Stanza 2

After the accident, After the kiss.

The light was on again in Dawns room. Because of the time of year it appeared that the two lights, one focused white and sheltered inside, the other outside bruised from the impending dark, were separated only by the colors they cast.

The rest of the house was still and dark. Willow and the other live in witch were absent. Buffy was with Xander and Anya, or Giles at the Magic Box.

Spike slinked over to the familiar house. It was a good place to avoid those who were looking for him, and it wouldn't hurt to check up on the bit. Besides- maybe she needed his help again. It was nice to be useful. He was still getting used to that sensation... that shape of thought.

He tried the back door and it opened easily. He frowned a bit, his lip curling in distaste of his discovery. It was just too easy. Dawn alone and all. He clunked up the stairs, making no effort to be quiet, yet still maintaining the practiced stealth of his nature.

He knocked on the white door. "Dawn?"

"Hey, Spike." He pushed the door open and she looked over at him from her desk.

He pinched his lips in a show of curiosity. "They leaving you alone a whole lot now?"

She shrugged. "Frequently, but not for long."

Spike snorted derisively "Don't keep you very safe- what with the unlocked back door an' all."

She shuffled her papers and off handedly tossed out "Unlocked it so you wouldn't pick the lock. It makes the door stick. I have homework other than science. Will you-?"

She trailed off and he blinked at her. "Uh yeah, sure nibblet."

"It's on literature now- cuz we've taken a break from poetry due to – well never mind. Our teacher's crazy. But-"

"This the same crazy bint who made you read that poem?" Spike spat it out.

Dawn flattened her mouth to a line. "The same- but anyway- we're onto Emerson or something."

"You know kip- I think we should just take all of this nonsense down to The Bronze. You've got to be a bit peaky what with them all leaving you here and what not."

"I-I… don't know."

"Here's a lesson in literature nibs- Things like literature- not meant to be studied. Meant to be enjoyed, felt- experienced. You want to 'get literature'?" Spike tossed his hands up and disdainfully air quoted and yanked one of his arms down and pointed accusingly "You gotta go out and know it to write it so you can know. Stick that in your teachers windpipe." He folded his arms.

"Uh- I think the expression is stick that in your pipe and smoke it."

"I know the expression."

"I don't know Spike- I should… actually do something maybe…"

"Be still my unbeating heart-

Cast a cold Eye
On Life, on Death.
Horseman, pass by!"

Dawn glared at him. "What is that supposed to mean."

"Aren't you supposed to be better at poetry now?"


"Means you're dead if you do, dead if you don't, but what's the point if you're not doing- c'mon girly get."

Suddenly Dawn did not really feel like being inside and studying things that did not necessarily need to be studied. She looked at the vampire and shrugged- "Should I change?"

"For who?"

After a walk in which Dawn mostly talked about school things and Spike looked about for crawlies and monsters under the bushes, Dawn asked a question that he couldn't avoid. Spike put out a cigarette as he escorted Dawn inside the club.

"Didn't you hear a word I said?" Dawn whined, obviously irritated.

Spike patted her on the shoulder "Yeah, I did- I was lookin' for other things nibblet. Why don't you boil the problem down then come at me again. I'll get some… uh mocha whatever for you." He pointed to a table by the billiard. "Get that."

So, Dawn sat and Spike came over and she said again that she didn't think others thought that she could do anything.

"Anything?" Spike aimed for the red striped ball on the pool table.

"Well, I guess, yeah. They don't trust me to do anything." She slurped her mocha noisily because she wanted to drink it and it was far too hot.

"Probably because you can't, nibs." And he took the shot.

Dawns mouth fell open, and before she could retaliate he said. "Here's another literature lesson for ya- the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do."

Dawn didn't exactly know what kind of literature that was coming from and didn't quite understand the connection but-

"Anything is an unrestrained term used for things of an …infinite nature."

Spike tossed his head back and ran his tongue over his teeth. "That's only for two people in love." As soon as he spoke the words he seemed to want to snatch it back out of the air as if he had never said it at all. Hide it away in his coat pocket, or press in back into his chest and out his back as if it had never been shot through him in the first place.

Dawn propped her head up on her hand and properly waited as Spikes expression changed. She had recognized a brief flash from the expression that had appeared juxtaposed on his face before and it was gone as he determined to go back to his one man billiard game. Once he made the shot, hissed a curse as it bounced off the felt edge she sighed, "Ohkaaay. I still don't get it."

Spike banged the stick on the ground. "You're a kid. Just keep that in mind."

"You all keep saying that! You say that – well yeah that's because you make my chem teacher look young, but-"

He swung around and leaned in close to her mid sentence and fervently growled "Pipe down. You know that's one of the reasons you're still a child."

He leaned back, fixed her with a look while he appeared to suck on his right fang. He raised a hand with a pointed finger of chipped black nail polish.

"Lemme give ya an example then nibblet, since you find it so difficult to grasp."

Dawn rolled her eyes and went back to her mocha to see if it was any cooler yet, though she knew it wasn't going to be. Spike sat down across from her, propped the pool stick against the table and leaned back.

"Ever read Batman?"

Dawn dropped her head down and gave him a look. "Batman."

"Yeah. Story of the Great Bat goes that his parents were shot and murdered by some stupid sod who let the state of the world get to him and he goes and becomes a man. Accepts all responsibility, creates his own journey where he trains his body to perfection and faces his greatest fear." Spike spread his legs out placed them against the lower support of the table. "He wasn't a child after his parents died. His entire life was his responsibility and he took on the responsibility of protecting the city."

Spike stuck his hands in his pockets. "You have to think about your responsibility. Right now- you're mine and so I'm a man for now."

Dawn had furrowed brows and a concerned look as if she was going to protest again.

"I'm not sayin' I never regressed or was ever fully a man. Don't think you can ever really understand and the people who live long enough to find out are not…"

Dawn leaned forward in anticipation.

"…Inclined to act on that wisdom."

Dawn blinked repeatedly. It was odd to her that this advice was coming from Spike. The sounds of the Bronze wafted around them, and Dawn felt a little tipped off balance and looked down at her mocha. She looked up when Spike nudged her with the Billiard stick thing. "Your turn."


"You don't know how do you?"

"Yeah I do!"

Spike snorted. "Go ahead."

Dawn took the stick from him with narrowed eyes. "So, why am I your responsibility? How do you just choose that- how does that even make you a man? It doesn't make any sense." She said as she tried to mimic what she saw when people cracked the colored balls into the holes. It glanced off the slick surface and it bumped along and clattered against each other.

She turned to Spike to see whether or not he approved, but his face, his body was elsewhere. She saw the blonde head of her sister.

Buffy spotted him too, then she saw Dawn. Dawn re-found her mocha and took great pleasure in downing most of it. Buffy came over, and Dawn watched as Spike became coiled, stuffed up full of a potent energy.

Such open want on his face. Buffy looked at Dawn with a question on her lips but Dawn spotted Xander and waved to Buffy. "See you at home Buffy. I'll get Xander to drive me home."

Buffy's vision was blocked off by Spike sliding in front of her. Her body language shifted to one of a coiled awareness.


All he could think about was that night that the building came crashing down on them as his world view crashed and crumbled away in her wake. Their awakening. As they slammed into the walls, they broke free into each other.

"Slayer, you're looking well tonight."

She looked more than well. He could feel her heat, remember her fire, she looked like glory. Even with her eyes questioning, he could tell she was responding, remembering.

"…Spike- Why is Dawn-"

"Was bored out of her mind, and I was helping her with her homework."

He stepped closer, a lip curling up in pleasure at her protective tendencies.

"At the Bronze."

"It was an important lesson. Not to be learned from books. Surely you understand that….knowing things…" his focus grazed along her lips. "...of visceral things is better not from books."

She breathed in and her mouth relaxed her lower lip parted.

"Ah, Slayer." His voice was a caress.

But as she dropped the weight of his gaze, and her cheeks became flush, he remembered how the sweat and grime on her skin tasted the sweetest with her stinging blood and pounding heart, and he began to imagine her hair sticking to her neck and her crying out his name- he leaned towards her.

She took a step back.

"Desire, isn't love Spike."

"It would have burned us bad had we stopped." A diary he read once, in his days of a young man searching the dark but not wholly dusty areas of the library, Casanova came to mind.

"I'm going to go back home with Dawn. Goodbye Spike."

"It might not be love for you yet, but you'll wish it." He said as she turned.

He watched her go, and let her heat stain him.

Under Ben Bulben, W.B. Yeats. "Cast a cold eye, on life on death, Horsemen pass by!"- Spikes comment is mostly due to his disregard that Yeats should have ever been concerned that his actions affected other people. This is not yet the Spike with a hero 'thing.'

"Desire, even in its wildest tantrums, can neither persuade me it is love nor stop me from wishing it were." W.H. Auden (1907-1973)

"The raging fire which urged us on was scorching us; it would have burned us had we tried to restrain it." Casanova (1725-1798) Memoirs

"The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." Walter Bagehot (1826-1877)

Wondering if I should be done.