Author's Note: This chapter has specific spoilers for the episode 'Ground State'. Written - August 2003
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, and I am not making any money from these stories.
Warning: Non consensual disciplinary spanking of an adult by a parent. Short non consensual disciplinary spanking of a child by a parent. Graphic description of the murder of a baby.
How it Should Have Been Chapter 2
Wesley got to the hotel about 10:00am, and was surprised to find Connor asleep in his room alone. He wondered if Angel had waited for Connor to fall asleep before he left. Once Wesley got Connor up they started their day.
When Wesley was done tutoring Connor for the day, he left Connor with Gunn, and went to find Angel. He found him in the office, and said, "Angel, I thought you might be interested in something I found out yesterday."
"Sure Wes, come in and sit down."
"I found out about something called the Axis of Pythia. It is an object that can let you see into other dimensions, and planes of existence. I thought you might be able to use it to find Cordelia."
Angel thought about it and said, "Where did you find out about it?"
Wesley said, "One of my Wolfram and Heart contacts. He has been helping me look for ways to get into other dimensions since I first found out Cordelia was missing."
Angel said, "So, how can I get this Axis?"
"You'll have to steal it. It's in a vault, in a very secure building called Chandler's Auction house. I've brought the blue prints with me."
Angel Wesley and Fred spent the next hour making plans to steal the Axis.
Angel thought Connor was remarkable well behaved for the whole day. He did all four tutoring sessions without complaints or arguments. And after lunch he helped Fred redo all of Cordelia's files which had been frustrating Fred for months. Then after that he hadn't complained when Gunn made him wash and wax his truck. Angel was very pleased with all of this, and thought that maybe Connor was going to make it though the day without trying to run.
Angel decided Connor could use some exercise, so he took him to the basement, which also doubled as a workout room, and they practiced fighting with swords for an hour. After they were done, Angel had Connor do some homework in his office while Angel went though the blue prints again. Both Fred and Wesley had decided to start giving Connor some work to do alone to see how that would go. Angel was amazed at Connor's concentration. He was really studying, and getting it done pretty well from what Angel could see. He realized Holtz had probably beat good studying habits into Connor early on, and tried not to think about it any more.
Around 8pm when it was starting to get dark, they all sat down and had dinner together. After people were almost done eating Angel said, "Okay, lets go over the plan for the night. Gunn and Wesley you'll be with me, and Fred and Connor you'll stay here."
Connor asked, "What are you guys going to go do?"
Angel said, "We're going to steal something called the Axis of Pythia. It will let me see into other dimensions, and I hope it will let me see Cordelia, where ever she is."
"Stealing it from where?"
"It's in a building in a vault. We have the blue prints if you want to look them over to see if you have any suggestions we might have missed."
"Okay, but why aren't Fred and I going?"
Angel looked at Connor and wondered if he was going to have a problem over this. He said, "Because it's illegal. Most of the stuff we do is dangerous, but since the law doesn't recognize demons, it isn't illegal to kill them. Breaking into a public building and stealing something is illegal in this society. I don't think we're going to get caught, but in case we do, I don't want you to be there."
"That's stupid. I thought you said I was part of the team."
"You are part of the team, but you also don't have any paperwork here in this dimension. Wesley and I are working on getting some paperwork in place for you, but it will probably be another couple of weeks before they're ready. But even if you had paperwork I wouldn't let you go, because starting a police record at your age would make it even harder for you to fit into society later on."
Connor was mad and his voice was getting louder as he said, "I wouldn't get caught! You should worry more about Wesley and Gunn getting caught! They can't move as fast as we can! It's a stupid plan!"
Fred, Wesley, and Gunn were getting a little uncomfortable with the conversation, and they were looking at Angel to see what he would do. Angel said, "Let's go talk in my office Connor."
Connor picked up his empty plate and tossed it to the wall where it shattered, and yelled, "NO!"
Angel almost laughed. He had to be silent for a couple of minutes to make sure he wouldn't break down, because he knew laughing would not give Connor the right message. He said very quietly, "Go clean that up."
Connor sat there for a few seconds trying to decide what to do. He had kind of surprised himself by tossing the plate, and he wasn't sure why he had, but he really didn't want to humiliate himself in front of everyone by going and cleaning it up. He crossed his arms and glared at the spot where his plate had been.
Angel didn't think it was funny now. He stood up and barked out "NOW!" while pointing at the plate.
Connor glared at Angel, but seeing him looming over him brought back flashes of the fights they had had, and Angel spanking him. He slowly got up and started picking up the pieces of broken plate, not looking at anyone.
While Connor was picking up the pieces Angel said, "Okay since Connor seems to have a problem with the plan, I think Wesley should stay here and watch him, and Fred you can come with me and Gunn if that's okay with you."
Fred nodded and said, "Sure Angel. I want to find Cordy too."
Connor heard this and got even angrier. He thought, 'Angel lied to me. He said I was part of the team, but I'm not. He would rather take Fred then me, and I know Fred can't do what I could do. I hate it here. I did what he asked me to do all day, and now he won't let me do what I do best. I need to get out of here.'
Connor had picked up the plate, and wiped up the bits of food from the wall and floor. He planned to go to his room, and headed out the door when he heard Angel's voice say, "Thank you for cleaning up the plate. Come in my office, and we'll talk about tonight."
Connor thought about running, but he knew he wouldn't make it very far, so he sighed and headed towards the office. Once the door was closed Angel grabbed Connor's arm and gave him three hard smacks on the butt. Connor let out a surprised 'Oww' at the first swat, but then was quiet. Angel said, "You don't throw tantrums when you are angry Connor. You talk about what's bugging you like an adult."
Connor pulled his arm out of Angel's grasp and walked a couple of steps away while he rubbed his butt. He crossed his arms and said, "Whatever."
"Connor, I know you want to come with us, but it's just not going to happen. The five of us ARE a team, but we don't always go do the same things. Sometimes Fred and Gunn go to check out one thing while I go do a different job. I'm sorry you're angry about not going with us on this one, but I can't risk you getting caught."
"But you can risk Gunn and Fred getting caught!?"
"Fred and Gunn understand the risks and have decided to join me. You can't understand the risks yet, because you haven't been here long enough."
Connor didn't say anything to this so Angel continued with "I wanted to tell you that I was really proud of the way you behaved this morning. You did everything we asked you to do, and didn't complain or try to run. It was great."
Connor mumbled, "Not like it did me any good."
Angel sighed and said, "That's not true and you know it. Did you learn new things today? Was any of it interesting? That should have a value to you just by itself whether it changes the way I treat you or not."
Connor knew what Angel said was right, and he gave a little nod.
"We have to start getting ready to go. I really hope you can be good for Wesley tonight, and that you'll still be here when we get back. If you aren't here, I think you know I'll find you and bring you home."
Connor glared at him and said nothing.
Angel said, "Okay, it's your choice. Let's go see what you and Wesley will be doing tonight."
An hour later Angel, Gunn and Fred were gone, and Wesley and Connor were looking through some books Wesley had found with references to the Axis. Connor got up and started to walk away. Wesley said, "Where are you going?"
"To the bathroom. Unless that's illegal too."
"There's no need to be sarcastic."
Connor had almost reached the door when he heard Wesley call to him, "Leave the door open."
Connor got really pissed and slammed the door shut and locked it. He hadn't really been thinking about running off, because he was interested to see what the Axis did, but that last comment made him too mad. He looked up at the bathroom window and decided he could fit. He didn't hear Wesley calling him or banging on the door, so he opened the window and climbed out. He started to run but heard a small noise towards the front of the hotel. He turned around to see what it was, and he saw Wesley come around the corner at a full run. He started running the other way as fast as he could. He heard Wesley calling his name, but he just kept on running. Connor was kind of surprised how long Wesley could keep up with him, but he wasn't worried about Wesley catching him.
Soon Wesley realized there was no way he could catch Connor, so he stood with his hands on his knees trying to get his breathing back to normal. He headed back to the hotel muttering about Angel trying to kill him again.
Once Connor was sure he had lost Wesley, he stopped and thought about what he wanted to do. He started to walk aimlessly around the city thinking. He thought, 'I don't want to go back, but if I don't Angel will find me soon, because it's nighttime. I wonder how long it will take him to steal the Axis.' He heard screaming in the distance, and went to see what it was. He realized it was the waterfront carnival before he even got there, but he decided he didn't have anything better to do, so he went to go check it out.
An hour later Connor was sitting on a bench, watching people walk by. He never got tired of just watching people. He had spent his whole life with Holtz as the only other human he could see, until he came to this dimension. Tonight he noticed all the parents there with their kids. He noticed them touching, and smiling and laughing together. He noticed the way they all seemed happy and comfortable with each other. He thought, 'That isn't the way it was with Father. We were never just happy. Sometimes he was happy with something I did, but he was never just happy to be with me. Angel seems to be kind of happy when we're doing things together. Like today when we were working out with swords he was smiling, and even laughed a couple of times.'
Right in front of him he saw a man pick up his young son. He gave him a kiss and hug, and then put him down again. Connor thought, 'Angel hugs me sometimes. I can't remember Fath
Holtz hugging me ever. He would hold my hand sometimes. It doesn't feel the same.'
Connor sat and watched people and thought for a long time. He wasn't really paying attention to the time, or what he was doing. He just sat there. Soon he heard someone crying. He looked around and saw a little boy about four years old walking alone and crying. He also noticed a woman looking around and following the boy. Connor looked carefully at the girl, and sniffed the air. He got up to get a little closer and soon realized she was a vampire. He walked up to the girl and said, "Leave or I'll have a good time killing you."
She sputtered a little and said, "Who the hell do you think you are boy?"
"I'm the destroyer, and I'll stake you before you even get the chance to change face."
She looked once at the little boy who was still alone and crying and Connor said, "Don't even try it. As soon as I find out where he belongs, I 'm gonna try to find you. I'm in a bad mood, and I think killing something would help. You should run now."
The girl looked like she believed him, and turned to start running away.
Connor went to the boy, and squatted down in front of him. He said in a quiet voice, "Hey my name's Connor what's yours?"
"Who are you here with Jason?"
"My dad, but I can't find him."
"Well, the best way to help your dad find you, is to stay in one place. Why don't you come sit on that bench with me until he finds you."
Jason nodded and said, "I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
Connor and Jason walked to the bench to sit down, and Connor said, "Well when you're lost and need help you kind of have to."
They sat quietly for a few minutes and then Connor said, "What does your dad look like?"
Jason thought for a minute and said, "He's big. Big like you, but bigger. And he has shorter hair."
Connor didn't think that was very helpful. He stood up on top of the bench and looked around for a man who might be looking for someone, but didn't see anyone. He concentrated on listening to the people around him. After a couple of minutes he heard someone calling the name Jason, but it came from a couple of blocks away. He jumped down and said, "I can here your dad calling you. You want to ride on my back, and we can get to him quicker?"
Connor let Jason climb on his back, and the boy put his arms around Connor's neck. Conner put his hands under the boy's legs, and started to run towards the voice. As the voice got a bit closer Jason said, "I hear him! That's my dad."
Connor kept going, and soon could see the man frantically looking around and calling Jason's name. Jason started squirming to get down as soon as he could see his dad. He yelled "Daddy!"
The man spun around in time to see Connor put the boy down and he ran towards them. He picked Jason up and hugged him tight. He kissed his head and said, "Are you okay?"
Connor turned to walk back to his bench, but he heard the man say, "Hey kid!"
He looked back at the man who was holding out his hand. The man said, "Thanks for helping him find me."
Connor shook his hand and said, "Okay."
He turned to walk away, but walked slowly and listened to them as he left. Jason's dad put him down and knelt down next to him and said, "What happened? You were right next to me when I was buying the popcorn. Then as soon as I paid the man, I looked down and you weren't there. Where did you go?"
Jason said, "I went to see the horses."
His dad asked in a very stern voice, "You went to find the merry-go-round?"
Connor heard the tone of voice and thought it sounded like Angel when he was unhappy with something Connor did. He was far enough away that no one noticed he was listening, probably because no normal human could have heard the conversation from that far away. Connor could see glimpses of them as the people walked back and forth in front of him.
Jason said in a quiet voice, "Yes."
His dad said, "What did I tell you when we were in line for the popcorn?"
"To wait beside you and
His father prompted, "And
"And not to wander off
. But I really wanted to see them, Daddy."
Connor could see them as Jason's father stood up and swatted Jason's butt once. Jason yelped and started to cry. His father said, "We are going back to the car to talk about wandering off, and then we are going home."
Jason kept crying, and his father picked him up and started towards the parking lot hugging him tight.
Connor knew it was probably not a nice thing to do, but he couldn't help but follow them to see what would happen. He thought Jason's father was going to punish him, and he wanted to see what he would do. As he was following a safe distance away he kept thinking about Holtz and Angel and the differences between them.
The parking lot was empty, so Connor had to crouch down so that Jason's father wouldn't notice him spying. As soon as Jason's father got to the car he opened the door and put his foot up on the rim of the car. Put Jason over his leg and started spanking. As soon as Jason was over his father's knee he said, "NO Daddy! I'm sorry. Oww Daddy!"
His father gave him ten swats, and by the time it was over Jason was crying hard. Then his father turned him around and hugged him again. He held him close and said, "Okay it's over now. I love you Jason."
After a few minutes of crying Jason started to calm down, and his father said, "You have to remember not to wander off son. You have to stay with me when we're out in public. Bad things could happen to you if I'm not there to protect you. Do you understand me?"
Jason nodded and said into his father's shirt, "I'm sorry Daddy."
"I know you are, and I forgive you, but if it happens again, I'll spank you again."
"Let's go home and get you to bed kiddo."
Connor sat in the parking lot for a while thinking about what he had seen. Jason's father reminded him a lot of Angel. He finally decided he would go back to the hotel.
Back at the hotel Wesley was waiting for Angel, Fred, and Gunn, to come back. When they came through the door Fred looked like she had been crying and Gunn was leaning on Angel. Wesley could see that none of them had the Axis. He said, "What happened?"
Angel said, "We met someone. She called herself a freak. She took the Axis, killed Gunn, and then started his heart again with her hand somehow. We just got back from the hospital."
Wesley went to help Angel with getting Gunn upstairs to the room he shared with Fred. As soon as Gunn and Fred were settled Angel and Wesley went downstairs. Angel said, "Where's Connor?"
"I was hoping you would be in a better mood when you got back."
"He took off. He climbed out the bathroom window. I tried to stop him, but he runs much faster than me, and he doesn't seem to get tired while running."
"Great. Okay Wes, can you please call Lilah for me?"
"What do you mean? Why would I have her number?"
"I can smell her all over you Wes. I'm not judging you. You can do whatever you want with your life. I just want her to help me out. I want to find out who wanted the Axis besides me. Once the freak girl gives it to the buyer, I'll take it from him."
Wesley wasn't sure what to think of that. He eventually said, "I'll give her a call, but I can't promise she'll help. And if she does give us information, I can't guarantee that it will be accurate. I sleep with her, but I don't trust her, and you shouldn't either."
Angel nodded and said, "I'm gonna go see if I can find Connor and bring him home before the end of the night."
Connor was walking slowly in the direction of the hotel. He thought he wanted to go back, but he was pretty sure Angel would be back by now, and he didn't really want to have a 'talk'. He thought, 'Maybe he'll be out looking for me, and I can sneak into my room and tell him I was there the whole time.'
Connor laughed at himself after this thought, and said out loud to himself, "Who thought I would ever want to sneak back in?"
Angel was on the rooftops looking around, when he heard Connor's voice. It was too far away to hear what he had said, but he knew it was his voice. He started towards it and soon saw him. He found it hard to believe Connor was so close to the hotel and he stood there staring for a minute. Then he realized Connor was walking towards the hotel instead of away. He decided to see what Connor was going to do, so he followed him, but kept a distance. Soon Connor was in front of the hotel. He stopped and just stood there for about ten minutes before Angel jumped down in front of him. Connor jumped a little at the sudden appearance of Angel. They looked at each other, and Angel said, "You came back."
Connor crossed his arms and said, "Yeah."
. I guess because I
I don't know."
Angel walked up to him and pulled him into a hug and said, "I'm glad you did."
Connor let Angel hug him without a fight. Soon Angel put an arm around Connor's shoulders and they started walking towards the hotel's front door together. Angel said, "I'm glad you came back, but you still ran away again."
"Let's go to your room and talk."
Angel was even more surprised at Connor's cooperation. He docilely went up stairs and into his room, and let Angel keep his arm around him the whole time. Once they were in his room Angel pulled out the desk chair and sat down. Connor stood nervously just out of arms reach. He said, "Wesley made me mad."
"How did he do that?"
"He told me to leave the bathroom door open when I went to pee, and you guy's had left me here."
"Ah, so you were really still mad at me."
Connor stood and fidgeted but remained silent. Angel said, "I'm sorry you couldn't come, but if the police came and I couldn't protect you it would kill me."
Connor thought that sounded similar to what Jason's father had said, and he nodded his head. Angel said, "As it turned out it was really good you didn't come, because we ran into some trouble. There was a woman there that somehow could control electricity with her hands. She killed Gunn just by touching him."
Connor felt nauseous at this news, but before he could say anything Angel continued with, "Lucky for us she was kind of a nice person, and shocked his heart back into beating so he didn't stay dead long."
"Is he okay?"
"We took him to the hospital, and they released him after about an hour. He should be fine after a day or two. He's in bed resting, and I'm sure Fred is hovering."
Connor was surprised that he seemed to care so much. He didn't think he cared about Gunn, but hearing that he was okay made him very happy. Connor said, "Did you get the Axis?"
"Not yet, but let's get back to why we're here. So you were mad at me, and Wes made a comment that made you even angrier so you ran. Is that right?"
Connor looked down and nodded. When Angel said it like that it sounded pretty childish. Angel said, "Okay come here."
Connor looked up and didn't even think about running as he walked slowly towards Angel. Angel took Connor's wrist and tugged him over his lap. Connor didn't struggle at all. Angel was very pleased with the whole attitude change. He brought his hand down hard about 20 times, and then said, "Don't run away even when you're angry."
Connor waited for more swats, or for his pants to come down, but neither of these things happened. Instead Angel picked him up and turned him around so he was sitting on Angel's lap. He didn't struggle as Angel hugged him, and he even rested his head on Angel's shoulder. After a couple of seconds he asked, "That's it?"
Angel smiled and said, "Yes we're done. I'm really proud of you for coming home, and you were really good all day before you ran. And well, Wes makes me mad sometimes too."
Connor smiled and said, "Thanks
Angel felt a swell of love for his child and almost broke down in tears. He waited for a couple of seconds so he could trust his voice and said, "For what son?"
just for not being like Fath
Angel could feel a couple of tears fall down his face, and he hugged Connor tighter. Connor waited a few seconds, and then said, "Too tight."
Angel let go and wiped his face while he said, "Sorry about that."
Connor stood up and said, "It's okay."
Angel got up and put the chair away. He said, "What did you do while you were gone?"
"I wandered around and ended up at the carnival by the waterfront. I just sat there and watched people, and thought about you, and Father, and me."
"What made you decide to come back?"
"There was a man there that reminded me of you, and that made me think about the things Holtz had said about you, and how they aren't true."
Angel said, "I'm glad you don't think I'm a monster any more."
Connor shrugged and said, "I'm tired. I think I'm gonna go to bed."
Angel didn't even think about making Connor promise to stay there for the night. He went over and hugged him again and said, "Good night son. I'll see you in the morning."
The next day, Connor woke up alone in his room. It was a good feeling. He got ready and went downstairs. He saw Angel in the kitchen sipping a mug of blood and said, "Morning."
"Did you sleep good?"
"Like the dead."
Connor rolled his eyes while Angel laughed so hard he had to set his mug down. After breakfast Connor said, "Who gets me first, Fred or Wesley?"
Angel said, "Neither one. It's Saturday, and I think Fred and Gunn could use a day to themselves. So it looks like it's just you and me until tonight. I thought that maybe we could go see a movie. There is a sewer entrence really close to the theater on Third Street, and it's shaded buy the other buildings most of the day.
Connor said, "Okay. That sounds really great."
Six hours, two movies, and three popcorns later they arrived home in good spirits. Wesley was there waiting for them. He said, "Ah, there you are Angel, I wanted to tell you I got the name of the buyer."
Angel wrote down the information and noticed Connor and Wesley were carefully avoiding eye contact. He said, "Connor apologize to Wes for running off when he was watching you."
Connor looked surprised and a little hurt until he heard Angel continue with "Wes apologize to Connor for not trusting him to pee alone."
They both looked a little sheepish and eventually Wesley said, "Sorry if I upset you Connor. I hadn't realized you had already decided to stay here."
"Sorry I made you chase me until you couldn't breath."
Angel said in a warning tone, "Connor
"Sorry I ran off while you were watching me."
Angel smiled and said, "Great. I'm glad that's all settled. Wes, could you stay here and keep Connor company while I go check out this buyer."
Connor looked mad and said, "Why can't I come?"
Angel said, "Okay let's see a show of hands. Who here doesn't need a beating heart to survive through the night? Anyone? Oh right that's just me."
Connor rolled his eyes and crossed his arms and said, "I thought you were going to check out the buyer, not the woman who hurt Gunn."
"Sorry son, but she might be there, so none of you humans get to come with me."
Angel started to walk out the door and called behind him, "You guys play nice while I'm gone."
Connor and Wesley actually had a pretty good time together talking about Quor-Toth. Connor happily described in detail every life form he could think of that he had seen on Quor-Toth, and Wesley happily wrote it all down for his records.
Angel did meet the freak girl at the buyer's house, and found out her name was Gwen. He helped her get away when the buyer turned evil, and he got to go home with the Axis. That night he used it while everyone else waited outside his room to hear what Angel would found out. Half an hour later, he came out and walked past everyone. Fred said, "Did you find her?"
He said, "Yes."
Gunn said, "And?"
Angel turned around and said, "She is in a higher plane. There is light and warmth all around her."
Connor said, "Like heaven?"
Angel said, "Yeah. I guess. I think she must be happy there. The whole time I was under water, I kept thinking about getting home to her, and she's been home the whole time."
With that Angel walked away to be alone.
# # #
Over the next week everyone settled into a routine. Wesley still kept his apartment, but he was over at the hotel daily to tutor Connor and help with cases. Angel was no longer looking for Cordelia, but he was still depressed about her being gone. Gunn and Fred both seemed fairly content to work on cases, tutor Connor, and help Connor make amends for the lying he did while Angel was missing. Connor was actually enjoying the tutoring sessions, and was very pleased to overhear Wesley talking to Angel one day. Wesley had said, 'Connor is really quite smart. He is learning at an exceptional rate.'
Connor had mostly decided to stay put, and very rarely had the stray 'I have to get out of here' thought. Angel and Connor had exchanged quite a few stories from their respective pasts, and they both felt a little closer to each other. Connor hadn't been nice the whole week, but he hadn't done anything to get spanked either. Angel was a little depressed that Connor had only called him Dad in a nice way the one time. Connor still said it in a sarcastic tone once or twice a day when Angel made him do something he didn't want to do. For the most part Angel let this go, and tried not to let Connor know how much it hurt him, because Connor usually called him Angel in a nice way now, and hadn't called him a monster or any other derogatory name.
The thing that really kept Connor happy and relaxed enough to stay was going on cases with everyone. He was a very good hunter, tracker, and killer, and Angel could tell Connor really enjoyed it. Connor loved the way the vampires dusted under his hand, and he enjoyed killing other messy things even more. Angel thought this was a little unnerving. Connor showed no hesitation or remorse over killing things. It reminded Angel too much of Angelus and Darla for his comfort, but he also realized a person living in Quor-Toth would have to learn to kill quickly, and without remorse or they would not survive. He didn't know if that part of Connor would ever change, but he didn't think it would. He consoled himself with the fact that Connor had not harmed a human since coming to this dimension. Angel didn't count the time Connor cut off Sunny's pusher's ear, because that guy had deserved it, and apparently Connor hadn't even considered hurting anyone else since. In fact Angel had seen Connor go out of his way to help more than one human when they were out on a case.
Wesley brought Connor's papers over on a Tuesday morning. He had a birth certificate, a Social Security card, immunization records, and even home schooling test scores and grades. Angel was very pleased and called Connor to his office. Angel said, "Sit down and look at these with me."
"What are they?"
"Wesley just brought them over today. This is fake paperwork that should pass scrutiny. This paperwork is necessary for you to be a member of society in this day and age. I'll keep it in the office for now, but eventually you'll need to keep this paperwork in a safe place were you can find it when you need it. You'll need it to get a job, or to get into college. You'll need it to get a driver's license, or a weapon's license. You'll need it if you ever get married or have kids. You'll need it if you ever get into legal trouble or get hospitalized."
Connor nodded. They spent the next couple of hours going over each piece of paper and how he would have come to have them normally if he had never gone to Quor-Toth. The only thing he wasn't very happy with, was the new birth certificate. It listed an Angel Johnson as his father, and a Darla Johnson as his mother.
He said, "So I'm Connor Steven Johnson?"
Angel said, "I know it's not a great last name, but it's the best we could do. Birth certificates are hard to just recreate, and you have to start with a real one. I had to change some of my records to reflect this last name too, and I thought you would like to keep Steven as a part of your name."
"Yeah, I do. Thanks."
The other thing Connor noticed was that the date of birth on the certificate made him seventeen as of two weeks ago. Connor said, "I thought you and Wesley decided I was about eighteen."
Angel said, "I think you probably are eighteen, and I'm sure you're not going to like this, but I wanted to make sure you stayed here for a year, and that I could legally make you if I had to."
Connor had been in this dimension long enough to understand the significance of being a legal adult and he was hurt that Angel didn't trust him to stay there. He said with a sneer, "That's pretty crappy of you Dad."
Angel said, "Well you've only been here a couple of weeks, and you've only decided to stay here during this past week. Now that I've gotten papers for you I don't want that to backfire on me. It's not so bad to be younger. This way if you get into any trouble with the law in this next year, I'll be able to help you out a lot more than I could if you were eighteen. And this way by the end of the year we hope you can take your high school equivalency test at the same legal age that most people would have graduated. That might help if you want to do any kind of college."
Connor could see the logic, but still thought it was crappy. He said, "Whatever."
The rest of the day went pretty smoothly until Connor and Angel were spending time together. They usually did some kind of physical activity, and then shared a story or two. They had just finished practicing with daggers, and were sitting down to relax. Connor had thought about asking for a while, and he said, "Will you tell me about when you and Darla killed Father's family?"
Angel was surprised but he knew this would have to come up eventually. He just hoped he wouldn't be looking for Connor every day again when he was done. He said, "First you tell me what Holtz told you about it, and then I'll give you my version."
Connor said, "He told me that he had been trying to kill you both for a few months, and that he had been gone all day and part of the night searching. When he went home he found his wife, his ten-year-old daughter, and his newborn son dead. He told me the story more than once, but it was hard for him to get it all out, and often cried especially when talking about his son. He told me that was why God had wanted us to be together. I was to make up for the son he lost, and also to help him get revenge on you for what you had done."
Angel was very unhappy with this version of the story. Holtz had not been honest, and the truth was much worse. He didn't want to tell Connor, and he thought about lying. He figured Connor would never know the difference, but Angel himself would and it would eat at him. He said, "Connor, you are not going to like this story, so I want you to promise me something before I start."
"You promise me you'll stay here in this room until I'm done telling the story."
Connor thought about it and said, "Okay I promise I'll stay until you tell me your story is done."
"You know I was Angelus, and I was with Darla, your mother. Holtz had been hunting us for months. We hated him and there had been a couple of close calls where he almost got us. We wanted to really hurt him. We wanted to brake him to the point that he didn't have the will to keep chasing us. Angelus decided the best way to do this was through his family. So we kept a close eye on him, and we knew when he would be away for most of the night. We looked through the windows until the wife was busy with the baby, so that the girl would answer the door. It is always easier to trick a child into inviting you in than an adult. The girl invited us in before her mother could stop her. I quickly drank and killed the mother so that she would be out of the way while Darla held the screaming girl. We had plans for the girl, so I tied her to a chair while Darla held the baby. You have to understand that to a vampire the younger the human is, the better they taste. Babies taste very good. Their blood going down your throat is almost orgasmic. So Darla and I took our time taking small sips and bites off the boy in front of the girl. Baby's always taste better when they are still awake and screaming. The noise adds to the pleasure. It was a healthy baby. He lasted for about fifteen minutes before he was unconscious, and probably took another five minutes to die. He was probably unrecognizable by the time we were done."
Angel had been looking down while telling the story unable to meet his son's eyes. When he did look up Connor was very pale and said, "I'm gonna be sick." As he ran over to the sink and puked.
Angel thought it would be best to get the rest of the story out, so while Connor was standing over the sink rinsing his mouth out Angel continued with, "By the time we were done with the boy, I think the girl was in shock. She had stopped screaming, and her eyes were unfocused and glazed over. I didn't like this. Angelus needed his victims to be well aware of what was going on, or there was no fun in it. So, I untied the girl and held her close to me giving her words of comfort until she started to cry and seemed to be more aware of her surroundings. I think Darla was still licking drops of blood off the baby at this point. Then she saw what I was doing and came to help. She said, 'You know my love, this is really all the girl's fault.' I smiled and realized where she was going with that comment and I said, 'You're so right.' I put the girl down and knelt down next to her. I forced her to look at her brother and explained how it was her fault that the boy had suffered a long and painful death. I asked her if her father had ever told her not to let strangers into the house. Of course she grew very pale and we knew the answer was yes. I told her she would have to be punished, and I whipped her with my belt until she passed out. I
I enjoyed listening to her scream. When she was unconscious Darla drank her almost dry. Then Darla slit her wrist and poured some of her blood into the girl's mouth. Then we tied her to a chair and left. Darla and I stayed close so we could see Holtz' reaction. When he came home, he didn't realize what his daughter was, and he untied her. He held her close and comforted her while he cried over his wife and son. Darla and I had to leave before the sun came up, but I know that by the next night the child was dead. Holtz had to realize what the girl was, and he was forced to kill her. We forced him to kill his daughter, the only family he had left. That's the end of the story, but I need you to try and remember I was Angelus not Angel. I had no soul, and now I do. I hate Angelus more than you ever could, and I have to live with the guilt every day."
Connor was still standing at the sink and turned around long enough to say, "Father was right. You are a monster."
Angel looked down and couldn't meet his son's eyes. He said, "Yes I was, but I'm not now."
Connor ran out of the room and up to his room. Angel didn't follow him. Angel stayed down stairs and punched the punching bag until it broke. Then changed face and punched the wall until his hands bled. Sometimes the guilt got so bad he wished Buffy were there, because she was the only person he knew that was strong enough to really beat him up and make him hurt. He thought about how good it would feel to start a fight with her, and to feel her punching him in the face. Soon he had made a mess of the wall and his hands. He paused and looked at the wall and his hands, and put his human face in place again as he stopped. He knew there was no point in hurting himself. He had done it lots of times, and it never made the guilt go away.
He went to the bathroom and poured some rubbing alcohol on his hands just to feel the burn. There was no reason to be worried about infection. Then he went to his office and tried to loose himself in paperwork and forget about who he was for a while.
Upstairs Connor was lying on his bed crying. He couldn't believe he was made from the two monsters that had killed his Father's family in such an awful way. He understood so much more now why Holtz was the way he was. He knew from his time spent with Angel that Holtz had been a little insane, and now he knew why. He couldn't take being in the same building with the monster and climbed out the window and started to run as fast as he could away from the hotel.
A few hours later Gunn came into the office and said, "Hey Angel, when is Connor going to do his hour with me? I was thinking about trying to take him to the grocery store again."
Angel looked up and said, "Connor's gone."
Gunn said in an exasperated voice, "Why did he run this time."
"Because I'm a monster."
Gunn looked at Angel trying to decide if Angel was trying to make a joke or not. He said, "I don't get it."
Angel said, "I told him about the night I killed Holtz' family. He won't be back."
"What the hell do you mean he won't be back!"
"I mean he's right. I'm a monster and I don't have any right to hold him here. You don't know Gunn. You don't know the things I've done. I can't be a good father. I think he's better off without me."
Gunn walked up to Angel and punched him in the face. Angel was unprepared for the blow and fell backwards out of his chair. He got up and yelled, "What's your problem Gunn?!"
"I can't believe you man. Haven't you lived long enough to figure out how father son relationships are supposed to work? You've spent all this time and energy into doing the right thing for Connor and now you're going to throw it all away because you remembered what a bastard you were in the past, and you can't deal with your own guilt? That's pretty selfish. That makes you as bad as Holtz. Let me tell you a little bit from my past. I had two father figures while growing up. The first one, my father, was physically abusive. The second one, my sister's father, was neglectful. He showed us every day that he didn't give a crap about us. Trust me when I say they both feel like shit. How is Connor going to deal with it when he realizes that you aren't coming to find him? He is hurting, and it's your responsibility to help him. I can't believe you think leaving him to fend for himself would somehow make it better for him. Even if you aren't that great a dad, at least being there for him, and showing him that you care enough to try is better than doing nothing. If you don't go look for him, Fred and I will. We'll tazer him if we have to."
Angel didn't know what to say. He stood there thinking about it. Finally he said, "You're right. I was too lost in my own thoughts to really see what was best for Connor. Thanks for making me see things clearly."
Gunn still looked pissed but said, "Okay. Let's go find the kid before he does something dumb. I'll go get Fred."
Angel felt old and tired. He wanted to go to sleep and forget, but Gunn was right, and like it or not he did have to stick things out with Connor even if it made him face his past again.
Connor was looking for something to kill. He desperately needed to find a way to get out some of his anger before he lost it and broke down again. It was just starting to get dark, and he walked alone in the alleyways looking for a vampire or two or twenty. He knew the right area's of town to go to, and soon had a group of five of them around him. He killed them all and only received a few punches in the process. It made him feel better. He continued to another likely area of town. The thoughts that kept going through his mind were; 'Father hated Angelus. Father took me because he hated Angelus, not because he really wanted me. Father
.Holtz hated me. God didn't want us to be together, Holtz wanted us to be together to get revenge. He wanted revenge on Angelus, but instead took it out on Angel, and took it out on me. How can Angel live with himself after the things he has done?'
Connor had made it to his next destination, and tried to make himself look like a nervous kid so they would think he was easy pray. Soon two vampires came out, and he killed them without any effort. He didn't think it was a very satisfying kill. He needed another. He headed towards the last easy place to find them and kept thinking. He thought 'What am I going to do now? How can I live with him now that I know what he's done? If I do live with him does that make me a monster too? Am I already a monster, because two monsters created me? Angel isn't Angelus. Angel didn't kill those people. Angel helps people every day. I have seen him helping people. How can he live with himself?'
Connor had arrived at the last place he was going to try and find some vampires. He was really preoccupied with his thoughts and wasn't looking around as closely as he usually did. Soon he felt massive pain in the back of his head, and then he was unconscious.
Angel was tracking Connor's sent by foot, and Gunn and Fred were driving around looking for him in the places he seemed to like to go. Angel found that Connor had been walking around aimlessly again, because his sent crossed itself a few times like he had been going around the block again and again. He got to the first alleyway, and smelled the death. He knew Connor was out looking for things to kill. He called Fred and Gunn and told them to check out the more common vampire haunts. He ran to the next place Connor had been. When he got there his phone rang, and Fred said, "We can't be sure it's Connor's, but there is some blood on the ground here in the alleyway behind Oak Street."
Angel ran faster than he thought he could to the alleyway. He sniffed the blood and knew it was Connor's. He could smell a female vampire's sent as well. He tracked them back to a vacant warehouse. He went in cautiously and saw Connor tied to a wall with metal cable. The female was taunting Connor with a dagger, but hadn't used it yet. Conner was struggling against the cables but couldn't break them. Angel could smell the fear on him. Angel started towards the female, and he heard her say, "Some 'destroyer' you turned out to be. I can't believe I ran from you the last time that we met. You were pretty convincing, and now I'm gonna convince you that I'm the one you should be
Angel staked her from the back.
Connor looked at Angel with gratitude, and said, "Thanks Dad." before he even thought about what he was saying.
Fred and Gunn came running in and they all worked together to get the cables off Connor. Once he was free Fred hugged him and said, "Are you okay sweetie?"
Connor nodded and Fred let him go. Gunn hugged him too and said, "Are you hurt anywhere?"
Connor reached back to the base of his head and said, "I think I may be bleeding. She hit me on the head with something."
Fred said, "Let me look."
Connor turned and Fred said, "It doesn't look too bad now. Lucky for you that you heal quickly like your dad."
Connor tensed at the comment and said under his breath, "I'm a monster too."
Unfortunately for Connor Angel could hear just as well as Connor could, and swatted Connor's butt hard.
Connor let out a surprised "Oww" and whirled around to face Angel.
Angel said in a calm voice, "You can call me a monster if you want, but I don't want to hear you say that about yourself."
Connor yelled, "What else can I be DAD? I am made of two vampires!"
Angel said, "You're a miracle, and a human. You may be a bit enhanced compared to most humans, but you're still human."
Connor said nothing and just glared at Angel. Angel said, "I know you were upset, but it's not a good enough reason to run away. Get in the car. We're going home."
"Screw that! I can't live with you now!"
Angel turned to Gunn and said, "We'll ride in the back of the truck."
Gunn and Fred headed towards the truck, and Angel headed towards Connor who turned and ran as fast as he could. Angel caught him before he got even ten feet and tossed him up over his shoulder to carry him to the truck. Connor struggled wildly and punched Angel in the back repeatedly. Angel said calmly, "You are making things worse for yourself Connor."
Connor didn't care. He could only feel anger and hate. He continued to hit Angel with everything he had. Once they got to the truck Angel climbed in and sat down. He held Connor in his lap. He wrapped his leg around Connor's legs so he couldn't kick, and he wrapped his arm's around Connor's chest and arms so he couldn't punch. He tucked Connor's head under his chin and held him there with his head so he couldn't bite. He said, "Okay Gunn were ready. Try to make it quick."
When they were half way back Connor started to say again and again, "I hate you. I hate you." Then when they were a block away he started to cry, and Angel loosened his hold and rubbed Connor's back.
After Gunn parked he asked, "You need any help Angel?"
"No. You two go on in, and hey Gunn, thanks again. I owe you one."
Gunn nodded and headed in the hotel with Fred who said, "I'll make dinner."
When they were alone, Angel said, "Let's go talk in your room."
Connor nodded and got up. Angel kept a hand on Connor's arm the whole way to his room. Once they were there Angel sat down on Connor's bed and pulled Connor down to sit next to him. He wrapped his arm around Connor's shoulders and said, "I love you Connor. I know you don't like me very much right now, but you do still have to live here and follow the rules I set up for you. I know it's hard for you to accept that I'm a separate person from Angelus, because we share the same body, but a soul makes all the difference. The things I did as Angelus disgust me, but I won't lie to you about the things I've done. And you should know that the story I told you today is not the worst one, in fact it's fairly average. I did things like that for a couple of centuries, until the curse. I tried to stay with your mother after the curse that put my soul back, but eventually I just couldn't. As a matter of fact the final straw was when she brought me a baby to eat. I took the baby and ran so I could protect him from her."
They were silent for a few minutes until Connor said, "You made Holtz hate me."
"I made Holtz hate me, and because of that a part of him hated you too. But he had to feel some kind of love for you, or you never would have survived childhood."
"I think he was a little crazy"
"I know he was."
"What happened to your hand?"
Angel looked down at the hand that was in his lap. He saw that the cuts had healed but it was still pretty bruised up. He thought about it and said, "I punched the wall until they bled. I was trying to get rid of some guilt and anger. It wasn't the most healthy thing for me to do, but I was upset."
Conner nodded and said, "I understand. I was upset too."
"So to relive some of your anger you went to kill some vampires."
"How did the girl get you in the back of the head. You should have heard her before she got you."
"I was distracted. I was thinking about Holtz and you."
Angel's voice got a bit stern when he said, "I understand you going off because you were upset with me, but it is not safe to be out hunting and killing when you're alone and distracted."
Connor nodded and said, "Yeah. Thanks again for saving me by the way."
There was another pause of silence before Angel asked, "So are we okay now? I thought things were going pretty well this past week, and I would like to see that continue."
Connor thought about it and said, "I don't know Angel. I can't get the thoughts of you killing them out of my head. I've been having a pretty good time this past week, but now things seem pretty messed up."
"Well if we have to go back to the beginning, that's okay too. I'll make things black and white for you, so you don't have to worry about deciding to stay. If you run, I'll come get you, and spank you for leaving. You will stay here a year whether you hate me or not."
Connor felt tired and kind of relieved. He didn't want to talk about it any more, so he said, "Okay."
"Good. I'm sorry Connor, but I have to spank you for running away today, and for fighting me when we were coming home."
Connor thought this would be coming and said, "I was upset. I don't think it should count."
Angel smiled and thought it was encouraging that Connor was trying to get out of it by talking instead of running, or showing no emotions at all. He said, "I was upset too, but it does count. Stand up."
Connor stood. He was too emotionally worn out to argue or try to run.
Angel undid Connor's pants and pulled him across his lap. Connor's upper body was resting on the bed, and his feet were on the floor. Angel started to spank him. Connor was silent for the first twenty swats or so. Then Angel put a little more force behind the swats and Connor started to squirm and kick his legs. Eventually, even though Connor had bitten through his lip with the effort to stay silent, he started yelping and grunting with each swat. Angel said, "You will not run away Connor. I don't care if you're upset or not, you still don't run away."
Connor started to cry. Angel gave him a few more swats and then stopped. He rubbed Connor's back and noticed that his butt was a bright red color. He said, "Okay we're done with that one." Angel thought about using his belt again, but he didn't want to bring back memories of Holtz so he said, "Connor I want you to go stand facing the corner by your bathroom."
He helped Connor stand up. Connor was still crying. Connor pulled up his pants while Angel said, "Did you hear me? Do you understand?"
Connor gestured to the corner and said between sniffles, "Y
me to stand
Angel said, "Yes please. I need to go to my room for a minute, and then I will be right back."
Connor nodded and headed towards the corner. He heard Angel leave and turned around to watch the door. He wasn't thinking very clearly, but he knew he didn't want to run, and that it wasn't safe to be alone in a room without looking around for danger. He stopped crying and his thoughts started to get back to normal. He thought, 'What does Angel need to get? Why does he want me to stand here? Why don't I want to leave?'
Angel was back, and Connor saw that he had a hairbrush with him. Connor understood now what Angel was doing. He looked at Angel and started to cry again even though he wasn't sure why. He said, "No."
Angel looked kind of sad and said, "Yes."
Angel walked to Connor who stayed in place and pulled him over to the bed again. He pulled Connor's pants back down and pulled him over his lap. He said, "You will stop fighting with me when I am making you do something you don't want to do."
With that Angel brought the brush down. Connor thought it made an amazingly loud 'Crack' noise, and it was even more painful than Angel's hand. He started yelling immediately, and tried to squirm away. Angel held him tight and gave him fifteen swats. He paused and Connor cried quietly over his lap. Angel said, "You don't go hunting alone or when you are distracted. What if we hadn't gotten to you in time? You could be seriously hurt or dead."
Connor knew this meant Angle wasn't done, and he really wanted it to end. He did feel ashamed and embarrassed that he had let himself get caught by the vampire, and he said, "I know. I
Angel brought down the brush ten more times while Connor cried and yelled. Then he stopped and tossed the brush on the bed. He could tell Connor was going to have a couple of bruises soon, but they would be healed by morning. He rubbed Connor's back and said, "I know you felt bad about the vampire catching you off guard, but now you don't have to. You made a mistake, and paid for it. Now you are forgiven and you will hopefully learn from the mistakes you made."
Angel helped Connor stand up and fix his pants. He stood up and pulled Connor into a hug. He stood holding Connor for about two minutes, and then felt Connor put his arms around him. He couldn't believe Connor was actually hugging him back. This was a first, and Angel could feel tears running down his own face. They stayed that way for a long time, and finally Angel said, "Let's go have dinner. You must be hungry since you lost most of your lunch."
Connor nodded. Angel let him go and said, "Go clean up your face, and I'll meet you down stairs."
Angel wiped his own face on his sleeve and took the brush back to his room. In the kitchen Gunn said, "How are you doing?"
Connor came in and stood by the door looking at the floor. Fred said, "I didn't feel much like cooking, so I made sandwiches and canned soup. Angel, your blood is in the microwave."
Connor looked at his chair, and didn't really feel like sitting down, but he didn't want anyone to think he was too weak to handle the pain so he did sit down.
While they were eating Angel said, "How many vampires did you kill tonight?"
Fred said, "Did you say seven? Connor you know you shouldn't be out there by yourself hunting them. What if they overpowered you? Well, I guess one of them did. It's much safer for you to go with at least one of us."
"I know, but I was mad."
Gunn said, "Next time you're mad, come and get me. I'll try to come with you. I understand if you need to blow off some steam, and I can just be back up."
Connor just stared at Gunn for a while. He had never even thought that Gunn would understand or help him like that. He didn't quite know what to say to show Gunn how he felt about that. He said, "Thanks Gunn. That's
. I'll do that."
Connor felt better when they were done eating, and he went with Gunn to the all night grocery store. He didn't have a great time, but it was informative.
When they were done he did some homework in his room lying on his stomach, and read some of a book that he had borrowed from Fred. He had found that he really liked reading for fun. It helped calm his mind down, and gave him a break from the confusion and anger.
Around 3am Angel knocked on Connor's door. Connor said, "Come in."
Angel came in and sat on the bed next to Connor. He said, "Do you feel better now about today?"
"I'm sorry my past is so horrific. I could have lied to you about it, but I think that would be wrong."
"I'm glad you told me the whole story even if it was awful. I'm surprised Fath
. Holtz didn't tell me the whole story. It would have made me hate you even more before I met you."
"It was probably too hard for him to talk about."
Connor nodded and said, "Do you really think he
loved me at least a little?"
"I think he loved you as much as he could love anything after what had happened to him. I love you very much, with everything I have, and I hope that some day you'll feel some kind of affection for me."
Connor didn't know what to say to that. He thought about it and said, "I like you more than I ever thought I could, and I like living here more than I think I should."
Angel leaned over and kissed the top of Connor's head and said, "Good night son. I'll see you in the morning."
That night Connor didn't sleep well. He kept having nightmares about becoming a vampire and eating babies in front of Angel while Angel was tied to the wall and helpless to stop him.
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