it was harder than it should have been to avoid white connor

Accidental Ch 5

Here it is at last! I wish I was a consistent writer but that just ain’t what ya signed up for when you read chapter one. This is a pretty heavy chapter, trigger warnings listed below. Your mental health is more important than my fic!!!

tw for: dissociation, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, implied/referenced eating disorder, implied/refernced emotional abuse



“Yeah, mom. Ok. Bye.”

Evan hung up, taking a deep breath in and exhaling loudly. Just like he was supposed to. He’d just gotten out of therapy, and even though it had been a week since Evan had met Connor, he’d artfully managed to avoid the topic of his mental breakdown and new friend for the whole session. He’d also managed not to cry, but that wasn’t going to keep up for long. Evan’s mom was working a late shift before class, and wasn’t going to be able to pick him up.

And to Evan, that meant only one thing:

He had to make a phone call.

Balling up his fists to keep them still, - freak, just stand still, you’re not normal, that’s what they always told you, you’re not- Evan quickly sat down on the curb in the deserted parking lot and pondered what to do.

You could go ask your therapist, part of his brain nagged, the part that had the rational thoughts normal people would have - you’re not normal, freak, what did Connor say to you, he’s not the freak, you’re the fu-. It was like that part of his brain wanted him to have an anxiety attack. Evan allowed himself to blink, once, - normal people don’t have urges like that, you’re not - but refrained from moving anymore than that. He would do what his dad and all those doctors had told him, nod and say thank you… no, that was something else. When people helped him, he had to do that… what was it, what did he have to do, think, think, think!

Evan, take a deep breath.

Right. He could do that.

Evan, count to ten.

He knew his numbers.

Evan, make the phone call.

He swallowed.

Evan. Boys. Don’t. CRY!

As if his body was on autopilot, Evan pulled out his phone and dialed a number. He didn’t even know who he’d called. He tried to steady his voice as the phone dialed and rang, wondering who would pick up.

“Hello?” a familiar voice answered.

Evan’s breath caught in his throat.

“Oh!” Connor heard a garbled voice over the end of the phone. After a stretched pause, he heard more words just as he was about to hang up.

“Sorry, it’s just, I um, kind of need, a ride? I mean, it’s fine if you don’t want to, or you’re busy, or anything like that, I know it’s late, it’s just my mom can’t come to get me and you were the first number I typed in, I wasn’t even thinking -”

“Dude,” Connor cut in, trying to make sense of his friend’s rapid-fire words, “Of course I can come get you. Where a-”

Connor caught himself, knowing that anymore speech would be hard for Evan. He related; phone calls were a bitch.

“I’m gonna send you a location request. Can you share your location with me?”

Connor heard a squeaking noise that sounded somewhat like a yes, and then the beep that meant the call had been terminated. Feeling slightly worried, Connor shouldered his bag and headed out to the car.

He wanted to reach Evan sooner rather than later. Why?

Because he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was running out of time.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Evan fell to the curb and put his head in his hands. He tensed his body, fighting the urge to move with all his willpower.

A loud ding! caused Evan to jump, slowly reaching to check his phone - it’s not going to hurt you, idiot, freak, you’re a fu- with his left hand and standing. Remembering what he’d told Connor, Evan clenched his jaw and accepted the location request.  Immediately, a text was sent.

ConnorM: on myw ay

Evan didn’t respond, sinking once more to the ground and shutting his eyes in an attempt to escape the bright lights and loud noises that were pressing into him on all sides. Breathing deeply and trying to slow his racing heart, Evan didn’t know how long he sat there before he cracked his eyes open and dimly registered a vaguely familiar blue car pulling into the parking lot. In a moment, he had managed to recognize it as Connor’s and had straightened himself up, attempting to look like he had purposefully sat on the ground rather than collapsing.

He took a deep breath.

It was one car ride.

He could hide this.

Connor pulled up.

Connor could tell from the moment he pulled up to the curb something wasn’t right; he could see it in Evan’s fidgeting hand and red-tinted face. But he didn’t mention anything.

He did, however, start the car along the road home, chasing the lingering sun in the sky.

Evan didn’t know where they were going. He was trying too hard not to puke. He found himself retreating into his mind. If he didn’t feel, he couldn’t hurt. He knew where he was, but he wasn’t there.

He knew where he was.

He knew where he was.

He knew…

He knew where he…

Where was he?

Connor’s knuckles tightened on the steering wheel as he exercised much self control as he could muster to avoid going over the speed limit. He chanced a glance at Evan, who had crawled into the backseat when the car had first appeared. Connor was too tired from another sleepless night to notice the faraway look in his eyes and the stillness of his body, worse symptoms that a red face had been.

Get him home, Connor thought, training his eyes back towards the road.

No no no no nononono, Evan thought. He had felt this before. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t feel, he- he thought this was what he wanted but it never was, it wasn’t- it was- it-

Connor looked up once more when he heard small sounds coming from the backseat of the car. He gasped softly, narrowly avoiding panic himself, as the sight that met his eyes.

Evan’s body was rocking slightly as sharp breaths and whimpers came at irregular intervals.

“Shit” Connor muttered. It seemed to be becoming a regular occurrence to say that in Evan’s presence. He glanced out his window, looking for a place to pull over.

Evan heard his name, but it was distant, and soft. He wanted to hear it, to respond, but he couldn’t, everything was too muffled and it was like he was gagged, and blinded, he saw only through a haze of white, and it was too quiet, and far, it was too quie-

Hands grabbed his shoulders, and through the haze surrounding him he heard his name again, but clearer this time. He pulled open his eyes - had they been closed? - and was immediately blinded by sensory input. He screamed, but whether it was inside or outside of his thoughts he couldn’t tell. He squeezed his hands tighter over his ears and fell farther into his head.

Evan opened his eyes briefly and whimpered before constricting his hands over his ears and becoming even stiller than before. Connor just worked on pulling the smaller boy gently out of the car and onto a blue blanket he’d set under a tree in the pitch-dark park he had stopped at.

Once Connor had gotten Evan propped against the rough willow bark he pondered what to do. The boy was as still and quiet, and though his eyes were tightly shut, you could tell that if they were opened there would be a glaze over them. Then the muffled words started again.

Evan had been reaching, harder and harder, to get out of his mind. He remembered now, he was with Connor, and Connor needed to know he was okay. But breaking through the first wall of defenses meant he was open to attacks.

Images flooded Evan’s mind, of the things he tried to forget but never really did. It was his dad, drunk into a stupor and he was violent, but in a quiet way, because his violence was words and not knives, it was the whisperings of screw up from him and poor parents from everyone else.

It was his mom, crying quietly, and Evan running away.

It was the constant waiting rooms, the doctors confirming a diagnosis and his mom smiling for a split second and his dad screaming, asking for a cure to fix his broken kid.

It was a few simple words.

“Get it together.”

“I’m sorry-” Evan whispered.

Connor decided to go back to his first instincts. Cautiously, he put his arms around Evan and began rubbing his back and rocking slightly. It felt like their first meeting, except now it was dark and rain was coming down in heavy sheets and Connor was beginning to care about the kid he had cradled in his arms.

“Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorr-” poured out of Evan’s mouth like a mantra at a mile a minute. Connor just continued to quietly shush him, gently wiping away rain mingled with tears with the pad of his thumb.

“Break out of it, Hansen,” he whispered.

Suddenly, Evan heard five words with clarity.

“Break out of it, Hansen.”

He shot up and out of his mind and looked around for a few seconds before immediately leaning over and dry heaving- there wasn’t anything in his stomach in the first place, seeing as he couldn’t even remember the last time he had eaten.

Connor looked down at the smaller boy with a start.

“Stupid question, but are you okay?”

Evan knew he couldn’t lie anymore. He obviously wasn’t okay.

“Panic attack, followed by dissociation, ending in flashbacks. How was your night?” Evan tried to sound funny, but his voice came out scratchy and wavering.

Connor swallowed thickly.

“Can I hug you?” he said, dropping his walls for a split-second.

Evan nodded, not trusting his voice. Connor pulled him gently into a hug, and the tears Evan had been doing his best to hold in came pouring out onto the chest of Connor’s gray hoodie.

“Evan, bud- Evan. W-who did this to you?” Connor muttered, his words muffled in Evan’s hair.

“I guess… I need to start from the beginning.”

Keep reading

I’d like to talk for a moment about racebending.

I am, in general, very in favor of racebending. When used properly - and, though difficult to fuck up, there are ways to do it badly - it can be one of the best ways to add diversity to an old and predominantly white franchise.

I find it especially useful in superhero comics, where most of the heroes are “white by default” - that is, they have no real clear ties to any European ethnic heritage, or any real reason to be white beyond the biases of the time. For some of them, being white actually actively adds problematic aspects to their backstory that other ethnicities might not (I’m looking at you, Roy Harper, Iron Fist, Richard Dragon…)

The fact is, at this point in time, we are so saturated with heroes that introducing a new one is incredibly hard. This is a problem, because our existing heroes are predominantly white cishet non-disabled men (with some women).

One way to solve this is via legacy heroes. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably heard me speak on how incredibly essential legacy heroes are as a way to add diversity to comics. Characters like Kamala Khan, Cassandra Cain, Jaime Reyes, John Stewart, etc., who are now popular amongst fans got a huge boost from their legacy status. If they hadn’t been tied into existing beloved franchises, they would have been much, much harder to promote.

Unfortunately, now that the older generation of heroes - who happen to, of course, be even less diverse than more recent iterations - have displaced many legacy characters (Batgirl being the first one that comes to mind, as the decision to revert Babs to the identity displaced not only three women, one of them a woman of color who has still not returned to main continuity, but also two disabled women) - many of whom are often whitewashed regardless (see Connor Hawke), it becomes clear that there is just not a real editorial dedication to protecting legacy heroes.

One solution to this is to double down on protecting and promoting legacy heroes. I have spoken at length about the importance of this. But another solution - one, I might add, that should be used in conjunction with legacies, not as a replacement - is racebending.

By racebending entrenched characters, the type who always come back in one form or another, it is possible to diversify the DCU in such a way as to avoid the endless cycle of - honestly, of tokenism, as characters of color are killed off or erased in big events, only to be replaced with new ones hitting similar demographic marks after fan outcry. No matter how good these characters are, it becomes difficult to get attached to them when companies have so consistently proven they give no fucks about them.

That having been said, it’s posible to do racebending wrong.

The first, and most egregious way, is to use racebending as a smokescreen for other problematic aspects. This is the shit shows like Arrow pull, racebending one or two characters (Iris West and Slade Wilson are the only ones I can think of), milking the good press they get for it, and then proceeding to whitewash even more characters (Sin Lance, Ra’s al Ghul, Brick, Sandra Hawke, probably Connor Hawke…). This is something I would absolutely consider “tokenism” - it’s shamelessly exploiting the fact that, due to racism, racebending gets more attention than whitewashing, in order to appear committed to diversity while actually actively stripping out the diversity of the source material.

The second way is to racebend a character… and then proceed to suddenly import problematic tropes associated with their new race. (I’m looking at you, everything I’ve heard about nuWally.) It’d probably be fair to call this “tokenism,” as the racebent character falls into the same trap as most other instances of tokenism.

The third way is the most common way, and also the easiest one to work with. It’s something I like to call “shallow” racebending - changing a character’s race without considering any ramifications it may have on the character. Depending on circumstances and the character themselves, this may be a trivial change (Does the society of the Legion of Super-Heroes still have modern racial classifications? No? Then it doesn’t matter if a white character is suddenly Black, does it?); a neutral but nontrivial change (Lois Lane would have different experiences and ties to an additional cultural background as an Indian woman, but the core character and personality remains entirely intact); a change that actually makes a character work better or removes a problematic aspect (Roy Harper as Navajo? Richard Dragon as Filipino? Or, to move over to Marvel, Iron Fist as Asian-American?); a change that requires significant reworking of a character’s background (the Waynes are old money - if Bruce Wayne is racebent, how does that affect things?)

I wouldn’t, however, consider this “tokenism.” I’d call it more a failure of character design - you’ve introduced a new aspect to a character without carrying it through to the logical conclusions.

But here’s the thing. Even when you fuck up racebending… the solution is to do it properly, not to call the entire concept a failure. The failures I listed above can all be salvaged one way or another, and do not condemn the enterprise to failure.

I have, for a very long time now, subscribed to the headcanon that Jason Todd is mixed Asian on his father’s side (specifically, ¼ Taiwanese and ¾ white). I’m quite fond of this change - I think it helps flesh out Jason’s pre-Robin background, which is often sparse, helps diversify the Batfamily, and helps explain a lingering canon point, which is that Lady Shiva was at one point considered a candidate for Jason’s mother.

There are a lot of characters I like to racebend. Like I said, I’m a fan of the concept. But I’m bringing this one up specifically because I’ve managed to spread it to a few friends, one of whom recently listed it in a list of racebending headcanons… and got an anonymous message about how “racebending is icky if it only serves to tokenize a character” and “wtf at jason todd being taiwanese”.

Literally all she did was list racebending headcanons, after she was asked about them. She did not go into detail about implementation. And one of the racebending headcanons with the most canon support and potential was decried as “tokenism.”

Literally what the fuck.

When you use a character of color to mark off diversity checkboxes without fleshing out the character… when you use them as a smokescreen for whitewashing… when you use them to perpetuate harmful tropes… that is very much tokenism. But there’s nothing wrong with diversity for diversity’s sake. And racebending is one of the better ways to accomplish that.

EDIT:

So my friend harshcutieszoos got an anon mentioning that they were uncomfortable with me referring to Iris West’s racebending as “tokenism,” especially since I’m not Black (and am in fact white).

And they’re… well, they’re completely right. That was not a thing I should have done. I was so pissed off by the thing about Rena “engaging in tokenism” that I totally slandered a really cool character in the unfortunately-associated-with-Arrow Flash TV show, one who has received both a huge amount of support from Black female fans and a huge amount of racist bullshit from a large portion of fandom.

Arrow has a history of whitewashing, and I suspect that it is trying to promote itself as a diverse show while covering up its own whitewashing. It shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that. But that doesn’t change the fact that Iris’s casting is incredibly important, and I apologize for referring to it as “tokenism.” I was specifically trying to talk about how racebending like this is valuable, and in attempting to condemn Arrow’s whitewashing I completely undermined that point, and contributed to the completely unfair shit that Iris West gets.

I apologize.