Author: Mazal HaMidbar
Summary: Logos reveals how Angel got his tattoo; what his last name was when human; when he first began calling himself Angel; what became of the infant seen in flashbacks in the Angel the Series Season Two episode "Darla," why Angel insisted on naming his son Connor; and how it was that Angel and Darla were able to create a human child.
Characters: Lorne, Fred, Connor, Angel, and a few original characters seen briefly
Warnings: depiction of alcohol use, plus veiled references to non-marital/gay sex and to homicide/suicide.
Note 1: This is a slight AU, with Groo arriving to Earth dimension by December 2001 (rather than February 2002) and with he and Cordy able to "komshuk" immediately.
Note 2: Liamís last name was common in Galway, Ireland, during the early 18th century.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended and no money made.
A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2001 IN THE CITY OF ANGELS
The baby just wouldnít stop crying.
Fred had tried changing, feeding, burping and bathing little Connor, then rocking him, singing to him, even placing him on top of a whirring vacuum cleaner and a humming clothes dryer. Back home in Texas, Mamma had always sworn that those two methods would work on a cranky newborn when nothing else would.
And Fred and Connor had been alone in the hotelís front lobby for hours. Angel, Wes and Gunn were checking out a lead on the demon-of-the-week, and Cordy and Groo Ė well, Fred tried not to let herself dwell on what they might be doing because it was quite possibly exactly the sort of activity that could lead directly to something like the squalling, whining creature lying disconsolate in her lap.
Iím a physicist, for Heisenbergís sake, or at least I used to be, she thought. Iím good at figuring out solutions to problems. I should be able to find a scientific rationale to calm down one exceptionally small yet incredibly loud human.
Just when she thought she was starting to go mad Ė again, she caught herself thinking Ė Lorne breezed through the front door.
"Say there, sugar, youíve sure got yourself a handful tonight," he said. "Maybe I should just go back out and get us a fifth of Ė anything. Whatís your poison?"
"Oh, you know I donít drink strong spirits. Southern Baptist and all. But I guess Iím beginning to understand why some new moms go nutsy and poison their progeny. Oops, I didnít really just say that, did I?"
"Better to say it than to do it. Thatís what I always do, or say, anyway. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Hand the little monster over."
Lorne cradled the still-sobbing child, and placing one hand against each tiny temple, closed his eyes in an air of deep concentration for several moments.
"Just as I thought," he said at last.
"Lorne, were you Ė reading him? I thought you could only do that when someone sang karaoke."
"If Connor could talk, he would. If he could sing, he would. But youíve got to admit that crying is a good way of expressing existential angst, and Iím getting the message loud and clear."
"Thatís pretty much what babies are full of. That, and gas, of course. All the big questions: who am I, who are my parents, why am I here. And in Connorís case, of course, those questions are even larger than usual."
"How are you going to get the answers?"
"Go back in and read him as deep as I can, and, through him, try to read Angel, and maybe even the spirit of dear departed Darla. And respond as best I can."
"Well, itís better than infanticide," Fred responded. "Do your best."
101 YEARS AGO, JUST AFTER FINAL FLASHBACK SCENE IN "DARLA"
"Öand the Word was made fleshÖ" -- The Gospel According to Saint John, 1:14
Shielding the infant, Angelus the vampire crashed through the window and into the streets of the city gone utterly mad. It was the year 1900, the Boxer Rebellion in China, and no human, certainly no Caucasian as small as the one in his arms, could hope to survive without protection. He sprinted to Saint Johnís Convent and, despite the hour, rang the bell.
"Who goes there?" inquired the nun who came to the gate.
"A hellbound wretch with a heavenly burden."
"Come in at once. I would give the devil himself refuge on such a night."
Inside, she unwrapped the babyís blanket to expose a nightshirt with "Connor" embroidered in blue.
"Shhh, Connor," she cooed to the boy.
"And you are?"
"One who can scarce care for himself, let alone a son."
"His mother, your wife?"
Angelus hesitated, recalling how Connorís missionary family had been slaughtered by Darla, who then demanded he consume the sole survivor as the price of remaining her lover.
"Dead, as I may be by dawn."
"What is your Christian name?"
"Longer ago than you would believe, I was known as Liam Griffin of Galway."
"Then know this, Liam Griffin of Galway, you are neither damned nor dying, though sorely in need of Our Lordís grace. Trust that I will keep this angel safe, and I pray you find peace in these perilous times."
Eyes cast Earthward, the vampire with a soul trudged to the packed local expatriate tavern, the "Lion and Eagle," where, sitting alone, he steadily drained half a dozen tankards of ale. Through tears he read the menu notes of the pubís name. In the tradition of heraldry, the lion and the eagle represent resolve, courage, strength.
"Such be the traits I need," he whispered. "I canít seem to be what Iím not, but I no longer know who I am."
Just then his gaze alighted on the mantelpiece bearing a magnificent brass engraving.
A replica from the ancient Irish Book of Kells.
A being with the torso of a lion, the wings of an eagle.
An ancient mythical beast.
With a roar, he ripped the piece from its mooring, tossed the startled barkeep a piece of gold, lurched outside and stumbled into Art Eternal, a nearby tattoo parlor.
"You must place onto my back a likeness of this creature above the letter A!" he shouted at the proprietor, dropping a gold coin on the counter.
"Such a work will take till sunrise," was the calm response.
"So be it. If not, neither of us will see day."
"As you wish. But, may I wonder, what is the meaning of this image?"
"It is Liam holding down Angelus. That is to say, my soul suppressing my demon."
"Intriguing. Well then, as we must needs spend several hours together, might I ask your name?"
Gazing at the stars high above the flames ravaging the city, he replied, "Angel. Call me Angel."
BACK TO THE PRESENT, DECEMBER 2001, HYPERION HOTEL, HOLLYWOOD
The baby was now finally sleeping like Ė well, Fred thought, just like a baby. Connor was peacefully curled up against Lorneís chest and stayed that way until Lorne carefully picked him up and placed him, still snoozing, into his bassinet.
"So thatís the story behind the tattoo?" she said after Lorne told her what he had seen in Connorís psyche. "His original last name, his human identity. You know, Iíve seen the tattoo, back in Pylea, but -- I try not to think too much about Angelís body nowadays."
"You and me both, sister."
"But he canít even see it! Itís on his shoulder, too far up to crane his neck around, and he canít use a mirror."
"Well, my lamb, I suppose itís a lot like faith, or trust, or hope, or love. The most important things are the ones that arenít visible to the eye"
"Really. What matters here is, does he remember what the tattoo means, and who he wants to be, and when, where, how and why he first became the kind of Angel we all know and try like heck to love, at least when he isnít acting like a first-class jerk?"
"I think he does," Fred said. "Most of the time. And when he doesnít, I guess weíre here to remind him."
"And to remind ourselves. We may not all have a demon inside Ė although in my case thatís debatable Ė but everyone has good and evil impulses, and itís up to us to decide which weíre going to follow."
"Lorne, I never knew you were so philosophical."
"Goes with the seasonally appropriate green skin and red horns, my dear. Anyway, Iím tired, and Iím even tired of talking, which is a statistical rarity you definitely should take advantage of. What else does your fine analytical mind make of this touching tale?"
"We know why he insisted on naming their son Connor. After the baby he had to give up a century ago, the baby Darla had wanted him to kill."
"And. So. Well. The Powers That Be Ė sometimes they give you a second chance. Even if youíre a vampire. With or without a soul."
"True," Lorne said. "Darla redeemed herself at the very last, didnít she? Just like Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi. Too bad we didnít make a movie out of it -- we could have used the popcorn money."
"I Ė I think Iím in the mood for something stronger than popcorn."
"Do tell. Seems my sordid influence is having an effect after all. Maybe I could fix you a nice, sweet, Southern, ladylike drink like a mint julep?"
"Do you really think it would be all right? "
"Cross my heart" -- Lorne gestured under his derriere Ė "I wonít tell a soul, or even anyone who doesnít have one. After all, itís Christmas, and Iíll drink to that. Come to think of it, Iíll drink to almost anything. But, well, you get the idea."
"I guess we all deserve a second chance," Fred said. "Donít we?"
"By your own admission, baby doll, youíre from the Bible Belt. You tell me."
"I think Ė I think maybe thereís a reason this happened now," she said.
She was silent for a moment, then asked, "What did you tell Connor before he fell asleep? To make him fall asleep?"
"I told him the truth," Lorne said. "I told him that his mamma loved him more than her own life. I said that he represents salvation itself to his doting daddy. I let him know he has half-a-dozen honorary uncles and aunts who adore him. I quoted that old saw by Carl Sandburg about how a baby is Godís opinion that the world should go on. And by then, thankfully, he was out, because even I was getting sick of myself by then."
"What are we going to tell Angel?"
"Honey child, I think this is one thing that should just remain between the three of us here. After all, the big lug has to learn a few things on his own. What do you think?"
"I think Iíd like that drink now, if you donít mind."
"Hey, you donít have to ask me twice. Holiday cheer coming right up. Iíll even add a cherry for the proper color coordination."