...and now it is 4 a.m. and I should sleep.
half in love with easeful death. pg-13. spike/drusilla, the very beginning: where it starts with william pratt's dying breath.
You will remember this. It will embed itself in you—not in your soul, your temporary soul, that thing that gets traded like a playing card in a poker game you have long since lost (you were never good at cards) but in something deeper, in your core. The way it hurts. The way the pain starts and nips at the base of your throat, calling itself out of you, shaping itself into sounds you can taste in your mouth like coils of copper wire. It hurts. It will not stop hurting. It will never stop.
The shift is yours. Long before you are taught, you know. Deep in your marrow, before anything is lost or won, this comes first. It always will. You learn to love the pain.
Your knees buckle, you swoon like a maiden, and the enchantress that is your prince lays you down on softening straw with her thin sharp fingers. Eyes glowing like lanterns, she sucks your soul out of you. Slowly, sip by sip. You can feel it; you can see it hanging in red strings from her teeth. She brushes a scant kiss over your mouth. You can taste it, then: you, on her lips. There’s a limerick in this somewhere, but you forget to think in verse.
“Sweeter than cakes,” she says, and brushes her fingers over her mouth.
Her nails dip along the hollow of her pale throat, unfastening the buttons and slicing diamond shapes into the curved place meant to hold gems and kisses. She offers it to you. You drink and think of chalices, of grails. They sing ballads about this, but you forget to think in verse.
You know the ballads, the books, the heroes and the saints. You have been to university, you have seen the Pietà, if not for yourself, studied the Italianate etchings on parchment paper. It does not look like this. Mercy does not look like this.
She holds your head in her lap. The images flicker behind your eyes. Your sins die in her mouth: few and weak, and she swallows them clean.
There will never be another confession. The back of your throat is wordless, full of blood that is not yours. You drink it like wine, which has never been this intoxicating.
Your head brushes down among the straw. She curls over you, knees pinned to your ribcage, dark curls brushing your face. She walks in beauty like the night. There is a poem about this, but you did not write it, you forget it while you still breathe. The words come apart like the black buttons of her dress. She crouches like a succubus, and you forget the word. Her knees dig into your ribs, bone adoring bone. She is less careful with the clothes you wear. There is blood on your collar already. You gasp, and not for pain. Your breath practices stopping again and again. Her hands over yours guide you to the gaps in the white fabric under her clothes, the cloth mouths that gape as she pulls and you pull until you can see her skin, gleaming.
Nothing rhymes with this.
Your throat tips to the sky, open. Beneath your skin, your blood lights up.
My knight, she calls you and cradles your head in her palms.
You are brave now. Remember this: it does not come in words.
The pain curls around you, inside you; it makes itself a home. You lie back, you sigh, you let your body fall, and you welcome it.
The last thing you forget is your name.