dying in their name
by Branwyn

"Did you hear him?" Anya is peering down, her eyebrows drawn up in a bell curve, her mouth pursed in a small "o" as though she is tempted to coo. "Did you hear what Xander said about me? He was so cute."

"Yeah, love, I heard him." She looks a little anxious, although he suspects this may be chiefly out of habit. Still, putting a hand on her shoulder feels like the right thing to do.

"Do you think we'll always be able to hear them?"

She isn't looking at him, but he shrugs anyway and shakes his head. "I don't know." Then, because candor also feels like the right thing, he adds, "Maybe...maybe we won't always want to."

That doesn't seem to reassure her at all, but she asks the next question so quickly that he doesn't have time to be sure. "Do you think we're in heaven?"

Given the rate at the rate at which she is talking, Spike suspects strongly that the answer is no, at least for him, but he answers patiently. "Reckon it's possible. Likely, even, going out the way we did. The good fight, and all that."

"Ok." Her shoulders relax marginally. Then she adds in a nervous voice, "I was just. Afraid. Because it was us."

"Us?" He has a sudden urge for a cigarette, and--after patting both his pockets and finding them empty--a sinking sensation in his stomach.

"Yes. I mean look at us. Remember who we are?" When he continues to stare blankly, she says, "the vampire," pointing at him, "and the demon girl." She taps her chest. "Remember? How do we know--I mean. I was just afraid that...." She sighed. "Maybe we didn't have our souls long enough for them to count. Or something." She is rubbing her arms, despite the lack of cold, heat, or any other sensation that Spike can detect. "I mean, look at us. Our deaths smack suspiciously of poetic justice."

"Anya." He tries to delay the small smile that's coming, even though it, too, feels right and natural, and chooses his words carefully. "We've had our souls every bit as long as the children. In fact, we've had them longer."


"We lived out our mortal lives same as the rest of them, didn't we? Then we became demons. And then we got the souls back and lived with them some more."

"But we--"

"In fact, as I recall it, we both of us sought our souls while still in demon form. Judging from the number of intrusive personal questions the Watcher has asked me about that, I'm guessing we made demon history."

"Oh." The furrow in Anya's brow is smoothing out.

"So maybe that's why it's us. Maybe this...is a reward."

"What, they were all out of shiny red convertibles?" But Anya is looking easier. Looking like she gets it. Like it's ok.

"I kinda miss them," she says as she turns and starts to walk away.

Spike steps up beside her, and drapes his arm around her shoulders. "Me too, love."

"And I kinda don't."

Spike only answer is a snort---and a grip that tightens into something a little like a hug.

you could have spared her--oh but no
Messiahs need people dying in their name


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