Sounds Of Silence

by Saber ShadowKitten
My Childe 7






Silence is a funny thing. Sometimes it's soothing, a pleasant thinking companion on a cold, winter's night. Other times it's uncomfortable, wrought with tension, begging to be broken. Then there's the silence that screams, the eerie soundlessness that makes goosebumps rise and hair stand on end. That's the silence that surrounded me as I made my way down the street.

But I was the cause of this silence, not the one being effected. Those were the people who took one look at me and quickened their step. Those were the ones who saw death in my stony expression and avoided me. Those were the smart ones.

The stupid ones were dead.

There is an almost inaudible sound when a sharp blade slides into the skin. Almost like if you run the pad of your fingertip on a piece of paper. It's a smooth sound, normally followed by screaming unless it happens to be someone's throat you're cutting. If you do that, a sort of burbling sound occurs as the person's life blood wells forth from the wound. Be it a human or non-human, the sound is the same.

The snapping of someone's neck sounds like opening a jar of jelly. A slow, hollow grind followed by a quick pop. Then air escapes the body as it falls to the ground, almost sounding like the quiet hiss of a bicycle tire deflating. Of course, the body hitting the ground itself makes various sounds depending on the type of ground it is, like cement or gravel or even a puddle of water.

There is a tiny, crystalline sound when you stake a vampire. As their bodies turn to dust, if you listen carefully, it sounds like the tinkling of breaking glass. Or miniature windchimes blowing in the breeze.

Windchimes keep the faeries away according to old lore. I remembered this as I was walking along the darkened streets, death enshrouding me. Faeries are mischievous creatures who like to torment others for their own amusement. They can hide things, make you hear things that aren't there, and bring bad dreams.

I ducked into an occult shop that I frequent almost unconsciously. My feet were silent on the carpeting despite the heavy boots that I wear. Crystal Stone, the proprietor of the shop, tilted her head to one side when she saw me. Without saying a word, she set her Tarot cards down and moved to the display area where the windchimes hung from real, potted trees.

I followed, not questioning how she knew why I was there. The quiet hum of the heater interacted with the quiet hum of magickal energy within the shop. It was a pleasant silence, a peaceful one that helped soothe my savage breast, calming my tumultuous emotions.

Not hesitating, Crystal lifted a windchime from one of the branches of the tree and handed it to me. Hanging from circular, web-like pattern of a dream catcher were thin pipes of various lengths. I was immediately taken back over two centuries when they rang, a boy at my mother's heels, listening to her stories as she hung the wash, the chimes around our house tinkling.

I miss my mother.

I nodded once and Crystal took the windchime back from me, wrapped it carefully and taped the package shut. I went to take my money out to pay her and she shook her head no. "A gift. Your Childe needs you to fill the silence," she whispered, her voice lilting softly, bringing back more memories of Ireland.

I smiled at her, my heart filling with gratitude. I took the package from her and left the shop as silently as I arrived. When I shut the door behind me, I see her back at the counter, laying her Tarot cards out one by one.

I wonder what the future will bring for my Childe.

I entered my home through the back, wanting to avoid the office in case Cordelia or Doyle were hanging around. I was not in the mood to listen to them or feel their repressed attraction to one another.

When I enter, my heart caught at the sight of both my love and my Childe sitting at the kitchen table, their blond heads close together as they looked at a book. I set my package down and took off my coat, carelessly tossing it onto a nearby table. They both raised their eyes to me, and if I had breath it would have been taken away by the identical expressions of happiness to see me reflected in both their beautiful eyes.

Despite all that I have gone through and all that I have caused, I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

The proofs were sitting at my kitchen table.

"Hi," Buffy greeted me, her voice soft in the silence. Her smile was equally as soft, but filled with love that neither of us could ever really give up.

"What are you two doing?" I asked casually, heading over towards the kitchen cabinets.

"Research," Buffy answered. "As much as I want it to be, this wasn't a pleasure trip."

I watched as my girl flushed at her own wording and I felt an ache in my gut. I so love her. I swear silently once again at my curse. I would give almost anything to be rid of the clause preventing me from loving her properly.

My eyes turned to Spike and I saw a faint smile playing on his lips as he watched Buffy as well.

Almost anything.

But never my beautiful boy.

Never.

I bent down, opened the cabinet and took out a rusty toolbox. Setting it on the counter, I opened it and removed a thick planter hook, the kind that screw into the ceiling. I closed the toolbox and put it away. I'm neat to the extreme. It's a failing of mine. Cordelia drove me nuts when she was here for those few days.

"Anything I can help with?" I asked as I headed across the hardwood floor towards the bedroom.

"No, we're pretty much done here," Buffy answered. The sound of the book closing was interesting. I could barely discern the creak of the old, worn leather binding and the crinkle of the pages as it was shut. Then there was silence once more, broken only by the faint sound of Buffy's breathing as she and Spike watched me from the table.

I'm glad I'm tall. And supernaturally strong. It made it easy for me to screw the hook into the brick archway that led into the bedroom.

My voice was the sound that breaks the silence as I headed back to where I set the package. "There's an old legend in Ireland that says windchimes chase faeries away, protecting the people within the home from their mischief and bad dreams."

I opened the package and unwrapped the windchime, holding it up for them to see. "There is another legend from the Native Americans about dream catchers. They catch the good dreams, and the bad pass through the web and disappear."

I walked back over to the hook above entry to the bedroom and hung the windchime. It tinkled sweetly when I lowered my arm. "We can use less bad dreams around here," I said quietly, looking up at it.

Then I turned and walked over to the couch Cordelia and Doyle forced me to buy, sat down in the center, and put both my arms out along the back of the couch to either side of me. My eyes were focused on the windchime, which I could see clearly from my seat, and I admired the way the soft lamp light from the bedroom played over the thin strands and the crystal in the center of the dream catcher.

Buffy's footsteps made a light click on the hardwood floor as she walked around the couch from the kitchen area. She gave me a shy smile when I turned my eyes to her and I smiled in return, indicating with a slight gesture of my head for her to sit beside me. She did and although my instincts were telling me to run from her because of what can never be, I dropped my arm down and pulled her close to my right side.

The panic that I felt before at her arrival was gone. The silence has calmed me. I pressed a slight kiss on the top of her head and she sighed contentedly. This was where she belonged.

With me.

I felt rather than heard my Childe walk from the kitchen around the other side of the couch. I raised my gaze to him and see that his lips were pursed, that maddening wary look in his eyes. As I did with Buffy, I gestured with my head in invitation for him to sit on the other side of me.

I saw him blink rapidly before he dropped his head, preventing me from seeing his eyes. Then he sat down beside me and after a moment of stiff posture indicating he was ready to bolt in an instant, he relaxed back against the couch. Shortly thereafter, I gently dropped my left arm around his shoulders and pulled him lightly until he was leaning against me like Buffy. He did not stiffen or pull away.

My heart rejoiced.

With a different sort of love clearly visible in my eyes if anyone were to look, I pressed a soft kiss atop of Spike's head.

The three of us sat there, my Childe, my love and I, listening to the sounds of silence.

Listening to the sounds of unconditional love.



End