Title: Epiphanies

Summary: Darla and Lindsey. End of a relationship that never was.

Disclaimer: All owned by Joss and David G.

Spoiler: Epiphany, obviously.

You stand at the window, bathed in blue neon light. All vampires are attracted to bright colours, but you're more in love with them than most. Perhaps the reason why you always longed for a view was the Master's insistence on living below ground. To you, nothing marked the passing of the centuries so much as those few flickering lights that used to illuminate the streets above in the night growing into a multitude of lanterns, then into an explosion of electricity. To see them from above was what you always wanted, and here you've got your wish. Los Angeles is spread like a carpet at your feet, woven with lights in all colours. Yours to take.

You couldn't care less.

You try to find that last urge, the thirst for power, for life, your faithful companion throughout the centuries, but you cannot find it. He has destroyed even this for you. Instead your mind insists on repeating every single word he said, and each time the knife cuts a little deeper.

I am so sorry.

You saved me.. and I'm sorry I couldn't do the same for you.

It was perfect. Perfect despair.

We're finished.

Get dressed and get out. Because the next time I see you, I will have to kill you.

Somebody enters, a familiar presence. Still, it takes you a while. He's already talking when you remember: Lindsey. When he moves you away from the window, you don't refuse, but you wonder distractedly whether you should kill him now. You're not hungry, but maybe it would make you feel something again. This is Lindsey, after all. You've always found him attractive. You like him. You hate him a little, too, for various things, starting with the pretentious fuss he makes about being a whore, oh pardon, a lawyer, and ending with the fact he brought you back into this life. Which of course you're grateful for as well. Doesn't stop the occasional urge to feed him his liver. So yes, killing Lindsey, breaking that oh so clean skin with your teeth, drinking his blood, flavoured with guilt, desire and self- loathing, should stir up some emotions. And after the mess at the ceremony, he has officially outlived any usefulness he might have had for you. Still, you cannot bring yourself to make a move. All your kinetic energy seems to be confined to turning that ring in your hand, again and again.

Now he's muttering something about things going to be complicated, coming closer, expecting an answer, obviously. You reply something in the affirmative and go back to turning the ring. Lindsey notices and raises his voice, asking how you got this.

"It was my payment," you reply, and as you speak, finally something comes back to you, curls inside, ready to spring. Your payment. Your boy was always inventive. After he killed you to save some school girl, you had not expected there was anything worse he could do to you. Then he set you on fire, and as you felt the flames licking your skin away, heard Drusilla wailing, you thought that this was it. The pain surpassing all others. You should have known better. And it was such a simple thing, too. Your first life is nearly wiped out in your memory, but there are flashes on occasion, basic images, and surely this is the most familiar of all.

Get dressed and get out.

And here's Lindsey getting all indignant.

"Payment? What are you talking about?"

This is getting tiresome. Do you have to spell it out for him?

"What do you think I'm talking about?"

He has got pretty eyes, does Lindsey. Especially when he's looking betrayed. And an agreeable voice. When you were slowly finding your way back to the present, lost in the fear and madness which had come with you in that box they had kept you in, his voice, continuously talking to you, had been one of your anchors to reality. Now it seems he's performing a similar function. Asking what happened, again and again, until he gets a reply from you.

"You want details, Lindsey? Is that what you want?"

He keeps staring at you, and you recognise something other than hurt and anger in his gaze. Which isn't a surprise, really. Dear Lindsey has always been obsessed with your boy. You wonder, briefly, whether he would try to catch a taste if you kissed him right now.

"Yes. I want the details. I need it know everything. All of it."

And suddenly the image makes you want to throw up. But your stomach is not human anymore. Vampires aren't designed for retching, are they? They're here to swallow it all.

"I went to him. He went into me. The end." You say, honing your voice to indulge Lindsey's unabashed greed for pain and to slap it away at the same time. Drusilla, bless her, may be mad, but she's more honest about these things.

"You won't even hurt me just a little bit," sings her voice to you from the past, and you hear your reply, supremely confident, mocking and affectionate: "All you have to do is ask."

Lindsey keeps asking. And asking. And asking. But that sketch for the past fades away, Darla drawn in strong lines, black and white against the yellow paper which was fashionable when you and Angelus took Dru out to play. Since then, you've been erased and redrawn, twice, and certainly not by the hand of a Master. Shaky lines, blurry lines. Not good at all. Lindsey loses his briefly regained power to draw you back into his world as you keep looking for your lost focus. There had been a reason for everything once, you are sure there was.

There is some clinking noise, metal on wood, and it is this which makes you notice Lindsey's voice has stopped. It seems you always notice things better in the absence of them. He's still here, moving through the flat, doing something with the furniture. Suddenly, you realise you won't see him again. Once he has left this place, continuing his quest for more pain, so will you. Again, you wonder whether you should kill him. Once you told him it wasn't betrayal that ate away the nights, lost opportunities did. You do know why you never, despite of all your talk about taking what one wanted and the fact he kisses reasonably well, had sex with him. You recognise his type. Lindsey is in love with the longing, not the fulfilment. Since he takes his right to have the occasional moral crisis so very seriously, he wouldn't like to hear it, but you don't think it is a coincidence that he started with this rather risky habit at precisely the point where everything Wolfram and Hart had to offer finally was within his grasp. Give the child the golden crown it had struggled for so hard, and lo and behold, it will pout and throw it away. Which is, of course, also the reason why you did not consider turning him. This type of self-indulgent behaviour in a vampire could lead to a minor apocalypse or two, and not of the kind that left vampires in charge of things.

But killing him had always been an option. Now that you can't use him to gain power anymore, now that even thirst for power has dried up, why don't you? It might be the sheer novelty of it. Since the day the Master came to rescue you, you haven't had a relationship with a human being which didn't end in blood. They were food, or they were future vampires. It is hard to find something new after four centuries, so perhaps this is why you remain absolutely still, not moving a muscle, as you sense his final gaze, as you feel the brief movement in the air when the door opens and closes.

Then you rise, wondering where he left the ring he has taken from you. It's on the table, dull, worthless copper. You pick it up and return to the window. Putting it on, pushing the curtains aside he must have closed earlier, so you can see it on your hand in the blue neon light. Such a pretty light, Drusilla would say. But not as pretty as the flames Daddy made.

Time to go.