"Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the shadow."
The streets of Rio were wild. Carnaval. Brazil's brown and black and white drowned together in the throes of blues and greens and fuchsias. . .and joy and alcohol.
He preferred blood and madness. Didn't he? He sat on the cliff, staring down at the lights that dotted the city below, the revels. Dispassionate. The world famous statue of Christ loomed behind him, reaching out to the sin of Rio de Janeiro. But not to him. Never to William the Bloody.
*You're a bad boy, Billy. A bad boy. You'll amount to dirt. Tha's all. Dirt.*
*Ye kilt him, Will. Yuir da's dead. Wot're we goin' ta do? Yer a killer!*
*Spike? Is that what you call yourself? Well, Spike, I'm Angelus. And we're going to be great friends.*
*Spike. . .my, Spike. You 'urt me. . .Mummy bleeds for you. . .and your sweet love.*
His nanny. His old mate Seamus. Angelus. And, of course, the most recent echo of his character--Dru. Unconscious now. . .flopped like a broken doll in the posh hotel room whose walls were now splashed with borrowed blood. She liked him again. But he didn't much like himself. It was like being back in that blasted wheelchair. Trapped. Impotent. *You're a bad boy, Billy.* Blood was encrusted under his nails. . .dried on his ivory palms. Red and white, trimmed with the black leather cuffs of his duster. "What's black and white and red all over?" he asked the stars morbidly. "My masochistic girlfriend."
He couldn't even laugh at the stupid joke. Instead, he dangled his legs over the edge of the precipice, wondering if he leaned back. . .would Jesus's stone palms burn like a cross or hotter? Would they burn like an enemy's judgmental eyes?
*The whole earth may be sucked into Hell and you want my help 'cause your girfriend's a big ho? Well, let me take this opportunity to not care.*
*You're a shell of a loser.*Yes, he was. Worse now than when he'd arrived swilled to the gills in Sunnyhell and grabbed that little witch and that whelp, demanding that spell. Magick. Torture. Neither had won him what he wanted. He'd just gained a little time. . .a little more of Drusilla's mad devotion. Until the next Chaos Demon. Or the next Angelus. Or even a human. He remembered her red mouth. . .as she kissed that battered Watcher. Her smile. *Sorry*, she'd said. *I was in the moment.*
When had he last felt that kind of moment? When he'd chained her? When he'd whipped her into mewling compliance? When he'd held Miss Edith out the window and she'd thrown herself at his feet, wailing that she loved him?
He closed his eyes, and the tropical breeze whispered past his cheeks. Warm. Like mortal touch. When?
The grass was soft and green and the sun was high in the midday sky. "Oh, Darling . .I do love you so. This is destiny, Will. Its meant to be. Forever."
Amelia lay her fair head on his chest, and he felt like a man grown. Built up inside. "I love you, too, Sweeting." Soon they would wed. . .and move to her mother's old cottage in Cornwall. All would be well. All would be perfect. No more footpads chasing him in the streets. No more Hell from his father. He was eighteen years old now. Adult. And nothing could change his future.
His happiness was set.
Stupid. How stupid he'd been. Human and stupid, thinking he could escape the evil. Escape his destiny.
*I violently dislike you.*
Yeah, I violently dislike me, too, Slayer. I've got that. He clenched his fists, pounded then on his knees. It was amusing that it was Her voice, of all people's, being his Jiminy sodding Cricket. Amusing and annoying. As if Dru's whimpers weren't enough. As if staring out into the throbbing, dancing, Brazilians celebrating life weren't enough. Conscience? Regret?
He wasn't happy.
Love's bitch indeed.
"Can I get you another drink, Senhor?"
Elena. The waitress's name. Her eyes were brown. No green. Hazel? Either way, not sharp enough to see the blood on his fingers as he toyed with his empty tumbler. Not in the bar's dimness.
"No," he whispered, flashing her a cursory, cool, smile. She was a decent girl. Served in silence. Smiled without fear. Didn't comment on how he spent hours here almost every night, at this corner table, and had only one Tequila. Perhaps because he tipped well. Perhaps because she didn't care.
Anything was better than the room. . .the dried blood, cold hands fumbling at his zipper, trying to please him. He always fled to the cliff first--and then here. A drink. A brood. A bite or two in the back alley. Then, with his veins flooded, he would stumble back. To sleep. To oblivion where he didn't feel Drusilla curled around him.
"You're sad, Senhor." A statement, not a question. Still she stood, Elena, by his elbow. Her empty tray was balanced casually against her hip. She cocked her head and bleached blond hair cascaded down her browned shoulders. German and Spanish and Indian. The walking New World. Speaking to him after how many weeks. . .?
"I killed someone." Did he want to shock her?
But she didn't blink. "I know," she murmured in her thick English. Her lips were dark, curved. Mona Lisa-like. Mythic.
"I could kill _you_," he added, arching an eyebrow, pushing his glass around the scarred wood.
"Si," she agreed. And her fingers fluttered as she tried to articulate a sudden stream of thoughts. . . ignoring catcalls from the bar where partiers obviously wanted service. "You. . .Senhor. . .you have the face of violence," she murmured, watching him carefully. "But not the soul. . the _stomach_, yes?" The pulse at her throat jumped against the rest of her stillness. "You are. . . how they say. . .a shell?"
A shell. A bloody shell. She saw too much. He laughed. Hard and hoarse. For minutes on end. "You might just be right." He pushed back his chair, stood up as the chuckles ebbed and cold irony filled his system. "I won't be coming back here, Elena," he said, knowing the truth in it. "I'd have to rip your eyes out." A menacing honesty.
She simply nodded, and stepped aside to let him pass, taking his threat just like she might take a quip about the weather. But as he moved away, flipping coins into the used tumbler, her words followed. A postscript.
"Brazil is not yours, Senhor. Fly away from here. Your heart lies elsewhere."
He couldn't look back. Were her hands outstretched like Jesus? Or maybe she was Eurydice, ready to pull Orpheus back into Hades. But his Hades was in that room by the water. . .talking to painted porcelain and satin.
Where _was_ his heart? He stalked out into Carnaval. . .into song, spirit, and the crush of bodies. Lost himself in the smells of death and sweat and nectar. He grabbed a wrist. . .a neck. . .blood flowed on the cobblestones and against his teeth like communion. No one noticed. . .no one screamed. . . except him.
*Hands in his hair. . .his cheeks against a warm lap. Gentle humming of an old country tune. "Will, you must let go. Move forward. Be the man I know you to be."
Amelia? But didn't she know he was a vampire? That he could rip and tear and suck her dry? Destroy her frailty and her soul?
"Shhh. . .don't." Her fingers were soothing, her skirt smelled like she'd used it to gather wildflowers earlier in the day. "Will, I forgive you."
It was dark. . .so dark. Would she forgive him if he left her corpse here on the grass? Would she still laugh like music with love in her blue eyes? He lifted his head, shifting into his ridged horrors. Scream at the monster, Amelia.
But the eyes that stared back were dark. The face pure and lovely, but dusted with cosmetics. And the grass they lay on was framed by tombstones. A cemetery. She touched his face, open palms. . .no stake.
"Love's a funny thing." Amelia's voice. . .his words. . .Her face. His senses swam. "You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other till it makes you quiver. . .but you'll never be friends."
He tried to speak. She covered his lips with hers. Brushed rose petals against him as she breathed. "Home sweet home, Spike. Come home."*
His eyes flashed open. . .and he focused his eyes on the ceiling. . .the gently whirring fan. A cold cheek was against his shoulder. Silk strewn across the bed. Drusilla keened and burrowed into his side in her sleep. His skin crawled. Colder. Freezing in the heat. She'd licked the blood from his hands. . . like Elena, she didn't mind his violent face. Or his violent touch. Everything in between was the question.
He lurched upwards, stared at the heavy curtains that blocked the sun. The sun. Golden. Hot. Mortal. Waiting just beyond thick black velvet. "Its been so long since I had a decent spot of violence," he whispered, suddenly not believing he'd really said those lofty, idiot words back in that magic shop. "Wanker." It had been too long since he'd had a decent spot of _life_.
His bare feet hit the floor. . . and then his body found the velvet. Sunlight had heated it. It warmed his nakedness. No. Brazil wasn't his place. He did belong elsewhere. Home.
Sunnyhe--Sunnydale. California. The United States.
*This is destiny, Will. Its meant to be. Forever.*
"Thank you, Amelia." He buried his face in the curtain. . .inhaled the scent of wildflowers. And saw beyond the window.
His Jiminy Cricket.
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