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Ríocht

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Reconciliation". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Despite the bruise she was sure was going to form on her arm, she forestalled Lou's fervent apology and instead gestured to Bobby, "Try hiding that," she said breathlessly, now, in English. She wasn't smug. It wasn't worth it. AtS/Detroit 1-8-7;

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Detroit 1-8-7AngelfirenzeFR1813,8450230829 Mar 1129 Mar 11Yes
Cosaint
By Angelfirenze

Disclaimer: Jason Richman and the rest of Remainder Men, Mandeville Television, ABC Studios, etc., own Fitch, et al. Joss and Mutant Enemy own Kate, et al. Bayside. "Shudder.". Victory, 2008.

Summary: Despite the bruise she was sure was going to form on her arm, she forestalled Lou's fervent apology and instead gestured to Bobby, "Try hiding that," she said breathlessly, now, in English. She wasn't smug. It wasn't worth it.

Notes: Well. This one wants to grow. Who am I to object?

Notes, cont'd.: I put the translations at the bottom this time since there are more.

Notes, three: I took liberties with a whole lot more now, obviously, since this is fanfiction. Hope it worked out.

Timeline: 1.17, Motor City Blues/1.18, Blackout; post-ANGEL: After the Fall.

Spoilers: The entire canon as it stands for both Detroit 1-8-7 and ANGEL, though only up to 'Immortality for Dummies' because that's all I've read up to so far. I'm working on getting 'Crown Prince Syndrome' (possibly aka 'Connorland', which hee.).

Rating: M for language.

Part II: Ríocht

...Praise, O-u-r Lady of Terrible Guilt - that's not my i-d-e-a of f-r-e-e will...It's r-e-a-l-i-t-y...

Lou's lieutenant graciously let the two of them borrow her office, surprise and astonishment written all over her face at what she couldn't have missed, being that Kate and her big brother (it's been so long since she's called him that...) looked like complete strangers. Kate would have laughed, but when she looked at her brother, she saw her - their father's thick black eyebrows, his dark hair before it went grey and white...the rest was all Mama. Bobby, of course, looked like Louis in miniature and that had to have had everyone giving him double and triple glances, too.

Kate knows she's even worse, though, with her fair hair and eyes, they look nothing alike at all. Her Night and Day, Mama used to call them, even though Kate wasn't really her daughter, if you wanted to look at it that way. Kate didn't like to think for a very long time about the fact that her mother - her true mother - was some fräulein her father met while stationed in Germany and that, really, truly, if someone wanted to say so, she wasn't her brother's sister, but a stray, a mongrel taken in because it was home and that old saying always held true.

But whenever she got angry or sad and had that thought, Lou would narrow his eyes at her and grit his teeth, and she'd think of an angry dog seconds from biting, but he never did. Instead, he'd snatch her up in the tightest hug he could muster (but gentle because she was still a little girl then and he was already thirteen and shooting up like a weed the way his - their mother always said) and tell her to shut up having crazy thoughts like she wasn't his sister. Thoughts like that were for pussies and she wasn't a pussy, was she? She'd shake her head 'no' because she hadn't known what that word meant until she was nine.

...I think I knew more when I was thirteen...

Once she found out, she carefully put dog shit in one of his socks and then laughed as he swore and jumped up and down and ripped his sock back off, hurling it out his open window and someone had yelled when it hit them outside, but by then she was unable to stand and peed on herself, she was laughing so hard, and he'd stared at her, too astonished that she'd pulled a prank on him to even be angry.

He'd rinsed his foot off with the garden hose and hobbled back in, where he scrubbed it over and over with soap, but couldn't stop twitching and sniffing in disgust, saying he smelled like shit, and Mama - or Mamma as he spelled it in Italian, or sometimes the Irish Mam that they'd both heard and called her when they went down to Boston to visit Dad's relatives and even some of hers - found out when she heard him and told him he deserved it had walloped him so hard he'd had a bruise down his shoulder for more than a week, but he never called her a pussy or swore where Mama could hear him again after that.

At the time, Lou's mother was the longest living Slayer, but now it was Buffy Summers, Angel's girl that he never talked about but was in every false breath he took (she wasn't stupid, nor that oblivious no matter what Daddy had thought). She'd been young when she'd had Lou, had named him after her father, though she'd said she'd considered 'Trevor' after their father, the man she'd eventually married. No one talked about the fact that she'd been fifteen when she'd been Called or that when she met Trevor (who was twenty-five at the time and horrified, shamed with guilt that he'd knocked up a girl ten years younger than he; they married when she turned eighteen and Louis Lockley Fitch was already nine months old), she'd only been sixteen. Lou was born when she was seventeen. Trevor shipped out when he was six and came home with Kate.

Neither knows if their parents actually fought about it, but to them - or at least to Lou - it had never mattered. She had been his sorellina, end of story.

Kate absently noted the mirrors between Mama's life and Buffy's and wondered why Buffy was still alive and their mother dead, but she wasn't petty that way anymore, so she simply put it up to Buffy having backup that Mama never had, which was true.

Whenever Mama had gone out, she'd been alone. With Dad at work, the house was theirs and they stayed up as long as they could - Lou always won, no matter how hard she tried. They called it their riocht, the world, the universe was theirs.

...I liked reality better when it was a dream...

The burning star at the center, their parents, imploded the night Mama died.

He was giving her that look - the astonishment and disbelief that only he could convey that way (she wondered how Lou and Angel and others like them could speak languages with their faces) right now and Bobby was glancing back and forth between them like there was some sort of silent chess match going on and, really, there was, but neither would admit it.

Neither wanted to be the first to speak, but both wanted to be the first to tell the other everything.

"Kate?" Bobby's voice whispered and both startled. It was obvious she hadn't earned the title of 'Aunt' yet, which she completely understood.

"Yeah, sport?" she said without thinking, but backpedaled when Bobby recoiled at the, again unearned, familiarity and Kate eased up.

"Bobby!" Lou snapped, but Kate put her hand on his arm before turning back to her once-ignored nephew, "Jesus, Lou, let the kid be!"

She looked back at the thirteen-year-old who might as well have been getting his ass beaten by their mother for swearing at her, he looked so much like his father. "Sorry. Yes, Bobby?"

Bobby was silent for a moment before spouting off in an entire, fluent trail of Italian that left Kate reeling. She'd been rather proficient when she'd been a kid, but that had been a long time ago and it sounded like a load of gibberish to her now. Even the Irish she'd known once upon a time was but a distant memory. It occurred to her just then that it was Angel's birth language and she now wondered if Bobby knew any at all.

Lou blew out a breath, but forced himself not to react any further than glaring at his son and then rolling his eyes at Bobby's steadfast poker face.

Kate made certain to respond politely. "I'm sorry, Bobby, my Italian's pretty rusty. Do you mind translating that into English for me? My Irish isn't at it's best, either, though I do have a friend who could help me remedy - well, both, actually, he's a linguist - if I asked."

"A boyfriend?"

"What is it with you and trying to hook up everyone you see?" Lou sputtered and Kate noticed the distinct flush he now sported and was intrigued.

Kate ignored her brother's irritation, "A friend. He saved my life once and I saved his before that. He says we're even. He's a private investigator in L.A."

"They still have those?" Bobby asked, not unpolitely, and Kate nodded, "Yeah. Cops employ them to get tips we - your dad would have to go through all kinds of red tape to get. Regular people use them, too."

"You were a cop?" Bobby shifted in his chair, glancing at his father. "I...I asked before how you were my dad's sister, but ne-never mind. Um, you were a cop?"

Lou paled, but Kate waved him off. "Yes, I was. A detective like your dad, but that was a long time ago - at least for me. I don't know if you ever met my - our dad, his name was Trevor Lockley - "

Bobby's face was drawing a complete blank and Kate could only lean back slightly and chuckle at the irony. "Okay, yeah, I guess I deserve this. This is my fault. We have the same dad, Trevor Lockley, like I said - ah, bu-but -- "

Kate raised a hand to stall the interruption from both father and son she could see and each reason they were coming for. "We have different biological mothers, but your dad's mother was mine, too, which was all that mattered to either of us."

Lou blew out a hard breath, running a hand over his hair and down his face, and Kate could just count the notches his blood pressure was going up, but they couldn't lie to his son. He was way too old to just be walked away from again and she wasn't about to do the whole 'ignore what I don't like about the world' thing again. She'd die first.

"She adopted me after our dad brought me home during the Vietnam War."

Bobby blinked and then it sank in. "Wow."

"Yeah, wow. It's why we don't look alike. Doesn't matter, I used to think your dad was practically a san. I used to think the city in Missouri was named for him - hey, quit giggling I was four, okay? Anyway, I all but worshiped my big half-brother," Kate shrugged.

Lou was absolutely gaping at her by now, but she was through dodging hard questions just because she needed to stay in some kind of comfort zone. "Louie, you want to take the question of what a Slayer is or should I? How about vampire? You could pick any card you like? Werewolf?"

Fitch froze and bared his teeth just slightly, his fingers digging into the desk behind him and Kate swatted his arms away before his strength left inexplicable half-moon marks in the wood of his lieutenant's desk. "Unless you plan to pay for that -- "

"How can you be so calm about this, Trinchen?" Fitch snarled, causing Bobby to flinch, but Kate held her ground and answered calmly.

"Because you and I both owe your son explanations about who we are, where we came from, why you're here, and the difference between good and evil in those we call friends and enemies. He's mature enough to be over the fact that you and his mother are never going - "

Fitch turned away from her, but Kate told hold of his shoulder and used physical force to turn him back around where his strength wouldn't let her. "Jackass, listen to me. You already know you and Linda aren't going to reconcile - "

"What the hell do you care, you didn't come to our wedding, you didn't see Bobby when he was born!" Fitch whipped his arm out of her grip and she let him because it was true.

Kate breathed deeply in through her nose and nodded, "You're right. In short, I was a bitch and in deep, deep denial. I hated seeing you after Mama died and I decided I never wanted to see or feel that again. *Fate had a different plan for me, Lodovico, because Daddy was killed by a vampire while my friend - also a vampire...*"

Long unused Italian, words she'd assumed until just now had been forgotten, were flowing from her lips now and Bobby's eyes were widening right along with his father's, who was staring at her, becoming paler with every second.

"Was forced to watch. Daddy refused to invite him in and Angel couldn't get through the barrier as a result. Some scumbag demon - like the equally scumbag werewolf who threatened our family - your family, I - I was being the bitch, like I said...some scumbag demon sent his vampire lackeys to dispose of Daddy because he wouldn't continue to play by their rules so that they'd pay him so he could give the money to me...and you. Probably to Roberto.*"

...Now thinking hurts and feeling is worse...

Fitch was crushing his hands through his hair now, shaking as he leaned backward against the desk, his face obscured, but tears falling to the floor beneath him where Kate and Bobby each could see them landing, bleeding into one another. Kate stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Fitch and he resisted instinctively at first, but then remembered his strength when Kate went tumbling back onto the floor, landing hard, and forcing herself to hold in an exclamation of pain.

Fitch's arms flew away from his face and he dashed forward to pick Kate up off the floor, gathering her easily into one arm as he brushed her off needlessly, and then set her back on her feet.

Despite the bruise she was sure was going to form on her arm, she forestalled Lou's fervent apology and instead gestured to Bobby, "Try hiding that," she said breathlessly, now, in English. She wasn't smug. It wasn't worth it.

Fitch's breath caught again and he turned to look at his wide-eyed son, who was even paler than he'd become, himself.

"Werewolf?" Bobby whispered and Lou started to reach up to run his hands through his hair again, but stopped himself at the last second before lowering his hands.

"Yeah, Bobby. He wouldn't have just killed you - that's what he threatened to do - Stram...Albert Stram. He...he preferred human methods of killing, but...he promised that for you he'd make a special case and return to his roots. He would have torn you apart. I had to leave or he would have eaten you - or, or probably even bitten you just to prove a point. Being a werewolf isn't...you were just a little boy. How could I have kept you from infecting another kid and why would I have put you through that in the first place? You-you're right, I wasn't there, but it was because if I had been, you would have either been torn apart or turned."

Fitch was whispering now, himself, but Bobby found he heard his father perfectly even with the steady murmur and din outside...just like always.

"But if I'm not a werewolf, then how come I can...why'd you pick Kate up like she didn't even weigh anything and how'd she go flying down like that, anyway?"

Fitch was running his hand over his mouth now as Bobby asked each subsequent question, but he breathed forcefully again and frowned deeply before looking Bobby in the eye. "My mom was the Vampire Slayer...well...not the current one, obviously. She's uh, well, I don't know how old Buffy Summers is - "

"Nearly thirty. The longest surviving Vampire Slayer to date," Kate amended softly and Fitch nodded sadly, tears beginning to prickle at his eyes.

"Into every generation, a Slayer is born...One girl in all the world with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires, stop the spread of their evil, the swell of their numbers. She alone will fight the forces of darkness, she is the Slayer." Fitch's recitation was filled with bitterness at that last word. "My mother was Chosen when she was fifteen and she met our dad when she was sixteen."

Fitch shrugged. "I was born when she was seventeen and they got married when she turned eighteen. She barely survived the g-" Fitch stopped himself from cursing and clenched his eyes shut. "She survived their stupid damned test and our dad proposed after that. She told me once that he would have hit her Watcher, the woman who raised me, except - yeah, she's a woman. Never hit a woman, Bobby, no matter the circumstances."

But Fitch's voice was broken by now, tears sliding openly down his face as he remembered the night his mother died.

...Now thinking hurts, and feeling is worse...

"The demon that killed her was female. I was fifteen and Katie was nine. Dad took her to California after that."

"Why?" Bobby asked angrily, wondering what Trevor Lockley looked like and glancing at Kate, the anger he'd felt earlier returning with full force. Kate sighed and allowed him his ire. She had more than enough of it coming her way.

"The Watcher's Council - they aid and guide the Slayers, though your Aunt Katie tells me her friend Angel said they were all blown up - one of them was his best friend's dad. Watching is hereditary, but anyway - in the extremely rare event that a Slayer has a child, the Council takes custody of...well, me, in that case. Katie wasn't our mother's biological kid, so she could go with our dad."

"That's crap," Bobby snapped, giving his father an irritated once-over. "He was your dad, didn't you even - you weren't little like me, you could have run away - "

"Watch it. I ran away six times, Bobby," Fitch snapped back before reining himself in again and turning away for a moment and then turning back to face both his son and sister. "After the sixth time, they decided I was too much trouble, expelled me from the Watcher's Academy - it was fun being the only American there, yeah - and sent me to the Demon Research Initiative in D.C., hoping they could do something else with me, I guess, but my mother's Watcher - her name was Anna Winthrop - she'd trained me to think for myself, something the Watcher's Council hates.

"I remember she and - I'm guessing Kate's friend Angel's friend's dad - guy named Roger Wyndham-Pryce and another two, both named Giles, a mother and a son, I never knew their names - she fought them tooth and nail about it. She knew they were trying to mold me and wouldn't have it.

"They sacked her when I was already in the DRI. I found out after I got dishonorably discharged for 'inability to integrate properly into the militaristic culture', which is...anyway, I found out after I got back that the sack they put her in is probably lying at the bottom of the Atlantic."

Fitch was glaring viciously at Kate now, but Kate met his anger head on. Bobby was staring at his father in horror, considering the implications of what he was saying.

"They killed her. They took her away from you...and that demon took...took your mom...and those other Watcher people took you from your dad and...and Kate."

Bobby's eyes widened further and he stared up at his father, who was stricken once more but obviously trying to hide it. "And that Stram wolf guy you were talking about...when you were telling that guy about people doing all these horrible things to you..."

Bobby broke off there and leapt forward, his feet leaving the ground in an awkward arc as he grabbed at his father and clutched at him, shuddering and whimpering and Fitch knew he was crying. Fitch gripped his son, holding him to his chest, stroking Bobby's hair with his free hand.

"I'd die if anything had - happened to you."

"I love you, Dad," Bobby whispered and Fitch shuddered, tears burning past his clenched eyelids again.

"I love you, too, bud," he whispered but then Bobby jerked awkwardly backward and it was only his natural agility that allowed Fitch to keep a hold on him.

"Are you a Slayer or a Watcher, Dad?" Bobby asked, swiping his eyes and taking a deep breath.

"Uh, n-no. I told you I was expelled and there aren't any male Slayers."

"Angel's son is one," Kate cut in gently and Fitch started in shock.

"What? Vampires don't - what?"

"Prophecy, whole thing. Both his biological parents are vampires, but he's more or less human. Kind of like a vampire, but with none of the crap. Connor can walk around in sunlight, stakes don't kill him - hell, since we got out of Hell, nothing can kill him, from what I can see. But he doesn't drink blood, either. Point is, yeah, there is exactly one."

"Who gets to be immortal." Fitch couldn't keep the bitterness out of his voice.

Kate frowned, narrowing her eyes, "Okay, can you shove it for a minute? While we were in Hell, Angel was forced to watch the vampire that used to be one of his best friends - time was set back to normal when we got out, but while we were there like I said, Charles Gunn damned near gutted Connor. He died."

Fitch froze, his eyes widened as he unconsciously gripped Bobby more closely to him again.

Kate continued mercilessly, "Angel was thisclose to completely snapping, but managed to keep it together long enough to get Gunn to cut off his head with this flaming sword, forcing the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart to turn back time to the exact moments before we all went not-so-South and Connor and everyone else who had died were all brought back to life."

Kate stalked up to Lou and poked him in his chest the way she used to when she was five and wanted to make a point to her eleven-year-old brother. This was exactly the same.

"Angel died for Connor, which I just heard you say you'd do for Bobby so shut up and just be the same father he is. One who loves his son. The reconstituted International Council of Watchers - headed by one Buffy Summers - found Connor to be a Slayer, but when they asked if he wanted to train with them, he said he'd rather stay in L.A. with Angel."

"Oh."

"Yeah, asshole, 'oh'."

Fitch shifted uncomfortably, "I take it back."

"You'd better."

"Am I like a Slayer?" Bobby asked, slowly climbing back down and smoothing his clothes back down. He looked at his father, "Are you?"

Fitch sighed, "Something like that. Like I said, Slayers don't usually have children, but I've always been really fast, strong, and all that crud. Your mother said you're going to try out for baseball when you hit high school in the fall. Bunt the ball, basically, don't go full-force. No one will ever see it again and some kid five burroughs away will get concussed."

Bobby's eyes widened again and he looked down at his hands. He looked back up at his father and...aunt.

"Cool. Do you hunt demons a lot, Aunt Kate?"

It was all Kate could do to keep the smile off her face just then.

...This is r-e-a-l-i-t-y...

END

Translations:

'Ríocht' is the Irish for 'kingdom'.

'San' is the Italian for 'saint'.

'Mamma' is obvious, right? Italian for 'Mom'.

'Sorellina' is 'little sister'.

'Fräulein' is 'young lady, unmarried woman' in German.

'Trinchen' - German variation of 'Katherine'.

'Lodovico' - Italian variation of 'Louis'.

'Roberto' - Italian variation of 'Robert', also kind of obvious.

The End

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

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