The Truth About Insanity and Innocence: Why Willow/Drusilla

by Mametara Iyo


So, Virginia, you want to write Willow/Drusilla?

Well, you sit down, open your writing program, and start typing.

But, no... It isn’t quite that simple, is it?

I’d like to start this out by offering you two explanations of the characters names themselves.*


Your name of Drusilla has given you a capable patient, responsible nature with a talent for accounting, computers, and similar fields. You plan ahead giving careful consideration to detail. Your home and family are important to you. You have the ability to be an excellent homemaker and mother, or a teacher, as you appreciate people and know how to make them feel at ease, but you are inclined to worry over your responsibilities. You enjoy a daily routine and settled conditions, once you have found a comfortable niche in life. You resist changes until you have examined an idea in detail and until all facts fall into place. If you have to make a change, it is not easy to do so happily. You do not readily change your ideas unless you are thoroughly convinced that you must. Any weakness in your health would show in your intestinal tract causing constipation and related difficulties, over-stoutness, or rheumatism, although this name creates a fairly healthy nature.


Your first name of Willow gives you the desire for responsibility and takes you into practical pursuits. You would excel in work of a technical nature where concentration and attention to detail are important. Whatever you undertake, you have the patience and determination to do well. You feel a sense of security in positions of responsibility where progress is made through systematic, step-by-step procedures. However, you lack vision and you could become too involved in technical details, system, and routine. You do not readily adjust to changes in your routine. You find it difficult to be spontaneous and fluent in verbal _expression, and are prone to make rather direct comments that are not accepted in the way you intend them. Home and children are important to you, and you desire a settled environment. There is a tendency to assume more than your share of duties, and others could impose on your good nature, thus over-burdening you with responsibilities that could cause you to worry. A fondness for heavy, rich foods could, through overeating, cause you to suffer through intestinal and digestive troubles.

In the following essay, I will be drawing not only on the character backgrounds, but the things implied by their names, though perhaps not dealing with the health aspects provided in the above reports. I’d like you to keep the meanings of their names in mind as you read this.

The Characters Themselves.

I think a good place to start would be to first begin to ‘recap’ the known knowledge about our particular set of heroines. In the majority (save perhaps for Season 5, “Crush”) of the times we see Drusilla she is helpless, desperate. One of the earliest glimpses we see of Drusilla, is the scene in Becoming in which Angelus pretends to be a priest in the Confessional. It is from this point in Drusilla’s history that I would like to start.

Drusilla is a typical girl for her era. She is humble, demure, and above all seeks the approval of her parents.

Now, young Drusilla has received a gift, probably early on in life, judging by her parents vehement reaction to it, as well as her obvious inability to handle it. This gift was the Sight. Drusilla is a seer.

While Drusilla confesses to Angelus, we hear several things that support the view that she received the Sight very early on, or perhaps more likely, was born with it. Her mother scolds her on the visions, and it sounds as if it has happened often before. Also, while Drusilla speaks of the scare she received while seeing the mine cave in, it would lead us to believe that she has been taught to try and block her visions, otherwise, in theory, she would be able to receive them that much easier.

Cordelia, when she has visions, gets a rather significant migraine during it, but then again she was gifted with the ability later in life. She was given it by someone else, and was not born with it: not trained to be able to take the visions.

Drusilla would have gotten visions as a child, all the more reason for her mother to try and beat it into her head that what she was doing was the work of the devil.

Because she has heard this all her life, Drusilla is intensely apologetic for having this Gift, though she does not consider it so. Also, this constant saying that she is an abomination, an insult to God, Drusilla becomes almost fanatically religious, ultimately fleeing to a convent when the last of her family is slaughtered by Angelus.

Obviously, Drusilla was never very mentally stable to begin with, considering this treatment by her Mother until she herself began to believe, once said by Angelus in the guise of a priest, that she was evil. As intensely religious as she was, her first though for safety was the convent, where she could also train herself out of being evil.

This too failed her, however, and she was killed and turned on the night of her induction into the sisterhood.

It is understood that vampires can drain their victims very swiftly, but perhaps special care might need to be taken with the victims who are going to become childer. Also, it should be noted that Angelus was a horribly cruel demon. It should not be a surprise that Angelus might have even killed and raped Drusilla on the very altar of the church, also, he might have been that much slower in the process of turning, just to provide that extra bit of torture, like drowning 2 inches from the surface: If you could only stretch just a bit more you would survive, but you die, so close to salvation, which is precisely what Drusilla did.

It is in this time that Drusilla finally snaps.

The process had begun on the night she made the confession, and progressed through the death’s of her family until, at the final point of desperation, Drusilla appeared in the convent. It is here, however, at the moment of her death, that she finally lets go of her grasp on reality. Considering the space of her death, she most likely died while staring at some sort of cross. This event represents the point in time when she became effectively disillusioned, and as this belief in God was so central to her life, it easily facilitates her descent into insanity.

It is very likely that Drusilla had sisters of some sort, which her mother made her take a joint position in caring for, or had some contact with children during her life, because we see in Vampire Drusilla an intense hunger for children. This might also be translated out to a hatred for happy, healthy children: as Drusilla herself most likely suffered under punishments from her mother because of her visions.

Now, as a vampire, she is religiously disillusioned, insane, lacking inhibitions and ideas concerning morality. She shamelessly flits between two different men, kills indiscriminately, and has her visions as freely as she has her sex.

Quite the change from the fluttering, Spirit-Struck virgin she was before death.

Now, we move onto our other favorite character: Willow.

When we first see Willow, she can be defined completely within two words: awkward and shy. Over the course of season one, and the following seasons, Willow’s character has gained many facets in the eyes of her fans. Willow has become many things over the seasons. A witch, a fighter, a lover. Someone who’s willing to die for the people she loves.

Willow’s best friends were Xander and Jesse. These three grew up together, and everything was fine up until Jesse was killed in Season 1, at which time, Buffy takes his place in the group dynamic. Now sometime during their years of friendships, Willow became completely enamored with Xander. However, upon Buffy’s arrival, Xander became entirely enamored with her. This could have gone badly for them all, had Buffy had more interest in Xander than a friend, but she did not (to a point) and they eventually developed into a team.

Buffy needed Willow, and Willow was more than happy to help. As the definition of her name states, she craved the responsibility working with the Slayer entailed. She was a whiz at computers, which was a skill none of the other’s in the group: Xander, Buffy, or Giles, had.

Willow suffers under a complex her mother should have noted. It is not stated directly (as far as my knowledge goes) but it does seem to hint at the very least that Willow was often abandoned as a child. This probably happened at a fairly early age, as well, because we see that Willow is a very resourceful person, very responsible. Also, noting Xander’s dysfunctional family, Willow very likely took care of the both of them during her childhood.

These are some of the reasons that Willow has developed the complex she has: Willow needs to be needed. Whether it’s craving the responsibility Buffy lays on her head, or taking charge of the remaining group after Season 5, Willow wants and needs other people to look to her.

To go along with this, Willow also needs very strongly for people to approve of her. Her parents were never there for her, whether it was to comfort her during a time of sadness and distress, or to congratulate her on her wonderful grades, nor were they even there to see her graduation.

Obviously, Willow’s section is much shorter than Drusilla’s, but I’d like to think that we all have a pretty clear picture of what Willow’s character is like: above, I have noted some very important aspects we have to concentrate on.

Why Ship Them?

Judging by the things implied by their names, Willow and Drusilla are a lot alike. Drusilla craves an orderly environment that Willow would be sure to provide for her.

Judging by their characters, there are even more reasons why they would fit so wonderfully together.

Willow needs to be needed, and most of the time when we see Drusilla, she often needs people, whether it’s simply for company or for them to take care of her, it doesn’t matter.

Drusilla and Willow have only met once: when Drusilla attacked the library and Willow ended up crushed beneath a bookcase. This of course might lead to a slight grudge between persons, but Willow is a very forgiving person. This is illustrated in her ability to let Buffy back in after she’d abandoned them in the summer after Season 2. This is also a principal many Willow/Spike shippers stress.

While Drusilla is still insane, the ship is possible:

If the fic is set during Season 2 in some area, Drusilla needs to be cared for, and Willow is always happy to care for people. If it’s set after Angelus reappears, Willow is reeling over Xander and Cordelia, all the more reasons for her to pounce on the opportunity of someone needing and wanting her, and only her.

Ah, I can see some of you opening your mouths to argue already: but Drusilla isn’t a lesbian, and at that time, neither is Willow!

Well, in Willow this isn’t so hard to explain, as Willow is dating Tara circa Seasons 4, 5, 6. It is even stated of her vampire Doppleganger: ‘And I think I’m kinda gay..’

For Drusilla, I’d like to bring in two quotes from the Angel episode, Reunion.

(Drusilla) "You have beautiful skin."

(Lilah) "I moisturize."

(Drusilla) "That was very thoughtful of you."


(Drusilla) "I like the girl. She's wicked."

Although in these episodes, Drusilla’s interest is in Lilah, this can be used to note that Drusilla seems to have no problem flirting with women. I might also mention that many fans believe there was something a bit more going on between Darla and Drusilla than what was noted on the show.

All the more fuel to our fire. In fact, this bisexuality seems to show up in a lot of vampires, not only Darla and Dru, Vampire Willow, but also in Angel(us) and Spike. Note that in fights, Angel and Spike always seem to end up under each other, and Spike seems to have a real problem with Angel lording over him. This can be taken to mean one thing we know about Spike: that he’s rebellious, but there would hardly be a better way in Angelus’ mind to break such a strong willed man/vampire than to dominate him AND make him like it.

Among A/S shippers, it’s generally believed that this is the reason for confusion over Spike’s age/sire. Keeping his age nearer to 200, and Angelus as his sire, implied that Spike may have been older than Drusilla, and the two (Angelus and Spike) might have had a past relationship which Drusilla had gotten in the middle of. Of course, implying this would ruin the two’s manly images (sarcasm here should be acknowledged).

So, evidently, vampires seem much less caught up on gender than humans are, perhaps the show’s creators (or at least writers)... but I digress.

I’d like to draw particular attention to the second quote. Drusilla values Lilah’s wickedness:

If the fic was to take place in Season 3, say around Dopplegangland, yet again, all the more fuel to our fire. If Drusilla is to happen into town at the same time the Vampire Willow is there, think about the attraction factor. Drusilla seems to have a thing for particularly wicked vampires with good taste in leather: see Angelus and Spike.

Vampire Willow has no problem with displaying her attraction to women: she even goes so far as to lick her doubles neck! She displays a sort of amoral promiscuity that Drusilla herself shares. They’re both the sort of vampires who’d have no qualms having wild sex in a pool of Slayer-blood.

If the fic was to take place in Season 4, this is a time in which Willow is discovering the truth in her own statement that she’s ‘kinda gay’. Willow is also further fleshing out her magic abilities, and is even offered a position as a vengeance demon by D’Hoffryn. Getting kind of dark there, ain’t she? And consider it: what if Willow had taken the position, and Drusilla just happened to be back in town, infuriated over Spike’s fawning over Buffy, both under and without the ‘My Will Be Done’ spell. Perfect opportunity for a vengeance demon, wouldn’t you say?

Things are starting to look a little clearer for our little ‘ship here, right?

A fic circa Season 5 might find a post-Crush Drusilla: Spike-less, she’d be just as likely to scoop up the nearest catch possible. Maybe she might have picked Willow as a snack with a bonus, hurting the Slayer, who’d stolen her Spike. Or maybe Willow might find a distraught Drusilla: even with their past tensions, Willow is a compassionate individual, and hearing that Spike has tried to stake his own Sire would strike a chord even in her.

See? The possibilities are endless, and, as demonstrated above, are all entirely probable.

Vampire Willow and Drusilla are a match made in Hell, and Willow and Drusilla are just as much a match. They are almost complete opposites: Willow still has a strict moral code, at least compared to Drusilla, but their personalities would mesh very well together.

A sane Dru might exhibit some of the qualities implied by her name: qualities that would go quite well with Willow’s personality. Just imagine a post-Season 6 fic: Willow has left Sunnydale for the summer, to mourn her lover and to try and get past herself and her near-miss with evil, and she meets a quite sane Dru. I can just see these two opening up a magic shop somewhere on the seashore, Willow teaching Drusilla all she needs to know about computers and modern equipment.

It is a somewhat widely-accepted fanon belief that Drusilla is only so fond of killing because of her insanity, and the fact that her sire was none other than Angelus, but if she was sane.... Willow is going to be feeling guilty about doing what she did to her friends and nearly destroying the world, and paired with a woman who has her own issues about her homicidal nature, and a strong maternal instinct (this both being implied through Spike [though not so strongly as that relationship illustrates her need to be cared for] and through her name) the chemistry is undeniable.

Willow and Drusilla is a logical pairing. It is clear that these two would mesh undeniably, and each would find qualities in the other that they find necessary in a lover and a friend.

On that note, I say, may you have a wonderfully Willow-y day, and a dandy Drusilla-type night, because I am out.