21 - Had to Do
Disclaimer: The characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox studios. This story is not meant to infringe upon anyone's rights, only to entertain.
A/N: Thanks to McChick and 2zen2 for betaing this chapter. I really appreciate your opinions and suggestions.
CHAPTER 21 – Had to Do
… China 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion
The city was far behind me and there was nothing ahead but wilderness. It had been three nights now since I left the city in search of my tainted mate. It had been three nights since the family discovered the secret we had been keeping for months. But the secret came to light through no fault of our own. Drusilla’s little pixies and fairies whispered in her ear about my beloved Sera’s glowing soul. In that moment, nearly two decades of loyalty and obedience to the family meant nothing. Sera was tainted and thus cast out. She smelled too human for our Sires and here I was, stuck in the middle of all of this, torn between the love for my mate and devotion to my family.
My back ached from sleeping on cold hard stone for the past three days. Where had she gone? Her scent told me she was close, but still it felt like I was running around in circles in the unfamiliar Chinese countryside. I searched for her each night and only gave up when the sun threatened the world with daylight.
Tired and worried I would find shelter from the light as night turned to day. As I lie there on the floor of my small refuge, I would reach out through the claim, hoping to find her, but I felt nothing. She had shut me out again and I felt cold and alone. It was like I was banging against a thick steel door screaming on the top of my lungs for her to let me in. But there was nothing but silence.
I hated this. I should be celebrating. I had done what most vampires only dreamt of doing. I had fought and killed a Slayer. The Chosen One’s blood was sweet, powerful and intoxicating. It was nothing like I had ever tasted before. But even the memory of it -- the memory of the kill seemed meaningless now. It gave me no joy nor any sense of pride since the one thing in this unlife that held any real significance had pushed me away. I swore that tonight I would find her.
It was still hours before sunset but I couldn’t sleep. As I stared out onto the horizon from the safety of the small cave that had served as my shelter, my thoughts were filled with her and the words that my family had given me today. The family saw her as tainted, unworthy and beneath them. I needed to talk to her. I needed to say the words that would hopefully explain what was going to happen between us. At the very least, I needed to see her one more time.
Death felt close as I neared another small cave. I had been wandering around through shrubbery and forests, tracking her. The smell of rotting flesh permeated the air and though it assaulted my senses, I could still sense the faint but lingering perfume of her skin underneath the stench. I took a step inside but wasn’t prepared for the sight before me. Animal carcasses were thrown haphazardly around while a disheveled and panic stricken Elizabeth was rocking herself silently in a corner. Her dress was in ruins. Her hands were smeared with blood and her fingernails were dirty with soil and fur. Her hair had long since broken free from the pins that kept them in place. I slowly moved towards her but she didn’t seem to notice. It was only when I knelt before her and took her hands into mine that she snapped back into my reality.
“Elizabeth?” I asked. She turned her head to look at me but she didn’t utter a single word. Realization soon set in and when she finally recognized who it was that held her hands, she tried to pull away.
“Shouldn’t be here. Mustn’t be here. Different, unworthy… tainted” she said shaking her head. “Tried to be good … Tried to be quiet… Sshhh … have to hide… have to flee.”
I placed a hand to caress her cheek but she still shied away from my touch. With a sigh, I forced her to look at my face and I concentrated on my claim. Asking, begging that she let me in again. “Please luv. Please! Look at me. See me. Let me in!”
She stared back at me with haunted eyes.
“You’re here to say goodbye. … You’re here to say goodbye to me, aren’t you? Made it easier for you. Making it so that goodbye won’t hurt so much. … Don’t come in. Please don’t come in. Don’t make me feel. … Don’t make it alright anymore because it won’t ever be,” she said as her tears started to flow.
…“Break the claim, Spike. Do it before she destroys who you are. Do it before it’s too late. …
Darla said being with her would destroy me. She reasoned that being with her was wrong. If it was wrong, then why was I here? Why did I go after her? Was it to say goodbye? Was it to look at her one last time and wish for some miracle that my Sera would return?
I pressed a desperate kiss on her lips, wanting to feel something that would help me decide. I could taste dried animal blood, fur and soil but I didn’t care. Her lips moved tentatively against mine and a soft whimper escaped her throat. She looked like nothing more than a shell of the glory she once was.
“Tell me, pet. You know what they want me to do. I can feel Dru. I’m sure you can feel her too, luv. She’s there, giving us faint thoughts of anger. Tell me Elizabeth. … Tell me what you want.”
She placed her hands on top of mine which rested on her face. She pulled them away from her cheeks before she held on to my left hand firmly as she leaned over, fumbling for something on the ground. Cold smooth bamboo was dropped onto my waiting hand. It was the Chinese Slayer’s stake. How did she get a hold of this? Had she returned to the temple? That was the only explanation. What would I have done if she had ended it then? I didn’t want to imagine a world where she didn’t exist.
Then she closed my palm around it tightly and made a stabbing gesture towards her chest. I wretched my hand away from her grasp. “NO! I won’t do it.” But yet, I still held onto the stake.
“Aren’t you here to say goodbye? Aren’t you here to make it all quiet again?”
That was what our Sires wanted. That was what they had ordered me to do. But I knew deep down it wasn’t what I wanted. Even the promise of being with Drusilla was not enough of a temptation. Elizabeth was cursed and despite all my best efforts, it seemed like it cannot be undone. Would it be kinder to reject her and stake her like she asked? That notion made me sick to my stomach. The demon inside me still screamed that she was my mate despite her curse.
I placed the stake on the ground then pulled her towards me. My lips sought for my mark on her, trying to show through my actions what she refused to believe through our link. Despite the smell of rotting flesh, I filled my senses of her. My fangs descended and I bit her soft flesh. Her blood spilled into my mouth and I drunk hungrily, wanting to show her that despite everything I wanted her still. “Mine,“ I said it more like stating a fact than a show of possessiveness. Her tears started flowing uncontrollably now as she wrapped her arms around my neck.
“Why Spike? Why would you want to share this curse?”
“Mine,” I said in reply.
“Why bare this with me?”
“Mine,” I said more insistent now.
She hesitated for a moment. “Yours,” she said weakly as her fangs descended and pierced through the scars on my neck. She smiled slightly as the urgency and anger that Drusilla was sending us began to feel more like a muffled noise in the background. “Mine.”
“Yours,” I said as I held her close and felt the claim link open.
She pulled her fangs and licked the wound close. “Why?”
“Because you have my heart and I would sooner dust than part with you.”
“They are angry. Our family is angry. You won’t be able to go back.”
“It doesn’t matter, luv. I have all that I need right here with me.”
She looked down and felt slightly ashamed for some reason. She looked at her fingernails seemingly studying each bloodstained finger. I shook my head and moved to pull her into an embrace. She hesitated.
“No Spike. I’m filthy.”
“You’ve done enough, looking for me, accepting me. I wouldn’t subject you to being beside me with how I must look at the moment.”
“Do you really think I care about that?”
“Please Elizabeth. Just let me hold you. I’ve been without you for three days.”
She averted her eyes back down on the ground. I wrapped my arms around her and let her head lean against my chest.
… the next night …
I shifted sore muscles hoping Elizabeth wouldn’t wake. The sun was just starting to set and today she promised me, at the very least, we could find somewhere else to stay. She still didn’t want to leave the Chinese countryside but at least I was able to convince her to move locations. The stench of rotting animal flesh was overpowering.
I looked down at her sleeping form and sighed in relief at seeing that there seemed to be some semblance of peace on her face. Life was going to be different now. There was no going back to the family now nor could we go to the clan for any help. The Master abhorred anything human and the mere fact that I chose to stay with Elizabeth and renew the claim was surely grounds to dust me if not torture me on sight. But it didn’t matter. All that mattered was what was in my arms.
I felt her shift slightly and her hand unconsciously moved and rested on my crouch. Either my little minx was awake and was goading me on or she was truly asleep and didn’t know what she was doing. I pressed a kiss on the top of her head. “I love you,” I whispered into her hair as I pulled her hand away knowing that there were more pressing things to worry about at the moment.
… a few more nights later …
“Are you sure you want to stay here for a bit longer luv?” I said looking at our new haven. We had been staying in this area for two weeks now. I had to make do with animal blood, sometimes from the forests, sometimes from the small village about an hour away from where we were. I really didn’t want to stay longer than we had to. My body was complaining. It didn’t like being fed animal when human was just as easy to get. But Elizabeth still wasn’t in the best frame of mind and needed time to deal with everything.
I knew I told her not too long ago that I would feed on the not so innocent, but being in the wilderness, it was a rarity to find anyone that would meet the criteria. The humans that lived in the village near us were all farmers and hunters. They worked hard for their existence and respected the land as well as each other.
“Please Spike? Besides wouldn’t it be better if we waited and made sure the others have left?”
“I guess, luv. Like you I wouldn’t want to accidentally meet any of them.”
“Thank you,” she said giving me a small hug.
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