Author's Note: I really never liked what Joss Whedon did with the character of Connor. Firstly, there was the whole cheat with changing his age from sixteen to eighteen. I would imagine they did that just so the creepy pseudo incest thing with Cordelia wouldn't be statutory rape for the viewers. Also, having watched Angel's genuine anguish for his infant son's disappearance, I thought it was OOC for him to practically ignore him when he returned only days later. Don't even get me started on the whole Deep Down kicking him out of the hotel episode.
So, here is my take starting with Benediction. It will be a multiple chapter story. This is only the prologue. I would have liked it to have gone this way for them. This story will be centered around Angel and a sixteen year old Connor bonding as father/son the way it should have happened.
It's okay, baby. Just let it go.
The voice was so soothing, so unbelievably familiar. Something far back in the recesses of the boy's mind recognized the soft tones of the woman who was gently holding him in a mother's embrace. He leaned into her shoulder and hesitantly rested his head against her neck.
So soft, so comforting. So familiar.
The boy inhaled deeply and was momentarily overpowered by the woman's scent. Unbidden, a flash of memory burst like a short bloom of light in his mind.
He knew that scent. Not from his life in Quor'Toth. Nothing there smelled like this. Everything in the feverishly red, demon plagued wasteland that he had called home reeked of bitterness and foul smells that made his gut ache constantly. You never got used to it. It assaulted you daily, reminding you that something was so inherently wrong about you that you were relagated to the pain and darkness of the hell world forever.
Steven had known all his life that he deserved the punishment of Quor'Toth. His righteous and pious Father reminded him constantly that he was the bastard child of two vampires. An unholy offspring of a demon coupling. An aberration. A sin. God had given him to Father as payment for the family that Steven's demon father and mother had stolen from him. It was an attempt to save Steven from an unsavory upbringing with his unnatural father that had brought them to Quor'Toth. Father had hoped to raise him on a beautiful ranch in a place called Utah, but God must have thought otherwise. Because of the inherent evil of Steven's creation and birth, God had damned Father and himself to the hell dimension.
Steven would never be able to make up all that he owed to Father for the sin of his being.
It had been a result of his attempt to punch through the worlds and slay the demon that had spawned him that he and Father had been delivered from their exile. Steven followed the multi-legged water seekers to the crack in the dimensions. With his unnatural strength and single minded determination to get vengeance on he who was responsible for all the pain and sorrow in his world, he had breached the barrier and found himself face to face with the vampire Angelus.
God was giving him a second chance. He was a warrior for good, a hunter of evil. He was The Destroyer.
But, when it mattered most, he had failed.
He didn't kill the demon Angelus. He could not. He tried. He fought, with passion and determination, just as Father had always taught him. The demon was evil, he deserved pain and death and Steven had been raised to deliver them.
But, in a moment of weakness, he had allowed himself to be swayed momentarily by the pleading looks and soft words of the thing that had helped to create him. If Steven didn't know better, he would have almost thought it was being sincere.
They fought like warriors in the large dwelling with the hard slippery floor. Steven had been convinced of his victory right up to the moment when he was thrown to the ground by the stronger creature who had pressed Steven's own blade to his neck. Afraid, for the first time in years, he smelled his own death approaching and silently pleaded for his Father's forgiveness for his shameful failure.
Then, surprisingly, the demon had released him, a look of pain on his lying face. Although Steven knew he should avail himself of the opportunity to regain the upper hand from the momentary lapse of weakness on his opponents part, he had fled into the sunlight where the demon could not follow and had run like a coward.
Blindly, he had travelled through the city of large dwellings and harsh noises until he came upon the man hurting the girl. Sunny had been her name and she had been nice and kind to him once he had punished the men who wanted to harm her. She gave him food and shelter and, sitting next to her in the dark, he had felt a primal urge that was unfamiliar and not unpleasant.
But she had died from the medicine that she took from the man who's ear now served as his most recent trophy and he had felt rage like he had rarely felt before. He would have hunted him down if not for the arrival of Angelus. Angelus who had fought with him against the men that would have hurt Sunny. Angelus who had thrown him to the ground, out of the path of the metal bullets that pierced the thin walls of the shelter. Angelus who had pushed him through the smashed glass hole and protected him from the bullets using his own back as a shield.
The devil will show you bright things, Father had told him. Many colors.
His mind had not wanted to believe what his eyes were showing him. Angelus was a demon, not a savior. Steven was of his body, but Angelus was not his Father. He saw Angelus bent over in pain from the wounds he had received protecting Steven and, for a moment, the confused boy felt a surge of gratitude and concern. He fought with these unexpected feelings. His ears hummed from hearing Angelus telling him that he was not alone in this strange new world.
He almost believed him.
The devil will show you many things.
Without reason or purpose, ashamed of his inability to carry out the justice he had been charged with since infancy, confused over the kindness of the monster that he had been raised to despise, he wandered for hours until he caught the familiar, yet impossible scent.
Regaining his sense of self and purpose, he had lunged after the trail until he had come face to face with the man who he thought had been left behind. By a miracle of their most merciful God, his father was returned to him, to give him strength and return him to the righteous path from which he had almost fallen.
Steven had managed to get them to a shelter, acquiring a room with the money found the pockets of the leather jacket formerly belonging to Sunny's murderer. Once inside, Steven had fallen at his father's feet and begged for forgiveness for his failures. He shamefully confessed to all that had occurred since his arrival and Father had listened to him patiently and quietly.
When the boy had pleaded for penance, Father had obliged as always and Steven had found peace kneeling on the floor, his head bowed in supplication, forehead pressed against the wall, praying for God's forgiveness as Father whipped his back.
Father was always righteous and merciful.
The demon in Steven had healed his wounds by morning, proving to him once again that he must endeavor to try harder to fulfill his duty as The Destroyer. On Father's orders, he returned to Angelus' home, feigning interest in reconciliation. It was a bitter pill to swallow.
But Steven was weak once again. In the building with the loud music and the unchaste gyrations of the people assembled there, Angelus had once again surprised him by fighting and killing several of his own kind that were intent on hurting the redheaded woman.
The euphoria of a successful hunt went to his head and he had found himself revelling with the vampire, even allowing himself to smile at the man who teased him and ruffled his hair as they engaged in a mock battle. For a few brief moments, Steven had allowed himself to forget that he should be waging a real fight with the monster. But the affection in Angelus' eyes, so warm and different from the looks that Father gave him, chipped a little of his bitterness away and he was lost in a moment of frivolity.
He should have known better.
Father had seen it. Father always saw his shameful behavior. He told Steven that he was to be returned to Angelus now. Steven knew it was his punishment for his failure. Father was banishing him to reside with a demon. A demon like Steven was a demon.
His heart broke.
Father had tried to make him clean, holy, righteous. He had bestowed hours of guidance, training, prayer and discipline. But Steven was no longer worthy, it seemed. He had failed. Twice. He was being thrown out of the garden and into the pit of the damned.
Obediently, he left Father behind and returned to the vampire's lair.
He lay against the woman Cordelia's shoulder as he wept. In her bright and warm embrace he could feel his anger and bitterness fall away from him. The mental filth and stench he had been layered in from a lifetime in hell.
Her voice was a cool balm against the fiery pain of his suffering as the flood of despair that had always engulfed him receded.
It was her scent. As a child, Steven remembered having flashes of memory of this scent. It comforted him and gave him peace. The long ago forgotten feelings of a maternal love. The warm light surrounding him stripped away Father's harsh words and teachings. It cleansed his soul of the dark evil of his existence of Quor'Toth. He felt peaceful and pure, his rage washed away in the salty streaks of his tears.
He clung to her desperately, like a drowning child seeking rescue, until he was gently manuevered into the strong embrace of Angelus. No, not Angelus. Not the soulless demon that had plagued the Earth and stolen Father's family without remorse or hesitation. This was Angel. The anomoly that had protected him and the woman in the club from the other vampires.
His guilt stripped away by the warm light, he allowed himself to be pressed against the vampire's chest, strong arms wrapped around him in an oddly comforting way. He breathed deeply and was assaulted by another familiar scent from his past.
One that held memories of comfort and safety. And love.
A dam of emotion burst forth and he sobbed like a small child as Angel pressed his face into Steven's hair, whispering words of comfort to his beloved child.
Father had been correct. Steven did belong here.
He was home.