Author: D. M. Evans PM
#2 in the What Little Boys are Made of Series As Connor struggles to recover from his mental break down his progress is threatened by his pastRated: Fiction M - English - Angst - Chapters: 6 - Words: 21,035 - Reviews: 48 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 02-04-04 - Published: 04-18-03 - id: 1311401
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
What little Boys are Made of Series Story #2
By D.M. Evans
Disclaimer – Don't own them, never will. Thanks to Joss for letting us play with them. You know the drill, I make no money off of this, please don't sue and all of that. Oh, the characters you DON'T recognize like Saeth, Savage and Rhiannon were created by me.
Rating – R
Feedback – yes please, firstname.lastname@example.org
Spoilers – all of AtS S4
Summary – Connor is recovering from a severe mental collapse after accidentally killing Cordelia, which led to him killing Gunn, and Fred but his progress is threatened by someone from his past.
Author's Note – This story is AR following along with S4 of Angel but not exactly. This is taking place approximately one year after S4 and while you don't have to read story #1 Sins of the Father, it would help
When blood sees blood
Of its own
It sings to see itself again
It sings to hear the voice it's known
It sings to recognize the faceBlood Sings – Suzanne Vega
"Care to explain what you're doing up there, Baby Blue?" Saeth asked, staring up into an old yew tree. The strong summer breeze ruffling his thinning hair, Giles stood next to her, looking equally perplexed.
Connor stretched out on the thick branch he was perched on like a fine, thin cat. "Just watching stuff."
"And aren't you supposed to be in a session with Savage now?" Giles, like he always did, tried to judge the boy's expressions. Connor could be inscrutable, having pretty much only one visible emotion, anger.
Connor mouthed an obscenity Giles had no doubt Savage or Saeth had taught him. If Giles hadn't been there Connor might have sworn out loud but his guardian didn't care for him doing that. Mad Dog, as most people called Saeth, didn't care. She had the worst 'potty mouth' he'd ever heard. Connor dropped effortlessly out of the tree. "Sorry. Forgot."
"Savage will probably make you detail his car as punishment." Giles flashed a cheeky grin at the boy who rolled his eyes, sighing. He had that teen affectation down pat.
"Is that normal? A therapist assigning chores?" Connor sulked, a long look falling over his face.
"No, they'd just bill you for the wasted time. But since Savage is a friend, he thinks he has the right to use you to his diabolical ends." Saeth smiled.
"Like when you make me clean your house?" Connor gave her one of his ferocious grins.
She swatted his bony backside. "Exactly."
"If we hurry we can get you to Savage's office before he gives up all hope," Giles said, herding Connor into the yew tunnel. The yew Connor had been perched in was the beginning of a project begun four hundred years prior. The landowner had sculpted and bent the yews into a massive tunnel. The effect was eerie and beautiful at the same time. Connor seemed to love it. It was the first place they thought to look for him when he didn't show to be taken into town. At least Saeth's home in Crug Hwyel didn't have the huge amounts of land attached to it like her estate in the northlands. Giles wasn't keen on Connor having expansive, desolate acreage to hide in if he got around to serious brooding, as he was wont to do. Like father, like son.
At least Connor didn't fight about seeing Savage. He actually seemed to enjoy going to therapy. Every time he saw Connor, Giles had to marvel at what he, Savage and Saeth had wrought. Within a year Connor had gone from catatonic to someone who seemed almost like a normal teen.
He got sulky within minutes of being ebullient. He bucked authority but secretly enjoying being given responsibility like his little job opening mail at the Watcher's complex in Abergavenny. He was irrepressibly horny. He begged to drive Saeth's sports car. In other words, a fairly typical teen-aged boy. He still had horrific nightmares and there were days he got so worked up he needed extra medication but those were getting less and less for which Giles was grateful. He wanted very much to help this boy, even if it was emotionally difficult.
Giles hadn't known Gunn or Fred but Cordelia was different. While she had oft times annoyed him, he had been fond of her. At times it felt odd trying to heal her killer. He didn't doubt that Connor had accidentally killed Cordelia then suffered a several mental collapse. The boy needed help.
Connor sat quietly behind Saeth as she raced him to Abergavenny and the Watcher's complex where Savage had his office. Giles followed her Harley VRSCA V- Rod. The silver motorcycle cut through the countryside like a dagger. Connor jumped off the back of the motorcycle and Giles nearly ran him down as he raced in front of Giles' Cooper S to get into the Council building. Giles wished he knew if participating in this was the right thing to do. If they could give mass murderers like Angel, Spike and Anya a second chance could he do less for a troubled boy? Currently, Faith was proof that a life could be redeemed and she had been willingly evil.
Connor seemed to be well on his way to turning around his life. They had begun to trust him on his own. Mostly he spent time with members of Saeth's family, her nineteen-year-old nephew, Dylan and his sister, the sixteen-year-old Cerridwen; both of whom, like Saeth, were mages. Their adopted siblings, Bron and Arian, typically shadowed them. Bron was a scarce year younger than Dylan and Arian was just a month older than Cerridwen. Giles liked that Connor had people his own age around him for the first time in his life and the boy responded to their friendship better than Giles had hoped for. The gaggle of teens put him in mind of Buffy and her friends back in high school, fun-loving yet old beyond their years. And every so often Giles would get a glimpse of how lost Connor could get when it came to popular culture, how lacking his knowledge could be.
They had faked him identification papers, placing him a few years younger than he most likely was. According to his birth certificate, Connor would be eighteen in November. Savage had suggested Connor could use a few more years as a teen. He might even be teachable despite having so much knowledge lacking. No one was sure how it was determined Connor was eighteen when he entered this world. No one knew how long Quor-Tothian year was. He certainly didn't look like he was now nineteen.
What Giles did know for certain was that in addition to helping rebuild the Council after the First had decimated it, he had been entrusted with Angel's son. He was determined to make some sort of difference in the boy's life. So far, he thought he was winning. It helped fill the void Buffy and her friends had left in him when he chose to return to home. He missed them too much. Tonight, he would call her.
* * *
"Any reason why you were so late?" Savage asked, sitting on the window seat of his office. He watched Connor pacing around the small, book-crammed room. He was used to his patients freely moving around. Body language spoke volumes. He could see Connor didn't want to be here today, which was unusual for him. Connor liked talking to him. He understood from Angel and Wesley that Connor had been taciturn most of the time.
Connor shrugged, his slim shoulders, spinning the gemstone globe Savage had on a bookshelf. "I lost track of time."
"Why do you think that happened?"
Connor flung himself onto the overstuffed chair. "I don't have a watch." Connor's lips twitched up a bit.
Savage snorted. "Cheeky bugger. Seriously, Connor, you're rarely late. Why did you forget today?"
Connor sighed, tears suddenly sheening his eyes. Savage made a note of it even though it was hard to ignore the boy's pain. He was too close to his patient. By rights he should refer Connor out but he knew Connor wouldn't understand even if he found another Watcher psychiatrist who'd take him on. "I don't know why I'm here talking to you all the time."
Savage got up from the window seat, going to his cluttered desk. He wasn't expecting that answer. He thought they were making headway and that Connor liked being here. "Do you think that these sessions aren't helping you?"
Connor tugged at his hair so hard Savage thought the boy's scalp would bleed. "No, I think they're helping a lot. I feel so much better after I leave here."
Savage's blue eyes widened. His patients rarely complained about feeling better. "And this is a problem, why?"
"I don't deserve to feel better. I deserve punishment. I murdered my friends…a woman I loved and I haven't been punished." Connor thumped his head on the chair.
"Some people would say several months catatonic and a long road of healing ahead of you is punishment, Connor. What sort of punishment do you think you deserve?" Savage refrained from going to him. He wanted Connor to work through this without coddling.
"Death," Connor whispered past the hand he had thrown over his mouth. Tears streamed down his face, over his long, slender fingers. His body shook as his breath came in ragged pants.
Savage let Connor's emotions run wild before confronting the problem. "Do you think you should die, Connor?"
"Eye for an eye." Connor propelled himself out of the chair, heading for Savage's desk. The psychiatrist tensed. He didn't have Saeth and her magic to protect him if Connor got physical.
"That Bible verse actually only applies to hurting pregnant women, did you know that?" Savage's voice remained even and calm, hoping Connor would respond to his tone.
Connor nodded. "I know the Bible. Father made sure." He backed away, snatching the kaleidoscope off Savage's desk. He spun the end of it, looking at the colors then whispered, "Why is everyone helping me?"
"You never would have gone to court, Connor. Not like you were when I first met you. Even now I'm not sure they'd proceed. If they did, you'd spend the rest of your life in jail or be in a mental hospital for a long time. Do you think that's what you deserve?" Savage watched his patient's face. Connor's affect was disturbingly flat.
"I don't know," Connor said. "I should be like Faith."
Savage absently scrubbed a hand through his nearly black hair. "How so?"
Connor sat back down, the kaleidoscope dangling from his fingers. "She took her punishment, twenty-five to life."
"Is that what you want? Jailed?" Savage prodded.
Dropping the kaleidoscope, Connor sobbed, curling up on the chair, face tucked against his bony knees. He couldn't speak for several minutes. Thinking this might be prelude to one of Connor's full-blown panic attacks or the self-injurious phase of his illness, Savage took out some syringes and two bottles, Ativan and Thorazine; the first for anxiety and the latter if Connor got physical. Neither injection were needed as Connor slowly calmed on his own.
"Please don't give me more medication," Connor pleaded, still tucked into a ball.
"We can hold off for now." Savage hated giving the boy the drugs. The side effects were severe. While on the thorazine, Connor ended up vomiting with headaches so bad he could barely move and the ativan left him zombie-like. It was bad enough that he still had to give Connor both daily but every few weeks he lowered the dose, hoping Connor would no longer need them soon.
Connor wiped his face then reached for a tissue. "I don't want to die but I should be punished."
Savage put away the medication. "We've talked about that before."
"I know. You think what happened to me is punishment," Connor said, tapping his forehead. The maniac look returned to Connor's face but Savage knew that didn't mean much. Connor always smiled like that.
"It's not enough." Connor snapped, his fingers going back to ripping at his hair.
"Connor…" Savage said softly, hoping to halt the self-injury before he was forced to dig out the thorazine again.
"I know. Let's talk about why I feel like this. How about we don't?" Connor lips skinned back in a sneer. "And I know, you can't help me unless I talk to you."
Savage just smiled gently. He could handle smart mouth Connor. The boy got that way but when he did it had more to do with teenaged attitude than mental distress. "You're certainly in a bad mood today."
"I know." Connor snorted. "Mad Dog would say I had a full helping of bitchy today and I don't know why. It's just that I started thinking about Cordy while I was out in the woods today. I started to miss her all over again." His chest heaved as he struggled with his emotions. "Why did she have to do it?"
Savage found that curious and pounced on it. Connor had
never suggested Cordy had ever done anything. "Do what?"
"She started tapping into her demon power. She was angry the Beast didn't kill us. She was sick and couldn't use her magic so she got a knife." Connor rattled that off flatly.
Savage set aside his notebook, getting to his feet. "What?"
"She was going to kill me with a knife. I…I." Connor canted his head up, staring at Savage with huge blue eyes. "Why haven't I ever remembered this before?"
Savage crossed over and brushed Connor's hair back. The boy could use a trim and the psychiatrist could see Dylan and Bron's influences in the tips of Connor's hair – or maybe it was the girls' effect – which had been bleached nearly white. It was a startling effect when the teen moved. "Connor, you have a lot locked up inside you. You've never been able to remember that day clearly."
"I'm not making this up then? It was real? She came at me with a knife?" Connor's lips trembled. His whole body began to shake.
"Tell me what you're remembering, Connor." Savage went back to his desk and his note pad. He wanted to hold the boy and comfort him. He had to squelch that bit of unprofessionalism.
"She was angry that we weren't dead. She came after me to cut out my heart. That's what she said. I pushed her because I didn't want to really hurt her. I just wanted to get her away from me so I'd have room to maneuver and get the knife away from her. Oh God, I pushed her and she hit her head. She died just like that. It was my fault." The last word came as a choked note.
"Breathe, Connor," Savage instructed, seeing the flood of anxiety rushing into the boy's face. "Vampires."
"Fire, stake to the heart, holy water, sunlight, decapitation," Connor muttered, starting his calming mantra. "Werewolves, silver weapons."
Savage listened to him go through a few more stanzas of his mantra. He knew it was somewhat disturbing that a how-to of demon killing calmed the boy but it usually worked. When Connor was breathing more easily, he asked, "Can you tell me more about that day? What happened after you pushed Cordelia and realized she was dead?"
Connor gulped for air. "I was trying to wake her up and Lorne came downstairs. He just started blaming me for killing Cordy. He didn't ask what happened. He had to have heard. He has hearing like a vampire. He called me a murderer. Why didn't he hear what Cordy said?" Connor paused, pressing his fists against his wet eyes. "He ran for the weapons. I didn't murder her. I didn't mean to hurt her but Lorne wouldn't listen. He was getting a weapon to hurt me." Connor made a hiccupping gasp. "He wanted me dead."
"And that's why you attacked him?" Savage wrote furiously, finally having something to help understand the chaos surrounding his charge.
"I don't remember. I must have, right?" Connor rubbed his hands along his thigh, his brow wrinkling as he tried to force the memories. "I killed him and then Gunn and Fred must have come in afterwards and seen the bodies. But I don't remember, Savage. I don't remember anything after Lorne ran for the weapons. Why?" That last came as a piteous cry.
Savage thought for a moment, trying to figure out what might comfort him. "It's your mind's way of protecting your conscious self, Connor."
"Should I tell the others?" Connor reached for the tissues again.
"That's up to you. It'll be the only way they'll ever know the truth. We'll be making the weekly call to your father tonight. You decide if you feel ready to tell Angel what you've remembered." Savage thought it was important for Connor to make his own choices and feel like they had confidence in him. Thinking no one had faith in him could be crippling.
"I still don't…" He twisted his hands in his hair again. "Is it real or is it just what I want to believe? It's easier to think I was just protecting myself but maybe I just killed them because I'm evil."
"I can't tell you if you're making it up, Connor, but I don't think you're evil. I can tell you there was a knife found by Cordelia's body," Savage said, watching his patient's expression.
Connor's lips parted and he mulled that for a moment. "So it could have been like I remember?"
"Yes." Savage set aside his notepad. "How are you feeling right now, Connor?"
"Bad but sort of glad it's all out now. I feel like something is happening in here." Connor tapped his chest. "You're not going to give me extra medicine now are you?"
"I'm trying to keep you off the medicine as much as possible. Today's been pretty rough for you though," Savage said. "You might benefit from an extra dose."
Connor's face twisted up. "I don't want more medication. I don't like the way it makes me feel."
"That's why I want to wean you off your daily meds. But I won't give you any additional medication today," Savage decided.
Connor's slim shoulders heaved. "Thank you."
"I think we've had enough," Savage said. "I'll see you tonight."
Connor just nodded and let himself out of the office. He knew he was expected to go to Giles' office so he could get a ride home. He didn't really want to face Giles or Saeth with swollen red eyes and a wet face but he knew he didn't need to get into any trouble. He made his way through the narrow hallways, dark and claustrophobic in a building so old he couldn't fathom it. Saeth was with Giles sorting through a box of books. She dropped her book and ran over to Connor.
"Baby Blue, are you all right?" She ran a hand up his arm as she called him by the pet name her great grandmother had given him. Rhiannon had started calling him that back before he had come out of his catatonia. She said it was because of his sweet blue eyes. Connor had come to like the name. It gave him a sense of belonging and family.
Connor nodded. "It was…I remembered a little about that night," he said, pressing closer to her.
She embraced him tightly. "Do you want to tell us about it?"
Connor snuggled against her then looked over at Giles and simply nodded. He let her sit him down and Giles pressed a cup of tea into his hands. Connor braced himself and tried to tell his story again without crying. He almost succeeded.