Summary: Many cultures say that souls go through a journey of discovery and resolution after death. Many even leave room for the idea of a return to the living realm. This story imagines Spike on such a journey after Chosen. He remembers things randomly, bit by bit, but finally he understands that Buffy really did mean the “I love you” she said in the cavern. Even better, after he’s restored to the living world, he gets to tell her that and hear her say it again, in return. 

Written for the 2023 Elysian Fields Drabblemania Event. 
Beta and Sensitivity Readers: None
Artists: JayeMaru
Categories: Post-Series, Crossover (AtS), Challenge Response, Drabbles
Characters: Buffy, Spike, AtS Ensemble, Ensemble
Genres: Hurt/Comfort, Resurrection
Warnings: None
Event: Drabblemania 2023
Completed: Yes Chapters: 28
Word count: 23,623 Hit Count: 2,882 ePub Downloads: 44
Published: July 18, 2023 Updated: July 31, 2023

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Story Notes: This story explores the interlude between Spike’s death in the Hellmouth in Buffy S7 Chosen and his restoration to unlife in early Angel Season 5, where events diverge from canon. (Tip: Buffy comes to L.A. because of course she would.) 

Amidst original content, Spike remembers and/or experiences things from various episodes of both shows. Plot elements, characters, and occasional snippets of dialogue have been adapted into this story with gratitude to the writers who contributed to both BtVS and AtS. 

Each chapter satisfies a prompt from the Elysian Fields Drabblemania Board Two. These are mostly EF-style, super-sized drabbles with a side of fries, so may get close to the site’s 1,000 word guidepost. 

The story is unbetaed and all errors are mine. The banner is by me. 

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

1. Consciousness Dissolves into Dream: Memory Loss by JayeMaru - Likes: 10 Comments: 5 Word Count: 695 Hit Count: 383 Published: July 18, 2023

The first phase when consciousness dissolves into dream: Memory Loss

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R3C2: Memory Loss

2. Consciousness Dissolves into Dream: Spirit Realm by JayeMaru - Likes: 13 Comments: 5 Word Count: 995 Hit Count: 162 Published: July 18, 2023

The second phase when consciousness dissolves into dream: Spirit Realm

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R2C1: Spirit Realm

3. Reminders of Past Life: Deep Sea Diving by JayeMaru - Likes: 10 Comments: 6 Word Count: 822 Hit Count: 135 Published: July 19, 2023

Dreams give way to reminders of one's past life, which themselves bring forth more memories. This is the first such reminder that floats into Spike's mind. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R1C3: Deep Sea Diving

A bit of context: this chapter is based on Angel Season 5, Episode 13, Why We FightIf you have a passing familiarity with that episode, you can jump directly to the story.

For those not familiar, that episode is largely Angel’s flashbacks to World War Two. He was sent by shadowy US handlers to retrieve a prototype Nazi submarine trapped on the ocean floor. A prior US capture team was also onboard, requiring rescue. 

When Angel arrived, he found Spike, who the Nazis had captured along with a few other vampires. (The Nazis had plans that were precursors to the Initiative’s work.) To raise the sub, Angel resorted to turning a dying crewmember, Ensign Sam Lawson, into a vampire to keep him alive long enough to work the propulsion system.

Finally on the surface, Angel made Lawson and Spike get out and swim to shore before sunrise. At the time of this drabble story, Lawson is still “out there” somewhere, living la vida vampire.

4. Reminders of Past Life: Statue of Liberty by JayeMaru - Likes: 10 Comments: 5 Word Count: 735 Hit Count: 122 Published: July 20, 2023

Spike's mind drifts to another reminder of his past life.  

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R1C5: Statue of Liberty

5. Reminders of Past Life: Billy Idol by JayeMaru - Likes: 8 Comments: 4 Word Count: 651 Hit Count: 134 Published: July 21, 2023

Another reminder surfaces of Spike's time in New York.

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R2C3: Billy Idol

6. Reminders of Past Life: Dance in the Subway by JayeMaru - Likes: 11 Comments: 5 Word Count: 388 Hit Count: 100 Published: July 22, 2023

Reminders of Spike's time in New York would always culminate with his final dance with Nikki Wood.

This is a drabble without a prompt. (It's not the Wildcard, which is used a few drabbles from now.) 

7. Reminders of Past Life: Oz by JayeMaru - Likes: 9 Comments: 5 Word Count: 862 Hit Count: 102 Published: July 23, 2023

Spike's thoughts drift to Sunnydale, reminding us all that memory, like life, does not always follow a straight line. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R5C5: Oz

8. Reminders of Past Life: "Undo It, Undo It!" by JayeMaru - Likes: 9 Comments: 5 Word Count: 438 Hit Count: 84 Published: July 24, 2023

Spike’s thoughts shift to the time after the Ring of Amara, when he first entered the world of humans. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R5C4: “Undo it, undo it!”

9. Reminders of Past Life: Out for a Walk (Bitch) by JayeMaru - Likes: 9 Comments: 4 Word Count: 737 Hit Count: 89 Published: July 24, 2023

With time to reflect, Spike sees an unfortunate theme running through his time with Buffy. Facing and understanding the past allows him to also earn acceptance.

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R3C3 WILDCARD (prompt borrowed from Board One, R3C3)

10. Reminders of Past Life: Clem by JayeMaru - Likes: 12 Comments: 7 Word Count: 993 Hit Count: 105 Published: July 24, 2023

Spike’s reflections on Buffy take him to a dark time and place where he faced his missteps and intentionally changed his fate in ways no other vampire did before. With help, he is able to move forward. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R3C1: Clem

As a warning, this chapter is an off-screen scene at the end of Seeing Red, when Spike is about to leave Sunnyvale to find his soul. It hints at events in that episode, in that he recalls doing wrong, but is not explicit. It revolves more around his awareness that, as a demon, he'd reached a point where he didn't know what was right or wrong in human terms. 

11. Considering the Nature of Death: Biting by JayeMaru - Likes: 7 Comments: 5 Word Count: 765 Hit Count: 103 Published: July 25, 2023

Acceptance of one's death is, in some traditions, a phase that lets the soul move forward through the afterlife. 

After Lloyd’s nudge toward this moment of transition in his soul's journey, Spike pauses in contemplation. Of course, considering death, a vampire’s thoughts skip naturally to the act of being bitten. But, is that the only death that matters? Is death merely a transition between phases of one’s being?

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R5C2: Biting

12. Hallucination and Visions: Early One Morning by JayeMaru - Likes: 8 Comments: 4 Word Count: 954 Hit Count: 92 Published: July 26, 2023

Once the soul has acknowledged the transition to death, hallucinations and visions commence as the soul seeks beyond earthly memories to find resolution and clarity.  

For Spike, his feeling of disorientation as he begins this new phase in his journey elicits memories of his mother, who calmed his fevers and reassured him so often in his youth. Perhaps her own soul left a memory of comforting her son behind during her own soul’s passage from death to the beyond.

This is a drabble without a prompt.

13. Hallucination and Visions: Band Candy by JayeMaru - Likes: 6 Comments: 4 Word Count: 994 Hit Count: 78 Published: July 26, 2023

Spike experiences another imagined family visit, in a manner of speaking. As visions sometimes are, this one is trippy in its own way. Perhaps this is another soul’s left-behind memory that Spike encounters.

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R2C5: Band Candy

14. Hallucination and Visions: Broken Coffee Mug by JayeMaru - Likes: 7 Comments: 4 Word Count: 946 Hit Count: 82 Published: July 26, 2023

It seems that Spike's soul feels it has more to learn about Giles to better understand himself. One cannot always fix events in the past—and some events are not ours to fix—but it can be helpful to understand and make one's peace with them. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R5C1: Broken Coffee Mug

15. Hallucination and Visions: Magic Flu by JayeMaru - Likes: 6 Comments: 3 Word Count: 578 Hit Count: 73 Published: July 29, 2023

Spike’s realization that he’d do almost anything for Buffy brings back an off-screen memory. Which, in turn, reminds him of things he didn’t get right at the time. He hadn't finished dealing some pent-up guilt before entering the afterlife. So, he begins to deal with it now. Being Spike, he is perhaps a little melodramatic as he processes it.

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R1C4: Magic Flu

16. Hallucination and Visions: Two-Ton Block of Cheese by JayeMaru - Likes: 6 Comments: 4 Word Count: 764 Hit Count: 61 Published: July 29, 2023

Spike’s sense of guilt takes him to a hallucination where he gets an unexpected and pleasant resolution. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R3C5: Two-Ton Block of Cheese

17. Hallucination and Visions: Cookie Dough by JayeMaru - Likes: 6 Comments: 4 Word Count: 737 Hit Count: 70 Published: July 29, 2023

In another vision, Spike gets insight by seeing more of an interaction than he did while alive. Perhaps the Powers that Be— or some other supernatural entity with an interest in seeing him succeed— want him to have hope as he nears the next phase of his journey.

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R4C5: Cookie Dough
This drabble marks the the first completed column (#5) of this Drabblemania board.

18. Hallucination and Visions: Bunny Demon by JayeMaru - Likes: 6 Comments: 4 Word Count: 825 Hit Count: 73 Published: July 29, 2023

Spike moves toward the end of this phase and once again becomes aware of his surroundings. He finds another soul on its journey, giving him the chance to actively do better this time. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R1C1: Bunny Demon

19. Hallucination and Visions: Knitting Demon by JayeMaru - Likes: 6 Comments: 5 Word Count: 991 Hit Count: 69 Published: July 29, 2023

Spike reaches the end of this part of the journey. This being the afterlife, where rules and mechanisms are beyond mortal understanding, this experience becomes even more surreal. But, not to worry: it’s all good.

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R2C2: Knitting Demon

20. Journey of Becoming: Puppet Spike by JayeMaru - Likes: 6 Comments: 4 Word Count: 947 Hit Count: 75 Published: July 29, 2023

In this new journey of becoming, things in the afterlife truly are bizarre. Not to mention quite disconcerting. Fortunately, he has a guide to explain what the heck is going on in this phase. Spike's awareness returns a little early and he gets a view behind the curtain, in a way.

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R1C2: Puppet Spike

21. Journey of Becoming: Nudes of Spike by JayeMaru - Likes: 7 Comments: 4 Word Count: 974 Hit Count: 81 Published: July 29, 2023

Spike’s journey through the afterlife is coming close to the end. This time, instead of experiencing memories, he’s re-loaded with them in preparation for entering his soul’s next phase. Taken through galleries that show him who he’s been and who he might become, he regains his sense of self and chooses his desired mission. He is ready to take control of his life when he returns to the mortal world. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R4C1: Nudes of Spike

22. Return to the World: Lorne by JayeMaru - Likes: 6 Comments: 4 Word Count: 995 Hit Count: 80 Published: July 31, 2023

Spike returns to the world— actually, the amulet from the hellmouth pops him into Angel’s office in LA. But, things are different than in canon due to visions, realizations, and decisions in the afterlife. They’re knitted into his very being, even if he doesn’t directly remember them. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R2C4: Lorne

A note for context: This final arc of the story begins at the end of Angel Season 5, Episode 1. That’s when Spike rematerializes in Angel’s office shortly after he’d died at the hellmouth. (He’s resurrected, unexpectedly, via the amulet he wore to bring down the First Evil.) Everything goes quickly AU after that, although chapters borrow elements from early episodes in that Angel season. Notably, Angel’s team just started working at the evil law firm, Wolfram & Hart, because Angel made a deal to work there in exchange for protecting his son Connor. As part of that, his team’s memories were altered so they don’t remember the boy or much of the past year, when he was present. Angel remembers it all. He’s told his team (and seems to believe) they’re at W&H to destroy its evil from the inside.

23. Return to the World: Tacos by JayeMaru - Likes: 7 Comments: 5 Word Count: 957 Hit Count: 80 Published: July 31, 2023

Angel’s team looks into the amulet that delivered Spike to Angel’s office. This happens more quickly than on the show, perhaps because the puzzle seems more straightforward than in canon. Also, the linkage between the amulet and Wolfram & Hart appears right away, which may make it easier to see where to begin. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R4C3: Tacos

24. Return to the World: Speed Dating by JayeMaru - Likes: 7 Comments: 4 Word Count: 989 Hit Count: 85 Published: July 31, 2023

Spike discovers some puzzles of his own at Angel’s Hyperion Hotel. Conversation between him and Wesley also raises some questions. But what isn’t in question is Buffy, who arrives right on schedule. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R3C4: Speed Dating

25. Return to the World: Only One Bed by JayeMaru - Likes: 7 Comments: 4 Word Count: 990 Hit Count: 79 Published: July 31, 2023

It takes a while, and some clarification between them, but Buffy and Spike finally become ready to take the next step in their newly acknowledged relationship. (Which, gentle readers, is PG-13.) 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R5C3: Only One Bed

26. Return to the World: It's Magic! by JayeMaru - Likes: 7 Comments: 4 Word Count: 936 Hit Count: 79 Published: July 31, 2023

After a night of bliss, it’s time to do more research into the amulet. Buffy has recruited Willow to combine forces with Wesley and Fred. She wasted no time; neither does Willow. 

This is a drabble without a prompt.

27. Return to the World: Pool Sex by JayeMaru - Likes: 6 Comments: 3 Word Count: 993 Hit Count: 86 Published: July 31, 2023

Their research has uncovered a way to deal with the amulet. Buffy celebrates with Spike in an old-fashioned saltwater pool at the hotel. Spike enjoys everything about it. (Again with the PG-13 reminder.) 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R4C4: Pool Sex

28. Return to the World: Microphone by JayeMaru - Likes: 10 Comments: 7 Word Count: 972 Hit Count: 120 Published: July 31, 2023

After one last interaction with Angel and his disgruntled team, Spike and Buffy are ready to move on. Spike sees a pub hosting a poetry slam and he’s moved to share some poetry with his lady. This happens much earlier than in canon, and with a whole different vibe. 

Drabblemania Board Two Prompt: R4C2: Microphone   
This drabble completes Drabblemania Board Two 🎉

Confession: I wrote Spike’s first poem (She Walks Effulgent) a few years ago as one I imagined he might read during the poetry slam shown in Angel S5. In my mind, it dates from either his final year in Sunnydale or his time in LA. So, I figured he might have it ready to be read during this story. Since this drabble is well over 50 new-story words without it, it seemed reasonable to include it here, somewhat like dialogue borrowed from the show (but borrowed from me, instead). I crafted the second one specifically for this drabble.