Rating: NC-17 overall
A/N: Written for my psych_30 table, prompt # 30 denial. This will be a 30 chapter fic, posted as I get inspiration. Takes place in an AU Season 6. Contains several lines from Robert Frost's poem "Nothing gold can stay"
Summary: Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Grief and a kind of madness take Spike and Xander places they aren't sure they want to go....
Spike sat silently in the shadows of his crypt, lit cigarette dangling carelessly from his lips. The door stood open, deadly rays of sunshine retreating inch by agonizing inch. The mingled golds and purples of dusk played tag on the flagstones outside, disorderly and chaotic art in action.
Nothing gold can stay, Spike thought morosely. Too much bloody truth in those words.
Words were cold comfort now. Buffy’d taken her swan dive into the history books, and still he sat here. He’d seen a lot of death in his day and caused most of it, but this was different.
The shadows deepened, pushing back the fragile light of day. So Eden sank to grief… Her death had been a poem, written in the graceful arch of her back and the mangled wreckage of bloody limbs. He’d been a terrible poet, but Spike could recognize art when he saw it. Death was an art, if done properly.
His thoughts tangled and snarled, flashing from a broken body to the face of an angel and back again. He’d learned at the feet of a master, sometimes literally, how to make death beautiful. The sensuous curve of a broken neck, the velvet wash of blood spilling from a forever screaming mouth, these were the tools of his trade.
What he’d never been able to master was how to look away from death. It transfixed him, its glories and its grace holding him hostage. Now he found himself surrounded by children who smiled at death.
The stomp and clatter of clumsy feet shook him awake. He stood slowly, hand reaching out absently to pull his weapon in close. It was time, past time actually. The world had surrendered to night with a whimper and a sigh. This was his world now.
There were no words, just a curt jerk of the head beckoning him. He stalked forward, pausing to stare coolly at the shadowed face in front of him. The flat expression never matched the stormy eyes, and that pleased him.
It was the wrongness of it all that bothered him. Plant a girl in the ground one day and then skip off into the sunshine as if nothing was amiss. At first he’d called it courage, had been impressed by their resolve. The bloody Scoobies showing the world their stiff upper lips and all that rot.
But as summer faded and the leaves began to die, the whole show started to strike a false note. They weren’t hiding their grief or struggling to comprehend a world gone out of control. They were playing a game of make-believe, hiding from the monster under their bed.
He’d poked and prodded for months now, searching for a weak spot. So far as he could tell, their armor of denial had no chinks. Except in Xander’s eyes.
So every night, he stopped and stared. It wasn’t that he enjoyed their pain, though sometimes he did. It was more this time.
They never spoke her name, everything she’d owned had been boxed away and hidden. Spike could barely remember the sound of her voice or the color of her eyes. But he still had his grief and he clung to it. He wanted some sign that he wasn’t alone and he found it every night in the dark brown eyes of Xander Harris.