Alchemy of the Soul

Disclaimer: I own nothing
poem is from Margaret Atwood's "Is/Not"
Archiving: If you want it, please contact me first
©2002 by H.V.O. all rights reserved

So here you stand, begging me. Isn't this a change, a twist on our old dance? Used to me there, following you, asking for a moment of your time, wanting you like an addiction, faster than booze and a million times stronger. Just looking at you makes me feel drunk, dizzy, weak at your feet. And it's you who's doing the asking, and I don't even know why I bother to sit here and nurse this beer. You're like liquor, the finest whiskey, smooth and old.

You want me to say I love you again. You want me to say that I want you. You want me to say that you never left me, you want me to say that you never told me that loving you was killing you. Killing you. You think a man can forget a thing like that, if if he's not technically not a man anymore? I'm here to tell that's not going to happen any time soon.

I love you. Do you understand that? Do you even know what that means? I would have done anything for you, been anything, and you told me I was death to you. This wasn't the death that I promised you. It wasn't how I wanted things to be. I wanted to be your hero, and you will barely even let me be your enemy.

I don't know when I fell in love with you, but I know that it was a long fall. I know that I'm still falling, slipping another inch with every promise you make not to leave me again. With every lie that you make to me about how it's all going to be different this time.

Love is not a profession
genteel or otherwise

You were never my enemy. Never my foe. Those were too easy, beneath the likes of you and I. You were my obsession, and obsession is not immutable; it shifts like the wind, changing with time. The obsession is still there, it still lurks like poison in my blood, only now instead of wanting you dead, I just want you. I tried to tell myself you were just a job, another thing to kill, another slayer's death notched on my fangs, another story to tell. You were never that little. You were never that small. And now you are everything, even when you throw me away.

sex is not dentistry
the slick fillings of aches and cavities

What did you want from me? I mean, really. Tell me the truth. You want me, you don't want me. You say so many things, but I don't know if I can believe any of them. I was a man to you, you made me feel real again, human again, and that was the biggest rush. I don't know what I am to you know. A thing to use, and then spit on when you're done. I should hate you. I should want nothing more than to see you dead. And yet... and yet... damn, but you beg me so prettily. You say you want me but you lie, you lie.

You know what would be the truth? I do. Say you need me, say I am what you've been looking for, what you've been searching for. Stop lying, stop pretending, and be honest with both of us, and with everyone else. You may belong in the light and god knows I will let you drag me out there kicking and screaming if that's what you need, or maybe you belong in the dark, with me, where he can be hunters. This twilight, though... it's this twilight that's killing us both. You gotta take us out of this place where neither of us fit. You need to be honest.

you are not my doctor
you are not my cure

There is nothing wrong with me, nothing at all. So I'm a demon in borrowed human flesh, I still remember how to be a man, I still remember how to love. It's you who' has forgotten, You will not change me any more than I want to be changed. Sure, I'm not the same, not the monster I used to be, but that was my choice and nothing else. I knew in my heart this makes no impressing you, no chance of you seeing the man in me. I changed for myself. Check you ego at the door.

Nobody has that
power, you are merely fellow/traveler

You have no power over me. None that I have not given you of my own free will. I'm still my own monster, still my own man. Even if just hearing your voice makes me want you again, that doesn't mean that I'm just gonna roll over for you. I'll have you be honest before I let you own me again. I am not your slave, I am not here to do your bidding.

Give up this medical concern
buttoned, attentive,

You are not my keeper, not my slayer. I wanted you for my lover, wanted you for my love. So I can hurt you, you're the one keeps making me do it. You push things, you know you do. We're violent people, you and I, people who live by their fists and their wits. What did you think was going to happen when you hit me, pushed me, insulted me with every breath you took. Of course I hit you back. It's not my fault that hurting you is back within my realm of possibility. It's your fault for making me to hurt you so badly. God, I can taste it, the way you make me want to hurt you. It's this bitter, metallic taste, a lot like blood and you know how much I miss the blood.

permit yourself anger
and permit me mine

which needs neither
your approval nor your surprise

You think this is all just going to go away, just cause you want it to? You told me I was killing you. You told me that sleeping with me was like dying, and I'm not going to forget that anytime. It's not like I don't want you, it's not like I wish you had never left me just because you offer me this half-baked apology. I'm not falling at your feet. I'm pissed at you, Goldilocks, and you're gonna have to do a lot more than sniffle and wish you never said it. Beg me, woman. Make me want to go through the pain of loving you again. You're going to have to make it worth my while.

which does not need to be made legal
which is not against a disease

but against you,
which does not need to be understood

What exactly is it that you think you're friends will have against us. Okay, vampire, and they hate my bleeding guts, but it's not like you've never done something like me before. They would learn to live it. Cause they love you. I mean, they got used to the vengeance demon, didn't they? They like her well enough to be well down on Xander for leaving her weeping in her white dress.

or washed or cauterized,
which needs instead

to be said and said.
Permit me the present tense.

Say it. C'mon, love, just say it. We were sleeping together, and you want to again. Tell me, tell yourself, tell the world. I'm sick of being your dirty little secret, your penance for living again. Just be with me as yourself, and be honest in it. I want you, you know that I do, but I'm not going put up with being shoved aside for your friends, even when you're hurting, just cause you don't want anybody to know. Not like I don't how to take care of people who are in need of it. What, you've forgotten Dru? Wake up! I could help you if you let me.

I am not a saint or a cripple
I am not a wound; now I will see
whether I am a coward.

You think I'm gelded, weak now, neutered, impotent. I am none of those. I still kill my share, and I still get off on it. Hell if demons aren't a bigger thrill anyway, even if I can't drink from them. I'm on your team on my own terms. Take me as I am or walk out that sodding door. I'm not making anymore compromises. You give me what I want, or you give me nothing at all.

Not like that's a surprise.

I dispose of my good manners,
you don't have to kiss my wrists

Look, I'm not looking for much here. I don't want you simpering, or weak, or anything that you're not. You're the slayer. That's who I want and what I want. Just come to me as you are. Come to me.

This is a journey, not a war,
there is no outcome,
I renounce predictions

Look, I know what they're saying, and I know that Xander's saying it the loudest. They think I'm delusional, kidding myself. They see you by me, see us together, and instead of making any sort of logical deduction, they jump on me. That loser Spike, always sniffing around where he's not wanted. Tell then I'm wanted. Tell them it's you doing the sniffing, more often than not. Be honest. It was you that made the move in any time that counted. You never gave me any other choice than giving you what you demanded.

and aspirins, I resign the future
as I would resign an expired passport:
picture and signature are gone
along with holidays and safe returns.

Look, from here on out, assuming you can make that kind of commitment, it's going to be on my terms. You and I, we've gone past anything that makes sense. We have to just make it up as we go along. Just come along with me, that's all I ask. Don't leave me alone out here, looking the fool, when you know we're in this together.

We're stuck here
on this side of the border
in this country of thumbed streets and stale buildings

You should have known there was no going back from this. You should've thought, that first time in that building we brought down, that we could never leave each other that. You made yourself mine then, and you can't pretend that it didn't happen. And it was you, it was you that came to me. You think you have the freedom now to say that it's over, but that's cause you seem to have forgotten that you are mine now. You are mine. Forever. I don't do things by halves, and I'm not letting you slip through my fingers just because you think you can. It's not going to happen. We belong together and the sooner you realize that, the better it will be for both of us.

where there is nothing spectacular
to see and the weather is ordinary

Look, I know that it's wrong for me to love you like this. I know you aren't what I'm supposed to be with. But I love you, and I've come to terms with that. I'm comfortable with it. I've dreamed you waking and dreaming for months now, counted all the breaths you've taken since you've come back and I'm okay with that now. Because I remember what it felt when I was without you and anything is better that. I'll take being a perversion to my nature or sitting at your grave and cursing you. I'm not budging from here.

where love occurs in its purest form only
on the cheaper of the souvenirs

You are mine. You have been mine since you kissed me, and you need to get that through your stubborn head. I would do anything for you, kill, lie or steal. Okay, well, I'd do all of that for fun, too, but I'd rather do it for you.

I know that things have changed between us. There was no missing that. I used to feel like nothing else in the world when I was with you and now I just feel sick but that's your fault. I need your honesty, to feel complete again. I need you to sleep with me for some other reason than you want to hurt yourself.

where we must walk slowly,
where we may not get anywhere

I don't want anything but you. I don't know what you think I want, what ulterior motives you've imagined I have. This is all I want, you by my side, where everyone can see you. I'm not the kind of person to imagine a future, I'm not the romantic type, especially not with someone who keeps dying like it's the world's best hobby. Just come here, just be with me. That's all I want.

or anything, where we keep going,
fighting our ways, our way
not only out but through.

Just come here. Come and sit by my side. I can work past being a vampire if you can work past being a bleeding martyr. Just come here. Fine, fine you apologize. Come here and tell me you care about me. You can't lie about it anymore. No more lies. That's all I want. No more lies.

So I sit here, and I watch you watch me. Just come here, sit by me and say that I'm the one you're with. That's all I need from you. Just the truth, just the the promise that you're going to be honest.

You're silent when you come to sit by me, silent as you take me beer and drink it like it's yours. I guess that will have to do. I'll take that as your consent. But I'm not going to wait for you forever, and I want those words even more than I want your body. I want everything and I'm not gong to take less.

There's going to be truth between us.