Author: Lee(vee of Team Socket)
Rating: PG at the most
Characters: Mostly Wes, the occasional random person thrown in.
Disclaimer: Yeah. I’ve got about thirteen bucks. You really think I created three TV shows? Chya, whatev. I also don’t own “Small Gods” or any quotes thereof. Or the vague reference to Stargate: SG-1. Or anything else I took/paraphrased/referenced.
Summary: Wes gets sent to find the kidnapped Connor in an alternate version of “Origin”.
Notes: Rather AU “Origin”. As in, Illyria is still Fred, and Connor never actually made it to the meeting. And got kidnapped. In Colorado. Written for darlingeffect in the Hometown Ficathon, the info is posted at the end.
It's a popular fact that 90% of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong. Not even the most stupid Creator would go to the trouble of making the human head carry around several pounds of unnecessary grey goo if its only real purpose was, eg, to serve as a delicacy for certain remote tribesmen in unexplored valleys, it is used. One of its functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary, and turn the unusual into the usual. Otherwise, human beings, forced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing a stupid grin, saying "WOW" a lot. Part of the brain exists to stop this happening. It is very efficient, and can make people experience boredom in the middle of marvels
- Terry Pratchett, "Small Gods"
That was it. He was completely, entirely lost. The directions said to go down Pena Blvd. He had done that. Then it said Airport Blvd. He had gotten onto that. And then onto South Buckley Road. He realized he had gone too far when the road ended on Orchard, and then had to backtrack.
Of course, by “he had to”, he meant that the driver had to. Running a branch of the most powerful (and/or evil) law firm in the multiverse had its benefits. Not, however, enough benefits to land at Buckley Air Force Base, which was about two miles away from where they were headed, instead of the thirty or so miles from Denver International Airport. Buckley, according the insane X.O. Wesley had been forced to negotiate with on the phone, was reserved for military and government purposes only. Like when the president decided to stop by and examine the price of cattle.
In all honesty, Wesley did not want to be in Aurora, Colorado. Aside from being a former Hellmouth (the dimensions had gotten channeled into some artifact in the mountains many thousands of year ago, but the town was still a place of mystical convergence), it also housed the largest number of pacifist vampires and demons in the country. This, from what Wesley had learned in the past six years, meant that they were planning something, most likely to do with an apocalypse of sorts. That and the fact that Angel had decided only one of them was needed for the situation in Aurora. He had been the obvious choice, according to Harmony. Wesley still failed to see how, but he’d take the air headed vampire’s word for it.
Most international (and interdimensional) law firms place one office in the capital cities of the most crucial countries. In the case of America, Wolfram & Hart had placed three to deal with the degenerate society – the United States being the only country with a Wolfram & Hart branch that had more humans represented than demons. The main one was in Washington D.C. and dealt entirely with politicians and international procedures, while the New York City branch handled everything on the eastern side of the Mississippi. That left everything west of it to L.A.
Meaning Wesley got to go to the middle of Colorado, with its currently apocalyptic weather (he had listened to the weather report on their way in, and there had been reports of ten tornadoes, two thunderstorms, a flash flood warning, and five wildfires), to handle the Reilly’s case.
Laurence and Colleen Reilly had originally made their appointment at Wolfram & Hart: L.A. (and didn’t that just sound like a bad crime drama spin-off) after their son had been hit by a car, and then gotten up without a single mark on him for the experience. Not too much longer afterwards, and before they could get to the office, the son in question, Connor, had been kidnapped. Angel had had an unusually strong reaction, especially since Wesley knew that Angel had done kidnapping cases before.
Through one of the contacts in Manuscripts (which was really more of an espionage department than a research one) Wesley had found that the boy was being held somewhere in Colorado. The contact had also pointed him towards the person who’d be able to help him find the boy – a being named Athansius. It was a Greek name meaning immortal, which he figured could not be a good thing when dealing with a former Hellmouth, but Angel had fanatically insisted he had to go. Personally, too.
You would think that driving though a suburban town in an expensive car with a chauffer would get you many odd looks, but no one in the neighborhood bothered looking. There was a group of kids on one corner who did pay attention for a moment, before turning back to their game of – hitting one another with tree branches.
Yes, it had definitely been a Hellmouth.
A minute or so after that, the driver pulled over. Wesley surveyed the store before getting out. As seemed to be typical of such places on a Hellmouth, it was a small bookshop, nestled in between a Hallmark card shop and an optometrist’s office. Unlike most, however, a large and garishly decorated sign proclaimed “Sunshine Children Books”. He raised an eyebrow. “Intriguing.”
He waited a couple of minutes to make sure that there wasn’t anything he was missing, and then he got out of the car – a rather nice one that he didn’t know the name of but was suitably flashy, and why couldn’t he have driven himself, anyway? – and made for the door.
If the outside had not been what Wesley expected, the inside was even more absurd. There was perhaps one light, up at the single checkout counter, and it was a dim one at that. There were three small bookshelves, and a couple of metal racks filled with a variety of calligraphy brushes, pens, and sticker sheets. That was all. The only people in the shop were a small group of teenagers, two boys and a girl, all with “Hi, My Name is…” badges that told him they were employees.
They cut their conversation off as he entered, and looked at him expectantly. “Uhm, yes, I’m looking for someone, a–“
He was cut off mid-sentence by one of the boys, a heavyset blonde with shoulder-length hair. “Keeeelseeeey,” he called in a bored tone. There was a loud crash from the staff room at the back of the store and muffled cursing. The door was flung open a moment later by what appeared to be a red furred bear.
The bear shook itself, and Wesley realized that it was actually another (although rather larger) teenage girl, with a mess of red hair, and wearing one of those annoying fuzzy sweaters that great-aunts always foist upon you on birthdays and holidays.
“Jesus H, Dan! What the hell did you do that for? You knew I was stocking! Those boxes hurt, you know.” There was a pause as the girl – Kelsey, if “Dan” was to be believed – rubbed her head and glared at the grinning boy, before she added. “And who’s he? We’re closed now, aren’t we?”
The other three gave various shrugs and noncommittal grunts. “He asked for you,” the girl said, pointing at Wesley. “We dunno who he is.”
“You didn’t let me finish, how do you know if she’s who I was looking for?” Wesley demanded, nettled by the fact that they had automatically assumed he was in a child’s bookshop looking for a red bear.
“Because nobody ever asks for us,” Dan said. “We’re unloved,” the other boy added in an uninterested voice, before going back to the card game the three had been playing. “Ringo, thank you very much,” he said. The girl hit him with her stack of cards. “I didn’t put down a seven, you didn’t have to say thank you!”
Yes, definitely a Hellmouth.
Wesley turned from his stare at the card game, to see Kelsey staring at him. “You’re Wes Wyndham… whatever, from the Zoo, aren’t you?” He turned his incredulous look onto her. “Well, they’ve got a wolf, ram, and hart; they might as bloody well run a zoo, right?” This surprised a laugh out of him.
She nodded. “Come in to my parlor, said the spider to the fly,” she said, gesturing at the back room. The other three studiously ignored them in favor of shouting “Buttercup! Hah, I got it!” and responding with “Card penalty, talking.” Kelsey shook her head. “Guys! One of you, turn the sign to closed and lock the door, or you get to take inventory.” They didn’t pay any attention, and she shrugged. “Well, they can’t say I didn’t tell them. Come on.”
She got straight to business as the door swung shut. “I am the Athansius. You are looking for Connor, I believe?” she asked, leaving Wesley to stare in disbelief for the third time in as many minutes. The girl – who was supposedly immortal – raised an eyebrow at him. “Oh, okay, I’m not actually the Athansius. I’m a Athansius. The name of Athansius stands for information, and wisdom, which are eternal. There exists many agents of Athansius across the continents and dimensions.” She said the last two lines in a rote, bored tone; obviously reciting something she had been taught.
“The boy’s being held at 15838 E Kenyon Ave. I don’t know why, I don’t know who, and I don’t care either way.”
Wesley nodded, still looking at her. She got fed up after a minute or two. “Well, go already!”
So he did. “E Kenyon Ave” turned out to be a typical suburban street, with toddlers and small fluffy animals everywhere. One of which was a small, adorable squirrel being flung across the street to the tune of high pitched cackling of two eight year olds.
Really. Hellmouth. Not joking.
House number 15838 was an ordinary, empty-looking brown house with a wooden porch and a couple of small aspen trees in the front yard. He had the driver pass by a few times before parking on a small side road. There hadn’t been any signs of life, but Wesley thought it would be best to err on the side of caution and wait until it was dark. Not everyone would quail at the idea of a lawsuit pressed against them, and Angel had gotten rid of the Covert Ops team in a rather inconvenient manner, so Wesley was mostly on his own.
Night fell quickly in the eastern half of Colorado, with the sun hitting the mountains and disappearing faster than in most states, so he only had to wait an hour. He left the car, again wondering at the purpose of the chauffeur, and snuck his way over to a window at the back of the house. There was a figure asleep in a chair, seemingly tied to it, and no one else was to be seen.
Wesley fiddled with the sliding glass door until it unlocked, and he walked in silently. Only to come face to face with the kidnapper. Who happened to be Lilah Morgan, formerly of Wolfram & Hart. Also formerly of the kingdom of the living.
He was really getting really tired of this gaping deal.
“I wondered how long it would take the merry do-gooders to show,” Lilah said in her usual slinky, sarcastic way. He was still standing there with his mouth hanging open, not able to believe his eyes and ears. After the initial “welcome to Wolfram & Hart, you’re running the place!” phase, she had disappeared. And, he was ashamed to admit, he had been too caught up in the day-to-day affairs of running a branch of a law firm to think about her too much, after that one weekend with the alcohol induced flashbacks and hallucinations. “That’s not very attractive,” she informed him dryly.
“But you, you’re–“
“Dead, I know. You should have figured out by now that death is hardly ever permanent.”
“Why did you–“
“Kidnap the Reilly boy? I can’t tell you. Let’s just say that I’m not going to try to stop you very hard,” she said, smirking. Wesley was getting really annoyed by the constant interruption of his statements. She glanced over her shoulder suddenly. “Hurry. Get the boy and go. Now.”
Something about her tone told him that this was not the time to argue, so he took Connor up in a fireman’s carry and turned back to Lilah, but she was gone again.
It didn’t occur to Wesley to wonder at the fact that Lilah was able to do anything not under the Senior Partner’s orders until long after the private jet had taken off from the airport and Connor had fallen asleep.
And your assignment is: For darlingeffect
Character or pairing: Wes/Lilah, Wes/Fred
One other thing you want: Illyria and/or alcohol-induced trip down memory lane; takes place during S5 but can deviate from canon if necessary
One thing you don't want: Saint Fred, fluff
Additional notes on Auroran teenage culture: We like to make up words. We like to use words that aren’t American. The card game really does exist, and the only rule is that you can’t tell what the rules are, new players find out through trial and error. The rules, for anyone who knows what I’m talking about, that they’re playing by is the drama set, not band. And that store used to exist, but it’s been replaced recently by a dentist’s office.