A Family Affair
Chapter 13: A Family Affair
Usually after a battle Spike was relaxed, but then usually he had nothing more exciting to look forward to afterwards than following the Slayer home.
Not today. Today he didn't know what was going to happen. He was still mostly confident that the Slayer wasn't going to give him over to this Daryl fellow. Mostly. She had been keeping him at arms length, despite the fact that she was obviously still attracted to him.
She had given in so easily to the passion of the moment during that one training session, that how could Spike know that would be his one chance to dazzle her? Instead he'd let himself get caught up in the fun of the violent fucking.
And now it seemed like it was taking the Slayer a really long time to come and get him. He had been the last fight, she should have been at his cell by now. Instead he found himself pacing back and forth like a tiger in a cage.
As if to annoy him further, there was something tugging at the back of his mind. A vague sense of something familiar that he couldn't quite put his finger on, like a couple words of a song he couldn't remember the tune to anymore.
Finally the cell door opened to reveal a rather thoughtful looking Slayer. But she barely registered in his mind, it was the figure behind her that caught his attention.
"Darla?" he exclaimed as his mind tried to process the shock of seeing her.
Darla brushed past the silent Slayer and placed a finger under Spike's chin.
"Look at you, William," she said with a tone that he would have described as concerned if it had come from anyone other than Darla. "You always were getting into trouble, but this. . ." She brushed one of his curls out of his face with a familiarity that they had never shared. "I suppose it's my fault really. I left you and Dru on your own much too soon. But you were always so insolent, and I just didn't think you'd last long in the Master's court."
"What the bloody hell are you doing here?" Spike finally managed to ask. The caring Darla routine was freaking him out. Darla was many things, caring wasn't one of them, especially about him.
"William, Spike, I'm here to buy you of course. To set you free. I could hardly allow a member of the Order to be a slave, now could I?"
The Slayer finally joined the conversation. "This Order of Oreos thing that you're the Mistress of, does that mean you can pay, because Spike's worth a lot and if I decided to sell him, it won't be for cheap."
Spike had seen a look of annoyance pass through Darla's eyes at Buffy's mispronunciation, but she still managed to smile as she addressed the Slayer, "Order of Aurelius. And yes, I assure you, price isn't an issue."
There were a hundred questions Spike wanted to ask Darla, the first that came out was, "Does the Old Bat know you're calling yourself Mistress these days?"
"The Master is no longer concerned with this world," she explained. There was a slightly wicked gleam to her eyes which Spike actually found comforting. It was more like the Darla he knew and loved. "He finally succeeded. I was at his side when he opened the mouth of hell so that the Old Ones could return." She shrugged. "What can I say? I looked into hell and I didn't like the view so-"
"So you Hansel and Greteled the old codger," Spike finished for her. He shared her grin, "Can't say I blame you. Rather fond of the world the way it is myself." He never did understand why Darla, who was so fond of the finer things in life, would ever have tolerated the Master in the first place. Spike wasn't that surprised that she'd finally turned on him, even if he was her Sire. Which reminded him, "Have you heard anything about Dru lately?"
Darla gave him an apologetic smile, "She's in Finland, for some reason. I've been trying to getting her to come stay with me, but. . . you know how flighty she is, and I've been too busy to drag her home myself."
Hearing that Dru was okay was good, and yet it just compounded the fact that she'd gotten herself free and hadn't come to find him. Darla of all people was the one who had shown up. And although he wasn't sure he bought all of this nonsense about family and the Order, she was here and that counted for something.
Finally over the shock of seeing her, he looked at Darla for the first time and something caught his eye. He brushed her hair away from her neck to reveal a fading set of familiar bite marks.
"Getting the band back together are we?" he asked. "And just where is tall, dark, and forehead, and why couldn't he be bothered to come?"
And just like that, Darla's kind easy going manner vanished. For a moment he thought she was going to hit him. The Slayer obviously thought the same thing, because she moved away from the corner where she'd been watching the exchange and started in on Darla. But Darla restrained herself, although there was a great deal of emotion flashing in her green eyes.
"Angelus isn't well," she said softly enough to mask whatever emotion it was she was feeling. "I really have to be going. I have too many responsibilities. Think over my offer," she said to Buffy. "I'll be back in a few days to find out your decision."
And just like that Darla walked out and left, as if she hadn't just turned everything upside down.
"So that's your family, huh?" Buffy asked him after a few moments of silence.
"Guess so," Spike said. Just when he felt like he was starting to get a handle on what had just happened, her last words came back to him. Angelus isn't well.
What the hell could that mean? Vampires didn't get sick, and the thought that someone could have done something to Angelus disturbed Spike. He hadn't seen or heard anything of his grand-sire since WWII, but Spike had always assumed that Angelus was out there someone, making some poor sod's life miserable and generally being a dick. It was just one of those constants of the universe. The idea that Angelus was unwell shook Spike deeply. Angelus was simply too mean to be hurt, or so Spike had always thought.
"Are you okay?" Buffy asked. He nodded. "Well, we should get going then. Not that there are police here, but. . . I don't want to be around if they start asking questions."
That piqued Spike's curiosity even more, but he had the good sense to realize that this wasn't the place to ask about it. As much as he wanted to distract himself from worrying about Angelus, he forced himself to wait until they had made it back to the relative safety of the Slayer's house to ask her any more questions.
"So what's going on? Why were you so keen to get out of The Circle?" Spike asked.
"Darla killed Daryl," Buffy said matter-of-factly. "No one really seemed to care though. Why didn't anyone care?"
"Never met the fellow, luv. But demons tend to mind their own business," he said as helpfully as he could. Daryl's death was just one more reversal in what was becoming a rather topsy-turvy day for Spike.
"He wasn't a demon," she explained. "Or do you mean everyone else?"
"Oh, well in that case. . . Not many demons are going to get their panties in a twist of a vampire killing a human. Kind of a food chain thing. Does that bother you? That she killed Daryl?"
"Not so much. He was pretty awful," she admitted. "It's just. . . I don't know. She did it because he didn't want to leave you alone, so that was nice of her."
Spike fought hard not to laugh at the description of Darla as nice. "Well, I suppose there's that aspect of it too. If anyone did give her a hard time, she could always claim her right to defend a member of her clan."
"So you guys are close?" Buffy asked with obvious curiosity.
"Close? I wouldn't say that," Spike replied automatically, before he thought on it for a moment.
Darla's skin seemed almost golden as the firelight reflected off of it. It was winter in Russia, and although the cold couldn't hurt the vampires, they still enjoyed the warmth of a nice fire.
Darla grabbed the bottle of scotch and took a large swig. She'd been drinking ever since she and Angelus had had a hell of a fight. He was supposed to take Darla to the ballet that night, but instead he'd taken Drusilla promising her that she could eat prima ballerina after the performance so that Darla would never get to see her perform.
Spike was left to endure the enraged vampiress' temper. So far it hadn't been too bad. She'd hurled several things at him, and he was bleeding in a few places where he'd been hit by a stray piece of china, but she then she had decided to drink away her anger.
"The fire is so nice and warm, isn't it?" she said with a bit of a drunken giggle.
Spike only nodded, not wanting to draw too much attention to himself in case Darla needed a scapegoat. Beatings from Angelus he could handle, after all there were certain areas of his anatomy that he knew Angelus would leave alone. Darla on the other-hand couldn't be trusted to keep to that sort of gentlemen's understanding.
Darla put down the bottle, and her fingers began to undo the buttons on the front of her blouse. Spike was debating whether he should run for it while Darla seemed to have forgotten about him, or whether he should stay and watch the free show. It wasn't as if Darla was exactly modest. She could hardly blame him for looking could she? All right, she could, but that was hardly fair.
She tossed away her blouse revealing her corset and the pale breasts it bound. She leaned forward towards the fire, eyes closed. "It makes my skin so warm. Almost like being alive." She opened her eyes and looked right at Spike. "Would you like to feel?"
"Although," Spike added. "Darla and I have had our moments."
"Do you miss her? Do you miss your family?" Buffy asked.
"To be honest, I'm a bit pissed off at most of them, but yeah, I miss them."
Buffy nodded wearily, "I miss my family too."
Spike was about to ask her a bit more about her family, about where they were, and how she had ended up here, but she must have seen the questions in his eyes because she cut him off.
"It's been a long day," she declared. "You must be tired."
Despite his protests, she hurried him into his room and locked the door, leaving them both alone with their thoughts.
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