William heard footsteps descending to the basement. He got up shakily and pulled his clothes back on, wincing at the pain as he fastened his pants. He heard Drusilla's screaming intensify and it tore him up inside that he couldn't protect her. He could protect himself, though.
That was exactly what he'd do. He *had* to. He'd been so incredibly stupid, the past few weeks. He'd actually believed that Angelus cared, the slightest bit, for him. And now he knew the truth. Angelus was a selfish bastard who saw everyone in his family as possessions to play with. As long as they obeyed him, followed his orders, things were fine. But if they disagreed with him or broke one of his precious rules, he showed his true colors. Angelus didn't know the meaning of love, nor did he know the meaning of mercy. That much was clear from his treatment of the insane Drusilla, who hadn't really known what she was doing, and his punishment of Will, who'd just been trying to protect Dru.
*He won't do it again,* William resolved. *I won't let the bastard touch me again. I'll leave, go somewhere I can start over again. I've got eternity ahead of me, and I'll be damned if I'm going to spend it like this.*
He didn't go to his room, there was nothing there he needed. He walked to the door and outside. He winced as he heard Drusilla's screaming. "Sorry, Dru," he said quietly. "I can't save you, Luv. When I get settled, I'll come back for you. Somehow I'll get ya away from him." He untied the horse and pulled himself onto it, wincing at the pain when he sat. He knew that riding a horse would probably be hell. But he could tolerate it, if it meant getting him away from the source of his pain. He kicked the horse in the flanks and rode off.
Angelus and Darla punished Drusilla for hours, taking turns whipping her. "I think we got our point across," Angelus said finally. He tossed the whip to the floor and looked at his sire.
"I think Drusilla has learned her lesson," she agreed. "And William?"
"His defiance was dealt with," Angelus replied shortly. He turned back to Drusilla and walked up to her. He unchained her arms and said, "Go to your room, Drusilla."
"Yes, Angel," she nodded, tearfully. "I'm sorry, Angel."
"I know you are," he replied. "Just don't let it happen again." She nodded again and made her way upstairs slowly.
Angelus stood there for a moment staring into space. Darla watched him, disturbed by the fact that he wasn't as carefree as he had been earlier that evening. He wasn't angry. but he wasn't happy, either. She knew the reason for this: William.
*Damn it. The whole point of tonight was to spend some time with my boy, get him away from the influence of his childe for a while.* Darla thought in irritation. *I thought that if Angelus had to discipline him, it would put even more distance between them. Make Angelus see that his precious childe isn't all that precious after all. I wasn't counting on the possibility that Angelus wouldn't enjoy punishing him.* She had to snap him out of it, and the sooner the better.
"Angelus, let's go to bed, Darling," she suggested, a hand on his arm.
He turned and looked at her, with a smile. "Yes, Darling," she replied. They walked upstairs to their bedroom.
They began to undress in silence, but the silence was shattered by Drusilla's scream. "I'm going to kill that psychopath by the end of the night," Angelus growled as he went out of the room and down the hall. He found Drusilla in William's room, and realized immediately why she was screaming.
"GONE! HE'S GONE! YOU MADE HIM GO AWAY! BRING HIM BACK!" She wailed as she sat on the floor, pulling out her hair.
Angelus just sighed and picked Drusilla up, carrying her back into her room. Darla met him there with shackles; they'd had to deal with Drusilla's fits before. He chained Drusilla's hands and feet to her bed posts, ignoring the screams of accusation she hurled at him.
They went back out into the hallway and to their room. "Are you going after him?" Darla wondered.
"No," Angelus replied as he got into bed. "I won't go off chasing the boy. He'll be back, anyway. He doesn't know the first thing about how difficult it is to survive alone. But when he does return, he's going to find that he didn't even come close to discovering what it means to be punished by me."
Darla nodded, managing not to grin as she climbed into bed and curled up next to Angelus. Though she hated that Angelus was so unhappy, she was relieved that William would no longer be coming in between herself and her childe. Angelus would get over his infatuation with his childe and things would get back to normal in no time.
William made it to the shelter of a barn before sunrise. He shut the horse in one of the stalls and then burrowed into the darkest corner he could find. He was in pain and physically and emotionally exhausted. He couldn't get the memory of Drusilla's screams out of his head, his imagination filling in what Angelus and Darla had done to her to cause her to make those sounds. And when he managed to drive that memory out of his mind, it was replaced by that of his sire taking him so violently. He hated what Angelus had done to him, and more than that, he hated that Angelus had made him enjoy it. That was the true source of William's humiliation.
He wished that he'd never run into Drusilla in that dark alleyway. Maybe he'd been miserable as a human, but at least he'd had a family that had loved him, his mother and sister. He hadn't thought about them since he was turned, he'd had a new family to take their place. His grand-sire Darla had struck him from the moment he saw her, by the sense of power she exuded. Just the fact that she controlled Angelus so effortlessly had won his respect. Beautiful, innocent, Drusilla had brought out every protective instinct in his body. And finally, Angelus: the handsome, charming vampire had until tonight had made William feel wanted, in a way he never had before. These three were his new family, and William had thought himself lucky to have them. He'd actually once believed they would replace his previous family and make his existence bearable. But now. now he knew better.
Now he realized they would never be a family able to take the place of the one he'd lost. Darla's jealous looks in his direction, when Angelus wasn't looking, should have clued him in on the fact that she would not prove an ally when he got into trouble. She was a selfish bitch who only wanted Angelus for herself. He also hadn't understood the depths of Drusilla's insanity; just how difficult she was to control. As much as he hated to leave her now, he realized it was for the best. He'd never be able to take care of her on his own. Even though he wanted to do so, he had to face the fact that he would have enough trouble trying to keep himself alive. And then there was Angelus. How many warning signs had he ignored with him? Too many. He'd seen the cruelty behind the other man's eyes. He'd heard hints of what he could do from Drusilla. He'd seen what his sire was capable of with their prey, being so cruel and merciless. But he'd actually gotten himself to believe *he'd* never see that evil turned on him. And now he knew differently.
He'd given all he had to all of them, and had been repaid by being beaten and raped. And he had no doubt it would happen again, if he returned. So he had no choice. He had to stay away. And now he was alone, in a way he never had been when alive. No family, no friends. Completely and totally alone.
William fell asleep, finally, tormented in his dreams by Angelus' mocking smile.