Disclaimer: I own nothing. The characters belong to Joss and company. Song lyrics belong to Alice In Chains.

Author note: This is kind of dark, but what the hell. I can't always write fluffy romantic things. If you like Buffy and Spike together, (even if you don't like this story) Please check out my other stuff. It's alot different. Thanks for reading. :)

I Still Burn

Spike had been sitting in the bar for hours. He had been drinking far too much, and he didn't care. Buffy. God he hated her, yet he loved her at the same time. She had infected his mind and his heart. He had been drinking so much to numb the pain of her continued hatred for him.

He had been trying to do right by her. He was helping her, helping strangers, just to look good in her eyes and yet she still disregarded him like something stuck to the bottom of her shoe. He wondered what it would take to break her down, to make her love him.

He laughed, 'She's never gonna love you, you bloody fool' He thought to himself. He quickly downed the last of his beer and decided to head back home. He was drunk, but not drunk enough to forget her.

He stumbled out into the alley and began to stagger back home. Just then a group of young men immerged from the shadows. There were five of them, a tough looking bunch. Spike looked at them, trying to size them up and figured out they were human. He tried to ignore them and walk past but one of them grabbed his arm and swung him around.

"Where you think your going, pal?" The man asked.

"I'm going home, you wanker. Let go of me." Spike slurred to him.

"I don't think you're going anywhere." Another man said as he stepped forward revealing a handgun.

"Oh, bloody hell." Spike muttered. "You have no idea who you guys are dealing with." Spike laughed at them. He was starting to feel a little afraid. He knew that these thugs were human and he couldn't fight them, but he wanted to show confidence. After all, a stupid gun wasn't going to kill him.

"No, you have no idea who you are dealing with, you limey bastard!" The man with the gun yelled at him.

Spike attempted to break free of the first thug's grip and was greeted with a crushing blow to his stomach. Spike cried out and struggled to get free. The man with the gun hit him over the head with it, temporarily stunning him enough to fall to the ground.

"Get his wallet!" One of the thugs shouted.

They reached into the pockets of his jacket and found nothing.

"Where's your wallet?" The man asked.

"I don't have a bloody wallet." Spike hissed at them. He was pissed. That goddamn chip was rendering him completely useless. These two bit muggers were getting the best of him and Spike was sickened by this.

"Stop playing games!" The thug shouted as he kicked Spike in the face.

Spike cried out again. The men all joined in and started beating on him. Spike had had enough. Screw the bloody chip, the pain would be worth it to make these assholes pay.

Spike leapt up with his game face on. He took a powerful swing at one of the thugs and sent him flying across the alley. Another one came from behind and Spike backhanded him and he went down.

One of the guys saw Spike's face and yelled, "There's something wrong with this guy! His face is messed up!" He started to run. Spike grabbed him and clocked him across the face, knocking him out cold.

Spike looked at the two other thugs who were freaking out. He roared at them and charged. They started to run and Spike grabbed them both and knocked their heads together hard. They both fell to the ground, out cold.

Spike stood back and surveyed his damage. Just then, it hit him. That didn't hurt a bit. 'What the hell?' He thought to himself.

"I beat the bloody crap out of these morons and I didn't feel a thing." Spike said aloud.

This couldn't be. They were human, Spike was sure of it. He looked at his knuckles and saw blood on them. Blood from one of the thugs. He licked it off. It was human blood, no doubt about it. Spike would know that sweet taste anywhere.

The chip was gone! It didn't work! Spike let out a holler of joy and jumped around. "I'm free!!" He shouted.

He calmed down a bit and started thinking. 'What if I was just too drunk and I didn't feel the pain? What if I was just too riled up to notice?' He decided he had better test the chip again.

He went over to one of the unconscious thugs and bent down to him. He grabbed the mans head and pulled it back to reveal access to his neck. Spike vamped out and went in for the kill.

Spike sank his teeth in and waited a moment. He felt nothing. Nothing but the thrill of blood. He drank deep, but stopped short of killing the man. He tossed his victim aside and stood up. He smiled.

"I'm free." He said softly.

He decided to get the hell out of there. He needed to go home and absorb all of this. Part of him wanted to go out and hunt again, for fear that this was some strange fluke and wouldn't last. Part of him was completely confused.

He thought about Buffy. What would he do? Should he go to her house right now and kill her? Is that what he still wanted? Up until a few minutes ago, he was drinking himself into oblivion out of love for her, now he was seriously entertaining thoughts of killing her again. He knew she would never love him anyway. Maybe if he killed her, he would feel better.

He went inside his crypt and sat down in his chair. This was the moment he had been dreaming of for over a year, and now suddenly he was afraid. He didn't know if he could go back to the way it was before. He was losing his touch. He knew he didn't even bother to kill that man in the alley. Part of him freaked out a bit, especially when he thought about the slayer. He knew she would kill him in a second if she knew he was back, but not if he killed her first.

His mind was cluttered. He loved her, didn't he? She was so beautiful and perfect. Stubborn, strong willed, dangerous. He got excited just thinking about her. Kissing her, touching her...biting her. He couldn't help himself. He loved her, but he still wanted to hurt her. He wanted to hurt her for not loving him.

He got up and turned on his radio. Music always calmed him down and helped him think. He sat back down and tried to concentrate on the music. He listened to the words.

*I tried to love you, I thought I could,

I tried to own you, I thought I would*

This wasn't helping much. It only reminded him of her.

*Try to understand me little girl

My twisted passion to be your world.

Lost inside my sick head,

I live for you, but I'm not alive.

Take my hand before I kill,

I still love you, but I still burn...

Love, hate, love...*

He absorbed the words of the song that seemed written just for him. He did still burn. He loved her, but he couldn't escape the bloodlust for her either. He got up and began pacing.

"I'll give you a chance, Slayer. If you won't love me, then you'll learn my little secret." He said aloud to himself. "But for now, it's just for me to know."

Spike had been out now several times. He had gotten back into the swing of things. He didn't know how or why the chip wasn't working anymore, and he didn't really care. Maybe the batteries just ran out? Either way, he was enjoying the taste of fresh, human blood again. For some reason though, he just couldn't kill them anymore. He always left them still alive. He knew it was crazy, but thoughts of Buffy always filled his head as he drank. He saw her face and had to stop. She had turned him into a pansy, too afraid to kill.

Not that it would matter to her if he killed them or not. She would still see him as evil and worthy of dying. But still he felt better knowing that he hadn't actually killed anyone.

He decided that he was going to go to her and tell her how he felt about her. He knew it was insane, but he had to know if she could ever feel anything for him. He had been thinking and he decided that if she would love him, he might give all this up for good. It wouldn't be easy, but he had done without for over a year, maybe he could do it for longer. He could just pretend that the chip still worked. She would never have to know. Either way, he had to be done with this. He was tired of thinking about her; tired of her face popping up in his mind when he was trying to feed. It had to end, tonight.

He entered her house and went upstairs to her room. He had been able to come and go pretty much as he pleased. She always got mad when he was in her house, but she never bothered to uninvite him. He always saw that as a sign.

He opened her door and found her laying on her bed listening to the radio. She jumped up when she saw him.

"What the hell are you doing here, Spike?" She shouted at him.

"I needed to see you." He said calmly.

"You can't keep waltzing into my house whenever you feel like it. I have a doorbell, you know." She was irritated.

"This is easier. You might not let me in otherwise." He said.

"You're right. I probably wouldn't." She said glaring at him. "What is it this time, Spike? You want to drag me to another vampire whorehouse?"

"No. That wasn't my fault, you know? I just thought you would want to know." He said defending himself.

"Then what? Why are you here?"

"I need to tell you something." He said, trying to work up the nerve.

"What? Spill it. I don't want to play twenty questions." She said sarcastically, quickly losing her patience.

"Buffy, I-I...I love you." He finally blurted out.

Buffy stared at him with shock and irritation. "Excuse me? Is this some kind of joke?" She asked him, not believing her ears.

"It's no joke. I can't stop thinking about you. I've even been trying to be nice to you and your friends. Haven't you noticed?"

"Noticed? What? That you didn't eat those bleeding people at the Bronze? Yeah, I meant to thank you for that." She said mocking him.

"I didn't want you to thank me, I just wanted you to acknowledge that I was trying. What do I have to do to make you see that I've changed?" He said sadly.

"You think you've changed? You haven't changed. Spike, what is all this about? Is this some sort of weird game?"

"It's not a game, Buffy. I just wanted to tell you how I feel, and to see if you could ever possibly feel anything for me." Spike said knowing that this was a mistake, but at least he would know the truth.

"Are you kidding me? You actually think you love me? Are you insane?" She asked him as she got to her feet and approached him.

"Yeah, I am insane. Insane for you. I can't do anything without thinking about you or seeing your face. You're consuming me!" He said getting angry. "Just tell me what you feel for me."

Buffy just looked at him, stunned. "I feel nothing for you, Spike. Nothing at all." She said flatly.

He hung his head down and a tear came to his eye. He wasn't surprised, but he had hoped that somehow, she would admit that she had a dark, burning desire for him too. He lifted his head and looked at her. He grabbed her and kissed her hard. Her lips tasted so sweet and warm. She struggled in his arms and finally pushed him away.

"Stop it! Don't touch me." She yelled at him.

He grabbed her arm again and pulled her close. "You're right, sweetheart. I haven't changed." Then he smiled.

She looked up at him with fear in her eyes. She didn't know what had come over him. He bent down to kiss her again but instead went for her neck. He vamped out and bit down.

She was stunned. She had no idea what was happening. Her mind raced. The chip? He got it out. He was biting her. She was too numb with shock to do anything.

He continued to drink her and her body grew limp. He whispered to her, "I love you, Slayer, but it had to be this way. I'm sorry." Then he finished her off.

He lay her lifeless body down on her bed and sat beside her. He touched her face that was already growing cold. "Goodbye Buffy." He told her as he got up to leave.

That same song from the other night continued to play on her radio. The lyrics dancing in his head.

*I still love you, but I still burn...*

He smiled and climbed out the window and jumped down to the ground. He looked around and up at the sky. His smile grew wide.

"I'm back! The Big Bad is back!" He said as he walked away into the night.