Middle SonBy AngelfirenzeDisclaimer:
Angel belongs to everyone at Mutant Enemy. Damn, I didn’t know how good we had it until Heel and Toe went about screwing up everything good about House…*sighs in utter dismay* Gibbs, et al. belong to Donald P. Bellisario and Co. who have figured out how not to drop the ball. I think they took lessons from Joss, David G., and Tim, myself… Summary:
Before long, he had every inch of the boy memorized.Notes:
This will be my first story written for a Twisting the Hellmouth challenge and I’m very happy to say that I’m back in the swing of writing Jossverse fic again after such a long hiatus. All will be well now, I think. This is also my first NCIS fic and I hope I do it justice.
To specify, it’s the Twisting Los Angeles Challenge where no BtVS characters are allowed. I thought I’d test my mettle writing an Angel fic that didn’t involve Buffy -- a true challenge in itself, as I remain a die-hard shipper to this day. *chuckles*Rating: FR18
, just as a precaution. I seem inclined to darkness.Pairings:
Since no BtVS characters are allowed, but can be mentioned, not only I will only quantify the good ship Tony/Abby, but anything relevant to Angel, himself -- which includes Sunnydale characters, in general. I am also a Gibbs noromo and don’t see any of the chemistry hailed between Gibbs and either Kate or Abby. I won’t apologize, but I will make offering of the back button if you so choose. Timelines:
Further to the overall timelines of the story setting, mentions will be made of 'Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?'.Warning for NCIS regular viewers:
I'm tampering, slightly, Gibbs' likely year of birth for reasons you'll soon see.Part I: HistoryStillwater, Pennsylvania - 1952
He couldn't help feeling as though he could still feel the rough fiber of the rope around his neck every time he stopped to sleep. Angel had given up rubbing the corded tendons but even now, he wondered if should he have possessed a reflection, would he see burns marring his skin where they'd dangled him like so much...
Angel cursed to himself, yanking his collar tighter against the irritated skin. The blades of tall grass he stomped through shone with an unnatural glow -- something inside thought it was slightly amusing but the laughter wouldn't come forth. Every day, the rope burned his neck and her screams burned his ears. Every day was an exercise in counting the minutes until sunset when he'd join his fellow vermin and play at being a cannibal.
He knew perfectly well that in the strictest sense, the term would never apply. Even when ravaged by the pull of the craving to feed, no vampire would ever succumb to making victims of their own. Tainted
, was the term. The more vampiric blood one took in, the less it filled them. Even when mating -- now, there was another empty word -- the act was nothing more than an extension of foreplay, a claiming, a marking of territory.
He didn't know when he'd become so analytical.
Angel came to a stop in front of the barn he'd been striving for, the demon's constant caterwauling climbing to a full-blown roar. He flipped a switch, unlocked a box, and let it come forth for a moment. His tongue habitually flicking over his fangs, he ran his hands over the bulges in his coat, throwing out a chain and yanking the demon back into the box, feeling his human
features melt back into place.
It wouldn't do to scare her when they both knew she was going to die despite his efforts. He'd done as his instincts had told him -- he could hear her blood singing far faster than it should have been and heard her fevered moans as her hands and his had both caressed her belly. Kill her
, the demon had chanted, but he'd shoved it away once more and instead concentrated on the odd feeling that had been clinging to his skin -- the one that had brought him here to this place, to this ruin, and set him before this slip of a girl. She hadn't been able to tell him her name, her mind was so clouded, but he'd been able to read her true name
in every inch of her being.
Everything she could think was misery, pain, a gaping hole swallowing her -- couldn't he pull her from it?
In the end, all he could allow himself to do was ease her transition into death, wondering if his lack of a memory of pain from being sired was something Darla had done for him. He took her blood as her son was finally born.
He had held the infant in one arm, tying off the umbilical cord, letting his core
come forward again, and biting through it, licking the remaining wound so it would close over. It was the only thing he'd been able to afford the -- boy, his anatomy said. The child had quieted after a few moments, heedless of the scratch Angel's left fang had left near his new navel. Angel had gone on auto-pilot, then, finding a discarded piece of twine and tying off the remaining stump. It had fallen off a few days later, but he'd had no book to press it in.
Instead, he'd placed the boy wrapped in his coat carefully on the ground and scraped away the top layer of the meager grave he'd dug up, placing the scrap of flesh back where he felt it belonged. It was the only part of her son she'd ever see, after all. He couldn't rob her of that.
He allowed himself to hunt vagrants to feed, anything to lessen the demands of the demon, snide remarks about just the right size morsel to finish off Mommy's main course. He wouldn't allow them to wake beforehand. He knew their screaming would wake the boy.
He returned to the barn each night, to the rafters where he'd laid the child, and watched him suckling the bottle Angel had stolen from the closest rexall store he could find. The formula was thin and insubstantial, nothing like the mother's milk he should have been afforded, deserved -- Angel scratched open his wrist time and time again over days to let rivulets fall into the milk. He would watch the boy feed and ignore the twinge in his neck, ignore the screaming inside.
Before long, he had every inch of the boy memorized.
He had blue eyes and they drew Angel more than anything else. He wasn't sure why -- they weren't the same icy shade as Darla's had been, more a hoary-conflower blue, if that was an applicable term. He remembered strongly his father's oath that Liam would never be a good provider for anything other than his own lecherous will and the sob broke free before he could stop it.
It wouldn't do to name this boy after his father -- he needed a name, whatever reservations Angel steadfastly held about his own inadequacies, but he was damned again and again as nothing came to mind.
It was odd, then, that one long day two weeks later the name 'Jethro' would appear in his head, accompanied by Biblical verse he'd long since believed buried. He'd gone out of his way to defile religion once he'd been made, the Catholicism of his human life being first and foremost on his 'hit list', as it were. He looked at the sturdy, strangely still boy in his arms and swallowed, his voice still rough, before whispering "Jethro," to the little body before him.
Suddenly, he was babbling, unable to stay quiet now that he'd started -- he felt the demon recoil at his sudden bout of cheeriness -- and he gave the boy...Jethro a slightly hysterical smile.
"But that can't be your first name. People don't cling to the Bible nearly as much anymore -- it'd protect them from me, but since most of them don't believe I exist until I take their lives, why should -- would they know? You need a regular name, though -- something teachers can call you when you start school. But that's so long in the future -- well, long for you. I bet you can't wait to get older, just so you can take care of yourself instead of relying on me. I wouldn't trust me, either. I...I break everyone I try to care about and you're probably next. You'd better..."
He was crying then, he realized, as he gave a wet, congested cough and felt moisture on his face as his eyes began to burn so badly they clenched themselves shut. He pulled them open and bore the pain of watching the burden he'd placed on yet another set of undeserving shoulders.
"You'd b-better t-try to grow fast so you can be rid of me before I-I end you...It may not happen now, but i-it'll happen one day. I always destroy, it's what I'm known for -- you wouldn't know that. Scourge of Europe, they called me -- Terror of Mongolia...I suppose you'll learn about those places in school, but you won't learn about me. I'm not a part of history and I shouldn't be. I'm not fit for history and you'd be good to remember that. It'll save your life."
Angel wiped his face on his sleeve and moaned involuntarily when he realized he'd dripped tears all over Jethro's face and chest. He sobbed shortly, sniffing hard before he folded the cuff of his worn jacket into his sleeve and used the remaining fabric to clean his unworthiness off this wonderful boy.
"You need a regular name, something that won't get you booted all over your playgrounds. Leroy might work. At least you'd be able to put 'Leroy' on a school assignment once you can write."
Angel watched more tears he couldn't feel fall around Leroy
as he tried to nestle the baby into the crook of his arm so he could sleep. "You have to grow up first, I'll see to that -- but when you're done, you'd best leave me far behind. It's the only safe thing you can do."
Angel took several unneeded breaths and paused, realizing the demon had quieted for the first time since he'd let the Thesulac make its home in the souls he'd abandoned in Los Angeles. Angel was seized by a strange urge and placed a finger in Leroy's mouth, pulling back his lips. There in the tiny maw of pink were two canines, each barely the size of a pinhead.
Angel started roughly, sobbing again as he could hear the demon roaring with laughter inside.
He'd already done it -- he thought he'd have more time, but in his own perpetual idiocy, he'd miscalculated the amount of blood he'd allowed to drip into the formula he'd fed...his son.
The demon laughed even harder, wild with glee as Angel whipped his hand back and swiftly examined the boy for further signs of vampirism. Seeing no other alternative, Angel brought the demon forth and waited to see if Leroy's own face changed in what would be a natural reaction in fledgling vampires -- they couldn't control their faces.
Leroy's face didn't change and Angel breathed an involuntary sigh of relief as the demon scowled inside. He wouldn't -- couldn't leave the boy, he knew -- he needed to make sure Leroy didn't hurt any humans when he'd need to feed. He wouldn't subject the boy to rats -- that wouldn't be good for his growth, least of all his soul if he had one. He prayed for the first time since before he'd been changed, looking to the ceiling of the decrepit barn, and prayed that God would allow Leroy to have a conscience.
He prayed that his destructive streak might finally end, but all the same Angel wasn't holding his breath.
The demon laughed at a joke that wasn't funny -- right up there with his own name. He was rambling in his own head and knew he needed to feed.
He growled when he realized the demon was no longer suggesting making Leroy an entree and took care to hide his son before he went hunting.