A Possible Fairy Tale
by Scy

They came to Russia because it was there. And Darla refused to go underground. Too much like where the Master lived, and she wanted to eat something cleaner. But, her Angel knew what she was after and agreed, pressing his lips to her temple. Something tasty for his girl. Left the carriage with the older vampire, and the smell of civilization, the grease and leather of the bridle, all of that faded before the hunt.

They went into the first shop on the street, and found a small tot there. Someone with enough spirit that they knew there was speed in the legs, and she grabbed the child, while Angel took a taste from the mummy and daddy. Then they were back on the street, with the child clasped to her breasts, too shocked to do anything but gasp and shudder.

Once Mummy and Daddy were finished with the shopping, he was going to get a sweet from the jar on the counter. Now his hands trembled so, and she knew he'd wanted it too much. Focus on a single dot candy darling, nothing but red under the skin for later.

They two alone alone, it was better than with Grandmum, because family didn't have to be serious and cold. When he was with her, she could smell a bit of salt. The coast in Ireland was not as cold as the snow damp around her toes, and the shadows thought he might miss the air. Daddy was fierce, but he remembered how to play with her, and his mum did not. She wondered if everyone forgot how to play when their seams groaned, and limbs were dust painted with skin. Though, so long as she was around, her daddy would never forget.

"Do you want to play a game? You get to run and run, all you want! If you win, you get a prize." And the child wasn't stupid, not with her glowing like moonlight and beside her lazy, eager death.

Right now, Death was smiling at some private knee-slapping joke. All at once, the child knew, if the joke was shared, so early on, there would be no game. Fog eddied between the child's legs like the river weasels. The kicking stopped slowly, so she was holding a dangling weight as she glided toward the tunnel.

"And there you go, your own place. so many ways to go, you choose. and we'll wait a few moments to follow. Always good."

Angel's hand on her neck, pulled her to him and he bit at her earlobe, an affection Gradmum hated seeing, their time. Daddy always listened to her, not the way that cranky one did, but with caring. The way he lifted her, always sure that he was correct in holding his daughter. And when he looked at her like that, hand combing out her curls in a way that she couldn't mind, there wasn't anything else.

It was dark and cold and clammy outside, but being set down at the start of the tunnels, where it smelled of fish and soot and garbage, made the heart beat faster. "Mommy said not to go in there. Said the bad things came out of hell there."

"Well, then let's give them a lesson in manners my boy. Nothing a lad like you should worry about."

He was still smiling. Petting the grand grown-up lady and smiling. A grin that was a merriment which stole and breathed the grave, and the child edged just a little tiny bit closer to the tunnels. Mommy had also said not to go with strangers. Especially foreigners. Foreigners brought disease and plague and bad news that made Daddy sad. These were foreigners.

The child set off down the tunnel at a run, and Angel helped her down, formality that was a game, kissing her hand and biting at the knob of her wrist before letting her stand on her own.

No hurry to find the boy; his scent caroled in the air, and the ghosts spoke of his blundering path.

There was a way laid out for her, and she could feel the promise of shining beauty at its end. Daddy, not too hungry, walked at her side, hands to himself 'working, something to find, you'll like this one.' Always marveling at her visions, proud papa, nothing but warm curiosity in his eyes as he watched her.

She gathered up her skirts when they reached a muddle of bones, and crouched to sort through the parts of mortals passed on. A feeling, one of the skulls was begging her, and she scrabbled around until she found it. About her prize went her shawl, and she blinked, focus changed. "Such a trove is hidden, a Princess wanted things kept safe, and there isn't anyone above who's found it." Looking around, she toed a femur with her slipper. "All down here, clutter of failure." She held the skull up to her ear and giggled. "Wants to tell me where the treasure is. D'you want to see, my Angel?"

"If they want to tell us, who're we to say no?"

Eager he was, and fond of the pretty. Such pride in his daughter when he saw what she'd been told.

As she led the way through a twisting weave of passageways, Dru could hear their supper; he had found one of the torture rooms, and there were hints all 'round about the room's temperament.

Poor dear was nearly bent over in terror. No trouble in tracking that one.

Angel next to her again, cinnamon and power, and she leaned against him for a moment, nuzzled the curve of his jaw and bit. 'Important, pay attention.' And he did, though there was a sigh from his throat, deliberate sound to 'hurry along, getting hungry.'

The door was easy to find, though humans could never have discovered it, but she was favored. Led their by the ghosts that were lonely for a voice, and only she could move so neatly, the spirits of Russia were so polite to a girl.

Easy to walk through the wreck of lives, and Underneath, at least there was no confusion about who was dead and who not, still kind to run her fingers through the mist and sing a bit. Down here they recognized her as a lady and there was awe and a wanting for her words. She might have to return and give them a tale or so.

A heap of rubble was no difficulty for her and Daddy, though she set aside her new companion to help. Inside there was no light, but the room welcomed them, and she could tell that illumination might be only a matter of need.

Center of the room, and gratitude was a sway of her body, looking upwards, a great ceiling decorated in the style of pharaohs, and the eyes all stared at her.

All the while Angel sorted the stacks of scrolls and various trinkets, Dru kept a tendril of hearing on the boy. Wouldn't do to lose him, just when they were beginning to have proper appetites.

After a bit, there was a pile of 'keepers,' and Daddy was ready to depart. He'd found something to 'justify this little adventure to Darla,' and Dru saw several things that might soon belong to her, should she behave herself.

The boy was running again, towards them, unknowing of their position. He'd run about in those rooms with all of the machines, and that panicked him to the point of even more blind stumblings. He couldn't see well at all, and he kept hearing scratching in the walls. Like ragged fingernails on glass. The flow of water out of the streets was assisted with barred doors into the Underground, and he had found one, close enough to the byways to get his wee little fingers out. All of those things that could help him were outside the maze, just beyond his fingers' waggle. But he had to snatch them back before they got crushed by horses.

Suggestions to his tiny feet brought him around another bendy turn, and fwump. There were deceitful openings, telling about quick routes and fresh air, but they gave harsh blades of truth.

Angel had gotten everything put away in his coat of infinite pockets, and he took her arm, sniffing the tangle of pain and fear that was the child's trail.

They moved through the tunnels like nobility of the shadows, drawing more to huddle around their feet.

Canary was bleeding heavily, their babe, one foot crushed in a snare meant to trap thieves. As the 'robbers' came upon the hero, he screamed like a bird caught in the wire, shown to be only mortal and afraid of that final battle.

Dru gathered him up into her lap, one leg outstretched and caught.

"Shhh poppet, don't cry. Your Mummy's dead and she can't hear you."

Angel dragged his fingers through the morass of shattered bone and torn skin, pausing to lick the blood off, and in the next passing, exerted pressure downwards. A scream burst forth, and he offered the welling fluid to Dru.

"More running in this one," she murmured. "Still vital and even more desperate."

"So let's have another go," and with a careless gesture, released the injured limb. At once, the lad squirmed free of Dru's arms and limped away, towards the chill of outside.

"Determined thing, isn't he?" Angel marveled, then moved into a hunting stance. "More amusement for us."

The scales turned over and reversed themselves in the laughter of her new friend, necessary to appreciate the fearsome grace of a predator in pursuit of its prey. They allowed him to almost reach a possible exit; one circling around to prevent escape, the other snarling to urge him on, faces ridged and eyes shining. Dru got close enough to cut a plump baby-fat cheek, and avoided the clumsy swing of fists as he denied the inevitability of his demise.

Angel growled, positioned across from his daughter, the boy between them. Their eyes met, and it was time to feed. Always bird-like with her loose shawls and the way her hair streamed out around her. Held dinner together, one on each side of that weak stem of a neck, chewing down and only the briefest struggles every so often.

Dropping the dying boy, Daddy seized her, skirts up and he took her against the wall. Over his shoulder she saw the gleam fade out of those young eyes, and then, teeth in her throat, and she wailed.

Together, the boy left for the ghosts to claim, they left the Underground. She chattering to her companion, Angel catching the tune of their words often enough to hum it, and Above it was snowing.


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