A CHUISLE MO CHROI
Sometimes it's the perfect memories that haunt you. Those ephemeral moments of self-awareness when everything bends to your will and you feel like some good-humored deity fashioned the world just for your amusement. And when they pass, you get to feeling so bloody hollow that you'll do anything to fill up the empty places inside and recapture an echo of the rush you used to get from knowing that you're it - preternatural and profane - indomitable.
You'll slaughter your own kind to sate your hunger for the hunt. Throw yourself down the neck of a bottle and hope it's enough to make you forget. Because living this wretched, fucking half-life after spending the last century as a god is just too much.
Easier than it sounds, of course…forgetting. And the only thing liquor really does anymore is make everything a bit softer, more hazy, and - if I'm lucky - slightly humorous. Weren't for the linebacker-sized lump of man-flesh teetering on the stool next to mine, I might even be laughing at Willie's painfully banal banter. But the fucker's fisting a tumbler of Bush Mills and an errant lock of hair the color of finished walnut hangs down over his cheekbone, taunting me. With my luck, if he turned his eyes on me, they'd be the same color as the stuff swirling in his glass. Least he doesn't look like the other.
Fuck Saint Valentine. Fuck Angelus. And fuck the power that broody wanker still holds over me. Should've learned by now…all roads eventually lead back to Sire. It would be tonight out of countless others my muddy, disjointed thoughts turn to him. The one night he treated me as I deserve. Precious.
Suddenly forgetting isn't even an option anymore, and I ride the high tide of Señor Cuervo back through scarlet-stained snippets of memories past.
"Come 'ere, me boy." Angelus' attempts at warmth always sent wild goose bumps prickling on the back of William's neck. He knew they were hollow. Empty endearments doled out in honeycomb tones, followed by the sharp, acrid sting of his Sire's lashing tongue. Demons such as Angelus had no use for authenticity of emotion. Frankly, neither did he, but acknowledgement of weakness does not necessarily preclude one from participation in weak acts. William wondered idly if such sentiments would fade to so much dust given time. Often, in the lazy afternoon hours, the fledgling thought about these things. But his Sire didn't care for him bothering the family with silly questions about the residual emotions that occasionally plagued newborns, and he only ended up with a welted backside for his efforts. Love, loyalty, tenderness. Concepts that should no longer concern him consumed his every thought and William missed them as he missed sunlight. Did all new demons long for their true family? For laughter and tears? Or some ample bosom to spill their fears against and soft hands tangled in hair, quiet warm shushing breaths exhaled against flushed skin?
"William…" The single spoken word sent sweet reverie in quick retreat, a silent threat snarled within those two syllables and William cringed. He'd lingered too long at the window, left his Sire waiting, and knew that metal-tipped leather was sure to be his reward for such insolence. Angelus, however, merely mumbled drunkenly either not realizing or not caring about his Childe's infraction.
"Come to me little one…a chuisle mo chroí. Come."
Flames dancing on the hearth lent Angelus' eyes a smoldering heat that mingled with the wicked gleam forever in residence there. Fiery flickering reflections frolicking upon the glassy surface gave birth to a strange swirling miasma of inebriation, lust, and the tiniest hint of danger.
William shuffled forward uncertainly, watching as his Sire's thick fingers unfurled to set a large tumbler of spirits aside on the nightstand. Pain, ridicule, blood, ownership…these things he knew at Angelus' hands. But this was something else entirely. An almost tender, strangely patient tone in the quick-tempered vampire's voice shocked him to speechlessness.
Angelus was waiting.
Waiting for his Childe to come to him willingly. And William mused that perhaps the strange ghostly echoes of human emotion that clawed within his still heart afflicted more than just the newly risen.
He willed his body forward, gasping in a less than masculine manner when an iron grip fastened on his wrist to tug him down onto the bedclothes. Sheets tangled between his legs, clinging to his trousers, everything permeated with the scent of Sire, sex, and whisky. William shivered uncontrollably as little electric jolts sparked just under his skin where Angelus' arms had wrapped around him, callused fingertips sliding beneath his shirt, branding him with soft touches at the base of his spine.
"That's a good boy. Sweet, beautiful boy." Angelus grinned crookedly, pressing his hips up towards the velvet coverlet and against William's still form. The dark hulking vampire hadn't survived over a century on brawn alone; he was quite the perceptive demon. And in the eyes of his favored Childe he saw confusion, in his scent…silent panic.
"No need to fear me sweetling. Relax. Let me tend to you."
"Sire?" If anything, Angelus' words had agitated William more. Sharp, quick panted breaths spilled between his lips. Something that would indeed have to be addressed later. Proper vampires did not breathe. Of course the way the boy looked right at this moment, he was half tempted to forget everything he'd ever learned at Darla's knee. Gods, what a sight. Cheeks flushed by warm firelight, tousled curls tumbled forward in his eyes, all of it topped with those soft, pouting lips moist and parted as his Childe stared at him - befuddled. It was what had made him want this boy at his side for eternity.
"Trust me Will. I want…I wish to show ye…While demon-love is all well and good, newborns tend to feel it less like affection and more like simple pain. Let me gift ye with this, Childe. One night. Warmth, tender lips, and sweet words whispered in your ear."
"What…?" William felt long fingers threading through his hair as Angelus tugged his head down for one of those affectionate kisses he spoke of. The fire crackling and popping cheerfully on the hearth had not only put a new manner of twinkle in his Sire's eyes, but also suffused his body with heat. And when Angelus' mouth claimed his own, it was warm, soft, and so completely human that William felt himself melt, molding to the large body beneath him like so much butter.
"Hush little one. Just feel." Worn muslin whispered against shivering flesh, the blonde trembling as Angelus divested him of his shirt. Fingers and lips bathing each inch of skin revealed reverently. William was set adrift on a raging sea of sensation; every touch sending little sparks to dance up his spine. So lost that his hands clutched at his Sire's broad shoulders just to keep from downing.
"Shhh, Childe. Love you. Need you." William felt Angelus' fingers fumbling between them, seeking, no doubt, the laces to loosen his pants. When he moved to help, his hands were batted away unceremoniously. "Be still, Will. This is all for you." Finally, he gave up fiddling with the bindings, rending the fabric to pieces with a hearty yank, rejoicing in the feel of his Favored's skin sliding like silk against his own. Angelus swept him up in a warm embrace rotating their bodies until he hovered above his Childe.
When their mouths met, the gnashing teeth and fevered hunger William had grown accustomed to as Angelus' bedmate were absent. No, this was the barest flicker of dragonfly wings fluttering on his lips and then tracing the soft lines of his jaw. Forgotten nerve-endings sprung to life under his Sire's tender touches.
Angelus' mouth hovered over his lips, not touching but allowing his whiskey-laden breath to caress the face below. A gasp expelled from William's pouty lips sailed on sweet breath as his Sire's tongue grazed the sensitive flesh. Then as quickly as he felt it, the writhing wetness had moved onward across sharp cheekbones to lave at the soft lobe of his ear. William couldn't remember ever having been kissed so reverently. His eyelids fluttered closed, consciousness sinking into the warm, blissful cocoon spun by Angelus' wicked tongue. Tracing his jugular, his Sire increased the pressure of his mouth suckling at the tender flesh lovingly. William's body arched up from the bed seeking the cool, hard surface of his Sire's. The chuckle deep in Angelus' throat sent vibrations across the pale skin splayed out as a canvas.
"Patience, my Childe." Angelus murmured softly around a soft pink nipple, grinning as William thrashed wantonly on the silken sheets. Blunt human teeth worried the hard nub into a peak as large fingers traced the thin line of blonde hair beneath William's navel combing through the curling mass that surrounded his purpling erection, consciously avoiding the most obvious evidence of his Childe's arousal. William groaned, wrapping delicate hands into his Sire's thick mane, pressing him insistently toward the thick throbbing length below. Again, Angelus laughed, sending rippling vibrations up William's steel shaft.
Bedsprings groaned beneath them, answered by William's soft whimper of loss as his Sire leaned over to retrieve something from the bedside table. He heard the quiet scrape of metal on glass and then the gentle pressure of something cold and slick at his entrance, sliding effortlessly inside. So very different from the other times when Angelus had taken him against a wall after the hunt, or as a floorshow for the female members of their twisted little clan.
His back arched into his Sire's talented hands, aching, wanting more, always more. Another crooked smile graced the handsome planes of Angelus' face as he watched his Childe writhe, and he scissored his fingers further apart, sending them deeper into the recesses of the vibrating mass of flesh beneath him to brush against William's prostate.
"Angelus!" Relentlessly, the dark, hulking vampire massaged the small, hardened nubbin in his lover's channel until the boy had lost any semblance of coherency. His little one, so beautiful spread out against a backdrop of silk and red velvet, every cell trembling, reaching, crying out for love.
"Sire, please…please, please, please." William's blue eyes carried the color of midnight in them, so deep was his need and he raised his hips against the fingers buried within him to clarify things if need be.
"Tell me what you want, darling William, you need only ask." Slowing the steady rhythm of his pistoning fingers, Angelus smiled benevolently down at his breathless Childe.
"You. Only you. Please, Angelus. Fill me. Make me yours. Love me, always."
"Always, a ghrá. Always."
Fingers dipped once again into the small tub of moisturizer, Angelus brought them to his own aching, untouched erection, slathering it liberally. No pain. Not this time. With a grin, he draped himself over William's twitching form, hooking the boy's knees through his elbows, nudging his cock against the tight pucker of the darling's opening.
"Ready sweetling?" Angelus thrust his hips forward gently but suggestively.
"Yes. Gods yes." With aching slowness, Sire joined Childe, lips parted by throaty moans, riding the absolute pleasure of sensation. For a moment, both remained still, relishing the feel of stretched and stretching. Then Angelus rocked his hips forward, surging with the tide of his boy's trembling breathless pants, each lost to the intensity of this coupling. Groaning, William threaded his own arms behind his knees, rolling his hips up further still so that each stroke of Angelus' cock grazed against that delightful little spot inside. Flashes burst before his eyes, electricity zinging out through his veins and over his skin.
"Touch me...please Sire. So close. Want...want...want to." If William's heart had beat, it might've stopped at the sight of Angelus' strong fist closing around his aching shaft, tugging fiercly as his hips stepped up their assault. Quick now, passion overflowing, drowning them both in syrupy sweetness as Sire arched into Childe feverishly. Caught in time, loving and rutting out their insecurities. All too soon it ended, primal screams bearing unlikely names shouted to the rafters. White brightness burst behind squeezed eyelids. Angelus' pleasure spilled into his Childe's convulsing channel. William's release coated his Sire's hand and nestled in the shallow dimple of his navel.
Angelus collapsed beside the boy and drew his boneless form into a tight embrace. How he could learn to love this little one. Such a dangerous path to tread. He pressed another tender kiss against the unruly mess of soft blonde curls and sighed. Once William managed to partially recover his senses, he spoke a single quiet word born of entirely human need.
"Yes Childe, always."
The high whine of Willie's voice draws me unwillingly back to the present.
"Spike? Hey man, you in there? You probably oughta head home, got less than an hour 'til sunrise." Funny, the weasly human bartender never cared much for my safety before. I'd have thought he'd be glad to be rid of me, considering nine times out of ten I can't or won't pay for my booze and blood. Tends to be a drain on the resources that. Wonder exactly what sparked this shocking, unwarranted concern for my welfare. "Wouldn't want it to get back to the Slayer her newest best buddy got himself dusted on my account." And there it is. Twist the knife a bit bloody more, little man. Might yet risk the migraine to introduce your steaming entrails to the world. For his part, Willie laughs nervously and swipes at an invisible something on the worn, shiny wood in front of him with a towel. At the very least the wall of flesh that previously occupied the next stool over has buggered off. That helps…barely.
"Yeah, mate. Because that cold, empty crypt seems oh so inviting right now." I can't keep the growl out of my voice. If only the bark held any bite anymore. It doesn't though, and Willie looks more amused than frightened so I push myself away from the bar and head for the door.
The room spins as I drag my gaze from its intent study of the wood-grain covering the floor of Willie's. Must be the drink, because there's no bloody way that's the Poof standing there, beaded curtain brushing against his precious leathers.
"Angelus?" I try to shake off the tequila-induced stupor, but moving my head at all just makes it pound painfully.
"Come to me little one…a chuisle mo chroí. Come." Irish brogue thick and heavy on his tongue sends familiar signals to my groin. But this isn't my Sire. And I haven't been his dearest darling in an age. Did he think I'd come willingly? Maybe that sodding soul finally drove him stark raving.
"Fuck off, Peaches." Memory and alcohol have dulled both my wit and considerable ire it seems, but now he just looks politely embarrassed and wistful like he needs to recover the past about as much as I wish I could forget it. I try to push past him out into sweet cover of darkness where he can't see or smell what I've been thinking about, but his hands fist in my duster, holding me back. Shrugging out of his grip, I summon my most menacing snarl. "You think you can just show up like this and expect me to snap to? Not a fledge, ya ponce. Master vampire here, yeah? And I don't ask how high when you say jump anymore."
"Will, please…I didn't come here to fight." He buries his hands in his pockets, eyes fixed on my unyielding expression. Not sure what he sees there. Platinum hair, sharp edges, ice caught in blue eyes that were once warm and inviting. No, I'm not William. Made damn sure of that over a century ago. Thank you Angelus. Demon of his word, my Sire. One night, he'd said, and that's all I got. Never touched me with anything resembling tenderness after that. Even when I tried so hard to be what he wanted.
"What then? Come to have a good giggle at my expense like the others?"
He sighs a heavy frustrated sigh. "No. I just…Will, I miss you. I'm not allowed to come see you now?"
"Spike." And I don't care if we've had this conversation a hundred or a thousand times before, the git never does get it.
"Name's Spike now. Seem to recall I've told you that once or twice. And no, you can't just pop by unannounced and expect me to fall all over myself to make you feel bloody welcome. I stopped trying to please you a long time ago…Sire." I spit the last word at him, let it carry all the rage and pain and disappointment of the long years I spent not being good enough.
"You'll always be my Will, Childe." A faint, tentative smile flickers on his lips creeping up to crinkle his eyes at the corners. My mouth opens for a retort, but he just keeps on rolling, cutting off the words before they have chance to form. "And I'm completely willing to let you curse at me all you want, but this isn't exactly the place to air family grievances."
That I can agree with, though I'd much rather not do this at all. Angelus, however, seems quite intent on tossing ancient history about and I'd prefer to have a good amount of elbow room to kick his ass in when it comes down to it. When…not if.
"Whatever turns your crank, mate. Crypt's about ten minutes walk."
This time when I try to leave, he lets me and I hear heavy, solid steps plodding on behind me, quiet rustles in cemetery grass. Silence stretches between us, winding us both up in thick, inescapable tension. Only when we're safely ensconced inside the tomb of cold stone and mortar does he find his voice again.
"I heard what happened," he says, settling down in my battered green chair with a grimace. Probably more concerned about those poncey pants than he is me. That's the way of it.
"Seems everyone has. Poor, toothless Spike. Reduced to killing demons to get his jollies." I snatch a fag from my pocket and spark the lighter, breathing in the only form of comfort I have these days. "Now get on with it if you don't mind. Got a long day of sitting about planned and I don't particularly fancy a houseguest."
"I just wondered how you were. How you're adjusting. I know the first few months after the curse…"
"Bloody hell, Angelus! Didn't get souled up. This thing hasn't suddenly given me a fondness for fluffy little kitties and a fantastic penchant for brooding…just fries my brain to mush when I do what comes natural-like. I'm not adjusting, I'm fucking pissed." I stomp the spent butt I've been puffing at beneath my boot heel and throw myself on the cold stone of my very own sarcophagus lid. This is absolutely the last thing I needed tonight.
"Sod off. Don't need your pity. Don't want it." Hard angry tears sting behind closed eyelids and I feel him move closer rather than see it. His scent surrounds me, and any hope I had of putting off the memories dissolves when his thumb traces over my cheekbone. Can't help one last ditch effort, though. "Go 'way." Callused fingertips outline a pout I haven't seen for years, deep, rich laughter bubbling up from some unexplored recess of his soul.
"Not going anywhere. Not right this second anyway. First of all, I came to see you and I haven't had my fill yet." Cool hands slide down my chest and up under my shirt. I grab at his wrist, fully intending to stop him, but then it occurs to me, why the hell would I want to? Obediently, my hand drifts back down to rest at my side. It's been so long since…Let's just say that blood isn't the only thing I crave unreasonably these days. "Second of all, sun's up. And those pesky UV rays generally make me an indoor puppy."
I can't help the desperate laugh that finds its way to my lips. "Least you don't scamper about town beneath an old Army blanket like me."
"Yeah, I know I'd look goofy, whereas you…I'm sure you manage to pull it off. Like you always do." My eyes snap open, and I find him drinking me in like one of those bloody Manets he loves so much. It's that look, echoed back across time. And if I didn't know better, I'd think we were holed up at the old brownstone in London.
"Why are you really here?"
"I told you why. I miss you." Eyes focused on his fingers where they're drawing small circles beneath faded black fabric, he sighs again.
"And?" Never was this hard to get him to speak his mind in the old days. What good he thinks clamming up now will do, I haven't the slightest.
I capture his wrist again, this time stilling his hand and its ministrations against my humming skin. "Christ Angelus, how old are you?" He answers with a shrug and a soft, sheepish look. "We're supposed to be grown-ups. Grown-up demons no less. And here you are pussyfooting about like you're what…gonna offend me? Ask. I won't say no. Just don't bullocks it up by pretending you care about me. I know better."
"You think that's what I came here for?" Hard words forced from an unwilling mouth. Like somewhere along the line he's forgotten how to speak.
"Well…yeah. The proof just happens to be poking me in the thigh this very second. As if I could misunderstand you slipping those great paws of yours under my shirt." With every word, he retreats further…rolling himself off of me, extricating his hand from cotton and skin, until he's hunched away from me staring blankly at the wall.
"I'm sorry, William. So sorry."
"For what, Peaches? Said you could have a leg over, didn't I? Don't need to go all broody and tortured because of that." His back shudders and he bows his head to hands, elbows resting on his knees.
"It's not that. And yes, I do fancy a shag, as you would so eloquently put it. But not like this. Not when that's all it is for you. So much for memories, right? Can't even recapture a single reasonably happy one without everything going to hell." This time it's his laugh wrapped in a hundred layers of desperation.
"So you're saying what then? You want to romance me? Thought that was reserved for blonde bints with pointy wooden things. Since when do you love me?" Can't bloody do this. Not ever. Nevernevernever. Last time it destroyed me, and he has no concept of what he's asking.
Fuck. Well, that's not what comes out of my mouth. Actually it's more like…
"Right then." There's a long silence where he finds the scuffed toes of his shoes quite interesting and I amuse myself flipping my lighter open and closed habitually. Finally I manage to work through all the crap in my head well enough to talk. With a sigh, I stand and saunter slowly to where the window would have been in Angelus' bedchamber at the house. "Not sure if I remember exactly how this goes, pet. You may have to push me in the right direction now and again." I toss a wide smile over my shoulder at him. Finally we're both on the same page. He loves me. He's always loved me. And the fact he admitted as much means more than millions of empty promises from others. My Sire.
"Come to me little one…a chuisle mo chroí. Come."