- Dark Themes
- Discussion - Murder
- Alternate Universe
1898 Romany Woods
“You know you have to be the one.”
Alexi turned to face his grandmother. “I know.” He looked back towards where his mother was still wailing, crying on his father’s shoulder. “That doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
“We must have vengeance.” The old woman stated.
Alexi sighed. Vengeance. That was the one word all gypsies knew. No matter the crime, no matter the reason, there was always vengeance. This could be no different. “I know.” He repeated turning back to her. “What must I do?”
“Come, join the circle. The magic will bring him to us.”
Alexi followed the old woman to the middle of their camp. He sat in the center of the circle the clan elders had formed. Their chanting was familiar and yet foreign. This magic was old and powerful.
He could feel the tendrils of power wind themselves around him. He closed his eyes and tried to sense the one this spell was aimed at.
The demon entered the camp, and Alexi felt the confusion and pain permeating the air. The creature fell into the circle and passed out. The clan elders finished chanting, and Alexi felt the curse take hold. He could almost see the tendrils of power connecting him to this demon that had killed his beloved sister.
“It is done.” His grandmother spoke solemnly as the circle began to break up. She looked at her youngest grandson, sadness in her dark eyes. “We will move on tonight.” She placed a wrinkled palm on his cheek. “Remember what your sacrifice is for, young Alexi.”
“Vengeance,” Alexi whispered.
“Yes, for Ani.” The old woman began to move away. “You must find shelter. It will be many hours before he will wake. He will be disoriented.”
Alexi nodded once, understanding the unspoken warning. “Go in peace.”
Angelus groaned as consciousness returned. He opened his eyes and looked around. He was in a strange room, some sort of cabin. He could hear and feel a fire not too far away. His whole body ached, but he wasn’t sure why or how he got here, wherever here was. His memory was a little fuzzy.
The last thing he remembered was feeding on the young girl Darla brought him, and the sex that followed. But that seemed so long ago. What had happened?
Angelus turned at the softly spoken words. There was a young man standing in the doorway, the sun shining behind him telling the vampire that it was no longer night, though how much time had passed he couldn’t be sure.
“What?” He asked in confusion. The man looked vaguely familiar, but he was sure he had never seen him before. “What did you say?”
The man stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. “I said, vengeance happened.” He looked at the vampire, a dark look in his eyes. “You were wondering what happened weren’t you?”
“Who are you?” Angelus asked.
“Alexi of the Kalderash people.” The man answered. “You fed on my sister, and my clan cursed you. Now, my soul is yours.”
Angelus looked at the young man, trying to place the familiar face. His whole being ached, and he was still disoriented, but he felt…strange…wrong. “Your sister? The gypsy girl?”
Alexi stared hard at the demon. “Yes. Ani. You killed her, and now you’ll know all the suffering you’ve caused.”
“You said your soul is mine. What exactly does that mean?”
Alexi snorted. “You’re a demon; surely you have felt the power of magic.” He walked closer to the creature. “My grandmother is the elder woman of our clan. She cursed you with a soul. Mine.”
The vampire blinked. That made sense, sort of. All the pain he felt now, that was because of the spell. “Wait, your soul? What exactly does that mean?”
Alexi sighed. “It means my soul is now bound to you, as am I.”
Angelus tried to understand exactly what that meant. He was trying to think clearly, but his mind was still a little fuzzy, and he could feel some…weight surrounding him, some sort of pervasive pain that covered him like a shroud. With a start, he realized it was guilt. Something he hadn’t felt in a long, long while.
“Fix it!” The vampire snarled, unwilling to deal with this pain, this torment. “Now!”
The gypsy watched as the vampire revealed his true face. He stared at the golden eyes. “I cannot. It is done.”
Angelus grabbed the boy and shook him. “Do something!”
Alexi raised an eyebrow. “You cannot threaten me. You cannot kill me. My life is bound to yours, for eternity.”
Angelus stepped back, stunned at the hatred and venom in the dark gaze of the young boy.
When night had fallen once more, Angelus left the shelter of the cabin he had awoken in. He had expected the gypsy to try and stop him, but the man didn’t even look at him. That was good. Angelus still didn’t know what exactly this spell had done, other than saddle him with feelings and memories he’d just as soon forget, but he was pretty sure that any violence he aimed at the boy would be ineffective at the least.
Still, he needed to get back. Darla would be wondering where he had gotten to. Some of the memories from the night before had returned. He remembered waking up, his body on fire, and leaving the bed he shared with his Sire, while she still slept. He hadn’t made a habit of disappearing before, so she was probably getting angry by now.
Not to mention if Spike and Drusilla had returned from the hunt to find him gone, there might have been trouble. Spike didn’t think too highly of Darla, and Angelus knew it would only be a matter of time before things deteriorated beyond anything he could fix.
Once Angelus came closer to the area where he was staying with the other vampire’s, he slowed his pace. He was confused. He could still feel the pain and suffering that was weighing him down, but he could also still feel the affection he held for Spike and Drusilla as well.
If he truly did have a soul, shouldn’t he feel disgusted towards others like him? Revile those he had made? Yet, he felt none of that towards the younger vampires.
Maybe the spell hadn’t worked the way the gypsy’s had intended.
Three days later Angelus returned to the cabin he had left the boy in. He felt raw. Darla’s reaction to the return of his soul was worse than anything he could have imagined. She had chased him out before Spike and Drusilla had returned from that night’s hunt.
He wanted to find them and tell them…something, but he didn’t think he could deal with it if they reacted in the same way as Darla, so he had left, returning to the only place he had left.
The boy was sitting in the middle of the room, staring into the fire. He didn’t even look up when Angelus entered. “You’re still here.” He said, only slightly surprised.
He still wasn’t sure exactly what had happened to him, beyond what the boy had told him. The shock was gone now, but the anger had stayed. The guilt and pain were overwhelming at times, but the most disturbing thing was his connection to the boy. The whole time he was gone, he could feel the boy. If he concentrated hard enough, he could sense what the boy was doing. His thoughts were a mystery, which the vampire figured was a blessing.
The gypsy looked away from the fire and up at the vampire. “I knew you would return.”
Angelus wanted to snarl. How dare this…child proclaim to know so much about him? How dare he…do this to him? Just as quickly as it had come, the anger was gone, leaving only this empty feeling.
The boy snorted. “Look at you. You are nothing now.” He stood up and spat on the vampire. “Once, you were feared by many, but now, you come crawling back to me…a human…a gypsy. How far you have sunk.”
Angelus felt his demon visage ripple to the surface as he growled. “You did this to me!”
“No, I did not.” He took a step closer to the demon, his face now calm, though the anger still simmered in his dark eyes. “Your sire did this to you.” He smiled slightly at the surprise on the vampire’s features. “Darla, isn’t it? She brought Ani to you, and now you suffer. For what? For doing what comes naturally? You are a vampire, are you not? Perhaps you should have turned down a meal? Yet, it is you who suffer, not your precious Darla.” His smile was malicious as he moved away from the vampire. “I wonder, how did she receive you? Did she welcome you with open arms?” He chuckled slightly. “I doubt it, very much, or you would not be here now.” This last was whispered, but no less venomous.
Angelus wanted to strike out, to hurt this creature that seemed to know so much, but he was paralyzed. The pain and hate radiating inside the young man was over-powering, and he could feel it all, was connected to it all.
He collapsed on the floor, too weary from the past few days to deal with anything as trivial as moving. He closed his eyes and lost consciousness, the heaviness of his guilt weighing him down even further.
Three days passed before the boy spoke again. This time he wasn’t making accusations or hurtful observations. Instead, he brought a large mug of warmed blood to the vampire. The demon stared at him incredulously.
“It isn’t human if that matters.” He handed the meal to Angelus and stepped back, watching as the vampire sniffed at the warm liquid before cautiously bringing it to his lips.
“Why?” Angelus whispered after he had drunk it all.
“If we had wanted you dead, we would have killed you.” He said simply.
Angelus nodded. That made sense. He’d spent the past few days trying to wrap his head around his new situation. Clearly, if there was a way out of this mess, he wasn’t going to find it unless he had a clear head. Although to be honest, he wasn’t sure whether he wanted a way out or not.
The guilt and pain wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as it had been, though it still plagued him. He could remember each and every death he had caused. He could remember the way that they all looked, and smelled; the way they begged for their lives, or the lives of their families. It was all so clear. This was torture. However, after seeing how Darla reacted and realizing the depth of his evil, he wasn’t sure he didn’t deserve all of this, and more.
Now that the shock had worn off, the vampire was caught between the crushing guilt that tried to overwhelm him and the anger that he was being punished for acting like a vampire. The whole thing was frustrating.
The boy was an enigma though. He did not seem to be any happier about the situation than Angelus was. His eyes had been cold and hard the few times he’d looked into them. But the demon wondered if this connection between them went both ways. If he could feel the rage and hate and pain coming from the boy, could the boy then feel his guilt and torment? And if so, what could possibly make him volunteer for this? Was the hate he felt for the vampire that strong?
He wasn’t ready to ask those questions yet. He hadn’t had enough time to deal with all the ramifications of what had happened. Instead, he thought he’d get the answers to a few other questions that had been bothering him since he returned.
“You…know a lot about me.” He said quietly.
Alexi shrugged. “Enough.”
“If you know how…if you knew it was Darla, why not curse her?”
Alexi looked into the vampire’s dark eyes, trying to decide what to tell him. He finally decided on a half-truth. “That was not for me to know. The elders told me what was to be done.”
Angelus’ eyes widened. “You just…went along with that? You didn’t have a choice?”
A slight smile curved Alexi’s lips. “We are Gypsies. I know you do not know what that means, but you will.” He turned towards the one window, with the shade drawn tightly to keep out the sun. “It will be dark soon. We must leave then.”
“Where exactly are we going?” Angelus asked after they had been traveling for a while in silence.
“We must leave Borsa,” Alexi answered.
“To go where exactly?” Angelus pressed.
Alexi shrugged slightly. “We need papers to cross into Bulgaria.”
Angelus’ eyes widened slightly. “Why are we going to Bulgaria?” He’d been there once, with Darla, it was not a pleasant experience.
“It’s the fastest way into Greece, now, silence!” Alexi hissed. Clearly, he was not fond of conversation, or at the very least not fond of conversation with Angelus.
“I don’t understand you,” Angelus said, despite being told to be quiet, or perhaps in spite of it.
Alexi’s lips twisted slightly though one could hardly call it a smile. “I would be surprised if a creature such as you could understand a gypsy, any gypsy, let alone one of my people.
Angelus snorted. “You’re very arrogant.”
Alexi turned to face the demon. “Am I? Among my family I was considered to be humble, I was thought to put my people above everything else, above my wants and desires, above my dreams for the future. I would not be here otherwise.”
Angelus snorted again as he stared across at the man-child. “Maybe you are just weak? A child cowering beneath your grandmother’s skirts?”
Something dark and unfathomable flashed in the dark eyes for a split second before it was gone. It was over so quickly Angelus wondered if perhaps he had imagined the entire thing. Alexi turned away from him and focused on the darkening sky, his own thoughts turbulent at best.
It wasn’t long before the unlikely pair found themselves sheltered in Greece where Alexi was escorting the vampire through the busy streets. It was the first time since that conversation just outside Romania that Alexi had chosen to speak to the vampire and Angelus had to wonder why now.
“Where are we going now?” Angelus asked. He was getting frustrated with this small slip of a boy dictating where they went and how they got there, and whom they were allowed to interact with. It wasn’t that the vampire wasn’t keenly aware they were in a precarious situation crossing borders with forged papers and as weak as he was the vampire wasn’t sure he could fight a fruit fly much less a human being, but still the idea of following where he was used to leading was more than a little degrading.
“You must eat,” Alexi answered simply.
Angelus followed the gypsy quietly. At first, he was anticipating some sort of human-vampire brothel. He’d seen those in all sorts of varieties all over Europe but that wasn’t where they boy was taking him.
Instead, Alexi took him into what appeared to be a sort of hostel. While there were lots of people lounging around, perfectly capable of being the night’s meal the boy didn’t stop. Not that Angelus’ expected him to. He did have a soul now and was more than a little aware that killing people was what had gotten him into this mess, to begin with.
“This is the one, and only time I will accompany you,” Alexi told him as they climbed the stairs towards the top floor. “I will tell you the rules now, and you will listen to them. You will obey them.”
Angelus balked at the command in the boy’s voice. “Why would I do that?”
Alexi stopped, his darkened eyes seeming to glow in the darkness. “Because your guilt is strong and you wish no more weight to bear.”
Angelus’ couldn’t argue this point, though he wanted to, just out of spite. “What are these rules?” He asked instead.
“You may feed. You may not kill. This is simple. You can follow this,” He finally reached the landing and stepped in front of door number 5116. “There is one exception to this rule and one exception only.” Alexi opened the door wide enough for Angelus to see inside.
There was a young woman inside tide to the bed head hanging limply, eyes wide open, dead. A man was standing over her, just staring, not in shock or surprise, just admiring what he had done. He looked startled when he noticed the door was open, but he wasn’t afraid, not really. There was an emptiness in his eyes, though Angelus could tell he was human.
The vampire turned to look at the gypsy in confusion. “It’s okay to kill, but only those who you say?” He asked incredulously.
“No. I will not make that decision. You will.” Alexi stated simply.
“With your soul.” Angelus countered.
Alexi shrugged. “Yours, mine, we are bound now, it does not matter.”
Angelus turned back to the man, and though he did take his life, and took sustenance from his blood, he took no pleasure in it.
Afterward, as the pair walked back down the crowded streets towards where they were staying Angelus dared to ask, “Where did you find him? How did you find him?”
Alexi paused for a moment, looked up at the vampire and said quietly. “I could sense him, just as you once could.”
Those first few months they moved around a lot and spoke very little. Angelus was learning how to deal with his guilt, and Alexi was learning how to deal with the price he had to pay for what he had done.
He had no contact with his family. Perhaps that was the hardest of all. Before Ani’s death, they had been inseparable, and there had always been uncles and cousins and the council of elders to guide the way. Now there was just him.
He’d had two visions that told him where to go, but nothing since the last, which was over a lunar cycle now. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do now. Before the spell had been cast his grandmother would only tell him that he would know what to do when the time came, but he had no way of knowing when that was supposed to be.
Angelus had been quiet of late. They had had a near run-in with some vampires not long ago that felt familiar to Alexi somehow. There was something about them that touched him, but he couldn’t get enough of an impression from them to be sure. Afterward, Angelus had been surly for days and had insisted they move on quickly.
Alexi received a vision three lunar cycles after the run-in with the vampires; it directed him to cross the ocean and travel to the new world. There they would find purpose, and someone to guide them.
Three days after their arrival in America they met a demon named Whistler.
By the end of the first year Angelus had started calling himself Angel because he couldn’t think of himself in the same manner anymore, but neither could he go back to Liam. Alexi had started to call himself Alexander like the legend of the Macedonian King, and even though he never forgot what it meant to be a Gypsy, he was starting to forget what it meant to hate the vampire.