Also Comes in Strange
Stand Alones    Ficlets    Drabbles   Series    Essays    By Pairing


Five Shadows: Writing the many incarnations of Angel/Darla

An Essay by Tania

Writing vampires is rarely easy, writing Angel and Darla can be tragically difficult if one is not familiar with their shared past and separate lives. In this essay I will attempt to shed some light on the many shifts in Darla and Angel's relationship.

Liam and Darla

When Darla first spotted Liam, in a Galway tavern in 1753. She had already been a vampire for roughly two hundred years. Darla had been sired by the Master in 1609, while working as a prostitute in the Virginia Colonies. She held a prominent position at the Master's side and belonged to the Order of Aurelius. Liam on the other hand was the town playboy, by most accounts. He drank, whored and sinned in excess each night, drawing the wrath of his father. Darla found the young human magnificent and played on his desire to see the world. She lured him to an alleyway, where she sired him.

Angelus and Darla

Darla led the fledgling, Liam, to his family home where he killed his father and sister, Kathy who had thought him an Angel when he returned from the grave. Liam took the name Angelus (the Latinate for Angel), and then the entire village of Galway. Darla and Angelus then cut a bloody swath through Europe on their way to the Master's lair. Once there, Angelus raised the ire of the Master with his insults. Angelus then persuaded Darla to join him for eternity, away from the controlling hand of the Master.

Darla and Angelus spent the next hundred years roaming Europe, often with the vampire hunter Daniel Holtz on their heels. In 1860 Angelus tortured a young woman named Drusilla to the point of insanity, and then turned her into a vampire. Drusilla later sired William AKA Spike, and the four vampires became a devilish little family. Angelus served at the head, for all intensive purposes, but Darla still held the reins, as his sire.

In 1898, while in Rumania, Angelus was cursed with a soul, after a gypsy girl's family took revenge for the death of a tribe favorite Darla had brought Angelus as a gift. When Darla learned of his soul she tried to get the gypsies to reverse the curse, when that didn't work she told Angelus to take his filthy soul and leave. He found her a couple years later in China, but the burden of the soul would not allow him to kill innocents and Darla again banished him. He went to America to brood, she rejoined the Master.

Angel and Darla, the vampire

In 1997, Angelus, now going by just Angel, went to Sunnydale, California, looking for the vampire slayer called Buffy. Once there he met up with Darla, who was attempting to release the Master from an underground prison. Darla hoped Angel would join her at the Master's side, once he had arisen, but Angel refused. When Darla went after Buffy, Angel staked her.

Angel and Darla, the human

In 2000, a group of lawyers, working for the Wolfram & Hart law firm, resurrected Darla from the great beyond for the soul purpose of making Angel insane. She was brought back in human form, but immediately began to die from the syphilis that was killing her when the Master sired her in 1609. When Angel learned she was alive, he rescued her from the lawyers and endured a series of trials to have her health restored, so she could live a full life. After he made the ultimate sacrifice of letting himself be staked, although it was only symbolic, he learned she could not be given a third chance at life. Angel was distraught, but wanted Darla to spend her remaining time with him. They were interrupted by one of the lawyers, who had found Drusilla, and Drusilla sired Darla, in front of Angel.

Angel and Darla, the vampire part two

Once Angel realized he would be unable to save Darla's soul, he decided he must kill her again. He sought out Darla and Drusilla, and set them on fire. A month later, after a tough day at the office, Angel and Darla shared a night of rather violent sex. Angel then made Darla leave, but she returned nine months later, very pregnant.

Angel and Darla spent the next week avoiding all manner of demons and humans, including a recently awakened Daniel Holtz, who wanted to kill the child. When Darla was unable to give birth, she staked herself so the child, Connor, could be born.

Conclusions

To say that Angel and Darla were in love would be a broad interpretation of the text. Angel himself has said on a number of occasions that he was incapable of love when he was Angelus. When Darla was nearing death she told Angel that the baby was the only good thing they ever did together, adding that she knew they could never make up for all of the terrible things they had done in their glory days.

A large part of the fun when writing Angel/Darla is that not only can you span nearly two hundred and fifty years of history and locations, but the fashion and society variations are endless. Both historical fiction and modern day writings work, as do those that travel back and forth in time. Adding in the kids, Spike and Drusilla, also adds a fun dynamic to the pair. Just make sure you do your homework, there are an infinite amount of web sites devoted to every aspect of historical amenities, dress and custom, use them.

To my mind, the most important thing about writing Angel and Darla, in whatever incarnation you choose, is to be true to the period. In 1800 neither of them knew that they would some day be separated. In 1997 they had no plans to make a child, and so on. Foretelling does not usually aid the story at hand, unless it is a vague tease of things to come.

If one spends a few days preparing to write, getting to know the time being written about and what was going on during that period for Angel(us) and Darla  great fiction can come forth.

Good luck.