Word Count 1670
Summary Spike and Dru get into the spirit of Mardi Gras. It's not that hard.
Warnings Spike/OC, Dru/OC, implied slash, French, history (but not French history)
A/N: Based on a true event in 1958, down in New Orleans. Written for seasonal_sd. Awesome new banner by mwrgana_muse!
Spike rolled onto his back, breathing heavily.
“Laissez les bon temps rouler, eh pudding?” he panted.
Drusilla hummed lazily and waved a graceful hand in front of her face. She turned her head to look at him. “Is it time for the ball?”
“Feel as if I’ve already been, you naughty little beignet.” He swatted her rump, playfully. “Could keep dancing all night with you.”
She blinked and gave him a delighted smile. “Such an eager little puppy. Rowuff!” She patted his head, rose from the rug they were sprawled upon, and stood before the racks of costumes, surveying her choices.
“Hmmmm. I think the Huntress tonight. Will you be a Hound or a Huntsman?”
“Any reason I can’t be both?” he grinned, prowling over to her on all fours. He nudged her knees with his forehead, growling softly.
“Down, boy,” she commanded. “Mummy has all sorts of wonderful games for you, but first you must heel.”
While he pouted, Drusilla attacked the contents of the racks with verve, tossing items of interest behind her with barely a glance. Most of them landed on or near the rug. There were feathers galore, shiny bits and bobs, filmy fabrics, and an assortment of leather items. When the pile was sufficiently diverse, she flitted over to examine her spoils. She sifted through everything, until she’d assembled a passable Artemis for herself, all draped georgette in virginal white, a gilt bow, and a quiver bursting with outlandish ostrich feather “arrows”.
She then turned her attention to Spike and after holding up a mish mash of items and discarding them, finally settled on a few things. Spike looked down with dismay.
“Look like sodding Peter Pan!” It would’ve been true, but there was more black than green in his ensemble. He plucked at the tights unhappily.
“You never,” she replied solemnly. “My brave lad steals from the quick and gives to the dead.” She tied a black mask over his eyes, and exchanged his hat for one that was more Three Musketeers than Robin Hood. She settled a golden mask over her own face.
He grumbled a bit, but gave in once they found some tall leather boots for him. Arm in arm, they stepped over the proprietress and her clerk, and out onto the festive streets of New Orleans.
Spike had made a few acquaintances in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras, and one thing leading to another, as it does, he’d ended up with tickets to a most unusual ball. It seems that the Big Easy was ready for a sortie into the even wilder side, and the Krewe of Yuga, the first homosexual club of carnival, was starting it off with its very first bal masqué. Very discreet. Very private. Very fabulous. Spike was looking forward to the festivities with some nostalgia for the parties of Weimar Germany, but he didn’t want to build it up too much. This was America, after all. They still only showed Elvis from the waist up on television.
For the most part, his fears were justified. The ball was in a grand private residence, and there were a lot of old queens in attendance, intent on spoofing the status quo. This was only notable because, apparently, mainline New Orleans was just like the society of his human life. He got a lot of the jokes, and he was relatively new in town, so that was the only explanation he had. Still, middle-aged bachelors were not the sort of sport he sought tonight, though they seemed pleased enough with him.
Drusilla managed to find a few more interesting characters, right off. A band of Amazons, asymmetrical necklines alluding to their fabled skill with a bow, clustered around the punch bowl. Their fascination with the goddess of the hunt, who also happened to be the only new girl in the room, was palpable.
“Spike,” she cried. “I’ve met our very own Callisto!” She gestured with a flourish to a fresh-faced, apple-cheeked, curvy Amazon with short, curled honey-colored hair. The girl gazed at her with open admiration. He sighed. Not this again. It never ended well, and he could already tell that he was in for days, if not weeks, with little or no reciprocal touch. He rallied. Maybe, with a little push, he could make that hours instead of days.
“Ever so pleased to make your acquaintance,” he bowed, sweeping off his ridiculous hat with a flourish. He looked up at the girl’s slightly dazed face, and allowed a little fang to show. She started, but then returned to her previous dopey expression. He straightened up. “I’m Spike, Dru’s lop-eared hound.”
“Oh yes,” crooned Dru. “He’s a very bad doggie.”
“The baddest,” he agreed. He grinned wickedly, letting his tongue hang out suggestively. She was gonna play “handmaiden’s vow of chastity” with the new girl, eh? Well, he’d put his skills up against those of the Daughters of Bilitis any day. Three-quarters of a century of practice was hard to beat. She’ll be back, lickety split, so to speak. There was a chance, though, that Dru would allow him a little taste of warm, pink and luscious before she was done with her. Not that anything could compare with his dark darling, but … well, variety and all that.
The “official” court tableau creaked to its sequined conclusion, and the band started up in earnest. Just as Spike moved to escort Drusilla onto the dance floor, she offered “Callisto” her arm. Fine. He’d didn’t fancy dancing to “If Ever I Cease to Love” anyway. Bloody stupid song for a party. A drink and a little sulk would do nicely at the mo’.
While he fetched his drink at the bar, he noticed a slim dark figure lounging in a wide doorway, looking his way. He caught the eye of the fellow, who gazed back while gracefully withdrawing through the door. Spike stalked over, since he hadn’t anything more pressing, and found the man alone in a library of sorts, sprawled on one of the club chairs, with his own tumbler balanced high on his thigh. He had on an ensemble of black velvet with silver fittings, complete with rapier, black mask and cape. Zorro perhaps?
“They seek him here, they seek him there, those Frenchies seek him everywhere,” Spike tossed out.
“They do, they do,” smiled the man. “You’d know all about that, pretty one. Then they find the thing they seek isn’t what they thought at all.”
Spike sniffed, none too subtle, and established that the man was human enough, but there was a buzz of magic in the mix. Best not lose sight of that detail.
The man rose from the chair, ambled over to the double doors, and regarded the dance floor, leaning against the jamb once more.
“You find what you seek?” he asked.
“Usually. Usually find it’s exactly what I sought. Have simple tastes, me.” Spike settled against the opposite side.
The man’s eyes flicked to him. He smiled knowingly. “Not so simple. Maybe the least simple. Love never is.”
Spike snorted. “Preaching to the choir.”
He watched Drusilla and Callisto whirl about the room, Drusilla smiling giddily, the girl gamely trying to keep up.
“You could keep her. A little Stay At Home Poppet spell. A spell to Control a Wandering Lover, or a spell to Tie Down a Lover's Nature. A little Bend Over oil or some Squint oil and she’ll be yours.”
“She’s already mine, mate,” growled Spike. “We just have an … understanding.” He turned away from the dancers to face the man directly. “Don’t need any help, right? So, why so helpful, all unasked?”
“Maybe I seek something, too. Maybe I just want the lay of the land before I cast my bread upon the water.” He tuned to face Spike. “This understanding you have. Tell me more.”
Spike grinned widely. This was more like it. He flowed over to stand behind the man, who was of about his height, though perhaps more slight of build. He leaned in to speak confidentially in his ear.
“We’ve been together a long, long time, my girl and me. I’ll never hurt her, unless she begs me sweetly. Wouldn’t trick her. Wouldn’t compel her. I’ll have her true heart, but I’ll play fair.”
“She don’t play fair,” the man gestured toward the dance floor, where Dru was swaying hypnotically before the girl, who stood transfixed, swaying in time with her. Spike ignored the scene, having witnessed plenty like it over the years.
“There’s times, though,” he continued. “When we find it helpful to bring in some fresh ideas, as it were. Intellectual stimulation and that. I’m sure you understand.”
The man was breathing shallowly. “I think I see.”
“But I’ll always be at her service, soon as I’m needed." He ran a hand slowly down the man's arm. "Doesn’t appear I’m needed, just at present.”
They put down their drinks and headed for the stairs to the upper rooms.
The flambeaux carriers danced crazily down the nighttime street. While Callisto watched with delight, Drusilla beckoned to her faithful hound.
“What of the boy, then? Did you like my game?”
“Was lovely, baby. He cottoned on pretty quick, though. Could’ve been a reflection deficiency or summat. Didn’t stop, right away. Whispered loogaroo so I knew he’d figured it out, but he kept right on. Brilliant. When I was distracted he pulled out the mojo and got away. Shouted, “Justice, Faith, Power!” and there was carnival glitter everywhere and mist flowing out the window. Didn’t stick around for cuddles,” he complained. “Had to settle for a debutramp, after all. Too much face paint.”
“Poor darling.” She settled his head against her shoulder. They watched Callisto watching the parade. “Maybe something fresher to finish up before Lent,” she suggested.
“Never was Catholic, Dru. Don’t plan to give anything up. But, yeah, a taste of something sweet would be just the thing.” Yep. Good times.
Laissez les bon temps rouler: Let the good times roll
Beignet: Official pastry of New Orleans
Artemis: goddess of the hunt, daughter of Zeus and Leto, sister of Apollo. Into hunting dogs, stags, cypress trees, chastity, and handmaidens. Aka Diana.
Callisto: handmaiden to Artemis, impregnated by Zeus
Krewe of Yuga bal masqué: This masked ball was by all reports a male-only event, but it seemed more fun this way.
Daughters of Bilitis: U.S. lesbian organization, founded in the mid-1950s
We seek him here, we seek him there...: quote from The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, the inspiration for Zorro
Listed spells and ingredients: available here, though Squint Oil would more normally be used by a woman for a spell cast on a man
Flambeaux carriers: torchbearers who light the nighttime carnival parades
Loogaroo: a sort of Caribbean vampire, usually female
Justice, Faith, Power: The meaning associated with the carnival colors of purple, green and gold
Debutramp: a transvestite handmaiden from the Krewe of Yuga court