mention of brooding, depression, and efforts to evade Prohibition.
main characters: Angel, Logan (not a pairing!)
disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to any vampires from Buffy/Angel, I hold no legal rights to Logan (Wolverine) of Marvel Comics.
Distribution: Paula, Twisting the Hellmouth, TNL - anyone else ask.
note: this follows Drink and Be Merry, but takes place a couple decades later. The SoulCurse is now in effect, as is Prohibition.
The man called Angel stepped a bit deeper into the shadows, cursing the sunlight that kept him here. If not for the sunlight, he would be elsewhere, in a cheap boarding house instead of huddled in a warehouse, trying to avoid any stray sunlight. If not for some sort of altercation that had resulted in a mob and dozens of policemen blocking the roads, he could have beat the sunrise and been in his room. If not for the fact that he was a vampire, he wouldn't be trapped in here now.
He heard a door open, the hinge squeaking just a little. If not for the fact that a vampire's hearing was superior to a mortal's, he would have missed it. Crouching to avoid any possible stray sunbeams, he tried to figure out what was happening. From the sound of it, there was a single man that had entered the building, and he was walking this way. He was also muttering things, something about 'damn foolish laws' and how it 'wasn't right to deny a basic simple pleasure like that'.
The footsteps moved very close to where he was, and he could hear the man's heartbeat, almost smell the blood that pulsed and throbbed under his skin. It would be rich and hot, a nourishing fountain of life and strength and warmth that would flow easily into him...
Angel clenched his fists, trying to battle the hunger back under control. Those gypsies had done this to him, made it so that he cared what he did now, cared about the right or wrong of it. He'd tried to ignore it, tried to cling to his Sire and his Childer, hoping that with their support, he could overcome this spell. That even if it meant a few changes, he would not be alone. That had been a dismal failure. Darla had pushed at him, trying to have him back to his old self, if not worse. Urging him to kill priests and children, even infants. But he hadn't been able to do it. And considering that she'd apparently gained enough influence over William to set him against a Slayer, surely his Childer would not have permitted anything that Darla deemed unacceptable weakness...
He caught a new scent in the air. Whiskey, rich and fiery, its scent teasing at him, beckoning him closer. He found himself responding to the call, partly because he had nothing better to do, and partly because alcohol could dull the call of his hunger. If he drank alcohol, he was less likely to drink his neighbors... God have mercy, but he hoped he wasn't turning into a drunkard in his old age.
The man had opened a crate, removing a bottle and pulling the cork with his teeth. He was short, rather stocky, with his hair pulled back into an unfashionable ponytail. Had his hair been bound by wire? The man raised the bottle as if in a toast before drinking from it. He then turned around, sitting on another crate, as if settling in for a while.
He knew that man. He'd seen that face before, although not here. Images of Kyoto flooded his mind, and he remembered seeing this man there, decades ago. He'd cut down the minions, and then they'd gone drinking together. He'd wanted to turn him, but... well, he'd ended up passing out drunk, something that had been so entirely embarrassing that he'd never spoken of it. But how could he be here, unchanged by the passing of time? The name slipped out, a tiny whisper of breath. "Logan?"
The man paused, as if he'd heard something. But surely no mortal ears could have heard that whisper? Or else Logan was no mere mortal. The words that emerged were a certain proof that he had heard his name.
"I know you're out there. Might as well come out." He paused, looking around. "Care for some decent whiskey, Angelus? I got enough to share."
The idea of lurking in secrecy was clearly broken. He might as well show himself. And the idea of whiskey was good, almost as good as the idea of blood. Logan would have good blood, rich and strong and full of intensity and life... "Some whiskey would be good. And it's just Angel now."
"Well, Angel, have some." Logan passed him a bottle, pale eyes glancing measuringly over him. "You look like hell, Irish. Bet you could use a decent drink."
He took the bottle, biting the cork free, feeling his features flicker, feeling the urge to spit out the cork, to sink his teeth into Logan instead. There was no sword to stop him today... He closed his eyes, swallowing the Whiskey the way a mortal man might swallow water, gulping it down as he tried to regain a measure of control.
"Most people occasionally pause to take a breath of air while they down their bottle of booze, Irish." Logan's voice was a casual drawl, but something about it set Angel's nerves on edge. "Then again, I don't think air's too much of a problem for you, is it?"
Angel looked at him, feeling fear and unease flood his body. How much did Logan know? What would he do about it? "What?"
"Don't try to play dumb, Irish." Logan shook his head, fishing another bottle out of the opened crate and holding it towards Angel. "I know a vampire when I bump into one. You still look like you could use a decent drink."
"I could use a bit more than just alcohol, if you're going to bring that up." The words slipped out, almost a growl. His head spun a bit, was it hunger or the whiskey?
Logan looked at him, as if he could look inside and read all of his secrets. "Damn, Irish, what's happened to you? You look half starved. Sure as hell didn't look this bad back in Kyoto.""
"Long and complicated story. The short point is that it matters now. It matters where I get a bit of blood." He felt his body shudder, the urge to bite and drink strong. He swallowed a bit more of the alcohol, hoping to drown out the hunger, even if only for a while. "And it just... I just can't be who I used to be. If you know a vampire when you meet one, why in the hell did you go with me to that bar back in Kyoto?"
"I wanted a decent bar, and hadn't been able to find any." Logan shrugged, as if the whole situation wasn't bordering on the impossible.
“You couldn’t find a bar, so you just…” Angel stared at the man, feeling shock temporarily drown out the hunger. “Are you even human?”
Something crossed Logan’s eyes, something painful and haunted. “I don’t know what else I would be. But you just… you can’t just give up on life, Angel. If killing people makes you feel guilty, then don’t kill anymore. Maybe you can get blood from a hospital, or a butcher. Caring what you do doesn’t mean you have to end up some half starved wraith lurking in the shadows.”
“I burn in the sunlight.” The words were soft, and Angel knew even as he spoke them that Logan didn’t mean literal shadows.
“Fine, lurk at the edges of things. But you don’t have to give up on life. Start over, build a new life away from everyone that knows you should be pushing fifty or more by now, use a different name in a different country… But don’t just stop living.” There was an intensity to Logan’s words that defied any explanation of a mere pep talk..
Could it be that simple? Could he just go somewhere else, buy bottles of blood, and start over? Make a new life in a place where nobody would know him? His stomach clenched, and he knew that even getting entirely drunk wouldn’t drown out the hunger this time. “I can’t be human.”
“Fine, you’re a vampire. Don’t take up sunbathing. You can still go somewhere and make a life, can still be a person instead of a half starved shadow.” Logan looked at him, pale eyes meeting brown.
Angel ran his tongue over sharp teeth. “But being around people again…”
Logan muttered something about Irishmen and Whiskey drowning out courage and sense. “Hell, I’ll probably decide later that this is stupid, but…”
Angel blinked, watching Logan roll up his sleeve, exposing one muscled forearm. The veins were easily spotted, pulsing just a little as his heart beat. Licking his lips, he could almost taste the blood that flowed there. Was Logan actually offering to give him blood? Or was he hallucinating from a combination of hunger and whiskey?
Logan lifted his arm, hand clenched into a fist. “Might as well have some. Then, you can take yourself out into the world and be somebody.”
He barely remembered moving, but the next thing he knew, his teeth were buried in Logan’s arm, and his blood was flowing down his throat. Logan’s blood was filled with intensity, and inexplicable age, as if he’d seen centuries instead of the decades of his face. But then again, maybe he had lived for centuries. He closed his eyes, savoring the blood, rich and fresh and healthy, a welcome change from rats and the occasional dying beggar.
Angel wasn’t certain how long he’d drank, only that the clawing screaming hunger was quiet when he let go. Logan was still watching him, and pressed a handkerchief over the bite when Angel had let go. “Now, the deal is this. You go out and live. Be a man, not a lurking hungry beast.”
Looking at the man who’d inexplicably helped him, had known what he was and still looked at him as a man instead of a monster, Angel felt guilt and confusion in equal measures. “I didn’t… didn’t hurt you, did I?”
“Y’ got sharp teeth, Irish. But I’ll be just fine. At least, as long as this damn idealist self sacrificing crap goes away. It’s got to be the whiskey.” Logan had a small smile, as if daring Angel to comment on the fact that he still seemed entirely sober.
Logan stood up, the handkerchief slipping just a little, showing the dark purple pink of a new scar where only moment before had been a bloody bite. “I’ll be just fine. Hopefully, the same can be said of you. Keep the whiskey, just in case you need another bottle some time.”
“Thank you, Logan.” Angel felt something inside, something that he could only call hope. Maybe he could do this, maybe he could start over. Be a decent man instead of a monster. “Decent whiskey’s hard to find right now.”
Logan just waved his hand, as if to say it was nothing. “Don’t worry about it. But next time, you’re buying.”
Angel sat there, one hand holding a half empty bottle of whiskey, watching Logan walk away. His hunger was quiet for the first time in a long time, and he felt hope. Things were changing, and he hoped that it could last. Logan had said ‘next time’, did that mean he intended that they’d meet again, or was it just a farewell? Maybe it didn’t matter that much. But Logan would easily merit a round of Whiskey if they met again.
End Drink and Be Merry 2: Another Round