Chapter 1: Unnatural Relations
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
A/N: I came across an idea for a pairing the other day that utterly intrigued me, so here is my take on it. I know it's against canon, but that's okay. It's my story ;)
A/N2: This takes place mid-Season 2, before Angelus rears his ugly head.
"Oh, look," Willow cooed, waving Buffy over, and pointing to her book. "A vampire had a child with a human woman."
"What?" Buffy shrieked, before dashing to look at the book.
Xander screwed up his face. "Can I just say 'ew'? Just... The whole thought of having a vampire's child? How is that of the good?"
Buffy frowned in concentration as she read the book, then shook her head sadly. "It's just a story," she mourned.
"Just as well, isn't it? I mean, really, Buffy," Xander went on, "would you really want to carry Deadboy's baby? Isn't that kind of, I don't know, unnatural?"
"Well," Buffy temporised. "I would like a child. You know, someday."
"Maybe it's not just a story," Willow suggested. "Maybe, you know, you could ask Angel. He should know."
"I could know what, Willow?" Angel asked as he descended the library stairs.
Xander scowled at the vampire, but Willow blushed and smiled tentatively. "Oh, um, you know," she stuttered, smoothing the pages of the book in front of her. "Dhampyrs. Are they real?"
Angel frowned, and stalked over to the table. He deftly flipped the book closed, and checked the spine, then grunted. "This is pretty much a work of fiction, you know that, don't you?" he checked.
Willow sighed. "Yeah. But still..."
Angel sighed, and walked back to lean against the railings. "Yes. Dhampyrs do exist. But they're very rare. There's a number of different things that have to occur to cause a dhampyr to be born, and it's very difficult to get one on purpose. I've met, oh, less than ten in my unlife. And I've had sex when a number of human women, even after getting my soul, but, as far as I'm aware, I've never fathered one."
"You had sex with humans?" Buffy gasped, eyes wide.
Angel sighed softly. "Yes, Buffy, I have. And the ones I, um, met after I got my soul actually survived the experience. Which is why," he added, turning back to Willow, "there are very few of them around. Most vampires kill their human 'lovers' either during or shortly after … relations. Those that allow their partners to live rarely tolerate any progeny that might occur. You see, dhampyrs have this distressing tendency to turn out to be hunters," he added with a smirk.
"So vampires usually kill the women they rape, but if they don't, and the woman does fall pregnant, they usually kill the kid, because the kids usually turn out to be hunters," Xander summarised. "That sound right?"
Angel sighed again. "Yes, Xander, that – while very abbreviated – sounds about right."
"Well, no wonder," Xander went on. "I mean, if you come about because of a rape, and the only reason you're alive is because 'daddy' forgot to kill you and/or your mother, I think you would have reason to be a little pissed, and want some payback. Don't you," he added, smiling charmingly at the vampire.
Angel suppressed a growl. "I dare-say," he allowed. "Of course, I haven't raped or murdered in a hundred years -"
"Yeah, yeah," Xander dismissed. "Vampire with a soul, got it already."
"Xander," Willow began, "Angel is really helpful, and does a lot of good. You know that."
"Yeah. Good. Right. Yeah, it was really good of him to grab me to help when Buffy was drowning, alright," he went on, looking at the vampire. "And letting me help distract Spike at Parent-Teacher night, that was helpful, too."
Angel rolled his eyes. "I'm going. If Rupert needs me for anything, he has my number."
The teenagers watched in silence as Angel walked out of the library. As the door finally stopped swinging, Willow slapped Xander in the arm.
"What was that for?" the boy asked indignantly.
"What was that for?" Willow repeated, scowling. "Why were you so mean to him? And Buffy's right here," she added. "You know how Buffy feels about Angel. Don't you think you could cut him a bit of slack?"
"Hey, I'm just not forgetting what he is," Xander assured. "You girls seem to do that."
"Oh, you would bring that up, wouldn't you," Buffy hissed.
"He's a vampire," Xander reminded them, "and I'm not really that impressed with the whole soul-having-ness. So what? Hitler had a soul, too, and so did Ted Bundy."
"That's totally different!" Willow argued. "Angel's doing good."
Xander rolled his eyes and sighed. "Yeah, sure. 'Angel's good and helping us.' Happy?"
Buffy scowled. "I'd be a lot happier if you wouldn't attack my boyfriend at every opportunity."
"Don't you think it's a little bit icky? He's like two-hundred fifty years old."
"Two hundred forty-five," the blonde corrected automatically.
"Oh, like five years is going to matter after this time," Xander snarked. "The point I'm trying to make is that he is old! And not just twenty-something type old. Two-hundred-something old! And he was twenty-something, anyway, when he was made a vampire, wasn't he? Isn't that icky?" the boy repeated.
"Oh, please," Buffy moaned. "You're just jealous. I know you have a crush on me, and that's … cute … really. But you have to move on. Just, I don't know, stop being jealous."
Xander shook his head. "Don't worry, Buffy. You knocked the crush right out of me earlier this year." He looked at the two girls, and went on, "Tell Giles I'll see him tomorrow."
When Giles entered the library some few minutes later, he found Buffy and Willow, sitting together at the table, alone, and reading a magazine together. A charming picture, really, if it were not for the banality of the reading material. When they passed on the apologies, Giles sighed, and made a mental note to talk to the teenaged boy about necessary, if unpleasant, allies.
Angel waited in the deeper shadows for the boy to appear. As soon as Xander wandered off the footpath to get to his home, Angel walked out of the blackness to meet him.
Xander shook his head and rolled his eyes. "Deadboy!" he greeted. "How wonderful to meet you. So what's the plan tonight? Knock me out to leave me, trussed up, for your pals?"
"I don't have any 'pals'," Angel frowned. "And I would never do that, no matter how annoying you are. And you can be very annoying," the vampire added pettishly.
"What can I say?" the boy smirked. "I love my work."
Angel shook his head. "Look, could you just, I don't know, ease off a bit? Yes, you annoy me, and I'm sure that's all fun and games for you, but you're upsetting Buffy. If you keep going the way you are, you're going to lose both of them," Angel warned him earnestly.
Xander stared at the other man for a moment. "Whoa," he murmured. "Weird. I could have sworn you were trying to help me there."
Angel took a deep, calming, though unnecessary, breath. "Yes, Xander, I'm trying to help. I do that, you know: help people." He looked away distractedly, before continuing. "Okay, how's this for a reason? Buffy needs you. Yes, she's the Slayer, yes, she's so very powerful, but she still needs your friendship. You were the one to bring her back to us in the Master's cave. I -" he took another breath. "I need you to keep her alive. For … for everyone."
"For you," Xander sneered.
Angel sighed. "I can't... We can't..."
"You can't do anything, and you know it. God! I've been saying that all along, but no, I'm just a jealous boy, what would I know?"
"Well, you are jealous, aren't you?" Angel taunted.
Xander scowled, and Angel had a random thought of an angry puppy. "Doesn't mean I'm wrong, though, does it?"
"No, but it the way you're proving it means you will lose your friends. Look, I'll … I'll try to pull back, not, I don't know, be around her so much, but it's hard," Angel most assuredly didn't whine.
"You're two-hundred-plus years old. Grow up already!"
Angel growled. "Just remember what I told you, okay?" At that, Angel turned and stalked off.
Xander snorted, and muttered about vampires, and their cool exiting powers as he stalked into his house.
Xander closed the front door gently, and quickly scanned the room. His father was passed out on the couch, with the TV still on, but quiet. His mother, though, was just inside the door, looking … concerned? Xander was still trying to figure it out when his mother grabbed him by the arm, dragged him into the kitchen, and sat him at the table before sitting down opposite him.
"What did he have to say? How did he find you?" she whispered harshly.
Xander stared at his mother, baffled. "Who?" he whispered back.
Xander sat back, a thrill of fear streaking through him. "How do you know Angel?"
Jessica Harris sat back also. "How do you know Angel?" she asked, as if things had suddenly ceased to make sense.
"Uh... I've known him for a year now. Something like that. Kind of a friend of a friend. That's who we were talking about."
His mother's hand flew to her mouth. "Oh, god," she murmured. "He doesn't know. How could he not know."
"Mom," Xander leaned forward, getting worried, "you need to tell me what's going on. How do you know Angel?" he repeated.
"He's your father."
Chapter 2: Unwanted Revelations
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy.
"He's your father."
Xander stood up from the table so abruptly that his chair flew back. Instinctively, he threw his hand out and caught the chair before it could crash to the ground, and both of them stilled and looked out to the lounge. When Tony remained blissfully unconscious they both breathed sighs of relief. Xander righted the chair and sat back down, taking a deep, calming breath.
"Angel's my dad," he repeated.
"Do you know what he is?"
Jessica bit her lip, and considered her son. "He's a vampire," she whispered.
"Did you know that when you … gah! When you … did … that?"
His mother coughed, and blushed slightly. "It's, um, kind of difficult to miss. With the, uh, temperature difference."
"Oh, god!" he moaned. "Okay. Ground rules. I do not want to know anything – and that means absolutely anything! – of the (gah!) physical side of your relationship. I was conceived by … by osmosis, yeah. You sat beside him, and – voilà – I was conceived. That's it, end of story. Okay?"
Jessica rolled her eyes. "Yes, dear. I sat beside the stunning vampire, not even holding hands, and conceived by osmosis."
"Glad you understand," her son sighed, then smiled slightly at his mother. "So... What about, uh, Tony?"
"Please! I was six weeks pregnant when I met him, and we hooked up straight away. I told him you were premature."
"Uh, wasn't I, like, eight pounds or something?"
"All babies are teeny-tiny to a manly man like Tony. I said you were premmie, and he accepted it."
"So what happened with Angel? Was it, like, bad or something? Did his, um, eating habits gross you out, 'cause ew!" Xander screwed up his nose.
"Have you seen him feed?" Jessica asked pointedly.
"Well, no. But I have a very good imagination."
Jessica sighed. "Well, actually, neither did I. He was very … private about that."
"So what happened?"
"He dumped me."
"He what?" Xander demanded, too loudly for their circumstances. Both of them again braced themselves, looking out to the other room. When nothing happened, Xander tried again. "He what?" he hissed.
"He said that he was just using me, and he needed to stop because it was the right thing to do, and I should find a nice man, a human man, to look after me. I figure I," she rolled her eyes, "sat beside him a day or so before he broke up with me, because neither of us knew I was pregnant when we broke up. I found out soon enough, and latched onto Tony as soon as possible afterwards. He was handsome, then, and had some good prospects. I figured he would be a good father to you. Yeah. Sorry about that."
"Does he know? Tony, I mean."
"No. God, I hope not. That would really be the icing on the cake, wouldn't it?"
"And Angel never knew?"
"As far as I can tell, he left town as soon as he broke up with me."
"So what do I do now?"
Jessica shrugged. "He's your father. Talk to him."
"Uh, you don't really know this, we don't exactly like each. He kind of has this thing with one of my friends from school, and, well, I think it's really icky, and – ew! – my dad is trying to get it on with one of my friends! Okay. Now I need brain bleach!"
"He's trying to what?" Jessica asked with awful care.
"Uh, Buffy. She's in my grade. And he's kind of got this thing where he talks to her, and gives her advice, and, well, stuff."
"He's trying to hook up with a sixteen-year-old? He's in his twenties, what the hell is he thinking? Has he not heard the term 'jail bait?'"
"Huh," Xander considered. "Maybe I should organise a get together with both parental-type units. Let you talk some sense into him."
"Maybe you should," Jessica agreed.
"What I should do is try to get some sleep," Xander decided, rubbing his face. "I've got school tomorrow, and I'm going to have to have a talk with someone about me being a dhampyr."
"Vampire father plus human mother equals dhampyr. The girls were just talking about it today. 'Cause Buffy would like to have kids someday, and since she's crushing on a supposedly sterile vamp, Willow was trying to cheer her up. Huh. Guess that means Deadboy is not so sterile."
"Like I said, Mom, not the greatest of relationships with the not-so-evil undead. Although, to be fair," he added, "better than with the official male parent."
"Yeah. Sorry about that."
"It's not so bad. He hasn't hit me in over a year, now. You should probably think of leaving him, if you're not too attached. Once this gets out, the shit's really going to hit the fan, and, uh, sorry about that," he finished, blushing.
Jessica glared at her son in retribution for his language, then sighed. "So you have someone, other than Angel, that you trust to discuss this with?"
"Yeah. Giles, the Librarian, knows all about this kind of stuff. He's even got the official-type history of Deadboy. Stuff you really don't want to know about."
"He kind of hinted at a mysterious and very dark past. He was all sad and broody about it," she added with a soft smile.
"Eh. He's still doing that. Hence the Buffy crushage. Willow, too, kind of."
"Whatever. Well, like you said, you need to go to bed, so off with you," she added shooing him off.
"Yeah," Xander murmured, standing up and stretching. "'Night, Mom."
Xander had set his alarm earlier than normal, and escaped the house before either of the adults had made it downstairs. He set off at an easy jog, and made it to the school with plenty of time for a much-needed discussion with Giles.
"Hey, G-Man," he greeted as he entered the library. "What's the what."
Giles looked up at the teenager, frowning. "You're here awfully early, Xander. Is there a problem?"
"Uh, maybe?" Xander offered.
Giles set down his book and gave Xander his full attention. "What is it?" he asked.
"Um, well, what did the girls tell you about what happened yesterday?"
"They said that you and Angel had (yet another) argument, and that Angel left, and then you left."
"Did they tell you what we were talking about?"
"No. I just assumed it was you making a fuss about the fact that Angel's a vampire, as per usual."
"Yeah, I guess I do that a bit, don't I?"
"Oh, no, Xander," the Watcher denied rolling his eyes. "I would never say that."
"Yeah, whatever," Xander dismissed, grinning. "I know I obsess over it, but I might just have some justification for that. Anyway, moving on. We were talking about dhampyrs. So. What can you tell me?"
"That's it?" Giles asked, raising an eyebrow. "You came in, this early, to talk about the possibly mythic progeny of a vampire and a human?"
Xander blushed, hunched his shoulders, and looked down, letting his hair fall forward across his face. "CauseIhappentobeone," he muttered in a rush.
"I'm sorry, but what?"
"Okay, so Angel kind of ambushed me just as I got home to give me a big lecture, telling me to ease up on pestering him 'cause he says I'm about to lose Will and Buffy's friendship if I keep going like this, and Mom saw Angel, and wanted to know how he knew to find me, because he's my father, but he broke up with her before she even found out she was pregnant, and I so don't want to know the details, as far as I was concerned I was conceived by osmosis, like I told her, and I don't want to know anything about differences in body temperature, because – ew – so Mom agreed, yeah, osmosis, even though I know she was rolling her eyes, but who cares! And anyway Mom says Angel's my dad, but Tony doesn't know, thank god, which means I'm a dhampyr. So."
Giles sat there and contemplated the little speech Xander had delivered. "Angel, huh?"
Giles began to polish his glasses. "Interesting."
"Tell me about it."
"You do realise that means you call your father 'Deadboy', don't you?"
"Do you think you will continue?"
"Um... Do you think I'll be able to get away with it?"
"Considering a vampire's natural possessiveness and need to rule his or her family? Not really."
Xander sighed, and allowed his head to drop to the table. "God! I'm Deadboy's son. Deadboy Junior. Son of Deadboy. I'd wish for the ground to open up and swallow me, but since we're on the Hellmouth itself, that seems like something that actually would happen, and would really be not of the good."
"So when are you going to break the news to dear old Dad?" Giles asked, beginning to enjoy himself.
Xander's head popped up. "Soon, actually," he decided, grinning. "I told Mom about his thing with Buffy, and she wants to have a Talk with Angel."
"Oh," Giles murmured. "Oh, dear." After a moment, he went on cheerfully, "Oh, well, you didn't really need a father, did you now?"
Xander chuckled. "So, about this dhampyr thing... What can you tell me?"
Chapter 3: Unpleasant Conversations
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
"Hm... Well," Giles considered. "A dhampyr is supposed to have all the strengths of a vampire, but none of the weaknesses."
Xander stared at the Watcher for a long moment. "Are you sure about that? 'Cause, in case you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly in the uber-strong-and-fast brigade."
"Yes, well, that is what the legends suggest. Not having ever met a dhampyr before, I can't say for sure, other than what the literature suggests."
"That wouldn't be 'Vernon's Compendium', would it? 'Cause Angel said it was a story book."
"Unfortunately, it's one of the few sources we have."
"Great. So the only thing that can tell me more about myself is a storybook. I'm feeling really validated right now."
Giles sighed. "Talk to Angel. He might have some more information for you."
"Okay, yes, he said he'd met dhampyrs before, but let's just think about this. Do I really want to tell the probably-very-possessive vampire that I'm his son, and need to learn more about myself? Said possessive vampire that I have been insulting for the last, oh, year and a half? And really, really annoying the unlife out of for just that long? Isn't there any better way?"
"I could always ask the Council," Giles suggested mildly.
Xander frowned. "Wouldn't they want to, I don't know, examine me, test me, all that stuff?"
"Probably," Giles nodded.
"I'm thinking that's not so good. For me, anyway. Not really up on the needles and stuff," he mused, making a face. He sighed, then, and slumped in his seat. "God. I'm going to have to talk to Deadboy."
"Dad, you mean?" Giles teased.
"Oh, ha ha."
"Yes, well, if you don't want the girls finding out before Angel does, I think we should move onto a different topic. They should be here, soon."
"Oh, crap! Buffy. Oh, that's going to be fun."
"Hm..." Giles pondered. "Yes, it should be." When Xander stuck out his tongue at the him, Giles stood and raised an eyebrow. "Well, since you're here, you might as well do something. There are books over on that trolley that need stacking, and you've got a younger back than I do, so off you go."
Xander was distracted during classes, and it extended into the group's study session after school. Eventually, Giles put his book down. "Xander, I really think you need to go and deal with that pressing issue."
The boy's eyes widened, and his gaze skittered to the door, as if he could see outside the building. "But..." he began. "Don't I need to wait for that?"
"Not any longer, as far as I'm concerned. Go. Do. And cease to disturb me."
Xander sighed, and collected his belongings. "Alright, then. But it's going to be on your head if anything … possessive … happens to me."
Giles snorted. "Oh, no. I think you'll have earned anything that comes to you, my boy."
Buffy and Willow stared at the departing boy as he wandered off, mumbling about incompetent and uninformed Watchers throwing innocent young men to the proverbial wolves.
"Can I just say 'huh'?" Willow asked, puzzled.
"Can I see that 'huh', and raise a 'wha-'?" Buffy added.
"Xander just has a certain … 'issue' I believe is the word … that he has to, um, discuss with someone. He's not especially looking forward to it, but it needs to be done. And, yes, I know what the issue is, but, no, I won't tell you. Satisfied?" he asked cheerily.
"No," Buffy pouted.
Willow chewed her lip. "Does it have anything to do with the way he's been treating Angel lately?"
Giles thought about that. "Not precisely. But I do believe it will have an impact on his recent behaviour. And I dare say his recent behaviour will have an impact on the next few hours," he added, smiling.
"And you're not going to tell us anything about it?" Buffy asked.
"No," Giles agreed.
"Not even if we ask nicely," Willow continued, bringing out her version of puppy-dog-eyes.
"Not even then," Giles agreed. "I will, however, restrict your access to certain works in my library if you continue," he warned.
Willow chewed her lip again. Turning to Buffy, she said, "Sorry, Buff. That's the end of me."
"Huh!" Buffy gasped. "Betrayed for the sake of some books!"
"What can I say?" the redhead argued. "A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do."
Buffy muttered under her breath about unfaithful friends, and returned to her despised homework.
Xander fiddled with the strap of his bookbag as he waited for Angel to answer the door. He contemplated, briefly, just walking away, but he knew that Angel would scent his presence, and just track him down later, probably in public, and he'd rather get this done where none of the girls would hear.
The door was opened by a rather tousled-looking Angel. "Xander?" he grunted.
"Ah, hey, D-, um, Angel. So, ah, how's it going?"
"What are you doing here? Do you know what time it is?"
"Yeah, well, Giles said it was okay to come over now, and I kind of need to talk to you about something, and it's kind of important, and you really need to know, I guess, and, um, well, yeah," Xander finished uncertainly.
Angel sighed. "Come in," he muttered as he stalked off to get changed.
Xander walked in and sat down on the edge of a couch to wait for the vampire. He looked around the spartan apartment to try to gain some clues about his, ugh, father.
"What does Giles need?" Angel asked as he came back into the room, startling Xander.
Xander sprang to his feet, wild-eyed. "Oh, um, nothing. No, Giles is fine. A little testy with the girls, I guess, and enjoying himself way too much over what I have to talk to you about, but no, he's fine. All fine and dandy, that's Giles," Xander babbled nervously.
Angel stalked up to stand inches from the boy. "Xander," he growled softly. "Why are you here? You woke me up, and now you need to tell me why you're here, okay?"
"Okay," the boy gulped. "So, um," he looked around the apartment again, hoping for some distraction or clue for how to proceed. Not getting any help from the apartment, he plunged on. "So, um, oh, hey! Did you know what my middle name is? And this is not something I tell people, because, well, you'll understand when I tell you. So, do you?"
Angel sighed and moved to a chair. "No, Xander, I neither know nor care what your middle name is."
"LaVelle. 'Cause, you know, it was my mother's maiden name," he explained hopefully.
"And..." Angel prompted.
"Um... Oh, and my Mom's name is Jessica. So she was Jessica LaVelle. You know, before she married, um, Tony Harris. Before, you know, I was born."
"Um... Jessica LaVelle? It doesn't ring any bells?" Xander was getting worried at this point.
Angel sighed again, then closed his eyes and let his head rock back. He didn't know where Xander was going with this, but decided to play along. Xander was born, what, 1980? 1981? So his parents married sometime before that, which meant she would have ceased to be Jessica LaVelle in the late seventies, or even up to 1980, maybe.
All of a sudden, Angel had a vision of a slender, auburn-haired woman with a big smile that reminded him of the boy in front of him. Angel's head shot up, and he glared at the teenager.
Xander gave a little wave, and a sickly grin. "Hi," he gulped.
Before he knew it, Xander was hauled upright, with Angel's face pressed into his neck. He tensed, and clenched his hands into fists to stop himself from flailing wildly. When Angel raised his head, Xander was not pleased to see his father in game-face.
"Dhampyr," the vampire hissed.
"Ah, yeah," Xander gasped. "Apparently."
Angel tossed the boy back onto the couch, and stalked off to the kitchen to get himself something to eat. He fussed about in the small room, wasting time before he had to go back and face … his son. He stopped. He had a son. He never expected to have a child, and now he had a son. Who was a dhampyr (obviously!) Who was a dhampyr who had never exhibited any kind of usual power.
Xander looked up, wide-eyed, when Angel appeared suddenly in front of him. "How?" the older man demanded.
"Uh, how what?" Xander asked.
"How do you not have any strength? You should be at least as strong as a fledge, but we all know you're not. And you're too slow. How can you possibly be a dhampyr. No, she was wrong. Your mother was wrong," Angel decided.
"But you said, yourself, that I was one," Xander argued. "What was that, with the sniffing? And can I say, 'ew'!"
Angel scowled and began to pace. "You smell like one. You smell like me. When I finally paid attention, I could smell me on you. But I don't understand – you should be so much more powerful and much faster than you are. Why?" he demanded.
"I don't know. Seriously, D-, uh, Angel, I really don't know."
Angel continued to scowl at the boy, before turning abruptly and stalking back to the kitchen. He finished preparing his blood, and sculled it down before rinsing the mug and placing it neatly on the drainer. He stood at the bench, and drummed his fingers, going over everything he knew about dhampyrs, which wasn't much.
He walked back to the living room and began to pace. "Tell me about how you grew up," he ordered.
"Uh, not much to tell," Xander shrugged. "I was born here in the 'Dale, grew up, met Will on the first day of Kindergarten, went to school, and met Buff in Sophomore year. You, too, of course. Just a plain, old, ordinary life."
"Something happened. Something went wrong with your life. What is different about it?"
Xander snorted. "I grew up on a Hellmouth? Honestly, D-, uh, Angel, I led a really vanilla life before Buffy arrived."
Angel scowled. "There has to be something. You're a dhampyr, you should be strong, fast, and you're not. Every dhampyr I've met or heard of is nothing like you."
"There's nothing," Xander assured him. "Maybe it's just me. Maybe there's a reason most dhampyrs are killed, and only the strong survive."
"Nonsense, boy," Angel roared, his accent suddenly shifting to something more Irish. "You're my son, and you're supposed to be strong. So why aren't you?"
Xander's eyes widened again as he scrambled back away from the angry vamp. "Great," he muttered, "I lose one psychotic, though human, dad to gain a psychotic vampire dad."
Angel stalked forward. "What was that?"
"Uh, well, it's just that, you know, Tony, he's not big with the self-control, and the not hitting of people who can't exactly hit back, except that he doesn't hit me anymore, since the hyena thing where I kind of hit back, so he doesn't try anything anymore, and when you got all growly there, it was, like, 'whoa, deja vu!'"
"Harris hit you?" Angel growled, clenching his jaw.
"Uh, yeah. But not anymore. You know, since the hyena thing. Like I said."
"And when did he start this … abuse?"
"Um, always? I mean, uh, I don't remember when he started. It's like he always did it. The nurses up at the ER have known me for years. I think Shelley's been there the longest, and she always has something for me when I go in," Xander added with a small smile.
"I need to think," Angel announced before taking himself off to the bedroom, slamming the door.
Xander stared at the bedroom door for a moment, then looked around again. He considered leaving, then remembered the word 'possessive' and the phrase 'need to rule his family.' He decided it would be better, in the long run, to just stay where he was, at least until hunger or something drove him to do something.
In the bedroom, Angel continued to pace, struggling to contain his demon before it erupted, dragging him out to tear Tony Harris into quivering shreds. That man had laid hands on his son, for many years by the sound of it, and may have even caused Xander to hide his otherworldly nature to avoid added persecution. Anyone could be trained into any kind of behaviour, if the training was consistent enough, and he was fairly certain Harris' 'training' of his boy had been the very soul of consistency. To train a dhampyr, even unconsciously, to hide his or her nature... That was an affront to his very being. Dhampyrs might be the bane of vampires, with their tendency to hunt their fathers' species, but as a vampire, he wouldn't deny the kinship, and this was an attack on the vampire nature of his child. He roared in frustration. This was going to take work. Lots of work.
Chapter 4: Unseen Qualities
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
Xander tensed when he heard Angel's roar from the bedroom. He knew the vampire was severely pissed, but that sounded very bad. He wasn't even sure what set him off. They had been talking about, what? His life. His plain, ordinary life. He'd made a comment that Angel had pounced on, about Tony and Angel both being psychotic, which they weren't, really, but Angel seemed to have taken it the wrong way. And then there were questions about Tony, and it wasn't like Tony ever hit him anymore, or anything like that. And he never hit Mom, just shouted at her, and threw stuff around, and stuff. But Xander had been a boy, and had to be tough and stuff, which he never was, and so, well, yeah.
Angel was pissed that Tony hit him? Vampires were possessive and all, so maybe he was just mad that someone touched something that was his. Xander sighed. And he wasn't even a proper dhampyr, what with the weakness, and the slowness. Just how bad was this going to be?
When Angel finally left the bedroom, he found Xander slumped on the couch, picking at the strap on his bookbag. Xander looked up, apprehensive, but didn't speak, noticing that Angel's eyes still flashed gold intermittently.
Angel took in his son's tense sudden tension, and realised that he needed to say something. "I'm not mad at you," he soothed. "Just thought you should know that."
Xander ducked his head and hunched his shoulders. "I don't know why not," he mumbled. "It's not like I'm a real dhampyr. God! I must be a real disappointment."
Angel threw himself down beside his son. "Not a disappointment. A pain in the ass, maybe, but not a disappointment. And, anyway, I have a theory about your powers."
"Harris has been beating you since childhood, hasn't he?"
"Uh, yeah. I can't remember a time when he didn't."
Angel nodded. "Your strength and speed should have been apparent as a child," Angel went on. "What I think happened is that your father started beating you early, and so he trained you, or you trained yourself, to be normal to avoid attention. You do that a lot, don't you? Deflect attention?"
"Well, yeah. So... What now?"
"Now," Angel grinned, "I get to train my son."
"Crap," Xander whispered.
For the second day in a row, Xander was distracted at school, but this time had added moping to his crimes. Buffy and Willow had attempted to cheer him up during lunch, but he would simply look at Buffy, shudder, and say no more. When the school day was finally over, they assembled again at the library for homework and chatting.
Giles watched the three children enter the library, and caught Xander's eye. "How did yesterday go?" he asked quietly, once he had the boy to himself.
Xander shuddered, and glared at the librarian balefully. "He wants to train me."
"So he has, uh, accepted you?"
"Oh, yeah. There was a whole sniff test thing, and then he went right off. Um. He thinks that, ah, Tony, my, um, step-father, is the reason why I'm not all … you know."
"Really? Why is that?"
"Because he, um, beatmesinceIwasachild," Xander mumbled.
Giles sighed. "You know, you really should just say it once, properly, so that you don't have to repeat yourself like you do now."
"He beat me, okay?" Xander hissed. "Often. Regularly, even, since I was little. I don't remember a time when he didn't beat me. The ER nurses all know me, and have for as long as I remember. I've practically got a frequent users card, in case you hadn't noticed. Or do you think it's normal for nurses to know your name and have your file ready as soon as you walk in the door?" he asked, annoyed suddenly that no one had noticed that level of familiarity.
"I … I just assumed, I'm afraid, that they were, well, neighbours," Giles offered, blushing faintly.
"Yeah, well..." Xander took a breath. "Anyway, so Angel thinks that I just hid my strength, and all that, so that Tony didn't beat on me even more. 'Cause, you know, the nail that stick out, and all that."
"So he wants to train you."
Xander rolled his eyes. "Yep. Dear old Dad wants to bond, or something. Make up for lost time."
"Bond, hey?" Giles asked, lips twitching.
"Oh, god," Xander groaned. "Next there will be bowling with Dad, and Parent-Teacher night, and how am I going to explain that one, huh?" he demanded.
Giles snickered at the thought. "Although, I think it would get Principal Snyder off your back if Angel were to growl at him for you."
"Huh. What do you know? An actual bright point to all of this. Apart from the slightly-less-psychotic-though-not-human replacement father."
"Talking about your father, Xander?" Buffy asked as she walked up to them.
"Oh, ah, hey, Buffy. Yeah. My, um, dad. Hey, how about that trig homework?" he offered weakly.
Buffy's eyes narrowed. "What are you hiding, Xander Harris?"
Xander glanced at Giles, but he knew there was no help coming from that direction. The older man was enjoying Xander's downfall way too much. "Uh, well, as it turns out, I'm not so much a Harris as a... Huh. No idea," he finished, thoughtfully.
"What?" Willow squeaked from the table. "What was that about not being a Harris?"
"Well," the boy began with forced cheerfulness, "as it turns out, Mom was pregnant when she met Tony, but he thinks I'm his kid, 'cause she said I was premature when I wasn't but he didn't know enough to know I was a normal weight and all that. Of course, I only know that 'cause Mom saw me talking to my real dad, and thought that he had found out about me, and all that, when really he just happened to know me, and was talking to me about something totally unrelated, but Mom didn't know that, and so she just up and told me that, uh, he's my dad."
"So you already know your dad?" Willow asked excitedly. "That's so cool! Who is he? Is he someone we know? Do you like him? Is he cool? Does he know he's your dad? Come on, Xander, interested people want to know," she pouted.
"And if I could get a word in edgewise, I would," Xander countered. He sighed. "Okay. Yes, you know him, and you like him, and you think he's cool. He knows, and I think he's actually happy to have a son, which is so very weird." Xander stopped at that point, and chewed his lip, wondering how to go on. This was not going to go well. He took a breath to make his big statement, when he saw Angel walking through from the back of the library. "Oh, god," he groaned.
"Xander," Angel greeted as he strode forward.
"Angel," Xander smiled weakly.
"'Angel'?" Buffy asked, doubtfully. "Since when are you calling him 'Angel'?"
"I dare say since he realised that 'Deadboy' was not the most appropriate name under the circumstances," Giles grinned.
"You are enjoying this way too much," Xander accused the Watcher.
"Oh, the effects of hubris are wonderful to watch," Giles agreed.
"Damn British tweed-people," he muttered under his breath. Then, deciding on the 'rip-the-bandaid-off' method, he called out, "Hey, Dad."
The amount of fuss caused by two little words, Xander decided, was beyond belief. That's it. Just two words. And one of them was a simple greeting, something he'd used on Dead-, uh better not even use that term in his head... Something he'd used on Angel any number of times. And 'dad'. Everyone used that word. It was, like, one of the most common words, or something. No need to make a fuss, no siree. The fact that he had called Angel 'dad' – what of it? So he was calling his number-one, most-hated vamp 'dad', who were they to fuss? If Angel was comfortable, and, judging by the stupid look on his stupid face, he was more than comfortable, then Buffy was the least person to scream, shout, and overall throw a tantrum. Not that he would say that aloud. He was already in enough trouble as it was.
"Yes, Buffy, for the lost-count-eth time, Angel is my father. I am Luke, and he is Darth Vader. Only he didn't chop my arm off first. Not that I want him to do that, but, well, there you go."
"But, no!" Buffy wailed. "You can't be his son. How can you be his son?"
"Oh, dear Lord," Giles muttered. "When a male and a female have sex at the appropriate time of the female's cycle, the female conceives a child. In this case, the male was Angel, the female was Jessica Harris, née LaVelle, and the resultant child was Xander. Is that clear enough for you?"
"God, Giles, could you never say anything like that ever again?" Xander requested in a tone of deep loathing. "I prefer not to think about that at all, okay? I just appeared, and I just happened to inherit some DNA from Angel. That's it."
"But, Angel," Buffy whined, "how could you? You said you didn't have any children."
Angel sighed, and pondered the table surface longingly. "I told you the other day that I have had sex with women since being cursed, and I clearly recall Jess LaVelle. She was very pretty, but nothing like you. And I knew her at the right time to make me Xander's father. And what I actually said was that I didn't know of any children. There could be others," he added, with a sideways look at Xander. "Xander could have half-siblings out there. He already has some, of a sort."
"I do?" Xander asked, surprised.
"Certainly. I even introduced you to your nephew," Angel smirked.
Xander stared at his father, horrified. "Oh. God. No."
Giles' eyes widened, and he burst out laughing.
"What?" Buffy asked. "Who?"
Xander approached the little blonde cautiously. He shifted his bookbag nervously, and chewed his lip. "So, uh, Buffy... How's things?"
His friend glared at him. "I can't believe you're … related."
"But you're, um, okay?"
Buffy continued to glare at him. "I think I've screamed enough for a few days, don't you think?"
Buffy sighed, and started walking. Xander fell in beside her, and was relieved when she didn't try to scare him away. "So... how okay are you about this?"
"I'm not sure. You're my boyfriend's son, for crying out loud. I mean, could my life get any … no, not finishing that sentence."
"Hey, you're not the one related to the Scourge of Europe," Xander pointed out. "I am still quietly freaking out about that one, even more than the whole 'Angel is my father' thing. Though, upside, Tony Harris isn't." Xander smiled beatifically at that thought.
"So how is that, Angel being your dad?"
Xander shuddered. "See, that's the thing. He actually wants to be my father. I mean, for real and actual."
"Are you going to change your name?" she asked, turning to him.
"Uh... Don't know? It's not like I have any incredible desire to be a Harris, not when I know I'm not his son. But if I don't use Harris, then what do I call myself? Xander Angel? Isn't that a bit, I don't know, girly?"
"Are you saying my boyfriend has a girly name?"
"He's my father," Xander argued. "I think I should be more worried about my father's name being girly and you about your boyfriend's name. After all, you can break up with a boyfriend. You can only get rid of your dad when you find out your mom was actually pregnant to someone else when she married who you thought was your dad. Hey! That sounds familiar!" Xander chirped.
"I'll hit you," the blonde warned.
"Oh, and have you thought about what happens if you happen to, God forbid, marry Angel?"
"Uh, I become Mrs Angel?"
"You become my step-mother."
Buffy stopped still and gaped at her friend.
Chapter 5: Unforseen Complications
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
Buffy closed her mouth. "No," she decided.
"Not going to be your step-mother. I don't care where this goes with Angel there is no way, no how that I am going to be your step-mother. For god's sake, I'm younger than you," she whined.
"Angel's my dad. Anyone who marries him becomes my step-mom. No way around it."
"Nope," Xander declared. "We're a package deal."
"You're doing this on purpose," Buffy accused.
"What?" he asked guilelessly.
"You're purposefully trying to wig me into breaking up with Angel."
Xander considered the accusation. "Hmm... No. Not actually doing that at the moment. Just letting you realise that getting involved with him means you get me as baggage. I mean, if my mother can get past the whole sex-with-the-unliving thing, then I guess you can. Of course, she was an actual adult when she did that, and I still am grossed beyond comprehension about the whole thing, but she got over it, and I guess you could to. If you really want to, I mean. And I so don't want to think about the body-temperature-difference thing," he added, with a sly glance at his friend.
"Think about it," Xander suggested. "I'm desperately trying not to. Or the, what, ten years actual difference in ages. You know, 'cause he was twenty-uh-four, -five, -something, when he was turned. And you're all of sixteen at the moment. But, hey, in ten years time, you'll be older than him. Then you'll get to be a cradle-snatcher," he grinned.
"Not helping," Buffy muttered.
"Really? 'Cause I'm all with the helpfulness today."
"Okay, how about this. I stop talking about all the, uh, benefits of hooking up with my dad, and, um, well, how about I just stop. I think the horse is dead and beaten enough."
Buffy looked at him. "Okay," she said finally. "Sounds good to me. So what do you have first up?"
"Um... History with Will." He sighed. "Why does that sound foreboding?"
Xander slipped into the classroom and looked over to see Willow's worried face. He made his way to his desk, and smiled an apology to her.
"Where were you? I thought you were going to be late," she whispered.
"Sorry. Kind of slept in, and then got caught talking to Buffy."
"You're not still trying to break her and Angel up, are you?"
"Nope. Figured I didn't really have much to stand on, what with my own mom, uh, getting involved with him, and all. Don't get me wrong, I'm still wigged by that. In fact, I'm wigged by pretty much everything in my life at the moment, but I think I'm at a point where I'm just putting it all somewhere else in my mind, and just, I don't know, living in the moment. I am 'moment boy,'" he decided.
Willow smiled. "Well, if that's what it takes for you to cope for now, that's fine. But you will need to process -"
"Will, I love you, but if you start in on your parents' psych-talk right now, I'll … I'll … I don't know what I'll do, but I might just tell Mr Hammond that you're distracting me in class."
Willow gasped. "You wouldn't! Oh, that's it, mister. Just see if you get any notes from me today!"
"Oh, Will," Xander pulled out his puppy-dog-eyes, "I'm sorry. I just want to make it through school, which I can't if you start trying to make me 'process' and all that. Sorry?"
"Oh, Xan," Willow murmured, reaching out to pet his arm, "I forgive you. I just don't like to be in trouble with the teachers."
"I know. I wouldn't really do that. You know that, don't you?" Xander asked continuing his puppy-dog-eyes.
"I know. Oh! Better pay attention," she added, nodding to the front of the room, where the teacher was laying out his books.
Xander, Willow and Buffy walked into the library, discussing the last class of the day, which they had had together, to find Giles and Angel going through a pile of paperwork together.
"Giles, Angel, hi," Xander greeted, wondering just how nervous he should be. "What are you doing?"
Angel looked up, frowning. "Looking through your school records. You're capable of doing much better than this, Xander, I know you are. I think you may just need a bit of tutoring, maybe a different way of looking at things, but with a bit of work, I think we can get your grades up to a B-plus average."
Xander looked at Angel for a moment, then turned around and walked out of the library.
"What?" Angel asked. "What did I do?"
Giles took a moment to control himself before answering. "I rather thing that Xander is still very much getting used to the concept of you as his father. I'm not quite sure he's ready for the idea of an involved parent yet. Maybe you should just concentrate on helping him re-integrate his dhampyr powers first, and then work on … other areas.
"But he needs to improve his grades," Angel insisted. "How is he going to get into College on his current grades?"
Buffy and Willow stared at Angel, unable to equate the current parental Angel with the usual sexily enigmatic Angel.
"Well," Buffy began, doubtfully, "he does have a little time. It's only Junior year. I know," she added quickly to silence both Willow and Angel, "that there's no time like the present, but if Xander's anywhere near as wigged as I am right now, then you're not going to get anything out of him for a little bit, okay? And, as I was about to say, he has a little time, and there's the SAT tests next year." She tilted her head as she looked at Angel. "So who's going to pay for College for Xander, anyway?"
"Me, of course. He's my son, and if you think," Buffy grew alarmed as she heard Angel's accent was beginning to slip, oddly, into something Irish, "I'm going to let that bastard Harris have anything to do with my boy's education, you have another thing coming."
Giles coughed gently to break the sudden tension. "Yes, well. It's good that you're interested in Xander's well-being, but, as I said earlier, I think the boy needs time to adjust."
Angel scowled at Giles, causing the other man to roll his eyes. "Good God, man. I'm not trying to take your place. I'm just helping you not make such a bloody mess of things. You and Xander have been at each others throats for the better part of a year. You may be ready to launch straight into parenthood, but he needs this time. You know what kind of father he's used to, and you know how he feels about vampires in general. It wouldn't take much for him to decide to become, shall we say, a traditional dhampyr?"
"Oh, no," Willow murmured, hand rushing to cover her mouth. "Xander wouldn't do that, would he?"
"You've been his friend for the longest," Giles said. "Do you know about his home life?"
"I... I know it isn't happy," Willow temporised. "Mr Harris isn't a very nice man, I know that."
Angel growled low in his chest, causing Buffy to raise a skeptical eyebrow. "Okay," she drawled. "I think we all need to calm down, and step back from the uber-parentism. You, Angel, are being super-freaky here, and I, for one, don't like it. I can't imagine how Xander's feeling. So. Calming down is good."
"Calming down is really of the good," Willow nodded enthusiastically. "Um. Have you heard of 'baby steps?'"
"The steps that a baby takes when it's learning to walk," Angel asked doubtfully.
"Yes," Willow smiled brightly. "Only, it's like you take things really slowly, and introduce new concepts a little at a time, and don't expect big changes too quickly."
Buffy regarded her best friend. "Your parents are home at the moment, aren't they?"
Willow opened her eyes in surprise. "Yes. How did you know?"
Buffy shook her head. "So, yeah. Baby steps. No freaking-out of the Xander, and no turning Xander into he-Willow. Not just yet, anyway, okay? I like my Xander-shaped friend, and, much as I dislike his personal taste in clothing, I respect his choices, and would prefer they don't require the really long-sleeved white jacket. Okay?" she finished brightly.
Angel looked at Giles for support, but the other man just shrugged. Angel sighed. "Okay."
Xander slipped into the house via the kitchen door to find his mother sitting at the table, reading a book. "Hey, Mom," he greeted softly.
"Xander, how are you? You look beat," she frowned.
"Nothing physical," he reassured her. "Just... Life's just gotten really weird the last few days. And it was weird to start with, so..."
"Did you find out about being a, what was it?"
"Dhampyr. Kind of. And there's a problem in that I'm not acting like one. I'm supposed to be all fast and strong and stuff. There may be sniffing abilities, too. Not sure."
"Angel thinks it's because Dad … Tony, well, you know. He's always, um, been, you know." Xander shrugged.
Jessica shook her head. "I should have left the first time he raised a hand to you like that. I should have, and I didn't."
"Yeah, well, anyway, Angel said that I probably just learned to, I don't know, not be not-normal, and it's just carried through. So he's going to train me to be a proper dhampyr. And stuff."
"So he's okay with you being his son?"
"Oh, god!" Xander groaned as he dropped into a chair, and laid his head on the table. "I get the feeling he more than okay with it. He was in the library today, looking at my records. He wants me to get my scores up to a B-plus average."
"That's good," Jessica beamed.
"Oh, god," he whimpered. "You're going to gang up on me: you, and Angel, and Giles, and Willow. Only Buffy is going to be on my side, and she's dating Angel, so she can't be trusted, either. I'm doomed."
Jessica patted her son's shoulder. "Don't worry, dear. We just want to help."
Xander just covered his head with his arms, and whimpered. Finally, he pulled himself together and raised his head. "So, what are you reading?"
"My journal. From when I knew your father."
Xander gazed at his mother with apprehension.
Jessica smirked. "Don't worry, dear, I won't sully your virgin mind with all our … sitting together. Anyway, I was more thinking about how he was. He was very literate. He was always reading something, French philosophy, or history." She sighed. "We had some lovely talks."
Xander stared off into the distance, and his lips began twitching.
"What are you thinking about?" his mother asked, amused.
"Buffy discussing French philosophy with Angel."
"Not so literate, huh?"
"Leaning a little more towards 'valley girl,'" Xander admitted.
"Which reminds me," Jessica nodded. "I need to have that talk with your father."
Xander grinned. "You may not need to," he admitted. "What with Angel jumping into the parenting thing with both feet, and all his whole library, and Buffy getting a little wigged about possibly being my step-mother, it may just die a natural death. Still, feel free to give dear old Dad the jailbait talk," Xander invited cheerfully.
"Oh, wow," Jessica murmured, "she would be, wouldn't she?"
"Yep. And apparently I have an insane half-sister, and a Billy Idol wanna-be nephew. According to Angel."
"How do you mean?" his mother asked, surprised.
"Drusilla is Angel's vampire Childe, and Spike is her Childe. She's mad, and he thinks he's Billy Idol, and they're both scary. Since I am really half-vampire, that makes her my sister, and him my nephew. I think. Not sure I ever want them to know that, though. Or, at least, not until I have my own half-vampy superpowers up and running," he added. He looked at his mother thoughtfully. "You know, I think I like this."
"You. You being, I don't know, here. Real. Normal." He tilted his head in thought. "Like a real mom," he added softly.
"Oh, baby," she sighed, reaching out a hand. "I really have let you down, haven't I?" When Xander just shrugged, she went on. "No. I know I have. I let Tony beat you, I let him run me down, control me. I just let it happen. I all but followed him into the bottle, but no more. Seeing Angel talking to you was the wake up call that I needed. From now on, I'm going to be here, be real for you. Oh, and," she added, getting up from the table, "I made dinner for you."
"You did?" Xander asked, brightening.
"Only box mac-and-cheese, but it's a start."
"There's nothing wrong with box mac-and-cheese," Xander argued.
"No. Just the preservatives, and artificial colours and flavourings, and high trans fats, and ..." she trailed off.
Xander looked at his mother. "It's a start. Thank you."
Chapter 6: Unexpected Consequences
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
Xander was getting officially pissed. Right now he was 'sparring' with Angel, which actually meant that Angel was beating the crap out of him, and telling him to fight back, because 'deep down, he really, really could.' What with being a dhampyr, and all. He had the power, now he just had to access it. And he had been trying. Honestly. Every day for a week, he had been trying, and he was sore.
And now Angel was getting Irish at him. The best way to know how mad Angel was was when the accent changed, and then the insults began. The really odd thing was that Angel's demon seemed just as invested in bringing Xander's powers out as Angel's soul. More aggressive, a bastard on the mat, but that just made it easier for Xander to grit his teeth, determined to work this thing out if it killed him. And right now? Angel was in full 'Irish and insulting' mode.
"O' course, ye dinnae hae the size o' me, and ye ne'er will. Ye've got way to much o' ye mam in ye, an' no' enough o' ye da," Angel hurled at him as he tossed the boy across his hip.
"You say it like it's a bad thing," Xander spat back, rolling to his feet, and springing back into the fight. "Why the hell would I want an Irish bastard like you for a father is beyond me."
"I'm no' the bastard here," Angel taunted, lashing out with his fists. "Unlike some, me ma an' da were married proper, and blessed they were."
"Yeah. I guess your dad was man enough to hang around," Xander shot back. "Unlike some I could think of," he added, swinging his leg in a quick, low sweep.
"Mayhap ye'll ne'er be strong enough. Ne'er strong enough to protect ye women, ne'er fast enough, ne'er good enough. Ye think abou' tha'? Ye're no' e'en good enough to get bein' a dhampyr right," Angel sneered.
Xander roared in rage, and moved. Quicker than breath, he was beside Angel, his arms swept up under one arm, hands clasped at the opposite shoulder, and he was swinging Angel down and onto his knee. Angel cried out as ribs snapped, and then he was rolled out onto the mat with Xander straddling his chest, wooden dagger in his hands, and poised above Angel's chest.
They lay there for a long moment as Xander struggled to control himself, and then Angel began to laugh, long and hard.
"Not the best time to laugh at me, Deadboy," Xander ground out.
"You did it!" his father shouted. "Look at you! You tossed me, you hurt me, and you beat me."
Xander sat back and looked around. Sure enough, Angel was lying on his back, underneath Xander, and Xander could easily have dusted him. Nearly had, in fact. He stood slowly as he thought about what had just happened. He looked down at his father, and realised that he really, truly had beaten the vampire. Grinning, he extended a hand. When Angel took it, Xander tugged, and dragged Angel to his feet in one quick move.
Xander frowned when Angel groaned loudly. "You okay?"
"Yeah," Angel grunted. "Fine. Just have a knee-shaped hole in my back, that's all."
"Oh, yeah. Um... Is there anything I can do for that?"
"Blood," the vampire decided. "Get me some blood from the fridge, and I'll heal up fine."
"So this is good, right?" Xander asked as he heated some blood. "I've found some speed and strength?"
"Yeah," Angel agreed, smiling. "It's really good. It's just the start, though."
"The start," Xander repeated. "Of course it's just the start. What am I thinking?"
"What you should be thinking of is the training that you'll be doing. This was just the initial breakthrough. You've realised now that you can do this, but you need to practice to make it … real, I guess. To make it instinctive. Lot's of long, hard practice," Angel finished, grinning. "Just as well you're living with me, now."
"Okay, that?" Xander groaned. "That was the demon talking. I know it."
Spike lay back on the lace pillows and watched his dark princess play with her china dollies. She had been rabbiting on for days about brothers, but hell knew she only had girl dollies to play with. Each time she had started on about it, he had just drifted off, thinking about what he could do to make his lover better.
"You're not listening to me," Drusilla pouted.
"No," Spike agreed as he sat up and wrapped his arms around her slender waist. "No, I'm not. And I am a very bad man for doing that. But tell me now, my wicked plum, what is this you're saying about brothers?"
"I have a brother," she explained gravely.
Spike snorted and shifted back a little. "Yes, I know about Penn. That's old news."
"No, no," she disagreed crossly. "Not the Puritan. This is our kitten, and he's got such claws," she whispered admiringly.
"'Our kitten?'" Spike asked cautiously. "I don't think I know that one."
"No. But you have met this brother. Daddy just didn't know about him at the time."
"Oh, 'Daddy' didn't know, did he? Well, that makes all the difference," Spike uttered sourly. Then he thought about that, and turned to her, curious. "How could Peaches not know about one of his Childer?"
"I didn't say my brother was a Childe," she explained, as if it was obvious.
"But if your brother is not a Childe..." Spike trailed off, confused. Then he chuckled. "Damn! Peaches got himself a dhampyr? How the hell did that happen?"
Drusilla turned to make eye contact, and recited formally, "'When a male and a female have sex at the appropriate time -"
"Yes, yes, dearheart, I do understand the mechanics of the thing. It's just that, what with the poof's shiny soul, and all, I thought he would have known about his precious boy."
Drusilla sighed sorrowfully. "Daddy was being good," she explained, "which was bad. He should have been bad, because then he would have been good, and the kitten's claws would never have been blunted."
Spike narrowed his eyes at the explanation. "There's logic in there somewhere, though blowed if I know where. You're awfully coherent tonight, my lovely. Is there anything I should know about?"
The brunette vampiress smiled beatifically. "Dinner was wonderful tonight."
"Yes. I noticed you were able to feed, and well. Chess club, unless I miss my guess. Something a little easier to digest than our normal fare, I thought."
Drusilla hummed. "Light, but full-bodied. And logical." She closed her eyes and rested her head against her Childe's shoulder. "But I have tired now."
"There, there, love. You rest now. I'll get you better. Just you wait and see."
Angel opened the door to find a middle-aged, strangely annoyed-looking brunette standing there. "Can I help you?"
"It's Jess LaVelle," she explained tersely.
"Jess?" Angel repeated, surprised, as he stepped back from the door. "You're looking … well."
"I look like shit," she returned succinctly, entering the apartment. "Fifteen years of letting yourself go will do that to a girl. So."
"What's this I hear about you hooking up with a girl your own son's age?"
"Uh. Well." He wandered into the kitchen and turned the kettle on as he wondered how he was going to handle this. "Buffy's quite mature. And it's not like we're actually doing anything," Angel offered.
Jess snorted. "God, Angel! Listen to yourself. 'Buffy's quite mature.' She's sixteen. You know, they have an age of consent for a reason. Do you know what it's called when you have sex with an underaged person?"
"Statutory rape. Do you even know what the age of consent is here?"
"No," Angel replied, aware the conversation was not going in his favour.
"Eighteen. You can't have sex with anyone under the age of eighteen years. I realise things were very different when you were human, but you live in this world, now, and you have to keep up with very important issues like when you may and may not have sex with a person."
"Eighteen. Oh," was all that Angel could think of to say.
Jess rolled her eyes. "You know, if you were human I'm pretty sure that librarian of Xander's would have hurt you already. I've seen a look in his eye, and I'm pretty sure he's not as stuffy as the lot of you think. And what the hell is her mother thinking, allowing her to go out with you? Does she even know about you?"
"I, um, I really wouldn't know."
"Have you even met the woman?"
"You have got to be kidding me. You're going out with a girl, who, might I add, is like eight or ten years younger than you were when you were turned, and you haven't even met her mother?"
"It's... It's not a traditional relationship," Angel argued.
"Oh, you've got that right," Jess bit back.
Angel's eyes narrowed. That's where Xander's snark came from. "As I was saying," he went on, "it's not a traditional relationship. I'm supposed to be here. I'm supposed to help her. And I do. I have lots of information that I can give – and have given – her. I'm helpful, and I'm useful. And... And I love her."
"I'm so glad it's true love," Jess returned sourly.
"Jess, you know it was never love between us."
The brunette shot a weary glance to heaven. "I know that. What I was going to say, is that if this is true love, then it can wait a few years. If you truly love her, then you can wait until she's at least the age of consent, and maybe a few years more. Maybe wait until she's finished college. You're never going to grow any older, you can wait that long."
Angel just stared at the woman, trying to think of some comeback.
Jess sighed. "Think about it." With that, she walked out of the apartment.
Buffy looked at Angel doubtfully.
"He needs to work on his technique," Angel argued.
"Uh, this is Xander we're talking about," Buffy countered.
Angel jerked back and studied his … girlfriend? Jess's words came back to him, and he decided that he really needed to talk to Buffy about that. Not right at the moment, though. He had a different issue to push with her.
"You do remember the part about him being a dhampyr, don't you? He's easily as strong and fast as a fledge, maybe more so. And he will improve the more he spars with skilled fighters."
"But … Xander," Buffy repeated, as if that was all the argument she needed.
"But … dhampyr," Angel returned, getting frustrated. "Look. Just do this for me. Please? Just try him out. He's had a really good breakthrough and he's getting better all the time, but it would be really good for him to be able to spar with you. And it would be good for you to have another sparring partner. Different people react in different ways, fight in different ways."
"Angel is quite right," Giles interjected mildly as he exited his office. "It is always good to have a wide range of combatants available. It will keep you fresh," he suggested.
"And give you a bit of a rest," Xander grinned.
"As the token human here," Giles observed, raising an eyebrow, "and considerable older than any of you, effectively, at least," he added with a nod to Angel, "I think I'm quite entitled to leave the bulk of the sparring to the two of you."
"Hey!" Buffy protested. "Human here."
"Well, yes," Giles allowed, "but not entirely. As a Slayer, you are every bit as mystical a creature as Xander."
Buffy pouted, then sighed. "Alright," she agreed in a suffering tone. "Get your ass over here, Xan. Time to get beaten up."
"Hey," Xander grinned as he walked out onto the mat. "Mini-vamp here. I might just beat you up."
Buffy snorted, and lunged forward in a half-paced jab.
Xander batted it away smartly, and scoffed. "Oh, come on. I could have dealt with that six weeks ago. Show me what you got, Slayer," he taunted, grinning.
Buffy raised an eyebrow. They wanted her to fight him properly? Well, then.
Angel wandered through the apartment, grinning. His boy had taken down the Slayer. His own son, his flesh and blood. Life couldn't get much better than that.
Chapter 7: Unplanned Fight Scene
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
A/N: Several people requested the Buffy/Xander fight. Here it is.
Buffy pouted, then sighed. "Alright," she agreed in a suffering tone. "Get your ass over here, Xan. Time to get beaten up."
"Hey," Xander grinned as he walked out onto the mat. "Mini-vamp here. I might just beat you up."
Buffy snorted, and lunged forward in a half-paced jab.
Xander batted it away smartly, and scoffed. "Oh, come on. I could have dealt with that six weeks ago. Show me what you got, Slayer," he taunted, grinning.
Buffy raised an eyebrow. They wanted her to fight him properly? Well, then. She waited until he took a step too close, then the moved forward with Slayer speed, sweeping her leg around behind his feet while striking out with a closed fist. A good start, except for the fact that Xander managed to jump in time for her leg to miss his, while he again batted her hand out of the way.
"Much better," he grinned approvingly.
Buffy frowned, and launched into a flurry of strikes, all of which Xander managed to deflect or dodge, but it meant that he was slowly moving back towards the wall. Aware of how close he was getting, Xander suddenly side-stepped, and turned so that he was on Buffy's left side, and put his body into a right-cross to the side of her head. Unfortunately for Xander's plans, Buffy spotted the punch, and dodged back out of the way before grabbing his wrist and jerking him forward, towards the wall.
Xander landed against the wall, rebounded away from Buffy, and spun to face the oncoming Slayer. Buffy leapt into a spinning back kick, certain that there was enough of Xander to be able to hit something at least, but by the time her foot was in the right place, Xander was a good couple of feet below it, and heading back up. Buffy felt herself flying, again, but in a very different direction to the one she had planned after Xander drove both fists up into her hip.
Xander watched as Buffy twisted through the air, attempting to right herself before she landed in a crouch, facing him. He kicked out at her, but she caught him around the ankle, and twisted hard, dumping him face-first on the floor, before jumping on him and snaking an arm around his neck.
Realising his window of opportunity measured in scant seconds, Xander pushed up and back, turning to hopefully land on top of his friend. They did land in an ungainly heap, but Buffy managed to get her feet up for lever Xander off her before he could do anything. Buffy flipped to her feet just as Xander corkscrewed upwards, but wasn't quite quick enough to block his hard jab to the face.
Buffy flew back, landing again on the floor, but was immediately on her feet, only to discover Xander was right there, raining blows on her, forcing her to block endlessly. When possible, she added sharp jabs between blocks, and she made sure to block as hard as possible, to inflict the greatest possible damage in return.
Buffy decided she was past concerned, and was now definitely worried. Xander really had had his breakthrough, and was at least as good as any fledge she had ever fought. Of course, he had that added benefit of a good year of watching her fight, and knew how she thought, while she was currently clueless-girl on his fighting thoughts. She might be better, possibly, but he had the edge right at the moment. And he was so big! She had thought that would be to her advantage – after all, there was so much to hit. Unfortunately, it also meant he had the reach that she so didn't. So not fair.
Suddenly, Buffy found her arm twisted up behind her back, with an arm wound around her neck. She struggled, trying to get Xander off her, but he simply tightened his grip around her neck. Finally she relaxed, and tapped her hand against his thigh. Xander released her and helped her stand.
"So," he began, watching her carefully. "We're okay?"
She turned and scowled at him, without speaking. Xander shifted. "Buff?"
Her hand flew up before he could say anymore. "Tomorrow. Okay? We'll be okay tomorrow. Tonight, I'm going home to hug an ice-pack and eat a gallon of Haagen Daz. Something chocolatey, I think. Goodnight."
Three pairs of eyes watched the tiny Slayer limp out of the library in silence.
"Well, Xander, I do believe congratulations are in order," Giles commented.
Xander looked at the older man warily. "You're not upset?"
Giles smiled. "No. Dear Lord, no. It will be good to have another strong fighter on our side. Of course, it hurts to see her beaten like that, but I can also see that you will help her a great deal, both by sparring with her, her improve her skills, and by fighting by her side." Giles' smile broadened. "Congratulations, my boy."
Xander turned to Angel. "Well, Dad?"
Angel grinned. "Let's go home, son."
Chapter 8: Unfortunate Favour
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy.
Xander woke as soon as the bedroom door opened, but made himself stay limp, breathing and heartrate slow and even. He was grateful that the moment had caught him sprawled on his bed, with both hands tucked under his pillow. He felt the mattress dip when someone sat down on the bed, but he kept himself relaxed.
"Wakey, wakey, my boy. Time for us to have a talk," he father grinned.
Xander let himself wake up, and stretched hard. He frowned up at Angel. "What time is it?" he slurred.
"Time for us to have a talk, boyo," the vampire repeated, still grinning.
Xander yawned. "What about?"
"Your future. You very, very important future as my child."
Xander nodded sleepily, and then moved. Twisting, he brought out the daggers he kept under his pillow, and attacked the vampire. The dagger in his left hand plunged deep into Angel's right shoulder, while the one in his right slashed deep across Angel's throat. Immediately, Xander brought the dagger back up and plunged it deep into Angel's gut. He then rolled off the bed and swept up his bag, shoes, and the previous day's clothes before bolting out of the bedroom, leaving his father bleeding out on the bed, already seriously weakened. He quickly dragged his clothes and shoes on and ran out of the door and into the sunlight.
Giles woke to the sound of hammering on his door. Grabbing a robe, he stuffed his feet into his slippers, and made his way to the door. "Coming," he called out. "Bloody hell," he muttered. "This had better bloody well be an emergency."
He opened the door to a rather ruffled and wild-eyed Xander, who rushed through the door and slammed it closed again.
"Xander? What is going on?"
"I don't know. Seriously, I don't know, but when Dad woke me up this morning, it wasn't him." Frustrated, he pressed the heel of his hand to his forehead and thought. "It... It was like he was a real vampire. Like he had no soul anymore. He came into my room and, I don't know, I was just terrified."
Giles sat down on the nearest flat surface. "How did you get away?"
"I have weapons, daggers, under my pillow. Always. Just in case, you know... I knew something was wrong when he came into my room. He sat on my bed, got real close. I stabbed him. Giles. I stabbed my Dad," he gasped.
Giles looked at the boy with deep sorrow. The lost look in Xander's eyes was heartbreaking. "It wasn't your father. It was the demon," he decided.
"Don't give me that shit!" Xander exploded. "I heard that when I had to kill my best friend. Don't tell me I have to kill my father as well." Xander collapsed into a chair. "Please don't tell me that," he whispered.
"We'll... We'll figure something out."
Xander looked around the apartment, trying to distract himself, but instead pictured Angel in different points around the room. He hissed. "He's been here. God, Giles, he's been in this apartment. He can walk back in here at any time. We, we have to do something. Uninvite him. Can we do that?"
Giles stood up and walked towards a bookshelf. "Yes. There is spell to revoke a vampire's invitation. I'll, I'll have to get Jenny to help me, and we'll have to do everyone's house. I think he's been invited in everywhere."
"Was it something I said, Giles?" Xander asked softly. "Something I did?"
"I highly doubt it, Xander. It may be a spell. It may even be temporary," the man offered. Flicking through his book, he muttered under his breath, "I hope to God it is."
Jenny Calendar looked up to see her favourite librarian hovering uncertainly in her classroom doorway. "You know, I honestly never thought I would see you anywhere near this place, this den of iniquity."
"Oh, nonsense," Giles returned, his light tone at odds with his worried eyes. "I, I'm quite sure nothing too iniquitous happens here. Infernal, maybe, with those machines sitting there, but..."
"Ah. You haven't heard of internet porn, then, I guess."
The computer science teacher smirked. "You heard. So what can I do for you today?"
"Oh. Um. Well," he continued, stepping into the classroom, "as it happens, something quite terrible has happened."
"You, you remember Angel, don't you?"
Jenny stiffened slightly. "The vampire. Yes."
"Yes. He had a soul. Well -"
"You said 'had'. Why are you using the past tense?"
"Well something happened this morning to persuade Xander that the soul was no longer … in residence, shall we say? He managed to make it out of the apartment, but the thing is that we now have to conduct uninvite spells at everyone's residences. Xander will be staying with me for the duration, and I believe his mother will be moving out sooner than expected so that he can stay with her without having to deal with Mr Harris. Has... Has Angel been to your place?"
"No, never. I'm not sure he even knows where I live, although I doubt it would be hard for him to find me. I, I need to make a phone call," she added, distracted. "Before we do anything else. Would you give me a moment?"
"Certainly." With that, Giles exited the room to wait in the hallway.
Taking a deep breath, Jenny picked up the phone and dialled a number. "Uncle Enyos? Something has happened."
Giles took no notice of Jenny's distraction, being thoroughly distracted himself. They travelled to each of the group's houses and performed the spell and hung the items as needed, before returning, finally, to the library.
Giles stood before the group and took a breath. "So you know, essentially, what has happened. You know, don't you, that you cannot trust Angel at this time. As far as we are aware, he no longer has a soul, and should be considered to be Angelus, one of the worst vampires of the last few centuries. Do not go out at night without either Buffy or Xander. Preferably, do not go out at night at all. In the meantime, we will research to find out what happened, and to see if it is reversible. If all else fails..." He trailed off, looking worriedly at Xander. "I'm sorry," he whispered, "but if all else fails, he must be … removed."
Xander shuddered, but made no sound. Buffy reached across and began to rub his shoulder.
"I may have some more information about what happened," Jenny began.
"Really?" Giles brightened. "Please, do tell."
She bit her lip. "You won't like this, I know. My name is not Jenny Calendar, but Janna Kalderash, of the Kalderash Tribe. It was my people that cursed Angelus a century ago, and what has happened is that the curse has been broken."
This announcement threw the library into an uproar. Buffy accused her of lying, Giles demanded to know more about the tribe and the curse, while Willow made wild accusations. Jenny simply looked at Xander, attempting to offer her deepest sympathy in her gaze, while he glared at her, furious. Suddenly he stood. "Quiet!" he roared. When the others were silent, he continued. "Talk," he ordered shortly, as if to grieved to say more.
"As I said, it was my tribe that cursed Angelus. He murdered our most beloved daughter, and then every man, woman and child who had touched her life. My ancestors cursed him with a soul so that he could suffer just as long as we do. The curse had a loop-hole, and please believe me when I say that I did not know this. If I had known I, I would have done something. Said something. I was sent here to watch, to ensure that he suffered, but I thought he was doing good. I thought it was right, what he was doing. I ..."
"What was the loop-hole," Xander asked hoarsely.
"Happiness. Even one moment of happiness would have been enough to break the curse."
"Oh, god," Xander moaned.
"Oh, dear Lord," Giles sighed. "That was it. Last night, you beat Buffy, and he was so proud of you, so … happy."
"I get that, Giles, I really do. It's my fault. My fault Angelus is on the loose."
"No!" Giles shouted. "Do not take this on yourself. Just … do not."
"Giles is right," Jenny agreed. "It might not have been you. It could have been … something else. Under different circumstances, someone else could have made him happy."
"You mean a lover," Giles asked, glancing at Buffy.
"It hasn't happened before, but we'd never seen such a strong attachment before. Sorry, Xander," she added softly.
The boy shook his head. "No. Mom said it wasn't true love. I get it."
Jenny nodded. "But under the right circumstances, yes, a lover could have given him that perfect moment, and he would have lost his soul just as surely as if his unexpected son had done something immensely pleasing."
Buffy looked around. "Sorry. Are you saying that if we were, um, in love, and, you know, had sex that he could have lost his soul?"
Jenny smiled slightly. "If it was love between you, then yes. Sharing love that deeply could have given him a moment of peace and joy sufficient to break the curse."
"Oh," Buffy murmured. "Yay me." She shook her head.
"So," Willow began, "this curse. It can be, um, re-cursed, can't it?"
"No. We have no-one capable of re-doing the curse. And it's in an older form of Romanian, so it would have to be translated even if we had someone powerful enough."
"So that's it?" Xander asked. "He has to die?"
Buffy laid her head on her friend's shoulder. "That's my job, Xan. I won't make you do that."
"No, please. Surely there's something else," he begged.
Giles looked at Jenny. "I... I'll look around, and, Jenny, would you also please talk to your people? See if there's anything else that can be done?"
Jenny held Giles' gaze for a moment before nodding. "I'll talk to my people."
Spike strode through the warehouse, wondering what he felt like eating, when Angel wandered in. "Got a bit lost, did we?" he sneered.
"Nope. Found exactly what I wanted to find."
"And what would that be, eh mate? A slow death?"
Angel scoffed. "Like you could take me! I have over a hundred years on you, boy."
"Yeah. And the last hundred spent eating, what? Rats? While I've been feasting on the finest, hot from the vein. And let's not forget the small matter of not one, but two slayers under my belt. And last, but most definitely not least, is the pesky matter of your soul," Spike smirked.
Angel considered Spike's arguments. "Fair enough, I have been eating poorly the last century. But I'm off the wagon, now, shall we say?"
Spike snorted. "Mate, the only way you'd be off the wagon was if ..." He tilted his head in thought, and a smile grew on his face. "Well, I never," he murmured, delighted. "You did it, didn't you? How the hell did you manage that?"
Angelus laughed. "Oh, my boy, you'll never guess. It was the most delicious thing!"
A/N: Dialogue taken from (episodes 2:13 [Surprise] and 2:14 [Innocence] as necessary.)
A/N 2: Angel has actually lost his soul slightly earlier than canon, so Drusilla is still sick, and Spike is uninjured. Also, I won't be following Angelus' progression in canon, as he has a very different motivation in this fic. Where Angelus, in canon, wished to destroy Buffy for making him feel human (episode 2:14 Innocence) his motivation here concerns Xander, and is vastly different. But I can't go further without possibly spoiling things.
Chapter 9: Unwise Connections
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
Everything had changed. Everything. And it had started with something so simple as a misunderstanding. His mom had seen him talking to someone, and assumed that he knew who his real father was. Assumed that he even knew he wasn't Tony Harris' son. And so everything had changed.
Everything was different. Mom had sobered up and moved out, and he had moved in with her. Gone was the souled vampire, but, as a dhampyr, he had taken his father's place. And he was patrolling with Buffy, he was escorting Willow, Oz, Cordy and Giles home, because everything was different.
He had finally gotten over his intense hatred of Angel, only to ultimately be proven right. And it was all his fault. He had been grateful for a caring father, happy that he was able to help, and he had learned his father's lessons so well that he had given his father one perfect moment of happiness. Great. Except where said moment of happiness broke the curse that attached Angel's soul to his body, and let Angelus return, more than willing to make up for lost time.
Everything was gone.
"What's all this then?" Angelus asked indicating a table full of texts with a sweeping hand.
"What do you think it is? I'm trying to fix Dru, alright? I brought her here to the Hellmouth, hoping to find some sort of cure, but it's not bloody working, is it?"
The dark-haired vampire regarded his pseudo-Childe. "Why would you need to mess with that? I've been feeding her since I got back. She'll be fine for fun and games in no time," he dismissed.
"Eh? Is that all it takes?"
"You always were an idiot, weren't you?" Angelus asked rhetorically. "Sire's blood is powerful. Surely even you know that? Besides, I want her strong," he continued, stalking closer to the smaller man. "You're not enough fun by yourself, William."
Spike backed away, scowling, then smirked. "So when do we meet this dhampyr of yours?"
"You know about him, do you? Ah, of course. Drusilla. You know him," Angelus revealed, with a smirk of his own.
"I know that, you great git. Dru told me that. She just wouldn't tell me his name. Called him 'our kitten,' and spoke of his claws, didn't she?"
Angelus flew forward, and grabbed Spike by his shirt. "He's mine," he roared. "Not 'ours', mine. My son. My blood. Mine."
Spike pushed away from Angelus. "Right, I get it. The boy is yours." He dusted himself off and put some distance between himself and the older vampire. "So what are you going to do with 'your' boy?"
"Bring him into the family, of course." 'You idiot' seemed to hang in the air.
"Can you even turn a dhampyr?"
Angelus frowned and tapped his foot. "I've not heard it done. Usually they're just killed. But he's a fine lad, and I want him." Angelus brightened. "He took down the Slayer, which is more than you've done lately," he added smugly.
"Bloody bint's got friends, don't she? Against nature," he muttered.
Angelus laughed. "And that is the true beauty of the thing," he announced. "The boy, my boy, is her best male friend. It's Xander."
Spike hissed, then grinned. "Bloody hell," he murmured approvingly. "Hey, I just thought of something. You gave him to me. That makes the whelp mine, not yours."
Angelus roared as he grabbed and tossed the smaller vampire across the room. "He's mine, and you'd damn well better remember that."
Spike picked himself up from the floor and wiped a thin trail of blood from his mouth. "Fine. Yours. But you should be more careful with your things, then. Oughtn't be careless like that, and give 'em away." With that, he nodded, and left the mansion to hunt.
Two men in cheap suits walked into the library and looked around. "Can I help you?" Giles asked.
One of the men flipped out a wallet. "Detective Paul Stein, this is Detective Tom Lee. I'm looking for Alexander Harris."
Xander stood up and walked forward. "I'm Xander. Is there a problem?"
Detective Stein looked at the boy, frowning. He already looked like he'd had a bad day, and now it was about to get worse. "When was the last time you saw Anthony Harris?"
Xander shook his head. "I don't know. Two, three months ago? There was a problem, so I moved out."
"He's dead." Detective Stein noticed that all the people in the library grew tense at that statement. He could smell a secret, but wasn't entirely sure which direction it would take.
Xander hunched his shoulders, and stepped closer. "How... How? Was it, um, an accident?" he asked quietly.
"No. Definitely no accident," he advised, watching the young man closely.
Xander flinched. "Uh. Where?"
"He was killed in his house."
Xander moved closer, as if wanting to keep the others from hearing anything. "How bad was it?"
"Very. He was, well, in lots of pieces. Blood everywhere."
Xander flinched again. "Was... Was there, um, any kind of message?"
Detective Stein narrowed his eyes. That wasn't exactly a normal kind of question. Then again, this wasn't exactly a normal kind of murder. "Painted on the living room wall. 'No one touches my boy.' Know anything about that?"
"Shit," Xander whispered. When he raised his face to the detective, Xander looked lost. "Look, this... This is going to sound really out there, but this really isn't anything you can handle. This..." Xander took a deep breath. "Tony wasn't my father. I found out, um, three months ago? And I moved in with my real father soon after. But... He's really, um, obsessive. And something happened just a couple of days ago, and … I had to move out in a hurry. I'm living with my mom now. Thing is..." Xander broke off, and studied the detective for a moment before going on. "Thing is, my dad's name… If it means anything, my dad is Angelus."
Detective Stein felt as if his stomach had simply disappeared. After a moment, he flipped his notebook closed and put it away. "Well, thank you for your help. I hope… I hope everything works out for you. I'll just file this, and get out of your hair." He looked up in time to see a tired smile flit across the boy's face. "Good luck."
Once out of the library, Tom turned to his partner. "What the hell? We just walk out and you'll just file this?"
Paul checked the halls as he spoke. "There's some things you pick up, no matter how hard you try not to. Some names you pick up. That boy in there is the son of a man named Angelus, who, most likely, tortured and murdered Tony Harris. Probably for years of abuse he put the boy through. Angelus... Well, let's just say that I'm going to have to advise the Chief that he's involved, and – trust me – this will all just go away. We do not get involved in anything involving Angelus. Not if we don't want to end up like Harris, anyway. And just pray that we don't attract his attention in any other way. Got it?"
"So we just run away like scared little girls?"
"No, we realise we're so far out of our depth even the Marianas Trench looks shallow, and we get the hell out of the way. Angelus is on the warpath, and we're dropping this. Now." After a moment, Paul could see his partner was still not convinced. "Look. Talk to the Chief, okay? He will tell you to drop this. And if you don't... Well, I guess I'll put something towards the flowers. How many in your family again?"
Tom blinked. "What?"
"Angelus. What he did to Harris? He'll do to your family. Not just you, but your family. You've got daughters, don't you? Yeah. Think about it."
"Just how bad is this guy?" Tom whispered, looking sick.
"You saw the living room, didn't you? Yeah."
"Xan?" came Willow's soft call, as the others gathered closer.
"Xander? Is there anything we can do?" Giles asked.
He looked up at his friends. "It was Angelus. He killed Tony. Left a message."
Their reactions were actually pretty much as expected. Buffy tensed, looking furious, while Willow was horrified, hand over mouth, and Oz, Cordelia, and Giles were upset. The older man's hand rested on his shoulder. "Is there anything we can do?"
"Figure out a way to fix Angel?" Xander asked, almost despairingly. "Um. I don't know what will happen. Tony was... Well, Tony was in pieces, which, not surprising really. Angel really wasn't happy with him."
"Something I actually agree with him on, although not the actual 'in pieces' bit, of course," Giles nodded.
"Aw," Angelus cooed as he strolled through the stacks. "And why not, Rupert? Didn't you want to go all 'Ripper' on the man? I simply got there first."
Everyone in the library quickly moved into new positions, with Buffy and Xander moving closest to the vampire, while the others fled behind them.
"Angelus," Xander growled. "I'm not even going to ask why you're here, but just take it as said that you're a sick bastard, and leave it as that."
"I think we've already had this conversation, boy. You're the bastard, not me."
"Yeah," Xander mused. "I nearly staked you that time. Maybe I should have while I had the chance."
"Maybe you should have," Angelus agreed, smirking. "Or maybe you should have followed your peers' path, and finished the job when I was freed, for you'll not have the chance again. You may be strong, but I'm stronger. I'm a Master, boy, and ye'll do well to remember that."
"I'll remember you're a monster. I forgot that for a while, but I remember it now. Thanks for reminding me," Xander taunted.
"Ah," Angelus moaned. "You're not fussing over what I did with Harris, are you? He deserved every last bit of what I did to him. He hurt my boy. He touched what was mine," Angelus stalked forward, getting upset. "No one touches what's mine, and you'd better remember that, Slayer," he added, whirling towards Buffy.
In a flash, Xander was between the former lovers, shoving his father back. Angelus recovered his balance and smirked. "Ah. I love the fire in you, son. You'll make a wonderful vampire."
"Never," Xander ground out. "I'll never be a vampire."
"Yes, son, yes, you will. You will take your place truly in the house of Aurelius, and you will be magnificent," the vampire gloated.
"Never," Xander whispered hoarsely.
"I do believe it would behove you to leave," Giles suggested.
When Angelus looked around, he saw the Watcher wielding a crossbow, as was the cheerleader. Buffy had grabbed a sword, while Oz stood in front of Willow with an axe. Realising that he was outnumbered, he snarled, then turned and stalked back out through the stacks.
Xander exhaled abruptly, and sagged. "Thanks, guys," he smiled weakly. "But, as much as I appreciated you not killing him in front of me, I really got to ask: why?"
Giles cleared his throat, and cleaned his glasses. "Well, we've got Jenny working on the Curse, and we're looking at other options in case that doesn't work. It's just that … I, I have this feeling that it's important. For you, yes, but not just for you."
"There's options?" Xander asked warily.
"Yes. Maybe. I don't know, but we're looking into it. In the meantime... We need to find somewhere else to congregate. Angelus has just proved that this place is not safe. He could bring backup next time he decides to visit us, and if Spike or Drusilla were to come, well, I really don't know what would happen."
Xander slumped into a chair. "Really. What's the odds."
"Give us a little time."
"We need more than time, Giles. He's killing people out there, and we're not doing anything to stop it."
"We need to prepare. Do you think that you and Buffy are enough to take them on? Three Masters?"
"Buffy took out the Master. He was, what, Angelus' Grand-Sire?"
"And she died. If you weren't there, she wouldn't be here now. Who is going to back you two up?"
"You guys? You always do," Xander reasoned.
"I just want a little time. A week."
"And how many will die?"
"How many will die if we lose both you and Buffy in an fight we are ill-prepared for?" Giles argued. "This... This is bigger than anything we've faced before. I want to be ready. Is that too much to ask? And if we can manage to get Angel back into the fold, working for good, all the better."
Xander sighed. "Every life he takes..."
"I know," Giles agreed softly.
Chapter 10: Undead Unfriends
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
Xander rounded a corner to see Spike leaning against a wall. "Oh, for crying out loud!" he muttered.
"Uncle Xan," the blond smirked as he pushed off the wall. "You don't call, you don't write... I had to come see you."
"Yeah. 'Cause I want to consort with the evil undead," Xander grunted.
"Daddy's not happy," Spike grinned as he slung an arm around the boy's shoulders.
"Oh, really? That's too bad. Maybe he'll get so depressed he'll stake himself."
"Nah. Just rip apart a few snacks, is all. "
Xander grimaced. "I'm trying not to think about that."
"It's what we do," Spike consoled. "They're just Happy Meals on legs. Nothing for you to worry about."
Xander wrenched himself out from under Spike's arm. "I do worry. It's my business to worry. I should be staking you right now," he added darkly.
Spike snickered. "Like you could! I have over a century on you, and two slayers under my belt. You're just a teenage dhampyr who's only just discovered his strength. Need a lot more than that, my boy."
"You could at least be a little worried," Xander grouched.
"Oh, I am," Spike conceded. "It's just that, here, alone, I figure you won't take the chance. Now, if Slutty were here, you wouldn't see hide nor hair of me, but she ain't, so here I am."
"Wow," Xander mused. "Actual logic."
"Oh, I'm the smart one. Dru's loony, but I listen to her, 'cause she's also right more than she's wrong. Your dad? Absolutely psycho, 'specially where you're concerned. He has plans, my boy," Spike nodded solemnly.
"Brilliant," Xander muttered.
"Yep. So. This looks like your stop, so I'll let you go say hi to your mum for me."
Xander rounded quickly, and grabbed the smaller man by the neck before lifting him slightly. He knew he couldn't kill a vampire by choking, but it was painful, as well as physically intimidating. "You do not talk about my mom, you do not think about her, and you sure as hell do not send her greetings. She is, and always will be, outside your universe. Got it?"
"Yeah," Spike choked out. "Crystal."
Xander tossed the vampire away from him. "Now go," he instructed.
Spike chuckled hoarsely, then turned as sauntered away.
Xander watched until the vampire faded into the darkness, then turned and walked into the house. Looking around, he found his mother in the kitchen, going over some bills. "Hey, Mom," he said gently.
Jessica Harris looked up at her son, and frowned. "What are you thinking about?"
He sighed. "You know everything's gone to hell, don't you?" When she nodded, he went on. "Angelus has painted me with a very big target, along with everyone important to me. You know that, don't you?" Again, she nodded. "You know you can't invite anybody in, don't you. Doesn't matter who it is, doesn't matter if the sun's shining, it just doesn't matter. You don't invite anybody in, not even me. You don't go out of the house after dark, you … you just say safe, okay?"
"I know what to do, Xander. I knew about vampires before you did, and I do realise that, well, he's not Angel anymore." She was silent a moment before going on. "Is it really that bad?" she whispered.
Xander sighed. "He wants to turn me. He may go through you, or one of my friends. That's why it's more important than ever for you to be careful, okay?"
Angelus stalked into the main area of the factory to see Drusilla draped over a large box. He frowned and folded his arms. "What's going on?" he demanded.
Spike turned to him, and smirked. "Just a little pressie for my Dru."
The larger vampire rolled his eyes. "Which is?"
"Just a little thing called 'The Judge.'"
Angelus scowled. "The one who judged humanity?"
"That's the one," Spike nodded.
"The one who judged humanity, and then burned the humanity out? The one who would burn the humanity out of my son, thereby killing him?" Angelus asked as he stalked closer to Spike.
Spike's eyes widened as he thought about what his grand-Sire said. "Uh. Yeah. Maybe?"
Angelus roared as he backhanded the younger vampire. "What the hell were you thinking? Oh, that's right: you didn't think. I don't care what you do, you get rid of that thing. I won't have you, or Dru, or anyone jeopardising my son before I get to make him mine. Is that understood?" he demanded.
Spike picked himself up from the floor. This was getting distressingly common, lately. He nodded. "Right. You tell Dru she's not getting her pressie, and I'll get rid of it. He just bloody better be worth it, mate."
"Or what?" Angelus sneered. "And, trust me, he'll be worth it. You've seen him. You know the darkness that's in him." The brunet stilled for a moment, then smiled. "Actually, no. We will do this," he decided. "We will put The Judge back together. And you'll see just what my son can do." Smirking, Angelus swooped over and grabbed Drusilla by the waist before sweeping her around. Laughing, he repeated, "You'll see."
Xander had finished patrolling for the night, and was on his way home when Spike appeared. "Oh, look," Xander mocked, "it's the Bleached Wonder! Whatever will I do? Somebody save me!"
"Oh, so it's like that, is it?" Spike wondered. "So I guess you won't be wanting the little tidbit of information I have for you."
Xander frowned at the vampire. "You seriously trying to tell me that you're going to give me information? For free? And I'm going to believe you because...?"
"Because I'm your favourite nephew?"
"My only nephew, and only by some weird thing about vampire bloodlines."
"Hm," Spike mused. "So you don't want to hear about this little thing your dear old dad's cooked up? No problem," Spike nodded as he turned to walk away.
Xander grabbed the vampire by his arm and spun him back around. "Alright," he growled. "Tell me your big news. And I promise to listen," he added.
"You promise, hey?" Spike repeated sardonically. "Okay, I'll tell you. You need to get your Watcher-boy to look up The Judge. He's not all put together just yet, but Big Blue is nearly there."
"'The Judge,'" Xander repeated. "Any other pearls of wisdom you want to send my way?"
"Nope. Figure you lot can work out the rest."
"So why are you telling me this, anyway?"
"Well, now, I figure you lot will cause a lovely ruckus when you find out. And I'm always up for a spree, I'll tell you that."
"Uh huh. So you're betraying Angelus because, what, you feel like having a fight?"
Spike chuckled. "I'm evil, pet. Don't you get that?" He thought for a moment, then went on. "Actually, it's more that we're amoral. We don't give a shit," he grinned. "And that's something you really should think about," he added with a wicked smirk.
"How so?" Xander asked carefully.
Spike moved closer. "You do know what happens between Sires and their Childer, don't you? I thought you'd read up on all of that," he mocked. "Surely you don't think 'Gelus would let a little thing like your being his own flesh and blood stop him, do you?"
Xander made a face, and stepped back. "Okay, the words 'ick' and 'ew' spring to mind."
Spike gave a wicked chuckle, and closed the distance again. "You know, the one thing that Angelus and I have in common – apart from the obvious, that is – is our inordinate fascination for doe-eyed brunets. And you are so very pretty," he purred.
Xander's eyes went wide. "Oh, hell no!" he ground out.
"'Course I'll not have a chance at you for a long while once he turns you. The big poof is very possessive. And he's not wanting to break you before he turns you, so you'll not be cracked like my Dru. Makes you all that more … interesting … to be around. Such fire, too. Oh, yeah. You'll definitely liven up the old place."
Repulsed, Xander pushed the blond vampire away. "No way in hell am I having anything to do with that, with you lot. I am not going to be turned, you hear me?"
Even as Xander protested, Spike once again invaded his personal space, closing in so that mere inches separated them. "Yeah, love, I hear you. Don't mean it won't happen, though, does it? Still, think I might sample the wares before before Daddy gets his hands on you." With that, Spike grabbed the boy's head with both hands, and kissed him hard.
Stunned, Xander found himself unable to react, and then Spike was gone, nothing remaining but his mocking laughter echoing around him.
Giles groaned as he headed towards the door. He had just made it to bed when someone had started their thunderous knocking at the door. He checked quickly through the peephole, and then opened the door to allow the young dhampyr to enter.
"Sorry, Giles, really sorry to do this to you, but I really need to talk. Really, really need to talk. As in possible big badness, plus way with the ew-ness and the ick-ness, and do you really think that Angel would really ignore the fact that I'm his son, for crying out loud, if he were to actually, you know, turn me, and do, well, you know, that? Please tell me it ain't so," Xander demanded plaintively.
Giles stood there, staring at the boy as he attempted to make sense of the almost-nonsensical stream of words. "If I understand," he began tentatively, "you are concerned that, were he to turn you, Angelus would demand Sire's rights with you, even though you were his son prior to turning?"
"Gah!" Xander squeaked as he shied away from the Watcher.
"I'll take that as a yes," Giles smirked. "Very well, then. Yes, Angelus would no doubt demand Sire's rights, but you should remember that, as a newly-turned vampire, and his Childe, you would have none of the compunctions that you, as a mortal, raised as a human, currently do. I take it you met with Angelus?"
"No," Xander shuddered. "Spike."
Giles frowned. "What else happened?"
"No," Xander scowled.
"It didn't happened, I'm not going to talk about it."
"Oh." The older man thought for a moment. "So that's it? You just wanted to ask about the, uh, moral implications of being turned? Other than the, um, murdering and causing of mayhem?"
"Yeah," Xander sighed. "Ah, no! No, there was more. Um... Oh, yeah. There's a big bad coming. 'Daddy'," Xander scowled, "is putting together something called 'The Judge.' Spike definitely said he's not all together yet, and, ah... Oh, called him 'Big Blue.' Said that was enough of a hint for you to start researching."
"And, er, why is he telling us this?"
Xander snorted. "'Cause he's evil – or at least amoral – and he thinks we'll cause a, what was it? Oh, yeah, 'lovely ruckus', and he's 'up for a spree.' God's, Giles, you'd think he could at least speak English," Xander pouted.
Giles stared at the boy for a moment, before shaking his head. "Right. Well, some of us actually require something along the lines of a decent nights sleep, or failing that, some sleep at least, so you can go home, now, while I make my attempt at reacquainting myself with my bed."
"Again with the non-English. Jeez. What is it with you guys," Xander complained, though Giles noted the quirk of a smile at the corner of his mouth, and gave an answering one as he escorted the boy to his door.
"You'll be fine to get home?"
"I'll be fine, G-man. Call you when I get there."
"Good. Thank you. Good night, then."
"'Night, Giles," Xander's voice floated back as he disappeared into the night.
Chapter 11: Unusual Tactics
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
A/N: Just to be clear: this story is not slash. I was considering it, but I have decided that it won't be. Yes, Spike kissed Xander, but then, he is a 'bad, rude man' and an utter bastard, and I felt it was perfectly within characterisation for him to do this, regardless of any intentions he may or may not have towards Xander. He's evil, people. Don't you just love him?
A/N2: Dialogue taken from /buffy_tran_
"So what do we know about the Judge?" Buffy asked the assembled Scoobies.
"Indestructible," Willow offered.
"No weapon forged can kill him," Cordelia added.
"Pretty much what I already said," Willow rebutted, rolling her eyes.
"It took an army to take him down last time, with over ninety percent casualties," Giles shook his head.
Xander rubbed his face. "Okay, so a big army, which we don't have, used forged weapons, which won't kill him, to hack him into pieces but not kill, just about all died, and now he's back. Is that about right?"
"Depressingly so," Giles sighed.
"And he gets power from killing people," Willow added. "So he can go kill more people."
"Again with the depressingness," Xander muttered. He slumped in his chair as he thought the problem over. "C4 isn't forged," he mused.
"And yet so available," Buffy smirked.
"Maybe not," he admitted with a growing smile. "But I know something that is."
"Do I want to know why we're here?" Oz murmured as he looked at the building.
"Um... No," Xander decided.
"Going with the flow?"
"Probably a good thing. Plausible deniability, and all that," Xander shrugged. He slipped out of the car, and checked his surroundings before looking up to the window high on the wall. If it weren't for his fancy new powers, he would have had to trick his way onto the base, and gain access through the door. Now he just had to jump.
He grabbed onto the windowsill, and pulled himself up. Perching precariously on the sill, he listened for any activity. Satisfied, he gently jimmied open the window, and looked inside. He twisted, and slid in through the window, and dropped down onto some boxes. He looked around till he found the box he wanted, and grinned. Who'd have thought anything good could have come out of the chaos that was Halloween? He hoist the box onto his shoulder, and made his way back to the still-open window. He leaned out, and hissed to Oz. The werewolf's head popped out, and Xander waved him over. Once Oz was standing under the window, Xander carefully lowered the box to him. Once he was sure the other man had the box, he let it go. While Oz carefully stowed the box in his van, Xander slipped out of the window, closed it, and dropped to the ground. With a grin, he hopped into the van, and waved for Oz to take off.
"We just stole something from the Army," Oz commented mildly.
"Not stole," Xander contradicted. "Liberated."
"And the government will look kindly on our act of emancipation?"
Xander laughed. "Hells, no. But it just might be the thing we need."
Xander carried the box in, and placed it on the Library table.
"What's that?" Buffy asked doubtfully.
"Something I think you're going to like," he grinned as he went to the book cage for a crowbar. Returning to the table, he deftly opened the box, and pulled the weapon out.
Buffy raised an eyebrow, then smiled. "I like how you think.
"They're already here, Xan," Buffy hissed.
"Got it," Xander muttered as he deftly removed the rocket launcher from its box, and loaded it.
Buffy jumped up onto pillar, and fired her crossbow. It hit true, but the Judge simply pulled it out and looked at it scornfully. "You are a fool," he derided. "No weapon forged can stop me."
"That was then," she smirked, setting her crossbow aside. Taking the rocket launcher from Xander, she continued, "This is now."
Xander watched as his father, Dru and Spike, eyes wide, leaped out of the way of Buffy's rocket. The Judge exploded into many pieces, but the vampires were seen to take off down an employees access hallway. Xander took off after them, but Buffy tackled him to the ground.
"You are not going after him, Xander," she announced. "There is nothing he wants more than to take you, and if you just take off after them like that, you'll be playing right into his hands."
"'But' nothing," she countered. "We'll take out the minions, but we can't take them all just now."
With a growl, Xander rolled her off him, and flipped to his feet. With angry dedication, he turned on his father's minions, and dusted as many as he could lay his hands on. He was surprised when he finally looked around to find no more vampires remained, and the others had already started picking up remains of the Judge, to be packed up and sent away for containment or destruction.
Xander sat on the couch in Giles' living room. "So what now?" he asked the other man.
"Well, I have several parcels which I am sending to various people. Actually I have a contact in Italy, who has promised to drop a portion each into Etna and Stromboli. And, of course, I shall be sending a portion to the Council."
Xander smiled faintly. "I was actually talking about Angel. Angelus. Him."
"Oh," the Watcher murmured. "Quite. Well, I'm afraid I had put aside that research while we were investigating the Judge. I, I have had some success, but nothing concrete so far."
"The week ends in two days, Giles," he reminded the man gently.
"You must give me more time," Giles countered.
"So more people can die?"
"You're not ready," Giles announced. "Buffy and you, neither of you are ready to take them on."
"I don't need to take them all on," Xander argued. "I only need to take on one at a time. Spike himself said that, while he could take me on by myself, he couldn't take both Buffy and me on together. So what we do is get Angel by himself, and take him on, two to one. Take them all down like that."
"You're not ready," Giles repeated softly, mournfully.
Xander laughed mirthlessly. "He's my dad. I actually got to like him. I'm never going to be ready to kill him. But that doesn't change the fact that I have to." Xander sighed, and let his head drop down. "You have two days," he said finally. With that, he stood, and walked out.
Giles took his glasses off, and pinched the bridge of his nose. Sighing, he put his glasses back on, and walked over to his bookcase. After a moment, he selected several tomes, and set them out on his table. Grabbing a pen and notebook, he set to work.
Giles sat at his table, numerous books scattered around, notes and translations littering the table and floor around him. He squinted at the book in front of him, then re-read the text. Quickly, he put the book down, and almost skipped over to the somewhat denuded bookcase, and searched for the appropriate text. Frustrated, he turned back to the table, and found it hidden by several larger books. He retrieved it, and quickly flipped through until he found his desired page. He returned to his chair, and compared the two documents, and began to smile.
"Now, that looks interesting," he murmured.
Chapter 12: Unmentionable Plans
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
The three vampires finally stopped running when they got to a park. Angelus turned on Spike laughing as he had the entire time they ran. "Did ye see that, boyo? Did ye see?" he demanded gleefully.
"What the bloody hell was that?" Spike yelled.
"That was my boy," Angelus grinned. "My beautiful, dark, boy."
"Oh, the dark kitten has such claws," Drusilla cooed. "And he'll claw, claw, claw," she added, hands hooked into imitation claws, "until claws his way clear."
"He used a bloody bomb," Spike protested.
"Did I not tell you that you'd see what my son can do?" Angelus touted proudly.
"He's bloody barmy, he is," the blond growled. "He gets that from you," he added, scowling. "And I doubt any of our minions survived."
"Ah, they're minions," the larger man dismissed. "We'll make more. And have fun doing it," he added, grabbing Drusilla for a grandiose waltz around the park.
Spike rolled his eyes as he watched the two dark-haired vampires twirl, his princess' laughter tinkling in the air. "So what now?" he demanded petulantly.
"Now? Now we have fun. Tomorrow, we make minions. And then we get my boy," he decided.
Xander stood, arms folded, as he scowled at the messy table. "Are you sure this will work?" he asked, glancing at the older man.
"Yes," Giles nodded firmly. "That is to say, I am fairly certain this will work. Er, well, it should work." He cleared his throat, and began to clean his glasses. "Other than the soul curse, which is problematic for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that it involves quite dark magics, this is by far the best solution to our problems. Angelus will be bound by a conscience, much as the soul once did, and this time there is no loophole. He cannot lose this 'conscience' as he did the soul. At least, no more or less than any other human. He will be on an even par with any of us, with a free will to do evil or good."
"But how will that work?" Xander shook his head. "He already chooses to do evil."
"True," Giles admitted. "But then, there is nothing to make him … feel badly about it. As it stands, when we do this he will feel fully the consequences of his actions. This will be a brand new conscience, unsullied by any past actions. In a way, he will feel more acutely than even we do."
"So doing 'bad' will hurt more than even if we do it?" Xander asked.
"Precisely," Giles nodded. "We have had our respective lifetimes to become used to doing bad. As a child, we have some innate sense of right and wrong, which is amplified by behaviours our parents instil in us. The way I understand it, Angelus knows what is considered bad, and currently has nothing to prevent him from doing just that if it causes him any form of pleasure. This spell will cause sufficient emotional or spiritual pain to act as a deterrent from doing what he knows to be bad."
"A negative feedback loop," Xander offered.
"And no way to break the curse?"
"It is not a curse," Giles shrugged. "It is a permanent change. So, no. No … clause, no loophole, no way to undo what has been done. Angelus will still very much be there, but … tempered. Reigned in, if you will."
"Not exactly as he was, but…"
"But a better outcome, as far as I can see," Giles decided. "Safer."
Xander gave a lopsided grin, and dredged up little levity. "Make it so."
Spike eyed the slender brunette as she drifted around the room, gnawing on a nail. "What's up, ducks?" he asked, slipping his arms around her waist.
"Clouds, and lights, and nasty sparks," Drusilla frowned. She turned to him. "Plans and plays, and words and ways. Too many ways," she waved a hand as if to remove imaginary cobwebs from around her head, "and I can't see my way for the brambles they cast before me."
"Right," Spike nodded firmly. "That makes not a whit of sense to me, Dru," he admitted cheerfully.
"The Watcher is up to something," Angelus divined.
"Well, I know that," Spike rolled his eyes. "That goes without saying. A little bit of clarity, however, wouldn't go astray. You made her," he scowled, "can't you make out what she's on about?"
"And you've clung to her petticoats for the last hundred years. Surely you learned how to interpret her meanderings in that time," Angelus taunted.
"You bring ruin to us all," Drusilla declared suddenly. "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
Spike had no chance to protect his beloved as Angelus roared up out of his chair to slam his Childe to the far wall.
"I am your salvation, Childe," Angelus thundered. "I am your creation, and your death. You are nothing without me." He stalked across, and dragged the vampiress up by her hair, before throwing her again. "Do you begin to understand what you are without me?" he demanded.
Spike held himself in rigid check as he watched his dark love pick herself up from the ground, bleeding and whimpering. Anything he did now would only bring further pain for the both of them. Better he stayed out of his Sire's chastisement. He watched as Angelus burned his ire out in her blood and tears, and as she bent to his will, to her beloved Daddy.
When he had finally sated his ire, Angelus straightened his clothes, and sauntered over to the smaller man. "Well, William," he asked, eyebrow raised. "Is there anything you have to say about this?"
In response, Spike simply raised his hand an wiped a smear of blood from Angelus' face, which he then brought to his lips, and sucked clean, all the while maintaining eye contact. "What is there to say?" he asked finally.
Angelus laughed, and patted his face, perhaps a little too firmly. "One hundred years, Childe, and you're finally learning."
"It may take me a while," Spike admitted, "but I do finally learn." He watched as the larger man strutted out of the room, well pleased with himself, before taking the chance to look over at Drusilla, who was sprawled, wanton and bloody, across the large table. She was lost, now, in thoughts of blood and lust, crooning absently to the unseen stars. Nodding decisively, he strode out of the mansion and into the night.
Xander shook his head when he saw the blond standing in the middle of the road. "Well, well," he mused. "If it isn't my long, unfortunately not-so-lost nephew. To what do I owe the honour?"
"You're hatching something, now, aren't you?" Spike asked, tilting his head.
"You know," Xander considered, wrinkling his nose, "I think that really deserves a 'well, duh', don't you?"
Spike smirked. "Thought so. Wouldn't be you lot without some plot being hatched. Going to try to kill the old bastard, aren't you?"
"Gee, Spike," Xander began, eyes wide in mock dismay, "you wouldn't be fishing for our devious plan, now would you?"
The leather clad vampire snorted. "Truth be told, I may just be willing to help you along a little."
"Right," Xander drawled. "You would willingly set your grand-Sire up for his final death. Is that what this is?" he sneered. "Do I look stupid to you?"
"Thing of it is," Spike explained, "that I'm not stupid. I do learn my lessons, even if the great ponce don't take the time to ask what lessons those may be. See, we were doing fine, we were, Dru and me. For a hundred years it was just the two of us, wandering about. Killed me two Slayers, I did, the first of which when I was but twenty years undead. Angelus, the great poof, had wandered off and left us. Didn't know he had a soul, now did I? So all this time it's been Dru and me. Then that bastard goes and loses his soul, and what does he do? Tries to take Dru off me. Waltzes in, all evil as anything, and Dru's all giggly 'cause she's got her Daddy back. Makes me right sick, it does. Tosses her around, blood everywhere, and what does she do? Opens her legs, and welcomes him back in."
"You know," Xander began thoughtfully, "I seem to recall a conversation where you were going on about everyone having sex with everyone else, and it being okay, 'cause of sires, and vampires, and everything. And yet here you are, complaining because Drusilla likes having sex with her Sire."
"A hundred bloody years!" Spike roared. "You'd think by now I'd have earned a little loyalty!"
"Uh, Spike? She's a vampire. Insane, too." Xander shrugged. "Just thought I'd mention it."
"Fine," Spike sighed. "I'm jealous of the prick, okay? That admission enough for you? I'm jealous of him, and I want him gone, and if that happens to fall in with your plans, then … so be it."
"Well, I have to admit that the jealous lover angle certainly makes more sense. So what do you propose?"
"Now, this is more like it," Angelus smirked. "The family that kills together, stays together."
"What can I say," Spike shrugged, arm slung around his princess' waist. "Solitary hunting can be good, but together we can have a riot of fun."
"I want to dance," Drusilla announced. "Can we go somewhere fun?"
"Sure we can, pet," Spike nodded. "How about the Bronze? Scare up a parcel of fun and maybe a snack or two."
"Maybe," Angelus frowned. "My son and the Slayer might be there."
Spike snorted. "There's three of us, and two of them. What's more, I stand a chance at the Slayer, while you get your boy."
Angelus smirked. "I like the way you think, boyo."
"So, the Bronze, is it?" Spike clarified.
"The Bronze it is," Angelus nodded, and led the way to the nightclub. Once there, he noticed his son dancing wildly with the Slayer, while their friends lounged at a set of tables. Buffy spotted the vampires, and tapped Xander on the shoulder, drawing his attention to the trio. When he made to go to them, frowning furiously, she grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back. They were nearly all the way back to the tables when Angelus reached them.
"Well, now," the dark-haired vampire began, "what have we here? My very Own, and a slut of a Vampire Slayer."
"Oh, look, Xan," Buffy shot back. "It's the Marx Brothers: Chico, Harpo and Groucho! Or is that Zeppo?" she sneered, glancing at Angelus.
"Uh, no," Xander wrinkled his nose. "Zeppo could sing. I've heard Angelus in the shower. Not of the good."
Spike hastily covered his grin while Angelus surged forward angrily. "That'll be enough of that, boy," he growled. "You're mine, and you'll be taught respect at my hand."
"Oh, I have full respect," Xander nodded. "For those actually worthy of it, anyway. Which would not be you, as it happens."
Angelus roared forward, only to be knocked back by a hard blow from Buffy. Spike quickly surged into the gap between the two parties, and held his hands out appeasingly to his Grand-Sire. "How about we take this outside, yeah? More room, and less interference."
"They're mine," Angelus snarled. "I'll gut the Slayer, and bring my son into the family. He'll go down fighting, see if he won't."
"You got that half right," Xander smirked. "I'll be fighting. If you're man enough, or vamp enough, anyway, to take it outside, that is." With that, Xander shrugged off his friend's hand, and stalked outside.
Buffy joined him, with the vampires following, and Willow and Oz trailing behind. As soon as they were clear of bystanders, Angelus leapt for his son. Xander, however, had sensed the vampire's attack, and had begun to drop to the ground even as the older man's hands reached for his shoulders. The lack of a solid body to land against caused Angelus to overshoot his target, and he slipped past Xander's shoulder. With a twist, Xander dumped his father onto the ground, and landed a swift, hard kick into the older man's side.
Not liking the current odds, Xander quickly skipped around so that he could see all three vampires. Drusilla had taken it upon herself to attack Buffy, and waded in, dark nails flashing, while Spike held back, watching gleefully. As Angelus surged to his feet, and Buffy sailed towards Drusilla with a fierce right hook, none of them noticed Giles and Jenny sidle up to Willow, take her hand, and begin to chant.
Chapter 13: Unexpected Consequence, Mark 2
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy
Spike leaned back against the wall and grinned. The scene before him was magnificent: Angelus and his boy were going hell for leather on one side, while the tall and lithe Drusilla was 'dancing' with the tiny blonde spitfire of a Slayer. He could join in, it would certainly tip the balance in their favour, but he was having more fun watching, and he wasn't sure either one would appreciate his interference. Besides, he didn't really want to give that Irish bog-trotter any advantage whatsoever. No. He had to pay.
And pay he did, Spike observed gleefully. Xander had obviously had not only paid attention to Angel's lessons, but had kept up his training with the Slayer, because he was making a fine job of kicking Angelus' arse. Literally, at that very moment. Angelus picked himself up from the asphalt and launched himself back in to the fight. Spike considered that he hadn't telegraphed that blow: he had written an epic and sent it via pigeon post. But that's what anger did to one's fighting skills. Too bad, that. Spike sighed happily.
Pity the old poof wasn't going to get a chance to turn his precious son. Or, wait, Spike considered, tilting his head, maybe it was a very good idea to never let that boy be turned. As he watched, Xander hefted his father, and tossed him into a wall. Nice. Of course, Angelus rebounded and launched back into the fight, but you couldn't have everything. Yep. This was what happened when feelings entered a fight. The silly bugger had taunted Xander, and was reaping the harvest in his son's vicious blows. Spike watched the fight, and pondered just how dangerous the boy would be if he was turned. Angelus' own son, flesh of his flesh, and, once turned, most truly blood of his blood. He shuddered. Angelus' son, turned as his Childe, raised first by a drunk, and then by a Master of the line of Aurelius. The world would probably never see another like him, if ever it survived him. Spike frowned. Sometimes there was just a little too much darkness. Nope. The boy couldn't be turned, not safely.
As Spike turned his attention back to his Princess' fight, he wondered what he was missing. He was sure there was something… He frowned, and glanced around. The poof was getting his arse handed to him: enough for a smirk, that. Tall, lithe darkness swirled around short, golden light, and Spike shifted to adjust himself. All's well there. The Slayerettes huddled together at one end of the alley, in fear and… Oh, hell no! They weren't huddling, they were casting. Spike snarled, and entered the fray. Dashed, if one wished. Bloody magic from bloody witches, and no one looked particularly … picky about which vampires got … whatevered.
Spike reached Drusilla, and hoist her in his arms, swirling to get her out of harm's way. Now he was here, he could feel the magic in his teeth, in his bones. Dru, however, was so far sunk into her fight that she could think of nothing else, and was clawing at his arms to make him let her go. He stumbled two steps to the side, the magic now an acrid tang in his mouth as his lover screeched and twisted in his arms. As stray heel caught his shin as he felt his ears pop, and then there was a sudden, bright silence, then nothing.
'Too late,' was his grieving last thought.
"What the hell are we supposed to do with them?"
Spike stayed utterly still as the Watcher's words drifted into his waking ears.
"Uh, they're vamps," Buffy commented, valley girl voice switched to 'on', "we stake them?"
"We've had this discussion," Xander retorted, annoyed. "We can no more do that at the moment than we can to Angel. Which is not at all," he added with a growl as Spike heard Buffy shift in her seat.
"It's not Angel," Buffy argued. "It's Angelus."
"Angel, Angelus, Liam," Xander hissed. "It's not going to happen."
"Buffy," Giles warned. "We are not doing anything until they are all awake, and we know for sure what has happened. The spell was never intended to work on more than one of them. I'm still not sure why Drusilla and Spike were even affected."
"'Cause the damn thing worked on proximity, you git," Spike snarled as he sat up. He looked around at the three mortals, not missing the warning glance Xander flashed at the blonde. He had positioned himself closer to the vampire, and Spike was sure he not only could, but would stop Buffy from doing anything drastic. "So what exactly did you do to us?" he demanded.
Xander glanced at the other two again, then cleared his throat. "Gave you a conscience."
"You what?" Spike roared. "You gave me a bloody soul? You turned me into the great poof? I'll kill you! I'll kill you, and then I'll dance in your entrails while using your blood to paint the town red, then I'll find Dru and screw her into the mattress, thus getting my happy and lose that God damned soul," he snarled, stalking forward to implement his plan.
He only got as far as Xander's fist, and dropped to the floor. He looked up to see the boy scowling at him, the Slayer rolling her eyes, and the Watcher cleaning his glasses.
"Yes," Giles coughed, "well. As, er, descriptive as that was, we did not give you a soul. For one thing, the curse was in Old Romanian, which none of us read, and for another, it utilised a degree of black magics that I was not comfortable with any of use delving into. Rest assured, you don't have a soul."
"But," Spike began, licking the blood from his lip as he contemplated the puzzle. "You said..."
"I said you were given a conscience," Xander replied. "Didn't say anything about a soul. Oh, and by the way, Bleach-head, it's permanent."
Spike gazed at them balefully. "You bastards," he breathed.
Angelus looked at the tableau before him. A man with his good and evil angels at his sides. Perhaps appropriately for them, the 'good' angel was dark, while the 'evil' angel was fair. But then, 'good' and 'evil' were relative, especially today. Never the less, it was his sublimely magnificent dark-haired son standing for their deliverance, while his beautifully blonde, not-quite lover argued for their destruction, as was her prerogative as the Slayer. And, to be honest, he wasn't quite sure which result he wanted in this moment.
Giles considered the three vampires. Angelus sprawled in one corner of the settee, a faint frown on his face as he glared back at them. Spike scowled from the other corner of the settee, holding the faintly whimpering Drusilla in his arms, looking ready to leap to her defence. He removed his glasses, and cleaned them thoughtfully. It was all well and good when they were planning the downfall of one of the vampires. What on earth where they to do with three conscience-laden vampires?
Spike allowed the sub-vocal growl to slip past his sneer. Bloody Judgement Day, and these mortals thought they had something to say in his existence. As if his precious Dru hadn't suffered enough from her thrice-damned Sire, now she had to put up with this! A conscience! His arms tightened around her as she whimpered again. And that bitch of a Slayer was not helping. Wanting to dust them all, just 'cause someone who would remain nameless (bloody poof!) lost his bloody soul. Slipshod bloody Gypsy workmanship, and that's all he could say on the matter.
Buffy bounced on her toes. Why were they even discussing this? Sure, Angel was Xander's father, but that spell hadn't returned Angel. It had given the vampire, theoretically, anyway, a conscience. And her very valid concern was that it had somehow managed to share one conscience among three powerful, amoral, dangerous vampires. How was that supposed to work, anyhow? One does something, and they all feel bad? They all have it, but only feel one-third as bad for killing someone? And would anyone really mind if the stake she was twirling accidentally flew off and dusted someone? Enquiring minds wanted to know.
Drusilla whimpered as images swirled through her head. A monster of monsters torn apart by a four-part light, while a triad darkness defended the little sparks that cowered in their no longer pristine burrow. A little, black kitten morphing into a giant, black panther that romped down a hall, followed by a nasty snake, who disappeared in fire and noise. English voices disclaiming in horror as the light sheltered the darkness, and built a new way, and a new world. She burrowed into her lover's arms, and made her mind turn to the little red tree, and the teachings she needed. The little cricket was going to make things interesting.
Xander stood as if planted, arms folded, jaw locked. To one side, he could feel Buffy's energy and will to act. Closer, but a little behind them, stood Giles, baffled by the situation before them, unwilling to condemn his family without due consideration. And before them sat, for good or ill, sat his family. His blood, and blood of his blood. What was he going to do with them? "So... Does anyone have any idea just what happened here?"
"You bloody cocked up," Spike snarled, "that's what happened."
Angelus reached with a lazy arm, and cuffed his errant grand-Childe. "What he means is that the spell was proximity activated, and not limited to the individual you focussed on."
"Well, duh!" Buffy snorted. "We kind of figured that one out already."
"You should remember, little girl," Angelus snarled, leaning forward, "that I am not your honey, returned. I am still Angelus."
Xander reached out to contain his friend, and pushed her back towards Giles. "She knows that, Pops. She's also right. We already figured it was a proximity-based spell when all three of you keeled over like that. What we need to know is just how affected each of you are."
Drusilla chose that moment to stir, and sit up in the circle of Spike's arms. "Dru," the blond murmured, "pet, how are you?"
Drusilla blinked, and gazed around the room, her gaze finally settling on her fair-haired lover. "No long noses for you," she chided, tapping his nose. "You may never be a real boy, but your proboscis should never be so over-extended."
"You know I never lie to you, love," Spike returned, mildly offended.
"Drusilla," Angelus commanded, "what have you seen?"
"The New World brings a new world," the seeress declared, "and we shall be good."
"Ah, hell!" Spike grumbled. "And how are we supposed to eat?" he demanded.
"Well, there's always animal blood," Buffy chirped.
"No way in hell are we putting up with that shite, Slayer," Spike growled. "Angel drank it for a hundred years, and it left him weak as a newborn kitten. I am not putting up with that, and I am sure as hell not letting my princess do with it. The great poof can do as he wishes, now he's back."
Angelus regarded his annoying relative. "You really are stupid, aren't you?" he scoffed. "I'm not Angel. And I'm not drinking that shite, either."
"So what do you plan to do?" Giles asked, curious.
Angelus shifted uncomfortably, and glanced at Drusilla. "That I haven't figured out yet. But I am no maudlin soul as would put up with pap like that, that you may be certain."
Spike sighed. "Vampires aren't the only evil under the sun, you know," he suggested, rolling his eyes.
"This, this is true," Giles allowed. "Being, as you say, Buffy, soul-having does not guarantee a person is good. Just as the lack of a soul is not what truly defines a vampire as evil, though it certainly does not help. It is the lack of a conscience that does it. After all, a human must have a soul to begin to be truly evil. It is as the conscience is sheared away, that a person sinks into various depravities. I am curious, though, as to how our … guests feel about the possibility of harming an innocent."
At the suggestion, Angelus shifted in his seat, while Spike looked about uncomfortably, and Drusilla appeared to turn grey.
"Right," Spike decided. "No sipping from the kiddies. But rapists," he added hopefully, "murderers, we can still kill them, can't we?"
Angelus sat back in his seat, and frowned. "Anyone who comes at me and mine has signed their own death certificate by doing so," he declared. "Anyone we find doing grave evil," he added, "may be used as food, also. Cheating you at kitten poker is not a grave evil," he added, spearing Spike with a glare. "Other than that… We may have to buy our food like the humans do," he growled.
"Okay," Buffy began, frowning, puzzled, "I'm not sure which is the more bizarre imagery: Spike dropping in on the blood bank for a pint of O-pos, or, uh, playing poker with kittens?"
"Playing poker for kittens," Spike smirked.
"For kittens?" Buffy squeaked. "How does that even work? Do you… I mean, what…"
"For snacks, pet," Spike explained, enjoying himself hugely. He thought for a moment, then made a face. "Don't think I'll be doing too much more of that, though. Suddenly it don't seem so much fun."
"Got to save the world for puppies and kittens," Drusilla intoned gravely. She turned, fluttered her eyelashes at her brother, and meowed. "Nice kitty," she smirked.
Xander rolled his eyes. "Okay, so how are we going to work this?"
Twelve months later...
Drusilla peered around the corner, rubbed her hands, and bounced with delight. She reached out her fingertips to the sunlight, and waggled them, only to avoid a nasty burn when Angelus reached out crossly to snatch her hand back.
"God damn it, woman," Angelus hissed. "Ye have a conscience, not an asbestos suit."
Spike glanced at his grand-Sire, eyebrow raised. "Someone's been spending time with his boy," he commented dryly.
Angelus scowled at the other vampire, then back at the distant podium. "I can't believe he's actually doing the speech."
"He's evil, pet. Like we were, remember? Not to worry, sky's getting dark. We'll have our fun soon enough."
Drusilla made a moue of distaste as she peeked around the corner again. "Nasty worm," she muttered. "I've seen this already," she added pettishly. "Now I want to play."
"Seen what, love," Spike asked distractedly.
"The nasty worm will chase our lovely panther, and the fire will be bad bad bad for him." She giggled. "Now we just have to wait for the Father Sun to hide his face, and we can play."
Angelus and Spike exchanged glances. "Can't say she doesn't have an interesting turn of phrase," Angelus shrugged.
"Got that right," Spike nodded. He looked up at the sky again, and grinned. "Ready, then?"
As the last of the sun was covered by the mystical eclipse, the three vampires swirled out of their hiding place to face the Mayor's minions as they swarmed out of the sewers. They lit into the enemy gleefully, demolishing their ranks and safeguarding the human participants. Each of them had been marked, against both males' wishes, by a band of the same maroon fabric as the graduates' robes. Angelus found out just how handy that little piece of fabric was when one of the students nearly stabbed him, holding back only when they sighted the band. In return, the student received a scowl from the dark-haired vampire, who immediately dashed off to find someone he could validly hurt. The student shuddered, and likewise turned their attention back to the fight.
Sometime later Xander caught up with his friends at the edge of the school grounds. "So how is everybody?" he asked anxiously.
"Good," Giles nodded, tired. "We all appear to be fine, with the possibly exception of Mr Wyndham Pryce," he added, nodding to where the other Watcher was being assisted into an ambulance. "How are the others?"
"Good," Xander smiled. "Had the traditional post-fight pat down and groom, Dru said I had grown into my claws – so not asking! – and they've gone back to the mansion. Dad said he wouldn't be surprised if everyone just wanted to go home and crash, but you're all welcome to come back for a, what was it?" he asked, eyebrow raised to Oz. "Shindig?"
"Dip, not brie," the guitarist nodded.
"Well, I'm going to sleep," Cordelia decided. "Don't think I could even work up the enthusiasm to get someone to make dip for me."
Buffy nodded. "Sleep is of the good," she declared.
"We survived," Oz declared thoughtfully.
"It was a tough fight," Xander agreed, "but, yeah."
Oz frowned. "No. High school. We should take a moment."
As one, the graduates turned to survey the ruined school. Finally, Buffy stood and stretched her spine. Willow also stood, and slipped her arm through her boyfriend's, laying her head on Oz's shoulder.
As the others also stirred from their positions, Oz murmured, "And we're done."
"So," Xander began, slipping his arm around Cordelia's shoulders, "sleep for a week, then catch up?"
"Sounds cool," Buffy agreed. "You're going on your road trip soon?"
"Two weeks," Xander nodded. "Two weeks here, then Angel and co haul me around for a month, then I get six weeks freedom. Apart from mandatory phone calls home, long distance health checks, and an undead seeress to keep an eye on me. Still, could be worse."
Cordelia nodded. "You could get stuck in some two-bit town, no money 'cause your car is broken down, and having to bus tables at some ladies strip club until one day one of the strippers breaks a leg, and you have to get up on stage and take it all off for the ladies," she offered.
Xander glared at her. "Has someone been having fantasies?" he asked.
"Who, me?" Cordelia asked, trying, but failing, to show an innocent face. "Of course not." Her smile grew distant as her attention wandered. "But, of course," she added, smirking, "if you wanted to make it a reality..."
"Stripping in public," Xander shuddered. Not going to happen, he decided.
A/N: It's finished! Can you believe it? Well, thank you to everyone who read, commented, and recommended this fic. The support has been wonderful, and truly the only reason I managed to complete it, rather than just let it languish forever. I will be getting to my other stories, it's just a matter of discipline, not something I've ever been very good at. Sorry. Well, one down, [hide number here] to go.
Thank you, so long, and good night.