Shadow Dancing


by Aidan Boyle
1300832317|%e %b %Y, %H:%M %Z|agohover (updated 1300832429|%e %b %Y, %H:%M %Z|agohover) | 0 comment(s)

IC Date: March 10, 2011 — a few hours after midnight

This episode follows 'Kill the Messenger'

He’s barely a man; really, not much more than a boy. Nineteen if he’s a day, twenty if she’s feeling generous, but legal all the same and he’s perfect for what Kim needs tonight. He’s a beautiful brown haired, doe-eyed bronze skinned beauty with rock hard abs, solid arms and soft, kissable lips. He introduced himself as Rick, but Kim knows he’s no more a Rick than she is a Lisa, and that’s just as well too. It doesn’t matter. After tonight she’ll never see him again.

Kim brings him back to her place because Rick had flatmates and as much as Kim knows (and doesn’t care) that he’ll be bragging to all his mates about how he scored with a cougar come tomorrow, she’s not going to give his flatmates free passes to eavesdrop. Besides, it’s so much easier to kick them out afterward, shoving their clothes at them and pushing them towards the door; much easier than getting dressed and sneaking out.

Rick is remarkably adept at kissing, although he’s somewhat heavy handed and over eager. Kim reminds herself that he’s young and it’s his youth of which she wants to take advantage. He’s pretty and smart enough that he stopped asking questions and knows when to just let her take the lead. And there’s really nothing to say once they’ve stumbled into her dark flat, bodies trying to physically occupy the same space and her jacket is tossed somewhere and her purse and keys hit the floor with a thud and a clang and Rick is pressed back against the door of the flat and hands and lips are everywhere and —

Kim freezes. Some other sense, some deeper awareness kicks in and though her body is still in the moment, her mind isn’t. She flails blindly, missing the light switch but grasping the cord of the window blind. It goes up with a loud swoosh and stutter, filling the living room with ambient outdoor night light and startling Rick.

Rick manages to ask, “Hey babe, what’s wrong?”

She ignores him in favor of scanning the living room. The sweep of her gaze stops when it comes to rest on the figure seated on the love seat, pale skin against hair dark enough to fade into the shadowy blackness, and eyes two sterling coins shining in the pale light.

“Aidan!” Kim hisses. “What the bleeding hell -”

“Whoa? Who’s Aidan? I thought you lived alone.”

The Vampire is settled perfectly in the shadows, deep enough so that Kim can’t fully make out his features even with the one window blind open. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t hear the annoying smirk in his voice. “Don’t stop on my account. The show's just getting started, innit?”

There’s a moment where Kim wants to march over to Aidan, grab him by the collar and forcibly — bodily — remove him from her home. It doesn’t matter that she knows she won’t be able to move him unless he wants to be removed, that he won’t leave unless he wants to leave. The urge is still there because her earlier mood has evaporated like water droplets from a hot skillet and it would be a satisfying response.

“A’right, lookit here then, I’m not into —”

Kim turns to look at Rick and he is suddenly far too young or she is far too old, or maybe it’s just that Aidan has managed to douse the entire situation with ice cold water simply by the very act of existing. “You need to leave.” There won’t be any excuses given, or any explanations either. It’s easier because a taxi brought them here, and Kim knows he has an iPhone in his pocket and another taxi is only a phone call away.

Rick looks at her and Kim can practically read his face as the thoughts flicker across his mind. His gaze darts between her and Aidan — the Vampire still sequestered deep in the shadows — and Rick puffs out, all youthful arrogance and strutting testosterone. “Is he your boyfriend or brother or somethin’ because —”

“The lady said that you need to leave.” One moment Aidan is across the room, the next he is standing in front of Rick, the only warning of his movement being the displacement of air as his preternatural speed closed the distance. A single pale hand holds Rick against the door, but Kim knows that it’s not the Aidan’s strength or even the element of surprise that holds the young man immobile. It’s the low, slightly intoxicating cadence of Aidan’s voice; it’s a tell tale sign that spells out that the Vampire is using his gift of glamor. “You are going to do just that. You will walk out of here, catch a taxi, go home and tell all your buddies that her jealous ex showed up with a cricket bat. Caught you with your trousers down.”

There’s a pause while Aidan steps back, and slaps Rick on the shoulder, “Now you should probably get going.”

Kim watches it all from the sidelines, never once considering interrupting or intervening. Yes, it’s impertinent and rude, and so many other adjectives which all describe Aidan on any given day. But, she knows that Aidan wouldn’t be here without good reason, and it’s easier to let him have his fun and do it this way. And I really don’t want to have to cover up a murder in my flat.

Rick seems confused and half-dazed as he looks around the flat. Then he reaches for the door and is stepping out of it, hurrying away as if the devil himself is chasing him down. Aidan waits until Kim closes the door before following up with, “Wow. Kim. You sure he’s done with his A-levels?”

A hundred different answers, equally as snarky, and about as many different answers go through her mind. For whatever Kim doesn’t voice a single one of them, settling for the most obvious response. “What are you doing here?”

“You didn’t answer your mobile.” Aidan gives a long suffering sigh, the tone of his words implying that somehow it is her fault that he’s in her flat, and that his presence here is an inconvenience to him. “Or your texts.”

“You didn’t page me 999.” Kim kicks off her shoes and reaches for the light switch. She looses a soft curse when the unexpected brightness stings her eyes and blinks in hopes of making them adjust to the light much more quickly.

Only the Vampire could make the slump onto her love seat look both effortless and graceful at the same time. Aidan swings his feet — shoeless, Kim notices — onto the nearby ottoman and tilts his neck against the back of the sofa. “It wasn’t a 999 situation.”

“Right. So you’re here because I didn’t answer, even though it wasn’t an emergency?”

“It’s called courtesy, Kimmy.” Aidan’s head rolls in her direction and those blue eyes bore into her for a moment. There’s something in the look that Kim can’t place, that makes her take a step toward him before she remembers that he ruined her night and has invaded her space without even a by your leave. “Oh, by the way sorry ‘bout your … date.”

“No you’re not.” Kim doesn’t have to pause to think about that. Aidan’s not sorry he interrupted her evening. Though he might be sorry that he didn’t get to play peeping tom. Which is a notion that she should find creepy. Kim doesn’t take the time to examine why she grows less and less unsettled by Aidan’s idiosyncrasies.

“Yes, I am a bit.” The dark head rolls back to face the ceiling and his eyes close. Aidan folds his hands across his chest. “Let’s face it, you really need a good shag. Well, you probably weren’t going to get it from Mr Barely Old Enough to Shave, but it would have been a shag. So halfway there. When was the last time you actually —”

“Oi!” The shout of interjection is a little bit louder than it probably needs to be. But there are just some lines I’m not going to cross with Aidan. The Vampire may own her — and there are days that Kim wonders if she’s more beloved beagle or prized dairy cow — but there are still boundaries, and unless he glamors his way around them, those will stay in place. “Stop right there. We’re not talking about that. It’s none of your business. We don’t talk about my sex life.”

“Why not?” Aidan looks in her direction again, and there’s a familiar, noticeable — and immature — teasing leer to his voice. “We talk about mine.”

“No. You talk about yours. I’m fine without knowing all the colorful details of your conquests.” A beat, and Kim has to add, “I’m fine with not knowing any details.”

“But you’re such a good listener. I could tell you all about the delicious little red head I met tonight? And all the wonderful things I wanted to do to her before we were so rudely interrupted?” The words are almost a whine, except that Aidan doesn’t whine, so that can only mean he’s poking at her, digging in phantom fingers to get a reaction. Kim stops to wonder why she is the only one who gets the pleasure of experiencing this side of Aidan Boyle: the man-child shoved into the body of a Vampire.

She rakes her eyes over him, ready to call it a night, and that’s when Kim really looks at him. Aidan is pale — more so than usual — the dark hair and eyelashes contrasting sharply against the pale flesh. His cheeks and lips are devoid of the pink tinge that carries him through the night after a feeding. Even his clothes aren’t his usual attire; the jeans and tee shirt are spare changes that Kim keeps in the closet for those ‘just in case’ emergencies.

Kim forgets their discussion, forgets everything as she drifts closer, settling to her knees beside him. On closer inspection there are faint bruises, and several bite and claw marks on his arms and neck. She imagines that they’re on his torso as well. Kim frowns, concern lacing her voice as her hand gently sweeps the hair back from his forehead, while she continues her visual examination. “What happened to you?”

“I don’t know what you mean.” Aidan sounds utterly bored. The Vampire folds his arms across his chest, throws one ankle over the other. He doesn’t open his eyes to look at her.

“Yeah, you do. Aidan, what is this … you’re -” Kim brushes fingertips over the claw rake that peeks from the collar of his t-shirt and disappears beneath. It’s only the low, warning growl that makes her remove her hand and cease and desist. “What the hell happened to you? Were you in the Undercity?”

“Ach now she’s worried.” The strength of his Irish accent is telling to Kim’s ears. Aidan isn’t as in control as much as he might want her to believe. “Ya do realize that this’ll all heal as soon as I’ve properly fed?”

“Then why haven’t you?”

“‘Ave you seen what’s fer dinner down there?” Disdain colors the words, but they’re delivered in that thick Irish burr; low and heavy so much that Kim wonders how deep Aidan’s injuries go. Not that he’s likely to admit to anything, wielding that smug bravado that he has like a shield.

Dealing with her Vampire master — and in the dark, honest parts of Kim’s mind she can sometimes admit what he truly is to her — is as frustrating as hell. For all the inroads she makes with Aidan, Kim feels as though she never truly catches up with or gets ahead of him. He shows her the chinks the in the armor, gives her glimpses beyond the façade and then shuts up shop more tightly than a frightened virgin in a chastity belt. Aidan trusts her more than anyone else — or so he claims — but it’s clear as day that he doesn’t even trust her quite enough.

Though she doesn’t recall leaving his side and making her way to the kitchen, Kim isn’t at all surprised to find herself standing in front of the cabinet where she keeps the stronger spirits and pouring herself a shot of whiskey. Aidan sometimes (often) drives her to drink.

Kim tosses back one shot and then another for good measure. “Aidan. What are you doing here?”

He’s silent for so long that Kim begins to wonder if the Vampire slipped out while her back was turned. That would be so like him. She’s halfway through a turn to check on him when his words finally carry from the other room. “I may have attracted some unwanted attention. You weren’t answering your mobile, remember?”

The first thing Kim registers is that the accent has slipped back into what she’s more accustomed to hearing. It may mean that Aidan is recovering; it may also mean that he’s concentrating harder to keep himself under control.

The second thing that registers is that in his own way, Aidan has just admitted to being worried about her. Of course, his concern is likely not totally altruistic — as he’s so often pointed out, protecting her only helps to keep him safe — but she finds the notion a bit touching nonetheless. The warmth of the moment only lasts a few moments more though as her brain completes the march forward: there wouldn’t have been anything to worry about if he hadn’t gone and pissed off someone — or something — older, bigger and more dangerous than he is. It’s been years since he’s done such a thing, since before they came to London, but if she’s learned anything about Aidan, he basks in such reckless endeavors.

“Do I even want to know who or what it was this time?” Kim takes a third shot and shudders as it burns it’s way down her throat.

“What?” Genuine confusion carries in Aidan’s voice. It’s not often she can throw him a curve like that and have him not pick up on it.

The satisfaction is short lived. Aidan knows her too well. Or maybe he knows himself too well. Or maybe it’s that he knows that she knows him too well. It usually takes a few more shots than this to get me that twisted up in my head.

“No, it’s not like that. I like London. Don’t plan on leaving anytime soon,” Aidan says. “This is from the information broker. You know how that goes. Nothing is free.” Translation: dealing with "information brokers" is like handling a rabid pit bull; one does so at one’s own risk. They don’t deal in money or materials, but blood and oaths. Mostly blood, and Kim has seen enough of the sorts of cage matches and blood sports that come from that sort of information dealing that she truly hopes whatever information Aidan wanted was well worth it.

“What was it?” Kim asks.

“I’ll let you know when I get it.”

“You went and got your ass beat and you don’t even know if the information —” Her tirade is cut off in mid-sentence as Aidan is suddenly there in the kitchen. The Vampire slips up behind her without any warning, ignoring that there is even such a convention as personal space.

“Oh Kim, you’re worried about me.” Rolling amusement comes from Aidan, the words brushing the shell of her ear as he nuzzles into her hair.

Kim thinks that after so many years, she should be used to these mercurial mood shifts and territorial behaviors. She should certainly be used to how frequently Aidan ignores and disregards the mores regarding personal space. There is no reason for her heart to speed up or her breath to quicken as he presses in behind her, his hands resting on either side of her as he lowers his head and burrows his way through her hair to the nape of her neck. He’s a Vampire, a predator, pure and simple and though Kim knows all of this, somehow, sometimes Aidan still manages to take her off guard when he drops the mask and lets the demon within claw to the surface.

“You smell good,” Aidan whispers the words against her throat, and Kim’s breath catches at the hint of fang that scrapes her skin.

On some twisted, bizarre level the words are amusing because Kim knows that in Aidan’s mind — in that place where he is now, a good arm distance from pretending to be human but not entirely gone over to demonic yet — it’s a compliment. Of course, given his current state — hungry, horny and hurting — Kim reasons that a wet dog in heat would probably smell good to him right now.

When she shares that observation, Aidan looses a laugh, a low, thick dark thing that crawls along her skin and both terrifies and thrills her at the same time. “You are so very probably right.” Aidan’s tongue flickers against her pulse point. “I’m hungry, Kim.”

He underscores the words by pulling her back against him, one hand pressed to the flat of her abdomen. It’s not rough or hurtful, it’s surprising gentle actually, but in spite of that Kim knows that his grip is like steel and she won’t be able to move away unless Aidan allows it. And as his other hand skims up her arm to her neck, winding in her dark hair and pushing it aside, Kim is well aware that Aidan isn’t going to allow it.

More than that, she knows that all those bits of humanity that he wears are gone now, at least temporarily. He’s the predator and she’s the prey; he’s stronger and faster and if she doesn’t surrender, the demon will take what it wants with force. It should scare her; maybe on some primal level it does. Maybe it’s that basic fear that makes Kim’s heart beat frantically against her rib cage, maybe that’s the reason that her hands clutch at the solid arm around her waist.

Except that she welcomes it, and she craves it and she wants it. This speaks to that darkest part inside of her, that part that entered willingly into the bond she has with Aidan. That part that just knows fear has nothing to do with the short, sharp breaths that she’s drawing into her lungs; it’s not fear that pulls the soft whimper from her throat.

Kim is Aidan’s — his willing servant, his pet — and the only thing that scares her is that she’s no longer afraid of what that means.


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