You had a temper like my jealousy,
Too hot, too greedy
How could you leave me,
when I needed to possess you?
I hated you.
I loved you, too.
Wuthering Heights, Kate Bush
We stood there holding each other. Weasel's arms enveloped me, resting just below the small of my back. I buried my face in his hair, letting my lips roam across his face, down his jawline, to his throat. It wasn't sex, of course. But it was damned well near it.
We were in our own little world. There was no one else. Nothing else but Weasel's tongue setting my frigid skin ablaze, his wet mouth sucking greedily. Each other's passion built upon the other, growing rapidly into a sweet rapture that swept both of us under. A spell that blotted out anything else . . .
Including Dala's presence. I didn't hear the door open. Wasn't even aware she was standing there until I heard her voice hit an octave that made my ears ring. "I knew it!"
Shit, the bitch must have tracked me down here and picked the lock. Why didn't it occur to me that my mind would have a signature and "feel?" Something like a scent. Of course she could find me easily because *vlaka* Angelo didn't bother hiding himself. And if she hadn't announced herself so obnoxiously, she could have just waltzed on in and staked both of us without us even realizing a thing until it was too late.
Fuck. My arrogance could have gotten us both destroyed. I was furious with myself for being so careless. I couldn't afford to be that careless again. Through the freshly renewed bond, Weasel felt my alarm before I could mask it. Which meant Dala could feel it without the bond.
Hell, this was gonna get interesting.
Since his mouth was occupied, Weasel used the bond to ask, - You want me to stop? -
No way, it felt too good . . . .
Hey, that was it! If I focused on the pleasure, I could confuse her.
As an answer to his more than slightly worried question, I let my tongue lovingly caress his neck, soothing as well as arousing him.
That was enough to reassure my love. - Thought so. - Soft laughter in my head, before his hungry lips were on me again.
After all, it wasn't as if Dala would know what we were doing anyway.
I lazily lifted my head and faced her. "Is there a problem?" I asked as if I couldn't care less. Actually, except for the possibility of retaliation on her end, I really didn't care.
"What do you think?" she retorted with biting sarcasm.
"I think you'll be more careful the next time instead of just barging in."
She glared at me, hands on her hips. "Is that all you can say? Don't barge in while you're screwing your boyfriend?"
"We did that before you got here, Dala."
Dala's nostrils flared, like a pretty bull. "You think it's a joke! Don't you feel you owe me an explanation?"
I gave her my sweetest smile. "Not really."
Weasel knew better but he snickered against my chest anyway.
"It's all YOUR fault!" Dala pushed hard against the side of Weasel's head, forcing us apart. Her eyes darted to his mouth, saw the blood, but she was not about to ask why it was there and Weasel was not about to tell her. Then she stared at my lips and her eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What the hell were you both doing?"
Because I knew it would piss her off even more, I bent over and we licked each other's mouths clean. "Is that better?"
Determined not to let me bait her, Dala tried to regain her composure. However, as adept as Miss Psi Vamp was at bringing out the strong and violent emotions of her victims, she was a novice when it came to concealing her own. The best she could do was sort of project a sense of self-righteous indignation. It would have been laughable if it wasn't for the rage prickling through. Amusing but unquestionably dangerous. I could not afford to underestimate her again.
She had the smirk down pat, though. Gave me the overwhelming urge to slap her.
Dala tried again. "You're not even sorry I caught you, are you?"
She didn't get it. Then again, a lot of people didn't. "Why? It has nothing to do with you. If you'd just waited like you were supposed to, you never would have known."
"And that justifies it?"
"It doesn't matter. I owe you nothing but what I promised you. Period."
"You promised me a lot of things," she declared.
"I promised you that I'd *consider* a business venture." I snapped, her holier-than-thou attitude getting on my nerves.
Without warning, something really ugly crossed over her pretty features. For a moment, her violet eyes glinted with malevolence, and the smirk became more of a baring of teeth. The barracuda emerged, only for it to submerge again.
What was she planning?
"Angelo," she suddenly asked nonchalantly, "Have you ever killed anybody?"
Where the hell did that come from? "Have you?" I shot back, for lack of knowing anything else to say. She'd caught me unprepared. Again. Damn it to fucking hell!
The reptilian smile came back. "It's all right if you haven't, there's always a first time."
Ah, I understood what she where she was leading. "You wouldn't be talking about my beloved, would you?"
Dala didn't bother to hide her disdain. "Your 'beloved,'" she mocked. "He's just a piece of fluff that will bore you after a while. He is not in our league, Angelo."
"And you want me to kill him," I said calmly. "Just because he's not your type."
"He's not yours either! Why waste your time with a pretty whore, when you can have someone who understands you? Your potential. What you can be."
"Because you and I are alike." I snorted with derision. "Honeychild, you have no idea what you're fucking with."
Weasel had been very still, not saying a word, just observing. Waiting. But he abruptly turned to face Dala and said, "What makes you think you're in OUR league?"
Dala's smile was spiteful. "Oh? Let's see what you're made of," she muttered.
A violent, excruciating seizure of pain sliced my skull in two, forcing me to stagger woozily, until I leaned against the wall for support. There were only two things that caused that kind of torment. Withdrawal or getting drained. None of which were happening to me.
Oh shit. Weasel. Dala had turned on him.
Through the bond I Shared Weasel's agony as Dala pounded his shield mercilessly. And his panic as she fastened upon him and began to feed . . .
All I could do was watch helplessly as Weasel crumbled to the floor. I couldn't even kill Dala because her psychic hooks were so deeply embedded in Weasel that anything I did would affect him as well. He was going have to fight this battle on his own.
I knew he could defend himself. I only hoped it was enough.
Fuck me. If I was going to experience this attack, I might as well go all the way. I slid down to the floor, still leaning against the wall so I'd be grounded somewhat. Then I let my consciousness merge with Weasel's, the two of us becoming one, until I was looking through Weasel's eyes as if they were my own. His thoughts were our thoughts. I'd become Angelo/Weasel.
Dala hadn't had any more luck in decimating his shielding than she did with mine. She managed to get to him by using a mental tentacle that was slithering against his shield, latching onto his fear, anger, and any other emotion that managed to leak out.
She felt my presence. - STOP PROTECTING HIM! - she demanded. It figured she'd think that.
I ignored her, mostly because I was too busy trying to remain conscious as he grew weaker. Weasel gathered whatever strength he had left and attempted to push her off him, but she hung on, siphoning his ripening fury, tasting for even more savory emotions.
And all the while, Weasel was growing angrier and crazier.
Out of nowhere, he decided to stop fighting and instead, he dissolved all barriers. Then, in a desperate attempt to survive, he seized her will with his as soon as she snaked in for the kill.
At first, she thought it was a joke, her laughter ringing in every synapse in my mind. Then she realized that this time it was Weasel who had his psychic teeth in her throat and she started to struggle. To no avail. All she was doing was wasting energy. Energy Weasel couldn't tap this way, but he *could* make her exhaust herself.
Only she was much more experienced and stopped herself when she realized what she was doing. A stalemate since Weasel wasn't about to let her go.
Dala suddenly got the full impact of Weasel's Tiger. She didn't know what it was, but she could sense its fevered rage, its insatiable hunger and it was overwhelming her. Pure sensory overload, but she couldn't shut it out because Weasel was force feeding it to her.
Now it was her turn to panic. Dala's heart was pounding a seductive rhythm against her chest. The scent of her fear was maddening. Too sweet to resist. She quickly became aware of the effect it was having on Weasel, on me, and it only increased her terror. We liked it. It excited us, aroused us. Made us want her.
She suddenly fell unconscious and Weasel Shadowdanced, moving quicker than thought to catch her in his arms. He must have put her to sleep, because it was a little too convenient. Then he bent over her, his lips touching her throat . . . no, he was not doing this. Oh yes he was, I could see that little red tongue probing already!
Fuck that! I severed my psychic connection, leaving us bonded, but our consciousness separate again.
The growl came from deep within my throat, from the Tiger who was about to be cheated out of its spoils. Weasel snarled at me, but I could feel his Tiger whimpering because he knew it'd be cheated instead.
(Touch her and I'll kill you.) It wasn't an idle threat and he knew it. (Now put her on the bed and release your hold over her.)
Weasel's eyes lost their glow. He was back in control. (I was only warning her, )he claimed, as he followed my orders.
(Really? That was why you were fixed on her, and the only thing that stopped you was the fear of your own neck.)
(You care more about your game and your kill than about me.)
I wanted to tell him that he was ridiculous, that I was overcome with euphoria because he managed to survive. But I couldn't because for we both knew the truth. I would have killed him without even thinking twice because at that time I wasn't facing my Weasel. I was competing with another juicer who was stealing my kill.
Competing with Weasel. He'd become my rival. Which meant that sooner or later we'd be fighting for dominance. I didn't even want to think about that. (You neutralized her. That should have been enough.)
Apparently, it wasn't. (You knew what she was and didn't bother to warn me,) he accused.
Fair enough. (And what would you have done?)
(I don't know,) he admitted. But it was a lie. He did know. He'd gone feral but he wasn't acting out of instinct. It was out of choice. He wanted to kill her and he still did. He was as ruthless a predator as I was. And I'd just created a situation that forced him to prove what a hypocrite he was.
It amused me and pissed me off at the same time.
(You don't like it,) Weasel realized with that insight that scared the fuck out of me sometimes. (You always bitch that I fight myself too much and I should just admit I enjoy it. Fine. I admit it. I want to kill her so bad that it makes me want to get the hell out of here before I do. And I hate that. But you hate that you had a competitor taking what was yours.)
He didn't understand. Sure, that was part of it, but I could deal with a competitor. But not if it was Weasel. I didn't want to look at Weasel that way. As a threat. I killed threats. But he was and there was no way around it.
(All right, then.) I cocked my head toward Dala. (You want her, go take her.)
Weasel stared at me. (She's yours. You almost killed me over her.)
(Well I'm giving her to you. But if you're going to do it, then do it. Right here. Right now.)
Weasel laughed. (Please, Angelo, if you really thought I'd do it, you'd never have offered.)
Maybe he knew me better than I thought.
(Besides,) he grinned wickedly, (I'm not done with her.)
(Oh? What do you plan to do with her?)
Weasel sat on the bed. (Uh-uh-uh, you gave her to me. It's my game, now.)
That was a switch. But he had my curiosity boiling. Weasel definitely had something in mind. (You've never led the game,) I pointed out. (Why do you suddenly want to start now?)
(Oh, you'll see.) Weasel glanced at Dala and her eyes snapped open. "Hi, Dala."
Her eyes burned with hatred and I realized that Weasel had kept her memory intact. Curiouser and curiouser. "You little bastard," she uttered at Weasel.
"You started. I finished." Weasel answered back. "But you never answered Angelo's question. Have you ever killed anyone?"
No, she never did answer that, I realized.
She didn't expect the question either. "Of course I have," she declared with great bravado.
Weasel wasn't going to let it rest. "Not the shit you just pulled on me. I mean really kill someone. Physically kill someone. Living, breathing and pulsing blood and flesh in your hands that suddenly becomes cold and still because you've taken that life?"
Dala paled for a moment before regaining her composure. "And you have?" she sneered.
Weasel met her gaze. "I lost track after the first week."
Dala got off the bed to face him. "You're a big talker. All talk, no action."
"You don't believe me?" Weasel turned to me. This was a new role. Following his lead. "Maybe if she played our game, she'd believe me. Or freak out."
"I think she'd freak out."
Now it was her turn to be curious. "What game?"
Weasel gave her an evil smile. "We play Blood Games, Dala."
"We get a mark, seduce it and play with it. Sometimes we bed them. We always kill them." His eyes gleamed. "I don't want to but I end up killing them anyway."
"And where do you get this 'mark?' The Market? A Workcamp?"
I laughed. "It's not like your staged acts at Freakers. They aren't trained pets. They're any pretty face we like, usually a Supe because they're more fun to play with."
She didn't care for that. "You kill Supes?"
Weasel tossed it back. "You don't?"
Well, if this was Weasel's game, let him and Dala get the mark. I had to get used to this new side of Weasel that I wasn't sure I liked or not. I needed time to digest all this. "Weasel, take her with you. I'm sure you can find a suitable boy."
Weasel gave me a dirty look. (You're calling the shots again. I thought we agreed this was MY game.)
(Well if it's your
game, then you take the responsibility.)That shut him up.
Dala was not a happy camper either. "A boy? We're getting another boy for you to screw?"
"Are you into girls?" Weasel asked.
"Well," I demurred, "Weasel isn't either. So at least one of us will have fun."
"We don't have much time, Dala." Weasel walked to the door. "Let's go." (And we'll meet you back in your room,) he added.
"Or what happens?" she asked sarcastically, "You turn into a pumpkin?"
"No," Weasel answered seriously. "I'll burn to a crisp."
For once, Dala was speechless.
As soon as they walked out the door, I reached out for the bond so I could hear what was going on. Sure, this was his game. But I was not about to let him fuck it up. Or allow anything to happen to him.
I was seeing through Weasel's eyes again, only I was only a pilot, rather than an inhabitant. Perhaps more of a co-pilot, because I was not controlling Weasel in any way, just observing.
They walked downstairs in silence then made their way through the first floor of the club. Through his hardened gaze I saw Dala as Weasel saw her: a cold, castrating bitch who'd had everything she ever wanted in life handed to her on a silver platter. The fact that she just happened to be a psi vamp who almost killed him didn't phase him any.
It only deepened the contempt he already felt toward her. Not because she was a scavenger, a vulture who got her kicks and fed off the suffering and pain of others. No, that would mean he'd have to face his own tastes and Weasel never let cold hard facts get in the way when it came to creating villains.
When I realized what it really was, I burst out laughing. The little fucker felt that because she was a psi vamp, her kills were at a distance. Easy. He was gonna shove this Blood Game in her face to prove that he was more of a killer than she was!
Of course Dala was playing her own game and like any gamer she took the hand dealt to her and made the best of it.
First move: Befriend and disarm. "Nothing is as it appears," she remarked as casually as if she and Weasel were allies instead of predator and prey. "Not this place. Not Angelo. Not even you." That last sentence was to beguile Weasel into revealing himself, which was the second move. Expose weakness.
Parry. "Save it for someone who cares." A rude parry but a good one. Deceptive because the evasion was really a line being cast. Weasel was wondering if she'd fall for the bait. I was wondering when he'd become this skilled. I'd expect this out of her. Not him.
She fell for it, taking his words as a cue to pursue him further. "Oh you care," she purred. "That's why you've been trying to throw me off since we got down here."
Weasel rolled his eyes. "You're fucking crazy." His words had a hostile tone but they did not match the cold amusement he was feeling. Not only was she falling for it, she was falling right into his hands.
He was toying with her. But how? What else was he doing that I was missing?
"It's not going to work," she said calmly, "So you might as well stop it."
Weasel shrugged. "It works on animals. Why not you?"
I had no bloody idea what either of them were talking about and that pissed me off. All I knew was that he was enjoying her frustration. It didn't matter that she'd figured out that he was tricking her. What mattered was her reaction to it.
To the "harmless, nonthreatening" aura he'd cloaked himself with. Everything screaming, "come take me," but not quite concealing the cobra underneath, waiting to strike at the first approach.
Where the hell had he learned that trick? That was more than simple empathic projection, or even Persuasion. I couldn't even think of what to call it, but he sure as hell didn't learn it from me because I didn't know how to do it. I wasn't that good.
And he was.
It was at that moment when he asked me, - Are you done eavesdropping yet? -
He knew I was there all along? But he never felt me unless I wanted him to and I sure as hell didn't want him to.
As if he were answering my unasked question, he laughed. - No, I didn't feel you, Angel Boy, I just know you're nosy as hell and have to have your hand in every pie. Well this is my pie, okay? Stay out of it. - His tone softened. - Please? Let me show you I can handle this. -
- All right, - I replied grudgingly. - Just answer one question. Where did you learn that trick? -
- Old family trick. Animals pick up on intent. If you give off the intent to not harm them or their own, they don't bark or hiss. You know, that's the reason they do it when we're around, right? -
Old family trick, eh? A Baptiste trick. Uncle Ardoin must have taught it to him. And no, I didn't know that was why animals reacted that way to us. He didn't have to kick me out, I broke contact before he could feel my reaction.
For the first time in the year I'd been with him, I
felt stupid. And I realized that although, in many ways I knew him like
a book, in others, I didn't know my lover at all.