In his confused state, Spike didn’t notice the dark figure step out of the shadows across the room.
“Bloody whore!” he yelled, his body jerking with uncontrolled spasms. “I hear you! Go to HELL!” His screams faded into sobs and he curled back up, hiding within himself, muttering nonsensically.
The figure slowly stepped towards the pitiful creature on display in the center of the dusty floor.
“Rest now…rest forever.” Spike whispered.
“William,” a soothing voice broke the silence.
Spike’s widened eyes peeked out from under quivering fingers covering his face. He stared at the intruder for a moment until he realized who’d called him by his forgotten name. “Giles…” he whispered, blinking to reinforce that this wasn’t just another hallucination.
Giles took a few steps forward to reveal himself in the candlelight, his hands resting behind his back and his gaze weary and worn.
Spike jumped up cheerfully, “Rupert, old chum. What brings you back to this neck of the woods?”
Giles just stared as if his features were set in stone; his head bowed slightly with his eyes piercing shadows darkening his face.
“I knew you’d come.” Spike grinned and stepped away from the imposing man. “Hellmouth’s talkin’. Time to remember where the bodies are buried.” He paced from side to side before the old acquaintance, occasionally running his fingers through his hair and laughing inappropriately.
“They miss you…” Spike paused and looked sideways at him, “…the bodies,” he turned toward Giles and stepped up to him. “Phantoms are singing…can you hear?” Spike stopped inches from Giles face and whispered, “I hear them…always. Never-ending…they’re calling.”
Giles expression remained constant, unemotional. “You sound like Dru,” he spoke softly.
Spike smiled and looked Giles up and down, examining his attire. He dressed differently, darker; black raincoat draped over a drab gray sweater, black jeans and boots.
“Touched…right? In the head.” Spike turned away and lowered his head. “I’ve been touched.” He put a hand to his bare chest and clawed at his scarred flesh. “Can’t take it back you know.” Spike stepped back into the center of the room with Giles following slowly behind him.
“Careful what you ask for…soddin’ Hell it is!” Spike snickered and turned around, startled to see Giles right behind him.
“What did you ask for, William?” Giles asked calmly.
“William? So formal, Rupert,” Spike said mockingly and slid his fingers down Giles coat, brushing imaginary dirt from his chest. “We’re way past formality, mate!”
“What did you ask for?” Giles repeated steadily, staring into Spike’s wandering eyes.
Spike’s face grew serious and he looked down at his chest then back to Giles. After a moment of deep contemplation, he grinned and shook a finger toward the ex-Watcher.
“Not for you…not yours to question. For Buffy, I gave her what she wanted.” He tried to turn away but found his arm caught in Giles grip. Spike felt his demon face surface and he whipped around toward Giles, their eyes met. Spike saw the hidden fury behind the eyes of Buffy’s mentor.
“Tell me, what did you do?” Giles hissed, his grip on Spike’s wrist tightening with every syllable.
“I wanted the spark. Wanted her to feel the spark.” Spike spit the words out, cursing the interrogation.
“What did you ask for?” Giles seized Spike’s throat and shook him hard. Spike began to giggle and patted his attacker on the shoulder.
“Just like old times, eh pops?”
Giles released his hold and turned his back to Spike, looking at the cross perched above the entrance to the tomb.
“I’m not you’re father, William. I’m you’re conscious.” He stepped toward the symbol.
Spike was intrigued with the sudden twist in emotion and stepped toward his old roommate. “Again with the William. What gives?”
“I need you to understand,” Giles turned to face Spike again and smiled. “You need to know that I’m not here because you’re a vampire.” He took a step toward Spike. “I know what you did…what you’ve done…to Buffy,” he took another step forward.
Spike finally realized what Giles was referring to and felt remorse and guilt overtake him. He felt his jaw tighten and his eyes well with tears, cursing his show of emotion. He stood there and sobbed as Giles took another step toward him.
“I’m here to help you end this. To help you rest…rest forever. Isn’t that what you asked for?” Giles eyes looked sadly at Spike, urging for him to understand.
Spike lowered his head and wiped the tears from his eyes. His shoulders dropped and he seemed to wither before Giles.
“Yes…rest…peace…please.” He whispered.
Giles stepped up to him and stood there, looking down at the shell of the vampire cowering in front of him. Spike slowly raised his head to look at Giles, his face morphing back to William. “I’ve never said it before, but…thank you…for everything.”
Giles saw the pain and defeat in his eyes and felt for the old ally, the old enemy. He also saw a flicker of something different, something human. Giles watched as Spike wrapped his tired arms around him, embracing him warmly. He felt his chest tighten and his throat constrict with sorrow at the pathetic existence they had come to.
“Let’s end this.” Giles said softly and held Spike as he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a single large wooden match. “For both of us…for Buffy.” He flicked the tip with his fingers and it flamed alive. Spike’s body seemed to die again in Giles arms, his legs giving out and his weight pulling on Giles tired frame. “We deserve some rest.” He dropped the match and the room was ablaze in seconds. The gasoline he’d poured earlier fed the fire beautifully.
Giles held William to him, as if holding a child, as the flames encircled them. His mind filled with visions of Buffy; her smile, her beauty. She grew old, surrounded by children and grandchildren and embracing a loving man. The type of man neither him nor Spike could ever be for her. The heat smoldered around them and as his coat melted on his flesh he imagined Buffy happy and safe, a life untouched by danger or evil. She deserves it.