ONCE UPON A MIDNIGHT DREARY Disclaimer - Don't own them. They all belong to Joss. I'm just using them for a holiday gift. Rating - R (language, sexual situation) Spoilers- Pretty much up to the current Angel episode but not really spoilery other than 'hey, Spike's in L.A.' Summary - Dru knows Angel's big secret and she's out to use it to bring her boys back to her. Author's Note #1 - Written For the Secret Santa Challenge at White Flag. for Penguins

Author's Note #2 - Thanks to Penguins for the fun challenge, to Topaz angel for organizing this, to SJ for attempting to beta this before it turned into War and Peace and thanks to Jerrye and everyone at Fanfic Geography for the fun things to do in Los Angeles (Griffith Park's a real place, check it out) Author's Note # 3 - Special thanks to SJ and Chris G-D for penning the vampire carols found within. And to SJ for editing this Author's Note #4 - Unlike most of my fic this is a FINISHED work and you'll see all eight chapters in short order instead of waiting on me for months!


Angel paused in front of his closed office door. Harmony wasn't anywhere in sight; that didn't give him pause. He expected his secretary to be anywhere but at her desk. Harmony reminded him of the worst in Cordelia when she first came to work with him. He could only hope Harmony would improve in a similar manner but he was doubtful.

What halted Angel was the scents of bayberry and pine wafting out from under the door and the muted sounds of Silver Bells. He stepped into his office and froze again. The room was festooned with tinsel all around the windows and dripping from the ceiling. Lights of every color blinked and raced in a mind-numbing, nearly dizzying way. His desk had sprouted reindeer, Santa's and snow men to the point he had nowhere to work. The side tables were laden with candles and miniature villages. A retro silver tinsel tree stood against his precious necro-tempered glass windows with a spinning color wheel splashing the primaries onto the brilliant silver. A glowing Santa chimed Holly Jolly Christmas while an ice skating Victorian family gyrated on a magnetic pond to Greensleeves.

Someone was taunting him. Angel had made a concession to Fred's wishes and the holidays by putting out a stuffed bear with a Santa's cap on his desk. He had seen it in a shop and thought of Mr. Gordo, as absurd as that was, given that Gordo was a pig. Fred and Lorne had been underwhelmed by his Christmas spirit. This was just over top enough to be Lorne's handiwork but under the wintry candles' perfume Angel scented cigarette smoke and something familiar.

"Spike!" he growled. "Get out here." No one moved but Angel heard a smothered giggle, which explained the other familiar scent. "Faith?" He went around his desk and saw both of them huddled in the cubby hole. They looked up at him with big, innocent eyes. "What are you doing under there?"

"You came back to your bloody office early," Spike accused. "We didn't have time to get to minimum safe distance," Faith added with a grin, crawling out from under the desk.

"I didn't even know you were in the States, Faith." Angel stumbled back a step as Faith hugged him enthusiastically.

"Just got here."

"Why are you helping him sabotage my office?" Angel nodded at Spike who dragged to his feet, lighting a cigarette. "Spike, I think that's illegal in here."

Spike flashed him a two-fingered salute, going to a long plastic tote box and dragged out more decorations.

"I wasn't helping really," Faith said.

"Spike, one more thing and you're going out that window," Angel said. That was the one good thing, in his opinion, about Spike having form again. He could actually kill his grandchilde if he wanted to.

"Talk about being a Scrooge," Spike said.

"Oh, like you give a toss about Christmas," Angel said, trying to find a place to sit. His teddy bear had been moved to his task chair. "You're doing this because you think it's going to annoy me."

Spike smirked. "Well, yeah."

"You've got your body back, Spike. I thought you'd be moving on if that happened," Faith said, picking up the bear and claiming Angel's chair.

"Spike's not going anywhere. He's too busy driving me insane." Angel settled for leaning against the door, mistletoe above his head be damned.

"This is the thanks I get." Spike waved a hand at Angel. "After I saved-"

"Don't start on the 'I saved the world' bit again. I'm tired of hearing it. So you saved the world once. How many times did you try to destroy it?" Angel shot back, his eyes narrowing in irritation.

"That's rich, that is." Spike blew smoke rings. "Look who's talking, luv. For the record, I saved the world twice or did you forget who betrayed you to Buffy so she could put an end to you and Acathla."

Angel scowled. "And it cost you Drusilla. First time out you lose the love of your life and the second time you lose your body. Maybe you should just give up on it. You're not good at it." "I'm a bloody sight better at it than some nancy boys I could name."

"Are you two gonna shut up so I can tell you why I'm here?" Faith poked the stuffed bear in the nose.

Angel came over and rescued it from her. "I was going to ask. I thought you were going to Giles' new home in England for a big Christmas celebration. He invited all of us, too, but..."

"Yeah, I know. You couldn't make it. Big surprise. We were all going to the estate." Faith drew the word out. Angel knew that Giles had taken over one of the large holdings that the Council had. The main headquarters and a bulk of the Watchers were gone but not all of them, not by a long shot and most of the money was still out there. "Even Robin and me."

"Heard they were making him a damn Watcher," Spike grumbled, taking train track out of the box. "You and he are still a thing then?"

Faith shook her head. "Too much baggage but I learned a little something about trying relationships instead of loving and leaving." Her dark eyes went momentarily sad.

"That's something," Angel said, picking up the train track as fast as Spike was laying it out. "No Christmas trains in my office, Spike. So, why are you here, Faith?"

"Business." She put her feet up on the desk, nearly taking out Rudolph. "One of the Council seers saw something big and bad heading your way, Angel."

Angel paused in his attempts to foil Spike who took advantage and dragged out the train engine. "Me or L.A.?"

"You. She specifically saw the souled vampire and said this something was going to cut the heart out of you." Faith shrugged. "She didn't think the vision meant it literally since she felt you were going to suffer...a lot, and not turn to dust."

"One of these days the Powers that Be are going to send a simple straight forward vision, no interpretation needed," Angel groused, smacking Spike on the back of the neck with the train track. The smaller vampire yelped.

Spike rubbed the reddening spot. "How'd you get picked to come save the Dark Avenger?"

Faith cocked an eyebrow. "Dark Avenger?"

"You should see his tights." Spike stabbed at Angel with the burning end of his mostly dead cigarette.

"I know you're kidding because." Faith sat up, leaning over the desk to get a good look at Angel. "He doesn't have the legs for it." Angel gave her a stricken look and couldn't help but give his legs a critical glance. "Seriously, Faith, is that all you know? Obviously it was frightening enough that you thought I needed help."

"It freaked the seer and you will need me. Giles figured you might welcome a little Slayer help. Buffy was..." Faith trailed off, making a face. "I mean with you two..."

"She wasn't ready yet," Angel supplied.

"Sorry." Faith shrugged. "So I got tagged for the duty."

"And you miss out on the big party back on the new home front," Angel said, sadly.

Faith got up and started helping Spike with the train. Angel just rolled his eyes. "Christmas is about family, you know? I'm not part of that family. If anyone's my family, it's you, Angel."

"Stop before you make me sick," Spike grumbled and Faith chucked him on the shoulder hard enough to knock him over.

Angel smiled. "Thanks, Faith. I appreciate it."

She smiled back. "That and I punched out Andrew last week so things have been a little tense."

"They should have given you a medal for that," Spike said, taking the train's transformer out of the box.

"That's what I said. He was taking that Peeping Tom routine with his camera a little too far so I socked him." Faith flashed a wry grin. "Of course this came on top of me bitch slapping Kennedy the other day but she was asking for it."

"Damn, they should have knighted you for that one," Spike said.

"Faith." Angel put on his stern face. "You promised you'd stay out of trouble now that you're free again."

"Kennedy was the one who organized the others to throw Buffy out of her own house," Spike growled.

"Oh." Angel made a face. "Then that's okay."

"You know what happened in Sunnydale?" Faith looked shocked. "I didn't think Buffy told you about that. I didn't want that to happen, Angel."

"I know. Spike told me all about it," Angel said.

"I can't imagine you two sitting around talking about that...about anything really." Faith went over and took the train tracks from Angel, giving them to Spike.

"Not much else to do when you're a ghost," Spike said.

"Yeah, I can't imagine how glad you were to get your body back," Faith said.

"He's not the only one. I'm glad he's got his body back," Angel said, giving up and helping to construct the train set.

"I'm surprised to hear you say that," Faith said. "I figured...I dunno, maybe you would prefer him like he was."

"I'd prefer him gone. Always have, since the day he clawed his way out of his grave," Angel said. "But Dru liked him. At least in this form, he can't ghost his way into my bedroom all the time. I'm trying to crawl into bed and there he is...all the damn time."

Faith snorted. "You kinky vampires."

Spike eyed her sourly. "It wasn't like that, never like that. I was bored. You run out of things to do pretty fast when you can't touch anything."

"So he entertained himself with whining to me all day and all night. At least now, I can keep him locked out of my suite, no more surprise visits. I'm not used to seeing him sitting on the edge of my bed without Dru and Darla being there," Angel said, then froze, fingers convulsing on a box car full of gifts. He managed to look supremely embarrassed. "Did I say that out loud?"

"Thanks for nothing, Peaches." Spike rolled his eyes.

"Not just kinky but incestuous, too. I mean you both were sleeping with your mothers and you were sleeping with your daughter, Angel." Faith shuddered.

Angel shrugged. "That's the way it is with vampires. Either you sire someone because you're recruiting for a big job or you do it because you found someone you want to spend time with."

Faith nodded. "That doesn't explain the orgies."

"That was just pure fun," Spike offered.

Before Faith could respond, a chirpy version of Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild started piping up from the pocket of her leather jacket. She pulled out the cell phone. "That's Giles for you. Now that's he's learned to use them he keeps reprogramming everyone's phone with classic rock." Faith flipped the phone open. "Yeah? Oh, hey, B. Yeah I made it here just fine...yeah, they're both with me right now. Say hi, boys!" Faith held out the phone to them.

"Hi, Buffy," they chorused. Faith pressed it back to her ear. "Angel was just telling me about how he keeps finding Spike in his bedroom."

"That's not what I said," Angel snapped.

Faith grinned wickedly. "How should I know? Way I figure it, B, they're immortal and they're bored. They're experimenting a little. That or neither one could find real dates or something."

"Like hell I couldn't. I could have Fred any time I want her," Spike said, looking up from his decorating.

"You could not," Angel shot back.

"What was that? Okay, got it. Want to talk to them B? Okay, no time, I understand, I'm sure anything that makes its home in the Thames is gonna be a nasty critter. Give it one for me and I'll tell Angel what you said." Faith snapped the phone shut.

Angel's eyes widened and he made a hurry up chopping motion with his hands. "What did she say?"

"The seer had another vision about you, Angel. Even grimmer and it doesn't make much sense...well, at least not to us. She said it was going to strike at your blood family. Does that mean anything to you?"

Angel's face lost what little color it had and he struggled out a soft 'no.' He could tell Faith didn't believe him for a moment.




"How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat. Some dance to remember, some dance to forget." Connor crooned along with the cd player as it shuffled in Hotel California as he danced around the pile of paper in his large dorm room, a bottle of Killian's held above his head.

"Finals are over," Javier, one of Connor's three roommates said, tossing a book across the room.

"For you. Some of us aren't done yet," Damien shot back.

"All you have to do is turn in your screenplay." Javier waved him off. "And all Brian has to do is pulls some poems out of his ass."

"It's not like you haven't had that play done since before you even got here." Connor collapsed on his bed.

"I know," Brian said. "We don't have real majors." "You said it, not me," Connor replied. Being a freshman, he had ended up stuck with three roomies but the college had made an attempt to pair off people of similar interests. It made sharing a large suite with three other men a little more bearable. He and Javier were biology students while Damien and Brian were English majors. Finals were over for him and Javier but no one had headed off for the Christmas holidays just yet. There was some serious partying to do. Besides, his mom and dad and sisters were in Canada skiing. Dad was stuck on his time off from work for Wolfram and Hart's acquisitions department and couldn't wait for his only son to get done with his first semester of classes. Connor hefted his book and shoved it under his bed. "Good bye Lotka-Volterra Models of Predation!"

Javier kicked the pile of papers Connor had been dancing around. "Farewell niche theory."

Connor shoved all the notes off his bed. "See you in hell ecosystems of California."

"Who are you two fooling?" Brian snorted. "Ecology couldn't have been that hard. I mean, it was organic chemistry you girls were whining about all semester."

Connor got up and stomped over to where his friends sat on the floor in front of the television. "Never say that class name again."

"At least it's out of the way." Javier shuddered.

"Why don't you two tell us the chemical composition of what's in this?" Damien waggled a multicolored glass bong at Connor.

"Rather leave it a mystery." Connor took a hit off the bong and passed it to Brian. "Know what this party needs?"

"Chicks," his roommates said in unison.

Connor nodded. "Exactly."

"Man, you've been whining about your inability to get laid ever since Tracy dumped your skinny ass." Damien snorted then broke into a chorus of 'I can't get no satisfaction.'

Connor scowled. "Real mature, guys."

"Think the bong's dead," Javier said, disappointed. "Want to head to the Belly Up To Bar?"

"Need you even ask?" Knocking back the rest of his beer, Connor struggled up. He pulled the towels away from the cracks in the door while Brian snuffed out the incense sticks that were fooling no one.

Once at the Belly Up To, Connor showed his good fake I.D. bought with Daddy's money. It was wasted in this bar since no one looked at I.D.. The seediness of the bar was only surpassed by how stuffed to capacity it was. The music shook the rafters, loud to the point of painful. Connor had always had superlative hearing. At times like this, he considered it a curse. His nose was equally sensitive and he didn't really like being in bars. Bars irritated him. Cigarette smoke wasn't the worst. Perfumes and colognes were. He hated them, especially those who didn't know you didn't have to swim in it for it to work. Still, he put up with it because he wanted to be a regular kid, doing the same things everyone else did. He was willing to put up with a lot to keep that semblance of normalcy.

His buddies took their ill-gotten beers and shoved their way deeper into the bar nearer the dance floor. The dance floor was a lost cause, packed with students celebrating the end of finals; a last blow out before going home to mom and dad and acting like little angels for the holidays. After the waitress came by with their second round of beers, Damien nudged him. Connor looked up at his friend. Damien was taller than him, just as reedy with skin so dark it gleamed like velvet.

"What's up?" Connor asked.

"I think you have an admirer." Damien pointed with the bottom of his beer bottle. "God knows why."

Connor rolled his eyes then took a look at the girl Damien had pointed out. She regarded him with keen interest. She wasn't a girl, he decided instantly, a woman. She wasn't all that much older than him though, but enough to be intriguing. Her eyes were intense. He wished he could tell their color but it was too dark. Her willowy body reminded him of a ballerina. He could imagine her pirouetting across the stage in a dress of shimmering white. He'd never confess it to anyone, except for Tracy, but he loved ballet. His ex-girlfriend had a body like this woman's. Eating twigs and whatever the hell else vegans ate contributed to Tracy looking like a celery stalk.

Now that he thought about it, Connor couldn't remember why he had ever gone out with Tracy. He liked big, bloody steaks and she wouldn't even go out with him if there was a chance he might order one. And he didn't really like blondes like Tracy. He preferred brunettes like the woman watching him.

The stranger's hair fell in walnut ringlets framing a heart-shaped face. Her chin was a little too narrow and pointy for Connor's taste. Still, there was something about her that was utterly compelling. Of course, that could be because she seemed interested in him and he was almost nineteen and hadn't been laid in what seemed like forever. Tracy had broken up with him within a month of them going to college. There was the girl in his ecology class who liked him but she had been blue balling him every time they went out. He didn't really count the one girl from the homecoming game. That was the first and last time Connor had played with Ecstasy. It left him too out of control. Neither he nor the girl could remember if they had had sex, only that they woke up naked in her bed. He promise himself that would never happen again.

"Go for it, Connor," Brian said, giving Connor a shove.

"I don't like the looks of her," Javier put in. "I get the feeling of someone walking over my grave."

"Ignore him," Damien said dismissively.

Connor shrugged. Javier was superstitious, into all that Santeria stuff that kinda creeped him out. He was more inclined to go along with Damien and Brian's urgings. "Won't hurt to talk to her." He went over to her. She was shorter than he had first though. Even in the dimness of the bar, he could see her eyes were slate blue now that he was close to her, almost the same shade as his own. He smiled at her. "Hi." He knew he could come up with a better opening line but he hated using lines. They always sounded so dumb.

She did something that surprised him. She reached out and touched his cheek. "I dreamed you into existence."

Connor raised an eyebrow. Maybe Javier was on to something. He shook off the frisson of fear. He was being silly. She was probably just drunk or rolling on X. "Was it a good dream?"

Her eyes brightened. "The best kind."

He grinned broadly. "I like the sound of that. Can I get you a drink."

"Later." She ran a red lacquered nail along his neck. "Do you hear it? The night is singing and all the players are on the stage."

'Boy, she's on some fun dope,' he thought. Maybe she was a theater person. The ones he had met hanging with Damien had all been a bit odd. He liked her accent at any rate. He glanced over at his friends who grinned and made various hip motions. He rolled his eyes. "On stage? Do you know Damien?"

Her eyes flicked over at his friend. "The wordsmith? Yes, he makes the players dance on the screen. Such delicious talent."

That mystery solved, a high theater chick. "So, do you want to dance or something?" he asked.

She cooed, the pink tip of her tongue caressing the upper bow of her lip. Connor couldn't help but watch the sensual movement. She caught his chin, tipping his face down. His eyes couldn't tear away from hers. He was adrift in a sea of cerulean. It was a comforting feeling. "You already know what I want, little brother."

"Brother? You into a cult or something? Cause I'm not into that scene." Connor took a nervous step back, her long nails grating along his stubby chin. It felt like that motion took all his will.

She moved with him, her fingers brushing through his soft bangs. "You'll like what I have to offer. All fun, no guilt, no regret." Her lips twitched. "No cult."

"Good cause that stuff weirds me out."

"Biggest cult for you." Her fingers traced the Celtic cross he always wore under his shirt. "Blood of the son. That's a good, sweet thing." Her eyes got bigger, more illuminated, pulling him in further, overriding the little voice that warned him this strange woman with the wispy spooky voice was trouble. "Um, so do you want to dance or something? I'm Connor by the way."

"Ummm," she purred. "Wolf-lover, warrior, a powerful name." Her fingers played over his, rimming his beer mug, coming away with drops of amber. She sucked them clean as the music slowed down going to something romantic. His eyes were fixed on her lips as they worked her fingers. She pulled him toward the dance floor.

Connor waggled his mug in his friends general direction knowing they had to be watching, hoping for him to get shot down so they could laugh. Brian snagged the mug and Connor took his Goth. girl into his arms. He wasn't sure why he thought of her that way. She didn't wear the make up or clothes but something about her screamed 'Goth.' Maybe it was the whiteness of her skin.

She danced enticingly, touching him light like a feather. The little touches weren't sexually placed but arousing just the same. Connor could swear she knew him inside out, like she was inside his head. Maybe there was something to that soulmate crap Tracy believed in. Not that he felt like he had found his nor was it love at first sight. Lust was another thing entirely. She was obviously older than him but he didn't care. He wanted her.

"You still haven't told me your name."

"Drusilla." Her lips were close to his ear. She caught the lobe with sharp teeth and nibbled.

"That's an old name isn't it?" His hands traveled down her slender back. "I like it."

"The moon says it's time to go, Little Brother." She twisted out of his grip then slid a hand into his, pulling him off the dance floor.

Connor stumbled after her, feeling out of control drunk. He half wondered if she had dropped something into his drink. Three beers and a little pot usually didn't hammer him like this. He tried to steady himself, wishing she'd quit calling him 'little brother' since it was hard to have lusty feelings towards someone who might be seeing him in all the wrong ways. "Where are we going?"

She smiled over her shoulder at him. His mouth made a little 'O' as the light turned on in his muzzy head. He disengaged from her and went to his friends.

"I'm going, guys," he said.

"No way," Damien said, looking over Connor's head at Dru. "You so did not talk her into something."

"I did so. You three stay away for an hour," Connor said.

Brian snorted. "Hour? More like five minutes."

Connor gave him the finger.

Javier looked at him nervously. "Are you sure, Connor?"

"You can be such an old lady, Javier. Look at her, she's hot."

Connor didn't wait for more worries or jibes. He went back to Dru. "Come on, my place isn't far." He scowled as they headed outside. It was cold and pissing down rain. Neither of them had an umbrella but Dru didn't seem to care. She danced in the rain. He took her hand. "We're gonna freeze out here."

He pulled her along, breaking into a jog. She seemed to keep up with him effortlessly despite her high heels. The Belly Up To was only a few blocks from the dorm but Connor was out of breath by the time they got inside. Dru had no such problems and he felt embarrassed about being out of shape. Her hair was stuck to her face and her dress plastered to her body. He could see her pert nipples standing up against the clammy cloth. "I'm up on the fourth floor."

He led the way, feeling a definite dampening of his amorous mood. He was chilled to the bone from the run in the cold winter rain. He opened the door and immediately went to the closet pulling out two thick towels. He was surprised to see Dru standing outside his dorm room. "Come on in and towel off before your catch your death of cold."

"That would be such a terrible thing." Drusilla came in, shutting the door behind her and accepted the towel. She dried her hair, poking about the room.

"I could let you borrow some of my clothes and we can put that dress in the drier," he said, hoping there might be an interlude between stripping and redressing. Dru said nothing. She captured him with her towel, pulling him close. He put a hand on her cheek, her flesh cold under his fingers. "You are so chilled." He frowned, lust totally killed. He felt guilty more than anything. "I think we might have instant coffee around here if you want some."

She put a finger to his lips, her eyes meeting his. Connor suddenly forgot why he was so worried. Dru guided him backwards, making him sit on his bed as if she already knew which was his. She sat next to him, their hips touching. She stroked the cross under his shirt again. "May I see it?"

Connor shrugged and pulled the cross out from under his shirt, flicking his wet hair back in the process. "My parents got it for my Confirmation."

"Such a lovely bauble. May I?" She held out her hand. Connor unhooked it and Dru took it by the chain. She let it swing in front of her eyes. "It's pretty. Look at it," she demanded.

Connor did so, his head going heavy. He had to be more drunk than he thought. He thought he heard Drusilla telling him to be in her but couldn't focus on what that meant. All he saw was his swinging cross and her blue, blue eyes behind it. Suddenly the cross moved out of sight and her face was before his, so close he should have been able to feel her breath.

Her lips, cool, so cool, pressed against his. She pried his mouth open with her tongue, tasting him. He heard her saying something, calling him little brother but he felt suddenly afraid. He was pushing against her, trying to squirm off the bed.

Clear as a bell he heard her say, "Enjoy this, Little Brother," and her hands buried themselves in his hair, crushing his lips to hers.

And he did enjoy it, immensely. He was so very hard but not embarrassed by it. Her lips passed over his chin and pressed against his neck. Connor felt a burst of pain and managed to get an arm up between them. Dru peeled it back, her lips working against his neck. It felt better now, warm and wet. She paused in her suckling and said, "Enjoy it to its fullest, Little Brother."

Connor was only dimly aware of ejaculating in his pants as he stopped resisting, wrapped in a warm blue comforting blanket. She cradled him as he slipped into unconsciousness.



Heedless of the rain, Dru looked at the large building looming before her. She liked how the water falling from the dark sky added extra twinkle to all the Christmas lights. Dru loved this time of year. She always had. She remember the smells of roasting goose filling her parents' house, the cheerful bustle of the maids and cooks, all the lovely food vying with the chrysanthemum, holly and candles the color of blood on the table. Dru swayed, remembering that first burst of flavor biting into a mincemeat pie and all those sweet desserts that Mummy didn't want her eating so much of, like plum pudding and the grape glace that her sisters argued over who got to heap the ice around the molds to freeze the dessert.

Her favorite treat was ribbon candy. Dru could taste it even now. She loved the whole season. Playing whist with her girlfriends in Mummy's parlor, watching the delight of their friends as they picked a ribbon from the jar to get the walnuts that had been hollowed out and a trinket glued inside; gambols in the snowy parks with her chaperone and Ashfield Killingsworth, the mousy, scrawny son of one of her Daddy's friends. Those were the days when she learned to keep her visions to herself, when she still hoped to be a good wife, maybe to Killingsworth; then her dark daddy had found her.

Dru had paused on the way from the college to watch longingly a display of skaters that moved and whirled on fake ice, a little tabletop delight in a store shop window. That had been the best part of the winter holidays, skating with her sister. She had even taught Angel how to skate much to the amusement of Darla and the bruising of both her and Daddy's backsides.

Humming God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Dru glided toward the entrance of Wolfram and Hart. She knew how to circumvent the magic guarding the place. The guards would never even notice her. It was time to bring her boys home. She had been alone too long. If she concentrated, she could plan and live just fine without them but all that concentration made the songs of the wild go quiet. Dru hated that. Besides, it was more fun as a family. Still, she knew it would not be easy. It would take time to woo them back. Daddy was easy. She would only have to bring Little Brother to see him and that would be enough. It would be harder to win back her darling Spike. Still, she knew his heart, what he craved and she could give it to him.

Dru followed her senses, physical and psychic, leading her to a room strong with Angel's presence. She was almost surprised he wasn't behind the door. It was nearly dawn and Daddy wasn't one to go to bed on time, if at all some days. He was a restless creature. She smiled at all the wonderful holiday toys inside. Daddy had the skaters she coveted.

She left the room going up the stairs to the very top of the building. She could brush her fingers through the sky this high and play with the stars. There was no need to bother Daddy tonight. She only wanted Spike. He was right where she expected him to be, asleep good and early. The TV was turned on for when he woke, like he so often did, in the day. He practically glowed in the dark, his skin so moon pale and beautiful. How she loved him. The covers rumbled around his waist in the warmth of the room. Dru longed to just crawl in with him but forced herself to remember her plan. All that concentration was going to make her head moan.

Dru took out the cobalt-hued tears' jar she had in her crimson purse. During the days she had made Spike hers there had been a revival of the roman tear jars. She had had a collection of the jars, enamored of the idea of keeping a lovers tears close by.

The liquid in the jar was cooling, thickening but it still would taste like ambrosia. Dru didn't know why Little Brother's blood tasted like a Slayer's but it did. Her nerves were still tingling, fire singing through her body making everything more alive just like the first taste of Slayer's blood Spike had fed her in China. He had promised her it was an aphrodisiac and it had been. Little Brother's blood had awoken her, giving her those wonderful feelings in her best, most intimate parts. Too bad she had rendered him unconscious too quickly. Next time she would sample him more slowly.

Little Brother might enjoy a long life so long as she could keep him under her thrall. He was so sweet and tasty that she could never bear to kill him. She wasn't sure if he would taste like honey if she made him her childe so for now he lived. Only Daddy didn't need to know she couldn't kill him. So long as he thought she might hurt Little Brother she could make him do what she wanted.

As for Spike, she knew his appetites. She dipped a finger into the tears' jar and rouged Spike's lips lightly. He didn't so much as twitch. Taking more blood Dru pressed her finger into Spike's mouth slowly. His tongue lapped at her and he rolled onto his back. Dru pulled away then stood very still letting him go back to sleep. He murmured something that sounded suspiciously like Faith and Harmony and Dru doubted he was dreaming about that kind of holiday good will.

She moved in and kissed his forehead leaving the perfect imprint of her lips on his pale flesh. Dru left his room, her tongue poking into the tears' jar getting the last of the blood. She stopped by Daddy's office and stole his skating music box. Dru headed down into the sewers as the sun was peeking out from behind steely blue clouds. She knew the plan was well on its way. The bricks around her told her so.