Book 3: Broken Bridges

By MultiMapper
Copyright ©2002-2015 MultiMapper.
All Rights Reserved.

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Chapter 1

Author's Note: The character 'The Shamenka' was created by Shamenka and is being used with her permission.

Xander and Wesley had traveled all morning and well into the afternoon without saying more than a dozen words to each other. The silence wasn't strained or uncomfortable, they were both caught up in their own thoughts, contemplating events past, present and future.

When they had entered California, Xander felt his heart lurch. He knew that the past feelings between Wesley and himself were tender and loving compared to his past with Angel. He had not only been rude and nasty to Angel, he had been downright hateful. Not to mention that he had been responsible for sending Angel to hell for centuries.

If it weren't for the welfare of his baby, Xander wouldn't consider asking Angel for anything. Not out of a dislike for Angel but out of a sense of shame for his own actions. He knew that he was justified in one or two of his actions but for the most part he had acted out of jealousy, anger, and eventually, habit.

Now he had to stand before the one being on all the planet who had the most reason to want him to suffer. He had to stand before him and ask for his help. When they entered Los Angeles, Xander could feel a little tremble start deep inside himself. He couldn't explain exactly what the feeling was. Dread? Fear? Humiliation? Whatever it was, it was only going to grow stronger, the closer they got to Angel.

Finally they arrived at the Hyperion hotel. Xander got out of the car and looked up at the building. An old style building, grand majesty, the building had a dignity that comes only with age. Xander cradled his egg close to his chest as he followed Wesley closely into the hotel.

The inside of the hotel was even more majestic. Everything in sight was obviously from the days when this was a functioning hotel. Modernization had a way of creeping into places like this and destroying them in the name of progress. Xander had a special feel for this sort of thing since his construction work days. He could appreciate the craftsmanship that went into this place.

At the sound of movement in the lobby, Angel came out of his office. Xander glanced at him and cast his eyes to the floor. He couldn't, just couldn't face him.

"You made good time." Angel said conversationally, then did a double take. "Your eye... you had lost your eye... didn't they say it was gone?"

"Yes, it... um... grew back." Xander said nervously and looked at Wesley.

Angel noticed the nervousness and decided to change the subject, "Xander, I'm guessing that you're tired after your long trip. I'll get you settled into a room so you can rest, and we can talk later."

"Let's get your luggage in, and I'll be on my way." Wesley said, it was obvious that he didn't want to stay any longer than necessary.

Xander nodded and followed Wesley outside to the car.

As Wesley was opening the trunk, Xander placed his free hand on Wesley's arm to get his attention.

Wesley looked up to see the pensive expression on Xander's face.

"Wesley, I just wanted to thank you again for going all that way to help me. I want you to know that I really do appreciate you going out of your way for me when you had no reason to. If there is ever any way I can repay you, please let me know." Xander said shyly.

"Alexander, I am truly amazed by how much you've grown since we last met. I must admit that I held to my old notions of you and didn't consider that you could have changed. You did. You are growing into a respectable man who I would be proud to call a friend." Wesley said seriously.

Xander was surprised by Wesley's declaration, when only the previous evening he had said that he couldn't trust him to make a promise. "Thank you Wesley, but, if you don't mind my asking, why the change?" Xander asked, confused.

"During our trip here you've demonstrated that you can think of someone other than yourself, you have regret for past actions, you have shown honesty, trust, and a willingness to invest effort into building a friendship. With you willing to go to such lengths for me, I could hardly do any less in return. Now, let's get these bags into the hotel." Wesley said with a somber smile.

They took the suitcases into the hotel, Wesley carrying two and Xander carrying one with one arm and the egg with the other. Once inside, Angel led them to a room on the second floor where Xander could get some rest, and tend to his egg.

As Wesley and Angel walked away from Xander's room, Angel asked, "What happened to him? The old Xander would have insulted me twelve times by now. He couldn't even bring himself to look at me."

"It seems he recently realized that he isn't the center of the universe." Wesley said quietly, considering his words carefully.

"How do you mean?" Angel asked, confused.

"When we knew him before, he seemed to think that he could treat people anyway he wanted without consequences. I think he realizes how badly he treated the people around him and he is feeling ashamed. I don't know what past you have between you, but it seems that he regrets his actions toward you."

Angel considered his past with Xander and knew that they would be having quite a talk later. When they reached the lobby, Angel made his way toward the office as Wesley headed for the door.

"Thank you, Wesley." Angel called out.

Wesley stopped and turned to see Angel's form retreating into the office.

Considering the nature of friendship, Wesley continued out the door.

* * * * *

Xander made his way downstairs, with his egg held carefully in his arms. As he entered the lobby, he saw a man that he hadn't met before.

Gunn considered the man before him. Angel had said that someone from Sunnydale was coming to stay. The man seemed timid, and was carrying something protectively in his arms.

"Hello, I'm Charles Gunn. You must be Xander." He said cautiously.

"Yes, nice to meet you Mr. Gunn." Xander said quietly as he walked up and extended a hand.

"Call me Gunn. Everyone does." Gunn said, shaking Xander's hand and giving a surreptitious glance at the bundle in Xander's other hand.

"Okay Gunn, is Angel around? He said that he wanted to talk to me when I woke up." Xander asked with some distraction.

"He's in his office, over there." Gunn said and pointed behind the check-in desk.

Xander nodded and made his way to Angel's office.

He knocked on the doorframe of the open office door.

"Come in Xander. Have a seat." Angel said from behind his desk.

Xander made his way into the room and took a seat. He glanced at Angel and cast his eyes to the floor, feeling the shame wash over him again.

Angel noticed Xander's subdued attitude and recalled Wesley's words from earlier. "I think we have a few things to talk about before we discuss your current situation." Angel said in a comforting tone.

Xander nodded his head and braced himself for the task, "Angel, there are a lot of things that I need to say, but the first is to tell you how sorry I am about the way I treated you in Sunnydale. I could give you a thousand excuses for how I acted but the truth behind them all is that I was jealous of your relationship with Buffy. I wanted her for myself and I thought that I was better than you because I was human and you weren't." And with that declaration Xander gave an ironic chuckle.

Angel only responded with silence. Xander continued, "I guess that's not a problem now, I'm not human anymore, I don't know what I am..."

Xander didn't know how Angel was going to take his next admission, but he felt that it had to be said. If this was going to work, he had to be honest with everyone, including himself. "When Angelus tried to open Acathyla, I didn't tell Buffy that Willow was trying to restore your soul... so it's my fault that you were sent to hell." Xander said in a near whisper.

Angel was shocked. He hadn't known about that and rage started to boil up within him. He could feel himself starting to shift into his demon visage. He knew that within moments the ability to reason might be beyond him. In a tightly controlled voice he said, "I think you'd better go upstairs for a while. We can talk again later."

Angel got up from his chair stiffly and made his way out of the office, careful to avoid looking at Xander.

After a moment, Xander got up from his chair and went back to his room. He could tell that Angel had to let his emotions cool before they could talk again.

* * * * *

Angel knocked on the door of the room that he had assigned to Xander. It had been nearly a full day since Xander had told Angel that he had been responsible for the centuries of torture that he had endured. Angel's first instinct was to kill the boy, slowly, over a number of days. Then after a little thought he resigned himself to just throwing the boy into the street. Finally he had come to the point where he could at least listen to what else he had to say before deciding what to do next.

Xander opened the door cautiously. "Angel, come in." He said timidly, stepping back to allow Angel entrance to the room.

Angel walked in and noticed that Xander immediately went to the bed and picked up his egg.

"I came to finish our talk, I assume that there is more that we need to talk about." Angel said as he watch Xander caressing the egg with a wet towel.

"I think everything is out in the open, that was the only secret. All that's left is for me to say that I'm sorry, and for us to decide what to do next." Xander said, keeping his eyes firmly on his egg.

"I won't lie. I'm mad as hell at you and there's a big part of me that wants to cause you pain, and not all of it is Angelus. I also thought about throwing you out into the street. I'm still not sure that I won't." Angel said with more than a little anger in his voice.

"I understand. If you want us to leave, just say the word and we'll never bother you again." Xander said steadily.

"First, tell me what you want from me, and we'll see if it's something that I am willing to do." Angel said without emotion.

"I was hoping that you could get me into the demon community so I can take care of my baby. I need to make sure that the baby is healthy, and I need a job. I suppose that I'm also going to need something like demon daycare, too." Xander said while gazing at his egg lovingly.

Angel realized that Xander was here for the sake of his baby. Even though he felt some hatred for the boy, he couldn't deny what was the right thing to do, and he would do it.

"I'll see to the doctor. And I'll have Lorn come and talk to you about getting a job. He has contacts throughout the demon community and can find something for you. As far as the daycare, we can work that out as we need to." Angel said emotionlessly, then continued with some venom in his voice, "Don't think I'm doing this for you, this is for Spike's child. You can stay here, and I'll provide food and shelter for you for the baby's sake."

Xander kept his eyes firmly downcast and said, "Thank you for your help Angel, I promise that we'll be out of here as soon as we can."

Angel was about to get up and leave when he heard a rumble from Xander's stomach. "Have you eaten since you arrived?" He asked.

Xander shook his head.

"Go down to the kitchen and get something to eat. There's some human food in there."

Xander nodded and got up to leave.

Angel also got up and preceded Xander out the bedroom door.

* * * * *

Angel found himself knocking on Xander's door. Three days had passed since Xander and Angel had their talk. Xander stayed in his room, coming out for food around noon each day. He would go to the kitchen, prepare the food, and take it with him to his room. None of the other members of Angel investigations had seen him since the day he had arrived.

Xander opened the door and said timidly, "Hello Angel." Not knowing what else to say.

"I have a doctor here to check out the baby, please come downstairs." Angel said and walked away.

Xander picked up the egg and left the room. As he descended the stairs, he noticed a lavishly dressed woman standing in the center of the lobby. He walked up to her and looked to Angel, to be introduced.

"Here is the egg we need you to look at." Angel said, ignoring the disapproving look from the woman.

She held her hands out to Xander. He looked into her less than human face and saw the tenderness, knowledge and wisdom of years. He unwrapped the egg and carefully handed it to her.

She saw the anxious look in his eyes and said, "Do not worry, I am The Shamenka. Among my people I am priest, prophet, doctor, and counselor."

Then she held the egg to her bosom, took a deep inhale of breath and closed her eyes. A low humming started in her throat and she began to rock. After a few minutes she stopped and opened her eyes. With a large smile on her face she handed the baby back to Xander.

She looked toward Angel and the smile dropped off her face. "Let us go into the lounge where we can sit."

Angel led the way into the lounge and waited for The Shamenka to be seated.

"The baby is perfectly happy and healthy, you are doing a fine job...?" she said in such a way as to inquire Xander's name.

"Xander, ma'am." he said shyly.

"Xander, you have done well by your child and should expect the birth in about seven days. Do you have any questions for me?" She asked in a friendly tone.

"What is my baby, I mean what species?" Xander asked nervously.

"The baby is a combination of it's parent's, of course. Tell me of the baby's other parent." She said in a curious tone.

Xander thought about Spike for a moment then began, "He was a Master Vampire, the Grand Childe of Angelus I think." He looked at Angel and received a grudging nod.

"He was my friend, he cared enough to tell me some ugly truths about myself. He died his final death less than two weeks ago, he sacrificed himself to seal the hellmouth of Sunnydale." Xander said with tears in his voice.

As The Shamenka reached across the table to pat his hand she noticed Angel's look of disgust focused on Xander.

Xander calmed down and thought about his next question.

"Can you tell me what I am?" Xander began when Angel interrupted. "She is here for the baby, not for you."

"Liam Jude Matthew Gilligan O'Rourke! How dare you treat any person living or dead with the disrespect that I have seen here today! You may think you are justified in your anger, whatever it is, but you are only succeeding in diminishing yourself in the eyes of everyone around you." The Shamenka said with righteous indignation.

"No." Xander said, "He has every right to feel the way he does. I did something unforgivable to him, so please don't be upset with him for feeling angry."

The Shamenka looked from the pleading eyes of Xander to the angry eyes of Angel and said, "Isn't it amazing that this young one has reached such a level of maturity in barely more than twenty years when you have yet to achieve it in nearly 250?"

A questioning look fell across Angel's face. Then dawning comprehension. [He hurt me, so I wanted to hurt him back. Maybe that was a little immature.] Angel thought to himself, then continued. [Wesley already told me that he had changed, I could see it myself, and yet when I got angry, I turned into a rapacious spoiled brat.]

"Xander, I'm..." Angel began.

"Angel, don't worry about it, I already said that I understand and I don't blame you." Xander said reasonably.

The Shamenka got up as if to leave when Xander asked, "What about the baby, please tell me what it is and what I am."

"Any answer I could give you would be inadequate because there has never been anything like you or your baby before." The Shamenka said haltingly.

"I don't understand." Xander said, obviously confused.

"Looking back through history, everything had a first. The first milkshake, the first basketball, the first tomato. Everything that exists today had a first. You, are a first as is your child." She said carefully.

Xander sat in shock, his mind was racing with a million questions but there wasn't a single question that could make it's way above the others before she continued.

"Oh, get over yourself, I'm not talking messiah or anything. Don't make more out of this than there is. It just means that you are what you are, as is your child. There hasn't been a label made to classify either of you yet. You may be the patriarchs of new species that will one day fill the earth to overflowing, or you and your child may be the first and last of your kind. Either is a possibility, I suspect the reality will fall somewhere in between." The Shamenka said knowingly.

The Shamenka got up from her chair and made her way out of the lounge and into the lobby. Before leaving she said, "Just a piece of advice, have a little extra blood handy for when the baby is born."

To Be Continued...

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