Author: Spike Speigel
Rating: R (Violence, language)
Disclaimer: As usual, these characters don't belong to me because I don't have the imagination to even touch Mr. Whedon's. Also, without Mamoru Oshii, this tale would not be possible.
Spoilers: Intervention and As You Were. Takes place between As You Were and Seeing Red.
Summary: Can a monster ever truly be a man?
Status: FinishedSunnydale: Present Day
Buffy watched him stroll down the street, not a care in the world. She knew that she shouldn't even be following him, let alone giving a damn about what he was doing, but she couldn't help herself. She knew that she wasn't involved with him anymore, but that didn't mean she could ignore the feeling deep inside her. It hurt, being so far away from him nowadays. But she knew it was for the best. The only way she could allow herself to heal was to stay away from him.
But that didn't really make that much sense, now that she thought about it. He was the only one that actually cared for her well-being once she was back. Buffy knew that the rest of the gang was glad to have her back, but they had thought they had done her a favor by bringing her back. That couldn't have been further from the truth. Buffy had to smile at that thought. The only person she had willingly told about her true whereabouts after her death was him. Spike.
And here he was, walking the streets of Sunnydale, most likely trying to have a decent night out. Before, the only nights he had were with her. But, with her out of his life, Buffy could only guess that Spike was finally over the grieving stage of their breakup, now remedying the situation by trying to find something to do on this auspicious Friday night. Or someone.
So not going there, Buffy.
Just because she had broken up with him didn't mean that she didn't have feelings for him.
As Buffy continued to trail Spike down the sidewalk, she noticed that he had vanished from the sea of people, his trademark leather duster no longer standing out in the plethora of denizens. Buffy should have taken this as a sign, that she should just turn around and go to the Bronze like she originally should. Her friends were there right now, waiting for her. And what was she doing? Stalking her former… Former what?
Buffy sighed as she pushed the thought from her mind, her instinct taking control of her being. Before she knew it, she was moving down the sidewalk hurriedly, trying to see where Spike could have possibly gone. However, she must have missed the adjoining alleyway, because as she passed it, a hand grabbed her, pulling her into the alleyway. Before Buffy could see her would be attacker, the voice calmed and irritated her at the same time.
"Hello, luv. Looking for something?" Buffy pushed away from her assailant's grasp, turning around to see Spike smirking at her, as though he had caught her with her hand in the cookie jar. She hated that look. Not because Spike had her doing something she wasn't supposed to be doing. But, because she loved the way the smirk played across his face, accentuating the hollow of his cheeks. Trying to cover her real purpose for walking down the sidewalk, Buffy's mind flitted for an excuse. When she thought of a good one, she spoke.
"You're an asshole, Spike." Well, it sounded good in her head.
"Well, I may be the asshole in this scenario, but that still doesn't explain why you're doing an Emma Peel." Buffy frowned as she shook her head. "What? Never saw the Avengers?" Buffy indicated the negative again while Spike sighed. "God, are you really that young?" To most adults, that would be a very kind compliment. However, it didn't sound that way to Buffy as the words left Spike's lips.
"Hey, I'm twenty-one now. That makes me an adult." Spike grinned as his duster flowed about his body gently. "Well, more of an adult than when I turned eighteen."
"Right." Spike turned around, making his way out of the alley, Buffy's words stopping his stride.
"Where are you going?"
"Same place I was before you started stalking me."
"I wasn't stalking!" This warranted a small chuckle from Spike.
"Well, I guess not since I picked you out about four blocks back." Before Buffy could voice her objection, Spike walked back onto the sidewalk, leaving Buffy alone in the alley. Buffy, initially stunned, stood there in silence before she realized what had just happened. When she did, Buffy hurried back out to the sidewalk, moving at a brisk pace until she was at Spike's side. "You know, for someone that doesn't want anything to do with me, you're sure spending a lot of time around me."
"I reiterate." Spike turned to Buffy, both continuing their respective pace. "You're an asshole." Spike grinned once again, his gaze moving from Buffy to the people in front of him.
"Time to sing a new one, eh? Think that one's starting to lose its effect. Every time I hear you say that, I can't help but smile. If I didn't know better, I'd say you found a pet name for me." Buffy was about to yell at Spike for his crude remark, but instead found herself smiling at the thought. Pet name. For Spike? Well, asshole definitely wouldn't be it. Maybe big bad. Or sweetie perhaps. Or maybe one who made her… Buffy stopped herself before her mind got away from her.
"Okay, how about son of a…" Spike gently nudged her arm with his elbow, his hands now situated in the pockets of his coat.
"No need for that kind of language, pet. I think I know how you feel." Buffy playfully poked him back with her elbow before she realized what she was doing. Her smile quickly faded, a look of resignation replacing it almost immediately. Buffy turned back to Spike, noticing that he had picked up on the change of emotion on her face. He decided to make it easy on her. "Look. You should go before your Scooby gang sees us together."
She didn't have to worry about that since they were all at the Bronze right now waiting for her. But, she nodded nonetheless, knowing that she shouldn't be here. The thing was, she didn't really know why. They were acting friendly right now. There had been no mention of sex during their conversation. In fact, Spike had been the one to walk away, respecting Buffy's wishes that they needed to be apart. But, she knew that the only way she'd ever figure out what was going on between the two of them would be to figure out what was going on with her life first. Until then, Spike would have to wait.
"Yeah. See you, William." There it was again. The last time she had called him that was in his crypt, after she and Riley had destroyed it with a grenade. And now she used it again. Buffy couldn't help but wonder if this was her mind's way of telling Spike that she was saying goodbye. Spike's soft chuckle interrupted her train of thought, her gaze falling onto his once more.
"Yeah. See you." As Spike turned back to the sidewalk, he inadvertently bumped into a woman that wasn't paying attention to the terrain in front of her. Spike was about to let whomever it was that ran into him a piece of his mind. The last thing he needed was an awkward departure from the woman that was pulling his heart in all directions. However, the words failed him when he saw the woman's face.
"Oh, God. I'm so sorry. I wasn't looking where I was going." Spike stood there, the world about him slowing as he focused on the woman apologizing to him.
"Nadia?" Buffy looked on, a bit surprised that he knew the woman's name. It wasn't like Spike had any real friends. Because, let's face it. Vampire plus friend equals happy meal. But Spike was different. He couldn't feed even if he wanted to. That wasn't entirely true. He may not be able to feed, but that didn't mean he didn't have an appetite. He was a man after all.
The wave of jealousy started to build around Buffy until the woman answered.
"I'm sorry. I think you have me confused with someone else." Spike's gaze never faltered, his look of astonishment still on his face as the woman awkwardly smiled before walking past the couple. "Sorry."
Buffy noticed the look slowly abating on Spike's face, but it was undeniable. He just saw someone or something that deeply disturbed him. Buffy, the part that cared for the man in front of her, spoke. "You okay, Spike? You look like you just saw a ghost." Her voice stirred Spike from his trance, Spike turning back to Buffy.
"It…" Spike tried for the words, but instead began walking away from Buffy like he originally intended. Buffy called after him, concern now evident in her voice.
"Spike?" He never turned back as he continued walking away from her, his mind years away from where he was.Auschwitz, Poland: March 5, 1940
His fangs plunged into the soldier's neck, his anger clouding his judgment. There was sure to be another platoon coming back to this position soon enough. That much was evident from the methodical nature of these Germans. But, with Dru's insults fresh in his mind, Spike knew the only thing that would satiate his anger would be to soothe his hunger. And the man standing watch over the dilapidated building behind him seemed like a good place to vent his pent up anger.
However, Spike couldn't savor the taste of the blood trickling down his throat, over his tongue. Because Dru had dumped him again. Thrown him away. And why? Because she thought he wasn't monster enough for her.
"Humh!" Spike mumbled disgusted as the blood continued to ebb from the man's jugular. That's when he heard the noise behind him. Actually, it was lots of noises. That resembled the sound of footfalls. The body fell limp against Spike's thigh as he turned around, his arm wiping the remnants of blood from his lips. That was most likely the other regiment coming back from their perimeter watch. Didn't matter. Dru didn't think he wasn't monster enough? He'd show her. No matter how many there were, he'd kill them all. He'd feast on their eyes and tear their tongues from their heads. Unfortunately, as the group of soldiers came closer to the building, Spike's vampiric vision allowed him to see the group before they could see him. And the heavy artillery they were carrying.
"Damn you, Dru!" While a normal person would have trusted their fight or flight reaction, that being to flee at the sight of soldiers marching toward them, Spike did the opposite. Instead of looking for a place to hide, to escape to, Spike dug his heels into the ground, his hands forming fists. "I'll show you how much of a monster I really am, bitch."
Unfortunately, Spike never got the chance to prove Drusilla wrong because the hand that fell on his shoulder pulled him backward through a hole in the fence adjacent to the building the now dead soldier was once standing guard in front of. As Spike turned around to face his attacker, the hand that was on his shoulder moved to his mouth, covering it as Spike stared in shock at the woman looking at him, no hint of fear in her eyes upon seeing his vampiric face.
"Quiet. Or they'll find us."
Before Spike could voice his protest, the woman with long flowing black hair and eyes as blue as his pulled him through a hole in the wall of the building, both hiding in the shadows as the sounds of footfalls coupled with metal clinking against metal got louder. Spike wanted to tear the woman's head from her shoulders and drink the blood that would eventually gush from her arteries as though she were a water fountain. But the woman's tone coupled with her gaze kept Spike in check as she pressed her body against him, looking at the shadows falling against the opposite wall. Then the voices.
"Sir. He's dead."
"Search the entire perimeter! Leave no stone unturned!"
The voices ceased, the footfalls continuing once again. However, this time the sound was coupled with chambers being loaded. Spike's human features flowed over his face, the woman's hand moving from her side to carefully grab his. Spike looked down at the hand covering his, still confused as to what was happening. As the soldiers' chatter began to fade, the woman turned back to Spike, a head motion indicating that it was time to move.
Spike didn't make a sound. Instead, he merely nodded his head as the woman's hand remained encircled about his, pulling him from the building and down the alleyway. As they quickly made their way down the corridor, Spike realized that the alleyway lead to a dead end. That would have been fine and all, but the sounds of the soldiers patrolling the area were getting louder, meaning that they were also coming down the alleyway.
Before Spike could make one of his witty observations, the woman released her grasp, falling to her knees. At first, Spike thought that she was saying a final prayer to whatever god she believed in since death was about to embrace her. But, Spike realized he was wrong in his observation when the dark haired woman began to work free a metal grating on the ground.
He didn't know why he moved to the woman, pulling the grating free from the framework with a simple motion. But, when the woman turned back and gave him a genuine smile, something within Spike's mind clicked. And, before he knew it, he returned a slight smile, the woman nodding as she leapt into the hole. Spike followed her example, jumping into the hole as he held the metal frame over his head. As he landed onto solid ground, Spike pulled the grate back into the frame, the woman quickly pulling Spike from the grating, Spike stumbling as she did so, falling on top of her.
Spike braced himself as he fell, the woman lying underneath him, an awkward yet gentle smile on her face. Spike didn't know what to do. Any other person, he would have drained slowly and used a rib or two to pick his teeth clean. But there was something about the woman underneath him. Something different. His mouth began to move, Spike unsure of what he was about to say. However, the woman's hand quickly covered his mouth, her eyes moving from his gaze to the grate, Spike getting the message.
"Anything down there?!?"
"Nothing sir. It's a dead end."
"Hurry then. They couldn't have gotten far."
Spike turned his gaze up to the metal grate, watching the shadows recede into nothing before turning back to the woman that lay motionless beneath him. As his gaze came back to hers, he was greeted with a grin, her eyes twinkling in the darkness. Confusion swept over Spike, unsure of the look in her eyes.
"Nothing. But, we should get going before they realize that there's a sewer under that grate."
Spike remained on top of the woman, his mind still lagging behind what was actually happening around him. A gentle tap on his shoulder shook Spike out of his thoughts.
Spike looked at the woman's hand, waving as though she was trying to shoo away a fly. That's when it clicked.
"Oh. Sorry 'bout that." Sorry? What the hell was happening to him? Spike slid backward onto his knees, the woman pushing her hands against the floor, her body moving forward. As she moved to her feet, Spike looked on, wondering what his next move should be. Wondering? He should kill her. That's what he did. Humans were nothing more than meals with feet to him. So, what was there to think about?
"Come on. We should get going."
Her tone was kind yet assertive. Spike's arrogance got the better of him since his mind was still muddled with doubts.
"And what makes you think I'm going anywhere with you?"
"What, you want to stay here?"
Spike looked around, not wanting to identify the foreign matter floating in the water next to them. He may be dead, but his sense of smell was still as good as ever.
"Didn't say that."
The woman looked down at him, offering him a hand. Spike waved it away, lifting himself to his feet.
"Well, if you know the way out of here, I guess this is where we say goodbye."
Spike looked at the woman, a slight smile on her face. Most likely because she knew that Spike didn't have a clue about where he was on the surface, never mind the sewers.
"I could just torture you until you tell me the way out."
He was sure that the woman's demeanor would change. But, it didn't. Instead, the woman gently chuckled as she spoke.
"You could. But I doubt that'd be the best way to get information from me."
"And what would be the best way then?"
Spike stepped backward a bit as the woman advanced on him. It was such an odd scene, someone knowing what he was but showing no fear whatsoever. The woman stopped in front of Spike, looking up into his eyes. After what felt like an eternity, Spike's lips began to move, about to voice his concern. However, the woman's lips gently grazed his cheek, Spike's voice failing him at the sensation enveloping him. The petite woman stepped back, a gentle smile on her face as she spoke.
"That's one way."
With that, she turned around, making her way down the darkened tunnel. Spike was about to call out to her but thought better of himself, not wanting to make the soldiers above aware of their position. Instead, he simply followed the woman, a million thoughts cluttering his mind.Auschwitz, Poland: March 12, 1940
Spike sat on the steps of the building, waiting outside like he usually did. She usually came home around now, a little after sunset. Actually, they all did. The curfew made sure they all came home about now. Spike looked back to the building, rethinking his sentiment. The buildings weren't fit for rats, let alone people.
He leaned backward, the small of his back resting on a step, his arms spread along the step above it. Spike didn't know why he kept on coming back. After that night, the woman had said that he didn't owe him anything. That she was happy to help. He had asked her why she didn't fear him, being that he was a creature of the night and definitely evil. Spike couldn't get the response out of his head.
Just because you are what you are doesn't mean you have to accept it.
With that, she walked away. However, Spike couldn't let things end like that. He had to find out what she really wanted. Then he'd kill her. No reason ending her life if he'd have to endure the question for the rest of his unlife. What did she really want? She. Spike chuckled slightly, realizing that he didn't even know her name. It had been a week since he met her and he still didn't know her name.
Instead, he sat there waiting for her. He listened to what she had done that day, what she did before she was forced to move into this city, how she missed her family, and how she was planning to eventually reunite with them. One day. But, in all that time, Spike hadn't even bothered to ask her name. Instead, he found himself enjoying her company. No, that wasn't right. She was human. What kind of vampire showed sympathy to their prey?
But, wasn't that what he was doing? He had even stopped feeding on the inhabitants of the city, resorting to feeding off the various soldiers that were stationed around the city. And why? Because he was afraid of what she'd think if she found out he'd killed one of her neighbors. Spike sat up, feeling disgusted at his behavior. However, before he could wallow in his emotions, a voice interrupted him.
"Hey there. What'd you bring this time?"
Spike reached into his jacket pocket instinctively, pulling out a slightly dented apple. He tossed it to the woman, she grabbing it handily, rubbing it against her skirt. As she sat down next to Spike, she took a bite out of his gift.
"You know, you don't have to keep doing this."
"I know. It's no trouble."
That wasn't really the truth. He had to steal whatever he brought to her, that was true, but it wasn't that much of a problem. He was evil after all. Spike turned to the woman, wanting to get the first word in before he got caught up in her narrative.
"What's your name?"
"Your name. What is it?"
The woman took another small bite from the apple, chewing as she spoke.
"What does it matter? We haven't had the need for them so far."
It was true. If it weren't for the fact that Spike had finally realized that he didn't know her name, he would have most likely continued talking to her as though they were the closest of friends. Friends? What was this woman doing to him?
"Look, I just want to know."
She simply smiled as she spoke.
Spike nodded his head, somewhat surprised that she had given him her name. They sat in silence, both looking out as the last rays of the sun disappeared over the horizon. After a while, Spike disrupted the silence.
"Want to know mine?"
Spike turned his head, noting that Nadia remained motionless, still looking out to the horizon. Of course she was, because Spike had just made the biggest ass of himself. Want to know mine. Why was he acting like this around her? Like a person. Like a damn git, more like it.
Before Spike could continue chiding his behavior, Nadia moved, her hands pulling the bag from her side. Spike looked on as her hand skittered through the bag, obviously looking for something. As his curiosity got the better of him, Nadia's hand finally emerged from the bag, pulling out the object she was looking for.
"Got something for you too."
Nadia's hand moved toward Spike, holding the rectangular object out to him. Spike tentatively took the object, turning it over to its front, reading the cover.
The picture looked familiar, the little girl with the red hood.
"Well, since you're British, you'll probably know it better as Red Riding Hood."
Spike nodded, flipping the pages idly with his thumb. Of course. The text was in German. Sure, he could understand it well enough. But reading it was a different matter.
"Sorry, pet. Can't read it."
Nadia rose from the stairs, her hand on his shoulder. She gently squeezed his shoulder, waving her head to the building entrance.
"I'll teach you."
As Nadia began to walk into the dilapidated structure, Spike called out to her, unsure of what was happening.
"Why are you doing this?"
She never turned back as she spoke.
"Don't worry. It's no trouble."
Spike grinned at the subtle joke as he got up from the stairs, walking into the building with the book under his arm.Auschwitz, Poland: March 23, 1940
Spike sat in the corner of the building, sunlight pouring through the windows. While the world outside continued to happen, Spike lay out on the wooden floor, his head propped against his hand, his elbow on the floorboards. His other hand flipped through the pages of the book, Spike trying to remember the English words that went with the German text. As he began to read, Nadia's voice filled his head, his mind taking him back to that night.
"Once upon a time, there was a little girl…"
Spike chuckled softly as he interrupted Nadia's narrative.
"Why's it always 'Once upon a time'? Why can't it be something more along the lines of 'Look, mate. It happened like this.'"
Nadia picked up a small pebble from the ground, harmlessly tossing it over his head. "You want to learn this or not?"
Spike waved his hand in the air, indicating that it was okay for her to continue. Nadia turned her gaze back to the book; Spike's gaze focused more on the woman sitting next to him rather than the text in the book.
"Once upon a time, there was a little girl who hadn't seen her mother in seven years. She was forced to dress in iron clothes and was told, 'When you wear out those clothes, you can go back to your mother.' The girl rubbed her clothes on the wall, trying desperately to tear them."
Spike's attention moved from Nadia to her words. While he knew the story of Little Red Riding Hood, he never heard it told like this. It was rather dramatic, the way Nadia's voice wafted through the room, the language that complemented the tale.
"When they had finally been torn, she got some milk and bread as well as a little cheese and butter and set out for her mother's house. In the woods, she met a wolf who asked her what she was carrying."
A slight shiver ran up Spike's back, the image of the wolf greeting the little girl feeling so familiar to him. Nadia noticed Spike's awkward movement, her hand moving out slowly, gently squeezing his hand as she kept on reading. Spike looked down at the entwined hands, the discomfort of his thoughts quickly fading. Nadia continued the story, never taking her eyes from the page.
"'Milk and bread, and a little cheese and butter,' she answered. When the wolf asked for some, the girl said no, saying it was a present for her mother. The wolf asked whether she'd be taking the path of pins or the path of needles. When the girl said she was going to take the path of pins, the wolf hurried off down the path of needles and ate up the little girl's mother."
Spike spoke, a slight smile on his face. "Didn't see that one coming." Nadia squeezed Spike's hand a little tighter, a slight giggle emanating from her lips as she mockingly scolded Spike.
"You want me to continue or would you like to continue making witty remarks?"
"Well, seeing as how the story's somewhat depressing, can I go for the latter?"
Nadia turned her gaze back to the book, paying Spike no mind as she continued.
"The girl finally reached her mother's house. 'Mother, open the door,' she said. 'Push on the door. It's not locked,' answered the wolf." With that, Nadia closed the book, Spike looking up to her, a look of slight surprise on his face.
"Nothing. It's just that I think that's a good place to stop for tonight. Don't want to bore you to death." Nadia smiled as she shook her head. "Well, more to death."
"This really doesn't bother you, does it?"
Spike frowned, confusion getting the better of him. "Me being what I am."
"No, it doesn't." As Nadia got up, smoothing her skirt against her legs, Spike asking the obvious.
She took a deep breath, as if to relieve the tension in her, before she spoke. "This is the only normal thing I have now. Being here."
Spike looked at her, unsure of the words that had just been spoken to him. However, before he could question her about the meaning, she interrupted his train of thought.
"Will I see you again?"
Spike rose from the floor, the chatter of the individuals in the other room beginning to intensify. Apparently, everyone that lived on the floor was trying to unwind after their day of work. Spike reached over to Nadia, gently taking the book from her hand.
"Have to. Still don't know how this story ends."
Nadia timidly smiled at him as she spoke. "Are you sure? You might not like the ending."
Spike nodded, a slight grin on his face. "I'm willing to take that chance."Sunnydale: Present Day
Spike stumbled on the exposed root of the tree, falling forward onto his knees. Instead of getting up right away, Spike remained on his knees, his lips moving, as though he was talking to himself, the sea of headstones surrounding him. Buffy stood behind the trunk of the palm tree, looking at Spike, as he remained motionless on the ground. She didn't want to follow him, but after his departure, Buffy knew that Spike wasn't telling her the entire truth. The woman he had stumbled into on the sidewalk had made him uneasy. No, that was too mild a word. Scared was more like it.
So, Buffy now found herself following Spike. But why? Because she cared? That wasn't right. She had broken up with him because she thought it unfair to keep using him. She couldn't love him the way he loved her. Buffy hung her head at the thought. He didn't have a soul but he loved her. She had one but wouldn't allow herself to love him. It made her wonder what difference a soul really made. Buffy pushed the thought away, her vision moving back to Spike. Unfortunately, Spike was no longer where he was supposed to be.
Buffy scanned the cemetery, looking for Spike's location. Much to her dismay, Spike had disappeared without a trace. Buffy knew that she should probably turn back, back to her friends waiting for her at the Bronze. That it was probably the right thing to do. So, that was why Buffy couldn't explain her action as she moved deeper into the cemetery, looking for a man she didn't care for. At least, that's the way it sounded in her head.Auschwitz, Poland: April 4, 1940
Spike lay on the floor, Nadia against his side. Her head was nestled against his shoulder, holding the book up to the candlelight, looking for where they had left off. The activity in the city had made it difficult for Spike to sneak back in. So, he patiently waited until he saw an opening. That's how he found himself laying on the ground, almost anticipating her voice.
"So, what happened to the girl that took the path of pins to go home?"
Nadia lay still upon finding the page, not looking at Spike as she read.
"'Push the door. It's not locked,'" answered the wolf. But the door still wouldn't open. So, the girl crept in through a hole into the house. 'I'm very hungry, Mother,' she said. 'Have some meat in the cupboard,' answered the wolf."
Nadia adjusted against Spike's side, bringing the book closer to Spike so he could see the words better. He knew he shouldn't be here. It wasn't right. But it felt right, feeling her against him, her voice hovering in the air as she narrated.
"It was the flesh of her mother killed by the wolf. A big cat jumped up onto the cupboard and said, 'That's your mother's flesh you're eating.' 'Mother, there's a cat on the cupboard, and it's saying that I'm eating your flesh.'"
Spike gently grasped Nadia's hand, startling her. However, her surprise turned to joy as Spike began to read.
"'That's a lie, of course. Throw a shoe at the cat.'"
Nadia scooted her body against the floor, up the length of Spike's body, her head now against Spike's as she resumed reading.
"The little girl, having eaten the meat, was thirsty. 'Mother, I'm thirsty,' she said. 'Drink some wine from the pot,' answered the wolf. When she did, a little bird came flying, and perched onto the chimney stack. 'That's your mother's blood you're drinking. You're drinking your mother's blood,' it said. 'Mother, there's a bird perched on the chimney stack and it's saying that I'm drinking your blood.'"
Nadia pointed at the passage, Spike continuing.
"'Throw your cloak at the bird.'"
Nadia looked up at Spike, smiling at his quick study of the language, the way he handled it so effortlessly now. Spike slightly grinned, motioning with his eyes for Nadia to resume. She turned back to the page, the sound of her voice making Spike feel at ease.
"Having eaten the meat and drunk the blood, the little girl turned to her mother and said, 'Mother, I'm feeling very sleepy.'"
Without any indication from Nadia, Spike continued the story.
"'Come over here and get some rest.'"
She expected Nadia to resume reading. Instead, she slowly closed the book, placing it to the side. She turned over, her stomach now against the floor, her eyes looking intently into Spike's. The look made him uncomfortable, as though she was looking into his innermost being.
"What? What are you looking at?"
Nadia never spoke. Instead, he leaned over, her lips gently grazing Spike's. Spike's eyes remained open, looking at the woman in his view, the woman kissing him. This was wrong on so many levels; he couldn't even begin to comprehend what was happening. So, he did the only thing he could think of.
He closed his eyes and kissed her back.Sunnydale: Present Day
Buffy had searched the entire cemetery, but couldn't find him. So, she went to the only place he could have possibly could have been heading. As she walked up to the crypt, she could see him sitting on the steps, holding something in his hands. As she got closer, Spike spoke, not looking up at her.
Buffy slowed her pace, but continued moving toward Spike. She expected him to look up and tell her to leave him alone once again. Instead, he just sat there, holding the object in his hands, his eyes locked on the picture. Buffy walked up the steps, sitting next to Spike as she looked down at what was holding his attention.
Spike spoke, his finger gently tracing the image of the little girl on the cover, the colors faded after years of exposure to the atmosphere.
"Little Red Riding Hood."
The tone in his voice was familiar. She had heard it that day after he had been tortured by Glory. When she had pretended to be the Buffybot to find out if Spike had given up Dawn's secret. Instead of hearing about how Spike had given in to Glory's torture, she was instead faced with a Spike that was sincere and caring and hurting all at the same time.
Spike just sat there, holding the worn book in his hands as though it was the most precious thing in the world. Buffy remained silent, allowing Spike his privacy. As she turned back to look at the horizon, Spike broke the silence.
"She never even knew my name."
Buffy turned back to Spike, noting that he began to flip through the pages.
Spike stopped flipping through the pages as soon as he saw the image, reliving that fateful night.Auschwitz, Poland: April 22, 1940
Spike walked into the building, a slight smile on his face. The fact that he was doing that more often now was definitely a miracle. And to think, a human was making him feel this way. Maybe he wasn't that much of a monster after…
Spike turned to the sound of the voice, hoping against hope that he was wrong about the cadence. As his eyes fell onto the corner of the room, he recognized immediately the woman holding Nadia by the throat.
The childish laughter wafted through the room, Spike looking around to see most of the residents of the floor scattered about, death brought to them by his sire.
"You've been naughty. You've gotten filthy."
Spike looked over at Nadia, noticing that she was crying, her forehead bleeding from a gash.
"What do you want, Dru? I thought we were done with."
"We were." Drusilla's voice sounded calm yet crazed all at once as her index finger gently stroked the side of Nadia's face. "But I want you back." She loosened her grip on Nadia, Nadia's hand automatically moving to her neck, massaging the tender skin. Spike looked at the women, noting Nadia's evident pain. His mind began to feel conflicted, facing his present and his past.
"Thought I wasn't monster enough for you, Dru? Isn't that why you left me?"
"It was. That's why I'm here now. To remedy your ailment." She walked over to Spike, Nadia standing still, her eyes fixed on Spike, he on her. However, Drusilla's fingers tilted Spike's gaze toward her, Drusilla standing between he and Nadia. "You're not a man. You'll never be a man. You're a monster." Drusilla's fingers fell on Spike's chin, tilting his gaze over her shoulder. "What kind of life could you two possibly have? End it now, while you're still a beast."
Drusilla stepped back from Spike, Spike able to see Nadia fully now. Nadia looked at Spike, her eyes still moist from crying. He didn't know why, but he bowed his head, not wanting to see her. What if Drusilla was right? What if he was just fooling himself? He was a monster. What kind of life could he have with the woman in front of him? That's when he heard the voice.
"The girl undressed and approached the bed where her mother lay in a strange position with a hood over her face."
Spike looked up to see Nadia's tears now flowing freely once again, a look of sorrow and hope on her face. Spike furrowed his brow, his dual nature causing confusion to envelop his entire being. He tried to speak, but nothing came out, his mouth slightly open. Without warning, Nadia ran over to Spike, her arms wrapping about Spike's waist, her head now lying against his chest.
"'Mother. What big ears you have,' she said. 'Mother. What big eyes you have.'"
Spike began to breathe heavily, his emotions getting the better of him. He wanted to yell. He wanted to cry. He wanted to hold her and never let her go. He didn't know what to do. All the while, Nadia continued with the fairy tale, her sobs beginning to intermingle with her words.
"'Mother. What big claws you have. Mother! What big teeth you have!'"
Spike looked up, immediately closing his eyes as he let out a bellow of despair, Nadia pressing herself closer to his body, wanting to be near him. That's when he felt it. The sharp pain shot through his chest, Spike's head flying downward, the sight leaving him breathless.
Nadia lay against his chest, blood pouring from her mouth as her eyes looked up at him, that same look of hope remaining in them. Spike looked past her eyes, his gaze traveling her body until he saw what had caused the pain in his chest.
The blade's handle glistened in the candlelight, blood beginning to seep down the small of Nadia's back. His gaze moved from the blade, following the hand still on the handle. When his eyes locked on Drusilla's, she simply smiled as she spoke, finishing the story.
"And then the wolf ate up Little Red Riding Hood."Sunnydale: Present Day
He didn't feel her hand on his face until she spoke. He turned his gaze to Buffy, tears beginning to swell in his eyes. The look on Buffy's face intensified the feeling that was beginning to overcome him. She looked just like Nadia on that night, worried yet filled with care and hope.
"Why couldn't I save her?"
He spoke, tears running freely now.
"Why do I feel like this? I'm not a man. I shouldn't be feeling like this. But it's always there, reminding me that I'm not a monster either. Why can't I make this stop? I don't want this. I don't want…"
Buffy pulled him closer to her, cradling his upper body in her lap, not knowing what else to do.
"How do I make it stop, Buffy? Please, tell me how to make the hurt stop."
Buffy's breath caught in her throat, the sight of Spike so vulnerable making her feel pity and sorrow for him. She gently stroked his hair as he sobbed into her arm, Buffy rocking him gently in her arms. She should be at the Bronze. She should be with her friends. But, she couldn't. Not now. As his sobs started to subside, Spike spoke in a hushed whisper.
"What is it, Spike?"
Buffy didn't realize the effect the man in her arms was having on her until she heard her voice, tinted with sorrow, a whisper to match his own.
"Tell me a story."
"What kind of story?"
Spike whispered, Buffy's hand still running through his hair as he lay in her lap, his tears still overcoming him.
"One with a happy ending."Fin