Also Comes in Strange
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 Title: Ice Dancing
Author: Tania
Summary: The guilt of the vampire compared to the guilt of the father…they aren’t in the same league.
Rating: PG


He was never a fan of apocalypse movies. Angel never believed anyone would really cross deserts full of gas-hungry murderers or oceans laden with sea monsters just to find the one person who would make their life complete.

But that was before.

Before what? Could he name the destruction that has followed him through the last two years? Should he even try? Angel compares this never-ending battle with demons both within and without to the century he spent roaming the planet looking for Darla. The guilt of the vampire compared to the guilt of the father…they aren’t in the same league.

All that matters now is getting back to the west coast; back to the place once called California, but now referred to as The Epicenter. It has been months since he saw Spike or Illyria. Their separation once they realized they had nearly reached Georgia had seemed the right thing to do, at the time. Spike had gone north into Canada, Angel further south into Mexico, and Illyria straight through the middle of America. For the first few months they crisscrossed the continent, looking for signs of life, pockets of land where people were fighting back, but Angel had made it clear each time they parted, they were really searching for only one thing…Connor.

Their movements must have looked like an ice dance from above. Angel pictured the three of them plotted on a map, cutting graceful figure eights through the country, intersecting every few weeks to exchange notes, but by the time Angel reached Oklahoma only Spike was at the rendezvous point. In Arizona he waited for a full week, but no-one came at all. For the first time since setting foot on the Hellmouth, Angel was truly alone.

Angel tried to think about the first days after the gong had announced the beginning of the end. Lindsey had sworn there would be no opening bell, but Angel had been the one to wield the baton. Mere days later, the skies had flooded with planes of every size, the mass exodus of everyone who could afford to leave the country and those who had nothing to gain by staying.

In the beginning days Angel pictured his son flying away from him, safely wrapped in his adopted mother’s arms. He had hope that Connor would be long gone when the violence spread beyond Los Angeles. Now, crossing desolate land with nothing to comfort him but the thought of Connor surviving he hopes his son is still here. Angel’s mind cycles through nearly a century of cinema, seeing himself the star of a dozen cheerful reunions, the hero walking off into the sunset…

The sun may, of course, be an unwise choice of setting for his reunion with Connor, but he tries to envision it all the same. He pictures a quiet night, his search ending on some quiet street, stumbling across Connor as though they had just parted. Picking up the pieces of lives he knowingly shattered. Angel closes his eyes and sees Connor’s waiting face, staring out a dirty window, waiting, safe.

When Angel reaches the ruins of Los Angeles he finds proof that Spike has come and gone. Angel spends weeks searching for some hint that he found Connor, any word that they have been seen and are now waiting in a hamlet of safety. It all leads to nowhere. Turning over the invisible map in his mind, Angel does an about face in the middle of the city that was, and he begins his ice dance once again.