Last year before the soulification, I scribbled a bit of X/S fantasy (X/S, oddly, which nonetheless originally sprug from a B/S thread), in which Spike got his soul back in a rather unusual way, through motification of the flesh--starvation; I never thought it through very closely, but I think my idea was that it would starve the demon, exhausting it, forcing it to sleep for its own survival, and allow a Williamy essence to come out.
Anyway, here's a snippet of that. It's more like story notes or synopsis than actual story, and everyone is in a kind of Pylea-like alt universe:
More days pass, until Spike is zombielike. He's not losing anymore weight, but he's looking more and more like something carved in stone. Something prompts him to tell them that vampires don't exactly die. "We just slow down, and down...until we sleep. If it comes to that...best to just bury me in the ground. Plant me by a tree, put a little marker up. Someday grave robbers'll come sniffin' around, always do. Maybe get a surprise." His voice low, the words drawn out as if with effort.
Buffy is over this. She says, you're going to drink now, if I have to hold you down to make you. He has no strength to fend her off. She and Willow force him down, body and magic, pinning him flat on his back, and make him drink--Buffy slicing her hand open with a knife and pressing her cut hand into his mouth. He tries to evade her at first, then drinks. He doesn't change any more when he drinks, except maybe to grow small fangs. It's just his naked face and everyone watching, and he's not even really aware of anything. Too out of it.
The blood has little effect. He lapses into sleep immediately, on his side by the fire, looking nearly dead, in the real way. Face white, eyes closed, shadows on his still body and the flickering firelight.
Spike, slowly starving to death in the desert as they trek across the demon realm in eternal clouded twilight.
Now he's stumbling along, Buffy keeping close watch. And he's far past making any pretense of normal conversation. In the next day or so he begins sliding more clearly toward the edge, growing maddened as something--this place, his hunger, something in him--cracks everything holding him together, until he's a dry jar. Vestiges of his soul begin seeping up through the cracks.
The group around a campfire again, Spike dazed and staring into the flames, having visions of his mother, everyone else talking about food wistfully, about eggs and bacon and brownies, and dinners they've had. Spike saying suddenly to the fire, in a soft horrible, somehow conversational voice: "I ate my mother, you know." And then it strikes him, that crawling realization coming on, as if he's seeing a terrible huge wave approach. Everyone can see it happen, the knowledge sliding over his face, his eyes widening. And he sobs just as suddenly, such a horrible sound no one can really bear it, and then he's remembering and words are tumbling out and he's crying wildly in a stricken godawful way as if his heart is breaking, as if he's feeling the torments of the damned for the first time, and Buffy is crying too and trying to reach out, but she isn't even there for him, he's utterly alone with his memories. He's not even here and now in this place: he's gone. And he staggers off, walks in erratic circles, whispering crazy things to himself as the memories overwhelm him.
Does this on and off for days, not at all lucid.
A day or so later as they struggle on, they see the first animal, a hare-like creature. They are nearing the edge of the desert. And Willow catches it and brings it to Spike, who is standing staring off into spce. Buffy and Xander are there too, to help. But he stares at it. "That's my mother's head," he says in horror, gaze fixing on the hare as if on some distant memory. "What are you doing with my mother's head?" And he won't drink from it, can barely stand it but can't look away. The paralysis of self-torture.
Willow casts a gentle spell so that he sees it as he should, as an animal, and presses it into his hands. It's still alive, and he falls on it, instinct taking over at last, and he feeds desperately, as if asleep.
Anyway. That's kind of what I was hoping for from Souled!Spike. Of course, being more or less taken over by the First changes things. Not necessarily for the better. The more I think about it, for instance, the more befuddled I am by what they were trying to accomplish with "Sleeper." WTF?
Also, the structure of this season is distracting. I thought I'd like it, how almsot *every* ep is part of the big arc. But now we've got no room to highlight individual characters. When I think of, say, season two or three, when one-off eps were paced with arc eps, blended so perfectly--well. I don't know. It seems such a different dynamic now, like everything has been pared down to relationship angst and big bads, with no greater context--no campus, no old friends from the past, no classmates, no mother, no other characters at *all* really except a bunch of ninny slayerbees, no magic shop, no career anxiety (e.g., Buffy) or existential doubt (e.g., Giles).
I still look forward to tonight's ep. Hope springs and all that. And *don't* spoil me in my own comments! Don't even hint! Or I will keeel you.