Also Comes in Strange
Stand Alones    Ficlets    Drabbles   Series    Essays    By Pairing

Title: Irenic
Author: Tania
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Angelus/William
Summary: A story in which young William finds out that Angelus can be kind, giving and passionate, but that there is a price to be exacted from those who get to see that side of him.
Thanks: To sangpassionne for the beta because she rocks muchly.

He'd wandered the last few nights as though in a daze, the death of his mother, the coachman, it all seemed illusory. Convinced it was nothing more than visions planted by Drusilla to match her own, William followed her through the streets, his mind swimming with myriad aromas and impulses, each one more vivid than the last. Yet, the sense that the dream would end at any moment, his dead body becoming truly lifeless, compelled him to treat each moment like it was the last before waking.

Only when they entered the Royal Albert Hotel, scaling the stairs in a rush to find the comfort of a bed, or so he thought, did the reality of his situation sink in. The scent of blood filling the room from wall to wall, its copper tang blending into deep red carpets and thick velvet curtains, reminded him of walking into one of the hidden Indian shops tucked throughout London's lesser-known streets. The type filled with brass camels and trinkets where the sickly sweet aroma of incense burned at one's nostrils. There was even the mysterious man who peeked out from behind the damask curtain, sizing up those who dared invade his space.

Something in the way Angelus licked at his fingers after tracing over the swollen flesh of his cheek sent goosebumps running over William's arms. Angelus' gaze was all covet and want, dark irises swelling as he looked over William's body. In all of Drusilla's chatter she had never mentioned this part of the tale, or that the henhouse hid so many dark corners.

He had been able to laugh away Drusilla's comments about the couple of the house, but their blood, thick in the air, was so distracting he could hardly follow what Angelus was saying. His eyes kept finding their way to the dead woman's, her glossed stare pulling him in. There could be no denying his plight now, he wanted to tear at her flesh, desperate for any remnant of life he may find there. The thought disgusted him, but he didn't have time to further examine his motivations before he was being dragged towards the sliver of light stabbing through the curtains.

The English language abandoned him, words of insolence dying in his throat as Angelus steered them towards a patch of sun he could never have imagined being so painful. The only sound left to him was a half-hearted, "touch me again," and god he meant it. His body screamed for the touch. So unlike Drusilla's fluttering fingers, her never still hands tracing over his arms and face, here the grip was firm, unrelenting, and William found himself catching breath he'd been told repeatedly he no longer needed.

The look of ecstasy covering this Angelus' face as his skin sizzled was near to unbearable to watch. Teeth biting into his lip, William's body crawled with sensations he only could have guessed at in his former life. His veins glowed as though working on a light drunk, skin heating as the demon within pushed the last whispers of 'this is wrong' from his ears. When he dared put his own hand into the brutal ray again, the powerful excitement returned to Angelus' eyes. The moment was intoxicating even when strong hands finally pushed him from the invisible fire, bringing him into an embrace, full laughter at his ears followed by the soft giggles that seemed to follow his Drusilla like children after the ice cart.

*****

The day stretched long before him, a creeping in his blood sending his body into writhing convulsions on the bed. William's restlessness had finally forced a sated Drusilla from his side despite his apologies and pleas for her to stay. He watched her teeter through the door, feeling her way with sleep-dazed hands as she went. After several moments the sharp creak of a mattress being depressed in another room rang in William's ears. The emptiness of the bed did nothing to calm the demon within him, the call of the hunt so strong now that he struggled to keep the hard ridges of bone from displacing their way down his forehead. His tongue ran frantic circles over his palate, searching for any trace of his morning meal, sending him into more of a frenzy each time he found nothing.

It seemed an eternity before the sun began to set. William had spent hours trying to rationalize the need within him, to name what he was craving. He wanted to call it mother's cooking or an afternoon meal at the club, but it was none of these. He wanted blood and despite the warnings he had been given, the other tenants of the hotel were sounding more and more like a meal-in-waiting as the hours stretched before him.

Desperate to distract himself, he tried plotting out a course for his odd new future. He had visions of quiet afternoons spent with pencil in hand, declaring his love for Drusilla in verse and script, but there was to be none of that now. In the hours that the sun trapped the three of them in the hotel hardly any words had been exchanged, yet Angelus always seemed an arm's length away. Every time he had reached for Drusilla or tried to start a conversation about the nature of their existence, Angelus was there, daunting glare silencing him. William shuddered at the thought. He couldn't describe the power the other man had over him, yet with a look Angelus could force William's hands to his sides and his tongue to lay flat, silent.

The relative quiet of the day gave way to night sounds William had never noticed before. Every screech of tower bats and barn owls rang in his ears. He heard carriages on streets miles away, sounds he would have drowned out before, but that now beckoned at him like fresh baked pies. His mouth watered at the prospect of tracking those foolish enough to wander the streets of London after dark.

******

Stars had barely begun to peek through the coming blackness when Drusilla entered the room and began tugging at William's wrists.

"Hurry, Willie, the clock is singing," she said, dancing circles around him as he dragged himself from the bed, and tightened his waistband with shaking hands. Slipping into his shoes and drawing his coat from the hook, he tried to quench his own rush, appearing as calm as was possible in such close proximity to madness. "We'll be just in time for evening mass. Hurry." Drusilla pleaded again.

"Never was one for the clergy," William muttered, sliding his arms into the thick wool coat.

"Oh my silly boy," Drusilla giggled from the door way, "It's not the shepherd we'll be after, it's the flock. Now quick grab your hook and we'll be home in time for porridge."

William stared as she danced out the door, sing-song nursery rhymes filling the empty corridor. He followed after her, wondering again what he had got himself into, yet even her moments of insanity weren't enough to dissuade him from the hunt. He was hungry and would take what he could get.

"William."

The low tone of the word stopped him in his tracks. One foot out the door, William turned to see Angelus standing in the hall, buttons undone down the front of his shirt, an almost lonely look on his face.

"Yes," he replied, trying to express his urgency to leave in that one syllable.

"Tomorrow night," Angelus said so softly William had to strain to hear him, "you and I will take the shepherd."

Nodding quickly, William chased after Drusilla. Drawing her into a kiss as much for warmth as passion, as he hurried her down the stairs and out of the hotel.

Angelus watched out the window as they strolled down the road and into town. William stared up to see him smiling as the church's bells rang out their cheerful songs. In a day's time they'd be playing a dirge.

*****

The streets should have been quiet, possibly somber, but even in times of danger, life must go on. The closer they came to the church, the more it seemed like a party. A crowd of cheerfully dressed men and women lined the pavements while a half-dozen flower toting children wove between them, scattering petals on the ground.

"This is my kind of mourning," William said, hoping Angelus approved of his levity.

Angelus grunted, clearly bothered by the lack of black clad maids attending the wedding party making their way towards the church's open doors.

"How many did ye take last night?"

"I only ate two, but Drusilla had at least three, one of them couldn't have been more than six years old. You'd think they'd show a little more respect."

"We'll teach them to show the dead the proper concern," Angelus said with a smile.

Together they slipped in amongst the crowd, each taking a satchel full of rice when offered. William played the part of the grinning cousin, praising the groom and virtue of the bride, while Angelus passed himself off as a childhood friend. The charade worked brilliantly, both men were greeted with open arms by the bride's sisters and summarily introduced to half those in attendance.

Knowing his part of the game seemed to come naturally, yet the further they walked into the church the less certain he became that the game was wise to play at all. He couldn't be sure of the cause, but he felt like he was being repelled from the altar. William laughed to himself at the notion, but each step became harder. The experience reminded him of a visit to the medical electrician, as though magnets were strapped to his limbs in a reverse course, holding him aloof from the giant cross at the rear of the church.

"I can't go on," he whispered to Angelus.

"Steady boy," Angelus warned, placing a firm hand at the small of his back and guiding him forward.

William continued with a reluctant stride. This was nothing like the taking of parishioners on their way home, picking off a few here and there when the hunger became unbearable. Here he was faced with dozens of people crowded into a sanctuary that was already making his skin crawl. Taking stock of the pews, trying to map out where the hardiest looking men sat, picking out a few that might be likely to run screaming once Angelus made his move. It seemed an impossible plan, yet the hunger grew. There was a current of excitement throughout the room, but also some fear. He couldn't put his finger on its source until the bridal march began and he saw the young woman step onto the rose-covered aisle. She was shaking a little, and when she leaned against her escort William thought he heard her beg to be let go.

Angelus sat in the pew, motionless, and since William couldn't tell if he had any intention of moving, he watched the bride. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she buried her face against the man, presumably her father. Her pleas niggled at the back of William's brain, grating on his already tense nerves until he could bear it no more. Standing up in the pew, he gestured to the poor girl. His movement clearly catching Angelus off guard because instantly a ssh-ing reached his ears and Angelus' hand was on his hip.

"Oh please, can't you see the girl is miserable?" William said, pointing at the bride, who was now sobbing openly. "You aren't really expecting her to go through with this are you?"

Whispers spread throughout the guests, several nodding, others looking mortified at the interruption.

"Who are you, sir, that you speak for this woman?" the priest asked, taking a step past the groom who looked close to lunging at William and killing him on the spot.

"I'm William," he started, "William the bloody rescuer of unwilling brides, that's who I am."

"Your objection is noted, sir William," the priest replied, "but unless the bride herself would like to make a statement of concurrence, you will please be seated and let us continue."

All eyes were now on the bride, who seemed both relieved and terrified. She moved her mouth up and down a few times, looking to her father as though he might rescue her from the clearly unwanted fate, but not a sound escaped her lips, and when the man beside her remained silent as well she resumed her weeping.

"I believe you have your answer," the priest said, stepping back to the altar.

"Clearly ye weren't listening," Angelus said in a booming voice, slowly standing up beside William. "We all heard the girl, perhaps you've lost yer hearing, Father."

"Sirs, you have offended these proceedings. Now you will please sit down or I will have you escorted from this house of god and straight into the constable's hands."

"Well then," Angelus said, stepping past William and into the aisle beside the bride. "Allow me to chose the nearest escort."

In a flash, Angelus' fangs had dropped and were buried in the old man's neck. His daughter fell back, fainting in horror as William grabbed the first two men that rushed him. William barely had time to blink as his forehead hardened and he leveled the men to the floor, diving over their prone bodies and into a trio of groomsmen coming down the aisle. Biting blindly as his fangs connected with flailing limbs, spraying blood heated in the excitement, he felt showers spray against his chest as they fought. Angelus had moved on from the father of the bride and was now face to face with the priest. William watched Angelus as best he could while keeping the guests from charging down the aisles and screaming into the London night.

William was unclear of exactly when he stopped being charged at, everything had happened so quickly it could have been mere moments, but now that changed as all eyes turned to the vampire at the altar.

Angelus was knocking the groom's men down like cricket stumps, the sound of crunching bones sending the attendants into a chattering fury. The pop of the groom's arm coming loose from the socket seemed the only thing able to silence everyone present just long enough for the full horror of the situation to set in. It was the final exclamation on their disbelief sending many of the women into screaming convulsions and the men not aiding the groom quickly set themselves to fanning the ladies. All that could be heard was Angelus' reply to the priest, who continued to mutter about the offenses in the eyes of the lord. "Frankly, Father, thine eyes offend me," Angelus shouted, turning his clawed hands on the priest's face and gouging out the offending eyes before pressing the sides of his skull in with his hands.

The man beside William stopped mid-strike at the sound, falling to the ground as his eyes rolled up into his head. The smell of vomit and more than a few varieties of excrement made the air of the chapel putrid, all but stifling the smell of blood that had fueled William's desire to continue in the slaughter.

Turning his attention back to the groom, he watched as Angelus raised the dismembered arm high and began bashing the man about the head and shoulders until his lifeless body crumpled on the floor, his last glance falling on his would-be-bride.

William looked on in a mixture of envy and mortification. He still wasn't convinced they would make it out the church doors intact, but for the moment he could only watch as Angelus walked a slow circle around the bodies lying at his feet. He studied them like a painter might his models, looking from every angle, dipping his fingers into the pools of blood, lightly tasting the tips. William couldn't help but wonder if Angelus even realized he was being ogled by the wedding-goers, he seemed so focused.

After several moments, Angelus finally looked up, a satisfied smile curling his lips. "Well then," he said, slowly walking down the aisle, head high as those around him bent theirs desperate to avoid his stare. "What say we be on our way, William?"

William helped Angelus pull the bride from the floor, whispering to her as she came around. She stared up at them with dazed eyes as she was carried from the church.

"Fastest escape?" William asked, hoping they had a few minutes before the crowd inside pulled themselves together enough to give chase.

"As luck would have it, our dear mistress here has a carriage waiting." Angelus hopped onto the step of the waiting carriage and placed a coin into the driver's hand. "Our lady has requested that we accompany her home."

The man's eyes widened as he diverted his glance from Angelus' shirt and the blood smearing his cheeks. "Aye sir," he muttered, dropping the coin into the pocket of his coat.

Following Angelus into the carriage once they had placed their unwilling accomplice on the bench, William tried to pull the night's adventure into a cohesive memory. It all seemed flashes of light and sound at the moment, nothing fitting together as his hunts with Drusilla had, and so he sat in silence for a moment, watching the woman as the reality of her situation settled in.

"Ye've not given thanks yet," Angelus said softly, putting his arm over her shoulders and pulling her a little closer. "Dear William here has rescued you from a life of servitude to a bore. I think thanks are in order."

The woman choked out a sob, or something near enough to thanks to satisfy Angelus, William thought. Her gratitude received, Angelus nuzzled into her neck, sliding the thick veils out of the way and ever so gently allowed his fangs to slide into the tender flesh. She barely let out a moan as he bit deeper, swallowing hard as his mouth filled. The sound was music to William's ears, his own feeding a bit of muddled confusion. He wanted to dive across the small cab and join Angelus' mouth on her skin, but decided against it when she rolled her near-dead eyes towards him. The lifeless stare chilled him, a part of his mind whispered that this was what he should be reveling in, yet as a nearly imperceptible sob escaped her lips he decided he wanted no more killing tonight. Hoping to find Drusilla in the East End, he offered up his praise of Angelus' murderous skills and refused his invitation to share in his spoils once more.

He was grateful for the kindness Angelus showed him, but suddenly the need to distance himself from the rush of the evening was overpowering. He'd not spent much time in the company of men who treated him as an equal, and though he was glad to have Angelus' tutelage, a part of him still felt most comfortable in Drusilla's company. So, when Angelus rapped on the carriage top signaling for the driver to stop, he bid Angelus goodbye and promised to be home by morning light.

*****

The scent of Angelus' wanton lusts still coated her skin like a London Particular on the tongue, thick and heavy, malodorous and tempting all at the same time.

William dipped the sponge into the tepid water, sending cascades of chills down Drusilla's arms. He marveled at the way her skin held the water at bay, how droplets curled over her flesh as though it were oil, unable to penetrate the long-dead pores. Staring at his own arms, soft downy hairs glistening as expected, he wondered how long it would be before his own body took on this aspect of the demon.

Picturing his strange evolution was hardly enough distraction from the images that skirted across his mind every time he looked over Drusilla's naked flesh. He kept coming back to the sight of Angelus atop her, the way she had curled her legs around his waist and tangled her fingers into Angelus' hair just as she had done to him only hours before.

He scrubbed harder, a sick feeling clenching at his stomach as Drusilla's pleasured moans begged him to rub deeper still. It was tempting to comply, to wash the secrets and lies from her body. Lathering the sponge with the heavy lye and scented oils, he lightened his touch in forced opposition.

"Please, Willie," Drusilla whispered, eyes closed as he worked soft circles over her back, "you'll never draw the blood if you play so gentle."

"Maybe he needs a hand at this as well."

William didn't dare turn to watch as Angelus slithered towards the tub, tracing the path of attack his words had blazed before him. Swallowing the curse on his own tongue, William continued his task, ignoring the hand that rested on his hip as Angelus fell to his knees beside him with a dull thump on the mat.

"He washes me like a babe, show him how to do it proper," Drusilla begged. "Please, Angelus."

"Now, now love," Angelus said, guiding William's hand beneath the water, squeezing fingers and cloth at once. "He cares for you, no harm in that. Is there?"

William burned under the other man's stare. He had no gauge of reference for the behavior between them, and could only guess at what it must be like when the as-yet-unseen Darla was party to their games. Nothing in country society or his time in London could have prepared him for the absurdity of the tableau he found himself participating in.

Nothing is yours. Angelus' words from earlier in the night rang in his ears.

After several moments of silence, save gentle splashes and Drusilla's coos, Angelus grabbed a glass bottle of lavender shampoo and placed a hand on Drusilla's shoulder, urging her beneath the water. Her hair darkened, moving in waves that reminded William of summers spent at the ocean waiting for the mermaids of fables and schoolboy dreams to appear. She truly was a beauty, yet there was something in her opened eyes and water-breathing grin that frightened him something awful. Could he truly be one of them?

The low rumbling of Angelus' laughter drew William back to the present. He was one of them, he was sure of it, because just as a part of him recoiled at the vision of Drusilla's demon refracted in the water, part of him wanted her all the more because of it. And Angelus, he supposed as she was finally lifted above the surface, was and always would be a part of that want and need.

It was high time they found a way to coexist.

*****

"Where's our fair Drusilla gone off to?" Angelus asked, though William was sure he knew the answer.

"She was restless, decided to wander the halls a bit before we settle in for bed," William answered, doing his best to keep his voice steady.

"Well then," Angelus said, taking a seat next to William on the settee. "It looks like it'll be the two of us alone for a good spell."

"Drusilla won't be long." Moving to stand, he pooled a group of newspapers into his lap and pressed up on the arm of the settee.

"So much to learn," Angelus said to himself, darting a hand out and pulling William back to sitting. "She'll not return until evening, and a wise idea it was. The ambassador here is getting a bit ripe for company." Angelus kicked at the long-dead body stuffed into the corner and then stopped before landing a second blow, returning his attention to William. "Ye still have questions?" he asked, eyebrows raised.

"No," William answered.

"Come now, you had queries enough for our sweet girl. None to ask of me?"

Remaining silent, William set the papers onto the small side-table and looked away.

"You will," Angelus said after a moment, popping up from his seat and heading towards the curtained doors that separated the rooms.

"Why?" William asked quietly, hoping the other man was far enough away that he would not hear.

"What's that?" Angelus asked, turning round so William could see the full scope of his triumphant grin.

"Why Drusilla?"

"Interesting question, so many answers." Taking a few steps back into the room, Angelus seemed to roll his replies over his tongue for a second before finding a suitable one. "She's gifted, our Drusilla. I doubt ye've born witness yet, but you will. In time you'll learn to listen to the warnings she gives, and I imagine she'll be the reason behind your living another night, more than once."

"I don't understand."

"Of course you don't, it's only a week since ye've become one of us. Nothing was ever explained so quickly. As for why, well that was much of Darla's making. My fair sire called me a fool for turning Drusilla, but after the mercy I showed her, it seemed only right to ask a favor of her."

"Mercy?" William said, rising from his seat.

"Why killing her of course. Hers was a life of misery, bound to the church, no family to speak of. At least not well," Angelus laughed. "T'would have been cruel to let her go on so."

"And so you made a demon of her," William said, "but why now?"

"Let me tell you a secret Darla taught me the same night I crawled my way from the ground," Angelus stood toe to toe with William, raising himself up to his full height for emphasis. "Those who've walked the night for centuries have knowledge you won't have for as many years, but if you learn your place quickly you'll be surprised how fast that education comes. Now Darla tied me to a rack and beat her lessons into me, and I'd be more than happy to oblige you in the same way, 'cepting that I don't have a rack handy and it's nearly daybreak, so I'm going to make you an offer."

"And what's that?" William asked

"You and I will spend the next few days preparing you, and when I think you're ready, assuming Drusilla agrees, you may have her as you so eloquently put it."

"What sort of preparing?" William asked, sure he wouldn't like the answer.

"Mainly for the beating you'll take at Darla's hand when she returns and finds you here, but also for what will come at my hand when she returns."

"Which is?"

"Whatever she fancies," Angelus said, "Although I do have some ideas."

Without warning Angelus grabbed him around the waist, planting his lips over William's mouth, crushing him with a kiss William knew not how to react to.

*****

"Take your hands from me," William howled, pushing away from Angelus' chest with the full force of his new power. "What possesses you?"

"The same thing that possesses you, boy. It's called vampire."

The word still shocked William every time he heard it, but to use it as a defense for a kiss between them - it was beyond his ken. He had remained at the hotel throughout the previous days partly out of necessity, but also because he was unsure if he had the knowledge to survive on his own yet. William wasn't sure he could even sense another vampire yet, let alone whether they meant him harm, and so Angelus' offer to help him learn what he must held appeal. Angelus spoke of mercy, but William thought it much more about devoir. It was their duty to teach him all they knew, if not to protect him.

Yet somewhere under the sense of devotion he felt to Drusilla and the camaraderie he wanted to find in Angelus, a new emotion was growing - fear. He was suddenly terrified of the games the matriarch of their group might instigate upon her return, especially if the last few moments were any inclination of what was to come.

Shuffling backwards, William tried to distance himself from the other man, but his movements seemed of no consequence to Angelus, who watched him with a defined curl about his lips. Every step seemed to ignite him further.

"You've never taken a man," Angelus laughed. "I din't notice it at all. You don't feed from the men." He laughed again, leaning against the wall for support as the sound filled the room, rich and hearty.

"I've killed men," William said, confident now that his manhood had been challenged.

"Have you then?" Angelus asked, squaring his feet until he was no longer leaning. "Then show me how."

"You saw it this very night."

"I saw you kill, yes. I also saw you lick the blood from your fingers instead of taking it from their throats. Were you raised such a prude you can't touch a man without thinking of hellfires." Angelus seemed genuinely intrigued as he crossed the room in a steady pace, waiting for William's answer.

"It's not that," William tried to find words for the issue that was as clear as Angelus had described it, but none came to mind.

"Did your father beat you too often, not enough?"

"I don't recall," he replied, easily falling into the tale repeated throughout his life, "My father was a Lieutenant Colonel in her majesty's service. He died in the Crimean Campaign before I was old enough to read."

"Aye," Angelus said, "We've found the root of it then."

"I don't - "

"Yes, I know, you don't understand. You will." Angelus retreated to the bedchamber, giving a short look over his shoulder to make sure William was following.

William had no idea what compelled him to trail after Angelus, it all felt like something from a penny dreadful; the hapless youth following his murderer straight to his death. And maybe he was, but the pull from within continued. A small voice whispered at him over and over, 'your destiny lies here'. It was all hopelessly poetic, and a twinge of pain hit him in the chest. Maybe Angelus was right, William was the name of a fool who gave everything to those who could not, would not, care for him. He was his own man at last, and here was someone willing to show him a world he had never dreamt of.

Or possibly his intention was to sweep him out in the dust pot. He had no way of knowing just yet.

*****

"Man cannot live by women alone," Angelus said as he walked around the room, pulling various maps and newspapers from drawers, examining the room as though it were his first time seeing it. He peeked into the drawers beside the bed and shut them quickly before turning his attention back to William. "Tis' true for us as much as for those we feed on."

William nodded, hoping the fact that he had no idea what Angelus was talking about didn't show on his face.

"Not that I don't think your gnawing at all four limbs way of feeding isn't admirable. It's a fine way to keep Scotland Yard blaming the wild dogs, but it's not an efficient way to kill. You'll end up taking twice as many to fill yerself, and of course feeding on the women alone," Angelus grunted, spreading a map of London out across the bed, "You'll never be anything but an animal if you let your fear define you."

"I'm not afraid of anything," William said, just shy of firm, as he stepped closer to Angelus and the bed.

"That's yet to be proven," Angelus pointed at the map. "We'll stay on here for a while, there's lots of places to hunt if you're safe about it."

"But," William started, and promptly stopped.

"What?"

"Well, the church, I mean they all saw what we were. What we are," he corrected.

"Aye, that they did," Angelus laughed, licking at the tips of his fingers as though some trace of their adventure might reside there, "and come morning when the papers drop on the landing there won't be so much as a mention of it."

"Nothing?" William asked, incredulous.

"Nothing save an announcement that Fair Miss Emily Langford of Cheapside was found two miles from the church where her husband-to-be stood her up at the altar."

"It can't be true."

"How do you think vampires have survived for centuries? People only remember what they want to, you'll see." Turning his attention back to the map he pointed at the East End. "Picking off a few of the children in Whitechapel or the dock men around Canary Wharf will pass without much more than raised brows, but say ye picked off only the whores down in Shadwell the streets would be crawling with peelers for a fortnight."

"Women seemed the safer meal. My meaning is that they are weaker, draw less attention on the way down."

"Ye've clearly not known the right women then," Angelus said, wrapping his arm around William's shoulders and squeezing as his laughter grew. "You'll find in time that a man with a pint in his hand will often enough go down on you just as easy as a woman."

Suddenly uncomfortable under Angelus' grasp William tried to push away, but was held fast.

"You've no brothers then," Angelus asked, releasing William from his grip and sitting on the bed.

"I have no siblings."

"No kin, no father, no mother," Angelus waited for a reaction to his jibe, but continued when receiving none. "T'would appear to me then that we're all you have. You'll either learn to take what good you can from our arrangement, or you'll become one sad rot of a vampire roaming the countryside for chattle. Is that what you want William?"

"No, I want, I want to become a new man."

"A vampire." Angelus stated.

"A vampire."

"Well then," Angelus said, pulling William onto the bed and pulling his vest from his shoulders, "Lesson the first, taking a man."

For the second time that morning William found Angelus' lips pressed against his own, his brain still recoiled, unable to process so many sensations, but this time something new lay just out of his mind's reach. The unknown voice that whispered 'yes' when he leaned into Angelus' touch would not stay silent. William tried to think of Drusilla's hands on him, or even the pleasure of feeding from the few women he had taken in the previous days. Nothing could compare to the swelling that built in him as Angelus ran his huge fingers over his arms and chest as they tangled lips and tongue.

After a moment the kiss slowed, Angelus' low rumbling moan reminding William that there was a lesson being taught and that he was supposed to be paying attention.

"This will make a better vampire of me," William asked when Angelus seemed distracted, his hands still running over William's shirt in exploration.

"Aye," Angelus said, voice heavy with lust. Leaning forward just enough to pull his shirt from his shoulders, Angelus urged William to do the same. Helping him ease the garment over his hair, tousling William's brown locks as he did. "First you must learn 'tis no different feeding from a gent as a woman. You find this spot." Angelus ran his finger from just behind his ear to the hollow of his neck, tickling the flesh there until the soft hairs stood on end. He then tucked his hair behind his ear, showing William the softest of scars, barely visible more than a century after his turning.

The demon within William called to him again, pressing its way forward until little of his human face remained. The urgency of the moment overwhelmed him. In the days he'd been a vampire the demon had yet to exert such control over him. It was guiding his every move as he shifted forward, William curled one arm under Angelus' neck while the other snaked around the other side, cocking Angelus' head to the side, giving him full access to the thick veins there.

Angelus rested his hand on William's hip, sliding it down his knee and pulling it closer so that William's entire leg draped over his thighs. He nodded to William, a smile playing at the corners of his lips as William pressed the hardness of his cock against his trousers.

Needing no further invitation William let his fangs slide into Angelus' neck. The first rush of blood was nothing like he expected. Not only was it several degrees cooler than human, it held a taste he could only describe as pickling, a sort of vinegar flavor. Unsure if he was tasting the demon within Angelus or the man within the demon, he released his bite.

"It's different," he stated, making an effort to speak around the still awkward fangs.

"You expected me to taste of honey treats like Drusilla maybe?"

"I don't know what I was expecting. Nothing, I suppose."

"'Tis different because you tasted Drusilla with your human tongue. Is the lesson being learned? Nothing of that boy remains except a few memories that will be shined up and made much more heroic than they were. We all go through it." Turning his head away again, he pressed William back to the wound, growling as the bite was deepened.

William's head swam as he bit deeper, whatever fear had kept him from feeding from men seemed to disappear in a moment. In his mind a small child ran from a booming voice in the hall. A figure, larger than life, seemed to watch him as he grew into the man curled around Angelus in an embrace that to any peeking eye would look like the most lecherous and deviant of embraces. There was a power in the moment, and even though he knew it was given not taken, William reveled in it, taking in as much as his willing victim would allow.

"Enough," Angelus whispered after the gentle suction gave way to deep sucking. "Don't bleed me dry boy or I'll take it back and then some," he warned.

"I'm sorry," William said back in a tone matching Angelus', "I was hungrier than I thought."

"Not the blood you hunger for now," Angelus said, kissing him softly and stealing the last of his own blood from his lips. Shifting William's body just enough to cause more pressure against his erection, Angelus grabbed William's wrist and slid his hand lower, until it rested over his own engorgement.

Again the demon whispered. William tried to shake the insistent urging from his head, but felt compelled to give up his internal struggle. Of his own volition he slid his limbs from their entanglements and moved to slip out of his trousers, alternately tugging at Angelus' and his own until they were both naked to the air. Part of him recoiled, untrusting of his own hands as they sought out Angelus' cock despite the silent pleas in his brain as the last remnants of the human he had been a week before begged him to stop before his explorations had gone too far. But it was too late, even as the tiny voice warned of loss of stature and heaven, William was moving down Angelus' body, wrapping his lips around the still growing length and pulling him deep within his throat.

Angelus tangled his fingers into William's hair, and for a moment there was a flash of his old fears. However, as the noises escaping Angelus' mouth became lower and more guttural, William's reservations slipped into the air beside the sounds, becoming invisible and disappearing just as quickly as they had come. There didn't seem to be such things as deep or hard enough for Angelus, each time William thought he had gone too far the hands at his neck pressed him further until there was nowhere else to go with his mouth.

Angelus arched beneath him, raising his hips as he thrust into William's throat. Thinking he was near completion, William slowed his pace, but as soon as he did Angelus was rolling them over, pinning him to the thick mattress. Angelus positioned himself between William's legs, lifting them high in the air until they rested against his shoulders. He pressed forward, ignoring the shaking that radiated from William's very core.

"I can't," William whispered, even as the demon screamed at him to open himself to Angelus' lusts.

"You can," Angelus said, leaning even further forward to kiss him.

Their lips had barely touched when William felt the blinding pain of being entered. He tried to press away, struggling to slide up the bed, escape, but he was pinned fast. Angelus' superior weight held him in place although their hips rocked together, slow even strokes that might have been imperceptible to the naked eye but felt like daggers to William.

"Please," he begged, grateful that he had finally stopped trying to breathe, as it would have been impossible with not only his own weight but Angelus' crushing against his chest.

"The man is gone," Angelus said, kissing him between words. "William is a vampire now. I've met him. There is no pain now but what the human remembers. You feel pain because you think you should. You canno' let that stop you, not now or ever."

The urge to cry played heavy on William's mind, yet he knew it would brook him no sympathy from Angelus. The words stung, he had always been the sort of man to take his pain and make it burn, and now he was being told to let it go. The thoughts could not reconcile in his mind and so he held fast, letting Angelus use his body as the slate for his lessons, hoping the knowledge would be its own reward.

Angelus eased back just enough to grip William's cock in his hand, stroking in time with his thrusts, "It doesn't pain you, William."

William so wanted to believe him. He wanted to bury the simpering fool he had been once and for all. Letting his mind clear of memories, forgetting past embarrassments and rejections, William focused only on the hand at his cock, the mouth suckling his nipples to stiffness, the occasional respite of pain when Angelus thrust deep enough to fill the spot left vacant by his soul. 'Release' the demon's voice whispered.

"Show me ye've learned your lessons boy," Angelus thrust harder, deeper still, pounding flesh against flesh until all that remained in William's vision was the blackness of eyes clenched tight. When his release finally came, it showered them with its force, a force so powerful in its ecstasy that William knew the instruction had taken root. The man was gone and nothing remained but the demon howling its triumph for any who wished to hear.

Angelus seemed to share his pleasure, for he bent William once again, crushing their bodies together and hungrily sucking at his lips and tongue as he filled William's body again and again with a growling moan matching William's.

Sated beyond the telling of it, William crawled beneath the covers, dead to the day. Angelus' soft laughter was the last thing he heard before drifting to sleep.

*****

"It's a lovely picture," Drusilla squealed, clapping her hands in delight as Angelus and William awoke, still entangled in each other's limbs as the sun set.

"It would be nicer if there were more black and blue in it," Darla said, coming into the bedroom and pulling the coverlet back. "Angelus," she sighed.

Angelus crawled from the bed, still half-asleep and spent. Taking Darla's hat from her and hanging it on the peg he returned to her side with lightening speed.

"It looks like you've a new playmate," she continued, not taking her stare from William's exposed body.

"No, I'm done with him," Angelus said.

William lifted himself from the mattress at Angelus' words, staring questioningly at him.

"He doesn't seem to think so," Darla said with a smile.

"William won't be needing anymore tutelage from me. Should he need further teaching I imagine you'll be the one to give it, you taught me so well." Angelus kissed her softly before heading to the bath.

He couldn't be sure but William thought he saw Angelus' head slump downwards as he left the room.

"William is it?" Darla asked, commanding his full attention as Drusilla helped her out of her dress.

"Yes, yes, um, William," he managed to stutter out as Drusilla took a seat near the vanity and clapped her hands quietly as though she'd only witnessed the first act to a rousing play.

"You are to be Drusilla's keeper. When I say keeper I mean to say she is not to be touched by Angelus in any way. Should I find so much as a single strand of her hair in my bed I will hold you personally responsible. Do you understand?"

"Not completely," William answered, alternating his glances between Drusilla and the closed bathroom door.

"You will," Darla said, pulling a short lash from the drawer beside the bed. "You will."

~Finis~