Word Count: 1400
Summary: A small interlude in the continuing adventures of Spike and Drusilla in mid-century America. In this installment, Drusilla insists that they visit what Spike believes to be "the sappiest place on earth". Will he survive with his dignity intact?
A/N: Can be seen as a prequel/sequel to my drabble Home Sweet Home, but you need not read it for this to make sense. Gorgeous new banner by amyxaphania (formerly ducktheduck). Is it not beautiful?
It was impossible to not be aware of the latest, greatest attraction in North America, and now that they were headed to California, Dru would no longer be put off.
“It’s simply full of pixies and princesses, Spike! I will always be your princess, never fear, but I should very much like to visit with the others. We shall have tea, and talk of our unreliable dressmakers. The fairies will dance for us, and we’ll get stars tangled in our petticoats.”
“Suppose so, Dru. Aren’t you worried about wicked queens and such?” He’d been making increasingly feeble attempts to discourage her from this course. Now he was just grasping at air.
“If I wasn’t a princess, I would wish to be a wicked queen. Maybe I will be, someday,” she mused thoughtfully. “No. Grandmummy will always be the wicked queen and I will always be the beautiful princess.”
Yes “grandmummy” was a wicked bitch, indeed, and it was all her fault that they were on this ridiculous side trip in the first place. Now that was a thought…
“You know, Dru, Darla isn’t going to be happy that we are dragging our feet like this. Summoned us for a job, she did, and perhaps we’d best go straight there. She’s liable to make us pay for dillydallying this way.”
“Do you really think so, Spike?” she said with excitement. “How wonderful. I do like grandmummy’s lessons so.”
He sighed. There was no getting out of this, so he might as well make the best of it.
An hour past sundown the next evening, they pulled into the Magic Kingdom parking lot. He was grumpy from rising early after a long drive, and he hadn’t had his breakfast. Fortunately, across the aisle and down a few cars, a harried couple with a tired young child were packing up their car for the drive home, so they were able to break their fast without any trouble.
Feeling much better, they ambled up to the front gates with a few other latecomers. He pulled out the harried dad’s wallet and splurged on a couple of deluxe admission ticket books, $5.25 each. At prices like these, you’d think the place was Fort Knox or something. At least their snacks would be free of charge.
Once through the turnstile, Drusilla twirled up Main Street, U.S.A, peeking into the windows of the sham barbershops and mock milliners, chattering all the while that they must be there for the pixies’ use and “how wonderful”. Spike stood back and admired the way her crisp white skirt with red stripes flared out from her tiny waist and flowed and bounced playfully around her legs. He lit a cigarette and leisurely followed her convoluted path. When she came to the plaza in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, she stopped to stare.
“Pretty, but then you’ve seen the real thing, pet,” drawled Spike.
She nodded silently, and started toward the drawbridge. Spike caught up with her and slung a casual arm over her shoulders, and together they walked under the arch. Once through, she stopped to look accusingly back the way they’d come.
“It’s all hollow Spike. Not a proper castle at all. There’s no dungeon below, nor cauldrons of molten lead up above. It’s more a cake than a castle.”
“True enough, princess. Without thorns and dragons, it leaves very little for a handsome prince to get up to. Bit boring, really.”
“How did you know there was to be a dragon?” she asked curiously.
“A brave knight’s got to have a dragon or somesuch to slay, or he’s not a proper knight, that’s how,” he stated simply, nuzzling her hair.
She hummed her assent, and put her hand over his heart, fingertips digging in slightly, not tearing the cloth of his shirt, but bringing a sting to his flesh nevertheless. He closed his eyes and hissed his appreciation. She chuckled at that, saying, “You are the bravest of them all, my Spike.”
“Too right,” he growled, wishing he had some way to demonstrate his bravery, or at least his ardor, right this moment. However, her attention was already captured by the next manufactured delight, and he had to content himself with lifting her up onto a white carousel horse, where she sat modestly sidesaddle. He rode next to her for one go-round, but then dismounted to have a smoke. He dutifully returned her wave each time she went round, feeling ridiculous.
He followed as she then flitted over to watch the madly spinning teacups with wide eyes. After a few minutes, he guided her to the entrance and settled them into their very own cup. The ride started up, and they began to slowly swing around in lazy arcs. Drusilla was keening excitedly, and Spike gave the little wheel coming out of the floor a few hard twists, and they spun faster and faster. Drusilla threw her head back, hair flying, as she laughed. Just when it seemed they couldn’t go any faster, a fanfare rang out, and fireworks began bursting overhead.
The multicolored lights blurred crazily as they spun, remaking themselves into ever more intricate upside-down sideways patterns. The booming of the explosions melded into his hoots and her shrieks, until reaching a crescendo that made them feel as if they were weightless and floating up, up, up toward a sparkling, glistening blackness. The teacups began to slow, and they smiled lazily at each other as their senses returned to normal.
“That was all right, love. I take back all my discouraging words,” said Spike softly into her ear, as he helped her out of their cup.
“Silly Spike,” she laughed. “It wasn’t real bombs, you know. The castle wasn’t really under siege at all. It was just pretend.” She looked around, making sure they wouldn’t be overheard, and then leaned in to whisper, “It isn’t really magic, either. It’s gears and oil and human cleverness all painted in pretty colors. Worse, they haven’t used enough red paint.”
He smiled down at her. “You don’t say, ducks. How clever you are, to see all that,” he teased. She nodded proudly, and led him to the next ride.
They sailed over London in a flying pirate ship, narrowly escaped death while riding in a Tin Lizzy with a madcap amphibian, and finally, went down a rabbit hole in a garishly-colored caterpillar. Spike rather liked the funny motorcar ride, which reminded him distinctly of their early experiences with the horseless carriage, but Drusilla was mad for the Alice in Wonderland ride. They went round and round, until the ride operator told them that it was time to close. Then Spike got out and “supervised” the boy while Drusilla rode the ride by herself. When she had finally had enough, he presented her with the hapless fellow for dinner. When she was done, she licked her lips, and surveyed her work.
“I’ve painted the roses red, my Spike. Aren’t they lovely now?”
“Never so lovely as you, petal.”
They ambled down the deserted avenue, swinging their clasped hands and smiling goofily at each other.
“Even if the pixies and the princesses are all make believe, it’s great fun to play pretend, don’t you think, Spike?” she asked. Spike allowed that it was. He’d often been without a playmate as a human. Having one now, in Drusilla, ranked up toward the top of the lengthy list of things that were better since he’d died.
“Always fun playing with you, blossom. Wouldn’t mind playing a bit more, mind…”
“Don’t you want to hurry along to grandmummy?” she asked with a quirking mouth.
“Sunnydale is only 3 hours up the coast, poppet. We can easily get there tomorrow evening, which will be plenty soon enough for me. Not eager to get started springing the Master, myself. He’s able to make the lightest work feel like, well, work.”
“Well then, I’ll just have to find a game for us to play tonight,” said Drusilla. Her eyes were full of promise, and Spike could already feel the fireworks starting up again.
He might be a sap, but he was happier now than he’d ever been in life. Not even Darla and ol’ Batface would be enough to make him forget this feeling.
She poked him in the chest and cried, “You’re it!” He smiled wolfishly, and gave her a 10-second head start.
More Author's Notes:
1. You could get into Disneyland for $3.25 in 1958, so Spike's just showing off by paying the extra $2.
2. Neuschwanstein, near Munich, Germany, built for Mad King Ludwig, was the model for Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
3. All the rides (and the fireworks) mentioned were open and operating in 1958. The Sleeping Beauty movie, however, wouldn't be out until 1959, so the dragon bit wasn't well known, yet.
4. For a fun story about Spike and Dru's earlier adventures with motorcars, see shadowlass’ excellent story, Tin Lizzy.