Hate by Sigyn
Chapter #1 - Hate

    Spike was still blotchy and bruised from the night before as he looked up from his paperback. He set it down gently as Buffy came in to his crypt, but he didn’t stand up. He’d been perched on his stone sarcophagus, which he’d made up as a couch as he sometimes did. She couldn’t meet his eyes. She came and sat down before him.

They were silent for a long moment. She glanced up and saw the damage she had done to him – damage that he had simply let her do – and the tears started again. She’d been weeping in Tara’s lap for a good hour over the whole situation. Then after Tara had gone, the familiar longing had crept over Buffy again, and she’d needed to see him. Needed to. She had almost forgotten she’d beaten him.

“Oh, god, I’m sorry,” she whispered. She touched his swollen eye. He looked so battered. She bowed her head and covered her eyes. “I’m sorry.”

    He didn’t answer. They’d stopped really talking. When she’d first come back from death, his was the only ear she wanted, the only one who knew what it was... to die. Sometimes between sessions of wild abandon he’d open up, reveal his heart, and she’d listen, but she couldn’t respond in kind. He kept reaching for her... and she kept beating him away. His battered face said as much. Her breakdown in front of Tara was still fresh with her, the realization that she’d been using him a bruise on her soul. It wasn’t fair to either of them, but she knew she couldn’t stop. He was like an addiction now, and she wanted him and hated him in equal measure.

    After a long moment he reached out and touched her knee, no words, but he was still reaching out for her. The touch hurt her and comforted her at once, and she started to cry in earnest. He gently brushed away a tear with the back of his finger.

“I hate you,” she said. The words had fallen out of her without her bidding. It felt so good to say it, as if she’d been bottling up the hate and it needed to escape, or she’d burst. “Oh, god, I hate you,” she went on. “I hate what you did yesterday with the body of that woman. I hate that you could just do it, without caring. I hate that you didn’t want me to confess. I hate that you don’t feel anything at all when someone you don’t know dies. I hate that you can’t feel any guilt. I hate everything about you, I hate...” she sobbed. “I hate that I want you. I hate myself for touching you. I hate what you stand for, I hate...”

    He couldn’t bear it anymore. He put his arms around her and let her sob into his chest. “It’s all right, pet,” he whispered. “You go right ahead and hate me, it’s all right.” He pulled her closer and nuzzled her temple, his breath heady in her ear. His touch felt so good she pressed against him, warming herself on his cold chest as if he were a fire. “You have any idea how much I’ve hated you?” He kissed her right above the ear. “More than I had words for. I was hungry to kill you. I’d have minions make videos of your fighting other vampires, and watch them over and over again, telling myself I was learning how to defeat you. Then I’d look up, and three hours had passed rewinding a two minute clip. I’d catch your scent out and about, and I’d stop, and just breathe it in, telling myself it was predatory. I told myself a lot of things. I dreamed of killing you, feeding off you, and holding you as I did it, your hair a golden cloud against my throat. I even dreamed of changing you. But if anyone had asked me... I’d have said I hated you.”

    He ran his lips over her ear. “You were everywhere. You were steeped in my mind. You tortured me with hatred, bloodlust, hunger. I never said your name, but Drusilla still said I was covered in you. You’re why she left. I was starved for you. I raged over you.” He chuckled, but it was without humor. “Have you any idea how horrified I was when I realized I loved you? That I’d always loved you.”

She felt him shake his head gently. “Worst moment of my life. I’m a vampire. You’re the slayer. I’m supposed to hate you. You’re supposed to hate me, that’s how the cards are played.” He kissed her throat lightly. “We just have to change the game.” He tilted her head back and looked into her eyes. She read such sympathy there. “Changing the rules doesn’t change the cards. It doesn’t make you like me,” he said. “It wasn’t your fault.”

    “No, it wasn’t,” Buffy said. “I don’t think I did it at all.”
    He frowned.

    “She was Warren’s ex-girlfriend,” Buffy explained. “And the demons we fought are rare – probably brought forth on purpose. I think he–”

    “Wanker,” Spike snarled. “Summon demons to confuse us and then... Jesus.”

    “It’s just this,” she whispered, falling back into his chest. “This is so wrong.”

    He sighed and ran his fingers through her hair. “Maybe it is,” he said. “But who is it hurting, love? Can’t hurt anyone but ourselves, right? Well, we both have a thing for pain. I think we get to choose.”

    “I don’t know why... I want you,” she said, her voice very small.

    “You don’t have an equal,” he said. “By design, your only equals are us. It’s why you fell for Angel, it’s why you turn to me. If you can find a vampire who can love you, you’re drawn to them, like opposite polarities of a magnet. And we can’t help but fear you, or love you, pet. There’s no middle ground.”

    Buffy dismissed that. “You never feared me.”

    “No,” he agreed. “I’ve always loved the slayer. Why do you think I was so keen to...” he stopped.

    “To kill us,” she finished for him.

    He tilted his head and made her raise her eyes. “It’s the way we’re made, slayer. You and me. There’s no way ‘round it.”

    “You sound awfully clear on that.”

    He smiled sadly. “I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sense of it.”

    She believed that. But still – “It can’t work.”

    “Then we’ll work it as long as we can, right? You did with Angel. You can with me.”

    She pulled away. “Angel was different. Angel had a soul.”

    “Angel had a soul.” Spike tried to contain his irritation, but it spilled over. He growled. “And that makes him so much better than me?”

    “It has to,” Buffy said.

    “How?” he demanded. “He’s not killing, I’m not killing, how is this different?”

    “He feels...!” She stopped, trying not to cry again.

    “He feels,” Spike said. “Took him long enough. Are you really pretending that I don’t?”

    “He feels sorry,” Buffy finished.

    Disgust washed over Spike’s face. “He feels sorry. Now he feels sorry, so that makes it all okay. It takes all his sins and washes him clean, does it?”

    “No,” Buffy said. “But it made it different.”

    “You played that it made it different,” he scoffed. “As he soulfully stalked you and seduced you at the age of sixteen like an experienced pedophile.”

    “You’re one to talk, Mr. Handcuffs! Lurking outside my house.”

    “You were over eighteen, baby. I’m no angel, we both agree about that. But let me tell you, Angel’s no angel either, even with his precious soul.” He stood up to glare. “So now he feels all guilty, and that’s what makes him so much better? I spent decades with that creature, and let me tell you what Angelus would be doing if he’d gotten this chip in his head instead of his perfect guilty soul. He wouldn’t be killing and feeding, ‘cause he couldn’t. No, he’d have gotten some pet human to do his dirty work for him.”

    Buffy looked at him, confused and horrified.

    “You think I haven’t thought of it, pet?” he said, half seductive, half scornful. “There are millions of human beings, with shiny perfect souls, just as blood-drenched and deadly as any vampire. You don’t need to be a demon to be evil. But that’s never been my scene. I like the kill, the feed, I loved the  fight, dammit. Without that, it’s nothing. I could do it, but it’s not my kink. Angel would have. That was just his pleasure. He loved to watch the torture, make lives fall down piece by bloody piece.”

    He stared Buffy down. “He’d have gotten his own pet Warren, some lovely soulful human who had no trouble hurting anyone, and kept him on one leash or another. Maybe he’d pay him off, or teach him magic, or drug and starve his pet’s family. That’s not violence. He’d have played games with people, just as Warren did with you last night. Don’t tell me that wasn’t torturing you, and he didn’t have to hit you at all. Angelus would have set himself an agenda of evil and wreaked all the havoc he could. There are a thousand different ways to hurt people without hitting or biting them, and he’d have used every one of them by now.

    “You saw what he did to Drusilla,” he said with scorn, “you lived what he was doing to you, you think all of that was simply causing pain? I’d have no trouble doing most of it, even with this thing in me,” he snapped, pointing at the back of his head. “But I don’t.” He stared at her, his breath coming hard. “I don’t. We were both animals, feasting and killing, but I was a warrior, he was a psychopath. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done some things you’d be horrified by, and I loved doing them, and yes, I miss it. I don’t have a choice, but let me tell you, sometimes I’m glad I don’t, so I don’t have to make that choice. Angel’s no cleaner than I am, no matter how many tears he’s shed over all the torture he caused!” He kicked a tall candelabrum, and it clanged to the floor. The candles went scattering, leaving his face in deeper darkness.

“You couldn’t have trusted that monster with Dawn. You could never have fought beside him. And he would never have loved you.”

    He walked away from her to the other side of the crypt, his fist clenched in frustration. A moment later he hit the concrete wall, and Buffy slipped off the sarcophagus to stop him from hurting himself. She’d hurt him enough already. She grabbed hold of his hand and spread out the fingers. They were bruised, but not ripped bloody.

He stared into her eyes, his face drawn and battered, trembling with suppressed rage – or pain. “He tortured her,” he said quietly, and she knew he meant Drusilla, “until she needed me. And she needed me... because I could love her. She killed me, because he wouldn’t take care of her. He had broken her so badly, she needed me to watch over her. He kept her, and played with her, because she could see the future sometimes, and oh, he loved that.” His eyes were shining now. “I loved her.” He shook his head. “Was he the one who told you we can’t love without a soul?”

    Buffy was looking at his hand, but she nodded.

    He took his hand back and put it over his eyes. “God, I wish that were true.” He stood still a moment, composing himself, before he wiped his eyes and looked at her. “It was true as crystal for him.” He shook his head. “Who’s the better man, at the core? Which of us is the bigger monster?” He touched her cheek, staring at her with desperation. “Why do you hate yourself for me, and not for him?”

    She shook her head. “I don’t know,” she whispered. She really didn’t. The way he’d put it, there seemed little to choose between them. “Maybe I should just hate me for me.”

    Spike made a low sound of despair and scooped her up. He carried her across the room and lay her back on the sarcophagus with such tenderness she melted almost instantly. “Don’t you dare, slayer,” he whispered after he’d kissed her and kissed her, biting gently at her flesh, molding his body beside hers. “Just hate me.” He ran his nose along her cheek until he was whispering in her ear. “Please, just hate me.”