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Moving to Savannah was a great idea, all in all, but it's still new territory, and I don't know the streets, plus I have no idea who the local bigwigs in the supernatural world are. I mean, I met a few vampires whom I staked, but just the usual type. Anyway, this makes things difficult when you try to find an Oracle.

Finding Cordy and helping her still feels a bit unreal. I'm so happy she's still alive; and then I also want to hurt Wolfram and Hart, badly, for doing this to her. But most of all, like I told Harry, I can't stop thinking about the child. Last night I dreamt of Quortoth again. That hasn't happened in a while. Only I wasn't me, I was Father. And there was Emily, and I bound her to a tree, and she cried with Jasmine's voice, and I told her it was for her own good and then when I looked back at her it wasn't Emily or Jasmine, it was a baby I had never seen, and I knew it was Cordy's.

So I have to find out. Whether the baby is alive, and what they did with her. Harry gave me the tip with the tarot reader, so that was where I started today, at the occult shop down in the square. Cue lots of touristy stuff but also some things I think Wesley had back at the Hyperion, and I remembered all the rituals, and how I always hated magic. Lots of incense, too. The smell nearly made me sick.

I asked for the tarot reader, who was a Mrs. Dupont, big woman, around fifty, and she took one look and said she wouldn't read the cards for me.

"You shouldn't exist," she said. "You know that, right? It's bad luck, touching the destiny of someone who shouldn't exist. Something. Something made of dead things, which should be dead. Unnatural."

I said I didn't want to know my future, I needed to find an Oracle. "Not just a seer. An Oracle who speaks for the Powers," I said, and felt stupid, plus I was sure she'd think I was just a tourist looking for some mumbo jumbo. At least she probably wasn't a fake. Given what she said to me. Or she had made a really good guess.

"Ah, but there aren't many Oracles left," she said. "There is a war, don't you know. They want something from me if I dare to contact them. Why should I give anything, hmmmm? What would you give me?"

Figures, I thought, Harry was right, and offered half of the cash I still had, because I thought I'd need the other half for the Oracle. If the Oracle was anything like the last one, that is. Mrs. Dupont snorted.

"You're not serious," she said.

"I get get more," I said, though I hate asking Harry for money. But it was about the baby, and that's more important.

"That, dear boy," she replied, and I got chills when she called me that, "is not what I meant. No, my sweet. What can you give me that matters? Let's see. How about a strand of hair from your beloved? A piece of skin from your father? Some drops of your blood?"

"No," I said without thinking. Which wasn't just because of magic, though I figure if she's the genuine article and a witch she could do some spells with that kind of thing. No, I just remembered what the lawyers did with my blood last time they got their hands on it, and I'll never forget that creep Griffin and what he did to Harry. And how he framed him for his own murders. Maybe I've watched too much tv, but I can just imagine some genetic samples turning up somewhere. For all I know, Mrs. Dupont is a W&H mole.

Or she could be my only way to contact an Oracle.

"Well, well, well," she said. "Tight, are we? I'm on a budget, too, honey."

"Isn't there anything else..." I said, and in the back of my mind, I heard my father - guess which one? - tell me I shouldn't waste any more time. I was stronger than her. I could grab her and break her fingers, for starters, until she called an Oracle for me, and no one could stop me.

The incense felt even more sickening. I could hear the girl crying again, the one in white who had Darla's face in the end when I dragged her to her death, and I remember all the times those people went to Jasmine's suite in the Hyperion, so happy she had chosen them.

She looked me up and down. "How are you at lifting weights?" she asked suddenly. Which was the weirdest thing, but it stopped me from thinking about broken fingers and how fragile and easy human beings are, and I said I was good. Then she asked me to carry some boxes for her to prove it, which I did.

"We need someone in the store who can handle the heavy stuff," she said. After all the you-are-unnatural declarations earlier, this was so, well, normal that I was just stunned and stuttered.

"You - you want me to work for you? In a - a magic shop?"

"Pretty, strong and dumb," she said. "Sounds like a bargain to me. Work here for seven weeks, dearest, don't ask me to read the cards for you or help you in any other way, and don't bring destruction here, and I'll call you an Oracle. I promise."

And then she laughed. "Of course, you'll have to trust me. I could be lying to get a shop boy for free. Am I, hmmm?"

I still hate magic, I thought, and the smell here makes me sick even when it's just ten minutes I'm here, plus how would I know if anyone lies to me about something important? Usually I want to believe them so badly I can't tell.

But right now, she was the only lead I had. Maybe I'd find another. Maybe not.

"Okay," I said. I don't think she stopped laughing for eons. Then she told me to start with the storage room.
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Parents committing suicide or trying to, and parents mistreating their kids. It's a tie. And yeah, kettle calling pot black about the suicide thing, glass house, stones, and so on. No, I haven't forgotten the mall. And what I did to that cop was wrong, utterly and completely. But it still makes me angry to think about what he wanted to do, not just guilty. He had a family who waited for him. And he - that's like saying to your child: You're nothing. You're not worth living for. In fact, it's your fault that I die. You are my murderer. So I lost it.

The other time I lost it to that degree because of how angry I was: when I found Emily with that creep who kept her locked up and called her hellspawn and thought he could just do to her what he wanted. It wasn't about Emily being my daughter being connected to Jasmine, I didn't know that then, it was about her being a little girl, and treated that way. I'm still not sorry for what I did then.

It's not always that clear cut. Sometimes I get into arguments with total strangers at airports and it turns out the father was just refusing to let his daughter go to Disneyland or something. Plus before I got mindwiped, I used to be angry pretty much most of the time, and for lots of stupid reasons, too. But there were still different degrees of anger, and these two things? Push my buttons each time. Before the second life, during, now. I can't act rationally about that kind of stuff, so forget about telling me to. Doesn't work. It wouldn't be an "angriest" if it did anyway.
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Cordelia is pregnant.

I felt like the Beast had another go at me together with Angel in a very bad mood when I read that, so "suckerpunched" is putting it mildly. And at first, I couldn't figure out why. I love her, I want her to be happy, a non-demonic baby is great, she's adult and married and wealthy, so I should be thrilled for her and busy looking for presents or something.

But instead, I took Bailey and went out to the Central Park and sat down on a bench and stared, and at some point, I started to cry.

It moved, I had told her when she put my hand on her belly, and I could feel it, her, our child.

Of course it did, she replied and laughed. That's what babies do when they're happy.

Jasmine's gone, I know that, I accept that, I even get it's better for the world and everything. It was horrible experience for Cordelia and this one will be good. Emily is gone. I'm just kidding myself when I think she might come back once she has grown up and can control her powers, or that I'll figure out a way to get to that dimension without dying. But I think of Jasmine and her beautiful smile and the way Emily put her hand in mine and Cordy pregnant and the two of us sharing that and sensing the child for the first time in her, my child, and I couldn't stop the idiot tears.

("Gone". Look at that. Stupid prettifying word. She's dead because I killed her. Our child.)

It's like the last of her is being replaced and erased as if it never existed, I thought, and I knew that was stupid but I still thought it, and Bailey put her head on my knees and tagged and wanted to go and walk some more, and I stood up and did.

Maybe later I'll come up with some honest way to say congratulations to Cordy - she always could see through me when I lied - and stop being selfish and dumb, but right now, I still feel like shit.
abetterlie: (Default)
The entire flight home, I kept switching between two thoughts, pretty much. She's safe. And she's gone. She's gone. And she's safe.

It's probably one reason why I did what they told me - getting into the jet, getting out, following Angel and Darla. There was some stuff with Cordy in between - I had to tell her what Emily had said - and I think I asked Buffy about Justine after she told me stuff about Reloin, the dimension they said Emily went to, but the rest is pretty much a blur. I just did what I was told and sat there and switched. About half way across the Atlantic, thought three and four and five showed up.

They're still dead. All three of them.

But Kara isn't, and that other girl who seems to be called Brooke isn't, either. Heartbroken and pissed off respectively, but not dead. And neither is Harry.

It doesn't always end the same way.

So she's safe, and I didn't kill her, and nor did anyone else. And she's gone. In the end, hearing that she was once a part of Jasmine after all wasn't so important; I knew she was my daughter long before that, in every way that mattered. I just wish I would have known about her years ago. Because of what she went through with that bastard, and because we would have had more time together.

But maybe she'll be back some day. I was. They were all so sure nobody could return from Quortoth, but I did. And she has that dimensional key. At least if Reloin isn't like Buffy and Angel said it was, she won't be trapped there. She'll never be trapped anywhere again.

It's night here, now. They put me in a room this guy Spike used to crash in; I think that's what it smells of. It's odd, being with them. But when they told me to get into the car, I went, and it wasn't just because I was still on automatic drive. They were basically the only people who registered, other than Cordy now and then. And they - they're alive. I can't bring Mom and Dad and Mere back. I guess I knew that even when I asked Darla. Father is gone again. And I can't protect Emily anymore. But they are there, and they - I don't know how much any of this was their idea. I don't think I'll ever trust them completely. I don't think they should trust me.

But I guess there are some things I want to say.

Farewell

Nov. 10th, 2005 05:35 am
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After this and this


He’s dreaming, not of the dead, and not of anyone among the living who is with him right now. Connor is dreaming of Justine. They’re somewhere in Utah, sitting in her car, she’s driving, and she’s trying to tell him something, but he can’t hear her. At first he thinks it’s because of the smashed window, but then he realizes it’s because of the radio. Only wasn’t the radio supposed to be broken? But it’s on, playing. Techno music. And Justine doesn’t even like techno.

He can’t hear her words, the techno is drowning her out, and it’s getting louder and louder. Somehow, he knows she wants him to switch the radio of. Which is the logical thing to do. And with the certainty of dreams, he knows she can’t do it; only he can. Two times, he raises his hand to switch it off, and two times, he draws it back again. Justine looks at him, and her expression is the one she had when she found him with his parents. The car swerves off the road, crashing into a tree, and he can see the window which is suddenly there again splintering, decapitating her in slow motion.

“I told you so,”

Kara says, who for some reason in sitting in the back of the car, even though he hasn’t noticed her until now. “Obviously. I told you so.”

Which is when he wakes up.

It’s the way Stephen used to wake up in Quortoh, at once, without a transition of drowsiness, hands on the ready. Connor had gotten rid of the habit a long while ago, though it had crept back a bit when he was on the run with Emily. Who is standing in front of him, holding something in her hand that resembles a skeleton key.

“I remember now,”

Emily says. “Not your memories. Mine.”

She climbs on the bed and puts her arms around him, one hand still clutching the key.

“In the beginning,” she says, and the rhythm of her voice is and isn’t hers, is and isn’t Jasmine’s, “there was the One, and the Many were the One, and the One were the Many. But then she split herself up. She was going to be born anew, but her mother was a mortal woman, and many dangers surrounded her. Despite all caution and all the plans of the world, her mother could have died before giving birth. So the One put bits and pieces of the Many everywhere before joining with her mother. If her mother had died, any of these pieces would have become the One. But the One was born, and the pieces were forgotten.”

He feels her trembling, and the image of the cupboard is in both their heads.

“So dark,” she says. “Didn’t know. Didn’t know anything. And he hated me. There was nothing in his thoughts to explain. Nothing but pain.”

“I know,” Connor whispers, and strokes her hair, which Cordelia must have brushed only this evening, because it is far smoother than he remembers.

“If you cut of a piece of a worm, it dies or it becomes a new worm,” Emily says. “Not the same like the old one. New. I saw it today, when we were fishing. I didn’t die.”

“If I had known,” Connor says, understanding what she is telling him and feeling the realization wash over him, “I would have come for you. Far, far sooner. I wouldn’t have left you…”

But he has said this to someone before. When? Where? Justine, he thinks. He has said it to Justine, after she had told him about Wesley and being locked up for three months.

Reassurances after the fact weren’t worth anything.

“You saved me,” Emily says. “But it’s not enough. This is the wrong place, Connor.”

It’s clear she doesn’t mean the island.

“I shouldn’t have been here. We shouldn’t have been. And now I finally remember, and I know where to go.”

Connor doesn’t ask her where. It doesn’t truly matter.

“Will we go now?” he asks instead. Wondering whether or not to say anything to Darla and Kara. But they need to tell Cordelia at least.

“I gave Cordelia my seashell necklace,” Emily says. “Tell her. About the One. It’s a dark place in her thoughts, just like the cupboard. She’s afraid, Connor. That it was her fault. Tell her it wasn’t. There isn’t anything she could have done, not after the One chose her.”

“You can talk to her,” Connor replies, refusing to acknwledge where this is leading towards. “Before we go.”

Emily looks at him sadly, and as she has done the first time they met, touches his cheek.

“It’s not a place for humans,”

she says. “A good place. Home. Where the Many came from, at the beginning. But not for humans.”

“I’m not human,” Connor says, saying it out loud for the first time. “Emily, it doesn’t matter where we come from. We…”

“The air would kill you before you finish your first breath,”

Emily says in an eerily quiet voice that sounds a lot like Darla.

“Can’t stay here,” she continued. “I can’t. They’ll come to take me and take you, and I’ll eat them, and then you will break. The One broke herself to be here. She broke you as well. And me. But she didn’t understand, see, didn’t understand. That you loved her anyway. Not until the end. I do. I don’t want to be the One. I want to be one of the many. You gave me that. And now I give it back to you.”

“But…”

She starts to transform, and he can feel her reach out to him. The first time she tried this, in Harry’s condo in Boston, she had not truly known what she was doing, and had left him feeling drained. This time, he feels the sensation of waves rolling over him, as he had done when Jasmine healed him, but it’s not pain they take away; it is consciousness. He feels himself falling asleep again, and though he knows he has to stop this, he’s helpless.

“Connor. Father. Live,” she says, and he finally feels that love radiating from her which everyone felt from Jasmine. “I will.”

With the last flicker of awareness he can muster, he sees her withdraw, sees something expand around her, something familiar. A portal.

When Connor wakes up, though it is only minutes later, she is gone. And only some toys, some clothes and a seashell necklace lying on Cordelia’s cushion for her to find are proof Emily ever existed.

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