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Groundhogs of the Apocalypse

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“Come on, it’s not that bad.”

“How can you say that, Spike? L.A.’s in ruins.”

“No, only most of L.A.’s in ruins. There are bits still standing. I can see them from here.”

“Oh, yeah. That reminds me. We’re here. Here, where there’s nothing for us to eat.”

“Well, we’ve still got each other, mate.”

“Get your mind out of the gutter, Spike. I meant eat as in take in nutrition, take in sustenance.”

“I was trying to be comforting. So that’s all I get for my sensitivity, is it? Accused of gutter-mindedness?”

“The only thing sensitive about you, Spike, is your penis.”

“…..”

“What?”

“Even now, you’re still a dick.”

“I’m a what?!”

“You heard me.”

“I heard you, I just can’t believe I heard you right. I’m a dick? Well, I’m the dick that dragged your ass out of the alley before you got your head ripped off by a pack of Gragkmorphin demons! What the hell were you doing, launching yourself at all of those things?”

“I was fighting. I was going to take down as many as I could before I went down myself. It’s what Charlie did. It’s what Blue did. And even though I wasn’t there to see it, I have no doubt it’s what Wesley did. What I wasn’t doing was running away.”

“You think I was running away?”

“I saw your back getting farther and farther away from the oncoming army of darkness. That’s usually called running away.”

“Did it occur to you that I was acting as a decoy for that big, fire-breathing dragon? You know, that one that filled up the sky? Using myself as bait for the living, flying blowtorch? So that I could lead it back to the alley and bring it up face-to-face with that army of darkness you think I was running from? So that I could get it to take out that army with the couple of fireblasts that did take it out when it aimed for me and missed? So that I could keep innocents from being hurt?

“Oh, bravo, Master of the Double Twist. Excuse me while I prostrate myself before your brilliance. Do you have any idea what was going on behind your back while you were off being so clever? No, you don’t, because you don’t have eyes in the back of your soddin’ head. You didn’t see poor Charlie keep fighting, even with all his guts spilling out of his belly. He kept on until those Gragkmorphins got hold of him and, and… . And you didn’t see Blue. She kept on until her head got bitten off. You didn’t see that, did you? No, you were off leading one lone dragon on a merry little chase. But then you never did have any stomach for the trenches, did you? Always a general, never a soldier. That’s you, isn’t it?”

“What the hell are you saying, Spike? That I don’t care? Well, let me tell you something. I do care. I lost friends. Real friends, not just people who put up with me over the past year.”

“Meaning that they weren’t my friends? Well, maybe they weren’t, but I knew them and it hurts me that they’re dead. That they died in horrible ways. Painful ways. Died fighting for your cause. For your goal. For your dream of personal redemption. They’re dead, Angel. They willingly march to their deaths, and from what I’ve seen, it wasn’t for anything else but that they believed in you. Even Blue, although I gotta admit she was probably out for blood more for poor Wesley’s sake than for yours. But still, they’re dead, and here you stand, alive. Well, undead, actually. You still seem to be a vampire. So what does it matter if a few of your friends…wait, your only friends… are dead. It must feel good, all the same, that you saved the untold innocent humanity that doesn’t know you, doesn’t care about your Shanshu and sure as hell doesn’t love you. Losing all of your friends must be a small price to pay for that good feeling.”

“Fuck you, Spike.”

“I’m laid out flat by your eloquence, Peaches. What could I possible come up with as a come back to that?”

“You don’t know what I feel.”

“I know what you should feel. And I know that you really do feel it but don’t want to. I know you, and I know that you’ve always wanted to love and be loved, maybe with with no strings or expectations attached, with no sense of responsibility for your loved one’s feelings, and definitely in a way that lets you be as maniacal and sadistic as you may want to be, but loved all the same. Always, no matter what you’ve been, no matter what you’ve called yourself. And I know that your dead mates loved you unconditionally. Even when you showed them your dark, evil Angelus side, even when they thought they couldn’t trust you, they still loved you. For that, if for nothing else, you should mourn them. Let it out. Let it come out, or you’ll be ripped apart and of absolutely no good to anyone. They were your family. Grieve for them. They deserve it, and you need it.”

“You think you know me? You think you know what I feel, what I need?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“You don’t have…. I... I killed them. I killed them.”

“You didn’t kill them. You may have been instrumental in causing they’re deaths, yeah, but you didn’t kill them.”

“Thank you. That makes me feel so much better.”

“You’re missing the point, Angel. You don’t need to feel guilty for their deaths, you don’t need to feel like they’re part of helpless humanity you’re sworn to protect and you don’t need to feel like they’re part of some prophecy that’s the weight on your shoulders that brings you to your knees. They knew what they were doing. They chose to join you. They loved you, and you loved them. And you’ve lost them. It’s all right to feel it.”

”I can’t…It’s too much. It hurts too much. They’re gone. I can’t…”

“They were right where they wanted to be, there with you.”

“Yeah. And being there for me killed them.”

“They were where they wanted to be. Don’t make it all about you, Angel. Don’t talk about them like they were idiots. Don’t cheapen what they did. Don’t make their decisions to be by your side at the end mean nothing.”

“No, that’s not… I didn’t mean that. But I can’t help that’s it’s my fault. I did this. I’m responsible.”

“Well, that’s as should be. You are responsible, because they loved you enough to lay themselves down for the good you serve. But it’s not your fault. You shouldn’t feel guilty, but you should own what they did for you. And you should mourn them.

“Don’t preach at me, Spike.”

“Fuck you, Angel.”

“Where are you going?”

“Away from you. Your lack of caring except for how it’s all your doing is making me sick.”

“It’s my friends that are dead. Somehow that makes you feel unappreciated?”

“Yeah, it does. Here I am, reminding you that you and your friends loved each other. How they stood up to Evil, Incorporated for you because of that love. And what do I get for my troubles? What do I get for trying to console you, even just a little, by reminding you that your friends loved you? That they acted on that love? I get you telling me to shut the hell up.”

“What do you know from friends loving me, Spike? You stood up to Evil, Incorporated, too.”

“Yeah, I did. You wouldn’t think much of that, would you?”

“What’s that supposed to mean? Where are you going?”

“What do you care? I’ll be away from you, so you can wallow in your self-pity, self-absorption and self-aggrandizement without me in the way.”

“I’m mourning, Spike. I don’t get drunk and weepy and stupid the way you do when you mourn. Sorry if I don’t live up to your expectations.”

“Oh, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve had any expectations of you, Angelus. I’ve found that it keeps me from being disappointed in you. And as for how I am when I mourn, well, you haven’t seen me grieving for a while. You wouldn’t know, anymore, what I’m like when I mourn. But I still think you need to mourn, however you can, so that you can heal. So I’ll just be off, then, and leave you to whatever you can muster.”

“Stay.”

“Whatever for?”

“Because I said so.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t want to be alone. Not now.”

“There are people out there for you. Dog-girl and her family. Buffy. You won’t be alone.”

“I will be with them. I’ll be alone because they won’t understand. Not really. They won’t understand what I’ve done, or why, or how I can still grieve the loss of my friends when it was me who put them in harm’s way, even if they didn’t mind being there for my sake. I won’t be able to mourn with them, Spike, and I won’t be able to heal.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I do. And I know that I’ll be able to do what I need to do with you here. As obnoxious as you are, I’ll be able to do what I need to do. Don’t go.”

“I suppose there’s no use in me waiting for any further signs of appreciation and affection from you, is there? Nothing beyond ‘Don’t go.’

“Not a chance.”

“You really are emotionally constipated, aren’t you? I’d suggest a purgative, but I’ll wager the results wouldn’t be pretty, what with all the backed-up emotions being let loose all at once. You’d probably be swinging from maudlin weepiness to stake wielding rage at the drop of a hat. You’d go from trying to suck on my goolies to biting them off in the blink of an eye. I’ll do without that bit of edge-of-the-seat excitement, thank you.”

“Must you bring everything back to sex? Everything with you is sex. Apocolyptic battle to the death here, and you’re talking sex. You’re sex-obsessed.”

“Oi, I am not sex-obsessed. I’m the one talking about emotions and letting them loose, while you sit there emoting less than a slab of granite. I’m the sensitive one of the two of us.”

“Hmm. Maybe so. Probably not, but maybe so.”

“Do you want some privacy now? Bit of space to think on your friends?”

“In a while. Right now, we both need to get some blood in us. We’ll need to get moving and find some someplace. There’s nothing left here.”

“Well, I have found these.”

“What the hell are those?”

“They were part of the enemy demon army. Right little buggers. Easy enough to catch without risking life and limb, though they do try to gnaw at the toes and instep.”

“They’re rats.”

“They’re not rats, you ignorant pillock.”

“Then what the hell are they?”

“Squirrels, I think.”

“Squirrels? What kind of squirrel has three inch long fangs?”

“Demon squirrels, apparently. Or maybe small demon groundhogs, but groundhogs aren’t indigenous to the West Coast, so they’d be imports if they are. Don’t worry. They don’t seem to be able to actually bite. I think their canines are too long compared to their bodies to do any harm. It’s physics. Or maybe math.”

“What the hell are you babbling about, Spike?”

“Just the fact that the universe appears to be controlled by science and math, and that life on Earth is extremely unfair and confusing as a result.”

“You are too strange for words.”

“Maybe.”

“I still want you to stay, though. Strange as you are.”

“Then I’ll stay.”