The screaming had stopped hours ago, after he'd smoked his first cigarette. Since then, three more had burned down untouched, filling the air with the familiar scent of smoldering tobacco. There was a foul taste in his mouth from the first one, but he made no move to wash it away with the bottle of tequila resting near his boot.
The porch swing was old, its paint peeling, and a creaky hinge had been keeping the time as he swung slowly and slightly. Forward, back, forward, back. A rhythm oddly like life: no matter what you did, you still ended up hanging in the middle wondering what the point was to setting yourself in motion in the first place.
After hours of relative stillness, staring at nothing, he turned his head as the screen door banged open. Drusilla stepped delicately out, arms flung wide, a rapturous expression on her face, as if carried on a breeze... or swept away by some knight in shining armor.
His armor, he knew, looked quite tarnished through Dru's eyes. But it wasn't anything a nice smearing of blood wouldn't cover.
"Have fun, Poodle?" he asked dryly, his voice conveying his annoyance.
She whipped about and her arms dropped, as if she hadn't noticed him there when she made her entrance onto the porch. "Shhhhh!" she scolded, holding up a reproachful finger. "You've been naughty!"
He didn't disagree. Didn't say any of the things on his mind. Didn't point out that she'd been the naughty one -- with a Chaos Demon, of all things! -- or that he really had nothing to apologize for.
No, logic didn't work with Drusilla. He'd learned that long ago.
"I know," he sighed. He crushed out his cigarette with the toe of his scuffed black boot.
"You didn't get to play!" Drusilla continued, in a kind of taunting sing-song. Her feet began stepping rapidly, carrying her in a dance of her own making about the sagging porch. "Spike's been naughty, so he couldn't play with Princess!"
He couldn't contain another sigh, but she didn't seem to notice.
"It was so lovely, Spike," she murmured, a dreamy look in her eyes. She sat gingerly next to him on the bench, perched there like a bird that would take flight again at any second. "Such a wonderful gift. All the blood..."
She trailed off, and he turned his head again to look at her. The evidence of her "play" was splattered over the front of her white dress in a senseless pattern that would've made the fashion world murmur in awe, if the effect hadn't been achieved through the arc of severed arteries.
They sat silently for a moment, side by side, her bare arm brushing against his. Then she stood abruptly, whirled around to look down at him imperiously and said, "Now my Spike may play."
He was on his feet immediately, the motion smooth and much anticipated after hours of stillness. Drusilla laughed and pranced away when he reached for her, his fingertips barely brushing against the material of her sleeve. She began spinning again, the blood-stained white dress flaring out around her and her bare feet thumping hollowly on the old wood of the porch.
His hands reached into the whirling storm of limbs and hair to grab her face, his firm touch stilling her. Two sets of burning yellow eyes met, locked, and then their lips met, too, in a ravenous kiss. She bit his tongue, and his teeth punctured her lip, and their stolen blood mingled in their locked mouths. His kiss tasted of stale cigarettes, and hers of cheap wine, but the blood washed it all away.
Drusilla moaned, pressing close against him, her hands crawling up underneath his shirt, her fingernails leaving bloody furrows in his skin. He growled in response, grasping her arms and tugging them to the front, where he held them tightly. She growled back, playfully snapping her elongated teeth at him, then she twisted from his grip and sprinted like a gazelle into the house.
He yanked the screen door back open before it could even fully close and followed the patter of her feet through the place. The house was old, but not falling down, and the interiors were much nicer than the outside would have onlookers believe. And as an added bonus, it had a spacious, dark basement, which had quickly become Drusilla's playpen.
The blood of the old Mexican couple he'd killed for the place had tasted foul on his tongue, and their deaths had been performed indifferently. The murder had been a perfunctory one: something he had to do to secure the house, and he'd taken no joy in it. It had been a long time since death had thrilled him.
He found Drusilla in the bedroom, her dress haphazardly tossed over a chair and she herself spread out, gloriously naked, over the king-sized bed. Her fingers brushed up and down over the slight, gently rounded curve of her belly, her nails barely scraping the flesh. Her legs were spread, just slightly, inviting and tantalizing.
Her eyes were black and bottomless when she looked up at him, then her hand strayed lower, and a wicked grin spread across her face. The index finger of her other hand bent, and he stepped toward her, as if a string were attached to his heart and the other end was wrapped around her finger. If he didn't go to her, he would run the risk of his heart being pulled right from his chest.
She smiled widely at him, pulling him onto the bed with her. The sun that rose over the Mexican horizon didn't touch them, though it tried hard to penetrate the spray-painted and boarded bedroom windows.
They spent the day in bed, making love and playing like puppies and curling around each another while they slept. Drusilla was wonderfully strong, her recovery complete and her power at its peak. Spike touched her with all the passion he felt, communicating his love without words. Their joining carried an undercurrent of desperation, because they both understood: those daylight hours were their last as lovers, and darkness would part them for good.
He slipped from her embrace as the room darkened almost imperceptibly, signaling the sun's exit from the sky.
"You'll go back to Sunnydale." Coming from her lips, it was not a question.
"It's home," he answered, with a shrug. When he turned to look at her, his fingers deftly buttoning his jeans, she almost looked disappointed. "I'm not the demon I used to be, Dru."
She smiled, sadly, and crawled across the bed, her feet meeting with the floor. She moved lightly, almost seeming to float; her fingertips rested on his chest so softly that he barely felt them there.
"You are the demon you always were." Her voice was faint, but earnest. "You've simply stopped trying to be the demon that others want you to be."
She turned her back to him, crossing to the closet to retrieve clean clothing, and they finished dressing in silence. They left the house more easily than they'd acquired it, their arms linked together as he walked her outside. Drusilla's playthings were abandoned to the house, which would soon stand empty with the exit of the vampire couple.
They parted ways on the front porch, and she took a seat on the swing as he descended the steps to his waiting DeSoto. He paused with the door open, looking back at her over the top of the car. Her dress billowed slightly in the hot breeze, and she swung her legs underneath the bench like a little girl.
"You'll be alright?"
She smiled at him, beautifully, like some dark Madonna. A response was not necessary: for the first time since her death and rebirth... she would be fine on her own. She would *flourish*.
He nodded once, but didn't climb into the car. "I love you," he said, passion spent and falling away like the last drop of water from a leaf. His love changed into something deeper, something old; a piece of the past that would remain with him, but no longer govern his heart.
"Always," she responded, and though her voice had been barely more than a whisper, it was carried to him on the wind. "Go and find the life that was meant for you."
Blood and cigarettes lingered on his tongue, and the taste served as a reminder of the past. Dust billowed out from under the car's tires as he raced toward California, Drusilla quickly fading from view.