Title: "Asylum"
Author: Mala
Spoilers: "Tough Love"
Rating/Classification: NAC, Spike POV, angst, sap, ficlet.
Disclaimer: Grrr aaargh.
Summary: Just a little fic that was turning around in my head. No big thing. Spike reflects on his "new" position in the Summers' girls lives.

You tell your friends Dawn is "safe" with me. You think I don't know? I know everything about you. I know what you say, what you think, what you breathe.

And it's laughable.

"Safe". You don't know the meaning of the word, Slayer.

You don't know what's "safe". You leave your sister with me...you trust me enough to keep her, to protect her...to guard her...to give her asylum and sanctuary and refuge.

From what?

Death?

We both know she can't escape that. Neither can you.

Beasties? Things that go bump in the night? Glory?

I can't fight them all.

And she can't fight her fear. Herself. Her questions.

I wish I could touch her...could hold her and rock her and sing her to sleep like Mother used to do for me when I had nightmares. I wish I could sing her to sleep...and I wish that she wouldn't have to wake up in this world...this place where mortality is so fleeting and evil hangs 'round every corner.

Because we're none of us "safe".

We're all going to die. She's going to lose us. Good, evil, insipid, judgmental...honorable...violent. Whatever we are, she can't have us forever.

She may be the Key, but she's just a little girl.

And she's not truly "safe" with *anyone*.

Do you know that she tilts her head and stares at me like I'm a half-wit exactly like you do? And she walks like you, too. She's afraid like you. She worries like you. She wants to be strong...just. like. you.

Maybe that's why I couldn't give her up to the not-so Glorious bitch. Why I let you bring her 'round when you won't dare bring yourself. And maybe that's why I care for her. Why I cared for your mum.

Because they have your spirit. Your damnable optimism. Your insidious vulnerability. They trust and give and care with their whole hearts. Even those who don't deserve it. Even me.

Maybe that's why you *really* bring her to me.

Because you know her precious little face puts me in danger.

Because you know she kills me with her smile.

Because you know I can't forget you if you keep leaving a piece of your heart with me.

Don't think I don't notice that you no longer flinch when you're around me. That you've begun to look me straight in the eye again. That you listen when I speak. That your voice is gentle when you reply.

You know the truth. You revel in it.

This is no refuge, no sanctuary...but it is most certainly an asylum. I'm crazy...I'm cracked...I'm insane.

I'm not "safe."

I'll never be "safe."

Not as long as I love you and yours.

--end--

May 2, 2001.



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