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28 November 2006 @ 07:38 pm
Nature vs. Nurture (outside link)  

I wrote a Good Connor fic for this month over at

good__evil</lj>. To be respectful to the community, the link leads there instead of posting it here. I will wait until the month is over before I post it here and elsewhere. Click on the banner to be taken there. 

  

 

Title: Nature vs. Nurture
Author: xlivvielockex
Character: Connor
Month: November
Rating: PG-15
Length: 2,978
Disclaimer: The characters were created by Joss Whedon & others. No infringement is intended, no profit is made. 
Summary: Connor finds himself in the middle of the classic debate. Post-Origin
A/N: First, thanks to www.stanford.edu for having such a great website for research. It had been years since I went there to check it out for school and it helped refresh my memory. Second, I apologize in advance for spelling/grammar errors. I write fics for the comm only and my beta has been sick. I waited as long as I could for her to get better but with the deadline looming, well here it is. If anyone sees errors, please, point them out. 

Connor Riley sat in the back of his college literature class trying very hard to pay attention to what the professor was saying. He found his mind wandering and for good reason. It had been a few days since he had gone to Wolfram and Hart, since he had fought and defeated a demon that was trapped in an urn, and since he had gotten the memories of his old life back. Or rather, they were the memories of what he thought his old life had been. They were nearly dream-like as they swam in his subconscious and conscious minds. He could almost grasp them, convince himself they were real but at the same time, they seemed like little more than hallucinations.

He had been spending the last two days trying to reconcile who he thought he was and who he apparently, really was. He didn’t feel like a killer. He sure didn’t feel like this "Destroyer". All the hate, panic, and confusion from those memories began to bubble up anew in him. He swallowed hard, a physical reaction to a mental condition. He tried to focus once more on his class, putting the two warring sides of himself on the shelf for now, despite how difficult it was.

"...the author then went on to basically show how the protagonist was fighting against his nature in order to fit into an environment that was strange to him. In the end though, we aren’t left with any answers on if he succeeded or not." Connor heard the voice of a fellow student breaking into his frenzied thoughts. He looked in the direction of the voice. It was a male student whose name he thought was Joe or John. It was definitely some normal name.

The professor looked at the student and Connor swore he caught a glint in his eye, some self-satisfaction that comes when a predator takes down weaker prey. Connor pushed that thought down, another sign from a former life. He was just seeing things. He had to tell himself that and he believed it until the professor spoke.

"I am sorry, Mr. Abrams, did we stumble back into grade school English with that interpretation?" The class as a whole gave a rather uncomfortable laugh at the professor’s dig. Mr. Abrams, Joe, John, whatever slumped in his seat. He looked crushed. He seemed the type that was a sycophant, desperate for the professor’s attentions.

"I think maybe you need to try going to composition for art department if you are going to give me explanations like that. I really hope your final paper has something more than these elementary insights." The professor continued and with each word, Mr. Abrams flinched in his seat. It was like a red hot poker or slap to the face, the way the words were stinging. And the worse was that the rest of the class was so afraid of the professor’s disdain, they were keeping oddly silent.

Connor felt something welling up in him. He wasn’t normally one that rocked the boat but there was part of him that screaming, clawing to get out from inside the calm exterior. He cleared his throat and at last, spoke up. "It’s literature, it’s art. If that is how he saw it, it’s how he saw it. Doesn’t make it wrong."

Connor immediately regretted the decision as soon as the words were out of his mouth. The look that the professor gave him, however, squashed that regret. It was a cold, hard gaze that most students would have withered under but not Connor. It only made him sit straighter in his chair. It was a challenge and though he didn’t realize it, he non-verbally was accepting it. They were two animals, warring for dominance. It was a fight that was not being fought in a physical sense but rather from the looks passing between them.

The battle was short lived though as the bell signaled the end of the class. Connor quickly grabbed up his book, slipping out the door. His escape was short lived as Mr. Abrams stopped him. He felt a hand on his arm and he was quick to stop himself from turning around to gut whoever was touching him. The thought of that sent a wave of disgust through him.

"Thanks for that. Professor Sobol is probably going to fail us both now." The young man gave a rather nervous sounding chuckle. He pulled his hand away from Connor and moved a respectable distance away. There were rules between men, even if one of them was rather emasculated and having to submit to a better.

"No big deal. He was being a jerk." Connor responded. He took a quick glance at his watch but it was a rather unnecessary maneuver on his part as his stomach was growling that it was lunch. "I have to go. Don’t mention it again." With that, Connor took off.

The entire situation was weighing heavily on him on the walk to the union. He passed the juice bar and coffee house on his way to the cafeteria. Six months ago, hell, even six days ago, he would have just gone about his business without saying anything to the professor. His memories were of a man that was never a bully but then again, those were carefully crafted by a crazy red demon. He couldn’t even fight the demons that attacked him and his parents nor Sahjhan until he got his memories back. Now all of a sudden, he was ready to jump into the fray with a professor?

Connor grabbed a tray and went on autopilot to get his food. He stepped into line to pay, still questioning his decision to stand up for that other kid. He once more tried to force all these questions, all the confusion, back down into himself. He had an internship application coming up and finals. He had papers to write. He couldn’t be worrying about a single act on his part. He had to put that all behind him and focus on this, the life that he wanted. No, it was the life that he needed.

It was hardly taken care of but he didn’t have much more time to dwell on it as he felt the person behind him bump into him. He felt their tray hit into his back with not force of a deliberate shove but with the unplanned precision of an accident. He turned to see if the person was okay and came face to face with one of Stanford’s more beautiful co-eds. He gave her a little bit of a goofy smile. "You okay?"

She blushed just a bit. "Oh yeah, sorry about that. Person behind me bumped me by accident. It happens around lunchtime."


Connor looked back to see who she was talking about. The guy looked a little too old to be in college. He tried to ignore that suspicion, rationalize it by saying that there were a lot of non-traditional students. That was, until he saw the guy put a pink wallet labeled "Princess" in glittery letters into his jeans. Connor looked back to the girl.

"Hey, I am a magician with some psychic talents, want to see?" Connor flashed the girl another goofy looking smile. He wasn’t sure what he was doing here. He should be getting campus security or alerting someone with authority. But no, he was taking matters into his own hands.

The girl giggled, nodding her head. "Sure, this line is really long anyway." She had no problem doing a bit of in line flirting with the guy.

He touched his temple with one hand, his other hand still holding his tray. He closed his eyes. "I bet that you have a pink wallet with the word..." Connor paused for dramatic effect, "Princess written in big, curly, glitter letters."

The girl laughed and Connor opened his eyes. She was nodding her head. "Yeah, I just bought it this weekend at the mall. How did you know?"

"Like I said, it’s a talent. Want to see some else?" Connor could see the man behind them starting to get nervous. He was shifting from foot to foot, debating if he should just bolt. If he was smart, he would have left when he stole the wallet. But something about today’s soup of the day was just too damn enticing apparently.

The girl nodded once more. She was sure that this guy could just see her wallet peeking out from the back pocket of her jeans. She wanted to see what silly thing he was going to try now.

Connor moved quickly, probably more quickly than an average human but he wasn’t keeping track. He had his hand past the girl, reaching into the guy’s jeans. He didn’t normally go fishing down a guy’s pants but this was sort of special circumstances here.

The guy pushed Connor away. "What are you doing, man?" He said in protest but it was too little, too late as Connor came back with the wallet in hand. The guy’s eyes grew to the size of saucers. He dropped his tray and took off running.

Connor was resisting the urge to run after the guy. His gut was telling him to tackle the jerk to the ground and teach him a lesson. But the wide eyes of the girl stopped him. He handed the wallet back to her.

"Wow! That was so great! Oh! My name is Rebecca." The girl took the wallet back from him and set it on her tray since she had to pay for her food in a matter of moments.

"Connor." His eyes went to the direction that the thief had run off in. This girl was either innocent or deluding herself. Then again, he was deluding himself as well. Twice in less than an hour he had come to the aid of someone in trouble.

"Nice to meet you." Rebecca could see that Connor was distracted. She moved so that she was in his line of sight once more. "Hey, I have to motor and eat on the run. But there is a party tonight. I am a Tri-Delt and we are doing a sort of all campus mixer. We are known for them." Mixer wasn’t exactly the word for it. Huge kegger would have been a more appropriate description.

His eyes went back when the girl started speaking again. He could hear her but her words weren’t quite cutting through the confusion and tension that was running in his mind. "Huh?"

She laughed at the all too typical male response. She reached into her jeans and pulled out a folder up piece of paper. She dropped it on his tray. "If you are interested, stop by." She moved past him as she saw another register open up. She wanted to make sure that she was the first in line.

Connor unfolded the brightly colored piece of paper, looking at the flyer for the party. Maybe this was just what he needed to get his mind off the automatic response of wanting to try to play hero. He turned and finally moved with the line. He had already made up his mind by the time he got up to pay. He’d go to the party and he would do his best not to save anyone along the way.

The hours until the party had passed quickly for Connor. He had gone from the cafeteria to class to his dorm room without any incident. That wasn’t to say that he didn’t feel the urge, something deep within himself, to go out and find something evil to kill. The worst thing was that these urges didn’t disturb him. He didn’t want that life, not now that he had this one. It was becoming more and more clear that he couldn’t deny what he was any longer. He was the son of two vampires, two of the most evil vampires to have ever lived. He was raised in a Hell dimension. He had killed a girl despite the urgings of his ghost of a mother not to. It was almost as if his other life was a television show but it was one that he couldn’t stop living, couldn’t stop being a part of.

He had walked from his dorm room to the Delta Delta Delta house. He paused only briefly as he passed through The Quad. There was something there, something wasn’t natural. It wasn’t his business any longer and he was determined to have some fun. A pretty girl invited him to a party and that didn’t happen every day.

By the time he stepped through the doors of the sorority house, the party was already in full swing. Bodies pressed up against each other, music throbbing, and beers were being passed around from a keg. He grinned as he saw the pandemonium that was a college party around him. It was his first real college party and he was going to enjoy it. He grabbed a cup of beer, parting through the throng of party goers to try to find Rebecca.

He found her easily enough. He still had the memory of her scent in his mind. Even among all these people, he was able to easily separate her from the rest of the crowd. She smelled like gardenias and a touch of something muskier. He forced himself not to get embarrassed that he knew her unique feminine scent. The memories he had were of fumbling teenage high school sex. Being able to track a girl because of her own personal fragrance was just more knowledge acquired thanks to the memories being restored.

He spotted her sitting on the couch, chatting up a guy. Connor was slightly disappointed though. Then again, he really had no qualms now about stealing a girl from another guy. His other side though felt ill at ease just walking over and chatting her up. He had been compelled to this afternoon for the sole reason of returning her wallet. Well, not the sole reason but it was a pretty good one. He turned his attention to the other people of the party. There were more then enough girls here that if Rebecca didn’t work out, he could always find a nice Senior girl to embarrass himself in front of. Then he saw something that made him forget romantic overtures all together.

Vampire. He could sense it. The hairs on the back of his neck pricked up; alerting him that something not quite natural had made its way into the festivities tonight. He spotted the vampire easily enough since the guy stuck out like a sore thumb. Someone should really tell the vampire community as a whole that if they want to blend in, they better stay away from the polyester and go for cotton blends. The vampire had the gall to be all over one of the sorority pledges, plying her with beer until he could conceivably either get her upstairs or take her out back.

Connor’s fingers curled into a fist and while his heart screamed at him to move, his head told his feet to stay firmly planted where they were. He didn’t want this life. He had told himself that a million times over. But it would seem as if the life wanted him. He wasn’t sure what to do. By the time he called his father, his REAL father, the vampire would have already made a snack from the girl. No one here would believe him that vampires were real and he wished that he didn’t believe it either.

When the vampire put his arm around the girl, starting to lead her away from the party, Connor’s mind completely shut off. His feet carried him past the billiards table, picking up a cue stick from the wall as he passed. Whatever rational part of him, the part that had told him that this was not his life, the part that housed his fabricated memories, was currently being shut out over the roar of violence, of justice. He was his father’s son and while he had spent all day trying to deny it, he had to do what was right.

He was right on the vampire’s heels as he and the girl made it outside. They moved away from the smattering of people that were gathered outside. Connor could see the vampire was leading the girl towards one of the darkened alleys between the sorority houses. Vampires did seem to love alleys, at least from his memories. He waited for the vampire to push the girl up against the wall roughly, her mind so clouded with alcohol that she didn’t have the good sense to scream. It was over quickly as he hit the vampire from the back with the pool cue, staking him through the heart with the experience that came from growing up in Quor’Toth.

Connor stepped back as the girl slumped and slid down the wall. She was unharmed but she was pretty drunk. She wouldn’t remember any of this in the morning. Now that it was over, his brain clicked on. His heart was pounding out of his chest and he felt a rush. He grinned. "Now that...was pretty cool."

The girl would be fine. He would tell someone on his way back that she was passed out in the alley; they would take her back into the house to sleep it off. He had bigger things to do tonight, like find out what was in The Quad. Connor broke the pool cue in half, forming two stakes. Tomorrow, he would worry about his papers and his internship application and everything that came with being Connor Riley. But for tonight, he would give into his nature, who he was, and be The Destroyer once more.