Journeys by Mary
We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
As the events of Season 6 of the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer unfolded, and I realized the story was going in directions I wouldn't necessarily have taken it myself, I decided to do what fan fiction writers often do – recreate it, and what I envision would come after it – in my own little Buffyverse.
'Journeys' picks up very shortly after the events of 'The Gift'. Part One, Promise to a Lady, takes place in the summer between seasons five and six. Some plot points from early season 6, even some scenes, and an occasional direct line of dialogue, have been downright stolen by me and incorporated into Part Two of 'Journeys', called Awakenings. However, you'll find I've toyed mercilessly with the timeline. and the plot points and scenes themselves have been, on almost every occasion, twisted and changed, sometimes radically. This is deliberate, so there's no need to notify me that this really happened before that, or that that didn't happen at all. g Beyond Awakenings, the story pretty much goes off in its own direction. Readers should also be aware that I don't watch Angel, so the parts of this story that involve the Angel characters have very little, if anything, to do with what's actually happening on that show.
It is Spike's struggle, his journey, that intrigues me as has that of no other fictional character, ever. I'm deeply grateful to JW, who created this fascinating and complex character, to the writers who added their own twists to Spike, and to JM who, through talent and that unbelievably expressive face, brought him vividly to life in all his wildly colorful shades of gray, and forced me to care about his story. I thank all of them.
'Journeys' has angst, sex, some attempts at humor, dozens of extremely sappy scenes (you have been warned!), and some actual plot. Who knew? Most of all, it has, I hope, love. While it is primarily a Spike-centric story, it is also Buffy/Spike. Though her presence can often be felt, Buffy remains inconveniently dead in Part One, thereby preventing gobs of wild Buffy/Spike lovin'. However, readers can expect to see numerous random, and not so random, acts of sex between the two in latter parts of the story. There is also blood play, and the occasional very bad word, so, overall, 'Journeys' should be considered NC-17. For readers following this story at FF.net, an alternative site for reading chapters with the NC-17 rating will be provided.
This, my version of Spike's story, was written to satisfy my own desire to play with the ideas of good and evil, and the part the transforming power of love can play in the struggle between them. I'm not at all sure that's what ending up happening, but it was in the original plan. (Honest! I have outlines, copious notes, actual blueprints!)
Feedback will not make the chapters appear any faster, but would still be lovely to receive. My e-mail address is: MKStatz@aol.com. If you're interested in posting 'Journeys' at your website (woo-hoo!), contact me, and we'll talk.
At this time, I plan to post new chapters every 5-7 days. Once the story is completely written, I will post remaining chapters more often. 'Journeys' is a long story, and I waited to start posting it until I felt relatively sure I could actually finish it. Currently, I'm feeling mostly confident, so here goes...
Joss Whedon, ME, UPN, WB, blah, blah, blah...
The television programs, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and all of the characters appearing in them belong to someone other than me. If they belonged to me, I'd – well, read and find out.
MarySeptember 29, 2002
Journeys by Mary
We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Part One – Promise to a Lady
WHY did I love her?
Because it was her; because it was me.
Breaking into the city morgue was far too easy. Spike didn't know why he felt any sense of surprise at all. After the better part of four years, he should be immune to the internal workings of Sunnydale. The Hellmouth had made the city and all its many aspects an alternative to reality.
Why the hell was he here, anyway? She was gone.
His Slayer was dead.
'Course, she'd never been his. Never would be now. Bugger it; she never would've been his even if she'd lived. He knew that. He'd always known.
But it didn't matter now.
She was dead.
He knew why he was here, of course. He just needed to – see her. Touch her. Be alone with her, even if it was only for a few stolen moments. He wanted to say his goodbyes to her in private, away from watchful Scoobie eyes. They would never accept his desire for that type of privacy with her body, and he couldn't ask. Not now. Maybe he'd never have been able to, but especially not now. Not after he'd failed...
Couldn't face any of them after that. After the tower.
Spike had no problem finding her. He went unerringly to the drawer that held her body, drawn to it as though she was calling to him, and he barely hesitated before pulling it open.
The growingly familiar nausea slammed into him, and he stumbled back a step before squaring his shoulders and reaching out his hand. With a swift gesture, he pulled away the sheet covering her.
Ahhh, love, hello.
Spike's eyes touched her, swept over her nude form, drank in what he knew would be his last sight of her.
Oh god, she was so tiny, looked so small lying there. Beautiful, unmarked. How could she be unmarked after that fall? Death had not robbed her skin of its' golden sheen, and he wanted so badly to believe she would be warm to his touch.
Buffy. Oh, love. I'm sorry, so sorry, so sorry.
He reached out, touched her face, and cradled her cheek in his calloused palm.
Conscious thought dissolved into agony.
Arms clutched, pulled, held, rough hands caressed, stroked over hair and skin. Tears bathed her throat, her stomach, her breast, as his open mouth tasted her, memorizing her flavor. She'd not been here so long as to have lost her unique scent and taste.
My fault, my fault. I'm so sorry. I love you, love you – and I couldn't do the one thing you asked of me. The only thing you ever asked of me.
She would never forgive him, and it didn't matter. He didn't deserve forgiveness. Not from her, not from Dawn. Not from the Watcher or from her friends.
It was sure as bleedin' hell he would never forgive himself.
He sat slumped on the floor, cradling Buffy's body to him, as the long, stark hours of the night passed. He didn't talk to her. She wouldn't want to hear about his pain, his sorrow and guilt. She wouldn't want to hear about his love. So he remained silent, his face buried against her throat. Cradled her and rocked her, and cried against her dead flesh.
Anguished sobs from a dead man for the now dead woman he had loved.
After tonight, he'd never touch her again; never hold her against him in passion or in pain, in anger, in celebration, in love. Everything he'd ever wanted, every possibility he'd ever envisioned, ever dreamt of, had fallen into oblivion when she'd leapt from that tower.
His Slayer was dead.
No. No. No. No.
Would it be easier to bear if he'd possessed her? If she'd been his for even one night? Would having that memory to cling to ease the crushing despair of her loss? He didn't know.
Even now, he knew he would cling forever to the memory of stolen hours created by a spell gone wrong. The sudden and unexpected rightness of her mouth on his, warm, eager, loving... Kissing her had been a bloody revelation. He could still remember how unbelievable her kisses had been, how completely intoxicating. No one had ever kissed him like she did. No one had ever made him feel the way she made him feel with just her mouth on his.
And, oh god, would he ever forget the mind-blowing pleasure of simply holding her in his arms, foreheads resting together as they enjoyed one another's touch? Happiness. Simple happiness. Even the snarky bickering over wedding details couldn't hide the joy flowing into and out of both of them. Had he ever felt it before in his existence?
He didn't think he'd ever be able to forgive the red-haired witch for showing him that, then tearing it away.
Spike rubbed his face against Buffy's, nuzzling gently at her neck, as he let himself dwell for a painful moment on the one other memory he would never let go of. One kiss, freely given. Passionless, but heartfelt. He felt a swift stab of unreasonable anger that his mouth had been so numb from that bitch hell god's beatings that he'd been unable to feel that kiss in all its' unexpected wonder to the degree he should have been able to feel it.
Sometimes he honestly wondered if the Powers That Be had taken some sort of personal interest in tainting every small pleasure that came his way.
Didn't matter. Nothing was gonna change now. No more chances. No more what ifs. No more maybes. No more dreams of a love far above him.
Gone. She was gone.
He'd always been beneath her anyway.
He could smell the coming dawn long before the first rays of light lit the sky. He rose, lifting Buffy's body back onto the cold metal slab. He didn't notice the blood smeared on the floor where he'd been sitting, didn't see the numerous small areas where it had pooled. He carefully arranged Buffy's limbs before smoothing the sheet back over her. Putting her back the way she'd been. Wouldn't do to have anyone know her body had been touched – defiled, they'd probably think – by a demon like him. Didn't wanna upset anyone, add to their grief.
It wouldn't matter to any of the others that all he really wanted was to take her body with him, to look for and find a fine and private place where he could hold her to him for the remainder of time.
Dead. She was dead.
He wanted so badly to join her. But it could never, would never, be. Even if he allowed the sun to end him, he would never be with her.
He reached out to straighten the slender gold chain around her throat, and hissed with pain when his fingers came into contact with the delicate filigree cross suspended from it. He snatched his fingers back and stared at them. It was obvious they had come into contact with the cross many times during the long hours of the night as he held her body to his. Dozens of burns, some clearly showing the pattern of the cross, covered his hands. He stared at them. His mind, growing increasingly unable to focus, could only grasp one thought.
Could he damn well feel nothing then?
It was with a mixture of defiant anger and grief that Spike removed the pendant from Buffy's neck. Spike tore away the fabric of his t-shirt to bare his skin, and flattened the cross against his chest. He hissed as the metal burned into his chest and his hand simultaneously.
Hissed and held on. Deeper. Yeah, there's pain, bugger it all to hell.
Burn me, burn me, burn me, burn me...
Before he left he carefully refastened the pendant back around Buffy's neck. The flesh on the thumb and the first two fingers of his left hand was burned away to the bone, but he still managed to fasten the tiny clasp, and lay the cross carefully against the upper curve of her breast. He let his hand glide over her hair one last time, leaned close to catch her scent, and finally pulled the sheet up over her face. He left then, melting out of the building as the earliest workers were arriving.
Beneath the sheet, Buffy's chest, neck and hair were spattered with more than a little of the vampire's blood. Because, when a hole is burned straight through the chest, through flesh and bone, and directly into the heart, there's bound to be blood.
Even if that heart isn't beating.
Time went a little wonky after that, following the direction his mind had already taken.
By the time he arrived back at his crypt, his hand hurt like a sonofabitch. He looked at it again. Yup, those were his bones, sod it all. Spike knew there was something wrong with his back as well. Twinges of pain had been bothering him off and on for a while – may be even a couple of days – he wasn't sure. But, there on his back, just above his waist, he could feel a clammy, sticky wetness that usually meant he was bleeding. He could smell the blood, for that matter. He had a vague recollection of being stabbed, but he couldn't remember where or by whom.
In fact, his whole body hurt and he had the nagging suspicion he was sporting more than a few broken bones. He knew he needed blood in order to heal, and, no matter what anyone thought, he needed human blood to heal with any speed. There were a couple of bags of human blood among the jars of pig's blood in his refrigerator. The Slayer herself had brought him several bags of A-Neg, his favorite, in the days after Glory had attempted to get him to betray Dawn.
He pulled one out, and then stared at it in his hand, remembering his surprise when Buffy had brought him the welcome supply.
Her face had borne that pinched expression that was becoming commonplace since the death of her mum, and she had more or less ignored his questioning eyes as she placed the blood in the refrigerator.
He'd said something clever, he remembered, something like, "Thank you."
And she had simply replied, "You're welcome." She had added something about needing him back to full strength as soon as possible.
She'd been wearing something white and soft looking, and she'd smelled like Lilies of the Valley. It wasn't her usual scent, which was much less definable, and it had lingered in the dark air of his crypt for hours after she'd left. Or so it seemed.
She'd implied she'd be needing him.
Like he was someone she could count on, someone she considered trustworthy – at least to a degree. He remembered sitting up a bit straighter, enjoying thoughts of fighting alongside the Slayer, guardin' her back.
He'd hoped to hell, though, that she didn't plan to lump him in with the soddin' Scoobies...
Her hair had been shining like sunlight. He remembered wondering if the Lily of the Valley scent was perfume or a scented shampoo.
Wondered too, if he would ever be close enough to her again to find out.
Spike leaned against the door of the refrigerator and slid to the floor, the unopened blood bag still clenched in his hand. No matter where his thoughts turned – pain, pain, pain. For a few welcome minutes, the pain in his hand had distracted him from the terrible wrenching despair clawing away inside him.
His Slayer was dead.
No, please. Please. No. No. No.
Not her. Please not her. Anyone else. Anyone. God – him. Why not him? It was supposed to be him. Sonofabloodybitch, it was supposed to be him!
Something was building up inside him, growing, surging, taking him over. It was tearing at his throat, his chest, trying to get out. The feeling was so intense, so overwhelming, it terrified him. Spike dropped the blood bag, and clamped his hands to his chest. If he pushed hard enough, maybe whatever was inside him would stop trying to tear its' way out. His hands clutched at his torn shirt, ripping at it further and pulling it away. It was covered in blood, front and back, and he had no idea how it had gotten there.
It was then he noticed the hole seared into his chest. For a moment he thought it was the place Glory had dug her hand into him, but it was higher, right over his heart. As soon as he saw it, he realized it bleeding hurt, burning like fire. There was blood everywhere and he couldn't get a good look at the actual wound. Bloody hell, it seemed obvious to his struggling thought patterns that whatever was trying to get out of his throat had gone in there...
Was he going to have to reach into his own chest, find whatever was causing this excruciating pain, and pull it out? Maybe he should just pull out his heart – that would stop the pain, wouldn't it?
Stop all the pain.
He felt like he desperately needed to draw breath and couldn't. Panicking, he rose to his knees, trying to get to his feet. Whatever this was, whatever was happening, he knew he could fight it better on his feet. He was a brawler, wasn't he? He was strong, dangerous. He was evil, damn it, and whatever was happening to him – whatever demon was causing this terrifying, gnawing agony, this indescribable torment – was going to regret messing with him. He was still the Big Bad, he was...
He was so alone.Dark, hollow corridors of agony stretched out in every direction. Take one, any one. It didn't matter. Just move, run, because the fires of hell were licking at his feet, up his legs. He was going to go up in flames. He had to get away now. Right now.
He tried to rise again, to move, but he couldn't get to his feet. He stumbled forward, sprawling across the floor.
The demon (had to be a demon, dinit?) that had attacked his chest was gaining strength, tearing more viciously at his throat. He could feel the blood flowing into his mouth, and something else. Maybe it was the demon itself. Thought turned to certainty. He was going to vomit it out. It would be gone, god, gone. Almost there, almost ... And finally it fought its way out of his body, escaping through his parted lips.
It was a scream, reduced to the barest breath of sound.
When he came to, Spike's dazed mind tried to suss out where he was, what was happening.
His hands slid over the floor, feeling his surroundings. He couldn't get up and panic flared again. He clutched at the floor, trying to gain some purchase.
He needed blood, didn't he? He couldn't remember why. Only stood to reason, though, dinit? Vampire. There was a blood bag on the floor not far from where he lay. He crawled toward it on his stomach, feeling a moment's victory when his hand closed around it. He morphed, letting his fangs tear into the bag, feeling the rich, welcome taste of beautiful human blood fill his mouth and flow down his throat.
It was always so intoxicating.
Strangely, he had no trouble at all finding his feet the minute he started retching. He staggered across the room, the little bit of blood he'd swallowed leaving him again in tortuous heaving spasms. What the hell was happening to him?
He collapsed onto a small wooden table, smashing it to pieces and, in the process, sending deadly splinters of wood across the room. Had some of those splinters entered his chest through the gaping hole that the demon had left when it entered him? He could feel it inside him again. He'd thought it had left him. Hadn't it clawed its way out of his mouth? But now he could feel it again. Tearing him apart inside. It was spreading, growing inside him. It no longer tore just at his chest and throat. It was twisting into his guts, knotting them up, yanking and pulling and tearing at his intestines.
Spike cried out, shifting away from the shattered wood under his body and trying to get to one of the walls. He could defend himself better if his back was to a wall. See what was coming at him from any direction. It – they – must be in here. They were coming at him, invading his body through his chest. He had to fight, had to beat them back. How could he fight it, fight them, if he couldn't see them? He looked around wildly. This was his crypt wasn't it? Wasn't it? If he could get to the lower level, maybe he could make his way into the sewer tunnels. He dragged his body toward the hole in the floor, desperate to escape, desperate to prevent any more of these demons from invading his body.
He found the hole and rolled through it, falling heavily to the basement of the crypt. He'd always tried to disguise the hole. Maybe the invaders wouldn't see it. Spike dragged himself to a wall, pulled himself to his feet and placed his back against the flat surface, fists coming up in a defensive posture.
He'd always been good at fighting, at killing. Hadn't Dru told him he was born to smash and bash? Kill and maim? Killing had given him the best night of his life, hadn't it? He'd finally gained Dru's favor, had finally gained some individual identity from her sire, Angelus, whose love, acceptance and respect he had craved for over twenty years – all by killing a Slayer...
Oh god, oh god, oh god.
His Slayer was dead.
Never gonna hold her. Never gonna touch her. Never gonna wrap his hands in her golden hair, bury himself in her body and find, at long last, his home.
His Slayer was dead.
No. No. No.
Sounds he had never heard before were erupting from his throat, animalistic howls and wails – the anguished cries of a wounded beast. His hands were tearing at his hair, clawing at the wounds covering his body. Where had all these wounds, all this blood, come from? Wild eyes shot into every corner of the chamber. Where the hell was he?
Time no longer had any connection to reality. How long had he been here battling this – whatever it was? Hours? Days? Something was wrong. What? Something had invaded his body. It was strong, and obviously furious at being trapped inside him, judging by how rampantly it was ripping him apart inside. Even his demon couldn't expel it, couldn't seem to fight it, whoever or whatever it was, and the raw, agonizing pain it was causing him as it romped through his body, twisting and tearing at everything inside of him, was unbearable.
He couldn't remember the last time he'd fed, didn't know where the wounds covering much of his body had come from. And he couldn't seem to keep down any blood at all; even licking blood from his own wounds gagged him.
He didn't know what was happening or where he was. He didn't even know who he was. So he stopped thinking about it. It didn't matter. Not anymore.
He wasn't sure when he realized that it was infinitely better not to think at all.
Better not to exist.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
He repeated it over and over as it became a chant, a mantra.
There is nothing.
Nothing, nothing, nothing.
And then, at last, at long last...there was nothing.
The demons of loss, of mourning, devouring him from the inside out were vanquished. The gnawing grief, the overwhelming guilt, slid away, defeated. Gone. Like everything else. There was nothing. Endless nothingness.
There was no one. No. One.
Not even her. Not even him.
He lay on his back on the floor, still and silent as only vampires can be still and silent. He didn't exist anymore. Dead, empty shell shrouded in black leather. Dead, empty eyes in a bloodless, chalk white face.
On some level, so deep inside he would never remember it, he welcomed the empty nothingness; embracing it with a desperate, loving gratitude.