Over the course of nearly one and a half centuries, William the Bloody lived nine lives.
His first life started on his fifth birthday when he unwrapped his Mother's present and hesitantly read, without any help, the three
words near the volume's top.
"Elizabeth Barrett Browning."
That life was short and full of books, self-doubt, books, the mocking laughter of his peers, books and unrequited love. For that was what William the Poet did. He was good for little else, but he knew how to fall in love.
It was a short life made longer by the quiet, unspoken, buried realization that he was lacking, and by the, terrible in its
intensity, longing for something more. Something brilliant, gleaming... effulgent.
Suitably enough that life ended ingloriously in a dark and stinking alley, washed away by blood and tears among the broken dreams and shredded paper.
His second life started on a cold mahogany table, among the smells and sounds that flowered brightly behind his eyelids. It started with Darla's quietly scandalized, American-accented whisper. "She brought WHAT home?!"
It started when he opened his eyes and saw Druscilla. That was the life of Spike.
His second life was long but seemed too short as the time flew by, uncoiling gracefully and quickly like a striking asp.
It had bloody adventures and dead slayers, six continents and freedom, Pamplona and Peking, two world wars and Dru.
It ended in a wheelchair, as he strained to catch every sound in Dru's bedroom where Angelus was showing him his place.
His third life started in DeSoto with Sunnydale in the rear-view mirror.
It had misery and it had tears and more William than Spike was willing to admit. It had the loss of Dru and screaming Angel and for a few glorious hours it had sunlight and bleeding Slayer.
Until he screwed it up and it ended in a cage.
His fourth life started in a college dorm room as he incredibly found himself assuring a distraught redheaded witch that he would bite her if he could.
His fourth life lasted barely a year and was just as surreal as its start promised. It had chains and a bathtub, attempted suicides,
unfortunate Hawaiian wardrobes, double-crossing cyborgs, Harmony, crypt, Weetabix and Passions, and waking up to a realization that he had yet to experience the true meaning of the words "Love's Bitch."
Suitably perhaps it ended in a surreal nightmare.
His fourth life ended in a dark and stinking alley, washed away by blood and tears, among broken dreams and shredded paper.
His fifth life started on a porch with an awkward pat on the Slayer's back. It was short and confusing and brilliant and strange. It had humiliation and vague hopes, angry gods and angry boyfriends, pain and robot sex-toys.
It made little sense and ended brutally with a kiss from her.
His sixth life was six hours long and lasted an eternity.
It started with an invitation. Three simple words that contained a universe.
"Come in, Spike."
It had hope and fear and betrayal, a promise and a failure and the deaths of gods and crumbling of worlds. It had redemption and
damnation, blood and tears.
His sixth life ended with a broken body lying on the stones.
His seventh life had no clear beginning. It was a life without her. It lasted three months and it had Nibblet.
It had memories. It had nightmares, many nightmares and the blurred days, and Nibblet. It had bourbon, and the bike, and meaningless hunts, and group patrols.
But nightmares and Dawn most of all.
It ended of course when she came back.
His eighth and final life made less sense than all before. It started when he saw her. At that moment it exploded and uncoiled like a compressed spring, expanding and consuming him with the speed of light. For it had Buffy.
It had the silly shark demons and dressing up in tweed, it had Dawnie's first kiss, and Red's slide into the darkness, and Glinda's death.
It had the return of angry boyfriend, the demon eggs and the loss of crypt.
It had the cold bathroom tile and scared, betrayed eyes and the amazing sex, and soul, kisses and rejections.
It had insanity and murder, the crazy preachers, end of the world and the First. But mostly it had Buffy.
His eighth life ended with a lie, and a bang, and a laugh.
All in all, his eighth life ended just how he always knew it would.
Spike's ninth life was not supposed to begin. Or be. So he was more than a tad surprised when he opened his eyes and came face to face with God. Or what Spike assumed to be God, in any case.
As it turned out, God was a skinny Asian bloke who smoked Silk Cut and muttered to Himself and demanded to know what Spike was doing on His kitchen's floor.
William the Bloody's ninth life started off with a slow migraine directly behind his left eye.