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Empathy Sucks - Chapter 3



The rain pours down in this place, masking our tears.

I never expected to have proof so soon of Spikeís growing humanity, of the effects of his strange, imposed soul. But itís here in his tears. It took me eighty years to stop feeling sorry for myself long enough to feel sorry for them. Itís taken him six months.

There was a lot of pain here tonight.

We bear witness to the evil that men do. Men with souls like mine.

They must have caught her whilst she was jogging. Her torn running gear led us to the spot where they left her, face down in the mud. Itís a lonely spot to die. The smell of her fresh blood is almost overwhelming. Itís drained into the mud in which she lies, washed out from her wounds by the incessant rain. Cordelia had seen the body. Thank God she only saw darkly and briefly. This is almost beyond words.

Spike seems as shocked as I am. His head is bent as if in supplication to her pain. Then he looks up and his face is streaked and dark.

ĎShe wasnít killed here.í

ĎShe must have been. Look at the blood, itís only here. No trail.í

ĎBut weíre only a few yards from the road, Angel. A busy road. Someone would have heard her screams. ThisÖí he falters and the pain is obvious in his voiceÖíthis must have taken hours. She canít have been killed here.í

A ripple of cold dread snakes its way down my back and I know Spike can read the fear in my eyes. I kneel in the dirt and blood alongside her peeled body and gently turn her face to the side. What I see wants to make me scream. Two hundred and fifty years of killing and torturing my victims has not prepared me for the horror of this moment. I turn my face to Spikeís, for I fear his reaction. This is too soon for him. I shouldnít have brought him here. I see he is lost in a world of anguish and confusion and I have to question why the Powers That Be would send us on such a foolsí errand. There is nothing more we can do for her in this life.


This isnít right. This isnít right. Demons are supposed to kill Ďem. I kill demons. Itís so simple in Sunnydale. This is not right. I canít work out what I am supposed to do here. Fuck, I am so lost, I donít even know how to start lookiní for home.

There are no demons here. Only men. Men with souls. But they do this. So what is a soul and what have I got, that I feel like this? I want to tear this soddiní chip out of my head and bathe in their blood again. I want to lose this focus. I want them to blur to the edges of my vision so they are like a herd, ripe for the picking. I donít want them like this. I donít want them in stark, individual deaths that I can witness. I donít want this pain. This isnít right. This isnít right. But what can I do? Thereís no help. For me, for her. No help. Oh God, this hurts too much. Help me!



We need to leave this place. Iíve called Kate and sheíll be here soon. I donít want awkward questions about Spike. I donít want him to see the fear in her eyes, the hopelessness. I want him to think that there will be resolution, justice. I needed that at the beginning. Before the darkness became habitual. I gently take his arm,

ĎItís time to go, Spike. Thereís nothing we can do here. For her. Nothing we can do for her. Come on.í Surprisingly he allows me to lead him back to the car. We are both soaked through and I can smell the mud and her blood on me. On the drive home, the air in the car becomes stifling, steaming from the dampness. I can hardly see through the screen, and find myself wiping it incessantly trying to get it clear. All is blurry and unfocused.

When we get back, Wesley and Cordelia are waiting in the office. They glance at Spike briefly, before turning to check my face. They donít need words. They see it in my look. Some of it. God grant that they never know it all.

ĎGo home,í I say gently to them. ĎWe need to wash and sleep, weíll talk in the morning,í and I lead Spike downstairs to my apartment.




Last time I was here I smashed the place. No trace of the damage. No mention either. Heís a forgiving fuck. I canít believe he left her like that. She should have been covered or some thing. Just not right. Iím soaked through and cold. Iím a room temperature creature and shit, itís cold in this room.

ĎCan you heat it up a bit in here?í




ĎIíll light a fire. Go shower. The waterís always hot.í I always seem to be trying to wash blood and pain off my cold skin. Never succeeding. He will have to learn these habits if he is to survive.

ĎErr, can I borrow some stuff? Clothes and shit. I didnít have much to bring.í

ĎOf course, Iíll put some out for you on the bed.í Time was Iíd have helped him put them on, too. Afterwards. But that was several lifetimes ago. When we were both unfettered demons.

Some time later and the horror of the night has abated somewhat. I fed him, heís warm and clean and all he needs now is rest. We can start with the truth tomorrow. Tomorrow Iíll tell him why heís here. When heís ready to hear it.

ĎThere are blankets in that box over there, Spike. Iím going to bed now. Sleep. Weíll talk in the morning. About the chip. Everything.í

I strip and climb into my own bed. I know, though, that sleep will elude me tonight. I never sleep after work like tonight. My soul is restless, my demon more so. Angelus doesnít give a shit about that woman, but heíd love to meet the men that did that to her. Inventive. He likes learning new tricks. He enjoyed tonight. The warring and conflict between my soul and my demon makes for a restless night. I fear to sleep in case Angelus has his way. I donít want to enjoy the memory of her body, too. Iím good at lying still in the dark, brooding. Iíve perfected the art. But after a couple of hours I hear an odd noise coming from next door. If I owned a dog, Iíd say it sounded like keening. Itís high pitched and painful to listen to. I get up and move stealthily into the living room. Spike is tangled in his blankets on the couch. He is asleep, but heís thrashing his head from side to side as if, even in sleep, he is in pain. The sound is coming from his sleeping form. Itís unearthly and sends shivers up my spine. Like someone walking over my grave.

I move over to sit by him. I canít imagine what level of pain he has reached for his unconscious brain to make this noise. Was I like this when I slept? I had no one to tell me. I donít know what to do. Should I wake him? I fear bringing this much pain into his conscious mind. Maybe it should be left for sleep. But the decision is taken from me, for as I study his pain-filled face, his eyes fly open. He isnít even seeing me yet. But his lungs suddenly fill with a long-remembered but now, unnecessary breath and he screams my name.

ĎAngellllllll.í The scream creates a wave of panic in me and I fear I left it too late to come for him. I fear I am too late to save him.