William's Tale

He had been a poet.

Long ago in that other life where he had been weak, when his spirit was crushed easily by harsh words spoken by the cruel who knew nothing of him, he had salved his tears of his wounded heart by allowing them to bleed on paper. He was good, he knew he was, even though the taunts of others had branded him with the cruel appellation of William the Bloody Awful. He had swallowed thickly when the words were whispered behind his back, just loud enough for him to hear, for what good was a taunt if its victim was oblivious? He clenched his jaw and ignored the insidious pain of their sniggering and continued instead to compose in defiance of their derision.

Her name was Cecily and she was undoubtedly the most beautiful creature he had ever seen in his life. They moved in the same circles although in Victorian London that did not necessarily mean the same class. He was considered wellborn but certainly not in the sphere of orbit as Cecily, who seemed beyond him in social distinction but almost by divine right. She was the sun that he could not look at for its brilliance, the stars that he could not reach and when he thought about her, the ache impaled him within until he was forced to scream his pain into the words he composed just for her.

His worship at her altar progressed what seemed to be an eternity with his mother discouraging it as much as she could. The girl was not for him, she would say and he was determined that his mother was wrong about Cecily because one day he would write the poem that would unlock her heart. He just had to keep trying until it did. Even now, he shuddered at his own naivete. He had never known a woman before Cecily and to him they were creatures shrouded in mystery for which the art of the prose was created. It never occurred to him that women could be as cruel and capricious as men, that their indifference could be as sharp as their empathy and in Cecily's who had more of one than the other, he never imagined she could be cruel.

But she was cruel and after his latest recital, which was not at all well received, thanks to the sniggering and derisive remarks he had heard during the performance, she had confronted him. Her appearance before him seemed like a dream come true and he had actually thought that she had come to tell him that the others were wrong, that the poem he had written for her was not awful but beautiful. He imagined she had come to declare that she had been blind and that she loved him as desperately as he loved her. He thought all this with no inkling of just how wrong he was going to be. She looked at him not with admiration and love but rather disgust and her words haunted him for the next century, even after he had taken her life.

You're beneath me.

The memory still stung despite its distance in his past. It curdled inside his stomach and made his blood pound with fury. At the time however, he had not the spirit inside him to feel anger or rage, just a soul-stealing wail of anguish that wanted to escape him like a banshee's cry. Driven away from her presence, he had not paid any attention to anything happening around him, not to the laughter of those who were still amusing themselves at his expense, not the satisfaction of Cecily that finally she had rid herself of her unwanted paramour. All he could think of were her words and they circled inside his head like a vortex, tearing him apart with each swirl. He could feel the tears wanting to come but he refused to weep, not here and not now. He would not show anyone how much she had hurt him.

He was as close to distraught as any one could be after receiving such devastating news and when he spilled out into the crowded streets of a lively London night, he barely paid attention to the faces of those moving past him. He was vaguely aware of running into someone, hardly conscious with whom he had collided with, knowing only that he had said something rude and continued walking. He was desperate to find a quiet place where he could express his grief and nurse the heart ripped in two by the woman he loved and cherished. It did not take him long to find it and he was starting to cave into his sorrow when she appeared.

She was beautiful in a way that Cecily could not be.

Her eyes danced even as she looked at him and there was something in the look of them that almost convinced him she could feel his pain and was drawn to him because of it. He saw desire and need wrapped up in something he could not define and after the pain he had suffered, it was something to realize that his beautiful stranger felt those emotions about him. He allowed her to cajole him into her embrace, like a child being coaxed to nurse for the first time. He went to her almost bewildered and uncertain of what to do. She wrapped her arms around and him and drew him to her with those incredible eyes. Transfixed, he did not even notice how cold her skin felt when she started to kiss him.

They say a kiss can change a man's life. It certainly did for him. Her lips devoured his with hunger, driving Cecily further and further away from his mind without his even being aware of it. He felt her hands running through his hair as her kisses became more hungered and she started sliding down his lips, past his jaw, finally arriving at his neck. He closed his eyes lost in sensation and the rapture of feeling a female touch him the way he had always wanted, he felt his body come alive with arousal as she moved down his throat and still her cold breath did not seem all that unnatural.

Not until she bit him.

There was pain and then fear as he tried to pry her away from him but her strength was more than a match for him and after a while he stopped struggling all together. His body became weak as he was drained but then she stopped and he could feel warmth spurting down his skin, soiling his shirt. Absurdly he thought that his mother would be furious to launder such soiled clothes but then his dark angel was looking at him again, his blood on her lips. He wanted to cry out but when his eyes met hers, he recognized something that was almost as forlorn and lonely as he was and so he remained silent.

"Be mine." She spoke to him.

His eyes widened.

"Be mine my lovely boy," she said again. "We'll be happy."

Her eyes danced as she used her nail and cut a line across her chest. Blood spilled forth from the torn flesh but did not spurt as his did. "Come to me," she urged again like a siren song that would have put Odysseus to the rocks had he deigned to listen. "Come to me and we can be together."

After he went to her, everything changed.

William the poet disappeared in a heartbeat and he became something beyond death, beyond anything. He became a vampire. For a century, he traveled across the world with his dark angel, his Dru and her Sire Angelus and in turn his Sire, Darla. They moved across Europe and the world like a scourge sent from the deepest corner of hell, feeding in the night. His first kill was Cecily and it was sweet to drain her and have her know that in humiliating him as she had done, she had not only sealed his fate but her own. For those who had taken just jest from his poetry, he was not so subtle.

Death by railroad spike was never a pleasant way to die.

He rather enjoyed administering this form of death and soon he was known by it. They called him Spike and buried William forever.

As Spike, he was one of the undisputed master vampires. He was the only vampire still alive who had the distinction of killing two slayers, the enemy of all vampires everywhere. The weakness that had dogged his mortal life all but disappeared when he became one of the undead. To this day, he still wondered whether or not this strength he felt was his own or did it come furnished with the demon that took his soul. Whatever the cause of it, Spike pitted himself repeatedly against the slayers, the young women who were chosen to battle vampires everywhere. He killed two of them and become something of a master vampire because of it.

But things went wrong at the turn of century. Angelus had run afoul of a gypsy caravan and had incurred a most unusual punishment for the murder of their favorite daughter; Angelus was returned his soul, something unprecedented for vampires. The return of Angelus soul' destroyed not only one of the most fearsome vampires that ever lived but also splintered the family he had gained in his unlife. With Angelus' soul came his conscience and Angelus became human, like he used to be, Spike would think in disgust. Darla, heartbroken, returned to the Master who had been dwelling under the Hellmouth situated in the town of Sunnydale, waiting for his day of resurrection. Spike and Dru traveled, trying to rekindle the unbridled joy of their life before and failing to do so without their older companions. In Prague, angry villagers hurt Dru and Spike had barely managed to escape with her to safety.

He took care of his angel because he loved her and though he was a demon, that much of William remained with him; his ability to love without question and with utmost loyalty. He treasured her, hunted for her and ensured that nothing harmed her. He loved her the way he would have loved Cecily if she had only given him the chance. He was determined that the malaise that had struck down Angelus and would eventually take Darla's life would not happen to him and Dru, they were eternal and they would love until the end of time. It was a good plan and he ever intention of keeping to it.

Until he came to Sunnydale and once again beheld the sun.

Her name was Buffy Anne Summers and it was ridiculous name as far as he was concerned. It was a name he would have been perfectly content to kill someone for having. Unfortunately the name was attached to the latest slayer and Spike had been so sure that he could despatch this one as easily as he had killed her predecessors. However, it soon became evident that this one would not go easily. No matter how much he tried, it felt harder than all the others and each time he was fighting her, he was also getting to know her. It had been his habit to study his enemy in order to know their weakness before striking but with Buffy it was different. He studied her and he felt her sorrows and thought he kept trying to kill her, he could not help admire her resilience to prevail in light of something almost devastating loss. The weight of her responsibility was a crushing burden he could not even begin to imagine and yet she carried it, all but sixteen years old, because she was the slayer.

Dru knew that he loved Buffy even before he did.

They went their separate ways when Dru turned to someone else but it was he that had left her first, if not in body then certainly in heart. He returned to Sunnydale, uncertain what to do if there was anything. The absurdity of it was beyond belief. He was a vampire and she was the slayer, if there were too more impossible lovers, then it was certainly they. She did not even see him as that but rather a monster. He found her incomplete, broken when he returned. Something about her had resigned to life and prepared to accept what she thought she deserved not what she had earned. Shortly after returning to Sunnydale, a government organization captured him and neutered him by placing a chip in his head that ensured he would not be able to harm humans.

Desperate for aid, he turned to the slayer because there was no one else and he was too proud to go crawling back to Dru. She gave him assistance though rather ambivalently and strangely enough, they developed a relationship albeit a peculiar one. She learnt of his love for her and cast it aside as Cecily had done but this time Spike was stronger and William was gone. He remained at her side trying to prove himself and when he had almost died for her and her little sister Dawn, she began to acknowledge the effort. After that, they became uneasy allies. He adored her but resigned to being there for her, all the while fighting the urges the chip was subsiding within him. When she died, he thought he would die to until a spell saw her restored to him. He loved her still but was content with friendship, not having her at all was far worse.

Then one day, she kissed him and loved him. Their passion was the light of a thousand stars and he loved a woman not a vampire for the first time in his life. She was real under him and her warmth reminded Spike what it was like to be alive again. Even if he never had her again, he could live on the memory of that night forever because it was perfect. A dream could not have been better. He expected she might be a little shaken with what happened and resolved himself to be there for her, to give her space if she needed it. Not even, a creature of the night, which had seen horrors beyond imagining, could ever suspect her reaction the next morning.

She had called the most wonderful night of his life a freakshow and he a convenience.

It broke his heart inside his chest into a thousand pieces and once again, he felt as he had when Cecily had driven him into Drusilla's arms and into a life of eternal damnation. She saw their entire night together as some horrible aberration and cast him aside as if he were nothing. He wanted to die right then and wondered whether or not she heard him weeping once she had left him in the damaged house when they had consummated their passion.

Now all he could think about was how different his life would have been if Cecily had not existed or better yet, if Buffy did not. He would still be with Dru, not trapped like a neutered animal in Sunnydale, pining for a woman who would never love him and to whom his heart was lost completely.

God, he wished she had never been born.

God was not listening to Spike but someone did.