Not Only Numb

By

Anessa Ramsey

Disclaimer:  I own nothing.  As always all characters are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc.  The Gin Blossoms own the song.

Rating: PG

Summary:  One last look.  Alternating POV's.  Just a short little post 'Grave' ficlet.

Author's Notes:  Heard a song.  Got an idea.  Put it on paper.  Typed it up and posted it for you to review.  Good or Bad let me know. 

Looking all around the room I see the clutter in the gloom

I'm not only back, I'm not only numb

Changing shades within the evening

In a day then I'll be leaving

I'm not only back, I'm not only numb

When the air at home is thin

Getting out then looking in

Yeah she knows, she knows, she knows

It ain't awful hard to tell

What it's like, my little hell

Yeah she knows, she knows, she knows

I'm now familiar with the tone I hear in bed when I'm alone

I'm not only back, I'm not only numb

In the shade below the eaves

Think I could chain smoke anything

I'm not only back, I'm not only numb

When the air at home is thin

Getting out, then looking in

Yeah she knows, she knows, she knows

It ain't awful hard to tell

What it's like, my little hell

Yeah she knows, she knows, she knows

She knows, she knows, she knows…

~ Not Only Numb by The Gin Blossoms

         It seemed so easy.  Go get the chip out and rain fiery terror down on her.  It wasn't exactly what happened though.  No vengeance for what she did to me, using me, beating me.  No snarky words, or battle filled confrontations.  Just me, standing under the eaves like I always have, chain-smoking the cigarettes Dawn always said would kill me if I weren't already dead.

         Dead, like her really.  Or at least like she was.  She's not so dead anymore, though for quite a while she wished she still was.  Doesn't realize what a gift she had, that I would have done anything to be real again. 

         'M not real.  Learned that lesson the hard way.  Got a soul stuffed in here with my demon.  It's pure hell, but then she'd know all about how getting through a day can be nothing more than the worst kind of torture.  She used me to numb herself to the pain, while I don't want to hide from it.  I embrace it and it is the pain itself that numbs me from the inside out. 

         I'm not staying long.  I've been here a day and am ready to go.  Saw the crypt, nothing but rubble and clutter.  Most of it was Clem's now.  Nothing left for me here but sadness and gloom.  She wanted me out of her life and I got out.  Doesn't mean I can't look in one last time.  Just to see. 

         They're on the back porch, sitting there, leaning against each other, shoulders touching.  They're talking, probably about mundane things, school, jobs, the latest big bad or attempted apocalypse.  I wanted to do that once.  I wanted to just talk to her and have her listen.  I wanted to love her and know that she loved me back.  But she never could have loved a monster, a dead thing.  My priorities have changed a little since I got the soul.  No more attempts at getting her to love me.  No more stalking her or standing under her window smoking all night, just waiting for a glimpse of her.  Nope, none of that for me.  Now I just want to give her what she wanted from the start…me, gone.

         I can see her stiffen, her body tense.  She knows there's a vampire near.  Doesn't know it's me.  She never really cared enough to figure out that vampires all feel different to Slayers.  It's like we each have our own unique presence.  I turn to go when I hear it, soft and quiet.  "Spike?"

~~~~~~~~~~

         It started out like any other night.  I patrolled, made sure I took out any big nests of vamps and dealt with the two demons who crossed my path.  There haven't been any real bad monsters in town for a while.  Willow was the last, but then she's not a monster.  Not really.  She was just out of control with grief and magic.

         I don't tell anyone, but I go by his crypt…a lot.  Almost every night.  Clem's always there, always willing to let me in.  He hasn't heard from Spike, not once in the months since he left.  I was okay with it at first, certain that he'd come back.  He always had.  Now though, I'm not so sure.  I keep wishing that he will (silently of course), but I stopped believing in wishes a long time ago, so I don't think it's working. 

         Otherwise, things are good.  No more dreaming of going back to Heaven.  I feel alive again.  It's a very good thing.  Dawn and I finally have the relationship we both want.  She's actually my sister.  Not the annoying brat or burden that I once thought her.  She talks to me and I talk to her.  It was hard at first, opening up to her.  Telling her about Spike was the hardest, but it had to be done.  I couldn't let her live with Xander's version of what happened.  I didn't want her to hate him. 

         Tonight she just wanted to relax so we went out on the porch.  It's a favorite spot of ours.  We watched the sun set and talked about what we wanted to do over the weekend.  We even agreed on going shopping and to a movie.  I was about to ask her if she wanted to go in a put on a DVD when I felt it.  Vampire.  Spike.  He was here.  I stood up looking around, unable to see him.  Dawn's staring at me like I've gone crazy, wondering what I'm doing, until I say his name.  "Spike?"

~~~~~~~~~~

         She standing there, beautiful, serene.  Okay, so I was wrong about her not knowing it was me.  Dawn's suddenly on her feet by her sister's side.  What a pair they make.  Buffy probably doesn't realize it but Dawn is more like her than she knows.  There's a bit of the slayer in her. Probably because of that made from the blood of a slayer thing.  There's also an inner strength in Dawn that probably comes from being the Key.

         I don't leave my spot.  I just stand there for a few moments.  I have two choices, neither of them easy.  Yet I know which one I'm going to take.  I just came here for one last look and that's all it's going to be. 

~~~~~~~~~~

         He's not coming out.  Why won't he come to us?  Does he think I'll stake him?  Does he think that I don't want him around?  The last question that rolls through my mind makes me cringe.  Of course he thinks I don't want him here, when did I ever tell him different. 

         I call his name again but he still remains hidden.  "Spike, please?"  I sound like I'm begging and maybe I am.  I need him.  I didn't realize it before and I certainly never let him know, but it's true.  It's not working though.  The feeling begins to fade though and soon I know he's gone. 

         Grief tears at my heart.  He left again.  No goodbye, no final words for me or for Dawn.  It's not his fault though.  No, this one is all mine to claim.  When I think of him I can still see his skin, mottled and bruised from the beating I gave him in the alley.  I can still hear all my demands for him to say he loved me only to rebuke it with a coldness I don't think anyone else could match.  Each beating, each cold callous word cracks like a whip through my mind.  Memories of every time I told him that what I wanted was for him to get out of my life feels like a kick to the gut. 

         Dawn's looking at me, wondering what's going on, why Spike isn't coming out.  I turn to her and see the hope in her eyes.  How do I tell her that he's gone, that he finally listened and gave me what I told him I wanted?  I look at her face, still innocent, unmarred by the way the Hellmouth ages people, both physically and emotionally.  I don't have to say the words though.  She can tell by the look on my face.  She knows.