TITLE: "The Mating Habits of Bloodsuckers" (1/1)
AUTHOR: mcee (mcee@fangy.net)
SITE: http://fangy.net
RATING: PG
CHARACTER: Spike, crossover with "A.I." (possible Spike/Gigolo Joe?)
SUMMARY: He often thinks, disappointed, 'this is the future?', but it's a thing you get used to, and even the mechas don't freak him out anymore, and he can almost look one in the eye.

* * *



A particularly strong wave of dizziness hits him just as he's crossing the street and the worn soles of his boots are suddenly glued to the pavement, trapping him inside the Friday night crowd. People rush by him, jostling him without care, sidestepping him with resentful looks. He's touched everywhere by random body parts and the smell is sweet and terrible and he can hear it all throb in his ears, behind his eyes, in his gut. He clenches his teeth until his jaw hurts, and squeezes his eyes shut.

'STOP IT.'

Blood has been staying in its owners for years and years; you'd think he'd be used to it by now. He'd gladly hand over his right arm for a mouthful of even the stalest blood-bank type, but even that's gone now, replaced by perfect medicine for perfect people. And he can't stand the synthetic stuff, he CAN'T, but he's not the suicidal type anymore so he downs it anyway. But lately, lately it's been worse, worse than it's been since... he can't remember. He can hardly remember what real blood does taste like, and there's something infinitely sad about it inside him, something that feels trapped even though he doesn't really want to hurt anyone anymore either.

He fumbles for the key in his pocket, and wills his feet off the ground, one by one, forward, away. He's only half a block from the motel, but the path is crisscrossed with temptations, with things that drive him crazy. He pushes himself forward, through people and their outraged cries, head down, fingers so tightly wound around the metal keychain that his skin gives, bleeding weak L-neg, the most he's been able to afford lately. He tries not to think about it, but it seems like that's all he's been doing.

When he's finally reached the door to the decrepit building, he yanks it open with shaking fingers and hurries into the shadows of the lobby, away from the neon glow that permeates downtown. He wants to be panting, feels like his heart should be pounding in his ears, but it's ridiculous; he's dead, and besides, he shouldn't be having panic attacks from crossing the street. It's like he's slowly going crazy, and whatever's coursing through his veins is just making it worse.

The stairs whine and creak under his quick footsteps and soon he's standing at his door, fitting the rusty key into its rustier keyhole, the keychain clinking against the peeling paint of the door. He often thinks, disappointed, 'this is the future?', but it's a thing you get used to, and even the mechas don't freak him out anymore, and he can almost look one in the eye. He's working on it. He remembers when telephones were invented--he'd like to see anyone else try and adjust.

He pushes out a sigh of relief when he locks the door behind him. The small hollow breath rushes uselessly between his teeth, offering no real comfort. But the small, messy room is welcoming, and he'll gladly take what he's got.

He toes off his boots and shrugs off his short leather coat, kicks them all to the side before slumping ungracefully to his bed. The sheets smell like him and him alone, thankfully. The cracks on the ceiling are familiar from countless sleepless days, and his eyes follow the lines absently while he lets his thoughts wander back to mechas.

He's never hated them. He's never hated anyone, actually, but especially not them. He's never been at ease around them, but there's always been this faint feeling of kinship with those things that don't eat, don't live, don't die. They make him feel alive, and the small knowledge that he was human once makes him more of a real being than any of them.

He feels almost ashamed of it, at times. They're beautiful, perfect, full of purpose, while he... isn't. Somehow lines have etched his face, some of them laugh lines from when he used to have things to laugh about, some weary wrinkles of worry and grief, most of them simple testaments of time passing in a way even vampires don't get away from. He isn't beautiful anymore, the way a girl he loved once described him. He can't be sure of this, but he sure doesn't FEEL handsome anymore, and he can feel the ugliness seep into his very bones and muscles, taking away the grace there too. He's once been told by a kind soul that it was all in his mind, that he was radiant and more full of life than most city-dwellers, but he finds that hard to believe, so he chooses not to.

Thinking about Her is not good, not something he lets himself do more than once or twice a year, and so he turns to his side and watches the glowing numbers of the alarm clock until all thoughts of supergirls and supertoys are driven away from his mind. It's barely past midnight and the streets outside his window are alive and bustling. It reminds him of New Orleans, only harsher on the senses.

Loneliness is sometimes so paralysing in this little room that it curls his body painfully, wretches deep sobs out of his chest until morning, when there aren't any more sobs for him to cry and his lungs hurt. But tonight isn't one of those nights, and he's studying the feeling objectively, like a thing you hold in your hands, turn around between your fingers for closer inspection. And for once, recklessly, he decides to do something about it.

He burns his fingers on the tattered copy of the Holy Bible when he reaches for the phonebook in the nightstand. He hisses sharply at the brief shot of pain and throws the limp directory onto the bedspread before him before opening it at random. His eyes follow his finger down the columns of small print until he finds what he's looking for. It doesn't feel like as big a deal as he thought it would, now that he's doing it. The numbers are dialed easily, and the ringing doesn't hurt his ear. The voice that picks up is almost friendly.

"I need someone," he speaks into the phone, and his voice only catches a little.

"Of course," the woman chirps cheerily, but he can detect the hint of hardened sadness behind it. It rings familiar. "I've got something just right for you."

He sincerely doubts it, but he's willing to play along, just this once.



END