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
Xander grabbed a couple take out fliers off the refrigerator that advertised delivery, and then he and Connor made their way back to the lobby. Just as they got to the counter, Willow and Faith came down the stairs, taking a huge detour around the stain and subsequent crawl marks from the thing that had been in Cordy. Wesley and Angel had carefully taken the remains out into the back alley and burned it as soon as they'd found beds for all the passed out people.
"Just in time, guys. Connor and me were gonna set up a taste test of Los Angeles' fine dining. Otherwise known as ordering a shitload of take out."
Willow grabbed Xander and pulled him into a tight hug. "We can't stay, sweetie. I talked to Buffy and the First has a new baddie in town. I told her you and Spike need to be up here, but she really needs help, so Faith and me are gonna get back."
He held on tight for a moment and spoke softly. "Be careful, Wills." Before letting her go. "Take care, Faith." He said as he pulled a startled slayer into her own hug.
The pair quickly left, and Xander went back to perusing the take-out menus. "That's two down, nine more to feed. Course Deadboy probably still doesn't eat, so that leaves eight. Any ideas on what your people like?" He asked Connor, who had watched him silently during the goodbye with the girls.
"Fred likes tacos." He said offered.
"Very cool. This place does tacos, pizza, and salad." He said waving around a menu. "Cordy'll want a salad, which she'll then ignore while she wolfs down all the other stuff. So what do you like?" He asked.
"It doesn't matter, really. Just about anything here is better than what I ate on Quortoth."
"I know, pizza has my mom's cooking beat too." Xander said with a teasing smirk the boy returned, when he realized what the man in front of him was trying to do.
"People here do that a lot." Connor said boldly.
"Do what?" Xander asked, curious.
"They often try to make unpleasant things better with humor. You're a lot better at it than most people."
Xander gave him a sad smile. "It just means I've had more practice."
When it came down to it, Xander figured exactly how much food they'd need for everyone, and then tripled it. When the food was delivered, Xander paid and then he and Connor spread everything out on the counter, along with paper plates and napkins from the kitchen. He also heated up two big cups of blood and set those at one end, before tapping on Angel's office door.
Spike and Angel stepped out, neither looking any the worse for wear. Xander pointed towards the blood before he fixed himself a plate and grabbed a cold Pepsi and took a seat on the round couch across the lobby.
Angel's features warred between suspicion and shock at the cup of blood and he glanced back and forth between Connor and Xander, not entirely sure he felt safe in drinking something either one had prepared. Finally he steeled himself and just took a sip, relaxing when he didn't detect anything but the hideous pig blood taste he was unfortunately used to.
Spike grabbed his cup and a slice of pizza before going to sit next to Xander. After a few minutes Wesley, followed by Fred and Lorne, came downstairs. Fred honed in on the tacos and Lorne snagged one of the salads with a nod of thanks in Xander's direction.
"Cordelia is still recovering from her ordeal. I think waking her up early would be more harmful than any danger from the First right now. After we've discussed everything, someone can sit with her, just in case." Wesley said as he fixed a plate and found a seat.
While everyone else ate, Angel sipped his blood and proceeded to tell them about his own history with the First. When he finished, Spike picked up the narrative and explained what had been going on in Sunnydale over the last few months. He didn't go into detail about what brought them to the Hyperion, and when he finished, Xander told them about the First visiting both himself and Connor.
Angel jerked at that, and turned to his son. "Are you alright? What did it say? Who was it?"
"Holtz." Connor replied briefly.
Noticing his discomfort, Xander jumped back in. "It was doing its standard, 'make you feel like crap' number, but once Connor knew it wasn't real, it popped out and we decided the kitchen had lost its charms and ordered out."
After that no one had much to say and got on with eating. Just when everyone was close to being finished, a throaty chuckle sounded from the front door. Everyone jumped to readiness and both Wesley and Angel actually hissed.
"It's not going to work." Angel called out glaring at the woman. "We all know who you are and we won't listen to your lies."
"And this is me feeling all hurt. I thought at least Wes would be a little happy to see me." She said with a smirk in his direction.
"You're not her." Wes said coldly. "Do you really think we're all morons?"
"Maybe not all of you, but yes some of your happy little group definitely qualify for the title." Lilah said and smiled at Angel.
"We know you're the First, so get out. No one here will listen to you." Angel said glaring at her.
"Um... Angel..." Xander said quietly from his seat.
"She's not the First."
"WHAT! She's dead, she has to be."
"Oh, she's dead alright, - and can I just ask what IS it with me and zombies anyway? - and she's kinda skanky, - no offense - but she's not the First."
Lilah's smirk fell away for the first time as she stared at Xander. "The One Who Sees!" She whispered in a small shocked voice, before she rallied and turned to face Wes and Angel once more. "You're working with a truth seer? When the hell did THAT happen?" After a moment she pushed past her shock and slipped back into professional mode. "Never mind, it doesn't change anything. I'm here to offer you the keys to the kingdom, such as it is."
"How is it you?" Wes asked.
"Standard Wolfram & Hart perpetuity clause. Even Hell can't keep a good employee down when duty calls. Speaking of which, could I trouble you for a glass of ice water? Never mind one of these will do." She snatched up one of the cans of soda off the counter and popped it open. She took a long very satisfying drink before speaking again. "Anyway, back to business. The offer. You win, we give up. My bosses are ceding you management of the L.A. branch of Wolfram & Hart, along with use of all company assets and personnel."
"Wolfram & Hart was destroyed by the Beast." Wes said.
"Please, you don't think a minor glitch like that means anything do you? The L.A. office is back in business already, restaffed and de-zombiefied. All of them just waiting to meet the new CEO and his management team. I'm also supposed to let you know there's a little trinket from the vaults that's supposed to be needed to deal with the First."
"You mean a nice little collar and leash for Angel." Xander said standing up, angry now.
"What?" Angel asked, looking back and forth between Lilah and Xander.
"Her little trinket would help against the First, but ties the user to her bosses. Isn't that right, Li? Such a fitting name. The people you work for, that you sold yourself to... They don't want to admit defeat, they just want a new way to destroy." He turned from her and faced Angel. "They're going to offer you the chance to change things, to work from the inside. But while you think you're the ones changing them, they'd be changing you, pushing you to make more and more grey decisions, until you won't be able to see where the black stops and the white starts. When that happens you won't be a champion anymore, you'll be their personal lap dog. And if that dog wakes up to the reality and tries to bite? Well by then they'll know right to put the needle to put you down."
Not taking his eyes from Xander's, Angel spoke. "Get out Lilah, we don't want any part in their offer."
Xander smiled at him in approval and then settled down next to Spike to finish his meal. Lilah realized she'd been dismissed and hissed in vexation before leaving.
"The One Who Sees." Wesley muttered to himself after Lilah stormed out.
"What's that, mate?" Spike asked watching him warily now.
"I seem to recall a prophesy... " Wesley started before Spike cut him off.
"There's always some bleeding prophesy isn't there. 'World's gonna end', 'Death to all', 'Hell on Earth'. Been there, done that, bought the bloody t-shirt. Unless this prophesy ends '... and they lived happily ever after.' I don't want to hear the damned thing." Spike practically shouted before starting to pace.
Wesley quickly slid through a stack of books and pulled out a ragged, beat up tome that was barely held together by the cracked leather bindings. Once it was open, however, the book shifted to an almost new look and the faded green leather became a bright bottle green. The yellow crumbling pages became crisp and white once more. Wes totally ignored this effect, and simply flipped through until he found the page he was looking for. After a moment, he looked up at Spike. "You just may get your wish." He said before he began to recite.
"He who would see shall become as one with The Soul Seeker.
An elixir of death shall instead give life and bring forth their gifts.
What lies hidden shall always be clear to The One Who Sees.
While the truth of The Heart shall be clear to The Soul Seeker.
When The Heart is whole, he will bring The Original Sin to ruin."
"If Mr. Harris here is indeed this 'One Who Sees', and I'd certainly say Spike qualifies as a 'Soul Seeker', then this final passage may have been misinterpreted based on the Christian leanings of the people involved in the original translations. 'The Original Sin' could just as easily be interpreted as, and probably is, 'The First Evil'.
"So you're telling me, Spike and Harris are gonna defeat the First?" Angel asked, shocked.
"That is certainly one way to interpret the prophesy."
ETA Five minutes after first posting... I realized I left off the first section cause I'm a moron and had to edit and paste it back in. :)