Disclaimer: Merely an idea.
Author's note: This story is one of the very, very few of mine that deals with the whole idea of regression, and because of that and I finally feel up to working on it again after all these years, I've decided to post it. So just to make it perfectly clear, the theme/idea of regression is the main plot point, now if that isn't your cup of tea so to speak, then I advise you skip this one. And with that all out of the way...on with the story.
It wasn't as bad as they always loved to make it out to be.
He was a kid.
Kids have…moods, sometimes.
He was growing into himself.
Becoming a real person of independent thought that would soon be on his way out into the world all on his own.
Although that oncoming journey might be going a tad faster if the kid ever wanted to actually leave his room voluntarily.
His hair appeared first before the rest of his head poked through the crack in the door and he flashed a thousand watt smile.
He grumped the single word before burying himself down deeper into the folds of cotton and feathers surrounding his body.
"It's Monday, not the end of the world."
He glanced down at the teenager who did not bother to respond and lightly kicked at the bottom of the door to open it up further.
"We have school. Remember? That big building where people teach you stuff?"
Walking over to the queen sized bed, he reached down and squeezed a small foot under the comforter to rouse the boy.
His child curled up into a tighter ball at the act as he peered out at the man and growled back in his throat.
"Connor, you have to get up. You'll be late."
The teenager's soured face instantly melted away and he poked out his bottom lip at the figure above him.
It was his one weakness.
Well, one of the few he'd actually admit to.
That word just—did things to him on the inside.
And it didn't hurt that his son was a pretty cute kid.
He could feel his resolve turning to soft mush, like always, and sighed.
"No. No no…you have a test. You need to shower and have breakfast and get moving."
Connor's eyes seemed even brighter than normal, a sure sign of trouble yet to come, as he sat up in his bed, looking at his father with a pretty pathetic expression.
"But Daddy, I don't feel good…"
He hurried to slap a huge hand across the child's forehead, holding it there to cop a feel and test Connor's temperature with a frown forming the whole time.
"Well not like that."
Connor went to lie back down but his father's right arm kept him upright.
"You don't feel hot."
"I never said I did."
The boy, a freshly turned seventeen year old, wore a cheeky grin.
"I said I don't feel good. That is a very general statement Daddy. It could be anything."
He pushed his son back on the bed then, getting a surprised "Oof!" from the boy in the process, and grinned.
"If the nurse calls to say you're hacking up a lung, I'll come and get you. In the meantime…move it."
The teen whined and kicked at his constraining blankets with a loud groan.
"But I am unwell!"
"I am sure you'll live."
A glare was leveled at him as he went to exit the boy's bedroom.
"Ten minutes more, and then we dance bucko."
Being a single parent he had found posed a few challenges.
There was no backup or anyone to play the bad cop and give you the chance to be the good guy for a change.
You were both sides, both father and mother at once, and that was not easy.
He was blessed, and he well knew it, to have friends to help out along the way, but the heavy lifting was always resting, squarely, on his shoulders.
And at times, they could, and would, sag underneath the weight.
But he was never regretful.
The kid was his life and he'd never, ever trade him for anything.
"Just toss his butt out of bed."
Leaning his head back, he saw the one walking behind him go past, mumbling to himself.
"Gunn-I can handle it."
The younger of the two males rolled his eyes and shook his head.
"You let that boy get away with murder, you know that?"
He stalked off into the kitchen, not up for round seven thousand and fifty-two about how he should parent his own kid.
Gunn settled back down into his seat, taking the not so subtle hint to mind his own business, and grabbed his coffee cup to drain it dry.
He hated to keep bringing it up time and time again but what he saw deserved to be repeated.
He had watched his nephew grow up from two hours old and the sweet, playful, adorable tot he had loved with all his heart was now a brat.
A very manipulative, sneaky, tricky, conniving, brat who getting worse all the time.
And his best friend refused to open his eyes to the truth.
Time after time misbehavior and hardheadedness all the way up to down right disrespectfulness and rudeness were excused, pitifully.
He knew Angel was attempting to make up for Connor not having his mother around, and wanted to give his son the best life possible, but the current plan was creating Frankenstein's monster rather than the happy little prince the man seemed to believe his son to be.
Looking at the clock and realizing time was not on their side, Angel only waved sarcastically to the man on the couch who stared at him while wearing one of his annoying, all knowing looks.
He knew there were people who could hop right out of bed with a pep in their step and smile on their face, geared up to start the day, and then there were those who often times awoke groggy and sluggish, needing more time to get their wits about them.
His son though was of a special breed…
Hair wet from the rapid shower the boy had given himself, Connor sat on his bed in not but boxers and a thin tee-shirt, eying his father carefully who was approaching him as one would a caged animal ready to strike.
He hung on to the child clawing to get free as he shoved one slender limb into a pants' leg.
"You can't go to school naked!"
"I don't want to go period!"
Connor arched his back and made it near impossible for his father to wrestle him into socks as he grunted and fought to keep his son's body still enough to get him dressed.
"Owww! Lemme go!"
Clinging to his bedsheets, Connor's legs kicked back against Angel who still managed to get around to the back of the teen and yank him, bedding and all still held in hand, up from the bed and then dropped him back down on it but this time on his back.
For ten years they had done this.
Every single morning for school the child had fought, cried, scratched, bitten, whined, screamed, bellowed, and bawled his way through second grade all the way up to the twelfth.
As he was suddenly beamed upside the head by his son's left sneaker while he forced its partner on to the boy's right foot, Angel gritted his teeth together.
There was only one reason why he had kept on and on and never given up, leaving the child be to fail and flunk out and go through life uneducated.
Perhaps the reason should have been because he did not want his son to be disadvantaged among his peers, all of whom would have strong educational backgrounds to assist them on into adulthood, but Angel's stake to claim in this scenario was not so honorable.
It was plain and simple.
He was not going to let the little rat win.
Thrown unceremoniously over a shoulder to be carried downstairs, Connor hollered out, enraged, and pounded his fists against the back of the person intent on ruining his life.
Gunn did not even bother to look up as the child's screeching drew closer while Angel marched through the foyer and put the teen down.
Connor bolted for the back door as soon as his feet touched the floor but was effortlessly caught around his waist, and with a shout of indignity had for he'd yet again been denied his freedom, the child's backpack was thrust at him along with a twenty dollar bill for both breakfast, since he'd put up one of his better fights that morning, and lunch.
"Get it…ow—you little…"
Angel forcibly dragged Connor toward the front door, dodging the book bag trying its damnedest to knock him silly and slapped at hands that tried to hang on to the door for leverage once he got the child through and past the wooden frame.
Watching from the school bus, the students aboard all clambered to the one side facing Connor's home, watching the scuffle being had between the two with gleeful looks on their faces and wondering if, for the first time, the teenager might come out on top.
A firm shove finally got Connor stumbling out along the path, breathing hard as the man behind him, snorting and sneering, pointed a finger that shook and hissed.
"You will never, ever, beat me…! Get to school!"
Flinging his backpack over one shoulder, the seventeen year old, wearing a proper pout, stamped off to the bus as the crowd of entertained teenagers on the bus all opened up the windows, grinning and laughing as they waved both to Connor and the towering being he left in his wake.
"Hi Mister Angel!"
Angel smoothed down the front of his ruffled shirt and lifted one hand up in greeting to the other kids, focusing especially in on the boy who turned around and stuck his tongue out at him for good measure as he climbed up the steps to get on the bus.
"Love you too…"
He winked at his son before shutting the door and then sank down to the ground with his head resting on his knees.
"I'm getting too old for all that..."
Gunn turned one page of his morning paper calmly.
"Just wait until he starts college. You'll have to enroll with him."
"You can stop anytime now."
Angel slowly got back up on his feet and rubbed at the slight bump taking shape due to his son's good aim with footwear.
"Know what I think?"
"Am I supposed to care?"
Gunn looked at his good friend with flashing eyes.
"You're afraid of him."
"A new theory? You're on a roll Charles."
"Listen to me damn it—"
Gunn slid forward in his seat.
"That kid is looking for something, okay? I'm not stupid or blind. And until you give him what he wants, he is only going to keep acting out."
"Looking for… what is that supposed to mean?"
Angel's gaze grew hard and cold as Gunn answered him.
"It means he is looking for you to love him."
"If you want this friendship to continue once this little 'conversation' is over Gunn, you had better take that back."
Charles hopped up to his feet, ready to finally have it out once and for all, his patience finally having worn thin enough to not care about sparing Angel's feelings any longer.
"You love him in every single way except the one that matters the most. Making him feel like he matters to you Angel."
A disgusted noise came from the older man and he started to walk away before he lost his temper.
"Don't you get it? You haven't proved yourself to him Angel! All these years you have been Connor's glorified babysitter and nothing more! You were never, ever, once, his father. Not really. And he paid for it. He still is…"
In barely two seconds a newly punched hole appeared in the wall beside the man he spoke with, causing Gunn to go stiff and quiet as he heard a tone coming from his friend and mentor that spoke of frenzy almost uncontrolled and incredibly vicious.
"Get your things Gunn and get the hell out of my house. You have an hour."
He regretted it as soon as he'd said it, but even though he tried desperately to take it back Charles had refused to accept his apology, and he really couldn't blame him.
Hearing the suitcase being zipped up first and then fading footsteps heading down the hall, Angel buried his head down into his hands, tugging at the roots of his hair harshly.
He wasn't sure what was making him feel worse.
That he had chased away a man who had become more of a brother than friend to him, that he knew everything he'd said was right, or that if he admitted to the truth he'd also have to admit he had no idea what he could do to fix things now, or if he even could.