25 - A Night of Ironies
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 my wonderful betas 2zen2 and McChick
CHAPTER 25 – A Night of Ironies
… Chicago, Illinois … 1948 …
We were walking away from the fortune teller in silence trying to make some sense of the information that the witch had given us. It was by no means an answer to our ultimate question but at least it was something. It didn’t really tell us why Darla seemed to be so interested in Elizabeth once she saw that mark, but if what the witch was telling us was true then our fates … our destinies were going to take us to places I don’t think we even imagined.
“Do you believe her?” Elizabeth asked.
I let my shoulders shrug. “Not sure. Seems like a fantasy but you know we’ve seen things that when we were human I thought were impossible.”
She nodded, sighing softly. I placed an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close to me.
We walked down the Chicago streets falling into silence once more. We had not fed yet and the hunger was starting to build. I purposely had left my gold watch hanging out of my vest pocket, hoping to attract some foolish thief to the promise of gold. Then depending on how much he struggled and fought for what I was dangling in front of him would determine whether I would just take a sip or drain the poor bloke dry. This arrangement was suitable enough for Elizabeth. At least the victims I took were far from innocent. But no one took the bait. Perhaps we would have to go deeper into the dark to find human monsters similar to ourselves to feed. I knew that Elizabeth would have been happy with the swill that the local demon bar served. It was far from edible in my opinion and I usually had to lace it with a good portion of alcohol to make it palatable. But Elizabeth made do with it when we didn’t have time to get the butcher special. It may be good for her but I needed something fresher and richer.
The cold and dank air from the subway found its way towards us and a grin crossed my lips. Perhaps I would be lucky down there. Perhaps there I would find an unsuspecting human desperate enough to fall for my bait. With a tired sigh Elizabeth followed behind me as I bounded down the stairs toward the subway entrance. I could tell she wanted to complain. She knew better though and held her tongue. She could leave me alone and I would meet up with her later, but her conscience made her feel that it was best to stay with me and make sure I did not go overboard in my feeding.
The wind blew through the dark tunnels and I picked out a few strangling heartbeats hidden in the shadows. Surely one of them or maybe a tiny bit of all of them would prove to be a worthy meal. I started to press myself against the wall, blending into the shadows as Elizabeth walked in silence leaving me to do what I must. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found a man face down in a drunken stupor, the bottle of whiskey still in his hand. I had no intention on draining this one dry but at least I didn’t have to fight for my meal. I cradled the man lovingly in my arms as I sliced through his neck with practiced ease. I kept my ears alert, knowing that I had to stop just when his heart started showing signs of stress. The blood coated my tongue and throat and pushed back the growing hunger to a bearable level. When I was done, I licked the wounds closed and placed the man back on the ground. I stood up and listened for my next donor. Two more bodies like this one and I would be good for the night. As I made my way back to the platform to check up on Elizabeth before finding my next two meals the smell of blood stoked the demon inside but the sense of shock from Elizabeth brought forth a different emotion. I rushed to her side to find her staring at a bloodbath. The subway train had stopped and if whatever it was that found the humans in the car found the driver; this would be this train’s final stop for the night.
Conflicting emotions raced inside me. A part of me was hungry, wanting to move forward and see if there was still some victim inside that could serve as food. Another part of me was reminiscing of a time when I had done such carnage – the feel of warm blood on cold skin, the sounds of terror and fear, the taste of salty tears mixed with bittersweet blood, the power of holding life in your own two hands. My demon knew the carnage well and so did my mate which led me into the feeling of horror. We had hidden ourselves in the shadows and ran away from everything we knew and loved so dearly. Now, with the scene before us it was a reminder of what we were capable of and what we fought to deny every night. I felt Elizabeth grip my hand tightly. She must know … know that seeing this was actually harder for me since I had nothing to truly stop me from letting go and doing this. And a part of me, the part that has been denied for so long, wanted to do this.
I found it strange that it was Elizabeth that took the step forward. I wanted to run. I wanted to flee because seeing this was giving me ideas.
“I can still hear heartbeats,” she proclaimed.
“No, luv. This is their fate. Don’t mingle ours with theirs.”
“But we could still save them.”
“Why should we? Isn’t what we do enough?”
“Please Spike! Perhaps we can save a life.”
“But the one responsible is still here. Would you risk facin’ this one to save a human that you don’t even know will survive?”
“We don’t have time to argue about this,” she said walking with purpose into the carnage. I tried to shut my senses off. I did my best not to breathe lest I succumb to the sweet smell in the air. I wondered how Elizabeth could stand this. There was blood everywhere and if I was her, with the soul in place, I would feed -- feed on the few bodies that were still warm but dying. There would be no guilt since one, the ones that were unconscious and bleeding were beyond saving, while those that still can think wouldn’t last much longer, why not give them the sweet calming embrace of death than the panic of the unknown ‘til their life ebbed away from them.
Elizabeth had found two children, huddled underneath tables, their eyes wild with fear. I was surprised to see that they were pretty much unscathed except for a few scrapes and bruises. She coaxed them and led them outside. I took the girl while she took the younger boy. Both children falling into unconsciousness as if they knew that we would keep them safe. The young girl in my arms had blood on her clothing and it took a huge amount of self control to stop the demon from just taking the little girl’s sweet blood. Her neck was pressed close to my cheek and I can feel the warmth radiating from her. I opened the claim and pleaded with my mate that we do this quick because I was still hungry and wanting.
//I will not take them further than just away from the carnage. Blood everywhere, pet… and I’m hungry. It doesn’t help that this one is so young.//
//But it would be better if we can make sure they are in good hands.//
As if fate was trying to tell me that I was right, as we carried the children towards the subway exit where I hoped some policeman should see them, a wooden arrow came flying pass my head.
“Stop where you are vampire and let those children go.”
We both turned slowly to see a young teenage girl holding a crossbow. Her stance seemed familiar and the vehemence in her voice spoke of her familiarity with perhaps fighting our kind. There was something about her that was calling to me, calling the demon to come forth. She was a Slayer. Slayer blood would be a better prize. It had been decades, almost half a century actually, since I had tasted that sweet blood.
//Spike, no. Please. Let’s just go.//
//You really think this bint is going to let us go. Look into her eyes. There’s anger there.//
She gave me a mental sigh as she carefully lowered the boy to the ground. I did the same with the child in my arms, but I was cautious enough not to take my eyes way from the teenager. There was something about her stance that showed she seemed to have an itchy trigger finger. Sure enough as Elizabeth straightened up she let the arrow fly and my mate quickly got out of the way while I rushed in to protect her.
“I’m not letting you go vampire. The killings will stop now.” The young girl said, her voice echoing eerily in the tunnels.
“We had nothing to do with that.” Elizabeth said but I knew better than an explanation like that would work with this one.
“And why should I trust you demon? Lying is second nature to all of you.”
“Because it’s the truth.” I said.
“You have children in your arms. What, you want me to believe you were helping them? The idea of your kind helping us, any of us, is unheard of.”
“We’re a new breed I guess, so lower your little weapon and we’ll be on our way.”
She took a step forward. “No. All your kind must be destroyed. If you want to help this world, just stand there and let me do my job.”
Her words angered me. Here we were trying to get these children to safety and it didn’t seem like she cared. Alright, I’ll admit that the concept of vampires helping out humans was unheard of, perhaps even preposterous and laughable. It was an act that was even punishable among our kind. The Order was after us because Elizabeth smelled too human. I’m sure if they knew that we were helping humans now that would just increase their efforts in finding and killing us. Thank goodness the order was no more.
“If you had any sense little girl, you’d try to find out who your real culprit is. We weren’t responsible for the blood bath in there and we wouldn’t be stupid enough to carry two children with blood stained clothes out of here. We’d be spotted quickly. If we wanted to feed on them, don’t you think we would have done it by now?”
I saw the uncertainty cross her face and it just angered her further. Her watcher must have taught her well. The world wasn’t made of black and white but I guess for slayers to do their duty it was easier to paint the world that way. “You’re a vampire and you’re evil. “
“Where’s your proof that I’m evil, pet?”
“You’re a vampire, need I say more?”
I was right. She saw everything as right and wrong. It must be nice to live in a world where everything was so clearly defined.
She let another arrow fly, and this time Elizabeth rushed out of instinct and pushed me out of the way. It struck her right shoulder and as her muffled whimper of pain registered in my brain I rushed the Slayer quickly, giving her what she had wanted. She wanted evil so she was going to get it. I knocked the crossbow from her hands and threw a punch aimed at her face. She was a pretty little thing with reddish brown hair and brown eyes with flecks of green. I had wanted to fight her so badly but pushed the desire down for many reasons. The foremost reason being that my mate didn’t want me to. But no amount of reasoning or promises of love or even sexual favors in exchange for a decent fight was going to stop me from killing this one now. I had been nice. I had reasoned with the bloody bint that we weren’t responsible for the mayhem in the subway car and that we would leave the children in her care. I was even willing to just knock the girl out while we escaped. But no, she wanted a fight. She wanted to kill us just because of who we were. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but it angered me because here we were trying to help and she was ignoring that aid. We were meant to be killed because our hearts didn’t beat. Nearly half a century now I had restrained myself from killing any innocent and this was the reward I get? Faced with a Slayer who had wounded my mate, all bets were off.
I knew I would have to deal with Elizabeth later about this, but the Slayer was going to pay with her blood. I’ll give her the fight she was itching to give me. I’ll give her a glimpse of the evil she assumed we had done.
I let go of all my restraint, fangs descending, eyes turning a fiery amber as I concentrated on nothing else but the fight before me. I saw her glance over to where the crossbow lay. Perhaps luck would be on my side today if fate has delivered me a Slayer that was more comfortable with long range fighting. I liked getting into the thick of things. I like getting my hands dirty or in this case bloody. I saw her move towards her favored weapon and rushed in the same direction intent on getting to the crossbow first. I saw her hand reach out first and knowing that there would be no way I would be able to wretch it out of her grasp I changed tactics and aimed instead at using momentum and muscle to knock her down. I caught her by surprise as I crouched low, protecting my chest as I rammed into her gut. I heard a grunt as she hit the wall behind her. I moved quickly before she could recover. I aimed a kick at her shoulder, pounding on muscle and ligament until I saw her grip on the crossbow wane. The weapon dropped to the ground with a slight clang and I crushed it with my left foot. She looked at me with angry eyes and I just rewarded her with a smirk.
Her hand curled into fists and we exchanged blows. But as we danced I noticed that my earlier assumption was correct. Her skill didn’t lay in hand to hand combat. I wasn’t stupid enough to lower my defenses. Her blows were still pretty powerful, it was just that her movements were not as quick, not as sharp. She was able to push me away from her and I saw the small smile she let cross her lips at having more freedom to move.
She employed kicks along with her punches though I had fortunately damaged her right shoulder enough that blows from her right side didn’t seem to amount to as much as before. She was lucky I didn’t have a knife or dagger on me at the moment because I would have loved to cut her… to slice through her skin and see her sweet blood flow and whet my appetite further. Normally I would think that that would just be wasting food, but she had irritated me that I wanted her to feel some sort of pain.
She eventually pulled out her stake. I was wondering when the signature weapon of Slayers was going to make its appearance.
“Wot do you fight for Slayer?”
“I fight for this world… to protect humans from the likes of you.”
I let out a soft chuckle as I avoided her attack. “Yet you would be willing to let two human children die because you’re so devoted to your cause?”
Her head turned briefly to look at Elizabeth who I could feel was tending to the children despite the wound on her shoulder. My words hit home. It worked and she faltered, unsure for the split second and it was all I needed. I twisted her arm, putting pressure on her muscles that loosened the grip on her stake. I didn’t hesitate, the demon anxious for Slayer blood. Warm blood flooded down my throat and I drank, my arms unknowingly snaking around her frame and holding her possessively. For a brief second I remembered the last time a Slayer’s neck became my chalice. Oh sweet blood flowed into me like a fount and her life was like an elixir that I needed. The demon inside was rejoicing and an involuntary moan vibrated in my throat as I drank. This Slayer’s blood tasted different from the first one I killed but it was life and power nonetheless.
I felt my mate’s firm hand on my shoulder, beckoning me to release the dying Slayer. “Spike…”
She was defeated though still had some strength in her. But I had shattered her perfect world and questioned her cause, her reason for fighting. I had killed her spirit just as surely as I had weakened her body. She looked up at us with disillusioned brown eyes.
“Was I wrong?”
Her eyes flitted between me and my mate before she settled on Elizabeth who was somehow still giving her a kind face despite the fact that this girl had wounded her.
“Save … them. …” Then she was gone. Her heart was silent.
Elizabeth bent down to close the Slayer’s eyes and I couldn’t help but scowl at the seeming tenderness she was giving the now dead teenager.
I could feel disappointment growing inside her. She knew I could have restrained myself. She knew I could have found a way to knock her out instead of killing her. But in my mind I was in the right. My mate has been harmed and my life was in danger as well. I was just protecting what was mine. I was getting ready for the argument but it never came. She just looked up at me and cleaned the blood from my lips.
“We need to get the children to a hospital. Let’s go.” She winced slightly as she turned and accidentally moved her right shoulder too quickly. The arrow was gone but the wound was there. It would take some time to heal since she rarely drank human blood. I reached out to call her back and urge her to drink from me since Slayer blood would still be fresh in my body. But my right arm started to feel like it was on pins and needles and as I moved my gaze towards it, it felt like a hot branding iron was being pressed near my wrist. The red marking on my body was glowing and the nerve endings near the mark were going haywire to the point that I wasn’t sure if I was feeling pleasure or pain.
I looked up to see Elizabeth had stopped walking and was putting pressure on the spot where her red marking would be. I don’t know if I was just being protective or if there was another reason behind it but something inside me was urging me forward towards her. I needed to touch her; somehow my body knew that if I could just touch my mate the tingling would go away. So I told my body to walk. I told my body to ignore my arm and just reach out to my mate. She turned and reached for me as well. As soon as our fingertips touched the prickling sensation started to subside.
I pulled her into my arms, finding comfort in her nearness. She looked up at me as if trying to ask the same question that was on my mind. “What the hell was going on?” I had no answers and part of me wasn’t sure if I would like the answers.
The little girl I was carrying earlier started to stir. “Mommy?” Nothing else followed for a few seconds and then she was screaming. I couldn’t blame the poor girl. There was blood on her hands and on her dress. Elizabeth pulled away from me to calm the girl down and I quietly followed. Tonight was a night of ironies. A massacre occurred but I had no part in it. I was only responsible for one death and strangely enough the children we had saved in some way caused the death of the very Slayer that vowed to protect all humans.
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