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...

  
 
  WS Gilbert

[Play main theme...Overture from "The Phantom of the Opera..."]

Part XVI...

Arriving at Farris' building just after six-thirty am, Cicely was startled to find a message for her
from Simon posted on the door to his rooms...Urgent that she come to the Council's Antiquarian
Hall at once...If she had indeed come in search of him...

She found Farris in the Chairman's chambers...Along with Chairman Rathskeller, Willow
Rosenberg, several team members from the previous night, and, much to her shocked surprise,
Jonathan Levinson...

"Mr. Levinson...?" she eyed him...He waved back wanly...Bowing slightly...

"Mr. Levinson...And to a lesser extent, Mr. Fowler...Have of necessity been taken into our confidence Mrs. Walthrop..." the Chairman explained quietly... "Following events of this morning..."


"As has your cousin..."

"What has happened?..." she asked, looking at their solemn faces...

"Cicely..." Farris paused...Jonathan came over...Taking her hand...

"Foxcroft was attacked early this morning..."

"Henry?!..." she looked at Jonathan, trembling...

"He's fine, Cicely...Just lost some blood, that's all..." Levinson patted her hand, leading her to a
chair...She collapsed into it...Taking Jonathan's hand in both of hers...

She looks like Death warmed over...he thought, staring down at her weary face...

My poor Cicely...

"He is all right, Cicely..." he told her again, gently...She nodded but stared off...What have I done?...

What am I going to do?...

"A brave young man, your cousin..." the Chairman eyed her...

How...? she shook her head, staring at him...And Simon, in turn...

"He'd come with me in search of anything we could learn as to the pride's whereabouts..." Farris
explained smoothly...

He insisted on entering the place where we suspected they'd holed up...He wanted to spare you,
Cicely...End this as quickly as possible...

"I was searching a tunnel in the front of the cellar...Angelis and Drusilla must have escaped by
it...But Darla was still there, on guard and attacked him..." Simon sighed... "I should have kept a
closer eye on him, brave lad..."

"But he will be all right..." Jonathan repeated to her...Squeezing her hand...

She looked up at him...And looked anxiously at the Chairman...

"But...How could you involve Mr. Levinson and Mr. Fowler in this...?"

"Our own faults, girl..." Jonathan smiled at her... "We didn't find Henry at the club or at home and
returned..."

Besides...he grinned now...She smiling back feebly...

"Your "lunatic" explanation didn't quite convince us..."

"Though..." he sighed at the others who smiled back...

"The truth is not much easier to accept..."

"You are a good man, Jonathan..." Cicely kissed his hand...He shyly blushing...

"Just doing what we can...Fowler and I..." he murmured hastily...

She looked up at the Chairman...

"Where is Henry now?...Can I see him...?"

"Below, in our infirmary...I'll take you, my dear..." Farris nodded...

Jonathan...? she looked up at Levinson, who nodded and led her carefully to the door after Simon...
***

After the group had left, Willow turned to Chairman Rathskeller...

"What do you think...? Will she stay on, now?..."

He sighed...

"I believe so..." he nodded...

I fear so...he added...Willow staring at him...

"You saw her, Miss Rosenberg...She is worn down...And the more I see of her, the more I hope she
will escape...And find some modicum of peace..."

"God knows, I have seen enough young women die before their time..." he sighed again, looking
away...

She left the subject of Mrs. Walthrop...

"What was Farris thinking...Confronting the pride with Foxcroft alone?...And how did he locate
them?..."

"Simon has been Cicely's Watcher for over ten years...He's become a second father to her...I
suppose he felt he had to do something...As to locating the pride, he made use of unauthorized
magics..." Rathskeller paused...

"A fact that is not to leave this room for the present..." he eyed the group...

"I assure you..." he addressed the Council members of the team... "The appropriate investigation
will be carried out as soon as circumstances allow..."

"Fortunate violation of your rules..." Willow smiled a bit...

"I only wish he'd tried it sooner..."

Indeed...Arthur smiled faintly at her...

***
"Henry...?" Cicely hurried over to her cousin...Lying flat on a cot...He feebly raised a hand...Trying
to sit up...But gave the effort up, sinking back...

"I would say... "I'm quite all right, Cicely"...But I don't quite think you'd believe me..." he
chuckled at her weakly...

She shook her head, sobbing quietly...

I will be set to rights soon enough, though...he noted...

"I never should have let you get mixed up in this, Henry..." she grasped his hand...

"Not your fault, dear...I rather underestimated your opponents, I fear..." he grinned at her...

"Next time I..."

"There'll be no next time...!" she cried...

Never again...!

"Now...Cousin, don't be selfish..." he smiled up at her stricken face...

"There's plenty of potential heroics for all of us..."

She stared at him...

Just what William would say...She knew it...He'd demand to fight with her...With no more success...

And when the pride learned just how important he was to the Slayer...Oh, God...

"Cicely?..." Henry looked in her haunted face...

"Enough!..." she jumped up...Putting her hands up at him and twisting away, she fled the room...

"Cicely!..." he called...Turning to Jonathan who nodded at him and rising from his seat, hurried after
her...

***

A staggering Angelis half-dragged his anxious "daughter" after him down through the vast sewer
tunnel they'd escaped to from the tavern cellar after Dru'd sensed intruders closing in and screamed
him awake...Her awakening ably aided by her "demon godmother"...

Sadly, there'd been no time to inquire after dear Darla...Naturally the noble Angelis putting his
"daughter"'s safety above all else...

"Grandmother?..." Dru eyed Angelis as he paused to get his bearings....

"We'll raise the finest monument in England to her...Somenight..." he patted her hand...

But for the moment...Your "Grandmother" would have wanted us to survive...Find safety and
happiness together...
(Darla?!...Vladimir nearly choked, suppressing laughter...)

"Now, dear..." he turned to his beloved vamp "daughter"...His remarkably gifted vamp
"daughter"...Thank God for clairvoyance...And his own wise foresight in securing Dru for his little
family...

"Do you sense those men in pursuit of us?...The Slayer?..."

"No, Angelis..." she shook her head...

Excellent...he sighed...Eyeing the dank walls of the sewer tunnel...

"I suppose we'd best press on and find some place to rest down here until nightfall..."

"When my Prince will..." Dru began eagerly...

"Yes, yes...Fine...Tonight, go and find your Prince...By all means..."

"But...For the moment...Just keep trying to sense if anyone is following us?..."

"Hmmn...The Slayer is very angry with us...With Grandmother especially..." Dru noted...Giggling a
bit...Served the fool human right, trying to take her Prince like that...

The...Slayer...? Angelis stopped his push into the tunnel and looked at her...

Angry?...

With us...?

Specifically...? As opposed to her generalized dislike of our kind?...

(I know I can't see why...Vladimir thought...Angelis would never have dared go near her, let alone
take her on, if she hadn't gone hunting him...)

Oh, yes...Dru nodded...

"Grandmother hurt her somehow...Ah..." she smiled... "She hurt a relative of the little Slayer back
there...Oh yes, the Slayer's very angry...And frightened..."

Frightened, eh?....Angelis beamed within...

Frightened of the mighty Angelis pride...Led by its noble male...

"She wants to keep Him...But she knows He is Mine..." Dru solemnly intoned...

Uh-huh...he nodded...More nonsense, he sighed within...

Still, she may be right about the Slayer...And it is definitely time we considered taking up residence
in a new locale...

"Grandmother...." Dru gasped...Looking off in the distance...

Yeah, yeah...Angelis rolled his eyes...

"We will mourn her...Somewhat later..." he gave an airy wave...

But...she pointed...

To where, from a branch tunnel, a somewhat the worse-for-wear Darla was making her way towards
them...

The Slayer and Council no doubt in hot pursuit...Angelis sighed...

"Darling..." he smiled at her...She gave him a cold glare...

"I'm burned..." In more ways than one, she thought...Glaring at her "family"...

Where's the damned water?...she demanded...

There...he pointed over to where the sewer water ran...

Eeggh...he thought...If she's gonna soak in that...Think I'll pass on her tender caresses today...

"Did you meet the Slayer, Grandmother?...I saw her last night...She's very pretty...Just like my
Lady..." Dru babbled, leading Darla to the rather foul stream...

Shut up...Darla glowered at her...

Ah...Back in the bosom of my loved ones...Angelis looked heavenward...

Thanks, God...

***
Levinson returned empty-handed...Cicely had fled the building, in quite an agitated state...

"Headed for that husband of hers, I suppose..." Chairman Rathskeller sighed at Simon...

Poor girl...he shook his head sadly...

"We have asked much too much of her all these years..."

Willow frowned in silence...Farris looked solemnly at the Chairman...

"If young Foxcroft is settled, I should return to my rooms, Arthur..." he noted...
"She may seek me there later...And I can continue my attempts to locate the pride..."

"Simon..." Arthur eyed him... "While I appreciate your efforts...You know I cannot condone the use
of such magics officially...The Council may decide to censure you, or worse, if you continue..."

"I understand..." Farris nodded...

"But I can hardly be expected to do nothing...I am willing to take my chances with the full Council
later, my friend..."

Especially as I know they will buckle when I parade my victory over the Angelis pride in front of
them...he smiled within...

Very well...Rathskeller rubbed a weary face...

"I'll leave it to you, Simon...But, take special care, my friend...I'll see those on watch duty about
town pass on to you any information they glean..."

"Many thanks, sir...I will keep you informed as well if there are any developments..." Simon bowed
slightly to the group and headed out...A very pleased man...

"Best if the rest of us headed out as well and tried for a little sleep...Miss Rosenberg? A moment if
you would?..." Arthur looked to her...Willow came over as the others left...Jonathan heading for the
stairs to check on Henry...

"I'm quite well..." she insisted... "I'll continue my own researches here..."

No frail flower this red-haired rose...she thought proudly...Pinching herself to stay awake and
swaying slightly...

"Perhaps..." He smiled gently at her... "It might be well if we had a cot set up for you in one of the small
rooms here..."

"Well...For later..." Willow nodded, stifling a yawn...

"You...And your people have done noble work this night, Miss Rosenberg..." Rathskeller nodded to
her...

"And we have left our target considerably rattled..."

"But...There is one thing more I would ask of you this day...After Miss Ad...Mrs. Walthrop has
rested a bit at home..."

Willow eyed him...Hmmn...?

"If you could speak to Mrs. Walthrop about the situation...Woman to woman...It might help her to
realize we are not her enemies...That I want to do what I can to ease her burdens..."

She frowned..."Sir...I seriously doubt that I am the person to speak to her...Perhaps you..."

"I am the Chairman of the Watchers' Council, Miss Rosenberg..." Arthur sighed...

"To poor Cicely right now, I am simply the leader of those who would force her back into her
work...Separate her from husband and family..."

"The only one of us she's ever trusted is Simon...And even he can do little with her now..."

"Please, Miss Rosenberg..." he smiled gently at her...

"I truly feel it could help here..."

She nodded...And smiled back...Ok...

"I'll do what I can...If she'll speak to me...But I have to tell you, I don't approve of her actions...To
abandon her Duty like this..."

"Try to understand her..." he sighed... "She has been our Greatest Slayer...Fighting alone against terrible
opponents at long odds...For ten years now..."

"Her only joy in life...Her family...Or what was left of it after her mother passed away..."

"Even that we urged her to give up...Demanded, rather...And finally seemed to have convinced her
that she was endangering them as her enemies learned more about her..."

"And now, young Mr. Walthrop has come...Given her a hope of love and something approaching a
normal life...And once again, her calling...her Duty...Is about to rob her of all she has to make life
worth living..."

"You think...She's going to send him away...Don't you?..." Willow stared at Rathskeller...

"I fear so..." Arthur nodded sadly...

"And what is worse...I must hope so...For you see...Willow..."

"One way...Or another...Humanity must have a Slayer..."

***
"Haven't helped matters much, have I?"...Henry sighed from his cot to Jonathan now sitting next to
him...

"Did your best, old fellow..." Jonathan smiled at him...

"After all...Vampires are a bit out of our line...As old Andrew would say..." he grinned...

"You think she might have gone to Will?..." Henry looked over at his friend...

"I drove past your flat's building...Walthrop was out and about some little time ago...Unlikely she
could have reached him before he left..."

"I'll check the house in a bit..." Jonathan continued... "She might simply have gone home..."

"I've made a pretty mess of things..." Henry shook his head...Stretching out on the cot a bit...

"It will work out for her...I'm sure of it..." Jonathan replied...

God make it so...Henry rubbed his face...And smiled a bit...

"My cousin...The Slayer...The savior of Humanity...And London's social Queen...All in
one...Incredible..."

"Not a bad matrimonial choice Walthrop's made, eh Jonathan?..." he chuckled...

"Cicely always was a woman to die for..." Levinson eyed him, smiling a bit sadly back...

"Indeed, my friend..." Henry nodded...

"But...For her happiness' sake...We must see to it that Walthrop does not die..." Jonathan
finished...Looking firmly at his friend...

***
Simon had estimated a wait of one to two hours...And so was quite pleased with himself when
Cicely appeared at his door about an hour and a half after he'd reached home...

"What can I do, Simon...?" she eyed him...

Tell me...

"My dear...I have no new information..."

No...she stared at him...

"Not the pride...William..."

"What can I do to save him...?"

"Please...Help me..." she pleaded...

"I've been selfish...Foolish...But I can't just stand back and wait for him to die..."

"You've always helped me, Simon...Help me now..."

Perhaps...he paused...

"Perhaps you can protect him, Cicely...You are after all, the Slayer..."

"You know I can't...They know who he is...They're coming for him..." she twisted her hands in
desperation...

"My one chance was to kill them last night...I failed and now...They know my family here as well..."

"I can't leave London...Abandon Henry and the others...And if we stay...William will die...Perhaps
even worse..."

"But if I tell him to go...He'll refuse...If I tell him the truth, he'll first think me crazy, then insist on
fighting with me..."

"What you need, my dear...Is more time...Time to deal with the pride and destroy them..."

If...Simon pondered..."If you could make Walthrop leave you...Return to Cambridge without you..."

"Just until we can locate Angelis and the others...And finish with them..." he noted...

"Nothing would make him go..." Cicely shook her head...

"He'd never go..."

Unless...she paused...

Simon eyed her...Waiting impassively...

"Unless he believed...I made him believe...That I didn't...That our marriage..."

Yes...Simon nodded..."If you could..."

"No...I couldn't do it...I couldn't..." she shook her head...

"Not even to save him?..." Farris looked at his charge...

"He'd hate me...Forever..." she stared at him...

I couldn't...

"I see...Well, perhaps he will survive...With us trying to protect him..."

"I can't Simon...I couldn't say what I'd have to say...Never..."

"He'd know I was lying..."

"Yes...He probably would..." Farris nodded...

"But...Suppose...It wasn't you...Merely someone who...Posed as you..."

"And said...What had to be said to drive him off..."

She stared blankly at him...Simon rose and paced the room...

"There are creatures, dear...Who can be bargained with..."

"Who have the abilities you would require..."

"The creature I summoned to help me find the pride last night is one such...An ancestor of yours in
fact...And concerned with your welfare..." he noted...

"She...It...Is already well able to assume your form...And with information from you...She might even
fool your William..."

"What bargain...?" Cicely stared at him...

"Difficult to say...She asked for nothing last night..." Simon noted...

"But she may require more for this..." he leaned against his bust of Caesar...Drawing strength as he
sensed the coming triumph...

"Summon it..." she told him coldly...

"Now..."

"Will you promise me...Cicely?...That you will take care in dealing with it...? Do nothing that
would jeopardize your immortal soul...?"

She nodded...

Following Simon's instructions, Halfreck took her time appearing...But after some diligent chanting,
she manifested....In Cicely's form, startling her, briefly...Though she almost immediately regained her composure, looking over her smiling twin with a careful, cautious eye...

A true copy, no doubt...

"Leave us, Simon..." Cicely eyed him...Haly cocking her head in a very Cicely manner as she
watched Farris nod and leave quietly...

"Miss Addams...Sorry...Mrs. Walthrop..." Haly beamed...

"Forgive my little costuming...But my kind take pains to disguise themselves in your world...And I
am a very distant ancestor..."

"Mr. Farris has explained all that to me..." Cicely waved a hand...

"And your present appearance is what I would require..."

"And your wish is...?" Haly smiled...

"First...What do you want?..." Cicely stared coolly at her twin...Amazing...Even she couldn't tell...

Ah...Halfreck liked a client who got down to business at once...

"Very little...Merely an opportunity for my lord...D'Hoffryn...To speak with you...At the moment of
your death..."

"So..." Cicely eyed her... "Your lord wants my soul, eh?..."

"Not exactly...More like...He would like to offer you...And your demon...A position in our firm...As
one united being...Soul and demon merged...Like the rest of us..."

"But it's not an offer you would be obligated to accept..." Haly noted hastily...

"And he would not presume to make the offer before your moment of death..."

"And what does your... "Firm"...Do?...Precisely..."

"We deal in...Justice, miss..." Haly nodded proudly...

"Justice for the wronged and the oppressed...The betrayed and forgotten..."

"It's not all that far from what you do now..." she smiled...

"I seriously doubt that..." Cicely frowned...

"Your Watcher can confirm all that I've told you...Merely have him consult the Council's books on
D'Hoffryn..."the demon watched her hopefully...

"Joining us must be a voluntary choice..." Haly emphasized...

"All my lord D'Hoffryn asks is a chance to approach you...And make his offer...When the time comes..."

"You believe you could make my William believe it was me...?"

"I could..." Haly smiled proudly...

"William..." she looked solemnly at the wall...

"I am truly sorry...But...I cannot see a future in which you can be a part of my life..."

"I can't see you at all..."

Cicely glared at Halfreck a moment...

"I'm not sure that I believe you...That you can do what you say or that your demands would be so
limited...I will think it over..."

"Think...Quickly...My dear..." Haly twirled her parasol...

"His time is running out...Rapidly..."

"Drusilla is seeking him out even now..."

"You know where Drusilla and the pride are?!..." Cicely grabbed the demon...

"Tell me!!!..." she cried...Shaking her...

Haly vanished...And reappeared ten feet away...

"My dear...You are fortunate that I understand...And sympathize with your plight...Else I might take
offense at your action..."

"But..." she beamed..."You are a descendant...And in love...Ready to sacrifice your heart's desire to
save your love..."

"How can I be harsh with you?..."

"I wish I could lead you to the pride...Or destroy them myself for you...But...There are limits to what
I can do in your world...And they are on the move..."

"In daylight?..." Cicely stared...

"The Angelis pride has its ways...Darla escaped your Watchers in daylight..." Haly noted...

"And they have some ability in magic..." she smiled...

"At least enough to conceal themselves from me...Now that they know I am assisting you..."

"Drusilla is an amazing creature...As you know, my dear..."

"It was she who called to you the other night...She who is seeking William now..." Haly looked
solemnly at her descendant...

But hey, after 4000 years, the family ties were a trifle weak...

"If he remains in London...Even a single night longer..."

Cicely waved a hand...

"I must speak to Mr. Farris...My Watcher...And consider what you've told me..."

Of course...Haly nodded...Twirling the parasol again...

Cicely paused a moment...Haly watching her...

"He's beneath you..." Cicely eyed her...

"That's what you must say...Tell him that...It will break his heart..." She looked away...

"It's what he fears most...And secretly believes..."

She looked back at the demon...

"But that is not meant as my having accepted your offer...Yet..."

In the bag...Haly thought...Nodding carefully...

"I am available to you at any time, dear...Merely have Mr. Farris instruct you as to my
summoning..."

Very well...a red-eyed Cicely turned away...And stopped...

"Lose the parasol, miss...I only carry one in strong sun...And I would never twirl it like some addle-
brained, vapid fool..."

Indeed...? Haly smiled coolly...

"How clumsy of me...I should be more careful...If I am to represent the Slayer herself..."

The parasol vanished...As did the demon a moment later...

Cicely closed her eyes and rubbed her face in despair...

Beneath me...That will do it...I know it will...

And no matter what happens in the fight later...Even if I survive and destroy them...He will never
forgive me for it...

Except perhaps...In Eternity...She pulled out and carefully looked at her wedding ring...

***

Even Simon Farris, human monster that he had become, couldn't help but be moved when he re-
entered the room and found her on her knees...Hands behind her head, face covered by her
elbows...Rocking in despair, tears quietly rolling down her beautiful face...

I have lost her...he realized...

And she will die when he is lost...Perhaps even throw herself gladly to his demon...

I have killed...The only child I ever had...

***
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 XVII...

"So..." At the Fowler and Fowler, Ltd. warehouse, would-be home of the Angelis pride, Andrew
cheerily addressed his companion, a female Observer, one of two Council staffers posted there by
Rathskeller before he and Willow's team had left...

"No signs of them?...These vampire people, I mean..."

Not as yet, sir...she told him patiently...For the tenth time in the last hour...

"Perhaps you might care to return to your home, sir?..." she noted...Hopefully...

"I can have a carriage brought round..."

"No, no...Not necessary...I'm quite all right here...And my brother Tucker might be a bit put out to
find you lot here if I wasn't round to explain things...Smooth things over and all..."

"Yes, sir...Your assistance is appreciated..." she sighed...Continuing her rounds of the building with
him at her heels...

"So..." he started again...

"How does one deal with this lot?...The fangs and all?..."

"Bit out of my line, you understand..."

"Anything wooden, sir...Though the heart...Will destroy them..." the woman patiently explained as
she checked a row of crates...

"And direct sunlight will burn them..."

"Ah..." Andrew nodded wisely...

"Not too up on such creatures, you know...Though I did see a play æbout them once... "Varney the
Vampire"...Ever see it?...Quite a good show, really..."

"No, sir..." she smiled wanly...Continuing her search...Hmmn...she looked at a crate...Stamped as
"Fragile:China"...A few wisps of white powder seeping out one slightly battered corner...

"Those are from China..." Andrew beamed...China from China, actually...he chuckled...

Hmmn...China...And something else...she thought, eyeing him...

"What do you suppose that stuff is?..." he looked at the powder...Kneeling down to put a finger on
it...

"I wouldn't touch it, sir...I believe it's opium..."

"Opium...?! The stuff the poor wretches over there smoke?...Hanging round their dens all day with
glazed eyes and all that...?" Fowler stared at her, startled, and rose quickly...

Indeed...she eyed him coolly...

"It's used by wretches over here as well, sir..."

"Well...Must tell Tucker about this...At once..." he noted...

"Can't allow this sort of thing..."

Either he's very good...she thought, watching him carefully and reviewing the location of the
weapons on her person...Or he's a very good, if rather dense young man...

***

"I am sorry, my dear..." Halfreck sighed to Cicely...Now in her own bedroom...Two hours after
she'd left Farris' rooms...

A desperate Cicely having decided to learn the extent of the demon's abilities...Could
it...she...Protect Will from the pride, Drusilla in particular?...

"My abilities in your world are somewhat limited...I can take physical form...I could inflict a certain
amount of pain and suffering on human enemies of your husband...But against other demons,
including vampires..."

"I'm afraid the best help I can offer you in this is to make him leave you...Following the course you
yourself suggested..."

Cicely stared at her intently...Then looked away...At a small clock on her fireplace mantlepiece...It
would be sunset in approximately six hours...The party would begin at eight...

Some other way...There must be some other way...Find them and kill them...Or I could still take
him...Run...

A knock at the door...Anne the maid...

Haly had vanished by the time Cicely had opened the door and taken the note the maid offered her...

Miss Wilhelmina Rosenberg requesting a few minutes of Miss Addams' precious time...

"Anne...!" she opened the hallway door and called to the girl who returned...

"Send Miss Rosenberg up...I'll meet her here..."

***
Well?...Farris eyed Halfreck as she stood in the center of his parlor...

Getting a bit tiresome she noted with all this back-and-forth...Still, all part of a justice demon's job...

"She's very close but hasn't made up her mind..."

Simon frowned at his "partner"...Time running out...If Cicely and Walthrop met at tonight's affair,
the little fool was sure to let her heart win out over her head...

"You must persuade her..." he insisted...

"Her request must be voluntary, Mr. Farris...I can't compel her to do a thing..."

"There is such a thing as subtle persuasion, Miss Halfreck...Remind her of Walthrop's danger...And
that you are her only hope of saving him..."

"I'll do my...Oops...Must fly..." she vanished...

***
"Miss Addams...Sorry...Mrs. Walthrop..." Willow stared at a clearly distraught Cicely...Pacing her
bedroom...

Rather nice bedroom, Willow couldn't help noticing...
The maid, Anne knocked...Bearing a note...

"It's from the Chairman..." Cicely handed the letter to Willow after looking it over quickly...

"My cousin is recovering nicely from his injuries..."

Good...Willow nodded... "Very fortunate we were at hand..." she noted, carefully eyeing Cicely...

"I appeal to you to consider the situation rationally...London...And your own family are in
danger...And if you leave with your husband tonight...You are placing him in danger as well..."

"The Angelis pride is sure to..."

"I know what the pride is capable of!..." Cicely shouted at her... "And I know my God-damned Duty
to Humanity!!..."

"I need no one to tell me of it!!!..." she raged in Willow's face...

"I see..." Willow said coldly...

"Then I hope you make the right decision, miss...For your husband and family as well as all
Humanity...Good afternoon..." she got up and left the room...

***

"The choice...Miss Addams, er Mrs. Walthrop...Is yours to make..." Halfreck smiled
benevolently...As she somewhat wearily faced her potential client yet again...

D'Hoffryn should pay me by the mile for jobs like this she thought...

"Can't you protect William?...Once he leaves..." Cicely stared at her "helper"...

"I can only try to monitor him for you...I can't guarantee his safety..." Haly noted...

But surely...she paused..."Surely he's safer away from the Slayer...Than in her enemies' sights..."

"Can you be here...In three hours' time?..." Cicely eyed her... "In the correct clothes...And ready to
take my place?...With the words I told you to use..."

"You're beneath me...William..." Haly intoned...

"I'll meet you in the upper balcony...Just down the hall from here...At exactly 9:45..." Cicely told
her...

"Excellent, my dear...And I will do my best to save him..." Haly vanished...

It is the right thing...It must be...Cicely told herself...Pacing her room frantically...

***

Play (After The Ball...)
AFTER THE BALL...

"A little maiden climbed an old man’s knees—

Begged for a story: "Do uncle, please!

Why are you single, why live alone?

Have you no babies, have you no home?"

"I had a sweetheart, years, years ago,

Where she is now, pet, you will soon know;

List to the story, I’ll tell it all:

I believed her faithless after the ball.“

”Bright lights were flashing in the grand ballroom,

Softly the music playing sweet tunes.

There came my sweetheart, my love, my own,

‘I wish some water; leave me alone.’

When I returned, dear, there stood a man

Kissing my sweetheart as lovers can.

Down fell the glass, pet, broken, that’s all—

Just as my heart was after the ball.“

”Long years have passed, child, I have never wed,

True to my lost love though she is dead.

She tried to tell me, tried to explain—

I would not listen, pleadings were vain.

One day a letter came from that man;

He was her brother, the letter ran.

That’s why I’m lonely, no home at all—

I broke her heart, pet, after the ball."

Chorus:

After the ball is over, after the break of morn,

After the dancers' leaving, after the stars are gone,

Many a heart is aching, if you could read them all—

Many the hopes that have vanished after the ball.

10:00pm...The party well under way...Guests milling about the large parlor and downstairs rooms...

Including one William Soames Walthrop...Looking rather anxious as he stared about the place...No
Cicely yet in sight...Well, she'd be down...He decided to return to the small sitting room and try to
get in a bit more work...

An increasingly nervous Cicely fretted above...

Can this be the right thing?...To drive my poor love away like this...?

She stared out over the balcony rail...To where Halfreck was making her descent...A bevy of
desperate gentlemen hanging on the stair railings to greet her...

That fool Henderson standing at the foot of the stairs...Saying something to dear Will as he
passed...Moron...The one who'd tried to pin that nasty title on him the other night at dinner after
listening to a sampling of William's work...

All right, it hadn't been Will's best effort...But he'd been nervous with Papa around and all those
elegant fools staring him down...And there was nothing really wrong with "effulgent"...

Certainly nothing to deserve Henderson's vicious little sobriquet...

Bloody Awful...

That jealous toff jackass...She acquired a bit of Will's slang in their time together...

In a just universe someone would stick a railroad spike through the fool's skull to let some brains
and sensitivity in...

Or perhaps...A wooden stake...Yes...She smiled a bit wickedly at the thought...

William had followed the false Cicely into the parlor...

She sat with clasped hands...Still holding that which she'd brought from her bedroom...

A small yellow stuffed pig...

What should I do...? she thought...

If I stop Halfreck now...I must tell him all...

And if he doesn't denounce me as insane...He's sure to insist on fighting with me...He'll die...

What should I do?...

Oh...God help me...! she thought...

He's brave...she heard a voice...

And he'd rather die with you...Than without you, girl...

She looked about the room...No one...

Hurry...the voice whispered...

Who?...she stared about...

Go now...There's no time, girl...

But...Who...?

Ahem...Your guardian spirit...Now move it, girl...

But...

Are you going to sit here and let him die?...Hating you...?

Cause that's what's about to happen...Go!...

Like Hell!...she hopped up from her chair...Racing for the stairs...

Well, Mr. Gordo thought...From where he'd fallen when she'd dropped him on rising...

She'd never have believed the truth...And I am sort of a guardian angel...

Ow!...he thought...The pain of the floor bump penetrating...

***
"William!..." she raced down the stairs at Slayer speed...A startled group eyeing her...

But...She just went into...?

In the parlor, Haly heard her client's cry...

Shit...! What the hell...?!

What an idiotic little fool...Can't she make up her mind?...

Lord, the trouble I've gone to and now...

Still, William had just fled the room and reached the front door...

A wild-eyed Cicely stood at the parlor entrance...

"Halfreck!..." she cried... "Where is my husband!?"

Several gentlemen and the one other lady in the room caught sight of her and looked confusedly
back at Halfreck...

"Ta, ta..." the demon grinned, vanishing...

Cicely raced away...Leaving that group and others now wandering in in some confusion...

"Did you see...?" the escort of the lady turned to his female companion...Who'd come up with an
immediate explanation...

"Cicely is doing her magic tricks again...Like when she made a man disappear at a party at the
Churchills two months ago..." Harmony Kendall explained to her beau...

"He was there...And then...Just dust..."

Whoa, wait...Husband...?

Cicely's...Married?

Why that little...Just like her to try and trump me again...Her greatest nemeses...Nemesis?...In the
swirling battle for control of London society...

Well, Harmony Francis Kendall would respond to her "friend"'s latest move on the checker...er chess
board...

There must be some pawn or rook or horsey thing around to move...?

A somewhat pale and wan looking Henry Foxcroft entered the parlor...A couple of gentlemen and
their ladies beside him, asking with regards to Cicely's strange departure from the house...As well as
inquiring about his health, owning to his suddenly frail appearance...

Hmmn...Henry...Her cousin...Her extremely wealthy cousin...Who should know all there was to
know about this "marriage" thing...She hurried over...

"That was a neat trick, Henry...Cicely was in rare form..."

Trick?...he eyed Harmony...Wearily taking a seat...Still rather at odds after the blood loss and all...

"She made her double appear...And disappear...Before she ran out...Tell us, how did she do
it?...Mirrors?..."

"And what was that about her...Husband?..."

Double?...Henry eyed the vapid little fool...Husband?...

"She's left?...Where is William?..." he looked around the room...

"She or her mirror double was talking to him and he ran out...He seemed a bit upset..." Harmony
noted...

Guess she finally got tired of his hanging around...

"Henry...?" she looked after him as he hurried out...Towards the front door...

***

In the street outside the Addams-Foxcroft townhouse, William paused dazedly in the street, pulling
out something from his pocket...

A ring...Which he raised an arm to throw...

And suddenly found himself hurled to the ground with a considerable weight on top of him...

A weight which was?...Yes, it was...Fervently kissing him...

"William, William..." Cicely sobbed, but held him firmly down...He blinked up at her...

Quite a girl...

Henry raced up, wobbling a bit...Standing with a rather crooked grin as he surveyed the spectacle of
the Walthrops on the ground...Cicely spread-eagled over poor Will...

Jonathan came hurrying up from the house...Staring...

As gradually did a number of others...Including Fowler...And dear ole Henderson...Who made a
desperate effort to reconstruct the scene to his own liking...

"Walthrop, get off her!..." he raced over...Looking for someway to pull Will out from under a
determined Cicely...Who wasn't sure quite what to do...But had no intention of letting him up until
absolutely sure he was safe...

"GET AWAY!!!..." she raged at Henderson...Who pulled up short at her rather terrifying growl...

Well, if alls well, perhaps I should just...he blinked at her...

"GO!!...Before I..." she continued...Pointing away from the house...

"Will?..." she looked down...

"Sorry...You alright?..."

"Is this what you had in mind with that "beneath you" remark?..." he called up to her...

Oh, my God!...she looked at his hand...

"Did you throw your wedding ring away just now?!...William!?...How could you?..."

"It's right here, Cicely...He dropped it when you slammed into him..." Henry grinned, bringing it
over in his fist...

Wedding...Ring...? several deposed former suitors looked at each other...

Him...?

"Oh...Is Walthrop married?..." Andrew asked Jonathan...

"Yes, old fellow..." Jonathan sighed...

"And so is Mrs. Walthrop..." he smiled gently at Cicely...Now returned to fervently kissing her
husband...

***
"NO...NO...NO...NO...!!!" Dru screamed in her alleyway...Clutching her head in her hands...

Oh...! a voice within sighed...

Lost...Forever...No one will ever come to help me...

(We all know Angel certainly won't)

"No!..." Dru cried...Never forever...

"LADY!!!" she screamed...

"You have lied to me!!!..." she sobbed...Smashing her hands against the bricks until they bled...

***
"She was ready for me, somehow...It wasn't my fault..." Halfreck whined...D'Hoffryn on his throne in
his vast and icy palace, glared at her...

"Now you're making excuses, girl?...You knew a Slayer would be a tough nut to crack..."

"Go back...And see this thing through...Press that vampiress and her trapped soul to use her abilities
properly...Get help from our human Watcher friend if you must...But make this happen..."

"Your future with me...And your existence...Depends on it..."

She vanished, sobbing a bit...Her parasol no longer twirling...
Anyanka stepped forward...

"It was a tough assignment, D-H...And you know as well as I do this Cicely was helped...By a
pookah..."

Silence!...He glared...

"We never mention our competitors...Remember that, Anyanka..."

Pookahs...Anyanka shuddered...Human-friendly spirits who dwell invisibly around them, often
taking up residence in inanimate but beloved objects...Favorite chairs, ship models, much loved
toys...And their true form...The most hideous of all...

Giant rabbits...(One day their helpful efforts and concern for Humanity to be immortalized in a
much beloved Jimmy Stewart film... "Harvey"..."The pookah takes many forms, but is most famous
when he appears as a giant, six-foot white rabbit ? which is the form most Americans know from the
play and film, Harvey. Whatever form the pookah takes, he retains the special ability of his species,
which is like that of Thoth in Egyptian legend, Coyote in Native American myth or Hanuman the
Divine Monkey in Hindu lore ? he can move us from one universe, or Belief System, into another,
and he likes to play games with our ideas about 'reality.'')

"I won't tolerate failure on this one...Especially with..." he grimaced...

"One of those involved..."

All in all I'd say thank the demon god B'aal I didn't stay with this case...Anyanka thought...

Don't think it's likely to lead to rapid career advancement...

***

"ARRRR!!!...." Drusilla threw herself at the suddenly appearing Halfreck...Still in Cicely guise...

Rather useless attempt...Haly teleporting two feet to the side before she could reach her...

"You lied to me!!!...He is not coming!!!..." Dru glared...But sensed further effort at revenge was
useless for now...

"I'm so sorry, dear...He was better protected than I knew..."

"But...There's no reason to abandon the hunt..." she smiled at her insane "friend"...

"My Prince...Gone!...I...What?..." Dru blinked at the vengeance demon...

"You have great power within you, Drusilla...Great abilities...If you'd only concentrate and use
them..."

"You must cultivate patience, dear...You could stand to learn from your poor sister in there...She's
very patient..."

Hmmn...The human soul sister...Lonely, trapped, desperate for rescue...I wonder...Am I utilizing the
best Drusilla for this job?...Perhaps...

Dru was calming and staring at her...Sensing...Whoops...Best to put such thoughts the back burner,
Haly realized...

Well...Lets let nutcase have her second chance...

"Drusilla!?..." Halfreck sharpened her tone... "You do want Mr. Walthrop, don't you?..."

Yes...Dru shook her head vigorously..."He is My..." Haly nodded quickly, waving to cut her off...

"Drusilla, he's still going to be in England and will even be coming to London at times...And you
have all Eternity, my girl...Just try and be patient...Your time will come, if you can concentrate and
focus on your goal..."

Let your sister help you...She wants him too...Haly smiled...

"Come, lets talk a bit and see if we can't plan out a course of action..."

***
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 XVIII...

Out of the frying pan...

William and the Walthrops' secret marriage had been saved...At least for the moment...
However, that marriage was now a secret no longer...Not with a distraught Cicely atop William,
refusing to let him rise until he'd promised to forgive and hear his loving wife out...

Even Andrew Fowler, standing beside his friend Jonathan Levinson in the crowd milling about the
couple was beginning to get the idea...Apparently his "agreement" with dear Cics farther off than
he'd assumed...

Still, this poet?... Not that Walthrop didn't seem a decent enough fellow and all, he noted to
Jonathan...Bit of a startle that's all...

Hmm-hmmn...Jonathan faintly smiled back...Watching Cicely pleading to William...Who was
having some difficulty getting his acceptance of her pleas for forgiveness out, given her holding him
so firmly pinned in place...

"I say...Levinson..." Andrew regarded him kindly...

"Suppose this must be a bit of a rough thing for you, too...Rather fond of her yourself, weren't
you?..."

"A bit rough, old fellow..." Jonathan nodded... "And yes, rather fond..."

"But I am glad to see her..." Uh-oh...he caught sight of an angry figure approaching fast...Sir
Richard...

"Happy...? I should say..." Andrew started to nod...Then followed Jonathan's
stare...Hmmn...Trouble there, I'd say...

"Cicely!!!..." A sharp voice cried out...

A furious Sir Richard Addams, Cicely's father, had formed a part of the crowd around the pair...
A tall, lean, and, when in rage, extremely menacing man with brown, graying hair...Coldly
commanding his daughter to get off the young man...At once...

She nervously did so...The Slayer fleeing from her, leaving a rather terrified little girl...

"Papa...Please understand..." she began as William struggled to rise and Henry came over to them...

"I understand that you have made an ass of yourself, girl!!..." he replied, his voice a cutting whip...

"Married, are you?..." he eyed Walthrop...Now standing beside her...The young man nodded
silently...Cicely looking at him briefly...With a slowly widening smile...

Yes...This was the right choice...

Yes, Papa...she thought, looking at her angry father's red face...We are married...Still...Thank you
God...And whoever that was... she sighed inwardly...

"You've done well, boy...My compliments...But then, I had the notion that my only child had a
modicum of sense and decency..."

"Uncle Richard..." Henry began...

"Enough!!!...Cicely!...Come back to the house with me at once!..."

And you...Sir...Sir Richard sneered at Walthrop...

"I will speak to you...Tomorrow...At my office in town..."

"You'll make out well enough from this, I warrant you..." he glared at William...

"Well!?..." Sir Richard glared at his daughter...Hesitating by her new husband...

Make up your mind, girl... A voice called to her...The same that had sent her out after Will...

Will sighed at his father-in-law...

"It was wrong of us to conceal this from you, sir..."

"Not at all...Sir..." Sir Richard smiled coldly at him...

"You would not be here now, an irritant in my eye, if I had known things had gone this far..."

Papa...Cicely stared at him...

But it was about what she'd expected...Sir Richard having little nonsense in his manner in dealing
with "problematic" people...And enemies...

"Make up your mind, Cicely..." William looked at her quietly...

"Do you want to be with me or no?...It will be very hard, I think your father can promise that..." he
stared at Sir Richard...

"Indeed, sir...It will be...For you both..."

Several servants, including Smike and Squears, were now coming up from the house...

"Smike!...Squears!..." Sir Richard called...

"Escort my daughter back to the house...Up to her room..."

"Not one step, friend..." William glared at Smike...Assuming a defensive stance...

Smike eyed Squears...Who likewise hesitated...

Nice positioning...Cicely beamed...Looking her husband's stance over with a professional eye...

Infuriated, Sir Richard walked over to Cicely...Who slipped back...He grabbed her arm as she took
Will's...And pulled hers away from her father, quite vigorously to his shocked and slightly painful
surprise...

"Enough of this, uncle!..." Henry looked at Sir Richard...Who turned to him...

"I see that you are in no small part responsible for this farce, Henry...I won't forget that..."

"My friend Will is a good man, uncle...And Cicely is a grown woman..."

"A remarkable grown woman..." he smiled at her...She giving a quick smile back...

"Cicely..." Sir Richard eyed her coldly...

"It is true that you are of age...And I can do nothing about your income from your mother, God
curse the day she chose to leave it to a fool...But you will find living by it a far, far cry from the life
you lead now...A life with this nobody...A life..."

"Beneath me...?" she stared back...And smiled at William...

"We'll manage, father..." she said quietly...Taking Will's arm, she turned away with him...Then
back...

"Sir...I am sorry we had to deceive you...But, as you just pointed out...It was the right thing to do,
under the circumstances..."

They turned away again from her staring father and walked out of the crowd on the opposite
side...Henry following after a moment...As did Jonathan and Andrew...

Surely, police?...One deposed suitor suggested to his fellows...

Terrible thing, another sighed...But, sadly...Police have got these idiotic democratic notions about
people's right these days...Not like Grandfather's day...When a lout like that knew his place or
learnt it the hard way...

"Sorry to disagree with you back there, William..." Cicely grinned to him as they started off...

"Afraid I'm not the sort of wife who will never go against her husband in all things...Can you bear
that?..."

"I'll manage, dear heart..." he grinned back...

"Braxton and Davies are here from the house, Sir Richard..." Smike came over to him as he watched
his daughter walking away up the street...

"Shall we go after...?" Sir Richard gave him a grim look and turning on his heel, walked back towards
the house, shoving members of the crowd out of his way...

***
"Well..." William stared at his wife, now carefully supporting a rather frail Henry to the carriage her
husband had hailed...

"I suppose you'll explain that little scene back at the house to me...Later?..."

"Hmm..." Cicely nodded, helping Henry into the cab...She turned to face Will...

"Lets just say for now, darling...I had a little fear cloud over my heart...Just for a moment..."

"And never, never again..." she kissed him...

He smiled...Shaking his poor addled head...Well...

"I'll just accept the joy of the moment...And leave it at that..."

"Say...?" he looked into the cab...

"What's happened to ole Henry?...A fever or something?..."

"Or something...We'll explain back at the flat..." she stared at him...

The joy of this moment...Even if I die, he dies...Tomorrow...
***

On the ride to Henry's old apartments, Will kindly insisted on Henry coming with them to the new
lodgings he'd secured near Cambridge, agreeing with Cicely that he was in need of careful
nursing...And with his mother, Cicely's aunt, in holy terror of Sir Richard...It was unlikely he'd find
much rest at home just now...

***
It was not so much the news of the catastrophic defeat that upset Farris as Halfreck's insistence that
Cicely must have had warning...Someone or something, likely a guardian spirit, had chosen to
intervene at what should have been Drusilla's moment of triumph...

Just like the Powers That Be to protect fools and idiot children...

Still, his partner seemed to feel there was still hope...Drusilla had been shaken by the outcome in
rather a positive way...Seemed somewhat more focused on her goal now...A new determination to
win out in the end, Haly happily told him...

Laudable, Farris noted dryly...But given the fact that the Walthrops were fleeing London even as
they spoke...

"Mrs. Walthrop will be back...And so will her husband..." Haly smiled...

"Drusilla has seen it...And I agree...Cicely is the Slayer after all...Duty will pull her back here..."

"And I have secured our friend the services of a new advisor...Someone with a powerful interest in
connecting with our Mr. Walthrop..." Her human soul...

"Hardly likely to be willing to help in killing him, wouldn't you say?"

"Not really aware of what's involved, poor thing...Still trapped in limbo..." Halfreck shook her
head...

"But desperate to reach anyone...And I believe I've convinced her he can be her salvation...If she
helps our demon lady to find him..."

"Well..I leave that to you...But I begin to think it may be best to abandon efforts with Mr.
Walthrop..." Farris frowned...

"My best course may well be to see that Cicely "retires" as quickly as possible now..." he eyed
Haly...Who frowned in her turn...

"We have an agreement, Mr. Farris...My lord is counting on your keeping it...And that agreement
calls for us to bring Mrs. Walthrop to the point of such despair and remorse...or anger...that she will
be responsive to D'Hoffryn's offer...That accomplished, her death should follow quickly, of
course..."

And the key to driving Cicely to that happy state...For us...Is Drusilla...

"After all..." Haly beamed..."What would bring a Slayer to greater despair than seeing her own
husband transformed...And, perhaps even having to destroy him..."

"Poetic, really..." she noted...

Hmmn...The thought had not been lost on Simon even previously that that despair and more
important, that anger, might find a focus on him, once Cicely was dead and aware of his role...

Not a happy thought...To accomplish his goals only to immediately become the object of a super-
vengeance demon's rage...Still, they were required to operate though the wishes of others...And by
the time she would've found a suitable wisher...Some enemy of his or perhaps a relative of
hers...He'd be protected by all the secret powers of the Council and its most powerful allies...

Just a matter of making sure she'd not learned of his role until she was unable to do him harm...And
he still thought it unlikely she'd ever turn to an afterlife career as demon even for vengeance's
sake...No, so long as Walthrop's soul was departed from this vale of tears, his dear Cicely would
have only one interest at death...To find that little husband's soul and scoot off to Heaven...And the
peace she so desired...

Yes...he thought, staring at his "partner"...Arranging Walthrop's death...In the proper manner...Was
still a matter of prime importance...If anything, more important than ever...

***

Several days later found a worried Cicely in the small house Walthrop had rented for them, facing
the greatest challenge of her career...As she stared at the book of recipes she'd found in her new
kitchen...

How to cook a full meal without a small army of servants...

With her mother gone, Slaying, and her father requiring her services to manage their home and
servants, while assisting him as secretary and hostess for his parties, her direct kitchen skills had
been even more limited than most upper class young women...Though she had tried to learn a bit in
the past few weeks, with her marriage imminent, and had successfully mastered the art of making
William's favorite dessert, fairy cake...A great deal still eluded her...

Will, having anticipated her inexperience...And rather experienced in the kitchen, of necessity, had
kindly attempted to assist her, to her embarrassment...

But naturally she couldn't allow him to think her some useless fool...And while it'd been nice to
have his help on the first simple meals...Just warming things brought from the local grocer's and
baker's...She had insisted on taking things in her own capable hands for the first fully home-
prepared meal while he and a nearly recovered Henry were at their classes...

"Now...Sir...Here is the arrangement I propose..." she addressed her standard Slayer speech to the
object of her intent...A large chicken, recently deceased...

"You shall be rubbed and stuffed and cook quietly on your back in that oven..." she pointed to the
large, kerosene-fueled oven...

Along with your companions...she noted several potatoes...Onions...And a small heap of string
beans...

"While I review my choice of options for entry into the special classes..." she eyed a listing of classes
for which non-matriculated students were offered admittance...

Of course, William's uncertainty had been something of a goad...

"Perhaps...You should consider hiring a girl today instead of later...Someone to help..." he'd
suggested before leaving...

Help?...she'd eyed her husband...

This wasn't like the laundry...Where she'd gratefully accepted his assistance...He again being
experienced of necessity...And their budget not allowing for experimentation with his few decent
school clothes...

Or the cleaning...Where, reminding her of the miserable life of drudgery he'd seen his mother
endure, he'd insisted that it was his job as well as hers...And that if he were willing to defer to her
experience in this...Slaying, she called it?...Surely she could accept that in his dreary former careers
in various factories of his home town of Brusset he'd acquired far more direct experience in heavy
cleaning than she...

How difficult could it be?...The Greatest Slayer of All Time versus a plucked chicken...And its
vegetable allies....

As light a task as a piece of the fairy cake she'd be making for dessert, she'd noted...Sending him off
with a fervent kiss for him and a hug for Henry, with a promise of a fine dinner to mark his recovery
and return to his own lodgings...

Might do well to eat a good lunch...Henry'd quietly noted to Walthrop as they'd made their way
onto the campus...

He'd been the pleasantly smiling recipient of most of Cicely's recent efforts back in London...

***

"Good news from my grandfather in Transylvania..." Willow noted...Waving a letter at Chairman
Rathskeller as she entered his office at the Antiquarian Hall...

"It seems old Count Dracula has kept his word to date...And grandpa included a daylight photo of
himself to confirm he was ok..."

Rathskeller looked at the distinguished Dr. Van Helsing standing with several of his staff, his clients
the Harkers nearby as well...Mrs. Harker looking noticeably happier...

"All seems to going well..." he nodded..."And our own sources in Romania confirm that..." he smiled at
Willow...

"The climax is near...They perform the ceremony in just a few days..." Willow beamed, reading
from the letter...

Imagine...she smiled at the Chairman...

"All done for love...Of a woman who died centuries ago..."

"Well..." Arthur sighed... "The Count assumed his curse initially for love of his deceased wife...To
take vengeance on those who'd caused her suicide...And the Church that had cursed her
soul...Believing, foolishly, that taking on the vampire curse voluntarily would reunite him with her
spirit..."

(Damnit...He is stealing Great-grandfather's story, Vladimir glared furiously...

Still...he looked at his author...Stoker seems intrigued...Perhaps we could make use of this...A
second money-maker, following as sequel to our first?...

And it will be pleasant to kill Angelis after he's provided the whole thing...)

"But I hope Abraham will proceed cautiously...And call on our operatives for help if needed..."

"He wants to know how I'm doing..." Willow sighed, reading on...

"Guess there's not much good to report there..." she eyed Arthur sheepishly...

"You may tell him...As I already have written him...That the Chairman is most impressed by his
granddaughter's efforts...And believes we will succeed..." Rathskeller smiled at her...

Such a sweet guy...Willow smiled back...

But a little too willing to sugar-coat things...Gramps won't be fooled...she frowned slightly...

Well, just a matter of knuckling down and searching every possible haunt where the pride could be...

"We must simply redouble our efforts..." Arthur noted, beginning to pace...Echoing her thought, she
noted rather happily...

Fortunately the pride seems to be laying low since our last encounter...he paused to point out...

"But there's no physical evidence that they've left London...And my psychics still feel the presence of
our Miss Drusilla..."

***
"Drusilla, Drusilla...Drusilla..." Angelis, ever the kind if stern pater...Eyed his "daughter" firmly as
he held her in a vise grip while savagely striking her with an open hand...Darla coldly watching...

To wander off...While they were pinned down in London with the Council and its Slayer hunting
them so intensively...Wasting precious hunt time...Worst of all, coming back to them at their new,
rather miserable hiding place in the sewers...Fortunately without a trail of Watchers at her
heels...And all for the sake of the ridiculous "Prince" of her wild tales...Now on her distraught
return, mainly of her Prince having evaded the trap her demon Lady had set...

God, just transform the first moronic human male you see ...he noted to her...Releasing her as she
whimpered a bit...

See this little fellow...He pointed to a photo of William Soames Walthrop in yesterday's Times...The
story of Miss Addams fleeing her home with a secret husband naturally attracting some little, rather
sternly disapproving editorial attention...

"Some fool like him would do just..."

"My Prince!..." Drusilla exclaimed...Grabbing the Times...
That was him...

"Wasn't it a lovely one, Grandmother...?" she beamed, bringing the paper over... "Such a fine,
handsome one..."

"Mum would've been pleased..." a fragment floated up....

"Nonsense! Never go off like that again!..." Darla glared...Tossing the paper aside and shaking
her...

"Or I will do the honors rather than your "father"..."

Dru stared at them...A slow burn glare now appearing on her face...

The Lady had said she was strong...Had strength she'd never used...

And that the little sister...The Bad One...Would help her...

It was dawning on her that the Old Ones never would...

***
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 XIX...

Play Theme for "Cicely the Vampire Slayer"...

Henry noted once again to William as they strolled onto University grounds that he'd taken Cicely's
revelation of her unique calling the night they'd left London with considerable sang-froid...

Rather difficult to deny her tale...Will shrugged...With Henry himself confirming her story...
Especially after she'd had their carriage stopped on the way to quickly stake two vampires attacking
a young streetwalker...

And after she'd reluctantly allowed his presence on her Patrols, (uneventful ones, she'd thanked
God...Only one minor refugee from one of the London nests, just the first night)...of their new home
area...Much as she'd clearly been pleased to have him at her side...

Really, the hardest thing after the initial shock, had been the realization that she'd tried to make him
leave out of fear for him...That he couldn't handle himself...

Followed by a rather wondrous realization that she'd done it out of love for him...Fear that her initial
wooing had selfishly put him at risk...And that she'd, in the end, decided to make the gamble, take
the risk, likewise out of love...For the joy that they would share however transient...And with a new
understanding that he was equally willing to accept whatever Fate sent them for the joy of that
moment...

The poetic possibilities alone were sending his mind reeling...

Now however...He confessed...It was his turn to be afraid...And worry that he'd been selfish...

"She'll always be worrying about me, Henry...Much as she wants to have faith that I'll make out all
right...And it may put her at risk...Watching out for me..."

"I don't want to be a drag on her...A burden..."

"Frankly, I don't think I was much use on her Patrols these past nights...Though she was kind
enough to say I had potential..."

Hmmn...Henry eyed him...

"So the obvious solution..." William sighed...

"Is training..."

Hmmn?...Henry eyed him...

"After all, I wasn't too shabby a fighter back in old Brusset...I held my own against some fairly
large hulks back in the factory yards..."

"But I need more training in use of weapons, and more efficient fighting techniques..."

"Might not hurt to learn a bit more about the research end of the family business as well...She was
rather keen for me to do that...Thought I could make a real contribution now that she doesn't have
constant contact with her Watcher..."

"Though I have no intention of sitting at home reading over books on demonology and the occult
while she's out risking her life..."

"Perhaps when we go to London tomorrow to meet with Mr. Gilbert, I can speak with that Farris
fellow a moment..." he noted thoughtfully...
I'll see what she thinks tonight...

They were reaching the building at Trinity College where their joint first class was held...Will
paused a moment as they neared a small group of students...

"But, getting back to the training..." he continued...

"You know the athletics end of the University much better than I...Whom should I contact?..."

Well...Henry pondered...And thought, rather pleased...My good and noble friend...I knew he was the
right man for her, almost from the moment they met...

A surprisingly practical man for such a romantic young poet...But then, he'd had to fight for his
right to be a romantic...In some of the worst slums in England...

Yes...My cousin made the right choice...

"Hendricks, the boxing master, might be of help...Scholls the fencing master knows most sword-type
weapons...And I think you'd be right to contact Mr. Farris in London...Though I would suggest
trying to meet with that Mr. Rathskeller as well...It's my understanding that he is the head of the
Watchers' Council..."

"And they're anxious to keep some contact with Cicely..." William nodded thoughtfully... "However
little they may approve of her choice of spouse..."

"Speaking of your trip to London..." Henry leaned against the building they now stood besides, still
a little removed from others...

"Are you ready for the formidable Mr. Gilbert?..." he smiled...

No...William sighed and smiled...

"But I'll do my best...And hopefully he'll find my efforts worthwhile..."

***

It was not the fire, started when she set her burning chicken on the small kitchen table...Nor the
strangely lumpen potatoes which refused to mash smoothly...Nor the gravy tasting much like wall
plaster...Nor the dress, ruined when the heated iron she'd left on it burned through when she ran to
put out the chicken in the kitchen...Nor the vanished time she'd planned to employ in cleaning the
house, what little left over from her kitchen efforts being lost in trying to figure out how to
permanently remove the dirt which her sweeping efforts seemed only to succeed in moving from one
spot to another...That left Cicely reduced to tears...

No, the Slayer was not to be discouraged by a few minor disasters...And most could be retrieved
with a desperate plea to one of the neighbor wives...

It was her visitor...The forthright Miss Rosenberg, out from London, having used the resources of
the Council to track her down...

Not too difficult a task, Willow'd admitted...William and Henry being enrolled students...And the
Walthrop's habitation being duly registered...

A flustered, smoke-begrimed Mrs. Walthrop having done her best to try to properly greet her
unwelcome visitor...Bearing equally unwelcome news...

Both the Council and her group having failed to find any new trace of the Angelis pride, she'd come
in part to plea with the Slayer...

And in part, to warn her...

Drusilla, according to information gleaned from psychic members of the Council...And confirmed,
Willow noted, by the Slayer's own vision sensations...Reported to the Chairman by her own cousin,
Mr. Foxcroft, before he'd left the Council's care...Had a common interest with Mrs. Walthrop...

In a certain young, newly married poet...

***

"This vampire...Our "Miss Drusilla"...Willow paused...Cicely sitting across from her in the
Walthrops' little parlor...Having reluctantly agreed to hear her visitor out...

"She has a child's brain in a fiend's body...A vicious child's brain to be sure...Growing but slowly
over time as all vampires' do...But with a child's willful determination to have what it
wants...Regardless of consequences..."

"In this case, it wants your husband..." she eyed Cicely...

"And even the fact that you are the Slayer...Her greatest enemy...Is not going to stop her..."

"Nor will your hiding here..."
***

"Gilbert and Sullivan..." Angelis beamed... "Capital idea, girl..." he nodded...

Now that was more like it...High time we got out of these sewers and got some pleasure out of this
miserable sojourn in London, the Greatest City of the World...Dru seemed finally to be picking her
spirits up, he happily noted to Darla...

Who grimly rolled her eyes at her idiotic mate...Go off to the theater?...With the entire Watchers'
Council and their Slayer breathing down their necks...?

"So...?" the indulgent paterfamilias Angelis returned to his dear "daughter"... "What performance
are we going to see...?"

"All..." Drusilla smiled gently back...

All...? Angelis blinked at Darla...Indulgent father as he was, that was likely to be
rather...Expensive...

"The Savoy Theater will be our new home..." Dru explained calmly, smiling up at her "family"
from where she sat...

"The Savoy?..." Darla stared at her...

"The most popular theater in London?...Are you insa..." she began but realizing the obvious
answer...

"We can't move there, you little fool..." she glared...

"We'll stay hidden...Take no one there..." Dru replied, quietly eyeing her agitated "grandmother"...

"You wanted a safe place...It's the last place the Council or the Slayer would look for us..." she
explained...

"And it's where I must be..."

"To find "your prince"...?" Darla sneered...Dru simply looking back at her...

Something's changed in her...Darla realized...

Our little maniac has either acquired some sanity and stability...Or is so far gone that nothing
disturbs her...

Hmmn...Angelis eyed his ladies...When you come to think of it...It's not so bad an idea at that...he
noted to Darla...Who fumed at the spread of insanity around her...

"There are watchguards, people all around constantly..." Darla shook her head...

"I can deal with anyone who sees us..." Dru said serenely...

"A small mountain of corpses at the Savoy will not keep us hidden, you fool..."

"I don't intend to kill anyone...There...Just see to it they don't remember seeing us...At the wrong
times..."

No...Darla said, firmly...

"This is simply insane..."

Yes...Dru replied, quietly...

"And I need your help, Grandmother...So you must..."

"Enough!..." Darla...Who knew a challenge when she heard one...Rose, furious...Only one Queen of
this pride...

"Don't be upset, Grandmother..." Dru said calmly...Staring into her eyes...

"Look in my eyes...Be in my eyes..."

"You're not upset..." she intoned softly... "You're quite calm, now..."

Darla was quiet...Staring...

Angelis watching, startled by the sudden power shift...

"Sit down, Grandmother...You're very calm and content..." Dru told her...

Darla slowly sat down...Angelis staring in wonder...And a growing pride...

My little girl...

"You can see now that my idea about the Savoy is a wise one, don't you, Grandmother...?" Dru
asked a quiet Darla carefully...She nodded...

"Yes, Dru...It is...Wise..."

"And you want to help me...In any way you can...Don't you, my loving grandmother...?"

"Yes, Dru..." Darla smiled vaguely..."I want to help you..."

"Any objections...Father?..." Dru eyed Angelis...Who put up his hands...

"The Savoy sounds just fine to me, girl..." he smiled...A tad nervously...

"Is Darla going to stay...Like that?..." he waved at the still blankly smiling Darla...

"For now at least...But I think she's happier this way..." Dru noted...

Thank you, sister...she thought...

The Lady was quite right...We are stronger as one...And we will have our Prince...When he comes,
as we saw...

Whether the Slayer lets us or not...

Your promise...A weak cry...I will harm no one...We will harm no one...Or I will not help you
again...

No one...Who does not try to stop us...Dru answered within...

We are one, sister...It's too late to run from me now...Too late to hide from what we are...

From what Angelis saw in you...

Merciful God...Forgive me...

God has abandoned us, sister...And all we have is each other...

And him...
***

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 XX...

William returned a bit early alone...Henry having a late class...

He'd thought it wise to pass on library work today and see if the new Mrs. Walthrop might be
needing a little minor assist with her first solo dinner...

He arrived to find the house in some disarray...Smoke from the kitchen fire still smelling strongly
throughout...And his wife in intense conversation with a small, young, red-haired bespectacled
woman...With an unusual air of authority...

"William...?..." Cicely looked up from her chair...

Hastily looking around the room...Oh...

"This is Miss Rosenberg...A relative of the famous Dutch physician, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing..."
Sorry about dinner...she sheepishly noted...

A little trouble...

But William had other concerns...The world-famous Van Helsing...Physician...

After all, he wasn't up on Slayer physiology...Maybe Cicely had kept something else from him...?

"Is something wrong...?"

"Yes..." Cicely gasped... "No..." she shook her head...

Miss Rosenberg frowned slightly from her chair...

Such foolishness...

I mean I realize her beloved is in danger but...Really...

She is the Slayer, after all...

"Are you all right...?" he asked Cicely anxiously...

What?...she stared...Oh...

My sweet Will...she beamed at him...

"Oh...Yes, darling...Quite well...This isn't about me..."

He looked from one woman to the other...Well?...Ladies...?

"Dr. Van Helsing has a "side career", Will..." Cicely explained...

Like mine...

Oh...

Well, he reflected...Makes a kind of sense that a great physician would be assisting in the fight
against the forces of Evil...

"And he is coming...To assist you?..." Will looked at them...

"Dr. Van Helsing...Was occupied..." Willow smiled...

"Council business...In Transylvania..."

"I am...His chief assistant..."

"You are Dr. Van Helsing's assistant?..." William stared at the slight Miss Rosenberg...Blinking...

"Well...The doctor is my grandfather..." Willow replied...

"But I assure you...I am well versed in these matters...This letter from the doctor will testify to
that..." she handed him a brief note signed by Dr. Van Helsing, the same sent to Chairman
Rathskeller, attesting to Miss Rosenberg's skill in matters supernatural...

"Is this all to do with those...Creatures...In London?..." he asked...Briefly glancing at the letter...

Willow nodded...

"The Angelis pride...Particularly one member..."

"But you say...My Cicely is not the one in danger?...Are they threatening the Queen?...Someone
important?"

"Someone...Far more important..." Cicely eyed him...

***

Henry returned about two hours later to find a thoughtful William and a rather pale and pensive
Cicely sitting quietly in the little parlor...Miss Rosenberg having left for her return train to London
after securing a promise from both the Walthrops that they would meet again with her and the
Chairman in London tomorrow...

First full dinner at home apparently no longer on the agenda...Cicely vaguely suggesting they eat in
town...

On the ride in, Will explained the reason for their distracted behavior...

"Drusilla...? Wants you...?" Henry eyed him...

Cicely gave a slight frown...Why wouldn't she want him?...

"But how does she know you?..."

"It's my fault..." Cicely sighed... "She knows who I am...And...So..."

"I knew this would happen...That's why I let that Halfreck...It's all my fault...I was selfish..."

No...William patted her arm...

"We've settled all that, my girl...No regrets...Whatever happens..." he stared at her...

"We won't lose each other..."

She breathed deep, nodded...And took his hand...

"Whatever happens, William..." A firm look in her eye...The Slayer's mate was not to be trifled
with...

"And Miss Rosenberg...?" Henry looked at them...

"Does she think Drusilla can be stopped...?"

"We're meeting with the Chairman tomorrow..." Cicely noted...

"After Will has his business meeting..."

"And she will be stopped...Whatever it takes..." she finished...Firmly...

***

Drusilla eyed the stagehand kindly...

"My family and I will be staying down here...We count on you to help us, sir..." she stared at him...

"I know you have a kind heart and will keep our presence here a secret..."

"Yes, miss..." he replied...A bit dazed...

Angelis...Though disappointed by the passing up of an easy meal...Smiled at his "little girl"...A true
monument to his ability to select first-rate candidates...he noted to Darla, standing a bit wanly beside
him...

Yes...Darla nodded...

There'd been quite an improvement in his dear mate's personality he happily told her...She seemed
to be taking things much more...Calmly...

Yes...she smiled contentedly...

Perhaps...She wouldn't mind scrubbing his boots a bit?...Before she went out to hunt for
them?...They'd been tramping through the sewers for so long, after all...

"Yes, Angelis..." she quietly nodded...

My little girl...he beamed at Dru as she gently guided the stagehand out...

(Hmmn...Angelis must have been in Paradise...Vladimir noted to himself...Must see if Darla's still
under that thrall...Maybe I could break it for her...Be interesting to see her reaction...)

***
William was right...Cicely noted to herself...As they sat in the train to London, his arm round her
shoulder...

It was time to stop regretting her actions...She had a right to love and be loved...And that was that...

Moreover...It was high time she remember who she was...

The Slayer...

Not some fool victim to hide in a corner waiting for the vampire haunting her and her own to come
for them...

Action must be taken...Here and now...A line be drawn...

This "Drusilla" was about to learn what it was to confront the Slayer...And threaten her family...

In no uncertain terms...

And no better place than where the creature still made its home...London...

And no better time...Daylight...Especially with William safely off to his meeting with Mr. Gilbert...

But...She'd already tried a hasty offensive...Even with Council aid, she'd failed...No...To succeed,
she'd almost certainly need to mount a long-term campaign...

She'd need help...And she wanted to operate on her own...Without waiting for the Council to
deliberate, reach its conclusions, and...with luck...act...Though of course she'd make use of anything
the Chairman, Miss Rosenberg, and Simon offered...

After all, their goals would of necessity, differ slightly from hers...She wasn't fool enough to think
Miss Rosenberg had come to warn her simply out of the kindness of her heart...It was even possible
they'd considered using William as a lure...

No way...Let 'em use Victoria if they want bait...

But if Will got his position with Mr. Gilbert...And would be making the occasional daylight trip to
London...Night-time too, perhaps...Though only under his wife's careful guard...The opportunity to
take the fight to the pride's home ground on a consistent basis would be offered...

A long-term campaign...While Will worked safely in the offices of the Savoy by day...And under his
Cicely's careful watch at home or elsewhere by night...

And, in addition to dear old Henry...She knew just who to turn to for help...

It was high time the Slayer recruited her own independent team...

"Sweetheart?..." Will stared at her as she mused...
Hmmn...?

"All well?...No regrets?..." he eyed her...

"Very well..." she nodded... "And never a regret...Darling..." she beamed...Nestling her head on his
shoulder...

Poor Drusilla...she thought...To become the sole focus of the Slayer's attention...

Not entirely facetiously...

***

Jonathan blinked at the card, hand-delivered at a rather startlingly early hour...

"My dear Mr. L..." the card began...

"Can I presume on you to meet me at 10:30 am at the Shropshire Groves' Tea House...?

Yours,

Cicely Walthrop..."

***
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 XXI...

Simon Farris, Watcher extraordinare, skilled delver into matters occult, and master of deceit and
subterfuge, was not a man to be easily surprised...But of all possible visitors, including a number of
inhuman ones, this was one of the last persons on Earth he would have ever expected to be visited
by...

Sir Richard Addams, Cicely's father...He turned the card passed on to him by the boy tending his
building's door over in his hand...

Hmmn...What could the man possibly want with him?...He'd met him no more than once or twice in
all the years Cicely had been his charge and in those meetings he'd never shown any interest in him or the slightest
indication that he suspected his daughter's antiquarian friend was anything more to her than a source
of rare volumes and manuscripts...

Still Sir Richard was a powerful man...With powerful connections...And a reputation for utter
ruthlessness in his political and business dealings...It was barely possible he'd somehow learned a
little about Cicely's "secret life"...

Well, best to conceal all cards for the moment...And see what use this visit could possibly be put to
in his efforts against his headstrong Slayer and her fool of a husband...

He nodded to the waiting boy to indicate that his visitor should be ushered in...

"Sir Richard?..." he came forward to the door, offering a hand...

"To what do I owe this pleasure...?" he eyed the tall man carefully...

"Farris..." Addams was curt...Taking the chair offered...

"Miranda..." Farris called the building's servant girl...Daughter to the landlady...

"Please have your mother send us up some tea?...There's a good girl..."

"No need..."Addams frowned... "This is not a social call..."

"But...I am having my morning tea, Sir Richard..." Farris eyed him coolly...

"Which, you are most welcome to share in..."

Yes...he thought...As Addams sourly sat back...

Best not to let oneself be bowled over by this one...Sir Richard is the type to smell fear and make the
kill, instinctively...Little wonder his daughter had become the greatest Slayer to date...

"What can I do for you?..." Farris took the chair behind his desk...

"How well do you know my daughter, Farris?..." Sir Richard was blunt...

"Cicely's been one of my best clients for many years...And is a dear friend who shares my love of
the ancient..." he smiled...

"You've known her since she was a young girl...She's talked of you at times like..." Addams
squirmed a bit... "Like someone she might confide in..."

"Are you asking me if I know of her marriage...? If so, the answer is yes...As of six days ago..."

"And you know the fool...Him...?" Sir Richard waved an angry hand...

"Only through Cicely's description of him..."

Sir Richard leaned back...And gave a hard stare...

"She remains in contact with you...Is meeting with you today?..."

Simon smiled slightly...And nodded...Yes...

"But only...So far as I know...To discuss some matters of interest to her in her studies..."

"Studies she will not be pursuing much longer, I am sure...On her little income, with him to provide
for..." Addams sneered...

"But...What is your opinion on all this, Farris?..." he looked at him...

The Watcher hesitated...

"I hate the thought of Cicely losing all her advantages for a single headstrong act...I know the world
and how it deals with the headstrong...And yet...She seems intent on following her heart...Wherever
it leads her..."

They paused as Miranda arrived with tea...She set the pot down and giving Sir Richard a
surreptitious sidelong glance for her report back to Mum, headed out...He waved aside Farris'
proffered tea cup...

"I'd appreciate it...If you'd meet with me after you speak to her today...And let me know what she's
said to you...Anything she says to you..."

"If it will not violate any confidences on her part, I should be happy to..." Farris replied...Sipping
quietly...

"Don't be a child, man..." Addams glared... "I've no intention of playing polite games here...I can
break a fellow like you while out walking in the park...I can also make him a very comfortable
man..."

Sir...Farris drew himself up coldly... "If I assist you...It will be for Cicely's benefit..."

And my own...he did not say...

"I will have my man Smike contact you this evening..." Sir Richard stood up...Pausing...

"It will be for her benefit, Farris...She must be made to end this foolishness...Whatever must be
done..."

He left Simon pondering the possibilities...

Help, potentially...Of a substantial kind...That would surely leave a...widowed?...Cicely ready to
operate on a whole new moral plane...Guided by the mentor who'd done what he could for her...And
her poor William...Provided Sir Richard would prove as ruthless as his reputation...

And provided his own role would remain concealed...

Certainly less risky than his arrangements with Halfreck and D'Hoffryn...

***

"So..." the portly gentleman leaned back in his chair to eye a nervous William...Now standing in the
offices of the Savoy Theater...Henry, having left the two men to their discussion, off to pay his
respects to various friends...In particular, several favorite actresses of the company...

"This is our famous Mr. Walthrop...Welcome, sir..." the gentleman waved him to a chair...

Will eyed the posters on the wall behind the man's desk...HMS Pinafore, The Sorcerer, and a large
one for the theater proclaiming More Triumphs to Come in the upcoming Season...

"I understand you're a poet and writer of some promise..." WS Gilbert eyed his visitor...

"A poet...I hope a writer of some promise..." Will replied, trying to keep his composure...

"Who has managed quite a feat in winning the heart of Miss Cicely Addams..." Gilbert smiled
briefly...Then turned and pulled out some papers...

"Your material here...Is not too bad...You've a good comic touch if something of the sentimental at
times...You follow the Romantic poets I suppose...?"

Well...I suppose I...

"Idiots, the lot of them...Best to get them right out of your head, young fellow...Useless fellows, too,
for the most part...Shelley never learned to swim and drowned...Byron went off to Greece thinking
he'd be met by Socrates and Pericles leading a revolt against Sparta...Bits and drabs of their stuff are
useful for the comic element or to make the ladies swoon a little but mostly...Rubbish..."

He leaned back...

"I understand for all your poetic notions, you've had to make your way the hard way...School of
knocks and all...I understand a bit of that...Unlike dear Arthur, I've known a few hard days in my
time...That's the experience that will stand you in good stead, boy...Never forget it...Do you swim?"
Will blinked...Trying to follow everything... "Swim...? Mr. Gilbert..."

"Yes, yes...Swim...In the water...I swim as often as possible...So therefore, unlike our dear precious
Mr. Shelley, I will never drown..."

"A little...My people lived inland...I'd never seen the coast but once or twice as a boy until I came to
Cambridge and traveled a bit..."

"Well...I highly recommend that you learn to swim as well as possible...Avoid Mr. Shelley's
lamentable fate..."

Now...As to your work...He paused...Looking again at the manuscripts Henry had provided...

"I have a new concept in mind...Something a bit different from our previous efforts..." he frowned
slightly...

"It seems dear Arthur, my partner, has gotten a bit bored with our recent productions...Wants
something new and challenging...So, I naturally rose to the task and generated...This..." he handed
Will a large portfolio...

Will stared at the papers in his lap...The title caught his eye... "The Mikado..."

"Yes...Set in Japan...Just the thing to catch the public's eye right now what with all the current
interest in things Japanese...Kimonos and trays and so on...What do you think?..."

I...Ummn...Will looked over a few more pages...

"Absolutely...Guaranteed to be our next great success...Well, young man...Your first assignment is
to help me with revisions...And any original ideas you might come up with..." he looked him over...

"I must say I rather enjoyed your little piece..."The Vampire as Metaphor..." Quite amusing with
the scholar and his theory of female passion and all..."

"Not exactly something for the general public just yet..." he grinned..."But highly indicative of your
"potential"..."

"Yes...I think we could work together if you can keep your end up...Well, shall we go find D'Oyly
and see you set up...I'll see if I can find Arthur lurking about later..."

"Mr. Gilbert...I..."

Well...Gilbert looked at him...

"You want it or no...?"

"Absolutely, sir...I appreciate the chance..." Will paused...But...?

"The salary, sir...And I do still have my degree to take..."

Gilbert beamed...Excellent...A practical fellow at that...

"I will require you here two-and-one-half days, though you will be able to take some of the work
home at times...Plus the other evenings after six for emergency rewrites during the production...As to
salary...You should hold D'Oyly's feet firmly to the coals..."

He rose...

"Come, sir...I haven't got all day and you will need to make some fair copies of the sections I'd like
you to get started on...Though it will be a week before we set to work here, I'd like you to be ready
to begin with a clear idea of the material...Week should allow you enough of a honeymoon, I'd say,
eh...?"

They leave the office and pass by the main stage door...From behind which the famed actor George
Grossmith can be heard rehearsing...

"If you give me your Attention" from Princess
Ida...Play

"If you give me your attention, I will tell you what I am: I'm a genuine philanthropist-- all other
kinds are sham.

Each little fault of temper and each social defect
In my erring fellow-creatures, I endeavour to correct.
To all their little weaknesses I open people's eyes;
And little plans to snub the self-sufficient I devise;
I love my fellow creatures-- I do all the good I can--
Yet ev'rybody says I'm such a disagreeable man!
And I can't think why!"

Chorus: "He can't think why!"

Grossmith, Chorus: "He/I really, really can't think why!"

"To compliments inflated I've a withering reply;
And vanity I always do my best to mortify;
A charitable action I can skillfully dissect;
And interested motives I'm delighted to detect;
I know ev'rybody's income and what ev'rybody earns;
And I carefully compare it with the income-tax returns;
But to benefit humanity however much I plan,
Yet ev'rybody says I'm such a disagreeable man!
And I can't think why!"

Chorus: "He can't think why!"
Grossmith, Chorus: "He/I really, really can't think why!"

"I'm sure I'm no ascetic;
I'm as pleasant as can be;
You'll always find me ready with a crushing repartee,
I've an irritating chuckle,
I've a celebrated sneer,
I've an entertaining snigger,
I've a fascinating leer.
To ev'rybody's prejudice I know a thing or two;
I can tell a woman's age in half a minute-- and I do.
But although I try to make myself as pleasant as I can,
Yet ev'rybody says I'm such a disagreeable man!
And I can't think why!"

Chorus: He can't think why! He can't think why! He really, really can't think why!"

***

"Not today..." Cicely reluctantly put down the purse an eager clerk in the shop had handed her...A
beauty, but at least for now, well out of Walthropian price range...

"Ah, perhaps, something grander..." the clerk beamed...

"No, no...I'm just looking today...On my way to an appointment at the tea house..." she sighed at the
bags... "Perhaps next time..."

Indeed...the clerk beamed again...Escorting her to the door...

She peered in the window a last time...Childish...Foolish...she berated herself...The Slayer and Mrs.
Walthrop have more important concerns...

I am not going to allow myself to regret something as foolish as this...

And yet...she sighed...

Damn...One silly bag...

One silly bag that would clean out our funds for the rest of the month...

Well, I am truly in love...No question...

And now, I will act to prove it...And secure it...

"Cicely...?" Jonathan paused beside her, startling her out of her reverie...

"Buying something?...I saw you from my carriage..."

"Oh, no...Just looking...Jonathan...Thank you so much for coming..." she patted his shoulder...

"An old married woman can take such liberties..." she grinned at him...

He beamed...

"You may be married...You will never be old for me Cicely..." he smiled...

Never be old...she thought...A little chill passing over her heart...He looked at her still face...

"Anything wrong?" he asked...

She shook her head no...And smiled again...Offering her arm to be taken...

But I will be old, she thought...Will and I will be old together...The Slayer's curse will be broken for
this Slayer...And her love and family will be kept safe...

"When we're inside...I'll explain why I asked you here, Jonathan..." she told him quietly...

***

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 XXII...

"I'm so sorry, Cicely..." Jonathan sighed to her...As he and Andrew returned to her following their careful checking of the third old building reported to either
Simon or Miss Rosenberg via the Council as having shown signs of potentially suspicious activity in the past evening...

"Bad luck there..." Andrew nodded in agreement...Turning to see Henry and William likewise returning from the next building on their list...She shook her head at Jonathan, smiling...Nothing to be sorry for...Simply another site eliminated from the list...

"I expect this to take sometime, Jonathan...All I can say is...How deeply Will and I appreciate your kind help in this...You, too Andrew..." Fowler beaming...Nothing at all, he noted...

They'd gone far beyond the niceties in the last few days, she'd noted two nights before in choosing to adopt a first name basis among her team...

She couldn't call the dearest friends in the world, risking their lives to save her Will and herself as well as countless others...by anything but their first names, regardless of any impropriety...Sentiments Henry and William heartily seconded...

"Our Miss Drusilla must be somewhere..." Jonathan sighed... "Hasn't the Council noted any further activity?...Surely these creatures must needs feed sometimes..."

"Could they have left London?...She and the others of this...Pride...?" Henry looked at Cicely...

"I don't think so...: she shook her head... "Drusilla is still here...I feel it..."

"The Chairman and Miss Rosenberg both believed she was still in town as well..." William noted...

Simon too...Cicely nodded...Eyeing the others...

Such an amazing thing, the human capacity to adjust to new wonders, new realities...In just a handful of days, sweet Jonathan, dear old Andrew, noble Henry, and above all, her beloved Will had completely immersed themselves in the study and destruction of the creatures of the underworld...And under her careful eye had become quite a competent team...

Though her guilt at endangering her cousin and friends remained deep...Despite all their assurances that each considered it no less than their duty...Not only to their dear Cicely and her lucky Will, but to Humanity, to be here...She felt a rather profound joy...

She wasn't alone in the fight anymore...They were with her...Her beloved husband and her noble friends...Taking action against the thing that menaced her happiness...

And William Soames Walthrop had, as she'd expected, shown himself to be a truly worthy Slayer's mate...Training with dedication...Improving with each Patrol...And almost embarrassingly good at the research end...Never her strongest suit, she'd had to confess to him...

Even in the old days, with the Council behind her, to the extent that their cautious procedures allowed, she'd never felt so braced...So supported...

Except perhaps, by dear Simon...Who'd saved her so many times in the past and was continuing to do what he could to keep her supplied with information...As, she had to concede, were the rather annoying Miss Rosenberg and kindly Chairman Rathskeller...

Though she was cautious enough of their motives to refrain from placing all knowledge of her group's activities in their hands...

They shared her desire to locate and eventually destroy Drusilla and the rest of the pride...But beyond that...Their interests sharply diverged, she knew...

And she knew enough Council history to be aware of its capacity for ruthlessness where what its members deemed to be the security of Humanity was at stake...

Sooner or later...Almost certainly once Drusilla was dealt with...They would attempt to regain control over their Slayer...Or take whatever steps were necessary to ensure that a Slayer would be available to them...No matter how kindly disposed to her the Chairman might seem personally...He was entrusted with the safety of Humanity...And would the appropriate steps to ensure that safety...

Even dear Simon had seemed startled by her assessment of the Chairmans likely actions...Dear ole Arthur Rathskeller?...

"He's a good man...A kind man...But a dutiful man..." Cicely had summed up to her old Watcher...

"He'll do what he feels he has to...If that means sacrificing William...Or me...He'll regret it, but he'll do what's necessary..."

William fortunately had taken an equally clear-eyed view of the situation...And agreed with her, now that he understood more about the Council...

They were powerful, they viewed themselves as Humanity's bulwark against Evil...And all the polite and honorable little restrictions on ruthlessness tended to fade away with the truly powerful once they had to actually deal with the real world...

Machiavellian?...he'd shaken his head in response to Henry's question at dinner the other night...No, say rather...Metternichian...Concerned with maintaining stability, the balance of power, in this case between good and evil...

He'd make it an even bet that if they really could completely remove the vampire/demon curse from this world, they'd hesitate...Cicely's story of the Slayers' legend hadn't surprised him...

Power rooted in darkness and the legend that the final destruction of these evil underdwellers would end her power as well made absolute sense to him...

To remain powerful, one must have someone to exert power over...And the powerful like their place...However noble their intentions may be...

"Meaning...You think you and Cicely will never be safe from them...?" Henry had stared at him...As she had...

"We're safe while were of use to them...After that...They may hesitate a bit...But I'd recommend we keep as far out of their reach as possible..." he'd grinned at his wife...

"I was right...You are a dangerous radical..." she'd grinned back...

Of the Anarchist persuasion...he'd nodded... "Meaning...I trust nobody but the people I love..."

"But...If you feel we can't trust the Council...?" Henry had continued...

"We can trust them to a point...No further..." Will had eyed Cicely...Who'd nodded firmly...

***
In his rooms, Simon Farris looked up from his book...A rare find, a book dealing with the nature of the lord of vengeance demons, dear ole DHoffryn himself, a handy thing to have about one when one is conducting dangerous negotiations with such a fellow...He had a visitor...

A rather appropriate one, considering his reading material for the evening...

"Mr. Farris..." Haly beamed at him...In her best Cicely voice...

"Miss Halfreck..." he rose, eyeing her coolly...

"Do you have any progress to report?..."

She smiled...Waiting...

He waved her to a seat...Offered to call for tea...Which she accepted...

No need to skimp on the amenities, after all...And she'd been putting quite a bit of overtime in on this one...

"I do have some progress to report..." she took her teacup with thanks...Just one lump, with lemon...

"Our Drusilla has found a new home...In the very place where our dear Mr. Walthrop is now employed...The Savoy Theater..."

"The Savoy...?" Farris nearly dropped his teacup...

"The most popular theater in London?..."

"What the devil is the foolish thing thinking?..." he stared at her...

"Drusilla has been quite rational in her planning...I think she's made a good deal of progress...With the help of her poor, limbo-bound soul of course..." Halfreck beamed...

"You see...She's made excellent use of her abilities...And restrained her natural penchant for violence..."

"No one has the slightest idea the pride is living there...Except for a stagehand or two she's put in thrall...And kept very much alive..."

"This is incredibly foolhardy..." Simon began... "If any one of them makes even a single kill there..."

"Dru has things very well in hand, Mr. Farris...I would recommend we leave it to her...For now at least...But I haven't come merely to report on her efforts..."

He eyed her...Well...?

"She will be in position to act very soon...But will need assistance...Someone to keep the Slayer off-balance, mislead her if possible when she makes her next attempt...Until she can secure Mr. Walthrop..."

"It would be foolish for me to risk tipping my hand at present...Unless it could be done with utter discretion...Even my assistance to you back with Foxcroft came close to raising suspicion...And if Cicely comes to distrust me, our cause is lost..."

Halfreck leaned back...Tips of folded hands to her lips...

Such a handsome, clever man...And so ambitious...Sometimes the idea of hanging round for a few decades in this world seemed almost appealing...

"Well...I would suggest then that you act with utter discretion...When the time is right..."

"It is essential...If we are to succeed..." she sighed...

"I'll consider it...However, I should tell you...There may be another course of action open to us now..." Farris looked at her... "One allowing us to bypass Drusilla entirely..."

Indeed?...Haly was honestly surprised...

"Cicely's father is rather determined to deal with young Walthrop himself...Permanently...And if Cicely were to become a widow at her own father's...Or at least his agents'...hands...And the truth of her poor husband's death revealed to her...By a loving friend..." Farris beamed benevolently...

Interesting...Haly nodded...Still... "Surely Sir Richard would take pains to keep any part played by him in the action concealed...?"

"He has invited...Threatened...me, I should say...To assist him..." Simon smiled... "Though not openly revealing his intent to me..."

"For Cicely's future's sake I have agreed to provide what help...In terms of information...I can..."

"And you're sure Sir Richard would be capable of such an atrocious act...? Rather than just driving the poor boy away...?"

"Sir Richard has quite a reputation for brutal ruthlessness in his more private dealings..." Farris eyed the demon...

"And I happen to know that he did in fact arrange an accident for an unsuitable fellow who once tried to insinuate himself with his daughter a few years ago..."

"An accident which, though it did not succeed, was intended to eliminate the troublesome fellow..."

"Oh...And who...?"

"Me..." Farris grinned...

"And I can assure you...I did restrain myself from further, more open efforts...Even in the privacy of my own rooms...After that little warning shot..."

Though Sir Richard remains unaware that I know of his attempt...

"He tried to have you killed?..." Haly stared... "What the devil did you...?"

"I'd saved her...In the course of a difficult battle with several fearsome opponents, all daylight-capable creatures, which was a new thing to her at the time..."

"Afterwards, on our return...She kissed me...Just outside these rooms..."

"I returned the kiss...Perhaps with more affection than I should have, given the situation...And my position as her mentor..."

Halfreck stared...

"An operative of Sir Richard had been following her and her visits to me...Naturally Sir Richard had become suspicious of her rather frequent visits to an old history scholar and dealer in antiquities..."

"I...Sadly...Had relaxed my vigilance a bit too much...And allowed the fellow to get his chance to obtain information placing me in a compromising position..."

"As I wasn't aware I was under surveillance I could not have Cicely offer a reason for her behavior that might have mitigated my role..."

"But...How did he?..."

"A carriage, driver paid quite handsomely to run me down...Which I learned from the man himself before I killed him in his rooms later that evening...

The operative told my people the rest later when they found him spying on me..."

"He then became my operative...With a little inducement from my people and my limited knowledge of magics...And I arranged for Cicely to explain the incident away to her father as resulting from my having saved her from a runaway horse...Not that far off the truth really, if one considers demons of the type we encountered..."

"After that, with care...I was able to convince Sir Richard though our shared operative that I represented nothing more than a harmless interest of Cicely's...Easily observed and no threat...Rather useful in keeping her away from other, more dangerous pursuits..."

"Sir Richard..." Farris concluded with a smile... "Is a commendably attentive father..."

***

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/cicelypg2.html

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

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 XXIII...

Transylvania...The Inn at Borgo Pass in 1896 where Angelis is telling his tale to young Dracula and his writer/partner Bram Stoker...

A ferret-eyed Willie, proprietor, returns to their table...Business rather good at this table tonight...Angelis impatiently waving for another round...

"Sorry, gentlemen...Help rather hard to get in these parts..." Willie apologizes profusely, and darts off...

"Sir..." Stoker raises a hand slightly... "Not wishing to interrupt you for more than a moment...A question, if I may...?"

"Please, my friend...And compatriot..." Angelis smiles indulgently...

Vladimir, taking the opportunity of the pause to look round the inn at his Roma guards, all well-positioned in case of trouble...Either from his table guest, Angelis...Or the infamous Mrs. Walthrop, famed Slayer, now apparently hot on the trail of said guest...

Though no doubt quite willing to deal with any additional creatures of the night she might encounter along the way...

Damn...Bad enough to face destruction at the Slayer's hands...But to be a mere incident in her hunt for Angelis...

Well, his guest seemed calm enough in the safety of the inn...

Stoker pauses a moment...

"Well, sir...You have mentioned a character...Whom I presume is meant to be my friend the Count here's famed ancestor...The subject I might note of our own joint tale...The original Vlad the Impaler...And of his being the object of pursuit by the very Dr. Van Helsing the Count has told me of...Who features prominently in our story..."

Ah...Angelis smiles at Vladimir...

"However...Your mention of the Vlad...The ancient vampiral Dracula...Rather as an aside...Suggests a different version of events than that which Count Dracula has given me..."

"Yes..." Angelis beams pleasantly at Vladimir who glares... "I rather suspected that would be the case..."

"You mustn't believe all the tall tales my good friend here tells, Mr. Stoker..." Vladimir smiles coldly...

"But..." Angelis cuts him off... "In this case, my version is the true one...Old Dracula did in fact seek Van Helsing's aid...Sought redemption...And agreed to release his latest victim, Mrs. Harker in exchange for that aid..."

Remarkable...Stoker eyes the vampires...

Particularly his business partner...Who frowns...The redemption story...God, what an embarrassment...Angelis might have had a leetle respect for the Dracula family name...

"Count, it is an interesting way of telling the tale...The vampire as hero..."

Already thought he was...Vladimir thinks...That Harker in our tale is just a fever-ridden, hapless wuss...He and his friend Morris just get lucky when Great-gramps lets himself be trapped and sliced for the lady's sake...

But Stoker seems intrigued...Oh, God...He's not going to suggest we take Angelis on as another partner in this venture...? Not a chance...This is a Dracule family business enterprise...

His frown deepens...However...

On the other hand...He considers...

It does seem to make a nice sequel...Rounding out our tale...And a second money-maker after the first would not be a bad thing...

Best of all...When Angelis finishes...We can dispense with him...A happy solution indeed...

"Well..." he smiles broadly, displaying the charm which had in part made the Dracule legendary... "Perhaps we should discuss it...After our dear friend finishes his fascinating tale of his vampiress and her Slayer nemesis...I've no doubt my ancestor will continue to appear in places...?" he nods to Angelis...

"Yes...Indeed...He plays quite a crucial if secondary role in my tale..." Angelis smiles back...

Vladimir blinks...

Secondary...Secondary...?...My ancestor?...The Original Dracula, King of the Underdwellers for 400 years...Secondary?...

"Well, if I may resume..." Angelis beams...

By all means, sir...Stoker waves a hand...

Vladimir glaring...Secondary?...

Oh...I am going to enjoy the surprise ending I have in store for my ole friend...Once he hands us the rest of our sequel to Great-grandfather's tale... Which I shall have my writer suitably edit to feature a Dracule prominently...

Perhaps a younger Dracule...Noble descendant to the Original...He smiles to himself...

***
The Savoy Theater, London, 1880...

(a reminder...In the Cicelyverse both the Savoy and Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado are completed ahead of their historical schedules)

Naturally, only concern for his dear ones had led the mighty and noble vampire prince Angelis to acquiesce to Drusilla's plan to base themselves in London's most popular theater...

Clearly his poor child's lunatic obsession with her Prince...Some ridiculous little human...Was leading her down a dangerous path...With Darla, now in her thrall, helplessly dragged behind...

(And this opportunity to abandon his little family bothered Angelis...How?...Vladimir thought...)

A situation to be handed delicately...Drusilla's new found powers had shown themselves to be quite formidable, if Darla's current state was any measure...

(So...She wouldn't let him go...Vladimir chucked inwardly...Hmmn...Pity I couldn't have met them in England back then, might have been interesting to oppose my own skills in attraction against Drusilla's hypnotic powers...

Though of course, Great-grandfather Vlad would have given me Hell...Literally, via staking...If I'd stayed and screwed up his redemption schemes...)

And indeed, even as he sought a way through considered thought to bring his poor deranged daughter to her senses...Angelis had to concede that the stratagem was succeeding...For the moment...

The Council of Watchers and its Slayer seemed to have no clue that he and his own were under their very noses...Literally for a number of Watchers who attended the Savoy on a regular basis...

He applauded his daughter's boldness...So worthy of him...

And yet...There remained considerable danger in their staying...Despite Drusilla's insistence to the contrary...

(Not so considerable he decided to risk fleeing on his lonesome, Vladimir smiled within, a solemn look of reasonable interest pasted on his face...)

As dutiful paterfamilias, Angelis now realized it might be well to take matters into his own hands...
***

It was a proud, if slightly discouraged, Cicely who accompanied William to the Savoy for his first nights attendance at dress rehearsal...

After a week of somewhat frantic work on the enormous pile of material Mr. Gilbert had passed on to him...

Between that and their equally frantic nightly hunts in London...It hadn't been the most relaxed of honeymoons...Though not without its compensations...

Including a bit of news she was holding onto for when they would briefly meet dear ole Cousin Henry and the others later that night...A bit of news that, wonderful as it was, could complicate the situation still further...A thought which added to Cicely's discouragement...

Still no success in locating Drusilla or the rest of the Angelis pride...Even with a certain degree of support from Chairman Rathskeller and the Council...

Well...As she'd noted to Will before they'd left for the London train...It might do well to forego the hunt, at least in London and specifically for the pride for one night...Give them a chance to feel secure and show themselves...Or at least their murderous hands...And pause to review matters with Henry and the others...Especially given the new situation...

And she was dying to see Will in his element...Wowing Messieurs Gilbert and Sullivan with his brilliant literary efforts on their behalf...Well...She beamed at her somewhat nervous husband, giving a gentle squeeze of the hand as they rode along on the London train...

Mr. Gilbert had seemed kind enough in his handwritten praise of Will's early efforts at revisions...And Sir Arthur was a friend of her father's...

It wasn't likely they'd be too hard on him in front of her...

***

Play

"The sun whose rays are all ablaze...

With ever-living glory...

Does not deny...His majesty-

He scorns to tell a stor...y!...

He don't exclaim, I blush for shame...So kindly be indul...gent...

But fierce and bold, in fiery gold...

He glories all effulgent..."

Angelis watched as Drusilla stood listening to the music floating down to their new lair, deep in the storage rooms of the Savoy...

"Isn't beautiful, Angelis?..." she smiled at him...

Darla beside her smiling vaguely as well...Beautiful, Dru...she murmured in agreement...

The world was such a happy place these days for Darla...

And therefore rather more such for her dear mate...Who bore appropriate gratitude towards his little girl...Anxious as he was to gradually persuade her to see reason and flee their dangerously exposed position...

He smiled kindly back, indulgent father that he was...Yes, indeed...Lovely...

And indeed, it was...And rather nice to be among the first in London and the world to hear Gilbert and Sullivan's latest masterpiece...Still in development...

"He is coming..." Drusilla smiled warmly at the thought...None of the former hysteria...Simply a calm, warm joy...

Growing up is my darling girl, Angelis thought...Always knew she'd outgrow the insanity one day...Just wish she'd complete the process and grow sane enough to agree to us getting out of here...

"He will be here tonight..." she beamed at Angelis...

"Wonderful, Dru..." Darla gently smiled, vaguely patting her...

Tonight?...Angelis eyed her...Does this mean we can get the hell out of here...Tonight?...he thought hopefully...

"But...Tonight is not the time...Yet..." Dru read his thoughts...Not literally, out of politeness...Though she was aware of dear
father's anxiety...

"The Slayer is with him...Keeping close by him...My time is not quite yet..."

"The...Slayer...?" Angelis looked at her...Darla smiled...

"But it will be...Soon..." Dru smiled gently...

***

P>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/cicelypg2.html

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

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 XXIV...

The Council of Watchers' Antiquarian Hall, London, 1880...Evening...

The somewhat-less-than-famed, but undoubtedly fearless Vampire Hunter Wilhemina "Willow" Rosenberg, granddaughter to the famed Abraham Van Helsing...Eyed Chairman of the Council, Arthur Rathskeller...

To date her efforts to track, locate, and destroy the Angelis pride, currently habitating somewhere in the great City of London...With the full assistance of the Council...A failure...

Mitigated only by the knowledge that the Slayer herself, Mrs. Cicely Anne Walthrop nee Addams had done no better...Despite that lady's powerful reason for achieving success...As quickly as possible...

"What can we do...Arthur?..." she sighed...Shaking her head as she sat, thumbing through the latest intelligence provided by the Council's large force of Observers and Watchers...Their close relationship over the past weeks having rapidly worn away the encrusted social proprieties...

"We've swept the entire city...Maintained tight surveillance...Even tried having volunteers make themselves available in the kinds of isolated locales this pride is known to favor...They haven't raised their heads in two weeks..."

I've run out of ideas...she looked despondently out the large window to the street below...Nope, no vamps skulking around outside...

Gramps will be so disappointed in me...she thought...

"We mustn't lose heart, my dear girl..." the Chairman nodded firmly...

And the Slayer herself has not succeeded in locating the pride...he pointed out...

The Slayer...Willow sighed again...Another failure...The fool girl just will not listen to reason...Determined to abandon her Duty all for the silly love of some little...

Well...I suppose...To be fair...If it were my true love...she shook her head...

"Of course, Willow..." Rathskeller paused... "You realize there is one alternative left to us..."

Yes...she nodded, a bit sadly...

"But even if we could convince her that his safety lies in our destroying Drusilla and the others...Whatever risk must be taken..." she paused...

"No...Mrs. Walthrop would not listen...And would never allow us to risk her husband's life..."

"And yet...It could be done...And may soon have to be done...Without her consent..." he eyed Willow firmly...

"Arthur...? You could do such a thing?..."

He sighed..."If it meant the chance to save thousands now and in the future from this savage pride, my dear..."

Yes...However...He paced the room...And paused...Not looking at her...

"I have tried to restrain my hand to date...To prevent losing all contact with our Slayer...And I will try to wait as long as I feel I can..."

"But the time is approaching...When I will have to weigh the good of Humanity against the happiness...And perhaps, the lives, of two people...However fond of poor Cicely I am..."

"Two?..." Willow stared...

"Yes...You know as well as I, my dear...If Walthrop dies...And the Council is shown to have had any hand in exposing him to danger...The Slayer will be lost to us...As she already very nearly is..."

"And, as I have told you...Humanity must have a Slayer...Whoever she may be..."

Willow was pensive a moment...

"They're coming to London tonight...?"

"Yes..." Rathskeller nodded... "And Cicely has agreed to meet with us to exchange information after her husband finishes his evening's work..."

Work?...Willow looked up...He smiled gently...

"It appears we will be attending the theater tonight...A rare chance to observe the famous company of Gilbert and Sullivan at dress rehearsal...That is, if you would be so kind as to accompany me, Miss Rosenberg..." he bowed slightly...She beamed, nodding...Why, sir...A slightly coy smile... "Mr. Walthrop is currently engaged by Mr. W.S. Gilbert in writing work at the Savoy Theater..."

"The Gilbert?..." Willow blinked...

He nodded, grinning now...

"It seems Mr. Walthrop continues to demonstrate a remarkable ability to make his way in the world...In fact...Cicely seemed actually rather anxious that we come to the rehearsal...I believe our Slayer wants to display her boy's talents..."

She smiled...but...A heavy sadness crept in...Poor girl, poor loving girl...

"I hope..." The Chairman eyed her, the sadness in his eyes as well... "I pray...His...And her... Career...Need not be cut short..."



***



The same evening...

In the London offices of the Addams conglomerate, Simon Farris faced Sir Richard, Cicely's father...Who'd summoned him for a discussion of what information the historian-antiquarian friend of his headstrong little fool of a daughter had gleaned on Cicely and William's activities...

"So..." Sir Richard coldly eyed his guest...

"They've set up housekeeping near Cambridge...Not anything I didn't already know..."

"And young Walthrop is currently working for WS Gilbert, here in London part of the week..." Simon smiled...

Gilbert?...Sir Richard frowned...

Not exactly his favorite writer-lyricist...Particularly after seeing a burlesque lampoon of his own self portrayed in one of Gilbert's lesser-known plays...

One which his daughter had rather enjoyed, to his increasing annoyance...

And having been denied the chance to triumph over the fellow in court...Where his friends in public life had been unable to guarantee a favorable outcome over London's most popular playwright, forcing him to quietly withdraw the suit...He remained rather inclined to a negative view of both the man and the idle trash he and his partner doled out to the fools who cheered their works...Every night...

"In fact..." Farris eyed his "client"...Or as he preferred, his tool...

"Cicely and Walthrop are coming to London tonight...Even as we speak...To observe the company's dress rehearsal at the Savoy..."

"The Savoy...? Tonight?..." Sir Richard leaned back in his large chair... "I see..."

"You've done well, Farris..." He rose...Rather in dismissal, Farris quietly noted...Somewhat contemptuous dismissal...Which Simon also noted...For future reference...

"I will remember it when the proper time comes..." Sir Richard nodded at him as Farris likewise rose to go...

"Squears...!!" Addams called, as he opened the door to let Simon out...Farris saw a sallow-faced, lanky, dull-looking fool of a youth approach...

Dim, but no doubt capable enough for this sort of thing...

"Sir Richard..." Simon paused at the open door as young Squears squeezed past him into the room...

Addams turning to eye him...

"Please remember...My only interest here is Miss Cicely's welfare...I have no desire to profit from this bit of intelligence..."

"Indeed..." Sir Richard smiled coldly...Squears now slouching in the middle of the room... "You're not quite the fool I took you for, are you Mr. Farris?..." he looked him in the eye...

"Well...A man who is not quite a fool is always a useful commodity in this world of fools...Lets see how events turn out tonight..." he paused... "And perhaps...I may have other uses for you later...Involving more than a minor "profit"..." he sneered, turning back to Squears...

A very...Interesting man...Farris noted to himself as he left...

No wonder now where Cicely got that hard edge that has made her so capable a Slayer...

"Squears..." Sir Richard glared at the young fool in his office... "I have a little bit of rather "special" work for you and Smike...And possibly Davies as well...To be carried out tonight..."

***

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/cicelypg2.html

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

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 XXV...

[Note...Again, I request indulgence from true fans of Gilbert and Sullivan...In the Cicelyverse, events moved a bit faster for our beloved duo and the Mikado as well as the Savoy are a few years ahead of schedule...]

March 1880, evening... Basement of the Savoy Theater, London...

"Dru...?" Angelis eyed his wayward "daughter"...Who'd just appeared at a stairway side door in the rear of the main storage area of the theater...

"Well?..." he glared... "Where the devil have you been...?" She gave a guilty look...

"I've been combing the whole area down here and what I could of the main stage...Wait..." he frowned...

"You've been upstairs, in the dressing rooms and offices, among the humans again!..You silly fool...!" he raged... "Do you want to bring the Slayer down upon us again?!..."

"And if you say...Once more...That you were "seeking your Prince..."!...By the demon gods who made me...!...I'll..."

"No one was there, Father...They're all busy with their new play rehearsal...I was very careful...I just wanted to see where..." she paused...He caught sight of something in her hand...A folio of some sort containing papers...

"What may I ask is that?...Hand it over, lass..." he held out a hand...Dru dutifully handing it over...

That is my Prince's manuscript, Angelis...Signed by Him...Dru proudly if somewhat anxiously noted...Watching as he pulled out a sheet and began reading...

Mr. Gilbert had it in his office...He thinks very highly of my Prince...she beamed a moment, then resuming her nervous expression, looked at the folio as Angelis pulled more pages out...

Please be careful with it, Angelis...I shouldn't have taken it...she sheepishly pleaded...He will be so unhappy if I don't return it safely...

Hmmn...Angelis looked at the title... "... 'The Vampire as Metaphor'..?"

"Yes..." Dru eagerly nodded... "See...He writes of our kind...He seeks to join me..."

Join us...she thought...Us, sister...



Your promise...a voice faintly returned within...I will be allowed my time with Him...To know He comes to us freely...That no one is wrongfully harmed...

We are One, sister...You know I do not lie...she replied...Stand by me and we will have Him...All ours...Forever, together...

Dru?...Angelis stared at his dazed-looking offspring...

Some of the fun goes out of tormenting her when she doesn't even know what's going on...

"Please, Angelis...There's nothing there to amuse you..." she suddenly spoke, startling him...And eyed him...Motioning for the manuscript's return...

"Just a moment, dear girl..." Hmmn...he thumbed through...A dutiful "father" must find some way to glean information on the object of his little one's affections after all...

Can't have some unworthy little man courting...Or being courted by...My own little girl...he noted to her, a grin breaking through...Hmmn...

" 'Love dead'..."?... 'Hate living'...?"... "... 'the foul Undead creature growled...'?" Angelis stared at the manuscript...What?...

"I mean...I wouldn't say I'm particularly fond of the living by any stretch of the imagination...Outside the strictly nutritional context...But I definitely would not say I "Love..." the dead...As a general rule..."

"This is your little 'Prince's' concept of our kind...?"

Utter rubbish...he shook his head...And really, rather an insult to the sophisticated, cultivated nature of our people...

Most of us...he eyed Drusilla...Whose face was beginning to harden with annoyance...And anger...

Please...Angelis...she stared at him coldly now...No pleading in her as yet, still polite request...

Hmmn...He looked over where Darla happily beamed on them, blankly content in her little Dru-given Heaven...

Well, as an indulgent pater, naturally the noble vampire prince was happy to grant his precious offspring's request...

(Would have been humiliating to have had to return it on his knees, abjectly craving her forgiveness...Vladimir sneered to himself as Angelis continued his saga, Stoker maintaining rapt attention...Willie affecting rapt attention at least...

Though I suspect the true facts of the incident were probably just that...)

...Still...Angelis reflected, as Dru politely expressed thanks and requested just a moment's chance to return the item before it might be missed...While the cast, hands, and management were fully engaged on stage...

A request he kindly granted...Watching her hurry upstairs...

Their situation, perched on the edge of disaster between immediate death in the city streets at the hands of their vigilant pursuers, the Slayer and her Council, and the inevitable end here under the Slayer's very nose...was beyond perilous...

Sometimes even the most indulgent of fathers must consider exercising a bit of necessary discipline...And acting in his "child"'s best interests even when they do not coincide with their desires...

He looked at the title sheet of the manuscript which he'd carefully folded and retained while his dear girl was distracted...Bearing the signature of its author, a Mr. William Soames Walthrop...

And a slight trace of its author's scent...

Unless that were Gilbert's...No, he'd caught whiffs of both Gilbert and his esteemed partner...

Not that the noble Angelis would ever conceive of such a cruelty as to deprive London and the world of two who brought so much joy to so many...Including his own tormented kind...

Some things are after all, beyond the pale...

***

"Sos, Smike..." Squears rubbed his running nose on his sleeve as he and his fellow lout waited in a doorway a few blocks from the Savoy...Warren Smith...er Smithe, "special agent" and household servant of Sir Richard Addams, glaring at him as his tall, slick-black-haired, slack-jawed partner dressed like himself in the appropriate non-descript clothes of an ordinary laborer grinned back...

"We's to give what for the little poet's what's gone and got our Cicely girl into some trouble, eh...?"

"Shut your hole, ya stupid..." Warren hissed, pulling him back into the dark of the stoop...

"And I hate that damned bloody name, so stop using it..."

"I'll take it from Addams and his girl, but not from the likes of you, you..."

"Sod off, Smike..." Squears punched him... "Or I'll gut you before I do the little runt..."

"No gutting, you damned moron!..." Warren fumed... "You know there's to be none of that...Just one over the head, stuff him in the sack and off he goes..."

"The Thames, again...?" Squears asked, genuinely curious...Sir Richard having such an admirably bold way of dealing with the troublesome...

No silly foolery about our Dick, that's the man for you...

"God knows...And neither of us should care to...It's Sir Richard's business...Just see there's no blood and he's still breathing when he's delivered..."

"Ah...Our Dick wants a few in private with his new boy, eh?..." Squears grinned...Like with that Chinaman?...The one whose boys gave him and his friends a bit of trouble over the trade that year...?

Sounds to me like it'll end in the Thames again...he noted...Chuckling...

***

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/cicelypg2.html

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

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 XXVI...

March, 1880, later evening...

The main stage of the Savoy Theater...London...

Play (Artists' Life, Strauss)

"Places, people...Lets try and not take all night about this...Mr. Grossmith..." an annoyed Gilbert fumed at his Lord High Executioner... "Left center stage for our Ko-ko, please..." Grossmith, in full costume as Lord High Executioner, Ko-ko raced for his mark... "Yes, exactly so...And Miss Bond, Miss Grey, Miss Braham..." he waved the three ladies in kimonos to their place...

"Very well...Mr. Grossmith?..."

Oh, right...Ummn...Grossmith paused...

"Ye...es...Mr. Grossmith...?"

"A question, Mr. Gilbert...?...As to the opening line for this scene...?"

A hard glare...

"The opening line for this scene, Mr. Grossmith...Is as it should be...Please be so good as to recite it...Unless you have some difficulty in recalling words of no more than two syllables..."

"Yes, but...I should like to suggest..." Grossmith began...

"I should not like to receive, Mr. Grossmith...Pray be so good as to give the line and let us get on with tonight's business..."

Cicely from her seat with the evercharming, dark and distinguished D'Oyly Carte in the rear blinked a bit...Hmmn...Rather orders them about...she quietly noted to the beaming...Thank God the damned thing at last is under way and the boys are speaking to each other again...Carte...

"Actually WS is holding back considerably...Probably for our sakes, Mrs. Walthrop..."

She caught sight of Will, rushing a bit to Gilbert and divided her attention from the actors beginning their scene...Last minute revision of an upcoming scene...Gilbert raising a hand to hold him back...One moment, sir...

Grossmith at last delivered his line and the scene was underway...Gilbert reached for Will's proofs...

"Yes...Yes...No...Absolutely not...Yes, excellent...Ha, ha..." he chuckled...Racing over the pages...

"Hmmn..." he frowned at something as Will stood by, slightly perspiring...

Cicely watching with somewhat bated breath...

"This your idea?..." Gilbert gave William a hard stare...Holding out a page with finger on a line...

"Well, sir..."

"Passable...Yes...I think it'll do..."

Walthrop glanced surreptitiously out to his bride, who beamed back...

"Hmmn...Was this nonsense mine or yours?..." Gilbert paused over another line...

Rubbish in any case, toss it out...he handed the page...



"A fair copy, as quick as you can, boy..." he waved Will off...William hurrying back towards the stairs to the upper offices where a cubbyhole had been cleared...Partially...For him...

"Well..." Carte smiled benignly... "Your husband seems to be getting on quite famously with WS..."

Ah...He turned to greet their new visitor...

Wondered when Arthur would show, he never can resist a pretty face...

"Arthur...Welcome..." he waved to Sir Arthur Sullivan as the composer joined them...Beaming jovially...Wiping a slight bead of sweat from his brow...Been at our own work rather hard, he noted...

"Mrs. Cicely Walthrop, Addams of late..." Carte introduced a smiling, if slightly dazed Cicely...

"Mrs. Walthrop...Delighted to see you again..." Sullivan took her proffered hand and gave a slight kiss... He took a seat next to her...

"And how does your young man get on?...Gilbert terrorizing him and the rest already?..."

She gave a slightly wan nod...Bit overwhelming, she noted...

"All's going quite well, Arthur..." Carte smiled...

"Smooth as oil, D'Oyly...?" Sullivan grinned over...And turned back to the enchanting Mrs. Walthrop...Whose acquaintance he'd made at various gatherings over the past several years attended in her role as acclaimed young Queen of Society... "You mustn't let it get you concerned, my dear...Gilbert is always like this...During writing and composition, at rehearsal, on opening night...Throughout the entire season...My advice is to consider him simply as a force of nature to be yielded to or resisted as the situation..." A crash as a frustrated Gilbert banged a chair on stage, startling the chorus he was attempting to direct and those watching... "Calls for..."

"And to remember he's simply a large bear, stung by a bee..."Arthur concluded...Cicely grinning...

Yes...Sullivan sighed within, eyeing her...Pity to lose such an ornament to the social scene...Still, always charming to see a young woman contentedly in love...

Not to mention...Based on years of experience...Hmmn...

"Walthrop!?...Where the devil are you?!..." Gilbert hollered at the ceiling... "We need those proofs, lad...Now!..."

He just left a minute ago...Cicely stared...Hissing the same aloud to Sullivan...

"Mrs. Walthrop..." Gilbert now whirled back...Eyeing her directly...

"We are engaged in both craft and business here...Please be so good as to maintain silence...No one is ever asked by me to do more than what I ask of myself..."

She stared, somewhat mortified, and vaguely wondering where good ole "Dickens" had got to...Ah...She felt the comforting warmth of a good wood stake with the fingertips of her right hand...But smiled a bit as William came rushing in, job completed at record speed...Even Gilbert a bit pleasantly surprised...

"Ears like an owl's..." Sullivan whispered...Catching a rather strained look in Cicely's face...

"And the patience of Job..." Gilbert called back...Read the proofs as he waved the cast and chorus about...William standing by...

Well...Lucky young fellow...Sullivan smiled over at young William...Standing for the moment in Gilbert's benevolent favor...



"Perhaps...Mrs. Walthrop...You'd care to take a glass of ice water?...D'Oyly...?..." Sullivan eyed him...Glancing swiftly back at her...

"Yes, indeed..." Carte nodded...Catching the hint... "I'd say WS would appreciate the break as much as we..." Well...That might be...Cicely gratefully nodded...Carte waving down to the stage as they rose...

"Ah, peace at last..." Gilbert smiled to Walthrop as the party left...Five minutes, everyone...he called...The cast wearily and gratefully catching breath...

"Nothing worse than having the Missus watching your abject humiliation and belittlement, eh Walthrop?...I make it a strict policy to never have my wife attend rehearsals, where I always expect to be throughly humiliated several times within the course of the evening...Except of course when she utterly disregards my strict junctures and comes regardless..." he waved over to his Lucy who waved back...Hello, Willie...

Well...

"By the way, boy...I see additional congratulations are in order...When is the happy event due?..."

Sir...? Will blinked...

***

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/cicelypg2.html

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

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 XXVII...

***

March, 1880...Evening...

London, The Savoy Theater, dress rehearsal night for the upcoming "Mikado"...

In the lobby, a returning Cicely, Sir Arthur Sullivan, and D'Oyly Carte were greeted by the just arrived Willow Rosenberg and Arthur Rathskeller, Chairman of the Watchers' Council...Along with Cicely's Watcher mentor, Simon Farris, who'd been invited to attend the test launch of the latest masterwork of London's dynamic duo both by Cicely and his friend the Chairman...

Cicely began her introductions...Sullivan and Carte beaming genially...While Rathskeller for his part greeted his old friend Sullivan by name...Sullivan turning to greet the lovely Ms. Rosenberg, somewhat removed from her usual "all-business" manner this evening, as both Cicely and the Chairman noted...Carte offering Farris a hearty welcome...Likewise an old acquaintance...

Hmmn...Cicely eyed Sullivan and Carte...Friends of Council members?...I wonder...

Still even Simon and the Chairman must relax sometime...

A muffled crash, faint shouts, penetrated the lobby through what should have been "practically", Carte noted...Soundproof doors...Sullivan sighing...WS seems to be having his usual time of it within, Carte smiled at Cicely...

"But somehow we manage to survive whatever catastrophe poor Gilbert imagines we face...And those he manages to create..."

Old Ramsgate, tall, grey-haired,distinguished-looking, long-time doorman for the various incarnations of the Company, now emerged from the main theater area...Holding the door for several sheepish-looking invited guests...He looked over at them at Carte...Yes, he's at it again, sir...his look saying...

"WS putting a bit of the stick about, Ramsgate?..." Carte looked back...Ramsgate nodding slightly...

"Mr. Gilbert is in his usual state at such moments, sir..."

Deuced maniac...Thought he was going to throw a fit...Or a chair...At us...One guest hissed to his companion as they hastened through the door...



"Well...Ladies and gentlemen...I trust you will all understand Mr. Gilbert is a perfectionist and an artist...A dangerous combination in one who seeks to entertain the public..." Carte cheerily addressed the group now milling in the hall...

"And an artist, even of the pen, must be allowed some license...I'm sure we'll be quite welcome to re-enter in a few minutes when he's got whatever problem is buzzing round his brain settled...So that I trust you will appreciate this chance you've had to see the creative process at work, warts and all..."

"For now, if you'd be so kind as to follow Mr. Ramsgate here..." he indicated the doorman... "He will lead you to a reception room where we have a few refreshments waiting..."

Insane bloody jackass...Hollering at us all like that...Another guest shook his head to his companions...And smashing those chairs on the stage...Damned unreasonable, inconsiderate...Grumbling quietly as the group followed Ramsgate...Cicely and her friends remaining behind with Sullivan and Carte...

"Don't worry for your lad, my dear Cecily..." Sullivan smiled at her as she looked anxiously at the main doors...

No...She thought, nodding a smile at Sir Arthur...I can't worry just for him, now...Not now...

"Well, Cicely..." Simon turned to her... "How is your husband finding the literary theatrical life?..."

Another crash...But not, this time, from behind the theater doors...

A side door, leading to stairs to the upper office floors opened...To reveal a startled, disoriented Drusilla, obviously racing back from her errand upstairs...

"Oh...Wrong floor..." she put a hand to her mouth... "Pray excuse me..." she smiled vaguely, nodding to the group...Cicely blinking at her...

Hmmn...Have I seen her before?...Willow pondered...

"Drusilla..." Rathskeller, beside her gasped...Farris behind him, staring...The little fool...

She hurried back into the short hallway leading to the stairs to the sub-basement...

With an incoherent cry, Cicely raced through the door after...

"Mrs. Walthrop?..." Sullivan called...As Rathskeller, Willow, and Farris hurried after her...

"Cicely!..." Farris calling down as he reached the stairs...



***

Quite a bit of alright this...Andrew Fowler happily noted to Henry Foxcroft and Jonathan Levinson, his friends and colleagues in their new trade as vampire-hunting assistants to their dear Cicely the Vampire Slayer, as their carriage neared the Savoy...A chance to see the dry run of the new Gilbert and Sullivan...

"This new line of ours has its benefits, eh?..." he beamed...

"Absolutely, old fellow..." Henry nodded at him..."And to see how friend Walthrop is faring at the hands of Messieurs G. and S...." he grinned...

"Ah, well...Walthrop will get on, I'm sure..." Andrew smiled... "Anyone who can do so well with our Cicely...Eh, Levinson...?" Indeed...Jonathan noted...

Still...Fowler's spirits dampened a hair...

"Pity we've nothing new to tell Cicely and Walthrop tonight..." he sighed...Not a hair of these fanged types, at least the ones she's seeking...Nor any looneys either...Fowler having still not quite gotten the idea that they were not also seeking the lunatic out of his head...

Though, as Jonathan noted to himself...Considering the behavior of the vampires they had encountered in their hunts with Cicely...Seeking lunatics might not be so bad a way to describe their work at that...

The electric lights of the Savoy...Quite a newfangled item, Andrew noted... Greeted them as their carriage pulled to a stop...They climbed out and stood watching the lights...

"You don't think the damned things are dangerous, do you Foxcroft?..." he looked up at the bright windows... "One chap I know said they can explode if you run them more than ten minutes...Noxious fumes inside em..."

"Mr. Carte smashed one on stage in front of his audience to prove them safe the first night..." Levinson looked up as well...

"I doubt they'd be installed unless they'd been well proven..." Henry smiled... "And anything's safer than the old candle lights on stage...Remember that time with your brother, Andrew?...When he knocked over the stage candles...?"

"Run, Juliet...!..." Fowler grinned... "Quite a show that was...Though thank God, there was water at hand..."

"Poor Tucker'd been a bit too long at the pub before the performance that night...Mooning after that poor actress doing the Juliet..."

"Quite a job for Father to get ole Tuck out of that little scrape..." he chuckled... "But, so long as no one was hurt..."

Still, he sighed again to Henry as Jonathan entered the theater..."Pity no better news for our poor girl..."

"We'll find them, Andrew..." Henry eyed him... "And help her destroy them..."

Hmmn...Fowler looked at his friend a bit sheepishly...Rather prefer to think we're helping the poor looney vampires...he noted...They say the poor fellows were people once...

"And we are helping them, my friend..." Jonathan kindly patted him...

***

On reaching the basement level, Drusilla changed course and throwing the door open, raced into the basement area where various dressers, costumers, stage painters, and their assistants were hard at work...

"Excuse me, please..." she nodded pleasantly to several in her way, dodging them deftly as she raced across the floor...

"Important message..." she pointed vaguely ahead... "Truly sorry...Please let me through..." She gently pushed a few untended racks of costumes out of her way...Politely waiting for a few in use to be moved...And pressed on for the stairs on the opposite side, the busy staff immediately filling back over her path...

Cicely emerged from the stairs, having caught sight of her quarry opening the basement door from above...

"Pardon me, please!..." she shoved across the floor, somewhat more abrupt in her manner...

"Watch it, girl!...What are you doing here?!..." one irritated costumer cried...Others desperately grabbing at their materials...

"The dark-haired girl who just came in here!!...Where did she go?!!..." she shouted to an annoyed dresser...Really had enough of this nonsense... "You tell Mr. Gilbert to let us get on with our work here..." he grumbled to her...

"Where...Did...She go...?!!!" Cicely grabbed and shook him...Her eyes frantically darting round...Seeing the open door to the other stairs...She released the dresser just as several hefty lady costumers and a couple of stage hands came over to his rescue...She wasted no time throwing a couple who tried to grab her, back...Hey!...



She broke through and reached the stair door, pausing to look round...Any trace?...She concentrated...

A wave of nausea overcame her and she staggered...But hurried downstairs to the sub-basement as a couple of angry employees of the Company moved through the busy crowd towards her...

Dru meanwhile continued her progress back up to the office levels...Just as her "Prince" the new-minted husband and assistant to Mr. Gilbert, Mr. William Soames Walthrop reached those levels on yet another hasty Gilbert errand...

Now followed at a discreet distance by the noble vampiral prince Angelis...Who had, at no little risk to his courageous self, come from his safe hideaway below to deal with the nonsensical minor romantic tribulations of his dear "daughter"...Once and for all...

As a good "father" should...

***

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/cicelypg2.html

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

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 XXVIII...



March, 1880...The night of the "Mikado" dress rehearsal (again, indulgence...this is an AU and G&S are working several years ahead of schedule)...

London...The offices' level of the Savoy Theatre...

There...At last...Vision or dream no longer...Stood the object of her desire, the lure of whom had even overcome her vampire essence's instinctive repugnance for risking its Immortal existence...

The rather slight if handsome, William Soames Walthrop...Looking rather anxious as he entered the hallway of the office floors...Intent upon his errand for the demanding Mr. Gilbert...He caught a brief glimpse of a somewhat disheveled young lady at the opposite end of the hallway...A young lady who somehow seemed...Familiar...

And yet...She thought...It is not my time...Not yet...The vision of her triumph was cloudy but she knew tonight was not quite its moment...

Still...No reason not to get acquainted...Especially with her trapped soul within as anxious to meet him as she...Urging, even...For once...Rather insistent...

"Sir!..." Drusilla called...Staring intently... "A moment, please!..."

Walthrop looked down the hall at the rather wild-looking young woman...Dark-haired, terribly wan and pale...But with an air of something...Unnaturally strong...And eerily malevolent about her...Particularly in her cold stare...

His doom, the realization suddenly struck him...

And yet, buried in that same stare...A pleading, a desperation...

Drusilla, he knew...She stood, apparently now with her goal at last in sight, as frozen by shock as he...

By shock...And perhaps...

"You...Are?..." he asked her...

"We...Are Drusilla..." she nodded slowly at him...A gentleness in her features now that instinctively moved him in spite of the dread he felt...

"You are the One we were told of...The One who would come to us..." she paused...

"I'm not..." he insisted, gently... "My name...Is William...And I belong to..."

"The Slayer..." she shook her head...A terribly worn and haggard look came over her...

"No one...No one..." she murmured, a despairing look..."Never..."

"Miss?..."

"What have I done that God has done this to me?..." she looked at him... "Tell me...?"

"I...Don't know..." William eyed her... "Miss...If I could help you...Believe me..."

No...she shook herself, a vicious look now coming into her face... "No!...Bad Sister to plead and whine!...Foolish, bad soul..." He backed away, she now taking demon face...

"You belong with us, William..." she glared... "Promised to us...And with us you will..." she blinked at him...Her face reverting...

"Sir!..." she gasped... "Go!...Run!...Now!!!..."

"Forgive me, sir...Forgive me..." she stared at Walthrop...He staggered back...Looking wildly for the stairway door...

"No!!...NO!!!!..." the demon face resumed and she charged at him...And was on him in a moment...

Clairvoyance and Prophecy being all very well but, as both her human uncles and her vampiral "father" would have agreed...Sometimes one must seize the day...

Even as that devoted vampiral "father", the noble Angelis, emerged from the stairway behind William...



***

After dodging a number of annoyed costumers and having failed to find Cicely on the basement floor...Farris, Chairman Rathskeller, and Miss Rosenberg, followed a bit more sedately by Sullivan and Carte had reached the sub-basement where Cicely had begun a frantic search for her nemesis...

No doubt about it...Shoving aside a number of huge crates placed strategically to block the lair space from view...The pride had found a home here...Here...

Oh, God...Practically under their noses the whole time...Drusilla laughing at all my efforts...She came to a sudden, horrified halt...Not here...And...William?!...

"Mrs. Walthrop!..." "Cicely!..." Rathskeller and Farris called to her...She looked at them wildly from the lair entrance and ran for the nearest stairway entrance...

"William!...Not now, not now God..." she raced up the stairs...The two men's cries following her...

"Wait for us, Mrs. Walthrop!..." the Chairman crying...In vain...

On the sub-basement floor, Willow glanced round carefully as she caught up to her escorts even as they hurried to the stairway and up in pursuit of the Slayer...Remarkable creature...she shook her head briefly at the now exposed lair as she turned to follow them...Even imbued with a kind of insane bravery...To have taken such a chance...And all for that diminutive, if admittedly rather handsome, poet...

Another fool for love, just like her Slayer opponent...And Grandfather's quarry, old Vlad...The thought crossing her mind as she in turn entered the stairwell and began racing up...

***

Just outside the theater, coming in haste via an alleyway from the carriage where his companions Henry Foxcroft and Andrew Fowler were just embarking, Jonathan Levinson stared in some surprise...At the pleasant young blonde lady he and Andrew had assisted with a carriage ride a few evenings ago...Who gave a wan smile in greeting, vaguely remembering..."Good evening, sir..."

"Miss...?"

"So very nice to see you again, sir...Are you attending the theater here?..." she happily asked...A rather misplaced polite air, considering the huddled mass at her feet...A whimpering young boy who seemed rather unusually terrified...

Wait a bit...He stared at her dress, not covered now by the coat she'd worn in their carriage the other night...It couldn't be...

The fiend whom he'd seen attacking Henry in that basement the night of the Walthrops' wedding?...

Sadly, Darla had not had much chance...Or, thanks to Dru's influence, much desire...To acquire a new outfit since her and Cicely's devoted assistants' last encounter...

Even if her sweet face did not bear much resemblance to the foul monster, Jonathan had seen that night...

"Levinson!...Get back!..." Henry cried as he caught sight of Darla as he and Andrew entered the alleyway...

Oh...Dear...Darla stared down at Henry...Dru will not be pleased to hear of this...So unfortunate to have let anyone learn of our presence...

But my dearest "grand-daughter" is of such a kind heart...So forgiving...And, perhaps...I could yet lead them away...Her old natural "grandmotherly" devotion supplemented now by Dru's telepathic thrall...

"My apologies, sir...I must go..." she nodded to Jonathan pleasantly and fled, leaving the boy in a heap behind...

"Darla!..." Henry called to Jonathan as he and Andrew raced after her... "Hurry, Jonathan!..."

***

Sometimes...Angelis sighed...The lot of a father is not an easy one...He impatiently eyed the hesitant Dru...As she stood over the fallen form of her Prince...His collar now stained with his own blood, though by no means fatally...

"Will you get on with it, lass?...Or shall I finish him?...We must hurry, girl...The Slayer will be after us..."



William moaned and groggily reared his head from the floor at her...

"Sir..." Dru stared at him... "I can see the fires in your mind...I can give you..."

"Sod...off, girl..." Will gasped out, eyeing her... "Go on...Kill me if you wish...I know what you're offering...I'll have none of it..."

She blinked at him...Angelis rolling his eyes...

"Listen to me...You have great things in you...I can show you..."

"I'll have...None of...It..."

Jesus, Mary, and the other fellow...Angelis fumed inwardly at her, though outwardly maintaining his paternal calm (Paralyzed with fear of her, Vladimir thought, grinning a bit at Willie)...It doesn't have to be a voluntary choice, you silly little...

"Dru...?" he called to her...She looked over to him, waving a hand...Just a moment...

"I see, William...You still can't see me for that other..." she was pensive, staring at him...The thud of pounding feet on the opposite stairs came to them...Angelis looking over...

"Hurry, lass...There's no time..."

"Leave Cicely be...Kill me if you like...Leave her..." Will struggled to rise...

"I've no interest in your Slayer...Less she tries to come between us again...Now, listen, little one..."

"Dr...u"...Angelis called...Moving for the stairway door... "Take him or kill him...But go...Now!..."

"Father is right..." she sighed... "And it is too soon...I must show you first what I have to offer you..." she grabbed William as he struggled feebly and dragged him to the stairs...

As a frantic Cicely threw open the opposite door... "STOP!!..." she screamed, her "Dickens" at the ready...

"Well..." Angelis glared...

"This is what you get for playing with your food, Drusilla..."

***

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...

Part XXIX...

March, 1880...Night of the "Mikado" dress rehearsal...

London, The office floor of the Savoy Theater...



From their end of the long floor hallway, Drusilla and her sire, the noble Angelis confronted Cicely Anne Walthrop, nee Addams, Greatest Slayer of All Time (to date)...While, clutched in Dru's gentle but unyielding grip...William Soames Walthrop, scholar, poet (of sorts), assistant writer to the formidable WS Gilbert, and husband of the said Ms. Walthrop...Unconscious now from Drusilla's blood-letting...

(Hmmn...Back in the inn at the Borgo Pass, Vladimir Dracula, last born of the famed Dracule eyed his writer Bram Stoker...As their companion for the evening, "Mr." Angelis... "Descendant" of the said noble Angelis...Continued his tale...

'Confronted' the Slayer, eh?...the youthful-looking count grinned to himself...Somehow I picture it more as...Cuddled in fear at Drusilla's feet, whimpering for her to save her "father" from their dreaded foe...)

"STOP!...." Cicely screamed again, readying for a charge... "Let him go, Drusilla!...Let him go and I will let you leave here alive...!"

Sounds good to me, the sensible Angelis noted to himself, eyeing Walthrop...Little fellow hardly seems worth the effort...Probably not one square meal in him...

Dru shook her head gently even as Cicely began her run...

"I am dead, Mrs. Walthrop..." she smiled and turned for the door, dragging William behind her...Angelis wisely taking up a guardian's post at the stairway door...

"STOP!!!!...William!!..." a desperate Cicely, racing to them, slashed with her stake "Dickens" at Dru's arm as the vampiress whirled Walthrop through the door and started to slam it...

The Slayer tore the door open as Drusilla cried out in pain as the stake cut into her hand...Shoving William ahead of her down the first steps, Angelis now Unmanfully leading the way...

(Fleeing in panic before the Slayer, I get the picture...Vladimir thought...Winking briefly at Willie the innkeeper as he resumed his post listening to the story...)

A hard slam from the vampiress threw Cicely back on her heels and she fell...Dru staring down at her as she grabbed for "Dickens"...Nothing in reach...She stared up at her nemesis, trying to cover with her feet and arms while attempting to rise, but feeling her burst of strength ebb away ...Dru simply staring down...

"His...?" she asked suddenly...Cicely pausing, suddenly realizing...

"Ours..." she replied, in a gasp...Dru blinking slightly at her...A strange look in her face...Not triumphant at all...Gentle...Almost...

"Please...For your soul's sake..." Cicely breathed... "If there's anything human left in you..."

"I..." Dru trembled... "I...I'm...Sorry...Sorry..." She backed off though the door, slamming it...

"No!!!..." Cicely screamed...Struggling to rise...Gasping... "No!!!..."

Forcing herself up, she smashed at the door and half-ran, half-fell through it...A wave of violent nausea overcoming her as she went through...

"Help me!!..." she screamed, falling to her knees... "Oh, God...Help me!!!..."

***

Play (Strauss' Perpetuum Mobile "Perpetual Motion")

In the streets just outside the theater entrance, Cicely's cousin Henry Foxcroft and former suitors/current faithful friends and assistants, Jonathan Levinson and Andrew Fowler were engaged in their own vampire hunt...For Darla, mate of Angelis...Now rather surprisingly calm and content as she continued her effort to lead the three potentially Dru-threatening humans away from the Savoy and her dearly beloved, courtesy Dru's thrall abilities..."grand-daughter" ...



Just a minor matter of surviving long enough for dear, dear Dru to find her "Prince", take him, and make good her escape...

"Oh!..." She raised her hands in startled dismay...Having knocked aside the rather scruffy-looking gentleman lounging in a corner of the alleyway entrance she'd just turned into...His partner seeming rather more enjoying the spectacle of his comrade falling into the muck than interested in assisting him...

"My apologies...Entirely my fault, sir!..." she called behind her to the fallen Warren "Smike" Smithe as he cursed at her...Squears, laughing harshly at his incensed partner from his corner in the alleyway wall...But quieting quickly and pulling back to give a good once-over to the three toffs who now came in Darla's wake...

"Andrew!...Jonathan!...For God's sake, hurry!..." Henry called as he raced by the cesspool where Smike stared up at him and his companions...Foxcroft?...What the hell was he...?...He tried to pull himself out of Henry's immediate view, Foxcroft obligingly keeping his attention focused on the issue of taking the fiend Darla alive...

Or whatever reasonable facsimile of life she currently enjoyed...

***

Hurrying to follow his Chairman and Miss Rosenberg, now moving up the stairs from the sub-basement, Simon Farris cursed the mad fool Drusilla under his breath...And her demon "godmother", Halfreck...

All his plans set to nought by the recklessness of one insane vampiress...And if Cicely should by some misfortune learn of Halfreck's role from Drusilla before destroying her...

Still, he cautioned himself...The game was hardly over by any means...Even if Dru's services were lost, there would be other ways to deal with William Soames Walthrop...

And it was very unlikely that in her current state dear Cicely would pause for a lengthy interrogation of the poor wretch before killing her...

A faint scream from somewhere above...Cicely...He tensed and raced to join the others, it taking a full minute before he realized that he was rushing without a thought to the assistance of the woman he had every intention of widowing, murdering, and condemning to an eternal living death in Lord D'Hoffryn's foul ranks...

***

"Drusilla...I really think...." Angelis began as they hurried down the stairs, she carrying the unconscious object of her affection, he...Noble vampiral prince and "father" of sorts that he was...Boldly leading the way...

(Boldly...Away from the Slayer as fast as his little legs could carry him...Vladimir chuckled to himself...)

"Go!..." she shouted at him, pointing ahead... "Or leave us...But go!..."

Leave?...He eyed the upcoming side stairway door as they continued on...The noble Angelis?...Abandon his dearly beloved vampiral "daughter" in her hour of need?...

Impossible of course...

("Of course..." Vladimir smilingly nodded to his guest...With a theater full of Watchers and their allies and the Slayer at his heels, he was hardly likely to "abandon" his only possible protection...Until the right moment...Of course...)

Unless...A quick, selfless dash onto the floor they were about to pass?...To divert the Slayer's attention away from his dear one, naturally...

Without a moment's hesitation, the courageous Angelis made his daring move, bursting onto the ground floor as Drusilla passed him, still dragging her prize...



Thankfully...er, sadly...No one in sight in the hall...

For a brief moment...Until from the far end, at the opposite stairway, a door opened...

Play (Strauss' Perpetuum Mobile..."Perpetual Motion"

Miss Rosenberg stared down the length at the equally startled... "Angelis!..." she cried...Taking out a cross and stake from her pockets and calling to Rathskeller, just behind her...

Just as several of those guests Carte had had entertained in the reception room after Gilbert's tirade re-emerged to see if Mr. Gilbert might be willing to allow their return to the main auditorium...

Hmmn...Willow blinked at the group who stared back at the slight young red-haired rather agitated-looking woman in formal evening gown, clutching a pointed piece of wood in one hand and a large cross in the other...Angelis turning back for the stairway door behind him...

Locked...He looked back...The group between him and his pursuers now swelling as other guests came out into the hall...

"Clear the way!...Keep back!..." Rathskeller sternly called to the crowd...As more cries came from above...

Angelis turned to the side and at the first unlocked door, hurried inside...To the main auditorium, where a fuming Gilbert was in the midst of haranguing his cast, pausing only to call out for the rather delayed young Mr. Walthrop's immediate return...

"My most profound apologies..." Angelis gave a hasty bow to the stage and hurried across the back row of empty seats...Gilbert glaring at the intruder all the way...

Outside the auditorium, Farris came out into the hallway from the stairs...

"Sir...!...Cicely!?..." he called to Rathskeller...Now attempting to shove after Willow through the rather puzzled crowd...

Was this part of the show?...one gentleman asked his companions...Don't seem much like a show about the Japanners?...

An man emerged from the stairway from above, shoving past Farris..."Doctor!...Get a doctor!..."

The crowd turned to eye the new source of confusion...As Willow, finding a gap open, pressed on to the door and entered the auditorium...

"A young lady's collapsed on the stairs!...Get a doctor!..." the man cried...

"Cicely!..." Farris looked at his Chairman...

"Go to her, Simon...I'll to Miss Rosenberg...!" Arthur cried...And made for the main door...

"Terribly sorry..." Willow, inside, called up to the stage... "Did a tall, dark gentleman just...?"

Gilbert gave a violent, silently raging waving point to where Angelis had just left...

"Will I forever be plagued by these infernal..." he shouted...As Chairman Rathskeller now entered...

What was that that girl had in her hand just now?...Grossmith hissed to his neighbor on stage...Pon my soul, it looked like a stake of some sort...

"Pardon me..." Arthur called...

"That way!...Damn you!...What the damned devil is going on here tonight!?..." Gilbert hollered, throwing his script down...

Sullivan and Carte now entered, looking rather puzzled...Having seen Rathskeller enter as they reached the ground floor...As several of the crowd gave them garbled accounts...



"Excuse me, Gilbert..." Sullivan called...

Without a word, Gilbert coldly stalked off stage...

"Well..." Carte smiled serenely up to the cast... "All getting on, eh...? We've had a bit of excitement outside just now...The usual thing for our first... "

"Doctor!...Will someone please get a doctor...!?..." a man's voice called from the newly re-opened door...Several in the crowd outside taking up the cry...

"On the way, sir..." old Ramsgate's strong voice came over the others...

"Yes...Well as I've said...Just the usual thing..." Carte nodded...

***

Drusilla...

PG-13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, Cicelyverse page www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html , or direct to story at www.angelfire.com/zine2/buffyrebecca/Dru1.html

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

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...

[the same old request for indulgence by G and S fans...This is an AU and the boys are working faster...]

Part XXX...



March 1880, Night of the Mikado dress rehearsal...

London, The Savoy Theater...

In her third floor dressing room, the young actress adjusted her wig, and frowning at her face in her table mirror, gulped a quick swig of whiskey...Just one...More...To clear her throat, of course...And fight off the slight case of jitters...

And the damned slight cold still hanging on...Hmmn, perhaps just one more...

"The..." she hit a wrong key...Damn!... "The...the...The Sun Whose..." she coughed a bit...Hmmn, she stared at the open bottle...

Perhaps one more...Throat was still rather tight...A beautiful piece like this deserved her best after all...

"Miss Bratton...!!" a hard knock...

"Yes!...Yes, ready!..." she called...

A boy stuck his head in... "Well?..." she eyed him...

"Mr. Gilbert gives his compliments, ma'am...And says you're to wait for his summons...Things have been a bit delayed below..."

"De...hic...layed...?"

"Sure and the place has gone balmy, ma'am...People running about...Doctor called for...Some lady gone and fainted on the stairs..."

Oh...?

"Mr. Gilbert is upset again, then...?" she nervously eyed the bottle...

"Worse than ever I seen him, ma'am...And crazier goings on than I've ever seen...Best to keep in till he calls..."

Very well...Miss Bratton nodded...The boy touched his cap and closed the door...

"The...Sun...Whose..." she began again...Smiling at the mirror...Indeed, by far the loveliest in the town of Titipu...

***

William came to with a groan...Looking round the dark, cramped room...A closet of some sort?...Blinking as his eyes adjusted to the darkness at the oddly... nervous?, deceptively frail-looking creature staring at him...Twisting her hands a bit as she watched him struggle weakly with the ropes she'd hastily secured round him...

"Sir...?" Drusilla addressed him quietly...

"Miss...Drusilla...?" he eyed her...

"Yes...We...Are Drusilla..." she nodded gently...

"And we bid you...Welcome..."

***

"The Soldiers of our Queen..." from "Patience...", Gilbert and Sullivan...


Play

"The soldiers of our Queen

Are linked in friendly tether;

Upon the battle scene

They fight the foe together.

There ev'ry mother's son

Prepared to fight and fall is;

The enemy of one

The enemy of all is!

The enemy of one

The enemy of all is!"



Their implements...Including the stakes recently allowed them by a reluctant Cicely...At the ready...The able...Well, the brave-hearted and true...Assistants of the Slayer...Henry, Jonathan, and Andrew were continuing their pursuit of the fleeing Darla down the alleyways and byways about the Savoy...

While she for her part...A rather unusually content part thanks to Dru's hypnotic abilities...Sought to keep them from suspecting the new location of the family lair...Holding her speed of flight down just enough to let them catch an occasional glimpse of her as she moved further from her dear "grand-daughter"...

Dashing down one rather cluttered alley, dodging piles of refuse and sleeping unfortunates, she found herself emerging into a busy, carriage-clogged street...With her gentlemanly but insistent pursuers hot on her heels...

She hurried out, leaping onto one of the many carriages...Politely apologizing to the shocked driver as she shoved him off and took the reins...

Inside the carriage, one John... "Good Man Jack" Henderson...Famed sportsman and gentleman-about-town...Disappointed ex-suitor to Ms. Cicely Addams...Doing his best to dampen his recent sorrows and humiliation in the company of one Harmony Francis Kendall...Lately rival to the said Ms. Addams, now, for the brief moment, Queen of London society by default...

Poor Henderson...Little realizing that his one chance at lasting fame might yet be denied him by Fate in this particular universe...The naming of the famed vampiral killer, William the Bloody...

Lucky Henderson...Who thereby might yet escape being the object of said William's first experiment involving a novel use of the railroad spike...

Now interrupted in the midst of paying yet another gallant compliment to Miss Kendall...As a light prelude to a rather solemn proposal...She and her 20,000 pounds a year being the new object of his affection...

A famed sportsman and man about town must after all keep an eye out for the practical aspects of life in spite of love's little disappointments...If he is to go on properly supporting that fame and lifestyle...And when the practical comes in such a pleasing, if bland, package as dear Miss Kendall...

But his intentions, honorable on some levels as they might be, were now once again meeting with formidable obstacles...Though in the case of dear Harmony, not ones of her making...

"HEY THERE!!..." Henderson cried as he was thrown against the startled, if perhaps somewhat inwardly pleased Miss Kendall...As the carriage lurched violently to the left, Darla quickly seizing on a gap in the flow of foot and carriage traffic in the opposing lane to race onto a less congested thoroughfare...

And the carriage gained yet more uninvited passengers...Andrew and Henry leaping onto the rear and climbing over onto the roof just as Darla made her break, while Jonathan, a moment behind his friends...Found himself in a precarious situation...Holding to the open rear oval window of the carriage as his feet dangled inches from the pavement...

"Darla!..." Henry cried, crawling across the roof towards her, Andrew following...Both suddenly flattening and grabbing onto the roof as the carriage made the sudden turn that had upset Mr. Henderson's plans for the future...As well as Mr. Henderson himself...

Darla turning back to acknowledge the page...Ah, the heroic young gentleman of the previous evening...She gave a hasty but polite nod in greeting and turning back, urged the horses on, bracing herself to be ready to toss the gallant young man...Er, men...She catching sight of the equally brave, if less certain of the situation it being rather a bit out of his line, Mr. Fowler, to whatever fate awaited them in the crowded street below...

***

Transylvania...The same night...High winds blowing round a bleak and desolate landscape of craggy cliffs...A large, ancient pile of a castle, the legendary ancestral home of the family Dracule, off in the distance...Dark peaks of the rugged Carpathian mountains all about...



And in the foreground...An altar...With large cross prominent on top, a priest of the Orthodox Church reverently praying behind it, sacred implements in his hands ...Several men...And one Other...Standing about...Heads bowed...

One, near the Other, an elderly, distinguished-looking man...Strong in his bearing, cross in hand...As impressive in his quiet dignity as he attended the priest's prayers as was the Other beside him...

And the Other...Iron-gray haired...The face of an arrogantly proud, savagely powerful man...Accustomed to leadership and experienced in command, clearly...Courage and strength and brutality in the face...The face of one who had led thousands to battle...Had ordered the deaths of as many...

And one knew, somehow...Had personally killed in equal numbers...But strangely, savagely different...Inhuman in some way beyond even the nature of the warlord he'd obviously been...

Yet...A gentleness in his expression as he listened, watching the priest...Who waved his implements now...Almost a pleading in his eyes...And a desperate weariness...

The priest finished...And gently laid his implements on the altar...Looking at the men round him, one by one...He switched from Romanian to English, though even many of the foreigners about him in the group had understood his prayers...

"My sons...May God and His Son accept your courage as an offering and bless this ceremony..."

He nodded to the elderly gentleman who carefully nodded back, with a smile of thanks...The priest stood by...

"Well, Count...Very soon now..." Abraham Van Helsing eyed the Other beside him...Count Vlad Dracula, leader of the Dracule, former Defender of the Faith, Prince of Transylvania...Vlad the Impaler, brutal but brilliant general of the valiant armies which had briefly held back the Turkish onslaught in the late 15th century after the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire at Constantinople...

Self-Damned Lord of the Undead for over 400 years...

"May we proceed...Or do you require another treatment?..." Van Helsing asked quietly...His little bag of drugs at hand...

Nothing like a little 7% cocaine solution to quiet the old bloodlust...

The Count shook his head... "I wish to keep my mind as clear as possible now...I will manage quite well, my friend...I thank you..." he gave a harsh but oddly warm smile to the slight, frail but indomitable man...The famed scientist...The implacable enemy...And the sole creature in 400 years to reach out to him in compassion...

No...Not the sole creature, old Dracula remembered, bowing his head as he tensed for the punishment he must face...And was ready to accept...But of the three who in all the empty, agonizing years had found it possible to reach out to him...The first able to combine a practical ability to assist him with that compassion...

The great physician hesitated...The Count smiled, more gently now...Sensing his friend's concern...

"I can bear this, Doctor...Bring them forth...And give them the peace they deserve..."

At a nod from the doctor, several of his men came forward...Carefully tending two sets of carefully chained, heavily drugged, prisoners...Female descendants...And victims...of the Dark Lord...Additionally restrained with various magic and religious items placed on them or carried by the guards...They eyed their Master in terror...All too well aware that he had abandoned them...Or consented to their liberation, depending on one's pov...

"You!...Coward!..."One cried out in Romanian...Another in Turkish...Lord?!...

"Silence!..." Old Vlad glared at them...But staring at each in turn, his expression turned strangely gentle, even pleading...

"Accept your fates...And may my heart be strong enough to carry out whatever penance your souls demand..."



"Die!..." one of the oldest screamed at him... "Rot with the carrion, traitor!...Cursed of God and the Darkness!..." he ignored her, and looked at Van Helsing...Who gave the signal...A group of his men, armed with swords, approached the first group of four...

"Uncle!!..." one female in the four cried out...He eyed her, impassively...Staring into her until she calmed...

And the swords did their work...The headless bodies dissolving to ash...

And now the second group of guards came forward...Leading a single, regal-looking female...Who remained proudly silent as they cautiously dragged her towards the altar...

Until she stood before it...And spat...Leering at Dracula...Returning his stare...

"You never loved me..." she sneered... "As you never loved my mother...Father..." she glared...

"And my soul curses you as I do..." she laughed... "As does hers...You win nothing...Redemption for you?...Impossible..."

Go ahead...she sneered at the swordsmen approaching... "Let me show you how a daughter of the house of the Dracule dies!...Again...." she eyed her father as he watched...

"Burn...Alone...In torment, Father!..." she chuckled, leering as the sword whistled...

He watched solemnly, closing his eyes a moment, only after the body had vanished...But saw, as they all did, in the instant of destruction, a look of joy in his daughter's face...

"Elisabette..." he whispered...

"At peace, at last..." Van Helsing solemnly noted...And crossed himself...As, after a moment's hesitation...Did the Count...

"And now..." the physician eyed the priest...Who bowed and withdrew...The coming ceremony secretly blessed and sanctioned but not condoned...



(Whoa...Standing by the table, Innkeeper Willie eyed the young Dracula who stared at Angelis, a bit floored himself...Never having heard the full details of the destruction of the dear "grand-aunties...", including the Grande Dame, Elisabette, Jr. herself...

Quite an exit for the beautiful ole battleaxe...

Angelis paused solemnly in his tale...Eyeing Vladimir now with a slight gleam...Then Mr. Stoker who was rubbing his chin with a clearly professional interest...

Bit different from the way the "young" Count had described Dr. Van Helsing's encounter with his famed ancestor to him...But rather interesting in its own way...

The youthful-looking Count got hold of himself quickly...No need to let that damned fool parvenu Angelis think he'd gotten to him there with a bit of family history unknown to him...And time to remind Stoker who was directing their little writing project...

"Yes...I'd heard that legend of my famed ancestor..." he smiled...Stoker turning to him... "But I'd planned to retain that aspect of his demise as a surprise...For a later tale..."

In which he returns, unsettled in his rest until his atonement and redemption are complete...he explained to the somewhat bemused author...

"I saw it as excellent sequel material..."

Indeed?...Angelis frowned...Eyes narrowing...Like heck Vladimir had heard about this...Old Vlad wouldn't touch his slimeball great-grandson with a ten foot stake when he was Dark Lord of us all...He'd never have dropped in for a chat after his redemption...

"Yes...But..." Vladimir smiled... "Do not let me interrupt you from your amusing little tale, my friend...Continue by all means..."

"Rescue us from a dreary evening..." he waved at the windows, now lashed by wind and dark rain...

"Please...And..." he turned to Willie... "More of the same for myself...And gentlemen?..." They nodded..

"Yes..." Angelis glared..."Well...Anyway...Here...In Transylvania...The great ceremony was almost ready..."

"But...Back in London...")

***

March, 1880...

London, the Savoy Theater...A storage closet in the sub-basement currently occupied by the Angelis pride...

Drusilla eyed the feebly struggling, well-trussed William...

"You have come at last...Here...To me...To us..."

To help...Me...At last...A thought within...To be with me...Forever...A counter thought opposed...As her dual natures briefly confronted each other before resuming their temporary alliance...

Odd that she hadn't killed him yet...he thought as his head cleared a bit...She almost seems...Anxious to win his consent to whatever hideous fate she had in mind for him?...For some bizarre reason...

Competition with her nemesis the Slayer, perhaps...?

Noting her bemused, somewhat confused air...He tried to shake his head...

"I see....." she nodded... "You don't understand it all yet...You can't choose...Not until you've seen all we have to give you...William..."

"And what she has done to you...For her own sake...You must see...What we are...We...And your little Cicely...For we are more alike than you guess..."

Come...she grabbed his ropes, pulling him...

"This place is no longer safe for us...We must go further...Here..." she pointed to the wall opposite where a large theatrical poster covered part...A rather recent poster advertizing the current work in progress...

Which she gently moved aside to show an opening which she with Darla's assistance had made to the network of tunnels and sewers running about the basements of the buildings above...

(The poster covering was my legendary ancestor and namesake's idea, Angelis happily noted to Stoker...

We should be surprised he did a good job of concealing his escape route?...Vladimir silently eyed Willie...

"And speaking of my legendary ancestor...")

***



Who was at this moment bending every stout-hearted fiber of his incredible vampiral being to the protection of his little family by leading the indomitable Miss Rosenberg and Chairman Rathskeller on a wild chase through the ground floor of the Savoy...

While above Simon Farris, Watcher to the Slayer, had made his way to his charge, whose cries on the stairs had summoned help in the form of several staff and a few of the actors not yet called to the stage by Mr. Gilbert...

"Cicely!..." he called as she stared wildly at him, several well-meaning fools now attempting to restrain her, blocking her path as she tried to rise from her knees and continue her stagger down the stairs...

"Simon!!...Where?!!...Simon!!..." she gasped... "Help me!..."

"Poor lamb...Best to get her inside to the dressing room here and wait for the doctor..." one stout, sympathetic female costumer turned to Farris, shaking her head, as he made his way up to her...Shoving back several...

"Get...Out of...My....Way!..." Cicely shrieked, reaching out blindly to push those about her back...

"Now Miss...Hey!..." one fellow tried to calm her, she tossing him aside, rising to her feet...

"Stop this, girl!..." one woman grabbed her from behind... "You're going to harm yourself and your child!..."

There was genuine rage now in Farris' voice as he threw one man back and came to her... "Get back, you fools!!...Let her be!!..."

Cicely...he stared at her...But made no move to help her as she tried to continue down...

"Sir..." the kindly costumer had reached Cicely as well... "I fear she's lost it...We must get her to a seat...The doctor is being called..."

Yes, yes...Farris impatiently nodded...

"Cicely..." he called to her... "You must stop...It will do no good..." she looked back up at him...Pleading...

"I and the others will find him...You must stop..."

"No..." she shook her head..."There's...No...Time..."

"I can't let him go!!..."

He pulled at her now...The others clustering round, more blocking her way...

"Get back!!..."she cried... "Get...Back...Or I'll kill you all!!..." she raised "Dickens" and slashed, causing a couple of those in front of her to jump back...Farris taking her other arm as she collapsed...

"Simon...William..." she twisted at him, staring, as several grabbed her and carefully lifted her...The costumer directing them onto the third floor hallway...

"We'll find him, my dear...Let them help you..." he told her...Releasing the hand she desperately clasped his with for a brief second and watching them carry her off...

And that...He thought...As she disappeared through the stairway door...

Hopefully...At last...

Is that...

Still, one must keep up appearances...Not be seen to be slacking it...He started downstairs in haste...



Pausing only to give one last, bitter glance up to where she'd been...Where the final proof of her betrayal beyond all doubt had been flung at him...Not that he hadn't realized almost on seeing her tonight...

A child...By that fool...

***

Drusilla...

PG-13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, Cicelyverse page www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html , or direct to story at www.angelfire.com/zine2/buffyrebecca/Dru1.html

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

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...

[the same old request for indulgence by G and S fans...This is an AU and the boys are working faster...]

Part XXXI...

March, 1880, night of the Mikado dress rehearsal...

London, a moderately busy street near the Savoy Theater...Now somewhat busier thanks to Darla's mad dash into it...

Hanging on desperately to the back window of the racing carriage Darla had just appropriated for her use, one Jonathan Levinson, noted barrister-on-the-rise, former suitor, friend, and assistant to Cicely Addams-Walthrop...Who managing to lift himself slightly, saw into the carriage where one Harmony Francis Kendall, new Queen (by default) of London society and famed sportsman John "Goodman Jack" Henderson were trying to regain their seats and determine what the hell had interrupted their tete-a`-tete...

"Levinson!?..." Henderson looked out at him, holding on to the window by the slightest... "What the devil are you doing there?...Get off this carriage at once!..." Uh...he was tossed once again against the side of a rather pleased Miss Kendall...As Darla made another sharp, lurching turn...

"Pardon me..." Jonathan replied politely...Trying to pull himself up...While instinctively checking for his hat to pull off in Miss Kendall's presence...Whoops...He grabbed at the window opening...Fortunately no need to remove a hat that had long ago fallen to the street...

A sudden metallic groaning as the overburdened carriage roof...Not really designed to support the weight of two strong men, plus a strong but slender vampiress now trying to lean on it to reach back to throw one or more of her pursuers off that roof...Began buckling...

***



The Savoy Theater...Ground floor...

Where the noble Angelis...Dutiful to the last...Was bravely attempting to lead those who threatened his little vampiral "family" away from his loved ones...Miss Rosenberg and Chairman of the Council of Watchers, Arthur Rathskeller in hot pursuit...

"Pardon me..." he bowed to a flustered young lady costumer as he flew open the door of her workroom...Grabbing her, snapping her neck, and propping her body against that door as his pursuers tried to force it open...

He tossed several boxes and a sewing machine into the path of anyone coming through that door...Now being slowly forced open as the poor woman's body moved with sickening lurches and several sharp cracks...Running to the rear door, he smashed through and found himself in a small room barely large enough to hold him...Hmmn...

The door to the front of the room he'd just vacated opened enough for Miss Rosenberg and the Chairman to squeeze...Oh, God...Willow sighed at the poor remains of the costumer...Now forced into an unspeakable position...

"Angelis!!..." Arthur firmly called...Stepping carefully over the body...

Hmmn...Don't think "Who, sir...?" is likely to work in this particular situation Angelis thought as Willow and Rathskeller halted and pulled crosses and stakes...He grabbed at the little room's door and slammed it shut...

***

The street outside the Savoy Theater...

"Hang on, Andrew!..." Henry called...As Darla, having made her latest turn successfully, turned back to grab at him...

"Hold on there, Foxcroft...I'll be right along..." Andrew called back...Hmmn...He saw Darla making another hard swipe at Henry, now pressing himself down on the carriage roof as it began to give way...

She caught his arm this time and began dragging him closer...Andrew pondering the situation as Henry grabbed at the roof...What to do?...He crawled closer, quickly as he could...Darla giving a tentative heave which almost broke Henry's grip...

Hmmn...Truly a bit out of my line...Fowler thought...Still...

He reached down swiftly and grabbing a shoe, flung it at the vampiress...Striking her full in the face as she tensed to give a final toss...

OH!!!...She released Henry and dropped back...Staggered a bit...Feeling her face...Which assumed demon form...Raging demon form...

Nothing like a good whack across the face to bring one out of thrall...

"You bastard!!..." she shrieked at Fowler...Who gave a slightly sheepish, apologetic shrug...Striking a woman like that, even of the vampiral demonic sort...Not exactly his sort of preferred behavior...Rather a bit of the cad, eh what?...

"Truly sorry, miss...Unavoidable, you know..." he called...As Henry crawled back...The carriage suddenly lurching to a stop as the horses, their reins dropped by the howling Darla, followed their careful training for such situations and halted...

Darla fell back and off...As Jonathan, still hanging to the rear...fell forward, tearing the window hole wide...And the carriage roof gave way, plunging Fowler and Foxcroft into the presence of the startled and rather bruised Henderson and Miss Kendall...Now somewhat less pleased by the course of this exciting night's action...

"What the hell!?..." Henderson sputtered uselessly...Pulling at the torn roof and frame... "Oh!..." Harmony cried...Slightly injured by the badly bent section of frame which more importantly had ruined her new gown...

"Our deepest apologies..." Jonathan mumbled as he blearly looked round the battered carriage...Looking at Henry sprawled on the remains of the broken roof, Fowler rather more comfortable, have fallen by luck onto the seat by Henderson... "Darla!?..." he cried to Henry who looked at him blankly a second then shook himself...

"Outside!...We must hurry...Is everyone alright?...Andrew?...Miss?..Miss Kendall?..." Henry eyed a battered-looking Harmony...Only beginning to overcome her dazed and confused state and fire up the rage furnace...



"I'll have the law on you all, Foxcroft!!..." Henderson raged... "What do you mean, coming here upon us like this?!..." As Henry clambered back up to the open roof and looking round for the now-vanished Darla, jumped off onto the ground...Jonathan following a bit more slowly...

"Very sorry, ole fellow..." Andrew noted pleasantly, bowing to Miss Kendall...You...she glared at him...He likewise climbing up...The side doors being hopelessly crushed...

"We're engaged in a hunt...Excuse us..." he looked back down into the carriage... "Happy to send some help round about soon as we catch our vampire miss...Thousand pardons..." he gave another slight bow to Harmony and jumped as well...Henderson staring up...Vampire?...

"Did he say...Vampire?..." he stared at his companion...Whose now well-fired rage was now finding another target...

"Get me out of here, you clod!!!..." Harmony shrieked at him...

***

Threading his way carefully through the crowd milling on the stairs, Simon Farris, Watcher to the Slayer, had reached the second floor...Preparing to open to begin his "exhaustive search" of another floor for Cicely's beloved Walthrop...Cross and stake at the ready...As Drusilla was not likely to know or care about his own role in arranging her rendevous with the little poet...

A call from above stopping him...The kindly, middle-aged costumer who'd had Cicely brought to a dressing room on the floor above...

"Sir...Sir...Come back, please..." she called to him...He looked up at her...She shook her head and he nodded...

"The lady...?" he paused...

"I think she'll be alright...The doctor is coming...But please sir..."

He went back up the stairs...Thoughts whirling in his brain...He reached the woman who patted him...

"Are you her father, sir...?" No...he shook his head...

And yes...he thought...A gray cloud in front of his eyes for just a moment...

"What...Was it...?"

"Too soon, sir...I couldn't say..." the woman looked sadly at him...

"But she's young and strong..."

Yes...he nodded...And followed her up the stairs...A little girl, frightened, staring at him out of the darkness in his mind...A young Cicely, brought before him for the first time...Her governess, a Council agent, standing by...

A girl he thought...It must have been a girl...Another Cicely...

My grand-daughter...of sorts...

I should ask Halfreck at her next manifestation he irrationally thought as he stumbled through the door to the floor...

***

In the tunnel network surrounding the theater and its neighboring buildings a fierce-looking Drusilla glared away several rats who'd come to see the show as she dragged the battered William along...But her voice was gentle, even pleading as she spoke to him, urging him on...



"Just a bit, sir...Please...We must hurry..."

He struggled feebly in her grip and she paused...Staring at him...

"Surely you can't want us to meet tonight...In her condition..." she eyed him...As he stared back...She looked intently at him...Blinking...

"You didn't know?...Oh...Sir...I am sorry to have told you like this..."

He tried to speak, the hasty gag she'd put on his mouth, slipping a bit...

"Please, sir...Please just a bit more and we can talk..." she readjusted the gag and took firm hold of him...A strange look coming into her eyes...Oh...No...No...She closed her eyes...And he saw a tear run...

No...she murmured...No...You swore...You swore...Oh, God...she whispered...Not looking at him...

And as quickly she relaxed and stared at him again... "We're going now..." And pulling him, began moving down the tunnel...

"You are mine..." she breathed as she half-dragged, half-carried him..."Mine..."

"Mine forever..."

***

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