Title: The Soul of a Poet

Author: skybound

Spoilers: Set directly after Season 6, Episode 13 "Dead Things"

Summary: Dawn finds Spike in the alleyway after Buffy leaves him behind.

Warning: Dark ficlet, character death

Disclaimer: All hail Joss.

I don't know how long I laid there before the Little Bit found me. She had gone out, looking for Buffy, when she found me in that alley behind the police station. I remember the sound of her breath as she sucked the air into her lungs, my name passing as a whisper over her suddenly dry lips.

"Spike. . .?"

We managed to make it back to my crypt before dawn. * Dawn. . .* Don't ask me how she got me there, all I know was that the slight weight of her body kept me propped up beneath my bent arm, and somehow, we made it back. Back to that dank place that was really no home at all, but what else can an empty thing expect? Too much I think sometimes.

The cotton of the sheets was smooth and crisp against my back. I remember the ripples of pain that shot through me as the material scraped against my bruised flesh. I felt the bed sink down to the right of me as she placed herself by my side, her soft fingers skidding over my abused skin. She peeled the shirt from my wounds, another sharp intake of breath as she noticed how severe they really were.

"Spike, we have to get you blood we have to. . ."

Then the weight of her was gone from the bed and the pounding of her footsteps up the ladder and to the fridge was drowned out by the pounding of blood in my ears. Which was odd to say the least, since it hadn't done that in over a century. Then the world went gray.

* Oh, god. What is this? So warm. . . * I would like to say that I awoke with a start, or that somehow I knew, I knew and I awoke before it was too late. I would like to be able to say these things, but the truth is, I had no idea when the dream ended and the nightmare reined again.

Lavender. It was the lavender that startled me. Made me aware of the soft flesh that was pressed to my lips, the soft scent wafting off of it to my demon enhanced senses.

A heartbeat of time passed then and I was aware of the feeling of my long since useless fangs buried in something that wasn't a plastic butchers bag. The feeling of a warm body pressed up close to my own fastly healing one, as I clutched it to me with my free arm.

I squeezed the body closer to myself, desperately trying to make it belong to me, as I had been denied for so long. I could feel the life slipping away from it, flowing into me, making my demon roar in pleasure and release.

Then the body breathed. A sharp quick breath and suddenly I knew. * I Knew. . . * And I pulled away throwing her from my arms and onto the bed, her blood still dripping from my fangs.

"Dawn?" I didn't even recognize my own voice, so hoarse and empty it was. My eyes swept from her bleeding wrist up her arm, to the too weak pulse point in her neck before I locked my eyes with hers. Those beautiful blue orbs that had always looked at me with such trust held no less in them now. She looked, almost, serene. "How?"

Her lips were dry and brittle, all the moisture having been pulled from her body. She tried to lift her hand, tried to graze her fingers across my chest, but she was too weak. So instead I clasped her small hand in my own, carefully, not wanting to damage this little angel any more then I had already done. Her chin titled slightly, gesturing upstairs, but I had to lean closer as she began to speak, so soft was her voice. "You were out."

Her eyes locked with mine again then, only a few inches before my own. I began to shake my head, not understanding, or not wanting to really. I knew death, and so I knew what was laying before me. I wrapped my arms around her, under her, and began to lift her off the bed, when she winced, making me hesitate. Making me just a little too late.

"It didn't hurt. . ." A small smile touched her lips just before her body went slack. The heartbeat faded to nothing, and all I was left with was that awful rushing noise in my ears.

The tears began to fall then, as I rocked her body against mine, crying out to whoever was listening about the unfairness of it, the injustice. But as usual, no one was listening.

I made my way to her home, with only a few minutes to spare. Their home. The home of three women who had stolen my heart, unbeating though it might have been, and fell to my knees on the walkway. I allowed my eyes to gaze over the sweet face nestled in the crook of my shoulder as I felt the first rays of my damnation rise over the horizon.

I pulled my eyes up then, in time to see the front door swing open and the blonde that had been my undoing move into view. The shocked look on her face stunning me for a second. Making me wish for a thousand other endings. Or even for just one that would end slightly better then this. * If wishes were fishes. . .*

Through the tears that marred my face I smiled, though it pained me to do so, "You were right."

Then the warmth filled me, and the smoke started to rise. Only a moment more, and the green pools that looked at me with such horror were blotted out, and the precious cargo that I carried rolled to the ground as everything that I was, was blown to the wind.

'S odd really how we come full circle. I started out as a poet, became a monster, and now here I am again. A poet. Not that bad as hell's go I guess.

She said it didn't hurt. My soul says otherwise. . .