Nineteen-year-old Connor Lassiter stood on the sidewalk leading up to the home he'd lived in until he was sixteen, his head spinning as he remembered all the memories, almost seeing them happening as he relived them. The day he'd found that they'd been storked, the day when he came back from middle school, holding his first detention notice of many, the day he'd came back from school, not knowing his life was about to change forever when he would find the Unwind notice in his fathers' office.
When the sun finally cleared the horizon, Connor began to stride forward, not consciously making the decision, since he knew that if he did he would hesitate and go straight back to the Graveyard, where he'd filled in the position of leader that the Admiral had previously had. Right now, Hayden and Risa were filling in for him, along with a few older kids. While he would have liked to bring someone with him, he knew that this was too personal.
He'd come today for a particular reason. He wanted to talk to his parents alone, as in not having his foster brothers there. They hadn't been part of the decision to Unwind Connor, and probably didn't even know that it had happened until Dad or Mom had to tell them about Connors' disappearance. It was the first week after school was off, when he and his brothers would go to different sport camps, which meant it would be only his parents and him.
He took a deep breath as he faced the door, closing his eyes for a second. He reached out with his arm, as in the one that was his flesh and blood, like he had a million times. But instead of swinging open the door, he knocked, feeling like an outsider, a feeling he wasn't unfamiliar with. He ran his hand through his brown hair as he waited, hearing the padding of shoes on the stairs as he took a step back.
His heart felt like a hummingbird, a hummingbird whose wings could carry it a hundred miles a minute. If someone were a foot away from him, they could probably hear it.
The door clicked as someone unlocked it. The door swung open to a middle-aged brunette woman, her eyes and expression showing her to be in her fifties at the least, yet her face had no wrinkles. Maybe her skin had been replaced with a healthy Unwinds', or maybe she'd been treated with Botox.
"Hello? Do I-" She paused mid-sentence, her hand frozen on the door handle as she stared at Connor. Her bottom lip quivered as she shook her head slightly, "N-no, its not-it can't be… C-Connor? Is-is that you?" She whispered, her eyes glassy with unshed tears.
"Yeah, mom. It is." Connor said, stepping forward as his mother let out a cry of joy, throwing her arms around his neck.
"They said you were dead, that you died in the explosion-but oh, I am so, so sorry Connor!" She whispered, her tears soaking into Connor's white dress shirt that he'd worn for the occasion, and Connor knew she wasn't lying. He didn't know how, but he just… he just knew.
Connor didn't know what to feel. He wanted to yell, he wanted to cry, and he wanted to smile. But he didn't do either, instead just standing there stiffly, his arms at his side.
"Honey, is everything all right? I heard the door-" Connor looked up to see his father, staring at him with a expression exactly like his mothers. Confusion, guilt, shame, disbelief, and hope, "Connor, is that you?" Even though his father had whispered, Connor had still heard him. He nodded, stepping into the house, his mother still crying into his shirt, and closed the door behind him.
His mother pushed away, wiping her eyes and nose, sniffing.
"We-I thought you were…" His dad broke off, and Connor, while not feeling angry with his mom, couldn't say the same for his father.
"Dead. You sent me to my death after all, wasn't that what you expected?" Connor felt guilt and pleasure at his words.
"Son, I-I-" He sighed, looking at his feet, "I'll make some coffee for all of us. Take a seat." He said, going to the kitchen. Connor followed, so unsure about what to say, but so sure about what he wanted to say. But, as many had learned the hard way, there is a large gap between wanting something and actually doing it. The Heartland War was a lesson of this. While most had always wanted Unwinds so they could live a healthy life, they knew it was wrong and didn't do it, and no one had jumped the gap until after the Heartland War.
He didn't take a seat though. Instead, he stood, his hand folded behind his back. It was something he often did unconsciously when introducing himself to new Unwinds at the Graveyard, since the Admiral had done it himself when introducing himself to Connor when he had arrived with the others.
His mother kept on glancing between Connor and her husband, as if unsure who she should go to, before she just sat down at the cherry wood table.
"I'm fine." Connor said when his father offered him coffee, and instead of pouring three mugs, his father poured two.
"I really am sorry, Connor, I shouldn't have done what I did. If I had just been patient with you, gave you what you really needed, things wouldn't have been as bad." His father said, standing also.
"You caused some of the best things in my life to happen. I would never have been happy at home. That doesn't mean I feel any different about what you did, though." Connor said, thankful he had always had a gift for speaking to audiences calmly, whether he felt like he was about to explode with giddiness or die with humility.
"I don't expect to be forgiven. What we did was horrible; I should never have-" Connor cut him off.
"But you did. Stop saying 'I shouldn't have', or 'If I hadn't', because you didn't. You did what was easiest for you then, because you didn't feel like dealing with a kid who slipped in and out of juvey. I only came to settle my own personal score, not yours." Connor said, not caring if he wasn't giving them a chance. They had never given him a chance to redeem himself, why should he give them one?
"Settle it, then." His dad said, while his mother sobbed silently. He stopped himself from feeling sorry for her, since he knew if she'd felt sorry for him then he wouldn't have even been sent to be Unwound.
"I want you to know that I'm alive, and that I'm helping Unwinds off the streets and into a safe-haven, since all their parents don't deserve them and can't see how good they actually are, like mine didn't. I want to tell you that in ruining my life, you saved so many others." Connor said, and though he wanted say some many other things, he didn't. Instead, he threw down the letter he'd written when he was sixteen, the one he'd retrieved from Sonia, the one the expressed all his memories and feelings.
"Tell everyone I say hi." Connor said, not looking back as he closed the door behind him. Somehow, he knew that was the last time he would see that house.
As I said in the summary, this is a one-shot. I just finished Unwind for the second time, and I had to write this out. There are a few other versions of Connor and his parents meeting, but I hope this isn't too much like them.
I don't really mind if you review or not, I just wanted to get this out of my head. Hoped you enjoyed it anyways!
-Ash Colored Wings