Author: Dark Star
Summary: The world is falling apart, and she thinks she is
falling with it.
Thanks to L.J Gould for the beta.
She’d always thought a vampire
couldn’t die unless it was dusted, but ever since he was poisoned by Faith’s
arrow, she knows it's not always as simple as that. Right now, he is slowly
fading away, and she’s pretty sure that soon he won’t exist at all.
Nobody knows what happened to him.
A reconnaissance party found him in some ruins, exactly as he is now. They said
it looked like he’d been in a fight, but they had no idea what with. They
weren’t sure if he was even dead or alive, but they’d carried his lifeless body
back to camp for her to see, just in case.
She’s spent three days by his
bedside, waiting for the miracle of vampire healing to take over and allow him
to recover, but now she knows that isn’t going to happen. His eyes are closed and
he hasn’t moved a muscle. He isn’t even able to feed, and without that to boost
his system, his chances of survival are very slim indeed.
She gets up to stretch her cramped
muscles and goes to stand by the window. There isn’t much of a view outside, and
her eyes are so misted she wouldn’t be able to see it if there was.
She hears voices coming from
outside, and she blinks away the tears and looks down. There are children
playing in the street below, some kind of tag game, and once upon a time it
would have seemed so innocent. There is no innocence any more.
She watches the children’s antics
from her vantage point. She can see Ronnie hiding behind the burnt out car, and
she watches him step over the remains of what was once somebody’s home. Little
Lulu, toddling along behind the bigger children with her vacant expression and
her arms full of a one-armed moth-eaten old bear – her only family since the
fever took her sister last spring. Hyun and David, both under ten, both
survivors of the pandemic that wiped out half the human race and both of whom
carry the scars of the disease, plainly visible across the uncovered parts of
their bodies. And Maisie – the self-appointed mother hen who loves and takes
care of all the orphaned children the best she can, and she herself is barely
Watching the children, Buffy
thinks the weirdest thing is that they are playing quietly and making as little
noise as they can. Noise attracts the monsters, and so these children have
learned to live their lives in silence.
Buffy sighs. She misses laughter.
Even the children never smile, and she can’t remember the last time she felt
happy. She stifles a sob. The world is falling apart, and she thinks she is
falling with it.
She goes back to stand beside
Angel, and she can’t stop the tears from falling. He looks so old, and he is
all she has left. Everyone has gone, scattered to the four corners of the earth
or dead, and she can’t bear the thought of being without him again. On impulse,
she climbs on the bed and wriggles over to lay her head on his chest. He
doesn’t move, of course. He’s so still he could be gone already, and she can’t
bear it. Things shouldn’t have happened the way that they did, humanity was
supposed to survive against all the odds.
When she sits up, she feels
drained. She hasn’t eaten since he came home like this. Julia and Sarah have
been in to see her to try and coax her to eat, to leave him, to live. She
ignores them both. They have left her no food – if she doesn’t want it, there
are plenty that do, and they don’t have enough to let it sit and go to waste.
Buffy doesn’t know what kind of
monster or demon it was that took Angel’s strength, and she wishes she’d been
there to protect him, or at least to kill the son-of-a-bitch that did this to
him. He looks so still. She leans over to kiss him gently on the lips, and a
single tear falls and splashes on his cheek. Horrified, she goes to wipe it
away but before she does she sees the vaguest of tremors in his lower lip and
she realises he’s hanging on by the thinnest of threads. But he is still
there, and in that moment, she knows what she has to do.
She slithers off the bed and goes
to the table to pick up the knife. As she walks back to him, she makes a small
cut on the top of her thumb and squeezes a few drops of blood into his open
mouth. He doesn’t swallow. Nor does he move, and there are no more tremors in
his body, and she wonders if she imagined the first one. She squeezes more
blood into his mouth, and when the cut closes, she opens it again to start the
process all over. She knows that the amount of blood is small, but he can’t
swallow, and she is afraid that too much at once might make him choke on it.
After hours of trying to feed him this way, she’s so tired and sore; she falls
against him and lets herself sleep.
She wakes with an ache in her
neck, and she pulls herself up into a sitting position. His eyes are open. She
gasps, as they were closed yesterday, and it’s kinda freaky, as he isn’t blinking
at all. But his eyes follow her, silently pleading, and she knows he is very
She can’t resist that look in eyes
and she scrabbles for the knife she dropped earlier and finds it rucked up in
the covers of the bed. She doesn’t pause to think, she just slices it across
her palm and quickly holds it over his mouth, watching dispassionately as her
life force drips its way inside him. Just as she had with her thumb, she opens
the wound every time it closes, and eventually her hand is burning, and her
arm’s aching from holding it up so long. His condition looks exactly the same
Frustrated, she lets her hand drop,
and she doesn’t care that it leaves red splashes on the faded bedcover. Her
hand is throbbing, and she knows that trying to feed him this way isn’t going
to be enough. He is watching her expectantly, but she hasn’t the strength, and
she lets herself collapse against his firm body. She doesn’t know how long she
lays there listlessly before she becomes aware that his arm is moving. It is
moving slowly, so painfully slowly, but he is moving on his own, and his cold
fingers gently caress her face. She doesn’t know how much that movement must
have cost him, but he might as well have just climbed Everest for the pride she
has in him. She turns her face into the caress, and his arm finally stills,
overcome with exhaustion.
She raises herself on one arm and
looks at him. “I don’t think feeding you this way is going to work,” she tells
him sadly. “I don’t…. I’ll have to think of another way.”
His lip trembles, and as she watches in astonishment, she
sees he is struggling to speak. His voice, when he manages to articulate, is
cracked and barely a whisper.
“Come to me, lover.”
His words make her shiver, but she
doesn’t hesitate. She pulls herself up into a kneeling position and sweeps her
hair over one shoulder, away from him. Then she leans forward to lower her neck
down against his mouth and waits. She feels his mouth moving. She knows it
hurts him, and she can tell that it is a struggle for him to move, but
eventually she feels the pinprick of fangs against her skin, and she swallows
nervously. He bites down, making her moan in pain, and then, sluggishly, begins
to draw from her, and the pain is washed away by pleasure.
Everything fades away. There is
nothing left of her world in this kiss. The suction on her neck increases, and
her head is starting to swim. She’s vaguely aware that his arms are moving,
sliding into place around her, and she understands that he is growing stronger.
Then, she understands nothing as
she finds herself falling, just falling.