A Russian Interlude
Rating: PG 13
Rusty’s Christmas challenge, at Angel Elder’s Mansion was to tell a
tale of Angel(us’) past. To flesh out the timeline, so to speak.
See Author’s Notes at the end.
Spanking done by Jo with much vigour. Sadly, she couldn’t get Angel to
do it but she deserves a special thank you for her hard work.
The evening carries a cool wind; the chill of autumn is sweeping the
city with a promise of the winter to come. Winter comes early in this
northern land and stays for far too long. Muffled in fur and wool, the man
and woman do not appear to mind as they stroll through the city streets.
The woman stops abruptly, catching her partner by the arm and points
skywards with a laugh.
“Apparently this city is dedicated to you, my love.” Gloved fingers
reach out from the warm skin of ermine, her hand waves about with abandon
at the monument, teasing him again with its presence. It is not their first
Dark eyes in a pale visage lift towards the heavens to concur, that
yes, there is an Angel there, and a cross.
Angelus grunts. “You know better than that Darla. ‘Tis the Column of
Alexander, built to celebrate the Russian victory in the Napoleonic Wars.”
A smile softens his words as the demon looks thoughtfully at the
monument. It is magnificently worked in red marble. He glances about. The
setting sun has left soft splashes of fading light that illuminate the
golden domes of the Admiralty spire and St Isaac’s Cathedral. The imposing
green, white, and gold of the baroque Winter Palace claims the banks of the
Neva River; it is after all the official residence of the Tsar of Russia,
and is the most beautifully decorated. Palace Square is bustling with
people, the gentry in all their finery are out for a night of dining and
perhaps a little culture. The poor are doing the bustling, trying to make a
living pleasing their Lords and Ladies.
Darla’s petite hand slaps his arm with a force that few would believe,
bringing his attention back to her where it belongs.
“Are you alluding to that wonderful time we spent in Spain, killing
any who came across our path? Those were the nights…” she sighs, recalling.
“Humans were killing each other in the hundreds. We did not have to hide
our kills, it was all so grand, thanks to that small Frenchman.”
Angelus catches the wistful look on his Sire’s face; Darla does like a
“The turn of the century is upon us, Darla. There’s always a war
brewing. Come, or we’ll be late.” He puts out his elbow and Darla takes it
gladly. Her boy is in fine spirits, which means that delicious murder is in
A drumming of iron against stone sounds, and in a blink, he sweeps his
lover off her feet in a flurry of silk and fur, bringing both vampires safe
and out of harm’s way. The horse and carriage clatter by, its occupants
unseen, the driver shaking his head in reprimand at the two in the square.
Darla and her boy stare after the vehicle. Angelus is the first to
move after a long moment.
“Later,” he promises both Darla and the impudent driver. He
straightens his coat and crooks his arm again. She nods and they continue
on their way.
The canals and arched bridges are a wonder to behold. Darla loves a
view, yes she can admire the scenery, and does, but she loves luxury more.
She wears expensive silks and linens, sparkling jewels enhance her beauty
and the finest beds in all the cities of Europe have known her body. She
knows however, that her lover’s gaze caresses the fine architecture, drinks
in the grandeur of the wide boulevards and its fabulous statues. Her boy
has the heart of an artist, even if it does not beat. The most feared of
vampires is enthralled with beauty, *is* beauty personified and all the
more wicked for it. Darla steps daintily in her boots, the stride of her
companion accommodating her gait as she eyes his distant regard. St
Petersburg is a pearl of a city, and from all corners of the civilized
world visitors come to partake in its lustre.
Deftly avoiding any contact with human or equine, the two vampires
tread the stone bridges that cross the canals, coming at last to their
destination. The Neo-Byzantine building looms over the square, dwarfing all
who stand before it. The Mariinsky Theatre is a magnificent beast, standing
several floors high with a circular dome raising from its torso, itself a
thing of beauty.
Angelus turns to his Sire, showing his teeth in a wide smile. “Let the
Darla returns his grin, the promise in her blood seethes and she is
hungry. She will enjoy the blue blood of the gentry tonight, foreign or
Russian; a welcome change from the peasants they have eaten recently.
Darla on his arm, Angelus enters the theatre, the smile still in
place, the two the picture of the perfect couple. People turn to look at
the two immortal beings. They see a striking woman, blonde hair curling,
and sparkling eyes of ocean blue that shine with laughter as she converses
with her handsome partner. His sable hair and even darker eyes, pale skin
and perfect features, killer smile and powerful body, compliment the petite
woman at his side. Men and women stare and wish that they were on the arm
of either one or the other. The theatre attendant offers to take their
coats and Angelus demurs, saying that his lady feels the cold and they will
be keeping their outer apparel.
Darla hands Angelus her fur as soon as they are out of sight of the
theatre’s minion. The gold of her gown shimmers, highlighting the fall of
her hair, and her eyes fill with mischief as they enter the main
auditorium. Sound assaults them. The hum of language and the heat of all
the humans under one roof is overwhelming; the thudding of all those hearts
a cacophony that beckons forth canines and jagged smiles. Angelus shrugs
off his coat, immersing his being in the surge of humanity while taking in
the vast opulence of the Russian Theatre. He inclines his head and murmurs
softly to his consort, his eyes on the box he has chosen for the evening.
Darla raises a delicate brow and nods her agreement. The predators make
their way to the main hall and climb the ornate stairs to the beautiful
hallways that run along the dress circle. It is not for the superior
outlook that made Angelus choose this position; every seat in the house has
a wonderful view of the stage. The four humans already seated will make a
fine meal and besides, the vampire found the crush of the humans below a
Angelus sweeps out his arm and bows in a courtly fashion to Darla,
indicating that even if he is no a gentleman, he can act like one. He
receives an appreciative smirk as she pulls off her gloves and curtsies
back. The humans inside turn to see a vision in gold, step through the
doorway. Words of confusion sputter as her dark haired companion follows
and places their coats onto empty chairs.
The older man stands, a query on his lips, and dies in the arms of the
blonde’s lover. The vampire snaps his arm out, catching the younger man’s
temple as the man lunges towards him. He falls back into his seat,
senseless. Angelus drinks his human down, his eyes glittering, never tiring
of the sight of his Sire in her violent glory. One female slumps back when
a delicate fist back-hands her, the other woman struggling futilely against
His meal finished, Angelus pushes the body down and out of sight
beneath the seats. The young man he rearranges in his seat. Darla drops her
victim and kicks her against the wall with disdain. Angelus has the young
female draped against the unconscious male by the time she turns.
Darla sits on the plush blue velvet of the seats, her view unhindered
and the bodies already forgotten.
“Good choice, love,” she approves as she peers up at the glorious
chandeliers that light the theatre in magical splendour, in particular the
magnificent centre piece that dominates the ceiling. Her gaze is drawn to
her right side. The Tsar’s grand box stands in pride of place at the centre
of the theatre.
“We could be sitting there,” she adds.
Dark eyes follow her gaze to the Grand Seats.
“And then we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the show,” Angelus reminds her.
“There are too many guards, even without the Tsar’s presence, to
Darla pouts a little and relents. Angelus is correct; there *are* too
many nobles and their henchmen below to risk their necks. A smile pulls at
her lips. They could overcome the fools but her boy is determined to enjoy
a fine evening of ballet, and who is she to deny him his pleasure. She is
feeling generous tonight, she will let him have his way.
Both vampires watch the crowd below settle into their seats, the
orchestra is warming up and the lights are dimming. The Scourge of Europe
notes the presence of one or two vampires hovering in the darker recesses
of the theatre. He hopes that they will be discreet with their kills, he
doesn’t want his dinner and show brought to an abrupt end in a surge of
panic. With a gentle touch to Darla’s arm, he nods in the other vampires’
She tilts her head and grimaces. The one thing she has learned over
the years is that Angelus has class, acquired from her, true, but class
nonetheless, and he fulfils her needs with creative turpitude. Her boy is
clever, inventive and always has a plan. Hence, they are the ones up here
enjoying the luxury of a fine meal and a view, and the inferior vamps are
among the masses pressed in like cattle. A pretty bauble catches her eye,
along with a slender neck and dark red hair. Mmm, worth investigating,
The audience quiets as the stage is lit and the music swells. The
theatre is now in gloom and the ballet begins. Both vampires lounge back
into their seats and lose themselves in the Russian interpretation of the
Intermission comes upon them like an unexpected visitor. The handsome
vampire blinks at the sudden flaring of light. He shakes his head to clear
away the last strains of music. His Sire smiles at him, so sweet, and
reminds him of the rest of his meal. He looks across at the unconscious
humans. She has had to subdue them once more during the ballet, the man’s
shoulder no longer a resting place for his senseless partner.
“I hope you didn’t bruise them too much,” he said, not caring at all
if she had.
Moving from his seat he picks up the young woman, and places her in
his lap as he re-sits. Darla’s arm snakes around the young man’s shoulders
and brings him close to her. The two vampires feed on their victims in a
parody of a loving embrace. They could have fed in the dark, any onlookers
unlikely to discover the murderous act, but these vampires are fearless and
unintimidated by anyone or anything.
Bloody lips meet as Darla and Angelus lean across and kiss. Each sucks
and licks the other’s mouth, finding the last minute drop of blood.
“Mmm, I never tire of this,” he says as he gives Darla one last kiss
before pulling away.
The Scourge of Europe gets to his feet, the dead woman now cooling on
“Champagne?” he asks with a lift of a dark brow.
“Thank you, yes.” She licks her lips one last time and raises a hand
to dab at her mouth with a dainty kerchief. She leaves it beside her
victim, the body crumpled against her boy’s, out of sight.
Arm in arm, Darla and Angelus leave the purloined box to mingle with
the other patrons. They could have ordered in a bottle, delivered by a
servant, but where is the fun in that? Besides, Darla wants a closer look
at that necklace and the redhead. Her companion stills as he contemplates
the small crowd. There might be someone worth stalking here, in later days
one has to keep oneself amused, he thinks as his eyes travel the hall. And
there is a certain driver that could entertain him for a few hours when he
A tray of champagne floats through his line of sight, Angelus takes
two glasses and hands one to his lover. He acknowledges the twinkle in
Darla’s eyes as she accepts her drink, nods to her and watches as she
glides gracefully away through the growing throng of gentry. Turning and
moving in the opposite direction, Angelus hunts. His long legs carry him
smoothly in and about the human species, his lean body turning to avoid
contact unless he allows it. Calculating eyes scan the people; keen ears
hear, and dismiss, conversations.
A few faces turn his way. His allure, like that of cut of crystal,
scintillates. One such face snares his attention and he draws close. A
young wealthy nobleman, good-looking, with his father at his side; two
women, young and old have to be mother and daughter whisper close by. The
monster is motionless and waits, eavesdropping as only a vampire can. The
fat, bearded patriarch is admonishing his errant son. The lad in question
has his eyes on the vampire, curious, and yet he endures the berating
without a murmur. They have an estate a little way out of the city and
Angelus is intrigued.
Spike and Drusilla are out on the town and, thank the Gods, are not
with them this night. Knowing Spike, trouble will not be far behind him,
and Drusilla adds her own brand of insanity to the mix. Perhaps a few days
in the country will do some good or….not. His eyes gleam and he holds in
the chuckle forming. The smirk that graces his lips is wicked, promising
dark, wet, and bloody things. He listens and learns, despising the old man
already. Yes, the family before him will do.
The vampire lifts his glass, wets his lips with the wine and the small
movement draws the rest of the family’s attention. The young girl looks
down, blushing at his scrutiny. She’s a pretty thing he thinks, his
bloodlust stirring, among, other things. The father and mother smile and
ask him to join them. Angelus notes the relief on the son’s face and smiles
his most charming as he steps towards the humans. The Scourge of Europe can
be quite amiable when he puts his mind to it.
Much later when the lights have dimmed and the performers are once
again putting the audience under their spell, Darla returns to her seat,
Angelus already ensconced and enjoying the show. His profile shifts.
“That’s a pretty bauble,” he observes.
She fingers the ruby at her throat. “The girl was most comely, she was
The profile shifts again and she can see he is intent on the ballet.
She is surprised when he says, “We’ve been invited to a country estate
later in the week.”
He isn’t as intent as she had thought.
She asks, “The children too?”
“Charming people, the head of the house is ex-military. They insist
that I bring along the family.”
She sees the curve of his cheek alter as a smile most wicked tugs at
the corner of his mouth.
“We cannot disappoint our kind hosts now, can we?”
Darla laughs softly and squeezes his arm. She brushes her lips against
his cheek but his eyes do not stray from the stage. She sinks back into her
chair to relax, to enjoy, when he adds,
“Giselle can not be seen anywhere else in the world.”
The vampire looks again at her lover. “Not even in Paris?”
“No. The ballet has not been seen in Paris since 1868, and Marius
Petipa’s choreography is one that is to be lauded. Giselle is a masterpiece
it is said, because of it.”
“Petipa, that’s a French name.”
Angelus’ chest rumbles with a low growl, the conversation taxing his
patience. Darla smiles before settling back. The audience is chained by manacles
of music and movement, caged emotions are raised and cruelly dashed; tears
slip from eyes alive, and not, so powerful are the combatants below.
She keeps her silence when she spies the wetness on Angelus’ cheek.
Giselle speaks of tragic death and ghostly resurrection, no wonder her boy
enjoys it so. She however, is not moved to tears. She is beyond that, three
hundred years as the living dead has buried that part of her.
Angel’s fingers seek out his cheek as he blinks at the dancers below.
Ghostly remains of long past tears prickle his skin and haunts his eyes.
The noise in his ear irritates, and his shoulder shifts against the
insistent buzz of Cordelia’s snores. Darla showed more decorum at the
ballet than this modern girl. Angel watches the slender ballerinas twirl
and pivot, the dance pushing at the door of his memory. Another slender
girl, graceful and full of power, whirls on skates and pirouettes into his
mind, a ballerina on ice. She would love the ballet, he thinks, and would
not fall asleep on his shoulder. He blinks again, and peers intently at the
people on the stage. His shoulder twitches as the lights come up. He
frowns. There is something eerily familiar about the performers.
1. In A Hole in the World, Spike and Angel hold hands and Spike makes
a reference to St Petersburg. Spike was turned in 1880 and Angelus regained
his soul in 1898 so the visit had to take place in that time frame.
2. In Waiting in the Wings, Angel tells his crew he saw Giselle in
1890 and cried even though he was evil.
3. Giselle was not playing in anywhere in Europe but in St Petersburg
in that year. I put the two together.
More on the Mariinsky Theatre can be found here.
A slide show of the Mariinsky Theatre, once known as the Kirov before
being renamed the Mariinsky, its original name.
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