Disclaimer: I don't own any material contained within this story. All copyrighted content remains the property of the person, people, or organization that holds the copyright. This story is solely for fun.

She was coming. He could smell her, that delightful mixture of strawberries and vanilla that surrounded her like an aura of temptation. He smirked. As if she needs the extra help, he thought to himself. "Hello, Mignonette."

"Pip? What are you doing out here? It's past three. Shouldn't you be in bed?" Seras hesitated as she pondered the question herself.

Was there a mission she hadn't been informed of? She doubted it. Integra was still asleep when Seras had left the mansion, and the lady knight was not one to rest comfortably in her bed when there were enemy vampires to be slain, threats to England that needed to be dealt with. No, there could be no mission.

"I... couldn't sleep," the merc answered after a brief pause, his back still to the young Draculina. "I thought a walk in the night air might help calm me down."

"Oh," the girl replied simply. "Ah, is there... something you'd like to talk about?" she asked as she tentatively laid a hand on his shoulder.

Pip's only response was to reach for the K-Bar strapped to his right leg. Freeing the long knife from its leather sheath he raised it up and pulled it in front of him. And there he let it hang for a second as he stared at the half moon reflected in the stainless-steel blade.

Then he wrapped his free hand around the knife's blade, and quickly jerked it out of his grasp. He winced in pain as blood flowed from the deep gash he'd just created. Forming the wounded hand into a fist, he winced again; and the thick, red liquid began to seep through the crevasses between his fingers.

He held his fist out over the small duckpond in front of him and let the blood pool along the grooves in his hand until it started to bead and drip into the water below. The drops fell, creating ripples that broke the calm surface of the water, and tinging a small section of the greenish blue to a deep burgundy.

Seras swallowed hard as the scent of fresh blood was carried by the night air and hit her full force. She felt her fangs grow and her tongue begin to elongate. Her blue eyes began to glow crimson, and for a moment she feared she might lose herself. However, she struggled to maintain control. She gritted her teeth, shook her head, and the red faded from her eyes.

She then brought her hand up and slapped the back of Pip's head. "Idiot, what were you thinking?!"

"You asked why I couldn't sleep. I figured it would be easier to show, then to tell," he answered quietly, his voice holding no trace of its usual levity. Instead it was hushed and deep and seemed very deliberate.

To Seras it sounded almost as creepy as when her master's dropped into that low, cooing tone that always promised death, destruction or sin... for someone. What had gotten into Pip? Still, the girl put up a brave front, not displaying any of the concern that was beginning to build up in her.

"And how was cutting your hand suppose to show me anything... other than blood and stupidity?" she asked in a somewhat insulting tone. "Have you forgotten I am a vampire?" she then continued in a more puzzled and confused one. "Do you have any idea how dangerous that was?"

"No, I haven't forgotten about your blood lust... In fact, I was counting on it." It was then that the merc quickly spun around, the half-crazed expression in his one good eye startling the girl. "You asked why I couldn't sleep?! It's because of you -- the way you look; the way you walk; the way I've seen you fight; your scent; your 'uniform'; your face; those eyes and that cute little nose; those pouty lips; the curve of your cheeks; the way your smile lights the hearts of anyone who sees it; that delightfully cute look you get whenever you're anxious about not understanding something; the way you blush when embarrassed..." For the first time since starting his rant, Pip paused and seemed to regain a smidgen of his sanity. "Like you are now," he continued in a calmer tone, a bit of his usual roguish smile returning.

"We've been dating for three months now. Add up work and the down time we've shared and I've spent more time with you then I have any other woman in my life. And it's been wonderful, but always there's the limits – this far, but nothing more. Why?! Why do you still hold back? Why torture me like this? I... I guess I just wanted you to feel the way I feel when we're necking and then you suddenly pull back and leave just as things are starting to get... 'interesting'."

To Pip's surprise, Seras didn't look on him with sympathy for his confession. Nor did she recoil emotionally. And she certainly didn't leap into his arms and start smothering him in a monstrous lip-lock. No, instead she scowled at him and looked madder than he'd ever seen her before– save for during her bouts of blood lust.

"You Bloody Idiot," she accused, her words laced with venom. "You self-centered bastard! Do you really think I have no needs of my own, that I'm not plagued with desire, temptation... lust?! You honestly believe it's any less torturous for me than it is for you?! I'm the one who *has to* pull back – we both know you're not going to. You honestly think you have to cut your hand and spill your blood to teach me about wanton hunger? It's already harder on me than you!"

Now it was Pip's turn to look confused, and boy did he ever. His brow was furled, his eye wide and vacant, and his head was slightly tilted to one side. For all his years of experience the hardened mercenary looked very much like a child trying to grasp the concept of Einstein's theory of relativity. "Then... why?"

Seras sighed and rubbed her temples with one hand. "Because!" she started, paused and then took a deep, calming breath before continuing. "Because we're not ready."

"*I'm* ready," Pip replied, slightly defensive.

Seras looked up at him and the edge of her lip curled slightly. "There is a difference between eager and ready,"^1 she responded.

Pip stayed silent.

"Do you love me?"

At this Pip grinned broadly. "Oh, Mignonette, of course I-"

"No, Pip, think about it before you answer. I didn't ask if you were attracted to me, lusted after me, were fond of me... or even respected me. I asked if you loved me."

"I..." Pip began but then stopped. He paused and hesitated; and rather than be insulted by the hesitation, Seras realized that it was actually a good thing. It meant that he wasn't just picking an answer he thought would get her into the sack but actually thinking about how he felt.

"I... I feel... something for you that I've never felt for any of the other girls I've... been with."

Seras smiled slightly, "Not good enough, Pip," she responded with a slightly playful tone.

Pip huffed in a combination of annoyance and frustration. "And just what is 'love' anyway? What is it suppose to feel like?"

At this Seras's slight smile grew into a full, albeit coy, one. "When you can answer that, then you'll be 'ready'," she responded and chuckled.

Pip didn't seem nearly as amused, but most of the frustration had drained from his face. His expression now was one akin to sulking acceptance. And then he winced again, the pain in his hand returning now that he'd calmed down and his adrenaline surge had worn off.

Seras noticed the spark of pain in her boyfriend's eyes and shook her head. Then she closed the short distance between them and grabbed the merc's hand. She opened up the fist and stared at the wound. The pressure from squeezing his hand so tightly had stopped most of the bleeding, but the cut was still present, long and deep.

Seeing this, Pip commented, "Merde, I'm going to need a half dozen stitches to seal that up."

"Oh, I don't think we need to resort to that," the little vampire purred as she opened her mouth and began to run her tongue across the merc's hand.

He just fidgeted in place. The action itself was slightly erotic, but when combined with the 'drug' present in vampiric saliva – the drug that seals and sterilizes wounds but also produces a euphoric effect when entering the bloodstream – well, while not as good as what the merc was really hoping for (and had been waiting for), it was certainly pleasurable. And it was one of the very few fleshly pleasures Pip Bernadotte (French mercenary and infamous ladies' man) had not previously experienced.

Seras was rather enjoying herself too. Traces of Pip's blood remained, indeed the whole inside of his hand was coated red. And even if the blood was starting to dry, it was still delicious... and warm. And there was a unique quality to it, something indescribably... Pip. And that pleased her too.

Sure, he was an idiot... but he was *her* idiot.

^1: Line taken from Mass Effect

Well, I hope you all enjoyed. Please drop a review and let me know what you thought. Thanks.

Have a good day, and God bless.

Metropolis Kid.