by Scy

Even before Dru walked with mysteries she knew that the stars could speak like the echoes of bells.

But it wasn't until night was a fierce tall shape taking her arm and reading stories to her from the sprawl of a corpse that she counted herself as secure.

"Where's my best girl?" Daddy called and she rolled out of the garden like a common beast.

The steps that she remembered better than her long-lost heartbeat came closer and she sat up, the stretch of her body, very feline, and the roll of her spine a curve that used to make Spike pin her before breakfast.

Angelus laughed when he saw her. "Gotten yourself positively filthy, Dru."

He pulled her up, never too rough until that perfect moment and eyed her with amusement.

"This'll have to go, honey," he noted, tugging on her gown.

She looked down and frowned. It hadn't been nice of the earth to tease and beckon until she had to put her ear close enough to catch its secrets.

"Come now, a little focus, Dru," his voice brought her back to the present.

"Slip your shoes off, I think they've had it too."

Dru obeyed, putting a hand on his shoulder and balancing as she wiggled her feet free.

"Such lovely slippers," she mourned, and went down with a flash of mud covering her eyes and mouth, unkind earth that clung to flesh as one struggled in the mire.

It took him stroking her nape to tailbone for longer than reassurance for her to stand again.

He was quiet, no grand plans or railing against the temerity of a girl who couldn't properly present herself to participate in the games that were thought up for her.

Of course, she never needed to ask what was wrong. Better than anyone she knew what his motives were, and they had never relied just on words.

She nudged the lost slippers away and felt his sleepy eyes fixed on her toes.

On her feet again she swayed once before leaning into him.

Her hand rested in his, and she blinked as his fingers moved in a pattern she recognized. His movements had the feeling of ritual. Incense and Latin blending with fumes of polish might put them in holy places.

Laying her head on his shoulder, she licked the artery under her lips, hungry. He might let her drink him, if she asked in a way that was pretty.

Like a book opening to a page she knew was coming, words and pictures revealed themselves. "There are flowers bleeding all over, they've been give wine, and slept through the fall of the knife."

"What kind of flowers?"

"Young. Too sweet not to be picked before their time."

"Just babies, then."

"Mmm, sweet, soft, begging to wake up."

"Should we let them?" He asked as if he knew the answer and only wanted her to repeat it back in her particular way.

"That would be quick, like curtains snapping open."

She glanced upward, knowing what she would see, grin that was like a switchblade cleaned with a rag and then would come kisses that hurt, as they should.

Twined together she felt strength flowing through her. A family should never let itself be torn apart by daylight's children, however well they reflected absent light. She knew that it was dreams of being like the sun-things that drained a vampire. When Daddy had been infected by something too good for him to remember his children he had been cut off from where he belonged. Dru had watched him walk at night and not take it as he used to, for the moon hoarded her power from those children who forgot her. But now the moon smiled at them and acknowledged freedom and the offerings they made in the night.

Now he let his girl spin and followed her, reading patterns and rhymes where she laid them for him to see.


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