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Hey comm! I haven't written anything in ages, so I wrote something. Set during Spike's journey to find his soul. Basically angsty, but maybe something else as well. Spike is introduced to the First Evil... It actually saves his life?

The Best is Yet to Come
by Quinara.

Sometimes, all Spike wanted to do was stop. He could remember a time, not so long ago, when he had the leisure of doing whatever the fuck he wanted, whenever the fuck he liked, and he missed it. He missed it more than he missed the murdering; more than he missed Dru. The future was a heavy burden, and it looked at him with a nasty glint in its eyes.

Now, sitting in the darkness of a freight ship, there was a different sort of business that he wanted to be over. He had all the time he could ask for, filling up what he knew would be the last days before the mental chains of a soul wrapped and bound his sickness into a whole new method of existence. Soft rain thrummed in rushes against the hull outside, lapping like the waves; the night watch were quiet and unlikely to bother him in the cell he’d paid his way into. But he felt empty, in a way that clawed and clung to his insides. He wanted it to be over.

It wasn’t the first time, of course, that Spike had found himself at a loose end. In the old days he’d have gone out and got a drink, found a fight; more recently he’d have put the telly on, read a book. On the very darkest days, he always would have tried to write, never mind that he could only bear bring pen to paper, usually, when he was sick to his heart so far that it choked him. Here on this ship, however, Spike could only yearn after activity with the deep, leaden drag behind his eyes.

He thought about sleeping, but then he didn’t want to sleep. He didn’t want anything, other than to find this demon in Uganda and, also, never get there. He wanted…

“Hey.”

Buffy.

“Watcha doin’?”

Now this was unexpected.

Nonplussed, Spike watched the fantasy step out of the light and over to his side. It looked like her, smelled like her and moved the way she had exclusive power to; her heart was a steady, hypnotic sound that set off the warmth of her in his cold, damp room.

“Geez, Spike; what’s up with you?” It spoke to him again.

He shut his eyes, not saying a word. There was madness in what he was about, but he refused to be this far gone.




Another few days, and it came for him again. He woke from a memory, feeling sick and full of violence. Her voice spoke to him again. “You know,” she said, conversationally, “a soul won’t be enough.”

“There’s nothing that will ever be enough,” he told the image, rolling out of bed and unsurprisingly right through its crouching form. Even Buffy wouldn’t come to sea in a lacy, sleeveless top. “I remember how guilt works,” he added, splashing his face with water from the basin. “It’s a poison, rotting everything down to that same stinking mulch. It can’t be sated, can’t be scratched. Only thing to do is embrace it and hold on to your hat.”

“I guess that’s what you’re doing, huh?” she asked him, turned and risen to her feet. Today the rumble of the engine was louder than the water. She looked cute enough to eat with her hair in one of those sloppy knots she did. Before she chopped it all off like the spiteful cow she was. “Oh, come on,” she said as his eyes narrowed. “You never really thought I was her, did you? So why not come along in a haircut we both know you liked?”

Spike shook his head, looking around at the dull blue-and-magnolia walls. Corporate imprisonment, that was all he had left for him now. “I ain’t exactly got a plan, here,” he said, because apparently he was talking today. It was a day to go out, he realised, and eat at least some food with the crew. He was going barking.

No, wait; he’d already gone.

Vision Buffy didn’t seem to mind. “But you do,” she said, not unkindly. And yet in the same voice she always used to rip his heart out. “I know you do. As well as I know you would have done it, if I’d given you the chance. It’s OK; it’s understandable. You think this will bring you forgiveness, show your penance.”

“Never,” Spike spat, insulted. He turned to meet her eyes, to try and convince her, but the moment his eyes ducked down and hers ducked up she was gone. The shadows and the shape of the light switch glimmered to find him on his own. He stood there staring for a long time.




Sometimes, all Spike wanted to do was stop – but when he stumbled off the train to the hard, dry land of his destination, he knew he wanted to die. This blaze of glory was just as bright as any other.

“Coward,” its voice said to him, buzzing like a fly in his ear. “Coward.”

All that meant was that it had plans for him yet. But goddammit, goddamn her… He listened.

.

Comments

( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
velvetwhip
Jul. 26th, 2014 11:54 pm (UTC)
I really like this. Very intriguing appearance by the First here.


Gabrielle
quinara
Jul. 27th, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)
Thank you! I always find it interesting to think about how the First would actually wriggle its way into Spike's subconscious, because you'd think most of it's later tactics would be fairly easy to resist...
rahirah
Jul. 27th, 2014 12:09 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've always though there was a suicidal component in Spike's soul quest, just as the was in Buffy jumping off that tower. Another thing they've got in common...
quinara
Jul. 27th, 2014 12:23 am (UTC)
Exactly. I think S6 really brought Spike to the end of the line. But only to be reborn!
thisficklemob
Jul. 27th, 2014 04:25 am (UTC)
I've seen it written as pretty much a suicide, with Spike's memories remaining, but the person who comes back being William.
rahirah
Jul. 27th, 2014 02:52 pm (UTC)
Well, I see Spike and William (and any other vampire, really) as one continuous entity, because despite what Giles tells us in season 1, that's what makes the most sense of the way we actually see characters who become vampires behaving. Honestly, if I didn't see it that way, I wouldn't care that much about souled!Spike. Spike is the character I care about, and William was a nice guy, but he interests me only insofar as he's a component of the person who became known as Spike.
thisficklemob
Jul. 27th, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
I generally agree with that perspective, but that was an interesting piece in terms of exploring that possibility. And it was a short one-shot, not an extended universe, so it was less about William than about Buffy reacting to him.
rahirah
Jul. 27th, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC)
I think Greenmaia did a longer 'verse on that premise - William and Spike are two different people, and Buffy gets together with shanshued William because she's still in love with Spike, and he's the closest thing to Spike she can get. William doesn't love her, but he remembers Spike loving her, and feels obligated to take care of her emotionally, because she's even more messed up than she is in canon. It's one of the most realistic and painful depictions of the relationship not working I've ever read.
thisficklemob
Jul. 28th, 2014 01:57 am (UTC)
Oh, geez, I hadn't read that one. And, no offense to Greenmaia, I think I'd prefer not to. (Real life has enough heartbreak...)
dragonyphoenix
Jul. 27th, 2014 04:06 am (UTC)
Interesting. I like it.
quinara
Jul. 27th, 2014 08:47 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad to hear. :D
thisficklemob
Jul. 27th, 2014 04:24 am (UTC)
Ooh, interesting vision of Spike, already "mad" before the soul.

He could remember a time, not so long ago, when he had the leisure of doing whatever the fuck he wanted, whenever the fuck he liked, and he missed it. He missed it more than he missed the murdering; more than he missed Dru. The future was a heavy burden, and it looked at him with a nasty glint in its eyes.

I like this. You really capture something of his desperate, dogged, but also uncertain frame of mind.
quinara
Jul. 27th, 2014 08:48 am (UTC)
Ooh, yes, that's exactly it! I do like the idea of the soul as continuity rather than as a real break in Spike's character.

Thank you! I am really glad you like it.
kerry_220
Jul. 27th, 2014 07:49 am (UTC)
Fascinating piece. I can clearly imagine Spike being this sick of everything.
quinara
Jul. 27th, 2014 08:49 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! Poor Spike has really reached his wits' end.
ever_neutral
Jul. 27th, 2014 09:12 am (UTC)
I like this a lot! The First!Buffy/Spike is such a fabulous creepy!ship... ♥
quinara
Jul. 27th, 2014 09:29 am (UTC)
Yay, thank you! I think the First Evil definitely has a crush on Spike.
kikimay
Jul. 27th, 2014 09:46 am (UTC)
Gorgeous fic. I love your take on Spike and his quest to find the soul and I liked the creepyness of the First Evil showing up in his most dramatic moments, while he's basically searching for death. (I've always seen his quest like a search for life, but your idea is fascinating)
quinara
Jul. 27th, 2014 12:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks very much! I'm glad you liked it - the First certainly knows when to get in there.
readerjane
Jul. 27th, 2014 12:25 pm (UTC)
Y'know, I never thought about that time before.

Sure, after Seeing Red Spike blasts off on his motorcycle, all determined to get a soul. But it took him several weeks to get to that cave in Uganda, and he would have had a lot of time to think about what he was doing.

My take was, the First couldn't get into Spike's head until he did have his soul. But Spike still must have had doubts: was this going to make him like Angel? Was it going to be worse than the chip?

Bloody determination can be hard to sustain over the long haul.
quinara
Jul. 27th, 2014 04:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's a weird time, isn't it? It wouldn't take that much time at all if he was flying, but I remember the idea is in Angel S5 that he's never flown before, so... That's one long boat trip.

Thanks for commenting!
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 27th, 2014 08:18 pm (UTC)
Oh very nice - and very much in tune with the way the First never quite hits its mark with its emotional tortures. It keeps him alive, but it doesn't own him, maybe?
quinara
Jul. 27th, 2014 08:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And yes, I think the First's strategy is much more to try and win through the power of suggestion - to suggest it's preferred interpretation of events and hope that its target hasn't figured out its true motives yet (and will end up with the fear that this is what they're doing anyway).
slaymesoftly
Jul. 27th, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC)
Good job showing how completely evil and aware the First was.
quinara
Jul. 27th, 2014 09:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :D
thedeadlyhook
Jul. 28th, 2014 12:44 am (UTC)
He shut his eyes, not saying a word. There was madness in what he was about, but he refused to be this far gone.

I love that he knows this is a fake, and it knows that he knows, too. You've really captured that cycle of confusion and determination that really seemed to be his mindset at that time.
quinara
Jul. 28th, 2014 04:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I think confusion mixed with determination exactly covers Spike's frame of mind at this moment. Whatever weird dialogue he came out with on the show!
rebcake
Jul. 28th, 2014 06:18 am (UTC)
For Spike to get through the trials, something has to have made him angry enough to keep fighting. Why not have the First irritate him enough to get there?

Interesting take. I like it.
quinara
Jul. 28th, 2014 04:33 pm (UTC)
You see, if you dare Spike about something he's just going to go and prove you wrong... Thanks! :D
bogwitch
Jul. 28th, 2014 09:33 pm (UTC)
>> Even Buffy wouldn’t come to sea in a lacy, sleeveless top.

That would depend on how cute she thought she looked in it!

Nice stuff. I wonder what the sailors thought of their guest.
quinara
Jul. 28th, 2014 09:55 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! That is a very good point. Maybe I should add that it's quite cold, and we all know Buffy loves her cosy knitwear.

Cheers! This was, I suppose, at least partly inspired by an article I was reading on the ethnography of cargo ships (scroll down). The line there seemed to be that if he didn't keep to schedule, he would most likely end up classed as human freight and not much spoken to. But I also sort of think the mad vampire would get them talking!
bogwitch
Jul. 28th, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
I did assume the high seas weren't some balmy paradise, but it is Buffy after all.

Oh Laurie Taylor! I shall read that.

I did assume at first Spike had hired himself a container and was shipping himself with that to avoid sunlight. Then you mentioned the light switch and I switched to thinking about Michael Palin's descriptions of life on board ship.
quinara
Jul. 28th, 2014 10:26 pm (UTC)
You see, now you make me want to read the book of the article and do some big long character study about Spike at sea with the First Evil. It would be so much fun...??

The container might have made more sense. But then what would Spike do for his creature comforts? Or if they got shipwrecked?
bogwitch
Jul. 28th, 2014 10:43 pm (UTC)
Fun for us!

You can fit a comfy chair in a container - easy! Not sure how he would chill the blood though. Having said that, I'm not sure how he would get away with that as a passenger either.

Surely in a shipwreck type situation, the container would be better because he can determine when he leaves it so he can make sure he doesn't get sun in the face?
quinara
Jul. 28th, 2014 10:48 pm (UTC)
More like fun for you while I weep into my commentless cornflakes! :P I need clickbait!!!!!!

That is true, and I suppose I have been assuming the provision of some sort of mini fridge; or else the captain is so much king of the vessel that he doesn't give a damn. Or - wait for it - it's a demon cargo ship...!

Maybe. But I'm sort of assuming quite a few of those things leak and therefore might well just sink. At least he might be able to grab some tarp on the lifeboat!

Anyway, I have to sleep now. There were fire engines making everything blue (no idea what the issue was), but now they have gone. Arggh.

Edited at 2014-07-28 10:48 pm (UTC)
bogwitch
Jul. 28th, 2014 11:01 pm (UTC)
You've done okay. Not 2004 okay, but people have been interested.

I like the idea of a demon cargo ship, there must be some kind of underground network of shipping for demony things. I might be wrong, but I thought cargo ships didn't have passenger room as such, you would just hire crew quarters and they were usually shared.

Sleep well. It's oddly silent here...
quinara
Jul. 29th, 2014 04:05 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, I'm quite happy with this! I'm just not sure what audience there is for mildly Spuffy-tinged angsty gen (aka one of the greatest of genres!).

There definitely has to be at least some magic freight; where does Anya get all her stock from? Maybe Spike broke in to read the files and found a connection that way? The Hellmouth would be a hopping harbour for that stuff (hence the giant Sunnydale warehouse district!). You might have a point about the lack of guest quarters, although this would be a point to work out where all these ethnographers were staying. The design of the boat, I would assume, might end up having a few little cells that were generally unoccupied but could be bedrooms. (Something I did also wonder, though, was about light switches; boats do have them, right? Instinctively it almost feels like they should have pull switches, like in bathrooms, because it's wet...)
bogwitch
Jul. 29th, 2014 08:04 pm (UTC)
I wish I knew.

I imagine Spike knew a fair bit about shipping from seeking all the parts of the Judge.

A quick flick through Michael Palin's Around the World in 80 Days book says at least on one boat they were put in the ship's medical bay that had twin bunks (though it also say they were swapped for two of the crew) it says nothing about light switches.
quinara
Jul. 31st, 2014 01:25 pm (UTC)
I imagine Spike knew a fair bit about shipping from seeking all the parts of the Judge.

This is the most perfect tie-in ever. Because it must be true! (Yes, this is quite a belated reaction; I've been away for a couple of days.)

With demon shipping, though, wouldn't it make sense to have some lightless travel cabins for vampires? Everyone would know that was a market just waiting to be tapped.
shapinglight
Sep. 28th, 2014 06:19 pm (UTC)
Trying to catch up with all the Fag Ends I missed.

This is just great. Fantastic Spike voice, as always.
quinara
Sep. 30th, 2014 07:15 am (UTC)
Thanks, Deb! I remember with this I was just so glad to be writing again (there are actually a few things on my journal that even followed!).
( 41 comments — Leave a comment )

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