Disclaimer: All characters and situations owned by Joss Whedon and company.
Thanks to: Kathy, for beta-reading.
I was out of sorts the first time I saw her, piqued for a reason I have long since forgotten. It left me in an odd mood. There she was, a beautiful girl, ushering her younger sisters to evening mass, her proud father and fretting mother walking behind them like talking illustrations of the late Jane Austen's works, and I found myself following her through the London streets. At first I thought I would find a reason to introduce myself and pull her aside for an early evening meal, but then I observed how utterly oblivious she was to the admiring looks she attracted from men everywhere, heard how her parents congratulated themselves on what a good girl she was, not flighty like one of her sisters, and I thought: no. I won't kill her. I'll serve her to my boy as a treat instead.
He was delighted, of course, and became downright obsessed with her. I had not seen him put such thought, patience and energy into destroying a human since Daniel Holtz, and this was something of a surprise, because Holtz had been a challenge, as formidable an enemy as any human condemned to a mortal life span, and she was the epitome of what her age, the age of Victoria, wanted a woman to be: sweet, innocent, tender and utterly helpless. She did not turn hunter when her family died around her in various inventive ways, oh no. She fled to a nunnery. Charles Dickens would have adored her.
The night everything changed was to be her last. When I found them, I had to make my way through a lot of dead nuns – which I had expected – and found her still alive, which I had not, cowering against the wall. There was not much left of the girl I had spotted on her way to evening mass. All peace and happiness was destroyed, and what she said were the ramblings of a madwoman. And then he told me, while we started to rip each other's clothes off in front of her. He wanted to make her one of us.
"But she is insane," I said, and he replied that was exactly the point. He wanted to prolong her torment into eternity.
"Am I learning?" he asked, and for the first time in more than a century, I felt… I did not know what to call it. Surely it could not have been horror, or pity. Surely I was impressed, impressed by the way he had surpassed anything I could possibly could have come up with, and I was his sire.
I arched back my neck, and that was the first time I heard her laugh. There was no fear of death and pain in her voice anymore, nor was there later. She had gone far beyond that. I don't think she ever was afraid of anything again.
In the years since I had made Angelus, we had, on occasion, sired other vampires. We had travelled with some of them for a while, and with some others we had not created. But they all bored us sooner or later, and we certainly had not considered them family.
Drusilla changed that. She had been nearly nineteen years old when Angelus turned her, and no one would have considered her a child in those days. But as soon as she arose from her grave, she became one. It was a peculiar form her madness took: her speech patterns became those of a child, and yet she was anything but childlike in the enthusiasm with which she took to blood and sex alike. It was a sometimes compelling and sometimes annoying melange, and I think it changed Angelus and myself. We had not been anyone's parents before she decided to make us into hers. That was indeed the greatest surprise of all: she managed to foil Angelus without ever fighting him. For if he had wanted for her to suffer through the rest of eternity, he failed. Her terror and hate had changed into adoration, and his presence did not horrify her any longer, it made her happy. And as she chose to be a child, she did not cast me as her rival. Instead, she made me into something between a mentor and a playmate, and in between teaching her how to dress her hair without a mirror and demonstrating the various ways immortal skin can respond if you scratch hard enough to draw blood, I realized I had surrendered to her as well.
I could have done without the "grandmother" appellation, of course. "Don't scold," she said when I told her yet again not to call me that. "I could be your mummy."
Twenty years, and in all that time, it never occurred to either of us to abandon Drusilla. When she complained of neglect, we allowed her to create Spike. Twenty more years, and for all the fights and spectacular stupidity occasionally displayed, we still were never without her – or him, for that matter – longer than a few weeks. I have tried to find the reason and can only come up with this: Drusilla wanted us to be a family, and so we were. We had been predators feared across the continent, and she had been but the latest victim, and yet she remade us nearly as much as we remade her.
I thought it was the most exquisite revenge I ever saw, until the night she entered a motel room and showed me otherwise.
Being sired by the Master had come without any expectations but death. He had promised salvation through hell, true, but I knew all about men and their promises. I just thought I had nothing left to lose, and at any rate, this death would be quicker than rotting slowly away. When Drusilla came towards me, on the other hand, I knew exactly what to expect. Only a short while ago, I had desired it, more than almost anything. So of course the lawyers waited until I changed my mind, and only then they let her come to me. Not alone. There was the usual assortment of hired thugs, some of whom held me, and there was Lindsey who held Angel's head up so Angel could watch. But as soon as Drusilla entered, anyone but her, Angel and myself became immaterial.
But here is the mystery of Drusilla: I still don't know what motivated her that night, whether she wanted to take her revenge for the night of her own creation, or whether she just wanted her family back, or both. Frankly, I do not wish to know.
"Did I displease you?" she asked when I vented my anger and despair on her after my resurrection and beat her as fiercely as I had ever done.
"Why?" I asked, unable to say anything else.
"For you," Drusilla said. "I did it all for you."
And this, too, might be the truth.
I have few memories of my mother – of the woman who gave me birth. It simply was too long ago. She would not recognize her daughter in me if she returned today, for the girl who was her daughter is too far gone as well. But I can never forget her completely. Sometimes, small things will bring what few memories I have of her to mind. The noises of an evening street, which was where she had plied her trade, and taught it to me. The rustling of a skirt.
"Come on, dear, " my mother tells me in one of those few memories I have. "Let's to church, today. It is the feast of our lord's birth, after all." She laughs, and there is no fear in her voice. "There might be trade when they all rush home, hm?" She laughs again, and her long, dark curls fall over her shoulder as she rushes me to evening mass.