A/N:A little testament to Justine's co-dependent relationship with Holtz. Set during Sleep Tight, before Justine appears all battered and bruised.

Disclaimer: Never have owed the rights to Angel, and never actually will. All rights reserved.

No Worse Than An Icepick

By Amethyst Blizzard

DuringSleep Tight, where did Justine's cuts and bruises come from?

Can't be worse than an icepick.

She touched the side of her face gingerly, the edge of her fingertips trickling prickles of bristling pain down her cheek. Slapped all too many times before, it was only now that Justine's first instinct was to cry.

Dragging her eyes up from the dust-speckled concrete ground, she trailed her gaze up his blazoned leather jacket, the deep black crinkles looking like cracks that had formed over time; shot a blistering look past the hollowed eyes that offered no sympathy; and balled her fist tight, ready for the next blow.

This time a splitting punch that cut her just below the better of her two eyes. His knuckles felt like serrated stone, shaped into four deep ridges and dunes.

A yelp; a cry.

His face continued with the stony glare, his jaw set indifferently.

Justine was bent so far over that her head nearly reached the ground. Righting herself quickly, she had just enough time to see the load of his fist before it again collided with her eye, this time emoting a spurt of ripe blood.

A scream.

Any vampire; the worst vampire ever born could not cause as much damage as this one man.

His cold, long fingers clutched the soft skin of her neck and as he squeezed – tighter and tighter – blood rushed immediately to her head. She felt blackness; the feint speckles and dust of unconsciousness, and she squealed, chocked, spluttered, coughed.

As she fought desperately the urge to give in, his spidery fingers crawled along her face, two of them reaching the very edge of her jaw, and he squeezed just that little bit harder.

A crack.

He wouldn't let go, not until he was satisfied. With his free hand he tightened his fingers together into a fist and smashed it against the side of her mouth, satisfaction coming in the form of bones and teeth splitting from the gum.

Justine fell to the ground.

She did not look at him as he offered his hand, pulling her up easily and holding her a distance from him by her shoulders. He studied her, like a piece of art that he was sure stood erect and completed, and laid a deft hand on her cheek, stroking it affectionately.

Daniel only did this when they were alone; never in front of company, it was almost too shameful, for them to feel the way they did.

Almost like it was too human.

Now she was ready, now the plan was in motion. Now everything would change forever.

She was ready to kill, ready to steal the vampire's child.

No matter the torture he had put her through, no matter the blood and pain; she would do it all again if she had to.

Anything for him; the depths of Hell for him.

"Can't be worse than an icepick," she thought again, this time aloud.

And Daniel smiled at her.

A/N: Done. Reviews are always appreciated :).