TITLE: Aftermath

AUTHOR: Shadowlass

RATING: PG, for language

SUMMARY: Post-"Grave," Spike contemplates his change in status.

EMAIL: shadowlass2000@yahoo.com

DISCLAIMERS: Joss and ME and many other people, all smarter than I*, hold the rights to BtVS. If it was up to me, there'd be a lot less magic crack and a lot more naked Spike.

*NOTE: David Fury not included.

You thought…what? I'd be completely changed? Lose my swagger? Forget how to speak, and maybe just grunt? After all, there's nothing like a good grunt. I'm a vampire, for god's sake, not some random demon. I went to Cambridge, I—

Oh. That was him, of course—that's what you're thinking. I'm not going to say anything painfully obvious, like of course the man informs the beast, or that I'm a combination of demon characteristics and human character. William—he may have been a bad poet, but he was a good man, and all that.

Rubbish. He was a useless sod whose finest moment came when he died in an alley. At least he was wearing his good suit.

And at least he got to be me—that's an achievement, isn't it? A step up. And now I get to be him again. Or at least some approximation thereof.

A period of adjustment. My green-eyed friend didn't see fit to give me any sort of advice on what to expect with the William Blaise Soul, 2002 model. Not that I thought he would. Not that I'd want him to. I've seen plenty make the transition the other way, and they take it—what? Do you want me go on about how it's a different journey for every person who takes it? Rot. People write the most godawful garbage when they're pissed, and then idiots take them seriously. Everyone turns exactly the same. Same thing every damn time.

I wonder if everybody re-souls the same. Not a lot of everybodies to ask, of course. Not that I would anyway. Didn't see the git's big show myself, but the afterparty wasn't much fun.

It doesn't seem that bad now. Nothing I can't handle. For a while…but now, fine. Everything under control. Should have known everything would be different with me. The only thing we've ever had in common is that we drink blood.

Oh. Right. One other thing. Fine, two. Why don't you shut the hell up? I'm not him, and I'm never going to be him. Wouldn't want to. He's always been a self-important drama queen, whether strutting along with Darla under his arm or lurking around dark corners, looking like Heathcliff five minutes after the bint expired. I'm fire and he's…not ice. Jello, maybe.

Still, it would be nice to know what to expect.

Will she even understand what I've done? How do I tell her? And what do I say when she blinks and says that a soul doesn't matter; she really just prefers brunettes? Giants? The hopelessly thick?

We'll see.

This will turn out well, I know. I didn't go to the middle of nowhere to let bugs play in my head for nothing. This will turn out well because there's no other option. Not for me.

I'm still me. I didn't get a Spike-ectomy, I'm not—him. William, I mean. Well, I'm not completely Spike anymore, but I haven't been since they shoved that damned chip in my brain. And for that matter—

Look. Regret is useless. Useless emotion. I've helped save the world more times without a soul than anyone else in Sunnydale. Except for them, of course. And what kind of thanks do I get? Here, Spike. Here's my fist, here's the door, here's my back, goodbye.

Why should I be the one feeling bad?

Okay, it's happened a couple of times. Flashbacks, I guess. Memories I've never thought of before. All except for—for the bathroom. I tried to shove that one out but it keeps coming back again. Now there are others, too, and I don't want them. None of them have her in them, and there's no reason to think of them.

Bloke has to eat, doesn't he? Look, that's what vampires do. Blood. There's no easy way to get it. Or at least there wasn't a hundred years ago. Going against your biological imperative—it's unnatural. Can't be blamed for doing what comes naturally. It's unreasonable. What I said before. Regret is useless, and I'm not going to spend my time on it.

Have to lie down now. I seem to have come off a bit queasy. Must have had some bad blood.

The End