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WHEW. I truly did not think I would make today's deadline. *cheers the rest of you on*

Author: Stoney
Title: Ante Praevisa Merita
Rating/Characters: If you've read the Old Testament, you're old enough. Holtz, Connor
Summary: Holtz' religious training of Connor (Steven) while in Quor-Toth, or How do you make a child kill their father and think it's in the name of the Lord.
Notes: Beta'd by cityphonelines, with great thanks. Written for the lynnevitational. WARNING: There is physical abuse of a teen-aged Connor within. Thanks to the craziness of the Old Testament, for the Vatican putting their Papal decrees from the 15-18th centuries online, for Dante's Comedie, and a shudder to all the religious zealots/philosphers of the past.


********* In Materia Necessaria *********

"I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. May the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen you, that in this, and in all things, you may do God's will in the service of the kingdom of his Christ. Amen."

Holtz held up the toddler in the harsh sun - he didn't burn. He took the brackish water he had collected for this purpose, dipped his finger in and drew a cross on the child's forehead. Again, the child didn't burn. But God, in His wisdom, most likely prepared the way for the babe to be a vessel for Holtz' righteous anger and thus made him able to have the sacred rites administered to him.

Steven, as he was being confirmed today under his new name, wriggled in his father's grip and smiled up at the man who did not smile back. He began to fuss; Holtz set him down on a large boulder, dipped his finger in the animal fat he had rendered and continued.

"Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti. Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Father, I beseech thee. Give him strength untold. Give him power over his enemies. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen."

He bent down to eye level with the child. "Now, Steven, say 'amen.' "

Connor rubbed his eyes with grimy fists and muttered " 'men."

Holtz smiled.

********* Auto-de-fè *********

Holtz looked at his hands thoughtfully. He spoke to the boy, still looking at his hands. "And how did the prophet Moses in vetus testamentum instruct his people to discipline their children if they were stubborn or rebellious, Connor?"

The teen aged boy braced himself. When Holtz referred to him by the monster's chosen name for him, the punishment would be severe. "He said they should bring the son to the elders so that the child may be stoned until he dies from it. And you have instructed me that you are my Elder, and so you must mete my punishment."

"Very good. But you cannot die, can you?"


"And why not?"

Connor looked his father in the eye, knowing it would please him. "Because mine is a perpetual life. I am in Purgatory paying for the sins of my father. And I must kill him to be clean."

"And so here we are, my boy."

Holtz hefted a stone in his hand that was larger than an egg. At his feet was a pile of similar-sized stones. "Let us begin."

Connor could not cover his face, nor his belly or other body parts. His hands had been bound to two trees with his naked form suspended between them. Once when he was about eight or so he had pulled free, almost mindless from the pain of his penance. That was when Holtz had broken his leg. It had taken him over twenty blows with a large club to do so, but it was a punishment Connor hadn't forgotten. He did not flinch this time but looked straight ahead and spoke the words he'd been taught.

"O my God, I am heartily sorry..."

The first stone hit his cheek with a sickening thud.

"...I detest myself for the sins committed and rebuke Satan..."

Two stones in quick succession hit his bare genitalia; Connor saw stars at the corner of his vision. He sucked in a breath and continued as his father threw stone after stone at his body drawing blood and in some cases tearing the flesh away from bone.

"...there is sorrow in my heart all the day-"

"No, there is not. But there will be." A larger stone, almost too large for Holtz' hand, smashed into his mouth stopping his words.

********* In Persona Christi *********

Night was coming. Connor stirred and gagged. He spat a mouthful of blood and checked to see if he still had all his teeth. He had; Father had again been kind. Holtz stepped out from the trees wielding a knife. "Are you ready for the next step?" Connor nodded.

Holtz cut him down. Connor fell to the ground and pulled himself on his belly to Holtz. He held on to the man's feet and began, "I am reconciled to you, my Father, as your grateful child. I am thankful for the blessings of our Lord."

"What are your sins, boy?"

"I have forgotten to honor my Father. I have taken food without giving it to you first, as is your right. I have indulged sin in my heart. I ask for your pardon with a contrite and broken spirit."

Holtz bent over and spoke softly near the boy's ear. "I absolve you from your sin. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," Holtz crossed himself surreptitiously, "Stand."

Connor pushed himself up to standing, his head bowed. "Ad Maiorem Dei Glorium. For the Greater Glory of God."

A ghost of a smile crossed Holtz' face. "Yes. In His name. Now. Let us go home." He led Connor back through the woods to their shelter among the crags and boulders. As they neared their home, Connor's ears pricked. He tilted his head to the side, then moved with lightening speed; he ran towards his father, twisted left, stepped up and pushed off a boulder and spun backwards, catching a large bird of prey rocketing towards them. The struggling creature's cruel beak had been inches from Holtz' bare neck.

Holtz blinked, shock barely evident on his features. Connor grinned hugely. "The Lord will provide. I'll start a fire." He twisted the large bird's neck and the beast stopped struggling as Connor walked off with it to find kindling.

********** Didache *********

"Do you love me, son?"

"Yes, of course I do."

"Then you love God." Holtz stopped to grunt from the force of the heavy blade as it drove into the wooden log. "Do you know that no matter what it is you do, God cannot love you?"

A pause. "Yes."

Holtz continued splitting logs for their fire. "And why is that?"

"Because I am the child of demons. I am made of His antithesis. God despises sin, and I am sin incarnate."

Holtz looked up and smiled slowly. "Precisely. Go on ahead and wash up in the stream. We'll eat once I'm finished here."

Connor nodded and stopped stacking the large rocks that made a wall in front of their cave and left to cleanse himself.

********** De Anima *********
(Of The Soul)

"Do I have a soul?" Connor kept his eyes on the animal he was skinning for their dinner.

Holtz paused from his work and looked up. "I don't know. I've often wondered. It depends on who we ask, I believe. Are we created with a soul? Do we have a soul that is created by our mother and our father's? Is a soul given to us before that magical spark of love - or in your case, sin - and we exist in a between world before being birthed? Long has that question troubled the greatest minds, Steven."

Connor's hand had stilled, as has his whole body, intent on hearing every word. He bent back to the animal quickly and continued separating the meat from the skin. "What do you think?"

Holtz sat back on his haunches, his hands dangling between his knees as he regarded the boy. "No. I don't believe you do. Neither your mother nor the demon that is your true father had any soul."

Connor made to interrupt; Holtz held a hand up to silence him. "Yes, I know that we had been told that he had regained his soul. But it was no longer his, was it? All the evil he had done... He will have a heavy price to pay."

Holtz rubbed his chin thoughtfully and continued, "The body that grew you, that nurtured you until I was able to take you away had no soul, no goodness at all. Darla was a thing of evil. A thing that fed on innocents to make you, in fact. I cannot believe in a God that would allow such a thing to have a pure and good soul reside within."

Connor bowed his head. "Yes, Dad."

Holtz looked up sharply. "I am your father."

Connor blinked. "Yes, Father."

********** Da Mihi Castitatem Et Continentiam, Sed Noli Modo **********
(Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet - St. Augustine)

He knelt in the shadows of the trees. It was the place where he cleaned his kills; no monsters or beasts would come there for the strong smell of blood that lingered. Connor pulled at the laces of his rough breeches and closed his eyes. He didn't know why he hid himself to do this. Perhaps it was because he'd never seen his father perform this on himself, so it must not be righteous. He had never been told not to touch himself, only that he was not to touch his father.

"Tertullian taught us that polluted things, when touched, pollute. You, Connor, are polluted. But we will make you clean one day."

Connor slid his hand into his loosened pants and cupped himself. He stroked and fondled his growing hardness, his eyes shut tight. He began moving faster, shocked at the sensation of pleasure so unfamiliar coursing through his body. A snapped twig sounded behind him. He fumbled with his laces quickly.

"Chastity is a gift of the Holy Spirit, Steven. Do you know that you are spilling your seed? Wasting potential? Do you understand that a righteous man would know that it is sacred, that it will one day create his child? The deliberate use of the sexual organ, for whatever reason, outside of a holy and blessed marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose, which is to create a child to raise up in His name."

Connor stood with his back to his father. Shame washed over him. "I didn't know that."

Holtz crossed the forest floor and leaned his weight onto a hand pressed against the rough bark of a tree. "But would your seed create an innocent and beloved child in God's image, Steven?"

Connor turned and looked at his father.

"It is a sin to spill your seed. Or rather, it is a sin for a child of God to do so. You, my dear boy, are a child of the devil, and so I believe you must. If you seek repentance, you must rid yourself of it." Holtz' voice, as ever, was never louder than a steady rumble of authority. His eyes were wild, however. "The child you would grow!"

He crossed to Connor looked him in the eye. He never touched his son unless to teach lessons. "Carry on. Rid yourself of demons." He turned on his heel and walked away. Connor bit his lip and decided to find something to kill instead.

********* Benedictio *********

"Steven, a Jesuit once said 'Give me the child until he is ten, and I will give you a man.' I have had you much longer, I believe. These extra years have refined you, made you stronger."

Connor smiled - rare was praise from his father.

"But never forget, you are steeped in sin. You are to bring light back unto the world, however. The true world, not this hell where I have raised you." Holtz smiled before taking a large bite of the food his son had caught and prepared. Connor would eat when Holtz had taken his fill. "Tell me the commandments."

"I am the Lord your God and thou shalt have no other gods before me. Honor thy mother and thy father if they are honorable. Thou shalt not kill, unless I have commanded it. Thou shalt not lie with another unless given in holy matrimony. Thou shalt not lie nor steal. Thou shalt not suffer a witch nor demon to live, for they are an abomination before Me. Thou shalt not do any of these things in mind or in deed, for I am a vengeful God and I will know it."

"You cannot honor your mother nor your father, can you? And you must kill. You must lie. More sin..." He sucked the meat's juices from the side of his fist, ignoring the rumbling from his son's belly before him. "But if you will shed your father's blood, you can be made clean."

Connor knelt at his father's side and recited. "Think not that I am come to send peace: I came not to send peace but a sword."

Holtz smiled and patted the log next to him. "Very good. I'm very pleased with you, Steven." He handed a joint to the boy and watched him eat.

********* Lasciate Ogne Speranza, Voi Ch'intrate *********
(Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here)

Connor tightened the laces holding the weapons to his arms. The water slugs fed heavily here; the demons that fed on them should be coming. He wasn't disappointed. A large horned monster broke through the trees to his right coming at him. He ducked and as the beast moved over him, struck upwards with the knife he had fashioned. The beast cried out and backed away; these beasts knew who The Destroyer was.

The earth moved violently under their feet. Both Connor and the monster staggered to keep standing. The demon moved first, knocking Connor over, then leaping through a clearing behind the boy. Connor gave chase. He leapt over rocks and crags, almost losing the beast once. The landscape changed to bare, scorched earth suddenly. He saw the beast leap through a sphere encircled with fire. "Primum Mobile..." he whispered. A sly grin broke out on his face. "Dad."

"I will go and do that which the Lord hath commanded." He jumped through the portal to the City of Angels.


( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 15th, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
I have always had a soft spot for Connor, and I always thought that Holtz's methods of parenting were probably fairly abusive. I think you might have hit the nail on the head with this one.
Jul. 15th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
Boy, I sure think Holtz was cruel, too. (And... that's the only way I've ever been able to write him, in fact.)

Thank you very much for saying that - it's greatly appreciated.
Jul. 15th, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC)
Eeeek. Oh, that was hard to read.

The mental abuse here is so fucked up and twisted: the lord loves us but doesn't love you, know the commandments so you know you must disobey them, good people don't masturbate but you can, so on. The hypocrisy of it is terrible and cruel.

I loved how Connor couldn't call Holtz Dad, and then calls Angel that. I also liked the idea of Holtz using the name Connor to punish him.

This was both ugly and insightful. Thanks.
Jul. 15th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
Gah, I don't know how a kind or gentle Holtz is possible, truthfully. I think he's maybe the most evil character in the whole of Angel/Buffy, with The Mayor coming in a close second.

And given Holtz background as having his own Inquisition (never mind that they were no longer the Inquisition M.E. tried to allude to) and army... I felt this was fitting.

Thank you for pushing yourself through this - it is ugly, isn't it?
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 15th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
*used pretty and happy Connor to make it all better*

(Um, don't finish Holtz off until I get there, okay?) Thanks for reading. *hugs*
Jul. 15th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
God. Connor. *weeps*

Angel should have beaten Holtz to death with his own large intestines the first time he got within spitting distance of that monster.

You made me hate Holtz the way I never managed when I was watching Angel.

(that's a compliment, btw)
Jul. 16th, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
I want to cuddle baby Connor like he was my OWN. *cries*

I COMPLETELY AGREE that Angel should have killed Holtz. I mean, redemption shedemtion, am I right? He was an evil mo fo.

(I will TAKE that compliment, yes indeedy!)
Jul. 15th, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC)
chilling, but wonderful.
Jul. 16th, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
Just what I was shooting for! Thank you very much.
Jul. 16th, 2007 12:17 am (UTC)
Wow, just wow. This is fantastic, Stoney. I've always wished people would write more about Connor's time in Holtz and this is just perfect. Holtz is just all kinds of fucked up and I think you have captured him as completely perfectly as you have the young Connor.
Jul. 16th, 2007 12:20 am (UTC)
*bites lip to make it not wobble*

Thank you very much! I wish there were more Quor-Toth fics, too. I think it's something people don't want to think about - he had to be awful to Connor, right? (Also, I think people shy from Holtz - understandably so.)

I really appreciate your reading, thanks!
Jul. 16th, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)
Creepy in all the right ways!
Jul. 16th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
*pumps fist in the air*

YAY! Thanks, Barb!
... - seraphcelene - Jul. 16th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC) - Expand
... - stoney321 - Jul. 16th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2007 01:47 am (UTC)
Oh, OUCH! I had to read this peeking between my fingers. My poor boy!

Do you know that no matter what it is you do, God cannot love you?

What an awful lesson to teach a child; and yet it's one that so many of us internalize. That line really hit home for me.

"Think not that I am come to send peace: I came not to send peace but a sword."

Oh, CONNOR. I adore the way you show Holtz twisting the message of Scripture. The way he rewrites the commandments to suit his own purposes is especially chilling. Great work, darling! Thanks so much for writing this. *hugshugs*
Jul. 16th, 2007 03:15 am (UTC)
And um *cough* it's interesting to read old Vatican/medieval papers and see how not too far off the mark a lot of this is...

Poor poor Connor. Thanks for reading it - I think everyone is reading it through clenched jaws and hands over eyes. :)

*hugs you*
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2007 03:16 am (UTC)
*soothing hug* Poor Connor, indeed.

(Thank you very much!)
Jul. 16th, 2007 03:15 am (UTC)
Amazing. Holy Hell, no wonder Connor came out as fucked up as he was - this fits what we know of him and Holtz perfectly. It's so sick and twisted.
Jul. 16th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
"It's so sick and twisted" Okay, the writer in me is gleeful over that. The Connor fan in me just wants us all to have a puppy pile and eat donuts to make it all better. :)

Thank you for reading and telling me what you thought!
Jul. 16th, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)
Simply incredible. You made me cry for Connor and fear Stephen and really, really dislike Holtz.

I'll be reading this one again and again.

Thank you for sharing.

Jul. 16th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, Snow!! I really appreciate you saying that. (And... I had it easy. I don't think it's too hard to make people not like Holtz. *g*)

Jul. 16th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
This is excellent. Holtz tortured Connor for years, you imagine it well, and the fact that Connor was able to achieve any humanity really was to his credit. You did this with great sensitivity. Poor Connor indeed.
Jul. 16th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
*hugs you SO TIGHT!*

Oh, thank you. What a lovely comment. I appreciate it. Thank you for reading!
Jul. 16th, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, Stoney. You have written the most perfect Quor-Toth fic I've ever read. I think you nailed the twisted, evil nature of Holtz' character and I did not have to suspend any disbelief whatsoever while reading this. It not only fits in with what we know of the religious fanaticism of the era Holtz came from but also the blasphemous, self-serving zealotry of The Inquisition at the time.

I love how he re-wrote The Ten Commandments to suit his own purposes, indeed how you had Holtz twisting everything he taught Connor in order to achieve a sense of vengeance on both Angel and Darla. I imagine he derived much satisfaction from doing so and he undoubtedly thought he was just in his actions.

I also imagine it was quite the shock to him when he found himself in hell upon his death.

The mental and physical abuse of Connor was cruel and chilling, and it's stunning and gorgeous in religious detail, Stoney. I cannot even pick one section to praise more than another because they are all done so very well that it's impossible to.

Truly brilliant.

Jul. 16th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
Okay, loving you for the "blasphemous, self-serving zealotry of the Inquisition" comment, because YEAH. I didn't have to stretch too far to think of how Holtz would use his background to form the perfect weapon.

I can't thank you enough for this lovely bit of feedback. I'll try, though: THANK YOU.
Jul. 16th, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)

This was excellent, Stoney! Heartbreaking, but excellent. I initially felt for Holtz when he arrived on AtS as a righteous man who'd had his family destroyed by demons, but as time went on, he became suprememly scary to the point where when he set up his own death to make Connor hate Angel, and yet wrote that letter. . . Arrgh! The sheer unmitigated evilness of the man terrified me; more so than any of the demons because Holtz was human, and supposedly had a soul. I had absolutely no trouble believing that thisis exactly what happened in Quor-Toth, and that Holtz never really loved Connor/Steven at all; to Holtz he was mearly a means to an end. Holtz never saw Connor as an innocent child, so probably thought he was justified in everything he did.

Jul. 16th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
I mentioned in another comment up there that I think Holtz is the most evil character in Jossverse, mostly because he started off wanting justice, then used his knowledge and power to just wreak utter torment. (I mean... Connor was a BABY. Gah.)

I think Holtz loved Connor like a hunter loves a good hunting dog or a specially made rifle. It's something broken by your hand to do your bidding exactly as you want it, you know?

I'm so happy you found this believable! That's gratifying to hear, thank you.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 17th, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC)
It's not too hard to imagine, huh? Poor Connor... Thank you very much!
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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.

Time Wot It Is

April 2017
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