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A Midnight Dreary

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“Oh - he’s a pretty one.”

Spike followed the direction of the Drusilla’s gaze and her long, pointed finger. Walking just a few feet ahead of them, was a man who, in Spike’s opinion, had no particularly distinguishable features to be seen. However, if Drusilla set her sights on him, he would not persuade her otherwise.

“You think so, pet?” he asked, reaching for her extended wrist and guiding her hand back toward his chest. He stroked her knuckles, catching her gaze when she turned toward him.

She nodded slowly, humming in a light and airy way. “Oh, yes. The dark ones are always prettiest.”

She had stopped walking when she caught sight of the stranger, and now he was urging her to move again. Though the pace he set was slow, it was confident; this man wouldn’t be making it any farther than they allowed tonight. And while it meant very little to him, the fact that Drusilla knew this man had not lead a typically moral life, some small, pitiful part of Spike thought maybe draining him would be for the best.

“Do you want him all for yourself?” Spike asked, giving Drusilla’s hand a small squeeze. He let her lower their arms and gently swing their clasped hands back and forth between them.

Drusilla didn’t turn her eyes away from their prey as she let a smile take her lips. “No,” she spoke softly, gradually beginning to squeeze his hand back, digging sharp nails into his skin. “Let’s share him.”

“How generous of you,” he drawled, and grinned as he turned his attention away from her and to the man ahead of them. From where they were behind him, the wind brought his scent to them. He smelled clean, his body untouched by substance tonight, but his blood was burning. Idly, Spike had to wonder just what had this stranger’s heart hammering inside his chest. Surely he had no idea he was being stalked, as his pace didn’t quicken, nor did he look back once. Something personal, perhaps; some dark and twisted truth he kept to himself.

Though he wondered, Spike couldn’t really be bothered to care about the cause. Whatever tormented this man and made his blood run so deliciously hot wouldn’t be bothering him again after tonight.

The pair continued their slow but steady walk behind the stranger, gradually making efforts to close the distance between them. It was entirely true that they could have killed this man a few times over already, but there was something about this slow and tantalizing sort of hunt. Darla and Angelus may have prefered to rush things along, but sometimes teasing the senses like this beforehand made the kill all the better.

The stranger was encroaching on an alley, and Spike wondered if there would be a good place to end this game, or if they should let it drag out a little longer. He, personally, wouldn’t have minded, but Drusilla’s nails were digging into his skin again, daring to draw blood this time. She was getting anxious, desperate, and not for the first time since his siring, he had to remind himself that she was, in fact, older and more experienced than he.

He wouldn’t have any time to come to a solid decision, as he noticed the man seemed to suddenly disappear.

“The bloody hell…?” he asked aloud, and stepped slowly toward the alley. He peered into the dimly lit lane, keeping Drusilla behind him at the same time. In their relatively short time together, he had learned that she could, indeed, take care of herself - but she had given him this new lease on life, and he owed it to her to protect her.

“I want to see,” Drusilla murmured, reaching for his coat’s sleeve and tugging. “Let me see, Spike.”

“Quiet, love,” Spike hissed over his shoulder to the older woman. Bringing his attention back to the laneway, he could see two figures in the dark. One - the man they had been stalking - was pressed roughly to one of the brick walls. The other figure appeared to be a man, but Spike could smell no blood in him, could hear no heart beating.

Their desired prey suddenly dropped to the alley floor in a lifeless heap, and the other man turned his attention toward them. Fresh blood was on his lips, dripping down his chin.

“His eyes,” Drusilla gasped. “His eyes are on fire.”

“What are you on about?” Spike muttered, cocking his head to the side as he tried to get a better look at the man at the end of the alley. But Drusilla didn’t answer, only began to shiver and whine behind him, hiding her face into his back.

And that was when he noticed this man-thing’s eyes were bright and bloody red. His stare was eerie and intense; it was the sort of gaze William Pratt may have waxed poetic about, claimed it reached his soul. But William Pratt was dead, and Spike had no soul to speak of, so the fact this strange, beautiful man could strike him so with just a glance filled him with wonder and worry all at once.

His confusion and awe only grew when the stranger rushed passed both he and Drusilla at an incomprehensible speed. Even some of the more powerful demons he had encountered couldn’t hope to move that fast.

Spike whirled around to stare into the direction the stranger had taken off in. “What in the name of Hell was that?” he asked, then glanced over his shoulder to the corpse that had been drained and abandoned.

Drusilla turned with Spike, and stared almost longingly after the other man. “What a terrifying, lovely monster,” she murmured.

 


 

 

That had been Chicago in 1929, and it is still an experience that, every now and again, surfaces in Spike’s memory. To say that it bothers him may have been an exaggeration, but the incident definitely nags at him once in awhile. Whatever that man had been, he had never encountered something like him again.

Until now.

In Forks, Washington - a dreary, perpetually wet blip on the map - he hears about a coven of vampires. They’re a reformed bunch, supposedly only feeding on the local wildlife. Spike knows from personal experience that some vampires are capable of doing good, but this reeks of suspicion. It’s hard to believe an entire coven has sworn off feeding from humans completely, and so this is why he’s traveled to this gloomy little town.

Weirdly enough, all signs point to the local high school first. Though he has questions, if what he’s heard about this coven is true, he can understand the desire to appear as human as possible. He watches from a safe distance as the student body pours out of the building, spilling into the streets and parking lot. He’s alert, senses at the ready to hone in on any other bloodsucker in the area. But he can smell no other demons, and for a brief moment, he wonders if somehow the information had been skewed.

But then he smells it - that strange perfume of death from that night in the alley. His eyes scan the dissipating crowds until they settle on a small gathering of would-be teenagers. One of them is very much alive, all aglow with love’s first blush, his heart thundering inside his chest. Spike follows the young man’s adoring gaze to, no doubt, the source of his infatuation.

And what Spike sees almost makes him choke on his cigarette’s smoke.

He looks different in the dreary light of day, and his eyes are a haunting amber instead of blood red, but Spike could never forget that face. He has his arm slung around the boy’s shoulder comfortably, nuzzles into his hair and kisses his scalp with more genuine affection than a presumed soulless vampire should be capable of. It’s gentle, not possessive in the least, and certainly nothing like the sort of gestures he had shared with Drusilla.

He surveys the rest of the group, and realizes quickly that this human has surrounded himself with vampires. This baffles him, and before he can even think about what he’s doing, he’s pulling his cellphone out of his jacket pocket.

As the phone rings in his ear, he notices the stranger from Chicago has turned his attention in his direction. Not a moment later, the rest of the group - save for the human - are glancing his way. Five sets of amber eyes, all varying in shade, are on him. He almost misses Angel picking up the phone.

Angel asks a few times if he’s there and what’s wrong before Spike finally answers.

“Get your arse to Washington,” is all he says.