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In Shadows

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The silence is deafening. I know it’s cliché and something read in books since like forever, but in this case it really, really is.

My eyes don’t adjust to the darkness quickly enough for me and as I stand here, feeling vulnerable and exposed in the inky blackness, a shiver rips through my body. I’m glad no one is around to see it and I feel like a total goof.

It suddenly occurs to me that I'm very foolish for coming and thinking I can make something better for him when everything has all fallen apart, for us all. I sigh and turn to leave, a little confused about which direction that door might be, when I see him.

He’s just a shadow, but the moon plays on his hair, giving him away.

“What do you want, witch?” he asks and I just know he’s been watching me the entire time.

“Uh, Spike, I…well there was Xander and the flowers and I know you didn’t leave a card and weren’t coming in and I just wanted to say that I, um, I get it…understand, you know?”

Way to go Rosenberg! How is it that he can still make me tremble in fear when I know he’s pretty much harmless and doesn’t even want to hurt us anymore? I can’t see his face as he’s still cast in shadow, unwilling to let me see his expression.

He’s good for that, hiding behind his mask of indifference. We all see through it, but it’s his delusion so whatever.

But that loud hush is there again and despite my own resolve to wait him out, I speak.

“Spike…a-are you okay?” I'm so not proud of the stammering.

There is a derisive snort as he immerges from his murky darkness. As usual, I have to struggle against an urge to inhaled deeply and step back from him…or closer to him, sometimes I don’t know which, but examining that would lead to badness so I don’t. I’m brave like that.

“Her mum is dead, pet. She was the only one of you that gave me a fair chance. So no, I am not…okay.” He rolls his eyes and turns away from me, in favor of a bottle of amber liquid, probably scotch or whiskey, which seem to be his favorites. Why I know this is another thing that can’t be explored. And did he just say…?

My eyebrow goes up and I wonder if he has forgotten the many times he tried to… oh…eat me!

“Are you having one of those really convenient selective memory day? I mean… you did try to kill me.”

He swigs from the bottle and twists around, his considerable gaze settling on me, making me squirm a little.

“I never tried to kill you. Not really,” he admits sullenly.

“Uh…bottle in face, fangs in neck…oh, and let's not forget the broom closet on Parent Teacher night.”

He’s frowning and tilts his head. I can hear my inner “aawww” because he looks like a puppy. Then comes my inner “slap across my face” for thinking such dangerous things.

“You were in there with the cheerleader. I knew it, Red, could smell you, and deliberately took a long time getting to you. I could have ripped the door off and drained you both before she came to your rescue. And as for the those other times…you weren’t going to stay dead for long, pet.”

The shiver returns. His voice is thick with sadness and I wonder if it all has to do with Buffy’s mom.

“Spike, that’s not flattering. I mean…it is kinda, but not really, ya know?”

He only nods, but looks unconcerned.

“So why're you here?”

I fumble for something and can only come up with the truth so I blurt it out, as I am prone to do.

“I just wanted to tell you that Xander was wrong and I thought the flowers were nice. She would have like them…especially coming from you.”

He looks at me and at first it’s disturbing, but I soon get why. He is surprised. None of us have gone out of our way to befriend him and that makes me sad. After a moment he nods again and I know things are just a bit better for him and I turn to leave.

As I walk home, I don’t acknowledge the vampire that stays to the shadows and has seen fit to be certain I arrive there safely, but I think I appreciate him all the more for it.