I don’t own Buffy, Angel, or Criminal Minds. That’s Joss Whedon and Jeff Davis.Author’s Notes:
This was inspired by TouchoftheWind’s Ultimate Connor Family challenge. She also did the lovely banner. ;) Much thanks, Touch, for the hand holding.
Chapter OneMy first memory was of an alley, dark, cold, wet, and a man's large hands gently cradling me. It was not a gentle beginning but one won with blood and pain and death. My first memories might have been of cold, dark, wet, but my first thoughts were of a woman with a bright, loving smile and another woman with thin, yet sheltering arms. There was a man with fumbling hands yet a steady hold and another that whispered tales of Arthur, of legend. My first thoughts were of safety.
My first introduction to Others were a haunting lullaby and a lime green face with almost dainty red horns protruding from his hairline. And despite the tinge of danger that always accompanied him , that song never failed to wrap peace around me and send me to sleep.
It would be years before I got names to go with the faces. Onjel. Delia. Wynne. Chas. West. Green. Because a snarling man with rough, gripping hands hauled me through a doorway of swirling clouds and lightening and into hell.
And instead of lullabies and gentle hands, I was put to sleep with a malicious yet pleased litany.
“You are no angel, are you, son?”
… … … …
Connor woke, choking on air. God, he hated that dream. He’d written a book series to purge the damned thing from his mind but it still occasionally came back. Actually, every time he started a new book, it was like the dreams had to start at the beginning. And with each repeat, he got more and more details but he still didn’t know how it all ended. The first dream wasn’t the worst, not by a long shot, but it seemed to hurt the most. Hope and innocence shattered in that dream and Connor always felt as fractured as the boy he dreamed of.
He rolled easily out of his hammock and padded to the latch that would let the stairs to his attic bedroom down and he softly descended. He’d already woken Kevin, he knew that. The stairs always made a hollow thump in the hallway outside Kevin’s room.
Connor continued past, though, to the living room and curled up on the couch, wrapping a blanket around him until the top of his head and his eyes were the only thing that could be seen. He could never really get warm after the first dream, despite the fact that it was of hell and hell was always warm. But it was like he could still feel the rain from that alley, like that was his
memory and not one of a character that lived in his brain.
Kevin shambled in, glasses askew and hair in disarray; sleep still weighing heavily on him. “Which one was it this time?”
“The alley,” Connor mumbled, waiting until Kevin had sat down before toppling over so that his head was in his older brother’s lap. Kevin was used to Connor’s little idiosyncrasies, including the ‘personal bubbles may be breached in case of personal crisis’ rule. “And a little of the after part.”
Kevin winced and ruffled Connor’s hair, in that reassuring way he’d done for as long as Connor could remember. “It’s just a dream, Con. I remember you being born at Bethesda hospital and I can guarantee that those women you started drawing pictures of when you were just a kid? They’re not real. And you’re not crazy. You just have a vivid imagination.”
Kevin’s cell phone went off in the other room and Connor shifted so that Kevin could go answer it. His brother worked for the FBI and they’d only be calling if it was an emergency. “Go answer your phone,” Connor said, shifting so all of his face was visible. “I’m a big boy. I’ll be fine.”
Kevin studied him for a second before pushing to his feet. “Alright. Just remember you’ve got that thing with your editor today.”
Connor winced at the reminder. “A chat with fans, via chatroom. Thanks for coming up with that one, big brother.”
“Well, you could have to do signings,” Kevin called from his bedroom.
Connor slipped a clothes pin from the jar on the table and clipped it to Kevin’s laptop bag. He’d see if he couldn’t get one onto his shirt, too, without Kevin’s notice. He was wrapped up tight in his blanket again when Kevin came back into the living room in one of his, ‘FBI drone, yet still dorky’ outfits.
“I’ve gotta go,” Kevin said, grabbing up his bag and pausing to check on Connor one more time before he left. “Try to remember to eat an apple or something instead of just junk food.”
Connor stifled a snort but accepted the hair ruffle as Kevin passed, discretely latching the clothes pin onto the tail of Kevin’s shirt. They were getting low on laundry and if Kevin wouldn’t let him do it himself because of a little experimentation when he’d been ten, then Kevin could suffer the embarrassment of others finding clothes pins attached to him when they needed the laundry done. Never mind that thing when he’d been thirteen, bored, and just ticked enough to be spiteful.
As the door shut softly behind Kevin, Connor stretched out on the couch, pulling the blanket from the arm of the chair over until he was buried under a mound of blankets and burrowed into the pillows. Not only was it comfortable but it always made him feel a little safer. That was why he slept in his hammock, blankets three deep and heavy around him. Sleep wouldn’t come anymore that night, he knew, with Kevin out of the house at the Bureau and the first dream still fresh in his mind. But safety was always welcome.