Season of Solace. 48

48:     Kingman’s Bluff Cemetery, Westside, Sunnydale

The door crashed against the stonework propelled there by a powerful kick. Dust and spider webbing flew up from crevasses filtering the moonlight that beamed into the candlelit space of the small mausoleum. An old family crypt, a rarity amongst the common gravestones at Kingman’s Bluff, held three carved stone coffins.

Angel stepped in, his body looming large against the doorframe. The dust slowly cleared. His eyes adjusted immediately to the change in the light, spotting Dru standing in front of a gaping hole in the floor. Earthquake damage had opened up some kind of cavern below.

Pale in the candlelight, her eyes glittered and a knowing smile played upon her blood-red lips. Gleefully, she clapped her hands and then twirled around at the edge of the precipice careless of the danger, arms opened wide. “Daddy’s here!”

Spike’s voice echoed up from the cavern, “Like I bloody well didn’t guess.”

“You’re late,” scolded Drusilla sliding a glance toward the stone coffin where her latest victim lay. Peeking up at Angel with a guileless expression, she explained the dead guy’s presence. “The naughty man shouldn’t roam around the bluffs at night.”

The scent of blood was thick in the air. Drusilla had obviously had her fill. The fact that she brought her victim back to the crypt suggested that Spike might not be back to par. His mouth watered at the tantalizing scent, but his stomach twisted at the disgust he felt because of it.

Grabbing Dru by the elbow, he hauled her away from the rocky opening. She let out a little growl and moved even closer despite the barely contained fury on his face. “I’m not here for dinner,” Angel pulled her hand away from his inseam. He released his tight grasp on her wrist, his hand moving up to her face forcing her to meet his gaze. “This is where you tell me what you’re after. I want to know exactly what you said to Cordelia.”

A naughty giggle sounded in her throat. “Just a little girl talk, is all.”

“You threatened her, Dru, frightened her.” Angel remembered the look on Cordy’s face. Hell, it had frightened him, too. Drusilla had plenty of time to kill Cordelia if that was her plan. There was something more going on here. “Tell me what the hell you said. Do it now. I’m already more than a little pissed off.”

“Oh, I can tell.” The wicked glint in those big doe eyes of hers only strengthened. She leaned into him again, her mouth up close to his ear as she whispered, “I promised to show her what pleases you.”

Angel jerked away from her, stepping back to stare at her expression. Dru wasn’t Darla. Lies did not simply spring from her lips. Her words were often shrouded by confusion, but she always spoke the truth. He was too stunned to ask why, but the question was all too apparent.

Standing in place, Dru lifted her head to look at the ceiling of the crypt. There was nothing but darkness overhead. She took hold of her long skirt, swishing it back and forth, turning slowly in a circle. Facing him again, Dru looked down, eyes dazed, but not from dizziness.

“I followed the stars home,” she said, “to you. They sing of dangers too terrible to name. When I see you, I see her. I see death, a future without happiness, but for me.”

Perhaps Drusilla had seen something involving the current crisis and their mission to put a stop to this demonic god’s arrival. He kept silent despite the need to demand what she knew about Cordelia’s connection to this prophecy.

“It surprises you, the pull she has on your heart. You want her,” there was a hint of accusation followed by a curl of her thin red lips. “The Slayer fades from your dreams. She is no longer the face you see.”

It did not matter that Dru was right, Angel admitted. He did want Cordelia. When he closed his eyes, hers was the face that fueled his fantasies. No amount of self-derision, lecturing, or meditation seemed to change that. Now he had the taste of her on his lips, knew the fire that stirred within him in response to hers. Denying it was not going to change a thing.

“You’re not to go near her,” he growled. If it was jealousy fueling Dru’s efforts, the danger to Cordelia was even greater, especially since it appeared there was not going to be a way to convince her she was mistaken.

He had staked Darla when Buffy’s life was on the line. The enormity of his actions still caused him pain. She had made him, damned him to this existence, but sending her into an eternity of hell brought no satisfaction. To save Cordelia, Angel knew that he would make any sacrifice necessary.

Drusilla closed the small gap between them, wrapped her arms around his waist, snuggling against his chest. He moved his hands to her thin shoulders, prepared to push her away. Angel knew he would stake her if he had to, no matter that he was the cause of her death and subsequent rise into darkness and insanity. Guilt gnawed at him.

He let his hand run down the length of her loose hair, soothing her when he was the one in need of it. Angel could deal with her jealousy. He could try to ignore his growing feelings for Cordelia. What he couldn’t dismiss was that Drusilla had seen all of this in a vision. “You saw death?”

Sounding like a frightened child she whispered, “The blood, it calls to me.”

“Who’s death, Dru?” He needed to hear it from her lips. Had she seen Cordelia’s death? The questions raced through his head too jumbled to make their way to his lips. Closing around a fistful of hair, Angel yanked her back, his eyes rimmed with gold. “Tell me what—?”

Spike cut him off, suddenly standing at his side. “Get your hands off Dru. You can’t touch her. Don’t want you touching her.”

Realizing that he had been so caught up with what Drusilla was saying that he hadn’t noticed Spike climbing out of the cavern, Angel angrily let go pushing the vampiress into Spike in order to take up a better position. “I’ll do more than that if Dru doesn’t give me some answers.”

“Here about your little kitten?” Spike chortled as he moved Dru into a safer spot. She only moved in close behind him, her eagerness obvious. Praising Spike for coming to her defense, she winked at Angel as her lover continued to bait him. “Got claws, that one. Tasty bit by the scent of her. Must be nice curling up with that warm little pu—”

“Don’t say it,” warned Angel. “I didn’t come here for you, Spike. Those bruises will be nothing next to what you’ll get if you get anywhere near Cordy.”

Every murderous instinct inside him rose up straining for release. He had more than enough reason to kill Spike. Not that he should need one. Cordelia’s voice sounded in his head, ‘Hello, soulless vampire’. The justification was there if he went for it.

“I’m not planning on shagging your chit, Peaches. Don’t get so testy.” Spike took out a pack of cigarettes and a silver lighter from his back pocket. Lighting one, he took a long drag, clearly giving Angel a chance to bite back. Spike would just as soon fight as not, but Angel wasn’t taking the bait.

He ignored the smoke blown in his face as he stood nose to nose with Spike. “Get out of Sunnydale. Leave tonight.”

“Dru says we’re stayin’,” Spike shrugged as if he had no choice in the matter. He didn’t, really. “She’s got this thing about seeing to your happiness. Says we’ll all pay for it if that cuddly pet of yours dies. Considerin’ that you almost sucked the whole bleedin’ world into hell the last time you didn’t get your way, I think I’ll let the bint live.”

Scowling, Angel’s jaw clenched tight. Only a thin line of control kept him from crushing Spike’s nose with his fist. “Just stay the hell away from Cordelia. That goes for both of you.”

“Blood and death: that is all I see.” Drusilla nuzzled her cheek against Spike’s shoulder, a pout on her lips. “Blood will spill. Death will bind us.”

“Dammit, what does that mean? Give me some details.” Fear resounded in his voice. Angel saw the glint of satisfaction in Spike’s blue eyes, but he ignored it as he focused on Dru. She had to have the answers. Getting them out of her in some coherent form was the challenge.

Slowly, Drusilla detached herself from Spike’s weak embrace to saunter in his direction, a look of fear and awe masking her face. “Love her, my Angel. For if not, her path will set the darkness free.”

Scene 49

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