Here Is Gone

A BtVS Fan fiction by Terri Botta

Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy own `em. I just

take them out and play with them. No money, no infringement,

yadda yadda yadda. I'm poor so don't sue.

Pairings: Buffy/Spike

Summary: Spike gets a chance to do a few things over again.

Rating: PG

Archive: Anywhere, just let me know.

Authors note: Feedback welcome. text in italics denote thoughts. It's

not finished and I'm not sure where it's going, but it wanted to

come out, so here it is. We'll see what happens. This'll go

up on my fic page when it's done at

http://www.wordsmiths.net/Botta

(see more of my fic there now- numerous fandoms, including

Buffy). Send feedback to tci100@mail.psu.edu. Note: it's a new

email address!

******

Spike knew he'd been in the cave for a long time. He had flashes of memory, during his lucid times, bits of recollection and consciousness, but he was coming around now. Waking from the nightmare that never seemed to end. He was weak, and starved, and battered.

'Wounds aren't healing too well,' he thought to himself.

Good. The pain meant he was suffering and he deserved to suffer for all he had done, for all the pain he had caused, all the grief he was evil, a parasite on the Earth. But he had chosen this, fought for it. The soul was to be his reward.

'If so, then why does it hurt so damn much?'

He had known, of course. Known from Angelus' ordeal, what a soul could do to a vampire, but he had hoped, since he had sought the soul willingly, that the Powers would go easy on him. Besides, Angelus had been infinitely more evil and depraved than Spike could ever hope to be. It had been one of fledgling Spike's many failings.

It would seem that he had been wrong, and the Powers hadn't decided to make it easy for him. If anything, they delighted in torturing him with his own memories. He remembered screaming, a never-ending wail that erupted from his throat in an endless howl of grief. He saw the faces of his victims, the crimes he had committed, the atrocities done at his hand.

Pain suffused through his entire being and he opened his mouth to scream again, but only a raw croak came out. He was too weak, too starved. Even drawing breath took supreme effort. There was something very seriously wrong.

'What is happening to me?' he thought to himself.

"You are dying," came the booming voice of the demon who had done this to him.

He was too weak to move, to weak to even lift his head. He barely had the strength to open his eyes and blink owlishly into the darkness.

"Soon you will be nothing but a desiccated corpse. A fitting end to such a pathetic creature."

'But I won. I passed your trials.'

"To pass you have to survive."

'I'm still here. Not giving up.'

A low chuckle rumbled through the cavern. "Feisty one, you are, but there is nothing I can do to help you now. You have been here for months and your wounds are not healing. Accept the inevitable, vampire."

He closed his eyes; he felt the tears building behind the lids but he held them back with all the strength he could muster.

'Send me back then. If I am to die, I want to die at home.'

Another laugh. "You think your demon friend can help you? The one who sent you to me? Or your mortal love? She cares nothing for you. You will not be missed."

'Don't care. If she stakes me, at least it will be quicker than this.'

"Do you think so?"

'Besides, I need to tell her, before I go, that I'm sorry. Sorry for everything.'

"Do you now?"

'Gotta do it. Gotta make amends. I wish I could go back. Back before all this happened. Do it different.'

"Really?"

The demon's voice had changed. It was still deep and mocking, but now there was an expectant tone to it.

'If I could do it over again. Fix it. Make it better. That'd be good.'

He let out a sigh and it cost him dearly. One of his fingers twitched.

"So, Lurky," he croaked, blood flecking on his lips from his raw throat. "You gonna send me back to SunnyHell, or what?"

Silence.

"Well?" he tried again, his voice barely a whisper. "Get on with it. Haven't got all day."

More silence and he had begun to think that the demon was going to let him just die in the cave, when it spoke again, its voice both mocking and admiring at the same time.

"You are amusing, vampire. And worthy. Granted."