By Jane Davitt
Spike scratched his nose thoughtfully. “Scary stuff, you mean?”
“Do you know any stories that aren’t?”
“Good point. Well, there was this –”
“I want...I want to know about your first time.” Dawn’s face was flushed now, the young, sweet blood suffusing delicate cheeks, rushing up to betray her.
“My first -? Forget it. Slayer finds out I’m talking to you, she’ll stake me. Finds out what we’re talking about and she’ll make it slow.”
“No she won’t,” Dawn said, her composure rushing back at Spike’s flustered reaction. She smiled at him kindly. “We have done sex education at school, you know. I’m just curious about how vampires uh, do it. Comparative biology. Educational. She couldn’t mind that.”
“Don’t want to bet on it,” Spike muttered. He rallied. “Besides; it’s private. Forget it.”
“First time you killed someone?” Dawn hazarded, a little relieved that he’d turned her down. Spike made her feel...curious, but he was off limits in too many ways and not the kind of forbidden that just begged you to do it. He was less like playing in the abandoned quarry and more like driving a stolen car with your eyes shut, drunk, using your feet to steer.
Spike’s refusal was flat and uncompromising. Dawn pouted in disappointment. “Why not?”
Because she could’ve been your twin, Spike thought. He shook his head, feeling very old. “It’s not – proper. She – they were human, like you. You shouldn’t want to hear about them dying.”
Dawn smiled in slow-blossoming triumph. “Fine. Then tell me about the first time you killed another vampire. Buffy couldn’t mind that; she does it every night and you were doing a good thing, right? Tell me about that.”
“What makes you think I can remember?” Spike countered. “You remember what you had for dinner six years ago? How do you expect me to –?”
Dawn stared at him, and for a moment, she was the scariest, oldest thing in the crypt. “How could you forget? Pushing in the stake, seeing eternal life snatched away, seeing a body explode into dust and knowing it could happen to you, knowing you’d done that to one of your kind, robbed them of so many years...how could you not remember? It’s like murder; humans don’t count but other vampires? That has to be something you feel bad about.”
Spike shivered and shook his head impatiently. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said roughly. “Evil. We’re all fu – we’re all evil and we don’t have loyalties and feelings like that. Hell, even humans kill each other without too much of a problem and you’ve got bloody souls. Go home, Dawn. It’ll be dark soon.”
She began to protest and he resorted to a snarl, backed by fangs, to persuade her. Dawn had never seen his game face turned on her, and she flinched despite herself and backed away towards the door, stammering a hasty goodbye.
The crypt door slammed and Spike cursed, the angry, despairing words bubbling up now he was alone. Anger, despair...and memories.
“You’re new to all this, aren’t you?”
The coquettish glance over the unfurled fan, the downcast lashes and upward, saucy glance...he felt a warmth flood him. This was what happened to other fellows; never him. He’d watched flirtations, listening eagerly to snippets of inconsequential chatter that concealed a deeper, age-old message of availability and desire, never daring to hope that one day...
“Will you not tell me your name?” she asked.
“Spike,” he said firmly, for the first time not stumbling over his new name. Around them, the noise of the party enclosed them in an enchanted circle. He had no need to lean forward to catch her low words but he did so anyway, wanting to taste the air that caressed her perfect body. Her cheeks were faintly flushed; she must have fed on one of the humans – half starved beggars, raddled prostitutes – who had been brought to the house to feed the gathering of vampires; living statues, tied to wall hooks and waiting their fate, heads lolling, mouths empty of screams.
“Ah, of course! Drusilla made you...what? Two days ago? I’ve heard of you.”
He studied her, admiring the white skin, deep blue eyes and rich, red hair, piled high atop a beautifully shaped head. “Have you, indeed?” he said, forgetting to drop into the rough accent he was trying to adopt. “That seems unfair when I don’t have the pleasure of your acquaintance.” He took in the unrelieved black of her gown, the jets flashing darkly at throat and ears. “I’m sorry; have you suffered a bereavement of some nature?”
She laughed, the musical sound rippling from a long, slender throat. “You could say that. But come; let’s be friends from the start and not bother with tiresome formalities like introductions. Shall we go somewhere quieter?”
This fitted his own beliefs so perfectly that he nodded eagerly, drawn to her warmth, forgetting that Drusilla had told him to stay where he was until she returned.
She took his hand in hers and pulled him gently towards an alcove, draped by a thick curtain, fastened back with a swag of golden brocade. The house in which the party was held was full of such hidden nooks. Spike felt desire stir. No lady would ever go into one of these – but of course, this was no lady. She unhooked the curtain and it fell back, hiding them from view, signaling that the small space was taken. The small orchestra was producing enough noise to drown out any but the most indiscreet lovers – or panicking victims.
She guided him to the wide couch and sat beside him, reclining gracefully against soft pillows, her creamy bosom rising and falling as she laughed up at him, blue eyes twinkling. “How I adore young vampires like you! So full of warmth still, so close to what they once were...”
Spike grinned. “I’ll do my best not to disappoint you, my dear,” he promised, his hands reaching out to cup and caress the soft breasts that seemed made to be touched. “You never told me your name, though. I would hate to have no way to remember you in my dreams. What is it?”
The curtain rose and fell. “Her name is the Widowmaker,” Drusilla said, her voice flat with fury. “She finds dressing as one lures in those men not wishing to dally with virgins, and she leaves many women mourning.”
“Which would be perfectly marvelous,” said a new voice, as Darla joined Drusilla in the narrow doorway, their wide skirts overlapping, deep red on pale blue, “but she has a bad habit, don’t you, my sweet? You like to kill the freshly turned too...after you’ve fucked them, of course. Not that she’s being kind, you understand.” Darla’s mocking gaze moved to Spike and rested on him, hardening slightly. “No; she’s one of the pathetic sort, who cling to humanity, wanting to couple with those not long removed from that state.”
“And now you’ve tried to take my Spike,” Drusilla said, her face shifting and reforming to show the demon within. “That’s very naughty of you.” Her eyes flicked to Spike. “And of him. Miss Edith will expect punishments for each of you, as is only right and proper.”
“I think what she’s trying to say,” Darla confided, her lilting voice at odds with her own vampire features, “is that you’re going to die. Long overdue in my opinion.”
Spike scrambled off the couch. “Now, hold on!” he said. “Dru, you can’t mean...”
“Shush,” she said, reaching out to caress his face. “I could never kill my prince. Not on a Friday. But you’ve been bad and must atone.”
Drusilla and Darla surged forward, silk skirts rustling. They gripped the thrashing, struggling figure on the couch, pinning her down like a night moth about to be mounted. Drusilla turned her head and saw Spike’s look of horror. She smiled thinly. “See what she has in her bag...A little present, all for you.”
Spike looked around wildly and spotted a velvet bag, encrusted with ebony beads, rather larger than usual. He opened it and pulled out a slender, deadly stake of wood, smooth and pointed. It fell from his nerveless fingers and Darla sighed impatiently.
“Pick it up, stupid, and stake her. While we wait, Angelus is probably on his third victim and will want to leave - and I’m still hungry.”
He bent down and picked up the stake, watching the fear flare in the beautiful eyes. In the end, it was the knowledge that she had played him for as much of a fool as Cecily had, that let him smile as he staked her, and let him tumble Drusilla on the couch minutes later, driving into her body with a strength born of frustration and despair, as much as the need to placate.
Then, tipsy and exultant, he persuaded Drusilla to come home with him to meet his mother...
“And it’s no different now,” Spike muttered, standing desolate as past betrayals slashed him to the bone. “Women. Bloody, bloody women...”
The crypt door slammed back and the latest in a long line of tribulations stood framed in the doorway. “Spike?”
She frowned in surprise at his angry snarl. “I just wondered if you wanted to patrol with me. Work off some of that energy and pent up need to kill. Oh, wait. That would be me, after I found out Dawn had been visiting you again.”
Spike grinned, swaggering towards her, good humour restored as he laid his ghosts to rest. “What can I say? I’ve always had a way with the ladies.”