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[personal profile] last01standing
Title- Out of Time (Chapters 6/8)
Rating- pg-13 (violence)
Summary- When Connor takes the wrong portal out of Quortoth, the bewildered members of the original Angel Investigations have to figure out how to deal with it.
Feedback- A definite good.
Timeframe- Early season one Angel (the Doyle episodes) and the season three Connor plot
Disclaimer- I am not Joss Whedon.
Characters- Connor, Angel, Doyle, Cordelia, Kate and probably Lindsey
Author’s note- I started posting this fic almost a year ago on fanfiction.net. It's not finished yet. I'm posting it here to give myself some more incentive to get it done. Right now, I'd say this will be around eight chapters, but noting's for sure.

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Chapter 6

Holland Manners was not a happy man. After years of tracking Angel, years of waiting for prophecies to be revealed, years of knowing what would happen without being able to act on it, the boy had shown up and blown everything to hell.

Wolfram and Hart, who had detailed records of every supernaturally inclined being in this dimension had never heard of this Steven Holtz. It was troubling. He’d had to do away with four different psychic for this failure.

“I’ve got the preliminary report on Steven Holtz,” a voice said from his office door. Holland looked up to see Lindsey McDonald clutching a thick folder. “Just wanted to hand it off as soon as I could.”

Lindsey looked like he hadn’t slept in days, which, Holland realized was probably exactly the case. It was a trait that would serve him well in the firm. It would keep him from getting himself killed.

“His genetic and spectral make-up show a few anomalies,” Lindsey said as Holland beckoned him in. “The guys in the lab had a field day with this guy.”

“Cut to the chase Lindsey, I’ve had a long day.”

“Steven Holtz is the completely human offspring of two vampires,” Lindsey said smoothly. “No word on which, but he’s faster, stronger, better than anything we’ve seen.”

“And,” Holland continued for him, “he’s fallen in with out friends at Angel Investigations. This is a situation we need remedied.”

“Sir?” Lindsey asked and in that single word, Holland could hear it. That slight hint of disgust in the whole situation that last fiber of morality that this job had yet to beat out of him.

They were on uncharted waters and Wolfram and Hart had never liked surprises, it was Holland’s duty to see that these surprises went away. “He will need to be eliminated. The Scourge is on a swing up the coast. I would suggest alerting them of this Steven Holtz’s presence.”

And there it was again, the hesitation, the slight pause before the reply. “Yes, sir.”

XXXXX

Doyle threw a few bills on the table and stumbled towards the exit. “Angel’s in trouble.”

He tripped on the fourth step and Cordelia caught him smoothly, hooking an arm under his shoulder for support. The motion was natural, almost affectionate and knowing what Doyle was, it twisted Steven’s insides.

He followed them out of the bar, fingering the knife in his jacket. He wanted to end this before he got in too deep.

Cordelia glanced back at him. “Steven, we’ve got to go.”

They were in the street now, cutting through an almost abandoned alleyway. Angel Investigations was only a few blocks away. “Steven,” Cordelia hissed again, “we’re going to need someone with super something if this it’s vision-worthy bad.”

“The Mohra,” Doyle moaned. “It regenerated itself. It’s gonna attack again and this thing got away from a slayer and Angel this morning.”

“Steven, come on,” Cordelia snapped, “if you take off again… We need to go. Now.”

Taking a deep breath, Steven pulled the knife from his jacket and fixed his gaze on Cordelia and Doyle. “Nobody’s going anywhere.”

Doyle actually had the nerve to look surprised. He stared at the knife with wide uncomprehending eyes even as Steven took a step forward.

“I knew it,” Cordelia spat, “I knew this would happen, but did you listen to me? No. You just figured he was good for his word and forgot that he tried to kill you.”

“Now’s not the time, Princess,” Doyle said softly.

The knife in his hand shook slightly, but Steven ignored it. “Cordelia, get away from him.”

“Like I’d listen to you.”

“Cordelia, do what he says,” Doyle insisted as he turned his attention back to Steven. “Steven, what are you doing? The demon’s in a factory somewhere. It’s not looking to attack here.”

Steven advanced another step. Doyle didn’t flinch. Steven smirked. “Show it to me.”

“Show you what?” Doyle asked and he seemed honestly confused. “The demon? It’s not here. You know this already. The visions aren’t exactly transferable.”

Steven smiled wolfishly. “Show me your other face.

Doyle blanched. “Wh-wha-what d’ya mean by that?”

Steven heard a crackle behind him and spun to point the knife at Cordelia. “Don’t even try.” She froze, purse raised. She had been planning to bludgeon him with it. “Stay where I can see you,” Steven instructed. “Besides you’re going to want to see this.” He looked back to Doyle. “You’re going to want to know how Doyle’s been lying to us.”

The Irishman was ghostly white now. “When did you figure it out?”

“The bachelor party,” Steven answered smoothly. “When were you planning to kill them?”

“Kill them?” Doyle repeated incredulously. “Cordy and Angel? That isn’t funny.”

“Are you two talking in code or something?” Cordelia asked.

Steven glanced in her direction and then back to Doyle. “You haven’t told her.”

“It’s not exactly the sort of thing I like to advertise.”

“Doyle…” Cordelia pleaded, the question hanging unspoken in the air.

“I’m half demon.” Doyle admitted tonelessly. “Me dad’s side. Never met the man. Didn’t even know meself until I turned twenty-one.” His gaze remained fixed on Steven. “I not seeing how it makes a difference. It’s not like you’re one hundred percent human, I can smell it on you.”

Cordelia’s face had twisted into a frown. “Half what?”

Steven flinched. Doyle had hit a nerve. Steven was looking to kill him because he’d discovered Doyle was a demon, but Angel and his friends had trusted him despite everything. And Doyle hadn’t done a thing to earn this.

He lied, Steven reminded himself harshly. He had lied.

“Show it to me.” Steven ordered. Doyle stared at him. “Show it to me, or I’ll kill you anyway.”

“You’re not gonna kill me,” Doyle said quietly.

“Try me,” Steven hissed.

And then Doyle changed, spikes erupted from his face, skin now vaguely green, and the bright red eyes…

He heard Cordelia let out a sharp gasp and surprise bit into him. Cordelia truly hadn’t known. Doyle turned towards her, demonic face looking oddly contrite. “Cordelia, I was going ta tell ya. I just…”

Cordelia glared at him. “You and me are going to have a talk when we’re not at the end of a knife.”

Steven watched the surreal exchange. He’d expected anger. Hell, he’d expected an outright attack. But what he got… was the same Doyle he’d met when he first came here. The one who’d taken him out for wings and trusted him despite everything.

“Steven,” Doyle implored, “it’s still me.” His face melted back into the familiar human features.

His hands were shaking. His head throbbed. He kept reminding himself that Doyle was a demon, that Doyle had lied, but somehow what had seemed like such a colossal crime only seconds ago seemed almost insignificant now. Because when he really thought about it, he realized that nothing had changed. Doyle was a demon, but Doyle had always been a demon. The only thing that different was now Steven knew.

He lowered the knife. Doyle nodded shortly. “Let’s go find Angel.”

XXXXX

Doyle insisted that they bring Steven when they went to fight the Mohra. It had only been about an hour since he’d threatened Doyle and the guy was already prepared to vouch for him. The forgiveness astounded him and once again he found himself craving their easy acceptance.

The Mohra took Doyle out almost immediately and the Irishman collapsed in a heap. Angel was overmatched. All his moves were still there, the practiced fighting technique he’d cultivated over centuries was still in place, but the movements were too slow, too weak. There differences between human and vampire fighting abilities were far too apparent.

Not that Steven fared much better. The thing was stronger that he was and while he was quick enough to get in a few hits in, nothing seemed to slow it down.

Angel tried to push himself up again, but he was hurt, he was human. “Stay down,” Steven hissed.

Angel ignored him, and while Steven was distracted, the demon batted him into a wall like he was no more than a fly and advanced again on Angel. Steven struggled to keep his eyes open. Angel was human now. He had to save him.

The Mohra was completely ignoring him now, focused solely on Angel. Steven hobbled towards it, managed to grab its neck while it was distracted. He twisted hard. The demon collapsed.

“Angel!” he croaked. “Angel!”

“I’m here,” came the faint reply. “Christ that hurt.”

Steven offered him a hand and hauled him to his feet. “We’ve got to find Doyle before something else does.”

“Steven,” Angel said, but he was looking past him, eyes slightly unfocused.

“Stay awake,” Steven hissed. “I don’t think I can carry you on this leg.”

“Steven!” Angel repeated and pushed him to the ground as the Mohra’s fist sailed over them.

“Doesn’t it die?” Steven swore.

“Run!” Angel growled. And they pulled each other to their feet and hobbled away with the Mohra right on their back.

XXXXX

Buffy, as Steven would later reflect, had truly impeccable timing. They had crashed through the top of a salt silo as the demon perused them and both Angel and Steven had landed badly. Angel taking a near belly-flop to the ground and Steven roughly jarring his already injured leg on impact.

Buffy showed up and took over the fight just before the Mohra could snap Angel’s neck. Steven tried to push himself to his feet to go give her some help, but as he stood, there was a flash of pain from his injured leg. The pain, he could handle, but the leg collapsed out from under him. He looked at in dismay only to find a large bump on his shin where the fractured bone threatened to break the skin. He hissed in pain and tried to press the bone back to place with little luck. The angle was wrong and every ounce of pressure sent fresh waves of agony shooting up his leg.

Light flashed at the edge of his vision and it took a second to realize it wasn’t from his leg but rather from the Mohra. The jewel on its forehead was shattered, light emulating from the cracks as the light grew brighter.

Then all at once, the demon was gone and Buffy was cradling Angel in her arms muttering platitudes into his ear. Steven struggled to push himself to a sitting position so he could see them. Buffy kissed the top of Angel’s head and Steven could only just make out the former vampire’s stoically resigned face. He wished he knew what it all meant.

XXXXX

He didn’t let them take him to the hospital. Just let Buffy set the bone and drop him off at Cordelia’s with Doyle. Cordelia was not happy to see him, but took one look at Buffy and Angel and didn’t protest.

She parked him and Doyle on opposite ends of her couch and for the most part seemed content to ignore Steven while she fawned over Doyle. Steven watched the scene feeling a smile creep across his face.

It felt like home. It felt like family. “What are you grinning at?” Cordelia asked him suspiciously. “Watch it or I’ll start thinking you’re plotting to destroy us again.”

“Give him a break, Princess,” Doyle said, “he grew up in a hell dimension.”

Cordelia pursed her lips. “That’s the last time you get to play the grow up in hell card.”

Steven’s grin stretched wider as she shook her head and turned to leave the room. He watched her retreating back and glanced over at Doyle. “You know, she likes you.” He shook his head. “I don’t even think the green skin bothers her.”

“And you,” Doyle asked, suddenly somber, “the half demon thing. Is that something you can deal with?”

He felt the smile fade from his face as he looked away to consider the question. Accepting him would change everything. Invalidate so very much of his life.

Doyle stared at him with mounting disappointment in his face and Steven suddenly looked up to meet his eyes. “You know what?” he said, surprised by the evenness of his own voice. “I think I ca…”

Steven blinked, suddenly disoriented. He was standing outside of Angel Investigations. There was glaring sunshine where it had been night only seconds before. His brow furrowed in confusion as he tested his weak leg only to find nothing wrong.

A small blonde stormed out of the office, head bowed as she brushed by him. He spun around as she passed, recognizing the figure. “Buffy?”

She didn’t turn around, but he was sure it was her.

Confused, Steven pulled open the door and walked into Angel Investigations, inside Cordelia and Doyle were cleaning the broken glass in Angel’s office presumably so Angel himself wouldn’t burst into flames.

They barely glanced in his direction when he entered the office. Steven stared at Angel’s dejected form and said, “Why is it still yesterday?”

XXXXX

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