abetterlie: (Son of a beastie new version by bohemian)
[personal profile] abetterlie
Getting a dose of something the cops called "fear gas" later when they explain about some lunatic from the local asylum who apparantly decided to crash Harry's birthday party, would have produced a least favourite memory even if nothing had actually happened. If he had just been stuck with hallucinations and a bad headache afterwards. But something did happen. Something real. Not dreamt, not hallucinated, real.

Connor can still remember the sudden smell of blood, and the realisation. That she was alive, that everything previous might have been a trick, fear made flesh, but not this. Not the stak going into her arm because she blocked it from going straight to her heart.

The other thing had been real, too, the secret Kara told him, and he has no idea how to handle either. He talks with Harry about the seeing Kara sired by Angelus and staking her part, which help but also leaves him with some unsettling realisations. So he decides to go to Los Angeles. There are other reasons, too - all those recent attempts by someone to kill Darla, for one - but mainly he thinks he owes Kara a longer explanation than "I'm so sorry" and "Cordy saw it, too".

She wanted him to be "genuinenly nice" to his parents, so he gets into Connor Riley mode once he arrives at the Hyperion and makes sure he's not alone with either. He can do nice. He can. So he does what Connor Riley would have done for Mom and brings a present for Darla, whom he figures must be stir-crazy by now, a collection of poetry by Pablo Neruda because her friend the annoying Immortal had said it reminded him of her, and a list of new security systems available with Osborn money for Angel. High tech isn't heroic, but onsidering the assassination attempts so far have been non-supernatural, it just might be more useful than magic.

He keeps up being just Connor Riley - who would never have staked his sister even if he had thought she was a vampire, because Connor Riley wasn't a psychotic raised in a hell dimension - until he manages to slip away to the roof, hoping Kara caught the signal (and remembered the bit about the roof being a good place to be, with and without turtles). Hoping she'll show up, full stop.

On the way up, he studiously avoids the suite that used to be Jasmine's, the room which used to be Cordy's (who has a new one now), and the one where there are still a lot of clothes from people who died to nourish the Devourer. He remembers bringing them there a little too well.

Date: 2007-03-31 07:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kara-marie.livejournal.com

Kara has taken note of the roof as a good place to be - although not for turtles, they are INDOOR TURTLES, Connor. And as such she has done what any young and reasonably intelligent woman would do with an abundance of roof space... she's set it up as her own personal leisure area - complete with a deck chair (a bargain on eBay!) and umbrella (came with the deck chair!) but sadly no pool. As it gets warmer she might have to fight Cordelia for the deckchair.

"Did you bring me presents?" She says from behind him. "I'm the one you tried to kill after all. Though I don't know Hallmark markets a card for the 'Sorry I tried to slaughter you' moments. Still, speakers for my iPod might go some way to make some amends."

Date: 2007-03-31 09:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abetterlie.livejournal.com
He has presents, though not speakers. Nobody told him anything about speakers! And Kara cancelled out the chocolate eggs due to chocolate dislike. Which is why he bought this instead:

Image

"Happy almost Easter," he says, putting it on the deckchair. "I, um, didn't know you needed new speakers."

So. How to start the long and convoluted explanation about his track record of killing his nearest and dearest, training to stake if at all demonic, and that disturbing core of the whole event, the full extent of just what he saw under the influence of fear gas?

"About what you said to that Mike guy in your journal," Connor says, in lieu of a careful, sensitive lead-in into this topic. "I did try to stake Harry two Halloweens ago when he had this vampire spell thing going on. And you know I tried to stake Angel."

Because clarifications about Kara not being the only potential victim of slaughter should make her feel ever so much better.

Date: 2007-03-31 09:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kara-marie.livejournal.com

In actual fact the only chocolate Kara eats is Easter Chocolate. Shapes as bunnies, not eggs. She loves her some Easter Bunnies. It has to be shaped like a bunny. She eats it so slowly that by the time she's finished it has all turned white and she never shares it. It tends to drive everyone else, who had finished their Easter chocolate a month ago, insane.

She picks up the bunny and lays down on the deck chair, letting it sit on her stomach. Connor was right, it is nice up here, even when the sun has gone down and there is no sunbaking to be done.

"Did you stake him well enough to slice his arm open?"

She knows he didn't.

"Or was that attempt somewhat more half hearted?"

She turns the bunny so it faces Connor and moves it as if it's talking to him, her voice high and squeaky, somehow the voice a bunny would have if bunnies had voices ---

"Did you want to stake the Harry as much as you wanted to stake the Kara? Did you, Connor? Easter Bunny wants to know. Easter Bunny thinks you didn't. Easter Bunny thinks you were looking for fucking excuse. But Easter Bunny forgives you. Sometimes he wants to stake the Kara as well."

Date: 2007-03-31 10:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abetterlie.livejournal.com
There had been nothing half hearted about the attempt, which had involved considerable violence before the spell broke (as evidenced by Harry walking around looking beaten up for a good while later, because with the spell went the vampire healing ability), but it had not been immediate, and what had come before had not been just violence but - no, don't think about that now, and Kara really doesn't want to know about that part anyway. Besides, all of this is beside the point, and if he gets into an explanation about how much he did want to kill Harry-turned-Dracula back then - and what else he had wanted - it will serve no purpose but hurting her and offering a distraction from what he has to confess, and actually has even more difficulties saying.

The point being.

"You weren't all I saw that night", Connor says, and sits down on the tiles, thought the warmth left by the sun during the day is hardly lingering. He doesn't look at her, he looks at the bunny. "And I didn't just see you as a vampire. What I saw once that gas kicked in was Angelus siring you. I went for him first, but he actually was someone else, I guess. I couldn't hurt him in any case. And then I saw you again."

Date: 2007-03-31 10:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kara-marie.livejournal.com

"I like the bunny,"

She says, looking at the toy as well. Easier to speak to this soft mound of fake fur, void of feelings or history than Connor who is loaded with an excess of both. She focuses on it's ears, playing with them, using them to cover its eyes and then reveal them, not even aware she's doing it.

"And then you tried to kill me and would have done a totally good job of it if I'd been drinking or whatever. I mean, Connor, the fact is if my reflexes had been off at all you would have got that thing right into my heart and we wouldn't be talking right now."

Open, shut. Open, shut. The ears move back and forward.

"And - I think what really gets to me, y'know, is y' didn't even hesitate. You just drove that stake right in, even though you knew it was me. You just went for it without even hesitating as if somewhere under the surface you'd always been waiting for the excuse, for any reason to hurt me. And people think I'm being melodramatic and all with the dramarama - they want me to say: It was the drugs, they made him crazy. But you didn't feel crazy to me, you felt like you were seeing what you wanted to see and doing what you wanted to do - and you really wanted me dead, Connor. And I don't think even at the worst of it that I've felt that kind of hatred for you - although I would have liked to break your face at that party. But I don't think I could kill you so coldly like that, y'know? Do you know? And whatever you say, would you really kill Harry so coldly? Or Cordy? Or... Mere?"

Date: 2007-03-31 11:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abetterlie.livejournal.com
There was nothing cold about it whatever. Whether this makes things better or worse for her, he doesn't know. And he doesn't know, either, whether he's relieved or disturbed she missed the point of what he just tried to tell her.

"I'm a killer, Kara," Connor says, going for the most simple aspect in the entire mess first. "I know you think the Slaying business is the same, but it's really not. You've been doing this for what, three years. I really can't remember a time when I didn't kill. Well, I can now, of course. But in a fighting situation, I go back to what I was. When my father died - when my first father died - he was really literary everyone I ever loved. But I thought he had been sired, and I cut off his head with my own hands. And if he had been sired, and I had shown up too late to behead him - I would have staked him. He'd never have forgiven me otherwise."

All of which is true, and contributed to his reaction, but it's still not really what she has been asking.

"You," he says, "you think it's cold? Or that you have to hate someone to kill them? To hurt them? Well, I guess that's one way. It's not why I tried to stake you. I did try to kill Cordy once, you know. Well, twice, but the first time was before I really knew her. The other time was in the mall. If Angel hadn't shown up, I'd have done it, too. There is a reason why he had me mindwiped."

Okay. He tries again, talking about what had shook him most to realize in the aftermath, other than the awareness Kara could be dead. His knees are drawn up, and his arms are around them. So. The confession. Which isn't what she accuses him of, and yet it is, or maybe it is the same thing, and they're just using different terms.

"If it had been Mere, it wouldn't have worked. That - what I saw. Maybe with Harry. Because I'd have known it couldn't be real - he wouldn't have sired Mere. Maybe Harry, if he was Angelus, yes, I think he'd do that just to show me something, but that wasn't what I saw. I saw you because I know he'd do it for you, and he might even if he didn't lose his soul before. And he'd do it for you because of you, nothing to do with me. I - afterwards I wondered if it happened for real. Because it could, and not just with him. Because you're you, and you still don't get what a vampire is. And I think - if Drusilla did it. Or your pal Harmony. If they sired you. I'd try to find some witch to slam a soul in you or something first. Or lock you up and find something else so you don't kill people. But if Angel did it. If he sired you - then I think I wouldn't need a drug to try it again."

Date: 2007-03-31 12:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kara-marie.livejournal.com

She listens, but she doesn't understand what he's saying. Not much of it anyway. She's trying to follow the complicated relationships, family, that Connor is working through in his mind. But she can't understand, not really, or she doesn't want to, because part of her comes close to thinking of how her father looked lying on that hotel floor as she realised she was the one hitting him.

But that had been the heat of passion, and yes, she'd hated him and loved him and hated him. So she still doesn't understand how that moment could happen if not in anger.

So she latches on to the familiar and known: Angel. The confession. Because she's always suspected that much.

"Connor,"

And the surprising thing is part of her is trying to comfort him, to assure him his own fears aren't true.

"You've already proved it once, that you could take someone from me if you wanted to - that you could take them without even much of a fight. Someone I had so much more claim to, that you had so much less claim to than Angel. So you shouldn't doubt that you could do it again, you should feel comfort in the fact that we both know you could - you already proved it. Isn't that, like, enough for you? I already know where I stand, Connor, you don't have anything else to prove. You staked your territory - no pun intended - very effectively. Okay?"

Date: 2007-03-31 01:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abetterlie.livejournal.com
That's the Kara-ness of her, that does not remind him of the dead girl he remembers as his sister at all, because Mere would have - no, can't imagine Mere in that situation. But it's the part of Kara which constantly pushes and pulls him, and usually makes him want to simultanously hug and cradle her and take her by the shoulders to shake her, screaming at her that she should get her bloody defense up instead of showing mercy.

There is a circle of emotions going on which has been ever since California: he's guilty in regards to Kara, both because of the Harry matter and because the jealousy vis a vis his parents, particularly Angel, which he knows he has no right to feel. Because he's guilty, and because his mind tells him that if anyone needs unconditional love from a parent, it is Kara, he tries to surpress any negative emotions he has towards her, telling himself he has no right to feel those, either. Which in turn leads to nightmares and lethally dangerous visions triggered, but not caused, by fear gas. Which lead to more guilt.

On the other hand, guilt and barely surpressed jealousy aren't the only feelings she triggers. He looks at her now, not at the bunny any more, tiny wiry her with her reblonded hair and her willingness not to stake him in hypothetical scenarios and her assurances regarding Angel, and he wants to run away to the circus with her again, in some imaginary childhood neither of them had. He should have brought the eggs anyway, no matter what she said about not wanting them.

"Okay," he says, though he knows it really isn't that simple, and looking at her, he wonders whether she knows Harry would marry her tomorrow once he finds out about her pregnancy, not inspite of but especially because of who the father is. But the whole Harry question is just a side aspect here, and he wishes he could just get rid of all that arises inside when he imagines Angel spending the rest of eternity with her, and be something more like the brother she deserves.

If your right eye offends you, plug it out.

But the only one who could do that with emotions had been Jasmine, and even she could never do that with him.

"Before that happened," he says abruptly, trying to convey to her that he does love her somehow, though he doubts she'll believe him more this time than the other times, "the gas thing, you just swept me away by the way you were at that party. You were like you could take on the world -"

Read: ex boyfriends and unworthy brothers.

- "and smile. And you were the only one who had the sense to wear jeans. I wish I had."

Date: 2007-04-01 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kara-marie.livejournal.com

"I think that's all anyone does, no matter who they are and no matter what that means - everyone just takes on the world one day at a time, until, well, eventually it gets the better of them. It gets the better of everyone in the end, the world is much older and much uglier than us, you can't hope to beat it, I guess people just go as many rounds as they can?"

Though, she had been quite proud of the way she'd handled herself at the party, too. She'd smiled and she'd been nice and she'd kept the double meaning and insults and reminders out of everything she said. And that it had taken less effort than she thought it would, that was the real source of pride.

"But you know what Marge Simpson says: It's what shows that counts. Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down, past your knees, until you're almost walking on them. And then you'll fit in, and you'll be invited to parties, and boys will like you, and happiness will follow. That's what Marge Simpson says. You should think about that, Connor, it might help you."

Except Connor probably doesn't know what Marge says, which, if Kara thought about it, she would probably decide is possibly half his problem in life.

Date: 2007-04-01 12:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abetterlie.livejournal.com
Connor has missed out all of Marge's sayings; Cyvus Vail wasn't a fan, and in real life, he managed to miss The Simpsons as well. But he's all with the pushing feelings down principle; only he calls it being Connor Riley and cutting Stephen out. On the other hand, Kara's approach sounds a little less schizophrenic and a little more common sense.

"I think I've had my share of parties for a while," he says. "But you should go to some more. Without crazy people. When people stop trying to kill Darla, you should, you know. Let Cordy show you all the clubs here and party."

He hesitates, then asks: "How long did it take for your arm to heal?"

Date: 2007-04-01 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kara-marie.livejournal.com

Of course, Marge's own methods often ended with with spasming at most inconvenient times. On crowded highways. On airplanes. But Marge had the hair to get away with it.

"It wasn't so bad, just a day, not so bad at all - lucky it was me and not someone else. Someone else could have been scarred, and not just emotionally --- then you'd feel so guilty."

Kara has had enough of parties herself. Enough to last a lifetime.

"I'm too young for clubs."

She reminds him, not that it has ever stopped her before. But things are different now. She doubts she'll be going dancing.

"And when people stop trying to kill Darla it will be because she's dead."

Date: 2007-04-02 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abetterlie.livejournal.com
"You're too young for a lot of things," Connor says, and it's true. Too young for the Slaying gig, too young to have had her heart broken several times over, too young to have already tried to kill herself.

Definitely too young to have a child, but he can't say that to her, even if she would want to talk with him about it, which she doesn't. He moves a bit closer to her chair.

"Someone else would not have been my sister." And would definitely be dead, because they wouldn't have been able to block him before he snapped out of it. But it's not like you can trade one kind of guilt for the other, or want to. He is aware that he has a track record of being willing to trade stranger's lives for the well-being of his family anyway. Though Kara probably doesn't believe she is included in this.

He wonders whether he should give her the party line regarding Darla and say what Angel would say: that the other people, once found, will be the ones to die. But it's not what Connor himself believes. Oh, he thinks it will be possible to track down the current threat. But his mother, like his father, has made enough enemies to last for the rest of whatever mortal life remains her.

If Darla had been there, at Harry's party, if she had been the one he tried to stake, she would be dead, he thinks suddenly, and remembers the girl wearing her face at the moment of death, the blood splattering on him. It's so much easier to kill than saving lives. And to figure out a way to live with each other, that's most difficult of all.

"But that can be many years from now." Can be, not will be, is what he ends up with.

Date: 2007-04-02 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kara-marie.livejournal.com

"Maybe,"

She replies. She shrugs. It's dark, and she's thinking she's glad he can't see her face. Talking is easier when you can't see quite so clearly.

"If this all goes bad - and I tell myself it will work out, but we both know things don't usually work out the way you want them to, they work out, sure, but not the way you wanted - and if this all goes bad, they'll both be gone, I guess, because he'll try and save her and if he doesn't, if he fails, then he'll be gone and then she will, too."

She's thought it through, the possible scenarios, this is the worst one, yes, but not the most unlikely.

"I don't think this can end well. But when it does, I don't know that there would be enough left to - I just can't imagine you still thinking of me much at all, except as that person who you fucked over that time and then you'll feel guilty and it will hurt for so many reasons and so you'll think quickly about something else and you wont think of me at all. I like to think it will be different, but I don't know. I don't think it will."

Date: 2007-04-02 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abetterlie.livejournal.com
He can see well in the dark - not as good as a vampire, but better than your avarage human - but he's not looking at her right now. Instead, he's looking at the sky. Not at the stars, because this is Los Angeles, city of smog, and you don't see the stars during most nights. You see the moon, though. Through the smog.

It's his worst case scenario as well, but he hasn't thought it through, because he can't. Not so much the death of his mother; having grown up with the awareness that she was dead makes a difference. It probably shouldn't, but it does. It makes the idea scary, but not unthinkable. No, it's Angel gone he refuses to think about. Ever since understanding what God and Holtz meant him to do, he has, of course, contemplated Angel's final death in a lot of ways, but never the aftermath. After actually coming to know Angel, with all the emotions that triggered, it became even more impossible to consider. He remembers sitting across from Angel and thinking: He thinks he's going to die. He wouldn't be here otherwise. He thinks he's going to die.

That was why he went to Wolfram and Hart, just in time for the Angel-Hamilton showdown. Because the idea that Angel could one day not exist anymore was something he absolutely couldn't think through, couldn't bear, and was prepared to throw his new life away for in order to avoid it.

"He saw her die twice," Connor says, unaware that it was actually three times Angel saw Darla die. "If - if it happens again - the first time he stuck around for a Slayer, right? And the other time he stayed for a child."

He doesn't say "for me", though of course this is what he means; it's just that he still has trouble reconciling the baby in the photos that show Angel happy, fussing and cooing with himself.

"You're both." A Slayer and his child.

"He'd stay for you. And he'd stay for me. He wouldn't leave us."

He turns around while still sitting on the floor, lifts his left arm and puts the hand on the arm of her chair. "Sometimes when I think of you I feel guilty - okay, lots of times. But sometimes I just think of how we went to the casino in Vegas, or how you should eat more because you're still too thin, or about whether I should give you the last season of Gilmore Girls on DVD for your birthday, because I don't know whether you still like the show so much, or about wanting to try out the trapeze with you. And when my new boss leaves notes for me because he went out for a drink and half of them are in capslocks, I think of you first thing, and I think of you when I eat Chinese food which is really weird because we never ate Chinese food together, but I do anyway."

This would be because of the Kara-ian expression "I'm taking you down, down, down, down to Chinatown", but he has other things on his mind now than to correctly identify the association.

"I can't imagine not thinking of you."

He doesn't say "if Angel and Darla are both gone, you know you could live with me and Harry, except Cordelia would insist you live with her instead", or "I could move back to the Hyperion and live with you for a while" or "considering that you told me you're pregnant, I'd do the decent thing and step back so Harry can marry you and give you a new family", because such a scenario would involve the death of both parents, and he really can't admit that as a possibility, or think about it. He just can't. Darla will die, sooner or later. Much later, he hopes for much later. But she will die. Angel will never die. Never.

Date: 2007-04-03 10:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kara-marie.livejournal.com

"You know,"

Kara says, leaning right back and looking up at the sky.

"When I was a kid I'd tell people about my dad, I'd say he was away on business, doing important things, that he was a very important man. That was always - he had to be important you see. He's very busy because he's very important - and I'd tell people about him, other kids mainly, and I'd describe him to them."

Her hands rest on her own stomach, not that there is anything to be holding and it's hard to tell if it's a concious gesture or not.

"And now when I look back I realise the person in my head that I kept talking about wasn't like my dad at all. Not at all. But he was just like him."

Well, maybe not just like him. Some obvious demonic differences.

"I made some cookies before. They'd still be just warm if you want them."

She says, randomly.

Date: 2007-04-04 07:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abetterlie.livejournal.com
He thinks about Angel as Kara's ideal father, and at this moment, the thought doesn't come tainted with jealousy; instead, it feels like putting a coat around her to keep her warm. Which is a stupid image, given that hey're in California and not in Boston anymore, but it's the one his mind produces. He also wishes, right at that moment, that Angel would hear Kara saying this, because he knows how hard Angel tries to be a father. But confessions like these aren't for parents to hear.

"I thought about what he was like my entire life," Connor says, "and then when I met him, he wasn't anything like that at all."

"Cookies would be great," he says, getting up, and holding out his hands, though she of course can get up on her own.

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