Author's note: : This chapter has spoilers for the episode "Awakening". Written October 2005.
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. Slightly graphic sex.
How it Should Have Been Chapter 10
The sun had disappeared early in the morning. By the afternoon Wesley and Fred had found nothing new on the ritual that the Beast had done, and were of the opinion that the only way to get the sun back was to kill the Beast. But since they had been trying to figure out how to do that for the past week, they weren't very hopeful. Finally Wesley said he was going to go home and gather some of his books.
Connor started the morning studying, but soon fell asleep due to the pain medication. He woke up groggy when he felt his bed dip. He looked to see Julie sitting next to him. He smiled at her. She reached out and brushed the hair out of his eyes and mumbled, "Hey, how's the ankle?"
Connor looked down at his ankle and moved it a little. He said, "Still hurts, but not as bad."
"Did you bring over some stuff?"
Julie nodded. "My bag's in the room next door."
"Did you stop by school?"
"Classes are canceled until the sun comes back."
Connor sat up and winced slightly. Julie saw it and said, "Maybe you should take another pain killer for your ankle."
Connor just shook his head no, not wanting to bring up the real reason he was wincing. He put his hands on her face and pulled her into a kiss. When he let her go he said softly, "I'm glad you're staying here with me."
She leaned in to kiss him again. They heard someone clearing his throat. Connor had heard Gunn coming for a while and didn't stop. But Julie jumped at the sound and pulled away from Connor. Gunn said, "Sorry to break up the party, but I'm here to do some tutoring with Connor."
Julie said, "Can I stay? I might be able to help."
Connor didn't really like the idea of his girlfriend trying to tutor him. He wasn't sure why. He knew she had more schooling then him, but it just seemed wrong. Gunn saw Connor thinking, and was pretty sure he knew what was going through his head. Gunn looked at Julie and said, "Actually Fred was hoping you could help her with the research. Wes went to go get some other books, so she could use the help."
Julie looked slightly disappointed but nodded and said, "Okay. See you two later then."
Once Julie was gone Connor lay back down and said, "Thanks."
Gunn put a few books down on Connor's bed and pulled Connor's desk chair over. Gunn sat down next to the bed and said, "Why didn't you want her here?"
Connor thought about it for a minute. He said, "I guess because I don't want her to know how much smarter she is then me."
Gunn shook his head and thought for a minute. He finally said, "Fred is like a gazillion times smarter then me when it comes to books. But there are different ways to be smart Connor. Julie may know more about things they teach in school, but you know so much more about fighting and demon hunting, that it would take her a lifetime to learn it all. So don't sell yourself short."
Connor shrugged, "I guess, but I still don't want her to know."
Gunn rolled his eyes and said, "Stubborn."
Connor gave him a lop sided grin and said, "Yep."
Lorne had spent the morning taking a few calls, but mostly watching the news coverage for any new developments. Angel spent the morning cleaning up Manny from his basement and getting updates from Lorne every time he went through the lobby with another full garbage bag to take out to the dumpster.
When the basement was almost clean, Gunn and Julie came back. Angel noticed that Julie had a bag with her and said, "You can have the room next to Connor's."
Julie nodded. Angel turned to Gunn and said, "Could you do some tutoring with Connor?"
Angel watched both of them go up the stairs. He finished up in the basement, and then couldn't help himself any longer. He went out and took a walk. It felt so strange to be out in the middle of the day. He hadn't done that since he was wearing the ring of Amarra. He shook his head at that thought. Really the last time he had walked in the sun was with Buffy on the beach. He had been made human and was able to spend a whole day with her. But he preferred to think of that day as a dream, because remembering it was real hurt too much. Especially when he knew Buffy didn't have the same memories. Angel decided he had had enough walking during the day, as a dark mood settled over him, and he headed back to the hotel. He ruefully thought that he didn't even have Cordelia back at the hotel to improve his mood. Then he saw a vampire. It was lurking next to a manhole, and looking around up at the sun.
Angel called out to him, "Hey buddy! It's all right, come on out. The humans can't stop us now."
The vampire smiled and nodded. He walked over to Angel and said, "Do you know how
Angel staked him and walked back over to the manhole. He saw three more pairs of eyes looking up at him. He jumped down and staked two of them before they had time to react. Angel grabbed the last vampire by the shirt and pulled him close so they were nose to nose. Angel said, "Tell all your little friends, that the sun will be back to it's full burning brightness by this evening, so unless you want a tan, I'd stay under ground."
Angel shoved the vampire away, and jumped out of the manhole. He put the cover back on the hole and walked quickly back to the hotel. He hoped his threat would work for a day or so, but it might not work at all. If they didn't get the sun back soon, they would have to take turns at patrolling, and even that wouldn't do much when it came to the big picture.
It was mid afternoon when Angel got back to the hotel. When he opened the hotel door he saw that Julie and Fred were both in the lobby looking at books. He asked Lorne, "Any bad calls yet?"
"Just the one trying to consolidate our debt."
"I saw a vampire out on the street."
Fred said, "They've started coming out?"
"I staked him along with two others, and then I warned the last one that the sun would be back by tonight."
Lorne asked, "You know something we don't big guy?"
"I was improvising."
Fred said, "It might work for today, but they'll be out tonight, and I doubt they'll go home in the morning."
Julie said, "So what are we going to do?"
Angel sighed. "We need to set up patrols to keep the number of vampires down."
Lorne said, "You want me to go get Connor and Gunn?"
Before Angel could answer, Julie asked Lorne, "What about you? Do you patrol?"
"I'm more of a hold down the fort kind of demon."
Angel gave Lorne an intense look, which caused Lorne to say, "What? Is the tie too much with this suit?"
Angel shook his head at his own stupidity. "No, you're not just a hold down the fort kind of demon, you're the kind of demon who might have the answers to this whole thing."
Lorne shook his head, "No way am I reading Broody Jr. again. Do you remember what happened last time?"
"Not Connor, me."
Lorne thought about that for a second. Angel continued, "Don't you see? Maybe when I'm singing you can read me and see what we need to do to kill the Beast. If the answer is in me, but I can't remember it, then maybe you can get it out of me."
Lorne slowly nodded and said, "I guess it's worth a try."
Angel said, "Great. My office?"
Lorne got up and walked towards the office. Before the door closed, Lorne said, "Just please, no Manilow."
Angel pouted as he closed the door. Once they were gone Julie turned to Fred and asked, "What does Lorne mean about reading Connor?"
Fred went into an explanation. Ten minutes later Lorne and Angel came out of his office with long faces. Fred asked, "No luck?"
Lorne shook his head. Angel said, "I'm gonna go get Connor and Gunn. We need to come up with a plan for damage control if nothing else."
A few minutes later Angel and Gunn brought Connor downstairs. Connor had an arm around both men, and was being supported between them so that he didn't have to use his ankle. Soon Connor and Julie were sitting together on the round couch, while Fred, Gunn, and Lorne all stood by the counter. Angel paced around the lobby and started.
"I've already seen one vampire, and by tonight I think things are going to be pretty crazy out there with demons running amok
Julie said, "Just the way you like it."
Angel crossed his arms and walked right up to Julie. He said, "What was that Julie? You have something to say?"
Julie glared back and said, "Yeah I do. I don't know what's wrong with all of you. Why are you listening to him, when you know he could be in league with the Beast? Connor has felt guilty this whole time thinking he was the reason the world was going to hell when in reality it's been Angel all along."
Connor shook his head and said, "Julie
Angel said, "It's okay Connor. Let her say what she's thinking."
Julie said, "Angel's the reason the sun is gone. Angel's the reason your lives are in danger every other day. Angel's the reason all those people out there are going to die. How can you all trust someone who beats his child?"
Connor got bright red at that comment and looked at the ground. Angel glared at her and said the first thing that came to his mind, "If you aren't careful I'll show you the difference between a beating and a spanking."
Then Connor was between them, facing off with his father in a fighting stance. Connor was deadly serious. "You don't touch her. Ever."
Angel sighed and shook his head. He said, "Get off your ankle Connor, I'm just tired and irritated. I wasn't serious."
Connor didn't sit down and said, "I was."
Angel glared and said, "You really want to do this right now? You can't win even when you're up to full health, so what exactly are you planning to accomplish? Or did you just want to get spanked in front of everyone."
Julie stood up and put a hand on Connor's arm. She said, "Connor."
Connor took a step back and sat down on the couch, and Julie followed suit. Angel ran a hand through his hair. He said, "How can I convince you that I'm not working for the Beast? I'm out of ideas."
Wesley walked through the front door at that point. Right behind him was an oriental man dressed all in red robes with nothing showing except his eyes and hands. Wesley said, "I have a plan."
Everyone looked up at him. Wesley said, "I'd like to introduce you all to Wo Pang. He's a shaman in the order of the Kun-Sun-Dai. He says he can bring us Angelus."
Angel gave a big fake smile and said, "Wes, can I talk to you in the office for a moment?"
Wesley started that way and asked Fred, "Could you get our guest some tea while he waits?"
Fred nodded and led Wo Pang to the kitchen. Angel waited for Wesley to get in the office and then shut the door behind them. Angel was obviously upset when he said, "You brought a dark mystic into my house?"
Wesley sighed. "Desperate times call for desperate measures."
"Just having him here is dangerous Wesley."
"We need Angelus."
"No we don't."
"We can take precautions. Contain you. He assures me that he can remove your soul. And he claims he can contain it in a vessel until we are ready for him to put it back."
"Even if this guy could do what he claims he can do, it doesn't matter. Unleashing Angelus in the middle of this huge mess is the worst possible thing we could do."
"I know that Angelus is
Angel interrupted, "NO. You don't know Angelus. You've never had the pleasure of his company. The part I don't think you understand is that if he's here, then I'm not, and that means I can't protect any of you from him."
"Are you sure you aren't letting your fear get the better of you?"
"Hell yes I am. You should too."
"Manjet said, 'The answer is among you', but really the answer is in you Angel. In Angelus. We need him to find out how to kill this thing, and the sooner the better."
"You seem to think that Angelus will help you. Do you think he's just gonna give up information? He would rather see the world end then help any of you."
Wesley got angry. "Do you have a better idea Angel? Do you have any new ideas? Because I have to tell you I don't. Between Fred and myself you have two of the most knowledgeable people in the field, and we're at a loss as to do what to do next. Time is of the essence with the sun blocked. If there's even a ten percent chance that this will help, shouldn't we give it a go?"
Angel looked away from Wesley. He looked out his window at the people in the lobby. The people he loved. The people Angelus would happily eat. Angel looked back at Wesley and gave a barley perceptible nod. He opened his office door and said to everyone, "We're gonna need a cage. Eight by eight by ten with re-enforced steel bars set at three-inch intervals. We need to build it in the basement, and we need to build it tonight."
Angel walked past everyone and out the hotel door.
Gunn said, "I don't think that will hold the Beast."
Wesley said, "It's not for the Beast. It's for him."
Everyone in the room was quiet for a few seconds, and then Connor stood up. He started towards the front door. Gunn caught up to him and said, "Hey, you're staying off the ankle right?"
Connor opened his mouth to protest, and then Gunn smiled and leaned down a little. Connor nodded sheepishly and put his arm around Gunn's shoulders. Gunn put an arm around Connor's waist and helped him hop out the door. Gunn got him to the bench where Angel was sitting, and then turned around to go back into the hotel. Connor and Angel sat there in silence for a few seconds. Then Connor said, "Hey Dad?"
Angel looked over at Connor. "What for?"
Connor sighed and though about it while looking at the ground in front of him. "I meant what I said. I'll fight you if you try to hurt her, even if all I can accomplish is giving her time to run. But I'm sorry that I thought you really would hurt her."
Angel put his arm around Connor's shoulders and kissed the top of his head. Connor gave Angel a questioning look, and asked, "What was that for?"
Angel shrugged. "For realizing that I wouldn't hurt her? For trying to protect the woman you're involved with? For coming out here to talk to me? Maybe it was just for me. Of all the things I've seen during my time on this earth, in a lot of ways Angelus scares me the most."
Angel surprised Connor by pulling him into a tight hug. So tight it hurt. After a few seconds Angel whispered, "Remember he's not me."
Angel let go abruptly and stood up. He said, "Let's go back and get started on a cage."
Connor nodded and let Angel help him hop back into the lobby.
By midnight it was done. Everyone had worked hard on it, and people were tired. Wo Pang had gone home after finding out it was going to take hours to get preparations ready, and agreed to come back when they called him. Angel walked around the cage and examined it for any weak spots. When he was satisfied that it would actually hold him he nodded and said, "Good. I think we're ready."
Wesley said, "I'll call Wo Pang."
Angel shook his head. "We're all tired. Let's get some rest, and do it first thing in the morning."
Wesley shook his head. "We need to do it now. The longer the sun is gone, the more people die."
Angel looked at the cage for a few seconds. Then he said, "I guess it's selfish of me, but I need to be sure that the people I love are safe first. If you are going to meet Angelus, I want you all well rested and at the top of your game. You're gonna need to be. So we wait for morning."
It was obvious that Wesley didn't agree, but before he could say anything Gunn turned towards the stars and pulled Fred with him as he said, "I'm ready for some sleep. Night everyone."
Fred gave Wesley an apologetic look and waved at everyone else while saying, "Sleep good."
Wesley got out his cell phone and asked Wo Pang to arrive at the hotel the next morning at nine.
Everyone headed towards the stairs and to bed. Angel helped Connor get upstairs and settled, and then brought him another painkiller. An hour after everyone had gone to bed; Julie came in and climbed in bed with Connor. He opened his eyes long enough to see who it was, put an arm around her, and then fell back to sleep.
The next morning at breakfast Angel checked Connor's ankle, and they both thought it should be healed by the end of the day if Connor stayed off it. After breakfast Angel pulled Gunn aside and said, "When I'm Angelus, especially if something goes wrong with our plan, I
.. I want you to look after Connor."
Gunn nodded and said, "You got it."
"And if something really goes wrong I want you to make sure he gets that GED."
"You don't even have to ask man. I'm down with the whole Connor plan, and I think he's mature enough now to let me be there for him if you're not."
Angel smiled and said, "Let's find out."
Angel walked over to where Connor and Julie were sitting at the table. Angel said, "Can I talk to you for a minute?"
Connor nodded and got up. He used the makeshift crutch that Wesley had made for him to follow Angel out to the lobby. Once they were alone Angel said, "I don't want you to be there. I don't want you to watch, and have the chance to talk with Angelus. But at the same time I need you to be there in case something goes wrong, you're the only one who even has a chance at fighting me. You can't trust him, and most things he tells you will be lies, but he hides his lies in just enough truth that they seem real."
Connor put a hand on Angel's shoulder and said seriously, "I understand."
Angel didn't think Connor actually did, but he appreciated that he was trying. Angel said, "And one more thing."
Connor nodded. Angel said, "If things go wrong
. I'm going to need you to kill me."
Connor let go of Angel and his mind raced. He had been raised to kill Angelus. It had been the highest attainable goal for most of his life. He looked at Angel and slowly nodded. Angel said, "I know it's a hard thing to ask, but maybe it will be easier since you know it's what I would want."
Connor shook his head. "Didn't make it easier to cut off Father's head."
Connor thought about it and realized he hadn't told Angel about that. He looked off into the distance said, "When I thought you had killed Holtz, I wasn't sure if you had changed him or not. He taught me what to do, and I knew it was what he wanted me to do in that situation. But
.. That didn't make it easy
.. And as it turned out it was unnecessary
Angel gave Connor a hug and whispered, "I'm sorry."
Connor said, "Holtz knew what I would do. It was expected. I know that sometimes I
. Well I don't listen to you like you want me to, and sometimes I do things that might be reckless. But I can and will do what needs to be done if Angelus is on the loose and hurting people. You can count on me for that."
Angel let him go and looked into his eyes when he said, "I know I can Connor. Thank you."
Angel looked around and saw Gunn across the lobby. He called him, and Gunn came over. Angel said, "I want both of you to know that if something happens to me, I expect Connor to still get his GED."
Angel looked at Connor and said, "When I'm out of commission Wesley will be in charge of what goes on with the business, but Gunn is in charge of you."
Connor glared and said, "What!? You just said you could count on me, and that you wanted me to be responsible for killing you if you got loose. What the hell do you mean Gunn is in charge of me?!"
Angel said, "I mean I expect you to listen to him and do what he tells you to do, especially when it comes to studying, until your year is up. And if you do something wrong while I'm not myself, it will be up to Gunn to decide on an appropriate punishment."
Connor gave his dad a familiar look of hate. "Whatever Dad. Either you can count on me, which makes me an adult, or you can't and I'm a child. Which way is it?"
Angel said, "It's both. I expect to be able to count on you, but at the same time I know you're still relatively new to this place, and you don't always know what the right thing to do is. I promised you a year, and that's what it will be whether I'm here or not. I know you're stronger then Gunn and that it would be very difficult for him to make you do something that you didn't want to do. In fact you could be completely out of control without me around, but I'm telling you now that you're not going to be."
Connor glared daggers at his father and Gunn put a hand on Connor's shoulder to get his attention. Gunn said, "What's the problem? It's not going to be that much different from the way things are now. This whole thing should be over by the end of the day, so let's not even worry about it right now. Unless you're planning on going off to do something stupid the second Angel is in the cage, we shouldn't have any issues."
Connor thought about it for a second and slowly nodded. He said, "I guess you're right."
Gunn teased, "That's right I am. Now you just keep saying that for the rest of the day."
Connor rolled his eyes. Then everyone in the room turned to look at the front door of the hotel because Wo Pang had arrived.
Fifteen minutes later everyone was down in the basement, and Angel had been strapped to a table inside the cage. Angel was on his back with his arms and legs strapped to the table, along with two straps around his chest. Wo Pang went in and closed the cage door behind him. Wesley put on the lock, and everyone watched while Wo Pang started his ritual.
Wo Pang went to stand by Angel's head. He put a hand over Angel's forehead with his thumb and index finger touching both of Angel's temples. Wo Pang started chanting and Angel closed his eyes. When Angel's eyes were closed, Wo Pang's eyes turned red, and his chanting got louder. Then Wo Pang leaned down to Angel's ear and said, "Say good night."
Angel opened his eyes in time to see Wo Pang reach under his cloak to grab a decorative dagger. Wo Pang raised the dagger up over his head and started to plunge it down towards Angel's neck. Angel used every ounce of strength he had to break the strap that was holding down his right arm. He grabbed Wo Pang's wrist and halted the knife just as it touched his skin. Angel called out, "A little help here!"
Wesley was working on the lock and yelled, "What are you doing?"
Wo Pang kept trying to push the dagger down and said, "Did you really think I would go against The Awakened One to help you? Fools!"
Wesley soon had the lock undone and ran in. He pushed Wo Pang as hard as he could, and Wo Pang stumbled back into the bars. Wesley went after him punching and kicking while trying to avoid the dagger. Angel used his free arm to unstrap his other arm, and Connor had arrived to undo his legs. Wo Pang had maneuvered himself out of the cage and was now being surrounded by everyone else in the room. Angel walked over to Wo Pang and said, "Tell me what The Beast's plan is, and I might let you go."
Wo Pang raised his dagger, and stabbed himself in the heart. Everyone looked on as Wo Pang fell and died. Angel said, "Or not."
Connor said, "What a waste of time! We took all that time to build this cage for nothing, and I'm sure the vampires are out on the streets by now."
Angel sighed and nodded. "You're right."
Wesley sighed also and said, "I'm sorry Angel. I suppose it wasn't the best thought out plan I've ever had."
Angel patted Wesley's shoulder and said, "It's okay Wes. I agreed with you on this one too. Let's see if he has anything on him that will give us some information on the Beast or what his plan is."
Gunn started to search Wo Pang, and as soon as he pulled the cloak away from Wo Pang's head Gunn said, "I found a lot of something on him."
Gunn continued to unwrap Wo Pang and found that the man's entire body was covered with tattoos in some writing he couldn't read. Wesley got down to look too. After a few seconds Angel said, "Can you read it?"
Wesley nodded and said, "It's Chinese. Let's get him up on the table, and get some more light in here, and I'll see what it says."
It took close to half an hour to get all of the body read. When Wesley had read it all and taken some notes about it he turned to the waiting group. He said, "Well Wo Pang was definitely an acolyte of the Beast. Most of the writings on him are about the history of the Kun-Sun-Dai."
Fred said, "No wonder we couldn't find anything about the Beast. These people are walking around with it on their skin."
Wesley nodded in agreement. Angel said, "Anything that will help us?"
Wesley got his notes and said, "Yes there is a long passage about an opposing group from the third century called the Bosh M'ad. They apparently created something called the 'Tooth of Light'."
Gunn looked confused and said, "Why a tooth?"
"I doubt it's a literal tooth. My guess would be that it is some kind of dagger or weapon."
Connor said, "Does it say where it is, or how we can get it?"
Wesley shook his head. "Unfortunately no."
Angel said, "Well it's a start. Now that we know more of what we're looking for, Wes and Fred can try to find information about the Bosh M'ad. Maybe that will lead us to the location of this weapon."
Fred was about to ask Wesley which books he wanted to start with, but she heard a noise on the stairs. Everyone in the room turned to look towards the top of the stairs. They all saw a pair of female shoes coming down the stairs. Then a familiar voice said, "Hello? Anyone home?"
Angel felt his emotions kick into high gear and he whispered, "Cordelia?"
Cordelia came into full view and stopped half way down the stairs. She looked around at everyone and asked, "What are you all doing in the basement?"
No one answered for a few seconds. Then Angel quickly walked half way up the stairs to meet her and said, "Cordelia? Is it really you?"
"Well, Duh. Who else would it be?"
"But you were in a higher plane. I saw you there. How did you get back?"
"I did everything I needed to do there, and asked to come home."
Angel felt a large smile spreading across his face. He said, "Just like that?"
Cordelia smiled back and said, "Well that and the whole 'watching you get your ass kicked by the Beast' made me think it was the right time."
Angel laughed and pulled Cordelia into a hug. Cordelia hugged him back for a few seconds and then pulled away. She said, "I missed you. I missed all of you."
Fred went up the stairs and gave Cordelia a hug too while Angel stepped aside. Fred said, "I'm so happy you're back."
"Thanks Fred. Me too."
Wesley went next and as he hugged her he asked, "How do you know about the Beast?"
"I saw everything you guys did while I was up there."
Wesley said, "Fascinating. Were you able to see anyone you wanted, or just those you had relationships with when you were on Earth?"
"Just the people I already knew."
Gunn came next to give her a hug and said, "You're a site for sore eyes Cordy. We missed you."
"Thanks Gunn. Trust me I can say the same."
Lorne came up to her and said, "Hi sweetie."
She gave him a tight hug and said, "You're looking fab as usual."
She let him go and looked at the only two people left in the basement. Cordelia walked down the stairs and put her hand out to shake with Julie. She said, "Hi there, I'm Cordelia. It's nice to meet you."
Julie seemed confused but put out her hand too as she said, "You're the Cordelia that Connor told me about? The one who disappeared the same night he sunk Angel in the ocean?"
Cordelia nodded and said, "That's right."
Cordelia let go of Julie's hand and turned to Connor. Connor had turned a little red remembering that night, but before he could say much Cordelia pulled him into a big hug. He was surprised and a little caught off guard. A few seconds later he awkwardly hugged her back for a fast second and then let go. Cordelia let go and gave him a scrutinizing look. She said, "I've been watching you too."
Connor wasn't sure what to think of that, but found his face was getting even redder. Cordelia said, "You've made life pretty hard on your dad over the past few months, but I can see improvement in you every day. And now that I'm back, I have a feeling things can only get better."
Connor didn't know what to say and just stared at the floor. Cordelia turned to the group on the stairs and said, "So are we going to hang out here with the dead guy, or do you want me to show you where the Tooth of Light is?"
Angel said, "You know where it is?"
"Yeah, the visions Doyle was so sweet to give me seem to be permanent. I had them up there too."
Wesley said, "Well today is just full of remarkable surprises. Please lead the way."
Cordelia went up the stairs and everyone followed her to the lobby. Cordelia looked to Fred and said, "Could you find me some kind of blue prints of the sewer system under downtown LA on the internet?"
Angel said, "I can do better than that. Since I use them so much, I had copies made from the library a long time ago. Hold on, and I'll go get them."
Cordelia nodded and Angel went to his office. Gunn said, "What are the chances that this tooth would be in LA?"
Cordelia said, "It's not."
Wesley asked, "Then why the blue prints?"
"The tooth is actually a sword, and it's between dimensions. We can reach it from LA, but we could reach it from at least one hundred other places on the globe too."
"I see. That is a clever way to hide it from the Beast, but also have it accessible when he was around to create havoc."
Angel came out of his office with the blueprints. Cordelia spread them out on the counter and looked through them until she found the one she was looking for. She pointed to it and said, "Here. In this area there is crack in one of the tunnel walls. If you make it just a little bigger so that you can get through it, you'll find a pathway to the sword."
Angel said, "Great. I can be there in half an hour, and with all the demons probably topside, it should be hassle free. Gunn, Wes, let's go."
Connor said, "Hey! What about me?"
Angel said, "You stay off your ankle, take another painkiller, and study with Fred and Lorne."
Connor pouted but didn't argue. Angel, Wesley, and Gunn started for the sewer entrance, and Cordelia followed. Once they got to the hatch Angel said, "What are you doing?"
Cordelia gave him a look and said, "Coming with you."
Angel shook his head. "You just got back. You should rest."
Cordelia shook her head. "I spent the past few months resting. I'm ready for some action."
.. you just got back and,
.. I don't want you to get hurt, or go away again."
Cordelia put a hand on his face and said, "Angel, don't worry so much. It's gonna be fine."
She kissed his cheek and went through the hatch as she said, "And you can't stop me anyway."
Gunn smirked and followed Cordelia. Wesley gave Angel's shoulder a companionable squeeze and followed also. Angel shook his head and muttered, "It's Cordy all right."
Soon they were all walking and talking. Cordelia talked most of the way about the things she had done during her stay in the higher plane, and answered Wesley's multitude of questions.
They arrived at the hole in the tunnel wall half an hour later, and Angel inspected it. He said, "The tunnel walls are made of thick metal, but it's been rusted around the hole so it's weak."
He told everyone to stand back and used his hands to pull on the metal. He didn't have much trouble bending it enough to let all of them through. Once they were on the other side of the tunnel, Wesley got out a couple of flashlights and handed one to Angel. They all started down the new tunnel and Angel took the lead. They walked for a little ways, and then came to an area where the tunnel got a bit wider. It opened up into a small room, with the tunnel continuing at the far end of the room. Angel suddenly stopped. Cordelia looked around and asked, "What?"
"Something doesn't feel right."
He looked around some more but didn't see anything amiss. He took a cautious step forward and got three small wooden arrows stuck in his abdomen. He looked down and said, "It would be wood wouldn't it."
Wesley said, "It's booby trapped."
Angel pulled the arrows out and tossed them on the floor. Gunn said, "What tripped it? I don't see any wires or anything."
Angel looked and knelt down. He felt the floor where he had stepped. He said, "The floor is rigged. Kind of like land minds I would assume, except things shoot at you instead of blowing you up."
Cordelia said sarcastically, "Nice."
Angel said, "You and Gunn should head back."
"Yeah, nice try. You go first, but cover up your heart with your hand, just in case, and the rest of us will follow in your foot steps
Angel looked over at Wesley and Gunn. Both of them gave him a nod. He sighed, covered up his heart with his hand, and took a step forward. It was slow going, and once Cordelia almost fell over, but Wesley steadied her in time. They got to the other side of the room with only six other arrows in Angel's legs and arms.
Angel pulled the last of the arrows out and said, "Damn arrows." as he headed further into the tunnel. A few feet later the cave split into two directions.
Gunn asked, "Which way?"
Angel looked to Cordelia who shrugged not knowing the answer. Angel said, "We'll split up. You and Wes go that way, Cordy and I will go this way."
Wesley nodded and headed to the left with Gunn following. Cordelia followed Angel. Soon they came to a second chamber in the tunnel. This one was full of strings with little bells on them going from the ceiling all the way to the floor. Angel reached inside and tapped one of the strings and then pulled his hand back. The walls of the chamber moved in towards each other about a foot. Cordelia said, "Trip the strings and become a pancake."
Angel nodded in agreement and said, "You first. I'll follow, and if it gets close, I'll try to push you far enough to get out of the way of the walls."
Cordelia nodded and headed into the chamber trying to avoid all of the many strings hanging down. She hit one accidentally with the back of her head, and then became very still as the walls moved another foot towards her. By the time they were half way across the room Cordelia had hit the strings two more times, and Angel had hit them once. The walls were getting close, and Angel said, "My guess is two more chances to screw up, and then it's pancake time."
Cordelia didn't nod, but she did agree. She took a few more very careful steps and hit another string. They both stood still while the walls moved towards them. Angel looked at the distance they had left to go, and noticed how slowly the walls were moving. He made a decision, and moved so fast that Cordelia didn't know exactly what was going on until it was over. She found herself flat on top of Angel who was lying on the ground just outside of the chamber. She looked back to see the walls squash together and then slowly open all the way back up.
Cordelia looked down at Angel and said, "Didn't trust me?"
Angel smiled and said, "I thought this would be more fun."
. I think you may be right."
Angel got serious and said; "I really missed you Cordy."
She leaned down and kissed him on the mouth. He kissed her back eagerly. She paused and said, "I missed you too Angel."
He knew there was chaos outside. He knew the Beast was on the loose and it was up to his team to stop it. But he couldn't stop himself from asking. "What were you coming to tell me that night?"
Cordelia said, "I was going to tell you that I loved you."
Angel almost couldn't believe she was saying it. He said, "And now?"
Cordelia smiled at him. She said, "We'll talk about that after you kill the Beast."
She kissed him briefly on the mouth and got herself up. He was somewhat satisfied with that answer and got up himself. He took the lead again, and soon came to another chamber that was different then the others. This one was bigger, and there were no tunnels leading out of it, except for the way they had just come. In the center of the room was a large round stone structure that looked somewhat like a large tree stump. Above that was a large ball of swirling light. Cordelia said, "That's it."
Angel nodded and went up to it. "Do you know how I get it?"
She shook her head no. Angel reached his hand into the ball of light, and after a few seconds of feeling around, he felt something metal that fit nicely in his hand. He grabbed it and pulled it out. He was holding a long silver sword with a gold handle. Cordelia said, "It's pretty."
Angel nodded and said, "Okay we have it, so let's go find the
Angel stopped talking when he felt the ground start to shake. Cordelia looked around along with him and they could see small pieces of the ceiling starting to fall. He yelled, "Run!"
She followed him back through the tunnel. Angel tried the strings again before going through, but nothing happened to the walls. He said, "It's disabled. Come on."
They ran and soon met up with Gunn and Wesley. They all started running towards the hole in the sewer wall together. They all made it without getting hit by any of the large chunks of tunnel that were falling down around them. Once they were back in the sewer tunnel Gunn pointed to the sword Angel held and said, "Is that it?"
Angel nodded. Cordelia said, "Was there anything in your tunnel?"
Wesley said, "It was a dead end."
Gunn corrected him. "A booby trapped dead end."
Cordelia looked down at Gunn's leg and saw a spreading blood stain on the upper right thigh of his jeans. She said, "Are you gonna be okay to walk back?"
Gunn nodded and then took off his shirt. He tied the long sleeved tee shirt around the leg to put some pressure on the wound. "It was a little metal star shaped thing that got me, but it wasn't very big. I'll be fine till we get back."
Angel nodded and said, "Let's go."
They all made it back to the hotel with no trouble. When they got there Angel said, "We have what it takes to kill him, so now how do we find him?"
Fred came out from behind the front desk and went to see if Gunn needed to be patched up. Cordelia said, "In my vision I saw the Beast get stabbed in the head with the sword, and then he exploded. I don't know, but I don't think any human would survive the explosion. I don't even know if you would."
Connor spoke up. "I'll track it. Then Dad and I will kill it."
Julie said, "No Connor, it's too dangerous."
Angel shook his head. "You're still injured."
"And I can still track better then you."
Angel reluctantly nodded knowing that was true. Julie saw the nod and said, "So you're going to willingly put your son in mortal danger while he's injured? Maybe you should try tracking it alone and see what happens before you get Connor involved."
Angel was going to tell Connor no at first, but now that Julie had annoyed him he said, "You track it, and stay out of the way while I kill it."
Connor nodded and said, "I'm ready."
Julie glared at Angel and then went to stand in front of Connor. She said, "You shouldn't be going anywhere, you're hurt. And even if you try to stay out of the way, the Beast could plow right through Angel and still get you. Please don't go."
Connor took Julie's hand and said, "I have to go. It's connected to me, and until it's dead I can never stop trying. I'm sorry."
Angel headed for the front door, and then Julie said, "Aren't you always mad at Connor for doing dangerous things, and now you're the one putting him in a dangerous situation. What kind of father are you?"
Before Angel could reply Gunn said, "Wait a minute."
Angel turned and looked at him. Gunn said, "What happens when you kill the Beast in the middle of the street, and the sun comes back? Won't you fry?"
Angel looked out the door and started laughing. "You know, I was so gung-ho to get this thing, that I completely forgot what time it actually is. I suppose I'll have to wait until tonight."
Wesley said, "We could try to lure him here. Make some sort of trap."
Connor had gone back to sit down and said, "How?"
Wesley thought about it for a second and said, "Well we do have his acolyte. I could look him over again and see if there is anything I missed. Maybe find a way to summon him."
Angel nodded and said, "It's worth a try. Let me know if you find anything. Until you find something or the sun goes down, I guess its business as usual. Lorne have we had any calls that seemed urgent?"
Wesley headed for the basement. Lorne nodded and said, "We've had a few, but I don't think it's anything you could actually do anything about."
"All four of them were missing children reports from this morning. Each person who called said their kid was playing in the yard with the porch lights on and then they just disappeared."
Connor and Gunn both said, "Vampires."
Angel got a little angry and said, "Why the hell would people let their kids go out and play in the dark like that when something is obviously wrong with the sun?"
Julie said, "You were going to take Connor out in it, until you found out you might be in danger yourself."
The room was quiet. Angel stalked into his office and slammed the door behind him. Connor looked at Julie and said, "I wish you would at least try to get along with him." Then he turned to Lorne and said, "Anything else that we should go look into?"
Lorne gave Connor a big smile and said, "Yes as a matter of fact I have some Brahms you should look into down in the basement right now."
Connor groaned and said, "I didn't mean schoolwork, I meant phone calls."
Lorne looked at Cordelia and said, "Are you ready to man the phones?"
Cordelia nodded. Fred said to Gunn, "Let's go take a look at that leg in the bathroom."
Gunn nodded and followed her to get patched up. Connor reluctantly followed Lorne and muttered, "Get me all excited about tracking, and then send me to study music instead. How rotten is that?"
Cordelia looked at Julie who was the only person left in the lobby, and Julie regarded Cordelia as well. Cordelia waited until she was pretty sure they had the music going downstairs and then said, "If you say even one more nasty thing to Angel I'm going to be calling your father."
Angel had been sitting in his office staring at some pictures of the Beast, but as soon as he overheard Cordelia, he put all of his attention into listening to what she was saying.
Julie's mouth dropped open and she stared at Cordelia not knowing what to say. Cordelia continued, "Do you think he'll be happy to hear that you have basically shacked up with your underage boyfriend who doesn't even have a GED? A guy who spends all of his extra time hunting vampires which your father doesn't even believe in."
Julie's eyes got very wide, and she looked scared. Cordelia let her statement sink in for a few seconds and then said, "Do you think he's going to want to keep paying for you to live here and go to school, or do you think your funding will be cut off?"
Julie whispered, "You wouldn't."
"Oh yes I would."
Julie didn't know what to say and just shook her head no. Cordelia took pity on the girl and put a hand on her shoulder. She said, "Julie, when I was in a higher plane, I could see you because you were involved with Connor. And because I knew you through Connor, when your mother died, I got the chance to speak with her."
Julie looked on the verge of tears and said, "What?"
"Your mother seemed like a very nice woman. She is very proud of you and what you've accomplished. She barely graduated high school, and you make her proud every day by going to college and working hard at making a good life for yourself. I thought you should know that she is up there watching you, and will be for the rest of your life. Now I know that you love Connor, and I think that someday the two of you could be really happy together. But if you keep putting a rift between father and son, you are going to eventually loose Connor one way or another."
Angel couldn't believe his ears. He would have never thought to threaten Julie with her own father. He hoped that what Cordelia was saying was sinking in, and that Julie would start giving him a chance.
Cordelia could see Julie had started to cry quietly. Cordelia walked up to Julie and put a hand on her arm. She said, "I'm okay with the two of you to dating, but I'm not okay with either one of you changing yourselves to be with the other. You need to get your college diploma before you settle down into a life with Connor. And Connor needs to get that GED and find out what he wants to do with his life. But more then anything else right now, Connor needs to get to know his father and build a relationship with him. Until he does that, he won't be ready for a serious relationship with any girl."
Julie was still crying, but also nodding at the things Cordelia was telling her. Cordelia pulled her into a hug and said, "I would really like to be friends with you Julie, but I am dead serious about you and Angel. You be nice to him, or I'll make sure your dad gets a call."
Julie nodded and sniffed. She got out, "You really saw my mom?"
Cordelia nodded and said, "She loves you very much."
Julie let go and said, "Thank you."
Cordelia gave her a smile and said, "Maybe after the Beast is dead, and the sun is back, and you've moved back to your apartment, we could go to the mall and do some shopping together."
Cordelia gave her a conspiring smile and said, "Connor's wardrobe is appalling. We should pick out a few thing for him."
Julie smiled in spite of her tears and said, "Sounds good."
Cordelia said, "I'm glad we understand each other."
Julie wanted to have some time alone to think about all the things Cordelia had said so she said, "I brought some textbooks with me, so I think I'll go up to my room and do some studying."
Cordelia nodded and let her go. As Julie was headed up the stairs Gunn and Fred came out of the bathroom. Gunn was talking as they came out, "But they give me personality."
"You have plenty of personality without the scars."
Cordelia smiled and started looking at her old files. A few seconds later she looked at Fred and said, "What did you do to my filing system?"
Fred just smiled and said, "Um
Angel smiled in his office. He knew he had missed Cordelia personally, but he hadn't realized she was such an essential part of the team until today. He could feel some of the tension leaving his neck and shoulders, even thought he hadn't realized he was all that tense in the first place.
Cordelia and Fred started talking about the filing system, and as they were looking through the files, they came across the file that held information about Phantom Dennis. Fred looked very apologetic and said; "I'm sorry Cordy. We couldn't pay for your place anymore. We had to sell it."
Cordelia gave her a sad smile and said, "I know. It's okay. Once the sun is back, I'll go visit with Dennis to let him know I'm okay, and to see how the new owners are doing."
Cordelia said with fresh realization, "I guess that means I'll have to pick out a room."
Fred smiled and said, "Come on, let's go pick one out for you."
Cordelia and Fred went upstairs to the rooms, and as they walked by Connor's room, Cordelia noticed the door was open and looked inside. She stopped abruptly as Fred kept walking and talking. Cordelia went into Connor's room and looked around. Fred noticed her friend wasn't following, and went back to see what Cordelia was doing. Fred saw Cordelia in Connor's room, and she said, "Cordy?"
Cordelia turned around and Fred could tell she was angry. Fred couldn't for the life of her figure out what the problem was. Cordelia said, "I'll pick out a room later. I need to talk to Angel."
Fred knew Cordelia well enough to stay out of that. She just nodded and said, "Okay."
Cordelia stalked down to Angel's office. She opened the door without knocking, and shut it hard behind her. Angel had a huge smile for her, still thinking about how she had handled Julie for him. But his smile quickly faltered as soon as he saw her face. He said, "What's wrong?"
"What's wrong?" Cordelia asked sarcastically.
Angel quietly waited for it. Cordelia said, "What's wrong is your son's room."
Angel didn't understand. Cordelia put her hands on her hips and said, "Angel, how do you expect Connor to fit in with others when he doesn't even have a TV in his room? He doesn't have a CD player, a computer, or a cell phone. No stack of CD's, no Playstation, no basketballs or sports equipment, he doesn't even have any piles of clothes or empty food boxes on the floor. His room is excessively neat with the exception of some weapons scattered on the floor!"
Angel still looked kind of confused and said, "He has a Gameboy
.and some books."
Cordelia said, "It's not the 1800's Angel. How much allowance do you give him?"
..we hadn't really talked about that
.he has a walkman."
Cordelia gave Angel a disappointed look and shook her head. Angel got defensive; "It's not like I've had him his whole life Cordy. It's only been two and a half months since I've been back, and we've spent a lot of that time controlling his temper, and getting him to trust us."
Cordelia softened and walked around the desk to where Angel was sitting. She half leaned and half sat on the edge of Angel's desk and said, "I know. I've been watching you, remember? And you've done a great job so far. But I still think there's room for improvement."
Angel smiled again and said, "I agree. So you're going to take him shopping for clothes when this is all over?"
Cordelia's eyes narrowed and she said, "You've been eavesdropping."
Angel smirked. "You knew I could hear you."
She smiled back, "I'm taking your credit card."
Angel's smile faltered and he muttered, "I'll have to lower the limit."
Cordelia lightly punched his shoulder and said, "Better not."
Before she knew what was happening, he pulled her over to sit on his lap and gave her a lingering kiss. She was a little breathless when it was over. She said, "What was that about?"
He whispered in her ear. "Thank you for talking to Julie, and thank you for coming home to us."
Cordelia smiled, but didn't want to get into any kind of serious talk until the Beast was killed. She said, "Don't think I'm gonna forget why I came in here. Connor needs to have these things, and I'm going to buy them."
Angel sounded doubtful. "He needs a stack of CD's?"
Cordelia nodded and added, "Only because you're too cheap for an IPOD."
"A what pod?"
Cordelia shook her head, pushed herself off his lap and said, "Hopeless."
As she was starting to walk off she said, "Anyway, if you get him attached to all these gadgets, pretty soon you can try grounding him from them when he's not listening to you. It's always good to have new and inventive ways of keeping kids in line."
Before she got to his office door, they both heard the basement door slam. Connor stomped into Angel's office and glared at him. Angel could tell Connor was livid about something. Connor yelled, "How could you not tell me!"
Angel kept his voice calm when he said, "Tell you what Connor?"
"About Sahjhan and the fact that I'm destined to kill him!"
Cordelia said, "Why don't you calm down Connor, and we can talk about it like adults."
Connor gave her a look of hatred and disbelief. "I've only met you a few times, and you're telling me to calm down like you know me?! You can shut up and get out, this is between
Angel was beside Connor so fast, that Connor didn't have time to do much besides take one step back. It didn't help, as Angel had already grabbed Connor's upper arm with his left hand and was swatting him full force with his right. Connor yelped at the first of six unbelievably hard swats. Angel gave him a little shake and said, "Apologize."
Connor glared at the floor for a second thinking. Then a breathless Lorne got to the office door and said to Angel, "Sorry I let the cat out of the bag. I didn't know it wasn't shared information. We were talking about your singing, and then about his mother and how you said she could sing, and then we got to talking about her pregnancy, and then
..well, you know me with a captive audience
.I had to finish the story."
Angel nodded absently and said, "It's okay Lorne. Shut the door behind you please."
Lorne got the hint and muttered, "Sorry kid." as he walked out and shut the door.
Angel hadn't heard an apology and swatted Connor two more times. Connor kept his mouth tightly shut in anger at his father for not telling him in the first place, and anger at Cordelia for butting into what Connor saw as a private thing. Angel said with a deadly calm, "Apologize now."
Connor felt a chill at Angel's tone and had the sense to mutter an insincere, "Sorry."
Cordelia walked over to Connor. She gave Angel an indiscernible look and waved him away. Angel wasn't sure about it, but let go of Connor and took one step back, so that Connor would still be in reach if he needed to get him under control. Cordelia put one hand on Connor's face, and the other on his upper arm. He looked a little nervous, and then Cordelia's eyes turned white. Angel took a few more steps back as Cordelia started to glow with a white light that came from inside her and started to travel into Connor. Connor looked terrified at first and tried to break free from her but couldn't. Then she put her forehead on his and he closed his eyes involuntarily.
Cordelia and Connor stayed locked forehead to forehead with white light surrounding them for four minutes. Angel was about to try and touch one of them to see of something was wrong when the light quickly disappeared. Connor opened his eyes suddenly and backed away from Cordelia a few steps. He shook his head no and a few tears ran down his face. Cordelia said, "It's gonna be okay Connor."
Connor took a few more steps back and bumped into the door. He quickly opened it and dashed out and ran up the hotel stairs like something from hell was after him. Angel shouted at him, "Connor!"
Connor didn't turn around or even seem to hear him. Angel turned to Cordelia with a mix of awe, confusion, and some anger. He said, "What did you do to him?"
"I shared some of my memories with him. Now he knows without a doubt how I felt about him when he was a baby, and how I feel about him now. He never would have believed me if I told him that I loved him, so I let him feel it instead. I also gave him a realistic picture of what life might be like for him now if he had been with you all along. It's a lot to digest. He'll probably need some time."
Angel said, "You can do that?"
Cordelia looked like she was slightly surprised herself. "I guess I can."
Angel looked towards the stairs and wondered if he should go after Connor to see if he was okay. He said, "I'll be right back."
Halfway up the stairs he could hear Connor crying quietly. As he got to Connor's door he heard Julie moving around in the room she was staying in, which was next to Connor's. He waited until her door opened a little. Angel thought she looked slightly angry when she saw him. Angel said, "I'm gonna talk to Connor alone for a few minutes, and then when I'm done you can see him."
Julie just nodded and shut her door again. Angel went in and saw Connor curled up on his bed. He had his back to the door. Angel sat down on the edge of the bed and rubbed Connor's back. Angel sighed while thinking about what to say. "I didn't tell you about the prophecy because
.. well I guess there are a few reasons. I didn't want you to think your whole purpose for being was to kill Sahjhan. I didn't want it weighing over your head, and I know for a fact that he's in a safe place right now. Although if I'm honest with myself, maybe I just didn't want to tell you because I knew it would upset you, and I wanted to protect you."
Connor said quietly, "I want to be alone. Please Dad."
Angel almost couldn't leave Connor, because he was obviously still crying and unhappy, but he forced himself to stand and walk out. He closed the door behind him and saw Julie. He said, "Connor said he wants to be alone, but you can try if you want."
Julie didn't look as angry as before, and did go into the room. Angel was halfway back down the stairs when he heard Julie go back to her own room. Angel went back to his office and brooded while Cordelia, Fred, and Gunn made some lunch for everyone.
Upstairs Connor was full of hate, sadness, and anger all at the same time. He had understood for quite some time now that Holtz had been in the wrong pretty often when he was growing up. And he had come to the realization that Holtz probably hated him when he was growing up, even if a part of him cared for him. But now, for the first time in his life, Connor had a burning hatred for the man who had raised him. Now he understood that the man he had loved and called father for his entire life had in reality stolen his life. Connor couldn't get over how unfair and unjust life seemed to be. Now that he knew what his life might have actually been like, he felt excruciating loss and jealousy over that possible life.
He got up and started pacing his room while his mind raced. He was too full of emotions with no way to get rid of them. His emotional distress was too much for him. He knew how it would end up, but he just couldn't stop himself. He grabbed a stake off his floor, jumped out his window, and went to look for something to kill.
As he was walking away from the hotel his mind was still full of the images Cordelia had given him. Images of his real father caring for him as a baby while Cordelia looked on. Images of Cordelia playing with him and kissing him. Images of them both protecting him from all the evil things that wanted to get a hold of him. Images of him in college and well adjusted while still fighting evil in his spare time along side Angel.
He got three blocks away and smelled blood. He stopped and looked around. Then he looked down at his own hand and saw that he had unconsciously stabbed the stake halfway through the palm of his left hand. He pulled it out and growled at himself for his stupidity. Three seconds later two vampires were in front of him. It was a male and a female who were apparently hunting together. The female said, "Finally. A fresh one, and he's out of the house. How nice of you to draw us to you with your blood."
The male smiled at Connor and said, "We've been looking for you all morning."
Connor gave a feral yell and attacked. The vampires were caught off guard, and the female was dust before she could try to defend herself. The male was a little quicker and blocked some of Connor's blows. He got in a good punch to the side of Connor's head that sent him back a few feet. This just made Connor more determined, and he attacked with a kick to the vampires abdomen. The vampire was shoved back a few feet. Connor had a clear shot to the heart, but didn't take it. Instead he kept punching and kicking until the vampire was on the ground beneath him. Connor punched and punched until the male's face was a mess of blood and torn flesh. When the vampire was unconscious Connor finally staked him. The vampire turned to dust, and Connor sat on the ground in the dust looking at his bloody knuckles.
Two seconds later he heard Angel behind him say gently, "Come on Connor, let's go home."
Connor whipped his head around to see Angel standing there behind him with one of Connor's swords at his side. Angel didn't look all that angry. Connor thought he looked kind of sad. Connor looked at his hands again and stayed where he was.
Angel, well aware of the dangers that surrounded them out of the hotel with all the vampires and demons of LA walking the streets during the day, knelt down beside Connor and put a hand on his shoulder. He said, "We need to go home Connor."
Angel tried another tact and said, "Lunch is ready. Aren't you hungry."
Connor looked up at Angel and said, "It isn't fair Dad. I want that life. The life Cordy showed me. I don't want this one."
Angel lay the sword down and sat on the ground too. He pulled Connor into a hug and said, "I want that life for you too. I would sacrifice everything I have to give you that life, but we both know that's impossible. All we can do is make this life as happy and as full of joy as possible."
Connor didn't know how or why, but having Angel there and comforting him made his pain seem bearable. He hugged Angel back as hard as he could and whispered, "I love you Dad."
Angel didn't think he would ever hear those words from his son after he had been taken from him. He kept a tight hold on Connor also and said, "I love you too Connor."
A female voice behind them said, "Awww, Larry, isn't that the sweetest thing you ever heard? Why don't you ever tell me you love me?"
Angel and Connor broke apart and both jumped up. There were five vampires standing around them in a circle. Larry said to the female, "'Cause I don't ya skank."
Angel noticed that the female vampire was holding the sword. She stabbed Larry with it. He yelled and she screamed, "Don't call me a skank you asshole."
Connor saw the opportunity while the vampires were distracted with their own issues, and stabbed the female with the stake that was still in his hand. She gave him a surprised, "Oh!" before she dusted.
Angel grabbed the free end of the sword and yanked it out of Larry. He quickly decapitated Larry and shoved the hilt of the sword back into the vampire that had attacked him from behind. He saw Connor out of the corner of his eye, and noted that Connor was doing fine fighting off the one vampire that had attacked him, and he concentrated on the two that were left. Very soon Connor and Angel were alone again. Angel took a look at each of Connor's hands inspecting for injuries. He saw the hole in his left palm and said, "How did that happen?"
Connor looked at it as if he wasn't sure. "I did it myself. Not really on purpose
.it just happened."
"We'll bandage it up when we get home. Doesn't look too bad. And you're knuckles all look okay. Maybe a bruise or two, but all the blood was the vampires."
Angel put his arm around Connor's shoulders and started them walking towards home. A few seconds later Connor said, "Are you mad? You don't seem mad."
Angel shook his head. "I'm not mad. I'm disappointed. You could have and should have gone downstairs to use the punching bag instead of that vamps face. You could have come to me. Or at the very least you could have taken Gunn with you."
Connor was surprised at how much Angel's words hurt. He said quietly, "I'm sorry."
Angel squeezed Connor's shoulder and said, "But I do understand, and I've done the same thing myself. That doesn't mean I excuse it, but I understand it."
They were both quiet for the last block. Then when they were in front of the hotel Connor stopped walking, which made Angel stop walking too. Connor said, "If
.. if you're gonna spank me, will you do it here so that Julie won't hear it?"
Angel could see into the hotel's lobby through the glass doors. No one was there. He assumed they were all eating lunch. He had gone up to get Connor because lunch was ready when he discovered him gone, and jumped out the window after him. He looked around outside and figured they were fairly safe inside the hotel grounds with the lobby doors a few feet away. He looked at Connor and nodded as he let go of his shoulders. Angel went and stood by the stone bench that was a few feet away. Connor reluctantly followed.
Angel thought about it for a second as he set Connor's sword on the ground. He wanted to make an impression on Connor, and he wanted it over quickly since he didn't feel entirely safe out in the open. He took off his belt and doubled it over before sitting down. Connor's eyes got big with surprise, and he shook his head no. Angel put a hand on Connor's upper arm and said, "You haven't run off for a long time Connor. It was dangerous. The Beast is on the loose still, the sun is down and there are vampires and demons all over the city killing people. We've gone over it before, and you know better. If you would rather, we can go in to my room and I can use the brush."
Connor started to cry, but shook his head no. Angel gave a curt nod and said, "Pants down."
Connor undid the button and zipper of his pants and pushed both pants and underwear down to his knees. Angel pulled Connor over his lap. Angel brought the belt down right away having said all he wanted to say.
Connor thought he was ready for the blow, but a muffled grunt escaped his mouth when it landed. It was much more painful then he was ready for. But then he figured it always seemed more painful then he remembered when he was actually in the middle of a spanking.
The first time Angel had tried using his belt, Connor had gotten lost in memories of Holtz, but not this time. This time there were only memories of Angel. Angel spanking him for this very same offence more then once, Angel comforting him when it was over, and even Angel talking to him about what he had done.
While Connor was thinking and remembering, he kept his mouth clamped shut even though there were tears flowing down his cheeks. But by the time Angel had given him eight licks, he had already gone over every area of Connor's butt once. Connor's butt was a mass of sharp stinging pain that he found impossible to ignore, especially when Angel started to go over areas that had already been smacked once. Connor's mind now was focused on the pain and trying to stop his body from trying to get away from it.
Angel could tell Connor was in a lot of pain already from the way his body was moving, and the fact that Connor was jerking around involuntarily, and starting to yelp. Angel wanted to stop, but then thought about Connor beating the vampire to a pulp, stabbing himself in the hand, and running away in the first place, and knew he couldn't be done yet.
By the time Angel had covered Connor's butt with spanks a second time Connor said, "Please Dad, please stop. I'm sorry."
Angel kept spanking and said, "You don't run off Connor. I don't care how upset you are, you don't run away."
Connor said, "I know! I won't!"
Angel kept bringing the belt down until he got to twenty-five, and had covered Connor's butt and upper thighs with spanks three times. Connor kept up his apologies and pleading until it was over.
Angel put his belt down on the bench beside him and scanned the immediate area for vampires. Finding none he looked down at his son. He saw that Connor was going to have a few welts, but they would be gone in a few hours. He rubbed Connor's back for a few seconds until Connor got up.
Connor's butt had gone from sharp stinging to burning. He got himself up, and pulled up his clothes. He wiped at his eyes and nose, and then looked down at Angel, who was still sitting and said, "You forgive me?"
Angel nodded and said, "Yes."
"Holtz never forgave me for anything. Even after he whipped me he would bring things up again and again to tell me how bad I was."
Angel pulled Connor down to sit on his lap and said, "I'm sorry I couldn't protect you from him. I'm sorry I wasn't the one to raise you."
Angel said, "No more running away right?"
Connor nodded. Angel said, "Everyone is waiting for us to show up for lunch. That's why I came to get you in the first place. You ready to make an appearance?"
"No, but I will. Can I take a plate upstairs?"
Angel nodded and said, "If you want, you can go straight upstairs, and I'll bring you a plate. How's your ankle?"
Connor looked down at it and rotated it. He said, "It's not any worse. Still healing."
Angle nodded. He said, "I'll be up with a plate in a minute. You clean up your hand, and I'll take a look at it when I come up."
They went into the hotel together, and then Connor went to the stairs while Angel went to the kitchen. Everyone looked at him when he came in. He said, "Connor doesn't want to join us. I'm going to bring him a plate."
Angel started getting a plate ready, but when it was half full Cordelia took it from him and said, "I'll take it to him."
Angel said, "It's okay, I can do it."
Cordelia gave him a look, and he said, "Okay, we'll both take it."
Three minutes later Cordelia and Angel both walked into Connor's room. He was in the bathroom, and came out with a towel on his hand. Cordelia put the plate down and went over to him. She took his hand and looked it over while she asked, "What happened?"
Connor mumbled, "Nothing."
Cordelia gave him a glare and said, "Wrong answer. Try again."
As Connor was struggling with what to say, Cordelia looked at his face and said, "You got spanked."
Connor got bright red and looked away. Cordelia turned to Angel and said, "What happened?"
Angel said, "He jumped out the window, and went hunting."
Cordelia turned back to Connor and said, "Because of what I showed you?"
Connor looked back at her and gave her a small nod. She said, "I'm sorry
. I just wanted you to know
Connor interrupted, "I'm glad you showed me. It hurt at first, but I think it will make things better
Cordelia pulled Connor's head down and kissed his forehead. Then she let him go and went to get the plate of food. She handed it to him and said, "Eat up. You'll feel better."
Cordelia put a hand on Angel's shoulder for a second before leaving the room. Angel held out his hand and said, "Let's see."
Connor held out his left hand and Angel nodded. He went into the bathroom and got out the first aid kit. He put some ointment on the wound and taped some gauze on it. Once that was done Angel sat down in Connor's desk chair and started talking about the Beast and what he expected the plan to be once Connor had tracked him down. Connor ate standing up, listened to his father, and decided he did feel better once he was full.
Later in the evening, when the sun was normally going down, Angel took the tooth of light sword and followed Connor out of the hotel. Connor's ankle felt better, but his butt was still uncomfortable. He tracked the Beast for half an hour, and they had to kill six different vampires and two demons along the way. But eventually they found the Beast on the rooftop of a building beside the ally where Connor was born.
Angel and Connor had obviously interrupted a ritual that the Beast was performing. He turned and said, "Angelus, Connor. Did you come to join me?"
Connor snarled, "Never."
Angel held up the tooth of light and said, "Actually, we came to stop you."
The Beast smiled and said, "Very well, let's fight if we must."
Connor walked back to the edge of the roof, and let Angel fight the Beast. Angel got in a few punches, and then tried to stab the Beast with the sword. The sword went into the Beast's chest about half a foot, and then stuck there. The Beast looked down at the sword, and yanked it out of himself. He took an end of the sword in each hand, and casually broke it in half. Angel stepped back a few paces and wondered what the hell to do now. The Beast gave a laugh and dropped both halves on the floor as he advanced on Angel.
Connor stood there and watched while the Beast proceeded to kick Angel in the chest, which sent him flying off the roof. Angel landed on the next rooftop over with a loud thud. Connor snuck up behind the Beast and picked up the pointy part of the broken sword. Connor knew that Angel didn't want Connor to be close to the Beast when he was killed, because Angel was afraid Connor might not survive the blast. And Connor, not being in the mood for yet another spanking that day, yelled, "Dad!"
Angel had gotten to his feet, and looked over at Connor. Connor tossed him the half sword and then attacked the Beast from behind with a kick to the middle of his back. Connor was ready for his kick not to have much effect this time, and landed on his feet after the kick. The Beast turned to Connor and started to advance. Connor backed up while punching the Beast in the head and chest. Then Connor got a glimpse of Angel behind the Beast, ready to strike. Connor turned and ran to the edge of the rooftop again, but this time swung himself over the edge. He held on with his fingertips, but the rest of his body was over the side of the building.
Angel saw Connor start to run and knew what he was doing. Angel shoved the point of the sword into the Beast's head starting at the base of the neck, and going up through the top of his head. The Beast stood still for half a second. Then the rock he was made of seemed to show slight fissures, which looked hot and red. The Beast started to shake, and a second later he exploded into thousands of pieces. A huge ball of light escaped him, and shot up into the sky. Angel had put his hands up to cover his head, and he had turned his back on the Beast. But the ball of light that escaped from the Beast caught Angel's coat on fire. Angel dropped and rolled until the fire was out.
As soon as it was quiet, Connor pulled himself back over the ledge of the building and looked around. Angel was standing up, but still smoking slightly as he inspected himself for any lingering fire. Connor went to him and said, "Did it work? Are you okay?"
Angel smiled at him and said, "I think so, and yes."
Connor smiled too and let out a victory cry. Angel smiled even bigger and said, "Let's go home and give everyone the good news."
Connor nodded and said, "I wonder how many vamps will fry in the morning when they expect the sun to still be gone."
"Lots I hope."
Angel put his arm around Connor's shoulders as they started for home. Angel said, "So how does it feel to be a champion?"
Connor gave him a little smile and said, "I didn't kill him, you did. So you tell me."
"I couldn't have done it without you Connor. I don't think I could have tracked him the way you did. And who knows if I would have been able to get the tip of the sword back in my hands after he tossed it and kicked me. And I might not have had the opportunity to stab him in the head if you weren't distracting him. We did it together, and I'm really proud of you for following my instructions. I know you wanted to try stabbing the Beast when his back was to you, but you tossed the sword to me instead. That took restraint and trust."
Connor smiled to himself, happy that he had pleased Angel.
Once they got back to the hotel, they told everyone the news. Wesley said, "So we wait for sunrise to see if it worked."
Angel nodded and said, "We should all stay here again tonight just in case."
Everyone agreed, and eventually wandered off to bed.
The next morning Connor woke up next to Julie, who had snuck into his room last night, and looked out his window to see the sun rising over the city. He woke her up and said, "Look."
She looked towards the window and smiled also and then kissed him. They got dressed quickly and went to see everyone else. Connor went to the basement and knocked on Angel's door. A groggy Angel opened the door in his boxers and wife beater tee shirt. He said, "Hmm?"
Connor said, "Sun's up."
Angel walked up the stairs and took a peek out the window that was shaded from direct sun. He smiled and looked at Connor and Julie standing together next to him. He said, "It's beautiful."
Julie smiled at him and said, "Yes it is. I wasn't sure you guys could do it, but you did. Thank you."
Angel wasn't sure if she was sincere or not, but he didn't really care. He nodded and said, "It's what we do. I'm going to go take a shower and get ready."
Connor nodded and said, "We'll make some breakfast."
Julie nodded too and said, "After breakfast, could someone drive me back to my apartment? I'm going to need to see if classes are starting up again today."
Angel said, "No problem. Connor can drive you home."
Angel hummed to himself as he took a shower and got himself ready. Once he was finished, he went back upstairs to find breakfast ready, and the rest of the team other then Lorne, who was never up early, sitting at the table and eating.
Angel noticed that everyone was in good spirits and happily talking about things this morning. When breakfast was done, Connor took Julie home. Wesley went home to his apartment to get some fresh clothes. Fred and Gunn decided to go take a walk in the sun and check out the neighborhood for damage. Soon it was just Angel and Cordelia sitting at the table.
Cordelia sipped her coffee, and Angel sipped his blood. There was a small silence, and then Cordelia said, "The Beast is dead."
"You and Connor did a great job together. He's a great kid, and he's gonna be a champion, just like you."
Angel smiled and nodded in agreement. Cordelia said, "I love you Angel. I loved you before I left, and then as I watched you struggling to build a relationship with your son from my higher plane, I grew to love you even more."
Angel was amazed to hear those words. He spoke from his heart. "I've known you for seven years now, and I've seen the way you've changed. You've always been beautiful, but I didn't see the real you until you started to get the visions. When I saw you hiding the pain, and still wanting the visions because you knew they were my link to the higher powers, that's when I saw that your beauty wasn't just on the surface. That was when I started to fall in love with you."
Cordelia set her cup down and leaned over to Angel. She put her hand on the side of his face and looked into his eyes for a second before leaning over farther and kissing him. They both kissed for quite a while. Then Cordelia said breathlessly, "Let's take this to your room."
Angel was surprised and said, "Cordy
.. I do love you, but we can't. You know we can't. Not ever."
"Angel, can you ever have perfect happiness knowing that Buffy is out there with someone else when what she really wants is to be with you?"
Angel thought about it for a few seconds and said, "I love Buffy. I always will, but that doesn't mean that my love for you is somehow less or second hand."
"Be honest with yourself Angel. If you were human, you would be with her. Don't get me wrong, I know that if you were in a relationship with someone else and then became human, you wouldn't leave that person to resume your relationship with her. But I think if you became human when you were single, you would go looking for her. And I know she would do the same. So I think we can."
Angel thought about it for a few seconds. He did love Buffy still. He had dreams of her at least once a week, and he did hear the truth in what Cordelia had said. He said, "Maybe, but I don't think we should risk it."
Cordelia got up and scooted over to sit in Angel's lap. She put her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately. A few seconds later Angel couldn't resist the temptation any more, and decided Cordelia was right. He said, "Okay."
He picked her up and kept kissing her as carried her downstairs to his room in the basement. He shut the door with his foot, and carried her to the bed. He lay her down and quickly got out of his shirt. While he was working on his, she started to take off hers. But he stopped her with his hand over hers and said, "Let me."
She put her hand down and let him undress her completely. He looked at her for a few seconds and said, "So beautiful."
He got rid of the rest of his clothes in record time and started to explore her body. He was touching and tasting every part of her, and she was doing the same. Five minutes into it, Cordelia said, "Angel, I need you inside me. Please."
He said, "I want to make it last, but it's been so long."
She smiled at him and said, "It's been a long time for me too. Hard and fast will be perfect this time. Next time can be slow."
After hearing that, Angel couldn't have held back if he wanted to. He groaned in pleasure as he slid into her, and she moaned in appreciation. A few minutes later they both came with explosive orgasms. Angel lay on top of her resting for a second and then he felt it. He rolled off her and onto his back and looked down at himself as he started to shake. Cordelia said, "Angel?"
He looked at her and said, "Run."
She sat up starring at him but not moving. He yelled louder, "RUN!"
Angel's last thought was, 'I guess I did have perfect happiness with her.'
He shouted "Cordelia!" as he closed his eyes and felt his soul ripping away from him.
Angelus opened his eyes and saw Wo Pang standing above him. Wo Pang let his hand fall away from Angelus' forehead and said, "The fantasy becomes the reality."
Angelus looked down and saw he was strapped to a table. He looked out at the people standing around the cage he was in. He made eye contact with Connor and started to chuckle at the stupidity of the humans around him. His maniacal laughter soon filled the basement, and Connor felt a chill go up his back as he said, "Angelus."
(Feedback makes me happy.)