Castle Roland

Demon Parenting:
A Handbook

by MultiMapper


Chapter 10

Posted: 4 Feb 16

Demon Parenting: A Handbook

Copyright © 2002-2015 MultiMapper
All Rights Reserved

Wil ran into the room and jumped up on Drucilla's bed.

"Poppa says we gotta go and you won't be here when we get back." Wil said as he threw his arms around Drucilla and hugged her.

"GranMummy's little imp doesn't need to worry. We'll be around till that nasty old sun is just a cold lump hanging in space. We'll have plenty of time to visit later." Drucilla said and returned the hug.

Alexander smiled fondly as he watched the scene. Drucilla turned her gaze to him and said with an evil predatory smile, "The dark panther is about to get his claws."

Wil disentangled himself from his grandma and ran to his poppa. "Bye Grammy Dru. Have fun in the night."

Alexander took his son's hand and looked at Dru. "Goodbye Drucilla." he said as he left the room.

"Is everybody ready to go?" Alexander asked with false enthusiasm.

"We will need supplies for William. The drive is long and the supply of blood and water may not be as plentiful as we would like." Wesley said as he carried suitcases of clothes through the lobby toward the car.

Alexander nodded and began to walk toward the kitchen, then realized that Dawn and Giles were watching Wesley work without offering to help.

A spark of rage began to ignite within him until Wil tugged on his elbow and quietly asked, "Can I come with you?"

"Sure, you can help me pack demon snacks for the trip." Alexander said with a smile, then glanced back to see Giles and Dawn watching them.

Everything had been packed into the cars and as expected, Wil, Alexander and Wesley had taken one car as Dawn and Giles took the other.

"If you don't mind my asking, what is the problem Alexander?" Wesley asked hesitantly.

"The way they treat you." Alexander said in a growl.

"They are treating me the way they always have." Wesley said honestly.

"I know, that makes it worse. I can understand Dawn, she's following along with the way everyone else treated you, but Giles should know better." Alexander said darkly.

"Your seething won't improve his behavior." Wesley said absently.

"I know, but I don't have any other way of dealing with him to relieve this anger, so seething is about all I can do." Alexander said through gritted teeth.

"Poppa, ya know the watcher is a bloody wanker don'tcha?" Wil asked seriously.

"I guess I didn't see it before. I always thought he was right and everyone else was just rebelling against his formality." Alexander said seriously.

"Nope, tha watcher's a wanker. All tha pomp an rubbish is ta try an hide that he don't give a bloody damn bout nothin but what he decides is important." Wil said knowingly.

"I see that now. Let's just get this done and get rid of him as quick as we can. It just feels wrong being around him now." Alexander said seriously.

"Poppa?" Wil asked quietly.

"Yes?" Alexander replied in a much more tender voice.

"Are you a human or a demon?" Wil asked seriously.

"Both I guess." Alexander said in thought.

"But what are you mostly... if you had to throw your lot in with one side or the other. Would you claim your humanity or demonality?" Wil asked with difficulty.

"I guess I'd have to choose demon. All the good things in my life came to me because of the demon aspects of my nature." Alexander said with a smile at Wil.

"Thought so." Wil said with a smile back at his poppa.

After a long day of driving and some determined argument from both Alexander and Wesley, the group got rooms at a motel for the night.

Since Alexander and Wesley were sharing a room with Wil, nothing more intimate than gentle kissing took place, which actually suited both men after the exhausting day that they had had.

The night passed and the morning came to bring another long day of driving and arguments.

Every time they needed to stop for food or because Wil needed to use the bathroom, Giles seemed to take it as an assault against his authority.

Finally, as the sun was setting on their second day of travel Wil said, "That way. I can feel it, like a thread pullin on my belly and makin me feel wobbly."

Wesley saw the direction Wil was pointing and signaled to turn off so he could tell Giles that they were close. As Alexander got out of the car, he motioned for Wil to stay inside.

"What in heavens name is it now? He can't possibly have to go to the bathroom again." Giles said as he plodded to Wesley's car.

"No. Wil just felt the pull of the backwards door, it's that way." Alexander said shortly, with offense on his son's behalf.

"Thank heavens for that. I'd begun to think I'd been dropped into an endless loop of driving and bathroom stops." Giles said theatrically.

"That does it. He's a child, he doesn't have the gallons of bladder capacity or the sphincter of steel that you have. And you aren't the only one who's been inconvenienced by this trip. Our butts are numb, we're sick of the barren wasteland that is New Mexico, and the conversation ran out about an hour outside LA, but have we been bitching and whining? No. Why not you ask? Because it needs to be done. We've put up with your barbs and your bitching about the inconvenience of having Wil along, but you can't do it without him to act as your compass so shut the fuck up and let's get this done so we can go our seperate ways." Alexander finished in a scream.

"There's no need..." Giles began when Wesley said, "Rupert, neither of us are watchers any longer, therefore I am no longer subordinate to you in any way. I have been willing to tolerate your treatment of me in the past because it was actually too much trouble to set you straight, but now your treatment of me is causeing Alexander stress, and that I will not have. Get back in your car, follow us to the door, then we can pray to whatever deity each of us hold sacred that we never have the misfortune of working together again."

Giles stood in stunned amazement as the two men got back into their car.

"Ya did good pop. The bloody wanker can't think enough ta speak." Wil said with a chuckle.

"I'm sorry you heard that Wil. I never want you to feel unwanted or like a burden." Alexander said honestly.

"No worries there Pop. Tween you an Dad I've been loved and wanted more in this life than Spike ever was in his." Wil said honestly.

Alexander smiled as Wesley pulled the car back onto the road.

Alexander looked at the map with worry as the pair of cars traveled farther and farther from anything that could remotely be labeled civilization.

"This is really starting to give me the wiggins." Alexander said with a furrow in his brow.

"I must admit to a sense of apprehension building within me." Wesley said with difficulty.

"I'm feelin it stronger. The bloody thing is pullin at me like a sharp claw in my guts." Wil said darkly.

"Do you need for us to stop?" Alexander asked with worry.

"No, don't you even think about it. Let's us get this job done so we can get the effin hell out of here." Wil said in discomfort.

"You got a deal kiddo." Alexander said seriously.

"Do you trust Mr. Giles to behave responsibly?" Wesley asked with a note of worry.

"Not for a minute. I've got the feeling that he'd sacrifice all three of us to close that door. We need to watch him close." Alexander said in thought.

"Poppa, we're close. It's that way." Wil said through gritted teeth.

"Should I stop to tell Mr. Giles?" Wesley asked hesitantly.

"Just turn off, he'll follow or he won't." Alexander said darkly.

"Good Lord!" Wesley exclaimed as they came over a rise to reveal the doorway standing three stories tall.

"At least." Alexander said in wonder.

"Hurry Poppa, it hurts." Wil said with a whimper.

"Take us right up to it Wesley. I'll take care of Wil, you watch Giles." Alexander said with authority.

Wesley nodded and continued on with determination.

Alexander looked at Wil and was shocked to see that he had grown some more, now his appearance was that of a nine year old. The sweat pants that he was wearing were stretched tight and the T-shirt was pulled tight against his skin.

"Wil, can you get a shirt out of my suitcase? You're outgrowing that one as we speak." Alexander said with worry.

"Sure Pop." Wil said distractedly and began to dig through the pile of luggage that had been riding beside him for two days.

"I hope Giles is right about Dawn being able to close this thing. Because if he isn't, we're in deep shit." Alexander said as the doorway filled his view.

"This is as near as I can bring us. We must continue on foot from this point." Wesley said with a note of apology.

"You ready Wil?" Alexander asked with worry.

"Let's go. It's tearing me apart." Wil said in pain.

"What happened to Wil?" Dawn asked with concern.

"He had a growth spurt. It's just the way he is Dawnie, nothing to worry about." Alexander said, trying to conceal his worry.

"Let's get to it." Giles said and walked past the others at a deliberate pace.

Alexander and Wesley shared a look before Wesley walked faster to catch up with Giles and Alexander moved close to Wil's side.

"How are you doing?" Alexander asked with worry.

Wil was clutching his stomach and looked at his poppa with an expression of 'how could you ask such a stupid question' before he said, "Let's keep movin."

Alexander draped an arm around Wil's shoulder and walked with purpose toward the huge doorway before them.

"It stopped." Wil said in wonder and tentatively let loose of his stomach.

Alexander looked in awe at the door before them and began to see something looking back at him.

"Do you see it?" Alexander asked as he walked closer.

"What is the meaning of this?" Giles asked in anger as he looked into the shiny surface of the door.

"What is it G-man?" Alexander asked as he tried to make sense of what he was seeing.

"My father." Giles said in a voice of disbelief.

"No, it's just a haze of green energy." Dawn said as she stared into the door.

"Wesley, what do you see?" Alexander asked carefully.

"Myself." Wesley said in surprise.

Alexander forced himself to step closer and came face to face with a seamonster. It was one of the creatures that the swim coach had created all those years ago in high school.

Alexander became enthralled in the sight, then realized what made this monster seem so familiar, the eyes. The monster's eyes were the same eyes he saw every day when he looked in the mirror.

"Poppa?" Wil asked hesitantly.

Alexander snapped his attention back to Wil and asked, "What do you see?"

"I don't see nothing." Wil said in a small dejected voice.

"Wesley, what is this thing? What's it showing us?" Alexander asked loudly, as if he were trying to yell over a rush of wind even though the air was still.

"I'm going to find out." Wesley said and began to walk toward the door.

"Wes, if you walk through that thing, you might not come back." Alexander said in panic.

"I believe I will. I can't explain it beyond the feeling that this isn't actually a bad thing." Wesley said with determination.

"You're not going alone. If you're going, I'm going with you." Alexander said with determination.

"I can't let you take that risk, you must think of William's best interest." Wesley said firmly.

"I'm going too." Wil said to his fathers.

"Absolutely not." Alexander said firmly.

"If that thing eats you, I don't want to be here alone. And if it takes you somewhere else, I want to be there with you. Dad, Pops, I'm going with you so lets just do it so we can get home." Wil said with finality.

"Either we're all doing it or we're not." Alexander said in explanation to Wesley.

"Very well." Wesley said quietly and put out his hand to take Alexander's.

Wil moved between the two men and put an arm around each mans waist.

"Let's do this thing and get the bloody hell out of here." Wil said and urged his fathers forward into the door.

"You can't!" Giles screamed.

"We have to, the door is waiting for us." Alexander said in return.

"But what if it's a trap? This could be the passage to a hell dimension." Giles said with pleading.

"And what if it's not? Let's find out." Alexander said and walked with his family into the backwards door.

"I'm going." Dawn said with force.

"No, you can't. You must close the door." Giles said calmly.

"But they're inside." Dawn said with wide eyes.

"It can't be helped, the door must be closed." Giles said with force as he grabbed Dawns wrist with one hand and brought up a dagger with the other.

Dawn stomped forcefully on Giles foot and lunged for his eyes with her free hand.

Reflexively Giles released Dawn to protect himself.

She ran full force and threw herself into the opened door.

Xander stood naked in the twilight. Before him stood the form of his demon self.

"You're braver than I would have expected." The demon form said kindly.

"What is this place?" Xander asked in a daze.

"I think we're each others might have been. We're each others hope, fear, dream, nightmare... whatever. Who knows? The watcher said I was needed here, so I came. I walked up to the door and it pulled me in, then I was looking at you." The demon said with a shrug.

"But you're me." Xander said, looking the demon in the eyes.

"I guess you're what I would have been if I'd been born human." the creature said with a note of longing.

"And you're what I would have been if I'd been born a demon." Xander said with a nod.

"So what do we do now?" Xander asked carefully.

"Dunno. I count two doors, and two of us. That one's yours." the demon said with a shrug.

"But shouldn't we do something? I mean we drove for two days, I feel like there should be more purpose to it than just bullshitting for a few minutes, then driving two days back." Xander said honestly.

"There is something, but..." The demon trailed off with a defeated look.

"What?" Xander asked with worry.

"Giles, our Giles, talked me into coming here by saying that I could gain a human aspect. He said that if you would share my demon form, then I could appear human... it was stupid for me to dream about that. I mean, I know all the self image things, be happy with who you are and all that. But ever since I was just a tadpole I've dreamed about looking human, to feel normal for just one day." The demon said with a weary smile.

"What do we have to do?" Xander asked quietly.

"What?" His demon self asked in disbelief.

"My son is a demon, his father was a demon, I have no problem with sharing my human form with you. I hope it makes you happy." Xander said with an honest smile.

"You're serious?" the demon asked in disbelief.

"Sure. What do we have to do?" Xander asked again.

"Touch." the Demon said simply.

"Okay. Let's do it before I have an attack of good sense." Xander said with a teasing smile.

The demon chuckled at that and nodded, then thought to ask, "Tell me about your life. You said your son. I don't have a son."

"My son, Wil. He's the best thing in my life. I'm a better person because of him. I love my life. For the first time ever, I've found peace, love, acceptance, respect, dignity, and happiness." Xander said with a dreamy twinkle in his eye.

"Then I don't want to keep you away from them. Thank you. My life is very different from yours, but thanks to you, I may be able to make one of my dreams a reality." the Demon said with a look of need.

"I hope it works out for you, I really do." Xander said with an honest smile.

The demon held out his hand to shake and Xander shook his head, then opened his arms in invitation.

His demon self smiled and moved quickly into the embrace.

Dawn saw the green glow of energy pulsing before her.

"Hello?" Dawn asked with fear.

//Is that what I would be?// the glow whispered into her mind.

"Are you what I used to be?" Dawn asked in wonder.

//I am what you truly are.// the mist of energy replied.

"You're so beautiful, so free." Dawn said as she watched the energy gently flowing in wispy patterns.

//And you are so able to affect the world around you.// the mist said dreamily.

"I guess we each admire the other's existence." Dawn said with a smile.

//I guess we do.// the mist said in a friendly tone.

"Do you know what we're supposed to do here?" Dawn asked carefully.

//I overheard one of the solids say that this is a portal between planes of existence. I was summoned to close the door so the two realities couldn't merge... but I wanted to meet my other self before I closed it.// the mist said with a smile in it's tone.

"I guess it's the same for me. Giles wanted me to close the door, but some friends of mine are inside." Dawn said seriously.

//They cannot command us. We are free, ether, mist, vapor...// the mist said with joy.

"But I'm solid." Dawn said sadly.

//Come child, touch me and know what it is to be free again.// the energy cloud said with warmth.

"But will I still be me?" Dawn asked with worry.

//Of course, you'll just be able to choose your true form when you want. You're not losing anything, just gaining another choice.// the energy whispered.

Dawn walked into the mist and was bathed in it's energy.

After a period of time that lost all meaning, Dawn emerged from the mist feeling lighter, happier, more centered than she could ever remember.

"Thank you, I've wondered for a thousand years what it would be like to be a solid." The duplicate of Dawn said happily.

Dawn let go of her solid form and floated free in the air of the between space that they inhabited.

//This is paradise.// Dawn thought with joy.

"Touch, to feel, it's... there aren't words enough for the sensations." the doppelganger said as she dragged her fingertips across her skin.

//I need to return to my world now. Thank you for meeting me, for sharing yourself with me.// Dawn said honestly as she willed her form to become solid again.

"It was a pleasure for me as well, just remember that we are not them, they cannot command us. We are freedom, it is our essence. We cannot exist in captivity." the reflection of Dawn said seriously.

"I'll remember... thank you again." Dawn said and turned to go.

//Be well, live a long and happy life in freedom.// the cloud said as she also returned to her place of origin.

Wesley stood naked before himself.

"Do you have any idea what we're doing here?"

"It seems to be an interdimensional focal point, but I'm not sure of its purpose."

"We speculate that those who enter have the choice to combine with their self from the alternate dimension and trade off aspects, as it were."

"For example?"

"It's supposed to complete us somehow. If you aren't happy with yourself, you can combine with me and we'll become more... contented or stable or something."

"You don't sound too convinced."

"Giles brought me, he's my superior so I followed."

"Well, to tell you honestly, for the first time in my life, I like the person who I am. Those things that I looked upon as faults are points of attraction to Alexander. I have never been happier in my life and don't have any desire to change."

"Good. I'm glad to hear it. I came to see what my alternate self would be like, and if he needed my help, I'd consider giving it. I'm glad to know that you are strong and self confident. If you step through that doorway over there, you'll be home."

"What of you? How is your life?"

"Not everything I hoped it would be, but I'm happy for the most part. I'm surprised to hear you talk about Alexander so fondly. My own Alexander is so painfully shy around me, I can't bring myself to approach him."

"Be available. He'll come around in time."

"Thank you. Have a good life."

"You as well."

Wil looked into the darkness with fear and called, "Who's there?"

"It's just me mate. No worries." A voice called as Spike walked to stand before him.

"Father?" Wil asked with excitement.

"No, fraid not mate. I'm just the sorry sod the bloody watcher brought along because the signs said I was needed." Spike said with resignation.

"But if you're not my father, why are you here?" Wil asked in confusion.

"Cause the watcher owns me." Spike said with a tired look in his eyes.

Wil thought about that answer and asked, "Do you know what we're supposed to do now?"

"The watcher said I was ta touch whoever I met. That it'd make me more useful to 'im. I don know what that's all about." Spike said absently.

"Then what?" Wil asked curiously.

"I go through that door and you go through this one. That's the lot." Spike said seriously.

"What happens if you go through my door?" Wil asked carefully.

"Don't know. Tha watcher ain't much for sharing. Better at ordering, that one." Spike said with a dark look.

"Come on father. You're coming home with me." Wil said and held out his hand.

"I can't. The watcher..." Spike began.

"Screw the bloody wanker. You're my father and I want you with me." Wil said with force.

Spike looked surprised by the boy, but followed orders, as he had been trained to do for years.

Wil took Spike's hand and led him through the door back into his own world.

Alexander, Wesley, Wil and Spike met in a long hallway that seemed to be walking toward a dim light.

"Spike? What are you doing here?" Alexander asked with surprise.

"Do I know you?" Spike asked curiously, recognizing something familiar about the man.

"This is my poppa and my daddy." Wil said happily.

"I'm Alexander and this is Wesley." Alexander said carefully.

"You ain't like the Alexander from my home, he's a full demon. The same watcher owns him what owns me." Spike said simply.

"It's not like that here Spike. No one owns anyone." Alexander said seriously.

"You tellin me the watcher wannabe here don't have a few demon slaves?" Spike asked incredulously.

"No, I am no longer a watcher, and have never owned slaves of any kind." Wesley said seriously.

"We're here. Let's get back home." Alexander said with relief as he saw Giles looking into the doorway with anger and concern.

Wesley and Alexander looked at each other and held hands as they walked back into their world.

Wil held close to Spike's side and guided him through the doorway.

To Be Continued...

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