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This story is No. 8 in the series "Understanding". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: He wanted to float away, to -- Angel and Thomas wouldn't allow him to perceive the word for his greatest wish at that moment -- whatever, to find what he knew would stop this. Nominated in the 2010 Crossing Over Awards.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Dark > Angel-CenteredAngelfirenzeFR1812,4490382629 Apr 1029 Apr 10Yes
By Angelfirenze

Disclaimer: Mutant Enemy and all involved are the geniuses behind these characters. I just borrow them at times to manipulate them much like action figures before returning them slightly abused but generally in good shape. My Chemical Romance. "The Jetset Life is Gonna Kill You, Thank You For the Venom.". Reprise, Warner Bros., Eyeball, 2004. "Sleep.". Reprise, Warner Bros., Eyeball, 2006.

Summary: He wanted to float away, to -- Angel and Thomas wouldn't allow him to perceive the word for his greatest wish at that moment -- whatever, to find what he knew would stop this.

Notes: Why don't I listen to myself? My own advice, I've been ignoring. And paying for it, just like I said I would. Adoxerella will probably cry, but this has to be written or 'Middle Son' will never continue and I don't want that. Also, another homage to The Giver by Lois Lowry. *shrugs* I do what my muse tells me. Eventually. *gives self sharp poke in the side*


Sometimes he wakes with his skin crawling, the need is so powerful. He's fairly sure that if he were human, he'd be dead by now. What he doesn't understand is how, why, when he's gone through this so many times before...somehow, some way, this time is different. He's been through this a million times before, but never like this.

He's never curled up on the floor to save himself the trouble of falling out of bed. He's never simply gone naked, either, to save the trouble of changing his sweat-soaked clothes.

He doesn't understand why he's sweat-soaked, why he feels so hot then so cold then so itchy then so shaky over and over again.

He knows it only happens at night, though. Liam was always a night person, even as a child. Night was always his time. First to look at the stars, run in the grass.

Then to tip back ale, glasses and glasses of it until he couldn't see straight and the visions he couldn't get rid of no matter what -- the feeling of something pulling him toward something else he didn't matter, he couldn't escape.

And now he knows he doesn't deserve to. Liam always surfaces at night, now, and all he hears are fights long past, words made in anger and pain -- this time he can see more sides of it than just his own. If he'd tried, which he sometimes did as a human, he could see his sister's pain and his stepmother's, but most of the time he blocked them out, as well, because they were almost more painful than the endless rain of hot coals that was Father's words falling over him.

I asked fer a son -- an' God gave me you!

Liam curled more tightly into a ball and tried his hardest not to shake, but they wouldn't stop.

Gaze into her killing jar, I'd sometimes stare for hours...She even poked the holes so I could breathe...

He knew the Others -- Aurelius, Thomas, Angelus, Angel -- they were somewhere inside, but they refused to shelter him through this. Every time he cried out for help, they -- and Angel's Slayer, Buffy, Aurelius' own lover, Svea; mustn't forget them -- they always said he had to fight, to pull his own way through this.

They didn't care that he didn't know how. Angelus and Thomas, he could always feel, were coldly detached, Angelus even bored with his pain with having seen it so often for so long -- Thomas could never bring himself to truly care, or so it seemed.

Thomas never seemed to like it when he thought that because another wave of fiery heat would roll over him and a roar of anger would fill his head, but -- really -- what good did it do him when all of them were simply going to sit back on their arses and just watch as he roiled in agony.

Shut the fuck up, you crybaby, Angelus told him now, kicking him from his insides and Liam vomited blood on the floor.

Angel would pull Angelus back, then, and give Liam some measure of control so that he could get a shirt and clean the worn wood beneath him. The shadow of the bloodstain remained, however, and Liam's tears mixing with it didn't help matters. He knelt, his head to the floor, and willed himself to stop shaking and leave the past and this floor behind him.

But he never left it. He was always on his knees, would always be. He remembers when he was only a boy and he'd kneel in Mass and beg God to stop his pain, make the visions go away. The priests always told him he was damned when he confessed to having another one.

In time, he learned to stop admitting to them, to tell white lies to God.

But he knew that God knew anyway because why else would he be in so much agony, seemingly all for naught?

He felt insane. He knew he was, somehow. He'd been asleep or...somewhere, all that time -- only to return to find he'd torn out throats and raped and pillaged, brought more sorrow on the men, women, and children around him then any of the Plagues in ten Bibles.

And for what? Pleasure? Pain?

Liam felt Angelus smile and wanted to drink, to drown himself in a vat of the strongest whiskey he could find. He belonged in Hell anyway, he knew that much. They -- whoever they were -- never should have let him back out.

But he couldn't even get up to stand, let alone die. He was useless, powerless, he'd always known that. What was the point of someone trying to remind him now? It wasn't as if he hadn't already known.

He wanted to float away, to -- Angel and Thomas wouldn't allow him to perceive the word for his greatest wish at that moment -- whatever, to find what he knew would stop this.

We promised Wesley, doesn't that mean anything to you? Angel asked and Liam cringed before forcing himself to lie and yell inside himself, NO!

Angel sighed, not doing anything to cause Liam harm or otherwise intervene. Perhaps that hurt the most. That he wasn't even worth puni --

Who said that? Thomas asked, his cold breath flowing through Liam and making him shiver even worse. You believe yourself beneath reproach? You believe yourself that low?

Isn't it obvious! Liam wailed, but Angelus rolled his eyes again and sneered, What's your name, whelp?

Liam bristled, gritting his teeth and thinking of William. I'm not Spike!

Angelus snorted and asked again, this time biting as he spoke and Liam didn't understand how, but he managed to muffle his scream as fangs pierced his soul and gave a vicious rip. He was bleeding internally from his soul.

He was rather certain no doctor would accept that as cause to admit him. Though another part of him -- Liam, not the Others -- realizes that if he were at all sane and in his own time period -- hence the insanity -- he wouldn't know what a doctor was any more than Father used to.

Father. Say nothing of Our Father, Who Art in Heaven...Hallowed, Be Thy Name...

He was more damned than any of them, he knew. He couldn't simply get up and repent. He couldn't do anything. He was stuck inside his own shell and God, help him, he was completely insane and couldn't communicate that fact to anyone.

He could feel Angel taking a very deep un-breath somewhere inside and wanted to cry. You and I have way too little faith in ourselves. Are you even paying attention to the fact that Father acknowledges his part in our misery or are you too busy metaphorically pissing yourself to listen to reason?

Liam wanted to scream.

Metaphorically pissing yourself, then. Look. I told Wesley and now I'm telling us. It'll be okay.

Liam wanted to laugh. His long-dead mam, his little baby sister -- a young man he hadn't known until just now -- Sam, Sam's wife, Hasmia, his daughter, Talia -- Drusilla, William, back before he'd become so fond of railroad spikes -- Penn, Elizabeth, James...they all circled him. Sam was frowning slightly and walked closer to Liam, who would have given anything to back away, but he couldn't control himself.

...You're running after something you can never kill -- if this is what you want, then fire at will...

Sam bent down over him, a large wetly red bloodstain blossoming out of his chest and into his white shirt even then, and gave Liam a smile.

"It's so interesting to see your imperfect sides, Chief," Sam said with a slight mocking air. Angel sighed within Liam, this time, and Liam wanted to cry for what they'd done to this boy.

"I'm no more a boy than you, Chief," Sam said firmly, now scowling. "And I'm not the one who'd be shitting himself or puking his guts out if he were human. So -- hey, at least there's that," his eldest said in a mockingly chipper tone Liam knew he deserved.

"I'm s-s-s..."

But Sam cut him off, a chuckle on his lips as he backed up slightly and made a show of rolling his eyes. "Oh, were you about to say you were sorry? I'm sorry, but you're not that man yet. You know what, it's my fault for confusing you. I shouldn't have called you, Chief, you spineless little shit."

Then Sam was hauling Liam forward, his hands suffusing Liam's entire body with cold again as Sam stared into Liam's eyes and stared directly at Angel.

"Connor was right about something when he tried calling Angelus his father, Chief. He knew there were parts of you, just like there are parts of him -- he just didn't know which one was the right choice. He'd been raised to think about the virus you share your body with as his father, so why not gravitate toward that one."

Then Sam smiled again and Liam had never been so frightened in all his (far too many, his experiences with the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart told him) years. He saw his own darkness staring back at him (something said a strange name...Nietzsche, in his head) and knew he would forever be damned, no matter what he did -- he could wash his hands in holy water all he liked. All it would ever do was burn, never cleanse anyone but Leroy or Connor.

Connor was his father's name. God, he really was completely mad.

Sam was talking again and Liam tried to block it out, but he was so loud in Liam's ears. The father in him could never truly ignore his sons.

"But you and I know better, don't we? You and I shared your soul. He wouldn't be -- isn't, never has been -- confused about Darla. His soul recognizes her as easily as I do you. You're my missing piece -- Pop, Dad -- my little brothers call you those names and I find myself wondering which I should choose. But 'Chief' was my claim for you, so I'll stick with that. Fits, I think. You're always in charge. I guess he taught you how to be," Sam said pointedly, nodding to both Aurelius and Angelus at once.

"Works, I think, that your darkness should be just as twisted as mine. Just as broken. But your -- no, I should be more personal. He accepts me as his, after all. That seems wrong, but oh, well -- so much grandpa says that all of this is his fault. Maybe he's right. Maybe if he'd just been a bit more of a hugger, none of this would have happened. Too late to tell.

"But this...child, you were before? God, Chief, what a wreck you were. I guess if Darla had never Sired you, then you never would have met the Slayer and sure as hell never would have been more than this whiny little boy you share your shell with. I know, I know -- I shouldn't speak ill of the dead."

Liam flinched and shut his eyes as tears that burned terribly forced their way out.

"I'm not dead," he whispered, bringing his knees up under his chin as he lay on his side. "An' I'm sorry I killed you."

Sam snorted, "And what good are your apologies doing any of us?"

"I didn' -- "

"Oh, spare me!" Sam dismissed, standing up and he was dressed the way he was when They'd all last seen him. "See, see, Chief, I knew it'd hurt you, I'd hurt you. I was just wrong about which one. You're a fucking mess! You make me look like a downright shrink! Maybe I should be yours, would that help?"

It was then that Liam froze before finding it in himself to force himself into a sitting position before grabbing at Sam's clothes and clawing his way into a standing position. "I didn' command me children ter kill innocent people! I didn' lie ter them an' use them an' fer what? What could yeh have done -- yeh didn' have ter..."

Liam shoved Sam into the wall and yelled, "He's a little boy, fer Christ's sake! Yeh say I'm but a pale imitation o' the father ye knew, but yeh killed William's whole family! Ye gave yers away! Ari and Ziva didn' do anythin' ter deserve bein' weapons in yer hand! If ye want ter hurt me, just hurt me! Come on, brat! I can take it! HURT ME!"

"Fine," was all Sam said before he dug his fingers into Liam's chest and yanked out his heart, clearly reveling in Liam's agonized scream. "FINALLY, I CAN FEEL SOMETHING! THANK YOU, CHIEF!"

Bullshit, Angelus muttered inside Liam as he sobbed, watching his own emaciated heart come to life in Sam's hand. Liam panted and stared as Sam, himself, watched rapturously at his heart beating away in Sam's hand.

"What'd that accomplish, eh? Ye goin' ter put in -- in yer own chest? What'll that do? You feel somethin'. Go ahead, Sammy. Try it. See how much ye'll feel!"

Sam was glaring at him again. "Don't call me Sammy."

Liam laughed, no longer naked, ripping his own shirt off and staring as the hole in his chest leaked blood onto his breeches. At least, he thought absently. I can stand now. He was barefooted and reveled in the feel of Leroy's hardwood floor under his feet.

"I'll call ye as I like, son. Go on, do as yer told, Sammy," Liam taunted, grinning darkly as Sam's face only twisted further until finally he slipped into his other face. "Ye disobey yer da often, do ye? Well, I've got much more'n ye as far as that goes. Rake, they called me, in me village."

"So you're proud of being such a whore of a boy? You're proud of what you are?" Sam snapped, gesturing at the world around them. "Who knows if you ever had any children -- you probably did, and what a father you were to them. You killed them."

Liam could feel Angelus rolling his eyes again even as Angel deflated slightly but all of them refused to let Sam bait them. Thomas and Aurelius, as almost always, were silent, simply watching, observing.

"And you, me oldest lad, merely turned yer own children into murderers -- images o' yerself, then. You wanted to feel the thrill through them. Bu' ye can' if ye kill yerself in the meantime, ye coward!"

Sam snarled and leapt at Liam, his roar echoing in Angel's head as he sat up in bed, gasping in the darkness.

...The hardest part is letting go of your dreams...


The End

You have reached the end of "Urge". This story is complete.

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