Title: Gifts of the Fathers
Author: Helga Von Nutwimple
Disclaimer: Property of Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc.
Feedback: Crave it like Clem craves kittens.
Setting: AtS Season Five, between "Lineage" and "Destiny".
Summary: It's a holly, jolly, Wolfram & Hart Christmas.
enigmaticblues' Holiday Ficathon rules:
1. Must include Spike or Wesley. Double points for including both.
2. Has to have a holiday. Christmas, Yule, New Years, Hanukkah, or another of your choice is fine.
3. Snow is good, although fireworks and/or other holiday accoutrements are acceptable.
4. There is to be no angst. If you do have angst, the story has to have a good ending. That's the whole point of a holiday fic, quite frankly.
5. Pairings are up to the individual author, but keep in mind #4.
6. No PWPs, please. If you insert smut, there has to be a discernable plot.
7. Human AUs are fine as well. Again, I leave that up to you.
"You've got to be bloody kiddin' me."
"Don't even start, Spike," Harmony sighed, pushing up her Santa hat and glaring at the apparition which had just walked through the door - literally.
"Harm," Spike insisted, gesturing to her tinsel, garland, and impossibly-cute-statues-of-chubby-pink-cheeked-elves covered desk. "You're a vampire. It's... unseemly."
"I'm an empowered, self-aware vampire who follows my own path..."
"What self-help trash you been readin' now?"
"And I don't need to conform to your masculocentric, misogynist, outdated vampire traditions when they conflict with what makes me truly happy," Harmony finished firmly. "Now... if you're done being the ghost of Scrooge..."
"Marley was the ghost," Spike rolled his eyes. "Scrooge was the..."
"Fine! If you're done being the Grinch, I'm very busy," Harmony finished primly.
Spike turned away with a sigh... which turned into a groan as he took in the figure coming down the stairs.
"Et tu, Charlie? Y'know, used to know a bird named Anya, could tell you a few stories 'bout Santa that'd chill your bones..."
"Lay off, Spike," Gunn chuckled, smoothing his festively stylish oxblood waistcoat. "You think this is bad? Go check out Lorne. He's takin' that green-skinned advantage and running with it."
"He's not even from this bloody dimension!"
"I think he looks cute," Fred grinned.
"Fred," Spike said in horror. "Your sweatshirt's playin' 'Jingle Bells'."
"Oh, yeah!" She looked down at herself, pressing a mechanism hidden within a puffy-paint snowman and causing the song to start over. "My folks sent it to to me. My cousin Arlene made it in her craft class."
"Where's Peaches?" Spike begged. "Can't believe I'm sayin' this, but I wanna watch him brood."
"Now, this is just like old times," Spike sighed. "You, me, stalkin' someone for no apparent reason... is it the bird? Gotta say, Angelus, didn't think she was your type."
Angel glared from the driver's seat. "I let you tag along, now shut up."
"The bloke? Didn't think souled-up you swung that way... plus, havin' to remove the giant corn cob first has gotta be a mood-killer."
"I said shut up."
"Girl's a bit young, but then, you always did like to play with your veal..."
"Yeah, and you like to play with my leftovers."
Spike smirked. "Touche."
The front door opened, and a teenaged boy carried a trashcan through it, lifting it easily over his head to maneuver it through the doorway without jarring the wreath.
"Strong little bugger," Spike noticed. "That why you out here? Spyin' on Superboy?"
"I'm not... spying," Angel muttered.
Spike turned to the cracked window, breathing deeply. "Dammit. Forgot I can't smell. What is he, then? Vamp, or demon, or..."
Spike stared at the teenager, searching his face... a moment before his eyes flew wide, his head whipping towards Angel, who groaned.
"Why, Grandpa," Spike leered. "You gots some 'splainin' to do."
"Look, Spike, don't make a big deal out of..."
"Don't make a big deal? Are you out of your forehead? First off, the first of many offs, mind you, I had it on good faith that we were shootin' blanks. Second off, if I'm not mistaken, he doesn't just look like you... an' I do believe that's sweet ol' great-grandmum I recognize? Kid's what, about the Nibblet's age? How in the hell'd you find time in your busy sewer-dwellin', rat-chewin' existence to knock up Darla, who besides bein' all rah-rah-the-Master at that point o' time, brings us right back to my whole we're bloody dead and can't have sprogs first off?"
"Funny you should bring up Dawn..."
"Oh, God. A bunch of monks made him out of you?"
"No. He's my and Darla's son. Conceived the standard way... well, for humans. But in terms of this dimension... he's two years old." Angel smiled sadly. "Today."
"Tall for his age," Spike whispered, eyes on Angel's face.
"He was taken from me," Angel sighed. "Raised by my enemy in a hell dimension. When he came back... he was messed up, confused, lost. He tried to kill me, he tried to..."
"Got your genes then, did he?" Spike joked gently.
"Yeah, I... I guess he did." Angel drummed on the steering wheel. "He was... my bribe. For taking over Wolfram & Hart. They did a thing. Like they did with Dawn. Changing memories. To him... this is his home, this is his family. And it always has been. The others... they don't remember him at all."
Angel turned, fixing Spike with a serious look. "Spike... I know you like to... mess with me, but... not this. Please, not with this. The others... they don't need to remember. It's really important. Especially... especially Wes. If you knew, if you had any idea how I felt about Connor..."
"Don't worry, Angel," Spike interrupted, a secret smile playing on his lips. "I... get that."
Angel's brow furrowed at the extremely unSpikeish phrase choice, but he said nothing.
"Sad, though," Spike peered out the window as Connor walked back inside. "Boy doesn't even know it's his birthday. Hey, what'd you get him?"
Angel startled. "What? I didn't 'get him' anything."
"Dru was right, you are a bad daddy. C'mon, Angelus, I know how much you love to leave little cryptic presents. Crank up the poofmobile, let's go shoppin' - don't think he wants the sort of gag gifts you leave for Rupert."
Angel's forehead loomed in the moonlight. "I don't even know what he'd want."
"Oh, come on. Hasn't he got a favorite band, TV show he fancies or summat? What's the boy like?"
"He was raised in a hell dimension by a psychopath, Spike. He likes killing things with sharp objects."
"So do I! Hey, you think he likes the Sex Pistols?"
"We're leaving," Angel swore, reaching for the key.
"C'mon, Peaches. I'll admit, bit suspicious gettin' him a present for a birthday he doesn't know he's got, but aren't you at least gonna get him somethin' for Christmas?"
"Weren't you the one bellowing at Harmony about 'vampiric propriety' for wearing a Santa hat? I thought escaping the holiday merriment was the whole reason you wanted to come with me."
"Boy's human! Whole different thing."
"I don't know what he's like now," Angel said plaintively.
"Well," Spike grinned. "Damn good thing you brought along a bloke who can turn invisible, walk through walls, an' has a marked lack of respect for personal privacy, then."
But Spike had already passed through the car, fading into transparency as he jogged up the walkway.
"Don't... screw up his stuff," Angel finished weakly.
"You sure he's yours?" Spike grinned as he passed through the car door, settling himself into his seat. "Kid's got bloody brilliant taste in music. Sure as hell didn't get that from you."
"What'd you find out?" Angel demanded. "Tell me everything. All of it. Everything."
"Kid of yours is solid. Parents got those 'honors student' stickers all over the car, all kinds of trophies n' whatnot layin' about, report cards on the fridge. Drive."
Angel cranked the car. "What else?"
"Whole place is Ozzy n' Harriet as hell. Boy's room's like you'd expect, bit messy, wears those idiotic pants that hang off the ass. Snuck a peek at his collections; he's missin' some bits... head down to Sunset, we'll get him straight."
Reality struck Angel; he bit his lip. "How am... how am I gonna do this? I mean, what do I do? I can't just break in and leave the stuff under the Christmas tree..."
"So we get Fred or Harm to write 'from your secret admirer' in nice girly handwritin', leave 'em on top of his car or somethin'. Gets presents an' a little ego boost for a bonus."
Angel chewed on that a moment... and then his eyes narrowed. "Why are you doing this?"
Spike shrugged. "I'm bored."
"You're not nice when you're bored. You're a complete asshole when you're bored. You don't help, you annoy."
"Love you too," Spike drawled.
"Seriously, Spike. What's going on?"
"Nothin'," Spike insisted, looking out at the night with a sigh.
The Virgin Megastore on Sunset was a prison riot set to Bing Crosby.
"Bloody hell," Spike whispered in awe.
"We do this fast," Angel growled, teeth grinding together. "Go."
"Bit like bein' on Atkins at a Hershey factory, innit?" Spike laughed over his shoulder as he literally walked through the crowd, Angel bobbing, weaving, and muttering apologies behind him. "Makes a hell of a case for one-click at Amazon."
Angel glared. "I didn't understand half the words in that sentence."
"Get with the century, Peaches," Spike sighed, moving to block a display that had caught Angel's interest. "Which means get away from that. Boy doesn't want any soddin' Barely Manenough."
"But he likes this," Angel protested, waving the "Ultimate Manilow" CD he'd picked up. "We sang it together once."
Spike quirked an eyebrow.
"Well, we were... sort of in a trance from this love-god that ate people," Angel admitted sheepishly.
"Right." Spike slid through two Goth kids and skidded to a stop in front of a CD rack. "Here we are, then."
"I haven't heard of any of these bands," Angel complained as he flipped through the CD's in front of him. "I know I'm always hearing about how bad the public schools have gotten, but... Puddle of M-U-D-D? Limp B-I-Z-K-I-T? Does nobody own a dictionary anymore?"
"Listen to enough o' that, you'll be too busy rippin' off your own ears to mind the misspells. What we want's further down."
"What happened to simple band names, like 'Seamus O'Flannery and the Drunken Shamrocks'?"
"Everyone on the island died of old age but you, that's what." Spike pointed to a higher rack. "That one."
Angel plucked a case out. "Well, at least these guys can spell. Need haircuts, though."
"Shoulda turned him when I had the chance." Spike looked over Angel's shoulder with a wistful sigh. "Fabulous bloke. Hell-bint of a wife, though."
Spike walked further down the aisle and concentrated, managing to tap a CD an inch out of the display case. Angel added it to his pile, then followed Spike over to the DVD section; Spike, beaming obscenely in pride, was actually holding a box out to him.
"What's this?" Angel asked, catching it just before it fell to the floor.
"TV show, been off the air a while. Kid's got every season but this one, has a poster of the lead bird over his desk." Spike tapped the air in front of the brunette on the cover. "Figure it's a safe bet; seems to have a crush."
"Connor likes this, huh?" Angel stroked the DVD cover with his thumb wistfully. "What's it about?"
"Girl gets these visions of when bad things are about to happen, tries to stop them before..." Spike broke off at Angel's sudden look of horror. "What the bleedin' hell'd I say?"
"Y'know?" Angel said too-casually, hurriedly shoving the DVD back onto the shelf. "I think we've got enough stuff."
Angel took a step forward, then realized he'd walked right through Spike... who had frozen, staring at a bright display of concert videos.
"N'Sync," Angel read, stepping backwards out of Spike. "Connor like them, too?"
"Huh?" Spike shook himself back to reality. "Oh... hell, no. Or if he did, he wouldn't admit it to his mates. Let's go, then. They've got little gift box things up front you can put the stuff in."
"How come you were looking at the thing?"
Spike shrugged. "It was shiny."
"Is that a band you like? Something you want to get? Look, Spike... I can't believe I'm saying this, but you've been really helpful tonight. If you like... er... N'Sync... I'd be glad to get it for you."
"Can't stand the buggers. Just happened to remember somethin', ended up starin' into space, y'know?"
"Yeah, okay," Angel nodded. "Where did you say those gift boxes were again?"
Spike took off for the front of the store, and Angel slid his cellphone out of his pocket.
"Wes? Hey. I need something."
Angel closed the cover of the last gift box, stacking them neatly on the Viper's hood. "Do these look all right?"
"You're askin' me? They're bleedin' boxes." Spike snapped his fingers suddenly. "Bugger. We forgot the note, didn't we?"
"No, that's okay." Angel fussed with the bow, then checked his watch. "Wes is on it, he should be here any minute."
"Peaches?" Spike asked suddenly.
"How do you stand it?"
Angel leaned against the car. "What do you mean?"
"Your kid. I mean... him not even knowin' you're alive. I know, I know, it's what's best for him 'n all, wantin' him to have a normal life, but... doesn't it drive you nutters? Not knowin' if he's okay, if someone's pickin' on him, if he needs your help, if he's in trouble..."
Spike broke off at the crunch of gravel; Wesley's car pulled into the lot beside them.
"I dunno, Spike," Angel smiled. "You tell me."
"I brought that note you wanted," Wesley called, stepping out into the night and shutting his door.
"Bein' a C.E.O.'s gone straight to your gelled-up head," Spike chuckled, gesturing towards Wesley. "Havin' your right-hand drive all the way out here for a bleedin' note? You'll have a pet monkey n' bathe in champagne next, I sw..."
The passenger door opened, and Spike froze.
"So... I make this out to Connor, right? Merry Christmas from a secret admirer?" Dawn clicked the top of her pen. "If you went to all the trouble to haul me away from Dad's house, I want to make sure I spell this right. It's Connor with two 'n's?"
Dawn handed Angel the note. "Yeah, I just wanted to make an entrance, I wrote it in the car."
"Hearts over the i's, very nice touch," Angel smiled, sticking the note beneath the ribbon on the top box. "Wes, you wanna help me with these?"
Angel hefted his stack of presents. "And oh, yeah - Merry Christmas, Spike."
Wesley and Angel walked off towards the house, and Dawn took another step forwards.
"Hey, Nibblet," Spike choked.
"So..." she grinned. "I heard this rumor, that you could touch stuff if you wanted to badly enough. That true?"
Spike reached out and brushed her hair back from her face. "Looks like."
The four of them huddled in Wesley's car with the heater blasting, staring across the street at the darkened pile of presents... atop the darkened car... parked in front of the darkened house.
"Kinda anticlimactic," Angel sighed.
"Throw some rocks against his window," Dawn suggested. "Blow the horn or something. Make some noise, so he comes out and notices them. You want me to do it? At least that way, he'll see a girl if he looks out his window... it'll match the note..."
Angel nodded, Spike pointed to the correct window, and Dawn slipped out of the car, grabbing a handful of gravel and sprinting across the street.
"So who is this that you're leaving presents for?" Wesley asked curiously, watching Dawn run. "We never really clarified that."
"A... friend of Cordelia's," Angel said carefully. "She'd want us to do this. I know she would."
Gravel clattered, an upstairs light flicked on, and Dawn sprinted back towards the car, ducking into the door Wesley opened just as Connor's window flew wide, his head poking out.
Dawn craned her neck for a better view. "I think he's coming, I thought I heard him..."
Another window flared to brightness, then another... and finally Connor stepped out into the driveway, a quizzical look on his face.
"Oh!" Angel leaned forward eagerly. "He sees them, he sees them, look!"
Connor pulled the packages down from his car roof, pulling out the note... then smiled in pleased confusion, eyes rising to scan the horizon for a glimpse of the author.
He shook his head, still grinning, and walked back in the house, opening boxes as he went... window after window darkening as he passed, Angel's eyes following him hungrily.
"Well, whatever you've gotten the boy, Angel, it certainly looks as if he likes it," Wesley commented. "He's smiling..."
"Yeah," Angel whispered in wonder. "Yeah. He is."
And finally, Connor was visible in his bedroom, bending before a stereo system.
"Well hey now," Spike grinned. "Told you he'd like what I picked out... playin' it already..."
"I remember all my life," Connor bellowed along with the music that poured out the window, "Raining down as cold as ice..."
"Oh bloody hell," Spike gasped in horror.
"A shadow of a man... a face through a window..."
"Whoa," Dawn's lip curled. "He is suddenly so much less cute."
Connor picked up a hairbrush and used it as a microphone. "Oh Mandy! Well you came and you gave without taaaakin'!"
And Angel watched, a smile spreading across his face.