Chapter 24: Visit
Three days of stormy weather - low, scudding clouds, wind, drizzle on and off. Not like SoCal at all, but still, Xander didn't think that was the reason Spike was so...restless. The vampire paced around the house - snapped at everyone when they had a Scooby meeting (pointless and fairly depressing, but Buffy insisted) - and generally made a pest of himself. Even the link - that was still changing, evolving, growing stronger all the time - was unsettled; streaming emotion and images that made no sense until Oz was shoving Spike into the wall and snarling at him.
"What is it," he snapped, and Spike scrubbed fretfully at this head, rumpling up his hair and thudding his head back into the wall once, demon-eyed.
"I don't know, I don't - there's something..." *coming waiting wanting* Spike slid down the wall, crouching there with his hands still in his hair, eyes squeezed shut. Xander dried his hands off from washing the dishes and came over - went down on one knee, rubbing a slow hand up and down Spike's arm. Oz crouched there too, eyes black, *Pack* and *love you* in the link. Comforting Spike, and trying to calm his own jangled nerves.
"Don't block us out, love. Maybe we can help," Xander said softly, and Spike nodded and reached out blindly - took Oz's wrist in his hand. It was like the completion of a circuit and whatever was bothering him jumped through Xander - through Oz - and they both flinched away. A sort of - gnawing. A seething. As if something was hovering, just out of sight. Something that jangled along their nerves and set Xander's teeth on edge. Like being too close to a transformer, or touching a live wire. Fight or flight so strong the hyena howled. Abruptly, the link shut down, and Xander and Oz both shivered, glancing at each other.
"What the hell-. I've never felt anything like that." Xander rubbed his temples, trying to get the lingering buzzing to go. Oz was rubbing his hands up and down his arms, watching Spike.
"Voices. What were they saying?"
"What?" Spike finally opened his eyes and Oz shook his head, as if throwing off water.
"I could hear - voices - like...singing, or...moaning." His eyes were troubled, still the wolf's. Xander looked at Spike - shook his head.
"I just felt - like something was going to...jump on me, or...come up out of the ground. This kind of - wanting." Xander shivered again, and Spike looked between the two of them, his eyes gold.
"I'm - getting both. Why don't you two get both? Fuck, what is it? It's drivin' me 'round the twist." He slumped to the floor, looking angry and helpless at the same time. Xander leaned over and kissed his cheek - rested forehead to forehead for a moment, then got up and went to the kitchen cabinet and pulled out Spike's whiskey. He came back over and sat down, and Oz grinned and settled cross-legged with him.
"Here - maybe you can drown it out for a while," Xander said, and Spike sighed - raised a smile.
"Cheers, love. Maybe I can."
The man on the screen slashes with a knife, wildly, and the second man recoils - holds up a cut and bleeding hand.
"Remember this? You smell it. Scent always jogs the memory, don't you think? You remember the energy? The potency of someone else coursing through your veins...someone brave." The first man is mesmerized - staring at the blood - breathing in one shaky breath after another. The second man is - calm. Intent. Tempting.
"You know the disappointment as it dissipates...the strength slipping from your grasp, the growing, killing need to replenish..." The bloody hand is so close, and the first man is leaning into it - in another moment he'll taste the blood...
"Ah, kiss him for fuck's sake and get on with it," Spike muttered, and Xander giggled helplessly into Spike's thigh.
"Only you, vampire-mine, would see the romantic side of cannibals."
"Look at 'em! They both want to - just a matter of lettin' go -" Spike took a long swallow of whiskey and petted Xander's hair, and Xander sighed happily. Whiskey, gore, and Jaffa Cakes had mellowed the vampire a bit, and the three of them were sprawled comfortably on the sofa-bed. The bad feeling, whatever it was, seemed to have eased off, or been tuned out, and Spike was finally relaxed for the first time in days. The stormy weather still held; the stars were hidden behind low, heavy clouds, and a constant, rain-scented wind gusted in from the sea, pushing the curtains out and fluttering the candle-flames in the kitchen.
*This is good* Xander thought. On the screen the 'villain' of the piece had just played a strange, seductive little scene - licking the blood of his 'prisoner' off his own fingers in such a way that Xander was starting to agree with Spike's assessment that the two men should just kiss and 'get on with it'. Xander opened his mouth to tell Spike he was right when the relaxed leg under his cheek suddenly went rigid, and a moment later Spike was scrambling to his feet, demon out and growling. That feeling - seething, gnawing - was back, hideously strong, and Xander felt the hyena rise to the surface - saw Oz shift half to the wolf, growling along with Spike. As one, the three of them turned to the door, and someone was there, just beyond the light. Spike was crouched to leap - Xander was shivering with reaction, baring his teeth - and Oz was shifting further to the wolf, a sing-song wail threading up out of his throat. A pale hand tipped with long, red-lacquered nails coalesced out of the darkness and scratched at the screen door.
"Ssspike..." a voice sighed - sang - and Spike was at the door before Xander saw him begin to move.
The nails scratched again - the hand flattened on the screen, pressing at the barrier that kept her out, and Dru stepped up to the doorway. Xander felt a peculiar wrench, somewhere in his heart. Dru. Spike's memories rose like a swarm of wasps, shuttling rapidly from Dru as seen through William's human eyes to the first night the vampire saw her; to China, to Berlin - to Prague and a frenzied mob. Dru pulling Spike *himself* out of the rubble of the organ and Dru writhing in the grip of visions - of prophecy. Dru and Angelus... The link was thick with longing and love and fear, and Xander didn't think he could move from the couch. And the hyena howled.
Spike stood at the screen door, staring out. *This isn't real, what the FUCK, oh gods...*
"Dru, what is - what are you doing? You're makin' me feel all - wrong, pet. Can't you make it stop?" Drusilla smiled at him, head to one side, her nails scratching slowly down the screen. She was wearing something low-cut and black, and there were half-healed burns on her chest and neck.
"It's a spell, my beautiful boy. To keep the Slayer away..."
*Keep her away? Make her come hot on the trail, more like. Dru, pet, what are you DOING...* "It works a treat, Dru. But it's - it's hurting me, pet. Can't you make it stop now?" Drusilla frowned at him, then she dipped her fingers into the bodice of her dress and pulled out a red glass bead.
"Wouldn't hurt you, my sweet Spike," she whispered, and crushed the bead in her fingers. The creeping wrongness shattered as the bead did, and Spike breathed a sigh of relief - heard Xander and Oz do the same. *Thank god. Spike...*
*All right, love, all right. Safe.* He could feel Drusilla now - his Sire, his goddess. The steady pulse of her that was fire-fly flicker and heat lightning and a skirling keen that was almost like static. The voices she lived with - prayed to - scolded and begged and sang to. Familiar and almost comforting. The link - that silver chain of agony and rapture, blood and lust and need that had tied him to her for so long. His Sire, fucking Christ, and he could already feel tension from Xander.
*Mine mine MINE* from the hyena, unconscious and implacable.
"What are you doing here, Dru?"
"I've come to coax you, Spike. To woo and win you. To show you...such things, such lovely things..." Drusilla swept her nails over the screen, her voice a crooning murmur, and Spike reached up - put his hand flat on the screen. He could only feel the pressure, as she leaned into the barrier.
"Ask me in, sweet? Ask your darling girl in?" Spike stared at her - shook himself, pulling his hand back.
"Can't, love. Not my house, is it? It's Xander's house." Dru looked past him and her eyes went wide, and then she smiled again, fluttering her lashes.
"Oh, we remember him - yes, we do. Sweet boy, lovely boy, a poem of a boy... Do you remember that, boy? That you are a poem?"
*Spike? What -*
*It's all right. Safe. Love you.*
"I - remember, Drusilla." Xander slithered off the couch and took a hesitant step closer to the door - another, and then stopped. Dru watched him, switching her skirts a little from side to side.
"Did I ever tell you your poem, sweet? I see you, you know - I see the tin-toy soldier and the beast, the ravening beast. It rends the air - it worries at your heart, sweet..." Drusilla put both palms flat on the screen and leaned in close, her eyes on Xander, and Spike felt the unease through the link - sent reassurance, sent love. She couldn't get past him, and Xander had nothing to fear.
"...Come near me now...Dear dying fall of wings...as birds complain against the gathering dark...
exaggerate the scarlet blood in grass... the music of leaves scraping space...all that is rare grows in common beauty, to rest with my mouth on your mouth...as somewhere a star falls....and the earth takes it softly...exactly as we take each other... and go to sleep...oh sleep..." Her eyes had slowly closed, her voice had dropped to a whisper, and Spike felt Xander come up close behind him.
*Beautiful. Scares me.*
*Scares me too, sometimes. Keep you safe.*
*I know.* Spike reached back and took Xander's hand in his, the warm fingers interlacing with his own. Anchoring him there, against the moon-drunk tidal pull that was Drusilla.
"You should keep your face to the light, sweet beast. You'll draw moths." Drusilla looked down at their entwined hands - looked up at Spike from beneath her lashes, her nails scratching at the screen again, metallic scrape that shivered over his nerves. The sycamores in the yard creaked gently, pushed by the wind, and a fine mist seemed to be coalescing out of the air, silvering every surface and haloing the sodium glare of the streetlights.
"You took him, didn't you." Not a question, and for a moment her demon was there; golden eyes like lamps and her mouth twisting in a snarl, showing fangs. Then it was gone, and she was herself again - cat-eyed and slyly smiling, scrape scrape at the screen. "Oh, I see what you did, my Spike - I see. Drank him down without even thinking to ask me, without even...a word to the wise..." She frowned, and shivered a little, looking over her shoulder. "There's more to you than him, though. More to you... " She looked beyond them both at Oz, who was standing by the couch still, just watching her.
"Collecting your pets, Spike? Making the little dogs dance to your tune?"
"Family, Dru. Don't mistake me." Spike watched her as she frowned again - lifted her head and scented the air, watching Oz.
"And he's no simple song, is he, Spike? He's no...sheep in wolf's clothing. Wears his rue with a difference... Who taught him to sing the moon to sleep?"
"He went to Tibet, Dru. To the monks. He learned how to - control it."
"Ohhh...control. It's a tricky thing, that. You never know when it's going to snap." Dru clapped her hands together sharply, grinning, and Oz flinched just a little.
*Pack. Safe, wolfling, safe.*
"Oh...I've poetry for you too, wolfling, quisling, changeling-boy. They tried to break you, oh, bleed you, but my boy, my Spike..." She leaned her forehead into the screen, shuddering. "The moon, the moon, a circle of smudged bone in a charcoaled sky, scratched clean of stars...And the moon followed me through the skeleton branches and leaves of the winter trees...And the moon followed me down the dry, salt-dusted roads...And the moon danced, drunk on air as clear and sharp as bootleg whiskey...And the moon was in love with me, and I was in love with the moon..." She took in a sharp breath, head still bowed, and Spike frowned.
"Drusilla....what are you doing up here? You were - I thought you were happy, down in Brazil." Drusilla lifted her head, smiling now - that dreamy smile that meant she was seeing things - hearing the songs of the stars, the voices of the stones.
"Oh, Spike, I heard, I heard, they told me - told us, Miss Edith and I... Told us about electricity, and how it lies. Told us you were caught and kenneled and bad dog, Spike!" She made a little dog-growl, baring her teeth. "But we knew, oh, we knew... It was all a lie. And those soldiers - not like the soldiers when I was a girl, no; no plumes and swords and white gloves for them... They just wanted a whipping-boy, Spike, they just wanted... " Drusilla grinned suddenly, and her eyes rolled back in her head, sliver of white under fluttering lashes, her nails suddenly rending the screen, leaden riiip. "Plague-rat, Judas goat, golem, Spike - coming in among them and they burned, sweet boy, oh, they burned and they shrieked and they clawed and they died, and I knew it was you, knew it was you, my Spike, my own - clever, clever boy...." She twisted her head, snapping at the air, and Xander's hand tightened down sharply on Spike's.
*Safe love. Safe pack always.* Reassuring both of them. But feeling a tide of unholy glee rising up in him, as well.
"Dru pet, are you saying - the Initiative - the soldiers down there in Brazil... They died? Did they die, dolly?" Dru snapped her teeth again - yanked once on the screen, tearing it a little more, grinning at Spike with the demon gleaming out of her eyes.
"Oh yes, love, yes yes yes, they died and died and died, and I could smell you all in it, Spike, could see you. Like the angel Michael coming down with his sword; Dragon of God, Spike, but no god would have you, would he, no god would have us..." Drusilla's voice choked off and she put her hands over her face, panting a little, and Spike wanted to reach and touch her - soothe her, as he'd always done.
"Pet - Dru, don't cry, darling -"
"Oh Spike - Spike - he hurt us, he burned us! Why doesn't he love us anymore, why?" Dru lifted her head, wild-eyed, and Spike shook his head in confusion.
"Who doesn't love you, Drusilla? Who burned you?"
"Daddy did it," she snarled, and the demon was suddenly there and Drusilla roared, pure fury, and Xander took a step back.
*All right, it's all right.*
"Angel burned you, pet? What do you mean?"
"He killed her, Spike! Killed our grand-mummy. But they brought her back - magicked her back but she was all wrong, she was all - bleeding and breathing and dying - so I fixed it, Spike, I fixed her and made her cold again, made her right."
"You mean - Darla?" Spike asked, utterly bewildered, and Drusilla nodded happily.
"And then we went to daddy, and we told him...we sang to him, oh, we whispered to him, come back, come home, come be family..." Dru swayed, her hands clasped to her breast, the demon fading away and her eyes closing in remembered bliss.
"But he wouldn't! He burned us, and he... He wasn't right." She opened her eyes - looked at Spike, and there were tears there, welling but not falling, making her eyes huge and luminous.
"Won't you come back with me, Spike?" she whispered. "Won't you come and help me - won't you come and help grand-mummy? We can be a family again, sweet, my sweet Spike. Family, just like before, all like before..." Spike felt the leaden fear coming from Xander and he shook his head, fighting that siren song, that seductive-sweet lure that was Dru at her very best - her very worst.
"Dru - pet - I can't. Angel - he's gone over - he left us, and he's tried to kill us - he's just...not ours
anymore, dolly. Not ours anymore."
"No, no!" Dru seized the door-frame - shook it a little, making the wood creak. "Spike - he could be! If we do it just right, you and me - he loved you and me, he did, sweet, he did! We could bring him back, we could skin that soul out of him like a fish-bone, Spike, just a little cut, a little tug and he'd be ours again!"
"No, Dru. I've got my family here, now. I can't - I won't." Drusilla stared at him, eyes wide, then her mouth trembled and she crumpled down onto the porch, her fingers buried in her hair and twisting, pulling. A keening wail rose up out of her and Spike felt it go through him like a knife. He watched her, trembling with the effort of not moving - not reaching out for her.
*Love - go to her.* Spike looked at Xander in utter shock and met dark, anxious eyes - reached to touch the grimly set mouth.
"Xander, love -"
"It's all right, Spike. She needs you - she won't - it'll be ok, right?" *Love you love you MINE* Oz came up beside Xander - nodded once, eyes flicking from him to Dru and back.
*Safe. Love you.*
*Family mine always* Spike pressed a quick kiss to Xander's mouth and then slipped out the door. He sat down beside Drusilla - pulled her gently into his arms and rocked her, crooning softly. She clawed at his shirt - pushed at him - but ultimately slumped into his embrace, wetting his shirt with tears, clutching at him and moaning. Spike smoothed her hair - breathed deeply of her scent; of musk and incense and licorice, of blood. It whispered home to him, somewhere down in the pit of his heart. But Xander and Oz, casting love and worry and want through the link drowned it out - silenced it.
"Doesn't love us, doesn't love us, oh Spike, Spike what did - what did I do, was I bad? Was I bad, Spike?" Little girl begging forgiveness, and Spike felt the twist of love and pity and rage he always felt, when Dru was driven to this by him, by Angel. Always Angel, twitching her strings and making her dance to this miserable tune.
"Hush, pet, hush now - it's not him, is it? It's not Angelus down there, it's something else and we don't want him, darling, we don't need him. You donít need him."
"But it hurts, Spike. It huuuurts...oh... Let me be with you, Spike! Let me -" Drusilla pushed herself upright - wiped her face with her hands and smiled at him, looked in at Xander and Oz with a sly, sidelong glance.
"They'd be so good, love, they'd be - like new wine and cakes, oh, sweet and sharp, the serpent's tooth..." Her voice was a conspiratorial whisper "Let me, Spike - for you I'll do it gentle as frost, love, gentle as the hangman's noose... Beat time for the Tyburn jig..." She gazed up, wide-eyed and hopeful, and Spike put one hand gently to her cheek. She leaned into the caress - took his hand in hers and kissed it - palm, fingers, thumb. Then she bit, hard, and Spike jerked away in startlement, blood spattering to the porch floor from the base of his thumb. Drusilla yanked his hand back and licked - cleaned his palm and sucked lightly on the bite, sending shudders through Spike's body.
*Love, what -*
*All right. Just...learning.*
Suddenly Drusilla jerked away - shot to her feet and backed away from him. Her tongue darted out to a drop of blood in the corner of her mouth and she licked it - stared at him.
"Spike, Spike, oh, what have you done, what have you done? I can taste him, Spike! Oh, the others, the olders, the hidden ones, Spike, Spike..." Drusilla put her fists to her temples and swayed, moaning, and Spike stood up and slowly approached her.
"What do you mean, pet?"
"Jack, that's what he calls himself, Jack the Lad, Jack in the Green, but he's not, Spike! No cup of wonder, no twining vine for you, not from him, not from him."
"He helped me, Dru." Spike stroked her wrists - gently pulled her hands down from her head and she blinked up at him, bewildered. "He fixed that - that thing, in my head. Took the pain away."
"But Spike - you know you can't trust them! Now he's in you -" Dru looked utterly shocked - terrified - and Spike pushed away his own faint feelings of dread.
"No, pet - he owed Xander, that's how he paid his debt. I tasted his truth, dolly. No harm. And it got my bite back. Fuckin' soldiers." Dru blinked and then grinned, giggling.
"You made them pay, Spike, oh yes... made them pay." She looked at him - head to one side, her hands making strange, dancing motions in the air. "You're not going to come with me, are you Spike? And...I can't be your darling anymore, can I? Can't be your one and only, can't be...your girl." Still now, so very still, and Spike looked back into the house, at Xander and Oz standing and watching. At candle-light and the rumpled sofa-bed, the TV mute and flickering. Human things. And not. Things he wanted - things he needed - so desperately. Xander smiled at him.
*Love you Spike* He stepped up close to Drusilla and stroked her cheek - gently kissed her forehead. The mist had settled in miniscule silver beads along her lashes - on the tendrils of black hair that coiled about her face. She looked like a water-nymph, or drowned Ophelia; hurt and betrayal held forever in those fathomless eyes.
"I'm so sorry, pet," he whispered. "You - told me to go, Dru. You sent me away... I've what I need here - I've family, now. One that won't ever -"
"Won't ever cut you, lover, won't ever twist your heart and scratch your soul..." Dru whispered back and Spike stared at her in shock.
"Oh, I know, love - I've always known. It's what made you so...bright. So very special and sweet. Effulgent, dearest William, sweet boy...my boy, remember?" Dru's voice, whispering soft and low, her eyes like stars shining up at him, and he did remember, in a rush of bittersweet images and emotions. Being seen - at long, long last. Desired and...wanted. What he was, laid out like pictures in a scrap-book, and Drusilla touching each one - loving each one. Wanting them for her own - wanting him. Spike shivered, remembering, and Dru leaned up and gently, lightly, kissed him.
"There you are, Spike. Shining fire-bright and burning to your marrow but you'll come 'round right, Spike, my Spike. You'll slip the leash again, oh yes. Never fear." She touched Spike's chest, over his heart, and she was the child again - the lost little girl that Angelus had ripped to shreds and sewn back up all wrong - patchwork doll in a tattered dress. "Not mine anymore are you, Spike? Not mine, not his. Your own. Lucifer after the Fall and no one to tell you what you shan't do, anymore." A hesitation, and then she stretched up again, to kiss again; this time lingeringly and Spike felt her to his core - to the root of his being, he felt her madness and her loneliness and her need, but then she pulled away and the others were there. Xander was an ache in the link - a need as strong as Dru's, a want as selfish and fierce. But he was warmth, as well - hearthfire and sunlight, laughter and desire and love. And Oz was pack, stronger than even the demon - family and safety and trust, unquestioning and unflinching. Dru was standing at the door again, and Xander moved closer - Oz with him - and they both stood there, looking out at her.
"An angel falling like a star from heaven. But that's what angels do best, you know - and falling, sometimes...they can find their way home. Don't be sorry for that golden angel. Good beast, sweet beast...let me - " The demon, scenting the air and holding out one hand, wanting and Xander turned to Spike, confusion in his eyes.
*What does she want?*
*Taste of you. Only...if YOU want. No harm.* Xander gazed at him, then a small smile lifted the corner of his mouth.
*Trust you. Love you.* Xander put his hand on the screen - eased his fingers out through the rip Dru had made, touching fingertip to fingertip with her. Dru leaned down and rested her fanged mouth lightly on his hand - turned it palm up and kissed a fingertip, and her mouth came away bloody. She closed her eyes with a shiver, her tongue-tip chasing every drop. Then she sighed, and cast a mournful, longing look at Spike.
"Oh, Spike... That's why..." Blindly, she turned and groped at the screen, and Oz glanced at Spike - put his hand out, as well, and suffered the same nip in turn. "Ooh..." Drusilla shuddered, fingers to her mouth, and then opened her eyes wide, startling them all with a pealing, genuinely happy laugh.
"Beat him, didn't you sweet? He wanted a family, one that was all his; Daddy and little children, his to tell and make... But you have it. Acid, don't you think? Salt." Dru giggled again, and put her palm to Spike's cheek - held his gaze, in that way that had tricked the Watcher and killed the dark Slayer. "I gave you the gift, gave you the will. You...made your path like fire in the night. Like a rain of stars." She backed away from him, slowly, and Spike felt her go - felt her slipping free of his soul and of his heart and cutting the ties of blood and love and need - silver knife twisting across his ribs. *Oh Dru, my girl...* But then, warmth, and Xander leaning in the doorway, smiling at him, Oz's hand lightly on his shoulder.
*Love you love you always, always mine, my own MY vampire.*
*Family love you.*
Spike hugged his arms around himself - cocked his head to listen, a fragment of something floating to him from the dark.
"Jesus he was a handsome man and what I want to know is how do you like your blueeyed boy Mister Death."
The clouds, that had lain low and heavy all night suddenly opened, and it began to rain.
The movie quoted is Ravenous
Drusilla is quoting, and changing, Kenneth Patchen's Fall of the Evening Star
In Love with the Moon is an original poem by myself
'Tyburn Jig' refers to being hung at Tyburn, a place of public execution in London
Drusilla also obliquely references Jethro Tull (cup of wonder), Shakespeare (wear your rue with a difference) and quotes a fragment of e.e. cummings Buffalo Bill