SINS OF THE FATHER
'What Little Boys Are Made of' Series Part 1
Author – D M Evans
Disclaimer – There are some things I own in this world, these characters aren't among them. All characters belong to Mr. Whedon and a big thank you for letting me borrow them. The various lyrics and poetry will be marked as to whom they belong to.
Rating - R
Spoilers – Prologue is set before "Deep Down" and the rest of the action picks up after "Super symmetry" and "Rain of Fire" going AU thereafter.
Summary - Pretty much the end of the world is nigh and Angel and his friends and family are being torn apart from within.
Underneath a sky of dust
A constant wave of tension
On top of broken trust
The lessons that you taught me
I learn were never true
Now I find myself in question
They point the finger at me again
Guilty by association
You point the finger at me again
I wanna run away
Never say goodbye
I wanna know the truth
Instead of wondering why
I wanna know the answers
No more lies
I wanna shut the door
And open up my mind
Runaway – Linkin Park
Anne hoped the fourteen-year-old hooker she had just given her card to would take her up on the offer to come to her shelter. Anne spent so much time on the streets at night that she was beginning to forget what daylight looked like. She was still amazed that she was with this gig. She was notorious for cutting and running but this kept her in place. Maybe helping lost kids was what she was meant for. After all she had been one herself and it led to her nearly being vampire food in Sunnydale and a demon slave in L.A.
There was just something about her work that felt right. Anne only wished she could reach more kids. A lot of them took one look at her blonde hair and trim body and thought 'rich white girl trying to feel good about herself by tossing the poor folk a bone.' She didn't have a street-wise look. To that end she was overjoyed that Zalika Loveland had joined with her. Her dark cocoa skin seemed to make her more acceptable to many of L.A.'s forgotten children. Ironically Zalika was working on her PhD in psychology and came from a wealthy family. Anne knew Zalika was only with East Hills Teen Center to do fieldwork for her thesis but she didn't care. Zalika was funny and good with the kids.
Feeling someone touch her shoulder, Anne turned and smiled at her partner.
"He's here again." Zalika pointed to a scrawny dark-haired boy. They had seen him several times skulking through the streets over the past weeks. They had tried to approach him once before but he had an air of wildness to him, prey or predator Anne couldn't really tell. She should be better at making the distinction by now but she wasn't.
"Should we try to talk to him?" Anne asked.
Zalika shrugged. The multitude of long thin plaits she had moved like the ocean, lathing her shoulders. "He's an odd one. He's too clean to be living on the streets."
"So why is he out here night after night?" Anne stared at the boy. He seemed tired which was unusual from what little she had seen of him before.
"I wish I knew. I'm half expecting him to be a pimp or a pusher but no one gets near him." Zalika pulled her jacket closed. The night air was getting nippy.
"I guess it wouldn't hurt to try talking to him again."
Anne headed toward the club the boy stood in front of, its bright neon proclaiming 'Girls, topless and bottomless' complete with an outline of a woman in repose with a cherry red nipple. He seemed oblivious to it. Zalika paced along behind her. The boy marked their approach, a cautious look in his eyes. He didn't run this time but he didn't seem happy about their intrusion either. Zalika caught Anne's arm, squeezing gently, their trouble signal. She nodded at the youth. Anne saw it, too, the hint of a knife handle in the pocket of his jacket. She looked into Zalika's dark eyes to see if they should just walk on past or not but Zalika had a resolved expression in place. The grad student stopped and smiled at the boy, carefully just out of easy arm's reach.
"Hello, I'm Zalika and this is Anne. We've seen you around before and we were hoping we could talk some."
"About what?" he asked, a surly look marring his face.
"About why you're out in the streets alone at night. We wanted you to know there's no need to go it alone. There's help," Anne said cheerfully. "We run a place where you can be with other kids like yourself, some place safe from drugs and violence."
He snorted. "Doubt there's many kids like me."
"You'd be surprised….will you tell us your name?" Anne asked, encouraged that she hadn't been told to go away.
He shrugged. "Connor."
"It's dangerous out here alone, Connor. I know you probably think it was just as bad wherever it is you came from. I'm not going to ask about your parents or your home, unless you feel like you want to talk about it. It could be you had good reasons for running away," Zalika said.
"I haven't run away. I have a place to stay," Connor protested, starting to move away.
Zalika took a step closer and he paused. "All right then, that's not why you're here but still there is something not quite right in your life that has you walking the streets at night."
A strange smile slithered across his face. "That's true."
"We can help you with that," Anne said, holding out a card to him, not quite getting close enough to be a target if he drew his knife. He stepped forward and took it, staring at it as if he didn't quite know what it was. "East Hills Teen Center is a haven and we would like to have you there. We can help you with that something that's not quite right."
He laughed, making a sound too bitter and old for him. "I doubt it." He moved to give her back the card but Anne stepped away.
"Keep it, in case you change your mind," Zalika said. "It really isn't safe out here. If you don't get mugged, there's always someone trying to sell you drugs or worse." She paused, her eyes raking over his hips. "Buy you."
His brow wrinkled and Zalika wasn't sure if it was from disgust or a lack of understanding about what she meant.
"I'll be fine. I don't need help." There was no doubt in his voice but the ladies were used to that. Too many kids thought they'd be fine. They didn't know what was worse, that false confidence or the beaten tone the teens picked up way too fast.
"Connor! There you are!"
The two ladies turned, hearing the booming voice behind them. A young shave-headed man loped up the sidewalk.
"You got lost on me again, and what a section of town to pick to do it," he continued.
Connor snickered. "Lost you? Maybe you need to learn to keep up, Gunn."
"Don't be a smartass. Oh, sorry ladies." Gunn offered them a sheepish look then recognition sparked in his eyes. "Anne, Zalika, you two are out late. No trouble at the center I hope."
"Charles, you know him?" Anne asked, pointing at Connor.
Gunn bobbed his head, blue and red neon flashing off the dark clean-shaven flesh. "Connor's part of the team but he's having trouble remembering there's no I in team." He winced. He was beginning to sound like Fred.
"I'm sticking with you're too slow and you're the one who got lost," the boy shot back, a cocky look in his hooded eyes.
"Thanks for looking out for him, ladies. Come on, Connor, we'd better report back before Fred has a heart attack." Gunn chucked Connor's slim shoulder.
"Wouldn't want to be responsible for that," Connor said.
Anne and Zalika watched them go.
"Well, I wasn't expecting that," Zalika said.
"No kidding. Guess we ought to get back to work," Anne replied and they headed for the gaggle of streetwalkers at the end of the block.
You left me this mornin'
Standing on the corner
(as) I waved bye to you
You gave me no reason
Just brought me to my knees
And left me (here) feelin' all alone and blue
You Left Me This Mornin' - Indigenous
Connor sat on the remains of his bed. Cordelia had left him. How could she just do that? She moved in, disrupted his life, got his trust to the point he shared himself at his most defenseless right here on the tattered mattress, then she just as fast moved out on him. Didn't she know how much that hurt? Worse, he thought she had liked him. She wore outfits that flashed her intimate flesh at him. She let him touch her while they sparred, touched in ways obviously not related to fighting. She had kissed him back after dusting that vampire. He hadn't imagined that. How could she toy with someone like this? Surely she had to know it was wrong.
His father – or at least the man he preferred to think of as his father- had told him people touched like that only if they cared about each other. It wasn't for playing games. It had to mean something. It had to him, so why was it a game to Cordy? What sort of hold did Angel have over her to make her go back? When she had been here, he had barely thought about the vampire beyond trying to insure no reminders of him were around. Cordelia didn't even seem to think of Angel either until she just up and left.
Connor had taken out his pain on the contents of his home until the rage drained away, leaving him shaking and exhausted. He settled back into the mess and tried to lace together the pieces of his broken heart.