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“Ow.” Spike dropped the child, all long limbs and tousled hair from what Dru could see, to the floor. The girl jumped up, taking a few skipping steps away. “You let me go. If you keep taking kids, the cops’ll come and shoot you dead.”

“Z’at right?” Spike asked, lighting a cigarette. “They won’t get here soon enough to save you though, would they?”

“Spike.” Drusila stood, the shock clear in her voice. “This is no way to treat a guest.”

“Sorry pet.” As Spike wandered off, leaving the child to Dru, as she’d known he would, Dru asked the girl her name.

“Huh?” The girl gave Dru a wary look, but that was all right. She was used to it. “I’m Dru. That was Spike,” she added, waving toward the next room, “And this, is Miss Edith.” She picked up a doll, brushed a wrinkle out of its skirt, and set it back down again.

“Lucy,” the girl said. “He shouldn’t have taken me.”

“I shall punish him quite severely later.”

“Lucky me,” Spike muttered from the next room, too quietly for Lucy to hear.

“If you come with me,” Dru said, “I shall tell you a fairy tale and then we shall have tea.”

Lucy took a few steps toward the table. “I’m too old for fairy tales.”

“Oh, but this one is quite dark and full of the most dreadful things.”

Lucy looked back at the door. “What about him?”

“Spike shan’t harm you. I won’t allow it.”

Lucy walked around the table, sitting where she could keep an eye on the door.

Dru sat down with a small clap of her hands. “Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess. Her hair was as dark as a raven’s wing, her skin as pale as moonlight, and her lips red with blood.”

“Red as blood,” Lucy countered.

“What?” Dru looked confused.

“It should be as red as blood,” the child insisted. “Get it right.”

“Oh no dear, it’s definitely red with blood.”