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Blood Is Thicker

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A small boy with mussed black hair lay on a lumpy cot in the cupboard under his aunt and uncle's stairs. This boy's name was Harry Potter, and today was his sixth birthday, not that his family had much cared to acknowledge it; his only presents had been a pair of Dudley's old socks, and an extra glass of water while he tended Aunt Petunia's garden.

 

With a sigh, Harry rolled over, squinting at the spiders he shared his space with somewhat dejectedly. He hadn't even been allowed to wear his new glasses today; his aunt and uncle made sure he only wore them to school, since that was what they'd got them for in the first place, after the nurse had insisted he needed them to read his letters properly. Besides, they said, he'd only break them again anyway. Harry didn't dare point out that his last pair had only been so badly broken because their awful son had beat the tar out of him, not after the first time he'd done so had resulted in the entire long weekend in his cupboard, without food OR his glasses, and only one pee break a day.

 

Closing his eyes, Harry decided it was time to make his Birthday Wish before forcing himself to sleep in the stuffy little space. He only allowed himself the one, because he didn't want to seem too greedy, and also because if he only asked for the one thing he secretly hoped it would have a greater chance of coming true. He considered what to use it for, this year; as far as he could remember—his last two birthdays, at least—he'd asked for the same thing: for his aunt and uncle to decide that they loved him. He'd made sure to ask for the same thing every Christmas, as well, but year after year he found himself disappointed. The little boy came to the conclusion that that wish was, most probably, not about to be granted any time soon. He only gave himself two wishes a year, and he wasn't about to waste one again.

 

'Please,' Harry prayed, eyes screwed tight shut in concentration, 'please, I... they say no one can love me, that I'm a freak, but... But that can't be totally true! I... I don't want to be here anymore! Please, send someone—anyone!—to take me away from here. I want a family who loves me; that's my wish....'

 

Keeping his eyes tight shut and concentrating on his new wish, the six-year-old quietly hummed himself to sleep. The tune of Happy Birthday filled the small space as salty tears dried on his cheeks, until eventually he drifted off.


 

It was a normal, peaceful summer night in Little Whinging, Surrey. Entirely too normal and peaceful, if you asked Spike; it was downright boring! Why his Dark Princess had insisted on swinging through here, she wouldn't say.

 

"You'll see," she'd sing-songed when he'd asked. "There's something special waiting there, but shhhh! It's a surprise!" Her human teeth had clacked together promisingly at the end, earning a grin back from him.

 

Drusilla really had gotten much better in the decades they'd split from Angelus and Darla. She still got visions, of course, could still see things no one else could, but she seemed... happier, overall. 'Still 'round the bend, though,' Spike thought fondly, watching her skip along the sidewalk next to him.

 

Dru came to a sudden stop, staring across the road at one of the houses. It had a single light on downstairs, illuminating the window through the curtain, where as all of the other houses on this end of the road—Privett Drive, Spike recalled—were completely dark already.

 

"This one," she told him certainly.

 

"After you, love," he replied, gesturing gallantly. Dru gave him a delighted smile, batting her eyes at him before moving over the pavement. The light on the front step illuminated her pale skin and cast a yellowish tinge over her dress as she prepared to knock at the door. Spike moved into position in the shadows. It was show time.

 

Getting in was laughably easy. Dru spun some sob story to the boney woman who answered the door, about how she and her husband were on a road trip with the baby and their car had broken down, and might she borrow their telephone to ring a repairman? After thinking a moment the bint had given a nice, open invitation—"Come right in."—that allowed Spike to move through the door on Dru's heels, game faces coming out to play.

 

The blonde woman had screamed, which brought her burly walrus of a husband barging in from the other room demanding to know what was going on, before he'd taken a look at their faces himself and somehow gone purple and pale all at once. The man picked up what seemed to be a very heavy torch from a nearby table and came at them, bellowing curses and impotent threats, intending to use it as some kind of weapon. Spike disarmed him in seconds, breaking his wrist in the process because why the fuck not? and turning his cries to pain and fear rather than rage.

 

"Vernon!" the woman had cried, before whimpering pathetically as she realized that Dru had backed her into a corner. Her pretty, full lips were parted in a manic grin, revealing every one of her sharp fangs. "P-please," the blonde stammered, "What do you want?"

 

"A fine question," Spike commented, not taking his eyes off the walrus man. The bone of his wrist had snapped so it was protruding through the skin; blood poured from the wound, dripping onto the carpet despite the man's attempts at using his other hand's fat fingers as a tourniquet. Not the best smelling blood he'd ever come across, but who was he to be picky when his Princess was having her fun? "What say you, ducks?"

 

Drusilla's grin had widened, head tilting to the side in a way that invoked innocence. "We want you to scream," she'd said simply.

 

And scream they had. After a few moments, a blond beach ball in flannel pajamas had appeared at the top of the stairs, and that had really started the begging—turned out the beach ball was their son. Dru had taken care of him, calling him down the stairs with her thrall. The woman had pleaded with her, take her, do anything to her, just let her Duddydumkins go free. Spike had wondered to himself what the hell kind of name Duddydumkins was, and decided it was probably a mercy to the kid as Dru slit his throat and drank him dry to the sounds of his parents' sobs.

 

They'd tortured the adults another hour or so, but eventually that grew tiresome; the woman had broken almost immediately once her son was good and dead, and the man's rage was, to Spike's mind, so all over the place it was nearly annoying. His cursing of the vampires was interspersed with gasps of "this is his doing, isn't it?!" and "damn you, boy!" Spike found himself wondering if his son's death had tipped the man off his rocker, before concluding he really did not give a flying fuck and continuing with the evening's events. Dru drank down the woman's blood first, as she'd stopped being responsive some time ago and thus had grown boring, then split what was left in the walrus's veins with her Childe. Both agreed it wasn't very good.

 

Spike wandered into the back area of the house, in search of the kitchen and the booze that hopefully lurked there to wash the taste out, when the scent of fresh fear caught his nose. Zeroing in on it, he found the source to be, strangely, a locked cupboard beneath the stairs. "Dru," he beckoned. The vampire waited until he sensed his lover rounding the corner from the living room, where she'd been messing with the telly, before breaking off the lock and swinging open the door.

 

"Well, well," he drawled. "What have we here?"

 

A scrawny little boy in oversized clothes lay on a cot, clinging to the threadbare sheet tight enough his knuckles had gone white. A pair of the greenest eyes Spike had ever seen stared up at his demonic visage in pure terror as he pressed himself further into the lumpy mattress, clearly trying to make himself as unremarkable as possible. The vampire reached for the kid, intending to pull him out of there for an after-dinner snack, but yanked his hand back when it came into contact with a strange, dome-like barrier.

 

"What the hell?" he muttered. The boy seemed just as shocked, but no less terrified than before, probably wondering the same thing Spike was: if it was just a fluke. Trying again, he found that it was, in fact, not.

 

Behind him, Dru bounced up and down, clapping her hands gleefully. "You found the surprise!"


 

 

"Dru," the bleached-blond vampire cajoled, "darling, why?"

 

His Princess wanted to keep the little human brat. Spike's brain flipped through all of the pet songbirds he'd gotten her over the century they'd been together, how she never thought to feed them until eventually they expired of hunger and loneliness, and probably dehydration too, in most cases. Every time, she grew upset, but she was consoled as soon as he took her in his arms and promised her another one. If the brat died once she got attached, there'd be no living with her for quite a while, he suspected; magical children were not nearly as easily come by as canaries.

 

"He has power in him," she responded, giving a fond look to the kid still shaking a bit in the closet. They'd been having this conversation for going on five minutes, and the boy clearly didn't know what to make of it. "He'll be more so, as he grows up. Crown Imperials planted among the honeysuckle and dittany."

 

Dammit. She was attached already. A resigned sigh left Spike's lips, fingers twitching toward the box of fags in his duster pocket. "If you're set on it, then. Get him out of there, and we'll head out."

 

Drusilla pressed her body flush to his, strong arms wrapping around leather-clad shoulders as her mouth found his in a passionate kiss. Oh yes, this, this was worth it. Even if the younger vampire knew he'd end up the one taking care of the magic brat, his love's unbridled joy in this moment meant he'd do it a thousand times over. Spike returned her embrace, dragging one hand up the curve of her spine to twist into her silky, dark hair. She pulled away a moment later, dropping a playful kiss on the tip of his nose before turning back to the child on the cot.

 

Dru kneeled down, her pretty velvet dress contrasting with the ugly, rough carpet on the floor. Her head tilted to the side, making perfect eye contact with terrified green orbs.

 

"Hello, sweeting," she crooned softly. Her middle and index fingers rose, black nail polish catching the light as she directed his attention. "Look at me now. Be in my eyes... There's a good little boy." Drusilla swayed her body one way, then the other, grinning when the kid moved along with her, fully in her thrall. "No need for that barrier, now. Out of there— come to Mummy."

 

As the kid stumbled off the cot and fell to his knees in front of Dru, eyes still in dazed contact with hers, Spike felt a jolt go up his spine at her words. 'Hell in a basket, she's more stuck on the brat than I thought.'

 

Dru's hand reached out, using her extended fingers to gently close the boy's eyelids. "You rest now. We'll be someplace nice when you wake up." Just like that, the brat was out. She caught him as he slumped forward, arranging him so his thin frame was cradled against her chest as she stood without waiting for Spike's help, though he did get the door for her on the way out. Neither of them spared a single thought to whatever unfortunate human would eventually find the remains of the Dursleys in the house at No. 4, Privett Drive.


 The crypt they'd chosen to spend the next day in was about an hour out, and the kid stayed blissfully unconscious the entire ride. The pit of Spike's stomach felt like he'd swallowed rocks, rather than just distasteful blood, and it increased every time his Princess would turn around in her seat to brush the brat's hair out of his sleeping face and coo about the magical power he possessed. If he were honest, the feeling might have been jealousy, but he was William the Bloody, and the Slayer of Slayers did not get jealous over attention given to scrawny brats.

At least, that's what he told himself as Dru dropped the kid onto their bed and set about tucking him in all nice and cozy.

 

"Dru, darling," he started.

 

"Mmm?"

 

"Shouldn't the kid have... you know... a separate bed? Away from ours?" Far and away from them and any mood killing he might be able to do when Spike and his love got frisky, to be specific.

 

"Hm, no." She could have at least pretended to think about it, Spike thought. "He's just a baby now; he'll spook and run if we don't keep him swaddled."

 

The younger vampire sighed. Dru would be in a terrible mood if that happened, and he just knew he'd be the one to have to fix it. Not that he'd complain (much), anything for her, but it really was just more trouble than he wanted to go to in the first place. "Alright, love, you've got a point there."

 

"Just one?" she pouted, demonic visage coming back to the fore.

 

A warm chuckle filled the crypt, the blond settling next to her and pulling her into his arms. "Many, many points, each more lethal than the last," he said, kissing her tenderly.

 

When she pulled away her face was human again, and she tucked herself into him sweetly, inhaling his scent. "My Spike," she hummed.

 

"Eyeballs to entrails," he confirmed.