Season of Solace. 93-94

93:     The Study, Crawford Street Mansion, Central Sunnydale


The last thing Angel wanted right now was company. He certainly did not need any opinions on whether or not he had done the right thing. Buffy should understand. She had been there. Felt the brunt of what could happen when he lost his soul.

“Angel, she’s telling the truth, isn’t she?” asked Buffy in spite of the audience. Her two friends had not budged from their positions on the floor. “I heard her say—”

“Get out,” he could not hold back the growl in his voice. “Go patrol. Do something. Just don’t talk to me right now.”

An audible gulp sounded, “Going now,” as Willow and Xander scrambled to their feet.

“Buff, we should just go. Maybe…maybe I should take Cor to my house,” Xander suggested. “The demon would never find her there.”

“The hell you will,” Angel whirled around to face him. “It’s too dangerous. What just happened changes nothing. As long as Cordelia is in danger, she’s staying with me.”

“But…,” Willow’s protest fell silent under his fierce glare.

When Buffy signaled for her friends to leave them alone together, Angel watched them disappear down the hall. They seemed reluctant to go, worried as if they did not trust him.

The silence grew until it was thick in the air. Angel sensed Buffy’s desire to talk about what she had overheard. It was not her business, but it was clear that neither of them was going to get past this without a confrontation. Fine, he decided. The sooner it happened, the faster he would be able to get outside to begin his patrol of the grounds.

Buffy’s attempt at sounding nonchalant failed. “So, you’ve been dating Cordelia,” her voice smacked of betrayal. “I knew something was going on.”

Angel did not see the need to respond to facts she claimed to know though he did feel sorry for hurting her feelings. That was something he had never planned. A demonic surge of satisfaction burst even as his thoughts denied any pleasure at such an injury. He fought against it closing himself off from enjoying a spark of revenge.

“I-I heard what she said about the curse being broken,” Buffy said it again this time with a little awe. “What happened, Angel? How long have you known?”

Angel stared dumbfounded. It took him a moment to catch up. She overheard that he and Cordy had sex jumping to the conclusion that because he was still himself and not Angelus that the curse was gone. “Broken? Tonight is not the kind of night for pure bliss. Her grandmother just died.”

“Hence the pity sex,” Buffy nodded as if that was making sense.

Angel could not deny that Cordelia might come to that conclusion no matter how far it was from the truth. Maybe it was for the best. It gave him an excuse to protect her from himself. Even if she hated him.

Not bothering to correct Buffy’s assumption, Angel tried to focus on what needed to be done next. He was standing quietly, thoughts turned inward, body tense as Buffy returned to the issue of his curse. Angel half listened as she went on about Angelus and the gypsies. She was like a little blonde terrier nipping at his heels.

“Cordelia said—,” Buffy broke off and rephrased. “I heard Cordelia say that you could have sex anytime you wanted. With anyone. Y’know, as if the curse was gone.”

Angel had heard the words when Cordelia said them, but brushed it off as believing it meant he could have sex with someone he did not love. Buffy had heard it differently. He suddenly remembered something Cordy said when they were making love. It was when he was trying to hold back. She encouraged him to continue. He had listened, of course, being a selfish bastard, not really wanting to stop.

“It can’t be.” Angel realized that Cordelia knew something he did not. She had been so sure that it was safe for them. There had been no fear of Angelus, no thought of danger.

The image of Drusilla saying something to Cordelia filled his head, the blush that flushed her cheeks afterward. Was it possible that Dru had known something and shared it with Cordy? He did not feel any different than usual, but that had to be it. The secret smiles and teasing all added up to the fact that Dru knew something had changed about his curse. Something that suggested it was safe for him to make love to Cordelia. Ironically, he had just broken up with her. Not to mention pissing her off in the process.

“What is it?” Buffy was caught between looking nervous and hopeful.

Angel’s head snapped up. He stared unseeingly as another image came to him. It was that of himself and Drusilla back at Trinity Church. ‘The nasty soul is here to stay,’ she had told him before telling him that it stank of his love for Buffy. At the time, he had been too concerned about Cordelia’s safety to think about what she had said.

Stunned at the realization, Angel’s jaw dropped. “My soul— it’s secured. Drusilla had a vision. She told me weeks ago, but I didn’t get it.”

“No more Angelus?”

He lifted both hands to his chest as if seeking out a difference in the way he felt. “I don’t understand, but it has to be true.”

“Oh my God,” her eyes sparkled with tears. “This is wonderful. Angel, I can’t believe it. Don’t you see what this means? This could change everything.”

Angel hoped that was the case. That it was not too late to start over. “Yes it does,” his fingertips traced the curve of her face, fully acknowledging her meaning, and feeling a hint of regret, “but not between us.”

With a soft-spoken apology, Angel left the study to go after Cordelia.


Scene 94


The Factory, Westside, Sunnydale


This was not one of Dru’s good days. Moments of clarity were rare when she retreated into her own little world. Spike had learned long ago not to rock the boat. It was better to play along.

Having waited her out, Spike finally had the satisfaction of seeing Drusilla emerge from the bedchamber. She ignored him completely and set about making a fresh pot of tea for herself and Miss Edith. The goggle-eyed dolly was certainly getting more attention than he was tonight.

Spike glared at the porcelain-faced doll. If Miss Edith was real or could talk, he had a feeling she would know a lot about what went on in Drusilla’s head. Whatever Dru was up to when it came to Angel and his hot little pet was still a mystery. He only hoped it did not come back to bite him on the ass.

Lucky for them both that Drusilla seemed to be protecting the girl instead of her usual reaction to Angel’s playthings. Jealousy never worked out well for her. The evil sod usually left her begging for the slightest touch. Spike would either be ignored or have her frustrations taken out on him. Not that he minded the latter.

He could even deal with the fact that Dru went a bit goofy in the head now and then. It was just a matter of waiting it out, playing along and making the most of the good days. Hell, at least it was not boring.

“Come to tea,” ordered Drusilla once she laid everything out and was seated at the table. Her hands were primly folded in her lap as she waited. “Miss Edith has something to tell you.”

The curly-cued doll sat at her usual spot with arms outstretched as if expecting a hug. Spike imagined ripping dolly’s head off and throwing her into the incinerator. Grinning at the thought, he crossed the room and lifted a leg over the seat of the chair before sitting down. “And what does dear Miss Edith have to say to Spike?”

“Napkin!” Drusilla scolded him forcing Spike to grab the white cloth and toss it into his lap. He was rewarded with a smile. “Good boy.”

Spike held back his growl. He was really going to have to go kill something if he managed to survive Dru’s little tea party. Still, he said, “Whatever you want, luv,” and meant it.

Leaning closer, Drusilla whispered, “Miss Edith is scared.”

Spike actually glanced at the doll before it kicked in that Drusilla was sharing her own feelings in a roundabout way. “Scared? Did Angel—”

“No, no!” The quick answer cut him off. “Angel wouldn’t hurt Miss Edith. She likes Daddy…most of the time.”

If it was not Angel barging in with accusations and threats, “Then what the bl—” He broke off at the sight of Dru’s eyes widening at his harsh tone. This was not one of those times when it would be easy to get information out of his afflicted sire.

Deciding to take a more indirect route, Spike addressed the doll instead. “No one will ever hurt you— or my Dru— while I’m around. Got it?”

“Spike is strong,” Drusilla nodded. Puffed up a bit at that compliment, Spike sat back, picked up his tea and took a large swallow. Only to spit some of it out when Dru translated, “But Miss Edith thinks Daddy is stronger.”

“Oy! That’s a matter of opinion— and wrong,” Spike barked. “Miss Edith can keep her blasted ideas to herself,” and muttered, “bloody doll.”

Worrying her lip with her teeth, Drusilla reminded him, “Be good. It scares Miss Edith when you are loud. She is afraid the bad men will find her.”

Still glaring at the porcelain doll, Spike took a moment to catch up with what Dru was telling him. “Bad men?” He realized Drusilla had seen something in a vision and this was her way of conveying something that frightened her. Looking right at her, he asked, “Who did you see, luv? What bad men? I’ll kick their arses and drain them before I let anyone touch a hair on your head.”

“What about Miss Edith’s hair, Spike?”

“Oh, bollocks.”

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