Back in the Day Ficathon!
Written for mishamcm who wanted Buffy, Drusilla, set during the episode "I Only Have Eyes for You" in a timeline where Dawn existed and containing a cameo by the Mayor showing his reaction.

I tried to give you everything! I couldn't get Buffy to actually meet up with Drusilla, she was very stubborn. But I hope you'll enjoy what I did manage to cobble together.

Many, many thanks to Violetsmiles for both for poking me to signup for the ficathon and for the beta. And thanks to stakebait for hosting the challenge - the list of entries can be found here. And love to everybody else who held my hand, either for this fic or just because they liked holding my hand :)

The title of this fic comes from the song sung in the Bronze at the beginning of the episode.

Characters Buffy, Drusilla, Mayor, Finch
Timeline Set during "I Only Have Eyes for You"
Rating G
How Our Tryst Unfolds

Allan flinched as his pager went off. He checked it reflexively, even though he already knew what it would say. Only the office even had the number. He straightened his tie, glanced down at the remains of his lunch, and stood up, throwing a twenty down on the table.

Outside the Mayor's office, he took a deep breath, braced himself. Knocked. Heard the genial voice tell him to enter. He opened the door cautiously, plastering a tentative smile on his face.

“You needed something, Sir?” Finch felt a muscle in his cheek twitch nervously. He eased into the room as the Mayor gestured him forward, reminding himself not to wipe his palms on his pants. The Mayor hated untidiness of any sort.

“Allan, Allan,” Richard Wilkins shook his head, a welcoming smile spreading across his face. “I'm sorry, you didn't have to rush over here.” His gaze sharpened. “Interrupted your lunch, did I?”

Allan flushed nervously and cleared his throat. “I was finished, Sir. Carol said you wanted to discuss a situation with me?”

The Mayor nodded, leaning back in his chair and lacing his hands together. “Yes. At the High School. The Chief of Police just contacted me. Apparently, they've had a rash of incidents in the school again, including the murder of a teacher. And just now, the cafeteria was suddenly overrun with hundreds of snakes. Snakes. Such messy creatures. Always shedding their skins and leaving them everywhere.” He shook his head, sounding faintly appalled.

Finch gulped, nodding his head. His mind flickered through the possible responses. He'd only been the Mayor's assistant for a few months, but he'd already learned the wisdom of treading carefully. Not that the Mayor ever said anything when somebody displeased him. No, he merely smiled sweetly and then sometimes the next week there would be another funeral to go to. Closed casket. Efficiency, he called it. It was important that civic workers be truly dedicated to their city and its officials.

Before Finch could say anything, the Mayor continued. “A year, Allan. We only have a year left. We need to make sure it runs smoothly. You know how important it is to keep to a schedule. I'm sure that I can count on your assistance.” He glanced at his watch. “Time for my photo-op. The winner of the Sunnydale Middle School writing competition. A Miss Dawn Summers.”

* * *

Buffy wrinkled her nose. Ewww, snakes. Every time she thought that things couldn't get ickier on the Hellmouth, they managed to gross her out even more. Demons, fine, she was used to that. But snakes? Besides, she'd already killed that snakey-demon guy earlier in the year. Wasn't there some sort of rule about no repeat demons? Not that snakes counted as demon. She shook her head, cutting off her inner monologue.
At least they got out of school. More time for researchy goodness then. And hey, Buffy gave a little skip at the remembrance, Dawn had that thing this afternoon. She and Mom were going to be at City Hall, with Dawn accepting some sort of award. Which meant that with the library off limits, everybody could gather at Casa de Summers. Better than Giles' place, anyway, because ugh, cramped. And hopefully they would be done before her mom returned home with any questions.

She frowned. Whatever this ghost thought it wanted, it was going down. Buffy was getting pretty tired of stalkery ex-boyfriends that wouldn't let go.

* * *

Finch leaned back in his char, sighing. He rubbed his eyes wearily. He'd known when he first decided to go into politics that he'd be keeping long hours at times. He just hadn't realized exactly how odd those hours would be.

The situation at the school was complex. Snakes…he repressed a shudder. He'd always had nightmares about them. Even after everything he'd seen since moving to Sunnydale, snakes still made his skin crawl. Just the thought of them, the description he'd received from the Chief of Police, was making the back of his neck itch.

“It's a bird, inna cage…”

A low voice trailed from the doorway, causing Finch to start, jerking his hand suddenly and sending a file of papers crashing to the floor. He glanced up, frantically dropping to the ground and trying to gather everything together. In the doorway of his office stood a woman, skin pale and translucent, dark curls cascading around her shoulders and the largest, darkest eyes he'd ever seen. One black tipped nail crooked at him.

“Come, pretty bird. I need to see the ruler of your kingdom. We'll have tea and cakes, for there is much to talk about.”

Finch started to object. Disturbing the Mayor…he cringed at the thought. A slow smile spread over the woman's face as she glided towards him, one hand reaching out and stroking his arm lightly. Her eyes…he'd never seen eyes so dark before. Almost unconsciously, he found himself standing up. With a coy smile, the woman tucked her arm in his, nails raking his forearm.

“You shall be my escort, little bird. We'll brave the lion in his den and come out without a scratch. It is not a thorn from his paw that will pierce your heart.”

Something about her voice slid through him, and he found himself outside the Mayor's office door again, hand raised to knock. He knew the Mayor was in there – the Richard Wilkins III kept even later hours than everyone else.

“Come in, Allan.” The invitation was extended even before his knuckles hit the wood. Finch shivered, then jumped as a musical laugh pealed out from the woman beside him. The door swung open at the touch of her hand.

The Mayor looked up, then quirked an eyebrow and began to chuckle. “Unexpected company.” He tilted his head to one side, studying the woman. “Drusilla, isn't it? Well, well, this is a treat! Can I offer you something? Candy? Finch?”

Allan felt his nerves start to fray, eyes darting from the Mayor to the woman – Drusilla – nervously. The hand around his arm tightened to just beneath the edge of pain.

The Mayor's laugh burbled out and he waved his hand. “Just kidding, Allan. Important to maintain a sense of humor!” He gazed at Drusilla appraisingly. “What can we do for you, my dear?”

Drusilla smiled slowly, eyes dancing. “I wanted to see you. Before you go up in her flames. She destroys everything you know, with her fire, all sunshine and light. One by one they all burn up, pretty, laughing figures that turn to ash.”

The mayor cocked his head to one side inquisitively. “I'm sure that's true, my dear. But there's no need to worry that pretty head about me, I'm not a vampire.”

She shook her head, eyes beginning to cloud with tears. “My angel, he'll kiss the sunlight tonight. Hateful, nasty thing. Makes his skin crawl, pain in his chest, can't tear it out. He doesn't like it; he only wants his princess. But instead he spreads the fire.” Drusilla pouted, her voice sulky. “But not now, not yet…tonight it's just the buzzing, buzzing of the stars and then he is mine again.”

Drusilla smiled, lips curving up and tone brightening. “He'll want to dance with me when he returns, dance in blood until we can't smell the sunlight any longer. I must get home before the kiss that releases grace awakens my prince and brings him back to me.” One hand reached out to caress Finch's cheek, the nail sliding down slowly and not quite breaking the skin. “Goodbye, pretty bird. You'll try to sing but the night is too full of shadows. Your final breath will bring the lion his greatest gift.”

Her hand slipped away, and she let out a little wave, before gliding out the door.

“Well,” said the Mayor with a bright smile. “I wonder what the heck that was about?” He turned to look at Finch. “Maybe,” he said very gently, “You should tag along after her? Just to observe.”

* * *

Buffy could feel herself shaking. She pressed her hand to her lips, still certain she could feel his touch against her. Feel his arms around her. But it was all twisted up with the intense grief she could still feel from James, his guilt mixing with her own. She needed to get home, to crawl into bed and close her eyes so tightly nothing existed beyond the blackness. If she were quiet enough, she wouldn't wake Dawn.

She quickly escaped from the library, waving goodbye to Giles and only half-listening to the gang's goodnights. She'd been so sure, earlier, of what she was supposed to do, who she was supposed to sympathize with. And just when she thought she had a handle on things, just when she thought she'd figured it out, she found herself caught up in somebody else's life. But the murderer felt remorse and the victim still felt love and nothing had felt right or safe or even sane since her birthday. Except for that one moment when Angel was holding her and she could breathe him in and feel him against her. Until he jerked away and snarled and she knew it wasn't Angel anymore. And the world tilted sideways and she felt everything break apart again. She just needed to get home.

Buffy didn't glance down Crawford Street as she passed it. She didn't notice Drusilla vanishing into a decaying mansion. Or the pale, nervous man lingering outside, hastily making a note to himself.

Buffy just raced home, trying not to remember. Refusing to let herself think at all.

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