Angel strolled down the sidewalk enjoying the quiet of the suburban neighborhood, and the way his new black trench coat looked in the shadows as it floated behind his body as he walked. The sound of crickets chirping only enhanced the otherwise empty, dead street. The black pavement smoothly reflected the yellow street lamps; old trees shadowed the sidewalk and blocked out the streetlights, but he didn't have any problem seeing the neatly cut yards framing old houses. Some of the houses looked freshly painted and well taken care of, but others revealed a bare hint of neglect to his vampire eyes.
He glanced down at a thin piece of white school paper in his hands once again memorizing the numbers Willow wrote out for him. Angel continued down the street, staring intently at the doorways of each dark and quiet house he approached not wanted to miss the house and have to search again. Out of the twenty or so houses on the left side of the Hayd St. on the far end of the block, only half of them had on porch lights. About halfway down the street barely peeking out badly chipped paint and low lighting, Angel found the numbers he was searching for sticking out faintly on the right pillar holding the porch canopy upright. Without his enhanced sight he might have missed the dark house. Angel fought the urge to rush to the front door and knock like he could have done if it wasn't two in the morning.
Angel stepped closer to the house and tried not to judge the destitute house. This was the only house on the street that had weeds covering the sidewalk to the house, and it looked as though the house hadn't had a decent paint job since War World 1. He glanced at the street to make sure no cars were coming his way. Strangely enough a nice black car sat next to the curb right in front of the house. Angel tramped over the tall weeds and jumped over the fence to the back yard. From the backyard, Angel could see a small light emerging from a closed window on the second floor. The light red curtains over the window were partially open, so Angel decided to take a chance that it was Xander's room and not his parents. Besides most master bedrooms are designed to be on the first floor. Wishing he had the same powers as Anne Rice's vampires, Angel jumped up and pulled his body onto the back porch cover. He had to climb it to reach the slanted roof; he moved quickly in case the porch collapsed. The roof supported his weight just fine, and he reached the window. He would have to lift himself up to get inside, but first Xander had to invite him. Angel lifted his head and looked inside the softly lit room, the gauzy red curtains barely blocked his vision.
Xander was sitting at a small cluttered desk writing in some notebook wearing a pair of faded blue boxer shorts. Angel took a moment to admire the small room that reflected Xander's personality. He had rock music posters stapled and taped to the wall. A few toy Star Wars X-Wing models sat on his dresser; he had what looked like a junior league baseball trophy sitting on his nightstand, the baseball bat on the trophy held Xander's keyring. The clothes Xander wore today lay on the floor at the foot of his four post bed. There was a open space in front of the window where Xander probably exercised on the hard wooden floor.
Finally, Angel's attention rested on Xander the one person in Buffy's small group of friends, whom he could not understand and barely tolerated. Xander's snide comments and obvious dislike led to a lot of tension, but for Buffy's sake, they had kept a truce to be polite around the Slayer. Angel shook his head in annoyance, he hated feeling double sided with people. On one hand he liked Xander, because of his loyalty to his friends, his weird sense of humor, and his bravery. On the other hand, that same brave child baited him at every turn. If he were any other vampire, Xander would be dead. He could only console himself with the fact that Xander was only trying to protect his best friends from all possible threats, including the vampire everyone else trusted. Angel didn't know how many times he would have to prove himself to the thickheaded boy, but the kid's heart is in the right place. Angel never imagined the Slayer would allow him into her circle of friends. Angel shook his head to clear his head of the doubts that plagued him everyday. He lifted his hand to knock on the windowpane, when the door in Xander's room opened softly, and an older version of Xander stepped inside, quietly closing the door behind him and locking it.
Xander closed the notebook he was writing in and stood up. "Dad please not tonight. I have a test tomorrow morning in Algebra."
Xander's father walked over to the side of Xander's bed and turned off the lamp, thrusting the room into darkness. Angel could see despair in Xander's eyes as the boy turned toward the window, as if looking for a means of escape. Angel ducked his head quickly trying to rationalize the impossible conclusion his experiences hinted toward.
A deep masculine voice carried outside the window for Angel's sensitive ears. "Xander come here. Take off your shorts."
"Dad please no." Xander's voice sounded so different from its usual cocky self.
"Don't make me repeat myself Xander. This is the fourth time you were late coming home. I can't abide disrespect for the rules in this home. Do I make myself clear? What I didn't hear you?" Angel winced as Xander's father continued to raise his voice.
"Dad please I promise I won't be late again." Xander continued to beg.
Angel dared to peek through the thin curtains, and his jaw tightened in anger. Xander lay face down on his bed naked, with his arms cuffed above his head. Angel narrowed his eyes as Xander's father retrieved a long slender object from the closet. Angel clenched his fists, as the switch lashed down and hit Xander's unprotected back. Xander flinched and his body tensed; he showed no other sign of pain. Angel counted twenty lashes. Xander started crying out in agony around the fifteenth lash. Angel smelled the blood that oozed out of a few of the lash marks and he wanted to murder Xander's father. The older man stopped once Xander started screaming. Angel felt a chill at the sight of the cruel smile on the lined face, before the man left the room, with Xander still tied to the bed.
For awhile all Angel could hear were Xander's sobs, and then his father returned with another man. The other man found the light switch next to the door and flipped it on. Angel's heart plummeted, he had a very bad feeling about this. "Well do you like what you see?"
Xander's head jerked up and he tried to turn around to see who else was in the room with them, but his father quickly slapped his back and told his son to stay still. "Dad please what is going on?"
"Mr. Smith here is looking for a new personal slave, and you know what? I have rent to pay that is two months overdue, I need the money, and since your mother ran off there hasn't been a steady income for years. You are nothing but a financial burden." Xander's father continued debasing Xander's character, while Smith looked on amused at Xander's growing distress.
"Dad no! Stop! This is a joke right? This isn't happening? I can get a job!"
"Well I don't know if Mr. Smith is going to want someone as pathetic as you, so I invited him over to test you out first. If he likes you, well if I ever see your mother again, I'll tell her you said bye."
The man called Smith walked around the bed and checked out Xander's body. He felt the boy's arms, legs, and buttocks, while Xander struggled franticly against the handcuffs holding his wrists to the headboard, Xander's face reddened in embarrassment, no one had ever seen him naked except for his father. "I like him, nice body, good skin, and beautiful eyes. The blushing is kind of cute too. Is he a virgin, Eric?"
Xander yelled before his father had a chance to reply. "I'm not a fag! So fuck off, and leave me alone!"
Smith chuckled softly, "He has spirit too. I like that. It makes breaking in my new boys much more fun, and Xander don't worry, in one month you'll be begging me to fuck you till you can't sit."
"I'd rather die!" Xander started struggling against his bonds with renewed vigor, as Smith slowly peeled off his clothes, a white button up shirt and black slacks.
Smith turned towards the bed and sat down on the edge near Xander's hips, and started running one hand lightly over Xander's bruised back. Xander's breathing quickened in panic and his wrists started bleeding lightly as the handcuffs chaffed against them. "Be still!" Smith growled and slapped the teenager's back, hard. Xander stopped moving at once as the pain from his recent beating robbed him of his air.
Angel looked on in growing frustration, hoping the men would leave the room, so he could call out to Xander and have the boy invite him inside. If he tried knocking on the window now, the men could either call the police and report him, or try shooting him. Neither idea would work. He couldn't afford to be taken by the police, and if he left Xander alone, he might never find the whimsical teenager once Smith took him away in the car, and out of Angel's life. Angel felt a strange pang of loss at the idea of never seeing Xander again. The best course of action would be to wait until Smith left the house with Xander and then attack. He continued to watch the events in the room, hoping that soon they would leave a opening for him to rescue Xander.
"Eric did you plan on watching? I wouldn't have taken you for a voyeur." Smith asked petting the subdued and crying teenager.
Xander's father stared at Smith for a moment before replying. "Just want to make sure you don't spoil the merchandise before you buy him."
Smith nodded, "Sounds fair. Now do you have any lube? I hate dry fucking, and your son looks like a tight fit, and do you have any condoms?"
"You don't need the condoms, because I know Xander doesn't have anything to catch. He's been in and out of hospitals for years. I already showed you the results from his last blood test. He's clean." Eric's mouth twisted up in a cruel smile, "Or is it that you have something?"
Smith glared at the other man; "It's hard to get anything when you only fuck virgins. I'm doing this for my own protection. I want to test the boy myself. It's easy to falsify records. Don't worry about finding condoms I brought some with me just in case, but please do find the lube." Smith reached over, picked up his discarded pants, and extracted two silver condoms from his pockets. Xander's father left the room and returned quickly carrying a white and blue tub of KY jelly in his hand. He tossed it to Smith, grabbed the chair in front of Xander's desk, and moved it to the side of the bed away from the window, and sat down, ready to watch his son's defilement.
Xander's face gazed towards the window, and Angel could see a single tear hanging off the end of his nose before it dropped onto the white pillow beneath his dark brown hair. Xander blinked his eyes rapidly trying to stop the tears. Xander's body tensed when Smith grabbed his thin hips and yanked upwards until Xander was forced to use his knees to keep his ass in the air. Xander tried raising his upper body too, but Smith seized Xander by the neck and pressed the youth's face to the pillow again. The angle would make it easier on Xander, but the position was too mortifying for Xander to realize anything but the humiliation. Smith quickly rolled on a condom, smeared KY around Xander's anus and on his own cock before moving into position.
Angel continued to watch in morbid fascination as Smith shoved Xander's face into the pillow, and quickly rammed into the completely unprepared teen. Xander's muffled scream tore at Angel's heart, and he turned his face away from the window, and tried not to morph into his vampire self. He needed to keep control until Xander was safe. Angel sat down under the window facing the weed choked backyard, and tried to ignore Xander's sharp cries of pain, the pleas for mercy, and the distinct slapping sound of Smith's thighs repeatedly smacking the back of Xander's legs. Angel felt like puking as the man Smith became louder and louder in his pleasure. It wouldn't be a surprise if the neighbors heard him. Finally after a eternity, Smith let out a small scream and the slapping noises stopped.
Angel stood up slowly and peered inside the room. Smith had just picked himself off of Xander's back, and was slowly pulling himself out of Xander holding the condom at the base so nothing would escape. This man obviously took safe sex seriously. Xander's shoulders shook with silent sobs, and Angel could see slight tremors spreading throughout Xander's body. The boy was going into shock. Rage swept through Angel no one had the right to do this to anyone, especially someone as sweet and as loyal as Xander. He fully intended to kill both men, too bad he couldn't torture them first.
The next five minutes passed slowly for Angel as Smith dressed and Xander's father unlocked the handcuffs and quickly dressed his unresponsive son. Xander meekly let his father clothe him, so it was a surprise to everyone in the room, when suddenly Xander punched his father in the face, and ran towards the door. Smith made a grab for Xander's shirt as it billowed out behind the scampering figure, but by then Xander was already out the door and running downstairs. Angel quickly leapt off the roof and sprinted to the front yard. He jumped over the fence just in time to see Xander's quick slender form dash out of the house. Unfortunately, before he could make his presence known, the teen stumbled on the uneven wooden stairs and fell onto the hard ground. Angel heard a sharp crack and Xander screamed as the pain from his broken wrist throbbed through his arm. Xander used his other arm and pushed himself up his feet already running before the rest of his body caught up with him.
Xander's father came out of the house with a furious expression on his hard face just as Xander made it to his feet. He seized Xander's shirt roughly and Xander started screaming and twisting away from the hands holding him. Xander's father almost lost his hold on the hysterical boy, so he spun Xander around by his hold on the blue shirt and quickly punched Xander in the stomach, hard enough to drop the teen to his knees. Mr. Smith ran out of the house just as Xander's knees hit the ground.
Angel shifted to his game face and while Xander was still on his knees trying to breath he rushed up behind Smith and grabbed the man's head in his hands and twisted sharply. Eric's head jerked up at the loud crack, just in time to see Mr. Smith drop to the ground, dead. Angel at intended on killing Xander's father just as quickly, but seeing Xander on his knees in pain, changed Angel's mind. Five minutes later, Xander's father lay on the ground beaten to death. Xander stood six feet away watching him from the sidewalk, still in shock, but tensed and ready to bolt at the slightest hint of danger. Angel forced body to let go of his game face.
"Angel is it you?"
Angel stared at Xander for a moment not knowing what to do; he finally answered after an eternity. "Yeah it's me." Angel stared at the ground not knowing how to tell Xander that he saw almost everything.
Xander's mouth gaped open in a silent O of surprise, before he snapped his mouth closed and tried to compose itself like nothing had happened, even though his dead father lay right behind Angel, and Smith's body was a few feet away from Xander's. "So what are you doing here? Shit!" Xander tried to cross his arms over his chest to stop his body from shaking, but he obviously forgot his broken wrist.
"I came by to tell you about Buffy's surprise birthday party. How is your wrist? You took a really bad fall there." Angel blurted out the first things that popped into this head. For some reason Buffy's seventeenth birthday just didn't seem as important anymore.
"My wrist hurts like hell. How long have you been here?" Xander's strong declarative dwindled down to a whisper on the last question. The ground became very fascinating to the boy, while he waited for Angel to answer.
Angel debated on whether or not he should tell Xander he killed two people because it looked like they were attacking him, or to tell the teen the truth. He looked at Xander again and knew that if he was to ever gain the boy's trust he had to respect his intelligence. Xander knew he didn't go around killing people for no reason. He would have figured it out already if he weren't in shock. Angel lifted his head and spoke clearly, "I came by about an hour ago, intending to talk to you. I found your room easily, but then your father came in. I saw everything Xander, but I couldn't come in because I have to be invited." Angel's voice shook in anger, he hated being a vampire, and it was times like this that he hated his nature the most. " Look we need to get out of here soon. Daylight is in two hours. If there is anything you would like keep get it now. You can stay with me."
Xander sat down abruptly, "What? The bodies...if the cops find my father dead, they'll take me away. I can't leave Sunnydale. I still have to finish high school, they'll think I killed him! Oh my god Angel what am I going to do?" Xander stared up at him with panic in his eyes as all the possibilities raced through his head. So far they've only killed demons, that turned to dust and blew away, taking away any of the other worries, like how to dispose the body, and avoid the authorities.
Angel knelt down next to Xander and shook the boy's shoulders gently. "Xander. Xander! Snap out of it. I'll take care of the bodies, while you go get your things together. Don't worry about it. Okay? Can you do that for me?" Angel kept his voice as calm as possible knowing that Xander had enough trauma tonight.
Xander nodded his head jerkily, and carefully stood up, trying not to bang his wrist on anything. He trudged up to the front porch, and slowly walked up the stairs, that had tripped him earlier. He stopped before walking through the wide open door and said. "Angel you're invited into my house."
Angel stood for a moment watching Xander until he couldn't see him anymore, before he went and picked up Xander's dead father's body. He heaved it over his shoulder and walked over to the other body, and carefully picked it up and put it over his other shoulder. Luckily, no one had come out to see what all the screaming was about. It must be a common occurrence in this house, Angel thought angrily. Angel quickly marched over to the back yard with the two bodies, and was glad the area behind the house was still undeveloped. No one wanted to live in this part of town apparently. His vampire strength made it easy for him to jump over the four-foot fence still carrying the corpses over his shoulders. It took him about one hour to find the site and dig up a shallow grave for the bodies. He wanted to place rocks over the grave, so dogs won't try digging it up, but it would be too obvious. Hopefully, by the time the remains where discovered they wouldn't be able to identify the bodies. Or maybe he could come out here again tomorrow night and try making a better grave. Angel looked at the sky he could feel that he had very little time to make it back to his apartment.
He hurried back to Xander's house and found the source of his annoyance for the past year, sitting down on an old rusted porch swing, gently rocking back and forth. A small light brown suitcase, a black backpack, and the journal Xander was writing in earlier sat next to him on the seat. Angel felt a strange sense of peace looking Xander for once without the barriers; the teen put up around him. "Xander. We have to hurry. The sun will be up in about an hour. Let's call Cordelia."
Xander's head jerked up and a panicked expression entered his eyes. "No! I don't to see anyone right now!"
Angel glanced at the sky again he could already see himself falling into a pile of ashes once the sun hit the horizon. "But Xander no one will know what happened."
"I can't. I just can't. Please Angel. I can't see anyone just yet." Xander's voice broke and his eyes were still red from crying.
Guilt over pushing Xander made Angel wince, for a moment he'd forgotten about the rape. "Okay Xander we'll walk, but we have to go now, and we have to move fast. Here let me carry the suitcase."
Angel led Xander to the sidewalk, and made a mental note to come back the next night and get rid of the black car, sitting in front of the house. Luckily, Xander didn't live too far away from Angel's apartment. They made it to his place ten minutes before sunrise. Xander dropped his backpack right inside the door, and Angel placed the suitcase next to it and turned on the lights. They both winced in pain as their pupils adjusted to the sudden burst of light. Angel tried not to say anything about how terrible Xander appeared. His brown hair stuck up, his eyes were red rimed, and he emitted an air of vulnerability that appealed to Angel's vampire nature. Xander never looked so dejected or tired in the fifteen or sixteen months he knew the teen. Since entering the apartment Xander continued to stare at the white carpet under his feet. His shoulders slumped and his right hand hung limply at his side. Angel wanted to say something, anything to break the silence, but he didn't know what to say now that they were in the safety of Angel's apartment.
Xander was the first to break the silence. "Now what?"
Angel didn't answer the tired teen right away trying to gather his thoughts before he answered. "Now we take a shower and go to bed. You look exhausted. Tomorrow night we go to a hospital and see what the doctors can do about your wrist. Come on the bathroom is over here, I'll help you." Angel felt a pang of sadness as instead of saying some smart aleck remark; Xander followed him without complaint.
Xander tried unbuttoning his shirt with one hand, but the buttons kept slipping through his fingers. "Do you need any help taking off your clothes?" Angel asked gently.
"No! I can do this." But the harder he tried the more frustrated he became and eventually all he could do was stand there and sob. In sorrow, frustration, or pain Angel couldn't tell. Probably all three.
Angel stepped nearer to Xander, pulled the trembling boy into his arms, and hugged him. Xander started sobbing into Angel's shoulder and Angel did the only thing he could. He rubbed Xander's back and made soothing noises; not caring anymore that Xander was rude and obnoxious to him earlier that evening at the Bronze. The mortal boy's father had just betrayed him in the worst possible way. "Shush...come on Xan it'll be okay. I'll be here and I'll protect you."
After a few minutes, Xander finally started calming down, and Angel was able to take off the rest of the teen's clothes and shoes, and helped him into the shower. Xander immediately sat down in the middle of the shower and pulled his knees up to his chest. He held his legs there with his uninjured arm and let the hot water hit his head. Angel sighed, and climbed in the shower with all his clothes on. He grabbed Xander's uninjured arm and dragged the unresponsive boy to his feet. Angel snatched the bar of Dove soap off it's holder and started soaping Xander's chest, at first Xander cringed and tried to move away from the hands holding him, but once Angel made a few sounds of comfort, Xander relaxed and let Angel take care of him. Angel felt his fury grow again as he reached Xander's wrists and had to carefully wash off the dried blood. Angel took extra care with the broken wrist. Xander still flinched in pain.
After Angel finished washing Xander's chest, arms, and legs. He turned the teen around and to start soaping Xander's back. He noticed two bite marks on Xander's shoulders near his neck. He lifted the metal chain hanging around Xander's neck with one slippery hand, and soaped the skin under it. He thought the medallion looked sexy on Xander's body when he first saw it, but he decided against saying anything. The silence was safe for now. Angel didn't know if he should try washing Xander's back? The bruises and cuts looked painful but he knew the boy still had sweat from that man Smith still on him, and would feel dirty until his whole body was washed. Xander tensed once Angel started to gently run his soapy hand over the marks and down to his lower back, washing the boy's back softly in circles. Xander groaned in pain, so Angel stopped and turned the teen around so his back faced the spray of water. Xander had a hard on. Angel's eyes widened in surprise and he quickly glanced up to Xander's rapidly reddening face. Xander's brown eyes begged Angel to not say anything.
Angel gave Xander the bar of soap and stepped out of the shower to let Xander finish washing his own private parts. While he was waiting for Xander to finish he stripped off his own clothes, grabbed a towel from the cabinet next to the sink and started drying himself off. When the water turned off, Angel quickly tied the big fluffy green towel around his muscular waist, and snatched the blue towel sitting on the dirty clothes hamper and opened the blue shower curtains. Xander looked like he was about to pass out, so Angel stepped into the shower again, and started to gently dry Xander with the blue towel. Once Xander was dry enough Angel helped him out of the bathroom, and once out of the confined place he picked up Xander, carried him into the bedroom, and placed him on the bed, naked.
He left the room to find a pair of boxer shorts in the clothes he washed the day before. He also wanted to see if he had any ice packs for Xander's broken wrist. Angel easily found the boxer shorts, but since he didn't eat in his apartment nor need to drink cold tea or beer he didn't have any ice. So he picked out a washcloth from his otherwise empty pantry, wet it with cold water, and carried it back to the room. He tied the wash cloth around Xander's broken wrist first, and then Angel had Xander sit up on the edge of the bed and he helped Xander slip into the red boxers. They were a few inches too big for Xander's slender hips, but they didn't fall off when Angel pulled back the covers and tucked Xander into the bed. The teenager was asleep in seconds.
Angel turned on a lamp next to the bed and left the room to get dressed and to think. Angel thought he had taken out all his anger on the two perpetrators, but seeing hand sized bruises on Xander's hips, and the whip marks on Xander's back, made Angel want to go back and rekill the two monsters who hurt this sweet innocent person. Angel could never become use to violence committed by mortals. He thought demons and vampires where bad, but parents who abused their children ended up hurting them more than a demon ever could, Xander may never be able to trust anyone ever again. How could he? The two people who were suppose to love him unconditionally, abandoned him and the other one tried to sell him as well. Angel didn't know what happened with Xander's mother, but abandonment is still abandonment.
Angel found another pair of boxers in his clean clothes pile on the couch in front of the TV and slipped them on before he went and picked up Xander's belongings and moved them closer to the bedroom door, so Xander could find his clothes more easily when he woke.
Angel debated about sleeping on the floor or couch, but he had a king sized bed and he wanted to be near Xander in case he had nightmares. He turned off all the lights, and went to his bedroom. He opened the door quietly and left it open as he walked to the other side of his bed and climbed in. Xander woke up for a moment, but once Angel spoke, Xander closed his eyes and fell back to sleep. Angel lay in the darkness for a long time, listening to the constant whine of the air conditioner, trying to relax and fall asleep. Instead his mind kept replaying the events over the past five hours. The strongest image was seeing Xander naked in the shower turned on by Angel washing his back, and Xander's beautiful face blushing in embarrassment. He tried to dredge up his old feelings of resentment and annoyance for Xander and he saw the young slender teen writhing on his bed trying to escape the handcuffs, he saw Xander punching his father in an act of desperation. Angel tossed and turned until he felt Xander start to stir. He forced himself to hold still, and count backwards, but he kept seeing Xander, like he had never seen the teen before.
He rolled over onto his side and looked at Xander's sleeping profile. The boy's face appeared innocent and peaceful. The lines of pain disappeared. Angel moved closer to Xander and wrapped one arm over Xander's chest. He hugged the boy to him, and breathed in Xander's scent. At the moment he smelled strongly of Dove soap, and Downy fabric softener. Sweet and innocent smells. Angel quickly rolled away to the far edge of the bed berating himself. Just what was he thinking? Xander liked girls, and after what happened with his father and Smith, the last thing Xander would want is a relationship with a guy. Especially a vampire he's hated from the beginning. Buffy, his best friend would not understand his feelings for another guy. Angel closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on how he was going to take care of Xander until the teen went away to college. Thirty minutes later he was asleep with one arm hanging over Xander's waist.
End part 1
Continued in.... Fallen Angel: The Adventure Begins