Disclaimer: Don't own, etc., etc. Joss Whedon rules supreme and retains pretty much everything. Only written for personal enjoyment and because this plot bunny just wouldn't die, even after some serious staking…
Summary: Sequel to Vampirus (Non) Domesticus. Wherein there is a lot of heated debate and pithy comment…Rating PG13.
THAT OLD (GRAND) SIRE OF MINE
Chapter 5 – Eating For Two
"Ugh…" Spike, coming into the kitchen to snag a bottle of beer from the refrigerator, screwed up his nose as Wesley expertly manoeuvred the frying pan. "Liver? Take it from me, mate, you're not anaemic."
Transferring the contents of the frying pan to his plate, Wesley informed, "Pan fried lamb's liver with bacon, onions and button mushrooms – nutritious and delicious."
Spike's only response was a derisive snort as he left back to the TV. Wesley sat at the breakfast bar – properly prepared, liver was nice to eat, but that wasn't the point of it. If he was going to feed Angel as well as Spike, he needed to bolster his red blood-cell production, so over the past couple of days he had ingested a strict diet of spinach, broccoli, liver, etc., and iron supplements with a few other vitamins. Wesley kept an eye on the clock that seemed to creep around. Spike had at some point found a new game show on TV – Who Wants To Win a Million or something.
Wesley had to admit the format was engrossing, and he had been silently surprised at just how erudite Spike turned out to be when answering some of the questions often before the host had finished asking it, especially anything to do with literature; it was downright disconcerting when the punk vampire started quoting Shakespeare, wholesale and verbatim. Or then again, maybe not – Spike had been 26 when Drusilla Sired him in 1880 and had one hundred and twenty years plus of vampiric travelling across most of the seven continents to increase his experience, a definite advantage over the contestants. The best part, however, was how Spike got wrapped up in the show to the point where he held furious one-sided arguments with the screen over the idiocy of some contestant; sometimes Wesley just sat back and tried to keep a straight face as Spike ranted and threw his snacks at the TV in disgust.
Tonight, however, he was counting on their favourite game show to keep Spike engrossed and oblivious. Unable to think of a way to get Spike out of the apartment other than inventing a fictitious lady friend, which would probably just make Spike impossible to get rid of so he could meet her, the next best solution was to have him so involved in something else that he didn't notice Wesley. Who Wants whatever it was would fit perfectly.
Getting up, Wesley cleaned up his crockery and then casually went into the bathroom, a wry smile flitting briefly across his face. When he gave Spike somewhere to stay, the idea that he would have to fight for time in his own bathroom never occurred to the Englishman. A vampire being precious about needing to do his ablutions just didn't cross a person's mind. Unlike humans, vampires didn't perspire, secret bodily oils, urinate, defecate or produce seminal emissions that needed to be cleaned off. But they traditionally lived underground and ate people – dirt, grime, blood and gore. It wasn't until after the first time that Spike had spent nearly two hours in the bathroom in the face of Wesley's increasingly irate commentary from the other side of the door that the ex-Watcher seriously thought about it from the undead perspective and saw what should have been blindingly obvious: smell.
Angel had taken a single sniff and known that Wesley had had a one night stand nearly a full day after it happened. While en route to the church where the Aztec demon had killed a woman, Angel had swerved the car in a violent u-turn and dashed off down the alley where they found the freshly killed next victim.
"He smelled the blood," Spike explained as they looked down at the man's body, "Nothing grabs a vamp's attention like the ruby red."
But Angel had been a good two hundred feet away from the entrance of the pitch-black alley and travelling at a speed of over 40 miles per hour in the opposite direction at that moment. A vampire's ability to smell must be akin to a shark's ability to detect tiny traces of blood suspended in water even from several miles away. Any creature whose olfactory sense was that acute must endure something close to a living hell in any urban area, never mind the sprawling mega-metropolis of 15 million humans that was the Los Angeles basin – the relentless odour of a million taco stands coupled with the vast network of sewers under the city and the myriad other odours that pervaded the air.
It had been pretty easy to consult what vampiric literature there was and sure enough, Wesley found that the more intelligent (and therefore exponentially more dangerous) a vampire was, the more obsessive he or she was about not only personal hygiene but keeping their 'nest' clean. It was almost as if there was a sort of built in population control/survival of the fittest mode – the dumber the vampire the poorer his or her sense of smell and vice versa; while the Slayer slaughtered the common herd en masse, the best and brightest of the Nosferatu avoided ending up as little piles of dust.
Angel never wore the same clothing two days in a row and probably could give seminars on washing detergents and soaps. Spike insisted on cleaning up instantly after meals and showered every night even if all he had done was mooch around Wolfram & Hart all day. On a whim one night, Wesley had gone into the bathroom and covered all the mirrors and reflective surfaces, discovering within seconds why Spike took so long. Having no reflection in a mirror really made not just preening but basic hygiene tasks impossible. Though vampires didn't need to shave, their hair and nails still grew as humans' did for a while after death, and there was also dental hygiene – after spending half a minute in front of the covered mirror trying to floss teeth he couldn't see, Wesley had switched to a toothpick only to turn his gums into a pin cushion.
Right now, however, Wesley wanted Spike away from the bathroom. Closing the door and wishing he'd gotten around to putting a lock on it, Wesley went over to the sink as he heard Spike start to yell at some 'stupid bint' who'd got 'the world's easiest question' wrong. He took the lid off the flask and opened the velvet wrap on the enchanted stiletto. The pointed end had been magically enhanced so that it would pierce flesh effortlessly but cleanly, while the handle end had been crossed with healing charms so that when drawn across the wound, it would close up without trace. It had been difficult to do, since most such charms were only to help the blade do damage, not repair what it had done.
Wesley took off his watch and rolled up his sleeve to expose the veins at his wrist. He had carefully calculated how much he needed to bleed himself. Angel had three mugs of blood a day, but less of the thicker liquid was required than something thinner such as water, plus the volume would be expanded by the otter and small quantities of pig's blood that Harmony would mix into it. Three quarters of a pint, maximum. Wesley picked up the stiletto, his face showing no revulsion or uncertainty. Like many who had suffered mental and emotional child abuse rather than physical and/or sexual assaults, Wesley had started to secretly self-harm at a very early age; he knew, down the hundredth of a millimetre, just how deep to lay a blade into his flesh to cause pain yet not have the wound show within a few hours.
Carefully, he placed the point of the stiletto above the major arterial vein at his left wrist.
To be continued in the sequel.
© 2005 C. D. Stewart