Sep. 2nd, 2007

Lost

Sep. 2nd, 2007 04:34 pm
abetterlie: (Default)
"The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of the things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost, that they might never have existed in the first place." The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon.

"How do you know they were ever real?"

It's a question thrown at him when he's busy fighting a mind-reading demon, an empath who couldn't be less like Lorne; Cordelia once had an unpleasant encounter with a representative with the species and nearly ended up blind, her seer's eyes put up on an auction.

"Your family, that perfect family your father had tailor-made for you by the people he sold his soul to. How do you know they were ever real? Maybe that is why they died when you asked for their memories of you to be removed. Because they had no life of their own before they were created for you. Ever thought about that, hm?"

Connor recognizes distraction in a fight; he's been trained by two fathers brilliant with tactics. He also has a vivid memory of Tony Chilton taunting him, and how getting distracted then allowed Chilton to live long enough for more innocent people to die. So he focuses, and the demon is soon dead. But the question, once spoken, haunts him and refuses to go away.

Of course, he has known that most of his memories of the Rileys, technically speaking, were not real and never happened, has known for years now. It didn't matter because they were real to him. But the idea that the Rileys themselves did not exist before Angel made his deal with Wolfram and Hart is obscene, and horrifying beyond belief. It can't be.

All the photo albums burned with the house. He looks up his dead sister's high school website, to find that they list names of past classes but only have the photos of the graduating students. He looks up his parents' obituary; surely, all that business with the police suspecting him last year must have ensured those old articles were kept around? Except that they weren't, which might or might not be because someone paid a lot to have that whole story vanish. He calls his aunt, but there is a stranger on the phone who says the previous owner of the house has moved, and refuses to hand over a phone number or address.

There are still his memories, both those from before graduating and after, with those after feeling no more or less real than before despite his awareness of the date meaning they actually happened. But his memories are deceptive, constantly intermingling, those of Quortoth with those from an idyllic California childhood, which they really shouldn't, and with what happened after, and who is it that loves the Simpsons, Kara or Mere, or both? Or either?

He can't recall Colleen Riley's favourite perfume anymore, and yet he must have given it to her for mother's day more than once. He can't remember. And if there is no one but him to remember, if that is really true, then he is killing them all over again, bit by bit, with every memory lost.

Connor dreams. Not of the Rileys. He dreams he's writing, a skill his father, the most relentless of his fathers, taught him by letting him draw lines in the red sand of Quortoth. He dreams he's writing in the sand, writing of what he still can remember, and the sea that never was in Quortoth, the sea he saw for the first time when Gunn and Fred brought him there, creeps towards him and annihilates every single line.

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