Mystic Force, post series. Chip muses on the events of Stranger Within and Soul Spectre, and longs for what he tried his best to prevent.
We all went to the beach this weekend. It was really fun. I got sunburned, I always do, it's hard not to when you're as pasty as I am. But we played in the sun and the water... We got rained out; there was a thunderstorm, but I didn't mind. That was the best part. Not only was there cool thunder and lightning, but he put on his shirt.
And we huddled in Vida's car, trying to stay warm, Maddie leaned up against me like I was a seat cover, Xander tried to get close to her, and Vida and her new beau cuddled in the front seat. There's always a new beau... No one can keep up with Vida. And even through his t-shirt I could see it, what I'd seen all day, even when the sun was out and even when my eyes were closed. The bite mark on his shoulder.
When we were kids, it was hickies. I would pass some boy in the street, or the Rockporium, and I would know what Vida was up to that weekend. When we were Power Rangers, it was a look of despair, because she was too busy for boys, unless they happened to be white and cottony and the chosen avatar of the Master. And now that we're adults--are we adults?--it's bite marks, little scratches on the neck and shoulders that only she or I would notice.
I know where those came from. I don't know why I don't blame Nikki.
I see those bite marks, and they tell me that a little part of Vida is still dead... or undead. The bite marks, that little extra tooth in her smile, the hour or two late starts on all the weekends we spend together. For all the good I did to save her... It never really undid what happened. I'm lucky enough to have somehow spared myself the "I should have been there in the first place" after a month or two, but I wish my problems were that simple.
I begin slipping CDs into the rack, humming to myself.
She had become a vampire, and I was the only one who noticed. I had my garlic clove ready, at my side, to put between us. As we sat under the beautiful moonlight, aglow with the darkness and the stars, I protected myself from her. I told her "no."
And now she tells the boys yes.
She did before too, but it means something so much different now.
She had darkness. She had power. She had eternal life. I grant that it was tied to subservience, but it was still something. Something dark and exotic and adult. Vida has always been dark and exotic and adult. Vida has always had that subtlety, that nuance, that selflessness and selfishness combined that only a grown-up can have. She's so much unlike me, simple me, simple old Chip.
She would have given it to me.
She sat there craving my blood, reaching out for me, and I told her no. I protected myself, what I was, what I am and will be. I held that clove of garlic between us. I held strong.
But less then, and more now, I wanted something else. In that ethereal glow, dark and bright all at once, I said no... But I wanted to say yes. I wanted to ever-so-slightly drop my arm and have the garlic knocked away. I wanted to feel her soft pink lips close on my pale, vulnerable neck, bringing my skin to life. I wanted to be broken down, defeated, pierced by those perfect white teeth and taken in to the darkness. I wanted to feel her drain the thunder from my veins, to sooth my light with sweet darkness...
But I held strong... I stayed strong, I said no. And now the Vida I knew, the Vida I loved, is gone, replaced with this Shadowy Vida who frightens me, even though she's still herself... and I'm still here, still the same. Daggeron has suggested that my encounter with the soul spectre had a lasting influence on me... but I really don't think so. All it did was make me feel a little closer to the fact that I've lost. I've lost her. I've lost what we had. I've lost that potential. I'm the vampire slayer, and even though her body's returned to normal, she's still a creature of the night. I am light and courage and all things good, and she, while not bad, is certainly not one to play by the same rules as the rest of us. The purity we shared is no longer there.
I wish I'd said yes.
I wish I'd let her penetrate me.
I wish I was the one with the bitemarks on my neck.
They huddled together like bats in the dark in the front seat of her car. Maddie elbowed me. "Oh, Sorry, Chip." She had said. Did she see what I saw? Did she see what I felt?
"It's alright," I had replied.
I could imagine us flying together, Vida and I... sharing forever, tied by darkness. I could see us drinking together, fighting together, huddled up in some nice coffin together. We could have been biting and scratching each other, piercing each other in such different and varied ways...
The CD case cracks in my hand, and I make a mental note to pay for it.
But now she's biting and scratching him, whichever one he is this week, and he's is piercing her in such different and varied ways...
I did the right thing. I saved her. I saved myself. I'm proud of that. But sometimes I wish I hadn't done right. Sometimes I wish I'd messed up. Sometimes I wish I'd let go, if only for the sake of letting go, perhaps, but also for the sake of going to her...
"Hey Chip, how many times are you going to rearrange the grunge section this week?"
"Sorry Xander." I step away. I want to fall to the floor and shake, for what I could have lost and what I lost in its place. I want to just... let go. I guess that's what makes me different from her, from him, whoever he is. I want to let go. She does.
"You okay? You look pale."
"I'm fine." Unfortunately.