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This story is No. 9 in the series "Understanding". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: "Oh, come on, we're a family. Shouldn't we all say that to the world?" Early-Middle Son.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
NCIS > Angel-CenteredAngelfirenzeFR712,263041,7513 Jul 103 Jul 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. The Decemberists. "Hurdles Even Here.". Hush, Rough Trade, 2006.

Summary: "Oh, come on, we're a family. Shouldn't we all say to the world?"

Notes: This is the result of a random idea being giggled over incessantly. Oddly, it could have already happened or about to. I leave that up to any of you who choose to read this fluffy bunny.

Maybe I'm making up for the darkness of the last part, who knows?


...Dad, there are hurdles here that I cannot seem to clear...Mom, there are demons around and though I said that I said I’d be all right, I lied...

Connor looked up from pouring his bowl of Waffle Crisp, pointedly ignoring the way Angel was holding his nose at the 'overpowering' smell of maple syrup, and frowned, "I'm just saying, Dad. Shouldn't we give it some thought?"

Angel sighed, "You're talking about everyone in our very large family changing their names to suit your distaste. It doesn't work that way, son."

Connor reached into the refrigerator and pulled out the milk, pouring a generous amount and sighed, "Not everyone. Just our blood relatives. I mean, we all have different names and it's kind of confusing."

Angel frowned, "No, it's not."

Connor scowled, "Okay, it's not for you because you were raised in a culture where everyone had different last names, especially your family because you had a stepmother and, apparently, Seanathair was married once before even you came along so, of course, this would make sense to you. By the way, that doesn't bother you?"

Angel shot Connor a confused look, "Um, no. I never met them because they were dead. Hence my father thinking he's a walking curse. The point is, you can't just up and ask everyone to change their names to suit your purposes."

"Suit whose purposes?" Wes asked, entering the kitchen and heading over to where Connor was standing at the counter, about to dig into his cereal. "I also doubt your father and brother would appreciate you eating at the counter."

"No, I wouldn't," Angel agreed from where he sat with his eyes closed at the table, awaiting his blood warming on the stove. "Sit at the table with the rest of us or don't eat at all."

Connor sighed and glared at Wes, who merely raised an eyebrow, before gingerly taking his nearly overflowing bowl to the table and beginning again to devour it. "I'm just saying, it's weird that we all have different last names."

"No, it's not," Angel said lightly and Connor rolled his eyes in annoyance.

"Oh, come on, we're a family. Shouldn't we all say that to the world?"

"The world that tries to murder us all on an hourly basis or the world that doesn't know we exist?" Wesley asked in a quietly deadpan voice and Connor began opening and closing his fists, clenching his eyes shut so as not to scream.

"I want the same last name as my fathers, mother, brothers, sister, uncles, grandfather -- is that so wrong!"

"Well, fine then," Angel offered, "Like what? Because my surname actually is still O'Connell and I'm not changing it to Reilly. No offense to Colleen or, you, Lawrence."

"None taken," Lawrence had just walked in, one of that morning's newspapers folded under his arm, loosening his bathrobe slightly before sitting down to the table at his now-customary spot at Connor, Sr.'s opposite. "What are we talking about?"

"Connor wants to change everyone's last names," Wesley said with clear amusement and Lawrence merely accepted this, saying, "Ah," and reaching for one of the pieces of toast Angel had made earlier that morning, transferring it to his plate, and spreading butter on it.

Connor managed to resist the urge to retrieve the knife in his belt and hurl it at his godfather, merely continuing speaking to his biological father. "Well, since half of us are 'O'Somethings', why not mix them up and make an acronym? AOGOROG Or something."

Angel frowned, "That's impossible to pronounce. In English anyway. Wes, are there any demonic languages that could be pronounced in?"

"None that I'm personally aware of."

Gibbs, unfortunately, chose this moment to walk in, dressed in military attire for reasons none of them inquired about given that it might get the house shot up. "No, thank you. I like my last name just fine. It's my mother's name and I've had it since the night I was born, I'm not changing it because you get tetchy."

"Well, Kaitlin and I don't have our mothers' last names -- I don't even think my mother had a last name, so where does that leave us?"

Angel cut back in, "Exactly where you are now. At least Connor Allen Angel Reilly can be written down without people subsequently asking what language you speak and trying to hunt down a translator."

Connor rolled his eyes, "Well, how about the fact that we're all -- well, probably and mostly Irish? Couldn't we just pick one?"

Connor looked at Angel, who was staring at his youngest child over his first-ever morning mug of coffee, not quite sure how to take what was coming out of his mouth.

Connor splayed both his hands on the table, staring at his first father, "How does it work, Dad? Our names mean 'Grandson' and 'Granddaughter of' Fill-in-the-Blank, right? Well, doesn't that...wait." Connor paused and then frowned darkly, "Okay, I'm confused. Wouldn't that make my last name 'O'Connor'? Connor O'Connor is...unacceptable."

Angel rolled his own eyes this time, as well as ignoring Wesley's subsequent snort of muffled laughter.

Gibbs walked over and leaned down over Connor's slowly milk-logged cereal, "Again, I'm not changing my name. You do whatever the hell you want with yours," Gibbs interjected, before standing straight and going to pour himself a second cup of coffee.

Wes dodged him to come over to the table and sit down next to Connor, trying his hardest to look like he wasn't enjoying this conversation nearly as much as he truly was.

Angel sighed, "Connor. There is no rational reason for anyone in this house to change their names. And Wes isn't Irish -- at least, I don't think."

Angel turned to Wes and tipped his head slightly to the side. "Are you Irish at all?"

Wes bit his lip and tried to ignore Lilah, who'd just joined them, laughing madly at his left. "My mother was Scots-Irish. She told me she never told my father for the obvious reasons. She never told him a lot of things."

Angel brightened slightly, grinning devilishly. "Well, that would explain why you got on so much better with her. What clan?"

Wes muttered something, but spoke up clearly when both Angel and Gibbs raised eyebrows at him. "...Ainbheartach."

Angel's eyes widened, as did Gibbs' and the elder Connor's. Wes shrank into his chair. "I had nothing to do with that!"

Gibbs was mopping up the little bit of coffee he accidentally coughed out when Wes said his mother's last name and...honestly couldn't think of a thing to say.

"What?" Connor asked, by this time joined by Kaitlin, both of whom were staring at Wes in abject curiosity. "What's your mom's name mean?"

Lilah laughed harder than ever and if Wes was a less scrupulous man he would have knocked her off her chair. As it was, he contented himself with creating a fireball under the table and imagining roasting her with it.

Angel decided to put him out of his misery, "'Doer of evil deeds'." Angel promptly glared at Lilah, who stopped laughing so abruptly, she hiccupped and began coughing.

Glaring back at Angel once she'd settled, Lilah snapped, "Oh, honestly -- if Wesley gave our daughter that last name, it's not like he'd be wrong. Hello? Evil?"

Angel rolled his eyes, "Lilah, right now, you're about as evil as a doughnut. Shut up about that. No one in this house cares what you've done, where you've been, where you'll be going -- give it a rest. Besides, like I told Lindsey, I've got you beat. So shut. Up."

Lilah shot Angel yet another glare but, this time, actually stayed quiet. Angel shook his head and clapped Wes on the shoulder, "You're not your name, Wes."

Wes laughed quite humorlessly, "Liam, meaning 'protector'. Leroy Jethro, roughly meaning 'the king is imminent' -- "

"Really?" Gibbs asked, honestly shocked. "Huh, maybe I like my name after all."

Angel ignored him.

Wes sighed and continued, looking at both Connor and his grandfather, "Connor, meaning 'hound lover'."

"Wait -- WHAT?" Connor glared at Angel, then Gibbs as he laughed out loud.

"Now you feel my pain, little brother."

"Do you have any idea how much you cried when you were born?" Angel asked simply, causing Connor to scowl and roll his eyes.

Connor, Sr., sighed and said nothing. Connor, Jr., frowned at him, "You're not at all bothered?"

Connor shook his head slowly, his accent becoming more prominent as he next spoke, "Me da was a hunter. I was aroun' dogs before I coul' talk. Me mam used ta scold me fer lettin' 'em sleep in me bed. Me da laughed abou' it an' told me I'd be a hunter. He was just as wrong abou' me as I was abou' yer own da. I'm a silk merchan'. Bu' I still love dogs."

"I like cats," Angel smirked, getting up to prepare his now properly warmed blood and pouring a mug of it, as well as one for Gibbs, who shrugged, accepted, and smiled in thanks. "Kathy did, too. Another thing we had nothing in common about."

Connor, Sr., snorted and smiled sadly. Then he looked at Wesley, who was still pale. "Yer forename, lad. Its meanin'?"

Wesley sighed, "'Western meadow'. It's in honor of a pair of brothers. My father mostly named me, not my mother."

"Yer next name, then?"

Wes chuckled then, "The first is 'Alfred', meaning 'supernaturally wise'. I suppose my father took advantage of that one. But the the name I already told you. 'Doer of evil things'. Me -- "

Wesley coughed, then, blushing, "My mother insisted on giving me at least something of her origins. She told me...they may have been a den of thieves, but they were noble ones, and honest. More than we could say for my father and his crowd."

Angel and Gibbs both raised their mugs at Wes' mother's words. The younger Connor, however, bit his lip. "You never'd make you something you didn't want to be? Whether you liked it or not? That you were born it and you didn't have a choice?"

Wes scowled, then, as did Angel, the elder Connor, and Gibbs. "No doubt nonsense that brigand Holtz told you about your parents."

Connor shrank into his own chair now, breathing slowly as Angel, having returned to his seat, reached over to rub his back.

Swearing inwardly, "Sorry, I take back the 'brigand' part for your sake. The honest answer is yes, which was why I tried so hard to do everything my father taught me. Little did I know everything he was teaching me, like Holtz taught you, was useless outside of the world he raised me in. In the real world, it's simply an opinion.

"We make ourselves, Connor. I may have been bitter at the time, but I do reluctantly cherish the time I spent away from my true family, all of you here and those not. I grew into the man my mother, no doubt, always saw in me, still does, even when I didn't have the sense to."

"Your mom's family was like Robin Hood?" Kaitlin asked her godfather, her eyes alight and thinking, no doubt, of the Disney movie version, but having a decent idea nonetheless.

Wesley chuckled, "From the ones I met, I should say so. They've helped me establish many useful contacts over the years. And they are very vengeful when it comes to those who use magick to harm. I haven't seen them in person in quite a long time but, from what I've heard, they'd be dead chuffed -- ecstatic, sorry -- to meet Angel.

"I wrote them about shooting the robot posing as my father with a revolver and my cousin, Christopher -- though I find his name rather ironic given that they're not Christians -- sent me my Beretta, as well as an actual bow, with arrows. You'd think he hated my father..." Wesley trailed off in mock-thought.

Gibbs chuckled, "A bow with arrows. You should let Pop play with that for a while. You know he is with weapons. Like a kid in a candy store."

"I am not," Angel rolled his eyes, but secretly wondered why the hell Wes never showed him his bow and arrows.

"Anyway, so you're descended from thieves, whoop-de-do," Gibbs dismissed, resisting the urge to smack Wes upside the head for the thoughts he just knew where circling that oversized, ginormous brain of his.

"My dad's a mass murderer and gets props for it on a near-daily basis. My brother was christened The Destroyer by the demons in the worst dimension existence has to offer. And me? Well..." Gibbs offered Wes a dangerous grin of his own.

"Let's just say I'm a cold, vicious bastard and leave it at that. Sounds like, if you hadn't killed Vail, your cousins would've done it in due order to avenge you. And we know Angel would have ripped Vail's head off if given the chance."

Wes frowned in confusion, "Alright, you've lost me, sorry."

Gibbs did smack him, then, and Wes flinched hard, expecting a lot more pain than he actually felt. "What shortage of killers are there in this house, this family?"

Wes' eyes widened even as he rubbed the back of his head, "Oh. I see your point."

Connor sighed, finally getting back to the point. "So. No name changing then?"

"NO," chorused everyone else in unison.


The End

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

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