You’ll be glad I asked…
Ok, another Dark Dates 3 drabble – again this might never make it into the book, but the setting is, for reasons that will be explained later, Laclos is hiding out in Cass’ flat, which obviously brings him into close proximity with Cain, who is just delighted about the set up. The idea behind this comes from the fact that Laclos, as a vampire, is utterly self-aware of the clichés surrounding his species, and likes to keep abreast of what the world is saying about them, whereas when it comes to popular culture, Cain is just clueless. (It also sort of references the events in A Vampire Walks into a Bar, but you don’t need to have read that). Obviously if you never watch Supernatural, Buffy or Angel you might not get this…
Here’s what happens when they get left alone for the evening…
I’d been nervous about leaving Cain and Laclos alone together, but as I headed into my flat I was reassured by the lack of sirens, police tape and obvious structural damage, so hoped the evening had managed to be relatively uneventful. As I put my keys in the door, I was about to call out a hello when something stopped me. I’d expected sullen silence or full on shouting, but instead was greeted by the low hum of the TV and a murmur of conversation, a sliver of light coming from under the closed living room door. Curiosity piqued, I crept closer. C’mon, like you wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall for that conversation?
Cain spoke, and I recognised the tone he gets when he’s confused by something but also annoyed that he’s expected to understand it: what I have started to think of as his ‘bloody humans’ tone.
“So, wait, the dorky guy in the trenchcoat is an angel?”
“Yes.” Laclos’ tone – that of pained patience – was one I’d heard Cain use plenty of times so it was actually quite gratifying to hear him on the receiving end of it for once.
“Why doesn’t he know how to use a mobile phone?”
“He lacks your life experiences, it would seem.”
My mouth fell open, as I realised what they were talking about, the show – the actual scene – they were watching. No, really? Were they kidding?
“So what happened to the other angel, the one with the hair?”
There was a pause, and I could Sense Laclos running that comment through some internal translator.
“Ah, he wasn’t an angel, he was a vampire, and that was actually a completely different programme to this.”
“I thought he was an angel, though…”
“That was his name, not a descriptor,” Laclos sighed, wearily.
“But he was a hunter. Vampires don’t hunt other vampires.”
“Well, this one did.”
“And the little blonde girl was a hunter, too?”
“Well, a slayer, technically, in the parlance of the show, but yes.”
“So why didn’t she hunt him?”
“Given our present circumstances, celestial, surely you of all people recognise that life occasionally forces one into unlikely alliances. Besides, I thought you enjoyed that show. Come, a programme about a moody vampire hunter with no sense of humour about himself – it literally has your name on it.”
I stifled a snort at that, but Cain sounded unoffended, if still slightly bemused. Possibly he didn’t get the reference.
“I guess it explains why I had to deal with all those teenage girls wanting to be hunters a while back. But that guy is really an angel?”
“And he’s in love with the hunter in the leather jacket?”
There was a slight pause.
“I believe the programme is less than explicit in recognising that, but yes, it would appear so. Though are angels even allowed to be gay? You’ll understand if that is somewhat of a loaded question.”
Cain gave a derisive snort.
“C’mon, man, you know as well as I do humans are the only ones who label all that shit. Hell, most angels struggle with the concept of gender.”
Laclos sounded genuinely surprised.
“Really? You’ll forgive me for saying this – and I can’t believe I am saying this without it being a line – but you seem rather definitely male to me. And I assure you, I have been paying quite close attention.”
I could actually hear the shrug in Cain’s voice.
“Depends on your definitions, I guess. I’ve been in this body longer than you can imagine, and it’s the only human shape I’ve ever known, so if that’s how you define male, then yes, obviously I’m male. And I’m not naïve enough to think my personality and reactions haven’t been… tempered by the way I appear in the world, and the way the world treats me because of it. But the fact that I ended up in this body was pretty much just chance. I’m not a man, however I look to you, or to Cass. I never will be. I’m an angel.”
There was a long pause.
“My. I’m not sure if I find the idea of you as a woman completely terrifying or utterly arousing. Quite possibly both.”
It was Cain’s turn to sigh.
“You do know if I were a woman I still wouldn’t sleep with you, right?”
“Well, I suppose it would be comforting to think you’d be consistent in your personality, though you do know that if you were a woman I would be equally persistent in my attempts to get you to change your mind? And Cassandra, my darling, since you have been blessed with neither a vampire’s nor an angel’s enhanced senses, I do feel you’d hear this conversation so much better if you actually came inside the room.”
I shuffled, somewhat sheepishly, in, and despite the amiability of the overheard conversation I was still shocked by what I saw when they both smiled up at me in greeting. Cain was doing that guy thing of taking up the whole sofa just by sitting on it, a giant bowl of popcorn in his lap and a beer in one hand, while Laclos was sprawled on the floor on his stomach, watching TV, propped up on his elbows like a teenager, albeit a ridiculously graceful teenager in an outfit that probably cost more than my monthly mortgage payment. A virtually empty wine bottle and half full glass of red wine were within easy reach. It looked for all intents and purposes like a boys’ night in. I really wasn’t sure how I felt about this picture.
“Well, I suppose I’m relieved not to come back to a trashed flat and finding both of you slumped and bloody on the floor,” I said, eventually.
Laclos flashed me a grin.
“I did want to go down that route, but alas your paramour was less keen,” he purred, and my cheeks flamed as I realised that Laclos had a very different idea of what would trash my flat and leave the pair of them slumped and bloody on the floor. Cain ignored him – he was actually getting quite good at that – and, moving aside the popcorn, pulled me easily into his lap, greeting me with a light kiss on the shoulder. I was trying to avoid displays of affection like this – normally I enjoyed them, especially as Cain was generally so undemonstrative, but in front of the vampire I had so summarily dumped to get back with him, it just seemed like bad manners. Using the excuse of fetching myself a glass of wine, I extricated myself, but Cain’s frown and Laclos’ look of amusement told me it was a gesture they both saw right through.
Laclos smiled at me. “I have been seeking to enlighten your lover as to the weird and wonderful world of human popular culture, or at least as much of it as can be furnished by your DVD collection. I have to say, he’s the most frustrating pupil. I’m starting to think that for all his other talents, he’s actually not that bright.”
“Because I can’t understand all this humans romanticising vampires bullshit?”
“What else did you watch?” I asked, morbidly fascinated by this whole idea.
“Well, I did try him on the Vampire Diaries, but he couldn’t bear the teenage angst and I got bored once I realised the two attractive leads, semi-clothed as they so often were, were never going to sleep with one another, so we gave up on that quite quickly.”
“Urgh, Laclos! You know they’re brothers, right?”
“No, not vampire brothers… OK, yes, they have the same sire so I guess they are, but they’re human brothers, too.”
Laclos and Cain exchanged a look. Laclos sighed again.
“Sometimes I think humans really don’t understand vampires at all.”
Urgh again. I so did not want to go there.
“Anyway,” he continued, possibly reading my disgusted expression. “We made quite a lot of progress in his education. It’s just a shame you don’t have the DVD of Twilight. I would have quite enjoyed inflicting that on him.”
“Oh, I’ve seen Twilight,” Cain said, and both Laclos and I stared at him, astonished. “What? I wanted to know why all of a sudden there were all these young vamps thinking they could go out in the daylight.”
“And… what did you think?” I asked, my mind boggling at the very thought of it.
“I feel asleep. It mainly seemed to be a lot of moping.” He frowned and took a slug of beer. “I really don’t get human beings, sometimes.”