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04 February 2010 @ 03:17 pm
Azaleas under London Rubble [Angel/Drusilla, Angel/Darla]  
Title:Azaleas under London Rubble
Pairing: Angel/Drusilla, Angel/Darla
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Genre: Drama, Horror, Tragedy
Rating: R
Word Count: 1,516

Azaleas under London Rubble

 

She was beautiful (and she was young).
She smiled (and her skin strained to break).
She was a saint among the garbage, the adamant rubbish (and she was going to pay down in hell).

It had been an accident. It had been Darla. One day, dusted under misty breaths expelled from wharfs and below stone bridges—curling over and enveloping—Darla saw a girl emerging from Church. Dressed in white, laced up tight, all covered and shivered, Drusilla was an idealized, surreal china-doll. Frigid, rigid, giddy, and gelid the old London air, the girl was a miniature princess with portrait-glazed airs and grace. Darla hardly kept her wits in place.

“She’s unbelievable, you know. I stopped and stared at her for five minutes before her mother pulled her away. You’d like her, Angelus. She’s young and not-quite ripe, just your type.”

“So you’re giving her to me?”

“Why not? You’ve been a good boy.”

And Darla kissed her own little child on the neck, thinking of the nonexistent pulse that ran through iced veins. That night, Darla planed to take her to his next side project.

-

Every night right before bed, Drusilla kneeled on slippery stones and prey fervently. She prayed for her mother for her father for her sisters and always her uncle. Dear Lord in Heaven, thy Kingdom…thy Name…thy… —shh, there’s a scratching at the windowpane. 

She paused.
And thought.
And nearly broke her neck.

Dear Lord in Heaven…

“Why do you insist on toying with the prey?”

“Darla, darling, dear, it’s fun and daring.”

“You’ll have to kill her eventually.”

“In due time.”

Over her shoulder, Drusilla thought she spied a shifty, sneaky little shadow (the visions). She hugged herself, constrictions in ribboned-apparatus, and begged to be normal and good. She wanted to be pure and holy. She wanted liberation and freedom and all things impossible.

(Behind a darkened pillar, Angelus smiled and hummed a lovely sepulchral tune.)

-

“Mother, today I had another…incident.”

“You must pray more, my dear. That’s the only way to cleanse your body of the evil.”

-

London was a city of sickness, of ill-breeding and lunacy. Streets ran sour with accumulated filth and carcasses piled high and staggering (tallied on rough-drawn tablets). The stench permeated the old walls and the new clothes. Feet shuffling across cobblestones, dirtied faces and dirtier hair peeking through, and thousands of tiny whispered desperations floating and unheard.

London thrived on the blood of the departed and made its power, sucking them all raw, and it was perfect. This was the picturesque scene. This was where they made their home. A large house on west side front. A large carriage and snorting steeds. Ruffles and corsets and cravats. They pretended well, spoke the tongue and mimicked the steps, and for a while that was enough. Darla was proud, and Angelus was brooding (but it was quiet and that was alright).

“She hears my voice; it never leaves,” Angelus said.

They sat in their sunless, yellow-baked (the impersonated sun) room and sipped coffee in cheery, rosy leisure and dimpled languor. Sometimes Darla recited poetry, voice mocking and hushed. And sometimes he recited verses back, telling her all the awful ways he wanted to kill that little girl.

“If you say so, darling,” Darla shrugged, glancing back at the news.

“She denies it. If you could just hear her Confessions. They’re haunting, nearly hypnotic. I think she’s losing it.”

“I still don’t see why you are so obsessed. Kill her, eat her, done with it.”

“Patience is a virtue.”

“Of course. You are the saint of virtuous men.”

Tick tock, on the dot, sidewalk-washed, paper and ink ripping scald.

London was the city of sin already in decay.

-

Drusilla had the fortune to be an aristocrat. Born into wealth and privilege, she learned to chant Vergil and Cicero and occasionally Aristotle if her tutor were feeling particularly cruel. He taught her the language of demons and gods and the trifling existence of in-between. Drusilla learned, was fascinated, and prayed even more vehemently.

“The soul is the most crucial thing humans have.”

She jotted down notes like a good student.

“Compassion, humility, obedience, etc. You can’t be good and worthy of His Great Love without understanding them.”

She nodded and wrote even more furiously.

It was imperative. It was her immortal soul at stake, and that was the one thing she loved the most. AVE Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Maria was long dead, but Latin was a language that never lied. It rested comfortingly in the palm of her hand, sick with grief and simpering with envy, but it stayed.

On the Ide of March, Drusilla’s tutor was found slain and decapitated (head gone, torn off in chunks) and stashed whimsically behind an alleyway. Written across his chest, branded like from a poker burnt deep to scar were Seneca’s now infamous words: Dum inter homines sumus, colamus humanitatem.

There were no such things as souls.

-

“I hope you’ve finally had your fun,” Darla said.

“Not even close,” and Angelus replied, “I still have the sisters left.”

(Purgatory was the worst.)

-

The visions were increasing in frequency, in intensity, in all the ways she wished she could be absolved of. They change daily like a lens out-of-focus or the kaleidoscopic invention some scientist cried as a delightful marvel. Sometimes they showed her lovely things like a puppy kicking its legs and other times the puppy had no legs.

Her sisters shirked away when the episodes occurred, feigning ignorance, shying away, and never looking her in the eye. Mother scolded and admonished and implored that she stop. Father scowled, petted her head, and was inexorable (at least it was in her defense). By and by the course of half a year, nothing ever changed. The visions slipped (reality was slipping) and one day, Uncle didn’t come home.

“He must be late,” the mother said.

“Or stopped in a tavern for a quick drink,” second sister laughed.

“Or a quick something else,” first sister smirked.

“Hush girls. We must wait,” and father was the final say.

But Dru knew. Uncle was never coming home.

Up the stairs, no candlelight (a dead moon) and down long, perpetually teetering corridors. Enter. Drusilla crept into her bedroom quietly, closed the door with a barely audible click. She cast off her veil (erased her face) and prepared the night’s ritual of prayer and penitence. On her knees, back ramrod straight. Quivering, shuddering, her hands clutched her rosary and ached in fear.

“This was your fault.”

“Who’s there?”

“Come on, Dru, don’t play dumb. I’m your angel, remember?”

“No. You’re the devil. Go away!”

“Fascinating option but no. Your uncle begged for mercy. He was weak—and a fool. I wonder how your father would fare. They are brothers.”

“Daddy…Daddy doesn’t…”

“Drink? Oh I know. Your uncle rarely imbibed too, but Darla is quite the persuasive minx. Now tell me, Dru, what do you feel like playing tonight? I was thinking of guillotine.”

“Why do you torment me?”

“Why do you ask?”

“I need to know!”

“But I don’t want to answer.”

“Please…just leave me alone. Our Father in Heaven, Our Lady full of Grace, Our Lord and—

“Stop it, Dru. It’s really tiresome hearing the same shit spewed time and time again. Haven’t you got anything more creative? Why don’t you pray to me for a change? Liven things up.”

Our Father—”

Drusilla screamed and it was all a dream. But Uncle still hadn’t come home, and Daddy was getting worried.

-

She was eighteen when her eldest sister died. The death was classified as an inexplicable murder officially, and for a while, it went unquestioned. The family mourned (Drusilla the most; she knew) and friends and neighbors joined in sorrow. She had been a good child, very beautiful—that was the most important quality—and docile. And sweet natured and obedient. The litanies grew exponentially till they bordered in absurdity. For ten continuous days, the mother refused to eat. She declared it was only right to fast in honor of her late daughter. The father grew sullen, lost a few pounds himself, and there were rumors of maddened depression.

On the Sunday two weeks from her sister’s death, Drusilla received a parcel. Nondescript and compact, it had a leering trait. Hidden in the doorway, she extended a cautious hand out and grabbed the brown-wrapped boxy thing before running inside.

Snip-snip the laced strings fell apart, dropped to the floor like dead centipedes in the heat of summer. The paper crackled, waxy and tainted with something foul-smelling. Drusilla gingerly peeled back the outsides and inspected its innards. A ring, a splintered bone, and an azalea.

Dear Dru,
Your tutor was a fool. But your sister was sweet, though I’m guessing not as sweet as you. Incidentally, what does your Mummy wear to bed every night?

P.S. Azaleas require half the sunlight of normal flowers, did you know that?

 
 
 
Erica.: Angel and Darla untouchedlady_e2484 on February 5th, 2010 11:41 am (UTC)
LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Can't wait for more ;)
Charlottedharkapparition on February 5th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
This is excellent.
lovesrogue36 on February 8th, 2010 06:59 am (UTC)
Oooh fun - I love fics with these four. And well-written too. Great job! :D
hyperemmalawlzhyperemmalawlz on February 20th, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
Oh, this is gorgeous and horrifying and amazing and I LOVE YOU.

:D