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Watch me fault her/you're living like a disaster/she said kill me faster/with strawberry gashes - In your favourite darkness
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Subject:Watch me fault her/you're living like a disaster/she said kill me faster/with strawberry gashes
Time:11:54 pm
Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go
I wanna be sedated…


I’d had the Ramones on full volume all the way down the coast to Sunnydale, car shaking, seats stinking of alcohol and cigarettes. My skin was burned in places where the paper over the windows wasn’t stuck right. I was wound so tight I felt like I might bloody well explode. I wanna be sedated, too right. But now the cd player had cut out at last and the radio switched on. Green Day. Not too bad. They know bugger all about punk, but…

I fell out of the car and looked up at the familiar green and white sign. Sunnydale. I tilted my head, listening to the lyrics of the song. I couldn’t help laughing. The sound had a bark to it. Like it hadn’t been used in a while. My mouth tasted bitter.

“Welcome to Paradise, yeah,” I said. Then I passed out.

*

So it had taken me a bottle or three of Jack Daniel’s to get me to this point. So bloody what? I sat up, rubbing the back of my mouth with my hand. I was beginning to sober up now. Not a pretty feeling. It was one I’d avoided for a couple of weeks – cos the last time I was sober was when I’d come up with this genius plan. Head back to the town that had whipped me, where no one respected me, and where what I reckoned was the love of my undead life had gone and topped herself. That sounded like a right good plan, alright.

Course, a thing or two had changed since I left town last. Yeah, there were a couple of surprises I had up my sleeve for that git Xander and his uptight chum Red. Then we’d see who was running who out of town. I let myself smile. Like my laughter it had a weird feel to it. Like a mask that didn’t exactly fit. Sort of stung a bit – but I quite liked that.

And, of course, there was the Bit.

After Buffy – After that, Dawn and I had looked out for each other a bit. I tried to be the kind of man I’d promised Buffy I could be. The responsible sort. The sort of man who would’ve got up that tower two minutes earlier and - Yeah. The kind of man who’d not let bad stuff happen to Dawn. Not again. And I liked being with her. Alright, she was a pain in the arse at times – fifteen year olds have that knack – but she didn’t patronise me, or tell me that what I was feeling wasn’t real. That my grief didn’t matter, not compared to the grief of people with a pulse. Dawn didn’t tell me that I hadn’t really loved Buffy. Maybe it’s cos she knew she didn’t exactly come from human roots that she had a bit more sympathy for me. Or maybe it’s just that a year old ex-ball of energy makes a better human being than Xander Harris. I dunno. What I do know is that, for the first couple of months after… she died, looking out for Dawn held me together a bit. Gave me something to think about besides the remorselessness of my own conscience. Could I have been quicker, better, all that useless shit that I couldn’t seem to shift. And I reckon having me around did the Bit some good too. I didn’t baby her like the others. Well, the others ‘cept Glinda. Blonde witch has a bit of sense, I think. Knew what was what. I think she was at least half on my side.

Course, that didn’t do any good against the combined might of the git and Red. They were constantly on my back. God, I would be so happy to snap their necks. P’raps I will. After all, things have changed. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Xander and Willow were on my back all summer. Xander in his usual loudmouthed way, Willow in a soft-voiced, “we’re-only-looking-out-for-Dawnie” fashion. They reckoned it was bad for the Bit to spend so much time with me. Xander even hinted I had some other reason for hanging out with her. I couldn’t get Buffy so I was perving over her kid sister. Stupid fucker. He refused to believe I could feel affection, or responsibility.

Funny though that it was them who turned out to be irresponsible. I’d been babysitting Dawn one night. The scoobies were off doing something or other. Late that night, Xander came crashing in with Willow in his arms. Blood all over her hands and face. Xander wouldn’t tell me what had happened, but Willow croaked it out. Not thinking straight from the blood loss, I reckon. They’d tried to bring Buffy back, but it had failed.

They’d tried to bring Buffy back. And they hadn’t told me. They’d done this huge, dark thing and hadn’t included me, though I’d fought by their sides all summer, borne black eyes for their worthless hides… Let’s just say things turned ugly. Xander threatened to burn me in my crypt as I slept, and Willow revoked my invitation.

I could have just got Dawn to invite me back in, I s’pose. But I was just so fucking furious. I decided maybe it was better that I skip town. And I s’pose part of me was frustrated and felt crap cos I couldn’t beat the shit out of Xander. Not that I reckoned he could kill me easily, but it wasn’t like I could defend myself. Feeling threatened by that weasel made me feel like… nothing. Like I was nothing. Everyone’s favourite punching bag. Maybe Dawn would be better off without me. Sure, I wasn’t exactly leaving her with the Von Trapp family. Willow had been using more and more magic. You’d have to be blind not to recognise the signs – though I didn’t think the others knew yet. Well, maybe Glinda. She was looking a bit strained round the forehead. Poor bint. What do you do when your girlfriend gets addicted to magic? And Xander had got even more self-righteous since Buffy died. Self-righteous and fat. Still, I saw the effect all this arguing was having on Dawn, and what could I do? Take her away with me? That was just bloody weird. And it wouldn’t be what Buffy would’ve wanted. That was what I came back to. Buffy would’ve wanted Dawn to stay at home and do her homework and all that crap. So I decided to make it easier on her and left.

*

I drifted for a while. Place to place. Don’t really remember the first month. It was then that things… became unstuck. I drank a lot, I remember that. Woke up in places I didn’t recognise. And every time I woke up I remembered seeing her body on the rubble. The smell of her blood. Worse than that, though, was when I woke from dreams where I’d moved faster. Where I’d been quicker, cleverer. I’d knocked Doc from the tower and sliced through Dawn’s ropes. And Buffy thanked me. That was all. Even in my dreams she didn’t kiss me. She just said thank you, and I swear to God I’d wake up crying. Crying and aroused and aching, just fucking aching, and furious with the stupid bitch for throwing herself away like that. Sometimes I hated Dawn for not jumping, and sometimes I hated myself for even thinking that. Most of the time I hated myself, actually. So I drank. And drank. Might have managed to poison myself – even vampires must have a limit – if I hadn’t discovered I could also drink something else.

‘Bout Christmas time I had these headaches. Like the ones I’d had when I was still fool enough to try to kill people… But a hundred times worse. And I had a fever. Strange dreams haunted me, dreams of my childhood. Dreams where I killed my mother and her blood, not her dust, was on my hands. And through all that, the pain. Thought I’d die from it.

Till one day it just stopped. And I felt… It’s hard to explain. I just knew something was different. Like my brain was freer, somehow. Something had snapped inside my head.

Didn’t take long to figure out what that was. So my binges took on a new colour. I had nights where I’d stalk blonde girls. I didn’t just bite them, I ripped out their fucking throats. I got a name for myself in the LA papers. The Slasher. Other nights it’d just be random. Just drinking. I particularly liked hitting the clubs and finding prey. They were done up on coke and speed and E and that meant I got a hit too. Blood and drugs and beer. Nights I don’t even really remember. Waking up with blood on my hands and wondering what the fuck I’d been doing. The taste of blood sour in my mouth. I took a savage pleasure in it. Hurting them. Forgetting them. But it couldn’t get the thought of her out of my head. Nor of the Bit I’d left behind. Most of all, it couldn’t wipe out what I felt about myself.

It was getting towards summer. Dawn’d be sixteen now. I wondered what her birthday had been like. If the scoobies had given her a nice party. The thought of them happily smiling over birthday china made me grind my teeth so hard my jaw ached. Hatred boiled in my stomach like bile. And it struck me – I could hurt them now, if I wanted. And they could never make me feel weak again. I could see the Bit if I wanted, and sod the lot of them. Not that I was sure the Bit would want to see me – but I could make her see me, all the same. Funny how I got some nasty pleasure out of that thought. The only person who gave a shit about me, far as I knew, and I wanted to twist her arm. Maybe Xander’s right. Maybe I am just a monster.

So, having acquired this plan in a brief moment of sobriety, I headed back to Sunnydale.

*

I got myself cleaned up so I didn’t smell quite so much of stale booze and fags. I pulled on a fresh t-shirt and then chucked on my duster. I ran my fingers through my hair, and paused. Twisted it up. Scrabbled in my dashboard for a kohl pencil. Drew a rough line around my eyes. Not quite how I used to look back in the day… But not quite like how I used to look in Sunnydale, either. A bit rougher, I reckoned. I parked the car, not even bothering to lock the doors. No one was going to nick that, I didn’t reckon. Not after several thousand miles of me living in it and the windows all covered in newspaper.

I headed into the Bronze. Where else? I wasn’t quite ready to step back onto Buffy’s porch. And you never knew, Dawn might be here. Giggling with some girly pals, drinking a Pepsi. Or p’raps the Scooby gang. I could give them a bit of a scare.

Grinning, I headed into the club. Felt my body move with the crowd, moving between them, like a hunter again. It felt good to be stalking through the crowd. My blood was high and there was anger and frustration in my belly, just waiting to strike at something like a fist. One covered in nails.

I lay quiet
waiting for her voice to say
"Some things you lose
and some things you just give away"
Scold me
Failed her
If only I'd held on tighter to her pale
white skin that twisted and withered
away from me away from me

Watch me lose her
It's almost like losing myself
Give her my soul
and let them take somebody else
get away from me
Watch me fault her
”You're living like a disaster”
She said
“Kill me faster
with strawberry gashes
all over”


The music thrummed a hard song in my empty veins and I was just on the right side of thirst, the itch beginning to burn in pleasant-pain, and then I smelt something. A scent I knew. Her.

I started to move through the crowds, quietly, quietly, to the dance floor.


((open - principally to Dawn, but don't have a problem with Tara joining later))
comments: leave me lying here Share Next Entry


lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-14 04:55 am (UTC)
Sometimes I think, if only Buffy could see me now. No, that's a total lie. I think that all the time. When I'm at the mall with Janice and I'm teaching her to steal, or when I'm at the Bronze, or when I'm in some guy's bed, her face always swims up behind my eyelids and I give her the look I think she'd be wearing. If only she could see me now.

I wonder about mom, too, sometimes, but I don't like to think about her.

It was Buffy. Buffy that left me, that made her stupid sacrifice and left us all. I spend weeks locked up in my room, sometimes hysterical, sometimes practically lethargic, just hating myself. Why hadn't she let me jump? Why did she have to go and be so fucking heroic? The world needed the Slayer. It didn't need a stupid teenager made out of a green ball of world-destroying energy. I was fucking expendable and I hated that about myself, but what I hated the most was the fact that I was here and she wasn't. In what kind of world was that right?

Her death, it fucked everything up too. I had Spike for a while, 'cause he promised he'd protect me. And I liked that. He kinda knew what I was going through, in a weird way, 'cause neither of us were really human and I guess we were always kinda the outsiders. I hung out with him all the time, because he made me feel calm. Like everything would be okay somehow. Then they made him leave.

I can't even remember how many times I had screamed at Willow and Xander, how many times I had thrown shit at them and run away from them. They had tried to bring Buffy back. And didn't tell me. And failed. As Buffy's little sister and the cause of her death, you'd think I'd have the right to know. Apparently not. I'm not whatever enough. And then they made Spike leave, 'cause he was pissed too, and then I had no one. They said they were gonna take care of me. But they took away the one person that really understood me, the one person who really could take care of me. They just didn't get it. I didn't speak to them for weeks, literally.

And then we drifted apart. Xander was totally lost, floating, and Anya was there. She was okay, in that weird blunt way, but she was so damn clingy, he always had to be around her. I was okay with that. The less I saw of Xander, the better. He just didn't get it. And Willow. She got into magic, like, hard. She was out with Amy all the time, doing fuck knows what. Then she and Tara broke up.

I wanted Tara to stay with me. She was the only one left that really got me, even a little bit, and the only one that seemed to care. So we kinda kicked Willow out, because they couldn't be together anymore. I mean, she was fucked up. And Tara had tried to help, but there's so much a person can put up with. I thought it was my fault, again, because it was my fault that Buffy was gone and without her, things just fell apart. I couldn't keep them together. Nobody could. So then it was just me and Tara.

She kept me from the worst, I guess, although right now I'm not sure what 'the worst' would be. I'm not dead yet, I guess. I still go to school, most of the time. I'm not a druggie or anything. But that summer really sent us all downhill. We were all broken and scattered. And I really fucked myself up.

I started stealing, like, really badly. If I saw anything I wanted, I took it. It didn't matter. I got way good at it, too, even taught Janice to do it. I'd come back from the ball with my bag full of stolen shit. I started dressing differently, too, more like her, I guess, but a little bit different. Darker, I guess. Kinda like Faith used to. Although in reality, I never knew Faith. Whatever.

Then people started noticing me. I lost my virginity three days after my sixteenth birthday to a high school guy that never called and I didn't want him to. Not how I imagined my first time to be. But then there were others. I think Tara knew, but she never really said anything. I hated seeing that look in her eyes, so I tried to be more sneaky about it. What they don't know and all that. And I wasn't a slut or anything. I played hard to get. People didn't talk, really. Maybe they were a little scared of me.
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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-14 04:55 am (UTC)
Hex me
Told her
I dreamt of a devil that knew her
Pale white skin with strawberry gashes all over


I was at the Bronze, of course, 'cause where else would I be? I couldn't stay at home, my skin felt too tight, I couldn't concentrate. Didn't want to be in a place where it was quiet enough to think. So I dragged Janice out here. Her mom says I'm a bad influence but like she's gonna listen to her mom. We got all dressed up at my house and came over. Short skirts, tall boots, tight tops, our hair all loose and crazy in waves, dark eyeliner. We were hot, and we knew it, and the guys did too. They practically surrounded us, but it was like they were too afraid to touch. Like we were sacred. We moved to the music and I eyed them all carefully, wondering which one I would pick tonight.

Who's gonna be the lucky one?
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-14 11:04 am (UTC)
It was Dawn. I knew it was Dawn before I saw her. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a sodding bloodhound. I hate people who assume vampires can smell everything out. But when you know somebody well, when they've had their skin close to yours, then yeah. You remember.

I moved through the crowd like liquid. This song. I didn't know what it was, but it made something inside me ache. And that feeling made me more pissed off. Cos I knew I'd fucked Dawn up royally, and I had no idea what I was going to say to her when I saw her.

Then I did see her, and even the idea of words temporarily left my brain. That was Dawn? That was Dawn. Dawn and some little friend of hers. Jane? Janice. Janice, I think it was. Long boots and short skirts - but Dawn was the one who really wore the look. Janice looked like she'd borrowed her big sister's clothes. Dawn looked liked she'd never worn anything else.

Bloody hell. What else had changed?

I waited until Janice caught the eye of some bloke and moved towards the bar with him. I wasn't confronting Dawn until I saw her alone. Don't want an audience.

I made my way over so that I was standing right at her shoulder. And I whispered softly in her ear:

"How much are you charging, love, or are you giving it away for free?"

That hadn't been exactly what I'd planned to say. But the sight of her, pretty much everything on show, pissed me off 'bout as much as it, disturbingly, aroused me.
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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-14 07:36 pm (UTC)
I barely noticed when Janice left with some guy. They weren't going too far, so I don't care, let them do their thing. I wasn't ready, there wasn't a guy here that really interested me. It's not like I needed any of them, anyway. I could go home alone, that was fine. I'm not stupid, I know the difference between want and need.

But then I felt something that made a shiver run up my back and I felt my muscles getting all tense. What the hell? Some guy runs his hands over my hips, but I shake him off. I don't want him. I want to know what's going on.

Then there's a voice at my ear, low and dangerous and so familiar.
"How much are you charging, love, or are you giving it away for free?"
I want to turn around and tell him, what the hell do you think I am? Am I wearing a sign that says, please objectify me? How many girls are dancing in clubs, just having fun, who know what they want?

Then I turn around, and everything stops.

It's Spike.

And everything that I've buried in the past months, all the pain and fear and anger, all of it just comes rushing back. I know it wasn't his fault he left, they ganged up on him, but at the same time I blame him anyway because he could've told them to fuck off and stayed. I tried to make myself forget but it wasn't happening so I just didn't think about it, about him, did other stuff. And now he's back like it's been a week, not an entire summer, and he's insulting me. I'm completely thrown off course, and I hate it.

"Fuck you," is the first thing I say, and I really want to leave, but I can't really move, so I just stand there, glaring at him. For some reason, I feel vulnerable. He looks different, not older or anything because hello, vampire, but different. It worries me.
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-14 10:31 pm (UTC)
Dawn turns round and looks at me, and I see her face move from shock to surprise to anger. There's a storm of feeling there in her face and it would take my breath away if that sort of thing applied to me. But instead I just feel vaguely winded, and I'm not sure why. It hurts a bit to see her look at me like that, though I reckon I deserve it.

"Fuck you," she says, spitting the words out.

"Yeah, it looks like that's what you're offering," I say, and I look her up and down deliberately, insultingly, letting her know I see every inch of her. In the few months I've been gone she's filled out quite a bit. Still slim, but not skinny any more. Not all elbows and straight shiny hair. Now she's mussed and she curves. It's weird that she's changed so much. But then, so have I.

I can see she's hurt and I wonder why I'm being so nasty. Not like she's done anything to me. It's just that she reminds me of so much that hurts me. I want to ask her a hundred things but I can't think of the words. I meet her eyes and I shake my head slightly, the closest I can give to an apology, cos I'm not that good at saying sorry and I'm not sure I want to.

"What's happened here, Dawn?" I ask at last, trying to get all the questions I don't know how to say in that one sentence.
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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-14 11:06 pm (UTC)
The way he's talking and looking at him, I just want to punch him or something. Who the hell is he? He was my fucking friend, okay, before they got on his ass and he took off. He didn't have to. But he did, and maybe it would've been better if he'd stayed away.

Actually, I don't know if I really think that. I don't really know what to think at all right now. I came here not to think, dammit!

I narrow my eyes at him but don't move, cross my arms over my chest or anything. Why should I? I don't care if he sees me. I don't care if anyone sees me. I'm not really real anyway, so what does it matter? What does bother me, though, is that I feel like this isn't Spike anymore. It's someone that looks like Spike, but is someone else. Like his evil twin or something.

"What's happened here, Dawn?" he asks, looking down at me, and for a moment it's kind of like having him back, like he never left. But I know I did because there's this big hole inside of me full of pain and anger and whatever else and it wasn't entirely his fault but he was a big part of it. And now he's back, all different, and I don't know if it can be fixed anymore.

"A lot," I say simply, looking back at him. He's got something around his eyes, looks like eyeliner. On anyone else it would be stupid, but on him, it's hot. I remember my stupid crush on him, how it could never work out because he loved Buffy and I was just the annoying little sister, and then Buffy was dead and we were all hurting.
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-14 11:49 pm (UTC)
"A lot" she says, and there's a world of pain and pissed off anger in those two words. A lot. Yeah, I hear that. I want to reach out and touch her, and I raise my hand as if to touch her cheek, but then I drop it back to my side again. The few inches between us feel like miles. And I'm aching in a new way now, for something I feel like I've lost and didn't know I missed.

"Yeah, I can see that," is all I can manage to say. I want to stroke her hair the way Buffy used to, and I want to punch in her sodding teeth, but I don't do either of those things. Instead I just say in a voice that's meant to be casual but doesn't quite work:

"come on, I'll buy you a drink," and I walk towards the bar. "A beer," I say to the barman, and then I look back at Dawn. "You drinking beer these days, or should I get you a coke?" I don't know why my voice sounds so cold. It isn't me. Or maybe it is, now. I dunno. I press my teeth into my tongue and put my fingers round the neck of the bottle the barman passes me, tempted to shatter the glass in my palm. Instead I slug from the bottle and just look at her.
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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-15 03:09 am (UTC)
He doesn't look like he can handle this. Handle me. He was the one that could take care of anything, always, the strong one that said that everything would be alright, but it's not and he doesn't know how to deal with it. And the fact that it's me he can't deal with scares me. What am I now?

He made me doubt myself, and I fucking hated it.

I follow him to the bar and lean up against it, staring vaguely into the crowd. Janice is off down there, somewhere, making out with some guy, and I sort of wish that I was too. It's normal. It's what girls do. This isn't normal. As if I wasn't enough of a freak already.

"Vodka," I say calmly when Spike asks me what I'm drinking. It's not really a lie, I've drank vodka before and I like how it makes me feel, but I also want to hurt him. He's hurt me, and now he's back, looking not at all worse for wear, not how I feel at all. He looks like he's had a grand old time, wherever he was, while back here in Sunnyhell, my life fell down around me.

I'll talk to him like he talks to me. If he's gonna be cold and distant, then so am I. Did he expect me to be the same girl and throw myself at him as soon as he returned? Things change.

"I live with Tara now," I say quietly. I figure I owe him at least a little bit of an explanation. If he wants to know what happened, I'll tell him what happened. I'll tell him everything.
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-15 09:33 am (UTC)
Dawn orders vodka. I know she's doing it to piss me off, and it does. Little girl in grown up clothes. When I left the most hardcore thing she did was mixing different cereals together. What the hell has happened here? But I gesture at the barman and get her the vodka.

"Knock yourself out, love," I grunt as the man slides a small glass towards her.

"I live with Tara now," she says, and I'm glad she speaks because I sure as hell didn't know what to say.

"Glinda?" I say, wrinkling my forehead. "Not her and Red? Did our favourite lesbians have a bust up?" I ask, leaning back into the bar, and this is better, cos although I sound callous, it's in a way Dawn is used to. About other people, not her. "What're the rest of the scoobies up to, anyway?" I can't keep an edge out of my voice. Again there's that urge to just find Xander and break his neck. Would really piss Dawn off, though - but do I care? I'm not sure.
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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-15 11:38 pm (UTC)
I give him a little half-smile and down the shot. It burns, going down, but it's warm and it feels good. If it feels good, why not do it? That's a great philosophy, Dawn, that'll bring you down really fast. But what else do I have to work towards? A future? Right.

Spike asks about the rest of them like he cares. Maybe he does. Maybe I'm being too hard on him? I dunno. He's probably just curious. Or trying to get re-adjusted so he's up on all the Sunnyhell news. It doesn't matter to me anymore, they're old scars.

"They broke up," I say calmly, leaning back against the bar with my elbows and looking out at the dance floor. I wish I could be out there right now, losing myself. That's all I wanted. "Willow got too far into the magic thing. She's screwing herself up, and I wanted Tara to stay with me. Xander and Anya, they're... on their own." I shrug and shake back my hair. We don't have Buffy to keep us together anymore, so we fall apart. How damn sad.
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-15 11:52 pm (UTC)
I listen to what Dawn says. There's sorrow in her voice, not just anger and teenage angst. Real sorrow, and I hate it because I'm a part of the reason for it. And I hate that I give a shit, cos frankly, I'm a vampire and I'm not meant to be bothered.

"Things fall apart," I say, and my tone is dismissive, hard. "Fact o'life, pet," I add, and I light a cigarette. The taste is comforting in my mouth. I wonder absently how many times I've made these same few liquid motions. I've been smoking since the 1920s... And here I am being cruel to a girl who's been alive for an eighth of my lifetime. What the bloody hell is wrong with me.

"So Anya and Xander have buggered off, have they?" I can't keep the anger from my voice. "What about his whole schtick, I'll take care of Dawn, she doesn't need you?" I bite down on my tongue to stop myself saying anything more about that. My free hand is balled into a fist in my pocket. If he were here now I'd punch his bloody face in. The stuff about Willow, meanwhile, doesn't exactly shock me. Kind of surprised that Tara had the balls, so to speak, to finish the relationship. Guess people can surprise you.

I draw hard on my cigarette and then hold it out to her.

"D'you smoke these now, too, or d'you still think they're gross?" I say, mimicking the way Dawn would say the word, back when she still liked making pancake batter with peanut butter in it and she listened to N Sync or whatever the hell those ugly lads were called.
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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-16 12:09 am (UTC)
I swallow but the taste of the alcohol is still in my mouth, burning faintly all the way down to my throat. I kind of like it, but at the same, it's annoying. I want it to go away. I want another drink.

"Yeah, well." I narrow my eyes, looking at the crowd but I don't really see any of them. It's just like a wave of light and sound, people indistinguishable. "Guess he lied." I don't care that he didn't keep his promise, I didn't want him to fucking look after me. I care that he made Spike leave. I hate that he screwed everything up and didn't clean up after himself. "They're happy, I guess, so at least someone is." They'll probably get married and get the hell out of here, and I can't really blame them. I'd like to leave, but Tara wants me to stay at school, and no matter what I do, I can't disappoint Tara. She's been there for me no matter what, and I can't just ignore that. She's all I've got now, and I never want to leave her.

I glare at Spike and take the cigarette, my fingers brushing against his hand. Looking at him, I take a drag and exhale the pale smoke. I wonder what he thinks of me now and how much has changed. Four months ago I didn't smoke or drink or go home with boys. I'm so different now. I'm not really Dawn anymore. I don't know what I am. I'm only Dawn with Tara, sometimes. She keeps me stable.
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-16 12:33 am (UTC)
"Guess he lied." I wonder how in the few months I've been away she managed to get so cynical. But there's a world of hurt underneath that clipped little phrase, and even more when she says "They're happy, I guess, so at least someone is."

I can't bear it, suddenly, this talking, and I'm tempted to just leave, but then she takes my cigarette, her fingers brushing my hand, and there's a brief flicker of something like electricity. She looks good with the fag in her mouth. It's not PC to say that now, but I've never given much of a shit about that kind of thing. I look at her red mouth through the thin haze of smoke, and I wonder what it would be like to kiss it. Or bite it. Cos I could do that, couldn't I? If I wanted. Not like she could fight me, not matter how tough she reckons she is.

My skin itches and I'm restless. I take the cigarette back and lean against the bar, dragging so hard on the cigarette that it almost disappears down my throat. I hold the smoke in my mouth for far longer that a person could, and then I let it out, tasting the tar on my tongue. I don't know what to say to her. I don't. And I don't want to talk any more. Everything we say tastes of ashes.

"Shall we dance?" I say, cocking my eyebrow at her, and I know it's something of a surprise, cos I never used to dance, particularly not in the sodding Bronze. But once - going back a few years, back when I wore a lot of pale denim - I did dance, and hard. Best way to talk without talking, I reckon. I grab her arm and pull her back into the crowd with me, dropping my beer bottle on the floor as I go, letting the crush of people on the dance floor move me.
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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-16 01:02 am (UTC)
"Shall we dance?" I raise my eyebrows at him, like, dance, you? But I don't get a change to say anything as he grabs my arm and pulls me into the crowd. Dance, okay, I can do that. It's better than talking. It's what I came here to do. Not with Spike, yeah, but that's even better, isn't it? Better Spike than all those inexperienced boys out there, and they're all boring anyway.

The alcohol burns slowly in my blood and goes to my head. It was just one shot but I'm pretty skinny so it makes a little bit of a difference. It makes me braver. I laugh as Spike pulls us into the crush of people and a new song starts up.

She burns friends like a piece of wood
And she's jealous of me because she never could
Hold herself up without a spine
And she'll look me up when she's doing fine
Because the rage it burns like Chinese torture
She's just someone's favourite daughter
Spoilt and ugly as she willingly slaughters
Friends and enemies they're all the same
She'll break a promise as a matter of course
Because she thinks it's fun to have no remorse
She gets what she wants and then walks away
And she doesn't give a fuck what you might say


The alcohol and the music and the darkness of the club makes me feel stronger. Practically fucking invincible. I know guys are looking at me and I like it because I don't want them. I have the upper hand. I have Spike. He doesn't care what any of them think, and neither do I, but for some reason I wonder if he notices their glances. For some reason I'd like to see him jealous. Like, you left, and see how it is now, and there's nothing you can do.

My body begins moving the the music without my even noticing it. I look back at Spike and laugh again, quietly, my hips brushing against his lightly. I run my hands through my hair, raising it off of my neck and letting it fall down again, then reach behind me to run my fingers down Spike's neck. This is what it's like.
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-16 03:52 pm (UTC)
Dawn laughs softly. Not sure if it's at me or at her, or just the situation. A new song starts playing. Don't know the tune but it's not bad.

She gets what she wants and then walks away
And she doesn't give a fuck what you might say


Is that what Dawn thinks she is, now? Does she think she doesn't care? I reckon she's kidding herself. She can pile on the eye makeup, but it takes more than that to get hard. Or maybe I'm the naive one here. Maybe things really have changed.

We dance together like there's no one else here. Dawn lets her hip bump mine and she laughs again; it's like smoke on the hot air. Her fingers touch my neck. Her skin is warm. Her blood's come to the surface and I can't help imagining what it would taste like. I put my hands on her waist and press my fingers hard into the skin as we dance.

And dance and dance. I've got stamina, I know that, but Dawn keeps up without a pause. It's impressive, if slightly scary, and it makes my blood rise. I can feel that my veins aren't as full as I would like, and the blood I'm carrying is like steam.

Then the crowds start to thin a little and the music is softer, more intimate, asking for slower, closer dancing. The people around us hold each other like they need one another to breathe. I take a step back from Dawn.

"Let's go, pet. Things are slowing down," I say, and I run a hand through my hair and light a cigarette. I walk towards the door, waiting for her to follow, and she does. I lean against the wall outside the Bronze and smoke my cigarette. "By the way," I say, "I'm coming home with you tonight. Need a place to crash." I crush the cigarette with my boot and lean over her shoulder, blowing the last puff of smoke by her ear. "Course," I say quietly, "I think you'll need to invite me in again." My lips are almost touching her cheek and my voice is deliberately gravelly. I'm not sure what kind of game I'm playing here. I'm calling it payback for the way she moved her hips and her hair. I step back and let my voice return to its normal register. "Red disinvited me, remember? Silly cow." I wonder if Dawn will say that Tara wouldn't want me in the house. Or that she wouldn't. I hope it won't come to that; but I'm not going to beg. There are some things I'm not willing to do.
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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-17 12:18 am (UTC)
I love that he decides that we're gonna leave and invites himself over. I mean, not that I mind. Janice left with her new friend a while ago, and only really cozy-looking couples were left. Guess it made Spike uncomfortable. Actually, it kinda made me uncomfortable, too, but in a weird, exciting way. Like playing with fire or whatever, but to an extreme.

Anyway, way to invite yourself over. Not that I really care, but I'm worried, like, will it make things awkward? Will Tara be mad? I don't think she would, she never hated Spike the way everyone else did, but I didn't want anything to get screwed up even more.

"Yeah, sure," I say, trying to keep my voice careless, but Spike is way too close to me. If he was breathing, I'd be able to feel his breath on my neck. He's not the same. It's kind of scary and also intriguing. I wanna know what happened to him since he left, just like I'm sure he wants to know about what happened here. "You can crash on the couch, I don't think Tara would mind."

If I invite him in, he'll be able to come into the house whenever. He'll be around all the time. Unless he leaves again. And if he does, I'll never want to see him again.

A shiver runs down my back and I turn away, pull the hair off of my neck, the night air cool on my skin that's too hot. "Let's go then."
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-17 12:53 am (UTC)
I grin at Dawn, possibly the first real smile I've given her, as she says "Let's go then". She sounds like she's rolling her eyes, if that makes sense. For a second - just a second - I feel like I never left and we're hanging out again. But then we start walking and the feeling goes and we're back to being... whatever it is we are now. I can't say we're friends. Acquaintances? It's a cold word. Bloody hell, I'm going all Angel. I shouldn't be analysing everything.

We get to my car and I pull open the doors.

"Hop in," I say, throwing bottles off the passenger seat into the road. "'S alright. Not exactly clean, but it'll get us home." I realise how strongly the car smells of bourbon and grit my teeth. Dawn's bound to realise I've got myself into a right state these last few months. Well. Not like she can throw stones, being in a glass house and all herself. I turn on the radio to avoid having to talk.

I know what you're thinking about
That you must have some doubt
I know what you're thinking
When you find out I want you around


"Thanks, mates," I mutter to the Ramones and fiddle with the dial. We pass the rest of the journey listening to country music. Bloody marvellous.

At the house Dawn invites me in, and I sort of want it to be some big moment, some drama, but it's not really. I just cross the threshold. The house is in darkness except for the hall. I guess Tara's in bed, like a good girl should be. I find myself wondering what it's like for her, living her with the Bit, pretending to be her mum. She's only Buffy's age, after all.

But I'm refusing to think about Buffy. Funny thing is, I've gone a whole evening, pretty much, without thinking about her. That's got to be a record, and I can't help feeling a bit guilty about it. But it feels good, as well. Cleaner. Can't help loving the girl, but she won't leave me alone now she's dead. If only the bitch had been so attentive in life, I'd have had a much happier time.

Dawn switches on a lamp in the living room. It looks pretty much the same as when I left. I notice that a picture of Xander, Willow and Buffy is gone. I wonder if it's in a box collecting dust along with the rest of Buffy's things. I have to bite my lip for a moment. Bloody emotions. Hit me at the most stupid times.

I drop onto the sofa and look up at Dawn, and feel a sudden rage towards her. She's throwing her fucking life away, the life that Buffy gave her, and I feel the urge to punch her until she... What? Behaves? I laugh at myself then and light a cigarette, not bothering to ask if it's ok. Cos that's not what I do, not ever.

"So, Dawnie," I say, looking at her over my cigarette, "done your homework for tomorrow? And are you drinking enough milk? Growing girls need calcium." I hate how hard my voice is but I like it as well. "Or maybe you're too grown up." I reach up and cup her cheek, stroking it with my thumb, and in the quiet I can hear her heart speed up a little at that. "Yeah, that might be it," I say softly, and take a drag on my cigarette.




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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-17 01:28 am (UTC)
Raising my eyebrows as we get in the car, I spend the entire ride home with my feet propped up on the dashboard, wondering if this was what Spike's been up to for the past summer. Looks like he's had it worse than me, I guess, although his situation was by choice. He didn't have to leave. He didn't have to do anything. And it pisses me off, because a lot of the shit that's happened to me, I couldn't do anything about, and here he was, throwing away his freedom and shit.

Fucking hell, it was unfair.

We get to my house and I climb out of the car, walking ahead of Spike, unlocking the door and inviting him in. He walks through the door like he's never left, like it's all just ordinary. I dunno why, but it makes me feel weird. Like it's not supposed to be this casual.

The house is dark and quiet. Looks like Tara's already gone to bed. She doesn't usually wait up for me. I know she still worries, but she tries not to show it. Like she trusts me. That's total crap, though, I don't even trust myself most of the time.

Spike sits down on the couch and I just stand there. It feels weird to leave him alone in the living room. Like I know I'll go upstairs and try to sleep but I'll just lie there, thinking about him being downstairs.

He reaches out to touch my cheek, but his words are meant to hurt. I just narrow my eyes at him, although my pulse speeds up a little at the touch. Why? It's not like I still have that crush on him... I'm not that stupid... But still. Something inside still hopes for - what? I have no idea.

I watch his face for a while, then pull away. Leaning over him, I reach up to open a window. He's fucking smoking in here and I don't want to alarm to go off, it'll wake Tara up. Pushing the window open so the breeze ruffles the curtains softly, I straighten up. "If you're gonna be an asshole, I'm going to bed."
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-17 01:51 pm (UTC)
Dawn leans over me and pushes the window open. Probably doesn't want the smell of my smoke getting into the furniture.

"If you're gonna be an asshole, I'm going to bed."

She's pissed off with me. I don't blame her. I'm pissed off with me too, and her, and the whole ruddy world. I think about apologising but I can't, cos I'm not sure if I altogether would mean it, and I don't lie. Not to her, any road. Fuck her up and abandon her, yeah, but lying is not something I do.

Though I guess I did promise Buffy I'd look out for the Bit, and look how that turned out.

Instead of saying anything, I chuck my cigarette out of the window, which at least is an apologetic gesture. I catch her arm.

"I am an arsehole," I say quietly. "You'd do best to remember that." She looks at me and the pit of my stomach tightens. Disconcerted, I let go of her arm and sit back on the sofa. "Go on then, get to bed. I'll see you in the morning." I put my hands behind my head and smirk. "Might be an idea for you to get up before Tara does."
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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-17 07:47 pm (UTC)
Taking a step back, I rub at my arm. I can still feel the imprints of his fingers on my skin, like bruises, even though he didn't grab me anywhere near that hard.

"Tara always gets up first," I say quietly. If I woke up before her, I'd be getting like, four hours of sleep every night. I wonder if she's still awake now, lying upstairs, waiting for me to come home so she'd know I was safe. It's stupid, she shouldn't keep herself awake. She's not mom, she's not responsible for me. But she tries to be and it's so nice of her.

I don't want to just go upstairs and leave Spike down here alone. It doesn't seem like this is the way the night should end. I haven't seen him in months and then he comes back like it's nothing and we spend all night being jerks to each other. Why? He used to be my friend.

"What happened to you, Spike?"
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-17 09:52 pm (UTC)
"What happened to you, Spike?"

Dawn's voice is the most vulnerable I've heard it tonight. I have to restrain the impulse to say something cruel again. It's the easiest way out. But she deserves better than that. Not much better, because I don't really have much to give, but she deserves something.

"Lost my way," I say after a while. "Before..." I don't want to talk about Buffy, but it seems unavoidable. "I had a reason. You know. Her." I look at my hands. "I've always had a 'her'. Never been one of those vampires who could just live from hunt to hunt. 'S why I nearly topped myself when Dru left me and then I got the chip, cos what was the point? Couldn't love, couldn't kill. Then I still couldn't kill but I loved... her." It's hard to say her name, even now. "And then she died." I leave out the part where I'm able to kill again. Don't think Dawn would take to that too well right now, and besides, killing's not as fulfilling as it used to be. Blood can't fill up the gap inside me.

I look up at Dawn, surprised that I've been so honest. Maybe I needed to tell someone that.

"I got lost, is it, and I dunno if there's a way to go back to." I shrug and look away, trying to seem like I don't mind, as if drinking all night and dreaming relentlessly of her dead body is alright, as if it's a way to live instead of slowly die.
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lockless_key
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Time:2006-04-18 12:58 am (UTC)
I stay quiet, leaning against the doorway, and just nod slowly. Yeah. Her. Always about her, the wonder sister, and nobody can ever forget her. She leaves and the whole world falls apart. I don't blame her for leaving, I mean, hello, she saved my life, and everyone else's, but I wish I'd jumped instead. I wouldn't be here and Spike wouldn't be looking at me like that and maybe things would've even worked out for them.

It's nice to dream.

The explanation Spike gives isn't much of a, well, explanation but I'm not gonna nag if he doesn't wanna explain. I'm not the same Dawn that I used to be, stupidly flirting with him, listening to his stories. I'm someone else now and that girl died with her sister.

Wow, I'm just a fucking ray of sunshine and stuff.

"I think we all did," I say softly, looking at Spike. I want to go and give him a hug or something, pretend like he never left and we're still friends instead of snapping at each other. But I can't. It's too, like, different now. He's untouchable.

"Well, you should sleep," I add lamely. Yeah, the undead vampire should sleep. But all of a sudden I feel tired, practically exhausted, and I just want to collapse in my bed and drift off into the blissful nowhere where there aren't absentee vampire parental-figure wannabees. 'Cause I can only deal with so much.
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sired1880spike
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Time:2006-04-18 01:07 am (UTC)
"I think we all did," says Dawn softly, and there's a moment where we look at each other and I feel like there's, I dunno, a connection or something sappy like that, and she almost moves towards me but she doesn't and the moment's gone.

"Well, you should sleep," says Dawn awkwardly, and pain blossoms in my chest cos she's so unsure around me. Why have I even come back, if this is all there is left?

"Yeah," I say quietly. "Guess you should get some rest, nib- Dawn." I almost call her by one of my old pet names, but it feels funny now. Not sure I can do it.

I watch her go up the stairs and then lie down on the sofa. It's a long time before I sleep.
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Watch me fault her/you're living like a disaster/she said kill me faster/with strawberry gashes - In your favourite darkness
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