Title: Nights of New Gotham
Sequel to: Streets of New Gotham
Fandoms: Angel/Birds of Prey (Connor/Dinah)
Written for The Next Level Quickie Challenge (though not in response to any specific challenge/pairing) http://tnl.moonlitpaths.com
Disclaimer: Connor (and everything Angel) belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Birds of Prey doesn't belong to me either -- it belongs to Tollin/Robbins productions and WB Televison.
Author's Note: Timeline for this story: in the near future, after Dinah's 18th birthday and graduation from high school. Future Angel as well, and assumes that the Angel Investigations crew joined forces with the Scooby Gang and the Potentials do defeat The Beast, and its boss, the First Evil -- at which time the Hellmouth was destroyed.
Thanks to my beta Sin.
Seated across from Dinah in a booth in a little coffeehouse a few blocks from the police station, Connor sipped his mochaccino. Aah, caffeine. Hadn't been anything like that in Quortoth. "Did you always want to grow up to be a crime-fighter?"
Dinah smiled. She felt a strange connection to this cute Californian, like she could tell him anything and he'd understand. "It sort of runs in the family," she admitted, a look of sadness briefly crossing her face as she thought of her late mother. "I'm a meta, as you've probably guessed. My mom was, too. I didn't really know her as a kid -- I was raised by foster parents, who tried to convince me that my visions weren't real. Made me feel like I was going crazy. I couldn't take it anymore, so one day I left. Came to New Gotham, looking for the two people I'd had visions about since I was little."
"Did you find them?" Connor was captivated by her musical voice, and found himself wanting to know her life's story. It was like they were connected, in a way that was beyond both of them. Like he could trust her with his life, tell her anything and she'd understand.
"Yeah, I did. They were crime-fighters, fighting against the city's criminal underworld. They took me in when I didn't have anywhere else to go... trained me... made me the woman I am today." Shaken by her sudden confession to a near-stranger, Dinah took a sip of her mochaccino. "What about you? Did you always want to be a vampire fighter?"
"I was raise somewhere far from here... far from L.A. ..." At her quizzical look, he shook his head. "Trust me. You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Dinah raised one eyebrow. There was a lot she'd believe. How bizarre could his childhood be?
"I came back when I was seventeen. I...hadn't been around people much. But I came to Los Angeles, looking for my real dad -- to kill him."
Dinah's eyes widened. Connor had gone to Los Angeles to kill his father? That didn't seem to fit with the good, kind young man in front of her.
"See, I was raised by this man, Holtz, my father's enemy. He taught me that my father was evil, that he'd destroyed both of our lives, and that he needed to die -- because he was a vampire." Connor smiled ruefully at Dinah's look of disbelief. "Yep, I'm not really meta-human, not exactly. I'm who I am -- what I am -- because I'm the child of two vampires. My mom died when I was born, but my dad...turns out he's not evil after all. Well, not usually. He's got a soul. Fights against the very vampires, demons, and forces of darkness he was once a part of."
"You didn't kill him."
"No. But that doesn't mean we get along."
"Connor..." How did she say what she needed to say? "Don't wait until it's too late to make peace with your dad. I hated my mother for abandoning me, leaving me with that foster family. She didn't want me to follow in her footsteps, fighting crime, and I couldn't see myself doing anything but." Her eyes welled up with tears, thinking how much she would have done differently if she'd known she would only have a few days with her mother.
"What happened?" Connor reached across the table and took one of Dinah's hands in his, gently stroking the soft skin.
"She died. Just a few days after we met again. She gave up her life so that we could live." Dinah looked up, staring at the ceiling, the walls, anywhere but at Connor. She knew if she saw the sympathy in his eyes she'd break down, right there in the coffeehouse. "If only I'd known..."
"You didn't do anything wrong, Dinah. You did the best you could. I know you would have saved her if there had been any way to do it."
"The things I said to her..." She felt tears trickle down her cheek, despite her best efforts to suppress them.
"You had no way of knowing that she was going to die."
"We made peace. She understood that this life, that using my meta-human powers to fight crime was something I had to do. But it hurts. We should have had more time."
Connor sprang up from his side of the table and sat down next to Dinah. He pulled her into his arms and settled her head on his shoulder, holding her as she silently cried.
"I never knew my mom," he began. "Her name was Darla, and she met my dad back in the 1700's. Made him a vampire."
As he spoke, her tears slowed, then stopped. His story fascinated Dinah. His mother and father were actually alive hundreds of years ago. She'd never heard of anything so extraordinary.
Connor smiled as Dinah calmed. His story was having the appropriate effect. "They had an on-again, off-again relationship for a couple centuries. Then she got pregnant with me. Wasn't supposed to be able to happen - everyone knows that vampires can't have children. But there was this prophecy, and my birth was destined to fulfill it."
"Yeah. My life isn't like anybody else's."
"How did your mom die?" Dinah asked.
"She was evil. Didn't have a conscience or a soul, but somehow, while she was pregnant, my soul started to influence her. She loved me, like she'd never loved anyone before. But vampires were never meant to have children, and there was something wrong. I was dying. I wasn't going to make it through labor. So, to make sure that I would survive, she ended it. She staked herself, and I was left behind, alive and screaming in an alley."
"She loved you so much she was willing to die to save you."
"Yeah." He hadn't meant to tell her so much, but somehow, it seemed right. "Just like your mom loved you so much she was willing to die to save you."
Dinah sniffed, wiping away the last of her tears. She lifted up her coffee cup for a toast. "To our mothers."
He reached across the table, picked up his cup, and clinked it against hers. "To our mothers."
They sipped in silence for a few minutes, Dinah still curled up in his arms. "So," she began. "How long are you staying in New Gotham?"
"I don't know." He shrugged. "As long as I want. I hadn't planned on staying very long at all, but now..."
Dinah smiled. "Do you have a place to stay?"
He shook his head. "Not yet."
She stood up, setting a handful of change on the table for the waitress' tip. She held her hand out to Connor. "Come on. You can stay on our couch."
He took her hand, and followed her out into the night.