You taste so good, Darla had whispered into her ear. Her tongue flicked out to lick her lips, just barely grazing Dawn's earlobe. Dawn's eyes had fluttered closed and she whimpered, though she'd tried to remain silent. The power in your blood... the power... Darla made a low growl that sounded almost orgasmic, and then her tongue was on Dawn's neck, licking along her vein before those fangs sunk back into the flesh.
Dawn remembered it like it was yesterday. It wasn't... no, it was hundreds of years ago. But she remembered... she remembered feeling like she'd never be warm again. She never was.
Space was cold too, but a different kind of coldness. The kind of coldness that burnt you up from the inside out. Dawn had gotten used to this; feeling mint and cinnamon in her veins.
She preferred when they were on a planet, though. She never felt steady in space. Her head spun as the ship was flying and she just wanted to be steady. Planetside, she could stand on solid ground. She could feel dirt underneath the soles of her feet.
Darla did't mind it, though. The flying in space. She told Dawn, as they finished up the crew of a ship called Serenity, that she loved the view out the window as they were flying. "It reminds me of Dru," Darla had said, a strange fondness creeping into her voice. "Come here."
Dawn had gone over to her - she always did when Darla asked her to - and Darla wrapped her arms around her, pulling her in close. In the human world this would result in warmth, but they were dead. No warmth radiated from their bodies, and Dawn still wasn't used to that.
She should have been.
Darla had whispered something Dawn didn't quite catch, but didn't really need to. What mattered was the tone of her voice, and her nails scratching along Dawn's leg. When Dawn was human, arousal brought with it warmth from head to toe, radiating from her center out. Arousal was different now that Dawn was a vampire. No one told her it would be different. All the time she spent fighting vampires, no one told her it was different. There were things no one talked about, she supposed. She thought that maybe someone should have.
It wouldn't have changed anything, though. Dawn would have still been vamped, and she would still be standing here with Darla, blood and sex floating through her veins. Darla would still be slipping her hand up Dawn's thigh, and Dawn would still be whimpering and growling, trying to guide Darla's hand up higher.
But she thought she should have been told.
Arousal for her now was more like... bloodlust. It was violence seeping through her body, forcing her blood to rush. Her blood was still by nature, but the violence of lust pushed and pulled at it until her entire body ached with the need to release it and go back to her normal self. It was a war in her veins, and Dawn just wanted the big explosion.
She would have gotten it, too, if it wasn't for the crashing sound they heard in the distance. Someone was still alive. Dawn sniffed the air, and there it was, the smell of a human. The warm, inviting smell of blood pumping through veins. Why hadn't she smelled it before? Perhaps she was too concerned with Darla and her hand. Actually, that was probably likely.
Darla vamped and began to make her way out of the pilot's area and towards... the smell. Dawn followed suit. Oh, whoever it was smelled so good. Rich, and full of life, and heat, and... Dawn vamped; she could almost taste this person on her tongue, almost feel the blood sliding down her throat like metallic sunshine. Or spiced chocolate. Yes, chocolate - warm, rich chocolate.
Dawn found her - the girl, oh a small slip of a girl, little and tiny and Dawn suddenly remembered tiny bone eaters. That had absolutely nothing to do with this, but Dawn remembered, you know?
"They eat people with tiny bones, like you," the girl said. She was shaking but her voice was unusually calm. Dawn wasn't used to standing in front of humans while vamped out without sensing fear, but there is none here. "You're not going to eat me." It's a statement, not a question, and Dawn wondered if maybe the girl could control her mind, if she had some kind of strange mojo, but she was right. Dawn wasn't going to eat her. Suddenly Dawn realised that the only thing that really scared the girl was humans. She didn't know how, but she understood.
Dawn reached down and touched the girl's hand. It was warm under her fingers, and the girl didn't flinch. "Do you have a name?"
"River." Dawn could still smell her. She could still taste her.
But she wouldn't drink her.
She didn't know why then, but she just knew that she couldn't. She wouldn't. Dawn felt her demonic visage slip off of her face, and she frowned. "I'm sorry."
"Dawn! What - " Darla stopped and seemed to be sizing up the situation. After a moment she said, "you found dinner," with a wicked grin, and pulled the girl up by her shirt. "She'll do."
"No!" Dawn exclaimed and Darla turned towards her, her look sharp and her grip tight. Dawn froze. Darla's look was murderous. Angry. She was going to kill River and... well, Dawn shouldn't want to stop it. But she did want to, in spite of herself, in spite of her fucking nature, and Dawn didn't get it. She didn't understand why she felt this way, but she knew she wasn't going to change her mind.
"What?" Darla blinked at her, as if she couldn't believe her ears.
Dawn faked a smile, and pulled River towards herself. She felt the muscles in her face tense again as she smelled the blood. River's blood. So warm and inviting. So warm. And it all fell into place in Dawn's head. Dawn was cold and River was warm and she wanted to keep her. "I just figured you'd... let me do the honors."
Darla relaxed a little, and let out a soft, musical laugh. "Oh. I thought you'd suddenly had some... conscience." Darla said the last word as if it were distasteful. Of course, to them, it was. Conscience meant soul. Conscience meant living on rat blood on some hole-in-the-wall planet. Dawn didn't have a soul, and she most certainly didn't have conscience. She had a need, a need almost as deep as her hunger for blood, for heat. River's heat.
She needed it.
"Can we keep her?" Dawn asked softly, holding River even closer to her body. Her nails were cutting into River's flesh, and the smell of blood was now even thicker in the air. River didn't flinch though. No, she just watched. Waited. She knew Dawn wasn't going to kill her.
Darla tilted her head. Studied River. "You want to turn her?"
River twitched against Dawn. Dawn held her even tighter, her nails going deeper into the soft, warm skin. "I want to keep her human." Dawn watched Darla's face, which remained blank. "As a slave." Thoughts of keeping River as a slave danced through Dawn's mind. Dawn thought maybe she could be more like a living doll, though. She would dress her and play with her and hug her as she went to sleep. Yes, River would be her living doll.
Darla raised an eyebrow. "You're joking, right?"
Darla watched Dawn very carefully. Then she turned away, with a shrug. "Do whatever you want. I'm going to land this thing." Darla had learned how to pilot a ship some time ago. It was extremely helpful when eating your way through space.
Dawn let go of River finally, and River took a step back. She rubbed the spot where Dawn's nails had been and then brought her blood-coated fingers to her mouth. Dawn watched silently as River's tongue flicked out and tasted her own blood. "Metallic chocolate," River said finally, as if she had come to a conclusion.
River cocked her head and pulled her other hand out from behind her back. In it was a pencil, sharp and pointy and most definitely wooden. Dawn barely registered what it was before River pushed it through her chest, puncturing her heart.
The last words Dawn heard before exploding into dust were, "You hurt Simon."