Rating: PG for some disturbing imagery
Feedback: Yes, thank you. Through Angel season 4
Distribution: The Blackberry Patch and If you're interested, please let me know.
Summary: Drusilla is trapped, but she doesn't know where or by whom.
Author's Note: Written for the Black Goddess Ficathon for stormysprite (Stacey) who requested a pretty dress and Drusilla talking to herself, but no NC-17 or pre-vamp Dru.
Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy. Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you. Thank you.
Black and White
The walls were very, very white. Drusilla had been staring at them for a long time, searching for the smallest speck of dust or dirt that would relieve that unbearable stretch of white, but whoever they were, the ones who had put her here, they were most fastidious housekeepers.
But it wasn't just the lack of the usual colors or even shadows that bothered her so much. It was that she couldn't see anything else, either. No pixies or phantom images of the past or future flitted before her. The stars had stopped singing altogether, and it was like she had gone deaf and blind. She had clapped her hands together out of fear, terrified that she would hear nothing at all, but the sharp slap of flesh on flesh cracked the silence of the room.
"Not deaf, then," she said aloud, and her voice echoed dully off the blank walls. "Not completely, anyway."
She looked down at her dress, one of soft white satin with tiny rows of white ribbon running along the edges of the short sleeves, the high empire waist, and the hem that floated just above her feet. There was no color in it, either, and she wished that she had worn scarlet or black or any other thing but white that night when they had found her. She was sick to death of white.
"White is for sweet virgins, singing pretty hymns," she called to no one. "I shouldn't be surrounded by white! It's in poor taste, you know!"
As soon as her words stopped, silence returned. There was no response from anyone. She turned around quickly, desperate to see something, anything that would relieve the constant, dull ache in her eyes from the endless field of white. There was nothing.
Drusilla had never been good at keeping track of days or nights. Sometimes she thought it was a century ago, or perhaps a century from now, and it made no difference to her usually. But this was different. This timelessness came from outside herself, and it was confusing in a way she had never experienced. It was a startling thought, that there were kinds of confusion she had not known even after a century of slipping between realities the same way leaves slipped against each other as they fell from trees in autumn. She had no way of knowing how long she had been trapped here: days, months, years.
"Maybe all my other life was just a dream," she said. "Perhaps I have been here always and ever, hmm?"
Silence answered her.
"No," she said finally, sitting on the floor and drawing her legs beneath her delicately. "No, I don't believe it was a dream, for if I'd never lived outside this place, I shouldn't know anything but white, should I? All my thoughts would be pure, pure white, and that's not at all how things are, is it?"
She toyed with one of the ribbons on the hem of her gown, twisting it lazily around a fingertip and glancing left and right all the while. The strain of perpetual nothing was starting to wear on her horribly. Dimly she wished for Miss Edith or any of her other dolls, a friendly face, something to look at that wasn't herself or the white that closed around her like darkness gone inside out. Time passed, but it was meaningless. Drusilla had taken to rocking back and forth with her eyes shut tightly, humming bits of old tunes that she could barely remember. It didn't seem to help, because even through her eyelids the ceaseless, blinding white showed.
"Mummy said if the visions ever went away, it would mean I was a good girl, and the curse had been lifted, and I should thank God for mercy," Drusilla whispered, her eyelids straining to close tighter. "I used to hope and hope that they would leave, cry in the night, poor lamb wanting blindness. They're gone now. But I'm lonely. I've lost everything, everything, everything, and the quiet is too much. Please, let the quiet stop."
She was on her feet in an instant, her hands tearing through her hair, and her voice rose to a shriek sounding as though her throat were ripping to shreds around the words; "I want it back! Give it back! Give them all back!"
Drusilla looked around again wildly, waiting, desperate for anything. Long moments passed, and she finally dropped back to the floor, seized by a fit of laughter that hadn't a drop of joy in it. She kept giggling softly for what seemed like days but might have been moments. The fit quieted away slowly, like the heartbeat of someone dying. But then, an idea struck her, one so obvious that she felt foolish.
"Would you like me to paint you a picture?" she said softly. "I could, you know."
With one razor-sharp nail she slit a vein in her arm, and blood came forth. The lack of a pulse meant that it simply dripped, but it was there, crimson and real, a spark of color. She drizzled it carefully across the floor, tracing lines that crisscrossed each other in patterns of madness, with here and there the semblance of a face or a tree, primitive and crude as a child's drawings with a red crayon. She paused, smiling at her work, pleased that she had in some way beaten the endless white that had threatened to engulf her.
As she watched, the blood disappeared completely, leaving the floor unmarked and perfect, the air not even tainted with the scent of anything except perpetual nothing. Her eyes widened. She choked on her own words and collapsed on the pristine perfection of the floor, utterly motionless, drawn into a fetal position on the floor. The white of her dress spilled around her in uneven waves, her hair a smudge of near-black against the floor. She remained that way for ages it seemed, a broken doll in a drift of eternal snow.
Unseen, unheard, the Senior Partners continued to watch. They were always watching, of course. There was nothing on the earth or under it that they didn't see, note, calculate, tabulate, and file in case it might be useful later. Drusilla amused them, particularly as she was now. Pain always had a savor to it, but hers was so very extreme that it was especially delectable. Revenge was always pleasant, after all. Drusilla had been brought to Wolfram and Hart to move forward the plan to return Angelus. That had been the deal. She had succeeded in siring Darla, true, but Angel still walked around with his soul tattered but very much present. She had failed, and there were always penalties involved in failing to live up to one's promises with the Senior Partners. She hadn't known what they would be, but that was her fault, not theirs.
"How long has the White Room remained without a conduit now?" one asked the others.
"Quite long enough," another replied. "Drusilla has been most amusing, of course, but her chamber will be required for another purpose."
"Yes," said yet another, for there were many in that place. "But the conduit? Who shall we choose?"
A silence followed, and then one spoke up.
"I have an idea."
In the White Room, the motionless form of Drusilla began to change. It seemed as though her hair began to grow rapidly, the blackness of it cloaking her body. With a start she opened her eyes. No change had occurred in so long that she was unable to move at first, paralyzed by inaction, but her face fell from habit into its demon-semblance as protection. Her yellow eyes watched in confusion as the dark hair surrounded her, her limbs changing and bending against her will, her dress ripping to shreds and leaving her naked with only her hair to cover her. But the voices, the visions, they had returned, clearer than she had ever had them before, crowding into her mind like water through a broken dam.
When it was complete, the Senior Partners agreed that it had been a good idea. Drusilla would make an excellent conduit, and she would be able to pay at least part of her debt to the firm. At that moment, the elevator opened and Charles Gunn stepped out. Drusilla found walking on four feet quite easy, and she approached him, her black fur glistening majestically in the white void.