Author’s Notes: This is the answer to a BSV challenge, and as before, I will post the guidelines at the end of the story. Similarly, this story is radically different from anything I’ve attempted to write before. It is Spuffy, and after two or three chapters, that should be very obvious…I just don’t want to freak people out too badly with the first few. It’s all set-up.
I’m molding some popular vampire traditions in some of the vampire romance novels I’ve read – *sheepish* – so I will be tampering with a bit of the myths outside Whedonverse. As far as I know, these new venues are wholly my interpretation.
Chapter 1: Volumes of Forgotten Lore
The air smelled of sunrise.
They had officially been searching for Drusilla for three hours, and it was growing harder and harder to convince himself that she had disappeared for a quick snack. Granted, his sire wasn’t the most reliable vampire; she went missing almost weekly, but never during their ‘family time.’ Such was what she lived for. She spent hours communing with the stars, foreseeing the best hunting ground, and generally getting on Darla’s nerves.
Normally, that last bit was what made the family hunting time worthwhile. On his best day, Spike couldn’t tolerate Darla. Her blatant disapproval of his dark princess and Drusilla’s choice in mate drove him to uncomfortable extremes. He would just as soon stake the old bitch and suffer the wrath of Angelus than deal with her nagging for another two centuries.
Granted, if he killed Darla, he wouldn’t be around to bask in the nag-less atmosphere. But it was almost worth it.
“Let’s go, already,” the bitch in question moaned. “If she dusts, she dusts. And honestly, after more than a century, she should know the rules by now.”
Angelus grinned and wrapped his arms around her middle, lapping at the blood that stained her throat. Spike rolled his eyes and looked away. “I wouldn’t be too worried about that,” he purred in turn. “Dru’s a resourceful girl. She always finds her way home.”
Darla cooed in approval. “Well, we can always dust her for fun.”
Her eyes leveled with Spike’s, a cruel smile splaying across her lips.
“Or we could wait around. See if she’s up for some fun later,” Angelus retorted, squeezing her breasts.
Spike’s jaw clenched and he glanced away.
They didn’t share any love. Not like he did with his sire. The great overbearing sod and his bint of a mate were about as callous to each other as they were to the people they preyed upon. Too often, they enjoyed fucking their food before killing them. He didn’t know how many times he had walked in on them during their ‘suppertime’; Angelus ramming into a sobbing co-ed as Darla held her mouth to her pussy. Or Darla riding her boy into oblivion as Angelus’s fangs tore into the most painful parts of a young girl’s body. They would meet in a bloody kiss and fuck until they both passed out.
They had no tact. No affection. Nothing beyond devotion to the same blood-drenched lifestyle. They enjoyed each other thoroughly, of course; if such a thing as best friends existed in the world of vampires, they were certainly that. Lovers, friends, cruel demons who got off on the pain of others. Who got off on inflicting pain upon each other.
Oh, and they were mates.
There was no love between them, and they were mates. They had the outward appearance of love, but it wasn’t there.
Spike hated them. He hadn’t always, but he hated them now. Hated Darla for her mocking, hated Angelus for pretending to be the mediator. He had eyes for no one but his mate, and yet, he enjoyed toying with his grandchilde by fucking Drusilla whenever he felt the now-peroxide vampire was too comfortable with the affections of his sire.
Dru loved it, of course. It was a big game with her.
She never screamed as much as when Angelus was bringing her pleasure, and Angelus brought pleasure to no one without payment.
Similarly, Dru never cooed as much as when her mouth was around her sire’s cock.
Dru was supposed to be his, but she never looked at him the way she looked at Angelus. She never stopped crawling to Darla for her grandmum’s impossible approval. She never attempted to please Spike the way she pleased her Daddy. She never attempted to be Spike’s girl.
Spike loved Dru. Why was it that loving her meant he couldn’t have her?
Darla loved taunting him with it. She absolutely loved it. When his eyes were wet with tears from sobbing over Dru’s joyous infidelity, Darla would straddle him, smile, and whisper in his ear about how his black goddess wasn’t his, and never had been. How it hadn’t happened the way it happened between her and Angelus. That the reason it hurt so much when the insane vampire fucked someone that wasn’t him was because he knew, deep down, that he had no right to lay claim on her.
Angelus and Darla were mated. They were meant to be mated. That was simply the way it was. As with humans and their simplistic sentimentality, vampires had their share of legends—some were true, most were not. Over the years, it became increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction; especially with the elder generations of vampires either already mated or dead, while the younger generation was simply apathetic.
One of the most popular stories of vampiric legend had been buried under myth, mainly because it hardly happened anymore. The same with humans and their delusions of finding their ‘true love.’ Vampires had the same thing, only love was optional. Love was the factor that too many felt weakened the bond. Spike couldn’t help but love. It was the way he was. The way he had always been. Turning away from that simply wasn’t an option.
Darla enjoyed telling him of the minute she knew Angelus was hers. The minute she saw him crawl out of his grave, and his eyes flashed gold.
It happened only once and was the subject for half of the world’s fairytales, as well as the universal obsession with gold. The gold at the end of the rainbow. Once a vampire’s eyes met another’s and their eyes flashed gold, it was over. That search. That longing. Darla had not sired Angelus with the pretense that he was the one she was supposed to be with; it had simply worked out like that.
Drusilla had sired Spike with the same hope.
Over a hundred years had passed. A hundred years of pretending Dru was the one he was destined to spend his eternity with. A hundred years of loving her, of willing servitude, of waiting for her eyes to glow. Convincing himself that fate would catch up with him. That Dru was his—she had to be. Else he would not love her as he did.
It had been over a century. He had done everything he could think to win her affection. He had slain two slayers, showered her with gifts, killed who she wanted, attempted to love her with his body the way he wanted, and bruised her in sex when she demanded it. Nothing helped. Nothing worked. He was hers, but she was most certainly not his. She belonged to Angelus.
She was her daddy’s girl.
“Ugh.” Darla shook her head. “My skin’s starting to peel.”
Bleeding tragedy that was.
“Don’t worry, Spikey,” Angelus drawled, jerking his sire to his side with another one of those wondrous pretenses of affection. “She’s probably just found someone with much more…stamina…to keep her occupied while we were out. No worries. She’ll be crawling back in no time.” He smiled cruelly. “She always does, right?”
Spike growled lowly but didn’t rise to the bait. It was useless—humiliating, but useless. Years of conditioning had taught him that much. Angelus was the head of the household; not even Darla could challenge his mastership. And surprisingly, he didn’t think that bothered the bitch. She truly seemed to only need Angelus. The women of the clan were completely enthralled by the enormous wanker.
Why was anyone’s guess.
And Spike stood on the sidelines. Always on the bloody sidelines. Watching as the brutal sod took everything he had away.
No. That wasn’t right. None of what Angelus took had ever been truly his. It had only contained the pretense of being his.
Lashing out got him nowhere. He’d learned that the hard way.
“My little prince needs to be taught his lesson. Never raise your voice to the elders. It upsets Miss Edith.”
Drusilla was frighteningly inventive when it came to punishment. She’d once conned Spike into chains that she usually captured him with to fuck him senseless, and performed maliciously similar acts only to inflict pain instead of pleasure. And the amazing thing was, her innovation paid off.
He simply didn’t know if it was what she did, or the way she did it.
The way she regarded him with such cold loathing when she was upset with him.
Not your mate.
That nasty voice had been haunting him for months now; now for no particular reason. Their hundred-year anniversary was just behind them, and he was realizing for the first time that what he wanted was forever out of his reach as long as he continued to expect more from Dru than she was willing to give.
She didn’t love him, and she never pretended otherwise. He’d simply made himself believe that she had to. She had to; else she would have never chosen him.
More than ever, he was realizing that the world he’d been living in was temporary. A gift of time until she discovered eyes that truly flashed of gold and locked him out of her bedroom forever.
And then he would be at the mercy of his family.
He’d be lucky if the only thing they did to him was feed him his own dust.
This town was eating him up.
As though reading his thoughts, Darla linked her fingers through Angelus’s and threw her head back, drawing in a deep, appreciative breath. “You know,” she said as they strode down one of the many glum alleys of a city gone mad with corruption. “I’m beginning to love LA.”
“Told you, babe,” Angelus agreed. “This town? Closest thing you can get to the Hellmouth without actually having to, you know, be there.”
Angelus had a strange aversion to hellmouths. Spike always reckoned it was a symptom of his ego. Hellmouths were demon breeding grounds. Every mischievous sprite within a thousand-mile radius unconsciously sought the warmth of home soil. Ancient mystics suspected that since hellmouths were literally designed to operate as gateways to Hell, the ground above them was the unholiest earth any evil thing could ever want. A playground for all the nasties that literally went bump in the night.
Angelus prided himself in his reputation as being one of the few vampires that gained respect from the hierarchy of Hell’s demons. On the Hellmouth itself, he would have to compete for notoriety. When he walked into a downtown LA bar, all he had to do was flash the fangs, order a drink, and he had everyone under his thumb.
Bloody ridiculous, was what it was.
Their current home was one of the many abandoned buildings that had long been scheduled for demolition but somehow never taken down. It lacked anything Spike would call comfort, but Angelus was confident he could fix it into one of the palaces he and Darla constantly referred to nostalgically.
A place with a view, he said. Darla loved a good view.
There were a few sofas, three beds, a set of chains, and plenty of bums to pick off the streets. It would do for now, but they wouldn’t stay. No matter how much they sodding liked Los Angeles, they wouldn’t stay. They never did. Angelus and Darla grew bored too easily. Not that Spike was known for his patience; he was content with someone to hunt, Drusilla to please, blood to drink. Location hardly mattered. With his elders, though, location was everything.
He was bloody sick of it.
“Here we are,” Angelus drawled as he threw the door open, his hands sliding around his sire once more, palming her breasts. “And not a minute too soon. It stank of daylight out there.”
“Mmm,” Darla cooed favorably. “I’m ready for a nightcap.”
“Breakfast, you mean?”
Spike rolled his eyes and stalked ahead.
Bloody right. We’re the Manson Family, ‘cept we have issues.
The minute he crossed the threshold, he knew she was here. Knew she was downstairs, just as the others had known all along. He couldn’t even bother to collapse in relief. To count his blessings. To praise the all-knowing maker for granting him one more day with his black goddess.
He’d reached his breaking point, and he couldn’t take it anymore.
That wasn’t all. The air hung with the scent of tears and vibrated with the thrill of terror. She’d brought home a snack. Honestly, he couldn’t even be bothered by that right now. Knowing Dru, she’d want to play and bathe in innocent blood, then shag until the sun had fallen again. Not this time.
Not this time.
This time, it would be different. He’d kill the unfortunate and face her anger. Better her anger than this sham of an existence he’d been conned into living for the better part of a century.
No more fooling himself. He couldn’t bear it.
It ended tonight.
“My prince has come home,” Drusilla singsonged the minute he pushed the door to their room open. She was lying across a settee, her body clad in black lace. The sort she knew instinctively drove him out of his nutter.
Okay. So this was going to be harder than he thought.
“The stars spoke to me tonight, my William,” she said, purring in satisfaction. “Whispered little nasties. Told me the circus had come to town, and that the elephants have no tea.”
She ignored the wails of what he now knew was a small child as freely as she might ignore a whining puppy. Pain of the young didn’t bother her—never had. And true, while he was too much of a monster to kill with anything that resembled prejudice, some inner shadow of the man he had once been had never rested well with burying children.
He would kill them; he simply took no pleasure in it.
“Tea-drinkin’ elephants, pet?” Spike sighed and stripped his duster down his arms. “What a bloody pity.”
“Miss Edith told me you were cross.”
“Bit wore out. We din’t know where you were.”
“But that’s the great secret, you see.” Drusilla shrugged her shoulders like an eager teen, her eyes shining with malicious delight. “Would have been in poor taste to tell. Little boys who whisper in the dark can’t picnic with the rest of us. I won’t allow it.”
He sighed again, feeling the beginnings of a headache stirring. “What’d the stars tell you, pet? That it’s February? To vamp Harrison Ford? That pink is the new ‘in’ color?”
A low whine tumbled through her lips, and she pouted at him. “My prince has lost his temper.”
“Jus’ not in the mood tonight, ducks.”
“But I brought you something!” She jumped to her feet, clasping her hands around his, walking him backward toward the sound of the cries. “What the stars told me, you see. What Miss Edith promised. She has come, my darling. The one to change it all. This one called for you.”
He frowned, confused. These mind games were hardly new to Drusilla, but she was playing something different tonight. “Called for me? What are you talking about?”
Her face fell at that, a sharp gasp rupturing through her stomach as though she had just been struck. “No answers,” she moaned. “All questions. No answers. No answers for my sweet tonight.”
“You brought me a child…”
“She was calling for you.”
“Is this like the time that orangutan was callin’ for me? ‘Cause pet, as much fun as that was, ‘m not up for a bleedin’ game of charades tonight.”
“It’s all new. All new. It itches.” She started scratching at her arms at that, as though the thought alone bothered her to submission. “It itches all over. And she waits. Taste her blood. Mummy brought her just for you.”
Best to go ahead with this and get it over with. Spike exhaled deeply and nodded, moving around Drusilla intently. Kill the child, drink her, make his sire happy.
Tomorrow, then. Tomorrow would be the day when things changed.
Doubt clouded his heart. As pleasant as the thought was, his future was a pattern of days like these. Days when he didn’t know if the woman he’d loved since crawling out of his grave would be home to share his bed. If she would admit him to her body, or save herself for the time when Daddy wanted to play. If she would go on the hunt and meet the one she’d thought he was so long ago. Meet the one, and leave him behind in search of sunrise.
He hated how weak she made him.
There were days when he hated pretty much everything about her. Hated her so richly that it was easy to forget she was the one that had taken him from a world he’d loathed and given him the night. Hated her to the point where it was hard to remember why he’d loved her so long in the first place.
He would snap out of it, though. He always did.
Spike huffed out another breath and pushed the door open, the child’s fear washing over him in strong, almost painful waves.
Snap her neck. Taste her. Have it over with.
The girl was small—no more than four or five. She was in her pajamas, her golden hair pulled back in pigtails. Her back was to him, and she was trembling hard.
“I want Mommy,” she wailed. “I wanna go home!”
Spike swallowed and stepped forward. “Where’s home, Pidge?”
The girl gasped at the intrusion but didn’t reply. Instead, she scurried further into the shadows; an ineffective move in the eyes of a vampire, but she couldn’t know that.
“There now,” he said, closing the door behind him gently. “‘S jus’ ole Spike. Nothin’ here to hurt you.”
He’d never felt so uncomfortable telling that lie in the course of his unlife.
The guilt expanded when he felt her relax.
Bloody right. Wouldn’t Mum be proud?
Spike frowned and shook away the thought. What the bleeding hell was wrong with him? The girl was a girl and there were thousands like her. He didn’t have a full-out conscience about these things, and he wasn’t looking to grow one. The kid was food—plain and simple. Best to do it now and get it over with.
“The mean lady won’t let me leave,” the girl said softly, her voice tentative and exploratory.
A wry, bitter grin tugged at his lips. You an’ me both, ducks.
“Tell you what,” he said instead, walking forward slowly. Her back was still to him, disguising the mask of his demon that fell comfortably over his face. “Why don’ we leave together, yeh? I’ll take you home. We’ll make a run for it.”
An impossibly long beat passed at that. Then the girl turned around.
Something slammed into him hard. His lungs gasped for air that he didn’t need, and his body shut down completely.
Not possible. Not bloody possible.
But it was there. God, it was there.
The girl was beautiful, even with tears trekking down her cheeks. Her pajamas were rumpled and there was a worn teddy bear in her arms. She was looking at him with hope. With the beginnings of trust he didn’t deserve. With a thousand things he couldn’t begin to fathom.
And her eyes…god, her eyes.
Spike fell to his knees and his world collapsed.
Her eyes shined with gold.