The Red Mill

The Red Mill

By Chenanceou

Disclaimer: All belong to ME (Grr! Argh!), not me.
Notes: This takes place in the Paris of 1899. William the Bloody and la Belle poque meet at the Moulin Rouge. The story was written for a crossover fic challenge. I chose the movie Moulin Rouge (kind of obvious) - but don't worry... If you haven't seen the movie it still works.


He felt at home in this place. The Moulin Rouge - the red mill... What a prosaic name for the most extraordinary of places. The decorations by Willette conjured a world of colors and sensations. It was a place where the rich bourgeoisie rubbed shoulders with the drunks and the noctambules. Ah... Some of those whores were delicious... One for every taste... One for every depravity in the book. Those top hats paid dearly for the delusion of being part of the demimonde. He was more a creature of this world than any of these ambulant meals would ever be. What did they understand of decadence and corruption other than what they could afford for a night? He loved this place, not because of the lords, but for the scum that inhabited it. Although, he must concede that the well-fed gentlemen did make for a lovely supper.

With a contented sigh, Spike looked around taking in the scenery. Alone and free. For the night at least. Being unencumbered by the women was a relief. One night stolen every now and then made him forget they thought him a poor substitute for Angelus. He took a table near Toulouse's usual corner where the painter was holding court as the diminute king of the bohemians. He had his usual starvelings from the Butte surrounding him. The vampire did not miss the newcomer to the group and, obviously, to the city. The poor bastard would lose that glimmer of hope from his eyes soon enough. This was Montmartre after all...the home of lost souls.

The waiter approached, inquiring if he'll have the usual. Yes, he most certainly will. He just knows he'll miss Paris. The waiter places his order on the table and leaves him alone to perform his ritual.

Absinthe. The name in itself transported you to magic realms populated by la Fe Verte and brilliant people. It was a ritual of courtship, full of anticipation. The glass filled carefully to the etched mark; the placement of the spoon, its elaborate cut-outs bearing the crystallized remains of a previous rendezvous with dreams. One sugar cube balanced carefully, and the slow and precise pouring of the water over it... Watching the cube absorb it and slowly dissolve and drip into the awaiting liquid inside. The fascination of the louche... as the green emerald changed colors with each drop of water... Toulouse had his own concoction baptized as atremblement de terre... And a magnificent earthquake it was, the cognac cutting the bitter taste of the absinthe and allowing it to run smoothly down the throat. Other than the dwarf, La Goulue was the only one who could drink the stuff and still stand.

The waiter never bothered to ask if he would have another. Spike needed more than the usual three glasses before the green fairy came to him.

He watched the faces go by with no interest until something caught his eye. Toulouse's new boy couldn't take his eyes off the redhead. Spike recognizes that look of total adoration. The light in those eyes is unmistakable. The whelp is a poet...a poet in love. He can tell, he can always tell.

Poets. Such a sorry lot. They search for that perfect love that has no chance of surviving in this sodding world. All things should and would die. Why sacrifice an entire existence to something doomed from the start? Why give the power to obliterate your most prized possession to a stranger who comes into your life on some very ordinary day?

She is beautiful, anyone can see that. But can the poet sense the stench of death that surrounds his courtesan? No, he can't. Fool. He'll probably end up as one of the tortured souls that haunt the alleys of Montmartre... All of them with that desperate look of lost possibilities and missed opportunities in their bloodshot eyes.

A poet's heart is meant to love. Love is pain. Love is the torture of the promise of infinite happiness if... yes, if the object of your affection chooses to love you in return. But, there were also the bitter aftertastes of love. Betrayal. Loss.

Forever and ever. Hollow words. There is no forever. Not even for creatures like him. He will live longer than any of these pathetic excuses for humanity, but even his time will come.

Poets' hearts are there to be broken, so their pain will spill like blood on cheap pages for other's entertainment. Poets' hearts were meant to be shattered, so the pieces can shine like diamonds in somebody else's eyes.

Fool. The girl was as good as dead.

The End

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