Drusilla danced with Spike at the Bronze like they had in days past. The blood at the corner of his mouth added to him being a seductive treat of the senses. Power, tired but enormous, shivered up her spine. "It tastes like all the red berries. Strawberry, raspberry, cherry, like a cordrail on the tip of my tongue. Follow me, my Spike. I've been waiting for just the right time for time play."
"I'd follow you anywhere, pet." Spike followed her gaze to Willow and frowned. He didn't want to hurt Buffy like that.
His hesitation brought Drusilla's gaze to him. "This will be perfect. I'll be sending her to me innocent and needy."
Spike nodded as he let Dru guide him to Willow. The girl saw Dru and Spike, and she squeaked as her nose began to bleed. Frozen in her fear, she hoped that the crowd in the Bronze would keep them from killing her. She didn't even know why she was at the Bronze. She'd left Buffy's to get the book to uninvite Spike from her house, she remembered nothing after stepping off Buffy's porch, not till now. "How'd I get here?"
"I sent for you, deary." The corner of Drusilla's mouth curled up. "And I will send you to me. For you to watch over me. Take care of me when I couldn't take care of myself. You'll be young and strong forever and ever."
Not able to let this go on another second, Spike tried to pull Dru away from Willow, but she shrugged him off and touched Willow's lips with her own. Willow disappeared.
Willow gasped as she opened her eyes with the taste of Drusilla still on her lips, in Victorian smelly London. She stood in the center of a small square, and the first person she saw was Drusilla, looking human with two young women. Drusilla looked over her shoulder and Willow followed her eye line to see Angelus and Darla watching her. "Not good. None of this is good."
She looked down at herself as she absently followed Drusilla and her family. Willow was wearing a heavy black dress and jacket, with a white shirt underneath and carrying a small satchel. Her breath was restricted from a corset and her hair was pulled back so tight it hurt the sides of her face, which meant it was longer, since when she left twenty-first century there would have been no way to pull her short hair back.
Drusilla and her family lived in an apartment it seemed, and when they went inside Willow followed, leaving Darla and Angelus outside. Before Drusilla disappeared into her flat, she caught sight of Willow. "Rose, darling? Did you need something?"
"I got turned around." Willow blushed and didn't understand why the name Rose felt like it belonged to her.
"Everything looks alike in this old building. You're the next one down."
Willow ducked her head and said thank you. In her satchel was a key and it fit the door, but before entering her own flat, she turned to Dru. "Sylvia, darling, you simply must come and have tea with me tomorrow."
"I'll be sure to be there." Drusilla smiled.
With a smile back, Willow nodded. "I look forward to it." She walked into her apartment and found it not much warmer than it had been outside. The place was sparsely furnished, but the furniture looked well worn and comfortable. First order of business was to divest herself of the twenty pounds of clothing starting with the wholly uncomfortable shoes, followed by the rest of the uncomfortable everything she was wearing.
She found her fingers working the buttons and laces with a practiced ease. How did Dru send her here? How did she have a place to stay? Belongings? Longer hair? And why wasn't she immediately looking for a way to get home?
After wrapping a quilt around her shoulders, she stoked a fire in the wood burner, and then relaxed in the rocking chair sitting in front of it. And that's where she woke up the next morning, fire died out and a crick in her neck.
As if it were routine, she wound the clock on the corner shelves, and stoked the fire up again. She put a pot of water on to boil and found milk in a glass jar in front of her door. She made portage and drank the milk, still dazed from sleep. Had it been a dream? Couldn't be. The magic Dru cast on her still thrummed in her veins.
That Dru thought she needed protecting intrigued Willow. What if she could stop Angelus from turning Dru? The butterfly effect that would have, would it be good or bad? How could it be bad? There'd be at least two fewer vampires in the world. That had to be a good thing, right? To save Dru, she'd need to keep her close. Tea was the first step. Willow needed to integrate herself into Drusilla's life, and she wasn't sure how to do that. Honestly, Willow knew little about Drusilla.
In the meantime, perhaps she'd nudge along a few scientific advancements to ease her likely long stay in the past.
When Drusilla showed up for tea, she looked as though her nerves were fried just under the surface.
"Sylvia? Sit. Tell me what's wrong." Willow watched Drusilla sit at the small table. "You know you can tell me absolutely anything."
Drusilla burst into tears. "You're the only one I can talk to, Rose. About the visions. Mother says they're an affront to the Lord. That only he's supposed to see things before they happen."
"Then why would He give you the visions in the first place? I think he sends you to put things right that he can't because of free will. It's his way of helping. And you, my dear, are his hands." Willow busied herself pouring tea just the way Drusilla liked it, two sugars and a good helping of cream.
"Mother says I shouldn't listen to your heresy. They say you're a witch, and you seduce innocent young girls away from their suitors and husbands."
"They also say I killed my husband." Willow poured her own tea. "Your mother doesn't know you're here does she?"
"Oh, heaven help me, no. I could never share with her what we have. It would confirm her deepest fears." Drusilla took the teacup in shaking hands and sipped.
"I won't tell if you won't." Willow warmed her fingers wrapping them around her cup. "So, what did God tell you this time? Why are you so upset?"
"I saw darkness in the form of a man. He was in the square last night, and his stare chilled me. The message had been building ever since that he is evil and that he will steal my world. Steal everything important to me. Oh, Rose, what should I do? No crime has been committed. The peelers will do nothing."
"I will always take care of you, Sylvia. You know that, don't you?" Willow laid her hand on Dru's arm.
"I know. But he's threatening you too. And I want to take care of you as well."
"Don't worry about me. I've gone against Gods from the depths of Hell itself and live to tell. There's nothing this man, if that is what he is at all, can do to me that's of any consequence." Willow had a gut feeling that she wouldn't be able to spare her charge all the pain in store for her, but she would be thrice damned if she let Angelus take Drusilla's mind. Willow pushed a small leather pouch toward Dru. "Add a pinch of this to the tea of all those you hold dear. It's a blessing from the heavens to shield them from evil."
Drusilla crossed herself and slipped the pouch into her purse. "Thank you, Rose."
Willow roundhoused the vampire and smoothly transitioned into staking it. "I've still got it."
Jesse gasped disbelieving what he saw. "Willow? What just happened?"
"Oh, yeah, sorry. I should have told you years ago. Vampires are real, a lot of them live in Sunnydale. The PCP gangs that attack with barbeque forks, aren't PCP gangs and they use fangs not forks." Willow helped Jesse off the ground.
"How'd you learn how to fight like that?"
"That, Jesse, is a much longer and much more private story. Sorry."
"But you're not even fourteen. And you're a girl. And since when were vampires real?"
"Breathe, Jesse." Willow pat him on the chest. "Just so you know, if you ever say anything that misogynistic again, I'll kick your ass."
"Got it." Jesse scratched behind his ear. "Can you teach me some stuff? I mean if vampires are real and they're all around us, shouldn't you teach me how to protect myself?"
"Jesse, you failed gym. I can't make you something you aren't." Willow picked up her backpack and slung it over her shoulder. "Don't go anywhere alone after dark. And if you can get some muscle tone and learn some discipline, I'll teach you a few things."
"Rose, you have to do better than that if you want to stake a vampire without magic," Angelus taunted. "I'm not going to save you and neither will Darla. Dru might, but what if you're outnumbered? Think! Feel the momentum, let it flow through you and for God's sake learn to follow through with your attacks!"
Blood dripped down from Willow's scalp and from the corner of her mouth. When he turned to continuing scorning her to the other two women, Willow kicked him in back of the knee. Once he was down, she hit him as hard as she could with the hilt of her sword. He collapsed unconscious. "Imbecile."
Darla smiled as she sipped her tea, and Drusilla clapped and laughed. "Daddy taught you well!"
"And the idiot forgets the things he's taught me." Willow picked up a napkin and wiped the blood and sweat off her face. "Tell me that's the tea from Harold's."
"Of course." Darla set her cup down and poured Willow a cup.
Drusilla dabbed the cut on Willow's temple that was still seeping. "Looks like it hurts."
Willow shrugged. "Head wounds bleed. I barely noticed it."
"You'd need a railroad spike drilled through your head to notice it," Drusilla said. "I want one."
"You'll get a Spike one day, Dru, but for now can we not talk about it? I'd rather not think about him." Willow drank some tea.
Darla studied the two other women. "One day the two of you must explain your cryptic conversations. I don't like not knowing what's going on around me."
Drusilla smiled sweetly and then bit down on the neck of the unconscious woman in her lap. Willow winced inside but kept her face blank. She'd always love and protect Dru, but she wasn't the biggest fan of vampires. With a couple gulps, Willow finished her tea. "I'm going to take a bath."
"You taste like honey. Can I join you?" Drusilla asked.
"When have I ever said no to you? Either of you?"
"Well, there was that time I was feeling like veal…" Darla lifted an eyebrow.
"Not that you listened. But I was talking about something more salacious."
"Invitation accepted." Darla stood up, her dressing gown flowing around her curves, enticing the other two women.
"Are we going to leave Angelus there then?" Drusilla asked as she stood up.
"If we think of it, we'll get him inside before dawn."
Arms around waists, the three women went inside.
Willow and Drusilla were hiding in a church. "He'll never give up. Not even God can stop him."
"Angelus is nefarious. But you have to remain strong for me, Sylvia. We were delivered to a house of God. Holy water and crosses can hurt him. But if we're smart we won't need to even go that far." Willow looked over her shoulder into the gloom of the empty church. Gaslights from the street filtering through the stained glass, the only light. "We can't light any candles, but we can hide. The bell tower or the coal cellar would be best."
"The bell tower," Drusilla whispered.
"He'll know you wanted that, so you go to the coal cellar, and I'll take the bell tower. He'll find me but not you. Bury yourself in the coal, leaving just enough space to breathe. It'll confuse his senses. Go."
Drusilla turned and then back again. She hesitated and kissed Willow on the lips. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have."
Willow grabbed Drusilla by the shoulders and kissed her deeply. "Yes, you should have. Now, go."
The stairs down to the cellar were pitch, and Drusilla worried about tripping but the craftsmanship of the stairs was impeccable. She made it down and felt her way into the coal bin. She did as Willow asked, all with the taste of honey on her lips.
In the bell tower, Angelus cornered Willow. "It's Rose, right?"
She didn't reply.
He drifted his fingers over her cheek. "Petal soft skin like a rose. Is the rose between your legs just as soft?"
She met his eyes. "If you're going to throw me off the roof, go ahead. If you're going to drain me, get it over with. Don't be tiresome with double entendres about my name."
"Given that you're my Drusilla's beloved, I'll not be taking that kind of mercy on you." Angelus wrapped his fingers around Willow's throat enough to keep her in place but not cutting off her air. She didn't even flinch. "Where is my Dru? I'd like her to watch."
"She's far enough away that you'll never find her before dawn sends you back to the shadows."
Angelus pressed his lips against hers and when she let out a small gasp he shoved his meaty tongue into her mouth. Willow promptly bit down as hard as she could. He howled in pain but didn't let her go. His spit was all blood, and it smeared across his face. "You'll live to regret that."
He began to choke her. She coughed and sputtered until her vision narrowed to nothing.
When Drusilla heard the bells chime in that familiar tune for the second time, she dug herself out of the bin and snuck out the side door without being seen. Rose always said if they got split up to meet back at her flat, so Drusilla headed there. But when she got there, it was cold and empty.
"Rose always says that she can handle what Angelus does to people. That he had no sway over her life. So I'll not worry. I'll not worry." Drusilla busied herself by starting a fire and cleaning up the dishes left over from supper. "She will be here. I just need to wait."
It'd been slow on the demon and vampire front for Willow. The summer heat made them scarce. She spent the night at Xander's for an entire week. Her parents were out of town for the next month and a half. They wouldn't notice the difference. Xander's parents were too drunk to care.
Xander and Jesse decided tonight would be a good night for a camp-out. They were roasting marshmallows for s'mores, while the two boys chattered about comic books. Cats screamed as she searched for a star.
"Will? Earth to Will?" Xander waved a hand in front of her face.
She shook the daze off. "Sorry."
"We were wondering why you always, no matter how hot it gets, wear pants and a long sleeves."
"Spill, Will," Jesse said with a smile. "You look like you belong in an after school special."
"You caught me. I'm in an abusive relationship with Bobby the star quarterback."
"Isn't Larry the quarterback?" Jesse asked before the lights went on behind his eyes. "Ah, I get it."
"How can we tell if you're hot under all those clothes?" Xander asked.
"You better mean my temperature."
Xander's laugh was filled with guilt but then he pressed on. "And that's another thing. We can't ask you anything about yourself. All we get are evasive answers. You disappear every weekend and sometimes weeks at a time in the summer. Where do you go? How come nothing ever surprises you? It's like you know what's going to happen before it actually happens. We don't even know why you hang out with us. You never talk. All you do is listen, smile wistfully and help us pass our classes."
"You wouldn't understand." Willow sighed as her marshmallow melted off the end of her stick.
"How do you know we wouldn't understand?" Jesse asked. "You never tried to tell us anything."
"I'm a hundred and fifty six. I hang out with you because I missed you both for over a century. I don't tell you anything because trust me when I say, you don't want to know. And I wear long sleeves and pants because my body is covered with scars. He spared my face though."
They stared at her for a minute, breaking the silence at the same time. Jesse asked, "He who?" While Xander said, "You don't need to lie."
With a stony expression, Willow rolled up her sleeves, and said, "Angelus."
The smooth skin of the scars almost reflected the firelight, and Xander choked at the sight. "Oh my God. What happened to you?"
"Angelus back in 1860, though a couple are from Spike about thirty years later." Willow watched as Jesse couldn't look and Xander couldn't do anything else. "I can tell you every detail if you want."
"But we've known you since you were five. There's no way you're over a century old."
"I was born with the scars and memories from when I was Rose. I have Rose's ability to heal and regenerate as well." She whispered something under her breath and the glamour she held on her hands disappeared. Every digit had a ring around it, some of them indented and others raised. "If you don't believe me, I can always chop a finger off and show you."
Xander gagged. "No, thank you."
"Would you rather I pop out an eye? Haven't done that one in forever. It'd be fun. A week without depth perception."
Jesse attempted to face Willow, but failed. "I believe you."
"Thank you, Jesse." She reapplied the glamour and rolled her sleeves down.
Darla let out a put upon sigh. "You've been at this for months. When is it going to be enough for you?"
Angelus huffed. "There's gotta be some way to kill her. Nothing's truly immortal."
Willow's head hung from a hook and soundlessly laughed.
"I think she might be. You've tried every torture and murder method known to the world. Perhaps she can only die of old age." Darla sat in the wingback chair in the corner, a glass of wine in her hand.
"I'm leaving her in a masses in front of Sylvia's door tonight. That should get under the seer's skin." Angelus picked up a large wicker basket and threw body parts in it. "You should join me."
The pieces of Willow flexed in the basket, her head on top and blinking. "I think I'd rather stay here. I'm bored seeing her wriggle like worms. And if Sylvia didn't crack when you killed her mother in front of her, what makes you think this will do it?"
"Because everyone has their breaking point."
"Princess Rose!" Drusilla called as she searched for her lover in the pouring rain of New York's Central Park. "Tell me I need not sew you together again. You got Spike mad enough that he threatened to chop you into masses. He didn't, did he?"
A young boy huddled behind a park bench, watching his mother fight Spike. Drusilla stopped for the show. Spike got away, and the Slayer and her son went in the opposite direction. She followed her dark prince, jumping off the bridge and landing beside him, thwacking into a deep puddle.
"Spike? Have you seen Rose? I can't find her anywhere."
He raised an eyebrow at her. "I don't know where your witch is."
"You yelled at her, threatened her. It took me years to nurse her mind back after Angelus dissected her. I'll not have you hurting her like that. You don't like me when I'm cross." She brushed one finger over the other and then shushed him. "And don't you dare lie."
"I didn't touch Rose. I dropped her off at the hospital. You know she's dying, right?" Spike asked as he stepped under the cover of the bridge so he could light a smoke.
"But what could a hospital do for her? She's older than she looks by more than a century. Tell me, Spike, exactly what could a hospital do for her?"
"Breathing treatments. Morphine. Not that she can't handle the pain, but she's clearer when she's not in it."
Drusilla sunk to the ground. "I'm going to lose her."
"She didn't want me to tell you. Made me promise. She didn't want you to watch her die." Spike sat next to Dru, wet soaking through the ass of his jeans. He pulled Drusilla into his arms. "She loves you more than anything in the world. And we all know you love her back in kind. She wanted you to remember her happy and smiling. Until recently I never thought I'd see her without a smile on her face. Obnoxiously happy that one."
"I won't let her die alone. But I want to respect her wishes. Go to her. Go to her for me. Hold her hand like I would. Tell her I want to be there. She's taken care of me, accepted me without a single hesitation despite her goodness and my evilness." Drusilla shuddered. "I try to be good for her. Do what I think she would do. Only kill evil men and women and leave the kiddies alone. She's never asked it of me, but I love her that much. I want her to be proud of me like I am of her."
Spike kissed Dru's temple. "You know I'd do anything for you."
"You've always been good to me. Treated Rose with respect, understood that I need both of you equally."
"Girl's got spunk. Always fun to fight with her. Got under my skin tonight, she did. Didn't want me to kill the Slayer I've been tracking. We all love her devious streak but threatening to castrate me was going a bit far. Even for us." He got to his feet and pulled her up with him. "But I'll sit with her."
"My prince, always my prince." Drusilla kissed him, tasting the blood in his mouth from a well placed punch from that Slayer.
Spike sat at Willow's bedside, holding her hand like he promised Dru. Willow had an oxygen mask on, so he couldn't smoke. But she looked ashen and her heart was sluggish. It wouldn't be long.
"Going to miss you, pet."
"Birth is always painful. We'll meet again. But avoid Prague, trust me." She disappeared on a sigh and his hand collapsed in on itself making a fist. Spike's jaw ticked as he vowed to take care of Dru like Rose would have.
Xander and Jesse were walking into the school oblivious that Willow was behind them. "Do you think Willow has a secret boyfriend?"
"Willow has secret everything." Xander shook his head. "She's confided in us a total of one time. I'm not sure how much I believe her. I mean how can I trust her when she never tells me anything. I've been trying to get a real reaction from her since we met. Stealing her dolls, trying to figure out what foods she likes by asking her to try everything I buy to eat when I'm around her. It's like she doesn't care how food tastes. She doesn't care if her clothes match. She doesn't care about much at all from what I can see. So how would I know if she cared about telling the truth?"
"I do have a secret lover," she said, giving their hearts a jump. "You'll meet her when she gets to town. Or sooner if I can find her first."
Jesse and Xander tripped over each other. "Her?"
Willow grinned then caught sight of Buffy. "Oooh new girl. Pretty much a hottie."
"Drusilla, guess what I just heard." Spike smiled as he pressed his hand to her chest.
"My Rose is looking for me. But I can't see her." Drusilla touched her temples.
"She's on the Hellmouth. My source says she's even more powerful than when we last saw her. We can be there in a week."
"I hope we get to her before Darla does. Grandmother was livid when Rose didn't warn her about Angel."
"Rose can take care of herself. And she goes by Willow now, Willow Rosenberg."
Drusilla smiled wide. "I like it. We should practice calling her that. My Willow."
"Your Willow will be back with her family again soon. I'll make sure of it."
"Was she born in 1981?"
"Didn't ask, but it would make sense." He pulled her to his body. "Dance with me, love."
At the Bronze, Willow searched for Thomas and Darla. She wanted to avoid Darla, but dust Thomas. While in theory dusting Darla sounded like a good idea, she could never do it.
So much for avoiding Darla. "Darla. How are you these days?"
"Things are looking up." Darla flipped her hair to the side and licked her upper lip. "Though I could use your help."
"I'm not donating blood for the Master, so don't even go there." Willow leaned forward and whispered, "But we can still have fun. You know I know how to make your knees weak, get you to pant and moan. I'm the only one that's ever made you rain."
"That is sadly still true, and it's been too long." Darla wrapped an arm around Willow's shoulders. "I'm assuming we'll be going to your place."
"Funny. I was thinking a motel." They walked out of the Bronze. Thomas was still walking around, but at least Jesse would be safe.
Buffy watched her new tutor walk out of the Bronze with her arm around the waist of a gorgeous blonde girl. "Huh."
When she spotted Jesse, she tapped him on the shoulder. "Is Willow gay?"
"That's what she told us this morning." Jesse drank Buffy in greedily. "Wanna dance?"
"Um, sure, why not." But then Buffy caught sight of Giles on the balcony. "But I have to do something first. I'll be back in a minute."
Darla knocked on Rose's door impressed when it was Rose, in one piece again, to answer. "What do you want, Darla?"
"I was curious." She glanced at Rose's fingers and saw the scars. "I wondered how long it would take for you to heal. Is Sylvia around?"
"Go away. I'm tired and not up for vampires right now." Willow tried to close the door, but Darla stuck her foot in the way. "How?"
"When Angelus was torturing you, in your delirium you invited me. And since it was my boy that hurt you so terribly, it's my job to help you feel better."
Willow laughed hysterically and stumbled to her bed. "Rain rain, don't go away, stay again for all the days."
"I'll do my best, my darling girl." Darla closed the door behind her.
"Uh, ah, ngh, ah," Darla moaned as she showered Willow's mouth with her cream. "I don't think I can use my legs."
Willow slid up Darla's body, kissing her here and licking her there. "Was it necessary to break the headboard?"
Their kiss was hungry and sloppy, Darla smiling her way through it. "It was the headboard or the wall."
"Have I done enough penance?" Willow asked between nibbles to Darla's ear.
"Never," Darla said coyly.
"So do you have any idea where Dru and Spike are?" Willow asked as she laced her fingers through Darla's.
"Sorry, but we haven't exactly stayed in touch. Though I wouldn't mind seeing them. Drusilla's always such fun, and Spike grew on me." Darla flipped them over so she was on top. "Shall we find them when we come up for air?"
Willow nodded. "When we come up for air."
Outside the motel Angel watched the room Darla and Rose disappeared into. Last he'd heard, Rose died. And Darla had to be here for the Master, even if he was the last thing on her mind right now.
Rose. There was a memory that haunted him. Her face was on the back of his eyelids every time he closed them. When he first got his soul back, he sought Darla. When he failed to be a vampire again, he sought Rose to save her from the rest of the… family. She'd refused to leave Drusilla. So it surprised him that Drusilla wasn't here. He'd just heard Rose talking to Darla about finding Spike and Dru.
The whole family being together again brought a dichotomy of feelings. While he longed for that feeling of belonging, he couldn't stomach the thought of what the four of them would do if reunited. Rose would temper the worst of it, naturally, but the scope of Darla's need for violence coupled with Spike's joy in the same would still cause a lot of damage. He knew he should plan on how to stop them, but he didn't know if he'd be able to raise a hand against any of them.
The burning question was: would Darla leave the Master for Rose, Spike and Dru? Or would she stay loyal to her sire?
She was a bloody mess in Angel's arms. Thready pulse, no breath, and no one around to give CPR. If his breath weren't toxic, he'd do it himself. Desperation took hold, and he drank, then forced his bleeding wrist into her mouth, begging every god in the heavens to bring her back while promising every god in hell they'd have more souls to eat, four souls to be exact.
"You men!" Willow burst. "You think I will put up with your inanities? You two act like you run this family, and I hate to break it to you but this a matriarchy. The two of you walk and talk because the women allow it. And if either of you forget it again, I'll be happy to remind you. Like the last time I taught the two of you a lesson?"
"You wouldn't dare." Angelus was seething.
"Try me. I can't wait to live to see the two of you castrated by your own stupidity. Fates worse than death, trust me. Keep this up and I won't do a damn thing to stop it." Willow stood up straight and looked down her nose at Spike and Angelus. "Dru isn't the only one in this family that knows what's coming."
Drusilla barked and gnashed her teeth. "You boys better be good puppies and listen this time."
In the corner of the garden, Darla sat fanning herself with a cruel smile on her lips. "Our boys never stand a chance against our Rose."
"They forget that she can survive more than they can." Drusilla sat on Darla's lap. "No matter how they try to destroy her, she gets them back tenfold."
"Imagine if they did more than try to order her meal and wine?" Darla said conspiratorially.
When Willow left them, Spike stood. "I just wanted her to taste this superb wine I found. It was Angelus that offended her, and I'm tired of being lumped in with him."
Angelus growled at Spike before storming away.
Darla and Drusilla giggled before sharing some gropes and kisses.
"You knew!" Darla screamed at Willow. "You knew and you let it happen!"
Willow stood her ground. "What did you expect? He chops off my head every year like he's giving me an anniversary present. Did you really think I'd just take that for the rest of time?"
Spike sucked his teeth. "He did keep pushing her. And she's been threatening to let a fate worse than death befall him for decades. It's not like he wasn't warned."
"But a soul! They raped him with a soul and you allowed it! Get out of my sight or I'll make you wish you could die." Darla's nostrils flared.
"Just remember, Darla, I know what happens to you too. You won't like how it ends, and I'll let that happen just the same as I raised no finger to stop the fall of the mighty Angelus. How quick do you want to meet your end?" Willow stared the vampire down. "This might be a matriarchy, but I'm at the head of the table, not you."
"And you got there on magicks forced on you. Magicks you didn't want! How quick you are to condemn us for our nature when you have a soul and are more cruel than any of us."
"Have I killed any of you? Cut off your heads, or done permanent damage? Angelus was cursed, and the thing about magic is that there's always a price. You might not live to see it, Darla, but he will only suffer for about a hundred years. Wallowing in guilt, seeing my face in every nightmare is a just punishment for the scars he's left on my flesh." Willow ripped the collar of her dress open. "I've always been kind to you Darla, but you deserve to lose the monster you made. The monster that did this. The monster that thought he'd surpassed all other demons. Hubris took him from you. I'll let you decide whose hubris hammered in the death knell."
"Let's see how well you do without us," Darla spat. "Spike, Dru, we're leaving her here to rot."
"I'll stay with my Rose." Drusilla put her hand on Willow's shoulder.
Spike rested a hand on her other shoulder. "Looks like you're on your own. But I'm sure you'll scamper back to your Master."
"Fine, be her dogs. But don't cry to me when she turns on you too."
Spike went after Darla, his temper flaring and ready to do damage, but Willow held him back with an arm to his chest. "Let her go. She'll either come back on her own, or die a pathetic minion."
"The bitch will have to crawl." Spike snarled and grabbed Drusilla by the waist. "I need a fresh gruesome kill to wash this out of my system."
"Stick to the docks. At this time of night, I won't have to feel guilty for those you slaughter." Willow stepped away from the couple.
"Anything for my Rose," Drusilla cooed. "Come my prince, let's make a mess."
Drusilla watched the fires rage from the window in the room she shared with Rose. "Spike's giddy. You let him have fun."
"I did no such thing. There are certain things I can't stop, no matter how much I want to." Willow slipped from the bed, letting the sheet fall from her body. She wrapped her arms around Drusilla's waist and rested her chin on her shoulder. "Come back to bed."
"Can I lick all your scars?" Drusilla asked.
"Can my Spike watch?" Drusilla turned in Willow's arms and kissed the corner of her mouth.
"Perhaps this one time, I'll allow it." Willow nipped at Drusilla's bottom lip.
"Rose, can I ask you to do something for me?"
"And what would you like?" Willow whispered kisses across her lover's jaw.
"No matter how foolish, our prince gets, don't let him get caught by those nasty soldiers. Do that and I'll feed from the wicked and no one else." Drusilla touched her temple to Willow's. "Could you do that for me?"
"I think I can manage that." Willow captured Drusilla's lips with carnal abandon. "Now come to bed. I need to taste you."
"I made Dru and you a promise a long time ago that I'd spare you. So listen when I talk to you Spike, or you'll suffer and I won't be able to stop it." Willow turned his face toward her.
"I'm all ears, pet."
"Have you ever heard of an organization called the Initiative?"
"Sounds familiar." His brow furrowed as he concentrated on Willow. "Army bugaboos."
"Right. They've perfected a neural implant that would destroy your ability to hunt. You'd never be able to harm another human again. And they're on campus, but they branch out farther. Nowhere in Sunnydale is safe, right now. Give it a year and you can come back without having to worry."
"What about Dru?"
"Take her with you."
"She'll never leave you, Willow. You know that."
Willow sighed and closed her eyes. "Then we'll all leave."
"But won't that leave the Hellmouth up for grabs?" Spike asked.
"I don't want to go, but I made a promise. No matter how against my will my feelings for Drusilla are, I could never hurt her. And if you get hurt, she will too." Willow stood up. "I'll start packing."
Spike watched Willow leave the room. Who would stop the next apocalypse?
Drusilla took the basket into Rose's loft without a backward glance at Angelus. Rose said she could survive anything he threw at her. That she had nothing to worry about and needed to stay strong. Rose said that Angelus wanted her sanity and wouldn't be happy until she was a lunatic. So she left the door open and let him watch while she sewed Rose's head back onto her neck while Rose blinked and smiled at her.
"I'm make you new again. Sylvia will take good care of you."
In the hallway, Angelus fumed. "I took liberties with your beloved. She screamed for more."
Without even a pause, Drusilla continued to sew Rose back together piece by piece.
"What's wrong, my Rose?" Drusilla asked as she wrapped her arms around Willow's shoulders.
Willow had been staring out the window, tears silently falling. "You tie me to you tighter with every touch."
"Then I'll touch you all the time. I never want you to leave me. You saved my family, all but mother. You saved my sanity. What can I do to make you smile?" Drusilla stroked Willow's hair back revealing the top of the scar on Willow's neck. She always wore turtlenecks to hide it, but Drusilla loved every last one of Willow's scars. They were the concrete sign of Willow's love and dedication to her.
"Promise me something, Dru. Promise me that you won't use magic on me ever again. Not unless I ask you to. Can you do that?" Willow wiped her tears away, turned in Dru's embrace and held her tight.
"Such a simple request is easy to do for someone I love so much." Drusilla wrapped her arms around Willow's torso and sighed into her hair.
Later that night, Willow sat on the patio with a sheet wrapped around her. Her cigarette burned between her fingers, the ash now an inch long. Spike walked out of the house they were occupying. "Aren't you happy with us?"
"Spike, I wanted to be alone." Willow flicked her ash and took a drag, blowing ribbons into the crisp night air.
He tapped the glass of tequila on the table as he sat across from her. "I never let a lady drink alone. Now answer the question."
"Is that the answer to the question or are you telling me you won't answer it?" He took her cigarette off her and put it between his lips.
"We're not doing this."
"Stop calling me Rose."
"Then what the hell am I supposed to call you?"
"Nevermind." She bumped a new cigarette out of her pack, and he lit it for her.
"Sometimes I wonder if you ever got your sanity back after what Angelus did to you." Spike poured himself a glass of tequila.
"Me too. I have these memories, and they don't belong to Rose. They belong to a girl that fought evil. She didn't live with it or love it or fuck it. And I like her so much more than I like Rose. It's like I'm only a small part of that girl, the evil part." She downed her drink and poured another.
"How drunk are you?" Spike asked as he leaned back, glass in the same hand as his cigarette.
"Not nearly enough."
"You're forgetting your smoke again."
"These things taste like shit, and they'll kill me one day, but I have to pay for my crimes somehow." Willow took a drag then sipped her drink. "If I keep you from harm, will you promise to kill me when I find out how to do it?"
He clinked his glass to hers. "Let's drink to that being a long time from now. You make life interesting."
Willow stubbed her cigarette out and didn't touch her glass. "Good day, Spike."
Spike watched her limp into the house. He thought she'd have healed from their hostile takeover of the pushers that had owned this neighborhood.
There was a niggle in the back of Spike's brain as they mowed down the Welcome to Sunnydale sign. He worried that Rose, Willow, was mortal now, and would want him to kill her like he promised to in '65. Drusilla brought him out of his thoughts with her laughter. "Let's find our Willow right away. I miss her and don't want to miss her for a second longer."
"We'll be at her door in five minutes." Spike lit a cigarette as he continued to drive. And they were in front of the Rosenberg residence in exactly five minutes.
They looked at the house. "It's so plain," Drusilla said as she got out of the car. "My Rose is anything but boring. How could she live here?"
"Dru, her name is Willow, and this is her parents' house. She's only sixteen right now." Spike sauntered up the sidewalk to the front door, arm around Drusilla's shoulders. He pressed the doorbell and flicked his cigarette to the side when the light went on.
The door opened, and Spike smiled. "And there she is."
Willow grabbed her coat and joined them on the porch. After a moment's hesitation, she threw her arms around Dru's neck. Big globby tears told Spike that she'd missed them too. She even hugged him. "You found me."
"Only because you were looking for us, my Willow." Drusilla kissed Willow all over her face, leaving dark red lipstick stains behind.
Spike watched them and couldn't help but notice that Willow still had all of Rose's scars. They were a lot less pronounced, but they were there. He'd have to talk to her about that later when he could get her alone. "So can we come in or what?"
"Oh, do invite us in." Drusilla pleaded Willow with her eyes, hands clasped.
A touch of grief flashed across her face before Willow nodded. "Come in. Both of you."
"You're a monster! I've done everything to keep both of you safe, and you're going to deny my one request! I haven't laid a hand on you since China, and I've put up with your murdering Slayers, and you can't do this for me? Why can't you do this for me?" Willow beat her fists against Spike's chest as she wailed.
"For the same reason you haven't hurt me in a century. I couldn't hurt Dru like that." Spike let her punch him, claw at his face, and cry in his arms.
When her legs gave out, he eased them to the ground. After an hour of her hiccups, she looked up at him with pleading eyes. "What if I promised you the Gem of Amara? If I got that for you would you kill me then?"
"Dru didn't free you for me to kill you. She freed you so you could have the life you want." Spike swiped her hair back. "I like your hair short."
"Answer me. Please. I need to know."
"I'll think about it, love." Spike held onto her until she fell asleep, then he carried her to her parents' home and tucked her into bed. Dru hadn't completely freed the girl. There were caveats and addendum to Willow's so called freedom. He sat at her desk after pinning blankets over the balcony doors. There was no way he would leave her like this. There were two creatures he cared about on this planet. He loved Drusilla because she made him and he loved Willow because she made things interesting. She was like a sister and mother rolled into one, and she'd asked him for one thing he would never do: hurt Dru.
"Angel, I was wondering when I'd be seeing you again." Willow sat next to him at the bar, showed the bartender a fake ID, and ordered a dirty martini.
"You never did like beer." He turned in his stool to face her. "I heard you died."
Willow shook her head when the bartender told her the cost. "He's paying."
After Angel paid the bartender, and she left, he repeated himself. "I heard you died."
"Got born. And you'd think I could die, but I'm still tied to her. Same as it's been forever it seems." Willow sipped her drink. "Got a light?"
He picked up a pack of matches from the ashtray and lit her cigarette. "What do you want from me?"
"I had tried letting you come to me, but you've been in town for what? Seven months? Makes a girl feel less than alluring." She sucked in air in comic scolding. "It's unseemly to make the girl come to you."
"What. Do. You. Want?"
"While it's not as strong as it could have been, you still hold some sway over Drusilla. You need to convince her to let me go."
"Why should I? Last time I saw you, you were sticking hot pokers through me and melting half my face off." He gestured to the side of his face still carrying the scars.
She pulled down the collar of her turtleneck. "Are you seriously arguing that I hurt you worse than you hurt me?"
"You haven't been under my thumb for a century. Whereas you say jump and if I don't ask how high, you torture me for a week." He sipped his beer.
"Don't be dramatic, Angelus. I've asked three things of you since you got your soul and only tortured you the one time you said no. And at least I didn't brand you. I still wear the burned version of your tattoo on my stomach. How does Buffy like the scarred look?" She finished her drink and gave him a giddy smile. "Don't worry, I'm not trying to steal her affections from you. I'll give you two years to convince her before I carve your metaphorical heart out. Drive me home?"
Angel tossed a couple bills on the bar for a tip and walked Willow out. "No smoking in the car."
"Considering what you owe me, I don't think I asked a lot of you," Willow said as she heated the tip of the fire poker with a blowtorch. "Why say no? I mean I only asked you to help me save Dru from a mob. And I even gave you decades of advanced notice. And you kept saying no for ten years. So we're not leaving here until you change your mind."
He groaned as the poker dug through his chest. Her placement between the ribs had been perfected in the decades between her torturing him. "I will never say yes. She's a killer. I won't kill her myself, but I won't save her either."
"Do you know how hard it is to skewer someone with hot pokers? The heat doesn't make it easier, but rather the opposite. And I'm tired." She picked up a pistol and shot a hole in the ceiling letting in sunlight. "Ouch, that's hitting your face. Don't worry it won't kill you. It's too filtered for that. But it'll make you wish for death."
She kissed his cheek just as it blistered. "I'll be over here when you change your mind." Willow picked up a book and lounged on a blanket.
"Couldn't you for once have refused your precious Drusilla?" Angelus asked as he heated the metal over white hot flames. "Why did you have to point the pathetic William out to her? He's such a doldrum, going on about how Dru's his destiny for the last five years."
"Remember this, Angelus. Remember this when I return you in kind." Willow hissed as he branded her deeply in the stomach with the same design as the tattoo on his back.
"You might be able to survive more than I, but you scar and I do not."
"Him?" Angelus' disgust was plain. "Rose, why would you point out such a craven creature to our Dru?"
"She wanted a new playmate, and I wanted someone who would be sure to protect her if I weren't around. I know he will." Willow smiled. "I'm going to take a walk. Alone."
"So that's why you did it. She's smothering you. As long as he turns well, I'll keep it between us. Enjoy your walk."
Willow smiled saccharin at him. "You'll keep it between us or I'll make sure you're the oldest musico ever."
"I am done bowing down to you and your morals. If you think you can be more cruel than I can, you will have to prove it. I'll not play nice anymore."
"Ha! Like you've ever played nice." Willow held her stomach. "But if you want to play, I am more than up for it."
Angel pulled up in front of Willow's house. "So the games are on again?"
"The hiatus is over." Willow blew smoke in his face. "And this time I won't hold back. I won't target you, but rather those you care about."
"Does that include Xander and Jesse?"
"Do you actually care about them?" She saw a familiar expression on his face. "I thought not. Toodles."
Buffy tapped her hips with her fingers. "Angel warned me about you, and I always wondered why. You did nothing to hurt me. You spent far more time trying to help me, so I didn't understand his concern. I didn't believe him when he said your lovers were all vampires."
"So is my rapist, you might know him. Tall, broody, scarred face, in puppy love with someone born to kill him. He's also the one that did this." Willow let her robe fall away showing Buffy every hideous scar. "They used to be worse. He chopped me into tiny bits and pieces. And now he won't do me the simple favor of freeing me from my own personal hell. I know that physical pain isn't the same for vampires, even vampires with souls, but emotional pain... I know what would hurt him the most."
Buffy almost gagged at the sight of all Willow's scars. Jesse and Xander hadn't conveyed the full extent of what Angel without a soul had done to her. "He didn't have a soul then."
Willow turned her back to Buffy. "He did this three days ago."
"No." Buffy had to close her eyes from the sight of Willow's skinless back.
"Yes. And all I need to get what I want is just a teeny little thing you'll never miss." Willow turned while talking.
"Will it hurt?"
"I don't know. Does it matter?"
Buffy nodded. "If it kills me, make sure Sunnydale's safe."
"Deal. Shake on it?" Willow offered Buffy her hand.
"What happened to your fingernails?"
"Angel always did like the classics. Shake?"
They shook hands and Buffy felt a stab in her gut that pulled through her body and out her palm. She collapsed and Willow gazed down at her prone body.
"Willow!" Jesse shouted from a block away and kept shouting until she stopped walking. "Willow, it's not safe out here for you."
"Why not? I can't be killed."
"Angel is on a rampage. He thinks you killed Buffy."
They fell into step with each other, Willow laughing.
"What's so amusing?"
"You'll see. And how many times do I have to drill it into your head. Ask better questions."
"Fine, why does he think you killed Buffy?"
"Because I did. In a sense." Willow unlocked her door.
Xander met Willow and Jesse at her house. "Your back's bleeding again."
"It takes forever for me to heal from being skinned. I grow limbs back faster." She tried to look over her shoulder at the newest blood stains.
"Why did you leave the door open?" Jesse asked.
"I can't ruin the surprise. I give it less than three minutes though." She pulled a chair out of the kitchen and straddled the back, watching the doorway.
Two minutes later, Angel rushed up smacked against the barrier and growled. "You'll wish you could die when I'm done with you."
"Yawn. You and Darla have been saying that for more than a hundred years."
"He means it." Xander cringed when Angel took several steps back and picked up a bottle with a rag stuffed in it.
"He does. That's what makes this so fun." Willow winked at Angel as he lit the wick. "Give it your best shot, big boy!"
Angel threw the bottle and before it made it over the threshold, Willow raised her hand, stopping it, then pitching it back at him. He dodged and fell away unharmed. "Bitch!"
"Spike and Dru are dust! I killed them on my way here." Angel yelled as he pulled a gun out from behind him.
"Liar. Don't you think I'd know? I'd be free. But I'm not." She raised her hand and touched the oncoming bullet with a finger. It turned into a dove. "You want to know how I know I'm not?"
Jesse got excited. "Because you're not dead."
"Give the man a prize." Willow never took her eyes off Angel. "By using Dru's name, you made sure I knew Spike was fine. You forgot to add Darla to your list of imaginary victims. And speak of the devils."
"I smell a Slayer," Drusilla said with fingers to her mouth. "I can almost taste her."
"It is a rather rank odor," Spike said, holding Dru's hand as they traipsed up the sidewalk.
"Hey, bleach boy! Watch it!" Buffy shouted as she walked out of Willow's kitchen and into Angel's line of sight.
"Buffy?" Angel tried again to enter Willow's house, and she snickered as he hit the barrier for the second time in less than five minutes.
Darla waited outside the threshold, smiling conspiratorially. "This makes it almost worth losing him."
The night before…
Buffy gasped in pain as she lay in front of Willow. "That was not a little pain. What did you take from me?"
"An egg. Necessary to fool Angel into thinking you're dead. I'm going to clone you." Willow held her hand palm up and a glowing orb grew there as she blew on it. Getting larger and larger until she had to set it down. Before touching the orb, Willow smiled at Buffy. "I'm not a monster."
"Will the clone be alive?"
"No higher brain functioning, but alive enough to fool even a vampire's senses." Willow touched the orb and a flash of light left Buffy blind for a second. When she opened her eyes, there was a replica of her, down to old scars, naked and lying on the ground.
"That's just creepy."
"Give me an hour and Angel will suffer."
"I don't agree with what he did to you, but you're obviously fine, so maybe we shouldn't let him suffer long?" Buffy watched as Willow magically clothed the limp clone.
"I'll let him out of his misery within twenty four hours. For you." Willow put her finger and thumb at the corners of her mouth and whistled. "Spike, Dru, Darla! Dinner. And play messy with your food." She made funny hand gestures at the three vampires.
"I don't think I can watch." Buffy turned away as the vampires chortled and made crude jokes while ravaging the clone's body.
"The main act should be here soon. Let's hide." Willow dismissed the vampires with a wave of her hand, and they dissolved into the darkness. "But I want you to witness his reaction."
"Buffy? How? I saw your body. It was you, the smell, the taste, it was you."
With an awkward turn of her mouth, Buffy wound her arms together and then undid them. "It was a clone."
"A what?" Angel's face contorted in confusion. "Willow you've been planning this since she was born?"
"No, silly. Just because I don't use it often, doesn't mean I'm not wicked powerful. I used magic." Willow mock glared at Darla. "What did you ever see in him? He's barely capable of stringing words together in a sentence."
"His good looks and thirst for needless violence. Pity he lost his only good features." Darla leaned on the barrier. "Being in this close of proximity to a Slayer and not trying to kill her is making me nauseous."
"Till tomorrow, grandmother!" Drusilla exclaimed as Darla sashayed away.
"Buffy?" Angel said again.
Buffy stepped over the threshold to stand in front of Angel. "You tried to turn me."
"I wanted to save you."
"You wanted to keep me. It had nothing to do with who I am. It was all about what you wanted meaning more to you than what I would want. I would never want to be a vampire." Buffy stuck her tongue in her cheek. "Leave town, Angel. If I see you again, I'll kill you."
"Rose?" Angel pleaded.
"You taught me that the right application of pain was worth more than a thousand deaths. And the name's Willow."
Buffy stepped back into the house, followed by Dru and Spike, who closed the door in Angel's face.
"My mark decorating your skin, is a punishment worse than death, wouldn't you agree?" Angelus sneered. "The right application of pain is worth more than a thousand deaths. You might want to learn that, Rose."
"Thanks for the tip."
"I thought you said he'd only suffer for a hundred years. Why is my Angelus not back?" Darla asked as she took a seat at the cafe across from Willow.
"I did say that didn't I?" Willow made a face. "Is there any reason I should allow his soul to disappear? What's my incentive?"
"Touche," Darla flagged the waiter. "Double espresso and one of the delectable cream filled scones." When the waiter left with her order, Darla sat back. "Is it even possible for him to lose that bane of a soul?"
"I doubt it right now. Maybe sometime in the future." Willow blew on her coffee before taking a sip. "Look on the bright side. The years didn't make him kind or anything as tacky as that. In a lot of ways his cruelness should please you." Off Darla incredulous glare, "If he can be this cruel with a soul, isn't that true corruption?"
"You have a point. But why ruin his face?"
"You've seen my body, and you're still going to ask that?" Willow set her mug down. "I expected better from someone as clever as you."
"I get why you ruined his face. I was just grousing." Darla smiled as the waiter put her order in front of her. "You're almost as delectable as these scones, what time do you get off work?"
The waiter blushed. "Midnight."
"It's a date."
Willow let out a sigh. "Darla."
"What? Would you rather I eat that little boy over there? The one squalling like pig." Darla nibbled the end of her scone. "These will never get old."
"Fine, but can you try not to chose your meals in front of me?"
"Enough!" Angel gasped his skull visible on one side of his face. "I'll save her. I promise."
Willow smiled and cut the vampire down. "This might kill two birds with one stone. Yay me."
He pulled himself out of the light. "I killed any chance you ever had at sanity. And I had been sorry for that, but I think we're even now."
"Are you insane, Angel?" Willow stooped in front of him and tapped his skull. "You sound perfectly coherent. Are we really even?"
"Come closer so I can tell you how crazy you've made me."
Willow straddled his naked body, lifting her skirts. "Let's test a hypothesis." She sank down on his erection and they both groaned.
Angel clutched her shoulders and as she rode him, he bit her, draining her dry. She never closed her eyes, or stopped her actions, though she didn't appear to be enjoying herself either. Hours later he was left alone and still missing half his face, never finding out what hypothesis she was testing.
"You ever diddle a man, Rose? Not including Angelus taking liberties." Spike kicked his feet up onto the table in the restaurant she'd picked for her dinner.
"Yes. A long time ago."
"Did you like it?"
"Not enough to keep doing it." Willow cut her steak and put a forkful in her mouth.
"My Rose prefers me to all others," Drusilla said as she touched Willow's arm.
"Then how many women have you under petticoated?" Spike was being vulgar and loud, but Willow didn't care.
She swallowed and said, "Three."
"I know about Darla, and there's myself naturally, but who else?" Drusilla's voice was aghast.
"It was long before my love for you, Dru dear. Her name is Tara." Willow drank some wine.
"Is?" Spike asked. "Don't you mean was? Or is she a bag of old bones now?"
"Does it matter?" Willow asked cutting off another bite of steak.
"Guess not." He cracked his neck and caught on that no one else was talking. Every patron there stared at the threesome with shocked expressions and more than a few slack jaws. "Good thing we're just passing through."
"Yes. It is." Drusilla fanned herself. "Their hatred is a mite hot."
"He's your son."
"And lover. You never wanted to claim him."
"Why would I? He's disrespectful and creepy. I have to look away when he finds a new obsession."
"Mmm," Drusilla put her wine glass to her lips.
Spike put his feet down and leaned toward Willow. "At least I'm passionate enough to have an obsession. Next to me you're a cold fish."
"I like sushi." Willow took another bite of food.
"Raw, cold fish rolled in seaweed and rice, often with wasabi. Used to make my mouth tingle."
"There's so much you don't tell us," Dru whined. "Tell us a story, please."
"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…" Willow smiled as she captivated the entire restaurant with Star Wars.
Jesse and Xander hung on every word as Willow told them about Star Wars, a movie none of their parents allowed them to see. She had different voices for all the characters and would sometimes act out what they were doing. She used a flashlight as a light saber.
"Chewbacca growls and Artoo beeps with happiness. The End." Willow smiled as the boys gawked at her.
"Are you sure that's how the movie goes?" Xander asked. "You never saw it either."
She winked at them. "Trust me."
The final scene of Star Wars: A New Hope faded out with Jesse and Xander slack jawed. "How'd she know?"
"She must have seen it. She lied to us." Jesse frowned at that thought. "But I don't think Willow would lie. But what else explains it?"
"I don't know, but Willow may not be the nicest person in the world but she is straight up about everything." Xander shook his head. "We'll have to ask her to tell us the truth."
"Ask me what?" Willow asked as she walked back into the room with a tray full of sodas and snacks.
"How did you know Star Wars? Did you see it before?" Jesse asked as he took his soda.
"Sorta. It's a long story. My parents never wanted me to watch it cause it's too violent. But I did see it a long long time ago."
"In a galaxy far far away?" Xander asked.
"Something like that." Willow sat between the boys and opened her box of snowcaps. Her smart phone rang a purposely ill timed photo of Sheila glowing in the dark room. "Crap, that's mom."
"Rose might give you an answer, but she doesn't lie, Spike!" Drusilla yelled.
"She said she made that story up. Did she sell it to that Lucas guy then? How is that exact story on the screen in there?"
Willow put a hand on Spike's arm. "I never said I made it up. I said I knew it from my childhood." She coughed then, her face flushing for a moment before losing its color again.
"How could you know it from your childhood? This is the premiere." Drusilla was confused.
"My childhood hasn't happened yet. We've talked about this. You sent me back in time. I don't even know why you chose me. But you sent me back to protect you." Willow cocked her head to the side at Drusilla's blank expression. "I thought I told you this."
"You must have told Darla. This is the first I'm hearing of it." Drusilla smiled then. "But it explains a lot."
"The investments, the inventions, your strange speech cadence, your complete disdain for what you call the patriarchy. Explains quite a lot." Spike ticked off a few more things on his fingers. "How you knew how to drive an auto better than anyone the first time you took one out, the way you figured out how to give women abortions, using complex medicines long before anyone else. Toothpaste! Thanks for that by the way. And there's always… "
"Got it Spike. You can stop listing my startling history."
"Do you think you could have gotten people to the moon any faster?" Drusilla asked as she laced her arm through Willow's.
"It was early. My history books all said that we made it to the moon in 1969, we made it there almost a whole decade sooner." Willow laid her head on Drusilla's shoulder. "I'm sleepy. Can we go home now?"
"You can make the choice to not be a monster, Angel," Willow drolled.
"That's all people see when they look at me thanks to you." Angel practically growled the words. "You even took Buffy away from me."
"You give me way too much credit. I blush and flush." She pulled out a file and touched up her manicure. "Drusilla says I need more color. Imagine that for a moment. Me wearing bright colors, happy colors. Something other than black."
"Black suits you." Angel watched blood drip from the cut on her arm with hunger. "So does red."
"Once upon a time, I wore clothes so bright and festive that they could be seen from space. I miss my garish days. I was at least alive then." She switched nails and never looked at Angel. "And you want to know something, Angel?"
"It's all your fault that I am the way I am. The deep depression and fractured reality. You see, the last time round you took Drusilla's mind, and I saved her from that fate. But in return I got my mind stolen from me. And while I can fake it through conversations with most people, I'm sure you can still tell how my world's been shattered. I see it in your eyes. Oops, sorry, I mean eye." She stabbed the eyeball sitting on the table next to her with her file. She pressed the thing to his lips. "Open up for mommy."
He strained his neck trying to get away from his eye. Her magic had him bound too tight for anything else.
"Open up or I'll take the other one." Her expression was stormy. "Don't piss me off."
His lips parted.
Two days later…
Spike chortled at the story Willow told. "I love it! Even with a soul and brimming with humanity, you're still the cruelest of any of us."
Drusilla scowled. "But she didn't let me have any fun. I was left out."
"Dru, you know you could never hurt your Angelus." Willow cackled then. "Angel-less!"
"I'm taking my girls out to dinner. We'll celebrate Willow's depravity and treat Dru since she didn't get to have fun." Spike wrapped his arms around their necks. "What do you say?"
Tightly, Dru said, "Can I have anyone I want?"
With a fallen expression, Willow's despondence seeped into her words. "You know I can never say no to you."
"Because you love me. Because I made you mine." Dru smiled wickedly.
"What's the plan?" Spike asked as they entered the speakeasy.
Willow scanned the crowd in search of Drusilla, her eyes spying several dozen corpses that other people assumed were unconscious. "We get her drunk and drag her out of here."
Drusilla's laughter carried over the din. "I believe she's done half our job for us."
They spotted their longtime companion, and Willow felt her hopes drain out of sight or reach. Drusilla would never be completely tame. No matter how Willow begged or what strides Dru made to please her, there would still be days like this where the vampiress would drain scores of people.
"I know that look and don't you even think about it, Rose." Spike grabbed Willow by the shoulders and forced their gazes to meet. "If you try to run off again, I'll be forced to find you and lock you up again. Neither of us wants that, so do whatever you have to do to get your head on straight."
"Why do I love her?" Willow asked as tears spilled over.
"Why wouldn't you love her?" Spike asked confused. Rose had been part of Drusilla's life long before he joined their merry band. He couldn't think of a time when Rose wasn't the first thought on Dru's mind when she woke and the last before sleeping. That Rose didn't want to love Drusilla was absurd.
Willow wiped the tears away, and it was like nothing was ever wrong. Her smile appeared genuine. "Let's collect our girl before she gets us run out of town."
"Let's." Spike studied Rose with worry. Moments like these were when he remembered that her mind wasn't always working well. "Then I'll take you out for a drink murdering no one."
"I want something clear."
Willow watched the water flow from the pitcher to the cup and wished it was vodka or at least schnapps. She missed getting drunk. While never a solution, it had taken her mind off the hell that was her life when she was Rose. Not that Rose was ever far away even now.
Her mother sighed as she put the pitcher in the refrigerator. "Willow we need to have a serious talk."
"What's up?" Willow asked as she sat across from her mother, cup in hand.
"Your father and I wanted to take a trip, but where we want to go is not suitable for a girl your age."
"I can take care of myself." Willow gulped some water down. "Have fun! See you when you get back." A few more gulps and her cup was empty, and she hopped off her chair and ran outside.
Her parents leaving her got no easier, no matter how old she was. For she was a lot older than eight, but it still hurt as bad as it did the first time round.
"I used to hate being abandoned," Willow touched the punctures in her neck as she stared out the window. "Now I find I want it more than anything."
"What are you talking about, deary?" Drusilla asked with an arm around Willow's shoulders and her body pressed against Willow's back.
"Let me go." The words shot sharp tendrils of heat through her tongue. "Just say the words, please."
Drusilla dropped her arm and stepped, her vision clouded with a scene from a time that would never happen. They were in the Bronze, she was dancing with Spike and had brought Willow to her through a spell. Willow had been the strongest witch in the area that's why the spell called her. This was all an accident. She hadn't picked Willow because there had been a deep emotional connection between them. They'd never even spoken before that night. "That can't be right."
Willow turned toward Dru. "What can't be right?"
"I didn't even know your name." Dru laughed abruptly. "All these years, and I stole you without a care of who you were. But you aren't that girl anymore and releasing you will never change that. So why do you want to leave me?"
The words died in Willow's throat as she choked on sobs falling to her knees. Her wails made no words, but Drusilla could taste Willow's despair. She crouched in front of her and put her hands on Willow's head, pulling the answers out like they were made of air. Her hands snapped away. "I won't do it. I will not allow you to kill yourself!"
A day later…
Willow pushed the eye into Angel's mouth as she slid onto his lap, used his upper teeth to scrape it off the file then clamped her hand over his mouth the other hand clasped to the back of his head making sure he swallowed.
She licked his cheek then whispered in his ear, "You should have gotten her to let me go."