Author : hold_that_thought
Summary : Not all stories are appropriate for bedtime.
Pairing : Spike/Drusilla, Spike & Fred
Rating : R
Spoilers : Through Angel 5x03 - Unleashed
Feedback : Greatly appreciated (APostModernSleaz@aol.com)
Archive : More than likely okay, but please ask first
Disclaimer : The characters used within are the property of Mutant Enemy, Twentieth Century Fox, and of course Joss Whedon. It's their sandbox, I'm just playing in it.
Notes: Written for the Angel Book of Days Autumn 2003 challenge. The request was for Spike, genre: dark. Thanks to Cousinjean for the beta! (Completed 10/29/03)
After the last Milky Way has been handed to the last Trick-or-Treater, Fred closes the door, slides the chain bolt across, kicks off her sandals, and snaps the lights off. By the murky moonlight filtering in through her apartment window, she locates the non-edible essentials she'd purchased earlier. The small clusters of marigolds are already arranged, along with three small cards. Setting the three empty Perrier bottles in a row along her windowsill, she drops a slender, white taper candle into each and reaches for the matches.
Fred lights the first candle, bathing the room in orange and accidentally burning the side of her right thumb on the flame. "I light this candle for my pop-pop, James Burkle." The second candle wobbles in its holder as she touches match to wick. "I light this candle for Cordelia Chase." Looking around the room apologetically, Fred grimaces. "Sorry, Cordy. I know it's rude and all, lighting a candle for Dia de los Muertos when you're not actually dead. But it doesn't seem right to forget your sacrifice while you're lyin' in a coma. Not on a night like tonight, anyway." A smile as she pictures Cordy's nose wrinkling at what she'd probably laugh off as silly traditions. "Okay, okay. Pretend I'm lighting the candle just because it's pretty, then."
The last candle is cool to the touch, despite its proximity to the other two. The first match snuffs out midway to the windowsill. The second match barely makes it off the striking pad. Finally, Fred uses Cordelia's candle to light the third. The flame twists, straining against the wind. "I light this candle for Spike."
"I'm touched, Pet."
The matchbook hits the floor with a thwap as Fred spins around. Then she crosses her arms. "You promised you wouldn't sneak up on me anymore."
"Sorry." Spike crouches next to her, duster spreading as it hits the floor but going through the footstool that should have obstructed it. "Was getting right bored out of my skull, skulking about with Dennis all day."
Fred's fingers pluck at the petals of a fallen marigold. "You still go by Cordy's old apartment?"
"Yeh. Bloke's gotta take a break from annoying Angel sometimes. Glad he told me about that place. Good to get in a little mano a mano, ghost-to-ghost bonding. The spook's happy to find someone who can actually hear him, same plane and all. And I'm thrilled to hear yarns 'bout the old grand-sire from someone who got to see more than most, being that they mostly forgot Dennis was in the room."
Fred nods. "If you can make yourself small enough, blend in, people sometimes forget about you. Like they're alone in a room. They can say things they wouldn't in front of other people."
"Now, love, I have trouble believing anyone with a set of eyes could forget you were in the room."
When Spike flirts with her, Fred doesn't bother to blush. Not anymore, at least. It's not about her. It's like Spike's practicing, tryin' to keep in shape. He flirts with all the girls in the office. It doesn't mean anything. His heart's all tied up in the Slayer. Someday, Fred thinks she'd like to meet the woman who got Angel and Spike both going gaga.
Then again, Fred kinda likes her self-esteem intact.
"So, Winifred," Spike says, peering over her shoulder. "What's with the candles?"
"Oh!" She turns back to the display, pleased to see the tricky third candle is still going strong. "Back in Texas, some people used to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. The Day of the Dead. It's a Mexican--"
"--celebration of the dead. I know. Knew a lady, used to be right into it. Christmas and birthday rolled into one, she'd say."
Fred goes back to plucking at the flower. "I started celebrating it when I was ten, after Grandpa Burkle died. Well, I don't really do it right. With an altar and all. And it's usually the day after Halloween, but I like Halloween better. Anyway, it feels...important. To do it tonight. Light the candles." She looks down at her hands. "We got more dead this year than I'm used to."
"Thanks for reminding me," Spike smirks.
"Oh, sorry, I didn't--"
Spike waves his hand. "Nah. Just messing with you. Though it bears pointing out that you're one short, candle-wise."
"I am?" Fred cocks her head, thinking. "Oh, I guess it's kinda petty to leave Lilah out...."
"No, I mean Angel."
"Angel?" Fred laughs. "Angel's not...oh, well, I guess he is."
"As much as I am," Spike nods.
"Yeah, but, I mean...the Angel I know is alive. The Angel who actually died was a little before my time."
"Never met me alive, either."
Fred frowns. "You're right. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have included you. Or...I should have included Angel?"
"I meant it when I said I was touched. Just wanted to point out, dead's relative. Truth told, I'm fine with being...whatever I am. I need reminding sometimes. Things could be a lot worse."
"True." Fred puts the marigold back on the windowsill. A bead of white wax drips from Spike's candle onto a petal. "But don't you ever miss...bein' solid?"
Spike shrugs, then grins. "It had some advantages. Like, for example, the lady I told you about before. The other one who loved the Day of the Dead."
November 1905 - Cuernavaca, Mexico
After too many harsh winters in Romania, Drusilla decides Mexico's year-round spring is the only way to go. Spike doesn't have the heart to point out vampires can't even feel hot or cold that much. If Princess wants Mexico, he'll give her Mexico. They arrive on a balmy night near the end of October.
The Catedral de Cuernavaca is immense, blotting out the moonlight on the street. Normally, Dru would pitch a fit if denied her view of the moon, but tonight she's entranced by something else. Hundreds of glittering lights, winking and dancing in the breeze. Candles stand in neat rows along the church steps, white soldiers in a sea of yellow marigolds. Sweet cakes and sugar skulls peek out; offerings for the dead. Figuring he certainly counts, Spike plucks one of the macabre candies from a basket and presents it to Drusilla with a flourish.
"Ooh, my William spoils me," she says, clapping.
Spike kisses her on the forehead and loops an arm around her waist, leading her down the street towards the cemetery. They walk in silence, Spike observing the revelers and Drusilla occasionally snaking her tongue out to taste the sugar skull. In front of a small, terra cotta tiled house, Drusilla slows her pace, finally stopping and resting a hand on the gate to the yard.
She cocks her head and closes her eyes, swaying slightly.
"Something the matter, pet?"
"Shh...." Drusilla presses a finger to his lips. It tastes of sugar and viscera. The sound of distant singing keeps him occupied, trying to pick out the fragments of Spanish words as he waits for Drusilla to finish whatever she's doing. After a while, she opens her eyes and grins. "My boy." She gently runs a hand down his face and Spike shivers. "Go play a game. Mummy has something very important to do."
Drusilla opens the gate and starts walking towards the house.
"Uh, Dru, love, what are you doing?"
"A surprise!" Giggling, she runs the rest of the way to the door and knocks. A moment later, the door swings open, revealing a short, plump woman clutching a small bundle of herbs.
"Me dijeron que vendrías," the woman says, motioning Drusilla in.
"Not sure this is a good idea!" Spike shouts.
Drusilla waves her arms around. "Shoo, shoo, fly away! Be done soon." And with that, she disappears into the house.
Spike shakes his head and pulls out a cigarette, giving a little sigh of contentment as smoke fills his lungs and head, nicotine flushing through his body.
So, he walks. Brown dirt and small pebbles crunch under the heel of his boots, creating tiny whirlwinds of dust around his feet. But Spike focuses on the singing, moving toward the lilting voices drifting out of the cemetery. The lanterns strung up around the iron fence cast shadows of the dancers onto his path.
A slender young girl twirls her skirt as she moves on the fringes of the revelers, dancing barefoot amidst the tombstones. At first glance, she reminds him of Drusilla. Then he notices her air of casual indifference to all the joy and chaos surrounding her, and he's reminded of someone else entirely: Darla.
Great-grand-sire's taken off for America, last he heard. Spike wasn't sad to see the Ice Queen go, but Dru had been right inconsolable, going on about the family breaking apart. If you asked him, they were better as a duo anyway. He'd certainly been sick of Darla parading around with that giant stick up her ass.
Yeah, this senorita definitely has Darla's snooty, detached air down pat. Spike waits for the other nearby revelers to turn away before chucking his cigarette to the ground and slinking up behind her. A hand over her mouth, an arm around her waist, and she's pulled into the bushes with him.
Fear's rolling off her in waves, and she struggles as he runs his tongue along the side of her slender neck. When he bites down, warm blood floods his senses, slightly tangy with traces of cilantro and anise. Though he wants to draw it out, enjoy the taste and smell as he listens to the revelers just a few feet away, her heartbeat slows too quickly. After a few minutes, she's just another dead soul to mourn.
As he drops the body on the ground, the branches in front of his face are parted by a pair of dainty, white hands. Drusilla crouches down and smiles, ruby droplets dotting her lips.
"Have a good time, love?"
Drusilla nods and draws the back of her hand across her mouth. "Las cucarachas entran, no puede salir."
"Good to hear." Spike can't speak a word of Spanish.
Come to think of it, neither can Drusilla.
She crawls into the bush with him, leans in close, kisses him featherlight on his jaw, then brings her lips to his ear. "My knight, I need you to fetch me something. Can you do it?" Nips at his earlobe. "Can you get it for me?"
Drusilla points to the girl who's crumpled at Spike's knees. "Get me one of these."
"Not a problem, pet. Maybe something young and tender? Place is downright rotten with brats tonight."
"No, no, no." She shakes her head and purses her lips. "No. Must be one of these." Drusilla slaps the dead girl's chest several times for emphasis.
"Right. One maiden fair, coming up." Pushing himself into a standing position, Spike is halfway out of the bush when he feels a tug at the hem of his jacket. "Yes?"
"Spike, she can be asleep...but she mustn't be dead."
The utter seriousness of her expression is almost enough to make him chuckle. But Dru hates being laughed at. Took him nearly a week to properly heal the last time he'd made that mistake. So Spike simply nods and heads back into the night.
Isn't hard to find another young girl to lure away from the cemetery celebration. He spots a plain, mousy little creature and flashes her a wolfish grin. She looks left, then right, then left again before blushing deeply and taking a few hesitant steps in his direction. Spike crooks a finger and motions her to him, hoping she'll speed the hell up already. Not that he blames her. Girl's not the type to have men give her a second look, let alone a strikingly handsome stranger from some exotic, foreign locale. Nevertheless, as soon as she's in arm's reach, he pulls her near and slides his hand across her ass.
"May not speak your language, love, but I know you understand me," he says.
The girl giggles and blushes again as he leads her back to the bush. Drusilla's gone when he gets there, but her scent hangs heavy in the air, leading towards the east, so he follows with the girl in tow. He finds Dru behind an abandoned shack on the outskirts of town. She idly shifts in and out of game face while tossing a human heart from hand to hand, humming one of her tuneless songs to the moon.
Unsurprisingly, Spike's new friend does not greet this sight well.
He gains a scratch down his cheek when she fights to escape, but one blow to the back of her head and she crumples to the ground.
"Okay, Dru," he says, slinging the unconscious girl over his shoulder. "What are you up to, now?"
"Magic," she murmurs, sinking to her knees and motioning for Spike to lay the girl before her.
Spike does as told and steps back. Doesn't know where she learned magic. Always seems to pick up some new trick as they go along. He just knows enough to stay back and let her do what needs to be done.
With a wet smack, Drusilla plops the still-warm heart onto the girl's mouth, forcing the organ past her teeth. As the girl's cheeks bulge and her breathing becomes haggard, Drusilla licks her fingers and smiles. Then, she pulls out a knife and plunges it into the girl's chest. Spike feels a pang of unease as her eyes flutter open just as Drusilla plucks the heart out, sending blood arcing through the air. Angelus and Dru were the ones big into torture. He'd always preferred a clean kill. Her screams are muffled by the heart in her mouth, and after a few seconds her thrashing mercifully stops.
Drusilla throws the girl's heart onto the ground and grins, clapping like a lunatic. Which is, of course, appropriate.
"Happy now, pet?"
"Yes, oh yes. He's coming. He'll be here soon!" She brings her fingers to her cheeks, leaving behind streaks of crimson gore. "Oh, he'll be so happy I found him again!"
"Found who, Dru?"
"Daddy." She smiles and nods, then closes her eyes and cocks her head, listening for something. Anything.
Spike sighs, walks over to her. "What do you mean?" Tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. "You mean Angelus?"
"The lady showed me how to bring the dead back. Told me tonight's the only night it works. Dia de los Muertos. Bring Daddy back to us."
"Where is he? He should be here now. Oh, if that lady lied to me, I'll rip her eyeballs out. Tongue, too. Lying tongue." Drusilla frowns. "He's supposed to be here."
"Pet, did the woman say this was a spell to bring back the dead?" Drusilla nods. "Baby, Angelus isn't dead." A pause. "Well, I suppose he is, technically...but not in the way any resurrection spell can help with."
His cheek stings with the blow before he realizes she's slapped him. Her eyes flash gold and her lip curls into a sneer. "You lie, William."
"No, I don't." He puts his arm around her shoulder, draws her near. "He's not dead. He's just...not here."
"No." Her face shifts back, eyes glittering with unshed tears. "If Daddy was alive, then he'd be here with me. No, Angelus is dead and I have to bring him back. It's a special day, the lady said so."
"Dru, look at me." Spike catches a tear with his fingertip as it rolls down her cheek. "The Angelus we knew is gone. But he's not dead, so we can't get him back."
"Then what's today?" she asks in a tiny voice.
Spike shrugs. "Any other day. Mexican holiday."
"I hate this holiday," Drusilla wails, throwing herself into his lap.
"Wait, wait, wait," Fred says, crossing her arms. "I thought you said Drusilla loved the Day of the Dead."
"Mm? Oh, right." Spike chuckles. "That came later. Once she realized you can't resurrect Angel while he's still all fleshy and walking around, anyway. Yeah, she grew to love it. One time, we were in this other little Mexican village and there was this orphanage--"
Fred holds up her hands and squeezes her eyes shut. "Spare me. I'm still a little queasy from your heart story." Spike grins, but remains quiet. "You got a real funny way of storytellin', you know that?"
"What, you saying Mister Angel never shared any ripping yarns from his days of debauchery?"
"Not surprising, that. Oh well, get him drunk enough someday...." Spike winks and stands up. "It's getting late. I should go."
Fred nods. "Yeah. Thanks for coming by. Just remember to--"
"--knock. I got it, I got it."
A loud dinging pierces the quiet.
"Oh!" Fred almost knocks the nearest candle over as she spins around. "I forgot, Knox was gonna drop by with some papers for me to sign." Glancing at her watch, Fred shakes her head. "Yeesh, it's almost one in the morning." She shuffles over to the buzzer and clicks the square, white button. "Yeah?"
"It's me," an impish male voice crackles through the speaker.
"Hey, Knox, come on up."
She unhooks the chain and pulls the door open a crack before turning back to Spike, who smiles at her, and reaches out to touch her shoulder. Or, the closest he can get, anyway.
"Didn't mean to sound ungrateful before. I do appreciate you taking the time to light a candle for me. Sometimes, it's nice to be remembered."
A honeyed giggle echoes through the apartment. "I remember you, Spike." The front door bangs open and, at first, all Spike can see is a black figure silhouetted against the harsh neon glare of the hallway lights. Then, the figure steps in and Spike's fairly sure his heart would have stopped beating if it hadn't done so over two centuries ago.
"Drusilla," he says.
"Drusilla?!" Fred backs up, hands fumbling for a weapon. "How...what...what did you do to Knox?"
"Who, me?" His voice comes out of Drusilla's red, wicked mouth, followed immediately by a laugh that is neither Knox nor human. "My William, my bloody William. I knew you were gone. Flash of fire, noble knight. Little ones whispered to me. Pss, pss, pss." Her hands dance around her face. "Then they said you came back. Almost. Took Princess a long time, but she found you again." She cocks her head, chestnut curls swishing across the emerald satin bodice of her dress.
"Dru, ducks, what do you say we go out? Catch up? There's a nice convent around the corner...."
She shakes her head. "You know what day it is, Spike?"
He nods, but doesn't take his eyes off Fred, who's frozen in place like a deer in headlights. Bugger this incorporeal shit. No wonder the First Evil was so bloody cranky all the time.
"Then you know I can fix you."
In a second, she's right in front of Fred. Fred yelps and jumps back.
"Trick or treat," Drusilla giggles.
Fred grabs a cross off the coffee table and thrusts it in Drusilla's face. "Trick."
"Better have a backup plan," Spike says.
Grabbing the cross and hissing as her flesh sizzles, Drusilla grins at Spike. "Daddy used to find the most delicious uses for these trinkets. You remember, Spike?"
Spike wonders if he can distract Dru long enough for Fred to....
Any hope of escape is dashed a moment later, when Drusilla pushes her to the ground, banging Fred's skull against the hardwood floor with a sickening crack.
"Drusilla, get the hell away from her!" Spike screams.
Fred struggles to get away, but her movements are slow and jerky, dulled by the blow to her head.
"Shh, can't punish me for being bad. Not yet, anyway."
Spike watches in horror as Drusilla pulls a heart out of the folds of her skirt and shoves it into Fred's mouth. As Fred gags, blood and gore running down her chin and cheeks, Drusilla slaps her across the face.
"Bad kitty. Stay still."
Think, think, who's closer, can get here faster? Angel? Or Wesley? Gunn? Anyone....
Doesn't matter who's closer, because Spike finds himself rooted to the ground -- literally. Limbs feel sticky, like a fly in honey, and he tries to pull free, but his legs don't respond and his arms bat uselessly at the air.
Meanwhile, Fred writhes under Drusilla's grip, skin turning ashen and eyes rolling back in her head.
"Drusilla, let her go. You don't need to do this."
If she hears him, she makes no indication. Simply rips Fred's white blouse in two, exposing her to the balmy night air. Spike sees the glint of metal before he hears the tinny whistle as it cuts through the air. After all these years, Spike's still amazed how easily flesh bends under a knife. Red blossoms on white, and as Drusilla works her fingers under skin and bone, Fred screams.
Though he's often heard the phrase "chilled to the bone," Spike only truly understands it when he realizes the physical effect her howls have on his very incorporeal body. He needs to help her, needs to do something. Instead, he stands helplessly by, curiously wishing he could blink out to Hellville until it was over.
Then Fred stills, and a moment later, Spike is free from the honey-air, crashing to the ground and...connecting with the floor. Pulsing white pain rips through his body as he shimmers and gasps. He can feel crushed marigolds beneath his hands, silken petals separating skin from wooden floor.
Cool fingers pluck at the nape of his neck. "There," Drusilla coos in his ear. "There, my boy. You're back, with me." She helps him up, and he's surprised to find his legs don't shake at all. He feels as strong and complete as he did in that cave in Sunnydale. When Buffy had linked her hand with his, ignoring the flames set to consume him.
Drusilla giggles. "I very much like this holiday. Very, very much."
Spike's arm shoots out and sends Drusilla flying backwards, knocking over Fred's bookcase. Flexing his arm, he's certain that Dru's mojo brought him back exactly as he was before he died. Which is to say, a vampire.
Oddly, he's not wholly certain whether the soul is intact or not.
"Ow." Drusilla pushes herself up and pouts. "Bad Spike. Mummy made you alive again." A whimper. "Didn't I do good? Isn't that what you wanted?"
Spike looks over at Fred's prone form. The pang in his chest tells him, yes, his soul is indeed still with him.
"Not like this," he whispers.
Drusilla's ashes swirl around his head, coating his tear-stained cheeks before he even realizes what he's done. Spike looks down at his hand, surprised to see a shard of wood from the demolished bookcase clutched tight enough to cut into his palm. Crimson beads of blood drop to the floor, speckling the crushed yellow marigolds.
He has to go. Call Angel. Let him know what happened. Maybe get out of town -- assuming he can even leave city limits now -- just in case Angel decides to not believe his story.
But first, he has something to do.
Kneeling in front of the window sill, Spike retrieves the third candle from the floor, where it was knocked over in the chaos, and sets it next to the other two, which still burn bright. He picks up the book of matches, relieved to find one last stick in the row. Sulfur strikes grit, and a tiny, orange flame springs up. Spike touches flame to wick.
"I light this candle for Winifred Burkle."