Spike: The Fall and Rise

By Nomad
September 2001

Spoilers: Practically every episode featuring Spike up to 5.22 "The Gift".
Disclaimer: The characters within, naturally, belong to Joss Whedon and the BtVS team.


I feel like Bridget sodding Jones.

It's all the sprog's fault. Her and her journals. She told me it helps; helps her to remember, and get it all down before she loses it.

Hell, if she didn't even exist a year ago, and she's got so much story to tell, what about me? So I've decided to write it all down. Nobody'll ever read the damn thing, but maybe it'll help me. 'Cause I've been waking up these days, and I don't even know who the hell I am anymore. Or what.

I don't know what she means about forgetting, though. I remember it all. Every sodding thing that ever went wrong for me.


This is the hard part to write, the part that's furthest away. But I guess you gotta start at the beginning. The question is, what's my beginning? The time I was born - or the time I died and was born again?

Start at the beginning.

I was born William Michael Wandersley, in the more expensive part of London, in the year 1856. I was the third of eight children, and the only boy. I guess a lot of people might think that would make me some kind of nancy-boy, but they're wrong. I mean, it was the nineteenth century. Everybody studied poetry and literature and stuff. And everybody had long hair and stupid frilly shirts. It was fashion.

So I did pretty well in school. I went to university, got my degree in Literature. I learned Latin and trigonometry and all the rest of that crap that I'm never gonna need. And I got into poetry.

It makes me cringe to think of it now. That part of me's long dead, and good bloody riddance. And Cecily...

Looking back, I can't believe I ever fell for Cecily. In my defence, I didn't have a sodding clue. I didn't know there were girls like Buffy Anne Summers in the world. Of course, in those days, there weren't. They were giggly, and vain, and childish, and pathetic... and some of them were bitches.

Cecily was the bitch-queen of them all. I hope she cried at my funeral. I hope she cried her sodding heart out. Maybe that would've been enough to melt it, since it was made of bloody ice.

You're beneath me. Well, you were wrong, weren't you? You were beneath me, bitch. All of you, laughing at me, where are you now, huh? Dust, mate. Sodding dust. You've all been dead for decades, and I'm still here.

But at the time, I didn't know that. I hadn't got it all figured out. All I knew was I'd poured out my heart, I'd offered her my love - which she certainly didn't bloody deserve - and she'd stomped all over me. So I had to be alone for a while.

And I wasn't going off to cry. That's crap. I just... needed to be alone.

And then... she walked in. Dru. My one-way ticket to eternity. My first true love.

And it was love. I'll shout, I'll scream, I'll throw things and yell it to the world how I hate her. It's not true. I loved her. Whatever else is or was, I'll always love Dru.

The early years were tough, though. We were a foursome, then; me and Dru were the kids, tagging along with mama and papa. Dru might've been a daddy's girl, but he sure didn't take to me.

It was entirely mutual, I might add. Poof.

I was busy reinventing myself at the time. Cut all that bloody hair off, for a start. Sod fashion. Angel might like swanning about like a nancy-boy with bad hair, but I've got an image to think of. And the accent. He had the bloody nerve to take the piss out of me for dropping the accent down a notch or two. Listen to him now; couple of decades in America and he's gone bloody native. Wanker.

He was always moaning about keeping a low profile. A low profile. We're vampires, for God's sake. He's supposed to be the sodding scourge of Europe. How can you be the bloody scourge of anything if you're too damn busy skulking about trying not to be noticed?

And all that pansying about being artistic. Gotta arrange the bodies right. Gotta be there to see everybody's reactions. Gotta fart about getting to know your victim, wrapping yourself up in their life so you get the right feel for them. In my opinion, he just didn't want to mess his hair up getting involved in fist fights. Again I say - poof. And wanker.

So here we are, having another one of our disagreements. As in, I'm trying have a little bit of fun getting in a punch-up, and he's bloody whinging about it. "Don't you ever get tired of fights you know you're gonna win?" I ask. No, of course he doesn't. Because he's such a bloody mincing little coward. What the hell did Buffy ever see in him, I ask you?

And then he comes out with it. "Ooh, you ought to stop all that naughty fighting and stuff - or the Slayer'll get you." Shaking in his boots, he was, I might add.

This was, like, 1880. I was just a kid, barely dead a few months. So I said; "What's a Slayer?"

And that's how it started.

If you're a poofter like Angelus, someone just has to say the word 'Slayer' and you have to run and hide down the bottom of a well for the next thirty years. Not me. I think Slayer, and I think a chance for a decent fight. At least, until I met Buffy. But that's getting like, a hundred years ahead of myself. Not to mention getting into the whole part of this story that I'm trying to get away from.

The first Slayer I met, she was nothing like Buffy. I spent, like, twenty years trying to track her down. You'd think the bloody Watcher's'd have a clue, but no. They've been doing this for God knows how many hundred years, and the best they can do is pick out half a dozen girls to watch and then stand around helplessly when it turns out to be somebody else a few hundred miles away. Tossers.

So this was about 1900, a little while after all that bloody bother in Romania. The gypsies put that curse on Angelus - like I could care less - and Darla was running about like a headless chicken 'cause her big strong man had gone all feeble on her. Like he wasn't already.

So Darla tried to get the curse taken off him, and it didn't work, and she kicked him out... but back he comes, crawling, two years later, and she takes him back in again. I was almost glad to see him, I was that pissed off with having bloody whingy Darla tagging along after us. Made for each other, those two. Sodding made for each other.

I wasn't paying much attention to the pair of 'em anyway. I had the entire bloody Boxer Rebellion to keep me amused... and then, I found her.

She was a tiny little thing - most Chinese girls are. So are most Slayers, actually. Fat chicks need not apply. Some bloody Watcher somewhere's probably written a paper on it. They've got sod all else to do.

This one didn't have a Watcher, or if she did he was hiding under a table somewhere. They all seem to be like that, the ones I met. That's why Giles and the rest of 'em caught me so completely by surprise.

I'm doing it again. Boxer Rebellion. 1900. Right.

She was little, but she was a mean fighter. Or so I thought, then. I know better now. She was good, but she didn't have that flair, that thing that makes the difference between just a Slayer and a great Slayer.

Even so, it was the best damn fight I'd ever had at that point. Oh, Angel could slap me around a bit when he chose, but he never had the stomach for a proper fight, and of course I couldn't really let rip on him, 'cause of Dru. I could kick his arse any damn time I wanted, but Dru'd be upset if I did any permanent damage to her precious daddy.

At least Dru's got the excuse of being certifiably insane. Again, I say, what the hell does Buffy see in him?

She was the first person I fought who ever really put a mark on me - this scar on my brow. It never healed. I wonder why. Maybe it was a magic sword. Should've picked the damn thing up, but me and Dru were too busy having a party.

Slayer's blood; it really is better than sex. Or, you know, the cause of it. She was only the first Slayer I fought, but that was the one and only time I tasted Slayer's blood. The next time around, it was... different.

But that was three quarters of a century later.

Killing that Slayer marked the start of the best years of my existence. For a start, Angelus buggered off to the Americas to hide. Before, he was only good for preying on the sodding helpless. After he got his soul back, he couldn't even bring himself to do that. Good bloody riddance, I say.

I was worried we were gonna have to drag little Ms. Whiny-Voice around with us like before, but no. The second Angel left, she went running off back to daddy on the Hellmouth. That was one place me and Dru planned to steer right clear of. If the Master was too bloody old fashioned for Angel... Yeah. Quite.

So we stayed well clear of Sunnydale - but we went everywhere else. We were living the high life - fighting, killing, dancing, partying the night away. We were having a bloody ball.

It all went disastrously wrong in Prague. This was about 1956; we were there chasing up a lead on a Slayer I'd heard about. I was doing that all the time; the trouble with most Slayers is, by the time news starts to spread around about them, they're already bloody dead.

So, I guess it was my fault. I maybe wasn't paying as much attention to Dru as I should, and I didn't really notice when she got interested in all those little girls. They were like dolls to her, you know? She always loved dolls.

So we stuck around too long, and she stole too many kids, and somebody put two and two together. Next thing I know, I'm coming back to the crypt to find a bloody lynch mob has carried my baby away!

Fortunately, they didn't have a sodding clue about vampires. They tried to hang her, first. Can't do much damage strangling someone who doesn't breathe, though they damn near snapped her neck on the drop. Eternity paralysed from the neck down is no fun for anybody; I got a taste of something like that a few years ago, and it wasn't exactly the way I want to spend my immortality, you know what I'm saying?

By the time I got to her, she was just about as close to gone as a vampire can get. I broke some heads and got her out of there, but the damage was done. My baby was a shadow of her former self.

She always had the visions - had them since her human days. But after Prague, she was having them all time. It was like she crawled up inside her head, and let me tell you - that's no place you want to live. She was off in her own little world twenty-four seven, didn't even bother to eat unless you reminded her.

But hey, we were vampires, and I figure she'd heal. It took me a long time to realise that it wasn't happening. But there was a lot going on around that time. The world was changing, and I liked it. I liked it very much.

There was colour TV and flash cars, and the rock and roll generation. It all seems kinda tame, now, but you gotta remember I was coming at this from being born in the nineteenth century, and it seemed like bloody genius to me.

I even went to Woodstock. I made the mistake of feeding on a sodding flower person, and thus discovered hallucinogenic drugs. That was... interesting. But it can't compare to the kick you get from a decent fight.

Then came the seventies. If I loved any bloody decade in my century and a half existence, it was the nineteen-seventies. That was my time. I'd been calling myself 'Spike' for ninety years by then, but that was the time I really left good ol' William Wandersley behind eating dirt.

You should've seen my baby's face light up when I came home that day. Hell, I've always been drop-dead gorgeous, but the day I discovered punk was the day I crossed over into sex-god territory. I had the bleach, I had the tight jeans, and I was hot-hot-hot. But something was still missing.

I found it the same time I found my second Slayer.

Now, she was hot, that one. Hot in every way. I thought that Chinese chick was a pretty mean fighter, but I hadn't seen nothing then. This one had flair. She had flair in buckets. And she still wasn't a sodding patch on Buffy Summers.

She had on this totally cool long black leather duster. And I just thought; ow! I had to get me one of those.

And I got it. Now that was a fight to remember. Oh, how we danced. It was a beautiful thing.

And when I won... I didn't bite her. I don't know why I didn't. Respect, maybe. She was a Slayer, a real Slayer, a warrior. I didn't want to drink her blood like she was just some girl I'd picked up on the street. She was worth more than that.

So I snapped her neck, and I just laid her down to rest.

And I took the coat. The first one gave me this scar; the second gave me this coat. So in a way, they're part of me now. They were part of the process that changed me from William into Spike.

And Buffy... I don't know what she's changing me into. Even now she's gone, I'm still changing. I can't seem to stop it.

That was 1977, in New York. My baby and I decided to stick around in America; it was rich pickings. The bloody yanks always think they're so bloody modern. Back in eastern Europe, places like that, people still believe. Even back home, they've got history, they've got the Watchers and a few billion other organisations who still remember. But in America, they think they're above it all. It's easy to prey on people who don't believe in you.

And then, in the mid 90s, Dru had a vision. She came to me one day and told me Darla had been killed. I couldn't say I was too surprised. Four hundred years old, and she was weak as a bloody kitten. Hell, even Xander Harris could probably take Darla. So I didn't think much of it.

Then, a few months later, Dru had another vision. Someone had killed the Master.

Now that made me sit up and take notice. Taking down Darla is one thing; taking down that ancient dude is quite another. One of the oldest remaining vampires, he was on the Hellmouth, he had his army of vamps and demons, and someone had still killed him.

That was when I knew we had another Slayer on our hands.

That was one of the reasons I chose to make it to the Dale; the other was Dru. I'd realised some time ago she wasn't getting better; now she was getting steadily worse. I don't know how it works, exactly, but I always thought she had some kind of psychic link to us - to all of us. Me and Angel and Darla and the Master; her family. And losing the two oldest links of the chain hit her hard.

I figured that on the Hellmouth, I'd be able to find something to save her. That place reeks of dark power; we vamps thrive on it. And I had an idea that maybe feeding her Slayer's blood might help. Hell, it's powerful stuff.

So off we headed to Sunnydale; the place that has seen some sodding spectacular kickings of my arse. And yet, I kept going back. And here I am, after everything that's happened, still here. I blame that Hellmouth dark energy crap. I can't really be that stupid all by myself, can I?

I got this car from somewhere in the sixties or seventies; a 1963 black DeSoto. Sweet. Kinda like the Batmobile, but cooler. It was our Deathmobile.

That got smashed up a few years ago, when I was tearing myself apart over breaking up with Dru. I think I might've been trying to kill myself, but that's surprisingly bloody hard when you're a vampire. Burning's too painful, staking yourself is a lot more difficult than you'd think, and I haven't got a clue how you'd go about trying to decapitate yourself.

So anyway, me and Dru show in the Dale, and cruise on over to the Master's old digs. And what are his vamps doing? Planning, training, observing the Slayer? Nope, they're too busy getting sodding religion. Taking orders from this little kid and some old preacher dude.

So I breeze in, and make a show like I'm impressed by their Annoying One. He's the one who knows all about the Slayer, after all.

I remember my first reaction when they told me her name was Buffy. Buffy. I mean, come on. Work with me here.

What was that other chick called? Kendra? Now that's a vampire Slayer name. Even that one who went rogue, Faith; that's got a kind of ring to it. But Buffy?

Americans.

But as I found out, just because she's got a stupid name doesn't mean she isn't dangerous. Far from it.

I checked her out, and I was bloody smart about it. Now that I'm all chipped-up and helpless, they like to pretend that I'm stupid. Spike is so dumb, Spike is so pathetic, why were we ever afraid of Spike? Having seen the Scooby Gang in action from the inside, I could throw those sorts of questions right back at ya.

I found her in this club, the bronze, hanging with her buddies. Can I just say; I have never lost my respect for Xander Harris. Because I never sodding had any. That first time I met him, I saw him 'dancing'. That killed any chance of me ever taking him seriously. And over the years, I've come to the conclusion that my initial impression of him was... incredibly accurate. Geek-boy.

Buffy, though, impressed me buckets. I sicked her on some dumb bastard feeding in the alley, and she kicked seven shades of whatever out of him. So I gave her the slow handclap and told her to be ready.

I can't do those kind of exits anymore. They kind of lose their potency when everybody knows that you can't so much as flick 'em without being paralysed by an instant migrane. Sodding chip.

We bust into the school at night. That was a great one, I have to say. Lights out, people screaming, everyone bottled up like rats in a trap... We really outdid ourselves on that one.

Halfway through, I ran into Angel. That kind of surprised me; I figured he'd be putting as much distance between him and the Master's old home as possible. I sounded him out like I was glad to see him. I can't believe he actually fell for that for even a second, but then he always was totally in love with himself. I wanted to see if he was Irritating Homicidal-Angel, or Soul-having Pathetic-Angel.

Oh, he was talking it up like he was mean, but I wasn't fooled. He's another one who likes to make himself look big by pretending everyone else is stupid. Tosser.

I even said he was my Yoda. Which was true. Dumb-looking, speaking a load of crap and trying to run my life for me. Who likes Yoda? Darth Vader was the cool one.

And then... she showed up. Oh, she was magnificent. She wanted to ditch the weapons, and I was right behind that. The dance is so much more fun when you keep it pure and simple.

I told her I was gonna make it quick - and I meant it. She wasn't gonna beg, and I wasn't gonna try and make her. You fight somebody like that, you've gotta give them enough respect. That's what did for Angelus, really. Didn't give the Slayer enough respect. That and the fact that he was a useless tosser.

It was a hell of a fight. She was better than the other two put together, and at that time she wasn't even close to how good she got later. But I was winning. I was sodding winning - 'til the Slayer's mum showed up and whacked me over the back of the head with an axe.

Joyce Summers, man. She was quite a lady. That was what made Buffy what she was, I think. Not just destiny, but genetics. That and the fact that she always had that support network around her. Even the greatest Slayer makes a mistake some time - even if it's only once in a hundred fights. If you're alone, that once'll kill you. If you've got friends, they'll come bail you out.

But it caught me by surprise, because hell, that's just not how it's done. Lucky for me, I'm adaptable. Not set in my ways like the Master and the Annoying One.

The little puke was pissed at me for not killing her - me, who led the expedition, brought back more vamps alive than anybody else would have done, and came so close to nailing her. And I just looked down at the little git and thought; 'why?' I never took orders from Angelus, so why the hell take them from some little kid who's half my size?

So we toasted him. A little less ritual, a little more fun. That's my sodding motto.

Those were good times, as well. Having my own army of darkness was kind of a new one on me, but although they were stupid, there were lots of 'em. We had some fun, a few pitched battles with the Slayer, and who cared if any of those guys got dusted? All the time I was testing, testing, learning her strengths and weaknesses; and I was looking for a way to cure Dru.

Ironically, it was the Watcher who helped there. He had a whole bloody reference library he carted around with him, and there was a book which explained the ritual. Course, it would have helped if we had Giles to translate it, too; instead, all we had was that useless wanker Dalton. 'Debase the beef canoe' - how could you get even that far in the sentence and not twig that you weren't doing it right?

But I found out the cure had been right under our bloody noses all the time - Angel. It turned out a little taste of sire's blood was all my baby needed to set her right again. And I was happy to oblige. Very, very happy.

Dru, to my mind, was entirely too chuffed to have daddy around again. But she was also pretty keen to play with holy water, so go figure. Maybe she's not as nuts as all that after all.

That was my hour of triumph. It was all going swimmingly, I had it all worked out. Even when that slimy little git Willy brought the Slayer direct to my door, I wasn't too bothered. I could hold her and her little friends off long enough for Dru to be cured.

I'm still deeply pissed off about that. Chosen One, children, Chosen One. Don't go changing the rules on me halfway through the game, people.

Two Slayers. Two sodding Slayers. I've taken two of 'em, but bloody hell, not at the same time!

The universe hates me.

I don't really remember what happened that clearly. I think something hit me. It was probably Buffy. And then there were flames everywhere, and...

Dru dragged me out of the fire. That much at least went as planned; my baby had her strength back. That was the last thing that went right for me for a long, long time.

I was burned, and I was paralysed. I still don't know where Dru got the chair from. Presumably she ate whatever poor sod was in it before me. And why do I care? Too much time spent hanging around with the bloody Slayerettes. I'm starting to think like one.

Back then, though, wheelchair-bound or not, I was still very much the Big Bad. Me and my baby had big plans. Since I couldn't be up and about, we had a go at evil by mail-order. One bloody great blue demon, no waiting.

I love this country. Anywhere else in the world, you'd expect to have trouble getting an arm in a box through customs, but not here.

Once again, my life was just beginning to look good, and he showed up. Bad-hair boy. The brood dude.

At first, I was just pissed off. I mean, there are rules you know. We're the bad guys, they're the good guys. You don't just saunter into each others' camps. I mean, I don't go casually walking into their library, do I?

Or I didn't, anyway. They'd probably let me now. If they hadn't blown it up into tiny little pieces.

They did that while I was away. Damn. Enormous snake demon on the loose, vampire armies, buildings being blown up with dynamite... I could've brought popcorn.

But the point I was making is, you're not supposed to walk in. You're supposed to at least, you know, punch a few guards.

Sodding lackey vamps. If they'd been awake that day, they could've solved all my problems.

Since they were apparently all asleep, I gave the Judge a nudge. I figured; quick scan, toasty Angel, everybody's happy. Dru might be a little upset for a minute, but it should be outweighed by the fun of seeing him spontaneously combust like Dalton did.

Sadly, it was a no-go. Bastard managed to get his soul taken off just in time to save his skin. There's no bloody justice, is there?

Back for three minutes, already he was talking it up like he was running the show. What could I do? I was spinning my wheels and growling at the way Dru was drooling all over him.

And then they left me. Went off to conquer the world and left me sitting on my own in that bloody warehouse.

Serves 'em right the bloody Slayer went after the Judge with a missle launcher. And Angel came back limping; she'd kicked him in the bollocks.

Oh, I would've paid money to see that. I really would.

Sadly, when you've got as little manhood as bad-hair boy, a swift foot to the wrinklies doesn't hold you back for long. He started plotting revenge - in his own, pathetic, poofy way. He's got this thing with starting from the outside. Build it up, make it hurt as bad as you possibly can. Kill 'em off one by one as you make your way to the centre.

I could've told him that with Buffy, that was not the way to work. Hell, he was her boyfriend for about a year, and I knew better than that the first day I met her.

What could she ever see in somebody that was so bloody stupid?

He killed the witch teacher first. Not even one of the ones that did any fighting I might add. All she was doing was working on a way to give him his bloody soul back, and by that point I'd've given her a round of sodding applause for it.

And then he came back, bragging about how he'd arranged the body in the Watcher's bed. Like that matters. Dead is dead. All that artsy crap was ever gonna change was how pissed off Giles got.

That's another thing. I'd only met Giles, like, twice, and yet I knew if you hit him with something like that he'd be serious trouble. It's obvious he's dangerous. But Angel, and commando-boy, and even all the rest of the bloody Slayerettes who've known him for five years, don't even seem to bloody notice.

I have to ask; why is everybody around me so bloody stupid?

Anyway, suffice to say I wasn't exactly heartbroken when Giles burst in with the petrol bombs. He did a damn good job of beating the crap out of Angel without any bloody super powers, and Buffy would've finished him for sure if she hadn't had to go back and rescue Giles.

It was about this point that I realised that if I was ever gonna get rid of Angel, I'd need to take a hand in it myself. I'd already pretty much made my mind up on Valentines day. He brought a human heart for my baby. My baby. He's got no sodding shame.

But anyway, soon after he killed the teacher, I started getting feeling back in my legs. The burns were already almost healed, and soon I could walk. Which meant I didn't have to take him lying down anymore.

The turning point was when he brought back the statue of Acathla.

It's a big rock. Can't wait to tell my friends. They don't have a rock this big. How cool am I?

And how dumb is Angel? What the hell do you want to go sucking the sodding world into hell for? What's so bloody good about hell? Let loose all the bloody big-shot demons who think they should be ruling the Earth, kill off all the humans so you haven't got a food supply... It's grade-A stupid.

Sucking the world into hell, huh. He's such a sodding drama queen.

Trouble was, though, he was just crazy enough that he might actually do it. So I thought I'd put a stop to it.

And that's where it began. The beginning of the ending. The first step onto the slippery slope, which I'm now sitting at the bottom of going 'What the hell just happened?'

At least, I hope it's the bloody bottom. My sodding feelings have been yanked about quite enough, thanks. Any minute now I might suddenly start, I don't know, caring about the opinions of Xander Harris or something like that. And then I'd have to kill myself.

But at the time, it just seemed like a sensible idea. We both wanted Angel gone - why not form an alliance? Sure, she was the Slayer, but it's only ritualistic tossers like the Master who can't adapt to circumstance.

I agreed to leave town and never come back if she helped me kill Angel. So I didn't keep my promise - neither did she. I knew I should've stuck around and helped her finish off the poof. But I was too busy looking for a way to rebuild what I had with Dru.

Trouble was, she didn't want to know about it. We went to brazil, and at first I figured she was just moping over Angel. I thought she'd get over it in a few days - she doesn't remember things too well, normally. Head's too full of other stuff that no one else can make sense of. But this time, it didn't blow over.

It was the truce with Buffy that did it - or that's what I thought it was, back then. She figured I'd gone soft on her, and she took up with a chaos demon. A bloody chaos demon! Hell, Angel might not be half so gorgeous as me, but at least he's sodding human-looking. Slime and antlers. Bloody hell!

But it was about more than that, I know now. She said Buffy was 'all over me'. I figured she was talking about the alliance, or even about my thing for fighting Slayers. I know differently now.

See, this is what sucks about having a psychic girlfriend. A normal girlfriend can be mad at you for things you've done, or things that she thinks you might have done. Psychic ones can be mad at you for things you don't even know you're going to do yet.

And so we broke up. That was the worst part. We just broke up - no hysterics, no screaming, no murder - she didn't even cry. I cried. Afterwards. But not when she could see me. Oh no. I have my pride.

And you know what she said? You know what she said? "Let's be friends." Yeah, she said that. Like we were sixteen-year-old kids who'd only been going out for about two months or something.

How could she do that to me?

I was a wreck. I drank, I cried, I drove round in circles and bumped into things. And somehow, I ended up back in Sunnydale.

At the time, I honestly thought it was the memories that had dragged me back. Memories of the last place me and Dru had shared a little happiness together. Now... Now I don't try to second-guess myself anymore. A bloke gets tired of not knowing why he does things.

I showed up in town, utterly rat-arsed... and I found Angel, lurking around, same as usual. I form one tiny little alliance for mutual gain, and Dru never wants to see me again. He turns evil, kills her Watcher's girlfriend, beats the crap out of all her friends and tries to suck the world into hell, and she forgives him. Tosser. Him, not her.

I went back to some of our old hangouts, but God, that hurt. So instead, I decided to get my revenge on bad-hair boy. A nice case of piles or leprosy or something. brighten my life up a treat.

But when I got to the spell-shop, the little witch was there - shopping for love spells. And I was drunk, I was maudlin, I wasn't thinking clearly - and a sodding love spell seemed like exactly what I needed. So I grabbed her and dopey-boy to do a bit of magic for me.

I honestly don't remember how I ended up at Buffy's house. I wasn't looking for her, I'm sure of that. And anyway, she wasn't home. Which is how I ended up drinking hot chocolate with Joyce Summers.

As I've said before, mama Summers was one cool lady. Thinking on it... she was the first person ever to treat me like I was a real person, since... hell, since the day I died. Dru loved me, but she was nuts - it wasn't like you could really talk to her. Darla and Angel I couldn't give a rat's arse for, and the other vamps were just too sodding thick to talk to. Harmony was even worse... but that was later.

But Joyce, she listened to me. She made me hot chocolate and we talked about Dru. Then, of course, vampire soul-boy turned up and started doing his Lassie act in the back window. Like I hadn't been sitting there for half an hour without even sodding touching her. Wanker. Much to my amusement, Buffy hadn't bothered to clue mum in on the whole 'not evil anymore' situation. See, she was smart enough to know what a crappy boyfriend he was deep down.

Then Buffy showed up, and I had to play the Will and Xander cards to avoid a short sharp spatula to the sternum. But I thought hey, since they're here... might as well get 'em to do the heavy lifting for me.

That was the best thing about evil plots. You could be completely sodding unreasonable and the good guys had to go along with it. I miss that. It's hard to pressurise people with the threat that if they don't help you'll give yourself a killer migrane.

Anyway, we somehow got into the middle of a vampire gang war. Fighting alongside Buffy and Angel was surprisingly fun - he got totally crushed by a door, for a start, and Buffy... I gotta tell you, watching that girl fight was nearly as much fun as sparring with her. The thrill of it never went away. Man, she was hot.

But somewhere in the middle of that fight, I woke up. I just thought 'enough'. Enough crying, enough whinging, enough sodding moping. I was turning into another brood-boy, and nobody wants that. Least of all me.

So I lit on out of there to win my baby back by being my old self. Before I went, though, I stopped to give the star-crossed lovers a little relationship advice. We're just friends. Who the hell did they think they were kidding? I guess I could see why Angel loved her, but again... the attraction on her end is a complete sodding mystery.

I caught up with Dru, and yeah, we got it together for a while. But I don't know, somehow being my old self was harder than it used to be. It just didn't seem to work anymore. And soon enough, I came home and found her in the arms of a fungus demon. This time, I took the hint.

I'd learned my lesson about being heartbroken, though. To much like sodding hard work. So I tried being angry instead, and that was more my style. I rampaged across a few countries, having a string of affairs and stomping on their little hearts.

I read absolutely nothing into the fact that they were all petite blond girls. It was purely trying to avoid being with anybody who reminded me of Dru.

And then I learned about this thing, the Gem of Amara. Invincibiliy seemed like a cool idea at the time. Without Dru, I felt like half of me was missing. I had to keep myself entertained the whole time to stop myself remembering that, and I thought being able to walk in sunlight and stake myself might just do that.

So that was the only reason I came back to the Dale. The only reason.

And somehow I hooked up with Harmony. Thick as two short planks wasn't half as dumb as her. But she was small and blonde and about nineteen years old... And those are, you know, all desireable qualities that have no connotations whatsoever.

You know, looking back I worry that I'm just as sodding clueless as these morons that surround me.

Anyway, the quest for the Gem went just about as bloody well as could be expected. Buffy got the damn thing off of me, and what did she do with it? Send it off special delivery to the poof in LA. Apparently she forgot about the minor issue of how it's not smart to give invincibility to someone who might one day wake up and decide to start slaughtering all your friends again.

So I tracked it to his doorstep, and hung about waiting for him. He had Cordelia working for him, of all people.

I think that says a lot about him if that's the best he can do with hiring staff.

So anyway, I got this torturer to go to work on him. Which would've been fun, except for the fact that he was into all the same bloody head games as Angelus. Give me a sodding red hot poker, any day.

And then, the crowning glory; I'd just got the ring, when the sodding torturer betrayed me. This was about the time that I decided I wasn't allying myself with anyone else, ever again.

However, being a super cool no-ties lone wolf is no fun without an arch-enemy to taunt with your wolf-like coolness. So I sort of wandered back to Sunnydale. Which was probably the biggest mistake of my unlife.

Sometime between me leaving for LA and coming back a few months later, they'd installed a whole bloody branch of the US military for the express purpose of pissing me off. That must've been what they were for, because the sodding army boys sure didn't do anything else useful the whole time they were there.

I didn't realise what they'd done to me, at first. I escaped, I had my evil plan, things were looking great. Until I found out I couldn't sodding bite anybody.

God, it was so humiliating. Willow was really nice about it, actually. Tried to make me feel better.

Bloody hell, what's wrong with these people?

Thus began my descent into the depths of despair. I couldn't feed, nobody loved me, there were crazy commandos on my tail... My life was starting to sound like the plot to a sodding Disney animal movie.

But I'm not stupid. Intimidation's sodding tough to pull off when you can't follow through on it, and you won't get far relying on other vampires' evilness of heart. So I did the obvious thing.

I went to the good guys.

I figured hey, they're the good guys, right? Guardians of all things helpless and pathetic. Which, at this point, included me.

It took some hard bargaining, but I've always been a pro at that. I wangled my way into the Slayer's headquarters on the promise of some hard info about those bloody army boys.

And they fell for it! Okay, it was true, but they still fell for it. It could've been one of my elaborate plans - I'm good at those - and they just let me walk right in.

Well yeah, they were smart enough to tie me to a chair. It's not like I couldn't've snapped those ropes any time I wanted. Well, if I'd fed any time recently, I could've.

Of course, they managed to get themselves knotted up in some bloody great fight with Indian spirits or something. Thus distracting from the important part, i.e. feeding me. Didn't even manage to get any decent bloody wounds, the bastards. Still, at least I got to see dopey-boy cursed with syphillis, which was worth a few chucks.

Damn, I wish I'd managed to get that leprosy curse. I can think of a few more people whose parts I'd like to rot off right about now. Starting with Mr. Sodding Smiley-Riley Finn. Tosser.

See, it didn't take Buffy long to get over brood-boy. Eternal love, my arse. First she took up with some drippy university boy who cheated on her, and then she moved straight on to Mr. Macho.

Buffy Anne Summers. The girl with terminally bad taste in men.

Which explains why she never appreciated me, right?

Though she did, for a while... which was the heartbroken little witch's fault. I never really found out the whole story behind that - how the hell she ended up casting some spell to make me and Buffy get engaged. Whatever she told her friends, I reckon she did it deliberately. It's the quiet ones you gotta watch out for.

Besides, she always had a little bit of a crush on me, Willow. Before she suddenly decided to be gay, anyway.

Of course, when the spell broke, Buffy was playing up the whole 'oh, gross, what have you done to me?' card real bad. But hey, so was I. We both had an image to maintain, you know?

But I know she liked it, secretly. After all, you've only gotta look at how she was with macho-boy and how she was with me to know which was the better match.

But anyway, the spell was broken, and I didn't think much about it after. Seriously. I mean, hell, she was one hot lady, no one's denying that, but she was also the bloody Slayer, and my Big Bad credentials were pouring down the drain fast enough already.

When they finally got it through their thick skulls that I wasn't gonna be able to murder them in their beds - sadly - they unchained me, and I somehow ended up as Giles's roomie. Not exactly heart of darkness stuff. But at least he had a bloody good record collection. And food.

It's funny. Since I stopped drinking human blood, I've been having cravings for all sorts of bloody foods - like there's something missing from my diet and I can't get it anywhere. Not that I can taste much, 'less it's really spicy, but it's a bit of texture, you know? There's not a whole lot of romance in cold pig's blood from a sodding packet.

No wonder bad-hair boy's always so bloody cranky.

So anyway, I wouldn't call it fun but it was better than living with Angel. Or Darla. I was okay just chilling out, drinking blood, watching TV. 'Til Giles decided to kick me out 'cause he had his girlfriend over.

"Xander, can you take Spike for a few days?" Like I'm a sodding puppy.

So I had to room with dopey boy. Which sucked. And then, because the thick tosser thought I was menacing his demon girlfriend, I got beaten up by him. Which was seriously humiliating. Sodding chip. And then, his bloody crappy basement apartment flooded, and I had to wear some of Xander Harris' clothes.

This was the point when I knew I had to kill myself.

I had it all figured out. Burning is no fun, and self-decapition is none too easy, so I planned on doing it the old-fashioned way. Fall on my stake; no fuss, no muss, see you all in hell.

Turns out, staking yourself is a more difficult proposition than it seems. You can't stab it into yourself - can't get the leverage - and it's a bastard and a half to prop the thing up to impale yourself. Anyway, I was having a sodding good go at it when those interfering Scoobies showed up.

Of course, Harris could've cared less, but Will's a sodding bleeding heart. Never mind how I was the Big Bad and trying to kill her less than two months ago, she was determined to save my life. Such as it is. And so I ended up tagging along on a mission to save the world.

And that's how I ended up as a warrior for the side of light. I know, I know, but what can you do? I was so sodding pleased to be able to beat up something, I didn't care which side it put me on. So I can only kill demons now? From where I'm standing, that's a whole lot better than being Mr. Useless.

Of course, the army boys didn't see it that way. I'd escaped, and they wanted me back. Never mind how I couldn't hurt anybody, they just didn't like the idea of people knowing they'd screwed up, and so they chased me.

Fortunately for me, they were thick.

'Specially macho boy. He didn't even sodding recognise me, at first. That's me. Spike. Bleach. Leather. Cheekbones. Cockney accent. Real easy to lose in a crowd, I am.

Wanker.

So here am I, fighting it up for the sake of good. And for money. Giles started that. Managed to get himself turned into a bloody Fyarl demon, can you believe it?

Giles. Crush-kill-destroy type demon. That Ethan dude has got one twisted sense of humour.

I wish I'd had the chance to meet him. We would've got on great.

I managed to twist Giles's arm for a few hundred dollars, but he extorted it right back, the scheming bastard. I can't believe how he manages to pull the wool over their eyes so completely. They honestly believe he's this stuttering, shy, pathetic tweedy old dude. Are these people blind?

I blame cultural stereotyping. Bloody Yanks.

So anyway, the money-making thing's not working out too good, the dumb army boys have finally woken up to who I am, nobody's scared of me anymore, and the bloody braindead Scoobies can't even remember I'm supposed to be evil. Again, I ask - how are these people still alive?

So anyway, when that freaky Adam dude offered to get this sodding chip out of my head, I bloody well jumped at the chance.

It was pretty damn easy, too. Stir up a lot of crap about Willow being gay, point out to Giles that none of them give a toss about him, point out to Xander that he's a pathetic, inadequate excuse for a human being - no half-truths there... child's play. It's not my fault Adam was too thick to see the flaws in his own reasoning.

So much for getting my bloody chip out.

When that went out of the window, I headed straight back on over to the good guys. They might not like me, but I can kick demon arse so much better than any of them, and they know it. They practically begged me to help them out. So I came back to the fold.

Which was not to say I didn't take the very next opportunity for getting de-chipped that came up.

I'm evil. What do you want from me?

It seemed fairly foolproof. I wouldn't have taken Harmony along if it hadn't. Army boys are back in town; pressure 'em into getting this damn thing out of my head. Turns out I should've hired more expert help. The bastard doctor pulled a bluff on me, and Harmony, moron that she is, fell for it.

Damnit, you can't work alone, you can't get decent minions these days...

Anyway, I was kinda surprised that Buffy didn't kill me. I guess I went to sleep mulling that kind of crap over in my head... and that's why I had that dream. My revelation.

I'd already sort of figured that Buffy fancied me. Oh, she hides it well, but I always knew. I'm not dumb, and hell, I'm a very attractive man. Why would she work so hard at being disgusted if there wasn't anything underneath it all?

And hey, I knew she was a pretty hot chick myself. She was fast and smart and sassy, and that's what made her so fun to battle all the time. But that dream made me realise that maybe it was more than battling I liked about her.

Let's face it. Harmony... well, she's very pretty. There. I said something nice, didn't I? But she's... well, Harmony. Couldn't exactly see the two of us still rooming together in the year 3000, you know? Not without me beating myself to death with a sodding breadbox.

I demand more from my chicks. They've gotta be cool. They've gotta have style. They've gotta know what I'm thinking. They gotta have fire. They gotta-

They gotta be Buffy Anne Summers.

I didn't want to believe it, when it came to me in a flash like that. I thought I was turning into sodding Angel, for God's sake. That's enough to have anybody crying for mercy.

But I'm not stupid. Once it came together like that, I knew it was true. And I know who I am. I'm ruled by my passions. Not like Angelus, not like all that crap he wheels out about the thrill of other people's fear. I don't need your bloody vicarious thrills. I want to live my sodding life, not borrow it.

To put it simply... now that I realised I was in love with Buffy, I didn't intend to waste the next decade moping about reading crappy French poetry.

Poof.

Well, I knew what I had to do, much as it grated. I had to become... a good guy.

That didn't seem like such a rough deal, I figured. It wasn't like I had to start going to church on Sundays. Just beat up vamps and demons instead of humans, and I was doing that already. And be nice to Buffy.

I can do nice.

Sadly, Buffy and co. were completely oblivious to my abrupt change of heart. Figures; when I'm raging against my chip and plotting ways to kill them all, they can't remember I'm evil. When I decide to give in and come over to their side, I'm the scum of the bloody universe.

You have to wonder how these people stayed alive this long.

But something must've sunk in, 'cause Buffy came to me. She came to me. Oh, she was only after information about Slayers, but I'm ever the opportunist. That night at the bronze was our first date, though I don't think she realised it.

It certainly ended like one. Violence, money being thrown, and the words "you're beneath me" spoken with contempt.

That was what did it. Those words, coming at me, on a night when the past was heavy on my mind. I wasn't lovestruck anymore, I was bloody furious.

That's always been my problem. I get pissed off. If I didn't get pissed off so easily, I'd be running the sodding universe by now.

I found myself a bloody rifle. I figured sure, I might get a bit of a backlash when I pulled the trigger, but the bullet'd already be on its way by the time I felt the headache. It might have all ended then and there, except-

Except she was crying. Sitting on the back step and crying.

I think I said it to Angel once. I was doing it to needle him, but it's true. There is nothing in the universe quite so incredibly adorable as Buffy Summers when she's hurting. I didn't want to shoot her anymore. I wanted to pick her up and squeeze her 'til she popped. Well, wouldja look at that? The vamp's got a protective instinct.

What's wrong with this picture?

I didn't dare touch her, though. I figured that might be a dumb thing to do to a Slayer who thinks you're still her deadly enemy. So I kind of sat down beside her and asked her if she was okay, what was wrong, could I help?

She wouldn't tell me. But she didn't try to push me away, either. She needed me.

I can't explain what I was feeling right then. I just knew that it was so strong I couldn't even think about denying it. That night was the last time I ever even considered doing anything to hurt Buffy Summers.

Well, not for my own enjoyment, anyway. Sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind, though. Like with Riley.

I'd found out what was wrong with Buffy by this point. Her mother was sick - like, really sick. Cancer. And that was something I just had nothing to say on. Hell, what do I know about cancer? I'm gonna live forever, and if I don't, then I'll go quick and clean.

Even if I hadn't had my little epiphany, I'd still've had enough respect for Buffy and for her mum to acknowledge that they were getting a seriously crappy deal. Not so Riley.

All macho boy could see that she was neglecting him. Never mind how you're saving the world or that your mum's dying, why haven't you got any time for me?

If it wasn't impossible to hate somebody more than I hate Angel, I might hate Riley that much. Bastard.

So imagine my glee when I found out exactly what macho boy was up to. Not just flirting with danger, not just cheating, but actually getting his goddamn blood sucked!

Christ, even I think that's kinky.

So naturally, I had to fill Buffy in. Maybe she figured I was doing it to hurt her, but it was for her own good. That girl never could tell when her man was a bad deal.

Of course, that woke her up to it, and she dumped him pretty sharpish. For which he blamed me. That's just about the level of logic you can expect from army boys. I do something phenomenally stupid. He sees me and tells my girlfriend. Therefore it's his fault she dumps me.

Tosser.

He didn't even have the guts to go through with his revenge the whole way. A plastic stake! Yeah, I bet they're all the rage at the vampire novelty shops. God, what a weirdo.

So anyway, Riley's gone, the field is clear. But I'm not dumb enough to make my move too soon. In fact, I'm not dumb enough to try and make it at all. I've got to find a way to prove myself a... choke it out... good guy before she's gonna take notice. So I make myself useful.

Which, naturally, nobody takes the slightest bit of sodding notice of. What does it take?

About this time, I started to take notice of little sis. Oh, I guess I'd always known Buffy had a little sister, but I couldn't remember really seeing her around or anything. She was just, like, part of the furniture.

Only it turned out she was a lot more than that. There was some kind of secret there, anyone could see, and that girl had her sister's stones. Why sit around and wonder when you can be out there breaking into magic shops and reading people's private diaries?

A girl after my own heart.

So I kind of helped her out a bit. Not to get in with Buffy - I didn't really think assisting little sis in commiting felonies was gonna get me a sodding medal, you know? But hell, my life's kind of short on the kicks these days, and besides, I liked the little sprog. She's a fighter.

Turns out, she's some whole big mystical Key thing that doesn't really exist at all or whatever. I guess that kind of thing can give you an identity crisis, so she buggered off sharpish. I even helped Buffy search for her; I was kind and comforting and supportive. And I helped fight Glory at the hospital. Anybody give a toss? Not bloody likely.

So here I am, feeling pretty sodding low. I'm give it my all, going against my every bloody instinct, and does anybody even sodding notice? Of course they bloody well don't.

And then... Buffy found out. How? I don't know. Maybe Dawn spilled the beans. She's pretty sharp, that kid. Unlike Buffy. You'd expect somebody that smart and sassy and altogether cool to be a bit more observant of what the hell was going on under her bloody nose.

But then, this is the girl who thought Angel and Riley were good relationship choices. With a track record like that, you'd think she wouldn't sneer at anybody, but no - too good for the likes of me.

I was pretty screwed up. Hell, there was nothing pretty about it. I was royally pissed. A man can only take so much, you know? These bloody women - all I ever wanted to do was love them. They wouldn't even let me do that.

I gave Dru my blood, my life, a dozen decades of undying loyalty. I brought her rats with the paper, I brushed her hair for her, I even sat down and played tea parties with those bloody dolls when she wanted to. I did that for a hundred years, I would have done it for a thousand more. But she cheated on me, she sneered at me, she walked away for me... and then she came gliding back like nothing happened. Like I would take her back instantly.

And the hell of it is, if I hadn't been so screwed up over Buffy, I would have done it, too.

Buffy... her I gave even more than my loyalty. I changed everything about myself, changed into somebody completely new. I turned my back on everything I am and everything my instincts tell me I have to be just for a chance at winning a little bit of respect. And did she care? Did she even believe me?

And Harmony; there was no love there, but I didn't treat her bad. Oh, sure, I tried to stake her that one time she drove me a little too crazy, but we're vampires. That was practically a gesture of affection. Showed I cared enough at least to kill her instead of giving it the sodding 'let's be friends' treatment.

I bleed, I sweat, I endlessly reinvent myself. I give everything I have for love, and I do it again and again and again, and nobody ever cares.

What do you want from me? What do you women want from me?

But I never bloody learn, do I? I make these gestures, they get me nowhere, so I try and make bigger ones. And for Buffy, I made the biggest one.

I offered to kill Dru for her. I really, genuinely offered that. The ultimate sacrifice. And you know what? She didn't give a damn.

I really would have done it, too.

I think.

So Buffy walked away from me. And Dru walked away from me. Hell, even Harmony dumped on me at that point. And I figured that right then, I was just about low as I had ever been in my life.

The universe decided it could take me lower.

I did possibly the very most pathetic thing I'd ever done in my life. In my defence, I can only say that I was in some deeply disturbed place where I felt like no woman in the universe was ever gonna want me.

That must be what it feels like to be Riley Finn.

Loser.

But anyway, I was kinda ashamed of myself, but then I forgot all about it, 'cause things got rough. Not on me, on Buffy. Hell, and I thought I was having a rough month.

Joyce Summers died.

I was surprised, at the time, by how deeply it affected me. Oh, none of them would ever have believed it, but it meant something to me. Damn, I liked the woman. She didn't treat me like a freak, and I bet if she'd been around all the Scooby stuff more, she would have noticed how I was changing, how my feelings were genuine.

I bet it hit Xander's little ex-demon chick hard, too. When you're used to immortality... it just seems so wrong. Yeah, vampires can die, they can be killed, but they don't die like that. They don't just... stop.

What the hell kind of world is it that people can just stop like that?

I brought flowers. It seemed like the thing to do. And I was even going to leave them anonymously, too, so of course Xander sodding Harris had to show up and accuse me of trying to get into Buffy's pants. Yeah, 'cause, you know, bringing funeral flowers really makes girls horny.

Stupid little git.

Dawn, though; she saw through to the truth. I said she was sharp didn't I? When I helped her out with her spell... Funny, huh? I try to convince Buffy that I love her, she doesn't want to know. Try to convince little sis that I'm still evil and dangerous, and she knows better.

Why couldn't Buffy be the perceptive one?

Mind you, even Dawn had her blind spots. I could've told her that no spell would ever have brought her mother back the way she wanted. But hell, why should I be the one to lecture her? She's fourteen, not four. Old enough to make her own mistakes.

I mean, she chose right, didn't she? She stopped the spell all on her lonesome, and she knew why as well. I could've stopped her and gone running for Buffy, but that wouldn't've solved anything. They're so stupid, the Scoobies. They can't do her sodding growing up for her.

Then came the robot... not to mention one of my darkest moments and finest hours, all in the same stretch of time. That was when it changed. It all changed just when I'd completely given up on that ever happening.

Buffy called it sick. She called it wrong and obscene. I guess it was all those things, but to me that wasn't the worst of it. To me it was just desperately, desperately sad.

How did I ever come to be so much in love that even the tiniest little shadow of the real thing seemed like my only life-line?

Ironically, it was finally getting some attention from 'Buffy' that almost got me killed. Glory saw, and figured I had to be someone pretty special for 'the Slayer' to be all over me like that.

You can't win, you know that? You just can't sodding win.

So yeah, I got tortured. It was no bloody bed of roses, obviously, but I've had worse. That's not bravado speaking - that's memories of life with Angelus.

Next to what that guy could do with a paring knife, the Spanish inquistion were two-year-olds playing at torture.

See, Angel was never very smart. He never quite got the whole 'them against us' thing - I guess it was too much for his little brain to cope with to remember who was supposed to be on his side. Wanker.

So I've got experience with getting the crap knocked out of me. And if I'm not gonna let Angel get the satisfaction of seeing me bow down, I'm sure as hell not gonna do it for a two-bit hellgoddess like blondie there.

Besides, no way was I gonna betray Dawn to her. They all thought I would have done it, even after they knew that I was truly in love with Buffy.

Does anyone in the entire universe actually understand me? I never really thought I was that complicated.

And then... it happened. What happened? Yeah, that's a bloody good question. I wouldn't have believed it myself, if I hadn't been there. In fact, I didn't bloody believe it. I spent half the time convinced I'd been so sodding beaten up I'd hallucinated it, and the other half convinced that I couldn't hallucinate something like that.

Even now, I could only give you ninety percent certainty it really happened. But I know for a fact that something did.

She kissed me. She kissed me. Oh, I know she didn't mean anything by it. At least, not anything I wanted her to mean. And yet, it meant... something else. A beginning. She said to me, she said; "What you did for me and Dawn, that was real. And I'll never forget it."

I thought I was sold on her before. Turned out, I hadn't seen nothin' yet.

I know I'd die for the people I really love. That's not news to me; I felt that way about Dru forever. But after Buffy said that to me... I would have done anything for her. I mean anything. I'd've shaved my head or burned my special jacket or walked right out into the sun.

And I think, finally, she knew it. The others didn't believe, but she did, and Dawn did, and what do the rest of them matter anyway? All they are to me is what they were to Buffy.

That's how far gone I am. Buffy's gone, but I'd still fight to the death to save the life of Xander Harris - because when she was here, she cared about him... Dru said I was so lost, even she couldn't save me now.

I'm beginning to understand what she meant.

Those last weeks... I gave everything. I fought with all I had to protect her, to protect Dawn, to save them all. I would have died at a single gesture from her, and never said a word in protest.

And it wasn't enough. Everything I had, everything we all had, and it wasn't enough.

There's no justice in the universe. A funny thing for a vampire to be thinking, I know. It's not exactly something we have much need for. But good and evil... that's still to complicated for me to think about. Everything I am tells me to be bad, and yet I want to be good - I want to be good, because that's what Buffy wants of me. I won't let myself go backwards, and it's so damn hard to try and go forwards... I can't deal with good and evil. Just with here and now; what I do, and what I don't. If I ever try and figure out why I do what I do, I think I'll go sodding insane.

But justice - that I can wrap my head around. And any universe that would let someone like Buffy burn so brightly and fight so hard and lose... That's a universe that it's pretty damn hard to keep any faith in.

But she said. She said to Dawn "live for me". And that's what we're all doing. We're living for her now, because they took away the thing that made us want to live for ourselves.

What's left for me? What's left except a Buffy-shaped hole that my heart's bleeding away through?

But I remember. Dawn wasn't the only one she gave last words to.

Oh, there were words in between. Plans and schemes and everything else... but no goodbyes. No time for those. There were words, plenty of them. But the ones that mattered, the real ones, were the one she spoke for me alone.

I'm counting on you, Spike. To help protect her.

I'm counting on you.

So that's what's left for me. That's what all these words, all this history... that's what it all comes down to. No more love. No more faith. No more duty. But a promise.

A promise that I'm never gonna break.

'Til the end of the world, Buffy. 'Til the end of the world.

END