abetterlie: (Default)
There is nothing like a splitting headache and waking up in a strange place. Note to self: aspirin best human invention ever, except possibly for emails. Alcohol hugely overrated. Also, I’ve got find a way to say thank you to Peter and apologize to MJ for crashing on her couch.

On the bright side of things, it did make me face up to the fact the “make exit for Harry’s own good once Harry is back” option is patronizing bullshit. It has to be his decision.

He keeps writing emails, and I’ve stopped imagining vampires and axe murderers around every corner on his way. Which seems to go through Kansas right now. I looked the city he wrote from up in the map, and then I looked up the easiest ways to get there, and then I stopped. I’m not a stalker. I’m not. Plus he sounds happy, you know. And makes plans for our future.

Bernard made me go through Harry’s fanmail with him. He said it was because security is my business and so on, but he never did that before, so I guess it had something to do with either whatever he worked out about the Chilton disaster. Or maybe with the hangover. Or both. Anyway, turns out Harry gets lots of letters from strangers which fall roughly in the following categories: a) requests for money, b) people wanting to get laid, c) threats/complaints from people who didn’t get laid. Though Bernard didn’t call them that. C) isn’t just about Harry, either. There were some letters from Bruce Wayne groupies because of the article the other week accusing him of corrupting the Sainted B., and letters from Lex Luthor fans threatening to kill him if Lex is next.

I’d say they make vampires sound harmless if I didn’t know better. My favourite was the one from the girl who had this entire theory about the Sainted B. having a secret relationship with the Bald One with Harry as their cover. The proof was apparently them wearing the same tie in tv interviews filmed within a week, or something. Harry was supposed to confirm this. I don’t think these girls are demons, but I’ll keep an eye open anyway.

Harry being on the road, the headmaster of the school he volunteered doing readings and stuff needed a replacement, so I went and read. It’s scary. Not the reading, the reading in front of kids. Plural, and lots of them. Very different from telling Emily stories. I don’t talking out loud in front of the class being that scary in school. Which just goes to show all my high school memories are fake, I guess. Anyway, the kids didn’t try to kill me for not being Harry. They did say they hated the book and threw stuff. Then they wanted to know whether I really was a psycho killer like their mom/older brother/sister had said I was and whether I could show them some knife tricks. It ended up by letting them tell me some stories about themselves. There were was one kid, Jamal, whose mother had just left his dad, and the headmaster later told me that was a good thing because the father beat his wife and kids, they just couldn’t prove it without the woman testifying, and she had always been too scared to. Jamal and his brother and two sisters wouldn’t, either. So now she had left, but didn’t really have a place to go to and the women’s asylum or whatever it was called is way overcrowded.

I remember living on the streets, after Angel kicked me out. I could defend myself. But I looked at those kids and knew they couldn’t. The headmaster said she’d probably go back because she didn’t have much money of her own.
So then I had this idea. About the penthouse Chilton had leased and lost when Harry bought the entire building. Which means it is empty right now. I went there, and used the override code from security to get in. It still smelled of Chilton and I felt sick. But it is huge, nearly as huge as the Osborn place. So I figured, what the hell. I looked whether there was any stuff about me or Harry and there wasn’t. There was an address book which I took, but other than that, not much personal items at all – not surprising, he hadn’t been there very long. I went back to the school, got the address from the women’s shelter, and tracked down Jamal and family. The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent persuading Mrs. Ortega – that’s Jamal’s mother – that I wasn’t an axe murderer, and then helping her and her kids move in.

They really liked Chilton’s stereo player.

Not sure whether to mention this to Harry in my next email yet. He sounded so happy in his last, and if I bring up the thing that nearly ate him, it’ll remind him just why he left, but it’s his penthouse.

Bernard just asked me whether I intended to move any more ghetto families into the building. I said this one needed a safe place to stay. He just gave me a look ™. Elizabeth, on the other hand, made cookies.

It’s late, but very warm. I think I’ll go to the Empire State, that’s high enough so the smog isn’t too much to see the stars. I really want to. Somewhere, Harry is looking at them, too.
abetterlie: (Innocence Drowned by Marciaelena)
The thing about being a murder suspect with a high profile runaway lover, lots of reporters camped outside and a staff inside who just went through losing a friend and know you have something to do with that and with the guy they raised like a son running away: opportunities to vent are really, really limited. Which could be a good thing. Last time I went and looked for a vampire to fight instead of patrolling to protect people I ended up with the one who did this to Harry and Mario Ribisi. And smashing the interior of the penthouse is sort of pointless, too. It might piss Norman's ghost off, if he's still around, but other than that. it would just mean destroying yet more of Harry's.

What I did on Saturday after going through the letter a couple of times was pretty silly, I guess, but it sort of helped. I took a pair of scissors from the kitchen and cut my hair and burned it in the fireplace. There's a practical reason hidden somewhere, something about not wanting to give someone an opportunity to grab it when I'm fighting, but I mostly did it because Harry has a thing about longer hair and made me not cut it for eons. Yeah, behold my maturity.

Then I thought he could be dead on a road somewhere, just like father, and I nearly threw up again.

Sunday was when the reporters, who still hadn't realized Harry wasn't around anymore, decamped for the most part. I had no idea why until Bernard put the Sunday papers on the breakfeast table with that look he has. Apparantly someone named Trixie Delight (is that a real name?) claimed to be bearing Bruce Wayne's love child and says she wants at least double the amount Prince Albert of Monaco has paid for his illegitimate children.

I so get why Harry wanted a break from this life, you know. Sometimes I think we should do what we joked about, making a tour around the world, and do it now, not when I finished college. A normal journey, not the jetsetting kind. But then I recall he wanted a break from me as well and that in any case I'm a violence magnet and what he wants most of all is a break from that. And that I am supposed to prepare to do the responsible thing once he's back, and leave.

It's just that his scent is here everywhere and I can't - I can't imagine being without it, yet.

Once the reporters had left for the Gotham side of the Force, there was phonecall from the police station where they had interrogated me the first couple of times. So off I went again. There was a new detective there, someone I hadn't seen before. A black woman in her 50s or something. She introduced herself as Lt. Vanessa Capote and said she had taken over the investigation. Then we had a little chat in the room I'm starting to get to know pretty well. Only this time there was no second cop present.

"So," she said, "Mr. Osborn left us a pretty extensive statement."

I said nothing.

"Tell you what, Mr. Riley. I'm either your nightmare or your lucky break, depending on how you'll play this. Let me give it to you straight. Half the guys here think it's a clear case of a rich boy and his taste for the wild side, and according to his files, he clearly has one. Masochist takes up with bad boy, bad boy carries game too far and kills bystander, masochist gets scared and runs after giving testimony that he hopes will be enough so bad boy doesn't come after him."

"Shouldn't there be two for a good cop, bad cop game?" I asked, because I thought that was where she was headed. I guess I should have made that phonecall to Alan Shore by now. I wanted to. Though I don't think he'll represent me. But there is that idea that maybe prison is exactly what I deserve, and that this would be option number 3, after quitting the fight or walking away again.

Then she did something I hadn't expected. There was a paperweight on the table, and she took it and threw it straight at me, at my head. So I caught it.

"Interesting," she said. "I had a friend once, Mr. Riley. Many years ago. She had those kind of reflexes, too."

"I'm into sports," I said, but she continued as if she hadn't heard me.

"My friend," she said, "was the reason I became a cop, and boy, that wasn't easy in those times for a black woman. She died in the subway. After some white guy had stalked her for weeks, at least that's what her kid told me. Nobody cared, except for me and the kid and a guy from England she was friends with. She was a black woman whose neck got broken in the New York underground. Big deal. Nobody bothered investigating. It wasn't like some rich kid was involved, after all. But see, my friend, she had made the neighbourhood safer for a while. When we were teenagers, there were a lot of deaths all around us. Sort of like Mr. Ribisi's death. And Nikki, she didn't look away. She tried her best to stop them, and she did, for a while. Are you with me, Mr. Riley?"

I thought I was. I just wasn't sure whether or not she wasn't playing me. And then I thought: what difference does it make?

"I'm sorry about your friend," I said. "Nobody deserves to die that way."

"Including Mr. Ribisi," she said. "So here's my question, Mr. Riley. As we haven't found any sign of the man the restaurant staff has described and nobody has seen him since. Do you think he'll do it again, to someone else?"

This was the point where I had to make a decision. If this was a game, she wanted me to admit to killing Tony Chilton, so that even if they couldn't pen Mario and the assault on Harry on me, they could nail me for Chilton, lack of body not withstanding. If she said the truth, if her story was real and she had been friends with a Slayer, then she wanted to know whether the vampire was still around looking for more victims, or staked.

"No," I said, looking straight at her. There was a long beat.

"I thought so," she said. "Now get your ass out of here, kid. And for Christ's sake, be a little faster next time."

That probably means I'm off the list of suspects. I guess. At least I haven't heard from the cops since.

Mario Ribisi's funeral was scheduled for Monday afternoon, and I figured I had no right to attend. So after that conversation with Lt. Capote on Sunday, I went to St. Patrick's and lit a candle for him. My father taught me prayers in Quortoth, and though I have no idea what I believe these days, they stuck with me. When I was done, I thought: please.

I don't know whether I meant "please let Mario be in heaven", because like I said, I don't know what I believe about that anymore, or "please let Harry be okay and not encounter an axe murderer wherever he is now" or "please let me know whether I should go or stay or what the hell is the right thing to do now".

I didn't get an answer anyway. But I got hungry on the way back, and bought some of those horrible New York sausages.

Also a reply of sorts.
abetterlie: (Default)
after this

As soon as Bernard hands you the letter, you know. When you actually read it, on the balcony because the sudden lack of air makes you nearly throw up, the words mix and mingle with two other letters, one written to you, one written by you, and it's hard, so hard, to keep them separate.

Dearest Stephen, this is a most difficult letter for me to write.

..You're probably going to understand what motivated this letter, but there is a good chance that you're going to be pissed off that you're being told in a letter instead of me in person...

Dearest Justine, don't tear the letter up before you've read it. I know you'll want to after anyway.

You mean more to me than anything in this world or any other.

...I love you. I told you in the hospital room that no matter what went down, that in the end I would always love you...

Thank you for being with me. I know what you think about lies, and how we all use them. But you're the most real person I've ever known.

by the time you receive this, I will be gone. I hope one day you will be able to forgive an old man's weakness, which compels him to say these things in a letter. But to attempt a good-bye in your presence would be impossible for me.

...the reason you're reading about it instead of hearing me tell you is that I'm not sure I would have the guts to awalk out of the door if I had to face you first...

I know I'm betraying the mission, but there is a Slayer in Los Angeles now, so there is someone to help people. I'm betraying you by leaving as well, but that's better than getting you killed, or hurting you again...

I'm comforted by that certainty and the knowledge that with him you will discover your true purpose and come to know who it is you are meant to be.

But I have to get away from Manhattan, and the life of Harry Osborn so I can figure out who I am on my own.

What happened with my - what happened wasn't a coincidence. It keeps happening, again and again. They all die. Everyone I care about. He said each time I get a family I destroy everything, and he was right. But maybe I can stop it from happening if I just go away.

Full circle. It always comes full circle. And the one thing that keeps you from jumping off that balcony, not to die but to hunt him down, because two hours is nothing, not to you, is that he did what you and your father had not. He promised to come back.

He also made it a question of need and trust not to follow him. That's another thing. He knows you so well, he knows that being told he needs something, being asked to have faith is what works invariably, every time, and for a moment you hate him a little for having that power. Then you think of him bleeding on a table with the corpse of his friend next to him.

That was all about you, baby.

It's not a suicide note, he isn't lying in an alley somewhere after having wished for his death, any more than you did when you started walking in Los Angeles. Though how would you know if he were? If he wasn't caught by the next mugger, never mind vampires and demons? You don't. Nobody knew whether you were still alive or dead, either, for three days, until you started sending brief email messages.

He had been your lifeline then, hope personified while you tried to figure out how the hell to exist with yourself. He hadn't been above pressing buttons then, either.

You know, Connor, I don't care about that other stuff. It happened and you can't change what has happened, but you can make a difference now. If you die or you give up on people then you give up on saving others. If you aren't around to fight the demons? Then who will be? If you aren't around to keep me from doing something stupid? Who will be?

That was almost a year ago. He would not write these words to you now. You two have changed positions, and it is the last thing you ever wanted for him.

Do you have any idea how frustrating and terrifying it is to know that the only reason you are slammed on a table and having your throat ripped away is because some psychopath wants to make your boyfriend hurt?

No, Harry, but I know what is to be an instrument. The only reason I exist was to bring Jasmine into the world. I was her instrument, and I was my fathers' to wreak vengeance on his enemy. It wasn't about me, either. Yes, I know it's not the same thing.

You talk to him in your head because he did not give you the chance to talk to him in person. (Any more than you had given it to Justine, and by the time Justine finally found you, there was little left to say.) Harry Osborn, who hates being lied to, who hates being ignored even more, who considers the fact Peter Parker left him to rescue MJ and never came back that night to talk as near to unforgivable, who told you to never hang up on him again after that early morning argument on the phone you had when you were in Vegas, essentially hung up on you. And what was that last sex but a lie so you would not realize what he truly had on his mind?

You know what it was. Same thing Cordy gave you. Some people call it "I want you to have something real". The rest of us refer to it as a pity fuck. Congratulations, son. Full circle indeed.

Thank you, Daddy.

It occurs to you that this kind of selfish thought train is exactly why Harry should be far away from you while trying to work through everything. It's not Harry's fault that you have tainted Manhattan for him. Or that you can't be to him what he was to you then. You're part of the problem. Not the solution.

Read the letter again, and try to think for a change. If Bernard has a way of calling him back in the case of an emergency, he keeps in contact with someone. Which means at least there will be someone regularly checking whether or not he's dead. If you try to find out who it is, if you try to track Harry down, you'll prove to him that you don't trust him at all, that he is incapable of not being a victim.

Consider something else. He promises to come back before Egypt. That gives you time to think as well. You can't restore the dead to him, or what was lost when Chilton nearly killed him. You can't even promise, credibly, that you will never fight another vampire again, and not just because of the part in you which craves violence. You have been given your second chance when so many died because of you, starting with a girl in white. All those Jasmine killed to nourish herself. A cop on the roof of a Los Angeles skyscraper, with a family waiting for him. Your parents and Mere. And now, in a way, all those victims Angelus and Darla claimed, because fate had presented you with the moment of the fall, two hundred and fifty years ago in Ireland, and you found yourself incapable of doing what needed to be done. The very least you can do is to use what freakish nature has given you and try to keep others from dying.

I think he knew that as long as he was Spider-man the rest of us were at risk. And he was right.

There is of course another option. The one you saw when you started your own walkabout, leaving Justine and Los Angeles behind, as it turned out for good. Something you can give Harry.

When I think about my dreams and the life I want to have, it doesn't involve hiding from the demon and the criminal of the week.

Say he's not lying somewhere in an alley, even now, dying. Say he comes back in a few weeks, as he promised.

Maybe then you'll be able to do the responsible thing, finally. The one you know you should have been doing all along.

To be perfectly honest with you, it's what I want to give myself.

But you can't, Harry. Not unless someone cuts out the taint in your life altogether.

You're not the one who should have been walking away.

I am.
abetterlie: (Default)
„Let’s go through this one more time, Mr. Riley. You just happened to show up at Mario’s because…?”

“I wanted to apologize for the incident the other week.”

“Where you pulled a knife on Mr. Osborn and Mr. Wayne.”

“I didn’t pull a knife, I used one of the knives of the table to cut a pizza and used too much force because I was upset, so it went into the table.”

“…naturally. You went there to apologize on your own instead of going with Mr. Osborn, whom you happen to live with, and who had left for the same destination only forty five minutes earlier.”

“I did not know that.”

“Naturally. And then you arrived and found Mr. Ribisi dead, Mr. Osborn bleeding and the culprit gone.”

“Yes.”

“But you did not check for other survivors.”

“I saw Harry was bleeding and in a bad condition. He needed medical attention at once. So I took him to the hospital. I didn’t have time for anything else.”

“Hm. Guess Mrs. Ribisi and the others were lucky that Spider-man just happened to drop by only a few minutes later…. You really expect us to believe all this?”

“Yes.”

****

“Look, Connor, I don’t know how to put this, but – well, you shouldn’t take part in the demonstration on Saturday. We just might get tv coverage this time, and some of the papers. And it would be just typical if they spotted you and asked whether psycho boyfriends who are suspects in murder cases are a really good argument why same sex marriages should be allowed. No offense, buddy, but with that article – no. Just no. We can’t risk it.”

****

“Mr. Riley, Mr. Osborn is sleeping right now. He doesn’t want to be disturbed. I’ll tell him you were here when he wakes up.”

“I can wait. I have brought some books along, so -”

“Oh, I don’t think so. There were more than enough visits for one day.”

****

“… let’s go through this again. You have no idea who the man in his late forties whom Mr. Ribisi and the others saw pulling a gun on Mr. Ribisi was?”

“No.”

“Mr. Riley, we just got an interesting fax from Las Vegas. Seems a young drugged woman was handed over to ambulance by someone matching your description. Guess whom she described has having drugged her in the first place once she recovered? A salt and pepper haired man in his late Forties. She claims to have some vague memories of driving around with you and him in a limousine. Any comment?”

****

“Mr. Riley, you remember the purpose of summer classes? As in actually attend? You are late again.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Any additional explanations?”

“Maybe he beat up his boyfriend again. Or stabbed another restaurant owner.”

“Nobody asked you, Mr. Elias. Mr. Riley, sit. Now, where were we? The Hittite period…”

****

“Let’s go through this again. You were at Mario Ribisi’s because….?”
abetterlie: (Default)
As vampires went, Tony Chilton was not particularly old; a mere century. So he was not surprised to encounter new experiences. Getting evicted by a snotty human kid determined to play with the adults was one he could have done without, but then again, it offered new opportunities to move his own current pet project forward. He went through the files he had accumulated, made a choice and decided to enjoy an Italian evening. After all, he was a paisan, of sorts, by virtue of having been bitten by one.

Around eight pm on Tuesday evening, one Mario Ribisi, owner of a small but popular restaurant, made a phonecall to one of his favourite patrons, Harry Osborn. He asked him to come, to help out, as Harry had offered, and he specifically asked Harry to come without the young man who lately had displayed an unstable temper by driving a knife in one of Mario's tables while dining with Harry and millionaire Bruce Wayne.

Mario Ribisi had no choice but to make the call, of course. Every word had been dictated to him by the man holding a gun to his head. After hanging up, Chilton dispensed with the mortal pleasantries and the gun; he had his Italian meal. Then he arranged the leftovers; Tony Chilton did love his displays.

The table had been set for Harry Osborn's arrival
abetterlie: (Default)
Playing happy family was exhausting as hell. It also led to weirdness, because Connor kept forgetting he was just pretending, was having fun for half an hour or so, and then was hit by a memory. Not, surprisingly, that often by a memory of Angel, or anything that actually had happened. The memories of what hadn't were the ones who flickered into his consciousness, and sometimes he nearly used the wrong names. Which wasn't the weirdest hing. That was when he actually did try to remember and at one point saw Kara, not Mere, at age 9 in the circus, talking about the elephants. But Kara didn't like the circus, and he had not known her at age 9, and he wondered whether he might lose his grip on reality altogether.

After magic shows and roller coaster rides were over and done with, he found out he was supposed to stay in one room with Angel while Darla shared one with Kara, and fled to the hotel business center to catch up with his email. There was one from Chilton, and Connor decided to call Harry, lateness of the hour or not, just to make sure he was okay. He didn't want to do so from the business center; it would be just his luck to have either of his parents show up there just when he started to talk. So he left the hotel again, reasonably sure he wasn't followed. He had just taken his cell phone out when a limousine stopped next to him. Slowly, he put down his cell phone. He hadn't come unarmed; there was a stake in his other pocket, and another bound around his ankle, hidden by the baggy trousers he wore.

Except that nobody left the limousine. Instead, the window went down. Tony Chilton sat in the back, as Connor had more or less expected when the car had stopped; what he hadn't expected was the young woman next to Chilton, eyes clazed over, obviously drugged, and smelling utterly, completely human. Chilton's hand kept circling her neck.

"Get in," the vampire said. "Passenger's seat."

He could do the human thing and cry for help. He could try to dive through the backside window that had just opened so Chilton could talk to him. But there was no way he could reach the young woman before Chilton broke her neck. Such a fragile thing, human bones. So very, very fragile.

You have a choice, his mother said in his memory, and her bloodstained face looked at him from the body of a terrified young girl.

Connor got in the car, passenger's seat. The Fyarl was driving.

"So," Chilton said, a low, baritone voice from the back while one could hear the sleep-addled breathing of the girl, "you suddenly had a change of heart and decided to trade in the Osborn kid before he trades you in? I'm wounded. I thought I had left the impression of being an intelligent man, and that ploy is really transparent. Though as covers go, playing family with that old has-been and his squeezes is at least somewhat imaginative."

"You're not a man," Connor said while the car sped up, trying to figure out how to provoke Chilton into leaning forward and taking his hands of the girl's neck. "You're just something that should have died a long time ago. And apparantly sucks as a demon as well, if you can't find minions in a less complicated way."

"Well," Chilton said, sounding amused, "there is complicated and there's interesting. You know, originally I thought you were just from one of the demon species who can pass as humans, but that's not what your blood smells like. Tell me, just how many vampires already had you?"

The Fyarl just kept driving. He didn't look at Connor at all. If he jumped him, he could get behind the wheel, but that still would give Chilton enough to time to kill the girl. No, he couldn't risk it. Better to go for the provocation attempt.

"Doesn't matter. That's another thing you'll leave behind when you stop playing human. All those pretensions to guilt."

"I thought you didn't want to turn me," Connor said.

"I don't," Chilton replied, matter-of-factly. "As you are right now, you have no problems with daylight, which is useful. Besides, you're one of us already, aren't you... and then there is something which every businessman knows, even such lousy specimen as your poor little rich boy in Manhattan."

"And what is that?" asked Connor, making himself turn around. Chilton still had his hand on the back of the girl's neck.

"Never try to change the act of a first class whore," Chilton replied with a thin smile. Connor said nothing at all. Tony Chilton's smile deepenend.

"You know that this is what you are to him, don't you? You're responsible for the instant gratification. That's all he wants, nothing else. The high-minded conversations take place in Gotham these days. Now, I'm the last person not to be thankful for trained personell. Tell you what - I'll tell you to kill the industrious Mr. Wayne as a first order, and I'll even reward you with a saved damsel in return. That's what you want most, isn't it? The permission to kill and to tell yourself you have no other choice. Not free choice. The freedom from choice."

Connor stared at him. Then his lips moved.

"I didn't quite catch that, Mr. Riley. My hearing must be in decline."

"Yes," Connor whispered. "That is what I want."

Lazily, Chilton extended his right arm to let his hand touch Connor's cheek.

"Now that can be..."

It wasn't a cunning move. It wasn't a long-practiced throw with axe or stake, it wasn't anything Connor had learned from either of his fathers. No Watcher ever would have considered teaching this tactic. It was, however, a move he had observed quite recently, patented and practiced by one Kara Marie Keating.

Connor slightly turned his head and bit.

Chilton was easily as startled and completely surprised as Angel had been and reacted by an outraged yell, as well as an instinctive drawing back of both arms. This momentarily freed the girl from his touch and gave Connor the opportunity to get in the backseat between them. The Fyarl snarled but apparantly didn't quite know whether to stop the car without getting orders. Connor grabbed the girl, kicked the door open and jumped out with her, trying to make sure his body shielded her from the road.

Landing on tar ejected from a car that was driving at 70 mph was a bitch, superpowers or not. So was trying to make sure one didn't get run over by the next cars. Las Vegas showed no signs of being less populated at 1 am than it had been at 10. But once Connor had made it to the roadside, that came in handy. So many people were shouting and yelling at him, including the driver of the next car, that there was no way Chilton would have escaped public attention if he had come after him and the girl now. Out of the corner of his eyes Connor could see the limo slowing, then speeding up again.

The shock of hitting the road had at least woken up the drugged girl, who had started to cry. He held her and realized he didn't even know her name.
abetterlie: (Default)
*locked*

I hate him.

I really, really do. Not because he's a vampire, or because he can be an asshole, because yeah, pott, meet kettle - because he's such a hypocrite. "Your sister" bla blah blah. This isn't about Kara. It's him wanting his pound of flesh for what I asked of him. Fine. Nothing is free. I knew it would put us both through hell when I asked. And that I'd owe him. But that's not how he plays it, no, it's all moral high ground and "you owe your sister to make a family trip to Vegas and have a go at playing smiling family harmony and what do I care that there is a psycho on the loose who could munch your boyfriend and his family in the meantime, you have to be here". He's hiding behind her and it makes me sick and I just -

Okay. I'm going.

Because I don't want to owe him anything. I'm even more sick of that. Plus he did make me think of something. Thanks, Daddy. I really should have thought of that before. The oldest thing in the book. You don't wait till the abomination hunts you, you hunt it yourself, and if that means you have to use bait, fine. Father and I did that, in Quortoth, when there were Shi'ar hunting us. I cut my hand, so they'd smell the blood, and lured them away from him. So I sent Chilton a mail, and I hope he does show up in Las Vegas. But not when Angel is anywhere near me.

Because if Angel takes him out and combines that with one more you suck, I rock lesson, I'm just about ready to stake myself.

Okay, reality check. Getting rid of Chilton is the most important thing. No matter who takes him out.

If it's not me, though, can't it be Kara? I'd be fine with Kara doing it.

Except then she'd be mad about me ruining her vacation. Okay, forget that, something is bound to happen that makes her mad anyway. But it won't be me. You want your exemplary son, Dad, fine, you'll get the complete brainwashed model. No arguments for the entire weekend. All smiles. Because I remember how to do that, and I could before your mindwipe, too, because even if you want to forget Jasmine, I don't. And that's something else where he's such a hypocrite. Family spirit, sure, except when it comes to his granddaughter. Free will, except if it comes to what makes him feel better, but he can't admit it's all about him, no, it's all "you ditched your sister".

Fine. They'll all get the hugs and smiles model, and the only violent thing is going to be staking Chilton when Chilton shows up, and then when he had his Norman Rockwell weekend playing Daddy with his two adoring kids I'll never talk to him again.

Rubbish. Of course I will.

God, I hate him.

*unlocked*

I'm in Las Vegas for the weekend. Anyone want any souvenirs, let me know.
abetterlie: (Default)
Connor's real birthday is in November, but this year will be the first time he'll actually celebrate it then. It was hard to measure time in Quor'Toth, nobody except Angel remembered in Los Angeles and he had lost his soul again by the time the date came along, and after the mindwipe, the newborn Connor Riley received a fake birthday anyway, courtesy of Cyvus Veil. July 4th, because Veil believed in irony. As this date was only one day after Kara's birthday, and as the Rileys were dead, Connor decided to abandon what had never been reality altogether.

The security chief of the building the Osborn penthouse was in asked him whether he'd be available on Independence Day; most of the staff wanted to be with their families, and Connor still earned some income of his own by working security anyway, so he said yes. The Bruce Wayne incident together with the fact he later got trashed by a vampire and his pet Fyarl for the first time in a long while had left him more shaken than he wanted to admit, and at any rate with the burning desire to work on responsibility and impulse control.

The later was put to a rather hard test when it turned out that the new owner of one of the other penthouses, who was throwing a party that night to celebrate his moving in in addition to the national holiday, was none other than Tony Chilton.

"Ah," he said with a smile when he saw Connor. "The very security man I had requested. How's the hand?"

There were party guests already arriving, dozens and dozens of them. Living, unsuspecting party guests.

"Oh, don't worry," Chilton said, following Connor's look. "This is a vegetarian night... I think. It depends on how security works, wouldn't you say?"

More and more people, and each of them said hello to their host with a smile. "See you later," Chilton said and mixed among the crowd, impossible to take out without everyone noticing. Connor would still have tried to if he had seen Chilton attack anyone, but so far, there were no signs of that. Teeth gritted, he did play security, looking for other vampires and discovering none. Everyone but Chilton had a pulse. Two hours and one drunken guest who had to be bounced out and thus was one less person to worry about later, he met Chilton again, this time in the floor of the penthouse after returning from throwing the lucky drunk out.

"Nice work," Chilton said. "I told you you'd work for me, didn't I?"

"As soon as those people are gone," Connor said. "You're dust." Quite apart from having gotten trashed a few nights ago, there was no way he could let a vampire stay in a house full of potential victims, including Harry and his staff. Chilton continued to smile as calmly and sincerely as Bruce Wayne had done.

"I don't think so," he said. "But I'm delighted you intend to be at my disposal after working hours as well. Harry Osborn must be really good with sharing, hm? Though then again, one hears he's already auditioning replacements."

The party took until four in the morning. As soon as he was sure the last tipsy guest and all the catering staff who as it turned out were only hired for the night had gone, Connor broke the next armchair he could find, took the resulting makeshift stake and looked for Tony Chilton. Who wasn't in the penthouse any more. He had left with one of the guests, in their limousine. The next day, the security chief gave Connor a note.

Another time, it said. Urgent out of town business. But I'll be back. After all, it would be a shame to let all that instinct go to waste, wouldn't it?

Mind games. He hated mind games. Connor tore up the note. It didn't help.

Thinking about vampires, mind games, disappointing people, failures to protect and things he should have done but hadn't, his thoughts ran in circles and inevitably arrived where they always tended to do when these factors were involved. With his father. Both of them.

The next day, he took the Thundebird to Boston and timed it to arrive just after sunset.

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abetterlie

July 2010

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