In Eyes Of Innocence
Time, And Time Again
A baby cooing up at him, in his arms, Connor wiggling warm and alive: a miracle born of vampires centuries dead. It's what Angel didn't yell.
Harry spoke a word - and the with the word, the wooden door – the one barrier between them and the baby and Cordelia, was gone. A spell from his lips had made the door disappear – not that he knew where it had disappeared to; it was simply…gone.
First impressions have been said to be everything.
Harry caught only glimpses of what was happening between the roaring of his blood in his ears, and the panic beating beneath his chest. He was focused on one thing: Connor.
Cordelia struggled against the wall, pinned in place and yelling words Harry could not understand. Connor was on the bed, his face was red and he was crying as he wiggled his little body back and forth as if struggling to get away. Dust, silver and thick like ash, fell onto him as Harry watched.
Standing between Harry and Angel and the bed where Connor lay, was a familiar and hated demon.
"Sahjhan – get away from my son." Angel would have taken a step forward, but it was instinct that made Harry get in his way, to protect Angel from what he didn't know. Angel snarled his face twisted and demonic; his fangs very visible as he turned to Harry, it was with shock – not fury, but that hurt expression would haunt Harry, that look of betrayal.
"Ah, Angel – and the wizard, good, good – so glad you could make it. This is going to be fun, a bit of a game, you might say. Angel," with a snap of fingers coated in white dust – the dust falling onto Connor below – the gesture a threat, Angel faces him, growling lowly and golden eyes promising vengeance, "this is what your little wizard is protecting you from: what is it you wizard's call it, Harry?"
"Time Turner dust…" Harry wasn't looking to Sahjhan, his eyes and focus was for Connor.
"Ah, that's right – you don't know what this is, do you? Yet you have a name for it: curious. This is the dust of ruined worlds, of your world, Harry; my gift to you….the last of your world you'll ever see – a mar upon this babe, who you gave your world up for." The dust does not cling to the demons fingers, it runs off like water. When the last of it is gone, so is Sahjhan.
"Sirius..!" Harry calls for his godfather – half afraid Sahjhan had stolen him away; but knowing he can't do this alone, he's only one wizard. There isn't any need to call for Sirius, he realizes too late, for Sirius is beside him as he crosses the room swiftly to Connor, a infant, a baby, a moment ago (what a difference a moment – a minute, makes) who is aging before his eyes; a toddler now – screaming in confusion.
"Harry – no!" Sirius warns, frantic, but it's too late and Harry can't help himself; he takes the child in his arms, his shaking in dread easing as Connor whimpers and whines, soothed, but still so afraid.
"Too late..." Harry says, mocking and triumphant, rocking Connor and humming, trying to calm him. It's easier not to think about what he's done to himself, he bows his head, hiding his face in shadow with Sirius standing in front of him like a guard. It's needed and necessary, Harry thinks, and it's only right that Connor not go through this alone.
Harry closes his eyes, years passing behind his eyelids. He hears, but he won't respond until this is done. He isn't alone, as the dust steals years from Connor and him – moments pass in flux, here and there, and back again.
"What's he done?" Angel demands, kneeling beside Cordelia who stares wide-eyed at Connor and Harry, as if having a vision – and maybe she is. Maybe she sees in those moments the years Harry and Connor live. Angel keeps his distance, as if not trusting his eyes. He knows his limits, and magic isn't something vampires can do with ease. He trusts Harry and Sirius, even though he shouldn't.
"That dust – we use it in Time Turners; those, of course, do one of two things, take you forward, or back into the past. Normally, but this – Angel, you have to understand – this is never done, when it's put onto an individual's physical body - the effects are quite…erratic." As if to prove Sirius's words right, Connor twists and wriggling in Harry's arms, a child of five. Harry's eyes are closed, his head bowed, and Angel can see the tears on his cheeks.
"How do we stop it?" Angel snaps – suddenly newly afraid, standing and moving toward Harry and Connor, still held by Harry, but a boy of ten – he would have reached them, if not for Sirius in his way.
"We don't." Sirius meets the vampire's eyes, a warning in them. It stills Angel for a moment, when he looks to Harry again – he sees silver hair twining with black. If his heart beat, it would have stilled in his sudden fear of the truth, this unknown.
"We don't touch them. We can't." Cordelia says the pain like a physical touch of chilled finger tips running along his spine, Angel can smell her tears.
"What's happening to them – my son –Harry?" Angel demands, Sirius still standing in his way – his fingers are on his wand; he looks like he'll use it, if Angel makes him – Angel doesn't know what that means, if it's a threat or a warning. Connor is a teenager, older, and Angel can see himself in that boy – can see Darla. Harry still cradles him close, as if he's a baby, bent around his child as if he would not let go – no matter what.
Angel wonders if Harry is really holding Connor, behind the curtain of black and silver hair, behind his eyes, what is he doing - what does he see? What has Angel done to inspire such desperation and unwavering loyalty for Harry to hold his son like that?
"They're living years - a lifetime in, in normal time – our time; in the time it takes us to speak, to move, to breath. Think of the dust as a storm, you can see the effects of the storm, of the years upon them, but you can't see the eye of the storm, you can't live the years with them." Sirius doesn't look behind him, and Angel can see that it isn't because he doesn't want to – his wand hand is shaking with a strain Angel is just bringing to grasp.
"So…so what...? We wait?" Angel can think of nothing he'd like more then getting his hands on Sahjhan; but he can think of nothing to do with him, no punishment to equal this.
"There isn't any other choice." Sirius whispers, his pain like a physical thing. Angel isn't aware that he makes a movement toward Harry, past Sirius, but he stands in front of Harry all the same – Sirius having let him past; Sirius, who doesn't look.
"I'm sorry." Angel tells Harry, when he can think of nothing else to say.
Connor's eyes open as startlingly blue as the sky meeting the sea and no difference between them, he seems to hear, he looks straight at Angel. He looks almost twenty, Angel thinks, Connor blinks - and for a moment he thinks it's his imagination, that days seem to be passing for his son, this stranger, rather then years.
"When does it stop?" Angel feels as if his words are drops of rain in a sea.
"Soon..." Sirius promises, just as meaningless.
Connor takes a gasping breath –blue eyes clinging to the sight of Angel, as if wanting to tell Angel something – it's the first time Angel has seen either Connor or Harry take a breath.
It's like being slammed into something- or seeing a window break letting in the burning sunlight, when Angel realizes that really Connor is watching him, seeing him –trying to speak to him. It hurts just as badly, but when Harry sighs, Angel realizes what he's seeing; Harry isn't holding Connor anymore, Connor is clutching Harry, not letting go.
"Q-quick, please, help him – I…I think he's dying." Connor speaks, voice cracking with the words, so full of energy and life, desperate and pleading. Connor gently lets Harry slide further to the ground, still holding onto him as he falls onto the floor.
Sirius spins around, tears having overfilled his eyes, falling down his cheeks. There is dread there, thick fear that chokes Angel.
"Harry!" Sirius says urgently, kneeling on the ground beside Harry whose face is still turned away, who seems small and frail beneath the black robe falling over him like a death shroud. Angel is already biting into his wrist, tearing flesh, desperate for his blood to well up like a mythical spring of life, of youth.
"What are you doing?" Connor, his son, the stranger kneeling on the other side of Harry, turning his face toward them, asks. Angel hasn't time to answer.
It spills over, as he forces his wrist to Harry's mouth, forcing him to drink.
"No, no you can't!" Connor shrikes, realizing too late what Angel is doing. The boy of eighteen is stronger than any human teenager as he struggles to get Angel away from Harry, but he is young – and foolish and Angel growls at his own son as Sirius helps get Connor away from Harry so Angel can save him.
Harry does drink, slow and reluctant, the blood spilling over his mouth and lips – more blood spilling, Angel fears, then going in - but his eyes open groggily – they are black, black like death, demon eyes.
Those eyes lock onto Angel, and Harry does not seem to recognize him.
Angel is full of hope, of sorrow, and then Harry swallows greedily, teeth biting down painfully as if Angel would snatch his wrist away. Harry growls and it is full of feral knowledge. Angel, about to speak, feels his breath catch in his throat.
"Get out - now!" Connor moves with a swiftness no one of merely mortal blood can match, he forces Sirius out of the room – Sirius is on the defensive but unwilling to outright use his wand, Cordelia goes unspeaking but willingly. Connor turns to Angel, and throws him on the other side of the bed, using leverage and Angel's own unprepared body against him.
"Out!" Connor screams at him, the tears doing nothing to hide his absolute fury with Angel. Cordelia pulls at his arm, tugging him toward the door, away from the unknown and what does not make sense - and Angel moves toward her and away from his stranger-son.
Harry growls, blood on his teeth as he rises – there is something both deadly and sensual in the movement, it's hypnotizing, so much so that Angel is only now aware of the pain in his wrist; Harry licks the blood on his lips and his teeth, his focus on Angel as he grins. There is something hungry in that animal look. Connor gets in his way, willingly, boldly, bravely, Angel thinks with dread; fearing what he'll next see, his son killed, slaughtered by this savage animal Harry has become – but Harry only side steps Connor as if he's in the way. Connor is acting as a barrier between Harry and the others, rather then a protector.
"You mustn't, come on – snap out of it!" Connor shoves forward, into Harry's path, snarling wordlessly over his shoulder, his expression a clear warning. Harry huffs and licks his lips, but does not hurt Connor as he tries to move around him.
Angel goes, silent – there is a door to close behind him, and he leans on it, looking to Sirius and his wand. He hears voices beyond, and listens, closing his eyes.
"We don't eat people, remember that rule?" An annoyed growl answered that odd question.
"No, not even the stupid dead ones. You'd never forgive yourself, for one – what…?" Angel hadn't heard anything, but it was clear that Connor had from the way he paused and waited, as if listening. Only then did he continue, obviously expecting to be heard and understood and spoken to.
"You don't want to eat him? We'll its food or fuck, fight or flight, and you'd never…ew, Harry, I don't need to know that." Connor had gotten onto the mattress, where Angel had last seen Harry – but from the calm continuous stream of words, he need not fear for his son. A crooning came from the room, and as Connor was the one speaking – it had to come from Harry.
"Huh, so that idiot is dear old dead Da'? I'd of thought you would've had better taste, for one. Feeling better now? Good, good, god – I could fucking murder him, doing this to you." The crooning became a purr, and Connor laughed at something he alone could apparently hear.
"Hey, alright – hey, hey guys! Uh, Sirius, Cordelia, Ang- er – hm, Dad…? You're safe now, he's got his body back – just, uh, don't bleed into his mouth again – huh? I am being nice! This is me nice, see?" Cordelia shoved into the room- clearly impatient and willing to risk that Connor (this stranger, his son) told the truth and wasn't about to sic what was left of Harry on them; only to see Connor grinning at Harry, in both fake and true pleasure, pointed teeth showed off – Harry, who was stretched over Connor's legs like a big cat, turns to regard them, lazily, with eyes that looked like night filled with emerald stars.
The stranger, his son looked up quickly, it was clear he was caught off guard by their abrupt answer to his call. Connor's true blue eyes locked onto Angel.
"No blood." Connor warned him, voice thick and filled with threat and dread, fingers curling possessively – protectively – into silver twined black hair that fell about Harry's shoulders. It was as if he feared that Angel would take Harry away from him. Or Harry would leave him.
"Angel." Harry greets in a thick drawl, purring falling from his lips.
"Dad..." Connor echoes, shifting uneasily, the word clearly foreign on his tongue, he glances down and away, then back, blue peeking under his lashes as he eyes them.
"Connor…" Angel doesn't know what else to say, he had wanted to watch his son grow up, and who could expect something like this? Connor must hear what he seeks in Angel's voice, for he grins, boyish and shy.
"Yeah, hey, dad….uhm, Harry's told me lots about you, most of it good – I'm sorry about this - I don't really kill people, certainly not you, I've better manners then that – 'sides Harry does that when it needs doing, not that Harry's a murderer, they usually try to kill me – us- first– he raised me, and – you know that, but, I can defend myself – I'm not useless." It comes easier to Connor this time, the words spilling out with relief, like a flood behind a dam.
"Of course not…" Angel reassures softly, amazed at his stranger-son who so clearly needs him, his reassurance, Connor's attention is all on him, studying him, and he catches Harry's look, amused and protective, supporting.
"What happened to you, Harry?" Sirius asks, pained and bewildered, but there is intelligence behind the animalistic demon eyes. Harry answers, even as Connor tenses.
"It turns out mixing wizard and demon blood is always a bad idea." The words are amused and mature, no bitterness is within them, but it is obviously a sour subject with the way Connor curls like a protective shield around Harry.
"I told you so!" Sirius blurts, the response Connor so clearly least expected; Harry alone laughs.
Note: take one twenty-seven year old, age eighteen years; Harry is forty-five, but as he is a wizard with demon blood, clearly he doesn't look it; except for the silver and black hair, but that has more to do with demon blood then aging.
I'm sorry, please don't kill me?
I have issues with Angel being two-hundred and fifty-something, alright?