Author: Thea Zara aka 50ftqueenie
Warnings/Squicks: The plot is driven by child abuse (both sexual and physical), non-con, slash, violence, attempted suicide, bloodplay, and the author making horribly cliche use of multiple personality disorder caused by the first two. There is however plot and H/C. The non con/child abuse is part of that and NOT part of the slash relationship itself.
Summary: Xander has a trigger, and with an unexpected death, the First now has a means to use it. Set just after Orpheus in Season 4 of Angel, and just prior to the Buffy episode 'Dirty Girls'.
Author's note: This is obviously going to go AU right off the bat, and in this AU, Spike's trigger is broken enough that the First can no longer make him kill, but it can still cause blackouts.
Previous Parts: Memories
Angel was still gathering his people back into the lobby when they stepped out of his office.
'And when did Angel start having people?' Xander thought to himself before speaking aloud. "What's going on with Willow and Faith? Are they ok from the spell? What about Cordy? What the HELL was that thing in her? And Angel? Your son is a complete pain in the ass... I think he takes after you."
Angel didn't quite know whether to be insulted or preen at that last comment, instead he turned and spoke to Wesley. "The First Evil was here, get everyone down here so we make sure they're ok, and warn them about it."
When he finished with Wes he turned back to them. "The spell took a lot out of all of them. Willow and Faith are asleep upstairs. Cordelia read us the riot act for being complete and utter morons, and then she passed out too. We don't know what that thing was inside her, but Wes, Gunn, and Lorne all said until it died, it looked like the most amazing thing they'd ever seen. It was controlling them somehow, while it tried to get to Fred. Luckily Gwen came along when she did."
"About that... who the hell is she and how did she do that?" Xander asked eagerly.
"Gwen is kind of a friend. She can control electricity to a certain extent. Any more than that is her story to tell. She came looking for some help, and Gunn is with her now."
"So where do you keep the food around this joint, I'm kinda starved. I mean really, I haven't eaten since... Well let's just say its been awhile and leave it at that, ok?" Xander went from brash to bashful in seconds.
"The kitchen is down that hallway, feel free to help yourself, Xander." Angel said, taking in the change in the boy in front of him. Aside from looks, he was nothing like the fierce fighter who'd attacked him over Spike, or the brash jokester who'd been giving him a hard time the last few minutes. This was something different and he wanted a word or six with Spike about it. "Spike, I need to talk to you while Xander's getting something to eat. In my office."
"Right, Peaches, I'll get right on that." Spike said with a sneer, but his eyes never left Xander. He was taking in this new attitude. This wasn't quite 'Alex', but it wasn't the Xander he knew either. "Come on, pet, lets go get you topped off."
"That's ok, Spike, I can go myself. Why don't you stay and see what Angel has to say." He gave the surprised vampire a kiss on the cheek before he walked off in the appropriate direction. He stopped halfway down the hall and turned around before speaking. "We really need a yes or no about the ritual, Angel. I'm not going to let this put Spike in danger. If you don't want me, then tell us now, and we'll make other arrangements. Willow might be able to do something to break the bond so it doesn't hurt Spike."
Spike growled quietly at the mention of breaking the bond, but otherwise stayed silent. Xander waited a moment quietly, and when Angel didn't say anything, he turned and headed to the kitchen.
Angel watched him go and then walked into his office, certain Spike would follow him. He sat down and waited for the outburst he knew was coming.
"Damn it, Angelus, you will NOT let him go on thinking he's not worthy of the line. Hell considering the entirety of the line is a few minions smart enough to avoid the slayer, two souled up ponces and a crazy seer, I'd say the boy fits right in, so quit with the melodrama and set his mind at ease." Spike said before slamming himself into one of the chairs.
"His mind is exactly what I'm worried about. That wasn't normal, out there. It's like he totally changed personalities."
"Mate, you don't know the half of it, but thats not the bloody point. Xander wants this, he needs this." Spike said angrily.
"Xander said he'd try to have the claim broke, Spike, or weren't you listening."
"He's right. The hair gel really has gone to your brain. What he said was he would make sure breaking the bond wouldn't kill me, you nit. Meaning he knew full well it would in fact kill him. That doesn't mean he wants to break the claim it means he doesn't want to kill me when YOU don't accept him. You great big poofy haired TIT!" Spike had grown louder and angrier as he went along and by the end was practically screaming at his sire, before slumping back in the chair in silence, hands over his eyes.
"If it's what he wants, I'll accept him, Spike, but I have to be sure it's what he wants. Tell me how this came about."
Spike took a few deep breaths to calm himself and then started talking.
Xander quietly walked into the kitchen, listening to the murmur of voices as they became more distinct.
"He killed me, he killed my family, and yet I took his son in, I raised you as my own. I taught you to fight and to survive, and when we manage to get back here, how do you repay me? You let him kill me, you call him father, you sin with his whore, and then worst of all, you let those blasphemous heathens kill your child."
Xander watched as with each 'sin' Angel's son shrunk in on himself more and more, until he looked ready to implode. He stepped forward and finally got an eyeful of who was talking to Connor. It was the same demon as before, but the mannerisms and the voice were completely different.
"Who are you seeing?" Xander asked quietly. "Cause I already know how much demons tend to make you all pissy. So who do you see standing there? Cause me, I see this really ugly demon with horns and a big old yen for shit stirring. One that really gets off on telling people how worthless they are, so they'll jump to its tune." The first growled at Xander and disappeared.
"It was my dad. It was Holtz." Connor said quietly, no longer quite so ready to break, as he began to realize he wasn't really dealing with Holtz.
"I thought Angel was your dad." Xander said, confused.
"He is. It's confusing. Angel is my biological- is that the word?" Connor asked, and continued when Xander nodded. "He's my father that way, but Wesley found some prophesy, that turned out to be fake, that said he would hurt me and so he kidnapped me, only Justine, who was I guess supposed to help him, double crossed him, and slit his throat. Justine gave me to Holtz, who let this time demon named Sanjinn send us to a Hell dimension called Quortoth. Holtz raised me there. He taught me how to hunt, how to survive, and how to hate Angel."
"What's so funny?"
"You didn't need to go to a Hell dimension, I could have taught you how to hate Angel."
"But you fought at his side."
"Doesn't mean I like the guy. Just means I like dying even less. Besides he's fun to annoy." Xander became more serious. "So what happened to this Holtz guy?"
"He had Justine kill him, so I'd think it was Angel, and avenge him."
"Well... that was all kinds of stupid." Xander said. "So... didja avenge him?"
"Justine helped me lock Angel in a box and dropped him in the ocean."
"I bet that messed up his hair something fierce." Xander snarked.
"He was down there a long time before Wesley found him."
"And knowing Deadboy like I do, I can just bet he went for the tough love when he got back, am I right?" When Connor nodded he went on. "Look I'm not gonna even pretend to know about decent father/son relationships, but I'm damned near an expert on bad ones. This Holtz guy sounds like a real shithead, and if the first was as good at imitating him as it has been with everyone else, you're better off with him being elsewhere. I'm not gonna give you the yay Angel speech cause, well, he's an ass, but I'd bet my comic book collection and my Babylon 5 DVDs that he loves you. It doesn't sound to me like Holtz did, or at least not more than he loved his vengeance."
"But Cordelia..." Connor started before Xander cut him off.
"That thing? So not Cordelia. So whatever it said to you, whatever lies it had you believing, probably just a means to manipulate you."
"We were in love, she was going to have my baby." Connor said softly. "I let her down, I let my child down."
"NO! I don't pretend to know everything that's going on, but the thing that was inside Cordelia? It was no child, it was ancient and so very evil. I'm sorry, because I know how much the idea of something, of thinking you had this pure perfect thing, and then losing it can tear you to shreds. God knows it sucks, but Angel didn't take your child away, Willow didn't do that either. That disgusting thing that used you and Cordy and everyone else, created and then destroyed your dreams. If you keep holding on to what you thought you had, your going to lose everything and everyone else, cause the anger will eventually be the only thing you can feel. That's no way to live."
He held out a hand to Connor, who looked at it, and then looked at Xander for a long minute before taking it.