Title: "Past Perfect"
Author: Mala
E-mail: malisita@yahoo.com
Rating/Classification: 'PG', Spike POV, angst.
Disclaimer: Grrr aaargh.
Summary: Post-"The Gift." Buffy's still dead. Is Spike joining her? My first Spikefic in months...

You never anticipate the moment of your own death. That split second where it's all over. Very few are lucky enough to taste that moment twice. I tasted it once before...blood filling my mouth, crumpling to my knees in a stable in London as a dark angel cradled me in her welcoming arms.

No one is here to cradle me this time. No angels, dark or light or otherwise. I'm alone. As I never wanted to be...as I always feared I would be.

I wonder now...why my affected street speech has failed me. I remember dancing around on light feet in a coal mine once, urging Angelus to take me on... but the words coming from my mouth are fit for a drawing room...or a stage on Drury Lane. Clipped. Perfect. Like all memories should be.

Hindsight. 20/20. All that.

Everything is clearer, brighter...like a classic film that has been painstakingly and lovingly restored by a hardworking crew of experts. But I know that no one in their right mind would restore me...would take the time to build me back to what I once was.

A vampire.

A killer.

A poet.

A man.

You never anticipate the moment of your own death. But you think about it. You run scenarios over and over in your head when the t.v. is on the fritz or the hellbeast is flying at you at 75 miles per hour or this little slip of a girl tells you she'll never love you.

And you expect your skin to burn when you step into the sun. To go up in a ball of flame all at once. I've seen it happen a thousand times.

You expect the stake to hurt when it slips under your ribs. To sting all the way till it hits your unbeating heart and everything turns into nothing. I've seen it happen a thousand times.

I've only felt it once. Now. Right now.

Before, there was the impending sense of change...of transcendence. I knew it wasn't over...that it was just beginning. This is an ending. As a poet better than I once said..."this is the way the world ends...not with a bang, but with a whimper."

I whimper and whimper and whimper.

I once accused the Slayer of wanting death...of being in love with it. I imagine what the look on her face must've been when she took a header off that tower. Peace? Acceptance? Bliss?

I don't feel any of those things.

Instead, I remember her standing above me on the stairs...alive... determined...ready to fight whatever was coming. I remember her outstretched hand tossing money at me as I slumped on the ground in an alley. I remember being compelled to sink to one knee before her in the Watcher's living room...whispering a proposal I've never given to anyone else. I remember a darkened school hallway...blacking out under the blow of an ax--the last sight before my eyes was her face.

*You're beneath me.*

I've always been beneath her.

And my only regret in the lives I've led...in the lives I've taken away from others...is that I wasn't beneath her when it counted.

I wasn't there to break her fall.

You never anticipate the moment of your own death. That split second where it's all over. Very few are lucky enough to taste that moment twice. I tasted it once before...blood filling my mouth, crumpling to my knees in a stable in London as a dark angel cradled me in her welcoming arms.

I'm lucky.

After this, I won't have to taste it again.

--end--

July 28, 2001.



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