Arthur awoke when he rolled off the sofa and banged his elbow on the coffee table. This was a baffling and unglamorous way to wake up, as one was - as a rule - more or less impervious to coffee tables when one slept in a coffin.
His mouth tasted like wet sand and his temples throbbed as he pushed himself to his knees, groggy and tight from sleeping in his clothes. His first thought was Alfred and his second that little bastard. He should have suspected. Even whilst alive, Alfred had never been so thoughtful as to make him tea because he looked, quote, “so comfortable”. To his peril, Arthur was so often taken in by the pretty face that he forgot all about the devious brain beneath. Alfred could be very sly indeed when he wanted something.
Precisely what he wanted now was quite beyond Arthur, who nonetheless knew that Alfred had only knocked him out so he could go back to the Other Realm.
The stupid boy was going to get himself killed. Again.
Unwinding himself from the blanket, Arthur stumbled to his feet, kneading at his forehead. He felt that he needed about a gallon of blood to set himself right - but that, alas, would just have to wait. Right now he had a bridegroom-sacrifice to reclaim and a glance at the clock over the mantlepiece told him that he didn’t have much more than an hour before the gate closed.
He was going to have to do something drastic.
He padded upstairs to the bedroom, flipping on the light to work by. Opening the wardrobe, he shoved aside the collection of old military uniforms to get at the wooden chest tucked in the darkest corner, dragging it out by the handle. He unlocked it with a key taken from the drawer of the dresser. It contained but two things: a small bottle of blood - Alfred’s, taken from his original body - and the heavy grey overcoat of the All Saints Army. This, too, had been Alfred’s. The bomber jacket - missing, he noticed - and the dog tags, those things were from the Second World War, they were things distant enough for him to be careless about. This coat, however, was a different story. The chest and collar were stiff and dark with blood from the fatal bullet wounds and the postmortem beheading. This was a tie more potent than any vow or ring, the one thing that stopped Alfred from escaping him.
He shrugged the coat on, put the bottle between his teeth and went to get the mirror. Throwing off the black lace covering, he noted at once that the dog-tags, one of his idle prizes, were missing from the corner. Curse Alfred his nosiness. Now Arthur wished he had simply put everything in the chest, despite not being in the habit of hiding things that he had been given.
He took the mirror off its hinges and brought it to the middle of the floor, just at the foot of the bed. He put the bottle down atop its silver surface, went back to the wardrobe, retrieved his Browning and also his sword, a ceremonial creature keen enough to cut through bone. He couldn’t afford to take any chances. He crossed back to the mirror, stepped onto its surface. He had no reflection in it, saw only the warped shape of the bottle and the ceiling, cracked plaster, as he crouched to uncork the blood. The scent of it went through him, shivering, hitting him in the pit of his belly. He wanted to down the lot and had to stay perfectly still for a moment, fists clenched, fighting off the urge. He breathed hard. It was almost unbearable.
Shaking his head, he forced his hand to tilt, sending a small splatter of blood to the smooth glass below. With fumbling fingers he corked the rest of it and threw it out of sight onto the bed. He bit at his bottom lip as he knelt down and rubbed his fingers through the blood, beginning to form shapes, symbols, words. This was old magic, the opening of portals, the sort younger vampires wouldn’t know how to use. It was a blood pact, asking that he and Alfred be joined together in one place - like the breaking of bread. When he was done writing out the spell, he licked over his hand and sank his teeth into the heel of his thumb, bringing forth two deep beads of blood which swelled over the curve of his skin and fell. The mirror shivered beneath his feet as his own blood hit the spell; and then, from the centre, a sudden shrill spiderweb of cracks flourished across the glass.
Arthur closed his hand around the cold hilt of his sword. Alfred F. Jones was about to wish he’d never been stitched together.
The Waning @ FFNet