Collaborative fic: Family's Fragrance
It's reposted here with permission. Enjoy!
Sunday morning. It's unusual for Connor to wake up in a good mood, but sometimes it happens and this is one of those times. Maybe it's because he doesn’t have classes today, maybe it's because yesterday he spent the whole evening playing games with Katie and Joy, maybe it's because Buffy, she of the perpetual smile, makes him feel at home.
He doesn't care why he feels good today. He is at home.
Connor still lives at the Reilly house with his adoptive parents, but lately he’s been spending more and more time with Angel and his family. Truth be told, Connor lives at college and on the weekends, he comes around just to say hi ...and every time, Buffy invites him to stay ...and every time, he accepts.
He is at home.
He doesn’t talk much with Angel, and he isn’t sure if he ever will. He never got to know him well, and since his father - his real father - became human, Connor often has the feeling that he knows him even less than before. Buffy, Joy, and Katie, however, help bridge the gap between him and Angel. They don't use words, don't list facts or anecdotes, but when Connor watches them living their lives together, everything becomes clear.
Connor knows now that Angel is capable of laughter, boredom, weariness, drowsiness, hunger, paternal authority, irony. Angel is a lot of things that Connor didn't imagine that he would ever see in his father.
...And damn but he’s a great cook. Just last night, Angel managed to make Connor like vegetable soup. More than like. That soup was spectacular.
It's an Irish recipe, Connor. Taste this and tell me if the carrots are cooked through. I swear you’ll like it.
Later, Buffy quietly informed Connor, He made it for you, when Angel wasn’t listening.
Still in bed, Connor finally figures out what woke him up, and why he’s in a good mood. From the kitchen wafts a good, powerful aroma: fresh-baked cookies. Family's fragrance.
He gets up in a hurry now that he’s hungry, but at the top of the stairs, he witnesses something that leaves him breathless and stops him in his tracks. This scene isn't intended for the eyes of others, but despite what his common sense is telling him, he can't look away.
Sitting in the kitchen, Buffy and Angel laugh as she waves a cookie in his face and says "Eat me! Eat me!" Then Buffy recalls a time when she said to Angel, "Drink me,” and despite the sobriety of the incident she’s describing, they both laugh again.
Connor can’t know it, but if things went differently that day, he wouldn't have been born. As he continues to observe them, Connor has the thought that their gestures and laughter appears to be part of a ritual, or some coded message known only to Buffy and Angel.
“Happy Cookie Day,” he hears them say.
Only God knows what they’re celebrating, but God knows it makes them happy.
“They’ll last for the next week.” Joy's voice startles him.
“Maybe even for two weeks.” She grins devilishly. “Did you think all those cookies were for you?”
“No!” he says, trying not to sound defensive. “No, of course not. Why? What’s going on?”
“Long story...but we used to have them for weeks.”
“We used to have what for weeks?”
“Cookies. When Dad makes cookies, they last for a week, sometimes even two. Mom says he has no sense of proportion, but everyone else says who cares? I mean, cookies, right?” She bounces on her heels, her words gaining momentum. “Then, when we can't eat one more cookie, mom makes up a tray for Aunt Dawn and Uncle Xander. No one knows why there’s this thing of cookies every May…”
Joy winks at Connor, and he smiles.
“But you do?”
“Yes, I do!”