by Jessie

Summary: A vignette about what goes on in Spike's mind. Written because I got tired of only two kinds of fanfic Spikes: 'sappy' Spike and 'big bad' Spike. I wanted something real.

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Spike isn't mine and neither is anyone or anything else from BtVS. Hope Joss doesn't mind if I borrow them for a bit without asking.

Author's Note: It seems like there's only ever two kinds of Spike in fanfiction, and I'm kind of annoyed by that fact. Yes, he's a pretty cool bad guy. And, yes, he's awfully cute when he's being the sweet, sappy 'white hat.' But, there's gotta be a happy median that's more realistic, right? This is my (very quick) attempt at explaining who Spike really is.

Feedback is a wonderful thing. It makes the long wait between new episodes almost bearable.


What he likes is the sound of doors closing upstairs. The smell of her freshly clean skin clashing with his leather jacket. Death and life, awkward together, yet fitting.

What he likes is that moment just before she gets up. Just before she heads off to bed. Alone. That moment when there's nothing to stop him from killing her but himself. And her hair smells like some flowery shampoo and doesn't go at all with the scent of tobacco and hair gel that his emanates.

It's the little things. Always the little things for him. It's what made him dislike the idea of an apocalypse. What kept him around when he couldn't kill.

He wonders if her mind is filled with much more complicated thoughts than his. Wonders if she ever wonders about what's in *his* head. Does she think that his thoughts revolve around her? That they're peaceful? Loving?

He wonders if she really has convinced herself that those are the things that go on his mind. He wouldn't doubt it.

But what he likes is the texture of cereal in blood. The feel of a weapon in his hands. The glint of candle light on a knife and the way the metal never reflects his face, no matter at what angle he holds it.

What he likes is the screaming of innocent bystanders when chaos rears its ugly head.

And then there's her eyes...

What he doesn't like is that he hasn't tried to bite her in over a year. He's begun to hate himself because of it. That, and all of those other reasons that any self-respecting vampire would have already dusted themselves over. Like how gentle he is with her on late nights. How intoxicating he finds her smell. How many times he's saved her life without even thinking about it.

She used to know that he was a monster. Sure, he'd changed, but she knew. She knew what was going on in his mind when he looked at her. Knew why he hesitated before rushing to any one's rescue but hers.

But he'd kept after her.

'I'm changed.' He'd said. And she'd told him that demon's couldn't change. She'd been right, of course. But he kept after her, knowing that, sooner or later, she'd relent.

Something to both love and hate, if his mind can get around that thought: she gave into him. And doesn't refer to him as a 'monster' anymore.

What he likes is the way she stares at him as if he's still a man.

He suspects, and maybe he's wrong - it's happened before - that he's supposed to love her for completely different reasons than he does. Like how kind she is. How brave and selfless. Her beauty and her strength. These are the things that he's supposed to love about her.

Instead, he loves her hands. Because her fingers are just long enough to hold an axe handle and not look ridiculous. And her palms are soft in the middle of the day, but then turn hard and callused as soon as the sun sets.

He loves her speech patterns. The way they seem to change, but really don't. Their sarcastic tones and their clipped ones. The way they fold around words sometimes, as if every syllable pronounced is another reason to cower in her presence. But then, when they falter over other words, as though she's forgotten exactly what direction the conversation was supposed to take.

He loves that she still flinches at death and bloodshed. That she pretends to be innocent - or maybe some part of her really still is - after so many life times of this chaos.

He loves the chaos too. Loves that he's the one who causes it and corrects it. Over and over again he destroys her life and her view of the world, only to come back and remake it, as if the destruction had never taken place.

He's still evil. He knows it. Feels it. Can tell for certain whenever his thoughts start to turn to body counts and reasons not to help her out this next time.

But then she says his name. And it's in that tone of voice that he's forgotten ever existed until she uses it again. That tone that he swears makes his heart almost start to beat. And he feels himself give in. Give in more than she ever has to him, even though the demon in him likes to think otherwise.

And he realizes - though he'll forget it in the very next moment - that what he likes is the way she still has hope for him. Hope for the 'man' she knows he's still becoming.