This has all been done for love.
Pearse walked towards the younger man sprawled on the steps below him and sat next to him. Dark eyes looked up at him
“Let off your leash then?” Michael asked, smiling at the look of irritation that crossed Pearce’s face.
“I’ve been looking after myself for years, why she thinks I need a minder I don’t know,” he grumbled.
Michael grinned in sympathy, “I understand, I have two.”
Pearse looked at him inquiringly.
“My newly acquired parent had a sudden and very late burst of maternal instinct,” Michael grinned, sitting up. “Drives Jack mad, so I encourage it.”
They sat in silence for some time watching the bats fly in the midnight air and listening to the sounds of the grasshoppers.
“Very symbolic,” Pearse said slowly, nodding at the bats, and watched his companion’s face crease into a smile of appreciation. They resumed their silent appraisal of the surroundings until Pearse, slightly restless, turned towards Michael.
“Do you ever have regrets?” he asked slowly.
Michael looked up and the sky and the spreading city below them and sighed. “Not really a word one associates with our kind,” he said thoughtfully. “But yes, I find I do and surprisingly Vaughan is one of them.”
Silence greeted the mention of their erstwhile colleague and the pair settled back down into their mutual contemplation.
“She doesn’t have any you know,” Pearse’s voice filled the silence and the words hung there like an echo. “Laura is just pleased to have found me.”
“I doubt Jack’s ever had much time for regret,” Michael replied and Pearse could hear the amused resignation in his voice. “Useful character trait for a vampire I believe.”
Pearse nodded his head in agreement. “I regret the killings,” he said quietly. “I regret the whole existence of the squad and my implacable hatred.”
Michael looked at him carefully. “But you were so right in many ways, Pearse,” he said slowly. “We are looking for world domination, in a sense, we are parasites on the human race and we are determined to continue come what may, don’t you think that was sufficient to keep the squad going?”
Pearse remained silent then sighed, “I’m unsure of the human cost,” he said thoughtfully.
“Human?” Michael sounded amused. “We no longer are human, Pearse.”
Pearse looked straight ahead his shoulders rigid with suppressed passion, “Yet I cannot forget,” he said quietly.
“I understand,” Michael, said just as quietly, gently squeezing Pearse’s shoulders. “If you want a vampire’s perspective I’m probably not the best person to ask,” he continued. “I have been told often enough by Jack that I carry too much human baggage with me.” He shifted slightly. “Sometimes I wish otherwise, yet I think we all need some kind of conscience.”
Pearse smiled. “You know, you are far less angry and driven now than you were with the Squad, I find that rather amusing.”
Michael looked lazily at him and smiled. “One of those strange quirks of life and death,” he acknowledged. ‘”Do you know I am strangely at peace, perhaps even content, if I am allowed to use such an emotionally ladened word. Perhaps this was my destiny, perhaps I might be able to change things slightly just by being who I am.” He grinned suddenly. “Or perhaps Jack is right and I’m a stupid, pompous wanker.”
“I can hear him say that,” Pearse murmured.
“Yeah, he’s got a way with words has Jack.” Michael lay back on the stone and stretched. “Tell me about Laura?” he asked.
Pearse turned slightly at the sudden change in subject and shrugged his shoulders.
“Love of my life,” he said easily but with deep emphasis.
“We were at college together, I was studying philosophy and theology she was a brilliant mathematician even as a graduate. We lived together for some years after graduating and she became deeply involved in physics, leaving pure maths. I never really inquired what she was involved in; I doubt I would have understood.”
He smiled at some hidden thought.
“They became interested in her, and she started to display the classic symptoms, although I of course neither recognised them nor would have believed in them.”
He stopped, resting his hands on the step, before continuing.
“I had become very friendly with a priest at the college I lectured at, we discussed theology and philosophy. Laura slowly began to become agitated around him.”
He stopped, “You remember that infected boy, and the priest he killed?”
Pearse frowned. “He must have had some contact with our kind before as he began to ask me questions about her behaviour and asked me to bring her to meet another priest. Laura was angry with me when I mentioned it, and left me for a few days, when she returned she was different, more controlled, emotionless or so I thought. When my friend returned with this other man, she flew at him and it took the three of us to keep her from killing him. She turned on me, and bit me, but my friend pushed her aside as she was feeding and plunged a stake in her.
He sighed, “She exploded, and I was damn lucky not to get badly burnt, but that was the end of Laura. Once I got over the shock, my friend gave me her ashes, and I kept them out of love. It was from that, and the subsequent cover up, that I began to study for the priesthood and was recruited. When I began to understand more about regeneration and was given the task of building up the Squad I had Laura’s ashes kept in the Incarceration Chamber.”
“So you abiding hatred came from the loss of Laura and also your conviction that vampires were cold, emotionless killers?” Michael asked curiously.
Pearse nodded rocking forward on the step. “I guess we were wrong and right on that,” he said calmly. “You suggested that they were emotionally amoral, and I think I would accept that.”
Michael smiled. “I’ve become quite the little philosopher,” he said, a slight note of self-mocking laughter in his voice. Standing up in a fluid graceful movement, he reached out his hand to the older man.
“‘Lets feed,” he suggested. “I find most of my moral ambiguities flee at the smell and taste of blood.”
Pearse bared his teeth in anticipation, accepting the hand, but before they could move, a voice came from the darkness, and a shape flowed towards Michael, wrapping itself around him.
“Leaving without me, lover?” Jack asked, a touch of displeasure in his voice.
Michael leaned into the embrace, turning his face to be kissed.
“As if I could,” he said smiling.
Jack grinned possessively at him, turning him round, and kissing him ruthlessly.
Pearse watched, amused at the possessiveness of Jack’s words and caresses, a little surprised that Michael seemed to both accept and enjoy Jack’s behaviour. He smiled, who was he fooling, Laura lifted her little finger, and he ran to her.
Apparently satisfied that he had made his point, Jack unwound himself from his lover, held out a hand, and glanced at Pearse.
“Join us,” he said with a grin.
Pearse nodded, and they set off to hunt in the city, leaving the bats the sole tenants of the abandoned building.
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