A/N so here they are: Connor's memories. There are several. There is also another one that I am saving for later because it's longer. Thanks for reading,
25 years ago.
Ten year old Connor MacDonald laid his arm protectively around his younger sister's shoulders. She was his concern now, he was the only one left to protect her and care for her.
Eight year old Lucy MacDonald turned her tear streaked, anxious little face up to look at her brother with sad, green eyes,
"Who's going tae look after us now, Connie?" she asked. Connor pulled her close,
"I will, sis. Don't you worry about anything." He said. He didn't want her to worry, that was his job, as the oldest. Dad always said it was his job to look after his sister so that was exactly what he was going to do.
They'd been left alone for a few minutes by the adults, nurses and someone called a social worker while they talked about adult stuff outside the room. He could hear them, not exactly arguing but talking in quick, hushed voices, about them of course, what else would they have to talk about?
Their parents were dead. The truck that had crossed the central reservation and taken the front end of their car and their parents with it had made sure of that. It all seemed a little unreal that he and Lucy had been left unscathed while their parents had been killed outright. The driver had fallen asleep at the wheel, or so they'd been told.
Connor was trying to make sense of it all, but it was difficult. He was trying to be brave for Lucy's sake but he was still only a child himself and he was finding it very hard not to start crying. He wanted his mum and dad to walk through that door and tell them everything was fine and take them home but he knew that was not going to happen,
"I want tae go home, Connie." Lucy said as she wiped some tears from her eyes. She had cried surprisingly little, obviously trying to be brave too,
"I know, Lu, so do I." he frowned, "I just don't know if we'll be allowed."
"It's our home though, it didn't disappear did it? Our house is still there isn't it?"
"Yeah, it is, it's just that we can't go there on our own."
"Why not?" she asked suddenly angry, "It's where we live and we know the way from here."
Connor looked down at her. What she said made sense, everything would seem a little better if they were in their own home. Maybe, just maybe the adults here had made a mistake and their parents were there waiting for them. They hadn't been allowed to see either their mum or their dad, so maybe they'd been wrong about it being them.
He narrowed his eyes as he watched the adults talking. Adults made mistakes, he was old enough to understand that. Maybe they'd made a mistake about this. The more he thought about it the more it made sense to him. More sense than what they'd already been told anyway.
He stood, taking Lucy's hand and pulling her to her feet too,
"Come on Lu, we're going." He said decisively,
"Where?" she asked, her eyes wide as she looked with utter trust at her big brother,
"Home of course, maybe they're there waiting for us."
"Mum and Dad?" Lucy asked in a hopeful little whisper,
"Yeah, and if they're not we can still live there, I'll look after you, I don't want to go anywhere else, do you?"
Lucy looked back at the door uncertainly, the adults had told them to stay where they were but she trusted her brother above anything else so she turned back to him and nodded. Despite feeling the most scared she had ever felt in her life she would follow him, because he was older and he knew things she didn't. He could be right.
They edged around the room. There was a fire exit at the opposite side. Slowly Connor opened the door and they stepped through. He pushed it shut and they found themselves in the Hospital car park. Connor held Lucy's hand tight and they ran,
"Come on, I know the way." She followed without question.
The streets looked different in the dark and from the pavement rather than from the car. Connor did know the way home from the hospital, but he had only ever been driven and rarely in the dark. It wasn't late but it was dark and it was starting to rain. Had he made the right decision? They had to get home, or go back to the hospital, and he didn't want to do that because doing that would be to admit it was all real and he wasn't ready to do that, no way,
"Connie, we've been walking for hours." Lucy whined, she was only eight and not used to walking so far. It was cold and they didn't have their coats,
"No we haven't," Connor told her, keeping his tone bright, the way mum or dad might have done, "We don't have much further to go." He hoped he was telling the truth.
He knew where they were, it just seemed like such a short journey by car, but by foot it was taking an age and they were both tired,
"I'm tired, and hungry." Lucy told him,
"When we get home we can have those cakes mum baked before we left this morning, remember? She said they were for tea." Lucy's face brightened as she remembered the cakes, and then crumpled as she thought of their mum,
"Connie, is she going to be there waiting for us?" she asked, "I want mummy to be there." She began to cry and Connor put his arms around her,
"Come on, Lu, don't cry, everything will be okay I promise." He had always been told never to make a promise he couldn't keep and he felt guilty for making her this promise when he didn't really believe it himself.
How was everything going to be alright? Their parents were dead. He'd seen it happen. It had happened in a blur but it had happened, he'd seen the truck coming towards them and swerve and the next thing he knew they were sitting in a car with no front and no parents and he knew, his ten year old, logical young brain had told him that their parents were gone, nothing could have survived that impact.
He pulled Lucy closer and they began to walk again. He was beginning to second guess himself, had he done the right thing bringing her out in the rain and dragging her all this way? He didn't know, but they were closer to home now than the hospital so they should go on not back. At home things would seem better surely, not so hopeless.
Eventually they turned into their own street. They could see their house and Lucy picked up her pace,
"We made it Connie, we're here, come on." She called excitedly, starting to run,
"Lu wait." He shouted. He'd seen something she hadn't, something that made his heart skip a beat, and not from excitement but from fear. There was a light in their living room window when the house should have been in darkness. What was going on? "Lu!" he called but it was too late she'd already reached the gate and had run up to the door.
He hadn't thought about how they were going to get in to their house, since neither of them had front door keys. Lucy however did not have that concern and did not think anything of the fact that the door was open she just waltzed straight in,
"Lu!" Connor practically screamed. Who was in their house, it couldn't be their parents, could it? He started to run, reaching the door and stepping inside.
The house was silent, which was worrying because Lucy had just entered, if there was someone here she should be talking to them, there should be voices,
"Lu?" he called cautiously.
There was no answer as he stepped towards the living room door. He peered carefully, slowly around the door frame and stopped dead in his tracks, there was a man, holding Lucy in his arms, a tall man, with dark auburn hair, was it dad? His heart skipped a beat as he stepped forward with an almost smile on his face. The smile disappeared though when the man looked up. This wasn't dad, it was someone who looked very like him, but wasn't his dad, he stared into a pair of very green eyes just like his and Lucy's. His dad's had been brown, hazel coloured,
"You must be Connor." The man said, in a very thick Scottish accent, "It's been a while since we saw you. You've grown so much lad." The man's eyes were filled with tears,
"You ran us a merry dance young sir." A woman's voice said from behind him and he turned with a gasp to gaze into the steely grey eyes of the tiniest woman he had ever seen, "What were you thinking taking your sister through the streets in the dark?" she had her hands on her hips and did not stand much taller than Connor himself but she was ten times more intimidating than even his mother in a temper,
"Now now, Morag, the lad's had a shock, a terrible shock, go easy on him, he brought them home didn't he?" Morag glared at him, and the distraught Lucy in his arms and nodded,
"Yes he did." She looked back at Connor and her expression softened, her eyes filled with the same tears, "Oh Connie, what were you thinking, sweetheart, we came to the hospital but they told us you'd run off. We came straight here when we heard." She held out her hands as she approached him, he backed off a little as he narrowed his eyes.
He recognised them, but didn't know how he did. He looked at the man that looked so much like his dad, so much so he could be his brother, "U-uncle Mac?" he stuttered, "Auntie Morag?" he looked from the nodding Uncle Mac to the smiling Auntie Morag.
Auntie Morag closed the gap and wrapped her arms around her nephew. Connor felt something snap inside him and all the grief he'd been holding inside to be brave for Lucy suddenly flowed from him and he sobbed, great heaving sobs as his Aunt held him and stroked his hair,
"There, there, sweetheart." She murmured. He felt other hands on him and realised that Lucy was holding him and so was Uncle Mac. They stood there in a big group hug, all crying, all joined in their grief, "No need to worry about anything." Auntie Morag said in her soft lilting accent, "We're here now, and everything is going to be alright."
Two Weeks Later
"Why can't we stay here?" Connor yelled,
"Because this isn't where Uncle Mac and I live, Connor, and we're responsible for you and Lucy now, so you have to come and live with us." Auntie Morag explained patiently to the distraught and scared ten year old,
"But all our friends are here, I don't want to move to some mouldy old castle in the middle of nowhere." He didn't miss the cloud of annoyance that crossed his Aunt's face but she remained calm, as she sat down on the bed and beckoned for him to join her. He sat, reluctantly,
"I can look after Lucy." He said stubbornly, "We can stay here, and I'll look after her."
"You're not old enough, sweetheart."
"But I can do it, I can cook and clean and stuff."
"I don't doubt that you're capable, it's just that the law says you have to have an adult looking after you and we have to go back to Loch Leith darlin'. Your Uncle is the Laird, you know what that means don't you?"
Connor knew what it meant, he'd been told from a very young age. His Aunt and Uncle had no children and he was eldest male heir, one day he would be Laird, but that had always been something that would happen so far in the future that it was not ever going to happen. He was happy here with his friends and his school and his sister, he didn't want to leave,
"This is my home, our home." He said quietly, "There aren't any memories of mum and dad at Loch Leith." Auntie Morag gave a gulp of sadness as she pulled her nephew to her,
"Loch Leith is where your parents grew up, Connor, I think you'll find there are lots of memories there if you know where to look."
He looked up at her curiously,
"And there's a school, with some boys your age and some girls Lucy's age." She held him at arm's length, "You can bring anything you want from this house, hell you can bring the entire contents, we'll find somewhere to put it," Connor smiled a weak smile at her ridiculousness,
"I couldn't bring everything with me, I don't think the house would fit in the car." He chuckled and Auntie Morag hugged him with a cry of delight,
"Oh, Connor, I think we're going to love having you around, you make me smile ye wee monster." She scrubbed his head and he shrugged away in mock annoyance, "Come on, monster, let me help you pack some things."
Later That Same Week
"Are you ready for a big adventure then?" Uncle Mac asked the two children standing either side of him.
They were standing outside their new home, awestruck at the size of it. Connor and Lucy glanced at each other around the tall frame of their Uncle and then up at him with wide green eyes, nodding eagerly. He smiled and took their hands,
"Welcome to Wonderland babies," He said with a soft chuckle, "Come on then, let's show you your new home."
They walked into the castle hardly able to hold their excitement in. Despite the circumstances of their situation and the necessity to be here in the first place, for a ten year old and an eight year old there was nowhere so magical as a real life castle and it was going to be their home, it was hardly believable, but true.
They had visited once before when Connor had been five. He vaguely remembered the visit, Lucy couldn't remember at all. They stepped through the enormous oak front door and into wonderland.
One Week Later And First Day At School
Connor stood at the doorway of the classroom feeling a little exposed. Starting a new school was difficult enough, but starting half way through a term, and in a new place with no one at all that he knew was going to be really hard. He was up for the challenge though. He'd never been shy,
"Hello." A bright voice said from his left. He looked around and into the dark eyes of someone he thought looked a little familiar, "You're Connor aren't you? Remember me?" Connor frowned, and shook his head, although the boy's face was familiar he didn't know his name. He had a feeling he should, though, and felt a little guilty.
The lad took his arm,
"Come on, you can sit beside me," the lad said. He was slightly taller than Connor, slim and a bit good looking really, although Connor thought he shouldn't really be thinking that, "I'm Angus." The lad said as Connor sat beside him at a desk. Angus frowned, "You don't remember me do you?" he asked sadly, "You don't remember that snowball fight when you and me took on those big lads do you?"
Snowballs, that was it,
"Oh aye." Connor said suddenly smiling, "Angus, I'm sorry, it was like ages ago though." He chuckled at the memory. He'd been there, at Loch Leith, with his parents and Lucy. They'd visited over Christmas and there'd been snow.
He had been exploring, with his sledge while his parents and Aunt and Uncle and Lucy had been shopping in the village. He'd come across some big lads terrorising a kid his age with snowballs. He'd helped out. The kid had been much smaller than him. He looked up at the taller Angus,
"Er, you grew." He observed and Angus laughed,
"That can happen." He answered cockily. He flashed Connor a grin and flicked his dark eyebrows cockily. Connor felt himself blushing and wasn't entirely sure why. He knew he liked Angus though and was very glad he had made a friend.
Later that day, straight after School
"Connie, Connie!" an excited Lucy called as she ran to greet her brother across the playground, "I made a new friend and she asked me to go to her house for tea. Can I go can I, can I?" Connor chuckled at her excitement,
"Lu, I think Auntie Morag and Uncle Mac will want us nack at the castle for tea tonight." Loch Leith Castle had only been their home for a week but he could not bring himself to call it home yet.
Lucy pouted, but nodded and turned to tell her friend who was standing beside her mum waiting for an answer. She walked with her head hanging dramatically and Connor couldn't help laughing at her theatrics. She'd always been such a drama queen,
"Who's that then?" a cocky voice said from behind him causing him to jump and turn, "That your sister?" Angus asked with that quirky raise of his eyebrow,
"Um yes, she is, that's Lucy." Lucy was returning now and had seen that Connor was talking to someone,
"Did you make a friend too, Connie?" she asked. Angus smirked and Connor groaned,
"Connie?" Angus asked, a wicked twinkle in his dark eyes,
"It's a nickname, a baby name really, because Lucy is still a baby." Connor sneered at her. Lucy put her hands on her hips in a stance she had picked up from Auntie Morag, since the woman seemed to spend most of her day standing like that,
"I am so not a baby, Connor MacDonald." She said fiercely, frowning,
"Oh ho, a fiery one there, mate, better you than me." Angus chuckled. Connor groaned again,
"Angus, this is my sister Lucy." He said, trying to diffuse the situation because he hated conflict, and Lucy's idea of conflict was worse than most, "And Lucy this is Angus, he's in my class."
"Nice to meet you Angus." Lucy said coyly, fluttering her eyebrows artlessly. Connor groaned again. All he needed was his sister crushing on his best friend.
The trouble was, he couldn't tell whether it irritated him or whether he was jealous. This was no good at all.
A/N Just a bonus for you all, to get into Connor's mindset. He's Ten and having thoughts about his new best friend. Does that answer some questions or pose some new interesting ones?