Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike 30in30: Day 22: Let Her Go, Light
Warning(s): Future AU, Character Deaths
Word Count: 1,293
Date Written: 26 May 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
It's the year 2222, and Spike still holds a crumpled picture to his heart. Every night, he takes it out again to gaze upon her beautiful face and remember the light that had filled his world for such a short time. Her life span inside of his felt like only a few years, a few blinks of tear-filled eyes, although he'd stayed right by her side from the moment she'd finally confessed her love for him until he'd buried her old and gray body on a sunny hill in England where Giles' and Willow's descendants could watch over her grave and make certain she rested this time undisturbed. He used to go to visit the site every year, but it's been a while since he's been back.
It's been a while since he's been anywhere of his own choosing. In a few minutes, the door in front of him will open -- the door in front of them will all open, and although they'll walk through them, they'll be far from free. A place like this never would have existed while his Slayer lived, but instead the Slayers who are knowledgeable about this locale allow it to continue servicing mankind. After all, why use a pack of dogs to track down criminals when Vampires get the job done faster and more thoroughly, killing the wicked for their captors without the humans ever having to get their hands dirty? It doesn't matter what they do to them to keep them tracking down the people they want; to their eyes, they're less than animals, filthy beasts of burden used for a purpose, nothing more or less, and when that purpose is done, or when they're of no more use to their master, they simply open the hole in their cell and let the sun burn them to a crisp.
Theirs is an effective plan, Spike has to admit, but it's not a plan that's going to last forever. Eventually, he's going to tear his way free, and when he does, he's going to bring down this whole damn place around him and around their proverbial ears. The other Vampires have forgotten what it's like to be free. They've forgotten that humans are supposed to be their prey, not the other way around. Just like with the Initiative back when his beloved Buffy was only a teenager, they've been stripped of the basic right of their names and all assigned a number.
But he's not Number 705513 no more than he was Hostile Number 17. Unlike the others, he remembers well who he is, what he is, and where he's come from. He remembers it all crystal clear not because he's any stronger than the other captives, but because of her. Because he still stares into her beautiful green eyes, even if only in a photograph, every time he wakes and every morning before he sleeps. He still remembers what she made him, the strength she gave him to find his own soul, to fight to get his own soul back, and for the first time in his long life, to truly be his own man. Some would have said he was her man, her pet even, and in a way, he had been, but he had been hers because he had chosen to be hers.
He will not be theirs -- not now, not ever, no matter what they do to him. Buffy showed him a light, paved a light into his darkness, and gave him a better way. He won't forget that, and he won't allow himself to succumb to their ways and being theirs when he's the last one who remembers what she taught him, what she gave him, the sacrifices she so willingly made so that the world could become a better place. In some ways, it has become what she'd wanted, but she'd never want this.
She'd never want any one, not even Vampires, to be treated as they are, released only when there's a kill to be made, kept in cages so small they can barely turn around in them and so filthy that not even a rat would deign to call them home, and fed just enough blood through cylinders extending from the ceilings to keep them alive. The hunger helped their masters to control them, and so they fed them only enough to keep them from being too weak to chase after the dinners they chose for them.
Spike's cheek flinches as he glares at the still cylinder attached to the roof. It hadn't come down today, which means they're looking for extra killings tonight. He'll humor them again this evening -- the people they're chasing down are wicked asses, after all -- but soon, he'll make his move. Soon, he'll break free and break out every other so-called monster in this joint. He doesn't have Buffy to help him any more, but although she's not there in body, she's always right beside him in soul.
When he closes his eyes during the day, Spike can almost feel her. There have been times, when the hunger's had him, that he could have sworn he heard her whispering his name, but he knows that's impossible. It's impossible for her to be here with him now, but it's not impossible for him to make her proud and he will. He'll do just that very soon.
He touches a finger to his thin lips, then presses it to her mouth in the photograph. Then, ever so carefully before one of the guards watching from above can spot him, he folds her picture back up and stashes it once more close to his heart. His love's always been close to his heart, and she's always given him strength he didn't know he possessed previously until he'd needed it the most.
"Soon, pet," he whispers, tapping her photograph through his leather duster and remembering when a younger Vamp had teased him for still keeping her picture. "Soon." Soon, he'll make her proud. Soon, he'll break himself, and all of them, free from their prisons. Soon, he'll bring her ideals into yet another new generation.
There's a reason he hasn't let go of her after all these years, or even of her picture. He needs her just as much tonight as he always has. He needs her to give him strength and to give him faith not just in himself but in his abilities and in the fact that the world can be made a better place. He needs her, and he loves her just as much tonight as he did when she was alive. He'll never let her go. Even after the last pictures he cherishes of her is old and yellow, he'll still never let her go. He'll always hold to her, because it's through holding to her that he's able to hold to himself, what he can be, what he should be, the better man she made him, the better man who will never stop fighting for her, for what she knew was right, for what she taught him was right.
"Soon," he whispers again as he walks out into the night. He's not his own man tonight, but he will be soon. Soon, he, and they all, will be free again. He lets out a weary sigh, a fleeting hope that he could be with her again soon. He will be one day, but until then, as long as he's in this world, he'll keep fighting. He'll keep fighting for a world the way she imagined it. He'll keep fighting for her love. In the end, when he has no other reason to keep going, no other strength to pull on, he'll always keep fighting for her. Always, for her.