Disclaimer: I don't own anything and I'm definitely not profiting.PLAYING WITH THE BIG BOYS
"We were supposed to meet tonight," Dracula recapped, staring intently down at Tuscany. Who was clearly not impressed to be sitting on the ground in the dirt.
"Do you ever think about calling and NOT lurking? I get it. You have an image but in the interest of my sanity would you announce yourself?" She struggled to her feet and Dracula did not offer a hand to help.
"You are avoiding the issue at hand!" He observed.
"There were circumstances that prevented me from participating in our scheduled lesson."
"You forgot about our meeting," Dracula accused.
"Well yes but that does not make what I said any less true. Had I remember I had to see you I would have contacted you and told you I couldn't make it. Oh wait no I wouldn't have… because I can't contact you. You just stalk me anytime you feel like a chat."
He ignored her outburst. "What was the impending disaster that prevented you from arriving?"
"Buffy turned invisible and almost died."
"That's not acceptable!" Dracula said simply, his accent thicker in his anger.
"Death is not a good reason?" Tuscany scratched her head.
"I will admit the invisible bit is unusual but apart from that Buffy almost dies every time she patrols. Every action she takes holds the promise of death, of darkness. It is the slayers duty to recognize that at any moment her life may be stolen from her," Dracula answered.
Tuscany stared at him for a long moment. "You know that was very poetic and I'm kinda attracted to you right now."
Dracula fixed her with a pointed look.
"Ok I was joking. Sheesh you older vamps can't take a joke? How old are you anyway?"
"I don't remember exact dates but I saw the Roman empire fall!"
"Yeah I heard that was the event of the season back then."
"Ah there was such mayhem," Dracula smiled, obviously recalling some happy memory of death and carnage.
"So we should get on with this lesson. I've got to sleep some time."
"Walk with me." He made it a command with no room for argument.
"Alrighty then," She mumbled under her breath. She trailed after him. He received some odd looks directed towards his outfit but he ignored it. Most vampires clung to the fashions they had died in. It gave new meaning to the expression "that is so last season." She also noticed women sweeping their eyes over his body appreciatively. There was no doubt about it. Dracula was hot.
She walked faster to catch up with him.
"So have you concluded whether you are a witch?"
"Is this part of the lesson?"
Tuscany sighed. "I think it was a reflex action, like Buffy's fighting. I was tied up but I still felt the need to defend myself and then I called on some natural ability. Heaps of people have a tiny bit of magical ability good for small protective spells etc. Like Giles."
"You could have simply answered no."
"You want us to have this teaching thing, get used to me talking."
"I find your accent annoying," Dracula said. He turned towards the graveyard.
"YOU find MY accent annoying? Yours isn't exactly soothing to the ears." That was a lie.
"Hush!" he gave her a harsh look. Her mouth immediately clamped shut.
Dracula actually looked relieved, a very human emotion. Dracula had lost most of his human emotions; he hadn't been human for a very long time.
"I want you, tonight, to align yourself with my essence. To track me through the graveyard."
"A slayer must use her own darkness to recognise the dark in others. Then she must learn to identify different darkness to pick which monster she hunts."
"Ok so I run after you and find you. Should be easy," Tuscany shrugged. She could do this.
"Maybe not as easy as I once thought. What about other vamps in the woods?"
"I will keep them away. Your sole purpose is to find me… and to not trip over gravestones." There was amusement in his tone.
"How exactly am I going to do that?"
"Sense obstacles? Be careful? I don't know, it is your concern not mine." He moved behind her holding a blindfold.
"This is so silly," Tuscany snapped as he went to tie the blindfold around her eyes. Everything got darker.
"Now the question is: do you trust me?" His hands were on her shoulder.
"No," Tuscany answered simply.
She felt his breath on her neck as he chuckled. "Good." And then he was gone.
"Damnit," Tuscany muttered forebodingly. What had he been talking about darkness for?
The thing was she wanted to do well in this test. Buffy had fought the concept that there was something deeper and shadowy inside her but Tuscany embraced it. The concept of being a hunter seemed somewhat sexy. Especially when guys like Dracula were encouraging her to go for it.
She really really just wanted to find him and then hit him.
Tuscany sought the most primal urges within her soul and instantly every sense sharpened incredibly. It was an amazing rush unlike anything else. Her slayer senses were heightened as well and so when she finally sensed the monsters the feeling slithered across her skin like silk. Forbidden and exciting. She tried to identify Dracula. She gasped when she recognised Spike in his crypt.
Then she knew where Dracula was and was running towards him. He didn't know she was coming. She wasn't just channelling her darkness she was the darkness. You didn't know the darkness was stalking you till it was too late.
Dracula hadn't expected her to so much as sense the power let alone allow it to take over her. He had foolishly assumed she was similar to Buffy. But they weren't. They only shared half blood. He was keeping an eye on the local evil so that it didn't attack her while she was training.
He shouldn't have bothered. She was flying through the dark coming closer and closer to where he radiated power. She felt it when he knew she was coming. The change from prey to equal.
He was running then. If she was flying then he was the wind. She could feel his excitement that she had adopted his philosophy. He dodged and ducked, allowing himself to stay just out of arms reach.
It frustrated Tuscany, irritated the animal that had been let loose. The first slayer was filling her, rising to the foreground. She had been made before civilisation and religion and it showed as she shared Tuscany and the hunt.
It was this annoyance, which fuelled the last few steps that sent her crashing into Dracula. There was no good or bad, simply the fact that she had found what she was searching for.
Tuscany pinned the man and ripped off the scarf that served as a blindfold. She realised she was straddling him and he was smirking. It was this that forced her back into her right mind. The darkness and the primal instinct retreated but didn't entirely leave. Her elation at succeeding and the satisfaction of catching him filled her body.
As she got off him she knew that he had allowed her to catch him but Tuscany knew there would come a day when he wouldn't let her and she would do it any way. He offered his wrist.
"Would you like to taste the darkness?"
"I don't think I need to right now," Tuscany answered smoothly.
Dracula laughed then. A deep rich sound. "You speak truth, Tuscany."
She held out the scarf. He shook his head. "Keep it as a reminder."
She shrugged and pocketed it.
"The darkness is not always wrong or evil. Buffy is beginning to understand that but it would be better for you to grasp that now."
"Vampires are evil. It's that simple," Tuscany argued.
"No it's not."
Tuscany found she agreed that Dracula wasn't uncomplicated.
"Is that the lesson for today?"
"Yes. But there will be more. I will uh 'stalk' you when the time comes."
Tuscany grinned at his reference to her previous statement.
Dracula bowed to her and just as quickly disappeared.
He certainly was an enigma. Tuscany turned to walk away. She was trailing through the gravestones still enjoying her natural high.
She stumbled slightly when Spike stepped into her path.
"Hey convict," He grinned showing all his teeth.
"You know what's funny?"
"That you still stink of vampire," Spike's grin was humourless.
"Interesting. Well I just kicked the crap out of one so it's possible," Tuscany stated casually. It wasn't completely a lie.
"Yeah but I keep smelling the same one and for it to remain so strongly it means he's an old one."
"I'm a tough individual," Tuscany said. Her tone was wary.
"Yeah but you know what, and this is the really interesting part, I can't help thinking that when I smell that I'm smelling Dracula!"
"Dracula?" Tuscany forced a laugh that sounded a little to high to her ears. "Buffy killed him."
"Yeah, she did." Spike crossed his arms and leant against the gravestone. "But honestly I wouldn't be all too surprised if you said the bugger was back."
"Yeah well if by chance I see him I will tell you and Buffy and the cavalry… like I should!"
"Uh huh," Spike rolled his eyes and lit a cigarette. "I think you'll have to do better than that, convict."
"Ok he's back. But don't tell anyone!"
"Are you under his thrall?"
"What? No! He's teaching me. I just did the coolest thing where I tracked him and even sensed you in your crypt."
"So it seems you're playing with the big boys now, Tusc. Just make sure he doesn't outsmart you. Or use you to get to Buffy." Spike said.
Tuscany stiffened. "You know I'm not defined as a slayer by Buffy."
Spike laughed. "Of course you are. And it's not because she's your big sis but because she was first. If you come after you're always gonna be measured against her. Ain't fair but it is the way of the world I'm afraid."
Tuscany glared at him and Spike decided to try and soothe the younger slayer before she tried to stake him. "Look you hit the big time. The Dracula came looking for you. Just be careful."
"When he first came you said he relied on smoke and mirrors," Tuscany accused.
"That's true but they are damn good smoke and mirrors and a lot of it is just uncanny ability."
"Like the bat thing?"
"Yeah like that. Not even the master can shape shift or use his mind powers so effectively."
"And the master wasn't hot or charismatic I'm assuming."
Spike shot her an odd look. "I wouldn't know."
"Look just be on your guard. He may be a bloody poofter but he's a threat."
"You haven't told me anything I didn't already know," Tuscany informed him. And he honestly hadn't.
AN: Finally I have the time to update whereas before I was studying like crazy. Please review, constructive criticism always welcome.