written by Pythia

Rating: FRT
Spoilers: Set some time after 'Hush'.
Summary: Sometimes, she thinks of him.
Author's Notes: She's working as a fashion photographer. Just in case you wondered.
Feedback Author: Pythia
Author's Website: Warriors And Watchers

Sometimes she thinks of him.

She thinks of him when she wakes: remembers the warm weight of him, sprawled in the bed beside her, that soft, masculine snort that wasn't quite a snore, and the way he'd turn and stretch, his hand brushing her skin with languid caress. She thinks of him and she sighs, sliding out of nothing but her own warmth and the caress of soft cotton. She sleeps alone most nights and she tells the world she is comfortable that way.

She thinks of him at breakfast, recalling freshly brewed tea and hot buttered toast, shared - like most simple pleasures - with smiles and no thought of urgency. The taste of grapefruit is bitter on her tongue but far better for her figure. There is coffee to drown the memories and no time to linger drinking it; she is busy, busy, busy, and the world admires her dedication and her energy.

She thinks of him at work; frames the next shot with him in mind, mentally placing him among the models and the glamour while she lines up the camera and adjusts the lighting rigs. There are very few places where he fits, but she considers it anyway, wishing she had better memories to study than the few candid images she'd snatched under the Californian sun. The tousle of his hair, the slightly rumpled way he'd been dressing then . soft, faded pictures that had failed to capture the true essence of the man she knew.

But then, she hadn't been able to capture him either. And he always hated having his picture taken.

She thinks of him when she dines, late at night and tired after a long shoot. Thinks of the way he'd insist on plates and silverware to carry whatever he'd cooked - and the wry expression on his face as he wrestled pizza from its box, telling her tales of late evenings in a school library and the way teenagers argued over anchovies. She savours the wine she pours herself and wonders if he's touched the bottles she left behind.

Wonders if he'd even noticed that she'd left them.

She thinks of him as she travels, savouring the fantasy of finding him waiting to collect her from the many airports she frequents. Work takes her to far locations, exotic destinations and the grind of endless hours in the air. She tries to imagine him doing the same, smiling at the images she conjures; images of those long legs cramped into the narrow spaces in the plane, of the look on his face when faced with airline food and how patient and polite he'd be to attentive stewardesses, keeping his true opinions of them to himself.

It never makes the journeys any more tolerable, but at least it passes the time.

She thinks of him when she dances, keeping company with the 'in' crowd, racing from one night spot to the other. The clubs are hot and jumping, loud with rhythm and shivering with energy. She has admirers aplenty on the dance floor, eager acolytes who buy her drinks and ply her with compliments. Yet her mind slips to a slow swaying, body warm against body, and the soft whisper of his voice offering an seductive serenade.

They would dance in the cosy cocoon of his flat, with no audience but themselves - and she would melt into his arms and let the music take her.

She thinks of him when she takes a new lover, comparing and contrasting tenderness and technique. She never finds one that matches up to memory and she lets them go without regret, wondering if he has found a different warmth to share his bed or if he sleeps alone.

If he is able to sleep at all.

She thinks of him late at night, as she hurries from darkened car parks into the suspect safety of streetlights and the sanity of civilisation. He had told her so many tall tales over the years - and yet they'd all been true, all been the reality of his world. She recalls the rictus smiles of monsters and she shudders and slinks home, praying that he is safe, that he will not fall to the darkness she could not face.

She tries not to remember her dreams.

She thinks of him as she is dying - as the vampire tastes her blood and feasts on her flesh. She'd forgotten - how could she have forgotten? - all the warnings he'd taught her, the tell-tale signs, and the dangers of friendly invitations. She had run from the terrors of the night and they had hunted her down and made her their own. If she'd stayed, would he have saved her? Would he have taught her to protect herself? Hadn't he told her again and again, that that safety came from knowledge and not ignorance?

The taste of her sire's blood is bitter - as bitter as the grapefruit, as bitter as her last regrets. She had run and she had forgotten and she's paying the price of her fear.

Long nights later, when she's dug her way out of her grave, when she's feasted on the tender titbit her sire has brought her, she finds time to stare up at the moon with new eyes. She's been reborn, a dark child nurtured in dark womb. She has eternity to play with. The world is hers and everything in it.

She can have anything and everything she'd ever wanted.

And she thinks of him.