By Cody Nelson
SPOILERS: "Fool for Love"
SUMMARY: My answer to the question, who's Spike's sire?
DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and probably some others who aren't me.
As well as he wanted to, anyway. The pathetic little twit was a mess of rumpled clothing, tears, and snot, not much to look at. Thankfully, he'd stopped screaming -- not that there was any chance of his being heard out here in their country cottage, but the lad had a horribly loud screech on him for such a weak little thing, and Angelus was weary of listening to it. The fellow was sniffling and moaning now, with an occasional choking sob thrown in, which was annoying enough, but at least not quite such an assault on the eardrums.
Angelus let a small sigh escape his lips. The crying man apparently had sharp ears as well as strong lungs, for he froze in an instant, pale eyes like shiny little bits of glass staring terrified up at his captor.
Angelus simply stared back, and after a moment the young man went back to his snuffling, wiping at his face with a hopelessly soggy handkerchief. He clutched his spectacles in one hand, but no longer cared to look at the world through them. There was blood from the wounds on his neck, dripping onto the white collar of his shirt.
Not enough blood. Angelus sighed again, even more quietly, and this time the young man either didn't hear or didn't care to respond. Damn Drusilla, and her mad whims. She'd bled the lad, but not enough to weaken him. He was only a little dizzy when she'd brought him to the cottage. Then she'd tried to make him drink from her while he was still full of his own blood, and he'd fought her, spitting and coughing most of her precious blood back onto her pretty dress. Drusilla had become terribly distressed and run out of the cottage wailing nonsense about blood and stars. Darla had gone after her, leaving Angelus alone with Drusilla's toy, wondering what to do with him.
As Angelus saw it, he had three choices, none of which he found appealing. He could just leave the wretched man alone, and let Drusilla deal with him when she came back. Of course, there was no guarantee wandering Dru would do any better on a second try, and Angelus had no desire to spend the next few weeks dragging this poor fellow around until Dru either managed to turn him into a vampire or kill him.
He could just kill the man himself, which was what he most wished to do. He couldn't imagine what sort of vampire this weeping creature would make. Nor could he imagine what had possessed Drusilla to choose him. Angelus did not want a timid, fussy, Victorian fledgling attached to his family. He and Darla had encouraged Drusilla to find herself a playmate to keep herself occupied -- but surely this ineffectual fop wasn't what they'd had in mind. Still, it was Drusilla's wish, and he knew there would be a scene to end all scenes if Dru came home and found her toy broken before she'd had a chance to break it herself. And who knew what sort of idiot she'd drag home next, if her choice were thwarted this time?
Which left one other possibility: he could finish turning the fellow himself. Which was what he supposed he'd have to do, although he was hardly eager for that choice, either. He barely wanted to touch the soggy mass lying in his floor, much less let the man drink from him. At least he'd get a meal from it; he hadn't had the chance to feed tonight, what with all the drama over Dru's new plaything.
Dawn was coming, and Darla and Drusilla would have to come home soon. Best to have it done with before they returned.
Angelus swept to his feet and went to stand over Dru's pet. The man flung himself back against the wall, his reddened eyes staring up in terror. A frightened mewl escaped his raw throat. "Please, Sir...." His spectacles fell to the floor, and his hands scrabbled against the wall, as if seeking a way out.
Angelus knelt before the man and put on a gentle, reassuring smile. Fear was all well and good, but he didn't want the man dying of fright before he had the chance to bleed him. If the fellow was to be turned, the matter must be handled with a little more delicacy. He didn't want to turn a gibbering idiot. He had one mad vampire in his nest already.
Perhaps the smile was helping; or perhaps the man had just run out of tears. In any case, he was still, his breath shallow but even, body stiff with tension, the hint of a defiant lower lip only slightly marred by trembles.
"What's your name, lad?" Angelus asked, making his voice soft and pleasant.
"Wi-- William," he managed to answer. His voice was low and roughened with weeping. But some of that roughness was natural; William's voice had a whiskey tang that belied his foppish appearance.
One tiny mark in the man's favor. But only a tiny one. There were thousands of men in the world with sweet voices. "Tell me, William. Have you the slightest idea what you've gotten yourself into?"
"Sir, I-- Sir, I believe the ladies-- did they call you 'Angel' ?"
The ladies. And Sir. Angelus chuckled softly under his breath. Ever prim and proper, with blood running down his neck, and his murderer crouching before him. "Yes, they did."
"But you-- forgive me, Sir, but you seem no angel to me."
"It's a name, lad. Not a description."
"Ah. I see." But of course he didn't. Young William was just as confused as ever. But a little of the tension seemed to be draining from him. As long as he could have a civilized conversation with the monster who was about to kill him, Angelus supposed, he was reassured.
"You haven't answered my question, William."
William's throat worked, but no words came out. Finally, he gave a small shake of his head. A honey-blond lock of hair fell into his eyes. He tried to blink it away, but did not otherwise move.
Angelus brushed the hair from William's forehead, fingertips barely touching the man's skin, hot and damp with sweat. William's eyes opened wide, and he pressed back against the wall.
"No," Angelus murmured softly, "You have no idea what you're about to become." The man's eyes were a startling clear blue, like sunlit skies on fresh cool days in spring. Up close, their expression was complicated; desire mixed with revulsion, passion with fear, eagerness with pain. Was this what had attracted Drusilla? William, it seemed, had unplumbed depths. Too bad Drusilla hadn't the wit left to plumb them.
"Will you tell me, then, Sir?" William lifted his chin, trying to inject a little forcefulness into his voice, with only small success. Still, Angelus thought, give him credit for the attempt.
"What did Drusilla tell you?"
Wonder of wonders, the man had the grace left to blush. His knife-edge cheekbones reddened with the blood flowing just under his skin. Angelus felt his brow begin to thicken, his jaws ache where teeth wanted to grow into fangs. He forced the demon away. Not yet.
William's stammer was back in full bloom. "She-- she-- the lady said I-- She asked if I wanted-- "
"If you wanted what?" Angelus prompted, suppressing an amused smile at the fellow's discomfiture.
"It. That is, what I thought she meant was, perhaps-- "
"Sir, I mean no disrespect to the lady-- "
"Believe me, young William, the lady has no purity in need of your respect. So, you thought you were headed for a night of carnal pleasure?"
"No!" William protested, drawing up his knees, pulling himself upright. He seemed truly offended. "It was more than that. She knew... she knew my heart." William pressed his hand into his chest, eyes distant, remembering.
In a soft, dreamlike murmur, Angelus asked, "What was in your heart that dear Drusilla saw?"
Just as dreamlike, William answered. "A poem."
"So. Our William is a poet."
The dreamy light went out of William's eyes. "No. I thought I was, but... a poet's charge is to speak of the world. I see now that I know nothing of it."
Angelus smiled. "Perhaps we'll show you some of that world."
William's face turned sullen. "Don't toy with me, Sir. I know you intend to do me in."
Angelus reached out to run his fingers along William's cheek, stroking the impossible planes of the man's face. William's eyes squeezed shut, and his mouth tightened, but once again there was conflict in his expression, longing as well as horror.
"Yes, William, I intend to take your life. And I intend to give you another one."
The clear blue eyes opened, troubled, beseeching. William's voice was a bare whisper. "What do you mean?"
"Do you know what your lady Drusilla is? What we are?"
William shook his head. Tears shone in his blue eyes.
Angelus let his face grow hard, let the ridges form across his brow, the fangs grow in his mouth. His voice was slow, hypnotic. "We're vampires, William. Creatures of the night. We kill to live and feed on human blood. We're dead, but we'll live forever. Will you join us, my William?"
"Are you asking me? Will you allow me to choose?"
Angelus smiled, letting his fangs show, knowing that a smile on a face such as his would be far from reassuring. "No, I'm afraid not. Your choice is already made."
He could see the struggle in William's eyes, the effort to come to terms with his inevitable fate, to accept his doom with something resembling dignity. Angelus found within him a measure of amused affection for the foppish poet. Perhaps the fellow would be a satisfactory addition to the family after all.
Tears spilled down the hollow cheeks. "Will... will it hurt?"
"Of course it will. But you'll learn not to mind."
A sort of peace seemed to come over him. William closed his eyes and lifted his head, baring his wounded throat to the monster before him. With a sigh of pleasure, Angelus gathered the man into his arms and bit deeply into his neck. Sweet blood poured into his mouth, tangy with the hint of salty tears and sweat, pain and need. William gasped a little, sighed "Oh!" and clung to Angelus, his body hot and damp and throbbing with his blood. Angelus drank, listening to William's heart pound, waiting as it slowed, until at last it was time.
Angelus let his mouth slide free of William's neck, with a brief sigh of hesitation at leaving that last little spark of life in him. This part was difficult, and he didn't do it casually, as some did, scattering their blood essence far and wide, leaving pathetic, ill-formed creatures in their path. He taught and shaped those he turned, made them monsters he could look on with pride.
Of course, William wasn't his. William belonged to Drusilla; she'd chosen him, bled him, and he'd tasted her blood first. But she couldn't care for a fledgling on her own; it would have fallen to Angelus to train him in any case. At least, this way, Angelus would have some part of him.
William lolled in his arms, eyes unfocussed, weak from loss of blood. His life was already escaping; it must be done soon.
Angelus took him by the shoulders. "William. Now you must drink from me, as I have from you." He began to lay William back against the wall, so he could open a vein in his wrist for William to feed from. But before he could release the dying man, William had gathered some remarkable reserve of strength and flung himself at Angelus, gripping him tightly, closing his blunt human teeth on Angelus's neck. Angelus started back in pain, but William held on, teeth grinding on Angelus's flesh, tearing the skin, swallowing convulsively the blood that followed.
The attack was shocking, agonizing. But in the pain was something else: the piercing sweetness of being joined blood to blood. No matter how the man was doing it, he was doing what must be done. Angelus let out a groan that finished as a sharp laugh, and let himself be drunk.
Then suddenly William was torn from his grasp, ripping a chunk of flesh from his neck, leaving his body chilling where the human's heated form had lain. Drusilla stood before him, mad eyes flashing, holding bloody William up by the collar. And Darla stood behind her, one gloved hand to her mouth, ineffectually hiding an amused smile.
"Wicked Angel!" Dru said petulantly, shaking William like one of her dolls. "You've made him all dirty."
"He's dying, Dru," Angelus answered wearily. "If you want him to drink from you, you'd better do it soon."
With a quick slash of her fingernail, Drusilla opened a cut on the side of her neck, and pressed William's mouth to it. He hung limply in Drusilla's arms, then slowly began to drink, the working of his throat the only movement of his body. No longer the hungry animal that had torn at Angelus's neck, he barely had the strength to swallow.
Presently, he coughed once, and his head fell back, blood dripping from his mouth. William had died.
Angelus pulled himself to his feet. He felt vaguely dissatisfied by the whole affair, although it had finished as it must, with William dead and waiting to be reborn, both his and Drusilla's blood in him.
Drusilla, too, was unhappy. She stared at the body in her arms as if wondering how it had got there, then abruptly let it fall to the floor and began to keen softly. "What have you done to him, Father?"
Angelus grimaced at the name, but only said, "Nothing but help you make him."
Her hands fluttered about her like little birds. "No, no, he'll never be mine now."
"Nonsense, Dru. He's got your blood in him. And mine, but mine's in you, it's all the same." He spoke impatiently, knowing his words were likely to go unheeded. Dru got her logic from some mystery place in her own twisted mind.
"His blood's his own," Dru pronounced, then began to laugh, shrilly. She scooped up William's body in her arms and spun around, singing, "His blood's his own, his blood's his own," as if reciting a nursery rhyme. She carried him off to her room, still singing and laughing.
Darla came and put a hand on Angelus's shoulder. "Well. This should be interesting."
Angelus shook his head. "I fear this new toy of Drusilla's is going to be trouble."
Darla just shrugged prettily. "No matter. If he doesn't suit, you can always kill him later. He doesn't look like much of a fighter."
"No," Angelus agreed. "I wonder what she meant, 'His blood's his own' ?"
"Who knows what our dear Drusilla ever means? It's probably nothing." She smiled up at him coquettishly and licked the blood from his neck. "Come. Let's go to bed."
He slipped an arm around her waist, and they went to their room.
His neck ached from the bite of William's teeth. And Drusilla's sing-song voice continued to sound in his mind. There was something special about William, and Dru had known it all along.
His blood's his own.