Characters/Pairings: Darla, Lindsay, Willow, Xander and Oz.
Notes: Earlier chapters can be found here.
Previously: Finding no more haven in the sky than the earth, he drew himself down to a steady glide that would land him on solid earth again. Another cursory search for mortals. It would not do to have secrets of the night flying around 1880 London. They may have the superior power, but the mortals would always have the superior numbers, belying their short lived times.
Clutching his wings around himself once more, William attempted to walk like a man. No more poetry, he was done, he told himself coldly, and methodically began to rip apart the sheets of parchment that had written upon them his useless attempts at poetry.
When she was finally finished with the boy, Willow let him drop to the floor where he thumped dully. Her lips were stained with the blood of an innocent, and the rush was intense. Her eyes locked onto Xander’s for a moment, then she grabbed him, and he crushed her against him, and with no more knowledge of each other than that, they reveled in their secret section of the bar, and to any intruders on them, came a swift and silent death.
Wonderful artwork thanks to indiansummer17, to which I dedicate the inspiration for this story.
It would not do, William thought, to continue spending time with this circle. As he looked around on this following night, he saw only the same small minded people, people who knew both himself, and Cecily, and would always expect for him and Cecily to be the same people they had always been. That might be a large enough world for Cecily, but William yearned for something more.
He forced himself to rise, ready to walk out of their company, and find a more pleasant circle with which to involve himself. The briefest scrap of conversation caused him to pause, to hang onto the voices of those who were speaking, at least for a moment.
“… vicious killing. From the looks of it… animal, in nature…”
Blinking several times, William felt his eyes cross the room. It wasn’t something he meant to do, but once done, he caught Cecily’s eye, and it was obvious that her hearing also had picked up the dregs of conversation.
More, she found them amusing!
Almost gasping suddenly, from the feeling of not enough air in the large space crowded full of people, William spun away, not even wanting to hear more of the tale being spun by the high society types. Instead, he heard more anyway, inadvertently stepping closer to the speakers’ circle.
“It is quite utterly shocking!”
“To think, something like this could come to pass right under our noses!”
“It occurred in a bar not very far from here. Reports said there were two of them. Monsters. Ripped the boy apart. He had not even a chance.”
“What is this world coming to?”
William was just as distraught by these savage tales, if for a different reason. He was trying to manage a thought that didn’t include the mental image of Cecily ripping apart a poor boy, as Cecily herself came to stand directly behind him. Despite himself, William staggered aside, almost falling into another gentleman, who then peered over his shoulder to find the ungainly William. He expressed a distinct amount of disgust as he looked down his nose at William. For once, what these types thought of him was not William’s primary concern.
“What… what do you want?” William asked, as he straightened himself up toughly and tried to stare down his own nose at Cecily, who responded with quite a tinkling laugh.
“Oh William, this was not the reception I had expected. I came over here to tell you that I thought of our last conversation. I was too harsh on you then, and I would like another chance with you, if you will give me one.”
William swallowed deeply, his Adam’s apple bopping up and down in his throat as he struggled to find words that would be a fitting response to this. “Is… that so?”
Cecily smiled, slowly revealing her perfect teeth behind lightly painted lips. William allowed himself to get caught within her spell anew. Only common sense drew him back to his senses again. Those very teeth he thought so sweet could have been responsible for killing that man last night. In fact, it could have been she who killed that man in the bar not very far from here.
“What is it, William? I thought you would be happy,” Cecily said, taking an enquiring step towards him.
William took a step back, looking around briefly to make sure that he would not walk onto anyone again.
“Um, I am,” he managed, while his eyes darted all around her as he searched for another person here who would know Cecily for what she really was, and would save him from what was almost certainly about to be his death at her hands. Already, she was backing him into a corner. “But I cannot let you do this, Cecily.”
William suddenly discovered a back bone hidden deep between white wings that were quite invisible for now. Lifting his hands up, he took her by both wrists and was surprised by how easy it was to hold her there. Puffing up his chest, William felt himself safer already. She struggled against his hold and failed to get free. “I cannot go on knowing what you are and letting you do what you do,” he told her sincerely.
Cecily looked at him from behind the lifted hands William held between them. Her expression remained neutral, as though she was thinking upon his words, then a small smile unexpectedly appeared across her lips. “Is that so?”
William immediately nodded. It was important he kept the upper hand here. “Yes,” he said. “That is so.”
Cecily opened her mouth, and it was a loud cry that emitted from between her lips without warning. Apparently, Cecily did not see it the way that William did, but as he watched her with an increasingly horrified expression, he struggled to figure out where he had gone wrong, and exactly how she did see it.
“Help me!” she cried out, her eyes beseeching any who would hear her, and already, there were a lot of men beginning to make advances towards the two of them. “Please! William did it! All of it! Those gruesome deaths, oh please, help me!”
William dropped her hands abruptly, backing away as the first of the men made to grab his arm and detain him. With a shattered expression towards Cecily, William dodged another attempt at capture that was given away by the cry that came before it. He knew that if he did not make a sudden move out of here, then he would not find freedom. He would be taken from here between the arms of several strong men here, and the women would follow them, throwing things at his back and crying out nasty untruths against him until he could take it no more. He was not the monster here!
However, he did not have many options here. When Cecily had began pushing him into a corner, she had made sure that it had gone away from the exit that he had been aiming towards. Now, there were a whole throng of angered men and women between he and the door, and the room they were in was three storeys up. He glanced behind him, to the window he was increasingly being backed against. Behind the men, Cecily looked at him with a proud expression, before one of the men at her side caught her attention, and she adopted the woeful maiden appearance once more. It wouldn’t, after all, do for them to see beneath her cover at this point.
William took a deep breath. That there was no other choice available to him was becoming increasingly obvious. That the best he could manage to hope for was they would think he had dropped to his death became clear also. There was only one thing to do then.
Jumping up onto the window sill brought William a moment of time in which to maneuver himself while everyone was taken aback by his strange move. By the time Cecily cried out, “No!” behind him, William had broken the window and cast only one look back at her before jumping from the window. He did not look back to see if any came to the edge of the window and saw him bring his wings free as he hit the second level of the building. Straight away, the wing caught underneath them, and he glided to what he hoped would prove a safer haven.
At least now, he knew there was no going back to his old life. Or Cecily.
After her cry against William’s escape, many of those in attendance looked towards her in fear of a suddenly hysterical or fainted woman. As a vampire, Cecily was neither one of these things, and was aggravated by her powerlessness to stop the quickly advancing events. That she could not reveal what William was without giving credence to their suspicions of an hysterical woman frustrated her to no end.
“I’m fine,” she growled, as the last man to hold onto her arm carefully let her go to stand upright on her own.
The Master would not be pleased to find out that she had been so close to an angel and not been able to bring him to his death, or exposure. She did not quite know what she would do upon seeing him in their next meeting.
3. The Master