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Happy Birthday, Harry Osborn.

What is it that they say about the quiet and the storm? It had certainly been quiet over the past week – so quiet that Vicky Vale had found herself standing in the middle of Main Street smiling at the camera and saying ---

“Meow from me and Muffins the cat who came back after seven years away from home. It seems the word is out – the streets of Gotham are safe again!”

News stories about missing cats and there the mayor was shaking Muffin’s paw while the news crew tried to treat this as some form of journalism. But it was the best they could do. The streets of Gotham were quiet and it had been this or yet another story about Bruce Wayne and his clinic – worthy, but done to death – or Bruce Wayne and his latest girlfriend – not so worthy and Swedish! – or maybe Bruce Wayne at Gotham Fashion Week, but really, they needed something for the weekend edition and Vicky Vale was rather sick of Mr. Bruce Wayne.

And sick of the quiet.

Vicky was not, of course, the only person who found the quiet to be an occupational liability. If all Vicky had was celebrity felines, then the Batman had found there was even a lack of felines requiring rescue. No psychopathic killers, vicious mobsters or kittens stuck in trees to be found. If Metropololis wasn’t so nouveau riche perhaps he’d consider relocation.

As for Bruce Wayne, he tried to convince himself that this abundance of time that had suddenly infiltrated its way into his life was indeed a blessing. He could sit through an entire meal, he could …. , he could sleep. Novel concepts indeed. Besides, there were always work to be done at Wayne Enterprises, always a reason to turn his twelve hour days into fifteen hour ones.

And, there was also the distraction of Harry Osborn’s party which had started out as a small affair.

Something low key Bruce had told his assistant, nothing excessive, a small gathering of friends to celebrate, wont that be nice? Even nicer when you have an assistant to co-ordinate the entire event. But low key had mutated with every additional demand Mr. Wayne had emailed through. The guest list had expanded dramatically as his definition of friends became wider and wider. It bloated from a dozen people to a twenty and then fifty and then a hundred. Once if got over Bruce stopped counting but he did keep emailing those names. If you’re an Osborn or a Wayne you have so many friends. So few, so many. The board of Wayne Enterprises was invited, then the board of OsCorp, then the board that sat on the Wayne Foundation and the Mayor and so it continued -

The last demand was the one that had her at his door -

“A low key circus, Mr. Wayne?”

“Just a circus – nothing excessive, just a teensy tiny circus, small intimate, I was thinking we could hire Amusement Mile for the evening.”

“A small low key circus at Gotham Cities premier amusement park?”

“Exactly, we have the rides open for a few hours in the evening then we have the circus at the end – and I’ve always enjoyed fireworks set to music. I wonder just how appalling Happy Birthday sounds to a techno beat.”

“Happy birthday to a … ”

“Exactly. And we should call the orphanage – invite those orphans for the rides and the show – Harry loves orphans, everyone loves an orphan. The more orphans the better.”

“Orphans, Mr. Wayne?”

“Exactly – Orphans, which makes it an excellent publicity piece, tax deductable, promotion for the Wayne Foundation and we invite the news crews in for the festivities at the beginning and have a more private celebration at the end with the –

“Circus and the orphans – how cozy and intimate and low key.”

“Have we changed the coffee beans this tastes… flat.”

“It’s black coffee. If you want something carborated perhaps I should get you some perrier.”

“Carbonated coffee that would sell – our science division should look into that.”

It was then that his assistant realised that there was nothing worse than Bruce Wayne at a loose end. But one thing was certain, Mr. Harry Osborn was sure to have a birthday he would not easily forget.

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abetterlie
Mar. 25th, 2007 05:25 am (UTC)
When all all hell breaks loose, Connor sees Bruce pushing Harry behind him. There are children screaming, and he has a sudden vision (not yet drug induced) of them getting trampled by the crowd, so he grabs as many as he can and gets them out of the way. Out of the way meaning the next shed (originally the control room for the carousel) he can lock them up in, which is the fastest solution to keeping them from harm he can come up with. There is something in the air, a sickly sweet scent, but he doesn't have time to think about this.

Then he looks out for who the hell is responsible for this mess, hoping Peter was already in the process of tying them up with a web or two, and freezes.

It's dark now, but that doesn't matter, Connor can see as well as a vampire can in the dark. Vampire being the operative word. And not just any. He can sense him before he can see him, and nobody needs to tell him the soul is gone again. In the first moment, when he sees him embracing the tiny blonde figure, Connor thinks this is a replay of that bizarre time trip in Ireland, and they're both here, but that would be too easy. No, the blonde girl is Kara. Letting him drink, because she would, because he's the one man she still trusts, she doesn't realize what this is, she won't use her Slayer strength until it's too late.

He's drinking from her, not casually, the way he did from Lilah Morgan's dead body, but with obvious joy and satisfaction. Then he looks up, looks at Connor, smirks and drawls:

"Jealous?"

queen_c_tm
Mar. 25th, 2007 05:56 am (UTC)
Cordelia stumbles across Connor at that moment - literally - as she's running from one of the clowns.

Sadly, that's not a hallucination. She just really doesn't like clowns.

She's been trying to use her glowing power to keep the darkness at bay, but it's wearing her out too much, and she can't keep up the concentration for it for more than a few minutes at a time. So for now she's just running on instinct, trying to find someone familiar that can help her figure out what the hell is going on.

She grabs blindly at Connor to keep from falling, and just barely avoids stabbing him with the pocketknife she's clutching in one hand.

"Oh god, sorry. I didn't see you." Obviously. "What - ?"

Something catches her eye then, and she turns, stopping in mid-question, still holding on to Connor's arm. Her grip tightens as she gasps in horror.

"On no. No, not him."
abetterlie
Mar. 25th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
Of course Cordy is here. For a second, he thinks they're back in the basement, but Angelus isn't behind bars now, oh no.

"Cordy, Cordy, Cordy," he says. "Don't be so impatient. I haven't forgotten our date. You just have to get in line, because really? If they call you Daddy or Mommy, they just taste sweeter. Well, you'd know that. Wouldn't she, son?"

In the real world, Connor and Cordelia have just come across two Arkham inmates who can't believe their luck. They have issues with each other since their fallout last December, but both of them have more issues with Connor whom they blame for that little fiasco. Besides, when Falcone offered the gig, it sounded like lucrative and well deserved payback fun on Gotham. And thus, Poison Ivy and Clayface exchange a look, smiling. They have no idea who Cordelia is, but figure, given her first terrorized expression, she'll be easy picking.

Kara smiles at Angelus, and Connor realizes her mouth is smeared with blood as well. So it is too late. He didn't just drink from her, he made her drink as well.

"I'm sorry," he says tonelessly, and slowly takes out the stake he just can't go without.

A piece of wood? Seriously? This fear gas is really better than Ivy's own mixture, she thinks half admiring, half amused, and all professionally jealous. She'll have to talk with the Scarecrow later.

"No, you're not," says Kara. "You're just jealous that I'm now more his daughter than you'll ever be his son."

That's it. Connor lets go of Cordelia and goes for Angelus, who seems to expect him, eagerly.

What comes unexpected is the fact the stake goes right through Angelus' skin, as if it was soft as clay, and that he starts to get blurry...
queen_c_tm
Mar. 25th, 2007 06:46 am (UTC)
Cordelia flinches at Angelus's words. She's about to respond when she sees Kara next and realizes what's going on. The fury that rises at the sight of that blood almost washes out the fear, and for a very brief moment, her mind clears.

But then the fear is back, and anything she saw for those few seconds is gone, replaced again by the horror of watching Angelus and Kara.

She's always promised herself that if she had to kill Angelus, she would do it. That she would find a way to put her feelings for Angel aside and do what was right. But can she do the same to Kara?

There isn't time to debate the subject, as Connor is already lunging for Angelus. Instinct kicks in and Cordelia chases after him.

"Connor!" She grabs at him, trying to pull him back. Whether she's trying to save him or save Angelus, she doesn't know, but before she can worry about her motives, Kara is moving towards her.

She raises the knife she's still holding, knowing all the while that it's pointless. Knives don't kill vampires. Not even brand-new ones. But Kara seems to hesitate at the sight of it, which is encouraging, if not a little surprising.
abetterlie
Mar. 25th, 2007 07:34 am (UTC)
There is nothing to clear the head a little like an enemy not playing by the rules. Angelus isn't supposed to be made of clay, nor is he supposed to try and choke Connor with it. That was someone else.

(Connor is responding to the fear gas, but not completely, due to his crazy genetics; at this point, he's still under, though the fight for survival instinct superceeds everything else, and he responds by instinct, which tells him this is someone he fought before, and not Angelus. The two conflicting informations his brain sends him slow him down a little, though.)

There is a stand which used to sell diet coke (Cola, not Cepsi, in honour of Kara, of course!) next to them, so Connor, chocking, tries his best to crush the newly shapeshifting Angelus into it.

Meanwhile, Ivy eyes the knife wilding brunette. She'd simply touch her and be done with it, but Scarecrow's gas interferes with her own method. She's done some martial arts, but is the brunette worth bothering? After all, she still has a date here. With Lex Luthor, that naughty boy, who tried to ruin her merchandise in Gotham. So she shrugs, says "Later, honey", hopes Clayface this time will finally manage to get the job done and saunters of in search of Lex.... only to be replaced by real Kara, coming across this scene.

Angelus, drenched in coke, loses shape, and for a moment Connor can see who it really is, who he really has been fighting, but then there's Angelus again, completely unaffected by what has happened.

"Don't disappoint Daddy," he says with a smirk, and turns towards Kara, who oddly enough has no more blood on her face. Well. Vampires heal fast.

This time, Connor goes for her first.
kara_marie
Mar. 25th, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)

Kara expects many things from Connor. She expects him to steal her boyfriend and her family. She expects him to always out smart, out fight and out rank her. She expects him to make condecending comments about her life. She expects him to be better at everything (except being cute and adorabe because he really isn't, which is awfully disappointing for a MIRACLE BABY). But she does not expect him to attack her on sight. Especially considering everything had been so civilised before, so evolved and mature! Kara was SO evolved and mature! She smiled, she kissed the cheek, she said she wanted to see his stupid house! SHE FREAKING ACTED LIKE A FREAKING SAINT!!! She isn't really expecting to be lunged at on sight. This is NOT Jerry Springer!

"Connor! What the --- "

She says, with a tone of true indignation. In true form she can sound whiny and irritated, rather than frightened, even when someone is lunging for her stake in hand.

Kara realises, a little too late, that Connor is not in his right mind - okay, correction, he's even more distanced from a right mind than usual. Connor did not receive right minds when they were being handed out!!! When she gets home she is SO telling Angel about this. Connor should SO be in therapy NOT her.

"Connor what the hell are you doing, it's me, Kara!" She says to him, and she sounds genuinely confused, he can't recognise her, right? He wouldn't be trying to stake her if he recognised her? "CORDELIA!"

She steps to the side just in time before it goes right into her heart and then grabs hold of his wrist. She hadn't realised till this moment just how strong he is, it takes every moment of effort she has to stop him pushing that thing right into her, and the whole time she's saying to him, over and over -

"It's me."
queen_c_tm
Mar. 25th, 2007 08:12 am (UTC)
There's confusion at first when one Kara walks away and another shows up. And the new one looks different. More... well, Kara-like.

She sees Connor going for her, and it takes a moment for all the haziness to clear enough for her to realize what's going on. It's really Kara this time, and not a vampire.

"Oh god, Con-!" She's cut off before she can try to grab for him and stop him when someone grabs HER from behind and yanks her backwards. She turns to find Angelus grinning down at her, and her blood runs cold. The demon half of her that's been fighting against the fear toxin goes under again as a new dose of terror washes over her.

"Looks like the kiddies are playing," Angelus says, his face far too close to hers for comfort. "Now it's time for the grown-ups to have some fun."

He vamps out and she screams, stabbing the knife into his chest out of pure reflex. Of course, not being a stake, it doesn't do anything but make him laugh. And feels kind of weird, like she's stabbing play-doh. Gross!
abetterlie
Mar. 25th, 2007 08:27 am (UTC)
"It's me" isn't really helping when Connor is convinced it's Kara anyway. As she has trapped one of his hands, he head-butts her, causing her to release his wrist and tries again. There is something odd about this whole scenario, something wrong - more wrong than Kara being a vampire - but he knows that if he gives himself time to think about it, he'll never be able to go through with it.

"I failed you all the other times," he says, as he quite often did in his dreams. "Not now."

Because that's what you do to people you love, especially if you have failed them before. You kill them. It occurs to him he hadn't told her the first part yet, and so he does, because she's going to be dust soon.

"I love you, Kara," Connor says, and half expects her to reply "then prove it", but there's no time to wait for the reply, and so he strikes... which is when he hears Cordelia scream.

It's enough to distract him and horrify him for a crucial moment, and so the stake doesn't land in Kara's heart but in the right arm she has gotten up to block his strike, tearing into her skin. Her warm, bleeding skin. Pulsating in tandem with her heart. Her beating heart.

Welcome back to reality and almost-Karacide, Connor. That scream of Cordelia's? Was real as well.
kara_marie
Mar. 25th, 2007 08:49 am (UTC)

The strange thing is that when he says it Kara looks into his eyes and she realises that he means it. For the first time, perhaps, she feels genuinely sorry for Connor. The pity is short lived, however, because even if it isn't her heart, the stake through the arm still hurts. It really hurts.

As does the fact he wanted to kill her. She's surprised how much that hurts.

"Please, Connor."

And she tries to push at him with her good arm, push him off her. She's looking up at him with those blue eyes that are all filled with tears and that can't have looked this real in the dream, the details of dreams have to fall short of reality, otherwise we'd never leave them.

"Please, Connor - you're hurting me - and - "

It's with desperation that she says the rest, low so only he could hear it, not that anyone else would be listening -

"Please, Connor, I'm --- there's --- I'm going to have a baby, a little baby, and you like babies, so please --- "

Another girl pleaded with him before and he killed her anyway, does this remind him of that? But she was different, she couldn't fight for herself. This one can, of course, and having caught enough breath to try she pushes him again as hard as she can, with her arm and brings her knee up as fast and hard as she's able.

abetterlie
Mar. 25th, 2007 09:00 am (UTC)
He let go of the stake as soon as the beating heart sank in, but otherwise remained in place, realities of gas, hallucination dreams and the past crashing down on him, until she says "baby", which would be enough to shock him into action at once - if Kara wasn't rescuing herself right then, with the double combination of push and bringing up her knees.

As there is no resistance from him at this point, and definitely not a hold on anything, this move throws him right into Cordelia and Clayface. Who has no idea who the blonde is, but figures if she can fight the annoying superpowered kid off, she must have superpowers herself.

Which changes the odds. Besides, are those cops he hears? Not again. This was supposed to be fun and some lucrative hustling from terrified billionaires. Clayface decides that discretion is the better part of not going back to Arkham and changes his coke-drenched frame... to look like exactly Cordelia.

Just in case either the blonde or the boy intend something like a farewell lung before he makes his exit.
queen_c_tm
Mar. 25th, 2007 09:19 am (UTC)
Why do people keep getting THROWN at her tonight?

Cordelia once again finds herself being knocked to the ground, and that added to Kara's injury seems to be enough to cut through whatever's left of the toxin in her system. Angelus is gone, and her mind feels clear again.

What's important right now is that Kara is hurt. Cordelia gathers herself up and runs over to her, eyes wide with concern and a different kind of fear. A normal, un-toxiny one.

"Kara!" She cringes at the sight of her arm. It looks even worse close-up. "You need a doctor. I - I hear sirens coming. I can go get someone..."

Except that would mean leaving Kara alone with Connor, and she's not sure he isn't still under the influence of whatever drug was screwing them all up tonight.

She turns back to him and narrows her eyes.

"Are you still seeing things? Cause I need to get her help, but I'm not leaving her here with you if you're going to try to kill her again!"

Maybe not the best words to use, but she's kind of panicking here.
abetterlie
Mar. 25th, 2007 09:40 am (UTC)
He nearly killed Kara. And it's not a dream, it's real. He nearly killed her, and a baby, did she just say she is pregnant, and he nearly killed her and -

... are those two Cordelias? Apparantly he does still see things. Except one is rapidly running away. He does make the connection now, Clayface, but there is too much else going on to feel anything about that. Or even to pursue the guy.

He gets up. That knee-punch of Kara's hurts where it should, so he's not exactly Mr. Elastic at once. "Go," he says, white-faced, to Cordelia. (Who did see Angelus too, didn't she? Or had that been a part of his madness? "I - it's gone."

Cordelia looks at him, and apparantly decides, based on her knowledge of him and the urgency of medical attention, that she can trust his assurance. As she heads for the sirens, Connor looks at Kara, and her bleeding arm. Sure, she has Slayer healing, but it still had to hurt like a bitch, and - he tried to kill her.

She could be dead now.

"Sorry" doesn't begin to cover it.

"I saw you with Angelus," he says, voice sounding parched. "I thought you were - "

....baby? The sirens are all around them, and he guesses that means he won't have to go after remaining bad guys, except he should, he really should, anything to get out of here, except he shouldn't, he really shouldn't, he hurt her and he tried to kill her and did she say she was expecting a baby....

"...did you say you're having a baby?" he finishes helplessly, switching topics mid-sentence. "Or was that part of...."

Him imagining things.

kara_marie
Mar. 25th, 2007 09:51 am (UTC)
"Well, Connor."

She replies, a little paler than usual, but no less uppity.

"If that's an apology for trying to kill me and for STAKING me in the ARM, it's a somewhat lame one. I'm going to tell Angel about this and he's going to be SO mad. And after I tell Angel I'm telling Harry! And he'll be mad too because I was SO nice to you both. And I would tell Darla but she has a heart condition and I don't think she could take the STRESS. YOU FREAKING STAKED ME!!!"

She's clearly not impressed as she holds her good hand over her hurt arm, trying to stop the blood. Bloody Connor. Bloody arm!

"I can't believe you tried to stake me? Are you totally INSANE? I mean, I knew you had Kara!Issues but this is CRAZY! You are going to be in SO much trouble! I can't believe this! Some guy tasers me, Lex goes psycho on me, YOU STAKE ME and Peter Petrelli totally got candy cone in my HAIR. What is WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? DOES NO ONE IN THIS WORLD HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS EXCEPT ME!?!?! I am SO MAD AT YOU RIGHT NOW, CONNOR! YOU STAKED ME!!! STAKED ME!!! YOU COULD HAVE STAKED ME DEAD YOU FREAKING IDIOT!!!!"
abetterlie
Mar. 25th, 2007 10:07 am (UTC)
"I thought you were a vampire," he repeats, forgetting that people not raised by Daniel Holtz might not see this as a self evident explanation. He's also trying very hard not to think about some of the things Angelus and Kara said in what was clearly a hallucination.

Looking around, he spots a plastic bottle of mineral water among the diet cokes lying broken on the floor, picks it up and holds it out to her, crouching down beside her, careful not to touch her again.

"You should wash the wound with this," he says; he'd do it, but he doesn't think she'd let him. He's far less coherent than the sentence implies; it's just that Connor in shock resorts to basic skills and instincts, and open wound equals need to wash and if necessary burn it out.

"....did you say you're having a baby?"

And then, finally, some belated social skills kick in.

"I'm sorry. Oh Kara, I'm so sorry..."

She could be dead, and there is nothing of that sense of peace which ended his dreams of killing her at the idea, there is just the empty horror looming that was there when Jasmine died.
kara_marie
Mar. 25th, 2007 10:23 am (UTC)

"Do I look like a vampire? God. I've even tanned a bit in LA, I cannot believe you're trying the old: Sorry for staking you, I thought you were a vampire routine... And, as if that is an excuse, if YOU were a vampire I wouldn't KILL you. I'd lock you in a cage with cable TV and internet and... probably with Lesley and Lex... and I'd find you a TOTALLY hot vampire girlfriend to sex up all day long in the cage! I wouldn't STAKE you. Gah! I can't believe the minute you thought I was a vampire you tried to stake me... you're just LOOKING for an excuse, aren't you?"

She takes the bottle from him, snatches it, and hits him a few times with it for good measure, not particularly hard.

"You could freaking open it, Connor --- since you've basically disabled me and all. You're such an idiot. And I'm calling Angel right now and telling him what you did - I am. Give me your cell, I lost mine back when some asshole tasered me. God. My hair. My SHIRT. LOOK at this shirt it's covered in BLOOD."

She pauses, just a moment.

"And if you tell anyone what I told you, I swear --- don't you tell anyone. If people find out, people can't find out, Connor, not until... I don't want him to know. I need to work out how I'm going to handle it. Handle him. No staking me, no hitting me and no blabbing - and give me your fucking cell phone, asshole."
abetterlie
Mar. 25th, 2007 10:39 am (UTC)
In the middle of everything, he's oddly touched she says she wouldn't stake him if he was a vampire, though Stephen Holtz thinks that's stupid and will get her killed. (Connor Riley could do without Lex and Lindsey for company but is downright misty-eyed about not getting staked.)

Connor takes the bottle back after she hit him, opens it, and pours the water over her wound while she goes on about her cell and the baby. The tie, which he so wouldn't have worn if he had known Kara would come in jeans, turns out to be useful as a bandage. The Harry-approved Armani jacket, which already went through various stages carrying kids to safety before the drug took effect on him, is at least good for one thing more as well, because, miracle of miracles, it still does contain his cell phone, which he hands to her silently, while processing what she says.

Don't want him to know. Him. Lex "I'm on a path of vengeance against whoever made me into a doll/girl" Luthor. Who definitely should not touch her again in this life or the next, yes. And who happens to be the father. As Harry is to Evan.

"I won't tell anyone," he promises, and looks at her with her bloody shirt and her angry, alive face, and thinks about how little she weighs if you carry her.
kara_marie
Mar. 25th, 2007 10:51 am (UTC)

"He might have been good enough for me, but he's not good enough for... it. I gave him lots of chances and he never even tried to use any of them - but I don't really care anymore. Shame on him for what he's done, but shame on me if I spend another moment crying about it."

She hands him back his cell, unopened.

"Consider this one on the tab."

She says getting to her feet. You can't keep a good, or even mediocre, slayer down.

"You got to stab me in the back and now the arm and I haven't collected on either. I'd say you owed me, Connor. And I'd say that maybe if Lex makes any trouble for me, maybe then you'll remember how much you totally do owe me. Maybe?"
abetterlie
Mar. 25th, 2007 11:05 am (UTC)
Definitely not good enough, and under other circumstances Connor would feel immensely cheered that she's over Lex, but as it is he's still too much in the grateful for Kara being alive region to realize she found her inner Gloria Gaynor.

Then she makes her request. And, well. He kidnapped Lex Luthor and strongarmed him into helping to fight crime once because he was so massively ticked off the man had endangered her and a great many other people in Gotham with his goo project. If not for one circumstance, he'd have absolutely no problem doing that, or other things, again, as long as they don't involve possession spells and brain lobotomy, because he still thinks that nobody deserves that.

The circumstance is, of course, that Lex Luthor is Harry's Cordelia, and bound to react accordingly to anything that happens to Mr L. (Which is why that crime fighting in Gotham intermezzo remains a secret.)

But. He just nearly killed Kara. And he does owe her. Massively. And Lex should not come anywhere near her again. If she decides to have the child, he shouldn't come anywhere near it, either. Connor thinks of Lionel and that encounter in New York, with the man saying how like a father to Harry he has been as well, and feels like throwing up at the idea of letting a child of Kara anywhere near anyone named Luthor. So.

"Yes," he says, seriously, and aware what it means. "Yes."

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