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Fic in Triptych

With apologies to the Spuffies, Spanderers and Spangelers on my flist. I have a bullet-proof kink, it seems. I'm posting the two earlier bits for continuity and for logging in my memories. The final cut is for the newest and last portion.

Titles: Sisters, Painted Ladies, [NEW PART] What's in a Name?
Author Stoney321
Ratings: PG, PG-13, NC-17
Characters: Fred, Connor (Steven), Angel
Spoilers: up to the end of Season 3, AtS
A/N: Adult themes, may be considered incest for last portion - although Steven doesn't (wouldn't) think so. A thank you to kita0610 and crazydiamondsue for the beta, and to anelith, somecandytalkin and violethamster for making me feel good about writing again.

Sisters

She had a pretty laugh. It sounded like breaking glass, tinkling and shimmery. He hadn't wanted to put the smoke in his lungs like she had. He was a warrior and wanted his lungs strong. He didn't mind eating it. At first, he panicked. His eyes began to swell, and when he turned his head to look at her, to ask if his eyes were swelling out of his head, it seemed like it took seven years. And that was incredibly funny to him. When he laughed, it made her giggle. Glass. She was like a piece of glass.

"Did you know you were a piece of glass?"

"D'you just call me a piece of ass?"

"Piece of glass. You are a piece of glass. Listen. It's like a clue. Glass."

Fred started laughing, then collapsed on the arm of the couch, her leg across his. He put his hand on her ankle. So thin... he thought. Glass. Breakable. But strong. Fred began to make tiny noises - hums - as she fell further under the effects of the smoke she put in her lungs. Connor liked it when she closed her eyes. She didn't seem so strong, then. Sister. We could be sisters. Brother and sister, he mentally corrected. Relatives. I like her being my sister.

They both had thin, pointed chins, shiny and unruly hair, narrow chests, delicate bones in their limbs. Glass. But strong. He wished she was physically as strong as he was. They could fight side by side.

"We could fight side by side. Be a family. I want a family."

Fred gave a sleepy laugh, "Connor, you have a family. Angel is your family. We all are family here. Mmm." More humming.

"Sometimes I think you are my sister."

Fred sat up and threw her arms around his neck. "Ooh! I always wanted a sister! Older sister, so I could watch her and her boyfriends make out. Ooh! No! Younger sister. She'd look up to me, I'd teach her how to wear makeup..." Fred giggled and clapped her hand to her mouth. "Ha! Makeup. I never wore makeup. That was for cheerleaders, not Science Club presidents. I used to watch Cordy put on makeup. I liked to think that we were sisters. But we didn't look much alike."

"We look alike."

"Oh my god! We do! Come on."

Fred took Connor by the hand. He smiled down at her small fingers, at the smooth skin in his hand. Just alike, he thought. He let Fred drag him up to the third floor of the hotel to her room. She made him sit cross-legged on the counter of the bathroom. She sat against the wall, ignoring the light-switch digging into her back, her feet in the sink. She handed him a tube.

"It's like a wand. Rub it over your face a bit."

It felt sticky, and when she reached out, he handed it back to her and did the same to her face. It was beige, and she put it under her eyes and made a T across her forehead and nose. He mimicked her actions, smoothing the paste over his face. She got a thin stick out of a drawer and lunged at him. He grabbed her wrist and stopped squeezing when he felt her bones grind against each other.

"Hey! I'm not going to stab you!" Fred giggled, "I did the same thing when Cordy tried to put eyeliner on me, too. But, ow, without the superhuman strength."

"Sorry."

Fred held his face still with her left hand, told him to "look up and to the right," and she began to outline his eyelids with the dark brown kohl. She gave his other eye the same treatment, then took a Q-tip and shaded the lines she had drawn. He looked in the mirror. His eyes looked more fierce. But softer, too. He relaxed his face and he looked vulnerable, soft. Fred hopped off the counter and rested her head on his shoulder, faces touching.

"Sisters."
*~*~*~*~*~*~*




Painted Ladies

He remembered telling Buffy once that he hated the women of his day. Liam hated the taste of the powders they used to whiten their flesh. The stink of the rouge to redden their lips. He favored the bar wench over the refined lady of means. The bar maids smelled of ale and hard work. No scent of powders to sicken him when he wished to leave his mark. But Angelus... Angelus loved the fine ladies of the 18th century. How enticing their blood looked as it ran down their necks. The contrast of its blackness against the rice powder on their wigs and breasts. How convenient it was for a vampire with their unnaturally white flesh and blood-red lips to mingle among the fools of the court.

He smelled that his son was different, altered. The smoke had permeated their clothing and left a dinstinctive aroma. His first impulse was to hurt her - that she dared weaken his strong, proud boy! Angelus, ever watchful, wanted to hurt the boy while he was vulnerable. Angel stayed back in the shadows and watched Fred put base and powder on Connor's cheeks, his forehead. He stared at the small gap between his son's hairline and where the makeup began. Pink. Healthy. He watched as Connor laughed and pushed her hand away, not wanting the red lip-liner. Fred made a pouty face and Connor relented.

Angel fought the urge to grab his son by the back of his neck and throw him against the wall. To bite his lip and make the blood color that young mouth, that pink flesh. To see the black/red against the ivory of the makeup. The demon (or was it the man?) within wanted to take that pretense of innocence and pound it, hurt it, wound it to turn back into the strength that was there before.

He was not aware of the low growl he made in the back of his throat. Angel saw Connor's shoulders stiffen, yet his son didn't push Fred aside. Angel watched as Connor looked in his direction, parted his lips slightly and allowed Fred to line them. Connor titled his head back kept his gaze on the shadows through half-lidded eyes. When Angel saw Connor's small, pink tongue dart out and moisten his lower lip to test the red now staining it, he crept back into the shadows and into Connor's room. To wait. To wipe that paint off his face.

Angel's last thought before he turned away was how Connor looked just like his mother.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*




What's in a Name?

In his head, he was always Steven. Steven knew black from white, good from evil, his duty, his charge. Steven had a father. This man, this thing was not his father. It was evil, souless. It deserved killing. He would kill it. But it was strong, and Stephen knew to wait for the right moment to ensure victory. His real father had taught him that.

Holtz had made Steven strong. Holtz had given Steven the knowledge of the world, of the evil that existed. Stephen knew that in this new world, his father's lessons wouldn't be understood, but Steven knew his father loved him. He bore the scars of that love as testament. Holtz made him see first hand what demons would do if they overtook him. He was not shocked when Angel touched him that way. His father had prepared him for it. He was not prepared for the monster's tears. He was not prepared for the confusion that set in when Angel called him by that name.

He didn't think it strange on that first night Angel had come into his room and laid his cool hands on Stephen's leg. Nor when those hands slid under the blankets to feel all of his flesh. He let the monster think his guard was down. Steven knew the value of a surprise attack. Holtz had made it clear that vampires had no moral boundaries. He knew that his own mother was also his grandmother. His father was his brother. He did not find it odd that his monster of a father tried to hold him close. The tenderness of his kisses, in fact, the very kissing itself was not expected.

Holtz never kissed him. Holtz never held him with tenderness. When Holtz had come to him in the night, it was as a lesson to strengthen him - to prepare him for one day meeting Angelus. There was nothing gentle in their joining, no sighs, no stroking. Steven recalled the first time - the feeling that a bit of brimstone was ripping him in two. After the pain subsided, Holtz had sat him down, given him a look when he cried out in agony, and told Steven who his true father was. What he was. How they behaved with one another. "I want to make you strong, son. I want you to know their tricks, their habits. One day you will go to him, you will weaken him, and you will kill him." Steven was eight years old.

**

Fred and Connor (never Steven with them - always Connor - they trusted Connor) had stayed awake late into the night laughing, talking... He knew Angel was watching. He knew Angel would come to him that night. He was prepared.

He stumbled to his room for the benefit of those watching from the shadows. He fell onto his bed, sprawled on top of the blankets. He acknowledged the monster's presence by shifting his legs over to make room.

"Did you have fun?"

Eyes closed, sleepy smile on his face, hands squeezing the soft pillow his face was nestled in. "Mmm hmmm."

A hand on his ankle now, thumb tracing gentle circles. "She's a lovely girl. Pretty."

Hands moving under the heavy denim, fingertips tracing the hard muscle of Stephen's calf.

Steven shifted his hips slightly to lie more comfortably on his side, one arm thrown over his eyes. He kept the sleepy smile on his face. His other hand rubbed his chest, moved to his belly, and with a casual flick of his thumb, unsnapped the button to his jeans.

"Do you like her?" A small amount of pressure when the zipper was pulled down. Steven barely lifted his hips, but the intent was understood. He wavered when the cool air of his room chilled his flesh, but Angel quickly covered the boy with a thin blanket. Strong hands ran up and down Stephen's thighs with the pretense of giving warmth. Rough fingertips traced patterns into the soft, brown curls higher up. Steven slowly pushed his backside down into the mattress, then forward, invitation sent.

Steven bent one knee, pushed forward, forcing Angel's hand lower than he intended. Steven watched under his arm and saw the monster lower his head, chin to chest. Its hand began to stroke him, preparing him for penetration. There was a flash of the demon's face when Angel realized this wasn't Stephen's first experience.

Steven knew it was time. He crawled to his knees, rubbed his thin chest against Angel's, took his face in his hands and rubbed his cheek against Angel's. Although the monster didn't need breath, Steven felt Angel's chest heave as Steven laid his head on Angel's shoulder, and felt Angel tremble when his small hands ran up Angel's powerful arms.

Steven laid back on the bed, got on all fours, turned back to look at Angel and said simply, "please."

Another flash of the demon. Hands on calves, desperate kisses to backs of thighs, head lain on Steven's small back. While Stephen wasn't accustomed to the tenderness, he braced himself for the invasion. His father had taught him that at release, the monster would be at his most vulnerable. Steven let a hand steal back under his pillow, checking for the stake he had secreted away. His hand dropped it suddenly when he felt Angel's tears on his back. Was this a trick? Angel's hand wiped the wetness from the small of Steven's back, then moved the wet hand to his backside, stroking the boy. It was a trick. Holtz had not done such a thing.

Steven was bothered by the pleasure it gave him to be readied for joining. It had only been a lesson with Holtz. His father had not prepared him for gentle touches. His hand wavered over the stake. When Angel entered him, slowly, with gentle rocking motions and not the swift invasion that was expected, the moan that escaped him gave him his first experience of shame at this act. Angel called back to the boy with his own moan, hands stroking up the soft, pale skin of the boy's back, hands gripping shoulders, almost pulling out completely, slowly driving back in, hips moving in circles, hands never ceasing their gentling.

The familiar feeling of being stretched brought Steven back to his senses. He had a duty to perform. Make the vampire weak, kill him. He recognized words coming from the monster. "Connor. Love. You. God, Connor."

Steven. My name is Steven. He would never be Connor. Steven had a duty. Connor was a name for some child that didn't exist. A child with a mother, a father... Connor came from evil. The words the monster spoke came from evil. Steven must remember that. If only it would shut up and be finished. He wouldn't shut up. Steven heard that name over and over, moaned softly at first, rough hands traveling up his spine. Angel gripped the back of Steven's neck and pulled him up off his hands. Steven felt a moment of panic when he was forced to drop the stake, but quickly forgot when Angel's blunt teeth scratched over the pulse in his neck.

He stiffened, thinking he had let himself forget what Angel was, then relaxed when he felt a tongue trace the pulse, cool breath, lips. As Angel began to quicken his pace, Steven looked down to see hands stroking his narrow, smooth chest. Hands gripped him tight. He didn't realize people held each other with tenderness when they coupled. He isn't a person.

Angel began driving upwards more quickly, face buried in Stephen's neck. And he was gasping that name. Begging him to join the monster. Steven didn't want to hear that name. It broke something inside of him that he didn't know was there. Why didn't Holtz tell him that names had power? He couldn't stand to hear it from Angel's mouth anymore. He pulled away quickly. Only later did he realize that it would have been the perfect time to reach under the pillow for the stake. To end it. To fulfill his duty. His destiny.

He moved back against the headboard and took Angel by the back of his head and forced the monster down onto his own erection. "Shhh." The tears that fell on Steven's cheeks went unnoticed. The tears that fell from the monster onto his belly did not. Much later, in the small hours of the morning when he was finally alone, Steven began to shake. He held the stake in his hand, not knowing how many minutes (hours?) had passed. He dialed the number given to him in secret and told Justine to find a boat. And a box.

Comments

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
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leeannaray
Mar. 16th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC)
That is one of the most powerful and disturbing things i've ever read. It gave me goosebumps.
stoney321
Mar. 16th, 2005 03:36 pm (UTC)
Holtz makes me want to hurt (kill) him. I used to loathe the Connor character and then it just clicked for me. I'm sorry this disturbed you (but not really, as that means I did my job!)

Thank you. *rubs your arms*
paynbow
Mar. 16th, 2005 03:00 pm (UTC)
wow...very well written. Very powerful. Makes me all sad and squicked at the same time, if that makes any sense. I really enjoyed it! *smooches* good work *g*
stoney321
Mar. 16th, 2005 03:37 pm (UTC)
"Sad and squicked"

I'd say that was EXACTLY what I was going for! Thanks, Heather, for being so supportive. (Psst: when are you going to spam your LJ with pics?)

Thank you.
... - paynbow - Mar. 16th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
swmbo
Mar. 16th, 2005 03:12 pm (UTC)
Wow. This is two days in a row that you have captured and broken me, in completely different ways. This is honestly one of the best Connor depictions I have ever read, aching and real. God, thank you so very much...i am still reeling.
stoney321
Mar. 16th, 2005 03:38 pm (UTC)
I think I'm gonna need a spatula to get me off the ceiling after your comment.

Thank YOU.

*cuddles Connor, them pinches him to make him cry, then cuddles him again*
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Mar. 16th, 2005 03:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks, toots. I know you want to look at swatches and color wheels and furniture things instead of mean/dirty/wrong Cangel. (Stangel?) I will treasure my email in which you said "fan-fucking-tastic" and, "I don't like Connor/Angel but..."

Luff you. Want to win the lottery and buy you lemon-esque things.
inlovewithnight
Mar. 16th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
::whimper:: Stop making me feel for Connor (Stephen)! Things were going so well with despising him!

Twisted and good. Gah.
stoney321
Mar. 16th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC)
I can't help it!! He's so broken and battered... Dare I say the most broken of all Joss' characters? He hurts. Both him and others. *wibble*

Thank you, Sam.
lynnenne
Mar. 16th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)
Stephen was eight years old.

I almost stopped reading at that point (little too close to the bone). But I'm glad I kept going. It was beautifully written, and I loved the ending. Nice job.
stoney321
Mar. 16th, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC)
*holds your hand*

I know: it's horrible what it says Holtz did. Holtz is awful in my head.

I will say this to you: I do not believe Joss was going for anything of this sort. But somehow, I belive it in fic. I have weirdness in my head, I know.

And thank you for sticking with it and commenting.

*braids your hair, picks out fluffy slippers for your footsies*
... - lynnenne - Mar. 16th, 2005 09:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
violethamster
Mar. 16th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)
Boy, does Connor/Angel ever squick me. But apart from that, regarding the story; lots of really good, interesting ideas.
stoney321
Mar. 16th, 2005 08:06 pm (UTC)
Something happened recently that has my brain PULSING with this stuff. I know it isn't for most people (especially those on my flist) and to be honest, most incest!fic bothers me deeply.

But I just feel in my bones that Holtz RUINED Connor(Stephen), and did it to punish Angel. And while Angel has a strong sense of honor and right, he's a vampire, and his family is incestous in a way.

And since I know this isn't your cup of tea, HUGE thank you for reading it through and commenting.
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Mar. 17th, 2005 06:07 am (UTC)
When I put my "disclaimer" above in my A/N, I feel very strongly that the writers of ME were not attempting to "code" or layer in a subtext of incest. I know there are those that will disagree, and bully for them. The best part about a richly detailed show is how it affects the viewer on a personal level - like poetry.

But I do also believe that Holtz did unspeakable (um, writing isn't speaking - Ha!) things to Stephen. i believe he plotted out a slow and arduous revenge against (who he percieved to be) his arch-nemesis. I have read the argument that Holtz was a righteous man, therefor what I hinted at isn't plausible. Well... how righteous is a man that kidnaps another's child? Kills? Trains "warriors" up with no mercy? Mercy is righteous, and the man has NONE.

In my mind, Holtz didn't care for Stephen at all. It was pretense. How could he? A daily reminder of his loss, of his enemy? I think Holtz is the one TRULY evil person we ever encounter in Jossverse. For me, he sees Stephen as a weapon, a tool, void of emotion. If you could train and have conversations with a sword, that's the two of them.

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on that. I am amazed I got ANYONE from my core flist to read this, BTW. I don't think many can even tolerate Connor, let alone sympathize with him.
... - stoney321 - Mar. 17th, 2005 06:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
somecandytalkin
Mar. 17th, 2005 06:28 am (UTC)
Last night got all crazy - in a good way - just getting around to checking the big board this morning (He'll see the big board!) But you know I love it and think it's perfect. All three:)
stoney321
Mar. 17th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC)
I can't wait to see what you are working on!
ros_fod
Mar. 17th, 2005 02:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, *ouch*.

You have a spot-on early-Connor voice here. Just perfect. No where near enough people write s3 Connor, so god bless you.

And check out these -

http://www.livejournal.com/users/ros_fod/106043.html?thread=1541435#t1541435

if you haven't already.

Very nicely done!
stoney321
Mar. 17th, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC)
"No where near enough people write s3 Connor"

I KNOW!
*cries*

*Sees your recs*

Hooray! Thank you so very much, Ros!
nihano1
Mar. 17th, 2005 06:31 pm (UTC)
I have no words..
You stole my words, Damn-it!!! Wow, this is painfully disturbing. I can tell that Angel knew what he was doing was wrong, but couldn't seem to help himself. I fully support Connor's decision to put him in the bottom of the ocean in this story. I never thought I would say that. Man you're good! The entire Holtz thing and he was eight stuff was very sick chicks indeed. I don't think I will look at Connor the same after this. The Connor/Stephen stuff was very well done as well. Wow... just... wow. Good stuff!!!
Oh and give me my words back!!!!
stoney321
Mar. 17th, 2005 07:51 pm (UTC)
Re: I have no words..
Nope. I'm keeping them. Ha!

I can't see Connor the same either. I luff him, little woobie all messed up...

Thank you so very much!
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Mar. 17th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
My plan is working! I figured out my love for Connor some time ago, and am just now getting around to writing him out to my personal satisfaction. I can't have anyone not understanding him! It's okay if you don't love him (more room for me) but he's so tragic...

Thank you for sticking with it, especially since it isn't your thing. THANKS!! *kisses it better*
uberaeryn
Mar. 19th, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC)
ARGH.

Wow. Powerful stuff, very.
winterlive
May. 1st, 2005 11:39 am (UTC)
...

...

...

you give me bunnies.
dis_mount
Aug. 8th, 2005 08:43 pm (UTC)
Absolutely magical.

Love you. Love. You.
stoney321
Aug. 8th, 2005 09:01 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU!! *clutches her favorite fic to her chest, heaves sigh in relief*
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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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