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Sinner (a character study in ten drabbles)

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Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain. (pre-series)

‘Bloody hell,’ he says, testing.

Did it taste different, he wonders now, trickling down from beneath that crown of thorns? Seeping from divine pores in sweaty crimson beads? Gushing in cataracts from the sword blow?

‘Bloody hell,’ he says, the flavor of profane words rolling off his tongue: iron, copper, salt. He can see it glistening on that troubled brow.

Maybe the bloke did wake up behind a rock and go floating upward, or maybe not, but William’s done him better. Might be he’s up there looking down, but William’s still here.

‘Bloody hell,’ William says, and it tastes glorious.


Honor thy father and thy mother (pre-series)

Aren’t many sins he’s sorry for, but this is one. Not for the joy of her blood, weak as it was, pouring down his throat, nor how he took Dru after - vampire, here. Not for the stake he drove through her heart or the dust that soiled the carpet; not for the impulse, tragic, misguided, that guided his fangs to her neck. It was all he could do with the best he knew. He doubts a saint could do more.

Still, the creature that rose, mocking, a mockery: something’s wrong in that, something monstrous. Even he can feel it.


Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (pre-series)

It’s the same as other days to him, and church just another place, if itchier. But Dru was more devout in life; now holy sanctums offer the favorite of her mischiefs. She’s theatrical, his Dru, rising with the others for a sip of wine and then drinking her fill where she pleases. There are moments even he sits back, admiring the symmetry of it: risen again, immortal, reborn in blood.

“Do this in rememberance,” the old lines say, and damn if Spike can ever forget, his fangs buried deep in some struggling parishoner’s throat. How could holiness compare to this?


Thou shalt not covet. (Early S5)

He hates Riley. Hates the wanker: for the chip; for the disdain, not that Spike cares about that; for every broken nose and naked threat; for the necessity of fear towards any man who can hit you when you can’t hit back. Hates him for being too tall and the wrong sort of broad; for his resemblence to granola, rich in fiber and too wholesome by half. Hates his tan. Hates how he tags along after the Slayer, always interfering. Hates how he holds her, spins her around, mashes his lips on her mouth.

Hates how the Slayer lets him.


Thou shalt not commit adultery. (mid-S5)

Linear, that’s what he is. One lady at a time. A bit like Casanova (in this and other ways): serial monogomist. Where’d Dru get it, standing there in putrid slime judging a vamp for thoughts he didn’t even have? Not like he wasn’t wishing for her every bubble-gum moment he had with Harmony.

At least Harm’s a sensible sort (in this way only): unthreatened by a man’s fantasies. Always up for a game of Slayer and nary a squawk. Get her off and she’s yours; likely won’t even notice if it’s the Slayer’s name you cry. Not that he would.


Thou shalt not steal. (post-S5)

Dawn asks for a list.

Weetabix, he says. Scotch. Xander’s money. Other people’s money. A motor home – never thought he’d need that. Buffy’s sweater, soft as she must have been. Poncy clothes, much good they did him. Flowers he thought Joyce would like. The coat to end all coats (but that was battle spoils). A television. Armchair, too, and Lysol enough to cover the landfill stink. Chocolates. Buffy’s knickers, all dainty and twee, rich with the perfume of divinity. (He doesn’t actually tell Dawn about those.)

Teach me, Dawn says, red-eyed, grieved-out, and he can’t find a reason not to.


Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (S6)

You came back wrong, he says, and means it: Buffy’s eyes are dead, right enough, however much the rest of her lives.

You belong in the dark, with me, and hasn’t it always been the way with Slayers, striding the night, hunting creatures like him?

You’re addicted to the misery, and he’s sure it’s true. This is the real insight, this time.

You know you feel it. If she’ll just quit lying to herself... I’ll make you feel it. And then—

“Ask me again why I could never love you.”

No more lies; now he knows.

Oh God, he knows.


Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (early S7)

If God exists, then Angelus is He. The night is His and all that is in it, the darkness and all who walk in it.

(Unfortunately, this includes William.)

If God exists, then Drusilla is She. All knowledge is Hers and all grace; blessed is he on whom Her favor rests.

(Sometimes, this includes William.)

If God exists, then Buffy is She. She is wrath and fury, righteousness, both mercy and the sword. She demands of William more than he is and less than he would be. She lays down her life for her friends.

(This will never include William.)


Thou shalt not kill. (early S7)

Which was the first? Unpoetic illiterate vulgarian bleeding dying Philip Rattray, held in Dru’s dainty grip and pressed to William’s fresh-born lips? Mother’s final relief, so well-meant? Or wasn’t it until he pulled that lamplighter down, raw and hot with fear, and first knew a hunter’s ecstasy? All of them beginnings, bright and sharp, unfading.

Whereas the last is lost in a drunken haze, those final days post-ring, pre-chip, pre-Buffy, pre-soul. Bloke or bint, righteous or scum, he doesn’t know now. Isn’t sure he’d want to.

Can’t decide which ache deeper: the kills he remembers, or the kills he doesn’t.


Love the Lord your God and serve him only. (late S7)

Loving enough’s never been his problem. It comes too easily: Mother, Cecily, Dru, Angelus, Buffy. He sees now how love’s (almost) always been the same as need. He’s known the shame and glory of them both.

But it hasn’t all been shameful. He loves better things than himself (though sometimes objects in the mirror... well). This heat in his chest, this glow on his skin (effulgence) – of course it’s for her, everything is always, but not only anymore, nor even for her (his?) pathetic friends. It’s for all of them, maybe. Everyone.

He thinks he’s getting it right this time.