"By Starlight Alone" (1/1)
by Marie-Claude Danis
FEEDBACK: Hit me!
SPOILER: "Fool For Love"
NOTE: I just dug this up. I wrote it after FFL first aired, and it's been kicking around my hard drive. So, here you have it. Just a vignette, nothing more.
* * *
I make my way through the thick bushes that surround her house as though it were a castle. The princess is there, sitting on the back porch, almost waiting for me. The long blond locks, curled perfectly on her shoulders, fall forward, the golden curtain hiding her face from my scrutiny. Her hands, surprisingly delicate, also cover her eyes. Seems like the Slayer is having a 'moment'. My timing, admittedly, is impeccable.
Short of patting myself on the shoulder, I clench my fingers around the handle of the shotgun. It feels foreign in my hand; weapons are so grotesque, so barbarian. I believe it to be much more dignified to kill a victim with nothing more than the weapons once sired upon you. But, this one has never been one to follow rules with.
I step out of the tree line, silent but my presence rather obvious. Or so I thought, as she remains unmoving, ever vulnerable. 'Tsk tsk, Slayer. You know better than this.' As always I give her a chance to notice me before going forth - fair is fair, no? A twig snaps under my foot and she looks up, barely surprised. She seems wary.
"What do you want now?" she lets out, with a mere hint of forced threat. My breath catches in my throat, I can't say why.
Then I notice her eyes. Crying. Tears softly rolling down her reddened cheeks, her make-up a mess across her features. She barely has the energy to hold her stare to mine. I know better than to think this has anything to do with the turmoil she left me in less than an hour ago. Suddenly I have lost my purpose here, and I find myself worrying over who did this to her. I swallow awkwardly.
"What's wrong?" I do my best not to let any emotion show through my voice, but as usual I fail miserably. Content is not something I pull off very well near her.
She rubs at her bare arms and looks away, sniffing back more tears. "I don't want to talk about it..." At this time she speaks to me like I am part of her god-forsaken posse, and oddly, it reads as an invitation to come closer. Two minutes ago I wanted her dead; now all I want is for the tears to stop.
Christ, I am becoming bloody Angel. All soft in the middle. And I don't even have the lame excuse of 'having a soul' or anything as mundane. I want to blame Drusilla for everything, for making me so weak, for letting me become less than a perfect villain, for siring me in the first place.
Whoa. No, that was a good thing.
I hesitate, shifting my weight from one foot to the other. Then I go and silently sit next to her, discarding the weapon with a quick shudder. Only a short distance - a foot, if that - separates us. It is as thought there is a repulsive force between us, between William the Bloody and the Slayer, that should by all means exist. But then this barrier is so easy to cross as I reach out and touch her. I mean to be comforting, but I have grown out of the habit and am left awkwardly patting her back. I can feel her breathing, shaking with sorrow. She does not recoil under my touch, but by principle I shouldn't be doing this, and I most of the two know and feel it. I take my hand away, already missing her warmth.
I haven't needed warmth in centuries.
Time stills for me, as we stay silent, sitting by each other. This feeling that comes with moments of overwhelming potency, where you suddenly lose awareness of your physical self all the while becoming hypersensitive to the other's presence. I exhale as discreetly as possible, and oddly in unison with her.
This is either the end of everything, of the beginning of something far too impossible to fathom. In either case, this is not me.