Title: Before They Break
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Angel the Series belongs to Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt. Set between Seasons 3 & 4.
A/N: Reviews are Good. This has been a subtle hint from the author - Please return to your regularly scheduled reading.
The sound of dying things was his lullaby. Growing up, all that he can remember of growing up, the only other person - is Father. And Father was only really pleased with him, only smiled
at him, when he had successfully killed things.
It’s not like that here.
Fred smiles constantly even though he knows
she is having a hard time. Stretched thin trying to keep the place going, and the search to find Angel and Cordelia active as well (he tries to feel guilty for her
sake, because he knows how much it means to her – to both Gunn and her. But all that he can manage is that he feels bad that they are wasting time following leads that he is killing
, while they could be working on cases to make money).
Unlike Father, she gives him verbal encouragement and little touches. It had absolutely baffled him at first. The way she would brush his hair out of his face or place a hand on his shoulder as she talked. And she gets scared for
him when he puts himself in harms way on the hunt. Wants him to be careful
With Gunn there was always that mistrust. That moment of tension and hesitation. Connor respects that. Because there should be, he was keeping secrets – locked away down deep in the ocean. (Locked away down so deep, he hopes it will never get out and ruin this new life for him.)
But in those moments when it was just the three of them watching TV, he could pretend (just for a moment) that this – this was his family.
A bit unconventional, yeah. Sure.
But…..maybe Fred could have been his older sister. And after their real parents had died (probably demons, wasn’t that how it worked here, too?), she watched over him like a mother. Because she would have, Fred was always doing little things for him. Gunn was her boyfriend (who was the head of a group who hunted monster - soon they might let him join in more) who lived with them for years now – he might even propose soon. Then they could all be a real family….
He came awake on the sofa (the movie had ended
) with a gentle hand touching his forehead and Fred sitting beside him, watching him with a soft bemused smile. She was the only one who could get this close without him reacting violently.
And in that moment Connor wanted desperately for it to be real. Wanted it more than he had ever
wanted anything. For there to be no vampire parents, no hell dimensions, no Miracle Children – no secrets
Just to have a gentle touch and a soft smile – sandwiches and brash teasing.
Not….not blood, death, loneliness, and pain be all he has to relate to the term family.
He knew how to effortlessly kill so many demons he has lost count, but he can’t figure out how to capture what he really wants. This elusive feeling of warmth and belonging. Because he knows he will lose even the bit he has now eventually.
Secrets never stay secrets forever (even in a coffin under the ocean) and there is no way they will look at him the same afterwards.
“Come on, Connor,” she says almost whispering in the dark, still room. “Time to go to bed; the movie is over.”
And he doesn’t sulk or try to put up a fight this time, just nods. Because for him, he’s afraid, it might be. But, before he gets off the couch, he throws his arms around her and squeezes - careful not to hold her too
tight with his abnormal strength (it is hard to remember sometimes how delicate she is with how she can shoot a crossbow). And after a moment of surprise, (because he is never
the one who initiates contact unless he is attacking something) she wraps her thin arms around him as well.
Connor buries his head in her hair and inhales: markers, maple syrup, soap, taco grease, lavender and just Fred.
Sister, mother, friend – he doesn’t really know what she is to him. How he should properly define her. But one odd thing he has learned from this dimension (that doesn’t quite yet feel like home) is that you can make
your family sometimes. That it’s not always
about whose blood is in your veins.
is his family
And he knows he wants to take in as much of this feeling as possible. For those long nights after they learn of his betrayal. For when he will be alone again.
wants to forget this – this indescribable feeling of almost belonging (that he knows he doesn’t deserve). Of what family should
be. He never wants to forget her