[livejournal.com profile] 10_shakespeare 2

May. 1st, 2009 12:30 am
a_pretty_fire: (my sweet little spike)
[personal profile] a_pretty_fire
The Road Less Travelled

2. Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Act V, Scene I

“Choose a different path, Drusilla,” murmurs the man in the moon, and she does. She steps along a new fork in the road, then another – the future stretches out before her like a ribbon – and she peeps in at the lives she never got to live.



I

Drusilla usually wasn’t very fond of Halloween. It wasn’t her favourite time of year. Little children didn’t taste right when they were all full of sugar. She preferred them when they were scared snowflakes, ready to melt on her tongue.

Today was special, though. She'd woken up with so many beautiful pictures spinning in her head.

“Oh, Spike,” she said, “It’s her birthday!”

“Who’s birthday, pet? I’m not throwin’ another party for Miss Edith. It took hours to clean up the mess we made last time.”

“You didn’t do any cleaning, Spike,” pointed out Drusilla, moving over to the curtains and tracing the heavy velvet with a palm. The sun was still out. It wasn’t time yet.

“Yeah, but I had to listen to those humans moaning about it.”

“I didn’t like the boy. He tasted like soot.”

“Probably all the bleach on his fingers,” he said with a shrug, “Did you have a vision, pet? Did you have a vision about a birthday?”

“The new Slayer.”

“A new Slayer?” repeated Spike, quirking an eyebrow and taking a drag on his cigarette. She didn’t know if her boy was impressed or not. He’d killed two Slayers in his life time, and that was more than most vampires even dreamed of, but he still didn’t like to hear that another one had slipped through his grasp. Silly, really. Anyone would think that he didn’t have centuries to add to his total. Maybe it was like the contests he’d had with Daddy, when they’d both refused to admit that they were playing a game? Grandmummy had laughed at them, so Drusilla had laughed as well, even if she’d have preferred to watch instead. You always listened to your elders and betters.

"She has pompoms.”

“Great. But what city is she in? Is she close?”

“Close enough for us to catch her,” Drusilla murmured, “If you want her. I can smell her already. You and her. You’re tied together.”

Spike grinned.

“Bloody brilliant. I’ve been waiting for a chance to bring my total up to three.”

Although Drusilla wasn’t entirely sure that was what she’d seen, her dear boy was so excited. She didn’t have the heart to break his.

The next evening they headed to LA.

II

“There’s some sort of big to do happening in Sunnydale, you know, love,” said Spike, stretching out on the bed and watching Drusilla as she twirled in front of the mirror. She couldn’t see a thing in the glass, but he could admire her figure as she smoothed down the silk of her new dress so he’d didn’t bother to point it out. She’d probably have some smart answer – involving imps and all that – even if he did. She was cleverer than she looked, his girl.

(Maybe she could see something. You could never tell with Drusilla. She had that look in her eyes again. She was focused, yes, but she was focused on something that Spike wouldn’t be able to see without spending the next one hundred years in quiet contemplation.)

“A party?”

“With streamers and everything. This bloke I was talking to said that Master is getting ready to climb out of the Hellmouth.”

“I know. I saw him with grandmother, building children out of bones.”

“And you didn’t mention it?”

“I didn’t think you’d want to play.”

“It’s the end of the world, pet,” he said, as Drusilla picked up a hat and placed it carefully on her head. “Of course I want to play.”

“You just want to kill the new Slayer,” she murmured, her lips curling into a mischievous grin as she turned to face him.

“Somebody has to do it,” Spike laughed, “And it doesn’t sound like Darla’s been having much luck.”

“I do like it when you kill Slayers,” she mused, starting to drift towards the bed. She stopped before she reached the mattress, turning sharply to stare at the mirror.

“What is it, love?” asked Spike, levering himself up on his elbows to watch her with concern.

“I … I thought I saw someone in the glass.”

“A vision?”

Drusilla stared at her nonexistent reflection for a moment longer, before sitting next to Spike on the mattress.

“Not now. The pixies don’t want to talk to me tonight.”

“And tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow we’ll go to Sunnydale. Maybe they’ll find their tongues again later.”

“Forget about their tongues, Dru,” he said with a grin, hooking an arm around her waist, “Don’t you want to see what I can do with mine?”

III

“What’s wrong, sweet William?”

Spike burst into the room like a whirlwind in black leather, and his storm clouds chased after him. They’d skipped inside before the door slammed shut, and Drusilla sighed. They were sure to spoil the evening, and she’d had such nice games planned for them both.

“The bloody White Hats,” he growled, sitting down on the bed, “They’re really starting to get on my nerves.”

Drusilla crawled up behind him, wrapping her arms around his neck and resting her chin on his shoulder. His cheek was cold, but she knew it as well as she knew every other part of him. She could read the future in the curve of his jaw and tell the time in his kisses.

“The Master isn’t worried,” she soothed, “He’s going to drain all the humans in the city, and the streets are going to run red just for us.”

“Did Willow tell you that?”

“Our baby girl,” Drusilla said happily, “She’s such a vicious thing. She gets that from you.”

“Nah, she’s more like you, love,” he said, tilting his head to give her a quick kiss, “The way she tortures Angel. Bloody genius. She’s been learning from the best.”

“It’s so nice to have a proper family again.”

“With Darla gone? Yeah. She’d have loved this.”

“Maybe Daddy will join us one day?”

“I wouldn’t bet on it. He’s got a soul to keep him in check these days. He couldn’t care less about his family.”

Drusilla wrinkled her nose, and Spike planted a soft kiss on the tip of it to try and smooth the frown from her features. The storm clouds were drawing closer to her now, but her beautiful boy always knew how to get rid of them.

“Besides,” he continued, pulling her into his lap, “I like being the patriarch. You an’ me, an’ Willow and Xander. We’re one big happy family.”

“Four’s just the right number,” she agreed, “Sometimes I dream of a Slayer and a sunny smile that spoils all our fun, but the balance keeps things right. We’re balanced, and she won’t be able to touch us.”

“Damn right, love. No Slayer is gonna spoil this for us. Sunnydale is ours. The rest of the world will follow soon.”

“Do you think the Master will let us have Italy?”

Spike smiled like a shark and Drusilla shivered happily.

“I’ll see what he says, pet.”

IV

LA was a good city for the undead. It might have Angel in residency, but it didn’t have the Slayer, and, if it was a toss up between one and the other, Spike would go for the nancy boy any night of the week.

He was currently sitting in a cellar in Silver Lake, playing cards with a handful of other likeminded demon types. He had a pretty good hand, too. At this rate he was going to have more kittens than he could cope with. The player sitting opposite him even rubbed a scale absently, frowning at his own cards. That could only be a good sign, but, before Spike could raise the proverbial stakes, a rather crusty Ano-Movic demon shuffled into the room and interupted.

“Spike, there’s a girl outside. She wants to talk to you.”

“A girl?” The vampire, who’d been reaching for the pack of cigarettes in his jacket with his free hand, paused and looked up in surprise. Girls fawned over him all the time, it was true, but they didn’t make a habit of following him to seedy demon poker dens.

“Yeah,” said the demon with a nod, scratching a crimson cheek, “Vamp, by the looks of her.”

“Bollocks,” said Spike, getting to his feet and abandoning his cards with very little good grace. If Harmony had followed him to LA, he really was going to stake her. He was his own vampire, trying to enjoy his own unlife, and he couldn’t be dealing with this bloody nonsense …

“Hello, my Spike.”

Dru?”

His sire was standing in the shadows of the hallway in her favourite white dress, her bare feet leaving prints in the dust. She looked younger, somehow, even though she was at least a couple of decades older than he was. (He’d never asked her exact date of birth, what with her being a lady and all.) If she’d had any colour in her cheeks in the first place, it would probably have drained away.

“What are you doing here?”

He couldn’t forget how they’d parted all those months ago, after several unhappy arguments and a final painful shouting match on a South American beach. She’d swanned off into the night with that wanker of a chaos demon. She’d even said that he wasn’t enough of a demon for her. Him! William the Bloody. You couldn’t get more demonic than him.

She didn’t expect him to overlook all that, did she? How stupid did she think he was?

“The nasty tin soldiers caught me before Miss Edith and I could take the boat to France,” she answered in a mournful voice, “They stuck their wires in my brain. My snap’s gone. My bite. I can’t hunt. We’re so hungry, and we’re so lost. I need you, my Spike. My darling boy. Please?”

She held out a hand, gazing at him unblinkingly with huge black eyes. Spike – all righteous anger and spurned love – opened his most to tell her to get lost …

… then closed it again.

“All right, love,” he said with a sigh, taking her hand between his own, “We’ll sort this out. I’ll teach those tin soldiers to mess with my girl.”

Not that he actually understood what they'd done at the moment. She was talking in riddles again.

“Your girl,” Drusilla whispered, stepping forward and pressing her lips to his cheek.

“For eternity, pet. For eternity.”

V

“You can’t tell me there isn’t anything there between you and me,” growled Spike, bringing his face closer to Buffy’s, “I know you feel something.”

“It’s called revulsion,” the Slayer retorted, as Drusilla, who was tied up opposite her, pulled against her bonds. She didn’t much like this game. She couldn’t tell what way the wind was going to blow, but it tasted terribly sour against her cheeks. “And whatever you think you’re feeling, it’s not love. You can’t love without a soul.”

“Oh, we can, you know,” Dru murmured, tilting her head to the side and staring at the Slayer, “We can love quite well, if not wisely.”

Spike – such a rude little boy, but still her rude little boy, whether he knew it or not – ignored her.

“The only chance you ever had with me,” Buffy continued viciously, “Was when I was unconscious.”

The venom in her voice would have made even Grandmummy Darla proud. Perhaps that was why Daddy had loved her so? A wicked thing, masquerading as something pure and bright. At least Drusilla knew what she was. The Slayer liked to play pretend, liked to trick the world around her. What a waste.

Apparently Spike noticed the venom as well. His eyes darkened – Drusilla strained against her ropes, wriggling with excitement as the wind changed direction again – and, before anyone else could speak again, he moved his hands sharply forward.

Snap. Crack. The light in the shining Slayer was switched off, and the cellar went dark. Buffy Summers – the Chosen One, the only person the Slayer of Slayers, the great Spike, hadn’t been able to touch – stared lifelessly up at the ceiling of the crypt. Drusilla liked to think that she looked a little bit surprised.

Spike was surprised too, staring at his hands as if he couldn’t believe what he’d done. She’d really climbed under his skin, the Slayer. It was going to take Drusilla a long time to peel her away, but she’d managed it. The pixies, with their poisonous little whispers, had fallen silent at last. There was nobody to cover him now, except her, and she’d been there all along.

“Aren’t you going to untie me?” she asked. Robotically, his eyes still fixed on the still form on the floor, Spike did so. Smiling, Dru rubbed her wrists and turned to her darling deadly boy, but the smile died on her lips at the expression on his face.

The Slayer dust on his skin was already blowing away on the breeze, but Drusilla frowned slightly. Maybe it wouldn’t be as easy to fix him as the stars had said.

She closes her eyes, and, when she opens again, the will o’ the wisps are gone. It’s just the moon, watching her, trying to read her. He won’t find any of his words on her pages.

“I think I like my path better,” Drusilla replied, “It might be messy, with pixies snapping at my heels and a shining Slayer to steal my boys away, but at least it’s mine. I’m a big girl. I’m not frightened of the trail the stars have written out for me.”

The moon laughs, but Drusilla knows that she’s said the right thing. She walks forward, Miss Edith tucked under her arm and a smile on her face, and she doesn’t look back.

Date: 2009-04-30 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] humanmapquest.livejournal.com
That was beautiful!

Date: 2009-04-30 11:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] humanmapquest.livejournal.com
The way you are with words is just -- guh. So jealous :D

Date: 2009-05-01 09:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-pretty-fire.livejournal.com
*blushes* Wow.

I have nothing coherent to say to that. I'll just blush a bit more.

Date: 2009-05-01 12:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyairy.livejournal.com
Guh, I don't even know where to start. Gorgeous prose, wonderful characterization- I'm definitely going to be reading this more than once!

This line: She could read the future in the curve of his jaw, and tell the time in his kisses. in particular struck me as just so very Dru. xD

Date: 2009-05-01 09:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-pretty-fire.livejournal.com
Wow, thank you very much! I'm really glad you liked it, and I'm especially glad that you thought the characterization was good, given that I was writing them in such new situations.

Date: 2009-05-01 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rebcake.livejournal.com
Dru's ability to see the strands of the future is such an intriguing aspect of her nature. I sometimes wonder if it is this, and not Angelus' torture that has made her mind so, um, unique. The possibilities posed here are uniformly fascinating, and make me ponder how Dru chooses which is, indeed, her path. I find the thought of her chipped especially tragic, even if it does mean her knight overlooks her past transgressions. Great stuff, as always, beautifully rendered.

Date: 2009-05-01 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-pretty-fire.livejournal.com
I've always thought that it was probably a combination of the two. Judging by what we see in the church, before Angelus has sired her, she's never been exactly stable. He was just all too happy to push her over the edge.

I also think that she'd change things if she could. After all, she saw Spike's feelings for Buffy before he did and I can't imagine her letting it go unless she had to. Maybe the pixies told her not to interfere, or something like that? It must be hard for anyone with her abilities to choose their path.

Thank you!

Date: 2009-05-01 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hello-spikey.livejournal.com
oh lovely! What a great, and complex series - each little could-have-been gently explored and thoroughly realized.

*clap clap claps*

Date: 2009-05-01 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-pretty-fire.livejournal.com
I'm very glad you thought so. I really wanted to show little snippets of possible lives, but it can be hard to get the balance right. I was worried about putting too much (or, indeed, not enough).

Date: 2009-05-02 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sororitysarah.livejournal.com
Great story! I love the idea!

Date: 2009-05-02 02:20 pm (UTC)

Le squee!

Date: 2009-06-05 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] duh-i-read.livejournal.com
Woah.

This story is fantastic. I love the way it's framed (the very end made me melt) and parts four and five are my favorite.

Four because I've always wondered what would have happend if the Initiative would have gotten a hold of Dru, and five because, frankly, I get sick pleasure out of Spike choosing Dru over Buffy. Even though I know it would never be the same between them.

Long comment short, I am in awe.

Date: 2009-06-06 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-pretty-fire.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! I think four might be my favourite, too. It's actually the second time I've written chipped Drusilla, although the last time it involved Dru and Buffy rather than Dru and Spike. It's a really intriguing.

Hehe, likewise. It doesn't have to be the same, but at least it'd still be them, right? XD

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