Subject: Connor's background in Quor-toth as Steven
Rating: PG-13 for violence to children, I guess and boobage.
Disclaimer: Duh. Name wasn't Joss Whedon up there, right? So I got nothing.
Spoilers: up to mid Season 4, AtS
He remembered the first time he felt that "coming home" feeling. A long time ago, he had woken up tied to an ancient tree, a hell beast tethered just inches away from his reach. It was the beast's hot breath that woke him. He had a knife his father had given him, and he was instructed to carry it always. Slowly, he reached for the holder at his side. It was empty. His first impulse was to curl up and cry as the hollow feeling of panic made his eyes go wide and his hands limp. He was four. His father's face came to him, reminding him how to tell direction by the sky, how to track with his keen senses.
Steven took several deep breaths, blew out hard through his nose, and began the long and arduous task of untying the ropes that held his arms back. Steven was a patient and studious child. After an hour, he had loosened the knot enough so that he was able to slip one hand free and work on the remaining knots.
He had let his guard down once the ropes fell, and the beast jumped, straining at its leash, its sharp teeth a hair's breadth from the boy's leg. He felt his bladder go and the hot rush of his own urine spread across his pants. Knuckling tears out of his eyes, he made for better cover. Once there, he discarded his ruined pants. He couldn't let the scent enable other creatures to find him. Night was falling. He found a water source and drank to his fill, waiting for the stars to point him home. As he waited, he sharpened a few rocks against a boulder and fashioned his torn sleeve into a sling to carry them.
After four days he came across a saline pond. The water was no good to him, but the creatures that lived in it would sustain him for several more days. The difficult topography of Quor-toth made it slow going. He was a small boy, and although he was unnaturally strong for his age, he was still learning how to use that strength. He had discovered how to climb the cliff walls using more of his leg strength than his arms, and to stop and drink any time he was near fresh water, which wasn't often.
There were creatures who hunted during the day, and after a close fight with one of them, Steven learned to avoid certain rock outcroppings in full sun. It was better to sleep at dusk when the large predators were just waking and not hunting. Sometimes when he slept he dreamed of a lovely face framed in white hair and hands that held his. His father had never laid a hand on him in love. But when Holtz struck him with logs and a leather strap, it was to prepare him for surviving the world they lived in. It was never in anger. Holtz made sure Steven knew he was doing it out of love for the boy.
Somewhere along the way Steven had rolled his ankle badly, and what little clothing remained was hanging in tatters by the time he got to their camp. It had been eighteen days. He felt a warmth spread through his limbs and made his young heart happy. As a shy smile broke out over his face and he reached for his father, Holtz stepped away and began tanning a hide strung out over a smoking fire. "I see you've made it back. Perhaps next time you can be a bit faster. I suppose this was a decent effort. We need wood for the fire." he looked at the boy and indicated with his chin where the green twigs were for smoking meat.
Steven made a detour to his tent to grab new wrappings for his feet when he heard his father say, "You can concern yourself with your looks another time. Wood. Now." Steven locked away the joy he had felt at seeing his father and their campsite. There was work to do, and Holtz might let him have a large piece of meat since he had been gone so long. Usually he just got the bone with a few bits of meat clinging to it. It made him stronger and able to withstand hunger, he had been told.
Steven was a warrior who needed nothing but the hunt. Steven was born from deceit, theivery, and vengeance. Steven felt nothing but the fire that drove him to kill. The man who had made him was now dead, killed by his own people. Steven died with him. Now the boy was Connor.
In Connor's world people loved. They still fought and killed, but they loved one another. They touched, but they didn't touch him. Echoes of Steven were still in his eyes and it kept them at a safe distance. Except for Cordelia. She touched him. She put her hands on his face and he felt that same small bird of joy flutter in his chest. She called him sweet names and smiled at him.
When she came to stay with him (to be safe, I can keep her safe, she chose ME) they shared a bed. One time he woke up and his arms were around her and he felt her womanly body filling his hands. There was a strangely familiar rush of warmth to his pants, and when he felt the wetness spread there, he had an old feeling of shame. But she had smiled at him and thanked him for watching over her. She felt less like His and more like she belonged to Connor.
When the fire began to fall from the sky and the fear was etched into her face, he moved to protect her. They were broken and bloody from fighting the Beast and all they had left was each other. Connor told her the fire was because of him. He didn't succeed in destroying the Beast. Cordelia moved close and said soothing words. Words of a mother. He thought of the angelic face with white hair. As she stroked his cheek and made her intentions clear, something broke inside of him. Cordelia said she wanted to give him something real.
Connor was able to let go of the dream of the white haired woman as Cordelia's lips softly pressed against his. He felt a tear slide down his cheek. It was the first time someone had held him of their own accord, and she did it out of love.