It took a while to figure out who the kid was.  Dirty-blond hair streaked with mud and blood - dirty face streaked with tears.  Running screaming into the remains of the Wolfram and Hart building one night while Spike was there, trying to glean something useful from the ruins.

Hitting him - biting him - inarticulate words and Spike had finally just knocked him unconscious.   Dragged him back to the lair he and Blue were sharing, in the smoking pit that was L.A.   Didn't eat him, 'cause he smelled like belladonna and rue and Angel, and Spike spent the rest of the night crouched over his twitching, fever-wracked body.  Just breathing.

Three days and the kid was well enough to talk, and he haltingly told a story of kidnap and betrayal - other dimensions and fathers who were not.  Of pain and rage - magic and murder and madness.  Blue chiming in now and again with her stilted observances; gleaning bits of the past from the scattered puzzle-pieces that were all that was left of Fred.    He name was Connor - he was Angel's son.


After he was well enough to walk, he didn't.  He collected blankets and scraps and made a nest in one corner - took to following Spike when Spike went out to hunt.  Spike was done with animal blood - done with being a champion or the shadow of one.  Done with it all, as surely as the Powers were done with this dimension.  This Earth.

Connor was a good hunting partner.  Human enough to attract demons, demon enough to survive them.  And he could attract humans, too - play the wounded cub and draw them out with his poisoned-sugar smile.  Then Spike could pounce, and feast.  Connor would watch him - would loot the corpse and burn it, silent.

He didn't talk much in bed, either, but he parted his thighs to Spike's knee and offered his throat - dug his nails into Spike's back and his teeth into Spike's shoulder.  He was a lithe and needle-fanged cat, and so pretty when he bared his teeth.  Spike fucked him into screams and bit him until he swooned.  Afterwards he would be lazily talkative and tell Spike about his 'real' life and his 'pretend' life.  He never seemed to settle on which was which, and Spike never bothered to untangle the skein.


L.A. got worse, in time, and one night they loaded up a couple of packs and struck out across the smoking, pock-marked plain, heading for Portland or maybe Denver.  Watching Illyria do her clock-work stalk, watching Connor pick his way through the cracked streets like a deer; all wide eyes and sudden lift of the head - frozen stillness and then movement as he tracked and dismissed the noises from the shadows.  Pale, bruised arms under an old flannel he'd ripped the sleeves out of - worn-out blue jeans and sneakers - ring of bite-marks around his neck and the look of being always just over the edge, in one way or another.  Spike wore his demon-face and nothing came near them, and near Carmel they found a Humvee that had the keys in it.

The roads weren't so bad further north - Connor slept curled in the back or he sat next to Spike, silent, watching the scenery and stroking Spike's thigh.  Illyria abandoned them in Seattle, claming she was going to find a way back to the Well.  Spike didn't care - he just wanted to go - to move - and not look back.  Not for a long time.  Connor - who still smelled of Angel but now always of blood and smoke as well - held him while he slept, and mostly kept the dreams away.