Patrick shows him the daylight tomb with a pronounced lack of discomfort. It's bare but efficient, with strong-looking doors covering the top and a lock that opens only from the outside, the key dangling from a sterling chain wound around Patrick's neck.
It should make Peter nervous. It should make him scream and hit things and run but he just shrugs. "Nice hole."
"We worked for days on it," Patrick says. "Our hands are all fucked up from digging. Andrew can barely hold a stick." He kicks a little at the pile of foundation rubble and dirt that's still lying to one side. "You should be happy you don't have to sleep standing up in the closet anymore."
"I don't care where I sleep." It's true. He really doesn't care. Doesn't care if he burns in the sunlight, until nothing but ash is left.
He's one of them now. Why should he try to save what he's been dedicated to killing for so long?
Patrick's throat works tightly. Peter can see the anger in his eyes, but chooses not to notice. "How about a little gratitude?" Patrick growls, his jaw clenched. "I did this for you, man."
Gratitude. Right. "Really?" Peter wants to laugh, but he can't. Not anymore. "And when you let me live ... when you didn't kill me on the spot after the fucker bit me, who was that for?" Peter's hands clench at his sides. He can barely look Patrick in the face, but he does and there's nothing there but misery ... rage ... and fear. "Did you do that for /me/? Huh?"
A profound silence follows. Shallow breathing hangs in the air between them and Peter feels a twinge of regret. What would he have done if it had been Pat they'd turned? Would he have had the balls to pull out the stake and end it right there? Or would have he tried to find a way out -- a way to stave off the inevitable, just as Pat's doing now?
A flush of shame then, because he's not sure he knows the answer anymore. "Look ..." Peter begins, but Patrick cuts him off with a cold gesture.
"Go to bed." He's not looking at Peter anymore. "The priest is coming at sundown. He's bringing some things with him."
"That's not going to help," Peter mumbled, but he does as he's told, climbing down into the tomb and stretching himself out along its freezing floor. The death sleep is coming, numbing him to the cold and it's a relief when the doors close and Patrick's face disappears from above him.
The lock snicks shut and the world fades into something blacker than the nighttime sky.
He's literally dying of thirst when he wakes up.
Everyone around Peter smells like a big, delicious sack of blood and it's only when Patrick makes him "the shake" does his hunger abate a little. It tastes like shit -- too many other things added to the blood, things like herbs and garlic and holy water from a dirty cistern -- but that's a blessing in disguise. The less taste he develops for the pure stuff, the better.
The Priest arrives promptly at sundown. He's very sympathetic, very concerned and Peter is polite and receptive to his words, as much as he can be when in reality he wants to do nothing more than sink his teeth into his white-collared throat and drink until he's dead.
But he doesn't, instead letting the man's words wash over him in muttering waves. Things about the power of Christ compelling him, about the casting out of demons and the Devil, begone and away from his precious soul.
Nothing is happening and if this is all God has to offer, Peter thinks, then I am seriously fucked.
The Priest finishes his absolutions. He must see the disappointment in Peter's face because it's only then he takes Peter's hand and squeezes it, hard enough to cause pain. "If you don't fight, you will lose. We will all lose. Your soul is worth battling for." He nods toward Patrick who is bent over his journal, pretending not to listen. "They're worth fighting for. The war within is as important as the war without. You were turned against your will, it'll have a harder time taking hold if you don't let it."
He reaches into his black satchel and hands Peter a small, clear vial filled with liquid. "This will help."
"We have holy water ..."
The Priest shakes his head. "It's not holy water. It's sacred oil, used only for Extreme Unction ... Last Rites. It's creation is one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Church. I'm not supposed to hand it out under any circumstances, but ... well, these are rather extraordinary times." He pats Peter on the shoulder. "We can't afford to lose warriors like you to the Darkness."
Peter holds the vial up to the light, where it glitters like a diamond. That thing holed up inside of him shrinks back at the mere sight of it and Peter feels a burst of hope where none was before, like sunlight shining on his soul. "Thank you," he says shakily, grasping The Priest's hand. "Thank you so much."
The Priest rises. He's smiling. Maybe things aren't all that bad. "May God bless you, my son. Shall I come back again?"
"Please," Peter nods humbly. "I need all the help I can get."
"You'll be helped." The Priest nods at Patrick who is bent over a fast-scribbling hand. "Trust in your friends. They still believe in you."
He adjusts his hat before walking out. Peter stares after him, holding onto the oil with a grip that turns his knuckles white.
Slowly, Patrick looks up from his journal. "We're gonna make it, man. Seriously."
"Right," Peter replies, touching the tip of his tongue to his fangs, one ... then the other. He takes a deep breath. "Feel like hunting tonight?"
Patrick smiles, a toothy grin all his own. "Thought you'd never ask."
They call this particular gang of vampires "The Dandies".
It's some word Andrew threw out there one day, when they came waltzing out in their white bowler hats and fur-lined coats, like some chorus line from Hell. They looked like pussies, fought like sons of bitches and it was their leader ... The Dandy ... who turned Pete that terrible night, pulling him in and biting him out of the blue, laughing around the blood as Peter screamed.
He didn't kill Pete. He should have killed him, but was sadistic enough to realize that turning a hunter into his most hated prey is a fate worse than death.
He's still laughing about it, Peter thinks, his fury burning like hunger in his veins. They've never met again after that ... The Dandy has a habit of sending his minions to do all his dirty work, cowardly bitch he is. They all know he's waiting for Peter to turn fully, to declare allegiance to him, but that's not going to happen.
It's not going to happen because Peter will force Pat to kill him first, no matter what Pat says. Or he'll find some way to do it himself.
There are no Dandies in sight tonight, just the usual motley assortment of turned goths and thugs. They're easy to kill, especially now with Peter having a strength rivaling their own. They are confused at first, one of their own turning against them, but that soon turns to terror as they fight for their lives against him.
They never win.
It's business as usual for the most part. Pat and Joe reel them in, Andrew and Pete take them out. It's almost too easy, until a thug wises up and grabs Pat from behind, holding him like a shield, his fangs pressed against the fragile skin of Patrick's neck.
Peter's world slows to a stop. "Don't fuck around," he warns the thug, but the vampire is out of his mind with fear. He's the only one left alive out of a gang of twenty. "Let him go."
"Fuck you," the vampire snarls back, the taut line of his mouth never leaving Pat's neck. "I'll kill him."
Peter shrugs, as if that's the most inconsequential thing in the world. He knows the thug can't hear the terrified pounding of his heart, can't feel the lump in his throat that threatens to strangle him. "And then I kill you. Your point is?"
The thug blinks with surprise and backs off a fraction. A millimeter really, but it's enough for Peter to vault over and take him down, away from Patrick. A gruesome snap of the thug's neck and it's over, but Peter can't stop punching his corpse, the thug's jaw shattering beneath the blows.
The others watch him and it's only Pat who has the guts to go up to him, put his arms around him and hold onto Pete's shaking body, not caring about the gore still clinging to him. "It's okay," he murmurs, pressing his forehead to Pete's cheek. "It's okay."
They sit like that for a while, Pat rocking a sobbing Pete in his arms, telling him 'it's okay' over and over again. Even though it's not okay.
Even though they both know it's never going to be okay again.
I have ideas for more, lots more actually, so if anyone's interested let me know. grin
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