Mother

By Ariel Dawn

Summary: What if Wolfram and Hart brought Darla back again?

Author’s note: Blah Blah, not mine. Also, wonderfully Beta’d by Bloodytearsoflife.

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Chapter 1

The abyss she’d been in, comfortably in, was wrenched away from her.

Again.

She drew a breath into her newly animated lungs. Alive.

Again.

It would seem that they would never learn.

At least this time she knew what was going on. This time she would maintain some dignity. Another chance at life, another chance at death.

Again.

She stared back at the eyes of the unknown person looking through the bars on the cage she inhabited. Not anyone she knew, not the ones that brought her back the last time.

Why couldn’t they just leave her alone?

Again.

Not one to dwell for long, Darla summoned her unused voice.

“Let me out of this box. Get me some clothes,” she commanded, not knowing if they were going to take her seriously or not.

The one in charge nodded his head and his flunkies unlocked the box. It was a strange mockery of the last time. Of course last time she had no idea what was going on. The last time she had Lindsay ready to fall at her feet in love with her. Darla almost chuckled at that. If anyone had done any research on her, they would know one thing, Angelus was the only one she could even fathom loving. Not that she did, being without that soul and all.

And yet.

As the humans scurried around getting her clothes, explaining that they brought her back and that she was at Wolfram and Hart’s new LA office, she reminded herself that the thump she heard in her chest was her own.

A diseased organ.

The question was, was she willing to remain a human this time? If a cure could be found?

The lawyer in front of her was prattling on about the obvious risks of bringing her back, seeing as the last time she ate a room full of lawyers, blah blah blah.

“I want to see a doctor,” Darla stated bluntly cutting off the lawyer whose name she had immediately forgotten. “And I want to know where my family is.”

The room, which had been busy with activity immediately hushed.

Darla didn’t need four hundred years of life or unlife experience to know that she’d just touched on something they didn’t want her to know quite yet.

Of course this brought up the fact that she didn’t know just how long had passed since she dusted. Dusted herself. Because of her son.

Her son.

Darla shook her head, and grabbed the nearest lawyer by the throat. “How long?”

“Three years,” the lawyer stammered, the fear in his eyes.

She rolled her eyes, just what the hell did he think she could do to him? She was human. She let him go.

“I don’t care why you fools brought me back for this time. I won’t be doing anything until I know, in detail, what happened to Angelus, Drusilla, Spike, and…my son.”

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Showered, dressed, and fed (chicken soup of all things), Darla was led to a desk where files were placed on the table top, each labelled with her childer’s names, in the order in which she’d asked for them.

Three years.

She reached for the first file folder, and opened it as if she wasn’t scared of the contents. Her eyes took in the information held on the pages.

Angel was still undead.

She breathed a sigh of relief.

He had taken up with a werewolf.

Yuck. He was always taking up with questionable diversions. Questionable blonds. The Slayer was blond. This werewolf girl is probably blond too she thought. The boy has a fixation on the one that made him.

He was living in Tahoe, recovering from the last apocalypse he’d averted.

He still had his soul.

He wouldn’t turn her. Probably would set her on fire if he saw her vamped again. What would he do if he saw her human again though? Darla smiled to herself. Bye bye dog girl.

The lawyers shifted in place watching her every reaction.

She reached for the file on Dru.

Darla laughed out right as she read on what Dru had done immediately after had set the two of them on fire. Run to Spike, who promptly offered to stake her for the Slayer. Typical. Spike was always choosing the girls that didn’t love him back. Dear boy.

After that Dru had gone back to South America.

Well it worked once…why not again?

“Can I assume that you have sent people to bring Drusilla here?” Darla asked.

“Of course,” noted the lawyer she had choked. “It was almost the first thing we’d done after you were raised.”

Darla reached for the file on Spike.

William had fallen for a slayer that didn’t love him, gotten a soul, saved the world, been brought by Wolfram and Hart, achieved Shanshue, and was living in London with his slayer lover.

No help there. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree sometimes.

The last file still sat before her unopened, untouched. Her son’s life was in that folder. He was three years old. Her mind was conjuring pictures of him in day care while Angel saved the helpless and dog girl went about her day job. Did he call the werewolf mother?

Anger gripped her. Anger and jealousy.

Her fingers gripped the folder harshly and she opened the folder, her eyes eagerly taking in all the information that lay within it.

He’d been stolen by Holtz, taken to a demon dimension to grow up. Nicknamed the Destroyer by demons. He’d punched his way through and put Angel at the bottom of the ocean as revenge.

Darla’s eyes went wide at all the information that Wolfram and Hart had on her child.

His name was Connor.

Angel had named him Connor.

Angel had given him up, to live with some family, to be safe.

Trouble was that he wasn’t safe. This amount of information on him…he was no ordinary boy, he was of interest to these people. People who couldn’t leave well enough alone.

Again.

“The doctor is ready to see you,” came a voice interrupting her reverie.

Darla gathered up her files and stood up from the desk, flipping her blond hair over her shoulder as she did so.

His name was Connor.

____________________________

The doctor was little help. She was too far along, the syphilis would kill her within three months.

Same thing as last time.

“When is Drusilla going to arrive?” Darla asked one of the lawyers trailing after her.

“Three days. She didn’t want to come by plane. She’s taking a ship,” he stammered. “And I’ve set up a meeting between you and the department head of special projects, for two thirty.”

“Oh really? Is that when you are going to tell me why you raised me from dust, again?”

“Yes, actually.”

“Too bad I won’t be there. I have plans. I’ve got three days before I get vamped again. I plan on using my time wisely,” she explained heading for the exit. “Unless you can explain now, while I’m still in a somewhat good mood…” she threatened. “The last time you people raised me Holland Mathers was in the room when it happened.”

“Clearly, we’ve dropped the ball, please forgive us,” stammered a new lawyer. “If you’ll just wait five minutes, I’m sure he’ll be here.”

“And I’m sure that he’ll be ready to talk when I come back. I’ve got things to do.”

Darla walked out of the office.

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She would never get used to the sunlight. She’d spend so much time avoiding it, she’d been a vampire longer than she’d ever been human. Squinting into the bright sunlight of the fall day, she scanned the campus. It hadn’t taken her long to find her way to the college Connor attended. Though she was doubtful that she would actually see him today, out here in the sun, she had felt driven to come out here. Darla didn’t care that Wolfram and Hart had plans for her, plans that probably involved Angel again. She wasn’t going to squander her time with Connor by conniving lawyers.

She’d seen his picture once, but his face was burned on her brain. She would know him in an instant.

What she did want to know were the details that Wolfram and Hart didn’t know, or have in their file. Did he think of her? Did he appreciate her sacrifice? Did his have a place for her in his heart?

She willed herself not to cry. Crying meant you were weak. She’d schooled Angelus in that little maxim for centuries. Darla blamed it on the soul. Her weak human soul that was so disused, so battered.

Being a mother, even though she’d never even held him in her arms was something her soul needed, wanted. How could it not? It was something she denied to herself throughout her human life. Countless abortions, dangerous abortions in a time when one wrong move could kill her. This one, this strong boy child, he’d refused to go. He fought back. She respected that now.

Darla didn’t even remember her parents. She did remember that they had died when she was young, but that was all. No parents, no way to support herself in a burgeoning new community. She’d turned to the only way she could think of to survive.

Life had only given her pain.

And it still was. Darla pressed a hand to her chest for a moment and recalled once more that she was dying. She had little time left. Even less than that when Drusilla arrived to sire her.

The question was, was she going to let Drusilla sire her?

It wasn’t so easy to answer.

“He doesn’t have class today,” came a voice beside her. She looked over to see one of the lawyers standing beside her.

“Oh, you found me, darn,” she muttered sarcastically.

“We’ve invested quite a lot bringing you back. It would be silly to expect we wouldn’t want to protect our interests.”

“Then tell me what you want,” Darla sighed.

“Angel.”

“And you really think it’s going to work this time?” she asked.

“Yes,” said the lawyer, his bleached teeth shining in the sunlight.

“Why?”

“Because you both have a common interest.”

“Connor,” she stated factually.

“Of course. He’s made pact with us before, to protect and save his son. I’m sure he’ll do the same again, if necessary.”

“You want Angel to protect Connor from me?” Darla asked, trying to keep her emotions in check.

“You are a smart girl,” he said. “Who else would threaten his beloved son, more than his dead mother?”

“And I had my doubts that you were truly evil,” she complimented.

“Thank you.”

“I still have my own plan though. It’s complimentary to yours though, I think,” she continued.

“Get to know the child while you are still human and once you are turned ruin his world?”

“Something like that,” Darla agreed. “And to do that, to truly fuck up his life, I’ll need to have Angel’s help.”

“Our thoughts entirely.”

“Then I need to get to Tahoe.”

__________________________________

The limo Wolfram and Hart provided pulled up in front of a quaint little single family home. It wasn’t the kind of house Darla would have expected Angel to be living in in a million years. All that was missing was the dog in the back yard, something fluffy and small, and a white picket fence.

Of course when you are living with a werewolf, there probably wasn’t any need to have a dog.

It was then that the nervous feeling she’d managed to suppress the length of the car ride returned. It had been three years and she had been dead.

Of course, it could be that he was actually in love with this werewolf, but she dismissed that notion quickly. She was his maker. You never forget the one that made you.

She would never forget the one that made her. It still hurt, despite the years apart, the years since he was dusted by that blond slayer, the one that Angel thought he’d fallen in love with. The Master saved her from death. And there was no way that Angel was really in love with Buffy. It was just her innocence, and her unfortunate likeness to his sire.

Angel’s soul didn’t allow him to be happy with anyone tainted. That was the explanation.

Stepping on the porch, Darla pressed on the doorbell and steeled herself for an appearance by the dog girl.

Sure enough, a blond girl, appearing to be in her mid twenties, answered the door, a perplexed look on her face. “Can I help you?”

“I’m here to see Angel,” Darla answered, looking past Nina into the house. It looked well kept, and suburban. She refrained from wrinkling her nose at the utter mortalness of it all.

“You’re here to see Angel?” Nina questioned, looking Darla up and down.

“Yep, I am. Look if you don’t want to let me in, that’s fine, but I want to talk to him, so either to take a message to him that I want to talk, or I’ll get my flunkies in the limo to take you out? ‘Kay?”

Nina looked shocked at the threat and stepped back. “Who do you want me to say is at the door?”

“Darla.”

“Just Darla?” Nina asked. “No, reason for being so threatening?”

“Nope, the name should be enough.”

Nina nodded. “Wait here. Outside.” Nina shut the door on her and Darla took the time to turn around and look over the neighbourhood. Now was the time to wrinkle her nose. She’d brought Angelus up to appreciate the finer things in life, not to camp out in a boxed community. He should be living in a posh condo in the city center, or a massive mansion with servants at his beck and call.

She reminisced a little, thinking about the last time they had holed up in a mansion, with dozens turned servants to wait on them, the family that they had captured waiting to be eaten. Dru had even taken all the little girl’s dolls and renamed them. They had been a family then. Now what were they?

Angel was living with a werewolf, Spike was human. Dru was the only one still around.

The door opened and Nina stood facing Darla from the inside of the house. “He says he’ll meet you. Not here. There’s a Starbucks in town, here’s the address,” Nina said as she put a slip of paper on the wooden porch between them. “He’ll meet you at nine tonight.”

Darla stooped to pick up the paper and smiled. She might not be a vampire anymore but she still thrilled at the feeling of scaring someone. And Nina was really afraid.

“He also said that if this was a joke, he was really not going to be happy.”

“It’s not a joke,” Darla responded, stepping down the stairs. “But I doubt he’ll ever truly be happy again.”

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A shopping spree later, with actual money, as opposed to just taking what she wanted, which was how she usually had gone shopping, and Darla found herself waiting for Angel in the coffee shop he’d specified. She toyed with the latte she’d finally decided on, completely uninterested in actually consuming it. Food was an annoying necessity right now. Only vampires that clung to their humanity like a lifeline ate food. Or Spike. He certainly didn’t cling to anyone except Drusilla.

Darla had arrived long before the meeting time. She had to know what had drawn Angel to live in such a place. The patrons of this particular establishment didn’t impress her. How could they? Despite the fact that she was no longer a vampire, they were still just walking blood bags to her.

She licked her lips hungrily, the memory of how blood tasted fresh in her mind. The latte in front of her was a poor comparison.

At length, Angel walked through the door. Her eyes were instantly on him, assessing his appearance. He didn’t look well. There was a haggard appearance to him, and besides the pallor of his skin, which was common to vampire kind, he looked even paler than usual.

He still looked good through. Her boy did have an excellent sense of style.

Their eyes met and she smiled at him and his look of confusion. Darla pushed out the other chair at her table with her foot and waited for him to sit.

“It’s really you,” Angel stated.

“It is.”

“Human. Wolfram and Hart brought you back again?”

“Yep.”

“Not going to try to mess with my head this time?” he asked.

“Nope. No messing with your head. No pretending I’m someone I’m not. I have a firm grasp of my own mortality this time,” she responded. “I also brought you this…” Darla reached down onto the floor and to the bag she’d stowed beneath her chair. She brought out a Starbucks’ cup, and set it down in front of him. “I thought it would be a sort of peace offering, but now that I look at you, you could probably use it.”

Angel took the cup and sniffed. Smelling the tell tale scent of blood, he looked suspiciously at his sire in human form.

“Don’t give me that look. It’s mine. Peace offering, remember? I doubt it’ll heal you up from what ever it is that makes you look sick, but it’s human, better than that swill you are no doubt drinking.”

He thanked her and took a sip.

“Why are you back?” he asked.

“Wolfram and Hart want to fuck with your head again. Not that I care, this time around. I have my own agenda…”

“That’s nothing new.”

“I want to meet Connor,” she stated, looking into his big cow eyes. “And I don’t want to scare him. They might have brought me back for some evil plot, but the first thing I thought of when I woke up in that box this time was my son. I need to see him.”

“Really?”

“Well, no, first thing was I wanted some clothes… I was naked after all.”

Angel nodded and took another sip of his blood before responding. “There’s some things you have to know about Connor…”

“Things that Wolfram and Hart haven’t already shown me?” she answered with a scowl. “You’ve really messed this all up.”

“You didn’t help, you know. Staking yourself.”

“I didn’t have a choice. He would have died. I did what I had to do to protect him.”

“Protect him from you.”

Darla nodded. “Maybe. Doesn’t change the fact that I’m back, human and I want to see him.”

“How long are you going to stay human this time?” he asked.

“Until I die,” she said honestly. Sure she didn’t admit that she still planned on having Drusilla turn her, but it was the truth all the same. “Three months, that’s what the Wolfram and Hart doctors told me.”

“And you want to spend what time you have left to bond with your son.”

Darla nodded.

“No.”

Darla blinked a few times at his refusal. “What do you mean, no?”

“Just that, no. He’s living a normal life, far away from all the things that have happened to him since he was born. Far away from vampires, far away from demons and prophecies. He’s happier not having to deal with all that.”

“I’m not a vampire or a demon. Yes, being raised from the dead, twice, a little bizarre, but hardly my fault.”

“And you’ll be gone in three months.”

“That’s not my fault either!”

Angel laughed. “It’s not?”

“Okay, yeah, it’s my fault. I was a whore, before there was antibiotics…”

“My answer is still no.”

Darla blew out a breath of air, and stared her boy down. “And I’m still going to meet him. I wanted to do this your way, with your blessing, or whatever. I wanted to be considerate of his feelings. I should have remembered that you were irrationally stubborn. I’ve got three months to live, and I need to see him.”

“You don’t need to see him! You didn’t even want him when he was coming.”

“I was a vampire, without a soul, how did you expect me to act?”

“Better than that. Holtz stole him, filled his head with tales about just how bad his parents were…”

“All of which Wolfram and Hart wiped away!”

“It’s been coming back, the spell that they used, the memory wipe, it’s fading. It’ll come back, and he’ll hate us again.”

“No, you’re afraid he’ll hate you again. This has nothing to do with me. You’re afraid that if he’s faced with me, it’ll bring back memories,” she hissed at him, trying to make sure that the other patrons of the coffee shop didn’t realise that a heated argument was going on.

“I know I won’t be able to be a permanent part of his life. I know that. I just want the chance to get to know him before I go. And if you won’t help me, I’ll just have to use the resources I have at my disposal.”

“Darla…”

“When you come to your senses and realise that I mean no harm, you know Wolfram and Hart’s phone number,” she said getting up from the table.

She took quick and hurried steps out of the Starbucks and towards the limo waiting for her. There was a time when he’d drop everything to fulfill her wishes. That had all ended with the soul though. Stubborn to the core, selfish as ever. He was still her dear boy.

Darla reached the door to the limo, the driver holding it open for her, when she felt a hand pull her back. Turning, she faced Angel once more.

“What?”

“I’ll ask him, okay? I’ll ask him if he wants to meet you. Promise me that you won’t do anything foolish until I ask?”

Darla smiled and leaned forward and placed a kiss on Angel’s cheek.

“There’s my boy,” she cooed.

______________________________________

Tbc…



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