Crimson Shadows





See Prologue


Xander didn't run away denying the truth of his new life.  He simply walked out of the old church, his shoulders slumped in defeat.  Not really paying attention where he was going, Xander walked in a daze. 

That was until someone fell in step beside him and clapped him on the back.  Xander didn't miss a beat as he glanced at the man.  He was Mexican and looked about his age.  His right arm had a tattoo of a snake coiling down it.  The man's face was painted black on the top half and blue on the bottom.  Xander just shrugged it off though.  After living on the Hellmouth New York held little to surprise him.

"Hey Bobo, you must be the Newbie."

Xander stopped dead and looked at the stranger suspiciously.  "What's it to you?"

"Easy Bobo, I'm vampiro too.  Name's Joe."  His almost cheerful look turned sympathetic before he continued.  "Thing is I know this is tough on ya at first.  So lucky you, I'm gonna take you unner my wing.  Show you the ropes and get ya over this depressed thing ya got going."

"I'm not depressed."

"Sorry, that must be your normal face.  Little piece of advice, the ladies don't go for the broodin' vampiro types."

Xander just glared at him before speeding up his walk.

"What?"  Joe asked confused as he sped up to catch Xander.

"Alright, alright."  He said as he fell back in step.  "How 'bout we just get something to eat?"

Xander looked like he was going to be sick just from the suggestion.  "No way!"

"S'not your call Bobo.  You don't drink and your beast side takes over.  You go on a feeding frenzy.  Not pretty."

Seeing Xander's look Joe took a second to think of a good way to explain.  "Look at it this way.  Drinking blood is our nature and nature always wins in the end."

Suddenly Joe stopped them.  For the first time Xander notice that they had walked to a secluded area of Central Park.  They were hidden in the shadows as Joe pointed to a man nearby.  A man selling drugs to a kid, barely a teenager.

"'Nother tip,"  Joe said as he began to move.  "Nobody cares if you prey on the predator!"

In a flash Joe was on them.  He shoved the teen out of the way and picked the man up with one hand.  The drug dealer could only look in horror as Joe's fangs appeared.  Then it was over and Joe sank his teeth into his neck and began to drink his life blood.

After a moment Joe stopped to look at Xander.  "C'mon Bobo.  I'm not greedy.  Plenty for the two of us."

Xander just looked on conflicted.  One part of him was shocked.  Shocked that the cheery Mexican had just killed a man.  Shocked that it even surprised him knowing what they were.  Most of all, shocked over how much he wanted it.

The other part of him couldn't help but like his lips at the sight of the blood flowing freely from the drug dealer's neck.  The hunger in him demanding that he rush over there and lap it up greedily.  It was so strong in fact that it made him start forward.

In the end Xander was able to push back the hunger just before reaching his target.  He did the only thing he could think of in that instant.  He ran.

Joe stared at the retreating form and sighed.  "More for me I guess."

A whimper to his right caught his attention before he could return to his prey.  The teen was still on the ground and looking at the vampire in utter terror.

"Go home kid."  Joe said as menacing as possible.  "And don't be going out at night alone."

The boy took off as fast as his legs could take him.  With all interruptions gone Joe went back to his dinner.


Xander ran.  He didn't know where he was going.  It didn't matter as long as he got away from the blood.  Somewhere along the way he ended up on a rooftop, but that didn't deter him.  Every time he reached an edge he simply jumped to the next building.

Slowly he began to decrease his pace.  Not from fatigue.  It was more that the panic was subsiding.  Finally he came to a stop at the edge of a rooftop overlooking an ally.

He was greeted by a sight he never expected to see.  A lone figure walked through the darkened alley.  A figure he recognized as Giles.

If he had been thinking straight many things would have been going through his mind.  Amazement that he had run faster than he ever had for almost a half hour and wasn't tired.  Bewilderment over jumping rooftops.  And more importantly, questions about Giles being in New York.

But at this point he was not in his right mind.  The hunger had returned in force.  The last coherent thought to go through his mind was 'Joe was right'.  After that there was only 'hunt', 'feed', 'prey'.