Summary: "An eye for an eye" was in the Bible too, right? The summer when Angel was underwater and Connor was being taken care of by Fred and Gunn.
A/N: I had this saved on my computer for a while, along with a dozen other one shots that I've started about Angel and never finished. Hope you enjoy it and please R&R! That one passage from the Bible I got by googling and I came across this neat little website that laid the entire quotation out.
Disclaimer: Angel and its characters do not belong to me, they belong to Joss Whedon.
"We should go to the beach sometime, you know," Fred smiles at the brunette boy comfortingly as she folds up laundry. "Have you ever been to the beach? It's fun. Lots of sun and water. You could go swimming."
When the word 'water' is mentioned, Connor raises his head in alarm but then he remembers to relax and put away the tense shoulders. He shrugs, "No beach in Quor'Toth."
"Oh, of course - right. You grew up in - of course Quor'Toth wouldn't have. The beach," Fred mumbles uncomfortably, slightly pausing from her task to look at Connor with such obvious pity. Connor hated pity from anybody. But Fred was nice enough, so he doesn't say anything.
He only shrugs again and continues to polish his sword. "S'alright. I'm not fond of water, anyway."
In Quor'Toth, everything is dry and sandy and the skies are a permanent blood red. Father reads him one of his books he called the Bi-ble as he sips from the only edible source of water they could find. A river from a nearby settlement (now largely abandoned by people), which Father was unsure of, until he had swallowed up his discomfort and took a drink from it then presented it to Steven. To him, it was like Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding in Ca'naa.
But that is not the story that he tells.
"Now suppose two men are fighting and in the process they accidentally strike a pregnant woman so she gives birth prematurely. If no further injury results, the man who the woman must pay the amount of compensation the woman's husband demands and the judges approve. But if there is further injury, the punishment must match the injury: a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot, a burn for a burn, a wound for a wound, a bruise for a bruise."
Father pauses and looks at him with a shrewd eye, he shrinks from the gaze but he is confused at the tale. Did not Matthew the Gospel Writer say that "an eye for an eye" makes you blind?
"Father, that's wrong, is it not? Can something be gained from an eye for an eye? Did Matthew the Disciple not say that it will make you blind?" He asks inquiringly, lounging on a piece of rock and thanking the good Lord for helping them find this shelter. Away from demons and human looters.
"Nothing is as ever simple as that, Steven," Father replied quietly, patting him on the arm. Steven smiled at the contact. "An eye for an eye is sometimes the only way."
He was taken aback by this response. "But, Father - it - it goes against the Saviour's teachings."
Holtz shook his head, withdrawing his hand from Steven's skin. "Not necessarily. The world is not black and white, Steven. You still have much to learn."
"Father -" He tried to protest.
"Enough!" He uttered with a warning in his frail voice. "Not tonight, Steven. Get some rest. Godspeed, son and pray."
The memory blurs and shifts as he splashes water on his face. He's never had this before, not in Quor'Toth. Demons there had no need for nourishment, but his Father had enough tricks up his sleeve to survive for so long.
"Godspeed," He mutters to his reflection in the mirror at the demon's hotel. Revenge was not a foreign concept to Connor, in fact, it had been the fuel for which he had been bred to do. He now knows what he is; a tool for Father's vengeance. To carry out his wishes. Punish the demon and keep to the good. Sometimes, though, when Fred makes him sandwiches or when Gunn takes him out to hunt vampires, he almost forgets his mission. He forgets that they're a part of the problem.
"Hey, Connor, I have pancakes for you. I think this might be the first time you've ever tasted pancakes? I mean, I'm pretty sure Quor'Toth never had pancakes before..." Fred's excited, and doesn't bother knocking at the door. Connor had the urge to attack because all he can think is 'demon demon demon' until he realizes that the sand is gone and the dryness isn't there. Clean fresh air, cool blue tiles.
(Never let your guard down, son). He follows Fred to the lobby anyway.
The ocean crashes in waves along the shore and Connor watches indifferently. He wonders if it's as noisy for Angel down there as it is for him up shore. Or maybe not. Fish will be his only company after all, and who can talk to those?
He remembered what he said before he closed the steel door on him and Connor wondered if it was any different now that he's underwater. Does he still claim to love Connor? Even as he stands atop of the sandy shore and Angel lies in a prison of his own doing? He doubts it. His father had always told him that Angelus was incapable of love, regaled him awful tales of how his vampire parents roamed the world and slaughtered the innocent.
(Children your age were your father's favourite victims.)
(You mean - had God not seen fit to -)
(Yes, son. Such is the way of a demon, unfortunately. He's vicious, a true vampire to the core. Back in my day, his cruelty was legendary - so legendary that he came to be called the Scourge of Europe.)
He feels oddly hollow, like everything's been carved out of him and all that's left is a cold shell. He had always dreamed of this day, back when he was old enough to even fight, that he'd confront Angelus and send him to that pithole in Hell where he belonged.
The water licks the shore once more and Connor can only look at the sand and see blood red.