Author's Note: Um, you might want 2 read 'Darkness in California' first, just to get a feel for the characters in this story

Author's Note: Here's a story I wrote a LONG time ago, staring (drumrole please…) Michael! Hope that you like! Please read all of my vampire stories if you can. The Vampyri Clan is a complex and fun line that I would really like more people to read (and therefore give me feedback). Another quick warning--- there is a bit of male/male kissing so if you have a problem with that, don't read this story.  Thanks also to Red Joker- who was the one who made me pull this out of the closet and brush off the dust.

Eternally and Always, Tsuki

The Dark Dance

By Tsuki-Moon

Los Angeles, California- 1991

The loud music pounded in my ears, delicate words screamed in rage and torment. Dark music always made me feel better when I wanted to be alone. I chewed hesitantly on a small carrot-stick, the pesticides burned my taste buds- threatening to make me vomit up last night's feeding. I was too detached for anything of the sort to happen, though. Far too detached…

A hand brushed a strand of my sandy blond hair away from my face, causing me to gasp aloud. I opened my blue eyes and took off my headphones.

"Hey Mike!" I looked up at the sound and svowled slightly. I really hate being called Mike. "God, you look so depressed. Lighten up, will ya?"

"James-" I stated reluctantly. He shook his head and pulled me up from my slouched position.

"Come on, you old grouch." He teased softly, "Tonight, let's party among the blood-filled living."

"Eh?" I frowned darkly. "I thought we were going to the safehouse tonight."

"Naw," the young vampire smiled, "You've been around those depressing dead too long. I swear, if you get anymore lost in your own world, I'll have to send a search party." James picked up his jean jacket on his way out the door, smirking back at me. I shook my head with a sigh, knowing that arguing would do no good. I was stuck- following James wherever he may go had become one of my hobbies it had seemed. A rather trying and undesirable hobby. I snatched my black trench coat up from my desk and followed… as always.

-   -   -   -   -

Have you ever passed through life as if it were a dream? Like you were not an actual player, but a pawn in a stupid game that some divine power decided that it would play? Good Lord, I know I have. The lights were flashing fitfully, driving a rather strong headache into my skull. Blue, yellow, red, purple, and green came over and over as lasers flickered along the brick-like wall, providing the only glimmers of light in the small dance club. Cigarette smoke poured across the bar and onto the dance floor, obscuring the shapes of the dancers as they twisted and shuffled to the pounding music.  The noise was deafening, but I smiled all the same. James had been right- it was a lot easier to be excited around this than the dreary safehouse. I willed my vision to become sharper, searching through the smoke for my boyfriend. I found him within a few seconds. 

A thin film of blood sweat clung to his pale brow, not too noticeable in the darkness, but still obvious to my keen senses. His bleached hair was cut in a modern fashion; his white neck decorated with a teenage style short chain-necklace that were coming into fashion. His blue, button-up shirt hung open, exposing his white designer tee shirt. I chuckled at my friend, surprised how well he fit in with the youth. If it had been up to me, I would have requested a more gothic bar, one where my dark tastes would fit in. But then, I never really spoke up, did I? Oh well.

James gave me a hard pat on the shoulder, smiling triumphantly. "Man, this place is sweet. You really should get out there and have some fun."

"Oh shit." I sighed, leery of his cocky expression, "Okay, out with it. What the hell did you do?"

"Nothing."  He smirked wickedly, his crystal like eyes shimmering with excitement. "I just fed a bit, that's all." I groaned, silently hoping that he had not caused a fuss. James had a way of always stirring up trouble. It was times like this that I missed my old companions- like my maker, Victoria, or my dear Esteban. No matter what annoying rules those two fussed with, at least they were not crazy. Funny how those were the first two adjectives that came to mind when I thought of James.

"God, don't get all bent out of shape." He laughed harshly, "I didn't do anything stupid tonight… not yet anyway."

"Oh, that's reassuring." I half-laughed and half-scoffed. There was something about James that just drove me off the wall. I had noticed this the first day that I had ever met him. Even then he seemed to find something incredably entertaining about pissing off a vampire that was more than four hundred years older than he was.

"Oh come on," he grinned a toothy grin, his bloodteeth showing in the fluorescent lighting. "Have a drink with me… a lot of the teenagers out there are either high or drunk anyway. You know that they taste the best."

"Don't draw attention to yourself." I warned, although God knows I've broken that rule enough. But I was tired. I wanted to get out. I drew my black coat around myself tightly and turned to leave.

"Michael!" He impudently grabbed a fist full of my chin length hair and gave a hard tug. I hissed in discomfort.

"Let go."



"Come on! Just dance with me! Have a drink with me! Stop moping, damn you!"

 I turned and hit him… hard at that. He gasped and let my hair go, clutching his cheek tenderly. His eyes narrowed into menacing slits. "Fucking jerk." He slipped back into the crowded mass of people, his scent dissolving into the odors of sweat, marijuana, and beer. My chest ached a bit with guilt. I hated that James was mad at me, even if he was being a moron. But still…

I felt caged, alone, and powerless. This happens to me a lot. I go through stages and moods more than I do books of old poetry, and that's pretty sad because I'm addicted to poetry. I searched the crowds with my eyes, my stomach panging. I felt sick. I rubbed my fingers along my wrist, wanting to bite at the thin skin there. The pain and taste usually comforted me when I was depressed. I slashed at my wrists soemtimes too, but it was usually too messy and it was easier just to bite. James cursed at me when I did that and told me I was a "fucking idiot". Oh, James… I know.

Not that James really helps me with my depression. In fact, more often then not, he makes it worse. He's a hopeless control-freak, really. Anytime I seem stronger than he is, he has to find away to prove that he's in charge. That usually involves making me scream. I try at those times to keep my composure- to not give him the satisfaction- but sometimes those hands of his… shit, half the time I end up in a state where I'm still trying to keep from crying and instead I end up blacking out instead. It's pretty scary, actually. That critical point where pain and passion combine is always painful with James. Always.

But what drew me to James was not what drew me to my wonderful Esteban, or anyone else that I have ever loved. James was different in the fact that I did not adore him, nor did I even dwell on his image or his affection- if there really was any affection there. On the contrary, I often needed to get away, drowning myself in books and music for days without his presence. In fact, he did a remarkable job of pissing me off. So why did I continue to follow James like a faithful puppy, and why did I remain for years upon years? Because without him time went back to normal and that was too much to bear. No matter how much James and I yelled, or fought, or cursed each other, I never cried when I was around him. Nor did I ever feel like life had abandoned me into that hellish daze that caused my stomach to twist and my eyes to refuse to stay open. I hated that James made me feel so angry, but I loved that he made me feel. I loved him.

Now, standing alone in the dance club, the emptiness started to creep back, causing my throat to clench and my eyes to water a bit with blood-tears. "Damn it." I finally sighed, slipping into the crowds- against abundant torsos and fleshy frames, thick with perspiration and bright outfits. I coughed at an extra thick cloud of smoke, aware that the drugs in it were stronger than was allowed in any bar. I was surprised that no human seemed to notice. Suddenly, a soft hand grasped the back of my neck, spinning me around forcefully. Hot lips met with mine, causing me to gasp aloud. I pushed the figure away swiftly, although I did not really want to. "I told you not to make a scene." I groaned as James's hands glided back around my shoulders.

"Oh, shut up." He laughed, "These mortals are all high anyway. It doesn't matter."

"It does to me." I sighed, pretending to be just slightly annoyed.

"Well, tough." James eyes were a little glassy, the only real side effect to drinking drugged blood. I was silent. "Fine!" He sneered abruptly, thinking that I was not gladdened with his attitude. "Let's just go home."

I snatched his wrist and jolted him backward, a smirk materializing on my face. I kissed him again and nuzzled in his brittle hair a bit. "No. Let's just dance." James's expression softened and he laughed, his youthful eyes glistening with memories of his extensive, rock-and-roll mortal life.

"Sure you can keep up with me, old timer?" He chortled softly.

"The question is- can you keep up with me?" He laughed and just smirked knowingly. James and I joined the crowd of mortals; two more nameless figures dancing in a company of shadows, wishing silently that morning would never come.