Summary: An afterthought, that was what he was. Darla, Spike.
A/N: I always marvelled at the lack of canon interaction between Darla and Spike, considering they spent a good chunk of a century being the Scourge of Europe and killing anything in their path. I never knew what they actually felt for each other although canon seems to indicate Darla continuously being exasperated by his presence. I took it to mean that she didn't think of him highly at all, and that Spike practically treated Darla like a pot of plant in comparison to his dialogue with Angelus in the Buffy episode 'Crush' and anytime Drusilla was in the picture. It's very peculiar.
Disclaimer: I don't own Angel or its characters, they belong to Joss Whedon.
An afterthought, that was what he was. She only realized it quite plainly right after she left the both of them in China, ran away so far and fast that not even the soul that occupied Angelus' body can find her. She had been careful that time, packed quietly and stepped inside the carriage with no word of goodbye.
Darla had grown sick of them since Romania. At first she couldn't quite believe the company she'd been forced to keep after she kicked him out. An insane babbler with a predilection for dolls and stars, then there was also the youngest nitwit - a vampire with no sense of survival.
She wondered whether Drusilla chose him because of that. The girl craved so much adventure and blood that she and Angelus had often punished her for insolence and tomfoolery. Once, she had taken minions and massacred an opera house in Spain. That led to many hours of torment and tears with Drusilla locked in a room, wailing so loudly that she could have sworn the entire estate must have shook from the forcefulness of her screams.
When Spike was punished, there was no crying or begging. There was only pure, unadulterated anger as he looked up, those blue eyes glaring so coldly into hers that she nearly laughed at the display. This outright show of defiance was something she'd seen before, but hardly out of a vampire in lower rank. Even Angelus had to defer to her when she administered discipline, but Spike was like steel. Almost.
Funny how she considered him the weakest out of all of them when that should have been her first clue.
Darla had never really paid him much mind after Drusilla had introduced them. She was surprised, of course. It was that clumsy blond that bumped into Angelus on the night Drusilla spoke of her discontentedness. She couldn't see anything remarkable in him. All she saw was a lovesick fool that fawned and simpered, that drooled over Drusilla. It disgusted her.
She quickly grew accustomed to seeing him as a 'pest', a buzzing fly that kept trailing them wherever they went. She'd taught him a few tricks, showed him the best way to keep the blood warm but he was no more than an afterthought to her.
Darla was sure that the feeling was mutual.
Then there were too many mobs and too much hiding. It had been time to punish him, and Spike had quickly grown too arrogant to be truly terrified of Angelus' authority. Yes, that time, Darla had needed to step in and pull rank.
When she gave him the first punch, accompanied by that lovely sound of his nose breaking, he hadn't cowered like she had thought he would.
"S'that all?" His voice sounded muffled, almost nasal, and he merely grinned at her as she held him by his neck. "Must be losing your touch..."
Darla raised an eyebrow, daring him to defy her. She had the upper hand here, after all, and Spike was a baby compared to her. He was an idiot, but even he couldn't be stupid enough to antagonize her, could he?
"...Grandmum," He sneered, wiping the blood from his broken nose. Such cheek.
She retaliated by releasing her grip on his neck, allowing him to slide down on the floor. That was when she gave him a powerful kick, enough to crack several of his ribs and have him grunt in pain.
"William," She addressed him by his human name, part of her doing it to annoy him and the other part (a larger part) doing so because she wanted to remind him who was leader of this family.
His self-satisfied expression dissolved within an instant, his jaw clenched in indignation and he gave her an icy stare.
"Do you know why you're being punished?" She asked him coldly.
"Because you're a bloody bint," He muttered, flinching from the agony of her assault. He was sprawled on the floor, his mouth spewing blood from the kick she had given to him earlier. He was the picture of weakness, yet he was anything but.
Darla found this contradiction intolerable. She narrowed her eyes, "Disrespecting your betters will have untold consequences. I suggest you still that tongue of yours or I may be forced to rip it out. You would not want to wander through eternity without being able to taste, would you?"
His body tensed and she could tell he was itching to lash out and insult her, but he didn't really know her well enough to be able to tell whether or not she'll follow through with her threat. Darla would most certainly have, in any event, but Drusilla was unbearable enough without having to add her tantrums to the list. So Spike would get to keep his tongue, but that would only make his condition far worse once he got out of this room.
"Since you are incapable of using your brain to determine why you're lying on this floor, I suppose an explanation is in order. Angelus and I haven't survived this long by being idiots. What do you think was going to happen when you kept kidnapping villagers and returning their bodies in the forests? Humans love to speculate, after all. It only takes a few of them to plant seeds into each others' heads. We're tired of running from bloodthirsty crowds, being chased out in the open, going underground for something foolish that you've done. Is that about clear, William? Do you need me to repeat anything to you?"
There was no response, although she saw the look that he gave her. There was no acknowledgement of deference or submissiveness. Darla might enjoy herself more, if she wasn't in such a temper.
"So quiet," She remarked in mock surprise, relishing the furious glare he had given her. "There's a good boy."
He raised an eyebrow, struggling to put himself up to his feet. He wiped the blood from his chin. "You're still a bint."
She had tortured him to the point of near dusting. Darla never allowed anyone to get away with disrespecting her, remembering that infuriating part of her clouded past. She had beaten and whipped him until he was only a gurgling mess in that room and she left without a second glance. She had gone right back to not minding him afterwards, although she could feel those defiant angry glares he sent her way when he thought she was unaware. He resented her.
She was no longer just an afterthought to him, but a symbol of something he hated. Although he did surprise her, she would grant him that. Instead of being reduced to a shivering, howling mess he had come out of it stronger and more obnoxious than ever. At the turn of the nineteenth century, she'd been stunned by the amount of viciousness she had seen out of him.
Nearly...impressed, although she would never admit that.
Somehow, Spike had become lost in this tangle of a whirlwind that only included her and Angelus. She had grown weary by then, no longer taking pleasure in his anger. Their family had not survived another night, and it sometimes made her laugh a little. They had strength and immortality beyond the wildest imaginations and yet the only one who had remained stagnant was Spike.
She had not seen him in the following decades since the Boxer Rebellion. There was no attempt at contact between herself and the two. By that time, she had been distracted by the Master and his vision of a new world. Spike rarely crossed her thoughts.
He had become that afterthought in the back of her mind once more.