The sky snagged open with an apocalyptic crack. For a second, the alleyway was alive with brilliant blue-white light, outlining the bulky figure of the snarling man opposite William, making him look small. William felt something catch in his throat. The rain slathered his hair coldly against his forehead, and his scowl transformed itself into fangs and furrows by the lightning flash. He'd hated storms all his life. They'd always made him feel pale and helpless, tiny in the face of so much violence.
Times change. Lightning never strikes twice, and he'd already had his brush with fate. His victim hadn't time to shout out his consternation before William launched at him.
Not that 'victim' was any fit word for the bastard. He was a mugger, big ugly bugger, a foot taller than William and a good foot wider, too. That had been the heart of the plan: lure him into the alley on the promise of easy pickings, then spring him. A fundraising venture, Angelus had said wryly, and an apprentice's lesson, all in one.
William had liked the plan, except for the part about him being the bait. The robber'd never fall for it, he'd told Angelus, adamantly. There was nothing helpless about him. Why, his very demeanour would scare any would-be assailant off before he got close enough to land a punch. Angelus, the old bastard, had laughed and patted him glibly on the shoulder, mumbling something about the proof of the pudding being in the eating.
Well, the thief had indeed followed him into the alley, noting that it was a dead end, but not realising for whom. Still, William thought, raining punches around the stunned man's chops, that didn't change the principle of the thing. This mugger must just've been an especially fearless brute, was all. Didn't look so brave now, the whites of his eyes huge and vivid in the flares of lightning, William's fists flying into his great belly so viciously he doubled forward in pain. He coughed out a thick mouthful of blood, and William shouted in joy. "Got greedy, didn't you?" he yelled at the bleeding man. "Should've gone home and had an early night! But no. You had to go after just one more poor bloke. I'd say your eyes were bigger than your belly, but " he delivered another resounding blow to the man's stomach "Don't think I've seen anything much bigger than your belly."
He was bringing his knee up into the robber's groin, yelling with laughter at the groan it elicited, when a searing pain erupted through his body from the small of his back. He found himself falling, felt the ground hard against his knees, and choked. Reaching around behind himself, his fingers connected with cold, tooled metal, and the contact sent a flare of sharp pain deeper into his body. He staggered to his feet, and pulled the knife out with a hiss.
The man standing behind him at least had the good grace to freeze in horror when he registered William's distorted features. "You bastard! You stabbed me!" exclaimed William, dropping the knife with a dull clatter into a puddle of storm water. He threw a fist into the man's face and then bit him while he keened in pain.
Through the explosive throb and burn of the blood pumping into his body, William grew dimly aware of the bluster and shouts of a fight carrying on around him. He felt vaguely that this was an undesirable development. It was meant to be him and the robber alone in the alley, a quick affair. Who was this man who'd stabbed him? Who was fighting behind him now? He dropped his victim into the blood-laced puddle and turned, shaking rain and drops of crimson from his head. The alley was scattered with prone bodies, lashed by the rain. At the heart of it all, commanding the gruesome tableau, stood Angelus. He was magnificent, ending the fray with a kind of choreographic violence, one man falling under his punch, another pinned under his arm, a third rooted to the spot, lacking the sense to run and the power to fight. William made for the third, grabbing him with an arm around the throat, and punching him so hard his nose broke and the force resounded back through William's chest.
"What happened?" he asked Angelus, whose face was buried in the neck of the only other man still standing. Angelus let go of his victim, watching with a wild glare as the drained body toppled backwards onto the cobbles. His face was streaked with rain and blood, some of it his own. A jagged cut across his brow suggested he'd met the knifeman too.
His voice was thick with the fight. "You brought a gang down on us! Now kill that bastard. What are you waiting for?"
"Right," recalled William, sinking his teeth into the remaining gang member's neck. As he bent the man's head to the side he heard a snap, sharp enough to stop him in his tracks. He drew back from the body. It had stopped jerking in his arms, and the man's eyes were suddenly glassy, his head lolling at a new and rather disconcerting angle. "What's "
"You've broken his neck." Angelus kicked viciously at the corpse slumped at his feet, smearing excess blood off his lips with the back of his hand. William hated the way Angelus did that. He was just showing off that he'd food going spare. Meant to show what a great hunter he was, how he didn't need to gorge himself like a pauper on rations. Didn't matter much, just now.
"I can do that?" asked William, looking at the dead man with interest as blood from his severed jugular spilled down his front. He turned to Angelus with a broad smile and a certain amount of swagger.
Angelus snorted. "You could have done that when you were alive. Well. Maybe you couldn't have." He dabbed at the blood on his forehead, his features still twisted and sharp, running his tongue carefully over his upper lip. "You couldn't just grab him, bite him, and drop him. You had to make a song and a dance out of it," he accused. "Two weeks from now, you'll be dust."
William looked at him, round-eyed in shock. "What did I do wrong?"
"You ran your mouth! You never stop! Believe me, boy; that mouth is going to get you into the kind of trouble it can't mend."
William frowned. A deep, belly-ache growl of thunder cracked the heavens above, stirring something in his belly. "Oh, do leave off that 'boy' business," he called after Angelus, who had set off toward the exit of the alley, leaving the cobbles strewn with corpses behind him. "I know you're trying to prove a point, but " A seldom-functional part of his mind suggested this might not be quite the tack to take, just now. If he could get through to the man that he was reasonable, a man of the world, open-minded, William was sure that they could be friends. He had been naïve about that business with Drusilla. But he could surely find a way to prove he wasn't the strait-laced innocent Angelus had him pegged for.
"Alright. I'm sorry," he said, running to catch up to Angelus. "I hope I didn't spoil your plan for the evening." He gestured back at the alley as they left, back at the really rather magnificent carnage. The storm seemed to be letting up a little, the flashes of lightning lagging further on the heels of the grumbling thunderclaps. "But surely there's something to be said for taking out a whole gang. I'd have thought you'd be pleased!"
Angelus stopped, still a pace or two ahead of William. The set of his huge back suggested William's surmise had not been quite correct.
"We just caused tidal waves in the section of society it's least wise to disturb," he rumbled, without turning to face William. "And when I say we, I mean you. And I'll make damn sure you're the one who pays for it."
William protested. "So you're frightened we didn't play it safe enough?" Nothing ever made sense with Angelus. "Oh, but really. We're performing a public service! I expect we'll be on the front page of tomorrow's Standard, champions of the people. We've made the streets safer for the good people of Paddington." He patted his stomach. "Well, most of them. I'm still a little hungry." He glanced back regretfully at the wasted flesh they were leaving behind. "The theatre crowds will be leaving just now, if we can make the West End?"
"I ask in sincerity, because I truly want to know. Are you capable of closing your mouth?" He set off walking again, great long strides leaving William behind, yard-wide shoulders shaking perceptibly.
William frowned. "Sorry." Damn, damn, damn. Angelus was going deeper into that unreachable hostility he'd put up as soon as he'd finished gloating about Dru and destiny. There had to be some way to circumvent it all, get the fellow to see he wasn't some green youth, a liability. Well, whatever Angelus wanted. He could certainly be quiet.
"I thought about what you said about Drusilla," he said, abruptly, hurrying again to walk alongside Angelus.
"Well, I have an answer to my question." Angelus picked up his pace, turning a corner sharply, off the bright thoroughfare they'd entered and into another gloomy back street. It looked like another dead end.
"Angelus! I'm sorry. Really. I don't mean to ... disturb your concentration, or whyever it is you don't wish to talk. I will be quiet. I wasn't thinking."
Angelus didn't break his stride or look back. "Ah! You think, do you? Perhaps you could give me a demonstration some day; I'm sure it would be fascinating."
Pouting indignantly, William scrambled to keep up, voice rising to a shout. "I took the moral sciences tripos at Cambridge! Most of it, anyway," he protested, reaching Angelus's side.
"And another thing. You have to have the last word." Angelus stopped and, at last, turned, pushing his face within inches of William's, jaw jutting and handsome brown eyes brewing with seething irritation. "But you forget I know you. You think I'm one of the bigger boys, don't you? That you can score points by winding me up and ducking to safety, living to fight another day? You don't see how the deck is stacked, boy."
Lately, William had taken himself by surprise a great deal. It was being dead that did it. He was becoming a new man, in a world just like the old one turned on its head, where he could try all the things life had made to seem immense and frightening. In life, he'd never even stayed up all night long. Now, the world at night was his playground. He'd struck out into the world, been with a woman, taken revenge on those who had beaten him down he could try anything he wanted he could
He leaned forward quickly and kissed Angelus on the mouth.
The other man's lips weren't so soft as Drusilla's, larger and less yielding, but the contact it still set something inside him burning, made his whole body seem to fit differently, set up an excited thrumming through his veins. It might have been his imagination, but the departing storm seemed to return with new ferocity. For a moment the soft teem of the drumming rain was the only sound.
He broke the kiss and examined Angelus's face at thrillingly close quarters. The cut above his brow was sealing already, the smell of blood heady and rich. And those beautiful, velvety brown eyes were wide open, staring into his own, in was it shock? Lust? If only he could fathom
Angelus's hands were around William's throat before the young vampire could react. He lifted him by the neck and threw him against the alley wall, pinning him there with the weight of his body. In the split second he had, William opened his mouth to speak, before Angelus slammed his own lips over William's and forced his tongue inside.
He understood the look in Angelus's eyes now. It was the look of a predator, amazed at its luck when someone stepped into its cage. William fought back ineffectually, gripping Angelus's drenched shirtfront in desperate fists, but it was hard to tell whether he was pushing him away or pulling him closer. Angelus's tongue wrestled down William's own and probed his mouth violently, stealing the molasses taste of the blood he'd drunk and doing something powerful to William's mind. He felt like he was parting in two half of him terrified, half of him running automatically on lust. The frightened part of himself was frozen solid, a great deadening weight in his chest that made the electrical sensations spreading through the rest of his body feel very far away.
Maybe he was being struck by lightning after all. Angelus's heavy body pinning his own to the wall was a relentless power. His body was under Angelus's control, not his own, and the thought intensified both the hot lust and chilly panic winding in opposite directions along his spine. A tremble shuddered out through his limbs and most of all to his groin, and he swallowed desperately, trying to clear his head amidst the brain-twisting chill of what was happening to him. He had to just work out what to do
It was only when Angelus shifted his weight, kicking a knee between William's to splay him open, that William understood he didn't have to work out what to do at all. He didn't have to do anything. He couldn't do anything. And when Angelus's thigh rubbed over his cock, shamefully erect inside his trousers, he groaned with horror and desire in equal measures. The jolt that pulsed up through his body filled him with a final burst of strength, and he wrenched his mouth away from Angelus's, panting furiously.
The bigger vampire smiled at him cruelly, leaning in so close that William's head was forced back against the brick wall, tilting his chin upward and baring his throat. "I I " He gasped for air, caught like a rabbit in a poacher's torchbeam by Angelus's stare. "I'm sorry," he tried, desperately, not at all in control of his mouth. "I didn't mean to "
Angelus's expression was all icy amusement. "Oh, William. You don't have to be coy. I understand! You were quite eloquent." He didn't move, keeping William's smaller body transfixed against the brickwork. "And you're so fond of that pretty mouth of yours." And with that, he leaned in and plundered William's mouth again.
His brain, like his body, was firing off out of his control. It reminded him detachedly of the fight he'd just had, of beating the robber and telling him his eyes were bigger than his belly. How amusing that he himself had now bitten off so much more than he could chew. And while fear sent shards of ice down his neck, Angelus's fingers tracked along it in the opposite direction, moving upward toward the tender skin beneath his ears, over the still-visible wound from where he had been made, radiating a heat that disturbed him just as much. He was aware of every inch of himself. The rainwater lashing down only onto the top of his head, because every other part of him was covered by Angelus's dizzying, crushing body. The coarse brick against the back of his neck, the thick fingers around the front. The tongue fucking his mouth violently. The new hardness pressing uncomfortably into his belly.
And with that Angelus freed his mouth, just for a moment, only to snatch his shirtfront in both fists, drag it up out of his waistband, and needlessly tear it open. As the burst-off buttons pittered onto the cobbles, a panicked tear rolled onto William's cheek.
"There, there." Angelus smiled at him nastily. "I'll be gentle." Then he laughed.
William's body tried, unsuccessfully, to hyperventilate. You asked for this. This is your fault, hissed the voice in his head. And his skin whispered that he still did want it, trembling as Angelus traced broad fingertips over his bared stomach, finding the line of hair below his navel and following it downwards, dipping inside his waistband. Strangely, it was those powerful shivers that kept his mind from escaping, raging into crisis. Grasping the smallest shred of control, William told himself very firmly not to go mad.
His voice still gasped out of him horribly coarse and weak. "Angelus please "
He was sure he'd been going to ask him to stop. Instead he left the sentence hanging, choked off, as Angelus glanced up at him with black eyes, and popped the button of his trousers.
William shut his eyes against the feeling of fingers around his cock. His body held still while Angelus returned to his mouth for another violent kiss, before grabbing his shoulders, spinning him around, and pushing him toward the wall. William put his hands out to save his face and Angelus fixed him like that, hands against the brickwork, trousers around his ankles and a big hand wrapped around his erection.
In a moment, he felt the fingers of Angelus's other hand brushing his lower lip, pressing for entrance. He tensed for a moment, and frowned deeply at the feel of the rain pouring over them, drenching everything. Nothing Angelus did was born of necessity alone. But then he opened his mouth and let the fingers push inside in turn, sucking hard on each one, wetting them thoroughly, and feeling Angelus start to breathe with great shudders of the huge chest pressed against his back. For some reason, he felt more himself now Angelus was no longer looking him in the face. The hand working him down below twined the fear and desire closer together than ever, til each thrum of panic was a thrill. And when Angelus removed his fingers from his mouth with a perceptible sigh and reached down to trace them up behind his balls, the tremor that went through him was as low and pleasurable as the thunder.
With his fear all burnt out and nerve-endings jittering, the feeling of a fingertip pressing on the entrance to his body wasn't even as awful as he'd expected. He realised with surprise how tight his balls were, and the next time Angelus rubbed up the underside of his cock he groaned. He heard Angelus laugh blackly, then the fingertip was inside him, and then the finger, and then he was sure something roughly the dimensions of a cricket bat, huge and stretching and intolerable. He gasped, but still couldn't bring the fear back. Instead he looked desperately over his shoulder, and saw to his horror that it was still only Angelus's forefinger inside him. The bigger vampire's eyes were closed. William looked away to save himself, and felt a second finger join the first, scissoring gently and stretching him inside, making his body how Angelus wanted it. Then the fingers withdrew, Angelus's patience up after all of thirty seconds, and he felt something wider pressing at his hole. Then an impossible, straining, tearing that reminded him vividly of his death.
He thought for quite a while that he'd pass out from the pain, before the thought dawned on him that perhaps vampires couldn't faint. But even as that realisation hit him he felt the agony, like the panic, begin to ebb, and the sweet burn to reassert itself. He groaned deeply when Angelus began to move, pulling back out a little, rearranging William's insides as he went, then sliding back so deep William felt Angelus's balls against his buttocks. A pleasant throbbing from somewhere deep inside was taking William over completely, caught between the feeling of the hand around his penis and the cock up his arse. "Angelus," he sighed, his throat tight, and felt the other vampire shudder behind him. That was something. Experimentally, he groaned deliberately, and added a heartfelt "Yes..." at the end. The hand pumping his cock tightened, and at the top of the stroke Angelus ran his thumb frantically over the head, working a drop of precome into William's skin. William said his name again and Angelus himself moaned deeply, his chest vibrating against William's back.
It was working. "Please," he said, longingly, and Angelus gasped and fisted his cock faster. "Oh, yes," and he pistoned harder into William's body, the head of his huge penis striking something deeply pleasing inside him. This time when William moaned out his pleasure it was completely involuntary, but it still had the desired effect Angelus squeezed him tighter and thrust faster and the next time his fingers brushed William's balls the younger vampire came, shouting with pleasure as his seed spilled onto the cobbles, and grunting as he felt Angelus slam him harder than ever and burst inside him with a deep moan.
Angelus slumped, spent, unutterably heavy against William's back, as they both panted out their completion. After a moment, he slipped from William's body in an unpleasant rush, and picked up William's ruined shirt to clean himself.
"You bastard!" proclaimed William, watching in dismay as Angelus dabbed stickily at his softening cock. Angelus looked up in sharp surprise, and frowned deeply.
"What?" William cocked his head, drops of rainwater dripping from his brow. "Oh. I see. I'm not crying and shivering, that it?" He pulled his trousers up and fastened them as best he could, shaking his head at the broken top button. "Well, I'm not Dru, and I'm not one of your victims. I am something to you." He examined his palms, grazed from contact with the wall, and licked one experimentally. Angelus shuddered very gratifyingly at the sight. "I do something to you."
Angelus's face was etched with wary confusion, but he set his jaw. "You make me angry. And I could kill you for it in an instant." He threw the semen-smeared shirt at William, then watched in astonishment as the young vampire put it back on with dignity.
William gave him his most obnoxious smile. "Don't doubt it," he said. "But you want me. And everything I say, every time I open my mouth, it makes you a little hotter."
"No." Angelus was standing very still, rain pouring over him, looking strangely out of his depth. William had bitten off more than he could chew? Angelus was going to be choking on him for a long time.
"No? Angelus, if I'd been reciting Leviticus back then, every syllable would've made you pant a bit more. You want me!"
Angelus narrowed his eyes, and William couldn't stop a brilliant grin from breaking across his face at the sheer, unexpected glory of it all.
"I'll give you a ten second head start," said Angelus, venomously.
"Big of you!" grinned William, sizing up his exit options. With a broad smile on his face, he began to run.