His Tender Mercies by Enigmaticblue

ReviewsRating: PG-13

Summary: A response to Helga Von Nutwimple's Vamp-in-the-Box Challenge. Wolfram & Hart make a slight error, and bring Drusilla back instead of Darla at the end of Ats S1. Drusilla heads straight to Sunnydale and Spike, and in the process throws a monkey wrench into Buffy's thinking. Oh, and Riley left after "Restless."

Author's Notes: I don't particularly want to post the rules right now because it will give away too much of the story. Therefore, they will be posted at the end, and you all can decide for yourselves how well I did answering my first challenge.

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Prologue and Chapter 1

Prologue

In the two hundred years of Drusilla's existence, there were exactly two people who hadn't underestimated her: Angelus and Spike. Angelus because he'd created her, and Spike because she had created him. So it was that when Wolfram & Hart accidentally brought her back with their spell, rather than Darla as they had intended, it didn't take her very long to escape.

Just because she was crazy didn't mean she wasn't cunning.

It was, in fact, Drusilla's very insanity that buffered her against the disorientation of the spell. She was used to things seeming a bit strange, and so suddenly returning as human-after she'd been dusted by her current lover-didn't phase her a bit. She overheard the lawyers talking about their mistake and how they were going to fix it.

They thought they could use her to get to Angel.

Drusilla wasn't sure what she thought about that, but somewhere in the vague recesses of her scattered mind, she knew that she wasn't ready to see Angelus again. Her soul remembered his cruelties; without the demon present, she had no real appreciation of pain. Not like she'd had before.

There was only one person that Drusilla wanted to see. Spike had taken care of her last time she was ill. He had performed the ceremony that brought her back to full strength again.

He loved her, even if the Slayer had been floating around his head.

Drusilla listened to the stars; their voices were still clear even when the walls closed in around her. She waited until they told her the time to escape was ripe; it helped that no one thought she was capable of thinking for herself.

She slipped out of the apartment they had secured for her. The guard had long since stopped worrying about the crazy-though meek-woman they had him watching. He was asleep, soundly so. The stars had told her that as well.

Drusilla sang to herself as she waited to find the right person to hitch a ride to Sunnydale with. She was certain the pixies would point out the perfect person. "Run and catch, run and catch, the lamb is caught in the blackberry patch."

She swished the skirt of the pretty dress that lawyer had found for her. He had been kind, had spoken softly, but Drusilla had seen his heart. Black as pitch it was. He couldn't be trusted-nor could anyone else at the law firm. They had their own plans that Drusilla wanted no part of.

She had her own goals in mind.

 

 

Chapter 1: Old Flame

Spike threw the empty bottle against the side of his crypt. Not even the resounding crash and tinkle of glass made him feel better. He half-wished the Slayer had staked him after she found out about his deal with Adam.

He was half-ready to stake himself.

Looking around to find something else to throw was futile. Spike didn't have much in his crypt, and the television had been too great a prize to break it.

He was bored out of his skull. There were only so many demons a guy could kill before that got dull-and dangerous. It was getting downright dangerous to be him, in fact. The only reason he hadn't been set upon by an angry mob-especially after his helping the Slayer to get out of the Initiative-was that most of the demons who would have made up said angry mob had been killed.

And that just burned, that he owed his continued existence to the Slayer of all people.

Spike let out a roar of anger as he realized that there was nothing else he could do any damage to, and he really wanted to do some damage. "Just wait till I get this bloody chip out of my head," he muttered. "'m goin' to rip her throat out. I'll bathe in the Slayer's blood. I'll kill all her little friends too." He stopped, reconsidering. "Maybe I'll turn Red. She'd be an interestin' vamp."

A sound at the door caught his attention, and Spike stilled, going into predator mode. He didn't sense a demon, but there was no point in taking stupid chances. He grabbed his crossbow from the top of the sarcophagus and waited. After a few minutes, when the door was still not opening, Spike growled, stalking over to throw it open.

He'd expected one of the Slayer's little friends, dithering for whatever reason. One or the other of them still came once in a while when they needed his help. He'd told the last one-Red, in fact-not to show up again unless she had a carton of fags in hand.

What he got instead was Drusilla. A very human Drusilla. You could have knocked him over with a feather, so to speak. "Spike?"

It was the vulnerability in her tone that caught at him. Spike, no matter what his dark princess had accused him of, no matter how much time had passed, no matter how badly she had betrayed him-he still loved her. She was his Sire, his ripe wicked plum, his black goddess.

And she was human.

By the time Spike managed to pick his jaw up off the floor of the crypt, Drusilla was looking ready to flee. "Dru? Luv? You alright?"

Spike was trying to think. She was human, yes, but that could be fixed quite easily, with or without the chip. He could find another vampire to turn her if necessary, or maybe manage to do the job himself. It would take a bit of creativity on his part, but he'd always been a quick study. There was always more than one way to skin a cat. (He knew, as he'd tried most of them.)

"Oh, my Spike, look what they've made of me." Dru was suddenly weeping in his arms, and Spike gathered her up helplessly. She'd cried like this before, mostly when one of the visions had badly disturbed her.

"Come on inside, Dru," he murmured, tugging her gently through the door. If he could calm her down, he could turn her tonight.

A new thought struck him. In turning Dru, Spike would become her Sire. He would replace Angelus in her affections. Never again would he have to worry about her going after another bloke. She would love him as much as he loved her.

He started to ask her about it, to offer the option of being turned again, but something kept him still. After all, she'd just arrived, and she was upset. It could wait until Dru had a bit of sleep and calmed down some. Spike would have to find her something to eat as well. And something else to wear. And some place to sleep.

Taking care of a human Drusilla was already getting complicated. What did he know about taking care of humans, anyway?

"You'll help me, won't you, Spike?" Drusilla asked him once she'd calmed down. "They wanted to use me to get to Angel. Knew you wouldn't let them hurt me."

Spike blinked, seeing a flicker of sanity in her eyes. No, more than that. Drusilla was actually lucid. Completely lucid. "Who was after Angel, pet?"

"The lawyers," she replied. Spike watched as the madness took over again. "They wanted to bring grandmum back, but got me instead." She giggled. "Little men were angry at that. So very angry. Thought they would bring darkness back. Ruined it all, they have."

Spike didn't bother asking her what it was that had been ruined. He knew better by now than to ask direct questions. There was no getting any information out of her when she was like this. "Don't have anywhere for you to sleep, luv, except for the chair. I'll see 'bout getting a proper bed tomorrow, yeah?"

"I'm here," Drusilla murmured, and again Spike could see the flash of sanity in her eyes. "It seems I've been such a long time dreaming. Such a lot of blood." She began to weep again. "There's blood on my pretty dress, Spike."

There was no blood to be seen anywhere, but Spike had a feeling that wasn't what she was talking about. She was human now, with a human soul. From what he knew, Drusilla hadn't been crazy before Angelus got to her. There was a chance she could go back to her old self, that she could be sane again.

If he turned her now, there was no chance of that at all. She would be insane for all eternity, and while he'd loved her craziness, there was a part of him that ached to see what Dru could be like whole.

She could be a true partner for him then.

More than that, if he turned her now, Spike would be no better than Angelus, dooming her to madness forever. A madness that left her vulnerable and childlike much of the time, as cunning and strong as she might be.

It would be better if he could heal her, bring her back to her old self, sane and whole. He would turn her then, and she would love him. Love him because he was her Sire and because he had done what no one else could do.

Spike would be Drusilla's everything as she had been his.

~~~~~

Joyce was feeling just a little lonely. Buffy might have been living at home for the summer, but that didn't mean that she ever got to see her daughter. Tonight, for example, Buffy was having an all-night movie-fest with her friends. They'd hardly gotten to spend any time together at all.

It was rather pathetic when "fun" equalled rearranging the kitchen cabinets.

The knock at the front door came as a welcome distraction; the couple at the front door was something else altogether.

Now Joyce had listened to all of Buffy's warnings about Spike. He was dangerous; he couldn't be trusted; don't think for a second that he wouldn't kill her the minute he had the chance.

Joyce had listened, and then had calmly disregarded most of what Buffy had told her. Buffy might be the Slayer, but Joyce trusted her instincts. That and the fact that Spike had had a number of chances to kill her and hadn't.

It was the woman at his side that worried her, since she matched the descriptions of Drusilla that Joyce had heard Buffy and the others give. "I need your help, Joyce," Spike said without preamble.

Joyce looked at the woman doubtfully. She was humming something to herself and appeared to be unaware of her surroundings. "Spike, I don't know-"

"She won't hurt you. Not now," Spike said cryptically. "Please."

As he very rarely used that word, as Joyce well knew, she considered. Right up until Drusilla waltzed into the house, now singing out loud. "Run and catch, run and catch. The lamb is caught in the blackberry patch." She looked directly at Joyce, and the light in her eyes was uncanny. "I smell sickness."

Joyce blinked and looked back at Spike, who wore a sheepish expression. "Sorry, ducks. Dru's been in an' out of things all day. It's just-she's hungry, you see, an' she's gonna need some help."

It was then that Joyce realized what it meant that Drusilla had been able to walk through her front door without an invitation. "I'll fix something. This is Drusilla, isn't it?"

Spike nodded, looking at Drusilla with ill-disguised longing in his eyes. "'m not exactly sure what happened to her. She hasn't been there enough for me to get the full story, but you were the only one I could think of that might help me with her." He rubbed a hand over his face. "She hasn't slept hardly at all. Keeps wakin' up screamin' with nightmares."

Joyce's eyes met his and for a moment they connected-understood each other at a level only hinted at up to that point. They both understood the meaning of sacrificial love: the mother of the Slayer and a vampire who loved with his whole being. Odd perhaps, but that was life.

"I'll do what I can for her, Spike," Joyce promised.

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