I have no idea where this came from. I'm just the messenger.


The coat doesn't sit in the window. It isn't deemed worthy enough for that. No, it's shoved back by the blue jeans. Harsh florescent lights bouncing off it, making the contrast of black leather and white mannequin almost painful.

A group of teenagers walks by, and one stops, points. A few step closer, looking admiring, but another points to the price tag.

They move on quickly.


The glass on the window crashes, glass cracking to the floor. Two men climb through. And they're barely three steps into the darkened store when the alarm goes off.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

One man pauses, turning away from the jeans. "Balls."

"I toldja we shoulda just stripped the body," the other whines. "His pants were fine."

"He was too short," snaps the first. "They're always too short. I'm tired of the wedgies." He turns back towards the denim, pulls a pair off the rack and holds them up to his waist.

"Hurry up. I don't really want to be shot today."

Loud feet, pounding a rhythm across the carpeted floor. The man with the jeans looks up, eyes gleaming. "Think of it as desert."

A few shirts fall off their hangers as the two officers round the corner. "Police!" One shouts. "Hands over your heads!"

The faces of the men change, eyes yellowing.

"Hands above yours," says the second, and then grins as though that had been terribly witty.

Eyes wide, the officers back up. A shot is fired, and the first vampire swears loudly, dropping his jeans. "That was my arm." He rips a scarf off another mannequin, holds it to the wound. And slowly begins to advance on the officers.

Around them, the clothing racks are nothing but shadows. Ghosts in the dark

"Let's just eat them," the other suggests.

Two guns are raised higher, and both uniforms take a step back. Their eyes are wide, mouths halfway open. Seeming to have forgotten how to pull the trigger.

"Nah. In exchange for not being eaten, I'm going to take these jeans and… and…" he glances around. "That coat. I want that coat."

They stare stupidly at him.

"That means put away the guns and leave," the other said helpfully. The officers backed up some more. Half running, crashing into dummies and counters in their desperation to escape.

"Peace out, dudes." The injured vampire grabs the coat, knocking the mannequin over with a crash. "Let's go find some non-armed food."


It's a stereotypical fight. Empty parking lot. The man in the black leather jacket. The rain. The grunts. The blows.

"Can you take that coat off before I dust you?" One asks. "I like it."

The other spins, coat flying around him, and a foot is slammed against a head. The first one stumbles back, and his opponent jumps forward, stabbing downward.

A whoosh as he disappears forever. .

"Nobody touches my coat," says the victor.


This time there's four vampires, and they're closing in. Victory so close they can nearly taste it as the woman looks around, sees no way out.

Nearly taste it.

Nearly taste her.

The lead one—the one in the coat—steps forward, smiling.

The smile fades as she raises a stake.

The vampire on his left is gone before anyone can blink. And then it's a fight, his first real fight in months. And she grabs him, raises the stake. And he pulls away, arms slipping out of his coat. And it falls, limp to the ground as she jumps over it, creating the second pile of dust.

When she's done, the coat is the only thing left. Leather and ashes.

She shrugs. Picks it up.

A raindrop lands on her nose.

And with another shrug, she pulls the coat on.

It fits.


He smiles.

She smiles back.

"What's your name?"

"Nikki."


Exhaustion.

The coat flung over a chair.

"And what's his name?"

"Robin."


The fight would have been epic, if there had been someone to record it. The rattling subway, the flashing lights. The vampire, with his white hair and pale skin, and her, black hair, brown skin, leather coat. They look like the stereotypes of light and dark, except that this time, the white one is the dark.

And in the tunnels under New York, the darkness wins.

He takes the coat off her body.

It fits him too.


He left it on her staircase, and now it's in the closet. Buried down in the bottom under some old shoes and a purse that went out of style a year ago. She doesn't want to see it, but she can't bring herself to throw it away.

Nobody mentions it. She doesn't even know if anyone knows it's there.


And it's months before she brings it out again. Drives it past the cemetery, back to the school. And even though her faculty badge says that she has the right to be there, she looks around constantly as she enters, as she walks down the halls, as though afraid of being caught.

Caught by what?

Her fingers leave sweaty smears on the silver doorknob.

"Spike?"

She has to wander for several minutes before she finds him. Crouching behind a box. Muttering something to himself, something she doesn't understand.

"Spike?" She says again, but he ignores her. After a few minutes she gives up, places the coat gently on the ground next to him.


He's himself again. He has to be. So he goes back for it. Grabbing it, shaking off the dust.

"Nice coat. Where'd you get it?"

"New York."


And the coat sees the sunlight for the first time in years. It lights up, or maybe that's just him. Him on fire.

And it burns with him.

And it reappears with him, away from the sun. Surrounded by grey walls and suited people. It reappears, but only half. Because it's a part of him, and like him, no one can touch it.


It's traveled everywhere, but it's in Italy that it finally disappears. The explosion. And it's been covered in blood, it's seen staking. It's watched hundreds of people die. But now it's burning. It's burned once before, of course, but this time, it doesn't come back .