Love In Vein
By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: After Chosen and Home.
Shanshu is a lie, that’s the first thing you need to know – wait – understand. You have to understand. No shanshu – got it? Okay, that’s good.
You see, I didn’t get it. Not for a long time. Oh no, I just didn’t get it. You’d think that after two hundred and forty… forty… forty-something years, I’d have been a little sharper. A little more on the ball.
What? Yeah, two hundred and forty. Oh come on, sure you can believe it. And that was a couple hundred years ago – maybe three – I don’t keep track like I used to. What? Really? Well, thanks. I work out, watch who I eat – got to keep an eye on the triglycerides, you know.
Now where was I? Ah… oh! Shanshu, or the lack thereof! There’s these powers – The Powers That Be – oooohhhhhh… Doesn’t that sound scary? The only two I ever saw wore togas and some cheap ass glittery body paint. Anyway… this scroll had a prophecy on it that said “the souled vampire will shanshu”.
No, seriously! What? Okay, no laughing. See there? Real fangs. And the eyes? All yellow – though Buffy always said they’re gold – can you stop screaming? I have really sensitive ears. Okay look, normal again. You okay now? That’s better.
What? Go? No, not so soon. We were just getting to be friends, weren’t we?
Anyway, this scroll wasn’t just any scroll. It was the Prophecies of Aberjian. Like the holy grail of prophecies, you know? Everything in it comes to pass. Everything. It says, “Friday you eat pancakes”, then, by God, on Friday you’ll find yourself eating pancakes.
Pancakes? Uh… bread kinda things. You make a batter and pour it in a skillet and then you put syrup on them. I’ve been told they’re pretty good. No, really. Better than those dried up cracker things most of you people eat now, I’ll bet.
Wes, he slaved and sweated over that scroll. Looking for the answers to life – or maybe just lottery numbers, who knows? Anyway, this one word – shanshu – drove him crazy. The one word he couldn’t figure out. Then – boom! – he gets it! To die. The souled vampire is gonna die. He and Cordy were all –
Actually, yes. I’m already dead. I don’t like undead; I’m not a freaking zombie. Got it now? S’allright, a lot of people make that mistake.
I’m already dead, so I wasn’t too upset by this shanshu word. I didn’t really care anymore anyway. Buffy had this new guy and I had nobody – nothing. Dying was fine.
I could smell the sex, you know? In her dorm room, I could smell him – his sweat – his – seed – he’d fucked her – you wouldn’t think it’d still bother me.
So I’m prepared. Dying is fine by me. An end to the pain and the guilt. And the brooding – did I mention the brooding? Had it down to a fine art. Then Wes decides it means something else. Well, yeah, hindsight is 20/20. At the time, I didn’t realize Wes flunked his ancient languages classes at Ye Olde Watcher’s Academy.
The new and improved meaning was “live”. Which at the time didn’t really thrill me much. I was living, and it wasn’t a lot of fun. But – then there was – the carrot. After lots of fighting evil, there’d be a battle. The End of Days. You know it’s not good when they name these things, by the way. After this End of Days, I would get to be – alive – human. You see it now?
Uh huh. You got it! I knew you were a smart one! So I got all gung ho about saving people. Busted my ass, nearly getting staked, flayed, and fricasseed on a daily basis chasing that shanshu. Waiting for the day. Then me and Buffy. Forever. Or at least a mortal life span kind of forever.
What went wrong? Weren’t you listening? It was a lie. Say it with me! There is no shanshu. It was a lie. You see, The Powers That Be wanted me doing their dirty work so they dangled that carrot. Here, little vampire! Be good and you can be a real human boy!
I had clues – they were there. But I didn’t see them – didn’t want to see them. Darla came back human. Darla? She was my sire; she turned me. Turned? As in turned me into a vampire. Yeah, I know it sounds funny, but it’s sire. Male or female. I killed her – dusted her to save Buffy. Wolfram and Hart did some major mojo and brought her back. Human.
Wolfram and Hart? Lawyers. Evil to the core. True, true! But I mean really evil like sell-your-soul-to-the-devil evil. Hey, that’s funny! Depends on how much your wife paid her divorce lawyer. You’re a funny guy, Brendan, you know that?
So… there’s Darla. Blood pumping, lungs breathing – did I mention blood pumping – human. And she didn’t want it! There I was, working to be human – and she didn’t want to be! She wanted to be a vamp again. Tried to get every Tom, Dick, and Dracula to turn her. Huh? No! I didn’t – I wouldn’t. I tried to convince her that being human was a good thing. Walking in the sunshine and all that crap.
Wanna know what I really thought? You guessed it! I was putting on a show for everybody. Hell, I put on a show for myself. If it could happen for someone as evil as her, then it could happen for me. Right? I was the “rah-rah let’s all be human” cheerleader.
Then Dru turned her – and I became my own grandpa. I got really depressed and fucked the hell out of Darla. Didn’t make me feel any better. And I still had my damned soul. So I threw her ass out. Then she came back all knocked up and claiming the baby was mine.
We can’t! Where were you when I needed you, Brendan? But everybody convinced me that this was my kid. This other scroll Wes had foretold his coming. Yada, yada, yada, lots of mystic crap, baby born of two vampires, more mystic cryptic crap. And there was even a mention of the End of Days. So there it was again… the carrot. Save the world and become human.
Connor was a beautiful baby. He was – he – what are you looking at? You don’t remember him anyway. Nobody does. He was kidnapped and raised in Quortoth, a hell dimension only a demon could love. Wes read this prophecy – did I mention there’s a lot of fucking prophecies? It said that I’d kill Connor, so Wes gives him to this old fart who'd chased me through time – that part’s really complicated…
Oh, me too. I never did after that. Tried to kill him, actually. I was stuffing a pillow down his throat at the hospital but they made me stop. After that I took his translations with a grain of salt. Twice screwed and all that.
Connor came back, all fucked up from growing up in this hell dimension – you want to talk teenaged angst? He locked me in a box and threw me in the ocean. Took three months for Wes – go figure – to find me.
Vampires can’t starve, Brendan. We can get crazy and end up looking like the people out in the behavior reconditioning compounds. But with some blood, we’re good as new. Human, of course. Well, I’ve eaten pig’s blood and even rat. They taste like crap, though. Can’t beat human blood. Nice and hot and sweet –
Yeah, that’s right, Wes finds me and fishes me out. I get better, and this big bad evil fucker starts clomping around. He blocks out the sun so it’s pitch black – yeah, that’s what the government said. Dust. They also said there weren’t any aliens from outer space, remember?
This Beast guy and Connor were connected, you see – which might explain part of the kid’s attitude… I don’t know, it’s all mystic mumbo jumbo prophecy crap. And just when I was sure it couldn’t get any weirder – we decided that Angelus had to be let out.
Angelus? The demon, remember? Oh come on, it’s not that complicated. I had to lose my soul – temporarily – and let Angelus out. So we did and he killed the Beast, and hello, Mr. Sunshine! Of course, that really wasn’t part of the plan, otherwise… different plan, you know? Then the white hats tracked me down and tranked me to the gills and slapped my soul back.
No, killing the Beast didn’t kill Connor, they weren’t that connected. Besides, turns out Connor was there for a bigger, badder reason. He was born to fuck Cordy – well, Cordy’s body anyway. Cordy had Jasmine who tried to end the world – through world peace, no less! Then he went nuts and I had to have him locked away.
An asylum? Not... exactly. Wolfram and Hart said I could have LA after that. LA – Los Angeles? The old coastline? Fell off in the quake of 2122 – actually, it was a spell that got way out of hand, but people never want to believe that. No, really, I was there. LA was real. For LA, anyway.
Where was I? Wolfram and Hart? Thanks, Brendan. Wolfram and Hart tell me I’ve won. They’re leaving and hey, here’s the keys to their fully staffed skyscraping digs. They were folding their tents and leaving town. Of course, they were lying and I knew it. And I just said fuck it, you know?
I was getting the picture. There was no shanshu. Either that or shanshu really means “screwed”. The souled vampire will be screwed. Screwed. And screwed yet again by The Powers That Be. And he shalt not get so much as a smear of Vaseline and a cigarette.
I didn’t tell you how I got my soul? Guess I should clear that up. Sorry, Brendan old buddy, thought I’d covered that. Back in the day, I was a mean son of a bitch. Angelus, the Scourge of Europe. Killing, raping – having a hell of a good time. Then these fucking gypsies cursed me. Shoved my soul back in so I could suffer.
Yeah, back. No, the soul is gone when you’re turned. A demon takes over the body. They put the soul back. No, the demon was in there too. Yeah, it was crowded. Not to mention confusing as hell. A lot of changes in a hundred and fifty years, even back then.
So I’d suffer! Why else? Demons don’t care, they just kill! A soul – a soul makes the difference. I wasn’t a bad guy before I was turned. Sure, I drank and whored about, but I was young. I never hurt anybody. Last thing I remembered was Darla biting me and then shoving her tits in my face – suddenly there’s all these memories of killing and torturing – made me a little crazy. I even ate rats.
What does sex have to do with it? Not a thing. Oh, the thing with Darla? No, no, that was just stupidity on my part, thinking that would work. Sex was just sex. I still got laid whenever I had the urge. There was this trio of witches – that’s really another story though. But then – oh... God... I met Buffy. She was pure and sweet. Innocent… oh… she was so... innocent. Perfect, tight little body, my hands fit – Talk about her like that again and I'll snap your neck! Breasts, not tits – and you don’t even think about her breasts!
Sorry, I ah – I’m sorry. You okay there, Brendan? You may have a bruise there. Lost my temper for a second. Buffy was the Slayer. The Slayer slayed – hence the title – vampires. Kind of a conflict? You don’t know the half of it. You don’t…
Yeah, I loved her. Still do. Here, here’s a picture. No, they didn’t have holopics back then. But see how her eyes are green? That means she’s happy. They were gray when she was sad. Hazel? Yeah, that’s the word. Her nose crinkles up when she grins, too, see? Impish, that’s my word for it.
She did. I don’t know why, but she did. Everybody tried to tell her it couldn’t work – hell, I tried to tell her. I tried to stay away from her – you’re right, I couldn’t. Thank you, she is beautiful, isn’t she?
Huh? Sorry. We made love one night. And found out there was a loophole in my curse. It seems that if I had a moment of perfect happiness – of true peace – then I’d lose my soul. That’s what I said! What the fuck kind of curse is that? And the fucking gypsies followed me around for a hundred years to be sure I didn’t get happy.
It is stupid, isn’t it? Between you and me – I think the guy that wrote the spell screwed ‘em. The only other thing we could ever think of was that they figured I’d kill whoever made me happy, and that would hurt me like I hurt them when I killed that girl of theirs.
I didn’t say it made sense, Brendan. Long story short, I – as Angelus – stalked her. Sent her presents. Simple things like roses, dead bodies – well they’re presents as far as vamps are concerned. Sure, oh yeah! Could have killed her a lot of times. I didn’t kill her because I wanted her – I wouldn’t admit it, but I loved her, too. Yeah I know what I said, but the soul tainted the demon – and Angelus was as crazy about her as Angel ever was.
How’d I get it back? Willow slapped it back in just in time for Buffy to skewer me like Sunday dinner and send me to hell.
No, not hell on Earth. Hell as in… ah… hell. Demons, fire, brimstone? Actually, there’s a lot of different dimensions that fit the description. I was there, oh, I dunno… couple hundred years or so. And let me tell you, hell is not the fun place you’d think it is.
Beat me? Beaten, tortured, starved, raped – pretty much on a daily basis. Until I was crazier than – no pun – hell. Then suddenly, I’m yanked out and back in Sunnydale. With no freaking clue how I got there or why. For a long time I thought it was divine intervention. That The Powers That Be brought me back to make amends. To help the helpless. To help save the world. And one day if I was a good and brave little vampire, and ate all my B negative? Why, I’d get to be a real person!
And you know what? Exactly! Shanshu is a lie! I saved the world and no cookie. No cookies for me. Huh? Cookies? Buffy logic. I’d explain, but I never really understood it myself.
Her logic was better than mine, though. I left her, had this crazy idea that without me Buffy could have a normal life. What the fuck was I thinking? She was the Slayer! She was never going to have a normal life!
Stupid me, I run off to LA to help the helpless. So convinced I was making up for all the people I’d killed. That I was gonna be human one day. And live happily ever after in my little human life. You want to laugh your ass off? I actually was human for one day.
Yes. Yes I was. This Mohra demon – they regenerate – got his blood in a cut on my hand. Wham! Thumpa-thumpa! Heart’s-a- beatin’! Then – probably shouldn’t tell you this part – me and Buffy got naked and nasty right on the kitchen table. And the floor, and the bed, and – pretty much any place we could insert tab A into slot B. Then like an idiot, I gave it back.
Because I was a total fucking moron, that’s why! Well, to be fair, the toga twins made it sound like Buffy would die before she was supposed to because I was human. Said she’d die “sooner”. They took back the day. Nobody remembered but me. Yeah, it’s sad, but I actually figured the suffering was all part of what I deserved.
Then Buffy died. A year and a half later. I gave it all up and she fucking died anyway! And I wasn’t even there! So how did my being human or not being human even matter? You think? I went crazy. Completely crazy. Tore my room up – busted stuff – tried to kill myself. Wes tranked me, I woke up chained to my bed, and I had to lay there while he read his damned prophecies to me. He who talks to hamburger statues for the answers to life's great mysteries, he has the answer! Buffy was supposed to be there for the End of Days, so she couldn’t really be dead.
No, he wasn’t lying. Buffy was dead. But Willow couldna leave her rest. She brought her back. Fucked her. No! Jesus, Brendan, that’s sick! And kind of a turn on now that I think about it. Fucked as in screwed. Buffy was in heaven and Ms. Wonder Witch pulled her out.
That’s what I said. Well, I said a lot more actually. And Buffy was… she wasn’t… right. A shell of who she’d been. Can’t blame her. One time she tried to describe it to me. Warm, safe, bright, and – well you try describing heaven. Then she woke up in her coffin and had to claw her way out. Coffin? It’s a box. They didn’t just vaporize bodies then. They put you in a box and buried it under six feet of dirt. Well, vaporizing isn’t exactly civilized either.
Moron that I was, I went to see her and was so glad she was alive that I told her we shouldn’t see each other anymore. I know, I know! But I was afraid – commitment issues? I don’t have commitment issues – I had soul issues. I had to keep dragging up evil things I did while I was driving to see her. I was scared shitless that I’d get too happy and lose my soul. And then on the way back, I didn’t have to worry about it. All I could see was those big gray eyes and her broken heart showing in them.
Buffy's like a drug though, and I was the biggest junkie you’ve ever seen. Took some time, but we started talking and seeing each other again. I told her about the shanshu – she kept calling it “sushi” and “soulshine”. It was so cute. No, she isn’t stupid! She just did that, it was part of her Buffy image. You see, she was really, really smart – but she didn’t want people to know. No clue, again we’re back to the Buffy logic.
With her on the shanshu train, I let myself get sucked back into it. I was Mr. Saving The Helpless And Making Amends. God, I was so stupid! Even when I went to Sunnydale and gave her the damn amulet to help stop the First and – the First Evil. Hey, I don’t make these names up, you know.
Buffy and I did this little dance of “no, let me wear it” when neither of us had any intention of wearing the damn thing. For one, it was tacky as hell, and for another, whoever was wearing it was going to fry. No happy ending there. Do not pass Go and do not collect $200 – or any freaking cookies. So we decided to let Spike have it.
Spike? He was my grandchylde – though I raised him – Dru just played with him. He was watching us. I could smell him and Buffy could sense vamps, so we knew he was there. Yeah, he was a vamp too, sorry to confuse you with the grandchylde stuff.
Dangerous? That’s a laugh! This bunch of government loonies stuck a chip in his head that zapped him any time he tried to hurt anybody. Like those force fields they have at stores. Yeah, only worse. Pretty much defanged him. He hung around trying to get into Buffy's pants, and she let him a few times. Jealous? Well of course I was jealous! But she needed to get laid, and I knew she’d never love him. Safe sex. He stepped over the line one night and tried to rape her, and then he took off. Smart, too, I’d have –
He couldn’t hurt anybody – humans anyway. Buffy was… not… she was different, like I said. When she came back she wasn’t totally human anymore. Spike found out he could hurt her. When she told him she was tired of him and his skinny dick, he tried to show her he loved her. Nothing says love like rape. Nah, she kicked his bony ass. Right, right, he probably thought that would make her go “oooh that was so wonderful, I love you sooooo much! Let’s get married and be Mr. and Mrs. Spuffy!" He was stupid that way.
Spikey ran off and got himself a soul somehow – he always did want to be me. Dressed like me, wanted my women – you know how it is. Can’t say as I blame him though. First I was the most vicious, cunning, and ruthless vampire ever sired and then I was a fearless champion for good. As a father figure, I kicked ass.
So anyway, Spike fried, Sunnydale sank, and Buffy came to LA. We both waited for the shanshu. Yeah, I know what I said, but seeing the End of Days and the big battle – there actually was world peace for maybe a week – it made me a believer all over again.
When I told her about shanshu, you should have seen her. All happy and excited – her eyes turn green when she’s happy – did I tell you that? We even started making plans after she came to LA. A house, 2.5 kids, the whole ball of wax. Then we waited. And waited. And we waited some more. And then we finally got it.
That’s right! Give the man a prize! Shanshu was a lie! A big fucking lie! Know what made that light bulb pop on over our heads? Oh, come on, take a guess. No, not the waiting. I’ll give you a clue: Spike.
That’s what I said, Spike. He popped up one day, naked as a jaybird, in the hotel courtyard at high noon. He should have, yeah. Had he been a vampire. But he didn’t burn because humans don’t burst into flames in the sun.
Yeah, you got it. Actually…he got it. “The souled vampire will shanshu”. It just didn’t say which souled vampire. Wrong? Wrong doesn’t even begin to cover it. Screwed – fucked – shafted – all that and more.
Thank you, appreciate that, but it really doesn’t help. I was sorry enough for – hey, baby! Buffy, meet my friend, what was your name again? Brendan? Buffy, this is Brendan.
Dead? What makes you think Buffy was dead? I was just getting to that part, Buffy. Just saving the best for last. You see, Brendan, when we figured out that we weren’t going to get our happy ever after human life, we decided to have a happy ever after immortal life. We fucked our brains out – what? Sorry, baby. Look at that, isn’t that the prettiest pout? Give Daddy a kiss, baby. Mmm...
There was moonlight and rose petals scattered across the bed. Wine and soft music, all very romantic. Yeah, God, I love that sexy smile. We made love, two – three times, wasn’t it, Buffy? One quick hump does not happiness make, you know. If you do it right, it takes a good… long… hard while… It was our last fu – night together. We wanted it to be perfect. So there you have it, Brendan. Good talking to you.
No, that’s pretty much it. The curse? Kicked right in while we were working on that fourth time. I had those perfect little titties in my hands and my tongue in her mouth when – bam! Bye bye, Soul Boy!
That’s right, I’m – I’m – I’m! Angel–us? Angel – Angelus. We’re all the same. My memories and his all smashed together till it’s hard to tell who did what sometimes. She is indeed. I – I – I – you got a little stuttering problem going on there, Brendan. I – I – I – turned is the word you’re looking for. What’s that, baby? Sired. She loves that. Sired. Listen to that purr…
Smile for Daddy, baby. Oh yeah… I sired Buffy. First I fucked her hot little body a couple of dozen times. Put her through her paces. Oh baby, yeah! Put me through my paces, too, didn’t you? Look at that grin, the way her nose crinkles. What’d I tell you, Brendan? Impish, am I right? Jesus, she’s beautiful.
We had fun, didn’t we lover? Just a little nap here and there between hot monkey love. Fucked her till we were both worn out, then I suckled down that sweet Slayer blood while she sucked down mine. Good memories, aren’t they, Buffy?
Sorry, Brendan, there’s more, but my baby’s hungry and I hate to make her wait. To feed anyway. Don’t whine – have a little dignity. We were having a good time, don’t spoil it. Okay, okay – just a little more. I sired Buffy, she rose the next night, we killed anybody who might be able to do the fucking gypsy spell and stuff our souls back. Then we killed everybody else we knew just for the hell of it. There you go, there’s the end of that story.
Just relax. Brendan, it only hurts for a second or two. Spike? Sorry, buddy, that’d take too much time. His death was way too slow and painful for one telling. Here, baby, I’ve got him all ready for you – let me tip his head out of your way. She’s got a great touch, Brendan… come on, baby… do it for Daddy…
Oh yeah, Buffy… baby… I love to watch you do that. I envy you, Brendan… that cool punch of her fangs… the pull of your blood… ummm… The way your cock gets so hard you think you’re gonna fucking die…
Buffy, baby… drink him down, lover… oh yeah… you’re a vicious little thing… Daddy loves you, baby… bite him harder… I can’t wait to make love to you…
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