Hello again, everyone! I'm still working on the sequel to 'The Lie'. But for now, here's a one-shot fic I made centering on Spike.
This is a follow up to 'One Wrong Move', the saddest episode ever. No matter how many times I've watched it, the last scene always tears me up. This fic is also a tear-jerker (To me, at least. Because I choked up badly while writing this). So I can't tell you all to enjoy it because, seriously, who wants to enjoy a sad story, right? Anyway, I hope this fic will touch you the way that episode has touched millions of viewers.
Oh, and Angelinsydney, this one's for you. Ma'am, your writings are inspirational.
Summary : Spike has a heart-to-heart talk with Parker and Sam about losing Lou.
"What the hell are you doing?"
The sudden roar caused Sam to jerk in surprise. Swiveling around, he saw Spike bearing angrily towards him. Dropping his gym bag, the dark-haired computer wizard shoved both palms against the chest of the blonde man, thrusting him away from the opened locker.
"You got no rights!" Spike yelled, his face red with fury. "Who do you think you are to touch his things?"
"I was only trying to help—"
"By emptying his locker? That's what you call helping? Why, so it would be easier to forget Lou now that he is dead?"
Wearily, Sam shook his head. "I didn't mean any disrespect."
"Stuff it, Braddock. Just…just get out of my sight," Spike retorted. With jerky moves, he snatched Lou's effects out of the packing box that Sam had filled up, stuffing them back into the locker.
Sam watched helplessly. "Spike…"
"Get out of my sight!" Spike shouted, his hands balled into fists as he stood there trembling with rage.
A few awkward seconds later, Sam grudgingly nodded and backed away. He walked out of the locker room without another word, leaving his grieving teammate to his angst.
Still fuming, Spike resumed restocking his dead best friend's locker. At first, he was just putting the items away on autopilot. And then his movements grew edgier until he began to throw things, cracking a bottle of Lou's favorite aftershave in the process.
Like a splash of cold water, it hit him. Spike simply stopped and dropped heavily onto the bench, his head in his hands.
Soon after, footsteps approached him before someone placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
It was Parker. Spike was barely aware that the Sergeant had been standing at his own locker on the other side of the room the entire while, a lone witness to all that had just transpired.
"Leave me alone," Spike implored, not even bothering to look up. "I'm not in the mood to talk to anyone right now."
"I can see that," said Parker, "That's why I'm surprised that you come in today. It has only been three days, Spike. Losing Lou still feels raw to us, much more so for you. Shouldn't you take extra time off? You can return to work whenever you think you're ready."
Raising his head, Spike's eyes were bleak as he glared back. "And when would that be? I'll never get over this, Boss. Never! Might as well that I come down here and make myself busy with the job so I won't focus too much on Lou. But what did I get instead? I found Sam raiding Lou's locker and packing things away as if my best friend did not matter anymore, as if he never meant anything to us."
"Oh, Spike," Parker said with a sigh, "Sam never intends it that way."
"Whether he intends it or not, he has no right touching Lou's stuffs."
"Sam is just trying to spare you the pain."
"What does he know about my pain? Lou was my best friend, not his! He doesn't know what I feel."
"Yes, he does, Spike," the Sergeant solemnly emphasized. "Sam knows how it is to lose a friend more than the rest of us do. Remember his buddy Matt?"
Oh, God, thought Spike, instantly contrite. With a low groan, he bent over and rested his forehead against his clasped fists. "I…I didn't mean…"
"I know, buddy. I know." Patting Spike on the back, Parker continued, "Lou's father called here earlier, asking if someone could help pack his son's belongings. Sam was the one who volunteered. Ed and Wordy haven't yet arrived, while Jules…well, after that call she just broke down and cried. And, frankly speaking, I don't feel strong enough to do what Sam just did. Lou was like a son to me too. It hurts knowing that he's gone."
His shoulders shaking, Spike worked hard to stifle his sobs. "I've lost a friend, and I just pushed another."
"No, you didn't. I think Sam will understand why you reacted that way. He is not going to judge you on that," Parker said, reassuringly. "Look, Spike, why don't you take the rest of the week off. You need more time to yourself."
"I don't need time to myself now," Spike protested, "I need a distraction. I have to do something or I would go crazy! Please, Boss. Take away my guns if you have to, but just…just let me be with the team."
The Sergeant grew thoughtful for a while before he finally nodded in understanding. "Okay. I think we are going to need you anyway. We have a warrant call within an hour, and we could use your expertise to break through the firewall of our target's security system. You're up to it?"
Spike managed a smile of relief. "Sure. That's the best thing I heard in days. Thanks, Boss."
"Go change. We'll meet everyone in the briefing room."
As he stood, Spike hesitated before saying, "And Sam?"
"Don't worry about him. Just focus on the job."
"I'll do that. Thanks again, Boss. I won't let you down."
"You never did, and I'm sure you never will." After giving the younger man's shoulder a consoling squeeze, the Sergeant left.
Sighing, Spike shut close Lou's locker with a heavy heart before heading towards his. It was time he made his time worthwhile. Nothing could bring Lou back from the dead, but if doing his job would stop the same thing that had been done to Lou from happening again to other people, then by God Spike would never cease to do it.
Two hours after the successful yet grueling warrant call, Team One was back in HQ.
They had finished debriefing just minutes ago, and Sam was alone in the locker room. With a grimace, he peeled off his black SRU t-shirt and turned to look at himself in the mirror. He winced to see the colorful welts and contusions on his upper back.
That was what he got from rescuing the subject who, instead of surrendering, had decided to jump off the roof of the target bungalow. And, like always, Sam had reacted on instinct. He leapt right beneath the subject to cushion the man's fall. Pretty stupid stunt, Sam had to agree, considering that he was the one who almost got crushed to death while the subject escaped with only minor injuries. If not for his body armor, Sam could have broken his spine.
To add to the fun, Jules could not stop berating him the entire long way back to HQ.
"Wow. That must be painful."
Sam turned at Spike's sudden voice. The team's tech expert had just walked in and was staring at his back in awe. With a small smile, Sam replied, "It looks worse than it feels."
"Still, shouldn't you go and have it check out?"
"Maybe later. Or I can just rub some dirt on it."
That caused Spike to chuckle. "You and your military bad jokes."
And then he turned sober. "Look, Sam, about earlier. I'm sorry I went apeshit on you like that."
Sam responded good-naturedly with an incline of his head. "No problem."
"But it is a problem, Sam. I…uh…I had lots on my mind. I was not thinking straight, and I took it out on you." Spike shook his head and sat down on the bench, facing Lou's locker. "It has been hard, you know, with him suddenly gone. And now my Dad keeps pushing me to change jobs so I won't end up dead like Lou."
"Spike, you don't need to explain. I understand."
"I know we can't keep Lou's things here forever, but…When I saw you put his stuffs inside that box, I…I just lost it. Something snapped inside me, telling me that…that…"
"That it's truly happening, that your best friend is really not coming back," Sam finished for him, taking a seat next to his teammate.
For a long moment, both men didn't speak as they absorbed what Sam had just said.
And then, quietly, the ex-JTF2 continued, "During my stint in Kandahar, I lost a few of my comrades in the field. I did my share in packing up their things into a hurt locker to send to their families back home. But when I lost Matt…another member of my unit had to do it for me because I just couldn't do it. It was too unbearable, I nearly went out of my mind."
"That's what you were trying to do for me today, to spare me the pain," said Spike, his eyes welling up.
Sam nodded. "I can relate to what you're going through, Spike. My unit helped me before, and I feel it's my turn to show you the same gesture. But if I crossed the line with Lou's stuffs, I apologize."
Spike shook his head. "Sam, don't. You don't need to apologize. I understand it now. It's just that…Lou is gone. He is really gone…"
And Spike's shoulders started to shake as he broke into sobs.
A huge lump swelling in his throat, Sam had to bit his lip to suppress his own weeping. "Yes. Lou died on the job. He was a true savior."
"I should have been able to do something, anything, to save his life!"
"No, Spike. Don't blame yourself. You did everything you could."
"I did not do enough!"
"You did anything more, we would have lost you too," Sam said, a lone tear running down his cheek. "Lou knew that the weight transfer you attempted to do was awfully risky. He didn't want you to take the chance."
"And so he lifted his foot and blew himself up to save my life," Spike cried. "God, this is too much…too much for me to take."
"Of course, it is." Sam threw an arm around his friend's shoulders and gathered him close. "It's important that you feel what you feel now. It means that you're human, that you have feelings. Painful though it is, it shows how important Lou had meant to you, how special the bond that you guys shared. If it's not hurting you at all then something must be wrong. So feel the pain while it still at its most fierce. Just don't let it consume you. In time, the pain will fade, leaving only good things for you to remember."
Spike buried his face in his hands. "But I keep seeing him everywhere I turn. As if he was still around when in fact he's all gone. I don't know if I could go on feeling like this."
"Yes, you can. You don't know what you're capable of until you actually do it. Spike, you can't let this bring you down. Lou wouldn't have wanted that. He sacrificed himself so that you can live on. It was his gift to you and you should share it with others. You can honor his memory by living your life to the fullest."
Sniffling, Sam added, "You are all heartbroken now, Spike. You feel like nothing else matters anymore, as if you're at the bottom of a deep dark pit with no way out in sight. But there's a thin line between those who just accept defeat, and those who keep clawing back up no matter how many falls they take. And I know which one you are."
Sam nudged Spike's face until they looked eye to eye. "Listen close, buddy. If you can get through this, you can get through anything. You hear me?"
Lips trembling, his face wet with tears, Spike slowly nodded. "I hear you."
"Good. Remember that. Now come here." Sam pulled his friend into his embrace, slapping Spike in the back repeatedly before releasing him.
Wiping his face dry, Spike gazed sadly at Lou's locker. He then went to retrieve the empty packing box before turning to Sam. "I really can't do this on my own. Will you help me?"
With a small smile, Sam rose to his feet. "It would be an honor, Spike."
And, side by side, they started to gather the belongings of their dead comrade.
Shortly after, the rest of Team One also appeared. Everyone did their share in filling up the box, working together in quiet camaraderie as they put away one personal item after another. They smiled at the lucky soccer ball that Lou had always cherished, they laughed at the funny photos of him and Spike taken during their vacation in Jamaica, and they all shed tears at the half-done poem that Lou had written on a note pad.
Light the candles, light them bright
Chase away the darkness of the night
If the wind blows and snuff the lights out
Spike swallowed hard and finished up the poem, "Light the candles again and don't live them without."
Thank you for reading. See you guys again in another story.
Adromir has left the building to go watch 'The Amazing Spiderman'!