Seeds of Destruction
violence and references to WW2
main characters: Darla, Erik - there is no pairing.
disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to Darla (she belongs to Joss Whedon of Buffy), I hold no legal rights to Erik (who belongs to Marvel Comics).
Distribution: Paula, Twisting the Hellmouth, TNL - anyone else ask.
note: Shortly after the close of World War 2, there was an encounter....
Darla walked along the streets, looking at the wreckage of the once glorious city. Centuries of history ravaged by this war. But it had been... memorable. Times were changing, and the glorious days when war meant hundreds of men bloody and dying in the aftermath, the battlefields welcoming the presence of hunters to gorge upon the dead and dying were gone. Oh, there had still been hundreds left dead or dying on the battlefields, but now the battlefields were no longer so safe. Now, instead of mere caltrops and tripwires to slow the advance of their foes, armies left trip-wire triggered grenades, and mines. Sentries didn't just call alarm anymore, they would shoot anything that didn't give the proper identification. Oh, times were definitely changing.
Considering the things that she'd learned of the now-deposed Fuhrer's sanctioned orders, she wasn't certain that these changes were good. He'd decided that there was a hated minority among his land, the dreadful Jews, and galvanized his nation to hate and despise them. It wasn't really a new thing, and despite the fact that there really wasn't anything more or less 'despicable' about Jews than any other identifiable ethnic group, the hate had spread. She'd laughed about it, watching from the darkness, watching as neighbor turned against neighbor. Darla had stopped laughing when they'd began hauling the Jews away, her amusement halted by a vague sense of alarm that had caused her to investigate the 'detainment centers'. The'yd been taken far away, and sorted, those deemed unhealthy or too old just... executed, shot and left in great pits, or taken into a building whose smoke had the peculiar bitterness of burned human flesh. She'd been stunned, and despite her own excess and taste for violence, these camps had appalled her. To think that humans were doing such things to each other... and she knew that considering every sort of prison in the past had concealed further degradation and suffering within it's walls... she'd shuddered at the idea.
But that had been ended with the fall of the Third Reich. The army was being disbanded now, the economy and treasury already gone, claimed as reparation by the alliance of victorious nations. The death camps had been discovered, the skeletal populations that still walked liberated from the physical confines of the camp. But how many of those people had truly survived? She'd long ago learned that survival wasn't just a matter of breathing, of the heart beating. Mortals could walk around, their hearts beating for years after the single vital spark that made life worth bothering was crushed. And countless vampires still possessed the spark of vitality, of passion despite their unbeating hearts. She'd seen a few of the victims of those camps, less flesh than corpses a year dead, eyes like portals to despair, scuttling as if they feared some terrible punishment. They'd been crushed inside. They might live, but had they survived?
There was a wraith thin figure moving slowly down the street. It was a slow, careful sort of motion, like someone too weak to go fast but too proud or worried or arrogant to show the weakness of wobbling or limping. She moved closer, curious. The crop of pale stubble and the easily visible vertebra revealed that this was one of the newly liberated, someone from a camp. Obviously, he wouldn't be dinner this night, none of them had enough flesh and blood to be worth taking. But he didn't move like so many of the others, no scuttling fearfully along the shadows. No, this one had come through with something left, was it pride? There was something about him, a feeling that she couldn't quite describe. But this man would not be a forgotten nobody, abandoned by life and history. She followed him, puzzled and curious.
"You! It was because of vermin like you that our nation has fallen!" The angry man had a large mustache, and his eyes were made small by anger, the emotion turning his face red. He lifted a rifle in his hands menacingly. A slightly smaller, younger man was beside him, scowling at the thin figure.
The younger man, his mustache still just a faint suggestion pushed the survivor, the force enough to send him crashing into a small car. "You are not welcome here."
The thin man had crashed into the car, his hat falling to the ground revealing that he was indeed gaunt with starvation, but not terribly old despite his ancient looking eyes. Perhaps twenty in years, already ancient in suffering and pain. His eyes were a pale blue, like ice and his hair seemed to be white. His eyes held anger, anger that had been fed over time, swelling and growing. His anger was almost strong enough to taste.
Slowly, he pulled himself to his feet, glaring at his attackers. "I was just a boy when this started. I did nothing. Your nation has fallen because of swine like you."
Growling obscenities, the mustache man aimed his gun at the near skeletal survivor, preparing to shoot. That was when things got strange.
At a single gesture from a bony hand, the gun twisted around, curving on itself like a pretzel. The air was thick with energy, something that couldn't be seen, but it was felt, a prickling over flesh and into bones. Angry prejudice gave way to blind panic, and the mustache man and his younger companion, possibly a son or brother, ran away in fear.
The young man was smiling, a coldly satisfied expression. He knew that he was the cause of their fear, and it seemed to almost make him happy.
"Well, that's about the most interesting thing that I've seen in a long time." She smiled at him, still feeling the remnants of whatever strange power he'd used.
He looked at her, his eyes wary, questioning. "Who are you? What do you want?"
"Call me Darla. I have a dislike for men with more arrogance than sense, so that display of yours... it was something. I've never seen anything like it before." She tried to look harmless, uncertain what else he could do with that strange power.
He looked at her, as if weighing her words. "I am Erik Lenscherr. What do you want with me?"
"Nothing for now. But why don't you let me buy you a good dinner, as a thanks for making my night a bit more interesting." She offered the indication, certain that he could use the meal.
"Dinner..." Erik's stomach growled at the suggestion of food. "That would be good."
She'd lead him to a small restaurant, the owners too worried about making enough money to keep the place open to do more than glare briefly at her companion. She bought herself a cup of coffee, and a more substantial meal for Erik, wanting to be certain that for this night at least, he had all the food he could want. He'd been a bit surprised, looking at the menu almost awkwardly, hesitating for a long while before ordering.
They hadn't spoke much once the food had arrived, instead, Darla held her coffee, peering into its murky depths debating if she really wanted to drink any of it. Erik ate the food, each bite carefully chewed, but an over all rapidness to his movements that spoke of people taking food from him, of a long running acquaintance with hunger that was needlessly confirmed by his gauntness.
He was sweeping up the last bits of gravy with a biscuit, and looked at Darla, his words a bit muffled. "Thank you. For the food."
"You're welcome. But tell me, what do you intend to do? Now that you have the opportunity to choose." She was curious about his words, certain that the intensity of his anger would prevent young Erik from becoming another mindless cog in the machine of humanity.
He looked thoughtful, his body almost entirely motionless as he considered her words, only the faint movement of his breathing, the flutter of his pulse betraying his living status. When he finally spoke, there was an intensity to his words that made a question of volume needless. Hardly above a whisper, the words burned into memory immediately. "I'm not quite certain yet. I want to make certain that nothing like this, no more attempts at genocide take place, no more mad men with power seeking to exterminate a people. But I'm not quite certain how to accomplish that yet. I don't know what I should study, what skills to learn."
"What about that display earlier?" Darla felt herself tensing, more certain than ever that this young man had a future.
He shook his head, eyes turning towards the future. "I'm not certain how much I can do with it. But it wouldn't be enough by itself. I would need... allies, influence, resources. All things that I do not have."
Erik looked startled, as if her word didn't quite make sense. "What do you mean?"
"You don't have the skills, allies, or resources yet. I think, for you, it will just be a matter of time. I've seen raw determination make up for quite a lot, and if it can keep you alive through that dreadful nightmare, a simple matter of gaining skills and allies will be no difficulty at all. Regarding your skill... test it, hone it, master it. You have a power the likes of which I've never seen before... USE it. Master your abilities, and I can't think of anything that could stop you." She spoke to him, excitement burning inside of her. Erik would become formidable, she knew it inside. But not as a vampire, no, he would be a mortal force to inspire fear.
He nodded, as if her words were soaking into his mind, germinating into plans and idea. "Yes... a matter of time. Given time and money, I can learn skills, learn to build things and how to take them apart, learn the workings of the mind... and find suitable allies. Time..." His steepled his fingers, looking over them into a future that only he could see, his cold eyes flickering with a hint of blue white energy.
Darla smiled, leaving the money to pay for the meal on the table as she rose. "I'll be watching, Erik. I expect to hear all about your great deeds some day."
"Give me time to gather resources and hone my skills, Darla, and you will see." He sounded confident now, apparently having believed her words of encouragement.
"Time isn't a problem. Good luck." She smiled at him again as she left the tiny building.
Erik would definitely make something of himself. She could hardly wait to find out what that something would be. In the meantime, there were two particularly well fed Germans to hunt down. If she was lucky, the taste of fear would still be in their blood.
end Seeds of Destruction.