Coming of Age
Queen of Cups

Rated NC-17


Pairings: Angelus/William and Spike/Dru (implied)

Disclaimer:  Joss is king of the world.  Bow down.

Summary: A siring tale.

Acknowledgements:  Zigi - always in the credits...aren't you bored?  Kita - archive queen.  Thanks Mom!

Coming of Age
By Queen of Cups

Leaving the Rutherford house, Cecily's insults ring in my ears. 'Beneath her' she said.  I laid everything I felt for her at her feet and she poured her withering scorn over it all.  I have loved Cecily Rutherford since we were eight years old, now I flee from the familiar surroundings,
fighting the unmanly tears which threaten.

My proclamation of love was perhaps ill-timed.  The main topic of conversation for certain of the guests had been my infamous nickname of William 'the Bloody'.  Hardly fitting to discuss it in mixed company, but then Arthur Wilkins is an uncouth person - always has been. Were it not for his connections, I doubt that he would be so readily welcomed in the bosom of the Rutherford's family.

She'll be sorry.  When she's married to a boorish, ugly spirited swine like that she'll think of me and wish she had been kinder to a man who wished only to love her.

A stronger person would have risen above the taunts.  A braver man may even have called him out and defended himself with vigour against such slander.  I am sad to confess, however, that I am neither of those things, and ran from their cruel laughter like a maidservant scolded, my face a shaming crimson.

Lost in my own self-pity, I have wandered through the streets to an area unfamiliar to me, filthy and crawling with whores and beggars.  I fear that I am lost.  Mama will be furious.  I promised to return directly from the party in time to read to her before retiring.  Now she will be already abed, and the morning will see her sarcastic and bitter.  I can almost hear her biting comments now, in the harsh whisper she uses for fear that the servants will hear what an inadequate son she has. I am in an alleyway that appears to stop in a dead end.  Turning to try another route, I am confronted by the sight of a woman - no, a lady - standing before me.  Looking down into her huge hypnotic eyes, I feel as though she is reaching inside my head and taking out my innermost thoughts.  She speaks, offering me everything I want - power, love, influence.  Her words hardly seem important at all.  This delicate, elfin creature may have whatever she wants from me, if she will only continue to look at me with that expression on her face.  Her features twist suddenly, and I am afraid, yet not so afraid that I cry out or run.  The fear is vague - like a nightmare on waking.  When I was a boy, like most children I attended Sunday school.  There was a book there which had a vivid depiction of hell in it.  There was a creature in the picture which was supposedly feeding on a sinner while he screamed in agony.  The face which now looks at me, hunger in her eyes, looks for all the world like a living version of this fearsome illustration, yet I cannot help but be drawn to her.  Whatever her question is, my answer is a hearty "Yes!".

I must have fallen, for I am lying prone on the hard cobbles of the alley.  Everything is dark.  Opening my eyes, I become aware that some time must have passed since I closed them, for the noise of the city has calmed, and silence reigns.  I feel a dull knawing pain in my throat and raise my hand to investigate.

"Don't worry at it, my love.  I had to give the prince a kiss to wake him up, that's all."

"What happened?"

"Nothing has happened yet, my Prince.  It may happen though, if you are worthy.  I am the fairy Princess and it is time for you to meet the King.  Come my Prince - Oberon awaits us"

She claps her hands with childlike joy, and I believe it is at this point that I am struck by the truth of her soaring insanity.  She takes my hand and begins to lead me away.  I cannot say why, but I am compelled to do whatever she wishes.  This is a dream.  What harm can come in a dream?  The walk is long, and while we walk, the young woman's conversation fills the air with musical nonsense. Like birdsong, it follows no pattern, her will-o-the-wisp mind taking her whichever way the wind blows, but the beauty of the sound is not diminished by its lack of structure.  I discover that her name is Drusilla and that she is taking me to meet her father.  Little more of what she says makes any sense and much is incoherent, yet her ramblings achieve a poetry I can only dream to imitate.

Finally, we reach a large house in a fashionable street.  As we enter, I attempt to smooth my hair and brush off my clothes.  I must look a fright.  If I am truly to meet this fairy's father, I must attempt to make a decent impression, at least.  There is no mirror that I can see in the hall, and little light to see by, anyway.  Drusilla runs up the stairs before me, pulling me along behind her.  She is giggling and I must say that her excitement is infectious.  We burst hand-in-hand through the door of a darkened drawing room.  Two people turn to look at us.  The woman standing by the fire is a beauty.  She looks impatiently at Drusilla with a questioning look toward me.  Of the other, I can see a pair of long legs stretched out from a wing-backed chair, but the light is behind him and I cannot see his face.  He draws the blonde woman close and there is a brief exchange.  She looks a little crossly at us, then withdraws.  As she does so, I notice a large gilt mirror hanging over the mantel and glance into it to check my appearance.  There I am, looking a little wild-eyed but neat enough, I opine.  What causes me to gasp with shock is that I cannot see Drusilla.  She is standing beside me, still holding my hand, yet although I can see the door behind her, she casts no reflection in the glass.

"Daddy, this is William"

The man rises slowly from the armchair.  He is tall, and his dark hair is kept long and tied behind him in the style of bygone years.  Almost impossibly handsome and broad of shoulder, his deportment suggests a skilled horseman.  His face and figure show him to be not so very much older than myself, yet his confident air and languid manner bespeak a man very much my senior.  He looks at me with frank amusement, then drawing closer seems to almost scent the air, like an old salt testing the wind.  He whispers a few words to Drusilla who looks disappointed. He smiles at her gently and kisses her forehead.  The look they exchange is far from filial.  More ... carnal.  She lets go of my hand and withdraws sulkily from the room, leaving me utterly alone with this man whom, I will confess, terrifies me although I cannot say why that is.  The silence of the room is broken only by the crackling of the fire, and there is no light, save for that same source.  He circles slowly, until he is standing at my shoulder.

"I am Angelus.  I would ask you what your intentions are toward my daughter?"  His voice carries the scent of the Emerald Isle, though faintly as though he left long ago.  Despite my fear, I recognise how musical it is - just as I had with his daughter.  Daughter?  How could that be?  She must be his ward or sister or some such, for he is far too young to have a daughter her age surely?  I begin to stammer a reply.  He laughs in the face of my obvious discomfort. "Your intentions are unimportant, boy, whatever you think they may be.  My Drusilla has will enough of her own." He puts one finger under my chin, gently pushing my head back and to the side, exposing my aching throat.  "I see she has already greeted you in the traditional way."  His finger slides along the length of my jaw oh, so slowly and the look in his eyes changes from amusement to ... hunger.  My mind is full of questions, but his presence and proximity speak directly to my body.  In an attempt to conceal my condition, I pull myself away to the mirror to examine my throat.  An ugly wound resides there, still sore to the touch. A light hand on my shoulder causes me to jump quite violently, as I have seen no-one reflected behind me.  He laughs softly.  "Steady now, boy.  We wouldn't want you to hurt yourself, now."  He lifts his hand from my shoulder and returns to his armchair, motioning that I should sit in its twin opposite him.  "So tell me all about William, and why he comes to my house at this hour trying to steal my girl away"

I assure him that I had no such intention, yet he seems uninterested.  He asks me instead if anyone will miss me if I stay at the house until morning.  My thoughts turn to my mother.  She is an early riser, and will surely know if I return at such an hour.

"Are you close to your mother, William?"

I tell him about my mother's condition, how she can never leave the house again.  I find myself becoming quite indiscreet, telling him about how my father left us when I was five years old, and how my mother never forgave me for not being the man she wanted me to be, while never allowing me to be a man at all.  I could feel anger building within for the first time in my life.  It wasn't me after all.  She was the one to blame.  Through all my catharsis, he sat listening intently and making no sound, watching me over his steepled fingers.  There was a pause.

"My mother is dead.  All my old family are dead.  Parents, sister - all of them."

"I'm so sorry..."

"Don't be.  It was a long time ago.  Longer than you could imagine."

He rises, and circles the room slowly, taking long, even strides.  He pauses by a small side table, where he picks up a rope of pearl beads that were lying discarded.  He picks them up, winding the pearls around his large hand and crosses the room until he is back at his chair once more.  "Women.  They leave their trinkets lying all over my house, then pout when they are lost."  He looks at me and I can see that the hunger that so affected me before has returned.

"You know what I think, William?  I think you need release.  I know your little secret.  I know about how you touch yourself at night.  I know that you have never known a woman.  I even know that you are excited by me.  You see, you cannot hide these things from me, boy.  I know too much for that." He draws a little closer and adds conspiratorially, "I don't mind you know - that you have no experience - but Drusilla will.  She is accustomed to a man who can offer her certain pleasures."

Part of me is shocked at the suggestion of his daughter's lack of virtue - but for the most part I am not surprised.  I am also becoming aroused again, a situation made painfully obvious by my ill-fitting trousers.  Angelus looks at me so closely that I fear he will burn through my very skull.  Then, leaning closer, he pulls my head close to his, taking a fistful of my hair to ensure immobility on my part.  He turns my head slightly to one side, again exposing the wound on my throat.  I feel his cheek brush against mine as he draws ever closer, and fear that I will again feel the burning pain inflicted before.  Instead I feel his lips, then his tongue on the tender area.  He licks like an animal cleaning a wound while a low, rumbling growl issues from his throat.  There is an air of energy held back, as though he were suppressing something.  Above all, the sensation of his mouth on my throat makes me want to gasp with pleasure.  I can feel his hand straying to my groin, pressing against my hardness with strong fingers.  With a few deft touches I am released from my clothing and his hand, still bound with pearls, circles my erection. I clutch at him, lost in pleasure so intense I lose sight of everything in the room save for his demanding mouth and insistent hands.  The sensation of the beads rubbing against me is almost unbearable.  They are cold and hard as is the hand that encases them, but they deliver such pleasure.  "Oh God!" I hear the words and the voice is mine, but they are alien to me. Finally, I can contain myself no more, and release my seed in a white-hot rush.  Immediately, I am embarrassed and scramble to cover myself.

Angelus, however, is merely amused.  "God," he says, idly licking his fingers, "has nothing to do with it." When I am composed once more, though still unable to meet his eye, he places a cool hand on the nape of my neck and guides me toward the door.

"It is past time for me to retire, young William.  I will summon a carriage and you may call upon my daughter again tomorrow evening if you wish."  I am the very spirit of confusion as I look at his face, illuminated by silver pre-dawn light.  I am comforted, however, by the look of tacit understanding in his deep brown eyes.  Eyes which are strangely streaked with gold.

Dawn is quickening the Eastern sky as I arrive home.  Seeking to disturb the household as little as possible, I enter through the tradesman's door and the kitchen where Mrs Eaves, the cook and Elsie, the scullery maid are bustling and gossiping.  Mrs Eaves looks at me knowingly as I pass by.  I do believe she thinks that I have spent the night carousing.  She would not be entirely mistaken, would she?

Ascending the main stairs, I have to pass my Mother's rooms to reach my own.  I pass her door hoping to get to bed before she rises.

"William?" Her voice is strong for an invalid and over the years I have come to dread this tone that she is currently employing.

I enter the room with trepidation.  Mother is sitting up in bed, her shawl pulled tight around her shoulders and an expression of disgust on her face.

"Yes, Mama"

"What is the meaning of this?  How dare you come home at this hour?"

I search for a suitable explanation as she vilifies both me and my errant father.  She begins to cry - a weapon she employs often in her armoury - and I grope in my pockets for my handkerchief.  As I do so, I discover the extra weight in my jacket, which I had thus far ignored, was caused by the rope of pearls which had somehow found their way there.  Touching them recalled memories of night and that recollection seems to strengthen my spine.  I realise that I have assumed the posture of a surly child - head hanging, shoulders rounded. Pulling myself straight, I look at the woman on the bed.

"Enough, Mother.  I am tired.  I am going to bed.  We will discuss this later."

Turning my back on her gasp of shock and expression of incredulity, I retire to my room to sleep. My dreams are haunted by the girl with the faerie face and boundless love and the man with the cool ironic smile and the golden eyes.  In my dream I am theirs and they are mine.  We are bound together in such a way to make even the bonds of blood seems meaningless.  I have never experienced joy to equal it.

I wake knowing that I have slept away the whole day, the twilight outside the window and the hour on the clock merely confirmation of it.  Examination of my wardrobe yields a sense of mild disgust.  There is nothing there which pleases me at all.  Selecting the least offensive of my garments, I attend to my toilet with a care and exactitude I have never afforded it in the past.  Finally content with my appearance, I retrieve the pearls from my jacket so that I may return to their owner later.  Slipping them into the pocket of my waistcoat, I cross the landing to Mother's rooms.   She greets me ungraciously.

"I see your father's vanity had finally overcome your better sense.  Look at you.  All primped and preened like a pretty girl.  I suppose it was just a matter of time... You're just like that lazy, good-for-nothing father of yours.  Well he didn't want you, and now neither do I.  You are a disappointment to me, William.  As lazy and useless as the idiot who fathered you..."  Her tirade goes on and on.  The same words I have heard so many times before, yet somehow, they fail to wound me as they always used to.  I think of Angelus.  His strength, his poise... I think of the feeling when he touched me...  My fingers are fondling the pearls in my pocket, running them through my hand like a rosary, each bead recalling a second of comfort and pleasure.  My decision is made...

Some instinct or sensory memory must have lead me back to the house, for I never once paused in the journey to check a street sign or a landmark.  Drusilla opens the door and I note that she has been crying.  Without even the commonest greeting, she hurls herself into my arms and weeps.

"Oh, William.  I have lost my favourite pearls.  The ones that Daddy gave me..."

Angelus is behind her.  He moves with the grace and silence of a cat, closing the door over my shoulder and gently but firmly untangling Drusilla's arms from around my neck.

"I already told you, child, they can be replaced.  Now don't fret my love, for I believe William is about to bring you some news to lighten your mood.  Is that not so, William?"

Drusilla is as changeable as the wind.  Her face brightens and she smiles at me.

"Are you going to be my new brother William?"

I nod.  There is no thought more dear to me at this moment than that of being a part of this family.

"Grandmother will be cross." Says Drusilla, a distinct lack of concern in her tone.

"Your Grandmother may be persuaded.  I have ways..."

Taking my arm, Drusilla leads me upstairs to a bedroom.  To my surprise, she defers to Angelus, who bids her leave us. He closes the door behind her retreating form.

"You are not yet ready for her.  Do you not think that you should become one of the family first?"

I nod assent.  Excitement is coursing through me, blotting out any fear that might be lurking.  Angelus transforms in the same way that his daughter had, his eyes now completely gold.  They bore into me and I am paralysed with a mixture of fear and longing.  I don't just want him... I want to be him.  He takes a fistful of my hair in his hand and with a growl bites deep into my throat, reopening the wound from the previous night.  I can feel blood flowing from me, and the sensation is a strong one.  In this form I am nothing.  Sustenance for such as he.  I must become more.  I feel his teeth withdraw from me, and his mouth caress the wound.  Instantly, I am as aroused  as I ever was.  He places his hand on my hardness and strokes it.  I close my eyes and exist in sensation only as I feel my clothing disappear under his practised hand, only the barest few movements required from me before I am naked.

Whenever I have had need to be unclad in the presence of others I have always felt ashamed - somehow.. more naked than anyone else. Now, here, with him, I feel only joy.  Reaching out to him, I can feel that he, too, is naked and I arch my body toward him, wanting nothing more than to press my skin to his.  His hands and mouth are cold, yet seem to burn where they touch.

I hear his voice whispering to me, "You are beautiful, William. Now I will make you mine"

He turns me over and, stroking me with one hand, he opens me with the other.  I feel his fingers work their way inside me and although the feeling is strange, I want more.  I can feel myself pushing against him, begging without words.  His hand moves to my hip and is replaced by tip of his erection.  I feel him pushing his way inside my tight opening.  He feels huge - far to large for me to accommodate, surely.  Yet I open up before him and he begins to thrust, pulling at my hips in opposition.  I can hear myself making unfamiliar, animal-like noises.  Gasping, moaning... He thrusts harder and harder and I feel a burning sensation within me.  The pain of it, like the pain of the bite before it, is sharp and sweet and only seems to add to the pleasure - heightening it, making it brighter.  His thrusts are wilder now, and he pulls my head back by my hair and bites again, drinking deeply.  I cry out - just once.  Then my hardness breaks and I reach my peak, heaving and convulsing.  Almost immediately, he withdraws from me and crossing to the washstand, he cleanses himself. I reach for my clothing.

"Not yet, young William.  You have a way to go, yet"

Joy leaps through me at his words.  I had hoped as much.  He returns to the bed and sits down.  Leaning towards me, he kisses my mouth.  I feel his cool tongue play around mine and return his kiss with ardour.  He breaks away and lowers his mouth to the place on my throat where he so recently fed.  He licks and nips at the wound which, despite the tenderness of the area, excites me.  He lifts his mouth from my throat and pulls my head to his erection, thrusting himself into my mouth.  I accept eagerly.  I want to give him the same pleasure he offered me.  I am unsure of the rhythm or technique required so he takes my head in his hands and guides the pace.  Soon he gives a low rumbling growl that I take to indicate pleasure.  A few more rough thrusts, and then I taste my reward.

Satisfied, he bids me lay down, and sliding down next to me begins to stroke my whole body possessively.  He is raised on one elbow, watching my face.  Then, without warning, he transforms once again and lunges for my throat, biting deeper than before.  The pain is severe, yet somehow that doesn't seem to matter.  I know it will pass.

Sure enough, the pain dissipates.  There is an unnatural darkness to the room now, and I have a feeling of... floating, of being outside of myself.  Through this, I hear his voice.

"Are you ready, child?"

I am trying to answer, but the words don't seem to come.  I attempt a nod.  From my vantage point above my body, I can see that it is enough.  Using one of his sharpened fingernails, he makes a deep scratch on his breast, then draws my head to him, like a mother nursing an infant.  I am drawn back to myself with a rush as his blood begins to flow into my mouth.  It tastes like... copper and roses and snow.  I begin to drink... I awake with a feeling of disjointedness. Much time must have passed, yet it feels like none at all. Raising my hands to my face, I feel the unfamiliar contours of my new features. Drusilla is at my side. She laughs joyfully and attempts to embrace me, but I am seized with a far stronger desire. My whole being is possessed of a hunger the like of which I have never known. I push the girl away from me roughly and scan the room for food.

Angelus is at the door and, smiling fondly, pulls something out from behind him. "Here William, this is what you need." His hand is locked, vicelike, around the arm of a young boy. He is the same two-a-penny kind of urchin that I have seen every day of my life in the city. In the past, these pathetic scraps of fatherless humanity have always moved me to pity. Now all I see in the whimpering brat is food. I seize the child and tear at his throat with my new razor-like teeth. I can hear his heart pumping faster and faster in his terror, forcing his blood into my mouth with even greater speed. Finally his harsh gasps for breath cease, and he goes limp in my arms. I drop his lifeless body carelessly on the floor. I can feel his blood flowing through me. Wiping my mouth on my sleeve, I am filled with euphoria.  I recognise that I have done something that should appal me, yet it does not. I am, for the first time ever, completely free from the burdens of guilt that have plagued me all my life. Nothing matters except my pleasure.  I am the feared instead of the fearful. Drusilla sits on the ground where she fell from my push and laughs like a child. I pull her to her feet and kiss her full mouth hungrily. She responds, kissing and laughing and joyful.  As we tumble back onto the bed, I can hear Angelus laugh softly as he closes the door...

We have taken a four wheeler to my former home. As we travel, I take the chance to survey my new family with fresh eyes. Grandmother Darla - ancient and elegant, she is aloof with me and indifferent with Drusilla. Only Angelus merits her hidden sensual warmth. Favoured as he is as her most beloved Childe, he treats her with casual affection. Drusilla is a maenad, a mythical scent on the breeze. She is poetry and music and dark flowers. She holds tightly to my arm, offering occasional affectionate glances and dainty caresses. I slip my arm about her narrow waist and press my lips to her temple. She closes her eyes and purrs ever so slightly. Angelus - well, Angelus is a breed apart. He can be cold and hard as diamond, yet I know his passion and fire to be greater than any of us. He watches the exchanges between myself and Drusilla with mild amusement, secure in the knowledge that ultimately we belong to him alone. If he demanded that I break with Drusilla, I would not hesitate. If he demanded I kill her, the same.

Sarah, the upstairs maid, opens the door to admit myself and my guests. The second the door closes, Angelus is upon her. She gives a piteous squeak as he takes her by the throat. His feeding is swift, as is her death. He and Darla then make for the kitchen, to see if Cook will make them a good dinner, they say. Drusilla drifts through the house. Sniffing here, touching there. Then with a squeal she rushes upstairs toward my Mother's rooms.  Moments later, she is running back down like a whirlwind of happiness.  "Daddy, Daddy! I found my pearls." She shows him her find, gleefully "The old lady upstairs was wearing them... Very tight."


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