Title: Screams in the Night
Post- 'Beneath You'
A/N: This is most likely a stand alone fic, no multiple parts. 'Beneath You' has easily become one of my all time favorite episodes and I had to do some type of fic taking pace after the church scene.
"Can we rest now, Buffy? Can we rest…"
Buffy stared in horror at the vampire in front of her, unmoving. She didn't know what to do. Her brain was no longer processing what was happening, this was all too much. Everything he had told her. She didn't want to hear it. She wanted to turn and run. Run home, dive into her bed and fall asleep, but she couldn't seem to make her feet work. They felt heavy, bolted to the ground.
"It's so cold…"
She made a slight face at his words, confused. Cold? He was cold? No, he was hugging a cross, his flesh burning, there was no way he could be cold. Wait. She blinked. Spike. Cross. Burning. "Oh God…" Forcing herself to move, she quickly closed the distance between them. Grabbing the vampire by his shoulders, she pulled him roughly away from the cross and sent them both falling to the ground.
She landed on her back a few feet away from him. He was just lying there, his back to her, unmoving. She could still feel the tears running down her cheeks as she watched his prone form, watching for any sign of movement. There was nothing. "Spike?"
Swallowing, she rose slowly to her feet, her eyes not leaving him. She hesitated a bit as she circled around him, bringing herself in front of him. He had his face buried in one arm, obstructing her view. "Spike?" When he didn't respond, she began to crouch down, planning to give him a slight shake, but stopped. No. Shaking her head, she stood back up and gently nudged his arm with the toe of her shoe. "Spike."
Much to her surprise, he began to laugh. But it wasn't as comforting as she thought it might be. No. This wasn't a happy laugh. This… this was insane. He was laughing like a maniac, like he had when she had found him in the basement only a few nights before. He pushed himself up from the ground, pulling his knees up to his chest and throwing his head back as he continued to laugh.
Buffy watched him with wide, teary eyes, unsure what she was supposed to do. She was tempted to smack him, just to shut him up, but all of a sudden he stopped. His eyes were locked straight ahead, fixed on something that wasn't there. She looked in the direction he was staring, unable to find what he was watching.
He scowled, bringing his hands up to the sides of his skull and wrapping them in his hair. "No, no, no, NO!" His screams rang out hauntingly in the empty church, making the Slayer jump.
"No! I told you. I told you not to come back!" He shouted, climbing to his feet. He was still staring at the wall, his eyes narrowed. "I need to do this. Not with you here. No. Get away, get away. GET THE HELL OUT!"
Buffy stepped back, eyes wide as he paced back and forth, clutching at his hair and shouting obscenities at things that weren't there. She wasn't even sure if he acknowledged the fact that she was there anymore.
"It's not you're turn. It's not. S'mine. I was here first. Came home. Came back to them. Back to her. Oh God." He stopped pacing and started shaking his head, his eyes clenched shut. "They don't want me. Never wanted me. Not home. What do I do? Where...WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?!"
She couldn't take it. Before she realized what she was doing, she took a step forward and swung her fist. Spike's head reeled sideways from the blow and he grew quiet. She didn't move as he slowly turned his head back to face her.
She swallowed the lump in her throat. "Spike, you need to stop." She stated firmly, her eyes locked with his.
A sadistic smile crept to his face and he began to laugh again, the noise growing higher in volume as the seconds ticked by. "Stop? Stop?! You want me to bloody stop?!" He laughed again, throwing his arms in the air and starting to pace once more. "Stop. They all want me to stop. Stop being in love. Stop being good. Stop being evil. Hell, they just want me to stop being!" He turned back to her, his features suddenly becoming pained. "I thought you could fix it. Make it stop burning. I-I tried, but it didn't work. I can't get it out, Buffy. It's tearin' me up and I can't get it out…" His voice trailed off and he brought his hand up to the gashes on his chest, digging his nails into his flesh and reopening them.
"Spike, stop." She walked back up to him, grabbing his hand and pulling them away from his chest. Now, not only were there deep red gashes, there were dark black burns. She cringed before looking back up at him. "You're hurting yourself."
"That's the point. I deserve the hurt." He stated calmly, pulling away from her and sinking back down to his knees. "S'not your job no more. They told me to do it. I thought you'd be happy. Thought I could make it okay."
She crouched down in front of him, pulling his hand away as he brought it up to his chest once more. "Spike, stop. You can't take it out."
"But I was wrong. It's not right, Buffy. It wasn't s'posed to hurt." His eyes suddenly went wide and he brought his eyes to meet hers, panicked. "Oh God, I hurt you. I'm sorry. Didn't mean to. Wanted to make it better. Oh God, I…"
"Spike, no. Stoppit, please. I'm…I'm fine, alright? Just, listen, okay? I need you to stop yelling."
He didn't seem to hear her. Instead, he brought his palm up to her face, brushing his thumb over the tears that lined her cheeks. "I'm so bad. I deserve the pain. The spark. God, Buffy. It wasn't s'posed to hurt you." He jerked his hand away from her and scrambled backwards until he was up against the wall. Bringing his knees up to his chest, he buried his head in them.
Buffy remained seated on the floor, away from him, watching.
"They're all in my head. They won't let me forget. All the bad things I did. To them. To you. They show me everything, over and over. I don't want it anymore. Want it gone. Want them gone. Out. Going…away. I'm going away. Have to leave. Can't hurt you no more. Going. Why won't they go? Please, leave me alone. LEAVE ME ALONE!!"
Then he was silent, his head buried in his arms, still. Slowly, Buffy climbed to her feet and closed the distance between them. When she reached him, she sat down, silent, and watched him.
"Do you hate me?"
Buffy almost didn't catch it, he spoke so softly. She found herself shaking her head, which was silly, considering he wasn't looking at her. "No, Spike. I don't hate you…"
"Maybe…" She whispered, her eyes falling to the ground.
"Oh God, it's coming back. I can hear it." He suddenly brought his hands up to his ears, clutching them as if his eardrums were about to explode. "I don't want it! I told you. No, no, NO! I DON'T WANT IT!! I WANT…"
"Spike!" Buffy grabbed both of his hands, pulling them from his ears. His screams cut off and he choked, suddenly breaking down into sobs. She found herself sliding her around across his shoulder, pulling him into a hug. "Spike, please, stop yelling."
"I'm so sorry. Didn't mean to hurt you. Didn't mean to…"
"Shh. It's okay. I'm fine." She said softly, cutting him off. She had a feeling that if she allowed him to continue he'd just start screaming again, and she really didn't have it in her to listen to it. Instead she sat there, his head resting against her shoulder, her fingers running through the hair at the base of his neck as she rocked slightly back and forth. "Spike, I need you to do me a favor, okay?" She asked quietly. When he didn't answer, she sighed, pulling away from him and looking him in the eye. "I need you to promise me you'll stop yelling, okay? We need to talk, and we can't if you keep doing that, okay?"
He blinked. Nodded.
She gave him a small smile. "Thank you."
"Buffy?" His questioned, his voice barely audible.
"Are you mad?"
Her eyes fell a bit, but she shook her head. "No, Spike. I'm just….scared. For you. And me. But we'll find a way to work it out, alright? We'll work on making it stop hurting…"
"I don't deserve you…"
She swallowed, watching as his eyes fell and he ran his fingers absently over the marks on his chest. "I'm starting to think it might be the other way around…" She said softly, gently pulling his hand away once more. "Now come on, let's go get you fixed up…"