Disclaimer:BtVS and all its characters and properties do not belong to me. Joss is the king of TV.
A.N.:Inspiration cannot be argued with. That's all I have to say. Takes place after Selfless, a little before Him.
The sun had set a long time ago. It had been hours since it had – he could tell. He could smell it in the atmosphere, he could sense it in his guts – the guts of a vampire. It was now safe for him to leave.
He was still in the basement of the school, always in there.
He'd lied, when the real Buffy had stopped by earlier, had lied and told her that he stayed because he had no where else to go.
The truth was that he stayed because he wanted it. Wanted to see the dream-Buffy that haunted him by being kind to him. His dream-Buffy. He craved it. It also brought him pain, to see a false image of Buffy saying she forgave him and touching him, because he was filthy and didn't deserve to be in her presence again. He hated it.
He craved it and hated it and it was driving him insane.
More than he was, anyway.
Now there were no phantom ghosts that took the shape of Buffy, talked to him, and forgave him.
Because he was now lucid.
Now he was alone.
His name startled him, a familiar voice, but not Buffy's.
Someone was calling him, someone who he knew. But who?
A shadow came closer, and for a moment, he thought it was the ghost again. Again to torture him, again to give him that bittersweet vision of Buffy.
It was Anya.
"Spike," she said, for the third time.
Something was different about her. Her face was weary, her mask of indifference and endless cheer worn away, and – for the first time since he had ever known her – she looked human.
He realized it before she could say anything else, "You're human again."
It was a statement, not a question. Nothing questionable about it.
"Yes." Her expression grew sad as she continued, "I came here to talk to you."
This surprised him. Although he had nothing against the ex-demon, he also had never really considered her to be anything but the whelp's girl. One of the miscellaneous members of the Scooby gang, because she wasn't Dawn and she wasn't Buffy.
"About what?" he asked, genuinely curious.
Even if he hadn't been curious, he would have let her talk. He hadn't had anyone come and visit him, except…
He shook himself out of that train of thought. The girl was talking now.
"About…" she hesitated, then plunged on, "about Hallie - Halfrek."
Halfrek, the Vengeance Demon friend of Anyaka's.
"I do see you."
Halfrek, whom he had recognized as soon as he had laid eyes on her…again.
"That's the problem."
Halfrek, who had been Cecily.
"You're nothing to me, William."
He hated the thought of her, hated her, with an intensity that frightened the soul that was now in him, because William had loved Cecily. Spike had hated the girl from the moment he'd woken in his Sire's arms, because of the pain she had caused William to feel.
"You're beneath me."
Spike had dealt with her right after his first meal.
"…nothing to me..."
Spike truly hated Cecily, even after a almost a century and a half had passed. Spike hated Cecily, even when she was Halfrek.
Anya must have seen the ferocity in his eyes, because she floundered for a moment. The girl had never been one to mince words, however, and so she went on, despite the growl of protest. "I just thought – I mean, she told me – you were…"
"GET ON WITH IT!" he roared, fighting back his game face. Even the mention of her made the blood in his veins boil, made William curl up in devastation, made Spike feel murderous.
Silence. Blessed or not, it was there. As if her words had died with her.
A pause, and then he spoke, his voice gruff. "What?"
Anya licked her lips, her expression becoming completely devastated. "She's dead."
"How?" The question was asked, though not because Spike wanted to – he didn't care how the bitch had died – but because Anya expected it and William cared.
Anguish. "It was all my fault! It should have been me!"
The words were familiar, the feeling was familiar, and Spike's anger and hatred at Cecily – at Halfrek – subsided in the light of Anya's grief. In light of the grief that was so familiar to the one he had harbored in himself just a year ago.
He regarded her with neutral blue eyes as Anya began to pace, her story coming out of her in useless sobs and wild gestures. Her face was twisted in pain as she described what she had done, and how Buffy had tried to kill her, how she had fought Buffy, how Xander had saved her – the idiot. She didn't need his help, and had pushed him away, but then D'Hoffryn had come, summoned by Willow. She had asked him to take it back, take back her demon, to take back Anyaka and make her Anya again, and he'd agreed – for a price.
"The life, the soul of a Vengeance Demon," Anya said, her eyes glistening with tears she could not shed.
Spike listened impassively; the William in him wanted to urge her to continue.
"I agreed. I was ready to…I wanted it…I thought he meant me. He didn't."
Spike understood the choice that was not a choice that D'Hoffryn had given Anyaka. Because D'Hoffryn was a demon, and Spike was a demon, too. But William was not a demon, and William's soul was sharing the body with Spike the demon, and William was horrified.
William had never hated the girl. William had never wanted her dead.
Spike…Spike still didn't like Halfrek, didn't like Cecily.
"What do you want me to say?" Spike demanded, pushing William back inside. William was not welcome here, not when it concerned Cecily. "What made you think I'd care what happened to her?"
Anya was silent. Then, "She told me."
Spike's eyes narrowed.
"About what she did to you when you were both human, what Cecily did to William." Anya's gaze was no longer anguished. She was angry at his indifference at the death of her only friend.
Spike laughed, a harsh explosion of air, "Did she now? Did she also tell you what I did to her?"
Their gazes met, and he knew that she knew, that Halfrek had told her. After his first meal, Spike had gone to visit his old 'friends'.
"It was worthy of one of you, I think," Spike continued, "what I did to them. What I did to her."
He hadn't killed them. No, all of the ones who'd laughed at him had lived. He didn't want them to have the joy of dying. He had wanted them to suffer. So he'd killed everyone that had mattered to them, tied them up and made them watch.
All except Cecily. For her, Spike had a different form of vengeance.
The William in him howled in pain and horror, in guilt and denial. Spike grinned - crazily.
"Did she tell you?" he asked, knowing she had. "How I ruined her life?"
Anya nodded slowly, "It was the reason she called me."
Spike had known, as William had known in the last moments when he was still alive, that to Cecily, nothing was more important than social status. Her dream had been to marry a rich man, one richer than their already low-first class status. A noble, that was her goal.
He had tracked her down, and he had mangled the one thing that would have attracted such a noble to her, thus fulfilling all her dreams. He had sliced up her face like a ribbon, with a gleeful and approving Drucilla clapping behind him.
Even Angelus had been impressed with the precision he'd carved with that railroad spike.
Spike had ruined her face, and thus ruined her dream, as she had so carelessly ruined William's.
"She knew no one would marry her after what you did," Anya said. "Her pain and hatred for you summoned me, and I granted her one wish. To be like me."
Yes, Cecily would have been vain enough. She had never been a stupid girl. Knowing her, she'd probably badgered Anyaka with questions until she discovered the gift that being a demon would give her. Immortality and great healing powers.
"Sounds like her," Spike said, shrugging. "Always was vain."
William struggled. Spike held tight.
"She's really dead, then?" he asked.
Anya nodded stiffly. "There are only a few ways to kill a Vengeance Demon. D'Hoffryn is one of those ways."
"Well then," Spike drawled, "you'd best be on your way. Not safe here, you know." He closed his eyes leaned against the wall, waiting to hear the sound of her walking away.
"Hello?" he demanded, a minute later.
Anya's expression was weary again, no more grieved. "She was sorry, you know."
Despite himself, Spike opened his eyes to look at the ex-demon.
"She told me, a few decades afterwards, that she regretted what she said to you," said ex-demon elaborated. "She didn't mean to be so cruel."
"Well she was," he spat out, unable to keep control. The words, remembered from over a hundred years ago, had cut deeply into him – deep enough so that the words from two years ago, from a different but likewise loved woman, could follow and slice deeper. "I know his poetry wasn't the best," he babbled, his brow scrunching up. "And even I admit that he was a stupid git. But she didn't have to kill him."
"She knew that," came the reply.
Spike stared off into the distance, into the darkness, into his past. He didn't hear Anya walking away, didn't hear anything except the William inside him who was grieving for someone who had never loved him, someone who had been responsible for his death.
Spike didn't get the tosser, and didn't get himself for the lack of hatred as he thought again of Cecily, of Halfrek.
Instead, he was completely baffled as he remembered the familiar words, "My heart expands / 'tis grown a bulge in it / inspired by your beauty, effulgent."