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Writing warm up with souled Spike

He wakes to deep blackness.

An echo swells and crashes in his ears and surrounds his aching head.

Smells like salt. Like sea and blood.

Dark, dark, dark.

His stomach clenches, a deep throbbing anxiety. Fear. But of what?

He gasps as he peels his face away from the ground. Grit sticks to his cheek, lips, neck. And his chest, bare chest, agonizing pain.

Back to the ground. Sandy ground.

What happened?

Memory, memory, who’s got the memory…?

His mind remains a terrifying blank.

Fresh air gusts across him in intervals. Feels like a breeze.

Cave.

Fire flickers through his brain. Monsters.

“Ugh,” he groans, rather pathetically. The sound resonates in the space. He groans again because, why not? He is alone.

For some reason, tears pool behind his closed eyes and slide past the lashes. The right side of his face is smooshed against the sand, but a single droplet escapes from his left eye and slides down his nose.

Stupid watering eyes. Can barely remember his own name, what’s he got to be sorry for? He’s not crying. No sir.

“Out,” he whispers hoarsely. I want out.
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His body feels heavy and unwieldy. He forces it up anyway. Can’t stand, not yet, but his clawed hands find purchase among sand and rocks and weeds. He drags forward on his belly.

This takes a long time. Impatience bubbles and bursts several times within him. He tries to follow the breeze. He thinks he’ll die in inches before he ever gets there, but he pushes on, focusing on the feel of the grit beneath his dragging boots. At least he can feel his toes. That’s important.

A sudden memory seizes him of folding limp, useless legs into a clunky wheelchair.

He freezes, immediately flexing his legs in a panic, and finds he can move them at will.

“The hell?” he mutters. Must’ve healed up.

The blackness recedes into hazy shades of dark blue. He pulls himself out of the cave at last and lifts his head to look around. Low light from a swath of stars above reveals a deserted beach. Somewhere beyond the dunes, waves crash against the shore.

Teeth clenched, he relaxes down to the ground. His body strums with pain from the surface of his skin to the depths of his insides.

For a moment, he lets the wind fill his ears and the night cover his senses. He recognizes that his mind keeps shying from thinking about his situation.

Dread begins to circle him like a vulture.

“Just a minute, now,” he chokes. It approaches him tangentially, a muted freight train barreling down upon him. “No, no, no, no, no, no,” his pleas continue, louder and faster. Curled on his side, he moans into his hands. He doesn’t want to know this thing. Doesn’t want to be ruined. He wants to be whole. He wants out. He wants--

Images begin to flash through his mind.

Pervasive hunger that parches his throat. Baring his teeth and the look of terror on their faces. Sinking in with a satisfyingly hard bite through salty skin and smooth, meaty muscle until his mouth fills with blood, delicious blood, can't get enough, need more, gulp it all down--

He cries out in confusion and horror. His stomach growls and he wants to be sick. Spitting into the sand doesn't relieve the ache in his throat or the anticipatory tingle on his tongue.

People, so many people, terrified of him. They scream and cry and try to run, but he's too fast. He always catches up. They look at him like he's a monster. They beg and bargain and fight for their lives. Hands scrabbling at his shoulders, bodies jerking in his grasp.

He does not care and steals their blood and their life and leaves their drained, broken corpses in his wake.

On the beach, he cries bitterly, in small gasps. He cares now. God, he cares now. Monster, killer, thief. And he liked it. How could he like it? Driving people away, hunting them, hurting them. He must be completely alone this world. A strange, sick beast that preys on others. That scares others.

He scares himself. What has he done? And why? How could he...how could he do these things?

More memories pile up. Choosing a victim and stalking them. Massacring dozens or more at a time. Snapping necks and setting fires and laughing, laughing all the while.

No, no. Can't be real. He wouldn't do that. This is a horrible dream. He's just had the longest, strangest nightmare.

It's this damn beach and this bloody sand. He needs to get out of here. Needs to get back to who he really is. No more frightful sleeping. Time to wake up now.

Despite the pain, he manages to stagger to his feet. He welcomes the aches and burns and stinging wounds that pull with each halting step. This pain is nothing compared to what waits for him in his head. He'd rather deal with what is happening in the immediate now. He tries to clear his mind of anything but escaping the beach.

It works for a time, while he clumsily walks toward the smell of smoke. But he’s in the eye of a storm. Fearful of the dark thoughts that surround this focused peace, he presses on--not too fast, but without lagging. Keep going. Keep going. See that glow around the bend of the shore and cliff face? Aim for that.

---

The glow turns out to be from the tended fires of a small village. People exit their dwellings to stare at him as he passes through. All chatter and activity dies as more of the villagers notice him.

Touching his face, he wonders if he looks as monstrous as he feels.

No one blocks his path. Instead, the villagers line up on either side of him. Some seem to recognize him. He squints at them, searching their faces for fear. Mostly, he reads surprise and caution.

One man parts from the throng. The man’s teeth flash against his dark skin in the firelight when he speaks.


The words sound different to his ears, but familiar after a moment. Not expecting to be spoken to so directly, he straightens his aching body and listens closely until the strange words reorder themselves into a language that he distantly remembers.

“...Spike? You survived!”

Spike.

The storm clouds rush forward. His vision swirls and darkens and he collapses.

---
Something nuzzles his shoulder. He opens his eyes and his vision is filled with the wet snout of a goat. It bleats and paws at his arm.

He sits up and blinks away dark spots. He’s laying on a mat in a mud hut, alone except for the nosy goat. The animal twists its neck around to eyeball him with strange sideways pupils. A strong pulse flutters in its neck.

Saliva pools in his mouth. Reaching out a single dirt caked finger, he strokes the creature’s neck. Skittish, the goat tosses its head and bleats louder, tripping backward. It lowers its head and glares at him.

Hunger is cramping his gut. Dizzy and overwhelmed, his hands begin to tremble. The goat freezes, nostrils flaring.

Between one moment and the next, the goat is in his arms. His mouth latches on and he sinks his teeth in. Wails from the animal turn to gurgles as his mouth fills with its blood. The sounds it makes frighten and excite him.

He can’t stop. Doesn’t, until the creature goes stiff and still in his embrace. He drops the body. It rolls off his legs and to the ground. Along with the initial burst of excitement, his nerves are heightened with distress. A thousand other thoughts jumble in his mind from a thousand other kills--

The man from before ducks into the hut and pauses at the sight within.

Horrified, he flinches away from the man’s stare. Blood is still dripping from his chin.

“Satisfied?” the man finally asks. He watches him with wary, but unafraid eyes.

Satisfied? Not really. He cannot remember the feeling of satisfaction. But the terrible hunger has been slaked for now, so he nods.

The man sits down, placing his hands on his knees. “Spike,” he addresses. “None have ever survived what you have survived. I am pleased to witness your return.”

Chills touch the back of his neck. “...Spike,” he whispers. “My name?”

Spine straight, manner alert, the man regards him. “You are Spike, I am Chioto. We spoke before your trials.”

That’s why the man looks familiar. So many of these things...seem like they happened to someone else. But now he can remember more. The Chioto of his blurred memory warned him of the danger waiting in the cave around the bend. Obviously, he did not listen to the warning.

“Spike?” Chioto repeats.

He jolts, having zoned out.

“D-don't call me that,” he rasps. That was the name of the monster who...his mind balks. No, that was someone else. A nightmare, a killer.

Chioto frowns. “You are different.”

He clings to the thought. “Yes, I am.” His lips are still slick with goat blood. The creature between them is beginning to stink.

“What are you called now?”

He doesn’t know.

“My ancestors would call you Demon,” Chioto says, thoughtfully. “I will call you Warrior.” Chioto looks pointedly at his injuries. “None survive the trials. Now only one has survived. You.”

Suddenly, he realizes the glimmer in Chioto’s eyes is respect.

“I don’t know what to do,” he admits, haltingly. “This doesn’t feel real.”

Chioto rocks back. “Don’t know? What of your purpose? You could not be turned away from your chosen path. And now, Warrior, you have succeeded. Do what comes next.”

“But I don’t remember why I came here,” he elaborates. “I’m someone else now. I don’t want to...be like Spike was. I can’t want what he wanted.” Whatever that had been.

The light in Chioto’s eyes dims. “Spike promised no harm to my tribe. He wanted knowledge. He wanted direction. He wanted to fight for a chance to succeed. You want something different, Warrior?”

That doesn’t line up with his memories of killing, of gleeful mayhem, of hunting in darkness. Why had he come to this place? “I don’t want to hurt you,” he assures. “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

Chioto relaxes somewhat. “Then you may stay until you are well again, Warrior.” He leaves, taking the dead goat with him.

In the hut, not-Spike stares blankly at the blood spattered ground.

---

In the next days, he takes stock of his situation.

Chioto tells him they are on the Namibian coast of Africa. The nearby shore is littered with whale bones and ship wreckage from an earlier century. Beyond the coast, the seas are still as dangerous today as they were then, so ships are never spotted on the horizon. Inland, after a few sparse miles of forest, they are surrounded by desert. Blistering, sun-beaten desert.

The cave around the bend is chock full of demonic energy. He does not need to be told this. Even from the village, he can taste the difference in the air. Apparently, Chioto’s role in the tribe is to navigate demonic danger. It’s not clear how the young man is qualified to do this, but it is the reason he was the one to approach Spike when he arrived however many days ago.

Chioto is the only one who speaks to him. The rest of the tribe steers clear, going about their daily business. When they speak, it is not in a language he recognizes.

No matter how hard he tries, he can't remember how he found this place. How did he get here? Deserts are not a welcome environment for things like him. He has no idea how to leave and less idea of where to go.

For now, he shares a hut with Chioto. While the other man doesn't cringe away in fear and disgust like he’d expect, Chioto still spends long hours away from the building that shelters them from the baking sun.

Water is scarce here. Most of it is saved for drinking. Of course, it's not the kind of drink he needs to survive so he never asks for it. He’s dismayed to realize this means he won't be washing up anytime soon.

The goat blood dries to his chin and chest and fingers. Only by scrubbing at his skin with the gritty dirt does he finally scrape off most of the blood. Can still smell it though. Still stains his bare chest.

He has a dim memory of losing his shirt in the cave. All he has left are a frayed pair of black jeans and worn boots. As the days slip by, he has to keep tightening his belt.

Chioto comments on his thinning frame one evening. They are sitting under a cooling twilight sky by a small fire, separate from the rest of the tribe who are busy conducting a ceremony beyond a tall row of fence. “Why don't you eat?”

He shrugs. “I don't like to.”

“What a waste it would be,” Chioto marvels, “to win the trials only to ruin yourself with starvation.” He shakes his head.

The fire pops in a moment of quiet.

“Why don't you join them?”

Chioto looks up. “My tribe?”

“Yeah. All you do is hang about, minding me like an old nanny. Aren't you missing out?”

Chioto quirks a smile. “I am not one of them. This is my duty.”

Somewhere inside, banked deep beneath numbness and inadequacy, a brighter feeling sparks. “How are you not one of them? You just said they're your tribe.”

In a rare moment of hesitation, Chioto looks away and coaxes the dying fire back to life. “They took me in when I lost my people. They are my tribe, but I am not one of them. I serve my purpose here and I'm happy to do it. I could have nothing or no one.” Chioto stops and regards him. “Perhaps this is not something you can understand.”

He rubs his healing chest. The ache throbs deep inside. “Ah, mate. I understand what it's like to not belong. Don't need to be human to get that.”

Unsmiling, Chioto stares at him evenly. “Demons slaughtered my people when I was a boy.”

Even though he’s fairly certain that is one atrocity he is not directly responsible for, his throat closes with guilt.

The other man narrows his eyes in a speculative manner. “I never thought I would converse with a demon in this way. I never thought one could have something in common with me.”

He doesn't know how to respond to that, so he says nothing, staring down at the scuffed toes of his boots.

“How like a man you are,” Chioto muses.

Feeling uncomfortable, he asks, “Were they vampires, like me?”

“No,” Chioto emphasizes. “They were beasts, on all fours. They did not look like a man might--as vampires do. They did not have language.”

“You survived?”

“I alone.”

The other man’s quiet pain draws him in. “What’d you do?”

Chin down, arms braced around his knees, Chioto turns his eyes up. The fire casts deep shadows around his cheekbones. “I killed the demons, all of them, before they could kill me.” From his tone, it’s clear that's his last word on the subject.

Tags:

Spike Character Practice-Rough

Spike fucking hates everything. Bloody Dru swanning off and leaving him. Why turn him at all, if not for forever? But the slime demon was the last straw. That had just been her shoving the end of their relationship in his face to get him to stop trying. Well fine! He had other shit to do, like killing slayers. He had the best plan for this one. Gem of Amara, can’t fuck that up. And would you know, he actually found the bleeding thing? Best fight of his life with the best slayer he’s ever fought or even heard of. All under the blinding sun. Even though he lost, he still replays that sunny afternoon. The quips, the blows, the sheer adrenaline. He’d been pissed about losing the ring--all that hard work literally down the drain. But he quickly found he had other concerns when halfway down the sewer tunnel he ran into a squad of geared up soldier types armed with high powered tasers that zapped him straight unconscious. Then waking up to be poked and prodded, observed and caged...no sodding way. The Nazi’s had cleaved onto demon experimentation back in the forties and Spike knew even then to steer the fuck clear. And here he was, in California of all bloody places, caught in the net anyway.
Escape and defiance consumed him. He made it to the staff bay outside of the containment cells before the security doors locked him in. After that, what little freedoms he’d had were restricted. He’d spent a good deal of time stewing and staring at the ceiling, ignoring the tainted blood bags in favor of running through his kill list. Slayer was still on top. For all he knew, she was in cahoots with these government types. In his darkest, quietest moments, unable to distract himself, Spike entertained the thought that this underground hellhole might be where he’d dust. Inglorious, unknown and unremarkable.
Sometimes, usually while under the butcher’s knife, he felt sorry for himself and wished for his family again. Pathetic. He always hated himself afterwards for getting to that point. Angelus was as good as dead and Darla definitely was gone. Dru obviously didn’t care enough about him to stick close. A rescue, even if the pixies whispered to her her childe’s woes, was farfetched at best.
No, as usual, Spike was on his own. Becoming part of an esteemed vampire bloodline as a fledge had been due to sheer luck and Dru’s fancy. Couple decades together--long enough to learn the ropes--and then losing Angelus, and therefore Darla, had left Spike young and guideless in a still-new and fathomless world. Drusilla, his sire, would have normally been the one to take the lead of their lives, if they’d decided to carry on together, but as was the case, Spike took the lead. He bowed to her wishes, of course, but he steered their course and kept them safe. Dru was no shrinking violet herself--until Prague anyway--and together they were a fearsome, unconventional team. In this way, Spike became the youngest master vampire in history--circumstance forcing him to rise to the occasion, instead of following the usual stunted growth that vampires achieve in the shadow of their elders. Youngest master vampire, slayer of slayers. Feared around the world in demon and demon-wise communities. Master of his fate, unpredictable, uncontrollable….trapped. Useless. Alone. Where death row was an operating table, his body a puppet for his captors. So yeah. Spike is pissed. And he comforts himself with visions of blood. Or he did until the Slayer showed up in the cell next door.

Picture Prompt BTVS



Photo credit JasonChanArt.com found on Pinterest

Giles staggers back. His protests catch in his mouth, unable to leave the ordinary way. His words mix with his blood and drip out of the gash in his throat. The old watcher sinks to his knees. Above him, Buffy's hair glows like a halo under the streetlight.

Giles tips to the side, limbs loose and cold. Grit and moisture clings to his cheek.

Buffy, he mouths, voice gone. His girl turns and walks away. Giles strains to watch his Slayer leave until his skewed spectacles fog up and his eyes fog up and his mind fogs up and there is no more.

Blood for Blood, her shadow whispers in her ear. Yes, Buffy thinks. That's only fair. Her numb fingers grip tighter around the handle of the long knife.

Buffy's every step drags her forward through the shifting landscape. A rainy street. Now slick pavement steps. Down across the railroad tracks. Walking through clumpy dark sand that sticks to her neat white sneakers. Waves crash ahead. Buffy can hear the ocean but there's no light to see the waterline. Excitement flutters the pit of her lead-heavy stomach. She could stride straight into the thieving tides and never know it until the living water was upon her. Buffy doesn't smile but she's happier at the thought.

Not yet. Buffy's shadow soothes. Buffy closes her eyes to blackness of night and behind the dark of her own eyelids she smells the salt in the air, hears the whistle of the lonely wind. Not yet, and not that way. A dim memory surfaces, drowning in a puddle of water. Buffy doesn't want to lose her breath beneath hungry waves. She turns, putting the rush of water to her left and moves on.

Boardwalk. Closed snack shack. Storage units with graffiti. Ants marking their progress, her shadow says, voice of silk. You are the authority among these scrabbling insects. Show them.

Buffy slides her damp jacket from her shoulders. Metallic and pungent with cooling blood, the soiled cloth squelches in her hand. Buffy paints rusty red swipes over the words the bugs of the earth scratched into the walls and doors and smiles for the first time all night.

"The hell are you doing?"

Buffy turns. An old man bundled up against the elements frowns at her. "What kind of paint is that?" Buffy doesn't answer. She moves past him. "Hey!" A gloved hand lands on her shoulder.

Buffy flips the knife in her hand neatly and stabs behind and to the side. A wet gurgle and a thud rings in the empty streets. Buffy moves on. Her shadow, weightless for once, glides by her side.

They catch her in the park. Headlights swing around, beams cutting across her body and Xander's car screeches to a halt in front of her. Buffy stares unblinking into the lights. Her shadow must be sticking to her back to hide from the light. She can't see it anywhere.

Xander's driver door creaks open. Friend.

Blood for Blood. A quiet reminder. But that's not right. What blood has Xander drawn from her?

Boy. Smothering weight. Holding you down.

Memories flash by. Hyena breath in her face, trying to pin her, but she's too strong. Sarcastic comments. Derision. Eyes on her ass, on her chest.

Hugs and you're my hero--

Lying to her. Setting her up to kill Ang--to kill her love.

Xander exits his vehicle, hands held up. "Buff. It's gonna be okay. It's just me. Xander."

Blinding you. He'd blind to everything good and important for his own designs. He blinds you now.

Buffy squints into the headlights.

"No matter what Buffy, we love you, you know that right? We--god, please tell that's not blood all over you." Xander's face whitens. Buffy looks down at herself. Not-so-white shoes. Jeans. Blood splattered shirt that doesn't cover her belly, her shoulders. Buffy lifts a listless hand to trail her fingers through blood smeared on her bare collarbone. Her other hand clenches around the knife.

"O-okay. It's okay. We can help you. Everybody wants to help you, Buffy. I can drive us back to them and we'll help you, like you've helped us so many times." Xander inches closer.

Justice, Buffy's shadow hisses, voice echoing to her from all sides. They take and they take and they'll take from you again. You owe him nothing, but he begs you to give. Wait for it. He'll do it.

Xander smiles, but it's not his usual goofy grin. "Give me the knife, Buffy. Come to the car. We'll go home."

Blinds you, smothers you, takes from you. Give it to him, her shadow whispers.

Buffy closes the distance between her and Xander in a heartbeat. Xander jumps a little. "Good! Good, Buffy. This'll all be over soon--"

"An eye for an eye," Buffy says. Xander freezes.

"What--"

Buffy hears an old teacher, can't remember his face, smells like musty books and Earl Grey, guiding her. Focus, pinpoint, attack.

Xander sobs a shriek and falls to the ground. Buffy inspects the knife tip, slick with blood from Xander's eye. She leaves him and moves on.

The keys are still in the car.

--Pt. 1--

BTVS Prompt

Also known as: me trying to upload photos correctly.




Okay! Nice.

So this is going to belong in Slayer of Strange Gods. I think Buffy wants a passionate love, but she also wants this from her SO. I fully believe Spike can give her both aspects. And vice versa. I could definitely see B telling Spike this anywhere between S5-S7 canon.
Giving this place a whirl. Seems like a great place to write. I'm really diving into writing lately so maybe this journal can help keep me on track :S

Fanfiction: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

WIP's: Buffy the Victorian Slayer
Accursed (75% done)
Grave
Slayer of Strange Gods (for Nanowrimo Camp!)
Through the Looking Glass (not posted)
Spellbreak (unposted)
Her Missing Peace (unposted)
April Fool's Day challenge (unposted, 75% done)
In Which the Potential's Time Travel and are Greatly Befuddled (75% done)
Complete: Ten Minutes
Family Matters

Just signed up for an online creative writing course through my local community college. We shall see how this all pans out. My aim is to sharpen my writing skills.