The Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: R. The language is fine, and there's no explicit sex, but definitely R for concept material.
Spoilers: None, though this is definitely post-season 4
Summary: This is what happens, how a person comes apart, when a man's demon finally wins over self control.
Warnings: Violence and character death - this is an angst fic ladies and gentlemen.
Spike is a creature of habit, every day he does the same thing, wears the same clothes, uses the same lighter to light the same cigarettes for a hundred years – and some things change, times, styles, the clothes go out of fashion, the cigarettes go from hand rolled to manufactured, but not Spike. Not what Spike inherently is, not the violence of the demon, or the heart of the man – those things don’t change, ever.
He grabs Xander a little roughly, who squawks in protest, and startles them both. They had been arguing, something small and normal, like two people who belonged in one family, but the argument was suddenly forgotten, and Spike was staring at his hand in horror. It’s okay because Xander really doesn’t mind but he was startled and for that brief moment his heart started pounding like it used to every time a demon touched him or came too close. “I… Xan, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay…” He’d hardly noticed, nothing terrible went through his brain, about how his father used to snatch at him the same way to shake him by the arms and leave bruises there – and he didn’t fear Spike, not for a moment. Spike is more afraid of this than he is, and he lets himself be drawn in, puts a hand on Spike’s hip, and smiles at him. “It’s okay, just what happened?”
“I don’t know… I just… I guess I got frustrated, pet. I’m sorry.” And Spike snatches Xander into a crushing embrace, which also hurts, but in a good way because this time it’s a sign that the boy belongs to Spike, and that he is loved. Rough is okay in the bedroom, Xander occasionally has bruises on his hips left by fingers but they’re marks of pleasure, and signs that he’s happy to wear. But the man that Spike is looks on those bruises and regrets them, kisses them better because Xander is human, and fragile, and Spike fears that fragility while he enjoys the heat. Spike doesn’t know what he would have done, what he was about to do, or if he could have stopped himself, and he hates that. “I’m so sorry.”
They were arguing again, gesticulating wildly about something mundane, like they always do because now arguing is an inherent part of the Xander/Spike relationship and always has been. They’re passionate, they have different tastes, they love each other, and something as simple as the subject of where to go for dinner, though Spike doesn’t eat, can spark a wildfire, complete with expletives and roaring insults. Spike is angry, and when he’s angry people die, except for lately – though it’s been years, because years for a vampire is ‘lately’, and a decade is something like ‘last week.’ He accidentally throws a punch and then they’re both in pain because Xander didn’t move, wasn’t expecting it.
Its spousal abuse which is hardly foreign territory to Xander, but never from Spike, and never from him. The Chip fires, Xander falls on his ass, Spike reacts so strongly to the electrical impulses in his brain that he flies backwards and his nose starts to bleed, and they’re both hurt, stunned, and forget what they were fighting about because a brand-new shiner and one hell of a migraine was just so totally unexpected. “What the hell is going on with you?” Xander asked in shock, and his face doesn’t really hurt yet, but he knows it will, because he can already feel his cheek swelling and knows that it will be purple soon.
“I don’t… I don’t know… I. I didn’t mean… I’m sorry.” Spike crawls, moves from where the chip threw him to where Xander is still sprawled out on his butt, watching him with shock and a little anger. And Spike reaches out to touch, feels the sharp bone of an ankle, and feels better when Xander doesn’t pull away or cry, but accepts the touch, and understands, “I’m so sorry.”
“I know you are.” He does know, whether because it’s the chip, or because he knows Spike loves him, he knows. And he’s surprised, because he always thought ‘if anyone treats me like that… I’ll leave them, I’ll kick them in the crotch and leave them’, except he is not remotely inclined to leave because he loves Spike, every part of him, including the violent nature, and he knows Spike feels the same. He does know, he does know that Spike is sorry and that Spike wouldn’t hit him, and that Spike loves, protects, and is completely tender with him, and something in his actions just defied the laws of physics. “Will you do it again?”
“I hope not. Oh god I hope not.”
That night, Xander detoured from the bathroom and went to Spike, who sat on their bed deep in thought and deep in regret. He kissed him gently and ran calming, comforting, loving, painful hands across his back and shoulders, and Spike kissed him back, worshiping a soft lower lip, cradling his face in hands that all-too-well knew their own strength, and he was guilty. Their love making was gentle and slow, almost excruciating in its sensuousness, and long after Xander fell asleep, Spike was awake, tenderly brushing the hair away from his swollen eye, terrified of himself.
Another injury, another moment of terrifying freedom where there is no control and Spike is purely the demon, Xander is purely the human that belongs to him, and then there is pain. Xander has a line of fire running down his back where he fell into the door jamb, and he’s less surprised this time but no less horrified. The chip works, it’s horrible, and painful, and they’re both crying because Spike can’t keep himself from lashing out, and it causes them both pain, both extraordinary pain, and they’re mad at each other a lot – guilty because Xander feels he’s done something wrong, and Spike can’t stand to look at the occasional bruise because sometimes he just can’t help himself. He needs the violence, he needs the action and the impact and the sheer feel of human pain, and he can’t have it except at an extraordinary price – highway robbery for hurting the one person he loves the most and doesn’t want to hurt.
Xander understands this, or he tries to, but he’s scared, because they’re hurting each other, and he loves Spike, or he’s fairly sure he loves Spike but these days it’s difficult to tell, and he feels like a weak and pathetic woman using too much makeup and ugly dark glasses to conceal purple bruises and physical manifestations of unhappiness. The chip works, and Xander wants to think that maybe if Spike could hurt other people, maybe if he could go back to being Spike then they could go back to being Spike and Xander, that Spike could look at him again, and that they could love and laugh together without this big painful thing between them. He knows that Spike regrets it, even before the chip retaliates on his behalf he sees the flash of absolute horror and remorse cross Spike’s face before the vampire thrashes under the horrible impulse that’s ripping his head apart, figuratively and literally. He knows remorse when he sees it, knows what it’s like to hurt a person, knows how guilty Spike feels, and he thinks maybe without the chip, everything would be better.
“Are you okay?” Xander asks him, crawling across his living room floor to where Spike is curled up, clutching his head, and the vampire shoots him a look so filled with self-hatred that Xander reaches out. He understands, and he loves, and he would give Spike the world to stop his hurting, and in turn to stop hurting him; so he reaches towards his lover to hold him, pull him to his lap and cradle his head, wipe away the blood running from his nose to leave a pink smear on an alabaster cheek. “Are you okay…?”
“I hurt you.” Pain in those words, and from more than the chip, because he doesn’t mean it, and he doesn’t want it, and he doesn’t know if he can control himself anymore. Sometimes Spike thinks things would be better if he went away, lashed out at random people and suffered the migraines, because then he would feel peace, wouldn’t be hurting the one person he absolutely, under no circumstances, ever wants to hurt. Sometimes Spike even thinks it would be better to be dust – but then there’s Xander, and it would rip him apart to be without Xander, he could feel himself shaking apart at the seams thinking about it.
“I think you hurt yourself worse.” Xander says softly, carding his hands through Spike’s hair, because he can, and because it helps the vampire feel better. He hates the chip with a passion, loves the tender moments when he can hold Spike and pet him without fear of scorn, but hates what causes them, hates the chip, and hates that Spike fears himself, because Xander doesn’t. Xander doesn’t fear Spike at all. “I love you.”
He can feel the chip firing, feel it melting his brain and feel hot blood and hotter misery on his hands, feel himself screaming in pain even if he doesn’t realize it. Soon the neighbors will call the police, or soon Xander’s friends will drop by on one of their routine-unexpected visits and they’ll find him. Crouched here, because he doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to move again. Can’t think, can’t look, huddled down over the still extremity of one perfect foot that he holds in bloody hands and kisses tenderly as though that will change what he’s done. Guilt, hard and heavy remorse, unrelenting like a lump of cold lead, having replaced his insides, stabs at him, and he shouldn’t feel guilt because he has no soul – but he does. Denies the laws of the demon, like the demon denied the man he was until self-control and impossible impulses broke him apart, broke him and he did this. This thing, this horrible thing, this thing that makes guilt squirm in his belly and makes his throat seize up, makes him wail and keen until there is someone at the door, banging and demanding entrance. Mister Harris needs to come to the door or they will break it down, and they do, because Mister Harris can’t come to the door, Mister Harris isn’t in residence, Mister Harris is lying dead on his living room floor, and Mister the Bloody is bloody, and crying pathetically, and knows that he didn’t want this, and he did wrong, and he wants to do it again but not the same. Not this person – anyone else. Anyone less accepting, anyone that he didn’t care about, anyone that didn’t love him and didn’t stand in shock and look on in trust and love, anyone that didn’t die so slowly and so abruptly. Anyone, anyone but the person attached to the perfect foot that the police found him cradling because he simply couldn’t look, couldn’t see what he had done, and the guilt ate at him, and he wanted to die. The demon rejoiced in the violence, loved the blood, mourned the human, and the man he once was simply wanted to die as well, so it did.
The man died, and with it did the demon’s humanity, and something once known as Spike raged, and cried, and mourned with all his heart. Despite the pain, or because of it, ripped through the police officers called out to the all-too-human neighborhood; and the pain ripped through his brain until he wanted to claw out his eyes. So he did. He didn’t feel it, or he did, and he didn’t care – he wanted to stop the pain, stop the fire and the ice from running in his head and hurting, almost as bad, but not nearly enough to drown out the other hurt, the hurt attached to the foot attached to the body that used to be attached to the soul that he loved. There was no hurt enough to drown that out – and he clawed behind his eyes, and used long fingers that used to belong to a man to reach a brain, and he didn’t understand sounds and grunts like ‘chip’ and ‘government’ and ‘love’ – there was only the pain, and the sorrow, and the guilt, until there wasn’t anymore.
The police officers called to the scene were astounded to find the dead bodies of Mr. Alexander Harris, and two of Sunnydale’s finest, across which had been scattered a fine layer of very perplexing dust.
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