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Sunnydale had evolved into the closest thing there could be to a vampire heaven--free food, entertainment, no consequences. It was literally and figuratively bleeding fear. So, it was only logical Spike and Drusilla would follow the trail and partake in the festivities.

Spike had met the Master once before, many years prior. It was after Angelus had been ensouled and Darla abandoned him. She took Drusilla and Spike to meet her sire, the grand Master himself. The ultimate vampire figurehead. The Master seemed to have a stick rammed far up his ass and didn’t care about Spike and Drusilla much at all. It wasn’t too long after their meeting that the Master was trapped underground. Now he was free, living it up in California and providing for his children…so to speak.

This time he met the Master, he was treated with respect. Spike wasn’t sure if the Master was just in a good mood or that Spike and Dru, compared to the boring citizens only turned out of necessity, seemed like powerful traditionalists in comparison. Dru was a traditionalist, though Spike couldn’t say the same for himself.

Strangely, the two vampires the Master held in the highest regard, were teenagers. Well, he trusted them and they were easy to control, but Spike wasn’t sure if the Master really admired or cared for them in anyway. They were named Xander and Willow.

When you’ve been alive for long enough, and if you have the instinct and emotional intelligence, you can read a vampire. The defects, the errors in the system—the human aspects. When someone becomes a vampire, they lose their soul, their compassion, their disposition to love. But Spike wouldn’t say they lost their humanity. That is, the things that make them human; not kindness, not benevolence, but the fatal flaws. (The passion, as Angelus would say.)

Xander was a real, genuine idiot. He was a simpleton and did everything he was asked to. He played up his ‘badness’, but the only thing that kept his self-esteem intact were compliments and tasks from the Master. And the only thing stopping him from breaking and being thrown away like trash was his overwhelmingly large ego and need for attention. He needed a purpose given to him, because he couldn’t create one for himself. He was made to be a servant.

Willow (Red, as he liked to call her), however, was something else. She did what the Master requested, and she did it well, but it was with the same attitude Spike would have done it. She did it because it was a chore, not because she needed to prove something to herself. She didn’t spend her spare time wrapped up in her fresh personality like Xander was. She was vain, but a true type of vanity, not a superficial one. Spike couldn’t quite find the words to explain it. He suspected that in her human life she was constantly pruned, never left with the correct accommodations to grow.

Spike wondered why Red was paired up with Xander at first. She had so much potential; why did she let herself socialize with the likes of him? Worth is most often defined by your company, and if that was the case then Red was worthless. Then he realized she simply didn’t care. She knew she could do anything she wanted if she set her mind to it. But she was content with where she was, because if one day she decided to overthrow the world she could.

Spike didn’t know if the Master was ever human, but by now he was so far gone his connection to humanity could only be described as extinct. The Master wouldn’t—nay, couldn’t—understand. He couldn’t look beneath the surface and see the dangers to his authority Red might pose. He wasn’t human and could no longer recognize such things.

Soon after they arrived, Darla followed, eager to pay respects to her ensouled ex. It was at this point Red gave up on her… Puppy. She didn’t feel the need to fight Darla over him. It was fun while it lasted, but ultimately, didn’t matter.

It was at this point she began to socialize with Spike and Drusilla more. Most vampires besides Darla, Angelus and Spike didn’t like Drusilla. Hell, even their little family didn’t understand her half the time—but other vampires just found her insane (which she was) and uncomfortable. Red, however? She found Drusilla too comfortable for comfort.

Spike humored Drusilla’s fantasies, but Red enveloped herself into them. She took them seriously when with Drusilla, treated her like an equal. Spike couldn’t deny their connection or compatibility with one another. Red was even, perhaps, a good influence on her.

The way things worked with The Whirlwind was complicated. The four could all have each other, but two distinct couples were also formed. Angelus and Darla had their occasional outside relationships (one-night stands), but Dru and Spike didn’t work that way. Spike knew they weren’t just friends. He wasn’t stupid; he saw the way Drusilla looked at her. Yet, he was okay with this one. It would pass, after all. Dru was his and only his, in the end. Right?

 


 


“There is a sound box in my heart. It plays your ancient heartbeat. The one from before.” Drusilla whispered, caressing Willow’s scalp. Willow hummed, keeping her eyes closed, and responded: “What does it sound like?”

Drusilla gripped her scalp tighter and brought their faces closer. “Thump. Thump. Thump.” Each ‘P’ was exaggerated, but even. Willow reached her hands around the back of Drusilla’s head to undo her ponytail and let the locks fall loose on her shoulders. She suddenly opened her eyes, and took Drusilla’s hands in her own.

“You’re my stethoscope.”

Drusilla giggled, in her usual, wicked way. “I’m not a stethoscope, you silly, I’m a phonograph.”

“My mistake.” Willow murmured back, slowly moving her hands up Drusilla’s arms, dipping her face into the crook of Drusilla’s neck. “You’re my phonograph.”

In one swift movement, Drusilla snatched Willow’s cheeks with her fingers.

“You, Miss Willow, are just a sprout, not even a beanstalk yet…”

“Oh?”

Drusilla pricked her cheek with one of her long nails. “I’m going to feed you, but not with water. I’m going to grow you, but certainly not with sunshine, no, no. I will give you something much better. A substitute very unique. Because you, Miss Willow, are not a Willow Tree, you are a manchineel and I am going to reap your benefits, I am going to pluck your fruit.”

Willow cocked her head to the side, locking eyes with Drusilla.

“Alright.”