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 thirteen.
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
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 hungry.
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 as
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,