Stupid Things

By Sweetprincipale

Completely AU. There are people who get inside you. That you love, that you get angry with, but they're still your person. The person who, no matter what they ask, and how much you say no, you will end up doing anything for them. Buffy and William have that kind of relationship as they grow up. Is there anything that can change it?

Author's Note: This story is told in a series of moments, sometimes minutes apart, sometimes months apart. Page breaks denote the shift in time.

Author's Second Note: All due credit to the Foo Fighters and the references to the song Everlong used in this piece.

Dedicated to Omslagspapper (cover design), AGriffinWriter, The Darkness Befalls, micmoc, Sirius120, Rosalea12, Ginar369, Illusera, TieDyeJackson, Jhiz, and jackiemack.

Nothing of Buffy belongs to me, except my sincere admiration. However, this story is all mine.

Part VIII

Hello

I've waited here for you


"Hello, William."

"Hello, Drusilla." He jumped inside, even outside, but the bulky coat hid it. Her voice came out of shadows, wrapped around him as his hand wrapped around the broken iron rail he used for support.

"Have you been waiting long?" She was in front of him suddenly, blue eyes wide and ethereal, smile small and knowing as her cool white hands reached for him.

He let her lead him, taking death by the hand. "Seems like forever."


Everlong

Tonight

I throw myself into

And out of the red


"You did come find me. I knew you would." She lead him through backstreets so twisted even the city that housed them was unaware of their existence.

"You're smart."

"Smarter than you know." She dropped them down suddenly, giggling wickedly, watching him crash to his knees and limp forward blindly, now in a new labyrinth, this time under the city. "I don't want you in the sun anymore, William. If you want to dance at my ball, you mustn't leave at midnight. You'll turn into something so much better than a pumpkin if you stay with the princess."

His heart raced. Key word, turn. "I know."

The dancing voice, the leading figure slammed to a halt, and slammed into him, forcing him back against the gritty underground wall. "I know she's following you. I know she's waiting for you. I know she's the one who planted my garden of pretty black spikes."

Well, what was the point of lying? "She is. Was."

"You want to go back and see her?" He nodded immediately, through a lump in his throat, and she gave a sudden low chuckle of burning delight. "You shall have your wish, my Spike. She'll be the very first human face you see," the burning chuckle suddenly matched her eyes, jaguar golden and twice as predatory, "when you wake. Before you come back to me."


Out of her head she sang

Come down

And waste away with me

Down with me


"I'm not hurting her." Will held her hand as they slipped through tunnels, dipping down, then trudging up, like some hike through a fun house.

"You won't. My sweet William. So good, so kind, so... sweet." She licked his jaw and then kissed it. "But Spike. Oooh, he's the wicked one. Bad dog." She growled and snicked her teeth shut just shy of his vein.

"Just one person, aren't I? You are."

"Sometimes we're special, my kind. Our kind." She giggled and spoke around a finger pressed to her lips, whispering a secret. "Sometimes we take a new name. Demons have their own names, you know."

"I didn't." He swallowed, head reeling in excitement, and feelings of dread. This wasn't how it should go, should it? It wasn't supposed to be round and round like this, leaving him feeling confused. The whole thing was so bloody confusing, shouldn't this part be more simple? Drain, turn, rise? "Are you Drusilla? Were you always?"

Drusilla paused, blinking, giggles and secrets suddenly gone. "He kept me in too much pain. He wanted me to stay the same- so the pain would stay." Her nails pierced her own palms, and spots of red began to drip, tiny scarlet tears down her white frock.

Will reached out hesitantly, and took her hands. He lifted them slowly, looking into her eyes. "I won't let him hurt you anymore." Lips pressed the back of her dainty wrist, then he hesitantly rotated her hand. Palm up. Tongue out. "First taste?" His tongue dragged across the scored skin.

"Is always the sweetest." Drusilla shuddered in ecstasy and took the other hand and pressed it to his cheek before her own tongue darted out and licked the trail away.

"Not bad." He whispered in her ear, curling one hand through her raven waves. Strangely thrilling. Bad. Wicked.

Powerful.

Drinking down what makes you alive... The drink death can stick, the drink I'll live on...

"It gets better, the more you take." Drusilla leaned away from him.

"Then take mine. All of mine." He offered boldly.

"In such a hurry to die, Sweet William?"

"No. Hurry to live."

She kissed his cheek and clasped her hands together gleefully. "My beautiful boy, about to be born."

They'd arrived at some crumbling brick ceiling, or rather, someone's basement floor. She pulled an overhead hatch, and fine red dust drifted down.

"What are we doing?" Will looked confused.

"Come into my parlor." She swished inside, ahead of him.

The fly, already caught, followed the beautiful spider.


Slow how

You wanted it to be

I'm over my head

Out of her head she sang


Buffy was ready to scream. She'd lost him. Almost immediately after they'd met, two figures in the distance, one leading the other away as she bit her lip to keep from screaming for him not to go. They dropped off the radar, out of sight, nowhere to be seen, and she couldn't even tell when or where it happened. Too many tiny alleys, too much time wasted trying not to be seen by Drusilla, from wherever Ms. Crazy 1800 was lurking.

Oh no. No, no, no, he trusted me, Oh God, he trusted me, why did he trust me? Buffy started to run, back tracking, mentally taking stock of every alley and dead end, fire escape and doorway. I'm a screw up, he knows that I'm a screw up, how stupid can you be to put your life in my hands and - oh yeah. That's why.

Five hundred routes she had to check as fast as she could.

But she took him. That's what has to happen.

I think she took him, I saw them leave. She had to have taken him, otherwise wouldn't he be here? Somewhere?

God, where is he?


He was in a house that smelled of disrepair and dust, faded sofas with ugly floral drapes. "Why here?"

"Angelus liked his women kept in style." She moved forward through the dark house, and he followed unsteadily behind her, heart moving from stomach to throat, lungs laboring. At the end of the ground floor hall, she turned a key in a door and opened it, to reveal something out of a vintage dream.

Bed in satins and laces, jewels and trinkets on dressing and end tables, and in direct opposition, cobwebs and dust around the mirror, hanging on lamps and curtains. "I was his creation. He kept me in a pretty box." Drusilla ran her hand over the bed. "Pretty box and pretty frocks, like all the dollies."

Will shook his head. "What do the trimmings matter if he hurt you so much? You're not his anymore, why's it matter if you keep the 'pretty box'?"

Drusilla looked at him wonderingly. "That's how the game is played, Spike." Her accented voice was chiding and plaintive all at once. "When you're a vampire, pain is your pleasure, and your pleasures are others' pains."

"I -"

"You take what you want." She abruptly pushed his shoulders down, so he fell back onto the edge of the bed. "You enjoy looking at it. You play with it until you're tired of it. There's always a new dolly."

"Is there?" William swallowed bravely. "Then why d'you still hang around Angel? Not his dolly anymore, are you? Why you still stuck on him?"

She tilted her head as if studying a particularly foolish child. "My pain is his pleasure. And his is mine. I stay near him, because he loves to see old ghosts, and I love to watch him writhe. Don't you listen?" Her red talons tugged his ear dangerously hard. "Should these come off and I get you some new ones?"

"Ah, no, I heard." Will gently disengaged her hand. "I'm just tryin' to understand, Luv." He confronted her with a question that plagued him. "If you still want him so much, why do you need me?"

"I don't. You need me, now." Drusilla slid her hands under his collar and ran her hands possessively over his back. "I'm doing this for you."

"An' I'm grateful." He breathed out, swallowing hard lumps of nerves constricting his windpipe. "I guess I just wanna know why you're doin' it for me."

She leaned close to his cheek, spoke against his skin, sharing a secret. "You're going to make me happy. I'm going to make you happy." The vampire pulled back and studied him. "Because you're not, are you?"

William paused, unsure of how to answer. "Not right now." He finally agreed.

"Not in such a long, long time. Ever since mummy died?"

"How-"

"I can read your pain. It says you watched. I watched too, my mummy die. It took hours." She shuddered suddenly.

"Took months." Will growled.

"And you sat, powerless. You try to reason with words, and sing with songs, but you know..." She leaned to the ears she doubted and whispered, "that you did nothing."

"Did everything I could!" Fire snapped in his eye.

"Which was as good as nothing at all." Her hand stroked his face, his neck, finding the scar she'd given him months ago. "So angry... so hungry. Hungry for power. You want to get the upper hand on death."

"It owes me. Took a lot from me. Not gonna take me as well." He growled and caught her hand, pressing it into the scar she played with. "Not unless I can get back up and kick its teeth in."

"Mmm, impatient Spike." She grinned wickedly. "I like it. I like it all." Her hands ran down him possessively. "Such a sad tune in your music box." She hummed something high and fluting, yet mournful. "But I can still sing to it."

Unsure how to reply, he finally gently ran a quivering fingertip over her perfectly pale cheek, where smiles often showed, but never seemed real. "Sad yourself."

"He stole my songbird, wrung its neck." From plaintive to vicious in three seconds, William watched her face and tone change. Then, as if turning a page, her face changed once more, calm and pleasant. "They tried to steal your music, too." Fingers over his heart. "Thump, thump. The bass drum is slowing down, soon the band won't march."

Stops beating. He nodded.

"You've been sad so long. Sad and drifting around the shadows, even though you walk in the daylight, you feel like it can't reach you. You wonder if you belong to us. In the dark. In the grave."

"Maybe." Hadn't he wondered for years? About death, about after, about how it could kill and kill what you loved, and leave you, lonely, miserable, impotent in spite of all your fury. But something changed.

Buffy.

The rage suddenly swelled. To find her, only to find yourself suddenly caught in death's snare? To rip happiness away before you full tasted it? He let out a low growl in his chest.

"Yes... yes, that's my Spike." Drusilla encouraged and coaxed. "The tiger's already inside, you just need the teeth." Her own briefly emerged, then disappeared. "I'll share, my lamb. Turn you from the plaything into the master."

"Master..." Master of his own fate, for once, in what seemed like a long, bullying existence. "I like it."

"Just need the cure." She stroked his hair back, stroked his cheeks, moving closer, an intimate embrace becoming suddenly much more intimate. "I'm your cure..."

"Yes. Yes, cure it." His eyes closed nostrils flared in sudden ecstasy.

"Mm, my lovely boy. Soon we'll have it just the way we want, and then we'll wait."

William's eyes opened. "Wait? What we want?" Was there something he was missing? What they wanted was surely not the same thing.

"So much love we have. Never given back." A sad smiled graced her lips. "Haven't you loved her? Forever?"

William's mouth opened to answer, then hung there, ajar. Loved Buffy forever?

Maybe.

A million moments with her. Sad, angry, happy, wonderful, terrible- all the best of his life. Felt like he'd found everything he needed and wanted when he found her, and yet- it hadn't been everything between them. "Yes."

"She hasn't loved you back."

It stung. Unexpectedly. "She does."

"She hasn't always. She saw your love waiting, and she chose another." Drusilla sneered. "My flower to pick."

"Timin' wasn't right. We're young. Young an' stupid." He defended himself and his love.

"No, no, no. Old soul inside you. Waiting to be free. It wants to die, and you want to live, live forever. Love forever. Both of us, love forever, as we were meant to love." Her lips suddenly danced across his, then rested on his ear, speaking with dark intensity. "Love is blood. It's taking until it hurts, it's breaking them, breaking you, consuming you and loving the flames. Love chokes you-" Her fingers grasped his throat, "and marks you." His scar split open under her nail. "Love doesn't leave, even if you bleed it and beat it and tell it to go. Love will hunt, watch, and wait, and -" she released him, sitting back, "and wait."

William felt each of her desperate words strike resounding chords inside him, and he grasped them eagerly. "Yes. Yes, exactly. Burns you and you don't mind. You do- wait, I mean." He thought of Buffy, waiting for him, looking for him, and him waiting for her. Both of them in different time streams in the same place, and finally they'd connected, only for him to be tugged away, towards eternity while she was stuck here. No. No, they had to wait, even if it took forever, to find each other again. He would be master of his forever.

"We wait for them to reach us." He whispered. "Even if it seems too long, and that they should've been with you from the beginning.

Drusilla nodded. "Good girl. Waiting for daddy to come back."

Oh. Oh, the poor thing. Murderin' evil thing, but still able to love thing. "Dru...I hate to tell you, but I don't think he's coming back." Different with Buffy. Angel's a mess of soul and demon, but as long as the soul wins out, he can't go back with her, not with blind eyes...

Drusilla shook her head stubbornly. "He will. He never really leaves, you know." She giggled again. "But it could be years. Decades." She pouted in turn. "So lonely. He doesn't love me anymore."

This comment struck him, making hims peak slowly, thoughtfully. "Vampires can love, can't they?" All her language, made sense, sounded like she got it, knew love. But everything Angel had told Buffy about not being able to experience love without a soul faintly nagged in the back of his mind.

She nodded immediately. "Oh, we can indeed. In our way." She looked past him, then towards the covered window, an expression of such aching on her face that he again reached out and cupped her cheek. "He never loved me. I don't suppose he ever will. I still wait. I still love him. So I wait."

"I'm sorry, Dru."

"Don't fret, Sweet William." Drusilla inched closer to him. "If it's all you've ever known-"

"Shouldn't be all you've known." He hated Angel then, even more than he already did. For turning her, for keeping her tied to him for years without loving her, and for having no intention of ending her heartbreak, for not even believing it was real, based on what he'd told Buffy about vampires minus souls.

"Maybe you'll teach me something new?" Drusilla began to run her nails across his chest, down to his belt, and watched him draw back.

"We did that before." Will said with a tense shrug. "You didn't like when Buffy was on my mind. You won't like it now either, because she still is."

Drusilla seemed to consider. "When you wake up, sweet prince. Then you'll finish with her, and we'll begin together. Waiting for you. Waiting for me. When you wake, the waiting's done."

Lying to her felt wrong. Saying "I plan to kill you if Buffy hasn't arrived and done it for me" was likely to get him killed in the non returnable manner. "I'll do my best to end the wait. Stop the pain. I... I don't like to see you hurtin', princess." It was true.

"I know you don't. It's why I found you and you found me. We're waiting to be born, or to die, so that somehow, the pain all melts away. Like toffee in the fire." She held his face, he lifted his chin towards her, and they kissed once.

"You still taste of sunshine."

"And you - you're all dark now. Inky dark, and you need a touch of brightness." He kissed her again, feeling light headed.

"Not a touch. Sharp. A stab." She pressed her palm to his groin and felt the reaction with a smile. "A spike."

"Me. Need me."

"Need me. Ring-a-ring-a roses..." Her hands moved in circles now, across his body, across his face, until his head lolled and rolled, lost in her hypnotic gaze and lulling touch. "A game we play of hide and seek and turn and peek, never knowing who takes the last turn and wins the prize..."

"Only one way to find out." Here it comes. Here I go...

"Take our turn together?" He nodded. She slowly changed her face, to something ridged and cat-eyed. "Let me take out all the death inside you, Spike."

"Please..."

"Give you one of my own." She kissed him softly, and then struck with a sting that left him gasping, holding onto her.


Life flashes as it drains. He felt his fingers going numb around the frail shoulders and his body began to shut down. He gasped. She held him tighter and moved her hips down against his.

Mum.

School.

An ocean, a trip to a gravestone, so many gravestones...

Faded photo of a handsome man his mother loved, that he never could remember, only now he thought he heard his father's laugh, his mother's laugh, remembered once upon a time there'd been a happy family.

Willow.

Oz.

Rupert.

Mum.

Bertie.

Buffy.

Buffy. Buffy. Buffy.

That image didn't flash. It stayed steady but flickering, like one tiny burst of candle flame as the rest of the world went dark and cold.

Something pressed to his blue lips. Warm and red, soft and sweet, smelling of lustrous black manes and perfumed lace.

"Have a drink, there's a good Spike."

It's just like falling asleep. Just like falling...

He swallowed as he watched the face in the flame flicker to blackness.


And I wonder

When I sing along with you

If everything could ever be this real forever


Darkness gave way slowly to something red and gold and black. Fiery figures and shapes that blurred and blended, beautiful in their anger and power.

Dreams weren't dreams. They were real, and they were sweet in a different way. No more gentle sweetness, no. Sweetness meant the sting and the rush, and weakness escaping.

The sweetness didn't have a name, didn't have a voice, but he still felt like it was speaking to him- and oddly enough he felt like it was him. Yet he was able to answer it. Something niggled that this wasn't quite right.

Stop fighting and enjoy it. You can already feel how good we are together.

Who's fighting? This is bloody brilliant!

You're in good hands. Strong hands. Hands that'll make them pay, hands that will bring you everything you ever wanted.

Too right they will.

The glowing surged, faded, and returned to the outline he was getting quickly used to.

Why are you fighting?

I'm not!

You have to leave.

If I leave, how'm I supposed to enjoy the power, you idiot?

There was pain now.

Shouldn't be pain now.

Do you want to live?

Yes.

Then leave. I'll keep this body alive.

What happens if I don't?

More pain. Terrible pain.

That happens.

He couldn't scream aloud. He was the scream. He was pain itself.

Then respite.

Go.

No. Stubbornness didn't die, or at least it hadn't left yet.

Frustration. Then burn. No soul survives the fire.

Yeah? How long can you keep this up?

I'm inside. I will rise. This body will rise, I have been born, no power on this earth or in the next expels me once I merge.

Well... I don't seem to be goin' anywhere. Burn away. Wish I had a smoke. Pain so much stronger than the others seared him, swallowed him. He tried to run from it, but there was no space. How do I leave, if there's no door?

Not a door. Light. Pain stopped long enough for him to see past blazes and into something calm and white, beautifully soothing. There you go. The demon urged him. Go into the light. It's peaceful. Beautiful. All your dreams come true. No pain, no sorrow. Your dreams come true...

Hesitation. Is she there?

Who?

Buffy.

Of course.

Longer hesitation. Not the dreams. The real one. Is she really there? I'm done with dreamin' of her. I want the real one. Is she really there?

Not yet... but I'll send her along as soon as I can. I promise.

Like hell you will. William felt something wake up. Things seemed sharper, though still indistinct. Not gonna budge. I've been waitin' too long for this damn date, an' I'm gonna have it.

Bloody hell.

You sound like me.

I am you.

Ha. Then you can't really tell me to go, or hurt me too much, can you? Since I'm you.

One of us wins.

Then it'll be me.

It never has been before.

There was never me before.

You'll give in. You'll fail.

No. No. ... Already failed too much in life. Not gonna fail in death. I know about vamps. I know somethin' anyway. I know at night fall, you'll yank this body back to walkin' and talkin'. Figure all I have to do is stand the pain for a day. Not even twenty four hours. Laughter, scoffing, seemed to pour from him, echo in this limbo. I've been in pain for years. Do it. Do your worst.

I'm.

Not.

Running.

What sort of human are you?

Was I, you mean. Well, mate, guess you'll just have to find out. Like I said, I'm not goin' anywhere.


This wasn't really happening. Daylight came up and found her sweating out tears and returning back to the same starting point for the hundredth time.

This can't be happening!

This isn't the plan, this isn't the plan, this isn't the plan! Fists started echoing the screams in her head, and she pounded dents into an alley dumpster.

"Shut up!" A voice shouted from above.

"Sorry!" Buffy looked up, startled, and then sank back against the wall, fists bloody, hair a stringy mess. "So sorry. So sorry, Will." She let herself have thirty seconds to collect herself, to scrub off her tears and lick her dehydrated lips. Thirty seconds, no more.

Apologizing time is done. I'm not giving up. I will find him.

Back to the last place she had a visual on him, and start again, down a different alley, turning a different way than the time before.

She was going to find him by dark. She had all day.

"I've always been good with a due date." She lied to herself, then recollected, "No. Will was always the one who made it happen on time. I need him." She started running again. Gotta go find him.


Drusilla hummed as she scooped him, light as a feather to her demonic strength. She carried him like a sleeping child, smiling with an unholy satisfaction at her handiwork.

"It should be outside, but Mr. Sun is up, with his nasty rays." She purred as she laid him down in the basement. She clucked over him as she wrapped him in a white sheet, winding it over his feet, neatly folding and winding again, until she reached his face. She paused and bent to kiss his lips as she finished the final fold. "See you soon, my darling boy. Sweet dreams, Spike." She covered his face and patted the wrap into place.

Soon the only sound in the basement was the chink of a shovel hitting the crumbling bricks on the earthen floor, and her strangely upbeat humming.


She found the tunnel entrance by accident, or by fate finally showing mercy. She was bleary eyed and exhausted when her foot caught the grate and she realized it wasn't embedded in the asphalt, but actually had been recently pried up.

Buffy lifted it and dropped down with a wince. All right. Down the rabbit hole after the crazy ones. Not really that surprised.

She stepped forward, tripped, and landed in something she hoped was just stagnant water. "Really should have brought a flashlight..."

Buffy walked painfully along in the dark, her superhuman eyes providing some guidance, but not nearly "illuminating". "I get the best girlfriend in the world award after this. If I don't get the worst one for losing him in the first place. Maybe that cancels each other out." She talked to keep the claustrophobic feeling away, trying to pretend the tunnel wasn't slowly closing in on her, and that she was walking away from the only exit she knew of. "That's okay. That's fine. Not greatest girlfriend, not worst." She curled her hands around the keys in her pocket. His keys. "Just still let me have a boyfriend when I find him." She whispered.


Hello

I've waited here for you

Everlong


She could feel the darkness hitting her through layers of concrete and city street. Hours of walking, literally from nightfall to nightfall. Nothing to show for it. In the dark she felt like she'd missed some clue, but maybe there were none. No footprints to see after this long.

She'd missed the tiny spatter of brick dust several miles and multiple dead ends and retraces back. She tortured herself that she could have walked past signs of a struggle, splashes of his blood, and never known it.

She couldn't take it anymore. Who knew where she could have gone? Where would Drusilla have taken him?

"Angel. He might know her well enough by now."

But then he'll interfere.

"Giles. Giles will know because he has all those books and she's in them and he reads. But then I'll have to admit I lost William and I-"

"Found him."

Buffy shrieked. An actual girly shriek she was used to scoffing at as she saved some helpless idiot who couldn't tell a dead pick up in a club from an actual human. She whirled and found herself looking into a gruesome, mad grin and flaming eyes.

"It's all games. First it was tag, then hide and seek. Now it's the hunt."

"Drusilla. Where is he?" Buffy took a step back.

"Sleeping. Not ready to wake."

"Wake..." Buffy knew she was supposed to stake the vampire, kill the vampire, be scared, be angry, but instead all she could say was, "Thank you."

Drusilla's face lost its demonic guise and revealed a surprised woman. "Thanking me?"

"You saved his life. I mean, in the long run." And now I have to end yours. Her fingers curled around a stake in her waistband. "So thank-"

"I haven't saved it. I've traded it for yours." Drusilla smiled. "He'll take yours. He'll be the finest of demons, my Spike. Nursed on Slayer blood, his first feed the rarest and finest. Just like him."

"Agree with you about the rare and fine part." Buffy flipped her stake from back to palm and crouched to strike.

"Oh, no no." Drusilla hit her with something she'd been holding behind her back. In the split second before it bashed Buffy in the temple, she recognized it as the spike Will had been carrying, or at least one they'd used.

The world burst into crimson and skin split. Buffy landed on her side, trying to get up, but wondering why her head felt so large and heavy that she couldn't raise it.

"Heard you scuttling under us, so many times today, little rat in the walls. Going to wake him early." The clucking tone turned to a hiss. "I should kill you now." There was a pause, and Buffy tensed for a death blow that never came. The more modulated tone was back, "But I won't. I'm a good mummy. I won't deprive him of a first glorious hunt." Buffy watched in horror as the spike was raised above Drusilla's head as she stood over her, about to be plunged through her, and then it slowly lowered. "Not much of a game if I leave you pinned to the ground to find." She reached down and ran a finger through the sticky red mess that was now Buffy's hair, blood soaking into it from the head wound. "Plus, you're quite fragile when your organs still work, aren't you?"

"I'm going... to find him." Buffy feebly pushed herself up, only to fall immediately back.

"Where's the fun in that?" Drusilla demanded, shaking her head. "You'll spoil his birthday, you don't want that?"

"July. Born in July." Buffy slurred.

"Reborn in August." Drusilla swung the iron rail again, and Buffy saw stars before the already dark world turned completely black. "Stay here. Stay alive- at least a little." Drusilla patted her hair again, and then licked her finger. "Mmm. Worth the trouble. And he'll share. He's such a good boy. Such a good, wicked, evil, boy."

Buffy shook her head, but it only sped up the darkness as it swallowed her. She mouthed something, but neither demon nor slayer could really tell what.

"You think I won't let him? Because you're a 'Slayer'? Slayers are nothing compared to a demon who has to taste what he's been hungering for- and that's you. Only now it'll be your blood. Your rubies. Always wanted your rubies..." A vague, dreamy voice that seemed farther and farther away as unconsciousness won the battle. "Don't worry. I'll give him your scent. He'll find you soon. I know what it's like when he keeps you waiting."


Tonight

I throw myself into

And out of the red


Burning was fading. How long had he stopped really feeling or thinking or saying anything and just been screaming?

And suddenly- the pain was dying.

Leave.

N-no. He couldn't be panting, but yet he was, exhaustion and battering taking its toll.

You'll regret this, human.

We'll see, demon.

You won't see for long. You've resisted for longer than most, but soon you pay the price.

What price?

Humans can't handle it. Demons get their due. Then your soul'll run, screaming, more shattered than you already are. You'll see... Last chance.

Not takin' it.

Fool.

Stupid, some say, but it works for me.

It was like lightning flashed in a single spot, straight through him, and at once there was no more human, no more demon.

The time had passed, the moon had reached its place of calling, and the demon rose to answer.

A soul split, a demon halved. Neither demon nor human was in possession, but as William woke he lost all feeling of separation between two entities. There was no more echoing, limbo-based arguing. There was just one single voice, one single thought. He didn't even recognize it at first, but then he realized it had been in him all along.

A roar, reverberating, tearing from his chest, "Yeeesss!" A cry of triumph, power, and hunger for more- and it stopped short.

Will's eyes flew open as his hands, meant to be thrust up in victory, stopped short. "Yeeeess- What the bloody...?"

Where the hell am I? Why can't I move? Why is it dark?

He wanted to hyperventilate. His throat still made the shadow motions, but he realized- I'm not breathing! Not breathing, not breathing- wait, I don't need to breathe.

I don't need to breathe. I don't need my lungs to work.

A chuckle, low and slick, "I don't need 'em anymore! Ha! Take that, you fuckin' tumor."

Now I just have to get out of here.

I'm buried. Why am I buried? Who buried me? Why would I get buried, only Drusilla was around and she knew I would be gettin' back up. Unless Buffy-

Thoughts about Buffy went wrong. Tangled, blurred, blackened, as he tore at his cotton bindings, spit out dirt, and roared again while he punched and clawed his way from a shallow grave.


Buffy was cloudy. She woke up in pitch black, head throbbing, and something gumming her eyelid closed.

"Oh goody. Blood."

That's right. A trail of blood. My scent. For Will. For Will to find me.

She staggered up and forward, steadying herself against the tunnel wall. There were two options. She could try to navigate her way to him and given that she'd been unsuccessful for God knew how many hours, hope she finally got lucky, find him, fight him off without hurting him, kill Drusilla, and hope he was still himself.

Or she could try to get back to the surface, leaving her trail of really gross perfume, and let him find her, and be relatively safe from Drusilla- and him- in her own house. She could pull Will inside, but keep her out. Could she shoot her from a distance with one of the crossbows? What if Will got in the way?

What if he eats someone on the way over? Drusilla would find out where my dad lives! What if it all goes wrong, and she comes over in a couple weeks when he's back, gets herself invited in and-

Her brain juddered to a halt.

This has gone wrong. All completely wrong, and it was all her fault for losing sight of him in the first place.

We did something stupid. Now we're screwed. So many times we've been screwed, but at least we were together. She cried suddenly, unable to hold in the helpless feeling anymore, but at least tears unmatted her eyelashes and she could see better.

We'll be together again.

One way or the other.

She dug in her pocket. She'd lost her stake, but there was still- yep, there it was, a small, silver knife. She pricked open a spot on her fingertip, then considered and cut a deeper gash that bled quickly and easily. It didn't even hurt. Nothing hurt in comparison.

"Your turn. Come find me."


Out of her head she sang

Come down

And waste away with me


He broke the final layer of earth, gasping, bleeding, panicked, and looked around wild eyed,.

Then wide eyed.

The world had been a plain piece of rock before, and now it was cut crystal. Everything was a thousand times sharper, details leapt out, night color sparkled, blackness was really only shades of other colors hiding. It was intoxicating. To suddenly know he had the ability to see what others couldn't. To smell what others couldn't. He inhaled and grinned a throughly debauched, wicked smirk.

Drusilla's scent. Had to be. Like a dark fruit that dripped sweet juice. "Dru?"

There was a giggle from above. "Princess'll be right there, Spike. I wouldn't miss it for all the world."

"Miss what?" He murmured, and turned slowly, shaking himself off, brushing himself down. He noticed his hands- dead white now. Now more blue traces, no more tingling but-he clasped them, Hmm. Cold? Am I cold, or can't I tell?

Does it even matter? I'm going to get something hot soon.

His face shifted, and he felt it, pleased. Hungry. Hungry for something thick and sweet. "Dru! Get down here, or I'll come up!" His shout surprised him for only a second.

"Ooh. Aren't we commanding?" She laughed lightly and one little satin-slippered- foot appeared on the top of the basement stairs.

"Yeah. Aren't we?" He laughed back and went to meet her.

Drusilla glanced at him for a moment. "Mmm. You're a beautiful tiger, Spike. Even your stripes..." She drifted down to him, wiping his dirt streaked face.

"And my roar." He snarled and gripped her wrist, dragging her down the last step, into his arms, against his chest.

"And your body. I like this one so much better. So much... harder." Her hands were across his chest, then his waist, until- not quite what she'd expected. "You'd better eat first. It's a potent aphrodisiac. I want to bathe in her blood. Paint pictures with it."

Spike backed up, just barely. Her touch on his groin had sent a warning signal, and he had the urge to ignore it. The reference to eating made his fangs ache, and he licked them. Sharp. All over sharp, inside his mouth, and across his chest. He was knife edges, all jagged and ready to rip her apart.

He kissed her hard, bit her lip until it broke under the weight of gnashing teeth, and tasted ambrosia.

"Bloody hell." He whispered, almost reverently.

"Just think- this is leftovers. Cold. I've taken all the life from it. You, when you take her, sink your teeth into her- squish, splash- all those sweet juicy berries bursting in your mouth." Dru's eyelids fluttered in anticipation, and she danced herself a few steps away, twirling in her delight, waltzing with him. "You want that, don't you? For her to burst?"

He blinked and his face reverted.

Buffy.

Buffy to burst in my mouth. Yes. Yes, I want that.

But not like she means.

"Oh, don't look so sad, Sweet Spike. I know you've got all his lovely memories. You'll always have them. But now-" her fingers snapped an inch from his eyes, and he flinched, "see through his eyes. See through my dark spectacles." Her voice was mystifying, lulling. "Everything's different in the dark. When the sun is gone- you think about all she did. And said. Realizing..."

Spike realized indeed.

He'd loved her from the beginning. She'd chosen someone else.

He'd been desperate for her. She'd run.

He'd risked his life for her, time and again, and she used him.

Used him, pushed him away, hurt him unintentionally, mocking him in her "friendship", when all it really was was a way to have him near her, but keep him from owning her.

I should own her. I should have her. And take her.

I should... love her.

She loved me from the beginning. I pushed her away.

She was desperate for me. I wouldn't take a risk.

She risked her life for me, time and again, and I just expected it.

Used her, pushed her away, hurt her, a billion bloody stupid things we put each other through, and we never, ever stopped lovin' each other.

"I don't feel too good." Spike put his head in his palm abruptly, and slipped away from her, sinking onto the bottom stair.

"It's the hunger pains, my duckling. You'll find they go away, the nasty ones, after the first feed. Now, I've got a special game for you. I've hidden your supper somewhere below, and all you have to do is-"

"Just a minute." Spike snarled.

Drusilla snarled back, marching to him, gripping his chin. "Mind your mouth. Or mummy'll sew it shut."

He shoved her hand away and stood. "You're not my mother!"

Drusilla's anger vanished as suddenly as it had come, replaced by puzzlement. Vampires didn't talk like that about their mothers. Didn't speak like that to their sires, not newly fledged. She clapped her hands as she stared at him. "Aren't you even more rare than I thought? Oooh, this is good. A feisty tiger, lashing his tail. Daddy will be ever so angry with what I've made."

"Angel?" Demon, human, or some odd combination of both, Spike spat the word.

Drusilla ignored the disgust in his tone, too busy waltzing again, this time with an invisible partner. "Yes. Angelus." She crooned adoringly.

Spike's hands curled into fists and clutched the leather at his sides. Something crinkled. He could hear it now, with his uncanny senses.

"Angelus will be ever so cross. I like when he's cross."

His hand slipped discreetly down, watching his mad sire lay her head to an imaginary shoulder, eyes closing wistfully. "Yeah? Why?" A photo.

Buffy. Beautiful face. Beautiful girl. My girl. Dark thoughts prickled. Oh yes. Make her mine.

"It's not love."

"What?" Spike shoved it hastily down again, but she wasn't referring to his picture.

"It's not love for me, at least. But he loves taking what someone else wants. It's enough to get his attention."

"Me, y'mean?" Hands wandered again. Lighter. His silver lighter. And... this coat felt funny now. All odd and bulging in the wrong places.

She continued. "Always hated that you had his sunshine's heart." She tsked, then smiled at him as she turned. "Then all of her. Tonight you'll have all of her- her life inside your veins. You'll finish her, and he'll hate that the most."

Spike licked his lips. Hunger was something he'd never truly experienced until that second. The hunger for blood at all was consuming, but hunger for hers- oh, he just knew it would be the most exquisite thing in the world, and to have her life- something inside a meshed mind considered that it wouldn't be so bad to do to her. For her. When he had steadfastly reassured all parties involved "I won't hurt her", he hadn't realized how much of a threat he'd be, even without any violent wish behind it.

There was a little of that violence, too.

"I-"

"When he finds I've chosen you, and you are mine- he'll take me away from you. He doesn't share, naughty daddy, unless it's on his terms. Unless it has no value. I'm most valuable when I'm not 'his'. He likes when I come running. He likes it even better when he has to drag me."

Spike's reveries regarding Buffy and her delectability stopped. "Wait. Take you from me?" Something in him, now part of him, gave into a possessive, angry heat. "You said we'd find all the love we'd been missin', you an' I."

"Oh and we will!" Drusilla turned and rushed to him, some flighty yet comforting wisp in white. She stroked his hair, brushed some dirt from it, and kissed him deep and quick.

"But- that's not loving you. That's just not wanting anyone else to have you." He protested, eyes narrowing. Drusilla looked troubled, then stubborn.

"Don't argue with your sire."

"Don't lie to me. Everyone lies to me." He grabbed her arm and twisted her back to him as she prepared to dart away, back on her macabre waltz.

"Hush. That's William talking. Demons like lies."

"Then maybe I'm not really a demon, because I fuckin' hate it." Slitted eyes turned yellow without his control. Anger brought out something in him, but he didn't mind.

She wrenched her arm from him, and struck him on the chest, knocking him on his tailbone before he could brace himself. "You're not properly done." She hissed, looking at him like a broken toy, disappointment in her eyes.

"I'm not a goose to cook, Luv."

"Oh, Spike, don't be angry." She fell across his lap, pouting amorously. "You just don't see it yet. You're still using your old eyes, and your new ones are so much more beautiful." Her own face ridged. "You think I'm beautiful?"

He had to admit he did. He nodded slowly. "But you said-"

Her hands slid under the lapels of his coat, slowly prying it off his shoulders, a sensuous gesture, unveiling her creation. "I meant it. It's all in how you look at it, Spike." The lily white hands slid into his sleeves, and down, coat puddling at his wrists as she leaned him back steeply. "I know Angelus and you don't."

"I know him better than you think, Dru, and what you want from him isn't what you'll get."

"I don't care."

"But you need love. You said- everything you said..." She was pressing against him now, too close, too wet, too hot, he could smell desire, something he didn't even know had a scent. His arms slid from under him, and he was on his back, this beautiful night goddess atop him, making a bed of his coat.

"That's why I have you. You'll give me all the love, my sweet Spike. That's why I chose you. It's in you, it's in you to love, even if it hurts. You have the glow in you, the poet's fire- you like a bit of burn." Her hands pinned his out to the sides, spread like some defiled crucifix, and she left a hungry trail of kisses across his throat.

Poet's fire. Like the burn. Picked me because I'd love her, even if it hurt me. No. No, no, she was supposed to make it better. His fists curled, his fingers deliberately turning from hers, into the lining of his coat. Fingers hit something hard. Long and thin and- he felt down- long and thin and pointy. He remembered what kind of love he wanted. Who made it better.

"You expect me to chase after you when you want him? When you love him? 'Cause poor Spike won't mind gettin' his heart broken?" Heart broken when I have a woman waiting for me who loves me back? Blue eyes smoked up at her as he found a sudden burst of energy to sit up.

She slid down him, clinging like a wilting vine. "Oh, no. I'll love you too, Spike." She traced his cheekbones with a smile. "Two favorite dollies to play with. The Angel beast comes and goes, steals my Daddy, and I'll be lonely again."

"No. Love- love isn't toys. Love isn't havin' a 'spare'. Love is one person ownin' your heart."

She looked genuinely sad for a moment. She laid her head wearily to his, eyes closing. She looked so piteously lovely that his fingers hesitated in their work below. "Maybe it's supposed to be that way, Spike. But I was taught the other way, a century of the other way, Darla and Angelus showing me how to 'love'. Only Darla didn't love me either... She didn't love anyone. He didn't love anyone, but they loved wanting each other, taking each other, having ...Tossing me scraps. Drusilla's had enough." Eyes flared open, voice shook, and she tossed her hair back in proud defiance. "It's my turn to take and want and have and revel in everyone else's pain while someone loves me and waits for... while I love him. Then maybe it won't hurt so badly."

Spike looked at her wonderingly. She was something, really. But something wrong, even in a world of wrong he now found himself in. "It still won't feel good." He whispered.

She dismissed him with an almost flippant shake of her head. That was her mistake, and he watched her make it, jaw tightening. Too many people had dismissed him, too quickly. "Poor William, that's him talking. He'll be properly dead soon, no matter. Demons learn that there's only pain. Pain is pleasurable." She suddenly raked her claws down his jaw, slowly, breaking skin, until she his the edge of his collar, pulling it down, gouging four small indentations in his skin, making him hiss- and oddly enough his body jerk forward, towards hers. "Feels strange doesn't it, but it's part of the game."

"I don't want this game." He had the tool to free himself from it, under his palm.

"You're too late. In it now." She sang, a chuckle under her song.

"No... No. Not your game. Not this. I want it to be all good." His fist gripped the stake. "What's the point of the power if you suffer?"

She mocked him with a scoffing shake of her head. "Haven't you learned?

We are suffering. Other people's. Our own. Nothing is all good."

Spike rose, moving towards her, two figures so passionate, suddenly opposed. "But it can be better than this. It's better than settling, and playing games to get little tastes of what you want."

"How can you know, Spike? You're so new to all of this." Her arms curled pleadingly around his neck, head shaking pityingly as her pale lips pouted a mere inch from his.

He felt a shudder ripple through his spine, something broke free. "Because I had it. I was about to have it. Finally. And no one's taking it away from me. No one, not even you, my beautiful, black angel, will snuff out my sun with your wings."

He jabbed it in, and held her against him, swallowing hard as the frail figure seemed to sift slowly through his fingers.

"No." She had time to gasp. "Why-"

"Said I didn't like to see you in pain, Princess. Couldn't watch myself be a part of it, forever."

Wide blue eyes, suddenly cognizant, and then gone.

He sat down heavily, in the dust he'd made, the dust that was her, so alive just a moment ago.

Death may get cheated, human life may get spared, but the demon still gets his due.

Shoulders stiffened and squared as his head bowed and the demon roiled inside. He waited for it to overtake him, this demonic power that wouldn't feel any sorrow, that loved pain and suffering, that would leave him a slavering beast, hungering for fresh throats.

He waited for a long time before he realized it wasn't coming.

He waited only a second after that before he felt he could risk finding Buffy. Someone out there, waiting for me to be okay.

Am I okay? He saw in the blackness easily, creaking up the stairs, walking across the broken, aged flooring, pausing at the door, hand on the knob, looking into the cracked mirror beside it.

Fear and triumph crested in him as the question was asked again, out loud this time. "Am I okay? I'm not even here."

No. His fingers touched the mirror. Nothing in there. Everything's still in here. His hand laid across the heart that was stilled. More than everything, more than there ever was before.

I'm okay. Dangerous but... okay.

She needs to me to be okay. She believes in me. I believe in her.

I hope we're right.


To be continued...