With My Soul Clenched

A little plot-bunny whispered in my ear and insisted I write this story rather than my current WIPs. These days I follow my muse. Hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. No really, penniless student here. Even the title is borrowed from Pablo Neruda.


France, 1995

They were picnicking just outside a small French hamlet when it happened. The taste of blood was still fresh on Spike's tongue, the spicy scent of fear still hanging in the air, as his dark princess spun dreamily across the moonlit hillside in a dark parody of the opening scene of that poofy movie with the bird who did all the bloody singing. Spike leaned back lazily, enjoying the sight of his lover spinning beneath the stars, a tickle of blood still winding its way down her dark lips to stain her chin with crimson. He let a contented sigh slip across his lips, as he brought a cigarette up to his lips and let it dangle for a moment as he palmed through the pockets of the black leather coat he had won away from the American Slayer in search of his lighter.

It was a perfect moment: the bodies that now rested somewhere down the hillside were silent and still, the night sky hung dark and beautiful above the vampire lovers and their gruesome picnic scene. The moonlight gave the world a silver glow. It was… effulgent. No other word in Spike's vast vocabulary could quite capture the moment. At least, until everything changed.

Within an instant, the air went from still to stormy, a sudden electric tingle running through Spike's senses, as his head spun around to face a young woman, dark hair whipping in the wind. "Asa sa fie, acum." she murmured, the two glowing spheres she held flashing brightly, long before Spike had a chance to react.

He woke to pain. The sky was just growing light above him, giving him some small measure of comfort. Though the screaming and sobbing that echoed across the hillside to his ears snatched it away just as fast. He knew that voice better than his own. Someone or something was hurting his dark princess… but as much as he wanted to move, the pain enveloped him. It was then that he realized that the sobbing he could hear wasn't coming from Drusilla. It was coming from him.

It took an act of true love to pull Drusilla out of the path of the rising sun. Mostly because he couldn't justify moving himself out of the sun's deadly course. Remorse, guilt, shame, horror, and countless other emotions that had been buried for over a century were playing games with his head and his heart. Death, in which he had revelled just short hours ago, was suddenly a terrible crime, and the wanton joy he and Dru had taken in it was a bitter medicine that tortured his newly reclaimed soul.

They spent the day in a hovel of a shack, Spike's arms wrapped tightly around Drusilla's frail form as she screamed and cried until she was hoarse. Only love kept Spike from contemplating his demise. Without him Dru would be lost and alone. And that would just be one more thing his ruined soul could not take. And so the daylight hours passed slowly, in aching pain and torment, each moment worse than the next, as the memories poured over the pair.

Sometime just before sunset, the dark-haired woman returned to the hillside and somehow traced the vampire pair to the shack Spike had retreated them to. Spike watched the woman enter the shack with dull eyes. "Why?" he croaked, his own voice little more than a tortured whisper.

The woman turned to the dishevelled pair and where they sat huddled into each other on the dirty floor. "Because you're murderers." She replied matter-of-factly. "Because the elders messed up." She turned her head then and set to work doing something or another in the ruins of what might have once been a kitchen, "They cursed Angelus for his crimes, but left Drusilla to plague the earth. And you." She turned back to the pair then, holding a wooden stake in each of her hands. "I imagine that these will be used appropriately."

Spike watched her dispassionately as she placed the stakes gently onto the dirt floor within reach of the vampires. "Who are you?" He murmured softly, his natural curiosity re-emerging from the emotionally emptied husk of his self.

He saw then the pity in the woman's eyes. Their depth and the grudging respect and admiration they held when they observed Spike's tight grip around the deathly still form of his beloved. "Jenny." She said softly. "Though I was born Janna Kalderash."

"One of the gypsies." He replied then, a certain understanding in his voice. An acceptance that perhaps this was the only way for it to end. He watched her leave with a quiet nod. He watched the light drain out of the sky through a crack in a shuttered window. He watched the wooden stakes as they lay on the earthen floor. And he waited for Drusilla, as he so often had before.

"You have to be strong." She said finally; just after Spike spotted a star emerge in the space of sky revealed by the crack in the shuttered window. "You have always been a knight. Great purpose awaits you." She sighed in her theatrical way. "The stars are calling me home but they say you can't come yet. No tea for my William. No sugar. Only little marshmallow clouds and sunshine that burns." She turned her face to him then, a sad smile lifting the corners of her lips, "No rest for the wicked."

Spike had no reply for her. Nothing beyond a gentle kiss placed lightly upon her forehead. "We'll get through this, luv," he murmured softly, "if Angelus can survive as the great souled wanker, we can pull something together too." He tightened his arms around her. "You'll see, pet, it'll be alright." He pointedly avoided looking at the deadly sharp splinters of wood just inches from where they sat. "We'll get through."

"You'll get through." She whispered, her voice soft as a kitten's fur. "You and daddy were always so strong. Protectors." There was a long pause. "I'm not the one to protect anymore. The darkness calls me away and the sunshine wants you to play."

"Dru," Spike said firmly, pulling away from her. "No one is going to go play in the sunshine."

She smiled at him again, the same sad face that had snuck glances of him all throughout the day. "I'm glad you say that, my William. Because you have to live."