Disclaimers;
Joss rocks the Western Hemisphere, he owns all that he surveys. I'm not making any money off this.

Spoilers;
Season 5, especially "Fool For Love" and "Shadow"

Archives;
Want, Take, Have.

Feedback;
Ring my chimes at Jim_D_Means@prodigy.net

Summary;
Spike reflects on Buffy and the Little Tree. Told from Spike's POV


THE LESSON
Written by Kirayoshi

========

"She's so high,
High above me, she's so lovely.
She's so high,
Like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc or Aphrodite."
--Tal Bachman
"She's So High"

Two days ago, a young college student, after quizzing me about my illustrious career, tossed me on my back, threw some dollar bills in my face and said that I was beneath her.

I chased after her with a sawed off shotgun. I wound up sitting on the doorstep as she cried herself out.

William the Bloody, yeah right.

I was passing through Sunnydale General Hospital on a blood run(that ponce orderly still hasn't figured out why their stores of Type A- have been running a little low of late), when I noticed her. The Slayer. With her shrimp sister, the Tree and the other Scoobs.

Buffy was looking sad. Real sad. A part of me smiled at her expression, but a larger part of me was concerned. Two days ago, I sat with her while her mum was on her way to the hospital. Something nasty was happening.

Staying out of sight but within earshot, I listened in. The orderly, someone named Ben I think, said something about the Slayer's mum having a brain tumor. I had to purse my lips. I would have gasped if I were capable of breathing. Mrs. Summers, with a brain tumor. Nasty. I've seen what tumors can do, how they can twist the brain around slowly before killing. I knew an old mate, we used to go bloodsucking together, but he made the mistake of Turning a dishy young girl who, it later turned out, suffered from a brain tumor. The tumor still ravaged what was left of her brain, until she made Dru look like the very soul of sanity. Not pretty. She tried to throw herself off a ledge at dawn once, thinking she could fly. Her body became ash before she hit the ground.

Still, medical science has come a long way since then. And besides, Joyce's tough. She'll make it. I mean, look at her daughter. You know what they say about the apple not falling far from the tree.

As I slipped out of the hospital, I took one last glance at the Slayer. Man she looked done in. Like the weight of the world was pressing against the small of her back. I told her the other night why I thought that she was more successful than any other Slayer. It's because she's grounded, because she's still got connections to the world. The Cardboard Soldier. Xander. The Little Tree. The squirt and mum.

But there's still that darkness within her. You simply can't hang with the night crowd, either as a vampire or as a slayer, without being touched by it. Darkness is where we breed, it's where the Slayer must strike. So naturally, that darkness is catching. And Buffy has it, just like any other Slayer.

But she fights it more. The more the call of the dark echoes in her ears, the more tenaciously she clings to her friends and family. She needs them like she needs oxygen. Without them, she's toast. And she knows it.

That's why she's scared to death that she might lose her mum. Mum's as much a part of the equation as the Tree is. Without her, there's a bleedin' hole where Buffy's heart used to be.

And what about us, Buffy?

We've gotten closer, you and I. Since the Initiative had me spayed. Since you decided I wasn't really a threat to you and yours. Even after I tried to double team you against Willow and Tara. We hate each other, but there's more, isn't there?

I know the attraction's there. Darkness calls to darkness. You feel it, so do I. But we both know that it won't work. The world needs you, not another vampire groupie. I know where this is going, Slayer, and I hope for both our sakes that one or both of us will have the cajones to break it off fast, before we both get hurt.

Of course, your current choice ain't exactly prime material, is he? Ya don't have a clue what he's been doing. Trolling for vamps at Willy's. That place normally eats poofs like him for breakfast. Still don't know how he manages to not get turned into a vamp snack. And I thought that the Slayers had a death wish. Either that, or he's just too stupid to live. Too bad I still have that chip, or I'd do all three of us a favor and put him out of our misery.

Ya know who I always thought would be a good match for ya, Buffy? The Little Tree. She's your compliment, not your identical twin. You and I are both dark, that's why it wouldn't work. It's a balancing act. Darkness may call to darkness, but in the end, they both cancel each other out. Now Willow, she's smart, funny, cuter than puppies, and can hold her own in a fight. Besides, we both know that she won't be put out by the thought of Buffy liking girls. Not since Tara winged into town.

'Course, she probably won't be leaving her new love anytime soon, but hey, she's happy. Guess I always had a soft spot for the Tree. I respect her. Tougher than she looks on the outside. Still hasn't lost that sense of innocence about her, but ain't naive either.

The fact is that Willow is the light. Darkness only loses itself in darkness. It shows better in light, as shadow. Darkness needs to bond with light. And forget about Mr. Finn. By light, I mean a great deal more than that 40 watt bulb that passes for his brain.

As I return to the masoleum, and to the waiting arms of that twit Harmony, I realize that I've changed as well. Not just because I still have that damn chip in my head. I'm not sure that this damn chip really works all that well.

I know three things right now that I didn't before.

One, even if I ever get the chip removed from my head, I still won't be the same William the Bloody that terrorized London and the world, the Slayer of Slayers. That ponce is dead, and I really don't know who or what I'll become in the future. I guess that makes life, or unlife in my case, interesting.

Two, I realized at some point that I'm actually over Dru. Heard that she's giving ol' Soulboy grief in LA. Something about her hooking up with Darla. Didn't even know she was alive again. I think I'll avoid LA for a while.

And three, no one ever wrote a decent love poem that contained the word 'effulgent'.

Here endeth the lesson, mate.

FINIS