Love in Still Life

by Isabelle

Disclaimers: BTVS and AtS are properties of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox, Warner Bros and UPN and are simply used here for entertainment purposes. (aka. it's fucking-fanfiction)

Rating: PG (for adult themes)

Summary: Born in Rome. Buffy/Spike (like I'd write anything else!)

Spoilers: General AtS S5. post BTVS finale "Chosen".

A/N: I had to get this out of my system.

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"I loved Theotormon and I was not ashamed."

Vision of the Daughters of Albion, William Blake.





I have lingered here too long.

If there's one thing I hate it's lingering. I blink and look away. I cannot
bear to look anymore. So I turn and swallow. I accept and walk away.

I can hear their voices beckoning to me, those sweet sounds; luring me like a
prostitute on 7th Avenue.

Yet I cannot be called away.

Perdition of the soul is humanity's greatest sin and yet I can say not a
word since perdition has always been part of me.

I am the life-giver. I am the life-taker. Completely incomplete and unaware
of my awareness. Daughter of the night and warrior of the people.

Words of bullshit encased in wisdom; wisdom gained by my silver hair that
grows right behind my right ear. I never pull it out; afraid I'll lose some
vitality of my ever-waning soul; afraid I'll lose a memory.

That I'll lose that vision of the 'what if'.

I've often wondered if I'm pleased by what I've found. With the green grass on
the other side. I would've lived within my sheathed lie, within the path of
lilies I've planted and sowed.

But no Spring lasts forever and the Winter is ever forthcoming. To lose the
leaves that were once green and be left with nothing but a straining life.

I was once loved for who I am. With my one hundred imperfections, with my
doubts and my insecurities and my shielded emotional defense.

Everyone should be loved like that at least once. And if possible... if
possible. Keep that love.

Keep it.

Cherish it.

Let it nourish you; let it bake you in full sunlight.

I've often wondered, many nights if I would remain in a half-life. Never
complete and always raw. Until my sugar melts down, until I am nothing but a
base imploring to be molded.

'Tis what happens when the molder is taken away. It happens when you are left
in fragments.

He left me in fragments, with a future and a hope that someday... someday
I would be complete.

I carry his grave with me. In my purse, in my pocket, in my closed locket, in
my heart. A walking burial ground is what I've turned into. A plow-able piece of
earth that remembers those we have lost. Those I have lost.

And though no cemetery can ever be happy, a cemetery accepts what has been
lost. It accepts; yet remains gloomy and only comes alive when the moon is full
and close to the earth.

So it was only understandable when I was told he was alive when there was no
moon. I nodded, thanked Andrew and walked out of the house.

I could hear them calling out to me but I had lingered there too long.

I knew these streets. I knew all of the streets of the earth and could easily
get lost in their familiarity. I decided to wander the streets, alone, untouched
until the full moon came out.

For only then would I be allowed to cry. To smile. To feel something.

But when wounds are opened wide, when lemon-lime juice attacks it... it's
hard to control the whimpers in the night. There would be no night without pain
and there would be no day without smiles.

I wandered for days. I knew it was days because I would just sleep a
sleepless tirade when the sun would wake. I found it unfair to greet it when I
had no smiles for which to give. No pleasant offering to thank him for his rays.

I felt hollow and empty. Lost and... unloved.

It was the first time I had ever felt unloved since... since ever.

Always had I had someone to love me. Someone or something had
loved me.

I was an unloved child of emotions now.

I didn't care that I smelled. I didn't care that my hair was pasty and clinging to
my scalp, mingling with the seed of grease that is naturally excreted by one's
body.

I truly was numb. A daughter of over-emotion, exhausted by the constant
harangue of the waves of life.

It was then that he found me. There, the ghost of my past, the ghoul of the
night. The little voodoo doll I kept in a closed chest under my bed where it
could neither escape nor touch me to molest me.

I had lived in perfect oblivion until now. Until my little doll was a
standing man, taunt and real; burning black light with its twitching jaw. His
eyes still as blue as my final memory, his lips as soft as my final touch.

The night still dressed him, playing shadows across his face, taunting me
with their hardening strokes.

The space between us was sexual frustration. Our love was never real. Because
real love is kind and patient. Accepted love is soft and gentle.

We were never accepted, real or normal.

We were an abnormality that was born in the chains of personality
dysfunctions, rowing its dark red boat over gliding waters that led to hell
on a one-way-ticket.

It was no surprise to me when he came then. They must've called
him. Told him I "wasn't taking it too well." Told him I was falling apart. Told
him I needed him.

I wondered how long he had been alive, how long was he going to stay away?

To let me live. To let me have that normal existence all wanted me to have;
burning their lies into his head and making him a halleluiah-convert overnight.

I hated them. I hated him for letting himself be so pliable. To let them
control his actions with their quiet words and wise eyes. I hated that he came
here with a purpose.

His purpose was to stabilize me and then return. Return to where he came from;
go back to the land of his father's where redemption is a cause.

As if I were an ecological problem that had gone astray. One that could be
fixed with a promise of a better life and a 'see you later'. To feed me Vaseline
until I went along smoothly; to my hacienda by the sea were the waves never hit.

So I shook my head at him.

"No." I said.

He tilted his head, like he always did, studying me like a spread dead pig on
a Middle School biology platter.

"No?" he asked.

And his voice, uttering one syllable, reminded me of my anger. My anger of
the injustice that bred its eggs within those I loved. Those who had always
tried to keep me safe from emotional damage with one hand while handing me an ax
to save the world with the other.

"I don't want your apologies," I told him.

He took a step closer and I took two steps back.

"Didn't come to apologize, luv."

"Did you come to stare then?" I asked him and I will admit that my voice was
hot with the vapor of self-inflicted wounds.

"No. Not for that either." He responded and chose to take a seat by the
abandoned bench in the dark and infested park.

His eyes never left mine. His damn eyes that always haunted me; haunted my
very soul. Eyes that would not let me move on; would not let me be free.

"Then I suggest you go back. Go back to L.A. and hide behind Angel with your
tail between your legs."

His jaw twitched once more. I made him angry.

Hiding behind Angel was a sure way to get him started. To get him to scream
at me, to be angry or to do something--something other than stare at me with
his cool blue eyes that said nothing of where he had been, what he felt and what
he was doing here.

"I understand you're angry," he said after a while and pulled out a
cigarette.

I could see his hand trembling.

"You have every right to be," he continued.

"I do," I responded, still not moving, still saturated in his blue eyes.

"I wanted to call you--"

"But you didn't," I cut him off.

I really wanted to run. To run far, far away and never look back at him. Him
with his cool blue eyes, cigarette between his lips and a ghostly appearance.

He nodded, head down and retracting his blue-eyed stare from me. "Yeah..."

"Why are you here?" I asked.

"Giles called me," he said, a slight smile over his face. "Ironic, no? Daddy
calls me to save you when he once tried to kill me to do the same."

"Life is irony." My voice was dead. Dead with anger and contained hate.

"Poetic now?" He chuckled and looked back at me. "Thought that was my job."

"You're unemployed here," I reminded him.

"Tell me something, pet." His voice was deep, and though his face showed no
remorse, I had seen that look in his eyes all too often. In a place over the
rainbow where he lived in dingy basements and talked to dead people. "How long
are we going to go at this?"

"If you have somewhere to be, go." I turned to go but before I knew it, he had
jumped, grabbed my arms, turned me towards him.

I did something I had never done. Ever in front of him or on him or...

I let out a sob.

Maybe it was his touch, maybe it was that he cradled my head into that
hollowed spot in his neck that made me smell his scent; a scent that I thought I
had safely locked in that little box that dwelled under my bed.

It was now lose. Spike had let it lose. Like he had everything in my life.
Unraveling the carefully constructed knitting lines that ran over and over my
heart.

This was the last step.

Because you just don't lose the one you love and go back to being happy. You
just don't. I didn't know who I was anymore. I wasn't Buffy; I was a dead shell
of a phantom.

I was the lingering memory of his love and I couldn't take it anymore. I
couldn't carry the weight of his love around like a Christian cross over my
shoulders. I was not strong anymore; I was not unique in my calling. Generals
can never lead generals and I was now a working ant in a crowd.

So I broke then and there.

Spilling the last of my salted water on his chest. Baptizing us in pain and
loss. Lost children of the night who only come alive when the moon is full. And
when there is no moon?

When there is no moon we are vultures; flesh-eating corpses that know not to
let go.

Here in Rome. In a city filled with wonders and ancient monuments of
humanity's history stood those who save it. Those who have saved it through the
years, the centuries, the millenniums.

Those who are so tired of being tired.

Those who give their hands, souls and life for it.

Until you wonder why you're saving it at all. To remain nameless in the
streets of ungratefulness; where other couples happily stroll; lost in each
other's eyes.

And you, the savior of civilization; alone. Alone because the price of living
is more than you can swallow. Because you cannot lose this one person anymore.

So all you can do is hold on to his slim waist, hold on to the lapels of his
coat, pulling him within you until his loss would mean your very skin.

And he responds. Peppering his kisses on your neck and on your head and you
can feel them bringing you back to life like they have so many countless times
before.

How can you not love this man?

This man who tries over and over to give you life by pouring all that he is
and all that he has into one kiss that will bring you back to life. That will
make you breathe once more.

How can I not love him?

How can I not be in love with him?

I hope my tears tell him something. Tell him I cannot bear to go on
without him; that if he leaves me now or in twenty years I will let the waves
of life wash over my dead corpse.

Because in life you need someone like him. That your mate in life is the one
person who can make you hate them and love them all in one single word. In one
single action. That love is not printed in storybooks because it's never
happened before this very moment, and no one has ever felt love but you and him.
Here, crying and kissing by the moonlit park in Rome.

City of history; navel of the world. It all begins and ends now.

That the world was created for this very moment; that life in all its
theorized happiness is being born out of our kisses.

And I died and was reborn in a single moment.

And when I told him I was in love with him he believed me.

And when I asked him to never leave me; he said he never would.

In body and soul.

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The End. Really.