Title: From the Angel File - 1813
Author: Maeve Bran
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Summary: Angel digs further into his file and reminisces about his encounter with Caroline Bingley.
Notes: SPOILERS for Angel through season 5 and Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". Sequel to the non-crossover fic "From the Angel File". Betaed by Jedi Buttercup.
It was another really early Sunday morning, and Angel was awake. He once again made his way to the files and records room. Miss Files and Records was at home, no longer working around the clock. Soon enough, Angel found himself in front of his file, all 35 four-drawer file cabinets of it. He had recently worked his way through the records dealing with his turning, the early years of his vendetta with Holtz, and the creation of his childe Penn. Now, he found his place in the file at the year 1813.
Angel remembered what had happened that fall, but he wanted to know what had made the official record. The file folder seemed a little thick, but then the firm's records had always been more complete than he had expected.
He had met her at Lady Catherine de Bourgh's London town house in Mayfair, where a grand ball was in progress. It had been the worst mistake he had ever made when selecting a convenient victim to make into a childe. He wasn't proud of the lesson, but it had stuck with him for centuries.
Angelus had been dressed as befit a man of wealth and privilege. His physique had been shown to great advantage in form fitting breeches and a tight black coat with a high collar. His shirt and cravat had been snowy white and his vest forest green and gold brocade. Angelus was always fastidious about making sure he presented a dashing figure. In his experience, few of the women he singled out for his attentions refused him.
When he first noticed her, she was standing amidst a crowd of admirers. She wore a pale bronze ball gown with her hair elegantly piled on her head, a few tendrils hanging down enticingly around her neck. She was past the first bloom of youth, but not the second.
Angelus, having decided on his victim, made his way to the card room. He took an empty seat at a table with the hostess' nephew and his brother-in-law, both of whom he had met at White's. During the next few hands of cards, Angelus casually asked about the lady.
"That's my sister, Caroline," answered Mr. Bingley, the brother-in-law. "What do you say Darcy? Shall we introduce him to the ladies?"
"I have no objection," Fitzwilliam Darcy replied. With that, the three gentlemen took their leave of the fourth at the table.
"We'll see you at the club sometime, MacLiam," bid Bingley.
Once in the ballroom, the trio of fine looking gentlemen caused a slight stir as they made their way to the small group of ladies. Besides Caroline, the group included Mrs. Darcy, Mrs. Bingley, and Miss Georgiana Darcy. Angelus had noticed the fair and slight and young Miss Darcy earlier but had decided that her disappearance would probably cause too much of a stir. He didn't want to have to move on too soon, so he settled for Caroline. Caroline, in his estimation, was pretty, elegant and close enough to the shelf to be flattered that someone would pay her court.
"Caroline, may I present Mr. Angelus Darlow," presented Bingley, "Darlow, my sister Miss Caroline Bingley."
"How do you do, Miss Bingley?" asked Angelus, at his most charming as he straightened up from bowing over her hand.
"Quite well, Mr. Darlow," she replied as she curtsied.
"Would you do me the honor of dancing with me, Miss Bingley?" he inquired.
"I would be honored," she answered.
Angelus led her out to the dance floor for the next dance, a waltz. It was a slightly scandalous dance, one that the lady of the house had probably not approved, but the dancers eagerly applied themselves to it. Angelus was a fine dancer and expertly led Miss Bingley through the steps.
Angel smiled at the memory. Contrary to what many people thought, he was not a bad dancer -- it was just that he wasn't very good at any dance more modern than a waltz. He could do more than justice to the minuet, the waltz and various English country dances, but he hadn't had much chance to show off his dance skills in over a century.
Over the next fortnight, Angelus paid court to Caroline at every ball she attended. He even managed to call upon her one afternoon when it was gray and rainy with no direct sun. That evening, they met at the Ferrars' for yet another ball, and once again Angelus and Caroline danced the waltz together. Afterward, Caroline looked more than a little flushed, as it was one of the more crowded balls of the Season.
"Would you like to get some air, Miss Bingley?" asked Angelus.
"That would be nice, Mr. Darlow," she acquiesced.
Angelus deftly steered her through the crowd and out the French doors to the veranda overlooking the garden. The garden and veranda were lit with hundreds of little lanterns and a full moon overhead. It was a fairyland, and Angelus was going to take full advantage of the romantic setting.
He led her to a corner of the veranda that was not so well lit and lifted one dainty hand to his lips. Caroline flirted and fluttered her eyes in response. Angelus took that as his cue and leaned in to kiss her on the lips. He kept it light at first, then deepened it when she began to respond. When she was almost dizzy from the embrace, he led her out into the garden. He found a secluded corner shadowed by a rosebush on a trellis and pulled her close again. She stepped eagerly into his embrace this time.
Angelus had her right where he wanted her. He let his human mask slip away, revealing his game face. "Be mine, Caroline," he whispered
"Oh, yes," she replied dazedly as he bent down and sank his teeth into her neck. She cried out briefly, but did not struggle. When her heartbeat slowed a few moments later he slashed his own throat with a fingernail and put her mouth to the bleeding wound. On pure instinct she sucked the blood. When her heart finally faltered to a stop, Angelus carried her back to the veranda and deposited her in a chair where she would be found.
A few nights later, Angelus was waiting in the cemetery when Caroline rose. She was stunned but pleased once he explained what had happened. He escorted her into Cheapside and found a nice young street urchin to be her first meal. Although she was slightly uncomfortable at the idea of drinking blood, for what well bred lady would relish the idea of dirtying herself with another's bodily fluids, she was a very enthusiastic participant. Afterward he took her to the townhouse of the late Sir Darlow, whose heir Angelus was pretending to be.
Angelus led the way upstairs to his bedroom. Caroline was still missish about going into a man's bedroom, but Angelus knew exactly how to convince her to overcome it. He backed her up against the wall and kissed even more deeply than he had in the garden. He had her breathless after a few minutes, weak-kneed and slumped against him. Angelus eased her dress off her shoulders, then undid the laces and let it pool around her feet. She was too busy gasping to protest. He trailed kisses down her neck as he removed her shift as well, then worked at the laces on her corset. Once all her creamy skin was bare before him, he led her to the bed.
A few hours later, Angelus woke up with a naked Caroline sprawled on top of him and let his lips curve up in a sated smile. He had always enjoyed debauching society women. They were always shocked and amazed at how pleasurable the 'marital duties' could be, after all the horror stories they'd heard from their mothers and sisters. Caroline had been no different. The last coherent statement she'd made before falling into the oblivion of ecstasy was, "I never knew. No one ever said. No wonder they keep this a secret."
His smile soon faded. Immediately after she woke up, Caroline began asking questions about the life-- or rather unlife-- she would now lead. Angelus answered readily at first, but soon began to regret his choice of victim. All Caroline could talk about was getting her revenge on Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy by killing her and siring her husband, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. There was apparently a history between the three of them, one which Caroline took great delight in detailing for him in full.
Every night, she would ask if tonight she could drink Elizabeth. Every night, he told her no, unwilling to risk discovery and expulsion from his current luxurious circumstances before he'd plumbed the depths of the enjoyment he could find in the London Season.
Finally, Angelus could bear it no longer. He carefully sharpened a wooden stake one evening while she was occupied with her appearance and hid it under his pillow. That night, after taking his pleasure from her one last time, he reached under his pillow for the stake and buried it in her pale, prefect breast. His fine linen bedclothes were polluted with her dust, but he felt it a fair exchange for the silence.
Angel shook off his reminisces and scanned the facts in the file. Wolfram and Hart had most of the details; they only lacked the reason he had dusted Caroline. The firm apparently thought he had staked her out of jealousy.
Angel shook his head and roared with laughter. Caroline Bingley had been pretty, but hardly the type to inspire that much jealousy in Angelus. She was no Darla. The real reason was simply that Caroline had gotten on Angelus' nerves.
When he had finished laughing, Angel placed the folder back in his file and went to bed. He vaguely remembered hearing that George Bingley had officially mourned his sister for the required time, but that he had also enjoyed greater felicity in his marriage after her death. Perhaps Angelus had done more good than just killing the Beast and bringing back the sun, after all.
On that ironic thought, Angel drifted off to sleep.