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Avengers Vingette - New Years 2010


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In A Distant Wood

Vampires don't sleep. This sounds like a blessing if you don't stop to think about it, a happy, cheerful way of gaining more time to live life to the fullest, a gateway to a world without fatigue, exhaustion, or the other curses of the flesh. But sleep isn't about the flesh, really, no more than it has to be. Sleep is about the mind and the soul, about the primal release of dreams and fantasies. A life without dreams becomes, so easily, a life without imagination, without feeling, without caring, without humanity.

Jack wasn't so lucky. Not tonight, not any night. Behind his eyes as he moved among his people, as he tried to hold together a fracturing coalition of young vampires, he heard the screaming and saw the blood. Taylor dying in agony as the monster spawned by their unholy love clawed its way from her midsection, the terrible reality of death and damnation as he slew the beast, the knowledge that his own existence was nothing but that of a miserable, foul parasite. Self-destruction wasn't easy for the blood of the Dragon, but there were ways. Oh yes.

But what good would that do? What good would that do anyone? Dwelling on the horror of the universe wasn't a terribly satisfying thing, not when it only worked to expose his own blasphemous nature and did nothing to actually solve any of the problems he and Taylor faced. She might not die. The baby might not be a monster. He'd turned away from the dark impulses of his blood; many of his people had done the same.

You've seen small children, came that voice whispering in his ear as he sat on the throne that was his symbol of office, a dark prince in black and white. Child vampires, too. You know what they're like... He pushed that thought aside too, though it certainly wasn't easy. Taylor had made her decision, he'd made the very difficult choice to stand by her decision. The many grim possibilities of the future were beyond his control.

What he needed to do was embrace the future as it stood, despite the sheer terror with which he contemplated that possibility. He'd need to be there for Taylor, be there for her as a man and as a partner, and trust that fate and the hard work of their friends would protect both of them, no, the three of them, from the horrors of the world around them.

That night, after they made love, he caught himself sitting up and watching Taylor, the moon shining in through the window sparkling ever-so-slightly as it passed through the tempered glass to light them both. He loved her as he'd never loved anyone; embracing her as a representation of all the best parts of humanity in love with all the good parts of himself. Could what lay ahead of them be so terrible?

Could their son?

Well yes, of course he could. But as Jack watched Taylor sleep, he vowed to be there with her. Whatever happened.

"Till death do us part," he whispered, reaching across the bed to stroke her hair.

But then again, Jack was dead to begin with.

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