See me as I am
I have to close my eyes and bless the night
Keeping all my comfort in a jar
I should have known that this is far from
What I wanted now I tremble with fear
Hold me now
Close to the warmth of your smile
Watch the sky
Listen to why I can't stand this life
What I want is not the things I need
Look can't you see me bleed?
The wounds don't seem to heal
What I want is not the things I need
["Wounds" by Hollow]
Dawn started to illuminate the sky. The first rays of sunlight fell through the windows of the library drawing patterns of light and shadow while creeping over the floor.
Spike watched the deadly force approach, fascinated by it's beauty. The golden spots crawled towards him slowly giving him enough time to leave but he didn't move. Just kept watching.
Soon there were only inches left between him and the golden death. His skin began to tingle as the demon within demanded for shelter. Finally Spike moved. Not to go away but to touch the sunlight.
With a slow but resolute movement he extended his left hand into the beam of light. He twisted his hand letting the shadow play on the floor in front of him.
The sun warmed his cold skin. It felt good. Then it started to burn... which was even better.
The pain caused the memories to vanish and allowed his soul to find some peace. A happy smile appeared on Spike's face while his hand started to smoke.
Like the others she was leafing through a book. Suddenly her Slayer senses kicked in. Something was wrong but she didn't know what.
Sunlight fell into the library and she glanced at Angel to see how he was. He was still in the shadows and therefore safe for the moment. (But what else could be wrong?)
Then she observed the caustic smell of burning flesh and spun around. "SPIKE!" she yelled as she practically flew through the room. Three heads shot up to look in her direction.
Buffy grabbed Spike's shoulders and pulled him into the shadows. "Cover the windows!" she commanded.
While Willow and Giles hurried to do so Angel crouched down by her side with a worried expression on his face.
Buffy opened her mouth to say something but he shook his head. She respected his wish not to talk about this in Spike's presence. "Later", she whispered and Angel nodded in agreement.
"Is it worse?" Willow asked carrying a first-aid kit.
Buffy examined the burned hand. "No, I think it'll be healed tomorrow." She started to bandage the wound.
Angel knew it had to hurt but his childe didn't seem to perceive the pain. It looked like Spike's mind was totally absent. "I'll take him home." Angel stood and pulled Spike to his feet. Then headed towards the sewers.
"Now what was that about?" Willow wanted to know as the two vampires had left.
"No clue." Buffy shrugged.
"W-what? Oh, right. I'm sorry but I really don't know."
"Did you find something about this strange thing? - The staking." Buffy explained as he frowned.
"Yes", Giles answered while searching for a definite book.
"Ahh, here it is... As this book says it must have something to do with the spell which was cast over Spike."
"What's wrong Willow?"
"Nothing, I, em, I just have to leave." Willow hurried out the door.
Buffy frowned then looked at Giles again. "Anything else?"
"I'm afraid not." Giles replied.
"Great information. I think we all were able to find this out without a book." Buffy sounded disappointed.
Willow read the spell she'd cast over Spike again and again. She had thought she knew what the spell meant but she noticed she did not. The difficulty was the spell didn't possess a clear message. Caused by care- ful reading she could tell it was ambiguously.
(Okay I think these are the parts I'm searching for.)
"... be punished for all eternity, and ...damned until the end of all days", she read again.
(Looks like I caused this trouble. - I'll have to tell the others.) This thought made her shudder.
(Why?) her evil side asked. (It's only Spike. Besides, do you really think it's too bad to be immortal in every sense?)
(Okay, but I hope the spell hasn't any other hooks.)
She sighed and read it again.
(But I'm afraid it has...)
"What's wrong with you, Spike?" Angel asked as they reached his apartment.
"Nothing. Just some problems with my bloody soul, but I'm fine, really." Spike's answer dripped with sarcasm.
"Sorry, silly question."
"It's okay. It just... hurts." His haunted blue eyes focused on his sire.
"I know." Angel's gaze met Spike's.
"No, I don't think you're able to feel the pain like I do."
"I have a soul, too. And you know I've done terrible things." Angel reminded.
"But you didn't wake up With your soul in place and your latest victim right in front of you. The railroad spike still sticking in her chest and the taste of her blood in your mouth." Spike tried to suppress his sobs.
Angel didn't know what to say so he finally embraced his childe in order to comfort him. For the first time in his undead life Spike allowed himself to break down in his sire's arms.
Spike was asleep and Angel was reading when it knocked on the door. He opened and was surprised to find Willow.
"Hi." Willow greeted a shy smile on her face.
"Won't you come in?" He stepped aside so she could enter. "Take a seat", he offered and they sat down on his couch.
"How is Spike?" Willow asked.
"Hard to tell, but it's definitely not easy for him to deal with."
"Why? I- I mean you're able to deal with your deeds as well."
"But it took me nearly eighty years to do so and it still hurts." Angel sighed.
"But you had nobody to help you, Spike does."
"I'm not sure if someone is able to help him."
"What do you mean?" Willow frowned.
"It's much worse for him than it was for me." Angel mentioned.
"But why?" Willow was confused.
"After I got my soul back I was totally confused and without memory. So was Spike." Angel started to explain. "But a few moments later the memories came back. Merciless. I was lucky because my soul didn't return while I was draining someone or something like that. - Spike didn't have such luck..."
"I don't understand..." Willow started but stopped when Angel continued.
"He came to consciousness next to his latest victim. The railroad spike he'd killed her with still sticking in her chest and the taste of her blood in his mouth."
"Oh." Willow's stomach turned and she had to swallow heavily.
"I'm sorry if I was too graphic." Angel excused.
"It's okay. I just didn't think it'd be that worse." Willow managed to say.
She laid in front of him the railroad spike still sticking in the ugly wound in her chest. His gaze slid to her face. Even in death her features were distorted with horror.
(Oh God, what have I done?!) His eyes filled with tears. His sight became blurred. But his mind's eye remained clear and showed him the fear-frozen faces of all his victims.
"Stop it!" he cried as he fell to his knees. His body started to tremble violently. "Please stop it. PLEASE!"
Suddenly he saw a movement. His head shot up. He rubbed his eyes to clear his gaze and looked around. Nothing.
Finally his gaze was caught by the body in front of him again. After a while he was not able to bear the sight any longer and started to turn away.
From the corner of his eye he saw her features smoothen. Confused he looked in her now peaceful face.
At that moment her eyes shot open and her gaze focused on him. He shrank back from the dead orbs. She lifted her hand to touch him and he jerked back.
"Spike", she said as she got up to follow him. The railroad spike still sticking in her chest. He started to run. "Spiiikey!" Her melodic voice rang in his ears as she caught up with him. Lack of any better idea he hid in a mausoleum but she found him.
"Spike, why are you running from me?" she asked as she approached him. He pressed himself against the wall, shivering with fear. His eyes widened with horror. She was blocking the doorway leaving him no way to escape.
"Why so shy?" she mocked. "I know what you want", she added in a seductive voice. As she stood right in front of him she cocked her head to show the twin puncture wounds he'd caused.
"Drink!" she offered. As he didn't move she grabbed his hair. He tried to squirm away but she forced his mouth to her neck.
By the sweet smell of blood the demon within awoke causing a gnawing hunger. He felt his features shifting to game face...
"NOOO!" Spike woke up panting heavily. His own terrified scream echoed through the room.
Angel hurried towards the bedroom as he heard his childe's cry.
Spike sat on the bed his rear pressed against the wall while his gaze roamed through the room hastily. His body trembled with fear and he snarled at Angel. His yellow eyes gleaming in the semi-dark room.
Knowing nothing else would help Angel let his own game face slide in place and started to growl quietly.
Spike's snarl became louder as he approached.
Angel's growl increased to the deep and threatening rumble of a powerful sire.
Spike hissed but bowed his head in submission.
"Spike?" Willows voice sounded from the doorway. She'd heard strange noises from the bedroom and wanted to know what was going on in there.
By the sound of a female voice Spike's head shot up. His body tensed and he showed his fangs in defense. Angel spun around and growled at her in order to protect his frightened child from a possible threat.
Willow jerked back as she heard the dangerous rumble. Four yellow flashing eyes followed her movements.
Eventually Angel recognized her and his growl softened. He sat down on the bed next to his childe.
Spike curled up in his sire's protective embrace in an instant. Still trembling he started to lick Angel's wrists while making whimpering sounds. Finally Angel bit his wrist and let his childe drink. A few moments later Spike had calmed down.
Willow left the apartment silently.
It was early evening and the sun had just set.
Buffy knocked and waited for Angel to open the door. He didn't. She knocked again. Nothing. Finally she turned the knob. The door was unlocked and she walked inside.
The quite reply led Buffy towards the bedroom. Angel sat on the edge of the bed the head of a sleeping Spike in his lap.
"Why didn't you open the door?"
"I thought Willow would do so." He looked at her while stroking Spike's hair.
"Willow's not here." Buffy mentioned.
"Oh, I didn't notice she'd left." He shrugged then nodded in his childe's direction. "Spike kept me busy."
"We wanted to talk." Buffy reminded.
"Right." Angel pulled carefully away from the bed in order not to wake Spike up. He glanced at the clock. "Are you not going to patrol tonight?"
"You can do it now as well. I'm going to accompany you." Angel suggested.
"That's okay with me, but are you sure you can leave him alone?" She nodded in direction of the bedroom.
"He should be asleep for some hours." Angel answered while rubbing his wrist.
Buffy frowned as she saw the dried blood covering his wrist. "You let him drink from you, again?"
"He had a nightmare and this was the only way to calm him down. Besides he had to feed anyway." Angel shrugged.
"Are there not enough blood-bags in the fridge?"
"Sure, but Spike is not able to feed from them."
Buffy gave him a confused look. "Sorry, I didn't get that. - Spike is a vampire and these bags contain blood... so where is the problem?"
"Since he's got his soul back he's not able to drink any blood but mine. As he tried it caused him to toss his cookies."
"Oh, and as Cordy would say: eew!"
She opened the door and waited for him to follow. "So come on, lets go."
Buffy was silent for a while. Angel had just told her about the moment Spike's soul had returned. (Poor Spike.) She couldn't help thinking even though he was her mortal enemy.
"But why did he hurt himself?" she continued the conversation eventual- ly.
"Spike tries to ease his mental torment." Angel answered without hesitation.
"How can you be so sure about that?"
He glanced at her before his gaze drifted away. "I've gone through this myself."
"Oh." Buffy didn't know what to say. She'd never thought he could have had bigger problems with his soul. Sure he was cryptic and not happy at all but he seems to accept his destiny...
Then it hit her. After his return from hell Angel had felt guilty for Angelus' deeds. He'd even tried to kill himself. She looked at him with shock.
Angel knew what she was thinking and nodded. "I think it's much harder for Spike."
"Why?" Buffy didn't understand.
"Do you remember what I told you about him?"
Buffy's eyes narrowed. "You mean this thing about the gentlest vampire you ever met?"
"I guess you're right. It has to be much harder for Spike." Buffy finally agreed.
Spike woke up, his tormented scream still filling the room. Though he needed no air he inhaled deeply in order to calm down.
(I can't bear this any longer!) He walked towards the bathroom to wash his face. After he'd finished he propped his palms up at he edge of the washbasin and looked into the mirror.
He needed no reflection to imagine what it would look like: pale skin and huge blue eyes with a haunted expression. (I need something to keep the memories away...) His eyes narrowed. (Physical pain, that's it. As Buffy staked me and as I burned my hand the memories didn't hurt anymore.)
Spike returned to the bedroom to search for Angel's anti-vampire supplies. He jerked back as he opened a box with a cross in it. (Exactly what I need.)
He extended his hand to touch it but stopped as a thought came to his mind. (The others would recognize the burns. Hm, I need something that hurts without leaving visible signs...) His gaze roamed over the supplies. (But what?)
Eventually he found what he was searching for and a satisfied smile appeared on his face. (I think this is going to work.)