Disclaimer: Not mine, they're Joss's, don't sue.
Distribution: If you want it, you can have it, just tell me where it's going first.
I'm really, really sorry for the long wait, but after I had finally been able to complete it I got a bad case of nerves and rewrote it about three times. Anyway, here it is. Please send feedback, it makes me write faster!
Angel groped blindly behind him, eventually his hand hit a chair and he grabbed hold of it, sinking into it before his legs gave out completely, never taking his eyes off the young girl who sat before him, her fingers digging into the arms of her chair.
He stared at her. He felt as if he was in shock. Numbly, he took in the fine features, the dark hair, of his sister who he had thought dead, under his fangs, two hundred years and more ago.
Angel had to close his eyes against the shock wave of guilt and painful memories that thought brought. He remembered how she had opened the door for him, remembered the joy in her face and eyes, the joy he had taken in with such anticipation, knowing it would soon be snuffed out by his hand. He remembered how she had invited him in, thinking him to be an Angel. He remembered the horror and fear on her face as the demon within him had shown itself, distorting his features to mirror it. He remembered how, in that moment, he had chosen to take for himself the name she had given him, to honour her, in a twisted way. And he remembered how he had sunk his fangs into her neck, savoured the sweet taste that fear gave it, drained her dry, dropped her lifeless body to the floor when he was done. And he remembered the song in his heart.
Echoing through the memory of that moment he heard the words that Darla would speak to him later, when she found him sitting among the bloodstained bodies of his family.
'The same loves will haunt you..."
And how he had answered her, even the demon feeling some horror then.
'Love. Is this love' She had touched his cheek gently, a surprisingly tender gesture.
'Dear boy, still so young, still so very young.'
He was not young any more
Angel opened his eyes shakily, half expecting her to have vanished, to have been no more then a ghost conjured up from his guilt-stricken memories.
She was still there. Her eyes were wide with fear and he felt a wave of self-loathing engulf him for knowing that he had put it there. Involuntarily his eyes shifted to her neck. There was no sign of the wound that had killed her, no scar, but her hand rose swiftly to cover it when she felt his eyes on it.
She was shaking, he saw, with fear. He wanted to move, to speak to comfort her, tell her there was nothing for her to be afraid of, but he couldn't. He was frozen. He wanted to throw himself down on the floor in front of her and beg for her forgiveness, but he expected to, and was terrified of, not receiving it.
"Kathy," he repeated, managing to force her name from his dry mouth.
Kathy stared at him. She was afraid, she admitted, this was the man who had killed her, after all. Her fingers digging into the arms of her chair was all that was keeping her from bolting from the room, from the apartment, to take her chances with Wolfram and Hart on the streets of L.A.
More than the fear, though, the anger was growing. This was Liam, her brother, sitting in front of her, now, who she had loved and believed in and who had betrayed and murdered her.
His eyes opened and looked at her, but all she could feel was the anger coursing through her. Anger was good, anger was safe, anger kept her from feeling other emotions that would hurt so much more.
"Kathy?" He whispered. His voice was hoarse. She stared at him, letting the anger build, forcing it to drown out the other feelings that tried to intrude upon her, forcing herself to feel only anger.
"You killed me," she said in a low, deadly voice. Liam flinched visibly. "You killed me!" she shouted, her voice building, "You killed us all!" Dimly she was aware that she was standing, that Liam was kneeling in front of her, staring up at her, tears appearing in his eyes.
She stared down at him, anger beginning to wane though she fought to hold onto it.
"And then," she began, voice wavering, "I wasn't even allowed to rest in peace!" Tears were rolling down her cheeks now, her voice was wavering. "They brought me back, they trapped me; I was a slave Liam!" The anger was gone, leaving only pain and fear behind. "Nothing more than a slave," she whispered, she slid to a ball on the floor and sobbed bitterly.
Through a haze she felt hesitant arms gather her up, pressing her against soft leather as a familiar voice that had comforted her and soothed her fears many times before murmured quietly in her ear.
"Hush little one, it's ok, I'm hear, your not alone, it's ok," She clung to the fabric as she cried, as she had done with Cordelia before. This time felt different though, this time it felt like home.
Eventually her sobbing subsided and she uncurled herself enough to stare up into the brown eyes of the one who held her. And there was the difference, she realised. The one who had killed her and her family, his eyes had been filled with an unholy glee, with bloodlust and nothing more. These ones eyes held only pain and guilt and grief. And love. This was Liam she realised, feeling at last content. But still, she had to know.
She took a deep breath, staring only at his eyes.
"You're a vampire, aren't you?" she asked, a bit shakily. He let out a long, unneeded sigh.
"Yes," he whispered.
"Then, how," Kathy began hesitantly, "I mean, vampires are, are demons and while it was certainly a demon who, who-" she stopped, swallowed, and went on, "You're not a demon now. You're Liam." Liam smiled down at her sadly, gently brushing a strand of hair back off her face.
"I was a demon," he began, "For over a hundred years I was. I was known as 'The Scourge of Europe. Then, when I was in Romania." He was still staring down at her, still stroking her hair gently, but she felt as if he wasn't seeing her, as if he was seeing the past. "I fed of a young Gypsy girl, a Romany. She was young, beautiful, a favourite among her clan. The elders devised the perfect punishment for me,"
"What?" Kathy asked hoarsely, dreading the answer. Liam smiled soothingly down at her.
"They restored my soul," he said simply. She stared up at him, puzzled, not understanding, then slowly her eyes widened as she understood.
"Oh, Liam," she whispered, wrapping her arms tight around him. "How do you bear it?" she asked, her voice muffled in his clothes. He smiled sadly down at her, though she couldn't see, remembering another girl who he had told his story to.
"By helping people," he told this one now, his sister. "Saving lives in payment for the ones I took." Kathy pushed herself upright, swiping ineffectually at the tears. Gently he caught her hand and wiped them away for her. She stared up at him, remembering the last time he had done that. "No more tears," he whispered, letting her know that he remembered as well.
"OK, Liam," she smiled up at him, feeling, for the first time in so long, happy.
"Kathy," he began, and then stopped, hesitating.
"What?" she asked, concerned
"Do-" he swallowed, "Do you forgive me?" Kathy smiled gently and put a hand up to touch his face,
"Of course I do," she whispered. Liam made a sound half way between a laugh and a sob and hugged her tightly.
"Thank you," he murmured. Kathy leant her head back onto his shoulder, content.
Cordelia shoved the door of her apartment open, clutching her shopping bag with some of the food for Kathy she had gone out to fetch. She stepped into her apartment- and froze.
Angel was seated on the floor with the girl she had found, Kathy, curled up in his arms. At the sound of her entrance they both looked up, and Cordelia was struck by the expression of peace on Angel's face, an expression she had never seen him wear before.
"You found her?" he asked. Cordelia jerked her head in an approximation of a nod, still staring.
"Thank you," Angel murmured softly, smiling.
"Wh-what..." Cordelia began to ask in confusion.
"Cordelia I would like you to meet Kathy," he said, smiling down at her. "My sister."
Cordelia's mouth dropped open and she collapsed down onto the sofa, staring between them. When her brain began to function again she commented,
"That must be why they brought you back," Angel frowned,
"Why's that?" Cordelia stared at Kathy,
"You mean you haven't told him?" Kathy looked at her,
"Why should I have told him?"
"Don't you know his name?"
"Of course I do, it's Liam," Cordelia looked at Angel.
"Your name was Liam?" she asked, then stopped herself. "No, I mean you haven't told her what your name is now?"
"What your name is now?" Kathy looked puzzled and turned to face him, "What is it?" Angel looked at her tenderly.
"I took the name you gave me actually," he said softly. "Angel." Kathy's mouth opened and shut.
"You're a Warrior for the Powers That Be?" she whispered
"I find the title a little ostentatious, but yeah." Angel looked at his sister, concerned. "Kathy? What's wrong?"
"I-I," Kathy stuttered. Cordelia leaned down and gently touched her shoulder.
"Just tell him your story," she whispered kindly. Kathy took a deep breath and did. As the story progressed Angel's face got darker and darker and he made muttered comments about a few inventive things he was proposing to do to Wolfram when he got his hands on him. As she neared the end though and she began telling them about the werewolf who had helped her escape and told her to find Angel, Angel and Cordelia exchanged concerned looks, both thinking the same thing. As Kathy finished, choking down a sob, she looked up at them.
"Kathy," Angel started before she could ask what was wrong, "Could you tell me what this werewolf looked like?" Kathy nodded slowly, looking between them.
"He had brown hair," she began, "And he was fairly short and slight. I don't really know much about him." She said sadly.
As she spoke Cordelia got up and fetched a picture album from Sunnydale, flipping through the plastic pages until she found the one she wanted.
"Is this him?" she asked, pointing out to Kathy a certain picture.
"Yes, that's him!" she exclaimed.
Angel and Cordelia looked at each other in horror.
"'Oz.'" They said as one.