4 - Sunrise
Disclaimer: The characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox studios. This story is not meant to infringe upon anyone's rights, only to entertain.
Chapter 4 - Sunrise
The sadness and desperation in his voice took Buffy aback. She had been trying her best to ignore the fact that he reminded her so much of Spike. She could see it in the way he would tilt his head or the way he would walk. She’d catch a glimpse of him when he would flash her that grin or when he would lean against a tree casually smoking a cigarette. She kept reminding herself that Collin was Collin and no one else. But with his last few words, he admitted what she had tried to suppress. But as her emotions bordered on hope, his was that of anguish. He only saw Spike as he was before … the same way that she had seen him -- judged him -- before she learned more about him.
The pain in his voice made Buffy stand and move towards him to take his hand. A vampire never felt guilt, never sought for redemption – the absence of a soul saw to that, yet Spike … “Spike was …” she paused thinking of the right words to say. “Spike was well Spike. You’re right… he was a killer and he was evil. God only knows how many times people have told me that, myself included. But, in the end … in the end he went against his nature and fought for his soul. He sought for redemption … and he saved the world.”
“Only because of you.”
Because of her? Perhaps he was right. “Maybe… maybe it started that way.” Buffy looked at this Watcher, his head pressed against the punching bag, his face stern, deep in thought trying to absorb what she just said. But there was something else underneath that she felt he was keeping from her. Spike saved the world. He said so himself that the archives have it recorded as such and though in some eyes, that still was not enough of a penance, it didn’t make any sense why there was such pain and anguish coming from him.
Collin pulled away from her and turned the CD player off. He had heard it all before. Giles, despite his obvious disdain for Spike, did not deny the vampire’s involvement in closing the Hellmouth. But it was the vampire’s vicious past that has plagued his thoughts.
After a few moments of awkward silence, Collin decided to break it, “Did Giles tell you how I became a Watcher?”
When she didn’t answer, he cocked his head to the right “Want to hear?”
“I’m all ears if you’re willing.”, she said calmly.
“So where should I fucking begin?” Collin eyed the bench that Buffy was just sitting on and motioned for her to take a seat. He waited for her to sit down first before taking the spot beside her.
“I didn’t exactly fit in when I was growing up. Life didn’t seem to hold much meaning to me. I could ‘ave anything I wanted, do things other people could only dream off. The only condition set upon me was to be a gentleman -- to be the proper gentleman upholding my family’s name and honor.”
“That couldn’t be too bad, right? It’s like being a movie star right?” Buffy said hopefully.
“I hated it! Hated every part of it because my life was already written for me. So I did what anyone in my position would do. I became as my father would call it a big selfish arse. I stayed out late spending most of my time in pubs or parties. The days seemed to string together but I could bloody care less … ‘til that day.” He paused and seeing Buffy nod slightly he decided to continue.
“I was out late… getting pissed-faced drunk among other things. I was heading towards my car when I heard a sweet, loving voice calling to me. She had long dark hair and an air about her that seemed ethereal. She talked in riddles though I don’t think I would have noticed if she didn’t. She talked to me like she knew me. Asked when I came back… asked if I was drowning my sorrows. There was distress in her voice when she started chatting about my soul and then something about my love for the Slayer. Then, the next thing I knew I was chained to a bedpost with pain throbbing in my neck and my head. Then I saw her standing over me brooding.
“You pain me, my luv, my Spike!” she called me “You’re here and you’re not. I can taste you lingering”, she said right before she leaned down and bit my neck.”
Collin closed his eyes remembering what he could of that moment. He felt a surge of intoxication as she drew blood from him and his heart quickened at the fact of the unknown. The fear of death didn’t seem to matter at all as she held him so lovingly against her bosom. He felt Buffy’s hand on his and he looked up to see the concern in her eyes. He forced the lump that was forming down his throat, clearing it slightly.
“Then she moved a fingernail to her wrist and let me … no forced me to kiss her wound. She forced her blood down my throat and she showed me with her demented love what this Spike had done for a hundred years. I was scared… horrified then she cradled me and told me my suffering, my purgatory would end.”
Collin felt Buffy back away from him cautiously, confusion painted on her face. He turned to her and caught a glimpse of fear in her eyes – fear that she might have to destroy him. “Don’t worry … I still have this,” he said pointing to his chest hoping that was enough to make her trust him again. He watched the change of emotions on her face as he could only hope that her Slayer senses would confirm what he told her. She looked at him with a small pout on her lips, his eyes drawn to it, his mind wondering how they would taste. He caught himself, closed his eyes and shook his head. Taking another deep breath, he focused on what he was telling her again.
“Oddly enough I’m alive thanks to a demon. I guess this vampire’s beau didn’t like me around and threw me out. Thankfully, with minor injuries. A Watcher was tracking down their den and found me. He nursed me back to health. He said I was lucky that I wasn’t drained and then told me about everything … about vampires, about demons, about Slayers and my life hasn’t been the same since.”
“Yet you still feel alone…” Buffy said absentmindedly.
“Why do you say that?”
“I dunno…”, she said shrugging her shoulders “… the way you told your story. I can feel it Collin. But I don’t understand why you believe you’re a killer?”
Why indeed? No matter how many times Collin would play it out in his head, he always came up with the same answer. He was crazy. He was crazy and he wanted a cure and only Spike had it. “Because I can feel them Buffy … every life he has ever taken. I can see every single one of them in my dreams. And if my face wasn’t enough of a reminder, this is all I need.”, he said pulling his collar away from his neck to reveal a half healed vampire’s sweet bite.
“It’s still swollen.”
“I can still feel it throbbing.”
“Did you show Giles?” Buffy asked as she tentatively reached out to touch it.
He nodded, “He knows about it. We’ve done research and spells but neither science nor magic has helped.” Collin answered.
“How is that possible?
“Giles had no real explanation except for the fact that my mind may be willing it to remain. He said that perhaps I don’t want it to heal.”
“Don’t want it to heal? That just doesn’t sound right or possible.” Buffy looked at him with
compassion. “You haven’t told Emily have you?”
Collin closed his shirt, hiding the deadly kiss once more. She was right. What Giles had said seem implausible, but here he was and despite everything he was unsure of, he knew that his one job in life was to protect Emily. “She has enough on her mind. Besides, I worry enough for the both of us.” He sucked his cheeks in, taking a deep breath and slowly exhaling. He straightened his back and decided that she most probably had enough of his fucking sob story. He made his way towards the door.
“I’ve been enough of a lousy host. It would be a shame to waste your dress,” he said hiding his evident pain behind a cocky grin.
“Then why are you telling me any of this?”
He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t really know. All he wanted was maybe a little more insight on this monster whose face he wears. But she made him feel safe. He wasn’t sure though if he should answer her question. Shaking his head again, he placed his left hand on the door handle. He wanted to let it die. He already said too much, revealed to her more than what he was willing to tell his sister. He opened the door and took one step forward but something was pulling him back. “Bullocks”, he said under his breath. He turned around to face her, this Slayer that had gone against apocalypses, this slayer that had returned from the grave twice, this Slayer that captured the heart of a vampire called William. “Why? You want to know why? … Because you held his heart and his soul. You were his sunrise, and I want to be free and see the sun.”
Buffy looked at him and felt a cold sharp pain in her chest. Spike was still reaching out to her through these years and now through the lips of another he was still declaring his love. She could only imagine now how much her words cut through him years ago and yet he persisted.
“You coming?” Collin asked as he held the door open for her.
She hurried through the doorway and made up her mind. She wasn’t going to leave this time. He helped her learn how to live again, the least she could do was show this man the sun.
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