This story is dedicated to Leigh, for reminding me of something very important, even though she didn't know she was doing it
Each Time You Tell The Story
It is only after the soft cries have faded and only embers flare in the lopsided fireplace that Drusilla comes to cross the threshold of their room. The floorboards are cool, protesting quietly under her bare feet, and the room is thick, thick with crimson-riddled need and burnt-edged affection, translucent and obscuring, like the finest of silk drapery. She moves her hands out in front of her, carefully, as if to brush these hangings aside, part them that she might pass and see the full glory which they hide. Her old satin nightgown rustles about her legs, material the rust-earth hue of dried blood, lace in unrecognizable tatters.
She is quiet, so that she can hear the lone, fluttering heartbeat that stirs within the house.
The bed is as dated and resigned as the rest of the house, midnight curtains faded, soft down comforters beginning to show their wear. Pillows and clothes are strewn half on the floor, and at the center of it all is Spike, curled up like a child, breathing out of old habit in his sleep. Within his grasp, a dark boy takes in shallow droughts of air; together they look like two fallen angels, yin and yang, resting in the shade of a forbidden tree. Drusilla tilts her head, and stands near the foot of the bed, one elegant hand resting on the cherry-wood post. She's felt his dark eyes on her since she entered the room, but he does not speak, merely lays within her childe's all-encompassing embrace, measuring heart and thought and breath the way small children do in the darkest moments of the night. For quite some time, they watch each other, green cat's eyes to burnt-topaz brown; but it is Spike who stirs, and Spike who speaks.
"Hello, Princess," he stretches, muscles under milk-white, like the largest of predatory, arctic cats. There's only the slightest hitch in his hips to betray the aches that still linger, and the smile on his face is like the brightest tilt of Venus in the early twilight sky. Reflexively, Drusilla moves to shield her eyes-- her William is so vibrant, she can see the golden mesh all around him and his little love. She nods at him, still watching his boy, waiting for his mouth to form words with actual sound.
"That's Drusilla," he says at last, pressing back into Spike.
"Mmmhmmm," she murmurs, circling the bed, "and you're my William's little boy."
"Xander," he manages, eyes so like that of a deer as Spike begins to kiss along his shoulder. "I-- I'm crazy, I must be crazy."
"No, you two've not been formally introduced," Spike grins, "s'all right-- I think you'll be good friends. Don't you, poodle?"
"Oh, yes!" she smiles, then falters as her hands flail. Miss Edith is in the other room, dreaming of the spiders that skitter behind the stars and her arms feel empty, empty. She turns away.
"This is crazy," Xander repeats. "I slept with the Evil Undead! This is not something I do. That's more Buffy's-- okay, so I shouldn't say that-- but I prefer my dates living and, and-- female. Oh god," he pales, shakes so endearingly, "I think I just committed necrophillia. Ew!"
"That you did, love. Quite skillfully, at that."
"I don't... I don't--" She can hear all the painful little teeth in his voice, all the little crying pebbles that say things she can't understand. 'Zeppo', they say, 'loser', 'runt', 'doughnut boy', 'nerd'. "I remember... seeing you, and I remember--" the boy pauses, and Drusilla turns so that she can see her childe's ivory shark-smile, "what we did, but--"
"I took all the walls down!" Drusilla informs him, seating herself on the foot of the bed. "I tore them all down for my Spike. He was lonely, and his stone heart hurt-- it's made of ruby, you know-- and so I took your walls down, brick by brick."
This boy's face is not a poem, it's a painting, and Drusilla studies it closely, so that she can see, "I drank--"
"A potion, love," Spike is still holding, still petting and calming his skittish little buck. "Dru fixed you up a nice potion, so you'd stop thinking about all the reasons why we can't and start thinking about what we can do together."
A high squeak, "That's-- that's cheating!"
"Hello-- vampire here." Spike runs a hand through his boy's short, unruly locks. "But I knew you were interested."
"One kiss-and-grope in the cemetery does not an interested party make! I mean, I'm a teenager-- I... it doesn't take much to..." He's trying to free himself now, silly kitten, but her Spike holds determined and fast.
"It's more than that, love, I--"
"Oh!" Drusilla's lips part in a wide, carmine smile. "I know this story-- I know it Spike! Can I tell?" Xander's young muscles finally still, and when he moves to rest on the pillows instead of his captor, Spike merely moves with him. Dru leans over, so that she might examine the craftsmanship of their interlocked fingers, and watch the flutter of Xander's lashes as he leans tearfully into Spike's neck.
"Let me go."
"Not a chance, pet." Her childe turns a little, meets her gaze. "Don't make yourself upset now-- Dru here wants to tell you a story."
"Oh god," the boy says, clinging to Spike simply because the vampire will not let him get a hold of anything else. "Oh god, oh god, oh god..."
"He's not here," Drusilla informs him tartly, "He has to ask to enter, and Miss Edith will never, ever let Him in."
"Who's Miss Edith?" Xander peers at her over Spike's pale shoulder.
"Her doll," Spike says, in that dutiful tone Drusilla doesn't like. Her nails itch to bite at her childe's healing flesh, but she holds back, fascinated by the play of feelings across the mortal's face.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," he says, "just when you thought the life of Xander Harris couldn't possibly get any weirder--"
"I want to tell the story," Drusilla insists, balling her fists up in the sheets. "I want to tell it now."
"Just a moment, plum," Spike is kissing again, almost cooing against the young man's mouth. "That's it, precious," his blue, blue ice eyes see only Xander, the world informed by a single need. Even through her impatience, Drusilla smiles, because if Spike is looking, always looking at his kitten, he will not see Dru and Daddy in a world all tinted green. "You get yourself in such a state," Spike continues, laughing at Xander's dirty look. "Go on, Dru-- tell us a nice bed time story."
Slightly mollified, Drusilla draws herself up to lie back against the recently vacated pillows, smoothing her nightgown and delicately crossing her ankles.
"Very well then. Miss Edith tells the story better, but I know it very well, by now." She glances over, making certain both sets of eyes are on her, before she closes her eyes to see the world as it is only for her. "Once upon a time," said very properly, and-- as an afterthought-- "though not so terribly much time ago, there was a boorish, nasty mule, and his thin nag of a wife. Dirty, selfish creatures these-- but they came to have a little boy, a most beautiful little boy, like a pure white thoroughbred amongst their brutish lot. They dragged him through their foul mud and their filth, and dirtied his pretty coat, tarnished his lovely silver armor--"
"You're mixing your metaphors, doll," Spike warns gently, but Drusilla simply speaks over him.
"--with all their mess. They couldn't see his worth, you see, like another boy so long ago. It happened that the stupid, fetid mule was willing to give anything, anything for something from the witch's garden..."
"That's Rapunzel, dear," her childe informs her, while she makes a growling huff at him.
"Besides, if that was the way it happened," Xander adds, with a hint of wry hysteria in his tone, "I would have been named after some brand of beer." Drusilla moves a hand to touch his slim shoulders; Spike's eyes flash golden at her, but his growl is for the boy's father alone.
"Stupid, worthless bastard," her William sneers. "Did you kill him, Dru?"
"I hurt him very badly," she drawls, searching the loosely woven veil of memory. "But," she smiles, "I left him alive for you?"
A decisive nod from Spike, "Good. Want to have at that wanker myself."
"Are you going to kill me?" the boy asks suddenly, voice coming from far back in his thoughts. "I mean, make-into-a-vamp 'grr' kind of kill? Because, really, really, you shouldn't. I'd rather you just killed me, the permanent way."
Drusilla makes a little cry of distress as she is almost dislodged from her seat; Spike rolls, quick as a jungle cat, so that his whole body is over Xander's, his form sheltering and consuming.
"Why would I kill you now, love?" he asks, demon ridges obscured as he scents Xander's neck.
"Giles said that-- that sometimes a vampire will... have, um, sex with a person before." The sentence ends abruptly, while Xander struggles to swallow his fear, "Before they eat you. Which is," he adds, in a strange rush of air, "really weird when you think about it, and completely off the scale on the gross-meter."
Spike leers for a moment, but his face falls away to that of the poet, and he murmurs, "You're going to be my childe, love. My only child in nigh on one hundred fifty years. My very cherished Childe-Consort."
"You can't vamp me!" the cry explodes from Xander's mouth, and he makes his first real break from Spike's embrace. Only to the edge of the bed, and then her quick, sly Spike has him again, holding him down with ease. "Please-- just, just kill me... it's better and... I mean, don't leave my body on Willow's doorstep or anything, 'cause I don't think she could take that, and I guess I shouldn't say it if I don't want you to do it, and..."
"He really doesn't get it," Spike says, wonderingly, as Drusilla moves a single finger in front of Xander's face. His eyes are drawn to it, drawn to her eyes as she presses the finger playfully to her nose. She holds his unprepared focus easily, like cupping a summer firefly, and she leans in close, ordering;
"Listen. To. The. Story." Xander nods frantically. "I know this part, too," she tells Spike easily, rearranging them all on the bed. "Our sweet, pure boy had a brother, a sibling under the skin. Flesh and bone-- human ties those, easy to break. Blood lasts forever. The brother was lured in, by a hollow woman with big golden curls-- she made him drink all her porridge, and--"
"That's Goldilocks, Dru," Spike shook his head, little red pieces of fire beginning to crawl into his voice. "It's not--" but he sees the boy's face, a rictus of pain and regret, and asks slowly, "Xander?"
The mortal's eyes are fixed on Drusilla. "How did you know about Jesse?"
"The stars talk to Miss Edith, and Miss Edith talks to me. I hear all the planets and the dying comets sing to me."
"Our Dru is a seer, love," Spike explains gently, taking tender hold of Xander's chin. "She's not the most coherent person in the world, but she's got her finger on the pulse of something... elemental. Who's this Jesse, now?"
"My best friend," Xander says, seemingly defeated, leaning fully on his vampire. "It was me, Jesse, and Willow-- as far back as I can remember. When Buffy first came... Jesse got caught. They vamped him-- Darla did-- to be bait. To catch the Slayer."
"Oh love, don't you know anything about vampires?" the blond inquires, lacing their hands together.
"Three drops of red, may as well be dead,
If six sips they take, a demon it makes,
If nine mouthfuls fall, soul makes no difference a'tall," Drusilla croons, holding up her fingers for show.
"Your Jesse was a minion," Spike elaborates, "most can't fight the demon down enough. A childe-- a childe is you, outside the world, outside all the rules."
Xander takes a laborious breath, pressed close to Spike's chest. "I could see him in there-- I could. But the crowd was panicking, and the stake... they pushed him."
"It was the thorns," Drusilla says mournfully. "If all the princes could cross the bramble and the bracken, then there'd be no Sleeping Beauties, would there?"
There's a the barest hint of a sniffle, "I guess not." The boy turns his face up, searching for Spike's gaze, just as he should. "Should I worry that that made a weird sort of sense?" Her Spike chuckles, gives the boy a little squeeze.
"The rest of the story goes like this," Drusilla says a little loudly, before they open their mouths again. "My brave, black knight brought his Mummy to the Hellmouth, to make her all better, and he found that nasty, pesky soul wearing our Daddy's skin. But the bad angel made a present, an offering-- it was my Spike's boy, our sweet little kitten, our sleek white colt. All the lines came together, you see, the spider lines between the stars!" She grins at Xander, "I could smell you on him, in his thoughts and in his dreams. All through, sweet apple cider and cedar wood, yes. He watched you, late nights under the moon. Watched you, listened, learned. He..."
"Stalked me and groped me in the middle of a cemetery?" Xander offer dryly.
She wags a finger, "Miss Edith does not like boys who talk out of turn.
"Pulled your arse out of more than a few scrapes, more like it," Spike mutters, and she growls at him, too.
"My poor William was hurting, he was, china bones all bashed and smashed. But I knew," Drusilla sing-songed, cat-like smile on her face, "I knew just what my Spike needed. The stars all sang your name in his head. I made a little drink for you-- Spike's blood, crushed garnet, and special words, yes. Stupid Mule wanted his life so badly that he let the witch in with her brew." Her lifted her chin imperiously, "See, that is part of the story. Now Spike has wrapped you up in his web, all crystal and moonstone and gold. You had so many glass chains around you-- nasty words, duty-thoughts. He's broken them all, taken you up to his tall tower, and now you shall be his boy, and not anyone else's, ever."
"That about sums it up, pet," Spike smiles at her, such a good boy for his Mummy, and this time she's up off the bed before they start moving. He's kissing Xander now, her William, saying all the words he was afraid to say to her, coaxing his boy so gently, knowing he might still flee.
"You won't let me go, will you?" Xander says, cradling Spike's head as the vampire's kisses descend.
"You're catching on now, love."
"You want me?"
"Need, more like," Spike growls, and the mortal arches up into him, his back a bronzed curve. Fascinated, Drusilla moves back toward the bed to trace that flesh-made arch, only to have her hand batted away. Spike's gaze is respectful but riddled, eaten up with possession, and his sire sways away. "Say you're mine," Spike orders, eyes already back on Xander, only for Xander. "Say it, best beloved."
It's Angelus who meets her in the hallway, just as she's about to close the door. Eyes aflame with yellow brimstone, he scents briefly towards the room, before catching her up in his big, black-clad arms.
"Hello, Daddy," Drusilla purrs, hands touching to feel away the soul's taint.
"Princess," Angelus acknowledges, kissing her fully on the mouth. He nods towards the master chamber, where Miss Edith still lies in her chair, dreaming of a charred Earth and a single, lonely citadel. "Shall we?"
"Will you make it hurt?" she asks licking along her lower lip.
"Just how you like it, my sweet," he promises. "How are our boys?"
Drusilla giggles, feline and far back in her throat, "My Spike loves his bridegroom so. I think I'll be a grandmummy, soon. All the wedding bells are singing, and the roses are black, but the best part is--" she leans up to whisper in his ear, "--the bridesmaids don't even know they're dead!" Angelus seems to think on this and nods, turning towards their room. As Drusilla kicks and playfully struggles, she looks over her beloved Sire's shoulders in time to see Xander, so carefully and tenderly bound, finally, blissfully surrender.
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