Drusilla...PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html (I guess I should use the old Bride of Frankenstein movie promo... "WE DEFY YOU TO READ!...DRUSILLA...and THE GROOM OF ROSENBERG...!"...anyway, Happy Halloween...)


  Simon Farris

Prologue... Transylvania...1896... The Inn at Borgo Pass...Run by a rather strange-looking proprietor...A small man, unusually deformed in spots...of a weasely aspect...His very expression suggesting a duplicitous nature...A man on sight not to be trusted... "Willie!..." the tall, dark figure in occupying the rearmost booth with a hearty Irishman of kindly aspect and wide girth...Called...In a Romanian accent... Count...? the ever-deferential Willie hastened over... "More of the usual for me..." the young-looking nobleman told him..."And whatever else my friend here would like..." "Just the same..." the Irishman raised his beer glass slightly... Willie deftly rushed the drinks over...Beer, a brandy, and a small shot glass full of a red-colored substance... A wolf outside howled...The youthful-looking nobleman smiled as he poured the red liquid into his brandy... Ah... Willie standing by a moment to see that all was well for his wealthiest steady customer...Rolled his eyes slightly... He knows the line coming by heart...Every tourist of any interest to the Count gets it... "Children of the night..." Vladimir Dracula, last-born of the Dracule...showed his white, unnaturally sharp teeth... What music they make...C'mon, c'mon finish it...Willie thought, sighing slightly... "What...Music...They make..." Indeed, sir...Bram Stoker, Irish-born novelist and traveler nodded... Willie pasted an indulgent smile on his face...Geesh, and it's his great-granddad the Impaler's line at that, the barkeeper thought...If old Vlad ever caught this punk kid using it... "Anything else, gentlemen?..." Vladimir waved a hand... "Well, Count..." Stoker beamed at him... "A fascinating tale...I've little doubt of its marketability...If you can agree to the few minor alterations I've described..." Hmmn...the count frowned slightly...Such a ridiculous ending for such a grand tale of passion and romance... The fragile foolish humans defeating him...Rescuing the damsel from his clutches... Still...One must be practical...This was a business transaction...To revive the badly depleted fortunes of the Dracule... This Stoker clearly knew his business...And what would pull the readers in... And he had to admit...The story recast in the Irishman's mold did have a certain strong appeal...As a Romanian nobleman he could sympathize with a gallant young husband risking life and all to save a beloved wife... Family values and all... And to be honest...At least to his own self...It was after all Great-granddad's story, not his... Great-granddad Vlad...Who'd given him Immortality...Then gone and bankrupted the family with his damnable, demented efforts to win redemption... Successful in the end to an extent perhaps...If the tales were true...but still...Ruinous... Wonderful old man...he cursed his ancestor... Zips off to England...Buys whatever it took to win his soul's freedom, and leaves me and the surviving others to eke out an existence with the remains...An Immortal existence to boot... Well...He'd done what he could to keep the family afloat...In as poor a country as Romania was...No thanks to old Vlad... Now, if the family honor must be compromised...The horrible truth of the Dracule existence revealed...And Great-grand-dad embarrassed... Tough...One must live...Well, Unlive... He eyed the instrument of the Dracule family's revival...Mr. Bram Stoker, Irish-born playwright and author...Whose fascinating, tragic book on the sinking of a great ocean liner by an iceberg had attracted his attention while searching for a fine, but relatively unknown...And therefore potentially disposable, if he became a nuisance...Writer to...Assist...In the work... An artist of great sensitivity...And apparently some secret knowledge of the Underworld judging by his surprising ability in magics on their first encounter...Holding him, a Prince of the Dracule, off with an unusual protective spell... A man of laudable courage, if somewhat foolhardy...Worthy of bringing the legend of the great and tragic Dracule to the world... As his, Vladimir Dracule's own... So what if old great-grandpa was pissed?...He was a redeemed soul again...Was he likely to come back and risk that to punish his wayward great-grandson?... But...To business...And the profits that would hopefully soon ensue... "Yes, my friend..." Vladimir sighed... "I agree...Let the young fool Englishman have his little fool of a wife...Let me...er my ancestor...Meet my fate..." "Nobly..." Stoker noted... "Dying with that expression of peace and release that assures our readers that even his condemned soul is at last free..." Indeed...Vladimir nodded... Yes...A great tragic death...For the sake of a good and virtuous woman... Should work well with the ladies as a future opening line...he thought...When they learn that the Dark Prince still lives... The inn door opened...A tall man entered, also dark of hair...Weary and rain-soaked from the road... With a somewhat hunted expression...Almost, one might say... A brooding one... Dracula looked back... Oh, shit...he sighed... Angelis... What the hell?... Willie had rushed to welcome his new customer... Leading him to another booth...From which Stoker and Dracula heard him apologize profusely for any slowness in service...Strictly owing to the lack of additional help... Hard to get folks these days...Though a new girl was starting tonight... Angelis nodded pleasantly...Looking carefully around the inn... Oh, shit... He nodded dutifully to Vladimir...One must show the proper respect to a Prince of the blood...Even if the fellow is an enemy of long-standing...And a stupid preening fool, living off the legend of his great ancestor... Thought all the surviving Dracule had moved to England...he irritably noted to himself... Still...A fellow vampire...A potential ally if the Slayer should still be tracking him... Right...Vladimir a potential ally...What am I thinking?...He'd gladly offer me as a peace offering, a token of his esteem... On the other hand...No point...And no safety...in showing his fear...Best to meet the fool head on and brazen it out...Hoping against hope that dear Darla had survived and would join him... Pity she wasn't here now...With Vladimir's moronic conceit about his power over all things female, she'd easily be able to draw him off and dispose of him quickly... Well... He put on a jaunty face and strolled over casually...Noting the large human sitting across from the Impaler's feeble descendant... Dinner?...No, Vladimir preferred female dinner companions...Unless he was really hard up for a meal... "Angelis..." Vladimir smiled coldly... "A pleasure, my dear fellow..." Count...Angelis smiled back, bowing slightly... "Mr. Stoker...May I present Mr. Angelis, a compatriot of yours..." Vladimir waved at Angelis... "Mr. Bram Stoker..." Angelis bowed slightly... "Mr. Angelis is a friend of some long acquaintance..." Vladimir nodded at Angelis Join us...Please...he frostily smiled...Signaling to Willie...Who hurried over... With a toothy grin, Angelis accepted a seat in the booth beside Dracula... "Whiskey...And the usual..." Angelis told the barkeeper... "On tour, Mr. Stoker?..."he asked the large man pleasantly... "Long way from home for both of us..." "A writing engagement..." Stoker explained... Ah... "And you, my friend..." Vladimir smiled...Just the lips... "What has brought you all this weary way from your adopted England...?" "I believe I might ask the same of you, Count..." Angelis returned a cold stare... "Your family had found a home in England when last we met..." "Ah...Only my dear great-grandfather and several of his "nieces" chose to make that journey permanent...Homesickness would never allow me to desert my beloved Motherland for more than a short time..." Vladimir shook his head... Stoker eyed the two carefully...The protective spell he'd secured in Bucharest to humor a concerned friend's...A secret member of the Watchers' Council...whim before coming out to accept the Count's offer of a writing collaboration had so far proven quite worth its weight in gold in dealing with the Dracule...But having little knowledge of the supernatural, he had to be careful about pushing the thing beyond its limits...And from what he'd learned from Dracula...And picked up himself along the way...It was clear this "Angelis" was also a powerful vampire... "But my dear Angelis...What has brought you so far?..." the Count's attempts to affect an unconcerned air clearly failing... He'd obviously heard...Angelis realized...And was afraid the Slayer might be in hot pursuit... And that this famed lady would not be swayed by his charms if she should make an appearance... After all, she knew Transylvania...And the Dracule...all too well... "Simply the pleasures of travel..."Angelis languidly waved a hand... "Broadens the mind, you know...And my business affairs in this part of the world required a bit of my attention...A happy coincidence..." "As is my finding you here tonight, my old friend..." he smiled... "And your dear...Wife...The divine Darla...?" Vladimir looked about the inn, a hair anxiously... Darla's reputation for stab-in-the-back ambush preceding her... "Enjoying the pleasures of Bucharest for a few days...I felt traveling in these wild parts might be a strain for her delicate frame..." Oh, brother...Vladimir rolled his eyes...Darla?...Delicate?... Bitch must be hanging around outside...He looked around the inn at his various scattered Roma retainers... So good to have loyal servants and expert killers...Even of the vampiral...At hand... "So...Mr. Stoker...?" Angelis politely turned to the human guest... "A writing assignment, you say..." "No difficulty for one of our people..." he pleasantly noted... "Especially in such a country...Filled with remarkable history..." "And tall tales..." he grinned at Vladimir...Who narrowly stared back... "Actually..." Stoker nodded... "I'm assisting Count Vladimir in telling some tales of the Dracule..." "Legends of course, but fascinating ones..." "Really...?" Angelis smiled at Vladimir... "Nothing of great interest to you, my friend..." the Count frowned coldly back... "Merely a novel based on tales passed down for centuries among our family..." A novel...? Angelis showed genuine interest... "You know...I've had some ideas for novel writing myself..." he turned back to Stoker... Indeed...the Irishman nodded politely... "Well...We must not detain you, my dear Angelis..." the Count began... "Not at all...I am staying the night...Far too...Violent..." he eyed Dracule... "A night outside for travel..." Hmmn...A hidden meaning in that one...Vladimir thought... Could the Slayer be that close...? "So..." Angelis cheerily concluded... "We can enjoy a pleasant evening's discussion...Together..." "Catching up on old times...And exchanging news of...Old friends..." "Mrs. Walthrop for example..." he added...Causally... Vladimir's face struggled to show no fear... "And the...Delightful...Mrs. Walthrop...? Is she...Traveling as well...?" "Practically in my footsteps..." Angelis grinned... "Innkeeper..." he called... "Another round for us all...And bring me whatever is agreeable for dinner this evening..." "So...As I was saying, Mr. Stoker...I have a rather remarkable tale or two myself...In particular, one I feel is quite in keeping with the mystery and grandeur of this darkly beautiful land..." "In fact, it reached its climax...And may reach its final conclusion...Here..." "Here, sir?..." Stoker showed some interest... Indeed...Angelis beamed..."Let me tell you the tale..." Lovely...Vladimir sighed to himself, beginning to drum the fingers of his right hand on the table... My writer...And Angelis is going to pick his brains for his own vampire story... Still...If Mrs. Walthrop is as close at hand as he claims...Best to keep the possibility of a temporary alliance open... "It began...One might say...On a dark night in 1880...When a strange and hideous creature of darkness received a strange visitation from what her tormented mind could only conceive of as a fairy godmother of sorts...Promising the lost one a great gift... " (Overture begins...[Play theme...Overture From "The Phantom of the Opera")] *** Part I... London, 1880, night... Off in the street a newsboy cries out the news of a brutal slaying..."The victim 'oribbly drained of blood, 'is throat slashed open...Police baffled..." A drunk staggers past an alley, startled to see a young and elegantly dressed young woman standing in front of the wan young streetwalker he'd noticed heading into the alley when he'd made a turn round fifteen minutes before...A young toff by her side... Well...Who was he to judge if some lady liked to indulge herself?...Still...He did his best to impress her image on his clouded brain... Might be the right thing to watch for her later...Would be worth a quid or two if he could let her know he'd seen her takin' her ungodly pleasures with the strange little lass... Not something a lady would want banded about... *** "My dear..." the young gentlewoman smiled at the wan girl...Who showed a certain degree of fear now that her efforts to hypnotize and take the lady had failed miserably...After she'd recognized the lady as the one whose coming she'd foreseen earlier...In dreams... "My dear...You know that sort of thing won't work with me..." Halfreck beamed at the rather oddly dressed Dru...Wearing bits and pieces that had caught her fancy as symbols of elegance at various times...A bright scarf here, a scarlet ribbon there, various bits of shiny, cheap jewelry mingled with an item or two of value...All from the bodies of her victims and an occasional bit of snatching... Not that grandmother Darla hadn't tried to keep her in something approaching decent dress...For the "family" reputation's sake...But Dru liked to make up her own outfits...And over time Darla had simply thrown up her hands and let Drusilla do as she pleased... Which as it gave her the appearance of a typical young "lady of the evening", a lost girl out on the London streets...Perhaps a bit more sadly wan and lost than most..."An Ophelia of the alleyways" as one young fellow had once called her...Before taking advantage of her cooing with delight at his remark to flee safely away...Perhaps it was for the best... Haly...In the form of her hopefully-soon-to-be-client...Eyed the girl carefully... Not an easy task making use of this one...Loony as they come... Yet with considerable ability...The one member of the Angelis pride, the most powerful set of vampires locally available, with any chance of succeeding in carrying out her little plan... Dru was clearly becoming steadily more unnerved...This was no ordinary, foolish little human lady...Wandering away from the familiar and safe to explore London's darkest corners... This was one...Of her kind... Well, not exactly her kind...But definitely of demonkind... "I am here...To help you, Miss Drusilla..." Halfreck smiled... "I have a gift for you..." Fear vanished briefly in the joy of anticipation...A gift!?... Wise Spike in another universe to have never allowed her access to telemarketers... "A Prince is coming...Soon...To meet you..." Haly nodded to her... "To be your very own..." "A fine gentleman...A brilliant scholar...A great...er well...A poet..." "Would you like that, sweetheart?..." Oh...Dru trembled....A Prince... Wait?...Some bit of her lost old self floated up... Ummn...Poet?...Scholar...? Some silly toff...? "Me uncles always said...Such idle men were not..." a fragment from her past surfacing... "He was a very poor man...He raised himself up..." Haly hastily noted... "Very courageous...A fighter...With a noble soul...And yet the heart of a romantic..." "Really...Your uncles would have thought well of him..." "For me...?" Dru stared... "For you, dear...Someone to care for you and make you happy...Always..." "A present from the Fates...If you will do your part..." "Me part?..." Strange...Me mum always said the angels brought their gifts with them... "Where is he?..." she looked around... "Not yet, dear...A few nights from now...Here in the alleyways...I will come to you the night he will be coming...If you will wait for him, seek him out..." "Would you care to see his face?..." Haly smiled... "Oh...Yes..." Dru nodded eagerly... Halfreck lifted a locket hanging from her neck...An exact copy of one worn by her...hopefully...future client...Miss Cicely Addams...Opening it to display a small photograph of a slightly nervous, solemn, handsome young William Soames Walthrop...Decked out in his best suit... A bit nervous herself...Dru was a bit more picky than she'd been led to expect...Hopefully he'd pass muster... Oh...Dru gasped, open-mouth...Him... "I've seen him...My Prince...Full of songs and stories..." "And I am his Muse..." she told Haly...Now a bit surprised in her turn...Muse?...She knew him that clearly?...Though she'd been warned of Dru's clairvoyant abilities... Abilities in fact essential to the plan... A howling, harrowing cry from somewhere deep within...From a tortured soul trapped in limbo... No.....! God help me...!... Phew...Halfreck thought...Stage one...Completed...Just one more member to get on the team... "Well...Dear...I will return to you when the time has come...But before I go..." she paused... "I must speak with your...Sister..." *** "This cannot be..." Arthur Rathskeller, current chairman of the Royal Council of Librarians and Antiquarians...The Council of Watchers to those in the know...shook his head at Simon Farris, Watcher to the current...And Greatest...Slayer... "Miss Addams cannot be serious in her intent...Not with the Angelis pride in London as we speak..." Farris, a tall, white-haired distinguished-looking older man...The image of the future actor Ian Richardson...Smiled coolly at his chairman... Dear Arthur...Such good fortune to have such a fool in the chairman's seat...A look at him and any fears that his plans might go awry...And his final climb to power be hindered...Melted away... But then, he'd worked diligently for years to see that his dear old friend's virtue, integrity, and good heart were seen to outweigh any question of his talent or ability in dealing with the grave issues of the Council's real work... "Miss Addams is quite serious...And will not be swayed..." "Even by me..." he sighed... "Simon, Simon...You must find a way to make her see her duty to Humanity..." Rathskeller paced the floor of his quite grand room in nervous anxiety...Pausing... Please don't wear out the rug, Arthur...Farris thought, nodding solemnly at the Chairman... It will be mine soon... *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part II... Timing is the thing...William Soames Walthrop, Cambridge scholar and blossoming poet/author thought... As he looked out a window at the early morning sky from the bed where he and his beloved Cicely lay... Very early morning...About 4am... It's like Mr. Micawber and his theory of household economy...Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery... If she is up and out one minute before five...With forty minutes to make it home before the daily deliveries begin...We remain concealed and safe... If I delay her so much as one minute longer than that...If she has only the thirty nine minutes to reach home... Hell to pay... Of course the theory falls apart...he noted to himself sheepishly...If her carriage hits a sinkhole or some other accident delays her journey... Besides...I'd risk Hell for that one minute...Gladly... He smiled at his faint reflection in the window glass...Who would have thought this...? So much as a single week ago...? Cicely...Lying next to him...The divine Cicely Addams... He turned back carefully to her...To find her wide-awake and staring at him... She smiled gently at him... "Did I wake you?..." he whispered quietly... No...she shook her head... "I wanted to look at you while you slept..." "I just pretended to sleep when you awoke...Wanted to just watch you a few moments longer..." He stared at her...Her beautiful long hair loose about her face... "Should we get up...?" No, no...she put a hand on his shoulder... "There's time yet..." she smiled, hesitating... Something...William realized... Something wrong... Ah...he sighed...Staring at her face... So...It's over... Well...he'd known it wasn't likely to last more than a few days at best... I mean...Cicely Addams... Wealthy young queen of London society... And me?...Please... A kindness of her to have give him such a taste of Heaven... One that needs must now last him...For eternity... Odd...A few days ago...I'd have raged at her...Cursed her for making me feel for her, need her... But now...I'm only...Grateful... Course I'll be pissed an hour or so from now...When her leaving me sinks in... But...For now...To have had her love...Even for... "Will...?..." she was eyeing him strangely... Nerving herself for the blow, he realized... Well...Hell, Miss Addams...William Soames Walthrop can bear it...After a lifetime of harsh struggle against hideous poverty, ending in a triumph of sorts with his entry into Cambridge...And a new world...He could bear even this blow... "Are you all right...?" she looked at him with concern... Fine...he nodded, a bit tense... Be merciful...And quick...For God's sake, Cicely...If you felt anything for me...he thought... "I have...Something to discuss with you..." she paused... "It's rather...Delicate..." Delicate?...We're two unmarried persons lying in a bed together, after a night of rather wild... "It may be difficult..." she began... To bear this blow, but I know someday you'll...he filled in for her in his mind... "For us to make our way...But..." What...? he blinked at her... "I have faith in you...And in myself...In us..." she continued... What...? "And as for your family...I have an income...We can help them even while you're starting your career..." He blinked harder... "I have the means to live...William..." she stroked his arm nearest her... "What I need...Is a reason to live..." she eyed him nervously... "I know I should perhaps have waited to allow you to address me on this matter..." "But...I know you feel you mustn't even consider such a step until you could provide for me...And your sister and brother..." "But...Oh, Will...I love you so...I can't wait...I won't wait...And why should we...?" "Will you marry me...?" Ummn... She stared at his open jaw...Increasingly nervous... "Have I been too forward?..." "You do love me...?" "William...?" "I...Ummn..." he stared... "I have been too forward..." she teared up now... "I'm so sorry..." she sighed, tears running... "No, no...Cicely...I..." a horrified Will stared at the tears... "Not at all...I was just..." "I mean, dear heart...Hardly forward considering what we've been up to this past week..." She stared...Slight annoyance beginning to enter... "If this seems humorous to you, sir..." No...he shook his head and patted her gently... "Not humorous at all...Well...Not humorous in your case...Only...Mine..." "I'm rather a ridiculous choice, you know..." She teared again, turning away... "Don't you love me, William...?" "Love you?..." he gasped... "Cicely...You are so...Far above me...That until just a moment ago..." "I wasn't so "far above you" the past four nights, William..." she noted, a bit sternly... "Rather close and available, I'd say..." she gave her first grin since embarking on this conversational topic... "I thought you had the courage..." she eyed him... "I know you have it...I'm not lying when I say I believe in you..." "Do you want me...?" she asked him firmly...A bit of the Slayer's sternness creeping in now... Cicely...he sighed... "You'd lose so much by taking me..." "God knows how I'd make out..." "And I do not want your money...Though God knows I know what a difference in life money can make..." She tensed...Her turn to anticipate a crushing blow... In a year...Two...Three would be even better...Maybe four...They could talk again...See how he'd done in life...she filled in for him... "But..." he paused... "If you can accept all that you would lose...And have that much faith in me..." "The answer is, yes...Thank you, Cicely..." Phew...she thought...Tears of joy running down her face...As they stared at each other... Be a pity to waste the rings...Already engraved and therefore non-returnable... *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part III... Barely an hour after William had accepted Cicely's proposal, Simon Farris paced his chambers, deep in thought...A man who slept little and rose early...As befitting one to whom so great a responsibility had been entrusted... The training, assistance, and surveillance of the Slayer...Responsibilities not necessarily following in that order of importance to the Council... As he'd indicated to Chairman Rathskeller the night before, he was already well aware of Miss Addams' plans to seek romance and solace in the arms of a certain diminutive poet...And well informed of how far along her plans had progressed...Though of course he could not be aware of their current advanced state... The little fool was ready to destroy everything he had worked for...His champion Slayer, the Greatest of all Time...To throw herself away on a buffoonish social climber...A piece of filth from the gutter who'd somehow won a brief seat at the table... And yet...Her thoughtless act offered a unique opportunity...If he could deal with the problem...Provide a permanent solution...While the poor Chairman wrang his hands futilely...He might well be in a position to overcome those who might otherwise keep him out of his proper place, including some few who suspected the ambition he so skillfully had masked for years... And...If all had gone well last night...The first steps had been taken... But, he had to know...Which also explained his early hours... What safer time to make contact with his "partner"...Away from prying eyes, ears, and possibly eavesdropping magics practioners... He laid out the implements, made the chant... Halfreck, in Cicely dress and form, stood before him... "Mr. Farris?...How good to see you again?...Are you well?..." "What new menace threatens Humanity that you have called on the Slayer?...In such a unique fashion...?" she stared at him earnestly... "Please...Miss Halfreck..." Farris eyed her coldly... "I have no time to waste on such foolishness..." She frowned...Such a performance deserves some little praise, she noted...And had required considerable time following Miss Addams about over the past few days...In invisible form... *** An annoyed Darla tried once again to silence her over-excited grand-daughter...With day trapping them in their rooms, the Angelis pride had bedded down in their hotel suite...And Grandmother sorely needed her "beauty" rest... "The fairy lady is sending me my Prince!..." Dru cried... "My beautiful, handsome Prince...And I will be his guiding spirit..." she exulted... "Me mum would be so proud of me...Landing such a fine gent..."she noted suddenly...A fragment of lost Dru floating up... "Even my Bad Sister..." she halted...Looking at the glaring Darla... "Never mention Bad Sister to Grandmother..." she whimpered aloud... "Dru is never to talk to Bad Sister...Never to let her out to play...Bad, Bad Sister...Foolish Sister..." "Human sister..." "Dru...! Have you been trying to reach...It...Again?" Darla grabbed her... That damned foolish soul of hers...Hiding in limbo from what she has become...But a danger should she surface at some ridiculously inappropriate moment... Say when one was hiding from a lynch mob...As had happened ten years before in Paris... Damned suicidal little nun nearly got them all killed making Dru cry out from their hiding place as the mob passed by... Wasn't suicide a mortal sin for Hell's sake?... Well...This was all Angelis' fault...He had to pick this one for his little mind-game routine... His dear little daughter...And I am stuck caring for her... Wonder what excuse he'll give for not joining us today when he gets hungry...Or frightened enough to come back... (Hmmn...Vladimir thought, listening attentively in spite of himself as Angelis continued...Stoker, Willie, and several other guests likewise held rapt... One must admit, Angelis makes no attempt to enhance his own character in his tales... Fool...he grinned to himself...) Dru continued to whimper in her grip...She released her... "We never...Never!...Try to reach the Bad One, Drusilla...Do you understand?!..." She nodded..."Yes, Grandmother...Never..." "And whatever nonsense you've picked up about fairy godmothers and so on...No doubt from your "father"...Get it out of your mind...Vampires do not have godmothers..." "Yes...Grandmother..." Dru dutifully nodded... "Now...Time for bed..." She nodded again and headed for her bed... Our Prince is coming...Sister...she thought...Soon... And we will never be alone again... (She sings in her bed...Hugging herself...
[Play...(Phantom of the Opera)] In sleep he sang to me, in dreams he came... that voice which calls to me and speaks my name... And do I dream again? For now I find the Phantom Prince she promised me is there - inside my mind... Ah, Sister...she hugs herself... Sing once again with me our strange duet... My power over you grows stronger yet... And though you turn away, and glance behind, the Phantom Prince she promised us is there - inside our mind... Those who see my true face draw back in fear... But I'm the mask you wear... Sister dear... My essence and your soul, are one combined: the Evil that I am today inside's your mind... He comes...the Phantom Prince she promised... He's ours...the Phantom Prince she promised... In all your fantasies, you always knew the Evil that I am... ...was bred in you... And in your labyrinth, where night is blind, the Evil that we have become's inside your mind... Sing, with me Sister...Ha, Ha! Sing for our Prince... He comes...the Phantom Prince she promised... He's ours...the Phantom Prince she promised...Ha, Ha, Ha!!! Oh God!...Forgive me!!!...A scream from within... As Dru chuckles softly to herself...) "Drusilla!...No more singing, damn you!...Go to sleep!..." Yes, Grandmother... *** "Did all go well...?" Farris eyed Halfreck as she sauntered about his parlor in the guise of Miss Addams...Eyeing her "partner"... Rather a handsome older fellow she noted to herself...Nodding and smiling delicately as she twirled her parasol about the room... And she was well aware he had designs on Miss Addams...Rather...Unspeakable designs... Pity D'Hoffryn would never allow her to stay in Miss Addams' place...Unlike her famed friend Anyanka, D-H's champion vengeance demon, she sometimes still found the human world and its inhabitants...Interesting... For a brief time of course...Say a century or so... Pity...Might have been fun to be Farris' Queen Consort of the Earth for a bit... *** Cicely...The tall dark-haired young gentleman eyed his cousin... "Henry..." she beamed...Doing her best to make a entrance to the Addams home at this ungodly hour seem the most natural thing in the world... Besides...What was he doing up and about so early?... "If your father learned you were coming home just now..." he sighed... "You were with William, weren't you?..." "I believe my affairs...Er my activities...Are my own con..." "He's set Smike and Squears to watch for you, Cicely...You may thank God those lazy oafs couldn't get up before seven if their lives depended on it..." Oh...she looked round a bit...No sign of an angry Papa...Well... "And why are you..." she began... "I trusted you and Will to behave yourselves, Cicely...I introduced you, brought Will here...That makes this situation my responsibility..." Henry sighed... "By all rights I should ask Will never to see you again...And tell your father..." "I thought my friend a better man...And I thought better of you, dear..." She bristled up...Just a mo, cousin... "Henry...You allowed us the use of your cottage...Left us there unchaperoned...Let us use your rooms here in town..." "What the hell did you think we were doing?..." "I didn't expect you to lose your heads completely..." he hissed...Pulling her over towards the back garden as a grocer's wagon stopped... "This can't continue..." "It won't..." she eyed him...Slight guilt creeping in... Henry Alexander Foxcroft...The noblest man in the world...Papa excepted of course...And pre- William naturally... And the most gentle-souled...Again, pre-Will... Only natural he'd blame himself for anything that might reflect badly on her in this situation... Poor Henry...Always there for her...Helping her blindly at a moment's notice whenever needed...Although she'd kept him in the dark as to her secret calling... Wonderful Henry...Who brought William to her door... Meddlesome Henry...Sticking his nose into her affairs... Still...His concern was for her...And his friend Will...Who would almost certainly face severe difficulties if their affair were to be exposed prematurely... He deserved to have his fears of Will's intentions...And her own...He well aware that his dear cousin was quite likely to have been the instigator in this...Set to rest... Besides...She had to tell somebody...Before she exploded... "We're to be married, Henry!..." she whispered...Watching him blink intensively... "Tomorrow night...In secret...And then we'll leave...Together..." "We'd very much like to have you there..." she noted eagerly... Hmmn...Finally managed to shake that calm nature a bit...she thought with satisfaction... *** "The creature will be there...?" Farris eyed Halfreck... You are sure...? "I not only spoke with "the creature"..." Haly smiled... "I contacted her trapped soul, poor thing..." "Desperate for any hope of rescue, anything to ease its tormented loneliness..." "She'll be pushing for Drusilla to meet up with our Mr. Walthrop, you can be sure..." Excellent...Simon beamed... "But can you be sure Cicely will accept my... "help"...?" Haly eyed the Watcher... "She must, you know...Or I can do nothing..." "Miss Addams has been in my charge since she was a small child..." Farris looked at the demon coolly... "And trusts me...Implicitly...With some good reason as I have saved her from death on a number of occasions..." "If I tell her you can save her little poet from death...She will believe it..." "She's planning to leave London...Take him with her..." the demon paused, still twirling her parasol... "She won't go before we can act...Not with the Angelis pride in town..." Farris smiled... "And I will see to it that her sense of duty is properly reinforced...At least for this one last battle..." "They marry tonight..." Haly blandly glanced at him... "Suppose she takes him away tonight...?" "Cicely will not leave before she knows Angelis and his "family" have been dealt with...And I have informed her that we should be able to determine their nesting place by tomorrow night..." The truth actually, he reflected...But then, destruction of the Angelis pride would be the crowning achievement of his career as Watcher...Capped only by his assumption of the Chairmanship...And control of the power it would allow him to access...With the Slayer's help... Whoever she might be... "Please let D'Hoffryn know his services to Humanity are deeply appreciated...As are your own..." he smiled... "And will be remembered..." "Just so long as you leave poor Miss Addams to us..." Haly noted... "As per our arrangement...And make no effort to prevent her from accepting my lord's offer..." "My dear..." Farris solemnly noted... "Miss Addams has selfishly betrayed her duty...Chosen to abandon her post...And is no longer of interest to the Council..." "In fact...I assure you...We would appreciate her removal from this world as quickly as possible..." "There is always another Slayer?..." Halfreck smiled back... "Only if the present one dies..." Farris returned the smile... *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part IV... Well...Henry eyed his friend William Soames Walthrop as they sat in their regular breakfasting place near Henry's rooms, temporarily occupied by his visiting friend while Foxcroft stayed with the family... Well...William nodded back brightly... How does one ask a question like this?...Henry wondered... Are you sleeping with my...No, not quite the thing... I hear you are secretly engaged to my...Hmmn...Perhaps not... "Is Cicely well..?" he tried... William choked on his coffee...Sputtering... "My dear fellow..." Henry patted him on the back... Sorry...William gasped... Cicely?...he looked at his friend... "Henry..." he began...Intending to make the natural evasion...You surely would know better than... But...This was ole Henry...His best friend...The man who'd brought him and Cicely together...Provided them with their various trysting places...Trusting in their discretion and good sense...In his friend's character... And who...Unless utterly brainless...Must have had some idea of what they were about... "I suppose you know...No doubt she's said something to you..." he sighed... Henry shook his head, sighing in turn...No one but William Soames Walthrop would have refrained from an evasion on this matter, politely deflected the subject, or refused to speak of it outright...Sterling fellow, of stout heart and character as he'd known from the day they'd met...Worthy perhaps, even of a Cicely... Clumsy moron...Not to conceal something like this...Thank God he'd only spoken to him as yet...If he came out forthrightly like this to Cicely's father... His obituitary would probably not make the Times... *** A rather doe-eyed young man stood waiting on the stoop of the Addams-Foxcroft townhouses...Two homes, owned by the extended family, linked by interlocking doors on every floor to the extent that very few guests entering could make the distinction between the two families unless of long acquaintance... As was the lovestruck Mr. Levinson...Jonathan Levinson, young and reasonably rising barrister...Would be candidate for the hand of London's fair young queen of society...Miss Cicely Addams...His only drawbacks...His somewhat limited social skills, owing to intense shyness...His slight lack of height...And well... 1880...But Cicely's was a progressive family...And took pride in refraining from such prejudices... After all, Disraeli was one of England's great statesmen, her father often noted...Eyeing Mr. Levinson at Cicely and Henry's more Bohemian social functions... To his credit, Jonathan paid no attention to the possibility of an obstacle in that area...His faith in Miss Addams not allowing her any such flaws...To her credit...That was not the reason for her failing to view him in the light he wished...And likewise to her credit, she regarded him warmly as a dear and kind friend...Though she feared for the day when she would have to cause him pain... A day, sadly, which had come at last... "Mr. Levinson..." A rather pale looking, if impeccably dressed and coiffed Miss Addams took his hand at the door... "Miss Addams..." he doffed his hat... "I hope I have not come too early..." "Never, Mr. Levinson..." she beamed, waving him in... Anne...she called to a young maid... "Coffee or tea?..." she turned to Jonathan... "Coffee..." he beamed... "Have you some business in hand for Father this morning?..." she smiled at him as they entered the day parlor...He taking his favorite spot on the small settee... "A few papers to sign..." Jonathan smiled...Patting a small binder... Thank God for 1880 technology...Or lack thereof...Every business document requiring personal attention... "Are you ill, Miss Addams...?" he eyed her somewhat wan face anxiously, nodding his thanks as she offered him his cup... "Up too late, again I'm afraid..." she sighed... "My own fault, Mr. Levinson..." "I too often choose to burn the candle at both ends...Enjoy my little social duties too much..." "Was it some discussion of merit?..." he asked, genuinely interested...No one like Cicely and Henry to find interesting people with fascinating points of view... "Indeed..." she beamed..."I wish you'd been there...You'd have enjoyed it..." "Mr. Walthrop was especially brilliant..." she lied brightly... Oh...Levinson's face fell ten feet... Mr. Walthrop... Other gentlemen flitting around Cicely Addams might be fool enough not to see any danger in young Walthrop...But Jonathan knew his Cicely... And had seen her animated face talking to him...Talking of him... Hmmn...The one unforgivable act his friend Henry had committed in all the years they'd known each other... To introduce Mr. William Soames Walthrop into the Addams household... Not that Jonathan was a fool...He knew in his honest heart of hearts the extent of Cicely's regard for him...Still, stacked against most of the idiots and worthless fools she'd had to deal with in London's present social scene he'd measured up quite well...And there'd always been the chance that given the lack of good material, she'd have eventually gone for the best in character and shared interests she could find... A chance which was now vanishing like mist in the summer sun... Well...An English barrister must press on...And the friendship of a Cicely was a prize he deemed worth retaining... "And Mr. Walthrop is well...?" he smiled...His heart sinking down through the floor to the basement through the cement to the London sewers below...From whence it drifted out to sea...Lost and forlorn... "Very well..." she beamed... "He...And Henry..." she added for form's sake... "Are doing excellently at Cambridge this year..." "It was fortunate for Henry to have had Will's...Mr. Walthrop's assistance in his studies..." she continued... Indeed...Jonathan nodded...Smiling a wan little smile... Oh...Cicely suddenly realized... She'd forgotten...Oh...Poor Jonathan... Well, perhaps she could take him out back...Cheer him by confiding her secret to him... Ummn...No...She told herself... Don't think that would quite be the thing to pluck him up... Anne the maid entered, providing welcome relief... "Mr. Fowler..." she announced...Fowler following on her heels... "Mr. Fowler..." Cicely eyed Mr. Andrew Fowler...Of the mercantile firm of Fowler and Fowler...His brother Tucker senior partner... "Miss Addams..." Andrew beamed... Cicely eyeing Jonathan with a slightly wry look...Jonathan smiling faintly back... A good-hearted fellow, Andrew...Of the somewhat oafish variety... "And what brings you here on this fine day...Mr. Fowler...?" Cicely smiled at him as he gave his hat to Anne and took a seat across from her... He blinked at her...As always... And gave the same surprised, if rather touchingly innocent answer... "Why?...You, Miss Addams..." *** "I know you must have serious reservations about this, Henry..." William hesitated...Eyeing his friend as they strolled toward the Addams townhouse... Reservations?...Henry thought... About my cousin Cicely throwing herself away on a poor poet with nothing to his name?...Whom I introduced to her...And allowed to meet her on secret rendezvous in my own cottage and rooms...? How could I possibly... "Reservations...Too tame a word, Will..." he frowned... "I know you love each other...I trust you...And her..." "But this is the real world...And you have nothing...Except your fine mind and talent...And drive..." "On the other hand...She does have a considerable inheritance from her mother...Not a huge income...But you won't starve..." "You are a good man...A courageous one I would say...Well..." "She really asked you?..." he grinned... Yeah...Will nodded... "And had the rings inscribed?..." he stared at him... Hmm-hmmn... "My God..." Henry shook his head... "That's our Cicely..." "Yours now, William..." he smiled at his friend... "Just one thing, my friend..." he frowned... "You realize I will kill you if you ever hurt her..." "My duty, you know...As I was the one who brought you together..." "Wouldn't have it any other way...Henry..." Will nodded... *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part V... Meanwhile...Trapped by the new day, with little thanks for his unceasing labors on their behalf, the noble Angelis rested from his weary search for a new nest for his women, one safe from the searching eyes of the Watchers' Council... Of the battles he had fought to secure the new domain from its former occupants and to hold it from them, their allies, and other challengers, it need only be said...No vampire prince had ever fought against such great odds...So nobly...For his mates... (I take back what said about his not enhancing his character...Vladimir thought... Brooding vain jackass...Everyone knows discretion to the point of rank cowardice is his middle name...If not his first...) *** At the Addams home, maid Anne entered the parlor with a note...Cicely read it with a frown as Andrew, Jonathan, and several other recently arrived gentlemen eyed her... "Anything wrong...?" Jonathan grabbed the privilege of friendship to be first in line...As the others glared slightly at him... "No...Nothing, just a reminder of an engagement I must make this afternoon..." she replied, still frowning at the paper... Will they never let me be...? Damn them...she thought... Still, I must know what happened with the new pride...If they're as powerful as Simon's told me... I'll have to deal with them before we leave... *** "So...He's quite a charming man..." Haly smiled at her old friend Anyanka as they sipped tea in one of London's more elegant hotels... The concierge eagerly having greeted the divine Miss Addams...So lovely to have her and her companion for even the simplest meal... Make sure the word is spread...And the Times is informed...he hissed to his staff...London's social queen doesn't show up at every locale... "I dunno, Haly...A deal with the Watchers?...I wouldn't trust those humans as far as I could throw their hearts..." Anyanka frowned... "D'Hoffryn wants this to come off, Anyanka..." Halfreck smiled... "His first real shot at a Slayer vengeance demon..." "No Slayer is ever going to join the firm, Halfreck..." Anyanka shook her head..."D-H is living in a dream world...As opposed to his current nightmarish dimension...If he thinks so..." "Cicely..." Haly hissed...Looking over at the approaching attentive waiter... "I'm Cicely Addams here...Remember?" "And if she shows...?" Anyanka eyed her... "She won't...I'm attuned to her as my potential client..." Haly reminded her... "And could be outta here in two seconds flat if I had to..." "Let me ask you, Haly?..." Anyanka stared at her friend... Rather nice form there she had to admit...Similar to her original but lighter-skinned and much better teeth...But then dental care in ancient Egypt wasn't exactly... This Cicely must be some distant relative for such a resemblance...Probably the main reason D-H chose her for the job...she thought, still a bit miffed... But there was something more at work here...Which she hoped to ferret out...Both to soothe her wounded vanity and for good office gossip... "You have a personal stake in this one, don't you...?" Halfreck blinked...Whoops... If Anyanka knows something...D-H knows everything... "Why...Whatever do you mean...?" she stared at her... "Haly...er Cicely..." she corrected as the waiter took their plates... "You know the demon counterpart of that boy...Don't you?..." "The what of whom...?" Haly stared back...Giving a quick glance at the retreating waiter... Heard nothing...Or cared less...she noted... "This fellow...The foolish Slayer's idiot fiancee...You know his counterpart...Or your demon knew him..." Ummn... "It won't work Haly...He'll be a vampire demon...With a mother in this psycho you're taking on for the job..." "And you know how vampires go for incest..." "This is just another job...D-H assigned me himself..." Halfreck insisted... "I'd never act unprofessionally...You know that Anyanka..." "You really think Spike won't be interested?..." she glumly stared, dropping her poised professional mask... "Hal..Cicely...You're setting yourself up for heartbreak here..." Anyanka sighed... "How well did your demon know him in Hell anyway?..." Ummn... Well... "I never quite got round to speaking to him...He was quite a popular fellow..." "But he eyed me once...With a very significant look..." she noted... Anyanka shook her head...Haly... "You'll screw this one and throw your career away..." she sighed... "You like the victim...A cardinal violation..." "Only the counterpart..." Haly insisted firmly... "I don't give a fig about young Mr. Walthrop the little human nobody..." "And it can only stimulate my efforts to know that they'll result in Spike's emergence..." Spike...? Anyanka stared...Lord... I can just imagine...Some swaggering type with a phony romantic mystery air...And Haly is a push- over for romantic swaggerers... "He's got a very romantic air...From his human..." Haly noted eagerly...Starting to gush a bit... Hal...Cicely...Anyanka frowned... *** "So...Walthrop..." Andrew stared at William as they sat in Cicely's parlor...The only two besides the recently departed Henry to hang on steadily throughout the afternoon, even Jonathan having had to return to his office after securing his signatures from Mr. Addams... Cicely herself having retired a few moments to change... "Are you in business with Mr. Addams?..." Still a tad confused as to Will's profession despite their frequent encounters in this same parlor and at various Addams-Foxcroft parties... Henderson and some of the other would-be suitors lounging in various chairs about the room smiled sneeringly at Walthrop... "Mr. Walthrop has no business as yet, Fowler..." Henderson noted... "He's a...Scholar and...Poet..." Punctuated by appropriate eyerolls... Oh...Andrew nodded...Ah, no wonder...he thought...Some bizarre friend of dear Cicely's...An artist type...Oh, yes...Walthrop the poet... "Must be quite a job..." he kindly noted to William... "Gathering all those words out of books and all...Quite out of my line, you know..." "I'm in..." Henderson interrupted harshly...Not exactly the effect he'd wanted... "Mr. Walthrop is an amazing curiosity, Fowler...A project of Henry and Cicely's...A...Prodigy..." he smiled at William... "Just a student, Mr. Fowler..." William smiled back at Andrew, ignoring an increasingly irate Henderson... "From a rather poor family..." "Yes...." Henderson eyed him..."But then our Cicely must have her little pets, mustn't she..." "Poor, eh?..." Andrew looked at Walthrop...Ah, yes of course...The little fellow who'd found his way to Cambridge... "Quite nice, making your way to University on your own ticket and all that..." Andrew smiled... "Rather a job for fellows like us, eh, Henderson...?" he turned to the now slightly red-faced man... "Silver spoons in the mouth and all...We'd be hard-pressed..." "Speak for yourself, you God-damn fool!..." Henderson glared... The other gentlemen scattered about eyed him...Hmmn...On the one hand...Henderson merely gave voice to their own disdain for the little guttersnipe Cicely so foolishly seemed to have taken a shine to...Out of her kind heart no doubt... On the other hand...Cicely was sure to register intense annoyance at any rude treatment of the always good-hearted if somewhat dense Fowler...Not to even begin to mention Walthrop... Henderson...One quietly eyed him... "I don't think there's call for such talk, friend..." Walthrop eyed him... Pushing the easily-irritated Henderson to his narrow limits... "No offense, all in good sport..." the genial Andrew tried to calm the waters...Mustn't let Cicely find us at a row...Very distressing to her... "Of course, Mr. Fowler..." Walthrop nodded... "All in good sport..." he eyed Henderson... He could be patient for poor ole Fowler's sake...And Cicely's... After all...By this time tomorrow night the news would be out...And Henderson hanging from a rafter in his attic... No, not the type William sighed to himself...Still...The image was pleasurable...Almost as satisfying as the one he'd had the previous night of Henderson with a large railroad spike in his skull allowing some air and light in... And the fellow would experience a certain satisfying degree of humiliation and rage... At least enough to make up for that evening two weeks ago...When he'd laughingly...Rather like a coarse ape, Walthrop noted, smiling at the toff's reddening face...assigned Will his own brilliant choice of laudatory title... William the Bloody Awful... Though Cicely's furious glare at the man had already gone a long way towards assuaging what pain he'd caused... Not to mention her actions after the party when she slipped over to join him at Henry's old digs...Invited him to "fire his imagination" by traveling with her the coming Saturday to see Henry's cottage in the Lake District...and Fate had taken its happy course... And Will had to admit...Hadn't been one of his best readings...And the work needed...Work... As even dear Cics had hesitantly suggested...After providing more than her share of reassurance... Far, far more... Yes...It was best to take a cool air with this fellow...Especially with Cics due any minute...And most of his fellow suitors for once nervously backing his side...All too well aware which side Cicely would see in the better light should she come now... Henderson likewise sensed he'd lost that vital edge of support without which his remarks took on their natural state...Those of a jealous, preening boor with quite a nasty streak...And no real hope of success in his suit... He rose furiously...As Cicely re-entered, dressed...Well...Suffice it to say... The entire room of her suitors...Would be and otherwise rose in admiration... "Well...I see you are leaving us, Mr. Henderson..." Cicely eyed him, hat in hand but still in position to have made a quick retraction but for her dismissal... "I trust we will see you tomorrow night?..." she brushed past him to take a seat by Walthrop and ole Andrew... He stared...Hat still clutched...Looking round a bit feebly for some support... None to be had, clearly...The others having clustered about her... Mumbling what was generously accepted as a good-bye, he stalked out...Cicely eyeing him narrowly... with satisfaction... No one disses the Slayer's fella and leaves without serious bloodletting, at least spiritually...Not even in the more gentlemanly days of 1880... *** Following Henderson's departure the other suitors did their level best to maneuver Walthrop out of his favored position by Cicely...Regally at home in her little court...With no success... Efforts which she took a certain conscious pleasure in frustrating...Well aware that their failure to support their fallen leader was due more to the desperate hope of winning her favor rather than any burst of good fellowship towards her Will... With the exception of good-hearted Andrew of course...Who'd always treated William in friendly spirit and now found himself quite a favored object... Perhaps taking a little too obvious pleasure...She reluctantly noted to herself...As even Will suggested quietly she pay a little attention to her other guests...All of whom were beginning to show a fair degree of annoyance at the situation as the day wore on... But, what the hell...Her last day as London's unattached social queen...The end of her double life approaching at last...Farewell to such nonsense as this... In just a few hours...If dear Henry had carried out his reluctantly accepted duty and made arrangements...Enabling them to stay by the house and keep dear Papa and his watchdogs off their guard... She could abandon Cicely the vapid social ornament...And the Slayer... Not that she wouldn't want to retain something of each...Cicely's grace and intellect...Her curiosity in everything and all people to come her way...her sincere love of beauty, the arts...The Slayer's pride in her abilities and the fulfillment of her duties... Just...She wanted a life...And what she had now...Was not life...Just the anticipation of that fate which all Slayers must inevitably embrace...The severing of all human ties, followed by a few short years helping the condemned and protecting Humankind, then...the release of death... It was not that she wished to abandon Duty...Whatever her Watcher must have assumed after her last exhausted tirade against her Fate... But she could not give up all...Not all...Not the romantic in her that made life worth living even in the face of her nightly contact with the worst that this world and the next had to offer... Something had to be kept...Clung to...She eyed Will... My one bit of romance...All the rest can go...Burned away by the Slayer...But not him... Even if that choice cost her her Watcher's regard and the support of the Council...And thereby shortened her potential life still further... Still...she sighed to herself...William looked at her tired face... One more item to deal with...A last duty to those who'd trained and prepared her for the struggle she would now carry on without them to be performed... "Cic...Miss Addams...?" he asked quietly... "Is something wrong...?" As in...Have you come to your senses and decided this is the craziest idea in the world...? he thought, nervously scanning her face... "I will have to leave you for a bit, Will...Mr. Walthrop...And all of you, gentlemen..." she turned to face the rest as well... Smike!...she called... A fish-eyed, brown-haired young lout of twenty-something emerged from the kitchen hallway in his standard slouching gait...His nickname, a gift bestowed years ago by Mr. Addams while engaged in reading "Nicolas Nickelby " to his children...His real name...Warren Smithe (and the e was suspected as no more than a fancy conceit of his by Cicely and Henry)... Watching us...Just as Henry said...she frowned... Well...Give him something to tell Papa now...Though not dealing with William... "Bring the two-seater round to the front..." she told the smirking footman... Now...she frowned at him... He sauntered off... "An engagement with an old friend which cannot be broken..." she explained to William and the others... "Walk me to the..." six gentlemen hopped to their feet, hats crushed in hand... "...door?...Mr. Walthrop?" she finished, rising... "And you, dear Mr. Fowler..." she beamed at Andrew... Gentlemen...she waved an airy hand... Something's neither fish nor Fowler...one of the disgruntled suitors eyed the others... No, I'd call it...Bloody Awful...another frowned... *** Henry Foxcroft had included an additional stop on his way to fulfill his promises to his beloved cousin Cicely... To keep an appointment he'd made secretly some time ago with an eye to assisting his talented but rather proud...and shy...friend in his career...An appointment that might be even more pressing now given Cicely and Will's intentions... "Well...?" Henry eyed his friend... "Interesting...Quite amusing..." The portly gentleman nodded...Looking through the pages he'd been given a few days previous... "He is a great admirer of yours and Arthur's..." Henry paused... "You say he is unpublished as yet..." "And quite aware that it may be some time before his work merits substantial remuneration...?" "Yes...William is well aware of the obstacles to a young unknown..." Henry nodded... "Which is why I believe he'd be eager to take any assignment you could offer..." Well...William S. Gilbert hesitated... "Is all his work up to this...?" Well...Henry hesitated in turn... "His more serious work is still developing...But as you see he has a fine flair for the comic..." "He would understand he would merely be assisting in revisions from time to time?...That he would receive mention only as I and Arthur chose...?" Indeed...Henry nodded... "In fact, he is still completing his time at Cambridge...So this would do well for him..." Hmmn...Gilbert eyed the manuscripts before him...Copies Henry had requested...Requests which Will had taken as simply attempts to encourage... "Marrying your cousin, Miss Addams, eh...?" he looked at Henry... "Must be quite a bold young fellow..." Yes...Henry nodded, sighing a bit... "I must discuss this with Arthur and D'Oyly you know..." Gilbert lifted a page...Chuckling at something he'd read... "Naturally..." Henry beamed... "Very well...Have your friend stop by my office in London...Say next Thursday..." "And we'll see..." *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part VI... Cicely made a point of being attentive to dear ole Andrew as she, he, and William awaited Smike with her small open carriage... But managed to quietly pass Will a note... "Some instructions for my cousin...Henry..." she patiently explained to Fowler...Climbing into the newly arrived cart... "Ah...yes...Your cousin?...Foxcroft, yes...Capital fellow..."Andrew nodded... This one sits on 25,000 pounds a year...? thought Smike, eyeing Fowler as he held the horse... Well...If that fool Walthrop can make his way in the world...he glanced at Will...A clever fellow like Warren "Smike" Smithe (brilliant idea that e ) is sure to thrive... If he keeps his eyes and ears open and his wits about him... With a last glance at Will and a smile to Andrew, Cicely drove off...A grim look settling in her face... A look few among her suitors would have recognized...But many among her enemies knew all too well... *** "My dear Cicely..." Farris rose to greet his Slayer as she entered his simple rooms... Mr. Farris...she nodded... "Got your note..." She paused...And took the seat he waved her to...Like his rooms...Spartan, as befitting a noble and humble servant of Humanity... "You're certain Angelis and his pride are in London...?" "The Council has eyewitnesses to several of the recent murders..." he nodded... "And several psychic members have sensed the near presence of the unique Miss Drusilla..." Drusilla...Cicely sighed... The unknown factor...Angelis for all his reputation seemed rather a typical vain petty vampire prince...His siress Darla, though clever and dangerous, likewise typical... Both more concerned with survival than anything else... But this strange Drusilla... And worst of all, the Council wanted her taken...Alive... "Simon..." she rubbed her cheek...After all their years together and the countless times each had saved the other's life, she allowed herself that liberty on occasion... "It's insane to try and study this lunatic..." "Cicely...The dictates of the Council are not for us to judge..." Simon noted sternly... Especially when thought up by me...he thought... "But why should they want...?" she frowned at him... "To destroy the Evil...One must study it..." Simon intoned... An old Watcher maxim...She smiled at him... He smiled back...Not to difficult to smile at beauteous Cicely... "Still..." he gave her a wry look... "No reason we can't force those simpletons to do their own work...If they wish to study Miss Drusilla, let them capture her...Your duty is to protect others...Deal with Angelis and Darla and leave the other to the Council..." Yes, above all...Do not jump the gun and kill the insane little thing before she's done her job for me... He stared at her...Exhausted...On edge...These last few days clearly leaving her torn with indecision and doubt... Excellent... "Cicely...Have you reconsidered your decision?..." he asked quietly... No...she eyed him firmly... "After the Angelis pride is dealt with...I'm leaving my family...And London..." And me...he thought grimly...For that fool... "You wanted me to sever my ties..." she noted... "To focus on your work...And protect your family...Yes...To abandon your duty...No..." he shook his head... "I'll be in communication with the Council...Come if they need me for a special purpose...Continue my work as I can...But I will live my own life..." "And with this man...Who will never be more than a care to you...?" Anger got the better of him a moment...He hadn't meant to let her know he knew... She reddened a bit...But got control back quickly... So...she stared coldly at him... "You know about William..." "You've been having me watched, Simon..." "I have a duty to the Council...And Humanity, my dear..." he nodded... She sighed... "I don't expect you to understand..." she paused... Oh...he thought...Frowning at her... I understand...A fool of a romantic with childish notions in her head... "I want a life, Simon...I want some love and happiness in that life...I know I can't go on with the family here...I know the underworld is beginning to uncover my secret...But I can't live without William...I won't give him up too..." "They will find him...And use him against you...If you really do plan to continue the work on your own..." Farris eyed her coolly... "I am not a machine!...I am not a wind-up soldier!...I won't live, expecting every day to die...Alone..." "If we die...We die...But we die together..." she stood up... "Ah..." he nodded solemnly... "So...He has accepted this...?" She hasn't told him...he realized, watching her... Just as I expected...he thought happily... "He will..." she replied... He must... "When the time comes...I'll speak to him..." "In any case...I can protect him...It'll only be the one..." "And your...Children?..." Farris looked at her... She sighed... "Cicely...I only want to help you...Make life simpler for you..." You know you can confide in me...Trust me...Why have you tried to keep all this from me?... "All I want is your happiness, dear...Even more than our triumph over Darkness, I want that..." *** Despite his noble heart and courage...Worthy of making him an object of sympathy even by those humans who constituted his prey...the famed vampire lord Angelis found himself forced to consider the possibility of departing London as he lay in the new nest he'd secured... Solely for the sake of his mates, of course...Their safety being paramount in his mind... The Observer from the Council whom Darla...er...whom he...had captured and killed the previous night had made it clear during his interrogation...Between pleas for his miserable life and incoherent screams from the tortures applied...That the Council of Watchers and its Slayer considered him a grave danger...To be dealt with asap... Naturally... But, as accustomed to danger as was the mighty and fearless Angelis...The thought of his dear women at risk...Turned his near-human heart cold... (Brrh...Willie giggled...Angelis glaring at him... "What was that, innkeeper?..." "Sorry, sir...Choked...On something..." Willie replied... I as well...Vladimir smiled, giving a delicate cough...) As I was saying...The mighty and fearless Angelis pondered the grave threat to his beloved ones...In his newly secured...At great personal risk, one must note...nest... Unaware that the threat posed by the Slayer would soon increase to astronomical proportions...And that he and his dear mates would soon be the primary focus of her wrath...The...More or less...Innocent focus at least in his and Darla's cases... Perplexed and weary from his labors, he rested...Waiting for the instant he could seek out his loved ones... (After abandoning his poor ladies to their fates, he spent the day sleeping in a safe place...Vladimir noted to himself... "I refer to a legendary ancestor of course..." Angelis explained to Stoker... "A noble fellow, cursed by an evil fate...Or so our legends say..." If this buffoon tries to steal my Great-grandfather's story...Vladimir thought...) *** Nothing in this world...No hardship, no ridicule could have brought William Soames Walthrop low as he cheerily chatted with Andrew, ignoring the various attempts by those other fellow suitors who hung on in the Addams parlor after Cicely's departure to snub him...All hoping to find themselves that lucky sole man who'd held out for her return... Nothing...After reading her brief note... "Don't believe what they say...Believe in me...As I believe in you... ...I will be waiting for you and Henry at his flat...And then I will be with you...and love you...Always... Cicely..." *** Darkness had fallen...Giving the noble Angelis his chance to rejoin his loved ones... But, alas...He had reached a sad but necessary decision...The threat to his own was too great, unbearable as the thought of separation, however brief was... Drusilla still slept as he arrived at the hotel where they'd been lodging... He informed his beloved and anxiously waiting Darla of the location of the new nest...Safe haven at least for the moment from the Slayer and her Council... Noble soul...er Essence...That she was...His Darla realized he had made his courageous decision...And did her best to conceal her heart's pangs... "You must fly...My love..." Darla eyes him... (Anything to get you away from me before the Slayer catches up with you...Unless...If I kill him now...Hmmn...No Angelis, no Angelis pride to seek...She eyes a wooden chair...) "But...How can I leave you, my love..." Angelis sighs at Darla...(As she sadly wanders over to the chair and stands in front it...Breaking off part of an arm quietly when he turns away...) "No...Whatever the outcome...I cannot..." (Lady, if you think I'm facing the Slayer alone...he thinks... On the other hand...Without you and my psycho "daughter" weighing me down like lead...) They sing... (Over the Hills and Far Away...from the Beggar's Opera by John Gay... Play Had to give them one...er...love...song-by the way, try and catch the old Lawrence Olivier film of Beggar's Opera, it's great-he actually sings well...) Angelis (beaming at Darla) Were I laid on Greenland's Coast, And in my Arms embrac'd my Lass; ( he affects a brooding air, already on Greenland's Coast ...in his hopes...) (While he is contemplating Greenland, that land of opportunity where Slayers do not roam...Darla rolls her eyes...But gives him a devoted look as he comes over to her, takes her unhidden hand and continues...) Warm amidst eternal Frost, Too soon the Half Year's Night would pass. Darla. (sighing at him...Continuing to hide her stake behind her back...) Were I sold on Indian Soil, Soon as the burning Day was clos'd, I could mock the sultry Toil When on my Charmer's Breast repos'd. (No, I kill him...She just comes after us...Just gotta get him moving, she'll catch up to him soon enough...) Angelis. And I would love you all the Day, (Surely I could convince the Slayer it was Darla who was the real threat... Offer my services as a sort of vampire hunting assistant...Seeking redemption...) Darla. Every Night would kiss and play, (Touches him fondly...Get moving you moron, she thinks...) Angelis. (Moves to the door, pausing for his last long good-bye...) If with me you'd fondly stray... (Greenland...? he thinks...I dunno...Eskimos? All that whale meat...? Perhaps Eastern Europe...Say those idiot Dracule have moved to England I understand... Transylvania will need a new Vampire Prince...) Darla. Over the Hills...and far away. Together. And I would love you all the Day Every Night would kiss and play, If with me you'd fondly stray... Over the Hills...and far away... (She blows a kiss, closing the door on him before he can start another verse...) Drusilla enters, having just woke... "Angelis...?" "Over the hills and far away...Soon I hope..." Darla mutters... *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part VII... Though Chairman of the Council of Watchers Arthur Rathskeller was the generous-hearted man of integrity Watcher Simon Farris took him to be...He was not quite the ineffectual hand-wringer Simon had dismissed him as... While he had no suspicion of his old and intimately trusted friend, in light of Miss Addams' apparent dereliction of her Duty he had decided to seek additional help in dealing with the threat posed by the Angelis pride...Particularly the strange Miss Drusilla, whose powers, steadily growing with each year, were deemed by several talented and experienced members likely to soon place her in the highest ranks of Evil... And, apart from the Council's own ranks, of which Rathskeller's dear friend Farris represented the most skilled and experienced, there was one man brilliant, wise, and courageous...Despite his slight frame and advancing years...enough to deal with the threat... The world's leading expert on vampires and vampirism...Who preferred to keep his independent distance from the Council, but stood ready to provide his skills in Humanity's service against Evil... Sadly, however...Dr. Abraham Van Helsing was occupied with another vampire... But, being briefly on hand in London...He was happy to refer his friend to another, equally skilled... His granddaughter and chief researcher...Miss Willow Rosenberg... Ok, a bit less experienced, naturally...And perhaps the old man let his pride in his favorite granddaughter influence his evaluation of her skills...But she was the best help at hand... And a bit miffed to have been left out of Granddad's campaign against the Dracule... (Ah...Vladimir beamed...Nodding politely at the gentlemanly gesture... One must give Angelis his due...He does observe the proper forms...And provides that appropriate measure of respect...) Though she'd grudgingly accepted his insistence that there were other powerful underworlders about who required a watchful eye kept on them... *** "I trust, my dear..." Farris eyed Cicely as he concluded their conference in his rooms... "That you will proceed no further in your plans until after tomorrow night...We will have the location of Angelis and his "family" by then and they can be dealt with...Hopefully with minimal risk..." "I'll do what's necessary, Simon..." she eyed him...Carefully evading an outright lie... You've learnt a bit, my girl...he thought...Not quite the innocent fool you once were... Pity you've chosen to throw yourself away...On that unworthy little man... And to try and lie to me... But...he thought, smiling at her reassuringly... "I know you will dear..." he nodded at her... But...I will give you one final chance...he thought...Tomorrow...To come to your senses after that fool of yours is dealt with... After all...I have quite an investment in you, dear...Foolish to throw it all away without some effort to recover my losses... While there is always another Slayer...There is only one...Cicely...And I will have you, my pupil...my creation...my own...with me...When I come into my own at last... Or break you to pieces like a china doll... *** "This is a special night for me..." Cicely eyed the large fellow standing by his cab next to the curb by the building in which Henry's rooms were located, as they stood beside each other in the gathering twilight... I'm to be married tonight...she beamed at him... Oh...he nodded politely...His hat in hand... "My congratulations..." he bowed slightly... And therefore...she paused... "You have my deepest sympathies...And my prayers for the repose of your poor soul..." she gently smiled as she staked him... *** Well...Henry eyed his friend as they rode toward his flat in his carriage... Well...William nodded back... "I've followed Cicely's instructions...We'll be going to a small place just outside the City...Very quiet..." Ah...Walthrop nervously smiled... "Will...If you have any doubts...The time to back away is now..." Henry looked at him carefully... "Doubts...None..." Will looked at him... "Terrors...Many..." "But...I love her, Henry...And she loves me...And all I can do, in the end...Is give my best..." "I know what she is giving up in taking me...But I am a good man, Henry...And I will love her...Eternally..." "I have to...She had it inscribed on our wedding rings..." he smiled wanly... Eternity is ours... Henry nodded carefully as they rolled along... "Have you given any thought as to what you'll do after..." "Finish my degree as soon as possible...Set to work at the best work I can get...Write...And encourage her art and writing..." "I see..." "Suppose..." he paused... "Suppose I were to tell you that there might be an opening...A small one, at least at first...For a writer/poet/lyricist..." Lyricist...? Will eyed him... Yes...Henry nodded... "Nothing grand in either salary or fame...But it would allow you to continue in your studies and should be good experience for a young man starting out..." he hesitated... "And a chance to work for the only man in London who could appreciate your use of the word "effulgent"..." Will blinked... "He'd like to see you Thursday, Will...At the Savoy..." "Gilbert...?" Walthrop stared at him... "I know it's not grand art, Will..." The W. S. Gilbert? Will blinked again... "Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan...?" "An old friend of my father's..." Henry smiled... "Though he's considering you on merit...Not on my request..." "Henry..." William beamed... "Of course you know this can't compare to you're introducing me to Cicely..." "Well...You will owe me for that for the rest of your life..." Henry grinned... Aye...Will nodded... "Always knew helping out a toff would stand me in good stead one day..." he smiled at his friend... "Depends on the toff..." Henry smiled back... *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part VIII... What a powerful force is love...Even for the vampiral... The mighty and courageous Angelis had barely made his way into the darkening London streets before his devoted "family" came after him...Determined that his fate should be their own... (Why am I getting the feeling my brooding friend is leaving something out here? Vladimir thought, sarcastically eyeing Angelis...) Embracing them tenderly as any human paterfamilias would, he accepted their heartfelt pleas and rejoiced at their reunion... Their fate would be faced together, he assured them...As they made their way to the new lair he'd secured... (Moron's gone and led a team from the Council right to us...Darla cursed under her...For human onlookers' consumption...breath...If Dru hadn't sensed them and we hadn't fled, just as the idiot left us... Not to mention the little worm took all our available money...If he thinks he's gonna scoot off and leave me penniless, hunted, and... "Grandmother, we must stay!...My Prince comes tomorrow!..." Dru wailed as Darla grimly dragged her along... Leave me with his psycho "daughter" on my hands... Almost made it...Angelis sighed...Still, something to keep the Slayer busy if she catches up with us...Until I reach the Thames and the first boat I can get on...) *** Back at the rooms previously held by the Angelis pride, Wilhelmina "Willow" Rosenberg sighed to Chairman Rathskeller...Who'd felt it his duty to accompany the brave young woman and the team he'd provided to assist her... "They've eluded us...I would guess our Miss Dru played a role in that..." "Is this "Drusilla" so dangerous...?" one of the group asked... "From all accounts...She's rather...Childlike..." "I can't believe...As opposed to Angelis and Darla, our most feared opponents..." the young man continued... (Oh, please...Dracula sighed to himself... I definitely take back what I said about his restraint in self-glorification...) Ah...Willow beamed within, though maintaining a coolly professional and scientific air... An opening for me to do Grandpa's favorite line... "My friend..." she sternly eyed the young Observer who'd spoken... "The strength of the vampire is that people will not...Believe..." "She's formidable..." One of the other Council members of the team, a psychic, nodded... "And her power is growing..." "If only Miss Addams would come to her senses..." Rathskeller shook his head... "We've never needed her so much as now..." Hmmn...Yes...Willow nodded... "She would be of assistance..." Eyeing the lair... She felt some sheets on the bed...Still lukewarm...And...Eehew...she suppressed the urge to cry out... Bloody...She looked at her fingers...A towel, Miss Rosenberg?...one of the more gallant male members of the team proffered... God, I'd expect the Angelis pride to have a leetle more pride...Dining in bed?... She eyed the Chairman...Wiping her hands... "You're sure Miss Addams is not seeking them herself...?" Not that we need her of course...Willow, a true Van Helsing descendant, of a long, proud line of fearless human vampire killers, thought... Still...A little help on my first big job without Grampa...Couldn't hurt... "Mr. Farris is doing his damn...(Willow eyed Mr. Rathskeller sternly...Proprieties, please, sir...)...er his best to persuade her...But she seemed adamant to him..." the Chairman noted... All for her young man?...Willow sighed... Most disappointing...she shook her head... A poor time for a Slayer to play a fool for love... "Perhaps it would be best for us to reconvene in the Council's chambers..." Rathskeller noted... "Mr. Farris was to return there shortly as should our various operatives deployed about town..." "He can inform us as to his efforts with Miss Addams and the others as to whether the pride has been detected moving about..." Indeed...Willow nodded... "Well...Let us hope your Mr. Farris has induced the Slayer to see reason...However, if she is not available I feel certain we shall yet succeed..." Spoken like a true Van Helsing/Rosenberg...Rathskeller thought gratefully...Thank God old Abraham had a moment to review my note to him before leaving for Romania... But...He suggested... "Before we continue our hunt..." "Perhaps it were best we call on the assistance of the Almighty..." the Chairman solemnly noted... Ummn...Certainly...Willow nodded...Sighing a bit... They're not gonna ask me to pray to whathisname, are they?...God, Dad is already pissed with me hanging around Catholic Grandpa so much... "A hymn...?" Arthur suggested... "Why not...?" Willow mustered a gracious smile...Waving a hand... "Gentlemen..." the Chairman gathered the team... Miss Rosenberg...he politely bowed... She nodded... The Chairman led the team... [Play theme..."Stand up for Jesus..."] "Stand up, stand up for Goodness...We soldiers of the Light... Lift high the sacred banner...It shall not...Suffer loss... From Victory onto Victory...These armies shall we le..ad... Till ev'ry foe is Vanquished...And Light has won the Field..." (Hmmn, one team member thought...Something...Missing...?) Why, that was so sweet of him to change the lyrics for me...Willow couldn't resist beaming... Gramps did say Arthur was a great guy...Very inclusive... "Excellent, gentlemen...Perhaps now we could..." Willow began... "Onward Watcher Soldiers...Marching as to War..." Arthur began... Guys...Evil rampant...Willow thought...Singalong can await the victory... Still, kind of him to go to all the trouble with the lyric changes... *** So...Van Helsing isn't Catholic?...one of the others hissed to his companions as Willow and the Chairman headed out, the rest of the team dutifully collecting all items of potential interest and removing any trace of vampiral activity from the room... His part of the family converted some time ago I believe...one quietly noted back... *** "With this ring...I thee wed..." William nervously paused... Eyeing his young sister Amelia, kindly brought up to the little church in haste from the Walthrops' home town of Brusset by Henry for the wedding... Go on, Will...she beamed at him silently... "I thee wed...And..." he faltered... "Endow her with your worldly goods, Will!..." Amelia hissed... My worldly goods...he sighed... "And all my worldly goods..." Such as they are, he grinned at Cicely who squeezed his hand in hers... "I thee endow..." he pushed the ring on her finger... "This is the worldly good I want..." she hissed back...Squeezing hard... Her turn...And her turn to freeze... "Cicely..." Henry gently whispered... Nervously she made her pledge...Pushing the ring on his finger... (Sings, aside at first...The song becoming a joint wedding vow...) (Play theme...."All I Ask of You...from Phantom of the Opera... No more thought of darkness; Forget these ancient fears. We're safe, nothing can harm us - (She eyes the priest in front of them, intoning the formal pledges...) These words will warm and calm you. He will be my freedom, His light will end all fears. He's here, with you, beside you, You'll guard him and you'll hide him... (Eyes Will...) Say you'll love me every waking moment, turn my head with talk of summertime Say you need me with you, now and always Promise me that all you say is true - that's all I ask of you... Oh...Let me be your shelter, You will be my light We're safe: No-one will find us - My fears are far behind us... All I want is freedom, a world with no more night and you, always beside me, to hold me and to hide me Oh say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime Darling, save me from my solitude Say you need me with you here, beside you Anywhere you go, let me go too - William, that's all I ask of you... (She sings aloud now...He joins...Their joint wedding vows... Much improved over his previous efforts...she happily notes to herself...) Together. All I ask is for one love, one lifetime... say the word and I will follow you... Share each day with me, each night, each morning... Anywhere you go let me go too Love me - that's all I ask of you. (He's getting better...Amelia grinned to Henry... Indeed...Henry smiled back...) *** AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HH!!!!!!!!...Drusilla clasped her hands to her head in horror...Rocking from side to side where she stood in the middle of the rather busy, if darkened, street... Even within her...Her trapped counterpart sensed the slipping away of her only hope of rescue...Or at least, of comfort... "Drusilla!!!..." Darla turned back to her, furious... My daughter is a delicate, frail creature...Easily upset...Angelis smilingly explained to several well- meaning, concerned passers-by... "She is taking My Prince!!!..." Dru screamed...Hand to mouth... "Drusilla..." Angelis exerted his gentle but firm paternal hand... (And socked her with it, no doubt...Vladimir and Willie noted to themselves...) "We must get to our new home, lass..." And out of this damned street before more Watchers or the Slayer appear...he thought... "She lied to me!...The fairy mother lied!...That one is taking him!..." Dru wailed... Back to the fairy godmother...Darla sighed, rolling her eyes... Not yet dear...All's not lost...A voice whispered to Dru within...And to her trapped "sister"... Tomorrow night, remember...Haly's voice continued... "I will come to you..." "You swear, Lady?..." Dru called to the open air... "Who the hell is she talking to?..." Angelis hissed to Darla...Who shrugged... "Who the hell is she ever talking to...?" she replied... "Just thank the Master she's quieting down..." "He is mine...Forever?..." No...No...the faint cry of the trapped one within... God forgive me, sir... "Forever..." Haly's voice whispered back, drifting on the wind... "Be true, Lady..." Dru hissed... Sings...With a grim fierceness, new to her... (end of All I Ask of You...From Phantom of the Opera, see above cut and paste address) "You will curse the day you should not do!... All that you promised me you'd..." "Drusilla!!!..." Darla grabbed her and lifted her up... "No...More...Singing!..." "Understand?!!..." "Yes, Grandmother..." *** In the small church, Cicely and Will looked nervously at each other as Amelia, Henry, and the priest offered congratulations... We can do this...she told herself, smiling at him and clasping her hands in his... The door blew open... "You cannot protect him...He is Mine...." A voice floated to Cicely on the wind.... The candles on the altar began flickering gently, then strongly... Forever...Dru's gentle laughter faintly lingering... "Dear heart...?" Will stared at his bride...Looking at him in terror... "Cicely...?" Henry looked at her... They are coming...For him...As Simon told me they would... Oh, God...What have I done...? she thought, trembling... **** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part IX... There is nothing so valuable...Simon Farris noted to himself as he entered the massive Antiquarians Hall, home to the Royal Council of Librarians and Antiquarians...As holding the confident and complete trust and regard of one's peers, superiors...And...Pupils... A status which he himself had earned with years of diligent service and support... Capital not to be squandered too lightly...Particularly with regard to Miss Addams... No...he corrected bitterly, glancing out the large windows of the Hall's main foyer... By now, Mrs. Walthrop... However...A change of name is a minor matter, easily rectified... What's in a name...? And the heart...Especially that of a foolish young woman...Soon forgets its trivial wanderings and flirtations... No, in spite of his arrangements with Halfreck, agent of demon lord D'Hoffryn...Farris still harbored the faint hope of getting Cicely to see reason...Once what's-his-damned-name was dealt with...And take her proper place on the throne beside him... Of course that might antagonize Lord D'Hoffryn, a rather formidable foe, but it should be an easy matter to hold the mighty demon off with promises until as Chairman Farris he could rally the full Council and Slayer against this menace...And use the secret powers hidden in the Council's darkest recesses... After all, destruction the Lord of Vengeance Demons was surely a worthy challenge for Council and Slayer... *** In the Chairman's apartments, he found Rathskeller, several Council members of Observer status, and Miss Wilhemina Rosenberg, known to him slightly from previous encounters with Abraham Van Helsing... Seeking help from the competition, Arthur?...he thought, as he smilingly greeted the group and shook hands with Willow... Bit unseemly...The Van Helsing group's methods were so unorthodox...And while the good doctor was willing to share information on his "clients", he was somewhat suspicious of both certain Council members and the group as a whole in terms of their ultimate use of the powers they were acquiring in the course of their work... In Professor Van Helsing's opinion...Certain past Chairmen...And some present members...Often seemed less interested in protecting Humanity and giving peace to the condemned than in gaining knowledge of the dark powers... For its part, as a general policy, the Council discouraged such independent efforts...Sometimes with extreme prejudice...However, Rathskeller was something of a liberal on such matters and had encouraged contacts with outsiders, especially his old friend Abraham who'd assisted him as a young Observer on several occasions... All fighting for the same goal and all that...Farris mentally quoted his dear, soft-headed Chairman as he sat... To allow that little old fool to have the glory of the Dracula hunt, now in progress...He beamed at Willow, now outlining what they'd found in the old nest...As Rathskeller ordered all information on the Angelis pride, particularly, Drusilla brought up to them... Well, at least it meant he'd only have to deal with the little granddaughter for now...Keep her and the rest off the track until the little nobody (what was his damned name?) was disposed of... And things would be different when he took the chair... As a Conservative Watcher, Farris objected to independent vampire hunters like Van Helsing and Rosenberg on principle... The principle of consolidation of power...In his own hands... *** Cicely seemed a bit withdrawn as the ceremony ended...Except for nearly crushing her new husband with an embrace of rather startling force... Sorry...she released him... "Alright, sweetheart...?" Hmmn...Amazing...Will thought, waving a hand...Fine, fine...As he gasped for breath... Just like the time she threw me across her back garden with one blow... Well...They say the fairer sex has hidden strength... He and Henry noticed she seemed rather quiet as they accepted the priest's congratulations and headed back for their carriage...A dinner awaiting them arranged by Best Man/He Who Gaveth the Bride Henry... "Lost in contemplation of your new state, Mrs. W...?" Henry smiled at her as Amelia pulled Will away a moment... She smiled a wan smile back...And seemed to be hesitating...As if reaching a decision...Henry noted to himself... What have I done?...What can I do...? They know who I am...They know who he is...And this pride is famous for attacking those dearest to their hunters...Mr. Farris having given her quite a detailed outline of their past history... I have three choices...She thought...Looking ahead to where Amelia was excitedly talking to her brother... Destroy the pride tonight...If I can...Since Will and I can't be together until we leave tomorrow night after the family's party...Possible but difficult...I will have to see what Simon has learned... But they may not even have been located yet... Or... Run...Now...Tell William everything or at least enough to make him agree...And run... But...Abandon London to these creatures...Knowing that they know who I am and may know where my family lives...? And always knowing they may choose to come after us in the end... Or... Make him leave me...Drive him away...In the hopes that he'll be safe until I destroy the pride...If I succeed...I can try and explain it to him...If he doesn't accept it or I die...At least he'll be safe... But...How can I drive him away?...How could I bear it, even to save him...? He'd see I was lying no matter how hard I'd try...And refuse to leave...Try to find out what was really going on... He's a determined fellow that way...she thought proudly...No obstacle stops him...Unless it kills him... And even then... Like the day I tossed him across the back garden for his rudeness... Telling me he was going..."Out for a walk,...b..."...God... And he picked his startled self up, brushed his one good suit off...Congratulated me on my amazing agility...Apologized...And telling me to forgive his being angry at a world that would never allow him to even consider approaching me...Left me...With my jaw hanging... And was back the next day...Ostensibly to see Henry as always...In reality to see if I had any answer for his suit...She couldn't keep the smile from coming to her lips...Yes... The world might never allow it...But he had the slightest impression...I might... *** "Gilbert and Sullivan?!...The ones who wrote Pinafore?..." Amelia Walthrop was eagerly quizzing her brother at the restaurant where Henry'd taken them... Will nodded but his attention was on his bride, who seemed lost in thought... Though she picked up a bit at hearing of her hubby's potential position with the most popular figures on the current London theater scene... Sweet Henry, she smiled at him a moment... Not that her William wouldn't make it under any circumstances under his own steam, as he always had...Just sweet of Henry to smooth things a little...Heck someone had had to introduce Gilbert and Sullivan to each other... Now if only Mr. Farris would help her introduce Angelis and family to the sharp end of her favorite stake... "Dickens"...For its biting edge...Like Mr. D's... "Cicely...?" Will slid over closer to her on the booth bench...And took her hand... "All well?..." he eyed her...A bit nervous... She nodded, kissing him... "Just wishing we could be together tonight..." she whispered in his ear... "Why not...?" he whispered back, eager to junk her previously insisted upon plan of staying at her home...On this night of all nights...And just to keep gossip down by attending the final family party of this social season... "Lets forget everything and go to Henry's...Tonight...Then find a place near Cambridge tomorrow..." "I can't leave until after tomorrow night, it would embarrass Papa too much...We mustn't implicate Henry any further...And you'll have to make proper arrangements for us, we can't just waltz into any town together...Like a couple of lovers on the run..." she noted, eyeing him with a smile at the last... Lovers...Amelia sighed to Henry, watching them whisper... She having no questions in her mind that her brother was eminently worthy of anyone, including the oft-mentioned (Amelia being an avid reader of the society pages of the Times) Miss Cicely Addams... "All right...But after tonight...Always..." Will whispered back... . "Always..." she squeezed his hand... "After all, dearest... 'Eternity is ours'.." he smiled at her...Speaking aloud now... "Just telling her how much I liked the inscription on the rings..." he grinned at Henry and Amelia... "Eternity is ours..." she repeated...Nodding... No...I could never send him away...If it was death to him to stay, I couldn't do it...I must get to Simon, destroy the pride...Or run with Will tonight... *** The new lair passing Darla's inspection, the reunited Angelis clan was off and about its nightly rounds...Cautiously... Not too successful a hunt given the elders' nervousness...Looking for Watchers and Observers in every corner...Except, sadly, the right ones...And with Drusilla's attention rather distracted... The Lady must tell true...She must...But He is taken...The Other has taken him...she moaned to herself...As Darla furiously dragged her slow-moving granddaughter along the street... What a way to hunt humans...she sighed... "Angelis..." she called... "Dru's of no help tonight...I'll take her home and join you later..." Join me later...he thought contentedly... Difficult to do once I'm off on a boat for France...Or perhaps America...Another land of opportunity where an English Slayer is not all that likely to appear... For the sake of my loved ones' safety, of course... "Sounds like a good idea, dearest..." he beamed at Darla...Who frowned, narrow-eyed at him... Finding it too unbearable to leave her beloved to face destruction, the loving Darla considered an alternate plan... (He's much too eager on this, he's got something up his sleeve, she realized...Probably means to run out on us...Damn you...If you think I'm letting you out of my sight...With Dru on my hands...?) "Perhaps it's not such a good idea..." she pondered, glaring at him... Dru's likely to make noise and attract attention to the new place if she's left alone... "Dru...Would you like to stay with Father here while I go about my business...?" she eyed Dru... Hmm-hmmn...she beamed at Angelis...Eager to tell him about the fairy lady's promise... Oh...God...Angelis sighed...As Darla hastily disengaged Dru's clutching hand from hers to his and raced off... (So much for my escape from this Hell on Earth...) I am not to be allowed to save my poor little family from danger, it seems...The noble vampire prince sorrowed... I had to be a father... "Angelis...A fairy princess came to me..." Dru began... Yes, yes...he sighed... (Well, at least I avoid hunting for a night...And Darla always gets...Someone...) Tomorrow night she said...I must wait till tomorrow...We must wait, sister...Dru called within to her trapped soul... A vague and incoherent cry from within... You mustn't lie to me, sister...Dru chucked to herself...I know you want him as much as I do... He is calling to you, too... A cheery-looking tavern down the street recommended itself to the mighty Angelis as a suitable waiting spot...Excellent for reconnoitering the local area for signs of Watcher activity...Despite the grave risk of detection, he decided to take the chance...In hopes of assuring his dear ones' safety... "Come along, my dear..." he led Dru down the street...As she continued to whine faintly about her Prince...Who was coming...Tomorrow... Well, he noted...Perhaps your Prince waits in the fairy castle over there...he pointed to the tavern... (He left Darla to hunt on her own in the presence of Watchers and the Slayer and went carousing while he baby-sat his "daughter"...No doubt planning to throw her at the first Watcher or Slayer rearing a head...Vladimir noted to himself... No great surprise there...) *** The scouts sent out by the Chairman having failed to provide any useful information to Rathskeller's and Miss Rosenberg's group...And the others, with useful information, being Simon's own agents likewise on his secret order offering nothing on the Angelis pride's new lair...The meeting broke up with plans to reconvene tomorrow afternoon and Farris returned to his own rooms... Where he would prepare for Miss Addams'...er Mrs. What's-his-fool-name?'s return... Willow and the Chairman both having urged him to again press Miss Addams to see her Duty and assist them, he had every intention of carrying out their wishes... Just not quite in the way they expected...Having as he did, definite information as to the new lair of the Angelis "family"... *** Back in his rooms, eyeing himself in a mirror, Farris sang blithely... (This is from Polly, the banned sequel to "The Beggar's Opera" by John Gay) "In pimps and politicians The genius is the same; Both raise their own conditions On others guilt and shame: With a tongue well-tipt with lyes Each the want of part supplies And with a heart that's all disguise, Keeps his schemes unknown. Seducing as the devil, They play the tempter's part, And have, when most they're civil Most mischief in their heart. Each a secret commerce drives, First corrupts and then connives And by his neighbours vices thrives For they are all his own. And by his neighbours vices...Thrives (high note) For they...Are all his own." A knock at his door...Dear Cicely's... He let her in...She rushed in...Staring at him... "I apologize for coming so late without notice, Simon..." He nodded...Waving at a chair... "Have you got any new information?..." she asked... "We do..." he paused, eyeing her...Ring on her finger...Though she'd managed to change her clothes... "I see congratulations are in order..." he smiled at her... She started a moment then smiled...The ring... "I forgot to take it off..." she murmured...And removed it gently, putting it in her pocket "I'm sorry you couldn't be there...We kept it very small..." "I would have made a most reluctant guest, my dear..." he noted... "I cannot approve of what you've done, Cicely...You know that..." "You've foolishly endangered this man and all those you might have saved in the future with my...and the Council's help..." "I'll still be a Slayer, Simon..." she frowned at him... "Just not at the beck and call of the Council...And not in London..." "Or England, perhaps...?" he looked away... "Perhaps..." she looked at him... "It might be best if we left...After he's taken his degree...And you've said there was some danger to the sealed Hellmouth portal in America..." Hmmn...She'd remembered that...But that was a project for after he had secured the Chairmanship...To find the sealed portal by making use of ole Heinrich Nast, the self-proclaimed "Master" of vampires, the first to challenge old Dracula for top spot in many centuries, who was known to be seeking the portal himself with knowledge acquired from many enemies human and demonic...To locate the thing and then, after destroying the "Master"...Utilize its powers himself... "Aren't you happy for me, Simon...?" she came over to him...Kneeling at his chair... "Next to my Papa, you're the one person in the world I am saddened to hurt over this..." she began... "If you could just..." "You are a fool, girl!!!..." he raged...His self control slipping in her immediate presence...Knowing that he had lost her, must destroy her... And still...Wanting her... He rose... "Throwing yourself away on the first fool with a smile and a clever word...A nobody...God, you silly fool...You were made for a king...!" "I don't want a king...I want William..." she replied coldly...Rising as well... "And I want freedom..." Maybe from you, too...she thought...Staring at him... Made...And he my Maker?...In his own mind, at least... No...Simon is just concerned for me...As always... He got hold of himself... "I apologize, my dear...Your happiness is all that matters to me...But, I fear you will not be happy in the end, abandoning your work and your Duty..." "I am not abandoning my Duty, Simon...I have told you that...And that is why I am here..." "Yet you haven't told your...Husband...About that work..." he pointed out... "Do you intend to...?" he leaned against a bust of Caesar...The one luxury of a kind he'd allowed himself in his rooms besides the volumes necessary for his research... "When the time's right...And I will decide for myself when that is..." He stared at her a long moment...Weighing something in his mind... Somehow...For the first time since she'd first met him, when her governess...A Council agent...Had taken her to see him for an initial evaluation at 13...And he'd coldly eyed the frightened young girl, destined to become his special charge and pride...She was terrified... Back then she'd whole-heartedly believed they would kill her if she didn't pass their tests...Not entirely a false assumption at the time...But one that had vanished under Simon's kindness and praise...His exhortations to make the most of what God had given her for the service of Humanity...His portrayal in vivid tones of the fight between Dark and Light she had been called to... Her pride and, to be honest, arrogance, in having a special calling that raised her above the fools she dealt with in the trivial social whirl she managed so deftly... No mere butterfly was she...No mere human in fact...And Farris had stroked that ego for many years... Indeed he'd done his clever best to fill the gap in her life that the death of her mother and her father's inability to express his love outside his domineering pride in her...And his watchfulness...had left...Until he'd become a third parent to her...One whose efforts had saved her many a time... But now...She was that terrified child again...Gazing into the eyes of a cold and calculating "parent" who she somehow knew...Would kill her if she failed his tests... He relaxed a bit...Smiling at her...And she brushed the fear from her mind... "You have always known your own mind, dear..." he nodded... And...There always is another Slayer...he did not say... "Well...To the matter at hand..." *** Shortly after Cicely had left, armed with the address of the new lair...He summoned Haly again... "You've sent her?..." the demon, now in the same clothes Cicely had worn a few moments before asked him... "She's off to the pride's new lair..." he nodded... "Aren't you risking a great deal giving her such information?...Are you so sure she won't encounter them...And defeat or be defeated by them...Tonight?" "We must have her believing I am doing all I can in her behalf...The rest, my dear...Is up to you and your Lord, as we agreed..." Farris eyed Halfreck... "If you want her in that state of despair that might lead her to accept D'Hoffryn's offer...You must see she lives and does not destroy our dear Drusilla tonight..." "However, I intend to put my best efforts into the scales..." he waved an airy hand... "My dearest charge is in deadly danger and I fully intend to go to her assistance..." Haly frowned...A lot being put on her in this deal...Still one item was fairly secure... "Drusilla is out with the others...The lair is empty for now..." "Then all you must do is see they do not return...This night...While I arrange the final piece in our puzzle..." "Dear Cicely must be made to see the danger abandoning her duty places her family in..." he smiled... *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part X.. So...? William regarded his sister as they rode back to their home town on the train, Henry having seen them off...Will to return by the last train that night... "I think she'll do..." Amelia noted solemnly... "Bit more to her than fluff and feathers..." she grinned... "Mum would have taken to her..." she passed judgment... Thank you, sis...he nodded with a grateful smile... However...she frowned... "She wouldn't have approved of a secret marriage, kept from Cicely's father...And whatever else you two may have been up to..." He eyed her as the train clanked along toward their dreary factory town of Brusset...What vegetation there had been outside the window, rapidly fading away to drab heaps of slag and other mine waste... "All right...Perhaps..." she confessed, sighing... Yeah...Mum would've let the secret wedding pass...Being of a practical nature...And as a lifelong servant/factory laborer well aware of the potential dangers in their relationship... "But anything else...She would've frowned upon..." *** The lair had definitely been occupied recently...Simon's information had not been wrong...Cicely scanned the rooms of the old warehouse with the care of many years' experience... But as to the pride itself, not a whisper... She strode the main warehouse nervously fretting, old "Dickens" at the ready...If they had caught on to Simon's agents and fled...She'd never catch them tonight... *** Having brought Will and Amelia to their train, Henry had paused by his club where he'd decided to perform a hard task...But one that he felt should be performed by a friend... "Ah...Jonathan..." he smiled at Levinson, deeply engrossed in some reading in a comfortable chair by the main fireplace... Henry...Jonathan nodded...Rising with a slight bow to his friend... "And how is our Cicely this evening?...She must be anxious to have the last formal party of the season over and done with..." Indeed...Henry took a chair beside his friend...Nodding at a waiter for his usual pipe and tea... "She looked very tired, Henry..." Levinson noted...Genuine concern in his voice... "I think she'll be able to rest a bit after tomorrow night..." Henry sighed a bit... Jonathan...he paused... "I'm afraid I have some rather hard news for you..." "Walthrop?..." Levinson smiled wanly... "I already knew, my friend..." he shook his head... "Cicely wasn't very good at concealing it... " "Is she happy?..." "I believe so..." Henry nodded... "Yes..." "Though she hated the thought of hurting anyone else...Especially you..." "She does mean to tell you herself, but I thought it might be well to prepare you..." "They'll be having some trouble...At the outset in any case..." Jonathan frowned... "Well...Tell her...Anything I can do to smooth matters over...Anything I can do regards...Anything..." He waved a resigned hand... "She has only to ask...Or you to let me know..." "You're a noble fellow, Jonathan...She will be glad of your support and friendship..." "Not all that noble, Henry..." Levinson grinned wryly... "This fellow may yet slip up and I'd as soon remain in Cicely's good graces just in case..." Henry chuckled a bit, patting his shoulder... "No one better should Will fail..." My God...Jonathan eyed him... "They've already married, haven't they...?" Yes...Henry sighed... "Just this evening..." "Our Cicely's a girl who knows what she wants and goes for it..." he smiled... Amen...Jonathan nodded...Shaking his head and putting his hands to his chin in thought... Oh...Cicely...Be good to her, William... A club steward came up to them...Bearing a note for Henry... "Nothing serious?..." Jonathan looked at his friend... "I think not..." Henry stared at the note... "But..." "It's from Cicely's historian friend...Mr. Farris, of all people..." "Simon Farris...?" Jonathan frowned... Pestering chap that...he thought...Always after Cicely about something he has to sell or some project he wants her to consider funding... And rather arrogant about it at that...Seems to expect her to run off to his place whenever he calls on her...She's much too tolerant of him... Not to mention...Levinson being among the most perceptive of men...The fellow has some interest in her outside his work and business... "He wants to see me...Immediately...At his rooms...Something about Cicely..." Henry pondered... "You know, Jonathan...There's some strange tie between Cicely and Farris...I've done a number of errands for her on his behalf over the years and there's more than a joint love of history between them..." Levinson stared... "You don't think...?" "My cousin has a side she refuses to share with anyone...And I have worried if I've been right to simply accept it...Do the things she's asked without questioning her too closely...Somehow feeling it best to avoid having her break with me entirely..." "And Farris is in no small part the key to that hidden life...Though I don't believe it anything dishonorable...I trust in Cicely..." he noted sternly eyeing his friend... "Perhaps we should pay a call on Mr. Farris..." Jonathan looked at Henry... "See what the matter is...And that the man is not attempting anything that might spoil her happiness..." "If you wouldn't mind my company..." "I'd appreciate it, old fellow..." Henry smiled... "Levinson?...Foxcroft...?..." a jovial Andrew Fowler entered the club room in hearty good cheer...Natural enough given the cordial treatment Cicely had given him that afternoon... "What are you fellows about this fine evening...?" *** "So you see gentlemen..." Farris eyed the three who appeared at his door a short time before...Foxcroft, Cicely's cousin...and his companions, Jonathan and an Andrew who'd insisted on following along despite their efforts to discourage him... "While I am pledged not to divulge everything, our Miss Addams is obviously in serious danger...And not willing to take proper care...Which is why I requested your assistance Mr. Foxcroft..." "But..." Henry stared at the older man... "Why she should feel compelled to confront these people...If they are as dangerous as you suggest?" "They are...Lunatics...Foxcroft...And Cicely has always had a special gift, one she's kept secret from you and the rest of her family, for dealing with such people...Our real work together for many years has been dealing with such troubled folk...She naturally wishing to keep her work a secret to spare her family concern..." "But now she feels she must attend to this group...Before..." Simon paused noting Foxcroft eyeing him carefully... "Before other events in her life force her to abandon the work..." the Watcher finished... Hmmn...Henry frowned...Somehow I cannot see Simon Farris as a compassionate caretaker of London's mentally ill...Still, he stared at Farris...I do believe she's in danger... Cicely works with looneys?...Fowler wondered to himself...Well, compassionate lady and all that...Quite understandable if one considers the matter...Noble girl, that... "And you, sir...?" Jonathan stared at Farris... "You let her go after these people...Violent lunatics...Alone...?" "Under normal circumstances, Miss Addams is quite capable in her work and has my staff's support...But this time she refused to be ruled by me...And I have alerted my people to watch out for her..." he replied smoothly... "Indeed I am about to go out myself...But thought Mr. Foxcroft here might be of considerably more use than me...Both as Cicely's dearest friend and cousin...And as a strong young man well able to help restrain these people..." Had no idea Foxcroft'd bring two idiots with him...But all the better...More for dear Cicely to worry about... "Well, shall we go gentlemen or shall I go alone?...Time is a-wasting..." *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part XI... "So...Levinson..." Andrew eyed Jonathan as they began poking around the warehouse Cicely's Farris fellow had led them and Foxcroft to... "Just what is Cicely supposed to be doing here...?" He eyed the rather large, darkened floor area, stretching off in rows between huge stacked crates... "Are her looneys hiding about somewhere in here?..." "I believe so..." Jonathan nodded... "Damned fine girl that Cicely..." Fowler shook his head... "Out here for poor old looneys like this..." "Brave and good-heart and all that..." Indeed...Jonathan smiled... "But good of you to come as well old fellow..." he noted...Peering into a long, seemingly endless corridor... "Naturally, naturally..." Andrew beamed... "Cicely and I are rather close to an understanding after all..." he smiled...Tapping a crate with his cane...In case the looneys had chosen to hide in one...he explained... Ah...Levinson nodded... "Perhaps we should rejoin Henry and Mr. Farris..." "Stand!!!..." Came a sharp cry...A lantern shining at them...Someone rushing up at startling speed... "Mr. Levinson?..." Cicely stared at Jonathan, blinking, a sharp wooden...Stake? Jonathan wondered ...In hand...Now standing just four or five feet in front of him and Andrew... "What the devil are you...?" "Hello there, Miss Addams..." Andrew called cheerily... "Find your lunatics yet?..." "Mr. Fowler...?" *** "Yes..." Angelis sighed to his new-found bosom companions as they sat at a tavern bench, happily downing yet another round...As several eyed their new mate's sadly addled companion...Now sighing to herself in a corner... "My daughter...A sad case, lads...Deranged from her birth..." Aye...One shook his head in drunken sympathy... "Such a game little thing, too..." he paused, seeing the others look at him... Er...No offense, sir...he apologized to their new mate, a fine fellow, all the regulars had agreed... Particularly after he'd purchased several rounds for the house...Courtesy a deceased customer, now rotting slowly in the tavern cellar...And the last of dear Darla's carefully hoarded funds... "None taken..." Angelis smiled, a friendly off-hand wave... "My Prince is trying to fly his cage..." Dru wanly informed a patron passing her...Who patted her kindly, unknowingly saving his life... "Drusilla..." Angelis called...Sensing potential trouble... "Remember what I said...No bothering the gentlemen in here, my lass..." "I was only telling the kind man..." she beamed at the bar-bound patron... "About my Prince..." Yes...Well...Angelis sighed... "Just sit quietly until it's time to leave...Your Prince will be pleased at your good behavior..." "Another round, lads?..." he beamed at his companions... *** "Mr. Farris was wrong to involve you gentlemen in this..." Cicely grimly frowned at Simon...Who, with Henry, had just joined the group at the back of the warehouse building Angelis had hoped to make a secure haven for his little "family"... "I felt the situation required additional assistance, Miss Addams..." Farris eyed her... "And there was no time to call in our usual helpers..." "Cicely..." Henry addressed her, but watched both...Definitely something more going on here, he realized... "I appreciate your self-sacrificing nature...And the work of helping these poor insane wretches sounds laudable...But surely you can't expect to capture these people on your own..." "I've dealt with such many times in the past, Henry...These are nothing new to me..." "But circumstances have changed for you, Cicely..." he noted quietly... She glared at him but held her tongue... "We're only here to assist you, Miss Addams..." Jonathan put in his bit... "Anything that we can do to help...Without hindering you...We will do..." "Thank you, Mr. Levinson..." she nodded...Calming a bit... "I appreciate your kindness...And yours, Mr. Fowler..."(Andrew beaming jovially)... "However it does seem as if my "patients" have fled the place..." she sighed... "Perhaps...While I consult with Mr. Farris...You, Henry, and Mr. Fowler would be so kind as to make a quick circuit of the rows?...In case I missed one in hiding or they left an indication of where they were going behind them?..." She eyed Simon coolly... "Certainly, Miss Addams..." Jonathan bowed slightly... "Andrew?...Henry?..." They headed down the corridor in front of them...Holding the lantern Farris had thoughtfully brought along... "Simon...!?" she hissed at her Watcher, looking at Jonathan's rapidly fading lantern...An imperturbable expression barely readable on his face in her own flickering lantern light... "How dare you bring them here...? What were you thinking?..." "When you left my rooms so angrily, my dear...I feared for your concentration on the task at hand...My own staff was too difficult to reach, out on the streets as they are..." "I'm perfectly fine...There was no need to break protocol...Why would you do such a thing?..." "As your dear Henry noted, my dear...Circumstances have changed..." "I want you to live past your wedding night, my girl..." he sighed... She stared and relaxed...But still couldn't see his face clearly... "Simon...I appreciate your concern...And your kindness...But if you had to come at all...?" "Why didn't you request assistance from the Council itself?...Henry and the others have no training, no knowledge...?" "The Chairman..." Simon sighed... "Has refused to allow you to call on any resources of the Council...Unless and until you rethink your decision...All I can rely on are my own immediate staff..." "I am sorry, my girl...I should not have told Arthur of your decision...Forgive me..." She waved a hand... "Nothing I didn't expect, Simon...I knew they'd consider me unworthy when they learned of my actions..." "But why did you have to involve poor Henry...And the others?..." she repeated, looking over at him... "They were all I had at hand, dear...And I knew Foxcroft would come without pause..." "As for the other gentlemen...Apparently you attract brave gentlemen, girl..." "Foolhardy gentlemen, you mean..." she glared... "Thank God the pride seems to have abandoned the place..." A crash from the front of the warehouse...They jumped, she tensing, ready for a frantic rush... "Nothing to be concerned about!!!..." Andrew's voice boomed cheerfully... "Fraid I knocked over a crate with my cane!..." he called... "No goods or looneys damaged...!" *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part XII... "Well, Amelia..." William looked at his sister as they stood on his London return train platform, his young brother Philip now beside her to bring her to their home with their uncle and aunt in Brusset... "Thanks for coming tonight...I appreciated it, sister..." "It was a lovely time, Will..." she smiled, the great secret still to be kept for a few days yet... "Can't you stay the night, Will?..." Philip asked, a bit annoyed to have been left out of his older sister's excursion to London... "Not tonight, lad...But you'll be coming to see me at Cambridge next weekend..." "And I may have a thing or two to show you both..." he grinned at Amelia... Boarding whistle... "Must go..." he hugged Philip, then shook hands... "Watch your sister...Always...And mind her..." he eyed the boy... "And Phil...?" "Don't forget my letter to you last week...Don't let go of the romantic in life...Even if we have a rough way to go, you and I and sis are as entitled to the beauty as anyone....Understand?..." He nodded... "Bye, Will..." Amelia crushed him... "I love her..." she whispered... "Be happy..." "I will...And you will too..." he whispered back, kissing her... And breaking loose, raced for his train... "So..." Philip took his sister's bags...Leading her back to their uncle's cart... "Had us a good time in London?..." he smiled... "Very good time..." she nodded... "Next time for you Phil..." she noted... "Unc will let you go by then...A man of thirteen next month..." "Hope so...Be jolly to tour London with Will..." "Aye...Is a jolly town she is..." Amelia grinned... "Will...Seein' any girls...?" Phil asked slyly...As they left the station and neared the cart outside... "Aye..." "She's quite a one, too..." "Oh?..." he lifted her bags into the cart...Mostly gifts from Will... "Aye...But...You'll see her soon enough..." Amelia smiled... "Seein' Will at Cambridge, is she?...A forward lass..." Phil frowned... "That she is...But..." Amelia hastily added... "Not a bad one..." "We'll see..." Philip noted solemnly... "Will lose his head over her?..." he asked... Aye...Amelia nodded, smiling... "Easy to see, though...A beauty, Philip..." "Like an angel, she is..." Amelia sighed... Hmmn...he shook his head... "Bit too romantic is our Will..." *** "Well, gentlemen..." Cicely frowned... "I appreciate your kind efforts but it seems our quarry has chosen to find other lodgings this night...And the hour is getting rather late..." "Yes, my friends..." Simon agreed... "We've done about all we can...Let me just consult with Miss Addams a moment and we can head home..." "I'll bring you home, Cicely..." Henry told her... "I have a carriage, thank you, dear..." she replied... "I see..." he stared at her... "Well, Levinson...Fowler...Shall I see you both off...? You may take my carriage...Cicely will drive me home..." Henry smiled blandly back at her glaring face... "Back in a moment, my dear..." Ushering Jonathan and Andrew out... She turned to Farris... "The pride wasn't near...And haven't been at home tonight...Now, thanks to your brilliant idea of bringing Henry I can't even wait here for them..." "My dear...I am sorry...But let me stay...I can find a secure place to watch for the "family" Angelis' return...At least we'd know they were still here..." "I am leaving London tonight, Simon..." she told him firmly... "Immediately after tonight's party...I'm sorry...But that's the way it is..." "After William and I are settled near Cambridge...I will try to return and deal with these creatures if the Council's efforts fail..." "I see..." Farris nodded... "Well...You must do as your heart tells you, dear child...Perhaps it's time we of the Council did our share of the fighting...And dying..." "I'm not abandoning my Duty, Simon...I will return as soon as I can to help you..." She looked at her Watcher...His face impassive in the lantern light... "Don't stay here, Simon...I couldn't bear it if you were hurt..." "Someone must..." he sighed... "We must know where the pride is...And what they are up to..." Besides...he smiled... "I'll merely be Watching...And that is my job, dear..." Henry returned...Seeing Cicely nervously staring at Farris... "Henry...?" she looked over at him... "Are they off all right?..." "Yes..." "Dear...Would you go and send the carriage back for me in a few hours...After daybreak?..." she looked at him... "No...dearest girl..." Henry sighed... "I will not leave you here..." She frowned at him... "I have done this many times, Henry...I'm in no danger..." "Then neither will I be..." Very well...she grimaced... "Stay if you must...But keep near me...And be as quiet as you can...I want to make a quick circuit outside the building..." *** As the noble Angelis carefully guarded his powerful, but tragically "troubled" (... "tragically troubled"...!? Vladimir choked...He drove her insane and murdered her!...) and fragile "daughter"...His devoted mate continued her efforts on the great City of London's streets... (It's just like him...Darla bitterly noted to the unconscious woman she was dragging back to the new lair, a prostitute she'd caught in among the dark alleyways... Leaving me to do the hunt...While he sits and no doubt spends everything we have at the nearest tavern... "Still..." she reflected...Pulling her companion into a corner as several strollers past by on the dank street... "I did tell him to stay...I must admit tonight at least I did ask for it..." As you did, too...Dear...she smiled to the woman...Who stirred feebly...But quickly fell silent as Darla sank fangs into her wrist...Taking just enough to deepen her new acquaintance's sleep...) Having achieved success in her hunt, Darla hastened to deposit her victim at the new lair...So impatient was her loving heart to rejoin her mate and family... Little knowing the deadly danger awaiting her in the form of Cicely the Vampire Slayer, just emerging from their new home, with her anxious cousin in tow...A gentleman almost as noble as the mighty Angelis himself in his determined desire to see that his beloved cousin rejoin her new husband safely... *** "Dear girl..." Halfreck smiled at Drusilla, standing before her in the smoke-filled, noisy tavern...Where Angelis, good-hearted gentleman that he was...Underneath the killer vampire...Was now heartily engaged in the rituals of generous companionship with his fellow creatures... Angelis and the tavern company sing...(rather drunkenly...) (from the Beggar's Opera... Play "Once I Loved a Lass.... The week before Easter, the day being fair The sun shining brightly, cold frost in the air I went into the forest some flowers to find there And there I did pick my love a posy. O I loved a lass and I loved her so well I hated all others who spoke of her ill But now she's rewarded me well for my love For she's gone and she's married another. When I saw my love to the church go With bridesmen and bridesmaids she made a fine show And I followed on with my heart full of woe To see my love wed to another. The parson who married them aloud he did cry All that forbid it I'd have you draw nigh Thought I to myself I'd have a good reason why Though I had not the heart to forbid it. And when I saw my love sit down to meat I sat down beside her but nothing could eat I thought her sweet company better than meat Although she was tied to another. And when the bridesmaidens had dressed her for bed I stepped in amongst them and kissed the bride And wished that I could have been laid by her side And by that means I'd got me the favour. The men in yon forest they are asking me How many wild strawberries grow in the salt-sea And I answer them back with a tear in my eye How many ships sail in the forest. Go dig me a grave that is long, wide and deep And cover it over with flowers so sweet That I may lay down there and take a long sleep And that's the best way to forget her. So they've dug him a grave and they've dug it so deep And they've covered it over with flowers so sweet And he has lain down there to take a long sleep And maybe by now he's forgotten." Lady...Dru gasped... "Angelis..." she turned to show her "father" the Lady... "He can't see me, dear..." Haly in Cicely's form beamed at her... "Only you, dear girl..." she smiled... You pathetic lunatic...the vengeance demon thought, sighing... The tools I must work with at times...Ah well... "Drusilla...You must keep yourself and your sire away from your new home tonight...The Slayer is there now, waiting...She who would take your Prince from you...And destroy you in the process..." The Slayer?!...Dru blanched... "She cannot find you here, dear...Just see that Angelis keeps from the new lair...Tell you sense the Slayer if you must..." Haly eyed Angelis, now leading his new mates in a second chorus... Probably not a major problem...she noted... But if your Darla returns or he does seek to go home on his own initiative...You must dissuade them... "If you succeed...Tonight is the night...And I will come to tell you when...And where...To meet Him..." she smiled...Vanishing... Lady?...Dru gasped...Staring blankly... *** "Is it really true, Miss Rosenberg?..." A member of the Chairman's party asked Willow as the group waited in a street a few blocks from the Angelis pride's former lair...Awaiting an inperson report from one of Rathskeller's Observers who'd claimed to have spotted one of the two female members of the pride just a few moments before...Which one not yet specified... "Is your grandfather actually helping Dracula to find his redemption?..." She nodded... "When Grandfather caught him in Transylvania last month, the Count claimed to be seeking recovery of his soul for his beloved wife's sake...Having tried but failed to find her reincarnated soul here in England, after a vision of her soul in torment reached him...My grandfather has agreed to help him, so long as old Dracula released the poor woman he'd put in thrall, mistaking her for his lost wife...Grandfather's client's wife, Mrs. Harker...Which he did... " "Grandfather is a push-over for such romantics..." she sighed... "But he and his group are well-protected against Dracula...Should the Count be deceiving him, he and his unholy "family" will pay dearly..." "But if he succeeds..." Willow beamed... "To redeem a vampire...The original Dracula...The ancient first Master of Vampires himself..." "A marvelous achievement...If it can be done..." the young man shook his head... *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part XIII... "It's all very strange...Don't you agree, Fowler?..." Jonathan pondered as he and Andrew rode back to their club in Henry's carriage... "Looneys are a strange business..." Andrew nodded... "Not quite my line..." Hmmn...Levinson eyed his friend... Yes... "But...It doesn't make sense that Cicely would be pursuing them on her own...With nothing but a pointed stick to defend herself..." "Perhaps looneys are frightened by sticks...Fear the rod and all that..." Andrew suggested... Still...Even he... "Possible that Farris has something..." he looked at Jonathan... No...Levinson shook his head... "Not even a strait-jacket for one of them...How were they planning to ferry these people back to wherever they keep them?..." Hmmn...Andrew gave a profound look... "Yes...Very strange...But..." he fell back happily on his stock answer... "Bit out of my line, eh..." he smiled... "I think we should return, Andrew...Find out just what is going on..." He rammed his cane on the carriage ceiling...Sir?...the driver called... "If it's alright by you, old fellow...?" he looked at Andrew... Certainly, certainly...Andrew nodded... "No special business for me tonight..." "And Cicely and I are rather close to an agreement..." he noted... "Turn around, back to the warehouse!"...Jonathan cried to the driver... "Let us out a block from the place!..." he added... "We'll proceed in on foot from there..." he explained to Andrew... "See if we can find a good vantage point and keep a sharp eye out..." "Jolly good..." Andrew beamed...Bit of an adventure, eh what...? *** "So..." Henry eyed his cousin...As Cicely cautiously peered into the misty street, keeping them both well back against the dank bricks of the warehouse wall...Her stake, "Dickens" firmly gripped at her side... "This is what you do when you slip off all those nights..." "Not...All those nights..." she grinned back at him a moment... "At least...Not since you introduced me to William..." "Well...Let me ask you, dear..." She waved for silence, staring and listening intently... Nothing...She looked at him...Yes?... "How are we supposed to secure these deranged people?...When all we have is a sharp stick...Your sharp stick..." "Leave that to me..." she insisted... "I have done this before, Henry...Many times..." In the warehouse, Farris contemplated the situation... All as well as he could have hoped for... But best to leave...Surely one or more of the pride would return shortly and it'd be rather ridiculous to be killed the night before his moment of triumph, if one should slip past Cicely or enter via another route... He left the building and headed carefully in the direction around it Cicely and Henry had taken... *** "Ow!..." Darla howled...As her stirring companion suddenly snapped up at her, bitting her on the lip... "Why you...!" she sank fangs into the woman's wrist...Angrily draining her... Oops...Dinner for the others...Darla might be a vicious killer, a harsh "grandmother", and scathingly sarcastic mate...But she was an excellent provider...She withdrew, and after giving the prostitute a moderate slap on the hand for her unladylike behavior...Stood up... She dragged the now very near...oops...death lady along...Whose passing and transformation from the blood she swallowed when biting back went unnoticed by an anxious Darla...Still eyeing the dark alleys for any signs of Watchers or the Slayer... *** Willow and her fearless team of would-be Watcher Observers and Vampire Hunters, supplemented by the presence of Chairman Rathskeller himself, were advancing towards the new Angelis pride lair, based on information from a well-placed Observer...Who'd sworn she'd just seen the infamous Darla...Less than three blocks away...Creeping along her way with an ominous-looking large object dragged behind her... "Feeding, no doubt..." Willow noted...Good...A chance to catch her while she's encumbered... "We must hurry..." she eyed Arthur, gripping the cross at her side firmly...The Chairman nodding... "Miss Rosenberg...?" Rathskeller asked politely...As the team hurried along the dark street... Hmmn?...she looked at him...Sir?...she paused to wave several team members to an alleyway... Nothing...one quickly reported back...The group continued on... "I've been meaning to ask...Why only the Cross?..." She stopped and stared at him... "It's just...You being of the Hebrew faith and all..." "It's my understanding that the Angelis pride were Christian...Well, raised Christian...Vampires...So Christian symbols..." she explained... "If we run into any Jewish vampires, I'm prepared..." she smiled...Raising a Star of David necklace tucked under her blouse... "But the effect of the symbol depends on their former selves' beliefs as humans..." "Yes, your grandfather's contention...I well remember..." The Chairman nodded... "And so we have suspected as well..." "Our last Slayer was an Indian...Her opponents there seemed rather impervious to Christian symbols...So we agreed to let her use Hindu objects in defeating them..." Poor Amara...he sighed...A brave girl... "I was her Watcher..." he explained... "Sad to say we had some disagreement during the Great Indian Mutiny..." "Though thank God I was with her at the end..." he sighed... "I'm sure she appreciated it, sir..." Willow smiled...And looked over to where another team member was emerging from the next alley...Nothing, the man shook his head... "Ow!..Rrr!...." Faint cries came to them from down the road...Where Darla and her new "daughter" were getting to know each other... "There!...That's it!..." Willow charged off... "Hurry, people!..." Rathskeller called to the team, racing after Willow... *** Ahhhh! Rrr!...The retired young prostitute leaped up at Darla, in "work-face"...Darla jumped back...Good God!... I really must curb my appetite and follow a strict dietary plan...she sighed, as her new-born shoved her back... "What's happened to me?...You!?..." the new vampire glared at Darla... "You bit me!..." she howled at Darla... "That'll cost you extra..." she noted, her old business sense kicking in... What!?...she felt her face... "Damn you, lady...What've you gone and done to me face?!..." Extra?...Darla glared...Hell, she didn't do a thing...I'd never have pulled something like that in my day... Not that I was even interested of course...she noted to herself angrily... "What do you take me for?!" she yelled at her new "daughter"... Some degenerate with bizarre tastes...? "I'm your siress, girl!...Albeit unintentionally...And you'd better mind..." she stared as the vampiress raced off... The younger generation...she shook her head...Watching the vamp vanish round the alley corner ahead... No respect, no morals...No sense of tradition... Damn...Nothing for the others...Not that I really care, but...I do have a hunting record to maintain... And they'll both be whining all day tomorrow if I come up empty-handed... Hmmn...My new "daughter" must have sensed humans that way...Newborns are always keen...and hungry... And I should destroy her asap...Can't let a common street whore join our family...Or even just take the Angelis pride name... Standards must be maintained, after all... *** "Good God!?...Look at that!..." Jonathan pointed from their carriage to the running figure just emerging from an alleyway...A hideous apparition appearing to view for just a second as it moved under a gaslight... Where?...Andrew looked... "Sorry, must have missed it...Was that...?" "I would say so..." Jonathan nodded... "But not like any poor wretch of a lunatic I ever heard of..." he craned his neck trying to look back at the fleeing creature...Already vanished in the mist down the street... Hmmn...Andrew peered back up the street...Ah...He tapped Jonathan on the shoulder... "I believe we've found our lunatics, Levinson!..." Andrew happily noted to Jonathan...Staring at Willow and her team as they emerged out of the darkness from up the road...All armed with the same sharp sticks Cicely had carried... *** Whoa!...Darla halted in her alley, crushing against a dark wall...Seeing a troop of determined- looking men and a few women, including one red-haired young woman, passing in front of the alley...A number armed with?...Yep, stakes... Phew...Thank the demon gods for her new "daughter"...Clearly their current focus... Time to play frightened young gentlewoman, lost on a street in a dangerous area...And get the hell back to where she'd left the "family"... Ah...A carriage bearing two lucky gentlemen...Who, no doubt, would be willing to give a shy and lovely young lady a ride to...She hurried out of the alley...As the carriage, bearing Jonathan and Andrew moved on after Willow's and the Chairman's team... Hmmn...Perhaps a tad less shy was called for... "Help!!!!..." she cried after the carriage... *** Back at the tavern, devoted "father" and "family" man that he was, the mighty and fearless vampire prince Angelis (Prince?!...Vladimir glared....Who the hell made him a Prince?!...That nobody little wastrel of an Irish...) continued to carefully heed his beloved Darla's injunction to protect his dear "daughter"...Making Halfreck's warning to Drusilla to keep from the lair for that evening rather unnecessary... "Another round....!" Angelis happily called... "Gentlemen, another tune?!..." Friendly cries of "Here, here"...Such a jolly good fellow, this fine gent... Ah, the noble Angelis...His reputation as fiend and killer sadly obscuring his desserts as a delightful companion and generous benefactor to all and sundry he met... *** Drusilla... PG-13 Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince... A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story... You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well... www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series... Part XIV... March 13th, 1880...12:29 am...Wilhelmina "Willow" Rosenberg, grand-daughter of the great and famed if rather independently minded Vampire Hunter Abraham Van Helsing...With Chairman of the Council of Watchers, Arthur Rathskeller and his team...Were in hot pursuit, down one of 1880 London's more disreputable streets...Of the wrong vampire... Darla's newly...And accidently...sired "daughter"... Who, as a recent London streetwalker by profession, knew the little dark alleyways abouts well enough to lead them on a merry chase...In the area near their true goal, the Angelis pride's latest lair...A large warehouse... A large warehouse which Andrew Fowler...Of the mercantile firm Fowler and Fowler, Ltd., Tucker Fowler senior partner...Had just remembered, as he rode by carriage with his friend and fellow suitor for the hand of one Cicely Addams...Now Cicely Addams Walthrop...Jonathan Levinson, barrister...Was in fact, a warehouse owned by his own firm... A fact which he jovially noted to Levinson even as their carriage, headed back to that warehouse, was desperately being hailed from behind by a rather sincerely frantic Darla, anxious to avoid the Watcher team on the trail of her "daughter"... Jonathan himself being currently rather torn between continuing their return to the warehouse in order to assist their beloved Miss Addams, her friend the somewhat sinister Simon Farris, and her cousin Henry Foxcroft, in their search of the area for a group of what had been described by her and Farris as sadly deranged escapees from an asylum...Or instead to take up the pursuit of the strange group, likely to be the said escapees from their appearance, that had just run down the street in front of their carriage...In fact, Willow's team, chasing a rather hideous creature, Darla's newborn vamp "daughter"... As for the new Mrs. Walthrop and her cousin, they were just beginning an outside circuit of Fowler and Fowler's warehouse...Cicely determined to find and destroy the Angelis pride this night, now passing midnight, before she and her beloved William left London to begin a new life...Where they were now joined by her Watcher, Simon Farris... Anxious to see that the next step in his plan to keep his Slayer by his side...Or destroy her and replace her with a more malleable young lady....And then advance to the Chairmanship...Was achieved... He arrived on scene just in time to see that step taken...Not quite the way he'd expected, but close enough...Farris being a flexible strategist... *** "GRRR!!!..." the former streetwalker emerged from a side alley, focusing on the small party of humans in front of her, instinctively having sensed that Willow's pursuing team would be too much to handle... On the instinct fostered by years of experience, Farris took an impassive stand, cross raised, stake at ready...Though with Cicely about he had little expectation of having to deal with the creature himself... Clearly not a old member of the Angelis pride, far too impulsively attacking and unaware that it was in the presence of the Slayer...Something no experienced vampire like the pride's trio would fail to sense... Mrs. Walthrop likewise stood a defensive stance...Stake at ready...Though she hastily and unceremoniously shoved her cousin back behind her, against the warehouse wall... Stay!...she hissed...Not taking her eyes off the charging creature... "Rrr...Ahhhh!...Hah...!" the creature leaped at Cicely...Henry rushing out at it, even as Cicely smashed her stake into its chest... It shattered into a dust cloud...Leaving behind nothing but the vaguest sense of joyous release... And poor Henry's horrified stare... *** William Soames Walthrop, returned from his brief trip to his home town of Brusset to escort his sister, young Amelia, home...Had reached his rooms in London, lent him by his good friend Henry Foxcroft, uneventfully... He was somewhat depressed at not finding his new bride there...Though she had warned him that she'd doubted she could come to him this night of their wedding, she'd promised to try if possible...And Cicely was a woman of considerable determination... Should he attempt a stroll past her family townhome?...No, well past midnight now... In any case...Tonight would be their last night apart...And after the Addams-Foxcroft party, her last social obligation of the season which she understandably preferred to fulfill for her father's sake, she'd promised to leave with him... Best to get some rest...He'd have to get about tomorrow to settle their new lodgings near Cambridge...Where they'd stay until his degree completed and career begun, they'd be off to see what the world had in store for them... Still...If only she'd come...Somehow it all seemed so unreal without her here...And so transitory... Far too likely to have all been a happy dream... *** Henry was still expressing gaping astonishment as Cicely reluctantly gave him a few spare tidbits of the truth... A...Vampire?...he eyed his cousin...Who bore a look of stern and commanding authority he'd seen before, but only at the service of protecting those whom she felt London society had treated harshly...Never suspecting it might be employed at the service of protecting Humanity as a whole... A moment...She raised a hand, clearly listening for someone or something... "Wait here...I want to check for others..." she commanded...And stake by her side, hurried off... "Cicely!?..." Henry cried after her... Stay there!!...she thundered back to him in a voice that brook no opposition...And picking up speed, vanished around the side of the warehouse before he could move... "Mr. Foxcroft..." Farris eyed him sternly...Standing beside him as Cicely made her quick sweep round the building, the Slayer and Watcher having jointly confirmed that the newly destroyed vampiress had not been one of the original pride... "What you have learned...You must swear to keep to yourself..." "The fate of all Humanity...And our glorious Empire...May well depend on your maintaining our secret..." "Vampires...?" Foxcroft stared at the older man... "And Cicely destroys them?..." "Yes...However we prefer to calling it...Slaying...And she is the chosen Slayer..." Slayer?...Henry looked after her trail in the mist... *** "Oh...Sirs..." a grateful Darla...Sincerely grateful, what with at least a half-dozen Watchers' Council team members...And in all probability, the Slayer herself...in the immediate vicinity...Eyed Jonathan and Andrew from her happily granted seat in their carriage...Now headed to a location a few blocks into the City's safer streets the young frightened woman had gasped to them... "Gentlemen like you are so...Rare..." she caught a breath she did not require but which gave credence to her performance... "I don't doubt I'd have been assaulted...Even killed...If you hadn't stopped to help me..." "Don't understand how I could have gotten so lost...Wandering into such a dreadful area..." she shook her head... Really...I do try to avoid neighborhoods like that...she thought...Get yourself gutted and dusted by some cheap thief or whore with a wooden knife quite easily... "Why were you wandering about there...At this hour, Miss...er...?" Jonathan stared at her, but smiled as warmly as he could given his strange feeling about her... "I arrived in town just this evening on the train...Never did find my carriage to take me to my fiancee's apartments...I couldn't bear not finding him tonight...We've only a day before he leaves for India..." Darla sighed mournfully... Or Greenland, she thought...Or anywhere that gets the lout and the Slayer hunting him away from me... "I thought this was the way...But clearly..." she shrugged... Ah...Andrew smiled...Quite warmly... "Lad's a soldier is he?...What outfit?..." She gambled, based on the man's vague look that he hadn't the slightest conception of the "outfits" currently assigned to India and replied... "The 14th regiment of the Shropshire Lancers..." she injected a note of pride... "But he leaves so soon..." she sadly lowered her eyes... Pity, pity...Andrew gave her a slight hand pat... "Damned shame to have to leave behind a fine girl like you...Poor fellow..." Hmmn...she smiled demurely at Andrew, considering the possibility of a profitable business transaction...Having already eaten her fill earlier... But thought better of it seeing Jonathan still regarding her carefully... "You're too kind, sir..." she smiled at Andrew... "But...I'm not taking you gentlemen too far out of your way...?" she asked... Again quite sincere...As it didn't much matter where they took her so long as they took away from the area where the Watcher team lurked... "No, not at all...The place you specified isn't far..." Jonathan tried a bit more graciousness... "Will it be possible for you to contact your fiancee from there, however...?" Oh, yes...Darla smiled... "He was to head for the nearest inn if I was later than expected...One's just up the road..." "I'm afraid..." she hesitated, blushing a bit... "It must look awful to you gentlemen...My meeting him here like this...?" "Nonsense..." Andrew beamed... "Young lovers' hearts and all that, eh...Levinson?" *** "She will be alright, my friend..." "Your cousin has been Humanity's greatest champion, Foxcroft..." Simon solemnly noted to Henry as they awaited Cicely's return...Henry anxiously heading down the street and back every few moments... "I must tell you, however...I am deeply grateful to you for bringing her together with Mr. Walthrop..." Farris eyed his companion...as now they both strode back and forth, seeking a glimpse of her... Henry paused...The Watcher looked down the street again and then faced him... "Yes, I know of her marriage...The best possible thing for her...Especially now..." "Oh...And why is that?..." "The Angelis pride...The group we have been seeking...Is the most dangerous "family" of vampires Cicely has faced yet...All vicious and skilled killers...And one especially...Has unusual abilities..." Henry made a move to head out after his cousin... No, no...Simon pulled him back... "The pride isn't here...Yet..." "I assure you...I'd know...As she would...She is just taking precautions..." "How can you and your followers...This "Council" of yours...Allow an innocent young woman...?" "I note you did not say "innocent and helpless", Foxcroft..." Farris smiled... "You know yourself, Cicely is anything but "helpless"..." "She is the Slayer, Henry...The Chosen One...Only one...And only a woman...Can be chosen in each generation...To be granted the strength to kill the denizens of the underworld who threaten Humanity...Until she dies...And the next is chosen to inherit her power..." But...Simon shook his head... "Cicely has sacrificed herself enough...And deserves the happiness she has fought so hard for..." "If she can survive this last fight..." "Or we...Can help her..." he stared intently at Henry... He motioned for caution as they saw Cicely calmly returning from the other end of the street... "Nothing..." she sighed...Coming up to where they waited... "If the pride was here at all recently...And that one wasn't just one they took to post as a guard...They've been gone a while..." "Hunting perhaps..." she began...Ummn...she eyed her startled cousin... Hunting...? "Hunting human beings...?" he asked...Gulping... "If it helps, imagine how an intelligent cow must view our eating habits..." she smiled at him... A topic of conversation a few nights ago....Henry remembered...Smiling back... Of course, then it was in the cause of defending a vegetarian friend in supper table conversation...Not in the cause of seeing things from the vampiral pov... "Give us a moment, Simon..." Cicely eyed her Watcher...Who nodded gently, moving back to the warehouse door... Henry sighed...Leaning against a wall of the warehouse...Looking ruefully at her... "I'm sorry you had to find out this way, Henry..." she stared sheepishly back... "But..." she smiled gently... "I'm rather glad you did...Now that I'm leaving London...It may help you to understand why I must..." "I must see that the family isn't at risk...It's become too dangerous...My enemies are beginning to learn who I am in my daily life..." "You aren't giving this up?..." Henry stared at her... "Cicely...? What about William?..." "I plan to tell him..." she looked away... "As soon as I..." "He doesn't know?..." Henry interrupted her... "How could you marry him and not...? My dear girl..." "I love him, Henry...I couldn't risk telling him..." she teared a bit as she spoke... "But...?" "I can protect him...He'll be safe out of London...With me..." she insisted... "And I'll continue the work as I can..." "And if you die, fighting these...Creatures?...Perhaps after you've had children...?" "People die, Henry...My mother died when I was a baby..." "When are you going to tell him?..." She put a hand... "Soon...But after we've left London..." He shook his head...Not right, this...Not fair to her family...Nor to...My God!... "Vampires?...Don't they create?...Breed...Somehow produce...Other vampires...?" "From human beings?..." he looked at her... She looked away a moment... Yes...she finally replied... "It's called transformation...But it requires the victim be drained of his or her blood, and receive the vampire sire's or siress' blood..." "But...I am the Slayer..." she noted firmly... "And it will never happen to me..." "And William...? Your children...?" Henry stared back...With equal firmness... "Never..." she replied... But he caught the quaver in her voice... *** Normally the tavern in which Angelis and Dru kept a vigil for Darla's return would have closed by now...Even unofficially... But with such a warm-hearted benefactor providing for the house, the owner couldn't find it in his heart to call the last round... Though he was careful to shutter the place in case a bobby not of his acquaintance should pass by.. ...

With Darla's return, however...Having followed the family scent over after giving her kindly benefactors her best and sincerest wishes for good fortune...Events took a more somber turn...

But at least, all within...Excepting the proprietor, who'd kept from the cup, naturally...Were well provided with pain analgesic thanks to the noble and kindly Angelis' previous generosity...And died relatively peacefully...

***

Drusilla...

PG-13

Summary: An alternate Cicelyverse tale...In 1880 Cicely Addams Walthrop makes the right choice and saves her William on that fateful night. But Drusilla is not so easily cheated of her Prince...

A companion story to "Groom of Rosenberg" for Halloween, at the request of the Shes Who Must Be Obeyed...The musical touches are their idea...Sorry...they want a "Phantom-ish" story...

You might want to read my Cicelyverse page to get a handle on the situation, possibly my "Romance Palace" as well...

www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Part XV...

***

Sounds from up the street caused Cicely to grab her stake...And dear Henry...And retreat towards the streetlight near the warehouse door...Farris following quickly at her urging...

Sounds which grew louder...And suddenly took form...In the various members of Willow's and Chairman Rathskeller's team...

My God...Farris blinked as he recognized the Chairman among the group...Stepping forward with Ms. Rosenberg...

I never would have thought Arthur would take such precipitate action...

This calls for fast action on my own part to minimize potential damage...

Cicely blinked as well...Chairman Rathskeller?...Here...?

And armed with stake and cross?...

"Good evening, Simon...Miss Addams..." Arthur nodded to them...

I see we are all out and about after the same prey...

***



A satisfactory explanation...For Andrew at least...Had been made to the safely returned Levinson and Fowler...Namely that the Chairman's team were warders from the asylum where Cicely did her charitable work and had safely secured the poor lunatic wretches who'd escaped earlier...

Cicely had abandoned her hunt only after several hours of waiting by the Fowler and Fowler warehouse...While the Chairman and his "special consultant" had had their team patrol the alleyways round...

The combined efforts of the Rosenberg/Rathskeller team and Cicely and company had proven fruitless...The pride was not to be found...And dawn was nearing...

Fortunately for Simon Farris, Cicely had striven to avoid a confrontation with the Chairman who for his part had temporarily shelved the matter of the Slayer's future pending the night's outcome...

And at the Watcher's quiet urging, had reluctantly agreed to leave things in Farris' hands for now...

If anyone could persuade Miss Addams...er Mrs. Walthrop of her obligations to Humanity, it was clearly the Watcher and guardian who'd been her guide and mentor for ten years...

Miss Rosenberg however...Took a more forthright view...And had not hesitated to express it as the group met before parting...

Surely Miss Addams was cognizant of her Duty as Slayer...And was not planning to abandon London and its citizenry to the Angelis "family"...she solemnly eyed Cicely...

"My name...Is Walthrop now...Mrs. Walthrop..." Cicely returned the stare coldly...

"And I do not require you, miss...Nor anyone else...To tell me of my Duty..."

"I'll do what I can..." she turned to the Chairman... "And I mean no disrespect or ingratitude..."

"But I will operate under my own counsel from now on...And will choose...Where and when I will make the fight in future..."

"That...Slayer..." Willow glared... "Is unacceptable..."

"All of us are risking our lives and sacrificing ourselves to defeat this menace..." she began...

"This menace..." Cicely eyed her bitterly...

"Which one is that...? I've lost track over the years..."

"Strange, though...Miss...? I do not remember you ever being there in my previous battles..."

"Rosenberg..."

"Perhaps you know of my grandfather, Dr. Van Helsing?...I believe his credentials would even satisfy you..." Willow gave her a hard smile...

"Mrs...Walthrop..." Chairman Rathskeller stepped in quietly... "Miss Rosenberg has risked death in her own battles with the Dark Powers on a number of occasions..."

"Sadly...Mrs. Walthrop..." Willow paused... "You remain the Slayer...For as long as you live..."

"You cannot escape your destiny...However much you may wish...And try..."

***

A furious Cicely...Farris noted with satisfaction...Quietly requested her cousin to return to her carriage with her...Simon following...

The Chairman and Miss Rosenberg watching from the warehouse door as their team collected...

"Cicely..." her Watcher quietly began...



"They've no right to speak to me like that, Simon!..." Cicely hissed in cold, bitter rage...She glared back at Willow and the others, now engaged in reviewing the night's hunt...

"I've risked my life...My family's lives...For years...!"

"Yes, yes...But you must focus on the problem at hand, my dear girl..." Farris solemnly noted...Glancing at Henry where he sat beside his cousin for support...

"The pride is still out and about...And if you are leaving tomorrow..."

"I am leaving..." she firmly insisted...

"If necessary, I will find a way to return later..."

"Cicely...If you come...Alone...Later..." Simon began...

"Now at least the Council seems willing for the moment to provide some support..." he continued...

Incompetent support, thank God...he thought...

"This is the time to destroy these creatures...While you still have help...Once you've severed ties with the Council..." he paused...

"Cicely...?" Henry began... "I think Mr. Farris is right..."

"I will decide what to do..." Cicely told them coldly...

Time for the final piece...Simon thought, looking carefully at her...

"Cicely...This Drusilla is rumored to be extremely clairvoyant...She may be able to sense your...Husband's...existence..."

She blanched at him...

Ah...So...Just as Halfreck assured me...Drusilla has made a kind of contact...he beamed within, maintaining a concerned and slightly mournful expression...

"He may already be in danger...And if the pride is not destroyed...Quickly...They will seek out your family and loved ones...It's always been Angelis' modus operandi..."

"And with Drusilla to guide them..." he paused...

She stared at him...

"I heard...Someone...At our wedding..." she began, vaguely...

"She...Someone...Told me...I wouldn't hold him...From her..."

Cicely...? Henry stared at her...

She pulled herself up, erect...

"I will deal with it, Simon...Good night..." she grabbed at the reins and the carriage started out...

"I'll stop by this afternoon...As soon as I can!..." she called to him...Farris nodding back...

"Cicely?..." Henry looked at her...



Enough...she hissed, keeping her eyes firmly on the road...

***

Well...Farris sighed to himself as he returned to where the Chairman and team were preparing to head for their respective abodes...

Hurdled that possible block quite well I'd say...he eyed Rathskeller as he walked up...

I have underestimated you, Arthur...he thought...But, thankfully...Your efforts have failed...And my dear Cicely has chosen to follow a path that will keep her from any more assistance you might offer...

And now she knows that Drusilla is seeking her husband...And Foxcroft, noble fellow that he is...Is sure to come to me before she does...To follow up on my suggestion that we "help" the poor child...

My fool for love, he sighed again briefly...Even if she survives...I see now that she will be worthless to me after tomorrow...Forever seeking to save her lost love from his curse...Such a waste...

Still, though it will be necessary to hasten her death...I will mourn her loss...Sincerely...

***

William tossed in his sleep, moaning a bit as he experienced a nightmare...

Cicely leaving him...Rejecting him...He woke with a start...Looking wildly round the room...

For just a moment...He'd thought it true...

Well...She clearly wasn't coming tonight... Understandable he'd have such a dream under the circumstances...

But...Somehow...He felt a bit comforted...As if she was around, hovering over him...Her spirit...Protecting him from all evil...

Guess there's a bit of maternalism in our relationship at that...he grinned to himself...Well...

He went back to sleep, calmed...

Never seeing the figure outside his window, which had drawn back on his waking...But now cautiously returned...Hand to the glass...Watching him...

No time...Cicely sadly told herself...Pulling back from the window...I must get home before daylight...And cruel to wake him again...

Good night, my darling...she blew a kiss...

Sings softly...[Play theme ..."Not While I'm Around..."]

Nothing's gonna harm you, not while I'm around

Nothing's gonna harm you, no sir, not while I'm around...

Demons are prowling everywhere nowadays

I'll send them howling, I don't care, I have ways...

No one's gonna hurt you, no one will ever dare...

Others can desert you, not to worry, whistle...I'll be there

Demons will charm you with a smile...for a while...but in time...

Nothing can harm you, not while I'm around...

This being close and being clever...It isn't being true,

I don't want to...Will, I will never...Hide a thing from you...Again...

No one's gonna hurt you, no one's gonna dare

Others can desert you, not to worry, whistle...Cicely's there

Demons will charm you with a smile...for a while...but in time...

Nothing can harm you, not while I'm around...

"Oh...God, what have I done...?" she asked herself distractedly, looking back at the building as she took her seat in her carriage and pulling the reins...

She was not unobserved...From a dark corner, Drusilla emerged as the carriage turned a corner...Staring at the building...

He is mine...Mine...You can't hold him...she whispered to the wind...

Oh, God...Why have you forsaken me?!...A voice cried within...

***

The knock that came at Farris' chambers door at 5am that morning was by no means unexpected...

Indeed...He'd counted on it...

"Mr. Foxcroft...?" he calmly stared at Henry...

"My apologies, sir...I realize you must be exhausted after last night..."

"Not at all, my boy..." he smiled...Waving him in...

Politely declining a proffered chair, Henry looked at Farris carefully...

"Sir...This night you mentioned the possibility that we might...Help my cousin..."

Yes...Simon nodded...

"If Cicely is to find peace at last...This fearsome pride must be destroyed...And for weak humans like ourselves,Foxcroft...Daylight is the only possible time for action..."

"But if they are in hiding...?" "I suspect they will remain in the near vicinity...Though I do not believe they would return to their lair in the warehouse...Particularly as the Chairman's men are on guard there..." "How can we possibly find them...? There are dozens of places in the area they could have found shelter..." "There is a way..." Farris eyed him solemnly... "It involves use of skills the Council prefers not to tap...For fear of unleashing dark forces which may be difficult to contain..." "But, if you would be willing to assist me...? For Cicely's sake...I will take the risk..." *** Farris completed his preparations as Henry watched...Spreading powder from a small jar, lighting a candle, and chanting briefly... "My apologies, Foxcroft..." he smiled a bit wanly at Henry... "These things look rather ridiculous...I know...But I assure you..." A blue light glowed, flashed, and.... "Cicely?..." Henry stared at the figure before them... "Carefully, Foxcroft!..." Simon put a hand out, holding him back... "Who summons me?..." Halfreck gave it her best, following Simon's previous instructions... "I, demon..." Simon noted solemnly... "What is this...?" Henry looked at Farris... "It can't be Cicely..." "Not your cousin, I assure you, Foxcroft...This is a demon, but a relatively benevolent one...A guardian of sorts...Specific to Cicely..." "I am a justice demon..." Haly proudly smiled at Henry... Rather handsome, she thought... "The justice demon who watches over your cousin's fate, in fact..." she noted... "What is it you would ask of me?..." she turned to Farris... "We seek to assist our dear Cicely in her fight...We need the current location of the Angelis pride..." Ah... "You are brave to seek such knowledge..." she beamed at Henry... "Normally...I would require some token of your appreciation in return..." she smiled at the young gentleman...Eyeing him up and down... Very handsome... Simon coughed slightly, glaring...Get on with it, girl... "But..." Haly waved a hand... "As you seek to benefit my charge...The Slayer herself...I shall assist you...Without such..." "Unless you might care to...? " Another, louder cough from Farris... "Well...Another time, perhaps..." Haly sighed... "Those you seek have taken refuge in a small tavern near their former lair..." "But they are...Quite dangerous..." "I could guide you...Young man...?" she eagerly added... "By all means..." Henry nodded... "Wait, my boy...I'll accompany you...And we should have assistance..." Simon told him... "Cicely plans to seek them again herself...Very soon..." Halfreck noted solemnly... "And I see great danger for her if she does..." she added... "They can sense her presence...Feel the Slayer's coming...And are even now preparing to destroy her..." "We must go...Now, Mr. Farris...There's no time to lose..." Henry looked at Simon... "Indeed..." he nodded... "Let me at least fetch weapons..." He headed for a closet... Haly politely smiled at Henry... "So...You are Mrs. Walthrop's cousin...?" Yes...he paused... "Pardon my asking...Miss...?" "Halfreck, sir...Haly if you like...And please, ask away..." "I'm at your service..." she noted...Again looking him over... "How is it...?" "How is it?...That I resemble your cousin so...?" she grinned... "I am...You might say...A very distant relation...An ancestor of the long past..." she explained... "Which is why I have been given the task of watching over her Fate..." "A demon ancestor?...Acting as Cicely's guardian spirit?..." "Not all of us are evil, Mr. Foxcroft...Despite our bad press...And Cicely's unique abilities as Slayer are rooted in our plane of existence..." "Think of me as an angel if you like..." she beamed... "Though sadly...My powers are limited in this world...I can only guide you, I'm afraid..." Foxcroft...Farris called him over...Henry excusing himself politely... "Don't trust her too far, my boy..." he hissed... "Demons often have their own agendas...We must proceed cautiously..." Henry nodded, taking the crossbow and cross Farris offered him... Nice that the boy isn't to die...If all goes well...Haly happily noted to herself...Smiling at the two humans as she waited patiently...Twirling her parasol... Very handsome...Brave...A true gentleman... I wonder if he's ever thought about Cicely...That way... *** Weary from his vigil, the noble Angelis rested in the cellar of the tavern where he and his little "family" had concealed themselves from their pursuers... Though of course the place would eventually have to be abandoned once the massacre had been discovered, staying was the only alternative for the present... (Must have been quite a hangover after that little party...both Vladimir and Willie thought...) Darla nervously maintaining a guard...Mainly on the sleeping Drusilla...Who'd barely managed to return before the dawn after eluding her "father"'s concerned and watchful eye... ("However could she have managed that?..." Vladimir asked, chuckling as Angelis glared at the interruption... "My apologies...Please, continue, my friend..." the Count smiled...Eyeing Willie who smiled back...) Some laudanum helping to keep the poor deluded creature at rest...A risk that had to be taken...Though leaving the "family" rather poorly prepared for defense... (Angelis dead drunk and Drusilla drugged?...Poor Darla...Vladimir thought sympathetically...) *** Back at the Fowler and Fowler warehouse, three members of the Council team continued to keep watch...Chairman Rathskeller, Willow, and the young Observer so fascinated by the tale of Willow's gramp's battle/alliance with the original Count Dracula...A chaperone for the young lady being required naturally... Though all were in agreement that it was unlikely the pride would return to an uncovered nest, there was for the moment no alternative...And, as Willow had pointed out when she insisted on staying, alone if need be...It was quite likely the pride was somewhere nearby, given that Darla had been spotted near where the newborn vamp had surfaced... *** There...Haly pointed to the tavern as she, Farris and Henry stood in the early morning mist... "The pride is in hiding in that tavern...In the cellar..." "You are fortunate, young man..." she gave Henry a sweet smile... "Two of them are currently resting...Almost helpless if you act quickly..." "It might be wise to let me contact my staff, Henry..." Simon eyed him... "There is little time, gentlemen..." Halfreck noted... "The two sleeping will awaken soon...And inside the building they will make formidable opponents...My best to you..." She vanished abruptly... "We'd better go ahead..." Henry insisted...Checking his crossbow... Fortunately an empty alley and the early hour concealing two of the three and their weapons...Haly currently remaining invisible to all but the two men... Very well...Farris nodded...They moved to the door...Locked... "We'd best try to find an unlocked cellar or ground floor window..." Simon eyed Henry... The two men began checking, moving around the building in opposite directions... "When?..." Haly appeared before Farris as he rounded a corner of the tavern, out of Henry's view... "Now..." Simon nodded... *** An exhausted Cicely roused herself...Barely six am...She'd slept less than two hours...If even that... What to do...? she asked her image in the bedroom mirror... Unlikely that Simon had learned anything as yet...He'd surely have sent a messenger immediately...Bearing urgent news of a "sick friend" as per their usual routine for enabling her to leave her home at odd hours in such situations... But she couldn't simply let the day tick away...If the pride had uncovered William's relationship to her somehow...Every moment was precious... Still, she couldn't simply run off and search buildings blindly... Run off?...A possible alternative...One that she had considered the night before...Yes... Run to Will...Take him out of London this morning, at once, ostensibly in fear of her father's wrath...And once he was safely away...Return and with Simon's help complete her fight... Yes...Just...Check with Simon to see if anything had been learned...Then to Will... She looked at her wan and hollow-cheeked face in the mirror...Hardly the face of a new and supremely happy bride, she noted... Thank God I didn't wake him...He'd have been terrified to see me like this... Sure I was reconsidering...she paused... Am I...? Reconsidering...? No...Never...I will not give him up... Oh, God...Spare my beloved husband... She rose up...Calling on the Slayer within... I can protect him...I will...He is mine...Not yours, you foul creature...she looked at her face in the mirror again...Tears now rolling to her surprise...Terrified and joyous all at once... Now I do look like a new bride...she thought... *** A window popped inward at Foxcroft's touch... Strange...It had seemed locked a moment before... Still...He looked round for Farris, now apparently on the other side of the building...Hmmn... To wait or not to wait...If he called, it might alert the creatures...If he left to fetch Farris...They might notice the sun now peeping in...He grabbed at the window...It refused to close and popped out of his hands... Well...Best to see if this was a proper way in...He climbed inside...Moving carefully about as his eyes adjusted...Only a couple of slivers of light slipping in... A storage room of sorts, kegs of various beers about...And a door at the back... He considered briefly...The window slammed shut behind him...Locked and not to be forced open... Strange...And unfortunate... Given that the door at the end of the room now opened to reveal a rather startled Darla... *** Darla blinked at the tall young man...Standing in the cellar back storeroom... "Who the devil...?" she began...Frowning... Fortunately the fool seemed to be alone... Sir...she sternly eyed him, bringing herself up... "You have trespassed on my lodgings...Without my permission..." "I would...Under normal circumstances...Call a constable..." "However...I believe it will be possible for me to deal with you myself..." she smiled... "You being such a fool as to come here unaided and unprotected..." she put on her demon face... "Back, demon...!" Henry cried...Waving a cross...And stake... She jumped...Whoa!... Not quite as foolish as she'd thought... Still...No sign of support...Especially the Slayer...At hand... "How dare you challenge me!...In my own home!?..." she growled... "Most...Ungentlemanly of you, sir..." she noted...Resuming human face... Cute...And brave...she thought...Hmmn... "Sir..." she sighed... "My apologies...I see now you have come solely to free me...From my hideous curse..." Right?...she asked him...Batting eyes... "If God grants me the strength, I hope to..." he nodded...Holding cross and stake firmly... "Such courage..." Darla smiled kindly... "However, for my part...I'm afraid I can't say as I believe in God, you fool!!..." she resumed vamp face and leaped at him... He raised the cross at her...She grabbed it and shrieked with pain, but wrenched it out of his grasp and tossed it aside... "Stings..." she noted, grinning at him as he backed away, stake in hand... "But one can learn to deal with it..." She jumped at him, knocking him down, and grabbing his head, sank her fangs... "Arggh!..." she howled, leaping up to face a new challenger from behind...Who'd just blasted a spray of holy water at her face... "BACK!!!..." Willow yelled...A large cross next to her raised by the Chairman...Jonathan and the young Observer behind them, aiming crossbows... Darla reared in fright...The men firing...One arrow tearing through her right dress sleeve but missing...Jonathan's grazing her hand... She raced for the rear of the room, screaming...Not letting a little thing like a glass window... And the daylight streaming through stop her motion... "Darla!..." Rathskeller noted hastily to Willow... "Hurry!!..." Willow cried...Waving for the Chairman to stay with Henry...She led the others out into the street... OhAngelismydarlingcometomenow...Darla hastily thought, struggling to suppress a scream from her burns...You stupid sodding twit... Hiding from sun and pursuers in an alley between the tavern and a decrepit old factory building... Thank goodness for the safety of soulless, daylight-blocking slum buildings... She moved cautiously along the alley...Dodging into corners as peeks of sun reached her... Raising a few additional faint smoke puffs... Which the young Observer noted as he checked between the buildings in the street... "Here!..." he cried...Pointing down... Willow and Jonathan racing up and in after him... Gotta get cover and out into the main street, Darla thought...Looking desperately...Ah... She raced out into the street at the opposite end of her alley and grabbed a shawl from a young woman as she passed, knocking her aside...Throwing it over her head, covering everything she could... And saw an elderly drunk in a doorway... She hurried up to him...Draping the shawl more carefully as she stood under the doorway's shadow... "Listen..." she hissed... "There's ten shillings..." she dumped a fist of money into the startled man's hand... "More to come if you help me..." she sternly eyed the befuddled man... "Just nod and say yes to what I say..." she took his hand...And moved out into the street boldly...Keeping one hand under the shawl, the other under the man's... She wouldn't last long this way...A single misstep by her or her companion to unsettle the shawl and her exposed, burning flesh would give her away instantly... But all it would take was a few minutes daring ... (A mate truly worthy of the mighty Angelis...Angelis noted, beaming... My legendary vampiral ancestor...he smiled at Stoker who nodded politely... Hmmn...Conceited jackass the fellow may be...But Darla as vampiral heroine has an appeal...Vladimir noted... Perhaps Stoker and I should consider a female in our tale... Course if I brought dear old reincarnated great-grandma into the story... Great-granddad would have my hide for sure...Human-souled again or no...) *** Back in the cellar back room, the Chairman carefully tended young Foxcroft... "How...?" Henry eyed him... "One of my spotters saw Simon by this building...Came to us at the warehouse to report..." Rathskeller noted... "We guessed he was out to try hunting a bit on his own..." "We got here just in time I see...Though it seems too late for the poor souls upstairs..." "Where is Mr. Farris...?" "Here, my dear boy..." Simon called, entering... "I entered from a window on the other side...The cellar there has an access tunnel to the river and the city sewers..." "I was coming out of it...Just as Arthur and Miss Rosenberg arrived..." "I'm sorry you didn't wait for me, Henry..." Farris sighed... "It's just luck that you survived..." "Angelis and Drusilla...?" the Chairman eyed... "They must have escaped via the tunnel on hearing us..." Farris shook his head... Thanks to my dear partner...he mentally thanked Halfreck... "How bad is he?..." he eyed Henry... "Lost a deal of blood, but...Did the creature feed you blood, boy...?" Rathskeller turned to Henry...Who shook his head... Unlikely in any case, Farris noted...She had very little time for recruitment... "Was that...Levinson?..." Henry looked at them... "Yes..." Rathskeller nodded... "He and Fowler returned to the warehouse just a short time before my scout came to us...They were a bit concerned when you never returned to your club and hadn't shown up at home..." "We requested that Mr. Fowler stay with our people at the warehouse...In case police or his employees made any fuss about finding us about this morning..." "It appears, Simon...The Council will have to take these brave lads into its confidence..." he smiled at Farris... "But there's always room for new members..." Willow, Jonathan, and the Observer hunted the alleyways where Darla had vanished...Nothing... Just a few bystanders...Including a worn-looking shy young woman in shawl and her elderly father... Who requested directions of a team member, she having gotten them hopelessly lost in the maze of streets... So pleased Darla was with the success of her ruse that she actually considered letting the man take her money and go, as they neared a more crowded street, Willow and group having continued in the opposite direction... But after all...Ten shillings...And hard come by...

***

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