Again, again, fuck, no, not again…it was all Spike could think as he lie on the floor of his crypt, curled into a ball and clutching his head uselessly. Ever since he’d taken that godforsaken trip to Africa on the ridiculous mission to regain his soul, it was happening more and more frequently.
He’d thought he’d known why he was doing it. He’d thought he would stroll right back into Sunnydale and the Slayer would love him back because now he had a soul, he wasn’t just a monster anymore, right? Like Angel had been, a demon, yeah, but souled and worthy of Buffy’s love. More worthy, in fact, because he’d gone out looking for it, he hadn’t been cursed by it like Angel had. Spike had done it on purpose. With a purpose.
It didn’t take long before Spike figured out that what he’d gained, along with the goddamn soul, was the occasional sexual attention of his love, peppered by outbursts of her anger and then, sometimes, even worse than that, her pity. Along with that, he had to live with the guilt of the horrific things he’d done in his past and these debilitating headaches that left him useless for hours, sometimes for days at a time.
When the pain was at its worst, he was absolutely certain it hadn’t been worth it. He would have traded it back in a hot second if that would give him an escape from this agony.
Spike had endured his fair share of torture over the last hundred years or so, and that kind of pain, he could deal with. It wasn’t easy, of course, but his preternatural strength and ability to heal was a big help.
This kind of pain, though, this ache inside his head like someone had installed an industrial earth-mover behind his eyes, right in the front of his skull…he couldn’t heal himself from that. And he couldn’t stop it. Alcohol didn’t help. He’d tried snorting cocaine a few times, but the buzzing sensation it gave him only made it worse after the ridiculously short high came crashing down. Once, he’d even shot up heroin, and it worked, it did, for an hour. Then he started puking up blood and bile, and again the pain in his head was back with a vengeance.
Spike had put a fair amount of effort into locking himself up when he felt these episodes coming on, not wanting anyone to know about it, not wanting anyone to see his weakness.
It didn’t work for long, though. After just a few weeks, when he was huddled up in a corner of his darkness, he heard the sound of someone entering his space. Even in his pathetic state, the scent in the air made it clear, shocking him to his very core.
Because it couldn’t be! Not her, not this innocent child who should never be subjected to such horror.
It was, though. No getting around it. Even in the pitch black, he recognized Dawn.
He thought even if he was in literal Hell, he’d recognize Dawn. Always.
As if she knew how badly sound hurt him (and of course she knew), she whispered as she crouched down next to him.
“Tell me what I can do for you, Spike. Please. I didn’t tell anyone I was coming, I didn’t tell anyone that I knew this was happening to you. But I can’t stand it. There has to be something?”
Spike just shook his head, unable to speak, unable even to open his eyes. His whole body trembled with the aftershocks of the agony he felt in his head, his brain, his skull, whatever.
“How about if I just stay for a while, then? I won’t say anything else.”
And that was just the end of it, he knew there was no fucking way he was deserving of this kindness but he couldn’t refuse it. He leaned forward and rested his forehead on the girl’s shoulder as she gently placed her arms around his chest. “Shhh, don’t say anything, just try to rest a little, please?”
Big, bad, scary vampire. Weeping onto the shoulder of a teenage girl.
That’s what his soul got him. He’d take it.