Stars. Spinning, dancing through her head. A briar necklace of bright prickly stars that sits burning on her throat, singing rhymes to her, rhymes of childhood and damnation.
'Round the briar bush we go,
Off to hell and down we go,
Burning bush and round we go,
Round and round and round and round.'
Sometimes the stars scream to her, and sometimes they whisper.
She is seduced by their whispers, petted by their screams. A girl could have her head quite turned.
She was alone so long, and now she is not.
Half-awake, sated and torpid with blood, Drusilla strokes her grandmother's head that lies nursing across her thighs, strokes her daughter's long blonde hair. It feels like home.
She hums to herself, hums little half-tunes of thirst satisfied and love come back and it hardly disturbs her at all to feel the tiptoes of another mind in hers.
She half-turns as if to see who was looking over her shoulder and giggled; silly, your mind has no shoulders and whoever it is is trying to be very very quiet.
She feels the scent of young girl in her head and sighs; she has been a young girl for so long that she cannot not remember what it felt like to be young for a season and to know that season would end.
Drusilla strokes her lover's hair and sniffed the blood on her lips and red velvet tight against her body like a luxurious scratching. And the young girl is somewhere in there with them, part of the voluptuous pleasure, dancing in her head with the stars.
Visions hurt; those are the rules. I walk along and suddenly my head explodes and I'm there in someone's pain, watching them bleed and taking notes. No good getting the pain without the street address - I'm dropping on the floor girl and red hot wire between the ears girl, and I have to be efficient girl as well, or it is just a waste.
And this isn't by the rules. First, I know perfectly well that I'm asleep, and what I'm feeling isn't pain; it's cuddliness and cutesiness and sort of eeeuw!
It's being full like you ate two bowls of popcorn and sticky like you poured honey down your throat and still thirsty like you could drink the world. I've helped kill them for years and I'd do it again tomorrow, and I really didn't want to know how it feels for them, that it feels so good.
It's dolls with their faces to the wall, and nuns with their faces to the wall, and stars talking to you like old friends. It's not the madness that's weirding me out; it's the way that, from in here, it all makes perfect sense.
It's two sweet loving women that, right now, I know so well that I want to jump right in there and bathe squirmily in their tenderness. It's love and the live rail and the high dive and sweet poison; it's rough silk against your lips and jets of warm air holding you up in a caress of soft force and salt and sugar in your mouth and soaring strings in your ears.
Loving your enemy - that's not something I've ever done before; bathing in your enemies' love for each other like warm jasmine bubbles and hot blood .
I didn't know I could do this; I shouldn't be here; it feels like danger and it feels like trespass; and it feels like wandering through the most expensive dress shop in the world with your best friends. Only my best friends tore the throats out of ten lawyers, two paralegals and a caterer last night; and, before that, they were in a dress shop, and it ended badly.
I was dozing in a bar with my head on Wesley's shoulder, or maybe Gunn's, and I knew I should not have had that last drink, and here I am wandering around someone's home. And I don't think it's the Three Bears.
(All new again, the demon stretches and yawns in the home it knows so well, had thought lost forever. It stretches thin as candyfloss and dissolves sweetly into the Darla-ness of the woman that it had missed so much. Blood and revenge and lust and anger and shame - how it had missed them all, had missed being them all. It had not been for so long; and almost as it forms the thought, it is gone - become threads twisted into a skein with all the rest of her).
Darla can feel it, as natural a part of who she was as the luscious iron taste of blood in the back of her throat, as the sweet sharpness of her teeth against her lip, as the pull of skin and bone backwards and forward from one face to another, as the terror in faces that knew she has no mercy in her.
It has never been quite like this before - Angelus was always there between them, between their bodies, between their minds. She never felt so close to the child before, never so close as now his child was her mother. She will really have to do something about that dear sweet soulful boy, but right now it is enough to lie here sated, with the girl, with Drusilla.
Something has changed - it is as if she can half hear the inside of Druslla's mind; and it is a dance of lights and favours and prettinesses and whimsies. When they made her, she felt it then and it was a roaring desert of chaos. She had felt it jagged and scratchy on her mind then, something she had broken, and had never wanted to look too closely again, had felt the girl's wild worlds as danger and irritation. Things change.
And in the stillness after the moment of that change we find our home.
' Grandmother', the girl whispers. 'There's someone here. Little spider spy with her webs tickling my brain.'
'I'm not here', I say.' Just pretend I'm not here.'
The girl sees her mind as a cat and stretches out a lazy claw; I find myself reaching out with my mind's paw in the same way and batting the claw away. Her paw bats at mine and my mind strikes out at hers, much too much more like flirting than fighting.
'I'm not here,' I say. 'I'm some place else.'
'Well, I'm not a place, see,' she says in sudden petulance. 'You're in my mind, young miss, so you'd best be polite. You're in my mind, and I'm out of it.'
She giggles at the thought of her own madness, and I find myself melting in tenderness for her. I am so not this person I'm being while I'm here; I am so caught up in her games and her rules that I know I might never find my way home.
I see her watching me and remembering me; she sees me watching. I don't like the smile on her face and I don't like the smile in her mind, and yet I know her as well as I know myself, dolls and stars and nuns.
Darla can only half sense what is going on, shadows in the corner of her eye, the faint echo of whispers in her mind.
'Who is it?' she says.
Drusilla looks so innocent as she says it, her razor-tipped finger pulling down the lush corner of her mouth, her glazed yellow eyes blinking like the fast wings of moths.
Darla smiles indulgently at the lie
Drusilla knows that Darla knows she is lying; she will be punished and she wants, longs to be punished. I sit here in Drusilla's mind and Darla's mind, and I see the game played round me and through me.
This is all too much information - I feel how it is for them and I feel the pain and the terror and mostly I feel the fun. I could get used to being in this place and it is not a place I ever wanted to be home.
Drusilla feels my fear and discomfort
Suddenly she frowns - her demon swims up to the surface of her face and looks harder into me with a sudden familiarity - and I know what she sees there. Tequila and too much information.
'Oh,' she says, gently taking her lover's head from her lap and standing up in a rush of scarlet silk. 'That's who you are. The Angel-beast's pet seer. Well I see things too, you know.'
And suddenly I get a burst of Drusilla's greatest hits - dead spinning nuns in patterns like a Busby Berkley dance routine; kaleidoscope patterns of Angel and Angelus, cut out of each other like paper dolls in endless mirrors; passion and loneliness and men with torches.
Oh, well, if she's going to try and play rough...
Her visions are not so different from my own, just madder; who does she think she is dealing with here? Some little provincial nobody?
And I open my memories to her, and she stares into me avidly - and she gets twenty-four hours of broad-band LA angst in a single greedy rush. Courtesy of the late Maggot-face.
She rocks back on her heels as if I had slapped her. And wouldn't you know, that's practically lovemaking in crazyville, because Drusilla looks back at me with respect and lust.
Darla squints as if she is trying to see me too.
'Who is it?' she says.' Who are you playing with now?'
I think, in passing, of remarks about hitting Darla across the head with large objects and am really rather glad that most of me is somewhere else.
'Grandmother, it's his girl, his rude seer-girl.. The Angel-beast's - only, ' she sounds excited and girlish again.' He's almost back. Daddy's almost home.'
The warmth and flirtiness is suddenly gone from her tone and it feels like a cold wind of losing someone special. Our minds pull away from each other, suddenly tense.
'Tell your little friend that she can come and play any time.' Darla says into the sudden silence between us in that breathless throaty drawl. 'She has a sharp tongue that would go well with sharp teeth. My darling boy is coming back, and he'll just waste her. And we'd love to play.'
They giggle and they clutch at each other and they smile with triangular demon eyes.
'Come and play,' they call to me in siren voices reaching out to me with a languorous grace that makes me wish I was actually there, could come to their arms. 'Come and play forever. We'd never kill you, Cordelia - you'd play with us too well for that'
A hand grasps my shoulder and I jump awake. The boys are there, with dopy drunken grins on their faces and something with scales and horns is butchering 'The Sunny Side of the Street.'
The girls are gone, somewhere miles from here, but their voices echo in me still, as if somewhere in my heart was their new home.