Benjamin squinted. No, it was sunlight, but not direct. No pain. Just a hole in the patchwork of his room. A human lay beside him, her arm sealed from where he'd bitten her the night before. A small smile crept over his face, and he held her closer. She was what he politely called a donator. He never killed them, not ever. This one was a favorite, mostly because he knew that she cared. Unfortunately, he always worried for her.
"Ben, you're fretting aloud again..."
The sleepy voice came from beneath the covers, and he glanced down to see her crawl out of them, yawning and showing off her perfect white teeth. he gave her a soft smile.
"Good morning Amanda. Don't you have work today?" It was more a statement, though a soft one.
"Nah...pop's outta town for the next few days, the Shop's closed." she mumbled, wrapping her arm about his chest. He chuckled lightly, his Irish lilt heavier when he next spoke, pressing her close. Their bare bodies met neatly, and he kissed her forehead with the delicacy of a butterfly.
"How good fer ye. I 'ope ye really do 'ave te days off, I'd hate te be te cause o' any more trouble 'tween ye." he breathed, nuzzling her cheek as he slid down to match her height on the pillows. The soft rapping at the door heralded an older friend, and Benjamin groaned inwardly. He rolled neatly and primly out of bed, giving Amanda an apologetic kiss before he proceeded to gather his clothes. Again.
Getting dressed was a quick and simple matter, and when he was fully dressed, and cautiously opened the door. he was tackled immediately by a young woman, an old friend who was a touch more aggressive then was normal.
"Joanna, you're crushing my ribs." he said politely, then rolled suddenly to get above her. She grinned and before he could even pretend to bite her had shoved him off with her legs, placed carefully on his chest. he back-flipped off and they both fell to soft laughter as he closed the door.
"Te what do I owe de pleasure of your visit, me friend?" he chuckled, watching as she reinserted her tough-girl attitude. he'd practically helped her father raise her, but their closeness in physical age afforded him with more playfulness then many, and he often helped her train at night, when he could.
As it was, she was in her late-twenties, and her muscle tone indicated military training.
"I just got back from West Point. They're giving me some leave, so that I can get my affairs in order. Killing vamps isn't a very popular job, as you can understand." she said softly, kissing his cheek in an affectionate way. He smiled ruefully.
"I can believe it. Heard anything on the streets with your contacts recently?"
"Yeah, apparently there's a new Slayer. I have to go overseas, to England and Germany. But my contact told me you should seek her out tonight. I can help you with that. Who knows, maybe you can help her out like you did me." Joanna sat on the bed, and she and Amanda chuckled. Ben left them to the more girl-related chats. A hundred years before the mast, you learned the way of the ocean well enough. In this case, he was being figurative.
Slipping into his window-less bathroom, Benjamin looked in the mirror, an ancient habit that made his heart throb. Memories flashed before his mind's eye, painful and heart-wrenching.
"Where's Spike when I need someone to guilt trip?"
Realizing he spoke that aloud, he hissed softly, and tried to shove the memories back into their box. He could wash up...should. He didn't want Amanda and Joanna put in danger later tonight, and sex had a strong scent.
"Benjamin? Are you alright?"
"Yeah, fine. Chest just hurts."
The call surprised him. He hadn't been in here long.
Stepping into the bedroom, Benjamin saw Joanna looking a bit pale.
"Ben, you gotta feed more. You look paler then usual, and you're off-kilter. We actually heard you hissing at yourself." she said softly, and he sighed, sitting down beside his two favorite girls.
"Come on you two, I'll be fine. Long as I keep myself working somehow, I'll be fine. Joanna, you run along home, your husband will be upset. Amanda...why you get some sleep, and I'll join you in a minute?"
"Alright then. I probably won't see you for awhile. I ship out tomorrow morning, just after dawn. I'll stop by on my way to the base. Amanda, you take care of him for me." Joanna said softly, kissing Benjamin lightly on the cheek. He gave her a soft grin as Amanda said she would.
"Go to sleep now, me dear. I'll be in bed soon enough." he murmured to her when Joanna had left. She nodded and yawned, then fell to sleep almost instantly.