Title: Savage Devotions: The Vampire Hunters of Prague.
Series: The Devotionals (Pre-Sunnydale Spike and Dru)
Rating: Let's say PG –15 for disturbing themes and a little violence (although I was reading lots bloodier stuff than this by then!) Enjoy.
Disclaimer: The usual. Spike and Dru are Joss's. Original characters are mine, all mine!
Note: By the way, if you're looking for a face to put to the old man in this story – I'm thinking Martin Landau would have been the obvious (if slightly twisted!) choice if this character had been cast on the show. This fic was written for the Buffyverse Lyric Wheel. The lyrics are found at the end of the last part.
Savage Devotions: The Vampire Hunters of Prague by Ligeia.
The night orderly handed the cabbie the last of the old man's luggage, two ancient and battered leather suitcases held together by broad straps and good brass locks, while the old fellow carried his own precious brown Gladstone bag, refusing to allow anyone else to even touch it. The orderly sighed as the driver closed the boot of the black taxi and wondered if the soon to be former patient was quite capable of living outside of the institution that had been his home and hospice for almost forty years. As a voluntary in-patient the old man was perfectly within his rights to sign himself out at any time; in fact he had proven himself to be a model inmate, helpful, softly-spoken, literate and generally loved by all, staff and patients alike. They would be sorry to see him go, the orderly reflected, and surprised to find out in the morning that the old man's self-imposed residency at St Jerome's Private Psychiatric Facility had finally come to an end after all these years. And in the middle of the night no less! Shaking his head but forcing a smile he helped the old man into the car, carefully closed the door and stepped back as it circled around in front of the administration building then headed down the driveway and out through the arched main gate to merge with the flow of London's evening traffic.
Without a single backward glance at the halls and gardens of the clinic that had provided him with physical lodgings and spiritual sanctuary for most of his adult life, the old man leaned forward to utter the only word he would speak during the entire journey, 'Heathrow.' On the way to the airport they passed the shell of an old red brick building, an abandoned storehouse of some kind with a vacant lot on one side, a decrepit two storey semi-detached residence on the other and suddenly he was there again on the stoop of the old house in the East End sitting beside his little sister as they waited together for their parents to come home.
The desecrated chapel stood in an almost deserted part of the city, the exterior awash with a rainbow of graffiti which, Spike mused, seemed to look the same no matter what language was represented by the colourful scrawl. Tiles from the roof and glass from the lower windows littered the ground outside and the unmown churchyard was dotted with blackberry bushes and wild untended roses. A few blocks away, nearer the inhabited suburbs, was a school from which the sounds of children drifted, flowing in to fill the silences of the old church and soothe the drowsing Drusilla throughout the long day.
Spike usually rose first, around mid afternoon when the strongest of the sunlight had passed over the church and the shadows had just begun to lengthen. A cigarette or two and it would be time for Dru to stir.
After climbing the narrow wooden stairs the old man rested a moment, leaning a brown paper bag full of groceries against the peeling paint of the wall while he turned the key in the lock of the cheap hotel room. The paint on the door might once have been green – or perhaps grey – but like most of the fittings and furnishings, indeed, like many of the guests themselves, had seen better and more glorious days. The old man muttered then laughed to himself; no matter, he was close now, very close and had only to endure a little longer, to husband his strength and resources until he could consummate this one last undertaking and fulfil the promise he made so very long ago.
Since his arrival in Prague his life had taken on a rhythm that quickly resolved itself into daily ritual. Mornings were spent in the Prague Central Library poring over the English language Czech newspapers and making photocopies of articles that interested him. Afterwards, a short walk to the Franciscan Garden where he ate a meagre lunch of prekvapeni or a kapsa and coffee, then home to wait out the afternoon until sundown when he ventured back out into the streets.
While in England he had taught himself to use the internet in the clinic's reading room, religiously following the on-line news services that had proved so invaluable in tracking down and collating the information he required. He had even registered on several chat rooms, most of which had achieved nothing other than to waste his precious dwindling time on self-styled Satanists and weirdo dilettantes who understood nothing of the reality of the lifestyle they chose to mimic. The object of his search had remained frustratingly elusive, so much so that he had almost given up, resigning himself to living out his final years in abject failure, when a chance reference in the classifieds of the Prague Post had led him to this city less than two months ago.
Here in the ancient city a new group had surfaced, a cabal of men and women who had come together in response to the threat of that very same enemy that he had faced over sixty years ago; an unspeakable evil that had destroyed his innocence and blighted his life. It was within this circle of allies that his best – his only - hope for success now lay. With thin but steady hands he unfolded the most recent copies of the daily and weekly newspapers. Even the international press had recently begun to follow the story that had first attracted his attention in the weeks leading up to his departure from St Jerome's.
As much as he loved Drusilla, Spike enjoyed these quiet moments to himself. Sitting cross-legged on the alter, he drew back on a Gitanes, letting the smoke meander back out through his mouth and nostrils to lose itself in the growing darkness inside the chapel. How long has it been, he thought as the bluish threads unravelled and curled away into the dusky air, how long since I've been able to take a breath that's true?
Behind the alter on a makeshift bed of old vestments, wrapped in a pretty padded quilt stolen from a nearby clothesline Dru shifted in her sleep, whispering to herself as she often did when wakefulness drew near, dragging random thoughts and dream-snatches to the surface to ruffle her consciousness. Spike smiled a little to himself and slipped off the altar. Hunkering down beside his lover's murmuring form, he brushed a stray lock of jet black hair from the ivory skin of her brow, then passed the back of his fingers lightly across the pale flesh again. Dru always took so long to shake off the embrace of the day-sleep; she was never completely alive until the day died away and night held full sway. Tonight, under the ripening moon they would hunt together and the pallid lilies on her cheeks would be transformed into blushing roses.
[continued in part 2 ...]
Kitten, you wanted Spike and Dru, so here they are!
Thanks to everyone who read my last fic, and a HUGE thanks to those who reviewed. It's a real buzz to get your feedback, so review me and make a writer happy today!