Also Comes in Strange
Stand Alones    Ficlets    Drabbles   Series    Essays    By Pairing

Older Brother

by Tania
Rating: PG
Summary: in an effort to break the writing doldrums I asked Josey to give me a drabble topic and here it is...Angel explaining to Spike why he turned Penn...


“I’m not hiding anything.” Angel said under his breath as he entered his office.

“You are and I know it. Tell me about Penn.” Spike pushed his way past Angel and threw himself into a chair. “Tell me about when you turned him.”

“No.”

“Then tell me why you turned him.”

“I don’t remember.” Angel leaned back in his chair and shut his eyes, trying to keep himself from being pulled back in time to life he no longer wanted to remember.

“It was London...” Spike started for him.

“No, not London.” Angel corrected. “There were no Puritans left in London by then, this was just some little village where no one cared how you worshipped, or even who you worshipped.”

“So when did you first see him?”

“I don’t...It was early evening. The sun had just set and he was coming out of a mercantile, arms full of flour, or maybe it was sugar. He wasn’t big, I mean he had a frame like a woman, I could tell he didn’t do much hard labor. He was struggling under the weight of all the sacks so I sped up my pace a little, grabbed one just as it was falling to the ground. He was grateful...” Angel paused and pinched at the bridge of his nose.

“You thought of him as a meal then? Not someone to turn?”

“Probably. I didn’t turn many, a few Darla thought might make a good servant here and there, but I wasn’t looking for a companion, I had her.” He sat up a little, moving uncomfortably in his chair. “And then I didn’t.”

“Kill him?”

“Have her.” Angel sighed. “I went back to our hotel room and she was gone. She’d left a note that the Master had called her back, didn’t know how long she’d be. So I figured, I don’t know what I thought. I was alone, went hunting, and there he was again, wrestling with a couple of horses on the street.”

“Penn.” Spike said to himself.

“He was a tricky one, the Puritans didn’t drink, so I couldn’t lure him to a bar. It was a small village, hard to find a place where you wouldn’t be disturbed. So, I offered to help him take the horses back to his family’s home. He agreed, stupid trusting... We settled the horses into their stalls and then sat down to share an apple or something. I really didn’t say much, just drained him in the hay. He was almost dead when he started whimpering on about his mother and sisters, how his father needed him. Something in his rambling distracted me. Here he was dying and all he could think about was his duty to his family. I think it angered me, no, I’m sure it did, so I sliced my arm on a nearby rake, slapped it to his mouth and forced him to drink. Then I took one of the horses and threw him over its back, took him closer to the town and hid him in some bushes. When I came back the next night he was just coming round. We walked the rest of the way into town, and wandered through the streets for a while. Then we saw her. His sister, going from shop to shop asking after him. She was a beautiful girl, even hidden under their high collars and black frocks and such, you could tell she was beautiful.”

“Did you take her?”

“Me? No. Penn took her, on the street, left her under a cart, then we went back to the farm, he killed his family, all but the younger brother. Him we found the next night coming out of a tavern. It’s amazing how death of that magnitude will drive even the most devout to drink.”

“Yeah, guess it will.” Spike agreed, equally uncomfortable with the story as Angel. “H+ow long did he stay with you?”

“Only a few years really, Darla came back the next summer, she instantly hated him. Not that I blamed her. We tried to teach him to be discreet, daring yet cautious. He never got it, he just kept killing in the same order.”

“Order?”

“A young pretty girl, an older woman, an even younger girl, an older man, a younger boy. Even the locations were the same, a city street, a farm house, outside a tavern. I admit it took me a while to catch on and then I was completely bored with him. I even thought about staking him, he was never a fighter. He didn’t have the size even with the extra strength. We could usually ditch him for a few months and then he’d find his way back, but all he ever talked about was family. How important family was. So when James and Elizabeth decided to stop traveling with us I convinced Penn that they would make much more suitable parental figures. Told him I’d meet him in Italy in a few decades, give or take.”

“And then what?”

“And then nothing. You know the rest. For fifty years it was just me and Darla. I didn’t need a family. Not until...”

“Until Drusilla?”

“Until Dru. Until you and Drusilla. Even at your worst the two of you kept me guessing. It was never the same game twice, nothing boring about it.”

“And when you got comfortable...”

“Fucking gypsies.” Angel sighed, “They took everything. Everything for a hundred years and longer.”

“Not everything.” Spike disagreed. “You’ve still got your stunning good looks, friends that love you, fancy place to...who am I kidding, your life sucks, but at least you have me.”

“Such a consolation prize. You’re not even trying to cheer me up are you.”

“Yeah, well my life sucks too.”

“Well, at least there’s that.”