In the Park
The house had been intolerable for Willow. Maybe it was the dent in the living room wall, or the cracked pictures that seemed to taunt her about her mother, reminding her of that fight, of the horrible things that could happen in Sunnydale. She wasn't sure if it was too stuffy, or too quiet, but she couldn't stay inside and focus on her homework. In frustration, she shoved everything into her backpack and made her way to one of the parks. Setting up her things at one of the picnic tables, she finally settled into her homework.
Her mind took a strange sort of comfort in the sounds of children playing, of birds in the sky, the wind in the leaves, and the warm sunshine of her skin. Willow zipped through the assignments for her math class, finishing those for this week and several others that weren’t due until later in the month. She outlined and planned papers for English class, discussing characters and plots and symbolism, as well as planning out one on the life and career of a classic British author. She reviewed notes for History, her time researching with Giles letting her sort out where terrible tragedies had been caused by vampires and demons instead of rampaging soldiers, and where demons and dark magic had assisted plagues and famines. Time became meaningless for Willow.
"Were the little lambs playing and laughing?"
Willow blinked in surprise. How could Drusilla be in the park?
Glancing around, she realized that it had grown dark. The children had gone home, the sun had gone down, and she hadn't noticed because she was right under a lamp post. Just over there was a smiling Drusilla, clad in a peacock green dress, her arm looped over the arm of Spike, who looked much less friendly.
As she mentally called herself an idiot, Willow tried to smile at Drusilla. "They were, and there was a softball game earlier. Did you talk Spike into playing the cemetery game with you tonight?"
Drusilla pouted, "My Spike does not care for the cemetery game. He would rather be the one who caused them to need a funeral, and that takes away all the mystery."
"Oh," Willow shivered. Spike - William the Bloody - of course he'd rather kill people. And she was alone in the park except for Drusilla and Spike, and neither one of them were precisely safe... Why oh why had Angel decided to try to reconnect with his evil children? Why wasn't she trying to run away? "Should I ask what sort of things the two of you had planned for tonight?"
Drusilla let go of Spike's arm, and twirled, arms outflung, "Tonight is a lovely night! The stars are singing, the ocean is pretty and sings a happy song of silver fish and green eels, and the golden sands are too wet to run away. I wanted to have my Spike meet you, little tree."
"You did?" Willow blinked, wondering if this was about to become a very painful and unpleasant night for her. Turning to face Spike, she tried to smile as she offered a weak sounding "ummm.... Hello?"
"Angel-Daddy said that we had to play nice with you, little tree. No biting, no hitting, no killing you. Not either one of us," Drusilla's spinning stopped, leaving her to lean against the table. "Oh, now the world is spinning..."
Spike pulled out a cigarette and lit it, taking a puff before he growled, "Angelus said he wants to keep you around. Dru seems to like you too, though if you play that silly game with her that might explain a bit."
"Be nice to little tree, she's going to be my little sister," Drusilla hissed, her eyes changing to yellow.
"Angel and I usually meet for coffee on Wednesdays," Willow whispered. She wanted to believe that it was force of habit that caused Spike to call him Angelus. That it only made sense that the halfway sane evil vampire would use the name that Angel had used when he was evil, when he'd made Spike a vampire. That Angel was still her friend, still a good guy.
That she was still safe with him.
Drusilla reached over, her cool fingers tracing the bruise on Willow's cheek. "Poor little tree. Only bruises and harsh words, no praise, no gentleness, no rewards. I can see why Daddy is not pleased with your family."
"You can't choose the family that you're born to," Willow looked up, meeting Drusilla's eyes. The yellow color didn't frighten her any more than seeing her with dark eyes. Perhaps that should worry her, should be a sign that something had gone terribly off-kilter in her life. "Did you want someone to play the cemetery stories game with you again tonight?"
"Not born to the first time, but you can choose a second family, of different blood," Drusilla whispered. "Though sometimes that family chooses you and not the other way 'round."
"Dru," Spike's voice carried a warning that Willow couldn't decipher.
"Sometimes I used to wonder what it would be like if I wasn't an only child," Willow admitted. She tried to ignore the fact that to vampires, family generally meant turning. Angel had told them no biting and no killing... that ruled out turning her into a vampire. If they actually listened to him...
Spike's grin was about as toothy as possible without actually going into game-face and having fangs. "One night, Red. Not tonight - Angelus doesn't want anybody else laying a tooth on you. If anyone turns you, it'll be him. But I think he's got plans for you."
Part of Willow wanted to believe that Angel would only say something like that as a story to keep her safer, that he wouldn't really try to turn her. Angel was a good guy, he didn't do things like that. Another part of her wondered, and worried. There had been so many things lately... "I don't know that I'd make a very good vampire. I'm shy, and I don't know how to fight, and... and I spend time with the Slayer. Wouldn't I make a terrible vampire?"
"Slayers don't last that long, ducks. She'll be gone soon enough, and maybe by that time, you'll be ready to bring into the family," Spike made a smoke ring. "We've got time."
"We shall start you in your magic first, while you can still dance and read the sunshine," Drusilla moved to sit beside Willow. "It is so vexing to find a teacher when you can only go about at night."
"I'd like to learn more magic," Willow tried not to think about them bringing her into the family in a more permanent fashion. A tiny part of her wanted to find Angel, to have him tell her that it was all a ruse, just a way to keep his evil children in line. "And I'm trying to finish school."
"There's a lot of dangerous things running around this place. Maybe we should make sure you get back home, back inside where nobody'll try to eat you?" Spike perched on the table on her other side, his hand reaching over to play with a lock of her hair. "Nobody's think you look like a vampire. Not too sure you look like a witch."
"I'm not much of a witch yet. Though I'm a fairly good hacker... computer hacker, that is," Willow was feeling a bit uneasy, between the two vampires, both of whom seemed to want to touch her.
Drusilla slid her arm around Willow, giggling, "But you will learn. The stars will sing about you, and you will be my favorite little sister, and we shall tell each other stories and whisper secrets."
"Time to take Red back to her house, Dru. It isn't time for her to come stay with us yet," Spike gathered up the books, dropping them into Willow's bag. It was an unexpectedly helpful gesture.
"Are you sure? I like my little tree. We can keep her even if she is all warm," Drusilla pouted at Spike.
Spike's voice was firm, "Angelus said not yet."
Willow found herself escorted back to her house by the pair of vampires, absently chatting about some of the demons that had been in town recently. A pack of ghouls scurrying around in the woods near the Elementary school and San Jose cemetery. Something big and orange and feathery that had been lurking in the empty warehouse district. “… and there’s that pair of lamprey demons that Buffy saw on the beach.”
“Bloody nasty things, those,” Spike growled.
“Breath like rotting fish and no respect for the stars,” Drusilla sniffed. “How does one make them go away?”
Willow smiled at Dru, and then glanced at Spike, “According to the books, blunt impacts across the bones are really effective, fire works well but probably wouldn’t be your choice of weapon. Some hunters in the Caribbean found that sharp bits to the joints can take them down, but then there’s lots of screaming and kind of greenish blood that would stain up Drusilla’s pretty dresses something awful.”
“Bloodstains are hard enough to make go away when they’re red,” Drusilla shook her head. “But green? I think not.”
Spike just grinned, “I’ll have to try that if I can catch the buggers.”
“Oh, here we are at your house, little tree,” Drusilla hugged her, placing a cool kiss over the bruise on her cheek. “Dream of dancing fairies and sweet songs, and do not listen to Miss Pamela. She is quite jealous and might lead you astray.”
Spike just leaned over and caught her lips in a kiss before giving a wicked grin and saying, "Can't wait till you’re ours."
As Willow closed the door behind her, she felt like her head was spinning. Spike had kissed her. Drusilla had hugged her, saying that she would become her favorite sister. They both seemed to think it was only a matter of time before she was part of their family. That Angel would turn her into a vampire.
She wondered if she'd be able to convince herself that they were mistaken. Or if she was the one who'd made a mistake somewhere along the line. But things were changing, and she suspected that the changes were only just beginning.
end Dark Coffee 13: In the Park.