Date written: Sun 9 Apr 2006
Author: Starway Man
E-mail: theop at kew dot hotkey dot net dot au
Disclaimer: None of the Buffy and Angel references belong to me, but rather Joss and his gang of idi...er, geniuses. Some parts of this are directly from the TV episodes, and so belong to the writers in question. Oh, yeah, and I won't be making any illegal profit from this story; as always, I'm just hoping for a little feedback here.
Category: Action, Adventure, Angst, Alternate Universe
Main characters: Xander, Ensemble
Rating: Overall R, with mostly PG-13 parts.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Buffyworld for the transcripts of the relevant episodes, and my beta readers Nodakskip, Greywizard and Francis Eugene for all their help and suggestions.
Warnings: This fanfic contains descriptions of killing and violence, as well as some very bad language.
Continuity: The story begins during the major flashback of "Fool For Love", and then eventually moves onto the events of "Welcome To The Hellmouth/The Harvest".
Author notes: One of the few things I liked about BtVS season 7 was the development of Xander's character into 'the one who sees everything', as Caleb put it. That led me to wonder what the TV series would have been like, if this had been developed earlier in the show...and if an idea used in the Fray comics had been included as well. Which in turn led my rather convoluted thought processes to this tale, which I hope you'll enjoy!
Summary: What if Xander Harris had been born Alexander Summers?
Title: Yesterday's Son
"Excuse me. Who gave you permission to exist?"
(Cordelia Chase, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER)
"I altered his reality."
(Xander Harris, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER)
"Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay to mould me man? Did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me?"
(John Milton, PARADISE LOST)
Part I: A Rude Awakening
The Underwood residence, London, England. March, 1880
The elegant dinner party was in full swing.
At this point in human history, vampires had become merely the stuff of myth and legend. The current rash of disappearances happening throughout London Town was being put down to animals or thieves, at least by these partygoers. And the simpering fools had no idea that the things which went 'chomp' in the night were currently destined to add to their swelling numbers this evening.
In other words, a rather bookish and awkward young Victorian gentleman named William, who was present at this notable gathering. William, a joke to his peers and a bloody awful poet, was also someone who thought he was in love with the daughter of the household, Cecily Underwood.
At this moment, William had his heart out on his sleeve, declaring his love to the brunette woman in question now that he had finally gotten her alone. William Pratt said, "I know I'm a bad poet, but I'm a good man. And all I ask is that...that you try to see me-"
"I do see you," Cecily interrupted. "That's the problem. You're-" But suddenly she stopped and choked, seemingly unable to breathe.
Maybe it was from an allergy to dust, or a bit of an hors d'oeuvre that had gone down the wrong way, or something else entirely. But whatever the cause, Cecily's suitor was instantly concerned about her state of health even as the brunette female recovered her ability to draw breath.
"Cecily? What's wrong?" William asked in worried consternation, trying to see her face.
The man then got the shock of his life, for instead of Cecily's "effulgent beauty"...there was only the inhuman and deformed features of a female vengeance demon.
"DAMNATION!" cursed the creature known as Halfrek, momentarily ignoring the guy with the spectacles. "What was that? I don't understand..." She then saw William's astonishment and cursed again.
"Cecily? Is that you? What, what manner of sorcery is this?" William asked in a somewhat fearful tone, inadvertently backing away from her.
Halfrek figured the jig was up, so she just spat out, "Oh, hush, you fool! Must you act as if you've never seen a demon before in your entire life? Well, just so you know, you're nothing to me William. You're beneath me."
Unfortunately, the rehearsed speech was somewhat ruined by the sight of Halfrek's demon face, which she had forgotten to turn back into Cecily Underwood's features.
And thus William, terrified and praying fervently to a God he wasn't sure had existed before now, ran off – dropping the poetry onto the floor of the manor, on his way to the nearest church to confess his sins and beg the Almighty for His divine help.
Halfrek just sighed and resumed the 'Cecily' persona. She had obviously failed to drive William to the point of suicide as part of the wager with her colleague Anyanka, and so it was time now to start ending this charade of a mortal life she had set up for herself.
Elsewhere in London. Ten minutes later
Three vampires were walking down the street, enjoying the night air. Their names were Angelus, Darla and Drusilla. And they were a nightmare to any mortal that knew of them.
Angelus said dotingly to his childe, "Well, if you're lonely, Dru, why don't you make yourself a playmate?"
The undead seer nodded, "I could. I could pick the wisest and bravest knight in all the land – and make him mine forever with a kiss..." Then suddenly she stopped, and bent over as the other two vamps also came to a halt.
Dru started wheezing, "No, no, no. My precious, sweet Willy! Gone, vanished, lost! He's not 'ere, he is..."
"What's she babbling about now?" Darla wanted to know after briefly looking all around her.
"Who knows?" Angelus said roughly, suddenly bored and impatient with the younger vampire's antics. "Come on, Dru! We've got places to be, things to do, people to kill..."
So saying, the male vamp grabbed both his women and quickly dragged them away; as Drusilla briefly started to weep for what could have been inside her addled brain.
In the woods outside Borsa, Romania. July, 1898
Darla was definitely not in a good mood.
It had all started with a birthday present she had decided to get for her favorite childe; a delectable young virgin girl, the favorite of her clan. Dumb as a post, really, for the child to have fallen into Darla's trap that way. And her darling boy Angelus had feasted well on her carcass that night.
In Darla's opinion, it had all been just a bit of harmless fun.
The Kalderash tribe of gypsies however had had a different opinion about the matter.
"You took him from me. You stole him away. You gave him a soul," the female vampire hissed at the gypsy elder standing before her, ignoring the fact that the ensouled version of Angelus was running away up a nearby hill.
"He must suffer, as all of his victims have suffered," the elder snapped back, full of righteous fury at his enemies.
Darla was obviously unimpressed. "That is no justice. Whatever pain he caused to your daughter was momentary – over in an instant..." She reconsidered, "...or an hour. But what you've done to him will force Angelus to suffer for the rest of eternity! Remove that filthy soul so my boy might return to me!"
Drusilla inserted herself into the conversation. "Angelus is gone away. Where is he?"
Darla grabbed hold of the gypsy's neck. "Drusilla! The camp – go on – kill things!"
Her grandchilde seemed uncertain. "He shall be very cross, if he finds we had a lovely mass slaughter without him-"
The 300-year-old woman closed her eyes for a moment, as if in despair or possible frustration with her so-called 'granddaughter'. "He'll join us soon. Now do as you're told."
Dru licked one of her fingers and nodded, "Okay." Then she walked off.
Darla tried to focus again as she stared at her soon-to-be victim. She gestured, "Inside that wagon is your family. Your wife and daughters will die tonight without my protection." She stroked the man's cheek, "But if you'll just do as I say, your family can live..."
The gypsy hesitated. And then, unlike in a world where 18 years ago the vampire called Spike had joined their pack, there was an interruption by the soulless creature named Penn.
"How much longer must I wait in here?" Angelus's childe called to Darla, as he stuck his head out of the wagon.
"Until I say otherwise!" the head of the family snarled back. Penn quickly vanished. "Well?" she demanded of the gypsy.
"I cannot help you, even if I wanted to. The curse cannot be broken," the elder said defiantly.
"You lie badly, you lummox. A curse is always imperfect by its very nature!" the female vampire hissed. "Did you think I know nothing about magic? There's always a flaw, always a way for any curse to be broken...if you just look hard enough. Now tell me, or your family dies!"
At that moment Drusilla rejoined the pair, her head swaying slightly from side to side. "Pretty music, pretty music. My kitten, he still sleeps in the halls of time...but he shall listen to the music, and become ever so unhappy..."
"Shut up, Dru!" Darla screamed, her patience at an end.
"A moment of happiness..." Dru muttered anyway, as her eyes drifted upwards to stare at the moon.
The gypsy elder's eyes widened only for a moment, but it was enough. Full realization came to the undead matriarch, "That's it, isn't it? That's your big secret. A happiness clause in the curse! All that Angelus need do is be happy, just for a moment, and not let that soul you restored plague his thoughts?"
The gypsy said nothing, only snarling in anger as he struggled to get free. A jubilant Darla instantly snapped his neck and then called out, "Penn! James! Elisabeth! You too, Drusilla. SHOW THEM ALL NO MERCY!"
The Woman's Hospital of Texas, Houston. February, 1978
Angel clasped the young woman's shoulder, as she held the newborn infant in her arms.
It had been a long century for this particular vampire so far, in more ways than one. And even though Angel didn't know it, quite a number of plans and prophecies had now crumbled into dust, thanks to the ripple effects from Halfrek's little seizure.
The Pergamum Codex, the prophecies of Aurelius, the Nyazian sacred texts, the scrolls of Aberjian...you name it, they had all been affected. Plus all the people who should have died at Spike's hands had lived on and affected the world in MANY different ways. It had caused quite a headache for those trying to keep some sort of balance in the mortal world, to be sure.
In any case, after Darla and her troupe had found Angel again in 1898, the tormented vampire had been astonished to learn just how easily the curse could be broken. And he had tried to do that, he really had...
But unfortunately, nothing seemed to work no matter what Angel attempted. Sex, food, even mundane and mystical drugs; nothing gave the vampire the moment of perfect happiness he'd needed to become a soulless monster again.
After two years, the ensouled creature had finally given up. He escaped his former family during 1900, carrying off a baby he'd rescued from them during the Boxer Rebellion in China.
Since then, Angel had brooded away the decades, watching as the mortal world turned more and more away from magic and embraced science and technology. After arriving in the U.S. during 1902 via a ship, Angel had ended up saving a puppy from a speeding car in 1922, meeting a bunch of sailors on a submarine during 1943, and even witnessed the Bob Hope Desert Classic being televised live during 1963.
And finally, he'd met Adrienne Pratt, the last descendant of William the bloody awful poet after the rest of his lineage had all passed on one way or another.
The young woman had just gotten herself pregnant when Angel had saved her last year during a hold-up in a diner. The vampire had been standing by the jukebox, listening to Manilow, when a criminal had come in, shot the counter employee and tried to rob the place. Angel had barely managed to shield Ms. Pratt from a bullet; later, Adrienne had been full of questions...
Which Angel had reluctantly answered.
Oddly though, the human female hadn't been repulsed by the fact that her saviour was a bloodsucking demon. Well, this was the late 1970's, after all. And people's attitudes had changed a lot ever since Woodstock and the country's cultural revolution.
Not to mention Adrienne had quickly fallen in love with Angel afterwards, his human features very appealing to her.
"Say hello to your Daddy, Connor," the woman said with a smile, as she gave the baby to his adoptive father. "And we're all gonna be one big happy family now, aren't we?"
Angel stared at the infant in sheer wonder, as he suddenly contemplated the future. The prospect of actually being called "Dad" by a son, of more-or-less living as a man with Adrienne as they raised their child together...watching Connor grow up, and one day get married, and then have children of his own – grandchildren for him to lovingly spoil...
And that was when Fate kicked the side of the good guys directly in the balls.
As Enyos of the Kalderash tribe had known in a different reality, Angel was meant to suffer, not to live as a human. One moment of true happiness and his soul would be taken from him; Angel knew that, but still...
After the past eight decades, he'd grown careless. Far too much so.
And a moment of perfect happiness DOES have this funny way of sneaking up on you completely by surprise. In this case, from finally believing that salvation and redemption had been found in the arms of a decent young woman and her male offspring.
Angel groaned, as Adrienne took her son from him. "Sweetheart, what is it?"
But the undead guy couldn't answer her properly, as he started convulsing with pain and quickly figured out what was happening. "No...no, not now-!"
As the vamp then quickly headed for the door, Angel croaked out, "Go! Hide yourself and the baby! Adrienne – run for your life if you ever see me again!"
Ms. Pratt wasn't a fool and quickly understood what had happened – there was only one possible reason why her beloved would be sprinting off as fast as he could this way. She got up, wrapped the baby snug and warm, and left...just moments before Angelus entered the room, looking for his first real meal in nearly 80 years.
"Damn it!" the newly-soulless vampire said to himself in disgust, as he tried to catch Adrienne's scent. But the smell of disinfectant throughout the hospital was powerful enough to mask his quarry. "Oh well, doesn't matter. I'll probably find her or that damned brat of hers again, one day..."
Oddly enough, as he left the hospital Angelus never noticed a short man in a hat wearing fashionable clothes for this day and age, staring at the vampire depart.
"Well, crap," the balance demon known as Whistler said to no one in particular, before he looked upwards. "Okay, now what do I do?"
17619 White Oak Drive, Sunnydale. June, 1980
Invisible to the mortal world, the last two years had nonetheless been a time of chaos and madness in the higher and lower realms.
All the major players both upstairs and downstairs had been thoroughly shaken up by the unscheduled reappearance of Angelus. So a summit conference of sorts had had to be held, in order for both sides to try to generate some sort of order out of the madhouse.
Neither side gave away any details of future plans to the enemy, they just wanted to avoid a situation where both of them would lose the prize completely. Eventually there was only one thing that Good and Evil could completely agree on: that someone would have to take Angel's place in the overall scheme of things.
And that was why Whistler was here now on the Hellmouth, at least in part. He looked through the window into the Harris residence and listened with his preternaturally sharp demon hearing.
Anthony Harris was at the kitchen table, chuckling as he poured himself a beer. "Till death do us part. Yeah, right, that's a good one!" He took a long gulp of the alcohol, as his wife Jessica suddenly entered the room. "Where have you been?"
"At the clinic," Mrs. Harris said in a subdued voice. "Today was the day, remember?"
"Oh, the abortion, right..." Tony nodded, before he suddenly looked confused. "But hey, didn't I already spend that money on Scotch and bourbon yesterday?"
Jessica shook her head. "It was right there in the bureau drawer this morning. You must be mistaken."
"Yeah, I guess. Still, I could have sworn..." Tony then shook his head, dismissing it all as irrelevant. "So, what's for dinner? Myself, I'm in the mood for some cocktail wieners tonight..."
Whistler looked away, unable to stomach hearing anymore. As even though he was a demon, these two characters still grossed him out completely.
"Sorry about this, kid," he mournfully told the ghost of Xander Harris. "But I'm afraid ya had to take one for the team for us to fix this mess. Still, it's not all bad. Hopefully you'll like your new home a lot better than the one you'd have had with this trash..."
St. Matthew's Hospital, Los Angeles. Mid-June, 1980
"I'm what?" the 22-year-old Joyce Summers asked in incredulity.
"You're carrying twins. Congratulations," the doctor said cheerfully, as his assistants started to move away the new ultrasound equipment that the hospital had recently acquired.
Hank Summers looked at his wife in surprise. "Twins?"
"It doesn't run in my family," Joyce said in confusion.
"Well, I-I guess it just means – that we'll simply have double the love and happiness we were expecting," Joyce finally smiled at her husband, who smiled back.
"Guess we will. So, doctor, what do you think – is it gonna be two boys, two girls, or a combination of both?" Hank asked the physician.
"I'm afraid it's still far too early to tell, after all – your wife's only in her first trimester," the OB-GYN replied. "But we'll know soon enough, I'm sure. Do you have any preferences?"
"Well, I'd like one of both," Joyce said at once.
"Same here," added Mr. Summers.
Whistler was listening outside in the corridor and knew that in about seven months – wish granted. And hopefully the world would now have a future.