She was meant to have been God’s bride.
She had the gown, a beautiful muslin confection with a wide satin ribbon under her palm-sized breasts.
She was meant to have gone to her grave pure, the flower between her legs unpicked.
She thought perhaps that this might have been the moment to mention the dark-haired priest in the confessional and the strange dreams she’d had of darkness and death, but the Mother Superior had looked so serene and the smell of the flowers twined in her hair had calmed her. Perhaps he had just been a priest who had lost his way and not a harbinger of doom.
But she had been wrong in the end.
He had looked like an angel, but there was nothing good in him. Nothing good at all.
“You’re nothing like Miss Edith,” Drusilla said, poking at the doll’s eyes with her fingertips. “She had a much more pleasant disposition.”
Drusilla slumped in the back of the car and watched the unfamiliar sights of Los Angeles speed by. She didn’t like this city. She preferred London; it was a much more dignified place. Drusilla appreciated the relentless rain and the overcast skies, the narrow alleys and deep shadows. London was the perfect place for a vampire.
But London didn’t have Angel. She’d been alone long enough. She missed her family. And if the rumours about Darla had been true, then perhaps Angel did have something more to offer her than simple revenge.
The cab pulled over to the curb and Drusilla looked up from her lap where she had been wrapping the doll’s synthetic hair around her long thin finger.
“Are you sure you want to be let off here?” the cab driver asked, surveying the empty street.
“Quite sure,” Drusilla said gaily. Cabs weren’t as much fun as they once were. Used to be that you could grab a quick snack, but now driver and passenger were separated by a piece of sterile Plexiglas.
“All right then,” the driver said, returning Drusilla’s change through the little slot in the window.
She stood on the sidewalk and watched the taxi’s taillights wink out of sight before crossing the rain-slicked street for the bar. There was no sign to indicate what the establishment was, but Drusilla knew that this is where she would find him. Hunched over a scotch, a B-negative chaser beside him, he’d be slit-eyed and pissed off.
Drusilla looked down at the doll she was carrying and shook her head. “It’d be different if you were at all tolerable,” she said, holding the doll disdainfully by one porcelain hand. “But Miss Edith understood me. She wasn’t all cow-eyed like you.” Drusilla deposited the doll in the garbage can and stepped through the doors of the bar.
The room was dimly lit and relatively quiet despite the fact that there were probably close to 100 people packed into the small, smoky space. Drusilla closed her eyes and swayed to the hum of energy that only she (and perhaps any clairvoyants that might be present) could hear. Off in the corner two Sloth demons were arguing quietly over an impending sacrifice. A slutty looking vampire-hag was staring dreamily at the mouth sucking greedily at her right wrist. Her left hand was twisted tightly against her crotch. Two huge demons of different species were arm wresting, while a group gathered around them wagering on the outcome. And there hunched over the bar, just as she had expected, was Angel.
It had been months and months since she had last seen him, but the memory of that night was as vivid to Drusilla as the memory of siring Spike, of killing her first child, of the first time Angel had ever tortured her to orgasm.
She hadn’t been at her best that night. She had followed Darla around like an unruly puppy, so happy to be with family, to share in the sport of willful killing. The orgy in the lawyer’s basement had been most delicious; the look on Angel’s face when he had shut the doors and locked them in had been magnificent.
So, she hadn’t expected him at the warehouse. At first she thought that somehow Angelus had returned to them because the creature standing outside the doors, his face a mask of contempt and loathing, had certainly not been Angel. Drusilla remembers the tightness she’d felt between her legs watching him watch them. There was a reason why Angel was missed and it wasn’t just the beautiful way he maimed and killed, or his clever mind and penchant for cruelty. Drusilla knew that she wasn’t alone in her desire for Angelus; she knew that Darla and Spike had missed him, too.
Vampires are very rarely tender or loving. (And even as she thinks this she feels a twinge of regret for what has happened between her and Spike.) The thought of the things Angelus used to do to her makes it difficult to stand still and so she heads across the room to the bar.
“Hello, Dru,” he said without even looking up.
“It’s been awhile.”
“I was in London. It’s lovely there.”
Angel picked up the shot of blood and tipped it into his mouth, nodding to the bartender who refilled the glass and moved away. Angel took a sip of the scotch.
“What brings you to LA?”
“I like California in the winter. The days are shorter,” she said.
“They are,” Angel agreed. “But that’s not why you’re here, is it?”
“I had a doll. I left her in the bin outside. She wasn’t as nice as Miss Edith.”
“I’m not crazy, Angel, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
Angel took another swallow of scotch and closed his eyes. “Dru, you’ve always been crazy.”
Drusilla folded her arms on top of each other and leaned into the bar. “They speak to me and I have to listen. If I don’t listen to them the stars fall from the sky and prick me,” she whispered. “But that’s not my fault now, is it?” She took Angel’s chin in her hand and twisted his face towards her. “You have such pretty eyes.”
“How did you find me?” Angel asked.
“I always know where you are somehow, Angel, even if I don’t come.” She let go of Angel’s face. “But I was bored and perhaps a bit lonesome. I ate an Englishman and he got stuck in my teeth.”
“Spike with you?”
Drusilla laughed, a shrill unnatural sound. “He’s still in Sunnydale, still mooning over the Slayer, I expect.”
“He was going to stake me to prove how much he loved her. My Spike’s all gone now.”
Angel knocked back the second shooter of blood and pushed himself back from the bar.
“Are we leaving?” Drusilla asked.
“I’m leaving,” Angel said.
“Shall I come, too?”
Angel shook his head, a small gesture that was clear in its meaning nonetheless. “Drusilla. Do you have any memory of what happened the last time I saw you?”
“You set me and grandmummy on fire.”
Angel raised his eyebrows and waited for the lights to go on in Dru’s brain. “Don’t you think I might have left the lighter at home if I wanted to have a relationship with you?”
Drusilla lifted limpid eyes to Angel’s and frowned. “It doesn’t matter now. I’ve forgiven you for hurting me. I always forgive you.”
“Christ, Dru. I don’t want your forgiveness. I don’t need it. I just want to be left alone.”
His eyes hardened and without another word, Angel threaded his way through the crowd and out into the night.
Drusilla stood there, hands bumping against her thighs. “That didn’t go too well,” she said to the Verdent demon that moved in to claimed Angel’s vacated stool. The Verdent rubbed one of its three mouths and grunted.
It had taken Dru a whole year to figure out how she wanted to pay Spike back for betraying her with the Slayer. Revenge of the really cunning sort had never really been her forte and she had spent her first few months back in the mother country wandering the streets considering her options and snacking on the locals.
It had occurred to her, poised over the neck of a particularly succulent art student, that the one person who could do the most damage to both Spike and the Slayer was Angel. Dru had no reason to think that Angel would be amenable to helping her out. It was true: He had set her on fire the last time he’d seen her and it was only Darla’s quick thinking that had saved them both from incinerating.
Drunk on the blood of her latest victim, Dru had walked through London’s glorious streets, reveling in some particularly vivid images.
Angel had a cruel mouth. Dru had often been shocked at the things he would say to Darla, things that would twist a knot the size of a fist in Dru’s gut but which seemed to light a particularly nasty gleam in Darla’s eyes. Angel always knew the worst things to say to a person. And the best.
And he could use that mouth in other hurtful ways.
She’d come a long way and she wasn’t going to be disappointed, not now.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners…
Drusilla took a final look at herself in the mirror. She wouldn’t be allowed to preen in the convent; she wouldn’t have a glass in which to regard her solemn, wide-eyed reflection. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Although she had never been a particularly vain girl, she wondered what it would be like to see herself only through the eyes of others.
“You’re a fine looking lass, make no mistake.”
The voice was behind her, but there was nobody reflected in the mirror.
“Not now,” Drusilla whispered. She’d been plagued by the voices for as long as she could remember and today of all days she was hoping for peace.
“Still, I don’t think God wants ye. He knows you’re devil’s spawn.”
Drusilla felt her eyes fill with tears. She reached up to stroke the tiny gold cross around her neck, a gift from her father before he’d been killed, and that’s when she felt a hand, large and cool, brush over her knuckles.
“How can you go off and leave me?”
Drusilla was pulled back against something solid, but unmistakably masculine, and she felt a little bubble of fear lodge in her throat.
“Your dress is very pretty.”
Drusilla watched in amazement as the bodice of her gown shifted and she felt hard fingers slither over her breasts, probe at her tender nipples.
“What magic is this?” she whispered.
“It’s the devil’s magic.” The voice punctuated the words with a vicious twist to her left nipple.
She felt more tears rush to her eyes and she blinked them back. She’d been a wicked girl, she deserved this, she did.
“Do you think you’ll go to heaven, then?”
She shook her head. The hands left her bodice and she felt her dress slide up over her bare legs; she felt fingers there. Right there. She clenched her thighs together, but it made no difference; she could feel the heat bloom and spread.
“I don’t think so. I think I’ll be seeing you in hell.”
The Sister, rod-straight and chalk-white, stood behind her shaking her head in dismay.
“What are you doing, child?”
Drusilla dropped her dress and stammered, “Nothing, Sister. I’m sorry.”
She spun around to face the nun’s disapproving frown, half-expecting to find the corporeal manifestation of the voice in her head, but except for the nun, the room was empty.
Drusilla swayed in the street outside the bar. The doll she’d discarded in the bin was gone and she felt momentarily disappointed. Perhaps she shouldn’t have been so unkind. She should have been a better mother.
Drusilla turned her head to the left and sniffed the air delicately. She waited. Angel would have gone back to that cavernous hotel of his. He’d be sulking or pacing or brooding by now. Drusilla stepped to the curb and lifted her arm to signal a cab.
Oh, goody, she thought when a cab pulled up. She opened the door and slid into the back seat. There was nothing separating her from the driver, an oily looking man with a boil just below his ear. She could have a drive and dinner.
Connor’s room, what was left of it, was off limits to everyone but Angel and he sat there now, in the darkness, his mind weary.
Drusilla’s appearance tonight should have been more disturbing than it actually was, but Angel felt quite removed from his life. No one had been more important to him than Connor and now Connor was gone. A big part of him thought the only way he’d ever be able to live with that was if he killed Wesley; a bigger part knew nothing would ever make this right.
A sound at the door.
“I told you people to stay the hell out of here,” he said.
“Surely you didn’t mean me, Daddy.”
Angel sighed. Drusilla could sometimes be as tenacious as a pitbull; perhaps the only way to get rid of her was to kill her. Again.
“I had a nice snack on the way over,” she said and Angel heard the awkward thunk of a body hitting the floor. “Do you like Mediterranean? I saved you some.”
Drusilla walked into the room and squatted before Angel. Her lips were smeared with blood and she smelled of sex. Angel met her blank eyes with his.
“I need you to help me, my Angel,” she said.
“Dru,” Angel said, his voice cautious.
She brought a carefully French manicured nail to her mouth and traced her lips. Angel watched as her vampire features morphed back to her placid human visage and, for a moment, he was taken back to the first time he had ever seen her. 1860 or thereabouts, on a London street in winter. Darla had considerately pointed her out. She has the sight, she’d whispered, just as Drusilla had turned back and met his predatory gaze.
“What do you want?”
Drusilla smiled. “There’s a good Daddy.”
“What do you want?” Angel repeated.
“I want Spike back and he wants the Slayer.”
Angel snorted through his nose.
“I don’t think I can help you with this particular problem,” Angel said, standing up.
Drusilla stood in front of Angel and stuck out her lower lip in a little girl pout. She pulled at the scooped bodice of her dress, revealing the small, white crescents of flesh just above her nipples. “I’ll give you,” she paused to consider, “well, anything you want.”
Angel said nothing.
“You used to like my body. You used to do all manner of naughty things to it,” Drusilla whispered.
“I used to be soulless, Dru.”
“I think having a soul is overrated,” Drusilla said.
Angel laughed again, a short, mirthless bark. “So do I.”
“Well then,” she said.
“You don’t have anything I want.”
Drusilla took two steps back and then two more, until she was standing next to Connor’s ruined crib.
“Do you wonder where she is?”
“In hell, I suspect.”
“What about the boy?”
Angel crossed the distance between them in two long strides and grabbed Drusilla by her upper arms. One sharp shake rattled her teeth. “Don’t play with me, Dru,” he hissed.
“Games are such fun, though,” she said, her eyes sparkling with mischief. “I do enjoy them. And I haven’t got anything else to play.” She turned her pale face up to his and smiled a little girl smile.
Disgusted, he pushed her back. She stumbled and fell over a box of baby things Cordy had packed.
Angel headed for the door, pausing only to point at the dead taxi driver. “Get rid of this.”
Drusilla’s mind had been brittle and easy to break and Angelus had delighted in it. The courtship, the chase, the denouement had all given him a thrill that he had spent years trying to duplicate. Her wild-eyed look of horror as he’d defiled Darla in front of her, the floor smeared with the blood of dozens of nuns, had been the fuel which had kept him hard for hours. Then, he’d taken both Drusilla’s virginity and her life. And in return for those gifts he had made her a bride of darkness. This was, in his mind, the crowning glory of a whole list of evil deeds. And like any really good serial killer, Angelus had tried to duplicate that feeling with numerous victims afterwards, but there was only one Drusilla.
His most exquisite victim was also the one person who’d plagued him all these years later. She made his skin crawl. His fingers itched to stake her every single time he saw her, which thankfully hadn’t been that often since he’d left Sunnydale. Strangely, the guilt he felt also made him soft when it came to her; he felt as though he owed her, should help her.
His vampire family had unraveled and he supposed he should be more upset than he was. Truth of the matter was that he didn’t give a rat’s ass for any of them anymore. Darla was dead. Spike was obviously preoccupied. (The thought of Spike chasing after Buffy gave Angel a certain degree of discomfort. The idea of Buffy reciprocating Spike’s feelings was utterly ludicrous. That Spike would pursue her anyway was typical Spike.) Dru was crazy, still.
He hadn’t done much better with his human family. Wesley had betrayed him. Connor was lost. Wesley had betrayed him. His mind refused to budge beyond that.
Perhaps it would be better to give Drusilla what she wanted and send her on her way. He just wanted to be left alone in the dark. It was somehow ironic that he should be alone in the dark with her.
Drusilla floated through the empty corridors of the Hyperion, peering into doors and scraping her nails along the torn wallpaper. Sometimes she’d stop and listen; the walls had many stories to tell, but the voices were tangled up and Dru couldn’t make them out.
Down in the lobby, Drusilla paused. There was a frightening amount of energy here. Drusilla lifted her hand and pushed at the air in front of her. She could feel the wail stuck in her throat and she did her best to keep it there.
There was so much anger in this place and though he did his best to contain it, Drusilla could feel the tear in Angel’s soul. A wide-open rip that spilled his humanity onto the floor like blood seeping through a wound. She wanted to lick it up. She wanted to remember what it felt like to have him deep inside her, his hand clasped tight over her mouth so she couldn’t scream.
“Ahhhh,” she screamed, dropping to her knees. “They’ve tied him to a tree and the monsters will eat him all up for dinner.” She pushed her hands along the gleaming floor in front of her, sliding them left and then right. “He’s a resourceful man-boy and he’s cunning, too.” She slid out so she lay flat against the floor, her black hair shielding her face. “Do you wonder if he lives? Do you wonder what he’ll say to you when he comes back to you?” she whispered.
Drusilla rolled over onto her back and stretched her arms high over her head, spread her legs wide. “Come on, then, Daddy. Give me a baby.” She giggled. “I want a baby, too.”
From the balcony Angel watched his greatest creation, his most beautiful monster and he whispered: “Nothing grows in the winter, Dru.”
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