A short story, involving characters from Colorblind.
Nat was almost startled to see the young reporter-cum-unwilling assassin sitting on the sofa in the living room, staring absentmindedly at the painting of a calm forest glen, as if he hadn’t moved in hours. Sometimes, Connor was so quiet that Nat would forget he had company, only to be abruptly reminded of it as he ran into a rather surprised Connor, a few minutes later. Connor would sit perfectly still for hours at times, and other times look vaguely reproving as Nat bit back a curse on being startled yet again.
The thing was, the younger man wasn’t doing it intentionally. It just happened.
“Hey,” Nat said. Connor looked up, startled out of his thoughts. He smile, an odd, endearing, childlike half-smile.
“Do you never make a sound?” Nat teased gently. Connor looked surprised for a moment, then a mischievous look crossed his face. Nat knew that look. It was too adorable for how purely wicked it could be.
“Not all of us are as big as you,” Connor told the powerfully built police officer. Nat snorted.
“Not all of us are mice,” he said, grabbing the younger man in a playful headlock. Connor just laughed and remained still. They both knew that if Connor wanted to get out, he could get out, as Nat’s latest still-healing bruises could attest.
“Tired?” Nat asked. Connor shrugged.
“I haven’t actually been tired in a long time,” he said. “It’s almost as if I have too much energy. I was just thinking.”
“Well, if no one did any thinking, we’d all be going nowhere.”
“If you did less thinking, my friend, less of those places we’re going would crash and burn,” Nat teased. Connor ducked under his arm and shoved him off the sofa. Nat sat on the floor for a moment, inwardly smiling at the progress they had made. After a few months in the safehouse, Connor no longer started at sudden sounds, though he still occasionally would lash out violently, if provoked. Also, Connor was becoming less awkward when it came to human interaction.
“It’s been a long year, hasn’t it,” Nat said thoughtfully. Connor snorted.
“It wasn’t even a full year,” he pointed out. Nat shrugged.
“True enough.” They were silent for a while, comfortable in each other’s company.
“Connor, there’s something I should probably tell you…”
Connor, there’s something I should probably tell you…
“Connor! Connor, wake up!”
“What?” he grumbled. He felt so strange… He blinked. It was dark, except for a small pool of light puddling around their lantern, with a dim aura from an abandoned street light over head. “Wha—How did I get here?”
Nat blinked at him. “You’ve been here for the past five hours, with me. You came here with me.” Connor blinked. Oh. Right.
“I was asleep?”
“Yup. I have no idea how you manage to sleep during a stakeout, but that’s what happened.” Connor rubbed his face.
“About half an hour. Did I ever tell you you’re too precious when you’re sleeping?”
“Please, just shut up.” Connor groaned. “Dreaming from your point of view. Weird.”
“Well, at least we know one thing from that.”
“And what’s that?” Connor sighed, exhaustedly.
“You’re grumpy when you first wake up.” Connor made a face at him. “There’s still hope that you’re not irreparably broken.”
“And I sleep in the middle of a shootout about to happen.” Connor ran a hand through his hair. “It’s cold out here.”
“It’s three a.m. They turn the heating off when decent people aren’t going to be around.” Connor actually laughed.
“Guess we’re not decent people, then… is there any coffee left?”
“You don’t like coffee.”
“True, but the label on the thermos says it keeps things warm for eight hours.” Nat finished pouring out a cup and handed it to Connor, who choked it down, making a face at the taste. He looked at his watch.
“I just remembered. We missed the new year.”
“Apparently that was three hours ago… was I awake for that?”
“Yes, you silly kid, you were. And you didn’t remark on it.”
“Forgive me for being focused on the mark.” Suddenly, Connor straightened up, his eyes lighting, like a wolfhound catching a scent. “It’s time. They’re coming.” Nat stood, behind him. The smaller, slimmer, younger man was entirely focused on their target, a pale, unpretentious shadow in the darkness.
Seconds later, he dashed across the intervening space at a breakneck pace, using one of the men as a springboard to tackle a second. Nat was using his boxing lessons on the third, while Connor had already disabled a fourth. The kid’s methods were unorthodox, but effective, Nat had to admit. “There are more coming in,” Connor said, barely out of breath. Like a shadow, he was there one moment and gone the next, leaving Nat with the kids.
“Hey, it’s okay,” he said, softly, consoling the little ones whom they had just saved from a fate similar to Connor’s. “It’s going to be okay.”
When Connor came back, he was alone, barely disheveled, not dirty, but he was carrying a Taser, which probably wasn’t his. “We’re done here,” he said, quietly rather than tersely. Nat nodded.
“Okay, we’re good to go.” He picked up one child. The other instinctively turned to Connor, who lifted her, staggering slightly under her weight—the little one was almost as tall as he was, and certainly stouter.
“Oh, that reminds me. Connor, there’s something I should probably tell you…”
Yup, just two guys being my lovely boys. Gotta love brotherhood, by spirit if not in blood. 😛
If you were wondering about what it was that Nat (aka Police Sergeant Nathaniel Brachevis) was going to tell Connor, it’s involved with the end of the novel, but if you want a spoiler SPOILER ALERT the two of them are going to be recruited for a search/rescue/destroy program, going after the guys who trained Connor as an assassin and caused him to have amnesia in the first place. END SPOILERS Basically, protecting other people with the same ‘condition’ Connor has (he can see some wavelengths of ultraviolet light.) So yes, it’s sort of a superhero/spy/psychological/thriller novel. But if you asked Connor, I’m pretty sure he’d say he’s not a hero, he’s just a person who likes to know other people are going to be safe. He’s kind of complex like that.
This is why I think Connor is one of my personal favorites: He’s a sweet guy, very gentle, with an earnest and charming personality, adorably awkward, too. However, he has this other side; he’s a very deadly assassin without being aware of it. Someone else is trying to pull the strings, but he won’t let that happen, and he suffers from amnesia as a result. (Yup, he is actually the one at fault for having a basically blank memory.) I wouldn’t say he’s broken, unlike SPOILERS FOR THE WINTER SOLDIER Bucky, post-Hydra; Bucky was pulled out and they didn’t leave any of Bucky in the Winter Soldier, at least, as far as that was possible. On the other hand, they left Connor with his human, civilian persona, as a sort of a cover for him. That’s not to say that he isn’t messed up. It’s just more subtle, and possibly even harder to root out than it will be with Bucky.
Actually, believe it or not, the plot of Colorblind was not actually influenced by The Winter Soldier. I started work on Colorblind before Winter Soldier actually came out, before I even really got into the Marvel fandom at all. So maybe Connor’s character was a fraction influenced by Peter Parker, but really, I had no idea about Winter Soldier when I started writing this. I haven’t seen the Bourne movies either so I don’t really have any idea where the parallels lie, if there are any at all.
The idea for Colorblind came when I was thinking about how sometimes being special makes you vulnerable, and I wanted to explore that. Connor’s “superpower” really isn’t all that useful in a fight (though it might be in detective work,) and he was used, as a pawn, as a result of being “special.” Part of the idea was after seeing a particularly noxious shade of orange, and from there it became what if certain colors could drive people insane and turn them into murdering psychopaths? And from there, you can probably see where the plot went. 😉
Bottom line: Connor is an awesome fighter, but with a softer, gentler side, who is willing to fight so that other people don’t have to suffer through what he did. He’s also naive and kind of innocent, and I just find that endearing. Please tell me what you think of my character in the comments–also, if there’s a sort of character development that I seem to be falling short on, I would appreciate the help with that 🙂 I’d love to discuss it.
Also, I found a couple of people who I think look a little like I imagine Connor–they just look innocent 😉 and that’s a big part of Connor’s character. I’d love to know who you, my readers, think looks more like you imagine Connor.