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Saying Goodbye To A Friend

Title: Saying Goodbye To A Friend
Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Spike, mild Spike/Buffy, Joyce
Rating: PG/K+
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike Prompt Card: Free Choice: Your Choice: Spike and Joyce and Mini Nekid Guest for September 2017: Joyce
Warning(s): Cannon Character Death
Word Count: 1,315
Date Written: 6 September 2017
Summary:
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.






“I should have come sooner, I know,” Spike says, gingerly stroking the side of the gray, cemented headstone with the backs of his pale knuckles, “but I didn’t know when she wouldn’t be here. She stays busy, that one, always saving the world, but she visits you every night. Don’t know why I’m telling you that. You already know it.”

“I hope she knows,” he continues murmuring as much to himself as to her, “you know she’s here every time and that she’s sorry she couldn’t save you.” He shakes his head. “Life’s a kick in the ass, but then, you know that, don’t you, Joyce? Girl saves everybody time and again, but she can’t save her own mum and she kicks herself more for that than anything else. She can’t do nothing good in her own eyes, ‘cause she couldn’t save you.”

“It hurts. I know it does. I tried to save my own mum ages ago. Didn’t work out.” There are tears in his eyes and stops talking, turning his head this way and that as he listens intently. “Thought for a moment I heard her. Buffy’d serve me to the sun if she caught me here, you know. That’s why I couldn’t come before.”

“It’s funny.” He shakes his head at the memory. “I remember you tellin’ me once, more than once actually, that you wish your gel would fall for a nice boy like me. Tried to tell you I wasn’t nice, but you wouldn’t hear it. You said anybody who’d take the time to sip hot cocoa and listen to an old woman ramble had to be good at heart. Wish she could see that.”

“But you know, Joyce, I still stand by what I told you before, too: You weren’t old. You still had so many good years in you.” He sniffs, refusing to accept that there are tears glittering in his darkened, blue eyes or to let them fall. “Sorry, luv. Didn’t mean to make you sound like a car.”

“Although you did keep that girl moving, you know? Even before you found out what she is and what she really does every night, you were part of what kept her motivated, what kept her fighting. She tried giving the life up a couple o’ times. It always came back to her. The Vamps, they’d jump her by surprise, and she was always so afraid that something would happen to bring them -- to bring us, I’ll admit -- to you.”

“I think you figured out I was a Vampire after you learned the rest. And maybe I did come to you the first time because I was tryin’ to spook her, but I couldn’t bite you. I could never have bit you, could never have hurt you. I told you once you reminded me o’ my own mum, but that wasn’t exactly true.”

“Mum doted on me, she did. It wasn’t until I made an arse of myself in public that she let me know how she really felt. It wasn’t bad enough that the girl I thought I loved laugh in my face when I made my intentions known to her. Mum had to rub my nose in it. She had to remind me, time an’ again, that we, not just me but her too, weren’t good enough for Cecily’s family. We were beneath them.”

“I can practically hear what you’d tell me now. You’d say it wasn’t my fault, but it wasn’t hers either. She shouldn’t’ve treated me like that, but she couldn’t help the way she’d been brought up to think. And that we were both wrong. Cecily and her family were no better or worse than we were.”

“But what would you have said if you’d known I drank all their blood after that, that I relished their screams, that I enjoyed the way Cecily begged for her life after I no longer loved her? Would you have thought me a monster then, Joyce?” He shakes his head. “But no. I would’ve scared you, but after you got over the spook, you would’ve told me I was a changed man.”

“You let a Vampire into your home, Joyce, near your daughter. You thought I’d change, thought I could be better.” He hangs his head in shame. “You’re the only one who ever did, you know. Got a chip in my head now. Couldn’t hurt a human if I wanted to. But your girl thinks it’s the only thing keeping me good. Wish I could tell her different.”


“Wish I could be different,” Spike admits and freezes for a moment, realizing that this is the first time he’s spoken that thought aloud. He looks up at the gravestone, clearly surprised. “I always could tell you anything.” He shakes his head. “Doesn’t matter, though. I could have a bleeding soul like the Great Poof you ran away from her before, and it wouldn’t do any good. She’ll never believe I can change, not like you.”

He stands. “Maybe that’s why I miss you so much. Not just because you remind me of me Mum back when things were good between us but because you’re the kind o’ mum I always wanted for myself, and because, despite everything, despite all our differences, you were always good to me, Joyce. You were always . . . “ He forces down the lump forming in his throat. “You were always a good friend to me.”

He looks up, for a moment, at the night sky. He can see more stars standing here in the graveyard than he can anywhere else in town, even on top of buildings. “You got a good view up there. I know you’ll be watching the rest of us. Like to ask you if you could help me do better, make better decisions, an’ all, but I know what you’d say: I’ve gotta do it for myself. At least I know you know I’m trying where your daughter’s never going to believe I am.”

He uncaps the thermos he’s brought and takes a sip. His mouth leaves the black thermos with a shudder, and he wipes the drink off of his black lips with the back of his hand. “Never could make hot cocoa worth a damn, but then the best cooks couldn’t compare with your recipe, Joyce. Hope you passed it on to your kids, an’ speaking of, I want you to know I’m gonna keep an eye on both of them. Don’t you worry about that. I’ll be there for ‘em, no matter how many times Buffy tries to stake me. ‘Course,” he shrugs, “if she does succeed, all bets are off. Can’t very well protect them from down under any more than you can from up there, but long as I’m living, I’ll try.”

He turns the thermos upside down and lets the cocoa pour out onto the ground. “There’s an old tradition,” he tells her, “of pouring whiskey out onto the ground of a deceased friend, or warrior. You were a warrior in your own right, old girl. You never backed down from Buffy, never stopped trying to do all you could to help her stay safe, and you never gave up or backed down from me either. Thank you for that. I know you weren’t a drinker -- an’ that’s probably part o’ th’ reason why you were so good, Mum did have her problems with th’ spirits --, but I figured you might appreciate this gesture.”

He lets the rest of the poor imitation of hot cocoa pour out before taking a step back, capping his thermos, and sliding it back into an inside pocket on his jacket. He looks longingly at the gravestone one last time. “Thank you, Joyce,” he whispers. “Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for never giving up on me.” Then, his head still tucked, Spike turns and walks away.


The End

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
lash_larue
Sep. 13th, 2017 10:43 am (UTC)
This is really beautiful, and rings quite true.

Well done.
L

I hope you came through the storm okay.
katleept
Sep. 13th, 2017 09:00 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I'm sorry for not posting sooner to tell you and others we're okay. The storm ended up being almost nothing here, not even a lot of wind, just a little wind and a lot of rain. Despite it being a lot of rain, even that couldn't be told the next day; the Earth just drank it all in. There's not even any puddles to be seen!

Hope you and yours are well!

***HUGS***
milly_gal
Sep. 14th, 2017 11:12 am (UTC)
I am actually sobbing!!! This rings SO TRUE of Spike's respect and love for Joyce, so beautiful!
seapealsh
Sep. 16th, 2017 01:48 am (UTC)
Loved this.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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