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It had been a long time ago, but part of him still remembered. A demon, newly born within the body of a dying man, brushing against the soul on its way out. And then it had been plunged into the chaos of memories and humanity. So many things suddenly known. So many things suddenly felt. It was heady and terrifying, a wee babe thrown head first into a raging river. Was the sort of thing what tended to overwhelm the average young demon, causing them to lash out and rip the humanity to bloody shreds.

But it… he?… he had reveled in it. There had been something oddly giving and enticing about that humanity, and he’d rolled about in it like a dog in the stink of a dead squirrel. He’d put it on whole and trotted about gleefully like Joseph with his Technicolor Dreamcoat. It had made him him, even more so than the coat he would take from a Slayer nearly a century later.

That memory of his birth as a vampire flashed through Spike’s mind in the split second it took for the pain to go from terrible to excruciating. A scream ripped from his throat, an acid-soaked sandpaper of a sound. Oh, god. God, what had he done? He’d made a terrible mistake. Not as bad as the one you made before. Buffy. For Buffy. This was for her. He could endure it for….

White hot electric eels of pain burrowed through his veins, and he couldn’t think anymore as something blossomed into being within him. It was terrible and beautiful, and there was part of him gibbering in panic while another laughed in maniacal glee. A soul. His soul, the one that had brushed against him like a glittering butterfly when he’d been born.

Reborn. And reborn again and again. William Pratt become William the Bloody become Spike. Then the Gray Hat, and now this. This. A moment of calm wonder and confusion, and then….

Reborn to a pain worse than the physical, tortured body doubled over by wracking sobs as the memories of twelve decades washed through him. What had once been warm and bright in his heart now painted with the horror of guilt. All those people…. Despair crashed over him, burying his hope for the future and the joy of reunion.

Oh god, oh God, what had he done?

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