Okay, so I had a mental block and forgot it was Tuesday and that I had to post. Oops. College has been a pain in the butt this week so mental blocks are sadly common when it comes to stuff that's not assignment related. Anyway, thanks again to everyone who is reading and reviewing. All your comments are greatly appreciated. So last chapter we confirmed that yes, Dru turned Will. The tension between Angelus and his latest family member caught people's attention and I can tell you that more of that tension is coming up...in this chapter in fact :) Okay, on with the fic!
Angelus had absolutely no interest in being a father figure. Drusilla was his pride as a vampire. She was his masterful creation, and he enjoyed showcasing her as an example of his finest work. He had a certain—feeling for her. It wasn't affection; that would be the wrong word, because he didn't care for anyone. No, she was his. She was his property and he considered her the same way a wealthy gentleman might consider his finest horse or piece of art or his favorite gun dog. He would be deeply angered if anything happened to her, but not saddened. As such, he was in no way interested in playing the responsible role of a father to the fledgling vamp she'd brought home, regardless of his origins. However, he had come to realize, grudgingly of course, that a young protégé might be just what he needed. Besides, Angelus was known for being a bit of a deviant, having another man around might have a few benefits. As much as he hated the fact that the Hunter had become an unwilling member of his family, and as well as he knew William, as he insisted on being called, hated being under Angelus' thumb, he was beginning to enjoy training the boy.
A few days had passed since Drusilla's shocking return home and Angelus had insisted on taking William out with him every night to learn how to be a proper vampire while the ladies had their own fun. Drusilla pouted a bit about being separated from her "Prince" but soon cheered up when Darla informed her that due to this arrangement they would be able to attend many more dances and frequent the theatres more often. Angelus had to put up with the usual aggressive display from the young fledge at first, as he put up a futile struggle for dominance. A few quick beatings soon put an end to that behavior.
However, while most new vampires quickly acquiesced to their sire's wishes at that point, William continued to resist in his own persistently irritating way. Instead of lashing out or leaving the group, he remained silent, never once speaking even if he was yelled at or beaten. The boy spoke only to Drusilla. Darla may have enjoyed the silence but it annoyed Angelus, who liked to hear the usual whimpers and pleas he had come to expect from others. It was incredibly frustrating to teach someone when they never responded, and he was never sure if William was ignoring him or paying attention to what he was being told.
"I'd like to see you do some work of your own tonight, boy. I can't keep you under my wing forever. I want to see you do it right this time. We aren't savages after all, at least not in that manner of speaking. There is savagery involved, but the right amount, and you've been sorely lacking it."
Angelus glanced over at his companion and was unsurprised to note that William was staring fixedly at the path ahead, his mouth in a tight line, not even blinking to suggest he'd acknowledged Angelus' words. Shaking his head, Angelus continued to stride down the street, hands in his pockets, inhaling the cold night air with its pungent odor of city life. He had been trying to teach William the correct way to kill. Essentially, he was trying to pass on the art that had given him and his family such a noted reputation worldwide. William was, in his own uniquely frustrating way, rebelling against what he was being taught.
He ended a kill too quickly. He stalked, grabbed, drank, and dumped a body just like a common minion instead of toying with a victim psychologically, torturing them until they begged to be killed before releasing them from their torment at last. Nothing Angelus did worked to alter the former Hunter's behavior either. He had once dragged him back to the cellar and tortured him again, going further than last time, introducing William to the hot poker, one of his favorite tools, but the stubborn youngster refused to budge, merely wincing and releasing one or two uncontrollable gasps or cries of pain before gritting his teeth and bearing it with a hated stare at his tutor. The fledge was resilient, Angelus would give him that. Still, the more determined the boy was to resist, the more fun Angelus was having trying to break him.
"I'm serious, William. I'll have to re-think allowing Dru to keep you if you continue to let her down like this. She promised me you would be a mighty killer. Told me you had a blood-lust and violence in you that would match my own. I have to say, I don't see it, but then I suppose it's just another example of how crazy I really drove her, isn't it?"
And there it was. William flinched, just for a second, his fists tightening before relaxing at his sides once more. If Angelus hadn't been studying him intently, searching for that reaction, he never would have noticed it. William's behavior puzzled him if nothing else. At first he had been looking for some tell-tale sign that he was getting to the boy or that he was going to be attacked again. Hell, he'd been looking for any sign that he was affecting the closed off creature at all since he'd taken him in. He was intrigued when he'd discovered this reaction, one that only occurred when Angelus talked about Drusilla, or more specifically when he talked about what he'd done to her or would do to her.
It wasn't unusual for vampires to be protective of their sires, especially when that sire was their mate. Angelus would tear the head off anyone who touched Darla, for instance, but as aggressive as they could be they always knew their place. Of course, he had usurped the Master and lured Darla away from him, but dealing with old Batface had been different. Besides, William only flinched or showed barely restrained aggression upon mentioning Drusilla's torture or the methods by which Angelus drove her insane. If he didn't know better, Angelus would almost describe it as protectiveness grown out of affection for the dark-haired beauty.
It was as if William felt sympathetic to what Drusilla had gone through and harbored more hate towards Angelus for the chaos he'd created in her mind than he did for his own beatings. That was, of course, preposterous. Vampires didn't feel and they certainly didn't show sympathy; the fledgling was even less capable of showing emotion than other vampires because of his own self-loathing, so to suggest he actually cared for his crazy sire was ridiculous. Yet, there was always that reaction, and Angelus was determined to discover the reason for it, especially as William acted like an emotionless piece of machinery the remainder of the time.
They came to a halt in front of a shop on a busy street, casually scanning the passersby. Angelus waited for William to select his target. The younger vamp seemed disinterested in the whole affair, but Angelus knew the thirst would call soon and William would have to feed regardless of how much he disliked the thought. All Angelus had to do was wait, and hope that this time, William would do things right.
Time passed by slowly and Angelus was beginning to tire of William's hesitation when finally, the young vamp perked up and appeared to take notice of someone in the crowd, suddenly stepping away from the shop front to follow his chosen target. Angelus let him go, following a few steps behind. He was somewhat surprised when William entered a late night bookstore in pursuit of his quarry. It was never smart to enter into such close proximity with your prey before you had a suitable spot to attack, and a shop was hardly a discreet location to kill someone. Pausing outside, debating William's actions, Angelus sighed and followed him into the store, wondering what could possibly have possessed the vamp to get so close to his supposed victim.
The small shop was quite crowded and Angelus was taking so much notice of the tasty morsels gathered around him that he almost walked straight into William. Frowning, he leaned into the slightly shorter vampire and spoke quietly into his ear.
"What's this then? Chasing your dinner into a crowded store? This is hardly a smart move, even for you. Would you really go so far in defying me as to expose yourself? You'll be on your own if you do and the only result that leads to is an angry and frightened mob, then dust."
Predictably, William remained silent, continuing to track his prey's movements. Angelus folded his arms and unable to resist any longer, rolled his eyes and leaned in again.
"All right, which one is it? Let's see who you've got your eye on."
Once again, if Angelus hadn't been studying William so intensely he would never have spotted the small jerk of the young vamp's head that indicated the couple across the room, the barest acknowledgment that he'd even heard Angelus. Still, it was progress since he'd actually answered him for once, even in his stubbornly silent manner. Angelus took William's intended victims in: a man and a woman in their early to mid twenties. The man was a dark ash blond and had a handlebar moustache, and the woman had dark brown, almost black, curly hair. They were ordinary looking really, although wealthy enough from the looks of it. Angelus wasn't sure why they would have stood out to William. He was just about to ask, without much hope of getting an answer, when they solved the mystery themselves.
He watched curiously as the couple spotted them and after a brief whispering session, approached with similar smirks of contempt plastered across their faces. It occurred to Angelus that they must know William or they'd known him in his human life. Angelus stepped back a little to give them some space, smiling slightly, interested in the turn the night had and most likely would take. Encountering someone from William's past wasn't something he'd given much consideration before, possibly because he thought he'd killed most of them, but it was definitely something he could work with.
"William, is that you? Where have you been these past few days? I for one haven't noticed you at any of the recent social gatherings that you so often attended before. Not that I ever noticed you at the ones you did attend, but we thought for sure you would have been present at Miss Adams' party," the man said, grinning at his own insult.
Angelus was even more intrigued. It appeared these were not people who knew of William's previous profession as a demon Hunter. Rather it seemed that they saw him as a worthless joke. This made the current situation even more entertaining in his eyes.
"It was my family's gathering, not mine. Come, we should find Miss Blewitt and Harland before we lose track of them again. I knew we shouldn't have bothered coming in here. You're going to make us all late for the performance tonight." The woman was doing her best to ignore William and usher her companion out, but he was having far too much fun to pay her any heed.
William considered the girl Angelus realized must be Miss Adams and was outright staring at her, which was making her shift uncomfortably until the man spoke again.
"Have you lost your manners, William? You do remember it's not polite to stare don't you? Especially at a lady, but then you never could keep your eyes away from Miss Adams could you? Tell me, are you here looking for inspiration? Hoping to find a way to improve that god-awful poetry of yours?"
Angelus couldn't help snapping his head around to stare at William. So the boy wrote poetry did he? Well this was all getting very interesting. The man winked at William while Miss Adams grasped her companion's coat and tried to tug him towards the door.
"Ralph please, we're going to be late I tell you, and I simply can't bear to hear Miss Blewitt go on about the absolute tragedy it will be should she not attend the most talked about opera this year."
Ralph waved her away and continued to mock what he didn't realize was a very dangerous animal right now.
"Everything is the most talked about this year until it passes and then it's the next event. So, William, you've been denying us your special talents of late. Don't tell me Miss Adams has fallen out of your favor." He pretended to gasp in shock. "Oh the horror! Do you hear that Miss Adams? He's forgotten all about you and fallen in love with some other mysterious beauty. Whatever shall you do?" He winked knowingly at William again and laughed at the joke that no one else found funny.
Miss Adams huffed and gave him a stern look, simultaneously begging him with her eyes to leave well enough alone and take her to join their friends. Seeing that he wasn't going to get any further reaction out of William, Ralph gave in.
"Well I suppose we'd better go. Can't miss this wonderful performance after all. Good evening, William. Stay out of trouble, all right?"
He walked away grinning to himself while Miss Adams muttered her displeasure to him all the way to the door. Angelus and William watched them leave quietly, eyes and ears trained on what the couple thought was a private conversation.
"Why must you always provoke matters with him? He finally left me alone and now you've gone and made him think I missed all that twaddle. What happens when he decides to attend the next party?"
"My dear Miss Adams, there's no reason to assume that he will attend any future party merely because of that rather one-sided conversation. Even if he does, what matter? He's easy enough to ignore."
"You want him to be at the next event don't you? Just so you can make fun of him. That's all this is to you. A game, to taunt him for your own amusement, never once considering my feelings. It's terribly vexing to endure his sorrowful eyes, while he spouts terrible sonnets in some highly embarrassing attempt to woo me."
"Oh come, Miss Adams. You really think I enjoy listening to William the Bloody Awful Poet? I swear I'd rather have a railroad spike through my head than listen to anymore of that drivel."
The door jingled as it closed behind them. William stared at it and after waiting a moment followed with Angelus close behind. Outside, however, he cast a quick glance in the direction his old acquaintances had gone before turning and walking in the opposite direction. Angelus paused, watching the entertaining idiots walk away before following his grandchilde. Catching up to him, Angelus asked William a very obvious question in an attempt to understand his mysterious family member.
"Why did you let them go? They're old—friends of yours and you just let them mock you and leave. You aren't the pathetic man they seem to think you are any more. In fact you were never as pathetic as they'd believed you to be, so why let them live?"
"Why should it bother me what they think? I know what the truth is and I've been more than they guessed I was for a long time. Let them have their fun. There's no reason to kill them because they're misguided idiots. It just means I was doing a good job of hiding my true identity from them all that time."
Seeing as this was the longest, in fact the only conversation Angelus and William had ever had, Angelus decided to press the matter and see how much more he could learn about William.
"Part of being in this family means cutting off all ties to your old life. Every vampire removes his ties to the world. This could be the chance for you to do that."
"You took care of all that a long time ago. I have no more ties to this world," William stated, matter of factly.
"That's where you're wrong. Everyone you ever knew or whoever knew you is a link to your old human life. There are quite a few people who need to be taken care of before you're completely free to start fresh."
"There is no fresh start for a vampire."
"Maybe not in the sense of having a clean slate, no, but the acts of a vampire in his first days are important. They're a message of who that vampire is. People you know are the perfect prey for what I've been trying to teach you, William. Take all the anger you ever felt towards them and use it to make them suffer. They'll regret every nasty word and every mocking insult they ever said to you and you'll be the reason for their regret. It's a beautiful thing, revenge, don't you remember?"
"No, I don't."
"I don't believe that."
William stopped walking and faced Angelus. His eyes were cold and hard as he stared at his grandsire.
"I don't care what they did to me. I never hated them for it. I wanted to be pathetic in their eyes because it kept the people I cared for safe, but they're gone now, thanks to you, and anything I was as a human is gone too. I choose to let them go. Tormenting others is a trait you admire, correct? Well then let them live. They'll cause a lot of suffering in their lifetime." William began walking again, back in the direction of home.
Angelus walked on with him, trying one last time to change William's mind.
"You'll go hungry tonight if you don't hunt. I don't want you too weak to handle your training tomorrow."
"As if you care how weak I get. I'll be fine for one night. I'm not hungry."
"Right, and I'm Saint Patrick. I do care if you're weak, you know. You're one of us now and that means you'd better be ready to fight if we have to, not to mention you know how much I dislike it when people pass out before I get to the fun parts of their punishment should you piss me off. Considering your behavior over the past few days it's highly likely."
William marched on, apparently retreating into silent and stoic mode. Angelus rolled his eyes again and continued on, pushing past the baffling vamp to lead the way back. It would take a very long time to figure this one out, but they were both vampires, and time was something they had plenty of.
They were barely in the door when loud banging echoed around the room. They both whipped around to face the door in surprise. They sensed the presence of a human on the other side and Angelus scoffed.
"Calm down, he's one of mine," he said, making his way over to the door.
"One of your what?" William asked, confused.
Angelus grabbed the handle and yanked the door open, allowing the lanky young man standing outside to tumble inside.
"He's one of my spies. I've learned it's handy to have a few humans on hand to help keep track of my enemies. Sensible, don't you think? Especially since most of them have the benefit of not bursting into flames in the daylight. Our friend here allows me to keep an eye on things so I don't have to worry about any surprises headed my way."
The lad straightened himself up and fidgeted with his immaculate suit, a sign of nervousness and one he used almost constantly in Angelus' presence.
"What is it? You seem more highly strung than usual," Angelus said, strolling past the frightened boy and heading for the liquor cabinet.
"They're after me. I've seen them out there looking for me. I don't know how they found out but they know and they're getting closer. You said they would all be dead, that I wouldn't have to worry. If I'm discovered it will ruin me," the boy said, panicking.
Angelus poured two glasses of Brandy with little haste and chuckled to himself. He picked up both glasses and turned to face his spy and William, who remained standing in a far corner. Angelus saw with interest that William was studying their guest with a frown on his face, as if the boy was somehow familiar to him. Angelus smiled.
"On the contrary. I think you'll find that that's the best case scenario should they find you. The more likely result will be your bloody death at the hands of the Hunters."
The boy released a barely audible squeak which Angelus pretended to ignore. He walked over, pausing briefly beside the frightened lad to sip his drink. When the shaken boy reached out a hand for the other glass, Angelus walked smoothly by him and walked over to William, offering the glass to him instead. William glanced at him briefly before accepting the glass and downing half the contents, turning his full attention back to their visitor. Angelus slipped one hand into his trouser pocket while the other brought the glass of Brandy to his mouth for another sip, half turning back to the startled boy who only just realized the presence of a second, unfamiliar vampire in the room. Or maybe not so unfamiliar.
"Pardon me, wherever are my manners? Allow me to introduce you boys. This here is the newest addition to my clan, William. He's young but he has potential to be a great killer someday or so Dru tells me. William, allow me to introduce my right hand man. Without him, it would have been very hard to accomplish everything I have during my stay here in London."
Angelus took another quick sip of his drink, relishing the sudden panic overtaking the human before him whose eyes were fixed on William in disbelief and horror. This should be very interesting. The boy's mouth opened in a hopeless attempt to prevent Angelus from speaking his name as he backed towards the door, seeking a hasty escape, but Angelus cut him off before he could utter a word.
"William, this is Adam Longley. He's a Watcher in training, but something tells me he won't be finishing his education. Come to think of it, haven't you fellas met before?" he asked, innocently.
He wasn't disappointed. Recognition flashed across William's face and he vamped instantly, snarling and smashing the glass in his hand as he did. Longley yelped in fear and rushed backwards to the door, but William closed the gap in two lightening quick strides and had the boy by the throat. Longley grabbed hold of the strong hands clamped about his throat in a feeble attempt to release the angry vampire's hold.
"Please," Longley choked out.
William flashed his fangs at the terrified Watcher and shook him viciously until the boy was gasping for air.
"You! It was you all along. You spread that rumor for him. You pretended to know nothing about it, acting like a victim when it was all planned. You led me down that alley for him, didn't you? Pretending you heard something, acting like a keen Watcher looking to impress his teachers when all along you were part of a plot to kill us!" William growled, threateningly, ignoring the boy's breathless pleas as his face turned red then purple as his air supply rapidly depleted.
Angelus was intrigued by the display. This was more violence than he'd seen come from the young vampire to date.
"You're going to kill him if you keep squeezing him like that. His eyes are about to pop," Angelus commented, calmly.
"What do you care if he dies?" William spat.
"What do you care if he doesn't?" Angelus threw back, sternly.
William growled again and dropped Longley, spinning to face Angelus, his eyes challenging.
"He's the reason for everything you've ever done to the Hunters. He told you about our meetings, he led dozens of men to their deaths and he told you where I lived. He made me into this," William finished, pointing at his ridged brow.
"No. Drusilla made you what you are. If I had my way you'd be dead like the rest of them. He's not to blame for that."
"You want to protect him?" William asked, in disbelief.
Angelus scoffed and finished his drink, tossing the glass to the side where it shattered against a wall.
"Of course not. I just want to know why you want to kill him so badly, yet you're perfectly willing to let those self obsessed mortals from your past we ran into earlier live."
"My reasons should be obvious, even to you."
"True, and they'd make sense if you were human, but you're not. You're a killer, William, a monster, so why should the acts of a traitor from your past honorable life bother you enough now to take revenge on him? After all, you'd just be doing those surviving Hunters a service, and that's not in my best interests."
"You said he'd be killed anyway. Are you going to help him?" William asked, and his tone made it clear he already knew the answer.
Angelus grinned. Longley had scrambled over to the door and was rising to his feet, grasping the handle with shaking hands, hoping for some escape. He looked over his shoulder, petrified, and met Angelus' cold stare and frightening smile.
"No, I'm not."
Longley had no time to react. William nodded then spun around and pulled the boy away from the door. He held the Watcher before him again, forcing him to look into his yellow eyes.
"Please. Don't kill me. He's right, you'd be helping them. You don't want to do that."
"You have no idea what I want," William snarled.
"But you're a vampire."
"A monster, a killer. I have to cut off ties to my past as he said." William glanced over at Angelus who looked on with interest. He nodded encouragingly at his pupil. William turned back to Longley. "I have unfinished business with you. You made the wrong choice."
"Please, no! I never meant—"
William threw Longley across the room where he slammed into a wall and collapsed on the ground, directly on top of the broken shards of glass. The boy groaned and shakily raised himself onto his hands and knees. He winced as glass dug into his palms and struggled to a sitting position, blood streaming down his arms. Angelus watched as William strode across the room to Longley again, grabbed him by the waistcoat and slammed him up against the wall again into a standing position. Things took an even more brutal turn when William began punching the boy. He was using his full strength and it took only a few hits to turn the Watcher's face black and blue. He most likely had a broken nose and jawbone and his lip was split; he had two black eyes and they were both swollen and puffy. William ceased punching Longley, instead swinging him around by one arm until he was bent over, the arm in William's grip bent at an awkward angle. Angelus was pleased. Finally the lad was showing some initiative and releasing some of the brutality that Dru had sworn existed in him.
"Well, well, well, progress at last," Angelus murmured.
William met his grandsire's eyes and snapped Longley's arm. The boy's shriek of pain was deafening. Drusilla and Darla walked in right at that moment and stopped in their tracks at the sight before them. Drusilla smiled widely and clapped her hands in glee.
"Ooh, my Dark Knight has arrived at last. My black beauty will tear the world in two."
She laughed and hurried over to William who watched her in awe. She stroked one well-defined cheek and he purred, his yellow demon eyes staring into hers.
"Feast and get your strength up, my William. There's lots of work to do now," she cooed, before backing away.
William watched her until she stopped a few paces away then grabbed the back of Longley's coat, pulled him closer, and sank his fangs into the boy's neck. Longley's scream was cut off abruptly. William tossed his head like a rabid dog as he tore mercilessly at the vulnerable throat. It was over quickly, like most of his kills, but it was more savage than before. William let the body fall to the floor, wiped his mouth and made his way to Drusilla. He took her in his arms and they began to twirl around the room with her giggling in pleasure. Darla stood next to Angelus watching them.
"Well, it appears the boy is learning after all," she commented.
Angelus turned to face her. "Maybe, but he has a long way to go. I have a few things in mind and then we'll see."
"Whether or not he's really ready to earn a name for himself." Angelus turned back to the dancing couple and spoke a bit louder making sure they heard him. "Maybe now they'll call him William the Bloody for another reason." He kicked at the bleeding corpse on the floor for extra emphasis. William's only response was a stony glare.