A/N: First of all, I'm sorry about the lack of updates on my by far more popular fic, Little Devil, Little Angel. I've just been going through some stuff and...well, I'm having difficulty seeing humor. Depression. Zoloft. Yada yada yada. Also, real life has been kicking my ass through school and homework and work, so yay for my life. Or no yay. Either way.

And about this, it's set after my last fic, Mocking Bird. It seemed a few people liked it and I liked it myself, and I really just wanted to write something longer and Connor-centric, because well...depression. I can really relate to the kid right now and using him will be a nice release. I haven't seen any of Season 5. I know that's deplorable, but its true. None of it. So, uh, if stuff just sucks, I'm sorry.

Asphyxia

Chapter One


One breath, two breaths. One breath, two breaths.

Connor had blue eyes and wet shoes. There were puddles in the streets and he hadn't bothered to sidestep. He never did. Why bother? In his experience, it was always better to just step right in and get used to the cold.

"It's going to be alright now, son. We can start over."

His dad always called him 'son' when the time called for comfort. Connor knew, though, that it was much more of a comfort for Angel than for himself. He could hear it in the vampire's tone – the desperate need for reassurance that this boy- this wretch of a kid in front of him, with the mussed up hair and the torn shirts, was his son. His son.

I'm his son, Connor reminded himself. I am what I am because this is what Angel is.

The ground was much more interesting than the bustle of people in the immaculate building of Wolfram and Hart. Connor watched his wet shoeprints dry into the floor, leaving no trace on the clean tile.

"Angel!"

Connor heard Fred chirp. He heard Wesley fidget briefly, shuffling his feet, before settling into the determined, angry stance that the Englishman always seemed to possess. Heard Gunn straighten just a bit more, cross his arms. Heard Lorne hum something sweet-like, like the crème between the two chocolate cookies of an Oreo. Connor liked Oreos.

He listened to the adults talk. They weren't really adults...they weren't much older than him; but he always thought of them as adults... probably because they always talked down to him.

Connor, do this. Connor, don't do that. Connor, you screwed up. How many times do I have to tell you, Connor...?

"Stop it," he murmured to himself. "Stop telling me what to do."

The cool pressure on his shoulder brought him back to the room and he kept his eyes trained on the floor. The floor was so interesting. Not a speck of dirt, despite all the shoes. Connor's shoes were always dirty, so he knew that shoes tracked in dirt and dirt made the floor dirty, but this floor...

"What did Junior do this time?"

He knew that it was his fault. It was always his fault and even if it wasn't, they always blamed him. It was his fault, his fault. Even if no one died this time.

"He didn't do anything."

Connor felt his father turn his head to look at the dead woman for affirmation and he must have received it, because the tense hand relaxed on his shoulder and the boy blinked and shuffled a bit farther away.

The adults said more things. Things about Wolfram and Hart and change and evil and good and the mission. Things about champions.

Connor wasn't a champion. He didn't really want to be. He wanted to crawl into a bed and close his eyes and go to sleep. He wanted to stop feeling so numb, wanted the fog in his head to clear up. Most of all, he wanted the illusion of the weight to go away. He could still feel it- the dynamite around his waist. Still hear them sob.

"Connor?"

The hand pulled him closer.

"Connor, are you ready to go home?"

No, no, no...

He didn't feel his head nod, but he knew it was doing it. The floor was moving, up and down, and there still wasn't any dirt. Not a trace, not a speck.

No dirt, no dirt...but something smelled like smoke.

One breath, two breaths. One breath, two breaths.

The match. He'd struck the match. He was going to blow them all to pieces.

"You okay, Pal?"

One breath, two breaths. Three breaths. Four breaths.

Five breaths.

"Connor? Con? Son?"

"He's hyperventilating."

All bits and pieces, blood and gore. He'd killed so many and he would kill many more.

If he could have, Connor would have chuckled. Sick nursery rhymes for a sick kid. Barely a year old in this world, and everything was already gone.

"C'mon, kiddo, breathe. Talk to me. Please, Connor."

So many dead and gone, so much fire singeing the skin of humanity.

Connor choked, gasped for breath in his father's arms and the rest of them stared in wonder, the casual onlookers of tragedy's memoir in the making.

"We'll go home, okay?" Angel murmured into his son's hair. "You just need some sleep is all. Some food, some sleep. You'll feel better in the morning."

One breath, two breaths. One breath, two breaths.

The morning, when the sun would slowly rise into the sky and stain the world in pinks and oranges before fading into blue. Connor detested the dawn, the lie of the cheerful dirt, raising his hopes only to shut him down.

Blue followed; mundane, empty blue.

Then dusk.

Then dark.

"We'll go home," his dad murmured again. "We'll go home."


TBC...

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