I can never remember the exact nature of the dreams. All I know is that every night I wake up screaming silently, my head filled with red images of a life that no longer exists. Waking, I can keep it from my mind, but in the death-like sleep that claims me by day, when all my defenses are down, it returns, hot and vengeful, determined to destroy me.

Today, as usual, the sheets are soaked with blood and sweat, and saliva runs down my cheeks, mingling with the residue of tears. Spike sneers at the black satin on my bed, considering it a sissy affectation like my black leather pants. I shrug and make suggestive leers at Dru to direct his attention elsewhere. Don't want that razor sharp East End mind to realize the truth - stains don't show up that well on black. And the minions who do the laundry aren't going to talk, not unless they want to keep their appendages in a small jar.

The residue left by a century of having a soul cannot be ignored that easily. I do my best, of course. The hot rush of the kill, blood spurting over my hands, cleanses me; sends that little voice fleeing to the darker recesses of my mind. Sometimes, I think its never going to return, that I've finally crushed it, drowned it in a fount of red. But the dreams always come to me and I know he's not dead yet.

What really keeps me sane, though, is screwing around with the Slayer, fucking her mentally and physically. He can't take that at all, and I can actually go as much as a week after without him bothering me. When he does return, the dreams are always twice as horrific. Those nights, I wake to find my sheets torn to shreds, and very often my teeth embedded in the pillow. Dru pouts because I won't share my bed with her, but honestly, the sight of feathers sticking out from the corners of my mouth wouldn't do much for my image.

It's worth the price though.

I can see it in her eyes; I can feel it in the coursing of her sweet, warm blood that flows over my teeth as nectar. She wants me; needs me with the same mingled attraction and repulsion that I feel for her. What a pair we make, hunter and hunted, silently coupling like wild animals on the grass before pre-dawn sends me back to my lair.

Perhaps she blocks those escapades from her mind, for I can never find any hint of them in her behavior when we do meet in public. Perhaps she splits her life up into two parts. In one she is the good little Slayer, mourning for her equally nauseating pure ex boyfriend. In the other, she is my silent huntress, my Diana of the night sky, who waits for me in dark alleys and surrenders her own blood to me in payment for the lives of whatever pathetic being might be in my hands at the time.

Perhaps she rationalizes these encounters in her mind as some form of her duty, for she does save a life every time. I never know when she's going to show up, or even how she knows where I am and what I'm doing. It just seems to happen that I have my teeth ready to drop into a succulent neck and a silent hand blocks the way. She pulls the victim from my grasp and tenderly lays the unconscious body in a corner. I follow her beckoning hand to a dark area, where she leans against the wall fiddling with the buttons of her jacket. Lately, though, she's taken to wearing a halter neck.

The glow of her skin is the only light in the gloom, a beacon to guide me home. I follow it to the strong pulse at the hollow of the neck, where her veins beat a welcoming that tells me what this means to her. Some nights, my teeth only lightly graze the area, teasing her into near insanity, hoping to coax a vocal response from her. She never speaks; the only sign of her frustration is a grinding motion that the lower half of my body finds very pleasurable. I always give in first, the hunger for blood overcoming the need to dominate.

But afterwards, I make her pay.

Some nights, the longing is beyond all bearing and I fall on her, a starving man at the queen's feast. Her intensity equals mine and our bodies fuse intimately at two junctions, life and un-life meeting in a forbidden encounter. I wonder how it must feel to her? Does she welcome the invasion into her blood and body? Does her mind fight against the truth, preventing her voice from expressing the desire that her hips demonstrate so eloquently?

Actually I do know how it feels. I know because I feel the same, every hour, every day. Her blood flows like a drug in these veins and like any crazed addict I come back for more.

In public we are enemies, we fight to the point of exhaustion, we trade words and blows to satisfy our allies. If they only knew...

Nothing in this world is simple black and white. We want each other with the kind of primal elemental force that probably went into the creation of this world. That kind of wanting doesn't go away with wishing. Sure, she must long for a simpler solution. But the truth of the matter is that I can hurt her body, kill her friends, and she'll still touch my shoulder in those alleys.

It's lucky I don't have any friends. I'd hate to find that she had the same effect on me.

Who's that boy she was dancing with at the Bronze tonight? I'm going to have to kill him slowly and painfully. I don't care if she turns up at my elbow, nothing is going to stop me from having this one. He was looking at her body, actually checking out the curves with a sly hand. Its lucky she didn't want you, you little insensitive prick. I think I'll just castrate you with my bare hands and let you live a long, unhappy life.

Ah, there she is.

Staking one of Dru's get. That little maniac doesn't have the strength to make a true vampire yet. Then again, this Slayer is a match for the best of us.

She moves with such grace and beauty, I can feel myself wanting to applaud. Stupid, stupid move though, leaving your back exposed like that. Guess I'll have to step in.

Buffy only felt the slightest pressure around her throat, before it was removed with a swift Irish curse. Turning, she was treated to the edifying sight of Angelus pinning a snarling vampire to the nearest tree.

"Pay attention, Slayer. This little lesson is called 'Painful disemboweling 101'."

She rolled her eyes and drew a stake from her jacket. Hefting it in her hand, after considering for a while, she threw it at just the right angle. The near whimpering vampire gave her a grateful look before exploding into dust.

Angelus gave her a stony glare.

"A little further to the left and it would have been my heart."

"And what a tragedy that would be. Besides, I'm not that bad a shot."

He threw her another look of disgust before returning to the all-absorbing task of brushing the copious dust off his clothes.

"Do you have any idea what this stuff will do to suede?"

Stifling a giggle, she moved to help him. Leaning him against the tree, her quick small hands soon had the worst of the damage repaired.


"Kiss it and make it better?"

Too late, she realized her hands were at the lapels of his shirt and his face was bent down invitingly close to hers. Visions of their bodies entangled merged with remembrances of his crimes and the ensuing rush of conflicting emotion nearly brought her to her knees.

Startled by this unexpected weakness, he supported the small of her back, steadying her until she could recover.

"What, are we friends now?"

His frown cleared. This was familiar territory.

"We-ell, I did save your life. I'd say you owe me one."

"In your dreams, dead boy."

"Actually, now that you mention it - "

"Forget it! I don't want to hear."

"Are you sure? It involves you, me and a carton of Haagen-Dazs..."

"I really don't want to know, then."

"Ok, how about the one with the red silk -"

"You know, it's late and I have vampires to kill, so I'd better be going." She disentangled herself from him hastily. Moving away, she picked up her gear.

"So, I'll just go."

"Oh, no, you don't." He was at her side in a minute, plucking the bag from her and flinging it into the bushes.

"Hey!" She made as if to move after it, but his hands restrained her.

"You may have saved my life tonight, but don't push your luck too far!"

"Look who's talking." His voice was soft in her ear, raising not unpleasant goose bumps on the skin.
"And may I say, it is a pleasure to hear your voice for once. Let's keep the volume on tonight, shall we?"

She twisted in his grip, unwilling to face what the words meant. She had survived her self-betrayal, the guilt and shame that accompanied every sexual encounter with Angelus, by retreating into a cocoon of silence that was a haven from the storms that threatened to tear her apart if she even thought about her actions. She pretended to live only in the fake reality that her friends believed made up her life. It kept her sane.

This isn't supposed to happen, he knows the rules... Her thought twisted crazily off into the ether.

She didn't realize she had spoken aloud until he replied.

"And what rules would those be, Slayer? The ones that don't let you tell me whether you want my lips there - or here - or here... " punctuating each remark with a soft breath on an erogenous zone.

Since when was the cheek an erogenous zone?

That thought merged into incoherency as his hands slowly moved up to her shoulders, leaving a stinging trail of sensation in their wake.

" Would those be the rules that keep you silent when you should be groaning into my mouth? Do you know how it turns me on to hear you speak my true name, the name that lets me know you understand who's doing this to you?"

He moved closer to her so that she could feel the muscles of his stomach clench with the pleasure her nearness brought him. The physical closeness was overwhelming and she found her heavy breathing echoing his. Despite two centuries without the need to breathe, he obviously found some habits hard to break.

"Those rules, now. The ones that say you won't scream my name in the throes of your pleasure? That you'll cheat me of what is rightfully mine?" His voice moved to her ear, his hands slid under the shirt.

"I say - fuck those rules."

"Unnghk -" whatever she had been intending to say trailed into a mindless groan as the feel of his lips on her earlobe destroyed whatever brain cells had survived the heat his words had conjured up.

She screamed all right. I never knew my little Slayer could be so vocal. Must have been getting rid of all that accumulated frustration.

I was only glad that no one interrupted at an inconvenient moment, because bloodstains are impossible to get out of suede.

After it was over, I kissed her and left her on the grass to deal with the consequences. I had business to complete before dawn.

I found him coming home from the Bronze with a fledgling vampire on his arm. Pathetic creature. She was only too happy to surrender him to me and find better sport elsewhere.

It didn't take too long. The combination of pain and drink made him pass out far too soon for my satisfaction. With no real regret - he wasn't much of a challenge, and the Slayer had put me in a good mood - I left the job half-done and called 911. With a little bit of luck, the whole town would know about his misfortune. Even if the paramedics got there in time, he'd probably be an emotional eunuch, if not physically.

I didn't even begrudge the fact that Spike and Dru were closeted in their room when I returned to the house. After all what were they going to do, rub each other's shoulders and tell stories to pass the time?

My bed looks cool and inviting. I roll onto it with a sigh, relishing the feel of cool satin against my bare skin. It feels almost as good as her skin on mine.

In older times, a sanctum was somewhere holy and safe for humans, a place where the vampires, ghouls and big bad beasties of the night couldn't touch you. But you couldn't profane the purity of the place or you would be placing yourself in the hands of those you had come to escape.

She screamed loud and long, enough to shatter the silence and break her safety net. She can't run from the truth now, can't go on pretending it didn't happen. It will be interesting to see how she deals with it, especially when Cordelia confronts her with what she saw tonight. Smart girl, to run away so quickly. It might even have been Buffy who killed her if she'd stopped us at the time.

Settling more comfortably onto the mattress, I close my eyes and review the scorecard again. Yup, the winner and still champion.

My dreams will be good tonight.

~ End


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