“Look; his fangs are bending,” Dawn giggled. She waved a dismissive hand at the TV. “Sorry, but vampires? So not scary.”
Spike was lying on the couch, his head deep in the soft cushions he’d piled up around him. He snorted. “Yeah. They never get the teeth right.”
“No,” Dawn said impatiently. “I mean real vampires. Not so scary, you know?”
“What did you just say?”
Spike’s voice was quiet but something deep inside Dawn quivered and began to shriek out a warning. She turned her head, looking up at him. “Well, you’re not,” she offered. “You don’t scare me at all. T-That’s all.” She smiled, her lip quivering slightly.
Spike glared at her and sat up, moving so quickly that he blurred and she blinked hard trying to fill in the gaps left in her memory.
“Not what you said. Tell me; when you’re wandering around this town, at night, alone, you’re not scared? Because you should be.”
“Cordelia used to kill vampires and if she can, anyone can,” Dawn said, defiance sparking in her eyes. “I’m – I was the Slayer’s sister. I know what to do.”
The air pushed at her and she squeaked. Spike was behind her, one hand pushing her head to the side, his fangs grazing along her throat. “You’re dead, Dawn. Now are you scared?”
She pulled free and stood up, temper rising. “No! Not of you. Fine, I won’t take chances but I can’t live being afraid.”
“Don’t want you to. Just want...want you to have respect for us, is all.”
Scorn coated the pretty face. “Respect? For vampires? Evil, soulless – oh, not you, Spike, you’re different, you’ve got the chip –”
Dawn gasped. Spike never swore in front of her. Ever.
“You should be afraid of me. Of all of us. You shouldn’t ever forget what you are.”
She tossed her hair. “Whatever.”
He looked at her. “Supposed to take care of you, Bit.”
“Not doing it right...”
He was talking to himself now and Dawn stared at him curiously.
“Don’t want to hurt you but I have to.” Spike sounded so upset that Dawn couldn’t help smiling.
“You couldn’t hurt me, Spike! Chip, remember. Besides you wouldn’t; we’re friends, aren’t we?”
He slumped back on the couch. “Sure we are. Being daft; ignore me.”
She laughed, relieved and feeling a little bit superior.
“Go to the kitchen, would you? Fetch me a sharp knife?”
He reached over to the fruit bowl and picked out an orange, tossing it high and catching it. He sent her a smile. “What? Vamps don’t need their vitamins?”
She smiled at him indulgently and went to get him a knife, picking up a bag of chips on the way. She held it out to him and he shook his head. “Come sit by me.”
She obeyed him, throwing the bag of chips onto the table. “Here you are,” she said. ‘Don’t like the peel getting under your nails? I hate that; stings and feels all –”
Her eyes flew to his in shock and his hand moved up to grip her face. “Look at me, Dawn.”
Blue eyes ... pretty, bright-blue eyes ...
“That’s it. Don’t stop looking. Ever wondered how I manage now I’m chipped, Dawn? No, don’t talk; not a word until I say. That’s a good girl. My Little Bit. You thought I’d stopped wanting human blood? Never. It’s not an addiction, not a craving; it’s more than that. I can fill my stomach, I can exist with dead, cold blood from any animal you can think of, but it’s not the same. Killing is what I miss; living blood, drenching me until I’m full of it, full of life. Can’t do that now? You think?
“Let me show you how I can, Dawn. What I’ve done to a dozen girls since I got this fucking leash wrapped around my neck. I don’t kill them – not on purpose – and I make them happy, so it’s only fair. I take the lonely ones, the ones who don’t fit in. The plain ones, the plump ones, the ones who don’t match the pictures in your magazines. I flatter them, lure them away. I’m good at that and they don’t want to believe it’s a lie. I mean, look at me; I’m a dream come true, right?
“So I take them somewhere quiet, kiss them until they’re wet, till they’re open for me, ready and ripe. Then I slide the knife in their hand and tell them what to do, where to cut. Make them beg me to drink. If they’re good, if they’re brave, I might even fuck them afterwards.
“You know the funny part? Some come back for more.
“Want to join them, Dawn? Want to cut yourself, just a bit for me? Let me taste?”
He shook his head, breaking the hold his eyes had created and Dawn shuddered, dry-eyed and sick with fear and hatred.
“I wouldn’t have!”
He looked down and she followed his eyes. The knife was pressing against her wrist and a thin line of red lay against the blade.
“I’m not human, Dawn. Not a puppy dog either. I’m ... not safe.” He stood up. “Going to wait outside until the witches get back. Go to bed.”
He made it to the door before she asked him.
“Spike? Those girls? You made that up, right? You wouldn’t –”
He turned and looked at her. Taller than her sister, softer, too. “Could have.”
“Oh, I know. I totally get that. I do. But ..?”
And he failed again. Couldn’t do it to her. Not his little Dawn. Couldn’t lose her too. “Course not. Scared you though, didn’t I?”
The lie tasted bitter but her smile of relief was sweet.
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