Angel was not brooding, no matter what Cordelia said, but a certain amount of silent contemplation was in order when your children were stolen from you by your enemy and taken to a hell dimension. He had tried for so long to reach them, going through every mystic and magical that owed him a favor, torturing the people who put it all in motion, nearly destroying his relationships with the people around him. Finally after nearly a month of raging and rampaging he finally had to accept that getting his children back wasn’t up to him. He would never give up on them but he had to face reality and stop burning all his bridges to ashes. Because without them the man his children one day returned to wouldn’t be a man worth knowing.
Connor, his son, would grow up in a world of death, destruction, and pain. Never really knowing his father, never being taught all the things he had planned to teach him as he grew older. He had planned to give his son a true father son relationship the kind he never had with his own father. While he would be strict when he needed to be he would never disparage his son for being who he was. Whoever that turned out to be.
Destiny, his little girl, he would never see her first steps, never know if her hair stayed blonde like her mothers or if it would eventually darken to be like his. She had filled him with joy and terror until he could hardly tell the two apart anymore. He would worry about her every day of her life, more aware than most of just what exactly was waiting in the shadows to grab the unwary and just what those shadows could do to young girls. He would have protected her, would have protected them both, but now he would never get the chance.
Even now while fighting some inter-dimensional slugs all he could think about were his children. Which he knew was dangerous, especially with the Destroyer on the way, but he couldn’t seem to stop. He knew that he needed to focus on the here and now and the fight that could and would kill them all if he was distracted but it felt like a betrayal. Like moving forward after so short a time, even if that forward was only to the next fight was him leaving his babies behind. He knew it was absurd but he also knew that no amount of logic would change that feeling burning in his chest.
As the creature fell from the portal, as gnarled and nasty as something with such a moniker would usually be, he braced himself for the attack ready to defend what was left of his family. Then a second blinding light filled the room and the beast was being killed by… a boy?
The boy was gaunt and ragged but he could move quickly enough to be able to fight the thing without much issue. He could tell he wasn’t utilizing his strength as well as he could be, he was relying more on his speed to win him the fight. Shifting his weight back he prepared to face this new threat, the fight would be different than it would have been with the big lumbering thing the boy was taking apart so easily. He would have to be fast if he wanted to get them all out of this without severe injury to any of them.
When the thing finally lay dead at his feet the boy turned to him and spoke two words he never thought he’d hear.
After that everything happened both too fast and in slow motion. Connor, his son, shot him with no hesitation or remorse and his friends attacked. He yelled for them to wait, trying to will the train wreck before him to stop, without success. Connor was too fast and the more he fought the more his friends tried to defend themselves. Through all of this his main thought, he was ashamed to say, wasn’t for the safety of his friends, or the implications of his son shooting him, it was if Connor was here, where was Destiny?
He had hoped for the safe return of both of his children and now when one was standing in front of him it made the absence of the other more acute. He needed to find his daughter and take care of his son, he would not fail them both again.
Anna had spent her entire life to date hearing stories about the monsters who bore her and her brother. They were soulless, bloodthirsty, killers without peer and if they weren’t careful that bad blood would boil over in the two of them and make them just as evil one day. Eventually the narrative had changed after years of observation and experimentation and she had become the only one who needed to worry.
When Holtz had told them that they would be traveling back to the world of their father to face the beast once and for all she hadn’t known what to think. For as long as she could remember Angelus had been the monster in the dark just waiting to pull her under and now she was supposed to treat him like any other creature that needed killing. She had often thought that Hotz was going about things in an overly convoluted way if he truly wanted the two of them to exact his vengeance for him, but she had learned long ago not to voice her dissension out loud to do so only invited pain and distrust.
Knowing she would have no say in what happened she had instead turned her mind to the coming fight. While Steven was brash and assured of his inevitable victory she was far more cautious. They were being flung into a world they had only ever heard tales about and told to do the seemingly impossible. If killing their father was such an easy task Holtz would have accomplished it himself before the two of them had ever been birthed. While her brother chose to smash his way in the front door hot on the heels of a different beast to slay, a strategy she had argued against for what seemed like days not seeing the point in jumping from one fight to the next, she decided to make her entrance quieter and hopefully far enough away from Steven’s entrance to go unnoticed and now she was beyond glad that she had. If she hadn’t she might have missed so much, nearly as much as her fool brother had.
Anna watched Steven fight unnoticed from the balcony and tried to piece together what she’d been told of her father and his world with what she was seeing. Their father was meant to be a killer with no feelings or remorse, but he continually saved Steven, forgoing several easy kills to keep him from any great harm and blocking the attacks of his own fellows to do the same. She had tried to help her brother train over the years but any criticism from her was met with disbelief and arrogance, that attitude was working against him now and it was only through the concerted effort from his opponent that he hadn’t died already. While Steven had his speed and used it to his advantage, though in all the wrong ways against a man far better trained, Angelus was stronger and more experienced and that experience made him the clear victor. Hell, even fighting with both sides he was clearly superior.
Although she supposed that forgoing the early and easy victory could be just a tactic to prolong the kill, a way to make Steven suffer greater in the long run, though she doubted that even as the thought occurred to her. When he spoke to Steven, who he called Connor, he sounded sad, hopeful, and even concerned which just didn’t fit with the stories she’d grown up with.
When Steven was finally pinned by Angelus she tensed ready to jump in, to defend her brother once again from a fight he had thrown himself into without a plan, but she didn’t have to, he let him go uninjured. When Steven retreated Angelus even moved to follow him into the deadly light of day. None of this was right, deciding she needed answers she sank further into the shadows and listened. It was amazing the information that could be gleaned with just a little patience and the right amount of silence.
“Are you sure that was Connor?” The large dark skinned man with the death grip on his weapons seemed to doubt what his own eyes had shown him. Then again she imagined her brother looked far different now to the infant he had once been and his doubt made a twisted kind of sense. Her brother hadn’t said more than two words since his arrival and those two words were hardly proof positive that what he said was true.
“Yes, I’m sure, and now he’s out there in an unfamiliar place all alone. Scared, probably confused, I have to find him.” Angelus sounded so concerned, if he was simply aping true emotion he was doing a phenomenal job of it. If she had not been raised on the stories of his cruel nature and fondness for mind games she might have been taken in by it as well. His companions gave no sign that they thought him anything but genuine but Holtz had warned them both that the demon with the Angel’s face was a true master of deception. They likely had no true understanding of the monster lurking just below the skin of their friend.
“Are you sure?” The too thin woman by his side seemed beside herself with worry, twisting her hands together and squinting at the door her brother had just fled through like she thought he would walk back through it any minute now. It was not a wholly unfounded fear, at times a foe would circle back around immediately after a loss in the hopes of catching you unaware. Steven would never think to do so, but it was to her credit that it seemed to be a concern ever present in her mind.
“What? Damn it Fred, of course I have to find him!” Angelus tried to shake the others off, something he should have been able to do easily, yet their holds were not broken. It was like he wasn’t actually trying to escape them, or like he was trying to escape without hurting them. Curious behavior for a man like him.
“No, of course you have to help him, I mean are you sure he’s alone. When he was taken his sister was with him. If Connor’s back… where is Destiny?”
Destiny hmmm, she liked it, a lot better than Anna any way. She wasn’t sure how she felt about keeping a name given to her by a monster, but the same could be said of the name she answered to now. While Angelus and Holtz were truly different creatures entirely that did not necessarily make one more or less monstrous than the other. At least not in her eyes. Maybe she’d keep it, a new world deserves a new name after all.
A new start.
“I… I don’t know. What I do know is that Connor is here. When we find him we’ll ask him where his sister is and try to bring her home too. This is the plan Fred you and…” She didn’t need to hear any more; it was clear after the first few moments that they planned to track and assist Steven not harm him.
Turning away she made her way out into this foreign land in search of her brother and tried to clear her mind as she walked away. None of this made any sense to her at all Angelus was genuinely concerned for her and Steven like a parent for a lost child, at first she thought he might be faking it but she wasn’t sure anyone could fake that so well. Plus there didn’t seem to be a reason to, the people with him were more hostile towards them than the famed monster. She needed to find her brother, they needed to regroup and try to figure out what was true and what was just more of Holtz’ enraged ramblings.
After hours of wandering, following the very obvious trail left by her dear brother, she came to a very startling conclusion that no amount of stories about the land of her fathers could have prepared her for. This new world was bright, loud, unfriendly, and just all around nothing that she was used to. While Quor’toth was full of danger and pain it was relatively barren especially when in comparison to this world. She could go for weeks at a time without speaking in her world but in this one everyone had something to say and needed someone to say it to. People yelled over every little thing, and she witnessed more than a few fights breaking out over petty squabbles rather than territory disputes or scarce resources.
All in all, she decided she might just like it here. In this place she didn’t stick out, she was just one among many and she liked it that way. Maybe things could be different here. Maybe she could be different here.
She found her brother just after nightfall in an abandoned building on the other side of town from where they started with a dead girl. Not exactly how she thought she’d find him but looking on the bright side at least she’d found him. She knew better than anyone that if Steven truly wanted to hide no one would be able to track him, not even through this unfamiliar terrain.
“What the hell happened Steven?” She was beyond angry, first he made her chase him all over the place and then she found him with a body. Now he was prowling around the small room trying to catch a scent for some reason, though she wasn’t sure what he was trying to smell so intently in this room. The only smells here were rotting food, sweat, old fire, and decay. Nothing worth breathing deep into her lungs.
“Medicine killed her, she was nice to me.” Short to the point sentences were never a good sign when it came to Steven. It meant he’d already decided on what to do, usually something stupid or reckless, and he was too focused on doing that to answer questions he thought were irrelevant.
She watched her brother grab an object from the other room, a large piece of leather, and start to sniff it. He was trying to track someone, but who? Everything was so confusing here, she didn’t know anything, she hated all the new unfamiliar things almost as much as she loved them. Before she could even try to figure things out the door behind her flew open and into the room strode a man with one ear with two men behind him all holding weapons.
Wonderful, like her day hadn’t been bad enough.
Well at least he wasn’t just going to fight; he apparently wanted to talk first, which would make it easier to kill him. She half listened to his rambling about his ear, which her brother had cut off after their first fight as a trophy of his victory, as she moved herself into a position to strike.
The man behind him and to his left was the largest she’d have to incapacitate him first. Just as the man’s rant began to come to a close and she tensed to deliver her first blow, her brother just as eager for violence beside her, the fight began in earnest without them. They were attacked from behind and subdued easily and quickly. Looking up from their prone bodies she found their father, and she couldn’t help the slight tug of respect she felt for his fighting skills, but he was just standing there in the center of the room staring at them both with an expression of… joy.
Angel could not believe his eyes Destiny in front of him breathing and just being here with him and it was joyous. Destiny was standing in front of him. Connor was standing beside her. There was a dead girl just behind them both, okay that was a little less joyous but one thing at a time. First he had to make sure they were okay. He had been so worried about them both, he wanted to pull them into his arms and hold them tight and never let go. He wanted to promise them that the hard times were over and that nothing bad would ever happen to them again. The words were bubbling up in his throat, nearly choking him in their rush to be free and in the open air between them all.
“Destiny, Connor I -”
He wasn’t able to finish because when he moved forward they both stepped back. Conscious of it now he looked into their faces and saw what he’d missed before in his rush of joy. They were afraid of him. At first the thought of his children being afraid of him both confused and hurt him, he had never wanted to see that same look in their eyes he’d always seen in his own every time his father raised his voice, then he remembered exactly who took them away from him and he understood.
Who knew what Holtz had been telling them all this time? They probably saw him as a monster. There was nothing he could do about that at the moment though, comfort could only come with trust and understanding which would take time to grow between them. Now he would ask after what he could do something about.
“Who’s the dead girl?” From how thin and ragged she looked not to mention the surroundings he assumed she was living rough, but he wasn’t sure why yet. There were a lot of reasons to end up in a place like this and while none of them were particularly good, some were worse than others.
“She’s Steven’s friend. He said the medicine killed her.” Steven? Of course Holtz would change their names, he wouldn’t want any tie to him and Darla to exist for them. He wondered what Destiny’s new name was. Destiny sounded confused like she was just as in the dark as he was and then he remembered she hadn’t been at the hotel so she was probably just now catching up to what was going on like he was.
He wondered why they didn’t arrive together and where she landed when she did come through to their world and above all when did she get there but all of those questions could wait. He had a more important question he needed to ask now.
“Did she give you any of her … medicine?” What if she had? He wasn’t sure what any kind of drug would do to his children with their unique biology. One taste could hook them or kill them or go completely unnoticed. He hoped he was worrying for nothing, the last thing they needed was a drug problem on top of everything else. Would they even let him help them?
He was so confused he didn’t know what to do. His babies weren’t babies anymore but they were still unworldly and easily led astray. How do you help someone you love who was raised to hate you?
“No. We will go now, we need to find somewhere safe to sleep. Do not follow us.” Well now he knew where his son stood on the issue he supposed. But he saw that Destiny was torn. He didn’t want to pull the two of them apart but at the same time he didn’t want to lose them in the city either, Los Angeles wasn’t the kind of place it was safe to wander without help. After one afternoon of trying things on their own they had somehow ended up in a flop house full of drug addicts and transients, he didn’t want to think about how round two might end. As bad as the abandoned building was with its lack of basic amenities like power or water he knew very well that it wasn’t even close to the worst place a person could land in LA.
“Steven, wait, we can talk to him for a moment before we go.” Her voice was soft barely above a whisper almost like she couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of her mouth. While his son was angry and distrustful of him, it was starting to seem like his daughter was at least willing to listen to him. If only he knew what to say.
“Why would you want to do that?” Harsh but understandable he supposed. Holtz was an old fashioned kind of guy, he would have focused most on Connor believing that as his son he was most likely to become like him while Destiny would be deemed in danger of becoming Darla. A man like Holtz not only wouldn’t have understood Darla enough to know what to do to sway Destiny away from that path, he likely wouldn’t have even thought about it much. To a man of his time a woman, even a vampire woman, was never the primary threat. Or the primary concern.
“Well, I don’t know about you but I don’t know much about this world other than it’s bright, loud, full of angry people, and seems to revolve around something called money which looks nothing like Holtz described when he spoke of it. This is his world he could help us understand.”
Yes, yes he could definitely do that. There were so many things they needed to be shown and taught and if they would give him a chance he would love to show it all to them.
“You would trust him to do this? To be truthful with us and not manipulate us for his own ends? He is a monster Anna, you know this.” Or maybe he couldn’t do that. While Destiny – Anna…. While his daughter seemed to be willing to give him a chance to prove himself it would seem his son was having none of that. Now to see whose will would win out. If Holtz had managed to raise them both with old world mannerisms then she would bow to his will, if not then it would be anyone’s guess.
“I don’t know what he will do, that is why I suggest we give him a chance and find out.”
“You are wrong, we both know exactly what he will do.”
“No, you know what he will do because Holtz told you it was so and if Holtz said it, it must be true. God, will you please just think for yourself for once in your life.” It would seem there was no love lost between his daughter and Holtz. While it pleased him to know the man had never truly taken his place as a father to his child, on another level he dreaded to find the reason why. It was clear from Connor’s behavior that Holtz had been more than able to engender loyalty especially given the years he obviously had to do it in. So why didn’t he do the same with Destiny? More importantly what did he do instead? He hoped it was a simple matter of her gender, a man like Holtz while he’d had a wife and daughter of his own would not see a daughter as being of equal value to a son. Maybe he’d simply neglected to give her the attention necessary to form a true bond between the two?
“You can stay with him if you like, I should have known you would, I am going. He’s more your father than mine anyway isn’t he.” What the hell did that mean? He watched as Destiny’s face fell at that statement, all the emotion draining from her face and a mask of indifference he recognized as the armor it was slipped into place. This was obviously an old argument.
“I will see you soon brother.” Something in her tone made the simple statement seem almost like a threat. Connor, obviously having read it the same way, slowly backed out of the window behind him never taking his eyes off of his sister. To his mind, and probably his instincts, she was the biggest threat in the room. He almost felt insulted.
“So where do you want to have this conversation and where ever you pick can there be food there. I am starving, dimension hopping really takes it out of you.”
Alright then, where to start?
Cordelia had just gotten off the phone with Angel and she still didn’t know what to think about this entire situation. He had found Connor, then lost him, then found him again with Destiny only now the only one coming back with him was Destiny and … she needed to order take out.
What would someone from another dimension want to eat? Something weird? Or maybe something along the lines of comfort food. But would their comfort food actually bring any comfort to someone not used to their food? One way to know for sure is to ask an expert.
“Fred! I have a question!”
They were going to have a guest and they needed to prepare. The only question left is where to start?
She didn’t want to overwhelm the girl and she knew Angel wouldn’t want to either, but at the same time they had a lot of ground to cover and most likely a limited amount of time to cover it in. While Destiny was coming home with Angel tonight, there was no guarantee she would be staying with them at all.