Exaggeration and Blank Verse
Rain On A Tin Roof
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series

The moon rose and the sun set and Spike went walking in the dark.

There was nowhere to go in the desert, nothing to see but rocks and sand and a scattering of scrub plants, but it was a relief to be out, to be in motion, to escape the cloud of despair caught within four walls.

He didn't look back at the little shack behind him, just tucked his chin against the wind and walked. He chose his direction at random- he'd never been one for reckoning by the stars, and anyway it didn't matter because he had no nowhere to go. There was nothing close enough to reach by sunrise, anyway. He was without destination, without destiny, without purpose or plan. And still he walked, because fear of becoming dust and ashes was less than the need for escape, tonight.

It had been a difficult day, crowded with ghosts and despair. The desert sun had pounded on the metal roof of the shack and turned it into a sweltering torture chamber. The daylight kept them prisoner, bound to the limits of that fifteen by fifteen cell, Spike sitting a vigil of clasped hands and weary eyes in the single chair across from the bed where Angel writhed and wept.

He savagely kicked at a stone, sending it flying off into the encircling darkness. It had been a very bad day, that was all, one where Angel's ghosts drew so close around him that he couldn't see Spike sitting there anymore. If he'd stayed past nightfall, his grandsire might have remembered him; surely when he slipped back inside in the dawn light Angel would know him again.

He closed his eyes and stopped for a moment, going still and letting the wind and the silence press against him. He had to remember; he mustn't forget; there were good days. Days when the ghosts eased off for an hour or two, and Angel's eyes focused on the real world and the vampire at his bedside, and he really saw that Spike was there. Saw his patience and his loyalty and his pure and separate suffering- less acute than Angel's, perhaps, but no less real- and the remorse in his eyes would become specific and he'd beg forgiveness and they'd take comfort in each others arms.

He laughed- a bitter bark of laughter that certainly didn't mask a sob. He shook himself, opened his eyes, resumed walking.

Oh, yes, comfort. Comfort in the grotesque dance of two bodies fading away to sticks, comfort in the raw agony of scars and burns broken anew.

Some of his own wounds were worried open again simply by the action of walking. He could feel the sharp fresh stings under his clothes, feel the wetness on his skin- blood he couldn't spare. Months had passed and still the cuts didn't heal, couldn't heal on the rationed diet of goat's blood from the tiny herd penned up behind the shack, left there by the man they'd found as they staggered east from LA, dead in the bed where Angel now lay. When Spike tossed the corpse out into the sand, he'd thought they would only stay there long enough to heal and then move on. At that point he hadn't considered that they had nowhere to go, or that vampire's couldn't heal in a sun-drenched land, not on meals of goat's blood. Perhaps he himself could, if he could drain the animals dry on his own. But Angel...

He rubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand, although they were perfectly dry. The weeping mass of burns and cuts and scar tissue that was Angel wouldn't heal on a hundred year's of goat's blood, or pig's blood, or maybe not even human blood now. Sire's blood could save him, perhaps; sire's blood and a brush of magic. A bit problematic, considering that his sire was two times dust and not likely inclined to be charitable to her wayward child even if she could be dragged up from Hell again.

Not that Angel would accept it, even if Spike lay a bleeding Darla at his feet. He muttered a soft round of curses into the indifferent desert wind.

Angel had given up his theory of redemption by good works and reached back for an older form of his birth faith, the pale and stern and terrible ancient Catholic belief in antonement through the sufferings of the flesh. He writhed on filthy sheets instead of a bed of nettles, but certainly he enjoyed his martyrdom no less than any ancient nun lost in a glory of self-flagellation...

And Spike enjoyed his own emotional impalement not in the least. He had to laugh; oh, hypocrisy, how pallid you grow by moonlight!

He stopped at the crest of a small hill and looked out at the wild stars. This was as far as he ever got, so many footsteps into the sand and no more. The stopping-point, where he hesitated and chose between going on and returning. This night, he would go back; he knew it with a simple and painful clarity. He would go back because of the slim hope cherished in his unbeating heart, that when he stepped through the door Angel would look up from his martyr's bed and see him- really see him- see him as a person, someone who waited and loved, and not as the twisted symbols he'd seen reflected back in his other lovers' eyes.

His mother had told him when he was young that he loved too intensely, with an excess of passion and an utter absence of self-preservation. It was true; he couldn't help it or hide from it; he was a slave to love. It filled him, consumed him, blinded him and burned him to ashes, and was never met by an answering fire. All he'd ever received for his pains was the obedient worship paid to a symbol.

But he would go back, because the ghost of hope was ever the last part of the soul to be consumed.

And yet the night would come when he wouldn't return. He knew that, with the same resolute and dreadful certainty that he knew there were four hours and twenty-six minutes until sunrise. Angel's heart wouldn't turn, Spike's voice couldn't cut through the wails of the dead, and one night he would go. He would keep walking over the rise and across the desert, never looking back. He would mourn, in his heart, for another lost champion, another unrequited love, but in the end he would drag himself from the sacrifical fire. Not this night, but another. Someday, somewhere the road would lead to something brightly burning, a new purpose, but that would be years and miles on...oh, but the road would be so lonely and cold...

He shut his eyes, unable to bear the vast dark emptiness mirroring his heart.

He had a fleeting thought of staying there on the wind-scraped hill and waiting for the sunrise, but his feet were already carrying him back to the shack and its despairing safety.

He would survive, he would endure, he would bear this heartache until he could bear it no longer and then he would go on.

To use words bought at a dear price and wisdom won the hard way- what else was he going to do?
****

"Rain On A Tin Roof" (Julie Roberts)
His eyes are blue just like the ocean
His heart is a river free
And now and then he gets the notion
And he finds his way to me
His love’s like…
Rain on a tin roof
The sweet song of a summertime storm
And oh, the way that it moves you
It’s a melody of passion ragin’ on
And then it’s gone
He tells me he’ll be back to see me
Every time he has to go
And I keep wondrin’ just when that’ll be
‘Cause with him you never know
His love’s like…
Rain on a tin roof
The sweet song of a summertime storm
And oh, the way that it moves you
It’s a melody of passion ragin’ on
And then it’s gone
And just like a thirsty field, I can’t complain a bit
‘Cause I’m thankful for every single drop I get
His love’s like Rain on a tin roof
The sweet song of a summertime storm
And oh, the way that it moves you
It’s a melody of passion ragin’ on
And then it’s gone
And then it’s gone
Then it’s gone

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