Title: "Like Blood and Roses"
Author: Mala
E-mail: malisita@yahoo.com
Spoilers: "FFL". Rating/Classification: 'PG-13', B/S-ish, angst, fluff.
Disclaimer: Grr aargh.
Summary: William the Bloody Awful Poet is at it again.

He'd been a lover once. A charming little fop who couldn't turn a phrase to save his life. Literally. One had only to ask Drusilla for proof--if she could remember that far back. He had lived a light existence. Mooning over pretty young things, writing all sorts of swill and tripe as he sat at a corner table in a pub. And then he had lived a dark existence. Slaughtering pretty young things, laying down his quill as he traveled around the world on the wings of bloodlust. Now, it seemed, the circle had turned to light again.

He was morose. He was maudlin. He was preoccupied with a gossamer fantasy. He was relegated to crypts and the shadows of the Bronze. Quill and parchment had been replaced by crumpled notebook paper and a dried-out ball point pen. And he still wrote tripe. A century and a half hadn't changed that. He couldn't even be paid pennies for his verses. Or his thoughts, for that matter. Because they, too, were full of treacle.

slayer slay me
slay me with your soul
not your stake
like heartbreak
slay me slow
slay me once
before you go

It pained him just to reread some of it. Another crumple. A flick of his wrist and it was sailing through the air and bouncing off the wall. Where was the Boxer Rebellion now? Where was a subway car and a flowing duster pulled from a still-warm corpse? It was all gone. Gone in the face of the WB weeknight lineup and a Slayer who'd come knocking asking for explanations. It was all sucked down into the surreality of his new un-life. He could rage at Pacey and Dawson and Max and Ben for their own romantic follies and forget his own. He could forget that he'd once been just like those celluloid cut-outs... that he was like them again.

He could hear Darla's mocking laughter in his ears. Darla's and Angelus's and Dru's. The disgust of his entire line of undead antecedents. They hadn't believed in him at the beginning. They'd thought he would fail. And now, here he was...a fop no longer...but still unable to turn a phrase. Still unable to get the girl. And unable to kill. A failure to both his other lives.

"Spike...you blind idiot, she doesn't love you!" he growled, digging his hands through his hair.

she doesn't love me
but I love her
like blood and roses and kitten fur

"Kitten fur? You really have bleedin' cracked, Old Man," he growled, sending one more paper ball into the air. This one bounced off the doorway. More accurately, it bounced off a face. A tearstained face. He rose from his chair, remembering talking to her from places inside him he hadn't known still existed...sparring with her...and giving her comfort despite himself. Hell, he'd given her so much...so much more than he'd expected to.

Had she come to return the favor? To end his misery? To prolong it?

"Buffy?" he wondered. "What is it? Is it Joyce? Is she worse?"

"N-no...y-yes...I-I don't know!"

She tripped over the threshold and he automatically reached out...he caught her and held her and accepted her angry little fists, her frustration.

"Why are you doing this to me, Spike?" she whispered against his neck... a cloud of perfume and emotion and softness. "Why are you twisting me up inside?"

"It's mutual, Pet." He smoothed his fingers through her windswept hair, calming it's waves. "Wholly, hellishly mutual. And I wouldn't stop it for the world."

Her eyes went from green to gold. From wet to fiery. And she stared up at him in a way that told him he'd finally turned a phrase with some version of grace.

"I-I..." She shook her head, worrying her lower lip with her teeth. "Asking for your story tonight was not an invite," she protested, even as a flush worked it's way from her throat to the tops of her low-cut tank top.

"Don't need an invite into here..." he observed into her mouth.

Into her totally willing mouth.

Not a gossamer fantasy...she was real. She was tangible.

The circle turned to light. Her light.

"Spike..." she warned, gasping for breath.

"Oh, you do slay me, Slayer."

And the poetry he urged from her lips was the farthest thing from swill he had ever created.

It was a masterpiece.

--the end--

November 2000.

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