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Used Souls

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"Spike," Buffy asked softly, as she absently drew designs on the vampire's bare chest that was currently doubling as her pillow, "are you awake?"

"No," he replied shortly, not opening his eyes.

"Liar," she retorted, readjusting her head so that her chin rested on his shoulder and she could look up into his face.

Spike sighed, releasing air he didn't even need in the first place. It was really only half a lie, as he has been in that special floaty place you go when you're hovering between sleep and consciousness, when his lover's voice brought him back to the land of the living.

"Well now m' awake," he relented, opening one eye when he felt her gaze boring into his cranium. "Question is pet, why're you?"

"I can't sleep," she answered with a light sigh.

"Clearly, hence the thrilling tête-à-tête we're having right now," Spike pointed out. "Why can't you sleep goldilocks?" he asked, resettling back into his pillow.

"I was just thinking-"

"Always a dangerous prospect," he interjected with a yawn, closing his eyes.

"Well, wondering is more like it…" she continued, ignoring his jibe.

"Wonderin' bout what luv?" he prompted, when her voice trailed off and she didn't seem inclined to continue.

"Never mind, it's silly," she backpedaled, settling her head back down on his chest. "Go back to sleep, I didn't mean to wake you."

Spike waited a long moment until he realized that she really meant to go to sleep.

"Are you serious? You can't start a question like that and then go never mind ," he said incredulously, his eyes popping back open.

"No, it was a stupid question, forget I even brought it up," Buffy insisted, burrowing her face into the crook of his shoulder.

"You can ask me anything, pet, you know that," he prodded gently.

"Well, I've been thinking and…" she stopped again.

" And… "

"And," Buffy hesitated, "you know what, it's late, I'll ask Giles another time."

"Buffy!" he exclaimed losing his patience, really just wanting to know her question so he could go to sleep, "Just ask the bleedin' question!"

"Geez, Mister McCranky Pants," she huffed indignantly. "I said never mind."

"SLAYER!" Spike finally lost it.

"FINE!" she relented, surprised by his outburst. "I just wanted to know where souls come from, alright!"

"Wait, what ?" he asked, sure he heard her wrong.

Buffy slid out of his embrace slightly so she could prop herself up on one elbow and look at him while she spoke. "Where do souls come from?" she repeated.

"The stork or the cabbage patch," Spike answered glibly with a shrug of his shoulders. "I don't know, everyone's born with one that's all."

"But not you," Buffy countered. "Well, that's not true, you were born with one," she amended to his cocked brow, "but you lost it and then you got it back. So …where did it come from?"

"Well you see pet," Spike started, grinning lecherously up at her, "when a man loves a woman very very much-"

"Shut up," she admonished smacking him lightly on the stomach, as she shifted so she was sitting cross legged on the bed. "I'm being serious. I really want to know. Where did your soul come from? And Angel's too for that matter. Is it the same soul you had when you were alive?"

"Well, I don't rightly know," Spike answered honestly, having never thought about it before.

"Because the way I see it, William was a good man," she paused slightly to wait for Spike's nod to the affirmative, even though he had no idea where she was going with this train of thought. "So when Drusilla killed him the alley, all logic points to his soul going up to heaven, not just some sort of soul cold storage, while the demon took up residence in his body. So, when you won your soul back, did you pull it out of heaven? And if you did, was William pissed off? Because you know, having been there and done that, I found it not of the good. But then again, I only got a couple months in heaven and I was ready for my rest at the time. He got a hundred and twenty years of peace and he was brutally murdered, maybe he wanted the second shot. Or maybe he knew why you wanted your soul back and he found it noble and was willing to come back for a good cause. Or maybe, you know, you've always had more humanity in you than any other vamp I ever met, and there has always been more William in you than you wanted to admit, even during your whole big bad phase. So maybe you never lost all of your soul at all. I mean, I wouldn't really be all that surprised to find out that Dru screwed up somehow when she turned you and left behind a chunk. So maybe William was just happy to be reunited with the rest of himself."

"Wow pet," Spike interjected, sitting up against the headboard so that he was even with her, his head spinning as he tried to keep up with all of her maybes . "You've really thought a lot about this, haven't you luv?"

"And what about Angel?" she continued as if he hadn't interrupted. "I mean from all accounts Liam wasn't exactly a god fearing sort of guy. So, when Darla killed him, did his soul go to heaven or hell? And his soul was cursed on him, if Liam had gone to heaven well that would just blow way hard to get stuck with Angelus. But if Liam had gone to hell, well then he should just be glad to be out. Maybe that's why Angel is so different from Angelus, whereas you're completely capable of being the same man with or without a soul. Maybe Liam was in hell and learned a lesson about how much hell sucks and keeps him on a tighter rein and that's why he’s Mr. Broods-A-Lot. He knows that if he doesn't find his redemption, he is going straight back to hell once he dusts."

Spike was so busy basking in the swell of pride he felt when Buffy revealed that she felt that he was as good of a man - emphasis on the man - before he got his soul as he was now, that he almost missed when Buffy stream of consciousness took yet another turn.

"But what if you didn't get your old souls back at all? What if you got brand spankin' new souls, still with their original packaging and new car smell? Are souls custom made for people or are they all kind of a blank template and it's just the way you use them that matters. And if all souls are created equal, then how does one become Hitler and another become Gandhi?"

"Gandhi's a Flucor demon," Spike interjected, without thinking.

"A what?" Buffy asked, abruptly pulling the brakes on her train of thought, at least momentarily.

"A Flucor demon," he repeated. "They're peace loving species from a different dimension, that send ambassadors to different worlds trying to spread the message of peace. Kind of poncey if you ask me and they usually get assassinated for their troubles. Didn't end to well for ol' Martin Luther King Jr. either. "

"Oh…" Buffy said, taking the new information in for a moment. "Well Oprah then. She’s human isn't she?"

"As far as I know," he verified with a smirk.

"Well, if all souls are created equal, then how does one become Hitler and another become Oprah?" she amended, picking up where she left off. "But then that begs the question as to what souls actually are," she continued, "what exactly they consist of and what is their purpose. Is it just a conscience, or is it some integral part of a person, a part of what makes them who they are? Because that throws the entire issue back up in the air. Again you have to look at the inconsistencies between you and Angel and the differences a soul made. Because Angelus is a completely different person than Angel, so that lends credence to the theory that a soul has a direct correlation to personality, and isn't just your own personal Jiminy Cricket that lives inside your head."

Spike found it amusing that she had been spending enough time around Giles over the years to use phrases like, 'lends credence to the theory' and 'direct correlation,' but then used Disney references to make a point, but he didn't dwell on it long since Buffy didn't even seem to be pausing for breath between ideas.

"But then if we look at you as an example, it seems like a soul is just more of a conscience because like I said, not much of a difference in pre-soul you, at least not so much that we ever felt the need to have a different name your alter-ego. Which is good, because Spikelus just sounds lame," she proclaimed, making Spike laugh.

"But then again, your soul can't be the only thing that gives a sense of right and wrong or else you never would have went out and gotten your soul in the first place. Although, it obviously enhanced your conscience or else you wouldn't have gone crazy from the remorse and guilt you had after you got back from Africa. Unless of course," she reconsidered thoughtfully, "that was just the basement and the First that drove you around the bend. Because Angel didn't go crazy, but he did spend a hundred years brooding and eating rats in sewers, so a couple months of crazy was definitely the better alternative. So I mean, you've both had very different reactions to regaining your souls, but how much of it is you, how much of it how you regained your souls, and how much of it the soul itself. And… and… I find it all very unclear… and contradictory… and confusing and I don't like it one bit," Buffy huffed.

"This is something that's been bothering you for awhile, hasn't it luv?" Spike asked, once she seemed to run out of steam and fell silent.

Buffy simply nodded and placed her chin in her hands, her elbows resting on her knees giving her the appearance of a pouting four year old who had been told they couldn't have a box of popsicles in lieu of dinner. The deep look of disconcertion on her face that caused her brow to furrow and her bottom lip to jut out slightly made her look so adorably obstinate that all he wanted to do was pull her down to him and kiss the frown lines right off her forehead. And so he did just that.

"Well," Spike began slowly, once he had her settled in his arms, "you raised some very good points and arguments that I will be honest in saying that I never gave much thought to. And frankly I don't really have any kind of answer or further insight on the subject. But ," he said taking her cheek in his hand, tilting her face so that she was looking directly into his eyes, "the most important thing about my soul is that I love you will all of it and will continue to do so until the end of the world. So in the long run, it doesn't really matter where my soul came from or what it's made of. All it matters, is that it belongs to you."

The tension that had built up in Buffy's body as she ranted, melted away under his pretty, but sincere words and gaze.

"I suppose you're right," Buffy relented with a gentle smile.

"I'm always right, I thought we already established that," Spike replied teasingly, causing Buffy to let out an unladylike snort that let him know exactly what she thought of that idea. "Think you can go to sleep now sweetness?"

Buffy nodded against his neck as a yawn relayed just how true that was.

"I love you, Spike," she murmured, already half way asleep.

Spike smiled and placed a kiss on the crown of her head, never tiring of hearing those words. "And I love you, Buffy."

Spike was all set to go back to sleep, but found himself remaining wide awake, staring wide eyed at the ceiling contemplating Buffy's idle question long after her breathing transitioned into the slow and even deep breaths of slumber. The sleep that he had been only moments away from, was now far from his grasp.

Well, he concluded, if he couldn't sleep, there was clearly only one thing he could do.

Easing the sound asleep slayer off of him, he padded barefoot out of their bedroom and into the living room, snatching his cell off the nightstand on his way. Collapsing into his favorite chair, he quickly scrolled through his contacts and hit the appropriate button. He only had to sit through four rings before he was rewarded with the sleep thick tone that came through the receiver.

"The world had better be ending Spike, and I mean an imminent apocalypse, because I know that's the only reason you would be calling at this time," Angel barked tiredly, having seen his errant grandchilde's name come up on the caller ID.

"Mornin' Peaches," Spike greeted cheerfully. "Where do souls come from?"