The Sleep of Reason
Author note: Maggot –noun 1. a soft-bodied, legless larva of certain flies. 2. Archaic. An odd fancy; whim.
This story is a "maggot" in the second sense. Which is a nice way of saying it's a crack!fic, overrun with the ubiquitous vampires that haunt every fandom. Les Amis belong of course to Victor Hugo. Most of the cast of vampires, including Madame Vep, are inspired in name at least by the silent film serial Les Vampires (1915), with the major exception of Graf Ambrus Orssich. This story is drawn from the spectrum of vampire lore, from folktales to horror cinema, but not from any specific recent productions. I owe vast thanks to TheHighestPie for doing the beta work on this – among many other things, including toning down the purple prose, she has saved me from committing the gaffe of consistently misspelling a major character's name. The blunders here are of course my own. My Parisian geography, gleaned from maps that confuse me and hazy memories of good weekends spent there, will probably be a source of amusement if anyone reads this.
Renfield was "a sane man, fighting for his soul." In this story, so is Enjolras.
Those who felt this sensation of awe, could not explain whence it arose: some attributed it to the dead grey eye, which, fixing upon the object's face, did not seem to penetrate, and at one glance to pierce through to the inward workings of the heart; but fell upon the cheek with a leaden ray that weighed upon the skin it could not pass.
- The Vampyre, John Polidori, 1819
"What arguments did you use in the end to get Enjolras to attend?" Joly whispered to Courfeyrac, sitting beside him in the Gods of the Comédie-Française. Courfeyrac was somewhat elevated on the champagne he had drunk before the performance and the surreptitious sips of brandy he was taking from a hip flask. He was settled back into his seat, arms crossed, cravat cheerfully askew from his tugging it loose, grinning.
"He put up a fight," Courfeyrac explained, not bothering to lower his voice. "Offered a compomise, wanted to join us for a late meal, but I told him it was the revival of Bertrand et Suzette; ou Le Mariage de raison or nothing."
It had been a near run thing. With exuberant cries of "let's bury Molière once again!" Bahorel, Courfeyrac and Bossuet had bullied and cajoled the rest of the Amis to join them for a night at the Comédie-Française. As always, they cherished hopes for a restaging of the brawl that had erupted over a year before on the night Hernani premiered. They had joined the vanguard shouting down those Classicists who had dared to attend, and Courfeyrac still spoke of the fray with shining eyes. No such scenes seemed likely to occur tonight, beyond the usual catcalling and hooting, but the three lived in hope. The fare was old by several seasons, but the comedy of manners suited their mood, and the idea of Enjolras watching a marital farce had enhanced their enjoyment.
Enjolras had hoped to escape this performance, arguing that while he did not begrudge anyone their entertainment, he failed to see the didactic value of the theatre. He finally succumbed, somewhat wearily, to Courfeyrac's elaborate, detailed and completely transparent argument that, as Robespierre had theorised on the use of theatre to mould the people's sense of virtue, Enjolras should develop the idea, learning the mechanisms of performance by observation. And what was more, his presence would contribute to the Amis esprit de corps.
They gleefully bore him away with them, as Courfeyrac happily noted, like a captured Sabine maiden.
"And there he sits – looking like he's wearing a Greek mask," Bahorel said, leaning in from the row behind. "Tragedy, I think."
Courfeyrac regarded his friend, sitting at the end of the row with Combeferre between them. Enjolras was sitting straight-backed in his seat, looking with strict attention at the stage, to all appearances intent on the action. Courfeyrac knew this could be deceptive. Enjolras might seem to be gazing into the middle distance with his eyes unfocused but still hearing every word around him, or his level gaze might hide thoughts far distant.
"I think it's a stoic mask," Courfeyrac said thoughtfully. "Was there a stoic mask? What say you, Prouvaire?"
Combeferre turned to them with the indulgent shake of the head, a customary rebuke when Courfeyrac became chatty at a performance, just as customarily ignored.
"Well, the wearing of masks originated with the cult of Dionysus – if Grantaire was here he might be able to shed some light on the subject," Prouvaire said with the air of giving the question all due consideration.
Combeferre's lips were now slightly pursed and the look a little less indulgent. Courfeyrac took another sip of his flask and offered it to his friends, sniggering, but the impact of his next rejoinder was lost in a roar of laughter from the group of printers' clerks seated two rows behind, who were threatening to outdo the students in the matter of high spirits. Courfeyrac appreciated the challenge and, rising to his feet, hurled a few rousing remarks at the stage.
Enjolras tried to concentrate on the stage action, but it was impossibly absurd. Although he told himself that this was a simple pleasure for most people, he could not divest himself of the feeling that there was something inherently dishonest in the dissembling of actors. Although he knew and loved his Aeschylus and revered his Sophocles, he could not be drawn into the passionate arguments within the ABC on the merits of Classicism in opposition to those of the romantic realism touted by Hugo and Scribe.
He also felt an instinctive distaste for the frivolity of the opulent, gilt surroundings, even if they were sitting up in the Gods with the poor of purse rather than in the grand circle boxes with the glittering social creatures.
More than that, though, something else was contributing to the discomfort he felt, though he could not tell yet whether the reaction was physical or some mental mechanism. It was during the performance of the second act he had become aware of a strange pricking of his skin, as if an icy breeze had played over it, though he did not feel cold.
In the neat compartmentalisation of his mind, he noted the action and dialogue of the stage – if asked later, his curious memory would be able to recall most of the words. His conscious mind, meanwhile, sought a reason for his unease. He focused, letting the words of his friends fade, letting his eyes glance over the crowd. Most were watching the play, though several were more interested in observing the rest of the audience. Under the dimmed theatre lamps could be see the occasional gleam of light, flicking off silks, jewellery and glossy hair. Coughs and discreet murmurs arose from the circle.
He knew the source of his disquiet as soon as his gaze lighted on a private box, one of those taken for the season by the wealthy. He had an impression of a fashionably dressed man who sported foppishly long hair falling in wings alongside his face and a russet dress coat coupled with a loud waistcoat. The eyes were concealed by opera glasses, but he realised with a beat of dismay that he had no doubt that the opera glasses concealed eyes that were fixed intensely on himself.
The glasses were an affectation. Graf Ambrus Orssich's eyes were far keener than those of any man in the room, and saw much more than the physical features of the pale young man in the upper balcony with what Orssich took to be a group of fellow students. Although the boy's face was still and impassive, the only movement his eyes flicking over the crowd, Orssich knew precisely the moment when the young man had sighted him. He could imagine, as if he could sense them, the breath as it caught in the student's throat, knew that the heart had skipped, felt the momentary clenching of his hands. Orssich flicked the tip of his tongue over his white teeth. Exquisite. The object of his attention was dressed in severe black, simple cravat, no pin – and was, so Orssich thought, as much in costume as Orrsich himself with his nipped-in waist and elabouritely embroidered waistcoat, contrasting cravat and series of pins.
Across the distance between them, he had an acute awareness of the blue eyes, the fine molding of his features, the ruddy colouring of his lips. Orssich could anticipate the finely honed musculature, concealed beneath the frock coat. A wave of delicious anticipation washed through him, a lust almost sexual.
He could see the red droplets on that neck, the shock of struggle, the relaxation of all that taut energy as the young man surrendered.
"You've seen him too, then," said an amused voice next to him.
"I can feel him in this crowd. He calls to me." Orssich's said, voice pitched low and harsh.
"Pity," she whispered in his ear. "I'd have enjoyed plumbing to the bottom of that gaze. But if you want him, he's yours."
Orssich spared a look at Madame Vep, glittering darkly in her finery, and gave her a respectful and grateful nod of the head.
Combeferre murmered something in his ear, and Enjolras released the breath he had been holding. He realised to his annoyance that he had missed whatever it was that his friend had been saying, and his quirk of recall could not provide the words.
"I'm sorry," he murmered. "I did not catch that."
Combeferre smiled. "That answers my question – I was asking if you did not think Ravel was being rather dull tonight. I assume you're running through your response to the that Thiers piece in Le National."
Unaccountably confused, Enjolras shook his head, coming back to himself. "I am sorry," he repeated, "I did not mean to be so distracted in our company…I shall attend more rigorously." Combeferre looked at him sharply at the tone and words, but Enjolras was still distracted. He did not want to look back to the man with the glasses, but – sternly reproving himself for cowardice – he turned his attention back to the private box. To his relief, the man was conversing with a woman seated next to him. The unpleasant disorientation he could not, however, shake off.
Bossuet and Joly obligingly collected their cloakroom tickets so only two needed to brave the crush to claim coats and hats.
"I've lost mine," Courfeyrac shrugged. "There's another hat gone. This season's, too. I could stock a hatters with headware I've lost."
"No, I have your ticket here from when I checked it," Bossuet smiled. "Enjolras?"
"Thank you, Bossuet, but I seem to have misplaced it." He frowned, pulling a calling card with a journalist's name jotted on the back, a few coins, and a piece of paper with the jotted titles of some legal texts from his interior pocket.
"Pardon Monsieur – I believe this ticket might belong to you? It was on the floor" a soft, insinuating voice said at his elbow. He looked up from the meagre contents of his pocket, and then straightened abruptly. It was the man from the audience.
The card fluttered from his grasp, and the man caught it deftly in one hand. "Yours, also" he said. The accent was Eastern European. Bohemia, perhaps. They were the same height, and the eyes that locked on his were…
Impossible. They flashed silver. No, he corrected himself. That was a momentary impression. They were a muddy, non-descript colour. He reached out his hand automatically to accept the return of the card and the clockroom ticket. He could not look away as their fingers touched.
"Thank you," he murmered. Wanting to break the gaze, unable to do so. But it was the other man who broke eye contact first. He touched his cane to his hat brim and turned. "You are welcome." Enjolras stood gazing after him while Bossuet plucked the ticket from his fingers.
"Shall we wait near the entrance?" Combeferre asked. Enjolras shook his head quickly, as if trying to clear his sight.
Combeferre steadied him as he tripped and nearly stumbled descending the stairs.
"Yes, I saw her – she was two rows back from the pit, was she not. I tell you, Joly, it was not Floriana."
"How could you tell under all that paint? She wore more than the actresses," Joly asked, striding after his friend, who seemed even more ebulliant than before now that he had finally been released onto the Rue de Richelieu.
"I know her," Courfeyrac insisted stubbornly. "The ears were wrong."
"The ears?" Joly asked incredulously.
"Will you come back with us for something to eat?" Combeferre asked of Enjolras, who trailed at a slight distance from the group. A reflective mood was not uncommon, but this was distraction – and if Enjolras was distracted, Combeferre would usually know the reason why. "I shan't be too late myself, but we could dine and walk back together."
Enjolras looked at him as if suddenly aware who it was who stood before him. "I don't think so, my friend," he replied mechanically, and then to Combeferre's surprise grasped his hand in a polite handshake as if he were an acquaintance newly introduced to the Society. "I shall leave you gentlemen to it."
Enjolras declining a social invitation was nothing to be surprised at. It was his manner that made Combeferre stand a moment, head tilted to one side, watching as his friend detached himself from the group and began to walk away towards the Seine. Enjolras would ignore some social pleasantries, but this was abrupt even for him. He wondered briefly if their leader, who usually preferred to let the good natured jests of the Amis pass over him rather than take offense, felt on this occasion that his comrades had taken too many liberties. But he had not seemed offended – there had been nary a scathing look for anyone that evening, not even ringmaster Courfeyrac. Ah well, Combeferre thought with a sigh, Enjolras will explain when he is ready. He allowed himself to be engaged by Prouvaire with a question about Scribe.
Bahorel watched Enjolras walk away, having noted his exchange with Combeferre and his friend's demenour.
Some men might prefer to consider themselves connoisseurs of women, wine, art or the theatre. Bahorel was willing to concede that all these excellent things had their charms, their place, and he liked to partake of them too, but he himself was an unabashed, discerning enthusiast of a fight. Whether it was a street emeute or a tavern brawl, he observed, analysed and savoured the nuances.
His friends marvelled at his ability to forecast the progress of a physical dispute, and – if he himself wasn't an active participant – he would amuse himself by predicting the actions of the antagonists. Bahorel knew the pitch of aggression in a drunk's voice that prefigured a punch, could anticipate whether the drunk or his target would strike the first blow, would identify who in the crowd of bystanders would attempt to keep the peace and who would embroil themselves. He could point to the small, quiet man in the corner and inform his comrades that it was that one, rather than the beefy braggart standing in the middle of the room, who would prove to be the truly dangerous man, the one to land the king punch.
Likewise, it was Bahorel, instinctively in tune with the mood of a crowd, who knew the precise moment when an audience assembled to hear a street orator would turn on each other, and what the progress of such a disruption was likely to be. All the better to judge when to throw himself into it, and when to light the fires of discord himself, the incendiary words or actions that would lead to the flare up.
He trusted his reading of any situation involving physical violence. And right now, something was whispering a warning to him. Above the heads of the laughing, good humoured crowd that milled outside the theatre, he looked to where Enjolras was walking away from them.
Bahorel had great faith in Enjolras' capabilities to defend himself. Back in the early days, as the ABC was still coalescing, some of those who had flitted in and out of their circle had expressed their doubts at such a youthful, pretty boy's ability to guard himself, let alone fight on the offensive. Bahorel had reserved his judgement, noting that the light frame hid reserves of endurance, that the pale blond rarely seemed fatigued late at night, and showed up clear-eyed early in the morning. His wrists might have been small, his long fingers elegant and even delicate in appearance, but Bahorel had seen his strong grip and strength in lifting heavy books, tables and even once putting a firm restraining hand on an overenthusiastic young student who had wished to throw an importune punch at a street gathering.
Bahorel's suspicions had been confirmed the first time he'd Enjolras in a bona fide fight, a skirmish with some loyalists who were vocal in their support for Charles X's divine rights and who objected to the placards the group of students were plastering up on walls near the Hôtel de Ville. Right before Bahorel's own red battle rage had descended and he'd lost himself in the fulfilling ecstasy of a good riot, he'd had a chance to see Enjolras standing his ground, cool, alert, and guarding himself, before – astonishingly – demonstrating that he was quite adept at savate techniques. Bahorel had come through that incident with a splendid black eye, Courfeyrac with a split lip that did not enhance his smile, and Bossuet with a concussion that had Joly throwing fits. Enjolras had emerged with not had so much as a bruise nor a scratch, unless one counted a slight scrape on his knuckles.
In July 1830, Bahorel had noted that Enjolras was also more than passingly adept at Bâton français, wielding a carbine like a staff once his ammunition had run out. Quite where a law student had learned these skills Bahoral didn't know. Enjolras had made a passing reference to having studied under Casseux, but Bahorel observed that Enjolras used a few techniques belonging more to the streets or to sailors. Well, he did know Marseille well. When he'd mentioned to Enjolras that some of his moves could be seen as ignoble to the more refined practicioners of the art, Enjolras had fixed him with an arch look and responded that as he fought for the people it was appropriate to be thoroughly conversant with their art of combat, and not to confine himself to polite bourgeoise interpretations of it. It was remarks like that which lead Bahorel to wonder if Enjolras might have a sense of humour after all, but with that straight and inflexible delivery he might also have been perfectly in earnest.
So when others expressed concern at Enjolras' solitary missions on dark streets in some of the less salubrious quartiers, Bahorel merely grunted his dissent. Prouvaire he kept a close eye on, Bossuet and Joly he sometimes accompanied at certain hours and places, and if Courfeyrac (not quite as adept a drinker as he himself chose to believe) was in his cups, Bahorel made sure of either escorting him to his door or of putting him safely in a cab. Feuilly, too, he would join when he fan maker insisted on visiting the more dangerous Faubourgs, trying to recruit others to their cause. Of them all, Enjolras was one of the most capable of looking after himself, and in spite of his high visibility and lack of fear, the one Bahorel knew to have the skills of self-preservation.
But tonight, the nagging, instinctual feeling of danger wouldn't dissipate. Bahorel didn't consider himself an imaginative man, but he sensed that something wasn't right.
Enjolras' movements could be mysterious at the best of times, and Bahorel made it a rule never to question them. His chief seemed distracted, but he could frequently seem distant. Perhaps it was that the nature of this preoccupation seemed different. Enjolras had seemed not merely to be thinking of something else, but to be befogged, like a man under the influence of an opiate.
Joly clapped a hand on his back. "Come on, Bahorel – join us for a late supper? I need to fumigate my lungs after being exposed to all the bad humours in there – the Comédie is in bad need of cleaning. A cigar or two will do the trick. We're off to the Café des Deux Portes." That would take them north.
Bahorel smiled at him. "I may join you in a bit. I just want to run a little errand..." he glanced over his friends. Courfeyrac had managed to keep his level of intoxication topped up and was, if anything, getting louder and merrier. Prouvaire and Joly…well, they'd be harmonizing along with Courfeyrac in a minute. Combeferre? He was working at the hospital early in the morning, and Bahorel didn't want to alarm him over what was probably nothing. That left Bossuet. Bahorel pulled him aside.
"A moment, Lesgle? Can I ask a favour? Would you accompany me for a short time?"
Bossuet was slightly put out, that much was evident. "Well, that rather depends on where and how long, doesn't it? It's a bad turn to do a friend to drag him away from company and good pastime unless it's quite important."
"Come on, Bossuet – this shouldn't take long, and I'll tell you along the way."
Suddenly Bossuet's eyes lit up. "One of your errands, is it? Is this…Society business?" He lowered his voice theatrically.
"Yes," smiled Bahoral, "we need to follow someone."
Bossuet smiled with delight, and called out to Joly, who was trotting off after the others who were already strolling arm in arm down the street (and there they go, thought Bahorel – I hope they don't get arrested for singing that song, the lyrics would make even a bawd's toes curl). "Tell the others we'll be along soon – and if not, then leave the door unlocked for me." Joly waved his acknowledgment and caught up with his friends.
"Now," Bossuet said, trying to sound very earnest, "who is the target of our surveillance tonight?"
"Enjolras?" Bossuet exclaimed. "What? Why? Didn't we see enough of him today? Do you suspect he has a grisette tucked away and is betraying the revolution?" He chuckled at the clumsy joke.
"I have a feeling something is going to happen."
"Ah…one of your hunches. Well, if he catches us, I'm going to tell him that you thought he was sneaking off to report to Lafayette on our movements."
"If you don't quiet down, you'll never be any good at this sort of thing. And right now, we're in danger of losing sight of him." He could still see the tall man ahead ahead, visible even among the milling sidewalk crowds, inclined slightly forward as Enjolras gazed at the ground. That posture, looking down, served to prod the whisper of warning again. Enjolras always walked upright with his shoulders back.
Irma had saluted him with a wish for good hunting when they parted at the theatre, she herself taking the barouche back to their establishment in Marais. She was looking lusciously well fed, having fully sated herself merely two nights before. Her lips and cheeks were still flushed with colour, although he had to admit that he thought the current doll-like fashions did not suit her. The dainty curls clustered around the forehead were an incongruous contrast with long face and strong features.
His prey had made it a simple matter to facilitate their contact, dropping his cloakroom ticket as he had. The ensuing physical touch had enabled him to reinforce the rapport he had already established across the theatre, enough to exert the control he needed.
And now to the pursuit. He lingered under the façade's colonnade, watching the group of students as they gathered on the street outside. His kind had a special talent for avoiding notice when it suited their ends, but in this instance, the boys were far too absorbed in each other and their buffoonery to pay attention to one more patron lurking at the entrance, waiting for his carriage. Their voices were too loud, their spirits running at full tide.
There was a certain thrill in knowing that tomorrow they would be mourning one of their own, and all that fleeting, living gaiety would be extinguished.
He could feel the connection between himself and his victim, watching the slowness of the student's steps, already walking as if he were a somnambulist. It had been a delicious moment when the prey had sighted him in the theatre. The blond had chosen him as much as he had chosen the boy. Irma did not understand this – she had no finesse. She could as soon as dine on a coarse workingman as a nobleman, and in that he supposed she was truly democratic, shrugging her pale shoulders and admitting as much, saying that one warm body was the same as another.
To him, the nature of the prey was all. And as Orssich watched the young man break away from his friends, his unconscious grace muted by the spell under which he had fallen, his head bowed as if he walked into the wind, the undead creature felt his still, unbeating heart sing within him. The boy was beautiful, and would feed more than Orssich's blood appetite. To exert his power over something so exquisite, to break him, to annihilate him, would be the greater pleasure.
Orssich tapped the ground with his cane and thought of the route by which he would intercept the student. Come tomorrow morning, and the vibrant being he stalked would be a cold husk in a narrow alley. He would make a very lovely, very white corpse on a slab of ice in the Paris Morgue. His nude body would be a sculptural form amidst all the vulgar naked suicides and murder victims, the latest haul from the Seine, the unidentified scum of the streets. He would shine all the brighter in such company, unmarred save for an unobtrusive wound on the neck. Orssich might even join the throngs of the curious to see the fleeting art he was going to create – he would have to investigate the opening times.
He began to walk to the south east, knowing precisely where he would pick up the trail of the young man who now wandered in a dark dream towards his extinction.
Bossuet was confused. "This isn't the way to the Quartier. We're heading east now…what could induce him to go here at this time of night?"
"I don't know," Bahorel said abruptly. He didn't like anything about this situation. Enjolras, still in sight up ahead, moved with steady footfalls, but he did not look left or right. He paused to allow traffic to pass, but did not seem to see importuning street vendors, or even react when a porter dropped a large case of fruit alongside where he walked, the air colouring with the man's voluble curses.
Had it been any of their other friends, Bahorel would have caught up, jostled him good-naturedly, and fallen into step with him while asking what manner of business brought him here. With Enjolras, if it did turn out that he was conducting some business associated with his connections throughout the other Societies, it would be an unwarranted liberty.
Enjolras, always conspicuous, was drawing more attentive looks now that they approached the Faubourg Saint-Marcel. And Bahorel wasn't all that confident about their own safety. He walked with purpose, defying any hostile eyes that might be directed at himself and Bossuet. But Enjolras…
"All we can do is keep him in sight," he told Bossuet.
It was almost precisely that moment that he realised Enjolras had turned into the warren of sidestreets.
"Don't let him get too far ahead!" Bahorel exclaimed. This was enough – as soon as they caught up with their chief, Bahorel was going to demand an explanation. Enjolras was irresponsible to be so careless with his own safety.
But when they had pushed passed the scattered late night walkers on the Avenue Des Gobelins and reached the open mouth of the sidestreet, they saw only the opening darkness of more alleyways, more recesses, and no indication of which way Enjolras might have gone.
Orssich, waiting the cul-de-sac, bordered by three tenements with darkened windows, saw the precise moment that his prey came back to full awareness. Curious. He had broken the mesmeric spell moments before Orssich would have lifted it himself, the better to enjoy the kill. He stopped abruptly, shook his head, and sharply turned his head from side to side, only now aware that he was surrounded by near complete darkness. Orssich could admire the will by which he brought the panic under control, completely lost as he must be, with no knowledge of how he came to be standing in this dark alley. He did not see Orssich in the shadows, with not even breath to betray his utter stillness. Orssich could see the wide blue eyes straining to penetrate the dark, taking in the lesser dark of the entrance to the alley, turning in that direction.
It was then that Orssich slid with unnatural speed behind him, grabbing his upper arms. The reaction was immediate, and not one that the undead creature expected. Instead of a scream and frantic struggle, the student drove backwards with his elbows to try and throw him off balance, then jerked forward, twisting, trying to release the hold on him.
"Let me go! I have nothing…"
Orssich shifted his left arm around the boy's torso, pinning his upper arms to his side, then used his free hand to untie the cravat, unwinding it with a wrench, pulling down his collar, then jerking the golden head to the side and exposing the neck. The rapid breathing of his prey vibrated through his touch, the increasingly frantic movements, small within the confines of Orssich's arms.
"Let me go!"
A last cry from his prey, and Orssich, his ultra-acute senses heightened even more by the charged tension of fear, feeling that warm and virile body powerless in his hands, savoured the moment.
Then he drove his bared fangs into the boy's neck, and the protests died in his victim's throat. The skin was soft over the tight muscles, tensed now in a futile attempt to flee. The warm splash of blood hit Orssich's mouth, filling it, almost spilling over his lips. He began to drink, to suck down the hot fluid, burning against his cold lips.
What would come next was the surrender. The brief flickering up of life, and then the relaxation into the seduction of death. He had experienced it so many times…that near orgasmic gasp as the powerful sensations of his vampiric hold overwhelmed the victim, killing them even as they were overwhelmed with desire. He would drain every vestige of life, and of this one's burning soul.
He supported the prey, holding him upright as his arms weakened, hanging uselessly, and his legs began to give way. Strange images flickered through his mind. Smoke and fire and shot. Blood red flags and red dawns. And beyond that, a beautiful and distant vista.
Distracted, he was unprepared when suddenly the victim tensed again and, unbelievably, wrenched himself away from his grasp, his teeth scoring along the skin of the boy's neck. One canine caught in the youth's shirt as he pulled away and was almost wrenched out. Pain. He had not anticipated it - it was unprecedented. This was not how the hunt reached its dénouement.
"No!" the student said, rounding on him. Through their connection, he had sense Orssich's predatory intent. "No! I am not yours. Mad man, you will not have me."
Orssich felt a searing moment of anger. He would rip the boy's throat out with his teeth and drink his fill from the stump of his neck. He took a step forward, and, although the boy still could not see him properly in the dark, the student took a crouched defensive stance towards where he assumed his assailant stood.
Orssich regarded him closely, watching the keen eyes dart quickly from side to side, seeking any sign of movement in the dark, looking for a way out or his assailant, shaking not, Orssich realised with surprise, from terror, but with an incandescent fury that matched his own, almost overwhelming his underlying fear. The vampire felt a surge of absolute delight completely subsuming his anger. This creature was magnificent.
Far, far too good to be merely a night's sport. And far too precious to be lost to those dreams of smoke and shot.
Enjolras. That was the name he had extracted from the boy's mind. Enjolras. He would join them. Even Madame Vep could not object to the admission of this gorgeous creature into their throng.
And before that occurred, he would enjoy every exquisite agony Enjolras' soul could offer as he turned his face inexorably from the light.
Orssich slid behind Enjolras and took him in his arms, almost gently, but utterly without yielding. Enjolras gave cry of rage as he felt his arms pinned once again, and this time his struggles were in vain.
"You are wrong. You are mine, Enjolras" Orssich murmured to him, before bending his head to feed. He could hear the sound of running feet and voices just beyond the alley, searching, but by the time they reached the cul-de-sac it would be too late. Enjolras was still mumbling a single word, "no", through numb lips, but as Orssich nuzzled his mouth into the blood flowing from his veins, the boy grew fainter, before finally collapsing, entirely limp, supported only by the arms of his attacker.
Orssich, feeling intoxicated by the blood and by the struggle, finally pulled himself away before he drank too deeply. He lowered Enjolras to the ground, a pitiable, nearly lifeless form, almost indistinguishable from the darkness of the dirt he lay on.