Satisfied he returns to the bed, looking down at the still, dead, form of Elena. Even as he settles comfortably to wait for her waking he’s amazed – to all senses the beautiful creature is an inanimate corpse, but still she moves slightly in his arms to press against him. To remind him of delicious softness, of curves and lips, of a hunger which can never be satisfied, and of feelings so good they could only be called sin.
Why, he wondered in the still room, why he always sought her out when troubled by loss, or by women. Loss. Too much loss in too short a time. Names and faces, scents and meetings, all easy to summon. But no feeling, no emotion other than hunger, and desire, and anger. Anger burning deep within, a caged tiger inside demanding justice. Vengeance. Blood for blood, death for death. The old code.
Demands that Dix knows he cannot give in to, but anger he carries with him. Anger that strikes out when he cannot control himself. Anger that will consume him, or lead to other disaster.
As his bedmate starts to stir Dix runs a finger lightly over her side where a pink scar is fading, where his claws were not playing lovers games, where his anger had become too great and his brain too clouded. Where the tiger had gotten loose, and so the man become the caged beast.
From somewhere a breeze starts a silk drape, rich decoration for this Daeva’s lair. The white silks movement, dancing in the moonlight, rippling in the wind brings a small, sad smile to him as memories of other white silk, dancing and rippling in moonlight. He bends to place a kiss on the arched neck of the woman in his arms, but in his mind Dix is dancing slowly on a balcony “Elly” he murmurs.
The muttered reply of “Morning love” comes with a slight twist that brings delicious contact between the still slumbering woman and the increasingly awake man, bare flesh on flesh, silk against leather under the satin sheets.
In the dim light her hair spreads along the pillow as she half turns, raising a hand to stroke his temple, a sultry smile on her face. But in the half-light colour is washed away and the face Dix sees isn’t hers but that of his cousin, tall and beautiful like most of the women in his life. A trick of the light casts a shadow across Elena’s neck for a moment and brings a sudden shudder across Dix’ frame.
She raises a concerned hand to his chest, fingers planting seeds of lust even as they mean to calm, “what is it?” she asks with a low voice, full of promise. Dix shakes his head, how can he say that for a moment where she lay he saw his kitty kat with her throat opened to the night, slain by a nothing who was foil to someone else, someone he can’t act against.
So instead he smiles and bends to kiss her, knowing that anything he says will ring hollow to the ears of one who knows him well, and she responds. After a long moment they pull away and he looks at her, smile still there and she sees his eyes bloodshot in the darkness. Images flick through his mind, a laughing cowgirl daring him to throw himself time and again from a great height in order to sprout wings – and then the feeling, better than drink, better than speed, better than sex, better than anything; the feeling of air beneath his wings as he flew. Images of dead lovers, beautiful women now just ash on the wind, and nothing to be done. No revenge, no-one to strike, nothing. Images of other women, swimming in the pool, naked in the moonlight and unsteady on brandy with lust in the eyes but unspoken. Of loss and hunger, a desperate embrace, the sweet heady sensation of the Kiss from one who he would never have thought – and the delicious, wonderful, terrible burning, the coppery heaven of sweet vitae from the delicate neck of someone he shouldn’t. Someone he knows he should avoid for now. Someone he cannot help but be drawn to.
He thinks for a moment of responsibilities, of the pretty academic who demands subterfuge from him that she’ll have a measure of safety, of the young, desperately young, engineer who desires to be Unconquered, and asks his help, of the rowdy Scot who wears his colours, and the others who do the same and look to him for leadership, for guidance. Who are responsible for the edge of drunkenness still in his veins? What was that woman’s name anyhow? She’d tasted good. He thinks of others, debts owed or owing, pledges of loyalty and friendship, ties of blood and bonds born in battle.
Others too fill his mind, women of all shapes and sizes, colours and clans, those he’s drawn to or repelled by. From across the world they come, the ones who call him through desire, the ones he’d love tenderly, the ones he’d fuck hard, the ones he’d hurt till they begged to stop – or for more.
A light scratch brings him to tonight. Fingernails running along his side, along the scar made by a jealous kindred’s blade so many, many years ago in the first and last duel Dix had fought. A scratch to bring him to himself, to the bed, with the glorious woman in his arms. He smiles, the eyes somehow less feral, and bends to kiss her forehead. In the darkness his whisper sounds clearly “Thank you, you’re here for me, you’re my rock El” and somewhere the tiger is locked a little more tightly, the ghosts stepping backwards “You remind me who I am”.