Title: Future Uncertain

Author: AJ Hofacre

Summary: Post-"Chosen." Just because I've finally come out of my whole "Spike dying" catatonia thing doesn't mean that I won't still reside in the "Spike's Alive" happy place. I believe I am slightly out of my gourd, but just read this thing anyway. Spike-POV.

Rating: PG. Random "Spike"-ish words.

Disclaimer: I've been saving up my money all summer so far in order to buy the Buffy the Vampire Slayer name, logo, characters, etc. from Joss Whedon. So far, I've got... uh... where did those five rolls of pennies go?

Distribution: Take it. Go on. Share to your little heart's content. Just lemme know where it is, first ^_^

Note: This story is quite possibly the most random thing I have ever written. But anyway, since I took over the actually summary thing with my ramblings, I'll explain here: Joss Whedon, the WB, James Marsters, and even David Boreanaz (who for some reason isn't too fond of darling, sweet James) have confirmed that Spike will be the new addition to our little crime-fighting team in L.A. This story is basically a prologue to that. Well, sort of. Okay, mainly it's just Spike rambling about his part in the Saving Of The World in "Chosen," and creates a sort of set-up for him being bumped back down to Earth for Angel's fifth season. Well, you'd understand it if you read it. So what are you waiting for? Go! Read!

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Ow.

That was the first thing that came to mind. 'S not like I knew what the hell the sparkly little gem was gonna do once it was time. But there I was, pinned to the wall, and Christ on a bleedin' cross, it hurt. Speaking of Christ, I suppose this was some sort of parody. Arms flung out, head tipped back, legs pinned together. Just get me a crucifix and let me burn some more.

It didn't hurt so much after that. It, the soul, well, my soul – I could feel it welling up inside of me, stretching out, filling up every bit of my body. I could feel it killing me.

Buffy... sweet, sweet Buffy. She didn't want to understand. Refused to understand. She didn't know what this gem was s'posed to do either, but she chose me as her Champion because she knew it was important.

She didn't want to face the facts.

I didn't want to face them at first, either. But after listening to Poof Boy pump himself up like the bloody martyr he thinks he is, I got enough of an idea. This little tool needed a champion. And therefore, the champion must be ready and willing to lay down anything and everything.

Including his life.

I knew from the second I touched the pendant that I was gonna die. I didn't doubt it for a minute; I knew it would happen. It was inevitable, of course. The three (or is it four?) apocalypses that I actively participated in, someone has always bitten the dust. Peaches got slammed to hell that first time. That git, Adam was shut down... not that I had anything to do with that. I ended up saving my ass by killing that demon that tried to bust in on the Scoobs after their little spell. Poor, sweet Tara was killed the night before the one apocalypse I wasn't in town for, and Buffy... Well.

Someone's always got to do their duty. Sacrifice themselves for what's right. Everyone before me has done it; I figure it was my turn this time.

That's what doing a soul does to you – gives you a bloody mortality complex. "The weight of the world is on my shoulders, I have to do something about. Oh, well, I may as well up and die."

Oh, I'm not bitter about it. Slightly joyous that I was the one that made Sunnyhell cave in, in fact. Goddamn town has been a pain in my ass for years, 's about time someone did away with it. I just happened to be the lucky bloke that got the honor. An' besides, what kinda exit would that have been if I hadn't at least knocked down the Sunnydale sign one more time?

Really, now.

No, what annoys me is that damned complex. That is what it always boiled down to. That is what Buffy felt crawling up and down her back for the past seven or eight years. This tiny little voice buzzing about in the back of her brain, saying to win the fight, or to die trying. She knew, my baby knew that every fight she fought may very well be her last, so she always made a point to fight her best, and exit with a bang. That encounter with Glory's literal God complex? That just reinforced her thoughts, and it very well did end up killing her. Not that she can apparently stay dead for long with those damned friends of hers around.

But my point (and yes, I do have one amidst the rambling) is that because of this final battle, I knew, and I finally understood how she felt. The pressure is all on you. You know you have to come through, or that'll be the end of it. You'll have let everyone down.

Buffy was counting on me to help save the day. An' I'd already failed her enough. Not this time.

So that was the end of me. Surprise, surprise. William the Bloody, born into the night circa April 1880 in London, cutting a swath of blood all across Europe and Asia for close to a century and a half, chooses to bow out of the mortal world in May of 2003, Sunnydale, California, as the Champion of the One Slayer, Buffy Summers.

By bursting into ashes.

Hey, the only other way I would've chosen to die, would have been with Buffy – only, ever Buffy – holding a long, pointy wooden stick to my heart. Otherwise, I'd take World-Saving, Shimmer Medallion-based combustion any day. Just so long as hers was the last face I saw.

An' lucky me, it was.

Those last days in her basement meant more to me than a lifetime of being with Drusilla had meant. Those nights, holding Buffy in my arms, cuddling her close and sleeping with her, in the literal, unconscious sense, did this poor, dead, black little heart of mine some good. I don't know why she chose to come to me – I'll never know, not now. But I did my damnedest to make sure I was there for her. It was like I told her – never, in my mortal, or immortal existence have I ever just been close to someone. Buffy touched a flame inside of me that ignited to the size of the bloody Olympic torch, making me want to be nothing but the best for her, making me want to live up to the title of Her Champion. Buffy freed me.

An' I've got the eternal knowledge that I've finally done well by her. I've earned her... not love. It'll never be love. And I understand that now. I've earned her gratitude, and respect, and friendship, and... well, maybe a little love. But believe me, she's done damn well by that open honesty and trust thing of hers. The wankers that strut around up here are definitely planning on an exceptional reward for her.

Well, y'know, not every Slayer has beaten down baddies for eight years running, giving their lives twice in the process. Although I reckon quite a few little girls now are gonna have to live up to the expectations that the supernatural world has placed on Buffy. A little demanding, but if even the littlest child comes out on top, because she had Buffy for a role model, then so much the better.

As for me, well... I'm up here. Not exactly sure what or where 'here' is but believe me, I'm there. Purgatory, maybe? Dante did right when he went over the afterlife. This place isn't blazing hot, so I'm not in Hell (which surprises the you-know-what out of me), and I'm not surrounded by little twinks wearing white robes and fluttering around like damned pixies, so I'm most definitely not in the other place.

Eh. Purgatory it is. The head honcho up here won't tell me exactly where I'm s'posed to go, just randomly keeps sticking me somewhere so's I can keep an eye on the mini-Slayers, the Scoobies an' my girls for a while. But he keeps winking at me, and I'm starting to think he's a little on the poofy side. Then again, maybe he knows what the Higher Ups have planned for me. Might be nice to know what the hell I'm in for.

S'long as I don't have to play Spirit Guide Nicey-Nice with Peaches. Or preferably have anything to do with Peaches at all. Working with the Great Prancing Poof does not qualify as fun in my mind.

Then again...

The End