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Sister Moon

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Sister moon will be my guide
In your blue, blue shadows where I would hide
All good people asleep tonight
I'm all by myself in your silver light
I would gaze at your face the whole night through
I'd go out of my mind but for you

There is the tang of ozone in the air tonight. The night sky above me is still clear, but I can feel the storm close by. Above me, only the strongest, brightest stars fight their way through the glow of the city lights. They flutter and glisten their ancient light against a sky the colour of a bruise.

The soft, warm breeze brings the scents of the city to me; exhaust fumes, the heavy scent of fried pork, the ripe, green, rotting smell of the dumpster in the next street. The breeze freshens, lifting my hair, skirling against my cold flesh, taking away the smells and muffling the sounds of the life around me.

Dimly, below my feet, I hear the sound of my stereo changing CDs. A dark, smooth voice, a snare, the plaintive cry of a saxophone. He sings of my companion up here, as she bathes me in her muted light.

She is gibbous tonight, ripening and yellow, sailing against her midnight backdrop, following a path older than any of my kind. I nod a greeting to her. She is my oldest confidant. Even in the days when I could reckon myself a young man, she listened patiently to my stories, heard my prayers, dreams and wishes.

Later, when I performed acts before her that no man could forgive, she did not turn her face from me. Rather, she waited for me to come back to myself and listened impassively as I railed against heaven, bemoaning my plight. Despite all that I have done, she embraces me each night, along with her other children, the lunatics, the lost and the lonely.

I settle myself on the brickwork at the edge of the rooftop, my bare feet dangling into space. The bricks are dusty; tonight's rain will wash away the grime. In the meantime, my velvet coat and black trousers will serve admirably as a dust-cloth.

It is a credit to my current situation that my biggest worry is how dirty my clothes are. No, not my biggest worry. That is out tonight, alone, armed with sharpened stakes and cunning. I cannot berate myself for not being by her side tonight. I have seen too much death in my time, too much violence. I cannot exhilarate in the kill the way she can, at least, not now.

I will know if she needs me. No, she does need me, but she does not require my assistance right now. I send up a silent prayer that tonight be uneventful. I have no way of knowing if it is heard.

Lying in a mother's arms
The primal root of a woman's charms
I'm a stranger to the sun, my eyes are too weak
How cold is a heart, when it's warmth that he seeks
You watch every night, you don't care what I do
I'd go out of my mind but for you
I'd go out of my mind but for you

I hear a scream and I am suddenly en guard, game face like a shield. Muffled sirens accompany it, as does driving music. Someone's television. I relax, feeling my face shift liquidly into the form I allow the world to see. I sit back against the bricks, settling back into a preternatural stillness. No heartbeat to calm, no breathing to regulate, but it doesn't help the panic I feel.

When you sit at the top of the food chain, fear is not something you usually feel. It is something you engender in your prey. But it is my dependency on her, on my natural enemy, that lets me feel this fear. Some view it as a weakness. I see it as another step back to humanity, another denial of the beast that resides within me. The beast that threatens to envelop me every time I touch her.

I won't let myself fall into the destructive self-loathing I feel towards my nature.

I won't.

I won't dwell on the probability of my significantly outliving her.

I won't allow the thought that she will die--doing what she must--make me melancholy.

I won't think about the abyss that she will leave in my battered, recycled soul if she does not return to me tonight.

I won't.

I can't.

For it will kill me more surely than a stake to the heart.

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun
My hunger for her explains everything I've done
To howl at the moon, the whole night through
And they really don't care if I do
I'd go out of my mind but for you

I can hear her approach. The breeze prevents me from scenting her and masks most of the noise she makes, but 250 years of being a predator, voluntarily or not, cannot be refuted. She is attempting to sneak up on me. I keep myself relaxed, letting her think she can get away with it. I listen to the whisper of the clothes she wears, the soughing of the breeze through her hair. I wait until I can feel the heat of her, radiating towards me. As she gets closer, I can hear the beat of her heart. Her strong, young heart.

I sense her reach towards me. I resist the temptation to lean back into her touch, suppressing the craving I have for her warm hands on my cold, cold skin. I do not flinch as she finally rests her soft hand on my shoulder.

"Hey." It is more of an exhalation than a word.

"Hey," I reply softly, turning to look at her. The rooftop floodlight illuminates her from behind, creating a corona of her hair and casting her face into shadow. All I can make out is the sparkle of her eyes and the flash of a smile. I bask in her gaze.

"You don't play fair," she chastises. "You knew I was there."

I shrug. "I want you to feel like you are doing well," I tease. She swats at me and I dodge the blow easily, knowing full well that she let me. When a slayer really swats, you stay swatted.

"Whatcha doin' up here on your ownsome lonesome?" she enquires, looking out over the rooftops surrounding us. "Not much of a view."

"I like the company up here," I say.

Her brow creases. "Oh... I'll... I'll be going then," she stammers softly.

I start, realising what I have said. "No," I reassure her with a smile, "her company." I indicate the moon above me. She fixes me with her trademark 'this is what happens to you when you get to be 250 years old' look. "She's good company," I reiterate, unable to explain any further.

The corner of her mouth lifts. "Should I be jealous?"

My smile broadens. "No, of course not. She's just an old friend. But she can be a little cold and distant."

"You made with a funny." She smiles, but briefly. "But why her? Why not me?"

I shake my head at her insecurities. She is nothing like the moon; silvery, mutable and mysterious. No, my Buffy is like the sun; all fire and passion and heat. Her golden hair. The light of her smile. I look at my own personal sun--limned by the light of her sister, the moon--and realise she is waiting for an answer.

"My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun," I say inadequately.

She brightens, recalling the quote. "Sting!" she says proudly. I look up at her, amused by her answer. She scrunches up her nose and tries again. "Sting quoting old, dead, famous guy?"

"Shakespeare," I reply, trying to suppress a smile.

"Oh..." Her shoulders slump. "Sting quoting the old, dead, famous guy."

I can no longer mask my amusement and chuckle as I pat the brickwork beside me.

"Hey, just because I haven't had a couple of centuries to read tonnes of musty old books!" she protests, scowling at me, climbing down beside me nonetheless. I choose to ignore her protests. I have enough problems with the age difference between us. I don't need her reminding me of it.

"Quiet night?" I ask as she settles against me. My senses spring into life. She smells of sunlight, the grassy fragrance of her shampoo, of graveyard dust, of Tommy Hilfiger, of body lotion, of teenage sweat and, overlaying the whole, the warm life of her blood. She nestles her head against me and I revel in the exquisite sensations of her fine hair against my skin. I reach up to stroke it, feeling the strands glide beneath my fingers. She sighs deeply, her slender, powerful frame relaxing under my ministrations.

"Yeah," she breathes, "just a coupla newbies. No biggie. Dusted 'em easy." She snuggles closer and I resist the sudden urge to lick the warm skin beneath her ear, to taste the salt there, to feel the blood pulsing beneath my tongue. Her delicate hands smooth the front of her chamois-smooth 501s. I close my eyes and listen to the sound of her breathing, her heartbeat, listening to it beat for both of us.

She turns in my arms. "What do you talk to her about?" she asks. I am pinned by her gaze. Her eyes are round, liquid, frightened. Nothing like the sun indeed.

How do I even answer this question? How can I tell her without making her feel inadequate? The moon passes no judgement, she is simply an impassive face who will never be moved by my words, by my crimes. I frown briefly at her question, my expression clearing as I realise the answer.

"You have a diary, don't you?" I ask carefully. I don't want to alienate her. She nods, puzzled by the turn of the conversation. "You write things in there you can't tell me?" The frown she is wearing disappears.

"She's your diary?"

I nod, rubbing my cheek against the silk of her hair. "I tell her everything," I murmur before ducking my head to press a soft, open-mouthed kiss to her hairline. She sighs softly, turning away to meet the moon's gaze.

"That's OK," she concedes quietly, her eyes fixed on the moon as clouds begin to scud past her silver face. I feel her tiny hand reach back to stroke my face, feeling the glow of her warmth before she even makes contact. This time, I lean into the touch, letting her stroke the planes of my face, letting her warm my skin with her own. It's moments like these when I forget the power behind that touch. It has the power to kill. And it has the power to bring me to my knees. I quickly press another kiss into her open palm before turning back into her touch.

"You're very touchy-feely tonight," she says, her surprised softened by her smile. I duck my head. If it could, my face would colour, embarrassed at being caught in my need. "It's nice," she reassures me. "I like it. It's a definite happy."

I wrap my arms around her, letting my touch be my response. She is cashmere and silky hair and glorious softness against me. I close my eyes and let the span of my arms become the entire world.

I'd go out of my mind but for you...