Lady Sings
by Jane St Clair and Te
? - February 2003

Disclaimers: Not even close to ours.

Summary: Darla and Dru on the road. 

Feedback: Yes, please.


It's a Jaguar, and Drusilla mouths the word at her from the
passenger seat. Sloppy kisses of the usual delirium. The car is
champagne, the interior a shade of cream Darla suspects would
look better in sunlight.

Regret isn't something Darla has left in this new version of her
old, old life.

The car's sound system is remarkable. She thinks that the boy
who owned it must have loved it like a woman, or perhaps a boy,
to have lavished so much attention on it. Invisible speakers are
merged with the car's interior, and the radio swallows little silver
disks of sound on command.

It was their first real argument. Such a terribly human one. The

There would be no Beethoven. There would be no British punk
rock. Darla wants to wonder where Dru got her musical taste, but
she knows, of course.

Of course. They're not going there. Settling finally on the glass
voice of Billie Holiday, less because it's appropriate than because
they both love her. Theirs, surely.

It's a death that might have been Darla's -- or at least the sick,
stinking whore she'd been. Mad, destitute, with hundreds of
dollars rolled up and hidden in her cunt. Refusing to give up that
last shred of power.

Darla drives. All night. Sleeping in motel rooms by day, rough
polyester curtains pulled over the windows and reinforced with
anything they can move. Cash, as much as they could strip off
the man's credit cards before they threw them away. Twice,
they've just carved the attendant into lovely, bloody shreds, but
sometimes she just wants to *sleep*.

Dru beside her. Naked and bright and dark. Pushed up on her
hands and looking about every time Darla turns toward her. Drusilla
will always be prey, of a sort.

Kissing her softly in the instants before and after she wakes.


Mother, daughter. However it works. Darla isn't entirely sure she
knows. She'd always thought William was just a natural mama's boy,
but when Dru is upset...

It's an uncomfortable thing, a twist of the mouth thing, a ringless,
thingless thing and sometimes Dru gets way down deep in her
head. Sometimes she can feel her so *clearly*, a touch through a
gauzy curtain...

Before she was Darla, there had been a party.

Drunken, filthy men, flea-ridden as herself. Makeshift stage in
a public house and things had gotten rowdy. She had wound herself
half a shroud in a great, thick curtain stolen from a better theater
in better days. They'd pulled and pushed and groped her through it.
Hours of it, muted, brutal touch leaving her so very *frightened*.

She'd been that young once.

Now Darla's the john, and Dru is a hazy moment's perfection
when she wants to be. When she chooses to hold Darla that way,
or when she's just hurting.

Now Darla knows it's something in the blood.

Dear, dead Angelus had created the perfect Daddy's Little Girl,
too perfect to ever be without some kind of Daddy for long. It
just happens to be Darla's turn now, and that's the way it goes, she

At least it's amusing.

*But women are funny that way*

Billie, Billie, Billie. Eats up the miles. Keeps Darla sane enough to
just roll on down the road. White lines and black tar, and oh, she
remembers. Sullen heat and strong backs bent double. Endless
fields of slaves and sweet, sweet magnolias.

She remembers guesting at plantation after plantation, and
never, ever wearing out her welcome.

She remembers slipping down to the shanty-towns, the fear and
rage in their eyes. A good overseer always made sure the dark
witches were beaten down, and there'd been nothing to stop her.

White white demon and blue blue eyes, taste the darkies' faint

Drusilla laughs beside her, a breathy chuckle in her endless

Strange fruit. Oh yes, Billie knew.

*blood on the leaves and blood at the root*

Blood on Drusilla's breasts, their last night in Los Angeles. On
the city's edge, watching a two-alarm fire in the distance, killing
small things and touching each other with them. Licking the blood,
very carefully, into swirls on that white flesh.

Drusilla's Victorian fragility marked off in something that could
have been henna in the darkness. Except. She could smell it. All
the time. Burnt dead flesh. An abomination, or a perhaps another
land's sacrament. It ruined the illusion, just the same.

Darla remembers marks like that, though, henna and ochre just
barely visible on dark, dark skin. Crackling female in the darkness,
somewhere in the Franco-Spanish world at the low end of the
Mississippi. Before Angelus.

Before America.

Hips and breasts and hands and feet all marked and signing to warn
her off. Like a high, thin fire hitting her. Standing tall and straight
between Darla and the shantytown, and oh, so close she could feel it.
Barely a fledgling and so hungry, the Master waiting among the
gravestones far behind. Waiting for her to prove herself.

She'd leapt at the woman despite the panicked screams of the
demon inside her, fell rolling to the ground with her, stuck to her and
*melting* where her skin touched the markings and now, today, the
pain is with her as clear as it had ever been.

The memory of pain and of being undone from the inside out. The
witch-woman had fought like a she-bear, but her throat had peeled
away as all throats do, in the end.

And after she had drunk her fill, Darla had played 'til dawn with
the other slaves, finally returning to her Sire with a fine scalp,
hair braided in looping, twisting, fantastic patterns.

*but don't take too much*

She had, of course, been punished severely for the mess she'd

Long nights strung by her wrists both more and less terrifying
than that first time on the stage. Carved symbols on her belly that
never quite matched the ones she'd seen. Carried through by her
fascination. She'd learned how to make appropriate noises long
before she met the Master, and in the grey haze she spent a lot of
time thinking about the patterns she'd touched.

When she came up out of the cellar, three days later, she was very
much like Drusilla is tonight. Weaving and singing softly, almost
completely uninterested in the world around her.

Until the next scent caught her.

*Send me daddy move right in*

Darla pulls the car over to the side of the road. Gets out and
walks around, steadier on her shoes' elevation than she would have
been even a day ago. She would have been safe to walk in them,
but. But. She could hunt in these shoes, now. Run with the heels
never touching the ground, their tapered edges a reminder that her
speed comes from the balls of her feet.

She could send Drusilla out into the desert, hunt her until morning.
Sleek and pale as she is, it wouldn't even be difficult. Drag her back
her at dawn by her long, long hair and sleep tangled together in the
impossible heat of the car's trunk, all their bags piled into the seats.

Instead, she opens the door and catches Drusilla's wrist. Hauls her
out and upright, and then just around in a circle that catches her a
good one against the car door before she moves back a few steps.
Drusilla stumbles and moans and laughs and they spin and spin until
they're far into the desert proper.

Enough fun to ignore the stupidity, especially when Dru laughs so
hard she vomits blood and faints.

Darla had missed her sense of humor as a human. Or bemoaned it.

Perhaps the same thing, in matters like these. If she ever sees
Angel again...


She almost decides to wait until Dru regains consciousness, but
when she scents coyote on the wind she has to run, silent and
swift across the hardpan. The air is as cold and clear as she feels,
far away from Drusilla, further from Angelus and his bitter soul

She feeds under the fingernail sliver of the moon, joyous in it,
holding the coyote up over her face and letting the blood pour
down and down and down until she's glutted and drenched and
free of the sharpest edge of hunger. Lets the demon lead her
back to Drusilla and the dozens of lizards and spiders and scorpions
she's drawn to herself in her sleep.

Darla's shoes will be ruined, but there are always more shoe stores
in this rich, fat land. Her land, all of it, from sea to shining sea.

A scorpion breaks its stinger on Darla's ankle and the others
immediately fall on it, a clicking, whirring mass of savagery that
wakes Drusilla to beam. The girl really is weary, and Darla knows
they'll be killing yet another gas station attendant tonight.

Who knows? Maybe this one would have bathed recently.