"No, Spike! Please, don't!"
"I'm going to make you feel it, Buffy."
No! No hurtin' the girl. Not man, can't be man. Hurting the girl. Stop, please stop.
She was shaken awake by his body jerking beside hers and his incoherent shouts. Buffy pulled herself closer, rubbing comforting patterns over his chest. It was something she'd grown used to over the past few years of their marriage. Every once in a while, in the shroud of his dreams, Spike would relive events of his pre-souled existence. The soul that he had since acquired, haunting him with the horror and torment he had once brought upon his innocent victims.
"Spike? Wake up. Please, wake up. Spike, honey? "
She shook him gently, placed a kiss at his earlobe and stroked his exposed arm as she usually did. At which point he'd usually wake up. But this time he twitched violently beneath her touch, his eyes squeezed tightly shut. In the cold moonlight, she could just make out the frantic movement of his eyes under their lids.
Girl doesn't want to be serviced. Just flesh, not man.
She started to panic a little. Why wasn't he waking up? Grabbing hold of his shoulder she shook him a little harder.
"Spike? Wake up, come on." Her voice quivered a little. "Please, Spike, you're scaring me. Wake up?"
His arms banded tightly around his chest as he tossed and turned. Startled, Buffy gasped as his body jerked and he began to mutter.
"Demon flesh. Hurts the girl. Need a...need a...no spark. To protect the girl."
"Spark? Hurt the girl?...Oh no." It had been almost five years since that fateful night in her bathroom back in Sunnydale, but the meaning of his words rang with complete clarity. Pushing the sheets away, she crawled closer trying to look at his face. "Wake up, Spike! It's just a dream. Come back to me, baby. Please, wake up!"
Can't love without the spark. Can't be loved. Hurtin'..hurt... please stop!
On the verge of tears, she screamed. "Spike!"
"B-Buffy! Oh...oh God." Jerked awake, he unraveled himself from the twisted sheets and scrambled away from her, only to fall onto the ground. His eyes were wide and searching, almost hysterical as he backed himself into a corner and pulled his legs up to hug his knees.
"Spike, everything's okay." She padded across the carpet to kneel before him, her hands stroking his arms and down his soft cotton pants. "It was just a bad dream. I'm right here, you're safe now. It wasn't real. You were just dreaming."
"O' course it was real," he rasped.
"I raped you."
"No!" She shook her head, grabbing his hands. "No, Spike! No, you didn't."
He snatched them back, trying to move away from her. "Doesn't matter if I didn't really-I tried to...to make you..." His eyes grew wide with horror as he remembered what he had tried to do. "You were hurt and I-I hurt you. I hurt you, Buffy."
"No, Spike. No." She spoke in a soothing whisper as she reached forth to stroke his cheek. "It's in the past. It's over now."
Flinching away, his voice strained. "God, how can you bear to touch me?" His soul screamed out in anguish and torment. Pure heart wrenching pain. "What have I done?"
"You haven't done anything, Spike. You didn't. Not a thing. I know you didn't mean to. I wasn't fair on you, I pushed you too far." Buffy's voice began to crack on the last word, weighed down by the emotion.
"Don't you say that." He snapped back. "I'm a monster. I did it. Me. Not you."
"But when you came in, you were just trying to help me. You didn't mean to."
"It hurts here, Buffy," he whimpered, clutching at his chest and rocking back and forth. "It's burning."
"How can I make it better? Please, let me take care of you, Spike. I'll do anything, I--"
"Nothing, there's nothing. I already did it. It's already been done."
"Please, there has to be some way I can--"
"No, I deserve to burn for what I did. This was the way it should have always been; punishment." He was still rocking as Buffy stroked his platinum locks, just whispering his name as she struggled to hold back tears. She never knew just how strongly he'd felt about it, but now the knowledge was crippling her.
"I never gave you any reason to believe that I was anything other than a killer," he continued on. "Nothing to show you that I deserved your-your love."
"No, Spike. Everything you did deserved my love. I was just so blind. I couldn't see--"
"Wrong, so wrong. Hurt the girl. Demon, demon." Morphing into his vampire visage, he banged his head against the wall behind him, snarling viciously and raising a fist to beat himself.
"Please, Spike. Please stop this." She grabbed his clenched hand, restraining him with her Slayer strength. "Come back to me," she whispered fearfully, tenderly touching the raised ridges along his brow.
"Demon! Should burn," he growled. "Should dust. Why shouldn't I burn?"
It had all gone too far, and her vision began to cloud as tears streamed down her cheeks. She was lost for words, her heart sinking as she recognised the insane, Sunnydale High-basement Spike reemerging. She couldn't lose him, not again; not this way. She jumped as he crashed his skull against the wall again with a thundering crack. He kept asking, "Why? Why not?"
Sitting back, she replied on a heartbreaking sob, "Because you're breaking my heart."
At this he froze, the crazed glaze in his eyes clearing and his human features returning. "Oh God, Buffy. I'm sorry," he whispered. "Please, I'm so sorry. I didn't want to hurt you." He crawled the short distance between them, grasping her hands and looking into her tear-filled eyes. "Never wanted to hurt you. And I'm sorry I never said it before. I never wanted to hurt you. I'm sorry, so, so sorry."
"It's alright, sweetheart," she wheezed. "I forgave you a long time ago, baby."
"F-forgive? But I did wrong. So wrong. Shouldn't be forgiven! Should never forget-"
"But I did." She leant forwards, cupping his chin and his cheeks. "And I do. Right after, when I found out that you'd gone away. I felt so lost without you. I am lost without you. I love you, William. So much. I don't know what I'd be without you. I just know that I need you. Come back to me, please. I need you."
His lips quivered beneath hers as she gave him the tenderest of kisses.
"You love me." It was more of a wondrous statement, than a question.
"Yes." She gave him a small smile. "And I know that you love me too."
He nodded quickly, like an excited child. "Yes, I do."
"And that's why I married you, silly. Because I love what you are, and I love what you do. And because I wanted to be yours."
"M-mine?" The cerulean blue of his eyes shone with renewed disbelief.
"Yeah, all yours. Forever and ever." She planted a gentle kiss on the scar marring his left eyebrow.
"Mine." He smiled a boyish smile.
"Aren't you a lucky vampire?” She ended on a light-hearted giggle.
And indeed he was.
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