
but somehow, at this moment, with him looking worse than you've ever seen
him looking, and ready to die so your little sister remains safe, it
doesn't matter, not really. And as he pulls back from you, from that brief,
strange kiss, you know he understands.
The first time you seek him out without any reason but wanting to be with
him: after they brought you back.. There's no question of sex or anger
then, either. What you feel is being skinless, the world rushing at you,
screaming at you, and the almost unbearable urge to escape while your
friends are all concern and questions and expectations. That's when you
remember that it felt soothing, him taking your hands, that he felt right
in a way they did not because he must have known this, too, once. This
violation. Rising from the dead. So you go to him, and sit with him in his
crypt, and the voices grow silent for a while. There's only his voice, and
he doesn't question. It's peace, of a sort.
The first time you realise he's producing other thoughts than peaceful
ones: when you're getting drunk with him after having a horrible day and
feeling like a complete loser, again. There he is, smiling at you. "You're
a creature of the darkness, like me." And you suddenly remember that he's
attractive in his evil undead way, and that there have been times when you
felt other urges than just wanting to stake him. Bad thought. You get more
drunk, post haste.
The first time you understand what he can do for you, and the end of all
peace between the two of you: when he sings. Because you're angry, and
annoyed, and aroused, and more alive than you ever were since Willow made
you return. And that confidence, that certainty that protected you before
you died, it's gone. There's just him, and he's burning with need, and
you're cold, so cold, but you know he could warm you. You run away in time
before anything happens, but a few hours later you are in his arms, and
you're kissing him the way you never kissed anyone since Angel left, kisses
without any consideration or restraint, and you feel again.
Sometimes you wonder what would have happened if that demon had not come to
Sunnydale. Whether you and Spike would have gone on with peaceful visits
and unspoken thoughts. Then you decide, not for long. Perhaps the singing
made everything happen faster. In any case, it produces feelings in you
alright, desire and shame and hate, for yourself because you know very well
you're doing this for all the wrong reasons, and for him, because he is
what he is. And sometimes, rarely, but still sometimes, there's an odd
moment of joy and freedom. He can still make you smile as well as he can
make you angry. But no matter whether it's in his crypt or later, when you
arrive at your home, the guilt always comes back. You're not sixteen
anymore, or falling in love for the first time. You're not falling in love
at all. You don't know what to call it, the ever more suffocating web of
emotions between you, but it's not love. You cannot allow it to be. You
know how it will end, sooner or later. The chip will fail, because if the
interlude with the Initiative has taught you one thing, it's that
technology ultimately always loses against the Hellmouth. The chip will
fail, and he will kill again, secretly perhaps, in order not to disturb
you, but he will kill, because he genuinely can't understand why he
shouldn't, and then you will have to stake him. There are no excuses for
you, none at all, and yet you keep coming back to him, again and again.
Last sights of Spike: there's that last fight you two had before the chip,
when he was still your enemy and nothing else. Looking quite unnatural in
the sunlight, and incredibly pleased himself. "Did you bruise the boy? Come
on too strong?" And you're all shame and humiliation, because that is what
you're afraid of: that you're a freak who did everything wrong and always
will. "You didn't think I'd stay around after THAT," Angel said, when you
didn't know yet he lost his soul, and even though later you told yourself
time and again the demon was just taunting you, you never stopped wondering
whether you did not really disappoint him. "Come to think of it," Spike
goes on, "someone already told me you weren't worth another go - ah yes,
Angel," and suddenly, his unerring ability to say the worst possible thing
returns your strength to you, and you beat him.
Beating Spike, and not in a Slayer way; there's another last sight. Another
alley, but no dance. There is no heat in you, no dark satisfaction
governing your blows; you just want to end it, end it, end it. He's saying
the same thing she did, Faith. One life is nothing against all the ones
saved. "There's my girl." What she said, word for word, and you look at him
and see not just her, but yourself. Unbearable. Punch after punch after
punch, and then you stare at his bloodied face, and you realise what you
did. This has to end. But you don't see a way out yet.
The time you told him it was over: of course he didn't believe you. He had
not reason to, not after all the other times. But this time you try to be
as honest as you can. No insults. It's not another dance. You look at him,
and you see the demon who tried to kill you and your friends and who killed
two Slayers and countless other humans. You look at him, and you see the
man who was ready to get tortured for you, who helped you as much as he
could, who loved you when you despised yourself. There aren't really any
good ways to put all of this into words, and so you try by using the name
you first heard, all those years ago, from Giles, reading an entry from his
"I'm sorry, William."
The bathroom, then. Strange, but you never expected this. Spike trying to
kill you, that would never have surprised you. Or Spike killing someone
else, once the chip is gone. But not this. There he is, apologizing, and
you just feel tired and sore and sorry for Xander and Anya and the whole
mess. Sorry for him, too. So you try to explain one more time. But he
doesn't listen, he doesn't see you anymore. You say "feelings, but not
love", he hears an additional "yet" you never implied or meant. You say
"no", he hears the "yes" which your no meant all the other times, and he,
who once was so insightful, does not acknowledge that things have indeed
changed. He has you pinned on the floor, and you can't believe this is
happening. That he's doing this to you. Anything but this. You plead, but
he still doesn't hear, and then you find the strength to kick him away.
The look on his face, the horrified, appalled look, that one is familiar
again. Not on him. You felt it in your own heart, not too long ago. Here's
the irony, though, which you only realise much later: this look is the last
thing you'll ever see of Spike, William the Bloody, the soulless demon who
was your enemy, lover, and sometimes your friend. When next you'll see him,
he'll be gone, hidden somewhere in someone you have never met before.
So here you are now, in a basement, in a church, in a basement again, with
Spike-who-is-not-Spike. What you deserve, he says. You don't know what you
deserve. You have the idea of a trap closing in on both of you, and the
urge to escape is incredibly strong. You can't even be angry with him, or
grateful, or anything, because he's not really Spike anymore, is he? He's
somebody new, whom you have no idea how to handle. It freaks you out. You
toy with the idea of asking Angel for his help, but you haven't heard from
Angel in a long time, and when you do call Los Angeles, there's a strange
girl you don't know on the phone who tells you Angel is so worried about
Cordelia and someone named Connor, and if this Sunnydale business is not
end-of-the-world stuff, can't it wait? Angel deserves that much
consideration, doesn't he? Well, yes, you say, and hang up. Would probably
have done more damage than good, anyway. So it's just you, and the insane
vampire in the basement, who got that way not because of gypsies, or
curses, but because of you. It drives you a little mad yourself. I didn't
ask for this, you want to scream at Spike. I never asked you to do this. I
never would have.
But Spike isn't here any more, or at least not in charge, and with his last
act, he has again managed to tie you to his fate for good. You try to be
matter-of-fact with Not-Spike, talk to him as little as possible while you
still try to figure out a way to make sense of it all. Find a way for him
which does not involve you.
But sometimes, you see echoes in his eyes, and it all comes back.