Drat, I forgot a disclaimer on the prior chapters. I own none of the characters of Buffy.
A huge thank you to Always_jbj who was nice enough to beta this for me and wrestle some particularly uncooperative sentences into submission for me.
“Angelus!” Spike crowed in greeting at Angel’s arrival.
“Spike,” Angel ground out, cautiously entering the main room of the factory.
“Daddy!” Drusilla clapped her hands and rushed to greet her sire, nuzzling her face into his chest, hands caressing his shoulders. “You’re here. You’ll make everything all right again, won’t you?” She stared up at him, mad blue eyes as trusting as a child’s, slender white hands touching him, constantly in motion as though by this she could convince herself of the reality of his presence.
Angel closed his eyes. Encounters with his insane childe always wracked him with guilt. “Yes, Dru,” he said finally. “I’ll make you better.”
“Can you stop the little bird though, Daddy? Can you stop her?” Dru switched from pleased greeting to agitation. “Please, you must. The pixies have told me you’ll—”
“Dru!” Angel interrupted her, shaking her gently to silence. He stared evenly at Spike. “Where is she?” he demanded. “I want proof she’s alive and unharmed.”
Spike kept his feelings from showing on his face with great difficulty. ‘A century of devotion and she’s back in his arms in a heartbeat.’ His dead heart had no need to beat, but he could feel it breaking, useless organ. He’d known she would fawn over Angelus, but to see it was…a different thing altogether. In that nonexistent heartbeat, he was dragged back into the bitter memories of encounters past and their inevitable outcomes.
His century with Dru didn’t matter, he realized, she would always belong to Angelus. Her betrayal stabbed at him viciously and he knew that deep inside, after all this time, he had expected things to be different. For the first time since Angelus had deserted them, Spike looked at his love with critical eyes and found her lacking. Something hardened inside of him, and in a moment of clarity the vision of the dark princess he had spent years worshiping faded. In her place the reality of a damaged, unstable, unfaithful, and — his mind raged — ungrateful creature stood before him.
‘She won’t ever love me.’ His jaw tightened.
“Spike!” Angel’s harsh voice shot Spike out of his epiphany.
“This way,” Spike said shortly and led the way down the hall.
“There she is.” Still terse, Spike waved an arm at the bound Slayer. “Good enough for you? All alive and un-tasted.”
Angel stared at Buffy and felt an incredible wave of relief wash over him. She was alive. Alive and unharmed, but very angry, he noted with amusement. Nothing could break Buffy’s spirit. She wasn’t lying drained and dead because of him. He gazed into her eyes, trying to convey the silent message that everything would work out.
The tight anxiety—fed by the thought that he’d been the cause of her downfall when he was meant to be her savior—that had been weighing him down over the course of what seemed the longest day of his existence, had magically disappeared. All would be well now. He could take Spike if he tried to renege on the deal and Drusilla would never fight her daddy, he was confident of that. In fact she’d likely help him if he was too weakened by the blood loss. He had decades of experience manipulating Dru into doing what he wanted and she wouldn’t let Spike harm him. Spike had locked the door to prevent the minions from interrupting so they could be easily dealt with afterwards. Everything would be fine.
“Let’s get this done,” Spike said abruptly. He’d finish the cure, knock Dru out to prevent any interference and take care of Angelus for good. At least he’d still have the Slayer’s blood to console him. He’d figure out what to do about Dru later. A small but insistent voice in his head was now asking why he really wanted her at all now.
Angel nodded and spoke to the still-clinging vampire in his arms, “It’s ok, Dru. Drink.” He tilted his head to the side and allowed his childe to sink her fangs into his neck.
Buffy closed her eyes. It looked so… intimate. She opened them again almost immediately, chiding herself, she needed to see what was happening if they were to get through this. The sight of her boyfriend’s hands beginning to roam over the slender vampire’s back, involuntarily caressing her as he lost himself in the bite, made her rapidly avert her eyes again.
This time they landed on Spike, and Buffy couldn’t look away. Spike’s face, completely unguarded, stripped of his usual defenses as he watched the love of his unlife with the love of hers. Everything he felt was revealed. Buffy saw the fierce hurt surface in his bright blue eyes and split seconds behind it, the rage and betrayal. His mouth was tight-lipped, but his eyes screamed out his emotions for any onlooker to see. The pair he was focused on was oblivious, but Buffy saw.
He felt. This vampire —this soulless thing —could feel. She knew it couldn’t be true, but the look on his face was undeniable.
She’d only known Angel for a short time and she found it hard to watch him with Drusilla. How would it feel to watch someone with whom you’d spent so long, in the arms of someone else? Someone she clearly loved so strongly. Buffy realized she’d just attributed feelings to yet another vampire. ‘Drusilla obviously loves Angel. There’s no denying that either,’ Buffy thought, as she turned back to them again.
‘What I was taught is wrong.’ Her mind reeled. ‘They must’ve told me that to prevent me from thinking of vampires as people,’ she thought slowly. ‘It’d be harder to stake… people.’ She mentally slapped herself. ‘Not people! Vampires! They are not people! Nasty, pointy, bitey ones! Never people!’
But she looked over at Spike again and she saw a person… a person in a tremendous amount of pain. She felt a strange stirring of pity for the stricken vampire. ‘What the hell?’ she thought, confused. ‘This is Spike. Evil, cruel, bloodthirsty vampire! Spike! Who’s killed lots of people. Last night, even. I can’t feel sorry for Spike!’ But she did. She truly did.
Then Spike looked away from the entwined couple, unable to watch anymore and his eyes met hers.
Spike couldn’t watch. If his heart hadn’t broken earlier, it would surely be in pieces now. He knew well how seductive and sensuous a bite could be if the right intent was there. Any residual illusions he’d had clinging to the corners of his mind melted away and left him with the truth. His earlier train of thought was correct. Drusilla was still deeply, madly in love with her Angelus. After a few minutes, he couldn’t watch.
The Slayer was staring at him. She couldn’t speak, he’d made sure of that, but her eyes conveyed volumes. He saw in an instant her pity for him and her own hurt. Rage filled him as he tried to erect a wall of cold indifference to the happenings around him. He failed miserably. Infuriated that there had been a witness to his pain, he stalked towards the helpless Slayer.
He saw a flash of fearfulness enter those damnable pitying eyes and was slightly mollified. ‘Yeah, that’s right. You should fear me. You should—’ He was still looking at her when, behind him, Angel collapsed to the floor with a dull thud, slipping from Drusilla’s embrace.
Drusilla wailed, “I didn’t hurt him. I didn’t. I only took a little.” She knelt beside Angel and in one of her lightning fast mood changes, a dreamy, satisfied look came over her. “Enough, though. I took enough.” She spared a glance at Spike. “I’m all better now, my prince!” she said gleefully then pouted. “Help me help Daddy. Something’s happened.” She looked at Angel uncertainly. “Something’s happened,” she repeated.
“Something’s gonna happen all right,” Spike muttered. Buffy caught his tone and began to make muffled noises of distress knowing what Spike was going to do.
But as Spike reached them, Angel stirred. He looked into Drusilla’s eyes and smirked. She clapped her hands again and cried, “Daddy’s truly home! They told me you’d return, but not how… not how…”
“That’s right, darlin’.” Angelus stood. “Daddy’s home!”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/202711.html