main characters: Rupert Giles, Michael (Lost Boys)
disclaimer: you know they aren't mine.
distribution: Twisting & Mental Wanderings
notes: Twisting's FfA pairing # 631.
"Mr. Giles?" The voice was a bit hesitant, a young man who was unmistakably American.
"I am Rupert Giles. Was there something..." His memory nagged at him, and then he recalled Anya mentioning making him an appointment to talk to some man about something or other that she didn't ask about. The odds were high that this would be that man. "Are you Michael Emerson?"
"Yeah." He ran his hand through long dark hair, and stepped inside the shop. He wore dark clothing, and an earring dangled, half hidden by his hair. He had that half rebellious air of attempted danger that was always popular among unhappy young men. As Michael pulled off his sunglasses, he wondered if maybe it was a good thing that Buffy was elsewhere for the weekend?
"I'm afraid that Anya neglected to tell me what you wanted to speak about. Would you prefer the back room, for a bit more privacy?" He offered, wanting to be courteous.
"The back room." There was no hesitation, in fact, the young man looked rather relieved at the chance to talk in greater privacy.
He didn't say anything else of importance until they were settled in the back, at the solid table normally used for the research sessions. "I... Some people that I know tell me that you're an expert on vampires. Not vampire movies or books, but the real ones."
"Yes, I suppose that I am." Rupert sighed, and stood up, moving towards his teapot. "Would you care for a cup of tea?"
Michael shook his head in polite refusal, and murmured, "I know it sounds crazy, but I need to talk to you about that. About... side effects."
"Perhaps you should start at the beginning?" He sipped at his tea, feeling confident that if he didn't have an answer, it should be in one of his books. "There are a rather large number of things that involve vampires."
"They... They tried to make me into a vampire. A killer." He shuddered, and his hands clenched into fists. "We thought.. we killed the head vampire in the area, and we thought that would be it, that we would be normal again. And we really believed that."
"Obviously, they didn't drain your blood until your heartbeat faltered, feed you their own blood, let you die and wait for you to rise again." Giles sat a bit straighter. It sounded like the vampires that Michael had encountered were a bit different than the usual Sunnydale rabble, and that could be most interesting. "My sources have mentioned several other, less frequently used strategies, which did the vampires employ in... Pardon, where did this occur?"
"Santa Carla." He whispered, and his eyes looked haunted. "They said it was wine, and... It started changing me. Starr said it made me half, like she was. If I'd killed anyone, if I'd given in..."
"Ah." He set the cup down, and went to a shelf, pulling out one of the older volumes, bound in dark red leather. "I think it was in here... Certain bloodlines were known for using that strategy in the Middle Ages, as it gave them a larger number of minions while costing them less blood. Efficiency, as it were. Most didn't do that, because it's more difficult for them to effectively control and teach the individuals."
"It freaked me out. I... I woke up on the ceiling." Michael looked at him, and whispered, "I'm having dreams about them. Like they're outside, whispering to me. And the sunlight's starting to burn more. Like it did then."
"Hmmm." Giles flipped though the volume, considering the possibilities. "I assume that you haven't drank anything that could have been used to conceal blood. Are you absolutely certain that the vampires were killed? All of them?"
"Yeah. All of them... Melted in the tub of holy water, burned at the stereo, staked in the cave, antelope horns, and the fireplace." He counted off fingers.
"Antelope horns?" He almost dropped the book, spinning to glare at the young man. "Antelope horns by themselves might not be completely fatal. Was there a body?"
"David... yeah. We buried him near the bluff. But Max was their leader." Michael looked worried, and rubbed at his arms. "Max died, and we felt human again. It should have been over."
"Whose blood was in the wine bottle?" He ground the words out carefully, reminding himself that if the young man had been an expert in vampires, he wouldn't be here asking questions.
"David's." The name was a half frightened whisper.
"And it was David who you buried? The one with an intact body?" Rupert pressed, his mind skipping ahead, trying to dredge up everything he could about vampires healing from injuries from bone or horn. Both were as debilitating as wood, but if they hadn't precisely skewered the heart... "You should have burned the body, just to be certain."
Michael just nodded, looking stricken.
"Damn." Rupert sat back down, and gulped a swallow of hot tea. "Well then, he's probably healed from the antelope horns, and returned to awareness. That return would cause a reaction, and you can feel him. It's a weaker form of the Sire-Child bond."
"Am I going to change again?" The words were slow, dragged out through fear and dismay. "Will Starr?"
"My sources..." He scanned the text, scowling. "I don't know. In Medieval times, suspected vampire bodies were always burned, just to make certain. That would prevent any healing sleeps and later returns. There are very few cases of people who had been partially turned after the death of their... err... near-sires, and many of them either went mad or went into seclusion."
"What can I do?" Michael moaned.
"Don't sit there despairing, but do something about it. Either make preparations to hunt David down again, or take steps to ensure that you will not become a menace. Perhaps you should make certain that you are ready to fight?"
"Can you teach me? We... we were terrible at it before. We managed, but mostly through dumb luck, and I don't want to count on that." Michael asked, his eyes desperate.
Rupert sighed, rubbing at his temples. This could only lead to trouble, he knew it. "Fine, you can stay. We'll teach you how to hunt vampires, and try to help you keep from becoming one."
"Thank you." The handshake was a bit too tight, a bit too frantic.
Pessimism told Rupert that he'd just found Buffy's rebound from Angel's departure. At least this one had a pulse. For now. Damn.
end Lost Boy.