Silver Knife

It's been a long time since I've been woken like that. There's always been a part of me that never sleeps (or at least when I'm not under the influence of some spell or sleeping powder) but I think the modern age has caught up with it. I guess I've grown to used to mobile phones, electronic alarm clocks and fancy motion detectors. Wolfram and Hart has no shortage of those, not that it stops people from intruding on my space twenty four seven.

I think I'm forgetting what it means to be a vampire. I even sleep at night when I can. But I've been asleep less than an hour and I'm already sitting half up in bed, wondering why I'm awake. It takes more than a few moments to register the buzzing irritation as something other than the multitude of modern devices that litter my world.

Pager. No. Phone? Silent. Sensor alarm? Nothing. I can hear the quiet drone of the office vacuum cleaner several floors below me but it's a sound I'm used to. I'm just about to lay back again when the pinging in my brain increases, this time accompanied with a vague sense of panic and a definite bloom of pain behind my eyes.

Spike.

I do remember teaching the childe how to guard his mind. I do. His mental cry is so loud it's going to wake up every damn psychic in the city, even if most of them now work for me anyway. I realise that I've got my hands over my ears as if that would somehow blot out the sound, except I couldn't honestly say it is a sound at all. More like a ripple of thought ebbing carelessly out into all directions and making it's way to me, my room and my bed and bloody well waking me up.

Must have a good reason, I guess.

I sigh and get up to go to the window. My body clock tells me I still have at least four hours till sunrise so it's not like I have to go racing out to rescue the boy from the dawn. You have no idea how many times I had to do just that when he was new to us. The city below me is as alive and dangerous as it always is. I can half turn my body in the direction of the signal. He's on his feet and moving at least. I could call to him if I wanted, making our weak connection a two way conversation of sorts, albeit one without words.

I could, but I don't. I don't need to because I know he'll come here if he can. Believe me, that knowledge doesn't fill me with warmth and pride like it used to.

I suppose I should dress and get ready, but I take my time with it. He's still some miles away and I wouldn't want to be the sort of disapproving father waiting at the front door for the errant offspring to turn up. I'll settle for clicking on the computer monitor in my living room and calling up the locater beacon of the car he's using. There's a slow burning in my gut and it gets more intense as the car makes it's way through the streets. More psychic turmoil from Spike.

He thinks he's dying. I stop and pause a moment at the thought of such a thing and all of a sudden I don't want him here. I don't want to witness it. Last time no one had seen, but I'd had the scenario described to me. It had filled my mind with chaos. I told the others I was alright. Business as usual. Sometimes it's easier to have your friends believe the lie than know the truth.

He's made it so far. I'm standing at my door, listening for the whirr of the elevator from the basement. They're all programmed to come directly to the lobby one floor below. The inoffensive chime signals and I hear Fred cry out in alarm. Damn, I'd forgotten she was still here. Intrepid little night owl, seemingly intent on taking up my previous nocturnal habits. I take the stairs. I can't wait for my private lift. Weakened, wounded vampires are dangerous, even ensoulled ones born of proper English stock.

The scent of his blood assaults me as soon as I enter the lobby. The stale office air reeks of it and I unconsciously open my mouth, tasting it like a hound would. Fred is sprawled on the floor but she's up on her feet before I reach her. She's yammering at me and I share a glance with Wesley who's just coming out of his den like office. He comes and draws her away a bit, his cool watchers eyes observing the huddled figure on the floor. He's come to like Spike well in the past few months so his clinical detachment doesn't last long.

They want to help, bless them. I have to decline. It's vampire stuff, you see. There's no potion or chant that can help here. Only me.

I pick him up off the floor. He's so terribly light in my arms that I wonder how well he's been faring on the animal blood. He doesn't utter a word as I carry him up to my rooms, but I can see the tense clenching of his jaws and he's breathing erratically; the old human habit faltering in the face of a devastating injury. The poison I can smell coming off him is making my eyes and nose itch and I catch the added noxious odour of holy water. Angelus has woken and has come closer to peer through his bars as I lay our childe down on my bed. I have to take a moment to calm myself as his anger surges forward to batter me.

Help him! Hah, you brute, like you really care.

It only takes a little while to strip Spike of his bloodied clothes even though it's been decades since I last did it. There is a pleasant tingle as I inadvertently brush his cool skin with my fingertips. Exposed, I allow myself to admire his raw beauty, but only for a second because I can't take my eyes off that horrible aberration that mars him.

No time like the present, I say. Actually, if I stop and think about it I'll probably lose my nerve.

The hated wood burns my hand as I draw it out and I fling it across the room where it breaks a glass perched on a table. I have to hold him tightly, hand across his forehead and chest as he thrashes in the agony. The blood is pouring out of him like I've never seen it and I grab up a piece of cloth that I've prepared earlier. It's soaked in my own blood and I stuff it awkwardly into the gaping hole. It'll hurt like hell to remove it later but it staunches the flow enough that I can hold the edges together.

When he's settled back a bit I turn his face so I can look at him properly for what seems the first time in years. Gods, he's so beautiful still. They should have called him Angelus, not me, and certainly not that ridiculous street name he's worn for decades. His mouth is curved into a smile but I don't know if he's seeing me at all. His blue eyes are glazed and unfocussed with just the tiniest bits of gold in them as the demon struggles below to mend the damage. I have no insight into how vampires restore themselves, I only know what works and what doesn't.

When I dip my head to run my tongue over the wound, he tastes so sweet despite the foul poison that it bring tears to my eyes. I have to rest my sore mouth every now and then and I talk to him. I tell him about the old days when he was a fledgling, of how I indulged his desperate need to be seen and belong. I think he's recovering a bit because there's a spark of his old self in his replies, that defiance that I treasured well enough back then but will do anything to have by my side today.

He wants me to hold him in the manner I used to. He won't say as much, but I can tell by the way he shifts against me. My teeth haven't rent his flesh in a long time but of course I haven't forgotten how it feels. Immobile in my arms, I reach to grasp his stiff cock and nestle my own against his narrow back. His tears continue to fall long after he falls asleep.

Someone intrudes on us during the night, but neither of our demons stirs the alarm. It's only Wesley. He's left some blood on the living room table, probably human pilfered from the lab. I wonder if he looked in on us.

A few hours later I'm awake again, the artificially tamed sunlight spreading across my bed. I've released him from my fangs but not my fist sometime during the night. He's still hard and very awake and I wonder how long he's held himself still. I lick at the back of his neck, healing the puncture wounds and learning from his blood that no traces of the poisons remain in it.

He's all better now, I suppose. Why am I waiting for the inevitable, for this childe of mine to gather his sharpness about him like he would wrap himself in the damned black coat he wears? Bleed for me and spill your blood all over my soul and then shut me out will you?

I think I just spoke that out loud.

Oops.

I use his momentum as he tries to move away, catching his thin shoulders and spinning him inwards to face me. I have us sitting up on the bed with him straddling across my lap before he can even draw a breath of protest. With a sharp nail I draw a line across my breast and press his face to the wound. He's resisting and snarling in my grip but then I sense the blood cross his lips and I know I've won.

I guess I'm still irresistible after all.

The gash is small and the blood runs slow there so he must worry the edges with his human teeth to keep it open. But he remembers the rules and I know he won't sink fangs to my flesh. We rock together in this oldest of vampire dances and tumble back through memories to a simpler time.

"There there, baby" I coo at him as he goes soft and pliant in my arms. Hell, I am so going to pay for that little comment. With my fingers I penetrate his body and stroke the silky walls until he comes with a muffled groan against my skin. As he recovers with tiny little spasms, I pull him off my breast. His black pupils are like pinpricks because sire-blood is better than what you get from draining a junkie.

"Don't doubt me again, boy"

He's surprised by my tone; it's a version of Angelus that he's not heard for decades. I lick away the blood stains on his mouth and face. He's so tempting to me now. I could do it quick, before he recovers completely. I could mark him, break him to my will and have him trot happily at my heels for eternity. He might even think it's of his own will.

"Do you love me?" I ask, caressing his narrow hips that straddle mine.

"Like I have a choice".

Music to my darkened ears, that is. I kiss his brow and release him, settling back on the bed and watching under my lashes as he gathers the tatters of his garments together. He's my silver knife childe, the sharpest and most deadly I've ever had.

I'll bleed to death over him, one of these nights.