Higher Ground

by Lily Ann

Contact: saywardluckett2000@yahoo.com

Summary: Spike, finding himself.

Feedback: Pretty please with effulgent cherries on top.

Rating: R for a bit of language.

If I could, yes I would

If I could I would

Let it go



There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go–Tennessee Williams

It wasn't anything she said that resolved it for him. Nothing she did, except take him back into her bed for a post-apocalypse tumble that left him sore in that delicious just-shagged sort of way. Giddy with victory she'd been, all giggles and tiny, tugging hands, girlish in a way she hadn't been for years. Yet so much a sensual woman crossing the threshold of erogenous zones, breaching the barrier of clothing. Making his body hum after so many lonely, celibate months. Good to know all his parts still worked after a long, thrilling year of getting thrashed by every evil personage that dropped in to rumble with the Slayer: the First Evil, assorted poncey demons. Bloody Robin Wood. Survived 'em all he did. Not much dignity left, but that could change.

He could change things.

A good start was getting out of Sunnyhell for a piece, maybe forever. Got up well before dawn, nicked the keys to the Carpenter's notice-me-mobile, looked at Buffy for a long time, wrapped up in peach sheets and post-coital contentment, a golden arm thrown across his abandoned pillow. Looked at her and made big apologies in his head. For going. For staying so long. For the loss of love's bitch and the growth of a...man...who couldn't keep on this way, not without the words. Words he'd given her all his days, to her horror, so fiercely felt that they couldn't be suppressed by any sense of self-preservation or common sense: I love you. I always want you. Be with me. Never go. Words she couldn't say and he couldn't live without. Before Africa, he'd have given her his body every night till he was dust, lived on hope. I'm not ready for you to not be here.

But, now the damned soul. Oh, how it cries out for more, a mad, starry song drawing him through armageddon-tossed streets and out to the highway, back the way he'd first come, bearing Drusilla and malice toward Slayers. Never though he'd train an army of them. Trained some, lost too many. Amanda. Molly. Rona, who'd have made a good turn of slaying, had she lived. Imagines they're still with him, crowded into the backseat, all eyes and elbows, watching the miles roll by.

Where are we going, Mr. Spike? It's tremulous little Vi.

Fucked if I know. Tell you when we get there, pet.

You're going to get us lost. Rona booms like a brigadier general.

Already lost. Now, shut your gob like a good ghost.

Talking to dead people. Probably not the best thing, considering recent events. Went a bit of batshit for awhile. Made with the crazy, in Dawn-speak. Dawn. Twists him up to leave her, but she'd never wanted for protectors. Be all right, Nibblet. Grow into a fine lady, kick demon ass in pretty shoes and never listen to anything big sis says about love. Girl wouldn't recognize the bugger if he banged her on the brainpan with a troll hammer, bless her stony heart.

Invisible conversations again. Best to concentrate on the freeway, on hitting the road before daybreak, not the people and the almost-love left behind. Easier said than done, though, with her scent still clinging to his hair, his skin, the leather seat where she rode to work. Probably stuck in his pores for all time. A bit of all right, that. Something he has of her, at least. All he has of her, except for a pilfered photograph and...scars. Plenty of scars. Did everything a fertile brain could think of to prove his love, short of setting himself aflame. Could still go that way, if pink tinged the horizon before he reached higher ground. Could be tempting. Just floor the pedal and head for the horizon, race life to it's conclusion. No Buffy-less years ahead to ponder why she couldn't give something, anything, to make him stay. There was passion, yes, last night and in all those heady encounters that went before. Passion that would never unfold into love for her, sink it's claws into her gut, grab her by the neck and squeeze, the way it captured him in a long-ago dream and never let go. Passion that could destroy her. I do want you. And it's killing me. Bloody piece of work, that maddening girl. His devotion's killed him a thousand times over, hollowed him out, dragged him through blood, and sand, fire and broken glass. Left him broken, forced him too change.

All part of the experience, love.

Red would understand. Red, who feared so much, yet loved so fiercely, and didn't regret her Tara, only that she went so damn soon. Because there was no fucking justice in the world. Not for the risk-takers like them. Just harsh lessons and rebirth, of a sort, with every loss. A reclaiming of self. Change. Descent and return, with the lost lover's thoughts and wisdom, and a bit of their goodness, to carry on with. A hint of Buffy's strength, got that. Some faith, a bit of indomitable spirit. Thanks, love. Got parting gifts, after all. Charms that just might keep him on the straight and narrow, even with her gone from his life. Left behind, because there was no other way. She could love who she wanted, now, and he could find out who he was with no Slayer as a guiding star. Hurt, though. Hurt like a bitch to detach, tear his life from hers and drive away, the one thing he swore he'd never do back in the days when he was more obsessed and less jaded. When he didn't love her enough to let her go. Before the soul demanded he seek higher ground.

Too many thoughts for a quiet morning. Almost makes him wish Rona would start yakking again, distract him from home-thoughts. Home. Just a place, now, where he lived for a time and loved an impossible girl. Got beaten up a lot. Dreamed. Belted out a bloody love song, for Christ's sake. Had friends, sometimes, and enemies constantly. Helped save the world.

Not bad, old man. Not bad at all.

Zooming down the freeway, taking curves too fast, freewheeling. Windows rolled down, cold as all hell. Appropriate. Almost like the bad old days that were so good. Only memories, now. Would it be the same if he leaned into the wind and screamed something foul? I'm back, Fuckers? No, not yet. He could go for bitter. I goddamn loved her! Might break his heart, though. Radio on, tapping out eternal rhythms on the steering wheel.

It's funny how life works out

The odds of faith in the face of doubt

Racking up the miles, imagining the Whelp's furious face with some delight. Wishing he could be there to see it. Wishing he could go...home.

Camera one closes in

the soundtrack starts, the scene begins

Zipping past the rest of the pack. Fast and strong. Singing along.

You're playing you now

You're playing you now

Time to seek shelter soon. But not yet. Not quite yet.

You're playing you now

Take a bow


*Lyrics by the late, great Janis Joplin