(Connor, Post-Finale, Written for 'The Day After Tomorrow' Disaster Fic Challenge)
Summary: Change the weather, change your luck.
Blood in my love in the terrible summer / Bloody red sun of Phantastic L.A.
It was a Wednesday when the sun turned to ash and the stars fell into the sea, not that anyone in Los Angeles noticed.
It was also the day Connor's father died. But no one noticed that, either.
A few weeks later, though, when the tornadoes came, everyone was paying attention.
The thing about dark magic was that it always came with a price, and somewhere in the faded night-terror echo of his memories Connor knew it. He went ahead anyway, but it was worth noting that he knew the consequences. Or, at least, that there would be consequences.
He could have walked away, gone home, grieved, been thankful. But he didn't, he just couldn't. It just wasn't right to let things end that way. There was so much more to be done. The world needed Angel, and so Connor stayed in Los Angeles.
Piecing together what happened was easy. Somehow Connor knew that they, the others, fought to the end, fought every last ogre, dragon and nightmare. The question wasn't what had happened, but what would happen next.
Ironically, Charles Gunn was the only survivor of that night. He also hadn't spoken since, or showed any sign, really, that he was aware of the world around him.
Connor went to see him anyway.
Gunn, the last one left, human and frail, had been left for dead. He'd been ignored, trampled under all those demon feet, and somehow managed to survive. The doctors even said that, physically, he'd eventually be all right. Probably, anyway.
Someone was paying for Gunn's hospital care -- and it was a very nice hospital. Connor suspected that, perhaps, Wolfram and Hart still cared for its own, even when they betrayed the firm. Contracts, after all, were contracts. Apparently, they were still binding, even after everything else.
He didn't want to consider too closely what that meant for the others, where that meant they probably were. If things went well, it wouldn't matter much anyway.
Connor lied easily to the doctors and told them he was Gunn's stepbrother. It was sort of true anyway, so he didn't feel too bad about it.
There was a raised eyebrow or two, but mostly the hospital staff kept politely quiet and politically correct.
"Does he have any family besides you?" a nurse with a clipboard asked.
"No. We're the only ones left."
And they left it at that. Another mostly-truth he didn't want to look at too much.
Gunn looked smaller than Connor remembered, though maybe that shouldn't have surprised him. The whole world seemed smaller these past few days.
"This is all my fault," Connor said, sitting down beside the bed. He put his hand on the mattress, but didn't touch Gunn. "It shouldn't have happened like this. I'm going to fix it."
Gunn didn't even blink.
Connor found the demon in a bar in San Francisco that looked as though 1967 had taken up permanent residence there.
"Well," Lorne said, looking up as Connor entered. "If it isn't the little pisher." He slurred the last word ever-so-slightly. "I see you got your memories back, too."
"I've had them back for awhile, actually," Connor said, taking the seat next to him.
"I really should be pissed at your dad about that." Lorne took a drink. "But it's a little hard to be, considering. That's how I knew, you know, that they'd done it. All the illusions came tumbling down. Crash and burn." He tossed a cherry into his drink. "It took a fifth of really excellent scotch to put out those flames."
"How's that working out for you?"
"I've moved on to bourbon."
The bartender came over, looking at Connor suspiciously.
"A drink for my friend, Eddie," Lorne said.
"Absolutely. Trust me, he needs one."
"He's a just a kid-" Eddie began.
Lorne laughed. "Oh, no he's not. Appearances can be deceiving."
Eddie didn't look much like he bought it, but he brought Connor a scotch anyway. Connor took the tiniest of sips and made a face.
"Don't do it," Lorne said, apropos of nothing.
"Whatever stupid thing you're planning."
Connor frowned. "Who's says I'm planning anything stupid?"
"You're Angel's son. Of course you are."
"Are you going to try and stop me?"
Lorne sighed. "Just leave it be. It's done."
"But it shouldn't have been done. That's my fault. It was done for me." He paused. "I came here because I thought you might help me."
"Then you came to the wrong place. As much as it hurts, as much as we might wish everything was different, this is how things are. This is how we ended up. There's no changing that."
"I can't accept that."
"I'm just saying, kiddo," Lorne gestured sloppily with his drink, "that everything we are now is because of them. The wounded, the dead, they make up the world we live in. Without that? Poof." He gestured again, expansively. "It all falls apart."
"It's wasteful," Connor replied evenly.
"Then you've totally missed the point." Lorne signaled for another drink, pointedly not looking at Connor. "Go home, junior. What you're trying to do? It won't end well."
"But I have to try."
And that was that.
Part of Connor didn't like magic, didn't trust it. There was a reason for that, he knew, but it was old and faded and only half-remembered. The rest of him was fascinated.
As a child he'd owned well-worn and dog-eared copies of Narnia, The Hobbit, A Wrinkle in Time. He'd been too old for Harry Potter when it came out, but read it aloud to his little sister, instead. He'd liked the idea of magic. Magic, he'd imagined, gave ordinary people like him the power to make a difference.
Now, of course, Connor wasn't so ordinary anymore.
He'd never been ordinary, but that wasn't how he remembered things, so it didn't really count.
If he did it, brought them all back, made it right, turned everything back to the beginning, would it make any difference? Or would they just do it all the same way again?
There was only one way to find out.
It took his entire summer savings, but he found a shaman, a spell and the materials to cast it. He'd have to make sure that internship of his was a paid one after all, but if the spell worked it would be worth it.
Once the spell began, he remembered why he didn't like magic. Magic didn't like Connor, either. It was like driving too fast without brakes. It sang in his blood and danced dizzily in his head. The magic knew everything about him, what he was and that he wasn't supposed to be.
Then he was reaching out, to all those lives and deaths and possibilities. There were too many of them, gone before and lost, but not beyond recovery. He didn't know which to choose, though, which to hold and bring back. He was drowning in sun and moon, and blood and water. He couldn't find his breath. Through the water, the sun spoke to him with his mother's voice.
He'd gone too far, delved too deeply. He reached out for the sun anyway, and caught it. Pulled it closer.
The ice around the world's heart began to melt.
It started to rain in L.A. In the South Pacific, a tiny atoll slipped beneath the waves. The clouds unraveled and stitched themselves back together wrong. Reality, stretched as it already was, began to uncoil. Slowly at first and then more quickly, until, at the last, there was no stopping.
The summary and the epigraph come from L'America and Peace Frog by The Doors.
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Author: Viola [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG | gen | 7k | 06/01/04
Summary: "Change the weather, change your luck." Connor, Post-Finale, Written for 'The Day After Tomorrow' Disaster Fic Challenge
Notes: General spoilers for 'Not Fade Away'
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