DISCLAIMER: South of Nowhere and its characters are the property of The N network, no infringement intended.
WARNING: This fic is VERY DARK and VIOLENT. It contains blood, guts, sexual assault, death and torture. If that's not your cup of tea, don't read it. But it's not what you think. OK, maybe it is, I don't know. Do I look like a mind-reader?
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Amour Vengeant (Avenging Love)
By Aeryn Sun



She hurried her footsteps, trying to get home before the impending sunrise. There was a time in her life, not all that long ago, when she would have welcomed the warming rays of the California sunshine. But it had been years since she last spent an afternoon basking in it. She missed those times, skipping school to instead spend long lazy days sunbathing, enjoying the ocean waters and just simply watching the tide roll itself in and out over the white sand. She occasionally mourned the loss of her second home and the calming influence it seemed to have on her frenetic existence. However, like so many other wonderful things in her life that she loved, it was lost to her now.

She made it to her home, a large mansion on the outskirts of town set in the side of the mountain, just as the first rays broke over the horizon, chasing her indoors. She closed the door behind her with a heavy sigh and dropped her keys onto the table next to her before shrugging off her black leather duster and walking further into the house. It was huge, much larger than the one she'd grown up in and far bigger than she really needed. But, with the new aspects of her life, she appreciated the space and quiet as well as privacy the spacious home afforded her.

I preferred LA but I guess this ain't bad, she sighed, opening the refrigerator and taking out a beer. The alcohol had little effect on her metabolism at this point but she drank it for the taste and familiarity. She went to her studio and sat down heavily in the plush armchair, putting her feet up as she contemplated the twists and turns her life had taken since she'd graduated high school.

It's been ten years, or almost ten. I wonder if it's safe to go back to LA, she wondered. Most of the people who knew me would have moved on. Shit, they probably wouldn't believe I was me if I DID show up, with a fucking name tag on. Hmm, my ten year high school reunion should be next fall.

Shit, I can just see that now, she thought ruefully but with a tinge of sadness. 'Hi, My name is Ashley. And I've been dead for ten years. I got better though.' Half those asshats would probably drop dead if I showed up, not that I could blame them.

She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't hear the door to the studio open and soft footsteps pad across the hardwood floor until they reached her. She smiled, her senses sharper than they'd ever been telling her who was standing there.

"Angel," she greeted somewhat happily. Blonde hair tickled her neck and shoulder as the other woman leaned over to kiss the side of her neck.

"Mistress," Angel responded, her tone clearly happy. "I was worried that you wouldn't make it back." Ashley smiled, the genuine caring and affection of the other girl warming her sometimes cold heart. She turned her head and looked at the blonde, her chest aching momentarily for the one she lost and the one that this girl filled in for. It wasn't that she didn't love Angel, because she did, wholeheartedly. It was just, appearances aside, the girl wasn't Spencer.

Spencer, Ashley sighed silently. Baby, I miss you so much. I'm so sorry. She lifted her bottle and drank to her memory of Spencer. Someday, babe, I'll see you again.

"Sorry I cut it so close, Angel," she apologized sincerely. She hated worrying the girl. "You know how I get this time of year." Angel nodded somberly, her pale blue eyes understanding. Again Ashley was hit by the marked similarities between Angel and Spencer. The glistening fangs as the girl smiled at her hit her almost as a physical blow, reminding her again that this was not Spencer.

Not that Angel didn't love her as much or more than Spencer Carlin ever did; indeed the blonde now kneeling beside her chair had been utterly enraptured with her since awakening to her life as a vampire. Ashley wondered at times how much of that was genuine love as opposed to the feelings one had for their sire. And as Angel's sire, she knew the girl was bonded to her, same as she had been bonded to her now deceased sire, Micah.

"I know, Mistress," Angel agreed. She put her head in Ashley's lap and let the older vampire stroke her hair, something that soothed the brunette. There was something about running her hands through the honey locks that calmed her nerves when they were rattled. She smiled sadly, remembering when doing the same to Spencer's hair had the same effect. God, she missed her.

"Mistress?" Angel called to her, lifting her head slightly to look up at the brunette. Ashley opened her eyes which had slipped shut and returned the gaze, smiling slightly when she saw the purple hue to the blonde's eyes. That color indicated only one thing.

"Come here," Ashley commanded, although her tone stayed gentle. Angel slowly stood and moved to straddle the smaller frame in the chair, lowering her face to her sire's. Ashley wrapped her hand around the other girl's head, tangling her fingers in soft tresses that reminded her of her much-missed sunshine and pulled her in close, pressing her lips against Angel's in a hungry kiss. The younger vampire met the embrace with the same hunger, the low moan that started became a growl when she felt Ashley lick at her bottom lip, demanding entrance that was willingly granted.

Angel arched into Ashley's hands as they slipped under her nightshirt to caress her breasts, teasing her nipples even tighter. She gasped as Ashley pinched them between her fingers and pressed her center closer, seeking friction.

"Are you getting hot, baby?" Ashley husked against the skin of the other girl's neck after breaking away from their kiss. One thing she didn't mind about being a vampire was that she didn't have to stop kissing Angel to take a breath. She still breathed because it was an automatic bodily function but if she happened to stop, she rarely noticed.

"Yes, Mistress," Angel panted gyrating her hips somewhat desperately. "Please..." She let out a loud growl when Ashley's fingers slipped inside her pajama pants and then two fingers entered her quickly.

"God, you're so wet for me, baby," Ashley whispered, feeling her hand becoming coated in her lover's arousal and need for her. It never ceased to amaze her how much the blonde was turned on by her, how much the younger vampire desired her. She felt herself flood at the slick sensation on her palm and smiled. Although the girl wasn't Spencer, she still felt an immense desire towards her.

The chair squeaked a bit as it slid slightly on the floor with the increasingly frantic movements of the blonde. Her head was tilted back as her hips met each thrust of Ashley's fingers deep inside her. Ashley's other hand continued its pleasurable torture of the younger vampire's breasts and nipples, pinching and teasing and driving her closer to orgasm. Over the years, Ashley had learned the girl's body well and knew each and every button to push to get her to her peak.

"Cum for me, beautiful," she husked, nipping at Angel's collarbone. She was careful not to break the skin; she didn't want the purity of Angel's blood to tempt her into drinking. It was difficult at times, especially during the heat of their passion, not to sink her teeth into the creamy flesh bared completely and she knew, offered without hesitation to her. Angel wouldn't deny her the opportunity to feed even if she didn't fully understand the repercussions of the action.

Ashley did though and therefore restrained herself from partaking. She feared that the purity and power that Angel's blood possessed would cause her to kill the gentle girl and she'd willingly walk onto the beach at full noon before she did something like that.

"Oh god, yes!" Angel gasped, feeling the edge arriving. She lowered her head to look at her Mistress, her eyes now blazing a rich purple brightly. Ashley pressed against the writhing girl's clit hard with her thumb, sending her into ecstasy. She cried out a mixture of Ashley's name and title, coming hard around the brunette's fingers. Ashley whimpered at the sound and feel of the other girl's release.

Minutes later, she herself was on her back in their bed, naked and gasping as Angel licked around her entrance, her actions focused and full of intent. The blonde was rarely dominate in their relationship other than when possessed by passion. The fact that she had all but ripped Ashley's clothes off and carried her to the bedroom while bestowing her with hot, searing kisses had only increased the older vampire's desire and need.

"Fuck yeah," she grunted as Angel's tongue flicked across her hardened clit, making her hips jolt.

"Mmmm, Mistress, so good," Angel growled against the hot, wet flesh. Ashley buried her hands in blonde hair and pulled her closer. She felt a low chuckle and Angel's ministrations double in effort.

"Christ!" Ashley whimpered. "AAAAAAAA..." Her back bowed as Angel entered with first two and then three fingers, pumping deep and hard as she kept licking and nipping at her center. Angel curled her fingers, finding unerringly the soft spongy spot inside her sire and teasing it, making an intense orgasm rip through Ashley's body.

"Fuck!" she cried out as she came. "Oh god, SPENCER!" Somewhere in the back of her mind, she registered that she'd just cried out for her long-lost girlfriend but the bliss that entered her body made her not care. Besides, she knew Angel wouldn't mind; she never did on the occasions it occurred.

"Mistress?" Angel whispered a short time later, her head still resting on Ashley's chest as their bodies cooled back down. She heard the hum of response and took a deep breath. "May I ask a question?"

Ashley swallowed her sigh. One of the only things about Angel that bothered her was her somewhat submissive behavior. She had never required the other girl to call her 'Mistress'; it was something that the blonde had done since awakening. Ashley had tried to get her to stop but it seemed difficult for Angel to call her by her name. She had never had a problem calling Micah by her name so she figured it was something intrinsic to Angel's personality.

"Of course," she responded calmly. It wasn't often that Angel initiated a conversation, preferring instead to let Ashley lead their talks. It was something else in the long list of things that the former musician missed about Spencer; their talks. Hell, she even missed their arguments simply because they were passionate, fiery and hell, she just missed Spencer.

"Sometimes..." Angel paused and bit her lush bottom lip for a moment, collecting her thoughts. Ashley knew that she was afraid of angering her although it was a needless worry. There was precious little that Angel could do that would incur the smaller girl's wrath.

"There are times when we're being passionate," she said, missing the smile on Ashley's face at her inability to be a tad cruder about it. Not that Ashley saw it as pure fucking because it wasn't; but the girl in her arms seemed to be too sheltered to express it in a more descriptive way. "And as you climax, you call me 'Spencer'. Why? Who is Spencer?"

Ashley closed her eyes against the sting of bitter tears that she felt brewing at the question. She knew that there were times as she lost control that she cried out for the only girl to ever hold her heart, the same girl who held it to that day. It happened infrequently, usually, except for around this particular time of year.

She remained quiet for several minutes, wondering if she should tell the sweet girl currently tracing circles on her abdomen with her fingertip and making her shiver pleasantly, the truth.

"I'm sorry, Mistress," Angel finally broke the silence timidly. "I didn't mean to upset you." Ashley sat up and pulled the blonde up into her, kissing her gently on the lips.

"Hush, baby," she whispered. "You didn't upset me; you had every right to ask." Angel smiled slightly and ducked her head before tilting it slightly, a classic 'Spencer' trait that made Ashley's heart seize painfully in her chest. She reached out and stroked Angel's cheek with the backs of her knuckles and let out a long sigh.

"I sometimes call you that, Angel," she began slowly, choosing her words carefully. "Because once upon a time, that was your name."



Angel sat back somewhat, confused. Her blonde brow knit together as she thought, her full lips set in a pout. To Ashley, she looked just like Spencer always had when confused by something and trying to figure it out. It was times like this, when Angel most resembled her girlfriend that it made the pain from her loss that much more acute.

"Why did I change it?" Angel wondered. "Spencer is a nice name. I like it." Cobalt eyes focused on Ashley. "Did you not like it, Mistress?" Ashley shook her head.

"I loved it," she smiled sadly. "I loved her. But, when you changed...when I changed you, Spencer was gone." Angel nodded her understanding. She had no knowledge of her life before she awoke to her Mistress' beautiful face. She never thought much of it since she had Mistress and never wanted for anything. She was well taken care of and had always felt loved and safe around the older vampire.

"And now I'm Angel," she said softly for clarification.

"Yeah," Ashley confirmed. "I call you Angel because that's what you always were to me, my angel." The blonde grinned widely and leaned in for another kiss. When they pulled apart, Ashley noticed that the whites of her lover's eyes had turned a shade of light pink, forecasting her impending hunger.

"Are you getting hungry, baby?" she asked. Angel nodded sheepishly.

"I woke up kinda hungry, Mistress," she admitted shyly. Ashley traced the younger girl's lower lip with her thumb.

"Why didn't you say so?" she laughed slightly, tilting her head to give Angel access to her neck and the source of her nourishment. Angel was what was known in vampire circles as a 'blood innocent'; she had never taken a life to feed. In fact, the only place where Angel fed was Ashley herself on the occasions, few and far between as they were that she became hungry. Having never fed off a human, Angel felt no overwhelming hunger to.

Ashley herself had only taken one life other than that of her sire, Micah. Because she had taken a life through her bite, she possessed the hunger. She was always thankful, however, that because it was a powerful vampire like Micah that had sired her, she wasn't hungry often. The level of power that the raven-haired woman possessed overrode the normal blood-thirst other turned vampires suffered and lived with.

Instead of going out and finding 'victims' for meals, she kept to the small but growing community of humans who willingly offered themselves as a source of food. They were required to undergo medical testing to clear them of any undesirable illnesses that would taint the blood. It wouldn't make the vampire sick but no one, not even the undead, wanted to eat spoiled food.

She generally only went to The Hollow, the underground club that catered to vampires and their followers twice a month and not always to feed. She needed to stay on top of the happenings in the vampire world even if she wanted nothing to do with it. So she'd go and listen to the gossip, because no group of people were apparently free from gossip in any community, Ashley had found. Sometimes she would feed from her select list of individuals who enjoyed the somewhat addictive rush of the vampire bite.

The natural enzymes in a vampire's saliva caused a drug like high and in some individuals, a fast-striking, intense orgasm. To most, it seemed like a wonderful reward for something as little as blood loss.

"Because I wanted you more than I was hungry," Angel husked as she leaned into the slender neck that was still tan despite the lack of sun. "And you always taste sweeter after you've climaxed," she added as she extended her fangs and moved them over the pounding pulse point in her sire's neck.

Ashley groaned in pleasure as Angel's bite to her neck caused another hot orgasm to course through her. She barely remembered the bite Micah gave her when she was turned so Ashley wasn't sure if it was just Angel's bite that caused that reaction or if it was any vampire bite. She was in no hurry to find out either.

Her head spun a bit as Angel fed, the feeling of her blood rushing from her neck somewhat painful. But it was a small price to pay to keep the beautiful girl a blood innocent and not corrupt her the way most vampires, herself included, were. Plus, Micah's blood and power were still part of her and when Angel fed, it was passed on to her. Should anything happen to Ashley, she was confident in the belief that that power would protect the blonde.

As Angel finished feeding, Ashley began to slump slightly, like she always did afterwards. It was draining to her and Angel knew it so after a few last licks to the wound as it immediately healed, the younger girl gently helped her sire lay down on the soft bed and curled up around her.

"Thank you, Mistress," she rasped, her voice rough after her meal. Ashley opened her eyes slightly to see Angel's glowing gently as the blood high coursed through her.

"My pleasure," Ashley whispered back both sincerely and somewhat sardonically. The loss of blood and the intense orgasm had drained all her strength, making her eyes droop closed. Angel carefully brushed some unruly locks from her sire's face and kissed her lightly on the lips, leaving a lingering taste of her own blood.

As Ashley drifted off, her mind brought her back to the day after she awoke to her new life as Micah explained things to her.

"Why didn't you help Spencer?" she demanded, her formerly brown eyes now pale blue with anger, glowing fiercely at the older vampire. Micah sipped her wine and looked back at her, unimpressed with the show of anger, her own green eyes remaining calm. Her long straight black hair hung past her shoulders and framed her elegant features. At another time in her life, Ashley would have found the woman attractive, alluring even. But right now, all she could think about was her Spencer.

"Spencer was going to live, Ashley, you were not," she explained simply. Ashley let out a growl that sounded inhuman to even her own ears and started to pace.

"This is so fucking unreal," she grumbled. "I swear when I get my hands on that fucking prick Aiden..."

"No!" Micah interrupted her forcefully, her eyes now flashing. "You will do no such thing. Not now, at least. At some other point in the future, Ashley, if you wish to avenge yourself and Spencer on him, then you may. But right now, I changed you for a reason; I have a use for you and you will not let your own personal vendetta get in the way of that." Ashley paused and glared at the vampire.

"'Use for me'?" she echoed. "Fuck that! Aiden needs to die painfully and Spencer, oh God, Spencer...I need to be there for her..."

"There is nothing that you can do for her right now," Micah declared as she stood up and approached the young vampire. The fire and passion she felt coming from Ashley were some of the reasons she chose her for this. That and the agony of her soul as she lay dying in that alley had drawn Micah to her.

"But..." Ashley started, her lower lip beginning to quiver. "I love her..." Micah nodded.

"I know that and she loves you," she said gently. When Ashley opened her mouth to speak again, Micah stopped her with a wave of her hand and shake of her head. "No, Ashley, I will not turn her as I have you. Now is not her time and there are some that are not meant for turning. You will understand this in time, child."

"I don't understand," Ashley whimpered, sitting down on the floor and drawing her knees up, curling into a ball.

"Oh Ashley," Micah sighed, shaking her head. "There is so much to understand." Ashley looked up at her sire, her again brown eyes wet with tears.

"Why me?" she mourned pitifully. Micah grabbed a few tissues from the nearby table and handed them to the crying girl. Ashley sniffled and wiped her eyes, staring confused when they came away red with blood.

"Your tears are now tears of blood, Ashley," Micah explained as she sat on the floor beside her. "It's normal for a vampire. While your body is still alive in most ways, it is irrevocably changed in others. For everything you have gained in being turned, you've lost as much. It's going to take a long time for you to become acclimated with yourself again. And for that, I'm sorry. But there was a reason, a higher reason why I was drawn to that alley that night; something more than the scent of blood brought me to you."

"What?" Ashley hiccuped from behind her knees. Her head was spinning; she couldn't believe that this was happening to her. She wanted to believe that everything, from that night in the alley up to this moment in time was a dream. But the scars, physical and mental told her that she had no such luck and everything had indeed happened.

"As a vampire, you'll find that there are different levels of existence than just what a normal human sees," Micah began to explain. "Humans see things only on a surface level when there are many, many more levels than that. Take you and Spencer for example; to look at the two of you together, a human would see two people in love, and that's only if they got far enough in looking to see passed the fact that you are both females. But, they see two young woman, in love. A vampire who looks or is even in close proximity to you would feel that love, Ashley. I had seen the two of you before and your souls sang in harmony when you were together. It was a beautiful, magical song; probably one of the most powerful and beautiful that I'd personally ever heard."

Her words brought Ashley's head back up from behind her knees to look at the vampire as she spoke.

"When you two were attacked, your souls screamed out for the other and it was heard, oh believe me, Ashley, it was heard across the vampire population not only in LA but on some level I think all vampires felt it. The way Spencer's soul cried out as she watched you being killed, it hurt to witness even in a removed sense."

"She was...hurt," Ashley whispered. Micah nodded.

"And your answering soul scream was just as painful. That's what drew me to you that night, Ashley. I found you in Spencer's arms, barely a heartbeat away from death. Spencer was unconscious but she would live. Nothing but the hand of God himself could have saved you. So I took you from her arms and called 911 for her."

"Thank you," Ashley breathed. "I miss her; I want her here with me." Micah nodded her understanding.

"I understand that an eternal youth is worthless without the person you love to share it with but please believe me when I say that right now, Spencer can not and should not be changed," she explained to the sad girl. "Right now, Ashley, you have much to learn including the reason I turned you." The young brunette sniffled again and frowned.

"Why did you?" she wondered. Micah smiled slightly.

"Because, my dear Ashley," she began slowly. "I need you to kill me."



Ashley woke with a start, the memory shaking her from slumber despite her weariness. She looked down at Angel who was still peacefully sleeping and ran a hand through her sleep tousled hair. The blonde purred at the touch and leaned into it but didn't wake. Ashley looked out the window to see the last rays of the day speeding away and decided to get up. She had a lot to do that night and wanted to get an early start.

She left Angel in the bed and went back to her studio. She sat at her large desk that she used mostly to surf the Internet with her incredibly expensive and advanced computer in between phone calls to her lawyers and Kyla. It was a precarious balance, keeping the fact that she was not quite alive but not entirely dead either quiet.

She was well hated in the vampire community for her dual-existence as much as the power many felt she was undeserving of. Micah had chosen her, not someone else of better breeding. She was seen by many to be the 'trash' section of vampires, a 'turned' and therefore not true member of their society. The fact that she possessed the memories and power of one of their oldest and most revered elders enraged many. But they also knew that they were powerless to touch her. Or Angel.

Ashley had gone to great lengths to prove exactly what would happen to anyone who messed with her blonde lover. Many vampire clans were now missing key members of their families who had indeed challenged the protections she put on the younger girl. But these days, years after the initial incidents, most in the community left Ashley to herself.

Sitting there staring out the window as the sun disappeared and the lights of the city came on, Ashley let her mind wander a bit to how far she had come and where she was going.

"This is fucking stupid," Ashley spat, picking herself up off the floor and brushing herself off. Micah had again sent her sprawling backwards without even touching her. The older vampire was trying to teach her how to, what Ashley had sarcastically termed 'feel the force' but thus far, she wasn't having any luck.

"You know, if I didn't automatically heal I'd think you broke my ass," she complained in typical Ashley fashion. Micah spared her a small smile and turned away, walking towards the large window that showed them the city in all its nighttime glory. She gazed out for many long minutes as Ashley stood beside her.

"I'm sorry that I'm so bad at this," the diminutive brunette finally said. "I never was good at anything physical...hell I was never good at anything mental either. Usually the only thing I did right was spend money and annoy people."

"You still spend money well," Micah teased, tilting her head. Ashley smiled but it faded quickly.

"Yeah, well, still. I know that this is important to you..." she trailed off, still having difficulty wrapping her mind around the past three months. In that time she'd been attacked and virtually died only to be taken and turned into a vampire, something she thought was only a myth. Apart from that, she wasn't able to see or talk to Spencer and could only watch in her own horror as the media covered her case against Aiden.

"You'll get it, Ashley. You already are, you just don't realize it," Micah reassured her. "Things like this take time especially when it's being thrust upon you as quickly as it is."

"How about you stick around longer and take your time showing me?" Ashley suggested with an arched eyebrow. Micah laughed and motioned for Ashley to go sit in a nearby chair.

"Oh, Ashley," she snickered. "You're so cute when you try to get your own way." Ashley grinned.

"Yeah, Spencer says the same thing..." her smile faded into a grimace at the accidental mention of her girlfriend. She wondered if her status as 'missing and believed dead' made them ex-girlfriends.

"I am very sorry for what she's going through, Ashley," Micah said sincerely. "But again, there is nothing that you can do for her. Right now, you need to concentrate on the things I'm showing you. The power is there, you just need to learn how to use it." Ashley buried her head in her hands and grunted.

"Maybe if there wasn't so many people and places and shit running through my head all the time, shit I don't recognize and people I don't know, I'd be able to think better," she muttered angrily. It was a common complaint from the young vampire. She was having difficulty assimilating all the information that being turned by a vampire as ancient as Micah created.

"Genetic memory, Ashley," Micah reminded her. "As soon as your mind learns to sort and categorize the memories of several millennium, it will become easier. I'm sorry that in my several thousand years of existence wandering this planet I've accumulated so much..."

"Mental trash?" Ashley offered with a sly grin. She shook her head. "Sorry. It's just, there are times I forget who I am, when I am. You know, I woke up yesterday thinking I was in 16th century Ireland or something. And the whole, 'open my mouth and speak another language' thing is disconcerting."

"Ah, Ireland," Micah said wistfully. "I loved that place. And I've told you, don't worry; your mind will assimilate the information. It'll just take a little time."

"Guess I've got lots of that now, huh?" Ashley said darkly, bringing her feet up and hugging her knees. She looked cautiously at the older vampire. "Are you sure this is what you want? Me to...you know, kill you?" Micah sighed and then nodded.

"Yes, Ashley," she confirmed softly. "I've walked this planet nearly since its infancy. I've seen the world of man change and grow; I've seen the best and worst that this existence has to offer. I've seen wars; I've seen peace; I've seen so much..."

"Yeah, me too," Ashley grinned with a wink, tapping her temple. "And you're tired; you wanna rest. I understand, really I do. But, it's just, once you're gone, I'll have no one..." Micah sat forward in her chair slightly.

"Ashley, there are many who would desire to by your side," she pointed out honestly. "Many that have already expressed the desire." Ashley yawned.

"Yeah, I know," she shrugged. Honestly she didn't care who or how many people wanted her; she only wanted Spencer.

"Even I have desired you," Micah reminded her, her green-eyes glowing slightly purple. Ashley felt the rush of desire that her sire brought out in her but she pushed it down. They'd had that discussion a few times but Ashley refused, feeling that she'd be cheating on Spencer and that was something she refused to do. Thankfully, Micah respected her wishes although Ashley had learned that as her sire, Micah had every right to her body. It was common if a vampire sired a companion or successor or even random person, they would stay with them for awhile, usually as a lover. Sexuality had no bearing on it; the bond between sire and subject went deep and encompassed many things.

Micah had tried only once to take Ashley to bed. The diminutive brunette had been horrified by her body's reaction to her sire, the desire and need she'd felt when Micah had called to her for that purpose. She'd burst into tears even as her body began to heat up with arousal. Micah watched, perplexed as Ashley sobbed, never seeing such a reaction. When she'd asked what was wrong, her only answer was a broken, hiccuped 'Spencer' but she'd immediately understood and released Ashley to her own room. She never tried again, not wanting to cause that pain to her successor and she realized, friend.

"I only want Spencer," Ashley reminded her softly. Micah nodded.

"Eternity will be lonely if you hold to that, Ashley," she said sadly. "You understand that Spencer can't..."

"She's not ready to be changed, I know," Ashley bit out, annoyed. She hated being reminded nearly daily that Spencer wasn't the sort that should be changed, that the 'pure hearted' would sometimes not survive the process.

"Time, Ashley," Micah whispered."It will either be your friend or the most bitter of your enemies. The choice is entirely yours."

"Time," Ashley snorted to herself, feeling anger at the hand she was dealt flow through her. "Time is pointless and I'm tired of waiting. It's time to do what I should have years ago." She stood and headed to the shower. Sometimes she thought it was funny that she was technically deceased but still needed to do the little things, like shower and shampoo. Granted, the shower was about the only part of the bathroom used aside from the sink but her morbid sense of humor found the whole thing amusing.

She lathered and rinsed herself, trying like she had been for ten years, to ignore the marks on her body from that fateful night. Despite being brought into her new life as a vampire, the scars from the attack on her remained. Micah had apologized for that but Ashley didn't see it as mattering anymore. It wasn't like she was going to be on the beach in a bikini ever again so it mattered little to her. Standing in front of the steamed up mirror minutes later, she cleared the glass and sighed.

"I don't understand," Ashley sighed, rubbing her fingertip over the thick ugly scar on her stomach. "I heal instantly now. Why did this shit scar?" She looked confused over at Micah who was looking back at her with a mournful expression.

"Ashley, you were so injured that night," she began slowly knowing that talking about that night ten months earlier was still a sensitive issue and that Ashley didn't always take to the discussion well. "When I turned you, your wounds closed but they were so severe and you were so near death that while my blood could seal the injuries, there was so much that it scarred. It doesn't happen often but...it happened. The smaller surface wounds you suffered are gone..."

"The gashes on my heels still show," Ashley huffed, having and enjoying a vain temper tantrum. Truthfully, she understood why she had been left with the scars; Micah's power and blood could only do so much in the face of such damage to a fragile human body. And she had met, by that point, more than one vampire who had suffered a wound that scarred, even though they were vampires when they gained them. Still, she hated carrying the reminders of what happened that night.

"Those were unusually cruel injuries," Micah growled. It was one of the rare times when the green-eyed woman let her true feelings about the attack appear. Ashley's injuries had been horrible, beyond anything Micah had ever thought a normal human was capable of. There were many nights when the older vampire had contemplated visiting Aiden Dennison herself; the desire to avenge the two young women pulled at every fiber of her being. What he had done was beyond monstrous in her opinion and she had seen much in her existence. She had seen her share of true monsters throughout history. But she felt that the human boy was in a category to himself however, it was Ashley's to decide when and how he was to die.

"I couldn't get up," Ashley whispered. "I couldn't get to Spencer." The guilt that colored her words nearly made Micah physically ill to hear. No matter how many times she told Ashley otherwise, the tiny brunette insisted on taking full blame for the events of that night.

"You were there, Ashley, and there was nothing you could have done to change the events," she reminded the young vampire. Ashley nodded and then glared darkly at a nearby vase which instantly shattered.

"Wish I could have done that back then," Ashley grinned, showing her sharpened canines. Micah shook her head.

"And you know the repercussions for using your powers against a normal human," she pointed out with a slight scolding tone. Internally she was very proud of how far Ashley had come in such a short time. After her struggles early on, the brunette teen had finally gotten the memories that she had inherited from her sire under control and simply woke one morning capable of harnessing the immense power she'd gained. Her capacity for the power was another reason Micah had chosen her as her successor. She knew now that her choice had been the correct one.

"Hunted by the clans, council in front of the Triad," Ashley muttered, unimpressed. "Bleh bleh bleh. Yeah I know. Still, it's fun to imagine." Micah granted her a short nod.

"I'll give you that much," she chuckled before growing serious again. She looked somberly at Ashley. "It's nearly time." Ashley met her gaze with a serious, understanding one of her own.

"I know."

Slowly she traced the long, jagged scar that ran across her toned abs. That night it had spilled her blood everywhere although it wasn't the fatal wound. No, that injury was possibly one of two; it was either the three inch scar on her side or its twin in the center of her breasts. She knew that there was a small scar on her back directly across from the entry wound. The knife had gone all the way through her slim form to her back. That one she was pretty sure was what 'killed' her. And while those three scars were only a few of those she gained that night, she chose to ignore the rest.

"Mistress?" Angel's soft voice shook her from her thoughts. She looked over at the blonde in the doorway, her pale blue silk robe barely covering her to mid thigh. Automatically, given her dark thoughts, Ashley's eyes were drawn to the thick faded scar on Angel's left thigh. It was the younger girl's lasting mark from that night that so permanently changed both their lives.

"Yes, Angel?" she asked, beginning to brush her hair. Angel entered the bathroom and wrapped her arms around the brunette from behind, resting her chin on her shoulder.

"Is everything alright?" she asked softly. "You seem...bothered by something." Ashley spared her a gentle smile in the mirror. That was something else that amused her; the fact that she did indeed have a reflection. While some of the things she believed about vampires were indeed true, the lack of a reflection wasn't one of them.

"You know that I get this way this time every year," Ashley reminded the girl. Angel bit her lip and nodded.

"Yes, Mistress," she agreed. "But this year, it's worse. I felt it when I fed last night; you're very upset about something and...I wanna help." Ashley turned in the embrace and kissed the girl soundly on the lips.

"You do," she said softly. "Just by being here with me." Angel grinned at her. "But I do need you to do something for me tonight." the blonde nodded.

"Anything, Mistress," she chirped, happy to help. Ashley cupped her cheek in her palm, her heart, sometimes numbed by her situation, warming when the taller girl leaned into the touch.

"No matter what else you feel tonight, coming from me, do not leave this house," she ordered, hating herself for it but playing on Angel's inherent need to obey her. Angel frowned and tilted her head.

"I never leave the house without you, Mistress," she pointed out. "But why 'whatever I feel from you' tonight? What are you going to do?" Ashley sighed and dropped her hand. She turned away towards the mirror and glared at her reflection.

"Something I should have taken care of years ago," she vowed darkly. "I'm going to have my revenge and Spencer will have her justice. Finally."



She inhaled off the clove cigarette, not really needing the nicotine or the air she was sucking in but she enjoyed the slight sweet taste that the filter left on her lips as she waited to see if the person she contacted was going to show. She had a feeling that they would, just out of curiosity's sake. After all, how often is it that a former friend who you thought deceased sends you an email asking you to meet with them. Especially if that friend was murdered at your very own hand.

"I don't fucking believe it," his voice carried across the dark alley as clearly as it had that night ten years prior and it still made Ashley shiver with nausea. She ground out her cigarette and shoved her hands into the pockets of her duster before stepping further into the light.

"Aiden," she greeted coolly. The tall boy had aged well but then, Ashley expected nothing less. He was incredibly muscular and well known in the sports world as a rough player and an even rougher partier. Part of her wondered what happened to the gentle and loving boy she'd known and dated growing up but she knew that that person was dead far longer than she even was, if he'd been genuine at all in the first place.

"Ashley," Aiden responded in the same tone. "You know, at first I thought that the email was a hoax; after all, no one's seen or heard from you in what? Ten years now?" Ashley tilted her head and glared at him.

"And we both know what kind of condition I was in the last time you did see me," she pointed out sourly. "You were the last person, aside from Spencer, who saw me." Aiden nodded and looked around the alley a bit.

"She here?" he asked. "She's been gone for years too but I figure if you're here, she must not be that far behind." He spat out the words in disgust, cluing Ashley into the fact that he was still bitter and angry over the whole thing.

"No," Ashley shook her head. "Spencer's gone. Sorry, you can't get at her anymore." Aiden laughed, the sound sending unpleasant chills down her spine.

"That's OK, Ash, I got her real good that one time," he taunted, making Ashley's blood boil and her eyes begin to glow lowly. "You remember the way I made her scream, don't you?"

"She was screaming in pain, you ass!" she roared, knowing what he was intimating. "There was nothing pleasurable in what you did to her. You raped her!"

"Please," Aiden scoffed. "Just cuz the whiney bitch couldn't handle a real man..." Ashley growled lowly.

"I'm sure if she'd wanted a good man and could find one, she would have given him a run for his money," Ashley seethed. "But you aren't a good man; you never were. Had to attack two girls half your size in a dark alley and kill one to rape the other because you couldn't get a girl on your own."

"It wasn't rape, Ashley," Aiden declared. "The jury agreed that it was simply rough consensual sex. Her injuries were pawned off as self inflicted from her guilt over cheating on you and your blood in this alley was chalked up to you interrupting us and attacking me. I merely defended myself and since there was no body, there was no proof that I had killed you. So I got away with everything."

"I was there, Aiden," she responded darkly. The fact that he could stand there and call it anything but rape made her insides twist with outrage and disgust. "Still breathing at the time. There was nothing 'consensual' about it. It was rape. And I watched you stab her."

"Too bad you didn't go to the trial and tell the jury that, isn't it?" he mocked her, walking somewhat closer. "Maybe if you had, Spencer wouldn't have been made out to be a whore in the public eye; a sex-crazed slut who didn't care who she got fucked from, as long as she got fucked good. Male, female, animal, vegetable, whatever. As long as something filled her hole..."

"You're an animal," Ashley hissed. Aiden laughed at her again.

"So, tell me, Ashley, where were you?" he asked, grinning. "You always played yourself out to be her protector, her knight in shining armor. Where were you when my lawyer was painting her out to be nothing but a common whore which we both know that Spencer wasn't. I mean, her family tried to stand up for her but no one wanted to listen; after all, they're her family, what were they supposed to say? So, here the jury and all the media outlets are getting the story about how she fucked that boy in Ohio and then dumped him, moving on. Then she came out here and dated me, dumped me, dated you, then slept with me that night...plus the other 'witnesses' my lawyer dug up, all her past sexual conquests."

"Which were lies!" Ashley screamed. Her anger only made Aiden laugh harder so she tried to get a reign on herself. She had a mission to accomplish and letting the prick push all her buttons so effortlessly wasn't going to get it done.

"Doesn't matter, Ashley," he said simply. "The truth is written by the winners and bitch, I won. You failed her during that trial same as you failed her that night. So, humor me, as much as I'm enjoying this trip down memory lane, cuz trust me, Spencer was a hot piece of ass, how did you manage to survive? I practically pinned you to the asphalt with that blade."

Phantom pain raced through Ashley's chest at the memory of when he buried the blade to the hilt in her breastbone and it came out her back. She could still feel the way her thick, hot blood had flooded her throat and mouth, gagging her and she had to shake her head to clear it.

"Guess there's somewhere else where you fall short, Aiden," she said calmly, regaining her center and letting the anger and rage she felt towards him flow through her but not control her reactions. She smiled, letting her lengthened canines show in the streetlight. Aiden sucked in a harsh breath and it made her smile wider.

"I...I'd heard..." he stammered. "I'd heard rumors that you...wasn't sure I believed them. And then the story of how Spencer disappeared, I wondered if the rumors were true, that you were a vampire. At first I thought it was just some random grief-stricken rambling of Glen's one night when I saw him at Grey. He kept going on and on about seeing you hovering in Spencer's window the night she disappeared...but I didn't believe him. No one did. Poor guy ended up in a mental institution for like, three years. I hear he moved back to Ohio...with that slut Madison."

"Is every girl you couldn't satisfy a slut in your eyes?" Ashley asked, tilting her head slightly in playful curiosity. "Me, Spencer, Madison...oh and Kyla, I suppose?" Aiden glared at her angrily.

"I asked Kyla once about the rumors," he grumbled. "Around the time she went to file to have you declared dead. I didn't understand why she withdrew the papers and your lawyers suddenly declared that you were alive, just in seclusion."

"And she told you to fuck off, didn't she?" Ashley sing-songed, starting to move to prepare her attack. Kyla had told her all about the time Aiden had cornered her in a coffee shop and started asking about the vampire rumors. Of course, Kyla brushed him off as a rapist crackpot even though Ashley had indeed told her the truth. Her little sister had arched an eyebrow when she responded.

"Wow, cool....just don't bite me, OK? I've got an audition for pilot season in the morning." With that simple and very 'Kyla' response to the news that her sister was a creature of the undead, any fear Ashley had of having to kill Kyla to keep her secret was erased. When she'd asked Kyla how she was so calm, the tiny brunette had shrugged.

"I figured that there was no way in hell that even death would keep you from Spencer," she'd said. "And when Spencer went missing with nothing but a note that said 'I need to find her. I love you, Spencer.' I figured she'd already found you. So, yeah, not all that shocked, really. I'm just kinda glad you aren't dead...well, you know what I mean."

"She wouldn't tell me anything," he said crossly. "Kept repeating the word 'rapist' over and over...in public. It pissed me off."

"Awww, truth hurt?" Ashley teased.

"Fuck you," Aiden spat.

"No," Ashley shook her head. "Fuck you, Aiden. Fuck you and the ten years of freedom and good life you've had while I literally died in some dirty back alley because you couldn't deal with the fact that neither Spencer nor I wanted you. Fuck you and the fucking multi-million dollar contract you have to swing a bat at a ball and run in a circle. I don't care how many fucking Wheaties boxes your ugly face is on, you are nothing but a piece of shit rapist and it's time you got what you deserved."

"You're here to kill me?" Aiden asked, sounding amused. "You brought me here to kill me?"

"Slowly and painfully," Ashley confirmed. "The same way you killed me."

"Then I suppose you're going to suck my blood or something?" he asked, reaching into his jacket. Ashley shook her head.

"I wouldn't taint myself with your dirty blood," she said angrily. She pulled out a long, curved blade and looked at it thoughtfully. "Recognize this? The last time you saw it it was buried in my chest as you ran off to your car that night after you tortured me with it." Aiden looked at the blade in surprise. "I thought killing you with it held a certain...symmetry."

"Too bad you won't get the chance," he announced, taking out a semi-automatic pistol from the holster he had on his shoulder and pointing it at the small girl. Ashley grinned widely, her sharp teeth glinting in the streetlight.

"You have got to be kidding me," she snorted. Aiden laughed hollowly.

"Oh, I'm not," he said, pulling the trigger. Four bullets tore through Ashley's chest, making her howl in surprised agony. She'd expected the hits to hurt; she still felt pain even if she did heal almost instantly. But this was different; it felt wrong to her. She looked down to see her blood seeping through her white shirt and then holes steaming with grey smoke.

"Fuck!" she screamed, covering the burning holes that didn't close like she expected and instead still smoldered. She could feel something igniting her insides to burn along with the holes. She fell to her knees and looked at herself in confusion.

"Tsk, tsk, Ashley," Aiden giggled. Ashley slowly lifted her head to look at her murderer, who apparently had just succeeded in killing her a second time. If she wasn't in so much pain, she might have appreciated, in a dark way, the irony.

"You didn't honestly think with all the rumors I heard over the years that I would come and meet you, on the tenth anniversary of that night, without being properly prepared, did you?" he asked. He walked up to the kneeling vampire and crouched down so he could meet her at eye level.

"Those bullets," he explained, waving the gun around a bit as he spoke. "Weren't ordinary bullets. They were silver, blessed by a cardinal. Inside the shell, was holy water mixed with bits of Hawthorne, aspen, ash and white thorn. All things that can kill a vampire." Ashley groaned in pain unable to do much else. "They exploded on impact, all over your insides."

"I did my research, Ashley," Aiden whispered evilly. "Sure, the guy I hired to make them thought I was nuts but hey, I'm rich and famous, I'm allowed to be eccentric. But I figured either way, even if you weren't a vampire, the bullets would kill you. I just hedged my bets. So, I guess I win again."

Ashley panted as he leaned even closer in. She wanted nothing more than to move and pierce his neck with her teeth but she was too weak to do more than shake and whimper.

"I do have one regret about that night," he whispered and Ashley swallowed thickly, her disgust making itself well known. "I'm just sorry that after all that cum I left in her, that Spencer didn't end up pregnant. That would have been a great legacy." He put his boot against the vampire's chest and pushed, sending her all the way down to the ground with a triumphant smirk at her.

"MONSTER!" a voice roared and a compact form collided with Aiden, sending him sprawling away from Ashley's prone figure and the gun flying from his hand to spin and stop under the dumpster. Ashley tried to focus her eyes on the figure now standing between herself and the murderous man.

"Ang...Angel?" she rasped, surprised. She was rapidly weakening and couldn't be sure that the blonde girl she saw lording over Aiden's stunned form was indeed her love. She let out another painfilled moan and closed her eyes, succumbing to the darkness that was pulling at her.



"Holy shit," Aiden breathed as he looked up to the enraged visage of Spencer Carlin, whose normally calm indigo eyes were ablaze with red fire. "She turned you. She made you like her..."

"A vampire?" Angel provided for him. She chanced a glance back at Ashley to see her unmoving, her beautiful eyes closed and felt a new flash of unbridled rage flow through her. The bond she had with her Mistress was weak; she could feel her sire slipping away but what frightened her more was that she could hear Ashley, her beautiful, loving girlfriend Ashley's soul-song fading.

She had disobeyed her Mistress for the first time. She couldn't get over the strange way Ashley had been acting and it pulled at something in the back of her mind, making the impulse to follow her undeniable. She'd made sure to stay a discrete distance behind her Mistress as they flew over the city; it was something she adored, the ability to fly. To her it more than made up for their inability to walk in the sun. She knew that her Mistress didn't share the sentiment but she also knew that Ashley had been very fond of the beach in her former life.

So, she'd followed and landed on a fire escape where she could see them but they could not see her. The last thing she wanted was to anger her Mistress by disobeying her. But something made her come there and as she listened to the two talk, her mind began to churn. When Aiden pulled out his gun and shot Ashley, spilling her blood on the dirty asphalt, everything suddenly unlocked.

"Ug, a month and a half til school starts again," Spencer complained as she walked, arms linked with Ashley to the brunette's car after a concert for a local band. They were leaving early to spend some 'quality time' together at their new apartment that Ashley had gotten for her as a graduation present.

"Only cuz you chose to go!" Ashley laughed as she pointed it out. "You signed up to go to college so don't bitch at me that you have to go to class, ya dork." Spencer playfully jabbed her in the side before something else threw her headfirst into a nearby dumpster, stunning her almost into unconsciousness.

"What the fuuuuuu...argh!" Ashley cried out as something long and sharp was thrust into her side, the pain ripping through her entire body. She looked at her hands covering the wound and saw her blood pouring out at an alarming rate. She then looked back at Spencer who was on the ground trying to clear her head.

"What?" she muttered before something slashed at her back, sending her to her knees. Intense agony then followed in the backs of both feet, her Achilles tendons cruelly severed. She screamed out but it was drowned by the booming rock music of the concert.

"Get away from me now, bitch," a cold voice taunted. Spencer looked over behind Ashley, her face horror stricken.

"Aiden?" she whispered. Ashley turned her head and tried to focus on the large form currently walking around from behind her. Aiden looked back at her, his eyes angry and cold. "What have you done?" He looked at Spencer and gave her an apologetic smile.

"Sorry I had to bang your head like that but I needed you out of the way so I could give the cunt here what she deserved," he explained, his voice closer to normal as he spoke to the blonde. Spencer looked at her girlfriend who was swaying on her knees, blood running down her side and eyes unfocused. She frowned as bile slammed into the back of her throat threatening to make her vomit at the sight.

"Deserved?" Spencer echoed. "Aiden, you stabbed her. She's bleeding and could die! What are you thinking? Get help!"

"Fuck help!" Aiden roared, backhanding Ashley and sending her onto her back, unable to reorient herself. She couldn't get any strength or movement to her feet and it was scaring her more than the stab wound to the side was. "She doesn't need help. She needs to be put down..."

"She's not a rabid animal!" Spencer screamed, tears running unchecked down her face as she watched Ashley try to get up without success. "Oh God, baby, hold on." She looked back at Aiden. "Don't do this, Aiden. You're our friend..."

"A friend you both used!" he yelled back angrily. "As soon as either of you got what you wanted from me, you threw me aside...to be with each other! Do you have any idea what that was like for me? Listening to the taunts in the locker room about how I was a limp dicked bastard who turned all my girlfriends gay!"

"I'm sorry," Spencer tried another tactic, trying to stay calm for her sake as well as Ashley's. She didn't want to enrage the obviously unstable boy any more than he already was. She could hear Ashley gasping and whimpering and it was killing her not to be able to get to her and help her. "We never meant to hurt you..."

"Shut up!" he ordered, slapping Spencer hard across the face. She felt the bone in her cheek give way and cried out.

"Don't you fucking touch her," Ashley warned lowly, managing to scoot over somewhat. Aiden grinned ferally down at her before picking her up by the hair and throwing her closer to Spencer. He bent down and got right in her face.

"Oh, I'm going to do a lot more than just 'touch' her, Ashley," he told her, his tone making her blood, what was left of it, run cold. "And when I'm done, I'm going to make sure you know exactly what pain is." He stood back up and blocked Spencer from reaching over to her girlfriend when she attempted to.

"I'm going to do something I've been dying to so since I first saw you, Spencer and if you dare scream for help, I will slit your darling Ashley's throat from ear to fucking ear, you understand me?" Spencer looked at Ashley whose face was awash with a mix of fear and agony. The brunette shook her head weakly.

"Don't, Spencer," she begged. "Please scream. Scream and let someone come get this piece of shit....ARGH!" She screamed as Aiden slashed across her abdomen, almost filleting her.

"No! Stop!" Spencer begged, sobbing uncontrollably. "Please don't hurt her anymore. Just...just do whatever it is you're going to do and let us go." Aiden grinned at her before looking back at Ashley.

"And if you scream out, Ashley, I'll make it look like Jack the fucking Ripper got a hold of her, got it?" Ashley groaned and tried to stay conscious through the heavy haze of pain she felt. She knew what was coming next and as much as she didn't want to bear witness to it, she felt that with what strength she had remaining, that she owed it to Spencer not to look away.

It was over quickly, to both girl's relief and not a lot of surprise to Ashley who even in her horrified state and blood loss, found it humorous that Aiden had all the staying power of a wet firecracker. He zipped up his pants and looked down at the blonde.

"Fuck, If I'd known you were that good a screw I would have done that ages ago," he said wistfully. Spencer felt anger override her fear and she spat at him, the blood from her cheek hitting him in the chest. He looked at her, unimpressed. He then looked at Ashley.

"I see why you like that pussy so much," he said. "All hot and tight." Ashley's eyes narrowed.

"Fuck...you," she panted. Aiden let out a loud laugh and regained the blade from the sheath on his belt.

"Nah, I'm good," he laughed. "I just fucked your girlfriend and let me tell you, she'll never want you after that. Hell, you won't want each other now! Spencer will never again be satisfied by anything other than a thick hot cock and Ashley, you won't touch her knowing she cheated on you."

"It was rape!" both girls cried out and then looked at each other's tear stained faces. Spencer could see that Ashley was fading away, her usually bright brown eyes were growing dull and glassy.

"Just leave us, Aiden, you got what you wanted," she said softly as she rebuttoned her jeans. The deranged boy shook his head.

"I'm not done yet, Spence," he said cheerfully before suddenly plunging the blade deep into Spencer's left thigh making her scream. He grinned at her as he twisted the knife for maximum damage. "There," he said as he roughly withdrew the blade and Spencer screamed again. "Now you can't run while I play with Ashley." Spencer glared hotly as she covered her wound with both hands.

"I wouldn't have left her anyway, asshat," she growled through clenched teeth, pain and anger making her voice sharper. "I won't leave her, for anything. So just go!" She looked over at Ashley who was beginning to lose consciousness and felt her heart sink. She was going to lose the girl, she knew it.

Aiden followed her gaze and frowned.

"Oh no you don't!" he said before kicking Ashley in the side. "You don't get out of this that easily." He ignored Spencer's screams at him to stop as he used the blade to paint Ashley's small body in bloody streaks, laying open flesh to the bone in places. He slammed Spencer into the dumpster again to make her stop trying to get to Ashley as the brunette was reduced to sickly gurgles and laying limply as Aiden tortured her. She'd long gone past the point of feeling the pain; she was just cold now and wanted desperately to sleep.

Finally, Aiden seemed to tire of the game and dropped her to the ground where Spencer moved herself painfully to cradle Ashley's head. Her tears dripped down her face onto Ashley's who tried hard to keep her eyes open but it was a losing battle. They both knew that she was dying and that there was no saving her.

"I'm sorry," Spencer whispered as Aiden cleaned the blade on a nearby trashbag. Ashley weakly shook her head.

"You...didn't do...anything..." Ashley panted, unable to get a good breath in. "Not...your fault. Love you..." Somehow, Spencer managed a smile through her tears.

"I love you too," she responded, knowing it was likely the last time she'd hear it from or get to say it to Ashley.

"Oh shut up and die already, bitch!" Aiden yelled, spinning around quickly and suddenly going to his knees, driving the blade into Ashley's chest with all his weight. Spencer let out a long, loud scream as Ashley jolted and whimpered, blood filling her mouth, choking her. He stood back up and wiped his hands on his pants before grinning at Spencer. He leaned over and kissed her on the lips, making her nearly vomit.

"Call me if you wanna go again," he said happily before walking away down the alley as if nothing ever happened.

"You tortured and killed her," she growled. "You raped me."

"I gotta tell you, Spence, you look even hotter as a vampire," Aiden said, slightly drooling. Spencer clenched her hands into fists at her sides.

"You never had a chance then, you sure as hell don't have one now," she declared. Faster than Aiden's human eyes could follow, Spencer moved to Ashley where she lightly stroked the dying vampire's still face and then grabbed the abandoned blade. She was then behind the man, her arm and blade around his neck, pinning him in place.

"I think Ashley had the right idea," she said darkly, pressing the sharp edge into his throat and watching in satisfaction as a slow trickle of blood appeared. "Let's see how you like what she went through..."



Ashley opened her eyes slowly, confused by the gentle hand stroking her hair and the soft voice calling her name. She tried to focus on the face above hers and finally realized it was Angel.

"An...gel," she rasped, feeling the fatal effects of Aiden's specialized bullets inside her body. Soft lips pressed against her cool forehead.

"Oh Ashley," the blonde sighed. It took a moment to sink in before Ashley jumped slightly. Angel never called her 'Ashley'. Since day one, it was 'Mistress' no matter how many times she was told otherwise. And the only person who ever said her name with such love and affection was...

"Spencer?" she asked, almost not daring to hope. Then she thought it was kind of cruel for her beloved to be returned to her just in time to watch her die, again.

"Yeah, Ash, it's me," Spencer responded, cradling the dying form carefully but tightly. "What have you gotten yourself into this time?" she tried to tease but tears and suppressed sobs made her voice crack.

"So...sorry," Ashley whimpered, meaning all of it. Sorry that the first attack and rape happened, sorry she changed Spencer and broke her mind and sorry that she tried and failed to avenge them both. A fleeting thought crossed her mind and it took her a moment to recapture it. "Did...you kill...Aiden?"

"You don't have anything to apologize for, Ash," Spencer said softly. "I remember everything now and you've taken such good care of me. Thank you. As for Aiden, here, I'll show you." With little to no effort, Spencer stood, taking Ashley with her in her arms. The brunette used what strength she had to look at the motionless form on the ground.

"I used the blade," Spencer offered, knowing what Ashley would be worried about. "I'm still a blood innocent, baby. I wasn't going to throw that away when you've tried so hard to keep me that way." Ashley nodded weakly although it struck her that when she died, Spencer would be without a source of nourishment. She hoped Micah's blood and legacy would be enough to help her survive. She looked at the downed man, his chest slowly rising as he took his last, pain-filled breaths in virtually the same place she herself had.

His stomach had been slashed open, the blood soaking his shirt along with the blood from the large gaping wound in his chest. A large bloodstain was coloring the denim covering his left thigh. Ashley realized that his wounds mirrored almost perfectly both hers and Spencer's. There was one other one though; a quickly spreading flow of blood coming from where Ashley knew his genitalia once resided. She glanced around and saw it pinned by the blade in the wall of the building beside them with the word 'rapist' painted in Aiden's blood.

"You need to feed or you'll die," Spencer said, kneeling next to Aiden who watched them in mute horror. Ashley shivered and shook her head.

"Too...weak," she muttered. There was no way she was strong enough to bite and drink from Aiden; her vision was going dark rapidly. "Sorry..."

"Here then, let me help," Spencer offered, using her sharp canine to pierce her own wrist and hold it over Ashley's mouth. When the brunette refused to open her mouth, Spencer gave her an understanding smile.

"Your memories are mine, remember?" she said gently. "This is how Micah saved you the first time. Just take what you need to get strong enough; it's your blood after all, baby." Ashley stubbornly refused to open her mouth, afraid she'd hurt Spencer in her need for blood to recover. "Please, Ash. Don't let him take you from me again." Red tears welled up in Spencer's clear blue eyes, threatening to fall. Unable to cause Spencer any pain, she opened her mouth and sealed her lips around the wound, drinking tentatively before gaining some strength and sinking her teeth into the soft flesh.

A normal human's blood would not have saved her at that point, Ashley knew. But Spencer was right; it was her blood and therefore Micah's blood flowing back into her, rebuilding her lost strength and forcing the poison bullets out of her body. They hit the pavement with dull clinks along with their various toxic contents as the wounds healed behind them. Slowly, Ashley felt her strength returning and ripped her mouth away from the sweet essence so willingly offered to her. The desire to keep drinking almost overtook her. She shook her head to clear it.

Panting, she looked over at Spencer, seeing her blue eyes darkened and smiled. Apparently her bite had the same effect on Spencer that Spencer's had on her. She then looked over at Aiden and could hear his heartbeat slowing down; if she was going to use him as a food source to rebuild her weakened strength she needed to do it quick. The thought of drinking the monster's blood sickened her.

"Think of it as ultimate revenge," Spencer said, her voice thick with unspoken lust left over from Ashley's bite. It was almost like she was reading the brunette's mind in regards to Aiden. "He'll die and you'll live because he died. Please baby?" Ashley nodded.

"I'm gonna make sure he gets no last minute pleasure from it either," she said. She cut into his jugular with the tip of a sharp fingernail and then put her mouth over the wound, careful not to mix her saliva with his blood and give him either the high or an orgasm. Moments later, when Ashley moved away and wiped at her mouth, Aiden let out a low, painful groan and died.

"Baby?" Ashley said softly. "Is that really you?" Spencer tilted her head and smiled, nodding.

"Totally me, Ash," she confirmed. With a broken sob, Ashley launched herself into Spencer's arms. The blonde held her tightly, whispering soothing words as the older girl cried out all her pain and grief from the past ten years.

"I was always there, Ash, always with you even if I didn't remember our time before. Shhh, honey, you'll make yourself sick." Ashley pulled away with a sniffle and Spencer brushed the bloody tears off pale cheeks.

"OK, now stop crying," Spencer giggled. "You're leaking out all the blood you just got back, silly."

"I'm sorry," Ashley said remorsefully, hanging her head. She wasn't able to look at the loving and adoring expression on her thought-lost girlfriend.

"For what? That night?" Spencer asked as they climbed to their feet. Ashley sniffled again and nodded.

"And turning you," she whispered. "I didn't know..." Spencer pressed her lips to Ashley's to soothe and reassure her.

"The attack was never your fault," Spencer told her firmly. "And I remember the night you came to my bedroom window. I went with you willingly, Ash. I asked you to make me like you because I wanted to be with you always. I didn't know that I'd...take a mental vacation either. I wanted it; I still do. I want to be with you."

Spencer sat, gloomily on her bed, her bad leg stretched out in front of her as she tried to stop crying. The jury had found Aiden innocent on all counts and she herself was now painted in the media and public eye as nothing but a sex-crazed nymphomaniac who used people for a sexual thrill and who had hurt and discarded Ashley like a plaything. She thought it was slightly ironic that Aiden came across as a misunderstood but gentle man and Ashley came across as a victim but she herself was the evildoer. There was nothing gentle about Aiden and while Ashley had been a victim that night, it wasn't in the sense that everyone thought she was.

"I want to die," she whimpered, pressing her forehead against her raised knee. It was her one desire other than seeing Aiden fry for his actions that night, a year to the day earlier. She wanted to be with Ashley, forever and the only way she could do that was to die as well.

"Oh Ashley, where are you?" she asked the empty room, her only light coming from the lamp beside her bed. She usually sat in the dark now, unable to face the light or the reality of a life without Ashley. She spent most of her time wondering what had happened to the...body. She had no illusions about Ashley's injuries that night; she had held her as the sweet brunette had slipped away, her breathing becoming shallower and less frequent. She herself had slipped into unconsciousness from the blood loss caused by her leg wound just as Ashley let out a rattle. The 'death rattle', she knew.

But when she woke up in the alley with paramedics working feverishly on her, there had been no sign of her girlfriend. When she'd asked her parents where Ashley was, they had told her she was found alone and while Ashley's blood was all over her and the alley, her body was gone.

Her parents had put her through rigorous therapy trying to help her cope; even her mother had been unusually understanding and gentle with her, never once saying anything demeaning or bad about Ashley. They had listened, that night in the hospital, to Spencer's horrible, violent story and believed her without question. Paula had wept not only for her daughter and the innocence lost that evening but for Ashley and the brave and loving girl that she had never really given a fair chance to but who had died trying to protect her daughter.

"Ow, fuck!" Spencer swore as her bad leg cramped and she rubbed at it to ease the pain. Despite several surgeries and intense physical therapy, the leg would never be the same and left her with a limp. She glared at the long scar on her leg, just below the hem of her shorts. She knew that compared to Ashley she had gotten off light but she still hated the memories the mark brought to her.

She continued to sit quietly until a soft tapping at her window drew her attention. She covered her mouth to prevent the scream that roared up from escaping when she saw Ashley in the glass. She gingerly got up and slowly approached the window, afraid that when she got there, Ashley would disappear.

"Am I dreaming?" she whispered, opening the window. She was immediately hit by the unique and much loved and missed scent of her girlfriend. Despite the absence of a body or a funeral, since Christine Davies either couldn't or wouldn't spring for the service, Spencer still considered herself Ashley's girlfriend.

"No, baby, you're not," Ashley said, her husky voice sending a shiver through Spencer. She'd missed that sound so much. "Um, can I come in?" Spencer shook herself out of her confusion and let Ashley in, grabbing her in a tight hug and refusing to let go.

Ashley relaxed into the hug, the first real physical contact she'd felt since the night she was turned. She let the warmth and scent of Spencer surround and comfort her even as her mind raced. Micah had been 'gone' a little over a week and Ashley was still adjusting to the increase in her abilities since the older vampire had died. She could hear Spencer's heartbeat, almost feel the blood flowing through the younger girl's veins. She knew she wasn't supposed to be there; it had been Micah's final warning before she gave herself to Ashley for the brunette to fulfill her obligation to her.

"'Remember,'" she'd warned, knowing it was most likely pointless and Ashley would do what she wanted. "'Spencer is pure hearted and shouldn't be turned. At least not yet. Time, Ashley. Remember that there is always time.'"

"Ashley, oh Ashley," Spencer sobbed, hiccuping into the older girl's neck. "I've missed you so much! Where have you been? What happened?" Her words rushed out almost faster than Ashley could decipher.

"I missed you too, Spence," she replied honestly, petting Spencer's hair lovingly.. "God, you have no idea how much."

"I don't understand...how, why...oh God...I thought I'd never see you again..." Spencer rambled. She pulled away and frantically pressed her lips to the smaller girl's, desperately seeking to assure herself that it was indeed Ashley. Ashley kissed her back, needing the connection as much as the blonde did.

"Spencer," Ashley tried to break in, pulling away from her stunned girlfriend. "Spencer, please, I have to tell you something." Spencer leaned back to look at Ashley and inhaled sharply.

"Your eyes..." she whispered. Ashley rolled the mentioned object.

"Slightly purple?" she asked, sighing when Spencer nodded mutely. "Yeah, sorry. It means I'm aroused." She turned away and ran an anxious hand through her curly brown locks. "Like, really fucking aroused."

"I don't understand," Spencer said softly. "Why are they glowing like that? What happened to you? How are you...alive?" Ashley let out a short bitter laugh at the last question.

"Simple," she scoffed. "I'm not." She felt, more than saw, Spencer take a step back.

"What?" the blonde wondered, her head spinning. Ashley turned back to her and tried to smile, forgetting that her canines, while not extended for a feeding, were sharper and longer than a normal human's. She saw Spencer's eyes immediately drawn to them and the girl pale slightly.

"Oh dear God," Spencer gasped, covering her mouth in horror. Ashley felt whatever remained of her heart break a final time and turned to leave.

"I'm sorry," she said sincerely. "I shouldn't have come here. I'll go; don't worry, I won't come back. I won't hurt you; I'd never hurt you."

"No! Wait!" Spencer called out, stepping forward again and grasping Ashley by the elbow, turning her around. "I know you wouldn't, Ashley. Even if you are a...a..."

"Vampire?" Ashley finished for her, her lips smiling but devoid of humor. Spencer nodded slowly.

"So, you are?" she asked. Ashley nodded her head. "They're real? Vampires are real?"

"Yup, we are," the former musician responded. "Look, I'm sorry Spencer. But I had to see you. I could...I could feel you hurting and it was killing me." It was the absolute truth; more than her desire to see and have Spencer join her, the agony of Spencer's soul-song had been growing stronger every day as the anniversary grew closer and it drew Ashley back to her. She had to ease that pain somehow and hoped that seeing that she was 'alive' in a way would be enough.

"I'm hurting because I don't have you," Spencer pointed out sadly. Her eyes roamed Ashley's much-missed face for several long moments. "You are still so beautiful. I thought I lost you, lost those eyes and face and would only ever see them again in my dreams." Ashley reached out and cupped the side of Spencer's face in her palm, her heart soaring when the blonde leaned into the touch.

"You never lost me, baby," she whispered. "Even if I had died, I never would have left you. And I'll be here for you now, like this, for all eternity." Spencer's blue eyes that Ashley had missed so much snapped open having shut at Ashley's gentle touch.

"Take me with you," she said suddenly. Ashley jumped slightly.

"Spencer, I..." The blonde cut her off with a kiss that at any other time in her life would have left her breathless. As it was, she could see the deep purple glow it caused in her eyes light up the room slightly.

"I want to be with you, Ashley. Always. Take me with you; make me like you," she requested, almost begging. Now that she had Ashley back, she was willing to do whatever it took to keep her even if the mere existence of vampires made her head spin and set her mind at war with her religious upbringing.

"Are you sure?" Ashley asked meekly. She didn't want to force Spencer into anything she didn't want; that wasn't why she was there. Spencer kissed her again, smiling when she pulled away and Ashley's normally brown eyes glowed so bright that everything was bathed in warm purple.

"Absolutely," she confirmed confidently. "Let me leave a note for my family. And then we'll have forever, Ashley. You and me, together."

"I know; I remember. It's just...you...you're Catholic," Ashley hiccuped. "It goes against what you know. It snapped your mind. You must hate it..." Spencer laughed.

"You told me once, when I asked why we couldn't go to church that it wasn't that we were evil or that God hated us," she said, remembering a conversation they'd had early after she'd awoken as Angel. "It was that the Church and the men that created and controlled it, feared us and created talismans to protect themselves. You even took me to that vampire chapel, Sanctuary and let me pray there. I am still who I was; I'm just slightly altered. And can't get a tan." Ashley giggled, relief flooding her and playfully shoved Spencer in the shoulder making her slip in a puddle of blood.

"Ew," Spencer said, looking down. Ashley shrugged. She was still weak but could feel her strength returning. She almost couldn't believe that not only was Aiden finally dealt with, but she had her Spencer back. And now they literally had eternity to spend together. It made her almost giddy and she couldn't help grinning.

"Good news is as soon as the sun comes up, all my blood with burn up and evaporate," she pointed out. "Can't say the same for Aiden's though." They both looked over at the dead man.

"Good," Spencer said simply. Ashley arched an eyebrow as they started to leave the ground to fly home, hands clasped together. "What?" she shrugged. "If anyone was evil, it was that jackass. And it's not like either of us is going to be a suspect in his murder. I'm dead, remember? And you live like 50 miles away as a recluse. I think we're good."

"Good point," Ashley beamed, the smile making her nose crinkle in the way that Spencer adored and had missed in the year she'd lived without the other girl.

The sky was just beginning to lighten so they had to hurry. Still, Ashley pulled the other girl to her and kissed her passionately on the lips while the sky began to change colors.

"I missed you," she said honestly. Spencer smiled back.

"I know, baby," she replied, her voice lowering somewhat. "Let's get home so you can show me exactly how much."

A few early morning stragglers looked up to the sky to see what the source of the sonic boom was but chalked it up to the military.

The End

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