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Blood Ties

by Sophia Prester

[Story Headers]

Tim knows exactly what he wants to do with the rest of his life. He's going to stay here in Texas, probably not all that far from Dillon. Yeah, that thing about going in on a ranch with Jason most likely ain't gonna happen now, but something else will fill its place. He's not exactly sure how it's all going to play out, but in his future, Jason is still there, somehow, and everything's pretty much okay. Tyra's there, too. So's Lyla. Maybe he'll settle down with one of the girls, maybe he won't. Maybe it'll be someone else--not a stranger, but one of the rally girls or maybe even one of the cheerleaders.

Or hell, maybe twenty years down, he'll still be stuck here with Billy in this rat-trap of a house, the two Riggins brothers, legendary drunks and whoring fuckups. That's fine, too. He can live with that. He can live with that just fine. He can go into town, go hang out at one of the bars around playoffs time, and people will see the State Championship ring on his finger and buy him drink after drink so he can go on forgetting what happened that one summer.

And in the end, that's all he wants. Going nowhere and nothing happening never being more than a few hours away from a comforting alcoholic haze.

He used to want something else, not too long ago. He wanted to get out of Dillon. He wanted to go somewhere where people wouldn't hear the name Riggins and immediately think "trash." He was going to show that he was better than that, that he was better than his daddy, that he was better than Billy, that he was better than the rest of them.

Of course, that was before the short but jagged scar right above his collarbone. Most people think it's from when he fell off a bike and into a barbed-wire fence when he was twelve. Hell, Tim's told the story enough times that even he sometimes thinks it's true. He even has what seem like memories of the actual event. When he feels like bragging, he sometimes points out how close it is to some big old vein or something in his neck, and tells whoever's listening that he came real close to bleeding out, and woulda done so if his cousin hadn't been right there. He'll tell them that, and then he'll go off and get throwing-up, falling-down drunk, because that part of the story's just a little too close to the truth.

See, Tim has a cousin who made it big, and made it out of his crappy hometown. Not Dillon, no, just some other crap town in Oklahoma. From what he hears, it was a bigger jump out of there, but it's hard to tell. All he knows is that his dad used to talk about how his older sister got knocked up by some shit of an Okie and her life had pretty much gone down the crapper because of it. But he also said her kid--who was clearly nothing like his no-good daddy--was going places, even managing to get himself into law school.

Billy never liked those stories--Tim guessed they made him feel small--but for Tim, they were a lifeline. They showed him that there was a path out of there into something bigger and better. And for a little while, he would look at his report cards and dream that even though it was mostly just B's, his teachers were talking behind his back about how they'd never guess that Tim was a Riggins, and about how he'd be going places--places that weren't Dillon. Hell, maybe he'd become a lawyer just like his cousin, and wouldn't that be something?

When Tim was twelve, this mythical cousin finally came for a visit. "It ain't fair that I got a couple of cousins I never met," he said, smiling at Tim and ruffling his hair. For some reason, Tim had imagined that he'd be all polished and city-proper like the lawyers on the TV shows, but Lindsey seemed ordinary enough. Flannel shirt, jeans, and a smile that marked him as a Riggins even though his last name was McDonald.

Tim grinned up at him and decided right then and there that Lindsey was his hero. He wasn't just someone who'd made it good, he was a grownup who paid attention to Tim, and acted like Tim was worth something. Maybe later, he thought, he should have noticed Billy's wary glares, or how maybe Lindsey paid no attention to Billy and way too much to Tim.

The second day Lindsey was there, just before sunset, he slung an arm across Tim's shoulders. "C'mon cuz, let's you and me go for a walk while there's still light. Maybe you can show me that bike of yours, and I can tell you all sorts of boring stories about what it's like to be a lawyer."

"It's just a crappy old bike. Used to be Billy's, and it weren't even new then," Tim said automatically, but he smiled and let Lindsey lead him outside. "And your stories aren't boring."

Lindsey laughed and ruffled Tim's hair again. "C'mon. Let's go over there," he said, nodding towards a dirt road leading off from the highway.

"There's nothing over there," Tim protested.

"All the better for walking and talking." Lindsey set off at a brisk but easy pace as Tim rode alongside on his rusty old bike, wobbling from having to go so slow. "Actually, I kind of need your help with something, Tim. There's been a bit of trouble at work, and I need to stop it."

"What kind of trouble?" Tim navigated his bike around a rut. "The kind of stuff you see on TV?"

"Depends on what kind of programs you're watching. Anyhow, they've got the wrong people in charge. There's someone who got the job I wanted, and I want to get it back from him. Problem is, there are some people who really want to keep him there, and they'll do anything to stop me from getting to him."

There was a snap to Lindsey's voice that startled Tim, and he let his bike fall to the side, catching himself with his foot, so he was standing there, straddling the tilted over bike.

"How'm I supposed to help you get your job?" Tim had no idea how he was supposed to help. "And who are these people who're tryin' to stop you?"

Lindsey didn't answer at first. He was peering at the horizon, as if waiting for something.

"Sun's just down," he finally said. And then Lindsey grabbed Tim around the chest and pulled him off his bike. Tim squirmed and kicked, but Lindsey was so strong he might as well have been made of iron, and he didn't even flinch when one of Tim's heels cracked into his knee.

Tim was yelling, and Lindsey was shushing him as if he was a kid who'd just woken up from a nightmare, but the stone knife at Tim's throat wasn't any damn dream. The knife cut into his skin, and Tim went limp, as if all the strength had just poured right out of him.

Lindsey lowered Tim to the ground, and it was worse because he was trying to be nice and gentle to his little cousin. But there was nothing nice or gentle about the way Lindsey scooped up some of Tim's blood on his fingers and drew a strange and squiggly circle on the hard dirt of the road. Lindsey touched his bloody fingers to his lips and then stepped inside the circle he'd made with his cousin's blood.

Tim watched, on the verge of blacking out, as strange black marks began to form and swirl on Lindsey's arms.

He forced himself not to whimper as Lindsey crouched down next to him. Lindsey's elbows rested light on his knees, the stone knife nearly dangling in his hand, he was holding it so loosely. And then he shifted, and Tim's eyes went right to that knife, but Lindsey reached out with his other hand instead, and ruffled Tim's hair one last time.

"I'm sorry about this, Tim, real sorry, but you're blood kin, and that's something I need real bad." Then he smiled, sharp and cruel, and it was more real than any of the friendly smiles he'd shown before. Lindsey looked at the marks that were still painting themselves on his skin, then turned his arms over so Tim could get a real good look at the strange letters that almost but didn't quite mean something. "Good thing you're too young to have done any fooling around with the ladies. Maybe in a couple of years, though. Meantime, I got to seal this up so it works the way it's supposed to."

Then, Lindsey nicked the tip of his finger with that damned knife, and touched it to the cut on Tim's neck, mixing blood with blood. He said a word that hurt to hear, and the wound pretty much stopped bleeding. Mostly. Anyhow, it stopped bleeding enough so that when Lindsey helped Tim back to the house and started spinning tales of bikes and barbed wire, there was no talk of taking him to the hospital. Lindsey left the next morning. Tim didn't bother to say goodbye. In fact, he didn't say much of anything for another three days.

On the third day, he found a bottle of Wild Turkey under Billy's bed and he drank until he puked.

For a few years after that, he thought he could feel people watching him. It was like they were hunting him, sometimes, except when they found him, they always turned away again in disgust, as if he wasn't the one they were looking for. And when the eyes became too heavy on him, getting good and drunk made them seem less focused somehow.

Eventually, Tim began to think that maybe it was safer to be just another Riggins.

And by the time he was fourteen, and he felt a stab of pain just above his collarbone that meant that Lindsey was dead and the eyes would no longer be looking for Lindsey and finding Tim, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life.

He can't imagine wanting anything else.

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Fandom:  Angel, Other (Friday Night Lights)
Title:  Blood Ties
Author:  Sophia Prester   [email]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG-13  |  gen  |  9k  |  02/19/07
Characters:  Tim Riggins, Lindsey McDonald
Summary:  Tim used to dream of bigger and better things.
Disclaimer/Other:  These characters are the property of Peter Berg and Joss Whedon. I'm simply having fun with them

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