Antony Burgess was tall and blond also, four years younger than Kit when they'd been alive, ten years his junior as an Undead.
He smiled a greeting as the younger man raised one hand.
Kit and Antony were contemporaries; they'd been robbers together, shared adventures, many noggins of ale and assorted women during their brief lifespans, and Kit considered Tony his best friend.
He reached Kit's side, "Well, another week, another pint! Not like the ones we slugged down in the Coachman, but 'twill suffice, I suppose!"
As Kit made an agreeing sound, he turned to Honor, seized her hand and planted a quick kiss upon it, "Good even, My Lady! Awaiting yon delectible feast?"
Antony always assumed that pseudo-Eighteenth Century manner when around Honor. He knew it amused her.
Her smile matched his. "Aye, Tony--such as 'twill be!"
That brought a loud sigh. "Oh, damn, it does leave a lot to be desired, doesn't it?"
"Do I detect a note of dissatisfaction?" Kit asked. Antony, he'd found, had always been adaptable to whatever came along, accepting it in the best humor possible.
"Blast it, Kit--you know I always try to see the bright side, but--" The blond head shook, pale brows scowling downward, mouth following; whenever Antony was negative, so was his entire body. "I miss it--the stalking, the thrill of the hunt...." he sighed again, "...fresh blood, hot from...."
Honor made a slight sound and he stopped apologetically, "Sorry, Honor--that wasn't very gallant of me, was it, reminding us of what we've lost?"
She put a hand on his arm, "It's all right, Tony, we all--" and broke off as he gasped slightly and jerked away from her grasp. "What is it?"
"I-- " He shook his head, brushing one hand across his eyes, "I don't know.... Suddenly I feel dizzy...."
Once more, Honor touched his arm only to have him again move away.
"Don't! That hurts!"
"Tony, what--" Kit began, sharply cutting off the rest of the sentence as his friend turned a stricken face toward him.
"Kit--" Abruptly, he doubled over, Kit catching him as he fell, hearing him gasp, "Dear God, Kit, my veins are on fire!" and nearly dropping him in the shock of hearing Antony actually speaking the Name.
He slid to the ground, was on his knees, vainly attempting to stand, the pain keeping him bent over. One hand clawed at Kit's arm and he seized his friend by the shoulder, trying to haul him upright, seeing something that stopped the movement.
There was blood on his sleeve.
For a moment, he thought the scrabbling fingers had scratched him then realized with a jolt of absolute fear that the blood was coming from Antony, seeping from under the short, perfectly manicured nails of the pale hand clutching his forearm.
Others were noticing now, beginning to hover around, a murmur floating through them.
Kit was still attempting to lift him bodily, surprised at how heavy the younger
man suddenly became, at how weak he abruptly was.
Antony raised his head, face contorted in pain, mouth opening to scream. The veins in his neck were swelling, filling like pipes with no outlet for their flow, vessels in his eyes shredding, the conjectiva suffused with blood, and Kit's own startled eyes met the suffering blue ones awash in that sea of red.
"Kit...." A single strangled sound of anguish.
Antony's body exploded.
Kit staggered backward under the blast of blood washing over him, clutching a moment at the hand before it slid from his grasp. Then, he simply stood there, stunned and silent, staring down at the ruptured mass of flesh that had been his friend.
Honor touched his shoulder and he turned toward her slightly, started to take her in his arms, then realized he was covered with Antony's blood and pushed her away.