Lucifer in Starlight
Author Notes: OK, couple of song credits: David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” and “Scream Like a Baby” and Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life”. There’s also a very obscure reference to the Jeffery Eugenides book “The Virgin Suicides.”
Story Notes: Now It’s Dark #3.
Disclaimer: Joss, Chris, 1013, Mutant Enemy, FOX, whoever I missed. Blah blah blah copyrightcakes.
Summary: Drusilla’s baby girl starts bringing back memories of the way it used to be. And Dru’s thinking that a change would do everyone good.
“I dream’d a dream to-night.”
“And so did I.”
“Well, what was yours?”
“That dreamers often lie.” –Romeo & Juliet, 1.4
There are shooting stars blazing up every time my baby girl smiles.
But she doesn’t smile nearly enough. Her face is sad, like she’s been dreaming only of dead things. I want to watch her blue eyes light up with laughter, with delight, with something besides that cold, dark bitterness that surrounds her like a cloak of night.
My Dana is Darla, Angelus, Spike–my entire family reborn. Every time I watch her move soundlessly through the night, I know. I see my darling Spike in her smile. I hear Angelus’s proud voice in every syllable Dana speaks. I can even feel Darla making hard, mean faces at me every time we leave another fancy business dripping with blood.
Tonight, we’re all play, but it’s not enough.
“I want to take you to Prague,” I say, perching on the merry-go-round. Dana likes parks. We go and she swings on the swings until I think that she’ll fly into the moon. And I know by her laugh that she once pretended she was so grown-up and proper. Now all of the little girl in Dana has slipped out. Now it dances in all the places little girls shouldn’t dance.
“But I don’t speak Czech,” she yells back, soaring higher.
“You speak German, though. That’s good enough!” I reply. “You’re making me dizzy.”
“You were already dizzy from spinning,” Dana tells me very seriously.
I stick my tongue out at her. “You’re the one who brings us here every night. Can I help it if my head is spinning?”
Her feet disappear over my head and I hear a loud squeal as she leaps out of the swing, over the merry-go-round and on her feet behind me. There’s a smile on her face. Then Dana bends over where I’m sprawled out and shakes her head.
“You are inexplicable,” my new baby girl says, eyes glittering. “What on earth are you looking at?”
“The stars,” I say, drawing myself up into a sitting position. “They whisper secrets about who you are.”
“And who am I?” she asks sharply. How very much my girl reminds me of Darla now. Poor dead Darla. Staked to death by Angel’s soul. Horrible soul. Darla thought I didn’t know anything. Silly. I knew how to live, didn’t I? Did she?
“You are my very own wonderland,” I say, turning around slowly and smiling. “I want to see you dance. I want the world to burn to give you the light you deserve.”
“I don’t know. I think the city out there is just fine for light,” she says, pulling me off the spinning merry-go-round. “Let’s dance.”
Dana throws her arms out wide, just the way Spike used to, turning big circles and singing. She’s dreadful. She’ll wake every cat in the neighborhood.
“You’re hurting my ears!”
“Sorry!” she tells me, not at all sorry, grabbing my hands. “Drusilla, let’s go dancing. Let’s put on our red shoes and dance the blues. Let’s–”
“All right, we can dance,” I say, throwing my arm over her shoulder. “Because you have red shoes strapped to your soul.”
She sticks her tongue out at me.
“Naughty cub,” I reply.
We walk out of the park and it seems only seconds before the air is bleeding with drums and music and I can see sparkles turn different colors all over my skin. There is beauty everywhere.
And Dana’s laughing with every step.
“God!” she screams over the din of the music and the cries of the sparkles. “Did I ever tell you that I never understood nightclubs? I always thought they were full of desperate people forcing themselves to have fun. But now–”
“Everything old is new again?” I ask slyly.
She ignores me, or maybe she just doesn’t hear.
“I want a shot of tequila!” she roars over the bar, every part of her lost in the moment. Just like my Spike. I can almost see his eyes in her face. “Make that six shots of tequila. I have a lust for life.”
I can’t stop laughing. Dana takes the first shot of tequila and bolts it down, turning to me coyly and triumphantly.
“What’s so damn funny?” she asks, looking at me sidewise.
“You talk in song fragments and riddles. I think when I figure you out, I’ll know the end to all the stories,” I reply. My girl rolls her eyes and tilts her head.
“But that’s so easy.”
“What?” I shout over the roars of the music and the crowd. “What’s easy?”
“The end to all the stories,” she says. “It’s just– the end. No more. Nothing. That’s how it ends. Finis. We will never find the pieces to put them back together.”
I think she has three shots of tequila at once and she laughs again. How strange that it sounds just like broken glass crashing over the floor. Maybe that’s just the shotglass slipping off the nasty, dirty bar. But my mind is spinning. I’m spinning, because of what she has just told me in utter jest.
Find the pieces. Put them back together. Put us back together. It could be done. I’ve been wandering alone too long, I know now. Like a lonely wind. I understand everything now.
I’ve lost her already, in the time it took to think one thought. She’s dancing again, and her shoes are redder than blood, redder than rubies, and when they dance, so does she. Though this is not the dance she thinks it is. I can see what she’s looking for. The last dance, someone to take all the way to the wall and then– well.
No more. Nothing. That’s how it ends.
I want to change the story. I want to make an ending made not of silence and dust, but of moans and subtle screams–something new, made of black flowers and blood so rich it could be wine. The air is whispering the ways it can change. I can hear the secrets that the drums murmur between beats and they’re telling me to do wicked, wonderful things.
The way things were–but better. I can do that. Or if I can’t, my baby girl can. They always can when they’re young. I remember when my Spike killed his first Slayer and burst out into everything he was meant to be. We need to kill this Slayer, the horrible thing. A Slayer’s blood could change the world, bring what I’ve lost back to me.
And there before me on the dance floor, unaware of anything, covered in glowing silver sparkles, is the one who will bring everything back. I understand everything now. She smiles at me, waving at me to come over, to slide between all these warm, wet human bodies that smell of life and death and join her.
“Is it strange?” I ask, brushing against her.
“Is what strange?”
“Seeing them and knowing that you were once just like them?” I ask, sliding past slowly.
“I was never like anyone,” she replies in a warm, dark voice. Her eyes are fixed on something in black leather. I watch her watching him, the way his shoulders are held so tense. He can feel it. He knows that he could die tonight. But he doesn’t know why. “Ever.”
She licks her lips, slowly, raising them into a smile and catching the eye of her black leather man. She arches her neck, arches her back, and closes her eyes just for a second. He doesn’t look at anyone except her as he parts his way into the crowds, brushing past me, falling into her.
“Who are you?” he asks. “I know you, don’t I?”
Just like Darla, she draws him in, putting her arms on his shoulders. Like Spike, she smiles at me, a subtle grin. I know the ending of this story already, don’t I? Her eyes never leave his after that, pulling him out of his skin, into hers. The tension slips out of his shoulders and he’s meat. He’s lost and he knows it–but he wants it all the same.
It would be delicious if it weren’t so easy. A lamb to the slaughter. Fluffy and white and slightly woolly.
Her lips meet his ear. I can’t hear what she’s saying. I don’t have to. I’ve heard enough.
They blur away and I wait, swaying closer and closer to the door into the alleyway. I think of Angelus. I can almost see him, glowering like a particularly gassy pastor. Thinking of nothing but Darla and the kill. He’s so far away. I can’t hear him. But I know where he is. I think I need to go to him. To bring back the past, I must find my family.
Dana is holding him by the throat in the alley when I emerge. He’s gurgling, trying to say something that will stop her.
“Just talk about nothing,” she says airily. Her other hand is on his crotch and she’s starting to squeeze. “I’m so distracted that any talk might just make me yank and–”
Out of the corner of her eye, she sees me. So does he and his eyes widen, begging me to do something.
“Drusilla,” she drawls. “Do you want to watch?”
He whimpers. I nod and she turns her attention back to the man in black. Her hand slides away from his throat, but she still has him pinned to the wall.
“Don’t worry,” she murmurs. “You’ll be able to scream all you want soon. Scream like a baby.”
Dana starts to drink and then stops. “How’s that feel?” she asks. He blinks dumbly, moaning in agony. She rubs up against him, slinking like a cat. He keeps moaning. “Not as good as this, I bet–”
When she’s finally done, she lets go of him, pulls a gun out of her purse, and shoots him three times in the head. I look at her and shake my head. Everything that has changed in my life is because of my girl Dana. I know that she’ll understand the new plan.
“Dru?” she finally asks. “What’s going on?”
“We have to go to Los Angeles,” I say. “We have to find Angel. I want to reunite the family and he’s the only one I know I can find. Will you come with me? We can change the ending. Be a family again. Make all the little piggies scream.”
Her lips are dripping with blood and the light in her eyes screams of the delight she’s just experienced.
“Of course, Dru,” she says. “You know, I’m tired of dancing. Let’s go get a room. It’s almost tomorrow.”
We disappear into the night, the red shoes still strapped on tight. But I don’t care. Tomorrow, the book that was over starts again. I’m going to write a new ending.
Because after all, all the best stories end happily. And what’s happier than my family being together again to do as they will?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.