In Which Delvin Does a Trick and A Vampire Lets Go
Delvin tapped his fingers on his knee, ignoring the break-neck speeds that Spike was driving at. Alexander’s phone call had been short and slightly panicked when he requested a ride and a change of clothes for him and Oz outside the hospital.
“What would attack them?” he asked. “There are less threatening humans available, especially lately with the demons all in hiding.”
Spike didn’t answer, just took a sharp turn. Delvin appreciated that. Spike clearly understood that he didn’t want a false answer or reassurance and so he offered none.
The Presence of his Student struck him as they took the next turn and found Alexander and Oz huddled near a prone form. Delvin felt a surge of pride when Alexander was immediately on his feet with his axe drawn. Spike slammed on the breaks and Delvin was out before it came to a full stop. Alexander lowered his axe at the sight of Delvin with evident relief and dropped back down to Oz, murmuring reassurances. The small man was naked and covered with a black oily liquid.
“Bloody hell, Xan, what happened?” Spike asked before Delvin could say anything.
Alexander gestured at the thing on the ground. “It didn’t say much, just started throwing magic fire balls around. “
Delvin walked over to the demon. It’s back was mauled; the oil covering Oz was the thing’s blood. He nudged it over with his foot. His first thought was that it was all wrong, which was an odd thought to have about a demon. None the less, it was true. In four-thousand years, Delvin had seen his share of the preternatural that roamed the world, and that included satyrs. This…thing…was not a natural satyr. He looked back at Alexander.
“It was throwing fire?”
“Yeah. Burned off one of my sleeves, not to mention a bit of skin on that arm.”
Spike looked over.
“What’s wrong, Del?”
“Satyrs don’t play with fire, and they don’t look exactly like this. The ram portions are the only part that’s right.”
“Well, he was either stupid or uninformed,” Alexander announced. “He was easy to provoke, he was trying to kill an Immortal with fire, and he turned his back on Oz.”
Oz finally came out of his stupor.
“He was after you. Not me. Obsessed.” He tapped his nose, looking at Spike.
“He’s right. Now that I’m paying attention, that scent is familiar. That thing’s been watching us for a while.” Those sharp blue eyes narrowed. “Since things have been quiet come to think of it. It’s always been far enough away to ignore, but close enough to be part of the background.”
“What do normal satyrs look like?” Alexander asked. “I’ve never actually seen one.”
“I doubt there are any in America. They live near the Mediterranean. They seldom get taller than six feet, they have human toned flesh and black eyes, and their magic is nature based, almost druidic. They would see fire as destructive to nature, something a human or demon would use to destroy their homes. They don’t even cook with it,” Delvin mused.
“It doesn’t smell…like anything I’ve ever smelled before…at all,” Spike said hesitantly. “Like it’s not from our world at all. Even demons I’ve never encounter have a basic scent.”
Oz nodded, but Alexander just shrugged.
“So it’s an alien demon that plays with fire. I’m new to the heightened senses thing, but the Hyena doesn’t like it and wants to kill it again. Can we go?”
Oz’s mouth twitched. A full smile from him. Delvin smiled too.
“Yes, get in the car. I’m taking some samples then destroying it.” He retrieved a suitcase from the trunk. Similar to a CSI’s kit, it had what he needed to hold blood and hair and such. The boys got in the car but Spike hung back to observe.
Devlin pretended to ignore the vampire, but every sense was aware of him. Clipping hair and taking blood and shavings from the horns and hooves, he mentally reminded himself that Spike, though more interesting and less cruel than he should have been, was not William
Oh really, his inner voice drawled. What about the poetry in his room? What about the conversation with your student?
Conjecture only, he retorted. He has the memories. He’s still not William.
And you’re not Prince D’Raven. And you could have never been with William, you’d have been too afraid of corrupting him. You can’t corrupt this version.
Who asked you?
Coward. Lie to anyone but yourself.
Delvin suddenly realized his inner voice sounded a lot like Methos. How annoying.
With that in mind, he pushed his Quickening through his fingertips, dramatically burning, incinerating the unnatural corpse. He smirked when Spike jumped back with a curse.
“Warn a bloke next time, yeah?” Spike looked speculatively between the ashes and Delvin. “Can the Whelp do that?”
“No. He’s too young. If he makes it to two thousand, I’ll teach him then.” Delvin headed back to the car, feeling lighter. It was actually a relief to release a bit of that stored energy. Who knows what he just lost doing it, but he didn’t miss it.
“Right,” he heard Spike mutter, trailing behind. He chuckled under his breath. Spike was still so young.
Standing on the beach, a beautiful, but insane vampire swayed to music only she could hear.
“Burning baby fish in the air… All of them. Come for the One in Two and the Two that are with them. But half the One has my Sweet William. Shall I take him back? Shall I love him, make him love me, make him bleed, make me bleed?”
Her haunting, musical voice drifted over the sand, firmer now.
“The Queen calls to the sea, calls to me. My William shall have his love and be mine no more. The Queen needs me.”
Spreading her arms, she danced in the surf, face up as though to embrace the moon.
AN: Wow, are yall still with me? You rock my world. Thanks to all that review and track. You keep me going. Thanks for your patience.
PS. I tried putting Del's internal dialog in italics but I couldn't get the tags to close right. Sorry if it's a bit confusing without them.