Author's note: : This has spoilers for the episodes Salvage, Release, and Orpheus. Written - December 2006
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 parental figure.



How it Should Have Been Chapter 12


Wesley's alarm clock went off at 4am. He looked at the blurry numbers, turned the alarm clock off by touch, and put on his glasses. He stretched, got out of bed, and gathered some clothes on his way to the bathroom. Half an hour later he was on the freeway headed towards Faith.

Four hours later he was parking at the prison, and an hour after that he was shown into the visiting room. The visiting room was divided in half by a large piece of bullet proof glass. There were four visiting stations attached to the glass with two way phones and chairs on either side so the visitor and the prisoner could sit and talk over the phone face to face. There were two armed guards, and two other visitors besides Wesley. He paced until they brought Faith in.

Faith walked into the room wondering who could be visiting her. She hadn't had a visitor since Angel came, and that was months ago. She saw Wesley and stopped her forward movement for a second staring at him. Wesley sat down in a chair and picked up his phone waiting for her. He hoped she would at least pick up the phone, but he wouldn't be surprised if she just walked away. Then he would have to find a way to get a message to her. After what seemed like minutes to Wesley, but in reality was only seconds, Faith sat down on the other side of the glass and picked up the phone.

Faith started, "Hey Wes. Can't imagine anything good coming out of you visiting."

Wesley gave her a slight nod. "That's an accurate assumption."

"I saw the news. The sun's gone in your city, so tell me why you're here instead of there."

"We have an apocalypse on our hands. There is a seven foot demon made of stone, and we need to kill him to bring back the sun."

"Well I'm real sorry for you, but I don't see how that's my problem. If you haven't noticed, I'm a little bit busy being incarcerated right now. I'm sure Angel can handle it."

"Well that's the problem. Angel is Angelus again, and he's loose in L.A. along with the Beast."

Faith, never known for her slow decision making, said, "Step away from the glass." and hung up the phone.

Wesley sat in confusion for about a second, until he saw her take a couple of steps away from the glass. He hastily dropped the phone without hanging it up, stood up, and backed away.

Faith got a running start and put all her strength into diving through the glass. One of the visitors screamed as Faith hurtled through the glass. Before the guards had much time to react to this shocking event, she was up and in fighting mode. She disabled them quickly without anyone getting shot or hurt, but she knew more guards would be on the way, and there was no way she could fight them all. She grabbed Wesley by the shoulder and jumped out the nearest window, taking him with her. They fell three stories onto the hood of someone's car.

Faith sat up and asked, "Are you okay?"

Wesley sat up a little slower holding his shoulder, but gave her half a smile and said, "Five by five."

They ran as quickly as possible to Wesley's car and drove away at ninety miles an hour.

Half an hour later, when Wesley was fairly sure they were not being followed, he turned to Faith and said, "There's a change of clothes for you in the back."

Faith climbed into the back seat and changed clothes. Once she had climbed back into the front, Wesley said, "I doubt we'll be caught. Most of the neighboring police are already in LA trying to calm and control the masses."

Faith said, "Tell me the whole story."

Wesley spent the next four hours telling Faith everything that had happened to Angel and his crew over the past few months.

Once they made it into the outskirts of L.A., the sun disappeared, and Faith shivered a little thinking about how much damage the vampires of the city alone could do while this was going on. Wesley said, "We're almost there."

Faith said, "Good. We need to get one thing straight between us before we get there."

Wesley waited to hear her out. "I call the shots until Angel is back, and under no circumstances will I kill Angelus. This is a rescue mission, not a search and destroy. I'll be happy to take anyone down who doesn't agree with this plan."

Wesley had changed quite a lot since the last time he had seen Faith. In his younger days he would have balked at the thought of her in control. He gave her a short nod and said, "Alright."
********************

Connor woke up with a start when he felt his bed dip. He turned and saw Julie getting into bed with him. He rolled to his side so he was facing her and smiled. "Hey."

Julie lay on her side so they were face to face, and she put a hand up on his face to trace some of his healing cuts and bruises from his fight with Angelus. He thought she looked concerned and said, "Doesn't hurt much anymore."

She reached down to his arm and pulled his wrist up so she could look at it. She traced the outside of the self inflicted wound, and then kissed his arm right above the wound. She looked in his eyes and said, "It's amazing how quickly you heal."

Connor looked down at his own wrist and said, "I guess."

She reached under the covers and lifted his shirt to see his stomach and chest. He took his shirt off the rest of the way so she could look. He had been too tired last night to do much besides take off his shoes and jeans, and climb into bed. Julie ran her hands over Connor's mostly healed bruises, and started to give him little kisses on each one. A few minutes of that, and Connor couldn't think about much other then the smell and feel of her beside him.

Julie stopped and looked into his eyes for a second before kissing him on the mouth. A few seconds later she pulled away and said, "I love you."

"I love you too." he said with sincerity.

"I didn't get the chance to talk to you much after you came back last night. Do you want to talk about it?"

Connor looked away from her as flashes of what Angelus had done came unbidden into the forefront of his mind. He shook his head to get the images out and looked back at her. "No."

She looked at him with sympathy and nodded in understanding. She kissed him again and he reached for her shirt. She let him pull it over her head. He looked down at her and thought to himself that maybe she had gained a little weight since she had come back to town. He looked at her a little more carefully and decided she looked even better then before, healthier. He leaned down and kissed her again as he started to work on getting the rest of her pajamas off.
******************

A little while later Connor and Julie went downstairs hand in hand. Fred, Gunn, and Lorne were already awake. Fred said, "Morning."

Connor said, "Morning, has Wesley called yet?"

Fred nodded, "He has Faith, and they should be here around one o'clock. Willow called too. She's running late, but she should be here later tonight."

Connor smiled and said, "Great."

He turned to Julie and said, "Let's go have some breakfast."

She nodded and followed him into the kitchen. Connor made them both some scrambled eggs and toast. He wolfed down a large plate of food, and turned to see Julie was pushing her food away after only eating a few bites. He swallowed and said, "Not hungry?"

"I'm feeling a little sick. I think I'm nervous about what might happen today. You could get killed by the Beast, even if that Faith person is strong."

Connor tried to think of something to say to reassure her that he would be okay, but nothing came to mind. He started eating some of her food, and after a few minutes of thought he said, "I've been fighting things that were bigger and often more powerful then me since I was a small child. I think my chances of making it through this fight alive are close to ninety percent."

Julie gave him a smile and put a hand over his arm. She said, "Is that supposed to comfort me?"

He nodded. She said, "Thanks for trying. Come back to me alive, and I'll stop worrying."

When they were done eating they went back out to the lobby with everyone else, and Gunn held up one of Connor's text books. He said, "We have a few hours to wait. Let's make use of the time."

Connor made a face, but followed Gunn into Angel's office so they could study.
***************

Faith and Wesley arrived slightly after 1pm. Fred was the first to look up. She walked around the counter held out her hand and said, "Hi, you must be Faith."

Faith shook and said, "Fred right?"

Fred's smile got even wider, "That's me."

While they were introducing themselves, everyone else had gathered around. Gunn held out his hand next and said, "Hi, I'm…."

Faith held up her hands and said, "We're in a hurry here, so let's just cut to the chase."

She pointed to each person as she spoke about them. "You're Gunn, and you can hold your own in a fight. You're Lorne, and you're an empath demon. You're Angel's kid Connor, and you're stronger then a normal human. And last you're Julie, Connor's girlfriend. Did I get you all right?"

Wesley said, "Indeed."

Faith said, "Okay, here's the plan. We're all going after the Beast. Connor will track, and once we find it, all of you help distract him while Connor and I get close. Connor will take the front of the Beast, and I'll take the back. The Beast knows Connor, and should focus on him, not realizing I'm a threat. While Connor and the rest of you attack, I'll sneak up behind him, cut off his right horn, and stab him in the back with it. We all clear on the plan?"

Connor said, "No."

Faith gave him a level look. "What part are you having a hard time understanding?"

Connor found himself bristling at her tone. He said, "Julie doesn't fight."

Faith looked Julie up and down, thinking she wouldn't be much help anyway and said, "Fine. She stays behind. Anything else?"

Julie smiled at Connor gratefully. Connor said, "I'm ready, let's go."

Faith gave him a nod and looked over at the weapons cabinet. She walked over and picked up Angel's sword, and a smaller dagger, which she strapped onto her ankle under her pants. Everyone else gathered up weapons too. Connor gave Julie a quick kiss and said, "You should be safe here with the sanctuary spell working. Even if Angelus comes for you, he can't hurt you."

Once Connor let go of Julie, Fred asked her, "Could you answer the phone while we're gone in case Willow calls?"

"Sure."

A few minutes later they were all outside except Julie. Wesley got in his car along with Lorne, Gunn, and Fred. Connor set out with Faith right behind him on foot. As they moved she said, "Do you have his scent already?"

"No. I tracked the Beast about a week ago, and found him hiding in the city. I didn't confront him at the time, and I'm hoping he might be in the same place again. If not, we'll check Wolfram and Hart. If we get nothing there, I'll go to the ally where he first came into this dimension, and then to the building where he first made the fire fall from the sky. Then I'm not sure where to go next if I don't catch his scent at any of those places.

Faith nodded in agreement, and said, "Good plan. Tell me if you catch Angelus' scent too. We want to avoid him until the sun is back."

Connor wasn't sure about that, but gave her a nod anyway.

Connor was pleasantly surprised when he got the Beast's scent around the same place as before. He looked to Faith, "We're close. Two blocks away."

Faith nodded and found she was a little impressed if he was right. Connor slowed down, and held up his hand motioning for Wesley to stop. He stopped, and everyone got out. Connor pointed to a large abandoned warehouse. "In there."

"Alone?" Wesley asked.

"I think so. The smell of human blood is in the air too, but it's old, not fresh."

Wesley looked at Faith. She said, "You and Connor take the lead. I'll stay back with Fred until I see my opening."

She turned towards Connor and said, "I hope you're as good as Wes says you are, because I really don't want to explain to Angel how I got you killed."

Connor glared and said, "I can hold my own. Worry about yourself."

Wesley moved forward and was first in the door closely followed by Connor, Gunn, Loren, Faith, and last Fred.

The Beast was kneeling on the floor in front of a table. The table looked like some kind of shrine with many candles and offerings including bowls of human blood in the center of it. The warehouse was mostly empty besides the table and the Beast. The Beast had his back to the group, and he was chanting in a language that neither Wesley nor Fred recognized.

When Connor saw that the Beast hadn't turned around as they entered, he started to sneak up on him, figuring he could cut off the horn before the Beast even realized they were there. Faith saw what he was doing and approved, motioning for the rest of the team to stay still. When Connor was halfway across the warehouse, the Beast said, "Hello Connor. Have you come to lose another fight to me?"

Connor stopped when he heard his name, but then kept going when the Beast didn't turn around. He said, "I've come to fight, but I don't plan to lose, and you can call me The Destroyer."

"Foolish boy."

Connor was almost within striking distance and made a run for it. The Beast turned at the last second and grabbed Connor's sword in his hand. Connor tried to pull his sword down and out of the Beast's hand, but he found he was unable to make it budge. The Beast slowly got up still holding the sword.

As soon as Faith saw it wasn't working, she motioned everyone to surround the Beast. The Beast casually looked around the room, and then focused on Connor again. The Beast yanked on the sword, and Connor had to take a step towards the Beast to keep his balance. The Beast used his free hand to punch Connor in the stomach. Connor went flying back and landed hard on the cement floor. Wesley got out one of his guns and shot the entire clip into the Beast's abdomen and chest. The Beast didn't show much reaction at all to the bullets, and broke Connor's sword in half and tossed both pieces on the floor.

Once Wesley's clip was empty, Faith walked to the Beast from behind and tried to get close enough to cut off his horn. While Faith was sneaking up, Lorne and Fred used their crossbows to shoot some arrows into the Beast's abdomen, but the arrows just bounced off. Connor was up and back in front of the Beast just as Faith got close enough to try and cut off his horn.

Faith brought her sword down, but the Beast ducked at the last second, so she hit his back instead of his horn. The Beast kicked behind him, and connected with Faith's left upper leg. She was thrown back a few feet. When the Beast ducked down to avoid Faith's blow, Connor leaned down and grabbed the half of his sword that still had the hilt on in.

Connor and the Beast faced off again, while Faith got up off the floor. She looked at Gunn and then Wesley and made a motion for them to attack. Gunn took the Beast's left side and tried to attack with his ax, and at the same time Wesley took the Beast's right side and tried to attack with his short sword. Faith ran towards the Beast's back with Angel's sword raised high. Connor saw the movement, and tried to stab the Beast in the eye with his half sword. The Beast leaned his head back slightly to avoid the blow, and got hit simultaneously with Gunn's ax on his shoulder, and Wesley's short sword on his torso. A millisecond later Faith brought the sword down and sliced off the Beast's right horn in one clean chop.

The Beast roared in anger, and kicked out behind him again. But Faith had already dropped to the floor both to avoid the kick, and to pick up the horn. She rolled out of the way with the horn in her hand. The Beast lashed out in frustration and anger, landing solid punches on both Gunn and Wesley which sent them flying across the room, and put them out of commission for a few minutes. He landed a punch on Connor too, which sent him flying back a few feet.

The Beast turned to confront Faith. Faith was slightly crouched down in a fighting stance. The only weapon she held was his horn. The Beast walked towards her to attack, but she was quicker on her feet then he was, and easily avoided his blow. She avoided about six of his attempted blows, and was trying to get behind him but failing.

Connor was back up and saw what was happening. He ran towards them, and jumped in between Faith and the Beast. The Beast turned his attention back on Connor and tried to punch him. Connor wasn't quite as fast as Faith, but he managed to avoid three blows before the fourth one grazed his shoulder. That gave Faith enough time to get behind the Beast. Just as Connor got half a punch in his shoulder, Faith plunged the horn into the middle of the Beast's back.

The Beast tried to reach behind him and get the horn out, but his arms wouldn't reach. He stumbled back a few steps, and all the cracks in his skin made of rock started to glow orange. It looked to Faith like molten lava. She thought he was burning up from the inside out. She saw Connor standing in front of the Beast with a look of victory on his face. The Beast started to shake, and Faith had an image of molten hot blobs of the Beast landing on the team and burning them. She yelled "Take cover!"

Fred was helping Wesley to get up, and Lorne was helping Gunn to walk towards Wesley. When they heard Faith, they all ran as quick as they could towards the door. Connor didn't move. He wanted to see the Beast destroyed with his own eyes. He wanted to watch him explode, so that he would know for certain that the Beast could never hurt anyone again. Faith had started to run towards the door and saw that the rest of the team had made it out, but when she turned to make sure Connor was following her, she saw he was just standing there in front of the Beast. She swore, and ran back towards the Beast. She kicked the Beast's table over, grabbed Connor's arm, and dragged him behind the table along with her, and forced him to crouch down behind it.

As soon as their heads cleared the edge of the table, they heard a loud explosion, and the force of it slammed the table into both Connor and Faith, and forced them back a few feet. A large blob of orange colored steaming rock landed in front of them, and burned a hole in the cement floor. Connor stared at it in shock. Faith waited for a second and then popped her head over the table once to make sure they were in the clear. She saw pieces of the Beast had spread all over the warehouse, and noticed quite a few blobs were burning through the table. She looked down at Connor who was still staring at the blob in front of him. Faith said, "Hey Idiot Boy, when I tell you to take cover that means you move your ass."

Connor looked up at her, and then stood up and looked around him at the remains of the Beast. He was looking at the damage and asked quietly, almost to himself, "How did you know?"

"I didn't know, I guessed."

Connor looked sheepishly over at her and said, "Oh."

"Look kid, Wes was right, you can fight, but if you can't follow orders you're no good to me. Are we gonna have a problem here?"

Connor looked away. "No."

The door to the warehouse opened, and Gunn called out, "Connor? Faith?"

He saw them and smiled in excitement, "Come out here, there's something you should see!"

Connor and Faith avoided the burning blobs and made their way to the warehouse door. They walked out and saw that everyone else was looking up. They looked up too, and saw the black smoky threads that had been covering the sun disappearing. Connor looked around, and things looked lighter already. Within a few seconds, the sun was back to full brightness, and in the distance they could hear a scream followed by silence. Wesley said, "Vampire frying."

The team looked at each other with smiles all around. Connor let out a whoop of victory and joy. Gunn and Faith did too. A more subdued Wesley said with a smile, "It looks as though we've defeated it."

Fred said with relief, "And got back the sun."

Lorne said, "I'd say this calls for a celebration."

Wesley said, "That may be a little premature. We'll celebrate after we get Angel back."

Connor lost his smile and looked around him for a second and said quietly, "What if he was outside?"

The smiles went away, and Faith said, "Angelus is smarter then most. He'd be staying under cover during the day as much as possible."

Gunn put his hand over Connor's shoulders and said, "Faith's right. He's gonna be fine."

Wesley turned to Faith and said, "What now?"

Faith looked over at Connor and said, "You didn't catch Angelus' scent on the way here right?"

"I didn't. You want me to wander the city and try to get it now?"

"Yeah."

Faith turned to Wesley and said, "You and the rest of the team head back to the hotel, and wait for Willow. Connor and I will get Angelus' location without confronting him, and then meet you back at the hotel."

Connor said, "Why don't we all go, and just capture him now while the sun is out, and he has no where to run?"

Faith cocked her head to the side and said, "We don't have any tranquilizers with us. We haven't talked to Willow to see how close she needs to be to do the curse. And why do you think Angelus wouldn't rather fry in the sun then get captured by us?"

Connor's face got flushed. He had been impressed with Faith's fighting, but now that she was being so blunt and condescending to him, he decided he didn't like her all that much. He glared and said, "Angelus wouldn't run out into the sun. He doesn't have a death wish."

Faith laughed a little and asked Wesley, "How old did you say he was?"

"Eighteen. Well seventeen on paper."

Faith looked at Connor and said, "I don't think I was that naive even at ten."

Connor glared and said, "Do you want me to track him, or did you just want to stand around and insult me?"

Faith crossed her arms and said, "I want you to track him, but if you even think about trying to confront him before I give you the go ahead, I'm gonna kick your ass."

Connor scoffed and said, "Whatever." as he started to walk down the street tracking.

Wesley held out his cell phone to Faith and said, "Call us if you need something. We'll call you when we hear from Willow, if we don't see you first."

"Got it." Faith took the phone and turned to follow Connor. Faith followed slightly behind him, both to let him track, and so that he wouldn't be inclined to start a conversation with her.
***************

Forty minutes later Connor started to speed up, and Faith caught up to him to ask, "Did you get it?"

"Yeah." He said with relief.

Faith looked around as they went forward. "How far away?"

"I'm not sure yet. A few blocks at least."

Faith followed beside him and kept her eyes open, taking in the area. Before Connor pinpointed a location, Faith saw a bar and pointed to it. "There."

As they got closer Connor nodded and said, "How did you know?"

"It's a vampire bar."

Connor looked at the bar trying to figure out how she could tell. He looked back at her and said, "Can you smell them?"

"Nah, I've just been in enough of them to know the look."

Connor looked back at the bar still not sure what the identifying marks were. Faith nodded once and said, "Good job. Let's head back."

Connor took a few more steps towards the bar and said, "There's probably only a few vampires in there. You and I could take them easy."

"No."

Connor kept walking towards the bar and said, "We could peek in and see how many are there, and get the layout so that we're ready when we come back later."

Faith, keeping her voice down, followed him and said, "Shut up, I don't want Angelus to know I'm here. We're going back. Now."

Connor was only a few feet from the bar now, and he said in a normal voice, "Who cares if he knows you're here. I'm just going to take a quick… Hey!"

Faith was pissed. She knew that Angelus probably could hear them and smell them now that they were so close, and since most vampire bars had sewer access, she doubted he would still be there when they came back. She literally kicked Connor in the ass to get his attention. Connor spun around and glared at her taking up a defensive fighting stance. He had heard that Slayers were strong, and he had seen her fight the Beast, but he couldn't quite believe that someone so much smaller then him could be stronger. And he didn't particularly like the idea of taking orders from a girl. It went against everything Holtz had taught him growing up.

Faith grabbed a fistful of Connor's shirt and pulled him close to her as she said with anger and irritation, "I said we're going back."

Connor tried to knock her arm away from his shirt, and was a little surprised when her arm didn't even budge. He glared at her, grabbed the arm that was holding his shirt, and used his full strength to try and shove her away from him. Faith had to take a step back, but didn't go flying backwards the way Connor was expecting. Faith wasn't about to let Connor get away with not listening to her, and she had had all she was going to take of it. She made sure not to use her full strength, since it was Angel's kid, and punched him in the eye.

Connor's head snapped backwards, he staggered back a few steps, and almost fell, but since Faith still hadn't let go of his shirt, she helped him stay upright. Connor's look of surprise was almost comical to Faith, but his look quickly changed to that of anger mixed with a challenge. Holtz had often told Connor that it was a man's duty to protect the women around him, but he had also said that women were secondary to men, and if a woman got out of line, Holtz saw no problem with putting her back in her place.

Faith knew the look that Connor was giving her, and was ready for it when Connor attacked. He tried punching her in the face and stomach repeatedly. She let go of his shirt, and blocked all of his blows. After six of his punches missed, he tried kicking her legs out from under her. She jumped up to avoid his kick, and did a summersault in the air to land behind him. She kicked his legs out from under him, and Connor landed on his stomach on the sidewalk.

Faith waited to see what he would do. Connor got up, and into a fighting stance again. He tried to punch her again, but she blocked and kicked him in the stomach. He flew through the air and landed on his back a few feet away. Faith casually walked towards him and said, "Look kid, I don't want to hurt you, but you're kind of pissing me off. How about we go back to the hotel and get an update?"

Connor lay there for a second with his head spinning, trying to grasp the concept that this girl was not only stronger, but a better fighter then him. He shook his head once and started to stand up. She held out a hand to help him up. He looked at it for a millisecond, but couldn't bring himself to take help from her. He knocked her hand away with irritation and said, "I can get up myself."

Before Connor could actually get himself up, Faith grabbed his wrist, hauled him up to standing, and twisted that same arm behind his back. She put one hand on his opposite shoulder to keep him from turning around to face her, and kept the other hand on his wrist to keep his arm behind his back at a painful angle. She started walking the both of them away from the bar and towards the hotel. Connor struggled to get out of her grip, but it didn't work. She said conversationally, "I've come up across lots of different men who thought they could beat me in a fair fight. I've never met one who actually could, and you're not even close to the strongest I've met. I am not going to waste my time fighting with you when we're on the same side, and want the same things. Straighten up, or I'll personally lock you in that cage you all built for Angel until I've got him home safe. Got it?"

Connor didn't answer, but continued to struggle for the next three blocks, even though his arm felt like it was going to come out of its socket any moment. He was humiliated beyond belief at the image of himself being literally pushed down the street by Faith. Faith stopped abruptly after another two blocks and got up on her toes to whisper in his ear. "If you don't stop struggling and tell me you've got it right now, things are gonna get ugly."

Connor stilled and hated himself for having to admit he was beat. He said with seething anger, "I got it."

She let him go with a little shove and said, "Good."

Connor really wanted to rub his sore shoulder, but didn't want to let her know how much it hurt. He started walking on his own towards the hotel. She fell in step beside him. They walked quietly for a few blocks. Then out of the blue Faith said, "How'd you learn to track like that? Is it some kind of vampire smelling thing you got from Angel?"

Connor shrugged, and regretted it, as pain shot through his shoulder. He said, "I've been able to track from a very early age. It could very well be from the demon side of me."

Faith looked a little confused, "I thought you were human."

"Some say I am, some say I'm not."

"What do you say?"

Connor thought about it. "I'd like to be."

They walked for a few blocks in silence, and Connor's anger went away as he started to really think about things. She had probably saved his life by making him get behind that table. And she did kill the Beast which brought back the sun. He looked up at the sky and said, "It's good to have the sun back. I never really thought about it, but having it gone made me realize how much humans rely on it to keep demons at bay, even if they don't know it."

Faith looked up and noticed for the first time it was getting warmer out now that the sun was back up. She took off her jean jacket and said, "I suppose. I'm more of a night person myself, but there have been some times when the sun was a plus for me."

Connor watched her take off her jacket, and couldn't help but stare at her a little. She was wearing a white, form fitting, wife beater tank top, and the straps of her bra were clearly visible on her shoulders. Connor hadn't noticed her body before, because the jacket she had been wearing covered her up. He compared her in his mind to the other women he had been around. She had more muscle then Fred or Julie, and she wasn't as curvy as Cordelia or Lilah. Connor decided he liked what he saw, and now that he had noticed the top half, he slowed down just a little to get a look at her from behind. She had on form fitting dark blue jeans and black boots.

Faith turned to see why he was slowing down and caught him looking, even though he darted his eyes to her face as soon as he noticed her body turning his way. Faith smirked at Connor's embarrassed look and said with a hint of humor, "See something you like?"

Connor looked away, and stammered, "No… I mean you look nice and all, but I wasn't looking at you like that… I was just thinking…wondering how someone who looks like you could be so strong."

Faith started laughing, and couldn't stop for a few seconds. Connor was just kind of confused as to what she found so funny. When she could, she said, "Sorry, but how ironic is it that the kid with super strength who looks scrawny enough to break in half, wonders how I can be so strong?"

Connor didn't really like the word 'scrawny', but did see the humor. He smiled and then chuckled a little. "Good point."

They walked in companionable silence the rest of the way to the hotel.
*****************

Angelus watched from the window of the bar as Faith bested his son in a fair fight, and had a good laugh. As soon as they were out of range, he thought about what he had learned as he headed for the sewers. He had been talking to magical beings all day, trying to find a way to block the curse from happening again.

Early in the day he had found out that Wo Pang was dead, and decided he didn't need to be in too much of a rush. But now with Faith in town, he needed to try something to block the curse tonight. He wasn't sure if the gang would be smart enough to call Willow, but since Faith had wanted an 'update' back at the hotel, he thought it was a good guess.

Angelus went back to the most promising Magic shop he had gone to earlier that day, and decided to put a little pressure on the owner to see what he could do about keeping his filthy soul away. Then he would have fun killing off his former friends one by one, saving Connor for last.

****************

When Connor and Faith arrived at the hotel, they found Julie sitting on the bench that was outside in the front of the hotel. She looked up at Connor with a big grin when she saw him, and ran to give him an excited hug. He hugged her back as she said, "You did it! You guys got back the sun."

Connor closed his eyes, picked her up off her feet with his hug, and let himself get lost in the smell and feel of her for a second. In that moment he decided Faith had nothing over Julie, because he knew with every touch and every word that Julie loved him. He set her down and looked at her smiling face. She said, "Once I saw the sun, I had to come out and feel it on my skin. Having it back makes me… giddy."

Connor leaned down and gave her a quick kiss. Then he said, "Me too."

Faith couldn't take anymore of what she saw as a sickeningly sweet couple and went into the hotel. She saw Lorne and Gunn behind the counter and said, "Has Willow called?"

Lorne said, "Yeah. She should be here in about an hour."

"What time is it now?"

"Almost three."

Wesley and Fred came out of Angel's office when they heard Faith's voice, and Wesley said, "Did Connor get Angelus' scent?"

"Yeah, over at a bar on 10th street, but I doubt it will do us much good."

"Why not?"

"Angelus won't stick around after the racket we made. But it'll be a good place to start our search."

Gunn didn't like the sound of that and said, "Where's Connor?"

Faith jerked a thumb behind her where the lobby doors were and said, "Out front with Julie."

Wesley said, "Why were you being noisy?"

"Ask the kid. I'm hungry, and I still smell like prison. Where can I take a shower and get something to eat?"

Fred walked over to her as she said, "I'll show you where my room is, and you can take a shower while I make you something to eat."

Faith smiled, "Thanks Fred."

Once the girls were out of the room Gunn said, "I'm gonna go talk to Connor."
*******************

Connor noticed Faith walking into the hotel and then leaned down to Julie for a longer kiss. When he pulled away she was smiling, but that turned to a look of concern. "What happened to your eye?"

Connor put his hand up to his eye and realized it was pretty tender, and that probably meant there was a bruise. He muttered, "Great."

"What do you mean great? What happened?"

"Faith punched me."

"What?!"

Connor sighed, "It's okay, I kind of provoked her."

"Provoked her how?"

Before Connor could answer Gunn came out the lobby doors and said, "Hey Connor, can I talk to you for a minute?"

Connor didn't want to go over what had happened with Faith, because he wasn't sure how Gunn would take the news, and he was positive he didn't want yet another spanking. He thought fast and gave Gunn the most sincere smile he could muster, while keeping the side of his face with the black eye turned to the side, and said, "Could we maybe talk in a little while? I was really hoping Julie and I could take a little walk in the sun. I mean, now that we know the Beast is gone, and Angelus can't get to us in the sun…. I just thought a break from it would be good."

Gunn was a little surprised, but at the same time pleased that Connor was asking to do something so normal. He gave Connor a smile and said, "Sure. Go have fun. Be back in an hour, because Willow should be here by then."

"Thanks Gunn." Connor took Julie's hand and started them walking away from the hotel.

As they walked Julie asked Connor about his eye again, and Connor told her the whole story starting with the fight with the Beast, and ending with his confrontation with Faith. She thought about it for a few seconds and said with self righteous anger, "Why does everyone seem to want to hit you? I think you were right, you two could have taken those vamps, and then Angelus would be back here safe in the cage while we waited for Willow."

Connor wanted to agree, but found he couldn't. "No, Faith was right. Even if we could have killed the other vamps and captured Angelus, there would have been no way to bring him home except the sewers, and during the day the sewers are full of even more vampires. I was just being…. stubborn."

Julie squeezed his hand and said, "I don't know why Wesley is letting Faith be in charge anyway. Just because she's a Slayer and strong doesn't mean she's a good person. She was in prison for goodness sake, she must have done something bad to get put there."

"I guess. But she's a better fighter then me, and without her I doubt we would have the sun back right now, so I'm glad she's here."

Julie made a not committal noise in the back of her throat. They walked along in silence for a few blocks, and then Julie said, "There's something I have to tell you Connor."

He noticed her serious tone and looked over at her. She stopped walking and turned towards him. She smiled and said, "It's something I'm really happy about, and I hope you will be too."

He looked at her expectantly. "I'm pregnant."

Connor just stared at her for a few seconds while his mind tried to process what she had said. "Pregnant?"

She smiled at him and nodded. Connor's first thought had been that it was impossible for her to be pregnant, because they weren't married. He knew that Angel and Wesley had told him people didn't need to be married to conceive a child, but he still had lingering doubts about that since Holtz had been very clear about this point with him while growing up. His next thought was that God wanted him to have a baby, which was something else Holtz had been clear about. While Connor was thinking, Julie put a hand up to his face. "I know it must come as kind of a shock to you, so we don't have to talk about it right this second. I just wanted you to know as soon as I did."

Connor felt like he needed to sit down for a few seconds. He looked around and saw a bus stop bench. He led Julie over and sat down. She sat next to him and rested her head on his shoulder. He said, "But….. How?"

Julie picked her head up and said, "What do you mean how? Weren't you the one asking me about birth control?"

Connor nodded and realized that was kind of a stupid thing to ask. He corrected his question to; "When? A month ago, right before you left for home?"

Julie put each of her hands into his and looked him in the eyes. "No. It was the night the fire fell from the sky."

Connor shook his head, "But… that was just…. nine days ago. You can't possibly know that yet. And you said you were on the pill."

"I can't tell you how I know, but I do know. And I was on the pill, but I stopped taking them yesterday, because I just knew. I would have told you then, but I didn't want you to have something else to worry about since the Beast was on the loose."

They sat in silence for a few minutes. Connor's thoughts were sporadic. 'I'm going to be a father. I'll be a better father then Holtz. I'll be a better father then Angel. Angel isn't going to be happy about this. I wonder what he's going to say. Holtz would say I'm a sinner. He would call the baby a bastard like me. I can't let that happen. We'll have to be married. Angel won't like that either. Too bad, I won't have a bastard child.'

He turned to Julie and said, "We have to get married."

Julie looked shocked and said, "What?"

"I won't have a child out of wedlock."

It was Julie's turn to be silent. Then she turned to Connor and said, "I wasn't really thinking about getting married right now. I thought maybe after college."

It had never occurred to Connor that Julie might refuse to marry him now that she was pregnant. All he could say was, "But we have to."

"No, we really don't."

Connor willed her to understand, "Holtz, the man who raised me, called me a bastard my whole life. I can't stand the thought of my child having the same treatment."

Julie looked sympathetic, "It's not like that anymore Connor. Lots of kids are born into families where there is no marriage. There isn't a stigma attached to it anymore the way there used to be."

"But… If we love each other, and God is giving us this baby to take care of, then isn't it right to do everything we can to make sure the baby has a normal and happy life?"

Julie leaned in and gave him a kiss. She said, "I love that you're thinking of it that way. I'll think about it."

Connor didn't really like that answer, but it was better then a flat out no. "Okay."

They sat in silence again while Connor thought about Holtz and the things that he had told him about the two children that he had had before Angelus got to them. He also thought about the video tape of himself as a baby that he had seen when Lorne came back from Las Vegas. He thought about what he would need to do to keep the baby safe and provide for it. He found himself thinking about getting more serious about getting that GED and finding a job.

Julie touched his shoulder and said, "It's about time to go back."

Connor looked at his watch. He couldn't believe they had been out there for almost an hour. He wasn't ready to face anyone. He nodded and got up. As they were walking back to the hotel Julie said, "I don't want you to tell anyone else about this for now."

"I don't plan to tell anyone about it until we're married. I don't want any interference."

"I didn't agree to marry you yet."

"I know, but I'm not giving up on that yet."

Julie didn't answer, and they walked back in silence while holding hands.
***************

When they got back to the hotel Julie went to Fred and asked if she could help with anything. Gunn saw Connor just standing there inside the lobby doors, and noticed the black eye right away. Gunn walked over to him and said, "What happened to your eye?"

Connor gave Gunn a blank look. "What?"

Gunn pointed to his eye. "You have a black eye. I assume Faith did it."

Connor said absently, "Oh that. Yeah she did, but it was my fault."

Gunn crossed his arms and said, "Maybe we better take this conversation to your room."

Connor looked at Gunn's body language for the first time since getting back and realized where this was headed. He couldn't deal with it right now. His entire thought process was too involved with Julie being pregnant to think about anything else. He looked Gunn in the eye, leaned close, and kept his voice low so only Gunn could hear. "I can't talk about anything right now. Could we please talk tonight after this mess with Angelus is taken care of?"

Gunn scrutinized Connor to see if he was trying to get out of punishment, or if he was genuinely too preoccupied with Angelus being on the loose to really listen to what Gunn had to say. Before Gunn could make a decision, the lobby doors opened to reveal a red haired young woman. She smiled at Connor and Gunn who were just inside the door and said, "Hi, I'm Willow."

Gunn held out his hand and said, "Nice to meet you. I'm Gunn, and this here is Angel's son Connor."

Willow shook hands with Gunn, and then Connor. She said, "Nice to meet you both."

Wesley had come out of the back room and was standing close by waiting. Willow took a good look at him and smiled as she said, "And you must be the Marlboro man."

Wesley ignored the slam about his appearance. "Thank you for coming."

She waved him off and scoffed, "Of course I'm gonna come when Angel needs some reinsouling."

She started walking into the lobby as she talked, "Wouldn't want to leave that job for just anyone."

He followed her and then made introductions, "This is Lorne he's an empath demon."

Willow held out her hand and he shook. He let her go and said, "I could smell the power when you walked into the room honey. If anyone can get Angelcakes back it's you."

Willow smiled and said, "Next time I'll take a shower before heading out."

Wesley said, "This is Fred. Her and I have done a few spells together, so if you need any help, we're willing to try."

"I think I've got it covered. Nice to meet you Fred."

Fred smiled and said, "It's very nice to meet you too. Maybe if you have some time later, you can show me the curse."

"Sure."

Wesley said, "This is Julie, Connor's girlfriend."

"Nice to meet you."

"You too."

Wesley noticed Faith had come out of the kitchen and was standing by the door. He said, "And you know Faith."

Faith gave Willow a nod and said, "Hey."

"Faith."

Wesley noticed Willow was holding a brown paper bag and said, "So how should we proceed?"

Willow smiled and put her bag down on the lobby's front desk. She got out a few supplies. "I'm going to need to do a locator spell first to make sure he's still in this city. He doesn't need to be right here, but he does need to be close. Then when we know he's close by, I'll do the curse."

Fred asked, "How can we help?"

"For the locator spell, I'll need something of his. A shirt that he has worn would work, but a piece of his hair would work better."

Connor said, "I'll get that."

Connor left the room and went to the basement. He came back a few seconds later with a few strands of hair and gave them to Willow. She spread out a map of the city, and put some candles around it. She put Angel's hair into some powder in her hand. She closed her eyes and said some words in Latin. Then she blew some of the dust across the map. Instantly little red dots appeared on the map, with one dot being brighter then the rest. She smiled, "He's close. It should work fine."

She said some words, and the map lost its red dots. She put that away, and got out a book and a round object. Wesley asked, "The Orb of Thesulah?"

"Yep."

Willow opened the book and started chanting in Latin. A few seconds into it her eyes turned black, and the air around her started to swirl. Her chanting got louder, and the people in the lobby all backed away from her a few steps. A few seconds later the air around the entire lobby started to swirl. Connor asked Wesley, "Is this normal? Is something wrong?"

"I'm unsure."

Willow put her hand up warding off an unseen foe, and yelled out some words in Latin. The air stopped moving, and Willow's eyes turned back to normal. She was a little out of breath. Faith said, "Is it done?"

Willow shook her head. "He must have known what we were planning. He's got some kind of protection. It's probably an object like a necklace that he has to ware to stay protected. I'll need to have him here so I can see what it is before I can disarm it, and do the curse."

Everyone in the room looked a little dejected at the news. Wesley said, "Faith?"

Faith nodded and said, "You, me, Connor, and Gunn. We'll take tranquilizer guns, and Connor can track."

Gunn looked over at Connor and said, "I want to talk to Connor for a few minutes before we go."

Connor glared and said in a loud voice, "I told you I don't want to talk right now. Let's just go and get this over with!"

Gunn shook his head, "I'd like to, but you're not going anywhere until I'm sure you've got yourself under control. Facing Angelus is deadly at best, and if you're preoccupied with something else, then you shouldn't be hunting him."

Connor shook his head in disgust, and headed for the door as he said, "You know what, I'll go find him myself."

Gunn caught up with Connor in three steps and grabbed his upper arm to stop him. "I don't think so."

Connor tried to shove Gunn out of his way, but before he could actually lay his hands on Gunn, he was knocked out and thrown back a few feet by an invisible force. Willow looked around and said some words in Latin. Then she turned to Fred and said, "Some kind of spell?"

Gunn went over to Connor to check his vitals. Wesley said, "The sanctuary spell."

Julie went over to Connor too and said, "But that's only supposed to stop demon violence."

Lorne said, "It does only stop demon violence."

Julie looked back over at Connor, along with everyone else in the room. Gunn looked at Wesley and said, "Can you help me get him up to the couch. Who knows how long he'll be out."

Wesley and Gunn moved Connor to the couch. When they were done Faith said to Wesley, "Looks like it's just you and me. Probably better anyway, he seems to have trouble following orders. I'll be able to concentrate on Angelus better if I know Connor's not gonna do something stupid."

Gunn asked, "What happened between the two of you today?"

Faith said, "He didn't take cover when the beast was about to explode, and then when we found the bar with Angelus, he decided we should go in and try to capture him even after I told him no like three times."

Gunn got a grim look on his face and nodded. He said, "You sure you two can handle it? I can come too if you need me."

Faith shook her head. "We'll be fine. I saw where he was from the locator spell, and I have a plan. Come on Wes."

Wesley and Faith gathered up a few tranquilizer guns and left. Once they were in Wesley's car, Faith said, "First we need to go to the bar Angelus was in earlier."

"But the locator spell that Willow just preformed showed Angelus across town."

"I know, but I need to pick something up before we go."

Wesley drove towards the bar while Faith explained her plan.
***************

Connor slowly opened his eyes and put a hand up to his forehead which was throbbing. He groaned at the pain, and then looked around. He realized he was in the lobby of the hotel and tried to remember how he got there. He remembered fighting with Gunn and then everything had gone blank. He wondered if he had been tazered from behind. But he didn't remember getting a headache from being tazered before. Then he wondered if he had fallen and hit his head. He heard Lorne's voice say, "Looks like sleeping broody is up."

Connor looked over towards the lobby's counter and saw Lorne and Gunn there. He sat up with a hand still holding his forehead. He said, "What happened?"

Gunn walked around the counter and up to Connor. He crossed his arms and said, "I think that's my question."

Connor looked around and didn't see anyone else. "Where is everyone? How long have I been out?"

"Ten minutes. Fred, Julie, and Willow just left for the local magic shop to get some supplies to disarm Angelus' charm, and Faith and Wes went after Angelus."

"Alone?! Why didn't they wait for me?!"

Gunn leaned down into Connor's personal space and made eye contact. "Because you would have been more of a liability then a help."

Connor couldn't keep eye contact and said to the floor. "You're wrong."

Gunn grabbed Connor's arm, stood him up, and swatted him as hard as he could. Connor's eyes dared over to Lorne who was standing there with a somewhat disappointed look on his face. Connor tried to pull away from Gunn, but Gunn said, "I wouldn't do that if I were you. Unless you want to get knocked out again."

Connor stopped fighting and asked, "Did you tazer me?"

Gunn frowned, not wanting to have to tell Connor the truth, but knowing it was the right thing to do. He put his fingers on Connor's chin to make him look at him. "You were knocked out by the sanctuary spell."

Connor shook his head and said with disbelief, "No."

Gunn could tell from the tone of voice that Connor was pleading with him to tell him it wasn't true. Gunn pulled him into a hug and said, "I'm sorry, but it's true."

Connor stood in shock and let Gunn hug him. "But… I know Holtz said I was a demon, but I always thought…. Hoped I wasn't."

Gunn hugged him tighter and said, "I know, but it doesn't change who you are inside Connor. You're still you."

Lorne piped up with, "Look at the positive side kid. At least you look human, try being green with horns."

Gunn let go of Connor and turned to Lorne. "We'll be in Connor's room for a little while."

Lorne gave Connor a sympathetic look, but nodded and said, "I'll hold down the fort."

Gunn put a hand on Connor's shoulder and propelled him towards the stairs. Connor had had too many shocks in a short period of time to focus on any one thing, and didn't fight Gunn in the least. They made it to Connor's room, and Connor stopped just inside the door. There in the middle of his room was his desk chair, and on it was his metal ruler. He turned back towards Gunn with a look of apprehension.

Gunn pointed to Connor's bed and said, "Sit down. We're gonna talk."

Connor sat down, but kept looking over at the chair and ruler. Gunn shut Connor's bedroom door behind him, and leaned against the door. He had thought about things while Connor was passed out. He knew Connor would be upset about the news that he was a demon, and he thought giving Connor something else to focus his attention on could be a good thing. As soon as he had realized the girls were going to be gone, he had gone up to Connor's room to pull the desk chair out. He had known it would force Connor to focus on what was going to happen. Then Gunn had seen the ruler on the desk along with Connor's math homework, and decided it could have more then one use. He had put it on the chair and went back downstairs.

Gunn took a deep breath and walked towards Connor. He had told Connor that he would be getting spanked if he pushed him again, which he had. And he had told Connor he would be getting spanked if he didn't start following orders, which he hadn't. Now it was time to follow through, even if it wasn't what he wanted to do. Gunn stood in front of Connor with his arms crossed and said, "Faith had some interesting things to say about you before she left. Now I want your version. What happened when the Beast was going to explode, and what happened when you tracked Angelus?"

Connor sighed and said in a voice so low Gunn had trouble hearing it, "You never said I had to obey Faith. You said I had to obey you."

Gunn's first reaction was surprise, and then he smiled a little and shook his head. "Nice try Sparky, but you know as well as I do that Angel makes you listen to everyone in the team when we're fighting together. Obeying Faith was implied, and I don't care who says it, when someone yells 'take cover', you do it."

Connor muttered, "I didn't know he would explode like that."

"Exactly. You didn't know what would happen. You put your life, and hers, at risk since she had to go back for you."

Connor spit out, "She didn't have to. She could have left me there. I'm a demon right? I would have been fine."

Gunn shook his head at how stubborn Connor was. He walked over to the chair, picked up the ruler, and sat down. "Okay then demon boy. Come over here and let's see how fine you are in a few minutes."

Connor shook his head no and scooted a little farther away from Gunn, "Okay, okay…. So maybe I could have been hurt, and maybe I should have taken cover. I will next time."

Gunn let Connor stay where he was for the time being. He leaned forward a little and said, "What happened when you tracked Angelus?"

"We found him in a bar, and I could tell there were only a few vampires there. Faith is a Slayer, so I thought we could take them. Faith told me no, and I…. disagreed."

"Give me the play by play."

Connor looked down at his hands in his lap, and gave a fairly accurate account of what had transpired between him and Faith. Gunn would have found the image of Connor being marched down the street by Faith comical if he hadn't been upset by the fact that Connor had tried to physically fight with her. He said, "Look at me."

Connor did. Gunn said, "You tried to punch Faith?"

Connor could tell Gunn was much angrier now then he had been when they came into the room. Connor swallowed hard, knowing this wasn't going to go over well, and nodded his head yes. Gunn shook his head not knowing quite where to start. After a few seconds of thought he said, "Faith was leading, and you didn't follow her instructions. That's bad enough right there, but then to top that off, you actually tried to fight her? You know better then that. Would you have tried to fight me, Fred, or Wes?"

Connor shook his head no, and said, "It's not the same, she's not one of the team."

"You're right, it's not the same. It's more like when Angel asked you to trust his judgement about Lorne, and instead of doing that, you cut off Lorne's head."

Connor didn't like that comparison at all. "No it's not! I wasn't going to kill her. I was just going to put her in her place."

Gunn was too stunned to speak for a few seconds. When he did he said, "Put her in her place? What exactly do you mean by that Connor?"

Connor could see the muscles in Gunn's jaw clenching and knew he had said the wrong thing. He said, "I…. I just wanted to show her that I didn't have to do what she told me to do."

Gunn had to take some deep breaths and count to ten a few times while looking out the window. He knew he was overly sensitive about the abuse of women in general because he had spent so much time in shelters. When he could keep a level voice he asked, "Has Angel said anything to you about hitting women?"

Connor shook his head no. Gunn said, "When Angel is back we'll take you to a shelter I know of, and you can see what a woman looks like after a man has decided to 'put her in her place' by taking his fists to her, because I have to tell you it isn't pretty."

Connor didn't want to make Gunn even angrier, but he also felt he had to defend himself a little bit. "I would never hit Julie or Fred. Faith is different. She's a slayer. I've seen you beat up female vampires plenty of times."

Gunn thought about that for a few seconds. "You're right, Faith is different from most women. But Julie and Fred don't exactly try to tell you what to do now do they? So did you think it was okay to fight with Faith because she was a slayer, or did you think it was okay because she was calling the shots? Try to be honest with yourself and me about it."

Connor had to think about that. Eventually he said, "Both."

Gunn nodded, "Thanks for being honest. We'll talk more about that over the next few weeks, because I think there are some things I can tell you and show you that will help change your mind about things. But for now we need to get back to the immediate issue. What did I tell you I was gonna do if you tried to shove me again?"

Connor's face got slightly pink, and he looked out his bedroom window as he said, "You said you would spank me."

"Did you believe me?"

"Yes."

"Then why did you do it?"

"I… I was upset.... and I…. couldn't stop myself."

"Did I tell you to start following orders?"

"Yes."

Gunn used the ruler in his hand to point to a spot on the floor right next to the chair and said, "Then I think we're done talking. Come here."

Connor hung his head and trudged over to Gunn, hating being at this point again so soon, but not really blaming anyone but himself for being there. Once he got there, Gunn reached up and undid Connor's jeans. They fell to the floor, and Gunn pulled Connor over his lap. Connor felt Gunn pulling his underwear down too, and he groaned unhappily.

Gunn said, "Sorry kid, but I think the lesson will be learned quicker this way, and I need to see your skin so I can be sure I'm not actually damaging you."

Connor thought to himself that Gunn would be damaging him and on purpose too, but didn't say it out loud. Gunn brought the ruler down as hard as he could on Connor's bare butt, and in response Connor's body jerked slightly. Gunn kept going, and after a good twenty swats Connor's behind was a definite pink color, and Connor started to shift around in an unconscious attempt to avoid the swats.

Thirty swats after that Connor was more then ready for it to be over. His squirms had evolved into kicking, and he shouted out, "I'm sorry Gunn! Please stop! I won't push you again!"

Gunn kept bringing the ruler down and said, "I hope you're right, but that doesn't change the fact that you already did it."

Connor groaned in frustration and pain, and after another ten swats he put his hand back to cover his rear. Gunn stopped and grabbed Connor's wrist. He tried to pull Connor's hand away, but it wouldn't budge. Gunn tried harder, but still couldn't make it move. Connor said, "Please Gunn, no more."

Gunn ground out, "Move your hand."

There were a few seconds of silence, and the hand didn't move. Gunn said, "The only thing you're doing right now is making this whole thing last longer. I will not stop because you tell me to. I'll stop when I decide you've been punished enough. Now move your hand, and keep it in front of you until I stop."

Connor slowly put his hand back in front of him. He immediately heard and felt the spanking start again, and cried out in pain. A few seconds later Connor's loud vocalizations turned into quiet crying. And quite a few swats after that, the quiet crying turned into louder crying.

Gunn didn't hear the crying over the loud smacking noises at first, but when he finally did hear it, Gunn's arm faltered. He looked down at the back of Connor's head and realized he was crying. Gunn hadn't counted on how that sound would make him feel. Connor's sobs made Gunn feel like crying himself. He looked over at Connor's butt and could tell it was a deep and angry looking red. He cleared his throat a couple of times and said, "You are going to follow orders and stop pushing me, or we're gonna end up here again. Is that something you want?"

Connor shook his head no as he cried. Gunn said, "Good, because neither do I."

Gunn gave him ten more swats all in the same spot, while Connor cried even louder, and then he stopped. He shook his head thinking to himself that when he had overheard Connor getting spanked, he had expected to hear yelling and crying, but now that he was the one causing it, the whole thing seemed harsher. Gunn tossed the ruler over onto the desk and rubbed Connor's back. He said, "It's over. You can get up."

Connor pushed himself to standing and fixed his underwear and pants while Gunn put the desk chair back under the desk. Connor was wiping at his face with his sleeves, and Gunn thought he looked pretty forlorn and lost. He walked over and pulled him into a hug. They stood that way for a few minutes while Connor cried.

When Connor was a little calmer Gunn said, "I know things have been chaotic and stressful for the past couple of weeks. And I know the reason you were upset enough to push me was because you're worried about your dad getting back to normal, but you have to look on the positive side of things instead of worrying about the negative. The Beast is dead, the sun is back, and we have a Slayer out there trying to save Angel for us. Things are getting better. When you start to feel like you're going to lose control again, you just have to hold on to that thought so you can make the right choice."

Gunn thought this would calm Connor down, but in fact it made him burst into tears again. Connor couldn't stop thinking that things weren't getting better. He was a demon with a baby on the way, and he had no clue how to deal with all the thoughts and emotions that brought on.

Gunn hugged him harder and said, "Hey now, I know it doesn't feel that way, and I know you and Angel are going to have a bumpy road ahead after all the things Angelus said and did, but the two of you will get through it. You know how I know?"

Connor shook his head no. "Because you're family."
*****************

After their stop at the bar, Wesley and Faith headed to the other side of town. They parked near a construction site where a new building was in the process of being built. Wesley looked around and said, "If he hasn't left, he should be within a few blocks of this spot."

Faith took a small thin box out of her inside jacket pocket and opened it up. Wesley said, "Shouldn't you wait until we're sure he's here?"

Faith took a syringe out of the box, along with a small green tube of liquid. She said, "It will last all night, and if we don't find him, I'll get some more tomorrow."
Wesley watched while she injected the liquid into her arm, and then put the empty tube and syringe back into the box. Faith and Wesley got out of the car with their tranquilizer guns. Faith took the lead and they started searching the construction site. A few seconds later Faith stopped while looking up. Wesley looked up as well, and saw a large cloth tarp that had the words, 'Welcome Faith' spray painted on it. Wesley said, "So much for the element of surprise."

"I knew he would hear me and Connor."

They heard Angelus' voice from above them. "Faith's right. Nice job kicking the kid's ass by the way. I suppose I should say thanks for the show."

They looked up and saw Angelus was standing a few feet above them on some scaffolding. Wesley took aim and fired his tranquilizer, but Angelus easily jumped out of the way. Faith took aim and fired as well, but Angelus was quicker then the darts no matter how good her aim was. Angelus laughed at them and said, "Where's the rest of the team?"

Faith smiled, "I didn't think I'd have much trouble taking you down. I told them to take a break for the evening until I brought you back."

Angelus got a knife out of his back pocket, jumped down from the scaffolding, and tossed the knife towards Wesley. It stabbed Wesley in the upper thigh, and he yelled in pain. Faith rushed Angelus and soon they were engaged in hand to hand combat with both of them moving so fast, Wesley had trouble discerning which one of them was winning.

Wesley limped a few feet back, and examined his wound. He didn't think the knife had hit any major arteries. He took his belt off, and used it to make a tourniquet right above the knife. Then he took a deep breath, and yanked the knife out of his leg with a loud scream. He looked to see what kind of progress Faith was making, and was disheartened to see her get tossed to the floor with some blood on her face. He took aim at Angelus again, and fired the last tranquilizer at him. Angelus ducked just in time to avoid it. He turned to Wesley and said, "You'd better play nice Wes, or I'll make you last for days."

As Angelus was talking, Faith jumped up and kicked him in the stomach. He went flying backwards and broke some of the scaffolding when he crashed into it. Faith ran after him to keep up with the attack. While they were fighting Wesley took off his jacket and tied it around his wound.

As the fight went on Angelus knocked Faith down again and again, and as she got up slower and slower, Angelus was able to kick her while she was down. She had to spit out some blood after the kick to her abdomen. Angelus said, "What's the matter Faith? Not as easy a job as you thought it would be?"

He ran at her and tried to kick her again, but she surprised him by moving out of the way at the last second. He turned to face her again, and she was standing. He smiled at her. "So tell me why you really came out here with only Wes for backup."

"Why don't you tell me, since you like the sound of your own voice so much."

"Well I do have a theory."

Faith glared at him, and tried to find the right moment to attack. She played along, "Well then enlighten me."

"You're still trying to make up for all the stuff you did in your early years. Angel's little protégé, running around trying to prove that the good inside you outweighs the bad. If it weren't so pathetic it'd be funny. No I take that back, it really is funny."

As Angelus was chuckling, Faith yelled and ran at him. Angelus quickly had her down on the ground with a heavy punch to the stomach. This time when she was down, Angelus knelt down behind her and pulled her up by her hair until she was in a sitting position. He tilted her head to the side and whispered in her ear, "Looks like you failed sweetie. See you in hell."

He bit her neck and she whimpered as he started drinking her blood. Angelus kept an eye on Wesley, expecting him to try and stop him, and looking forward to jamming his fist into Wesley's wound. But when Wesley just stood there watching, Angelus realized something was wrong and stopped drinking. He let go of Faith's neck, and looked over at Wesley with blood dripping off his fangs trying to figure out what they were planning. Then Wesley suddenly went out of focus and Angelus looked down at Faith. Faith gave him a weary smile and said, "See you back in Angel."

Angelus tried to get up and step away from her, but found he couldn't get up off his knees. He yelled, "You bitch!"

He tried to hit her, but he overshot the mark, and ended up on his face on the ground. A second later he was passed out. Faith looked over at Wesley and then passed out herself.
*********************

Willow, Fred, and Julie walked into the hotel all smiling as Willow finished up a story about Angel and Buffy in their early days. Julie noticed Connor wasn't on the couch anymore and turned to Lorne who was standing by the counter. She said, "Where's Connor?"

"He's upstairs resting in his room. That sanctuary spell really knocks it out of you."

Gunn came out of the kitchen holding a plate with a couple of sandwiches on it. He smiled at them and said, "Did you girls get the supplies you need to take that protective thingy off Angelus?"

"Yep." Willow said.

Julie said, "Can I go up and see Connor, or is he sleeping?"

Gunn thought about it for a second, and then held out the plate to her. "You can take this to him, but if he's asleep, don't wake him up."

Julie took it and said, "Thanks."

Gunn looked all around and said, "Anyone else want a sandwich for dinner while we wait for Wes and Faith?"

Fred and Willow both said they would like one, and Gunn went back into the kitchen while Julie took the plate up to Connor.

Connor could hear Julie in the hallway before she knocked on his door, and got up off his bed. He checked his face to see if it was obvious he had been crying. He could tell, and thought she probably would be able to as well. She knocked on his door lightly, and opened it. He turned around and looked at her. She smiled and said, "I brought you some…… are you okay?"

Connor looked down at the floor and shook his head no. She closed the door behind her, put the plate on his desk and went over to him. She wrapped her arms round his middle and said, "What's wrong?"

Connor knew how she felt about Angel because he spanked him, and he didn't want her to dislike Gunn as well. But he found he could still tell her the partial truth about why he had been crying. He put his arms around her too and said, "I'm a demon."

She hugged him harder and said, "I still love you."

He gently pushed her away from him so he could look in her eyes, and said, "You don't understand. If I'm a demon, then our baby, the baby you have inside you right now, is a demon too. That's why you already know you're pregnant, even though it's too soon. What if you're body can't take it? What if the baby hurts you somehow?"

Julie put a hand up to Connor's face and said, "This baby was made out of our love Connor. It's not gonna hurt me. And even if you are a demon, no one could make me believe you are anything but good, so our baby will be good too. I know it was kind of a shock to find out, and then finding out you're a demon on top of it….. Well I understand it's a lot to take. But you're not in it alone. We're partners in this. Okay?"

He felt more tears coming down his face, but this time they were tears of relief. He nodded, leaned down, and kissed her on the mouth. It was gentle at first, but it soon turned demanding. Julie kissed him back with just as much urgency, and they started pulling at each other's clothes. Connor picked her up and carried her to the bed while still kissing her. He put her down and got her pants off quickly, while she worked at the button and zipper of his jeans. She yanked his jeans and underpants down, and he jumped slightly and hissed in pain as she dragged the jeans off his butt. She stopped in mid pull and said, "What?"

He instantly regretted having started this whole thing, and blushed when he realized he was gonna have to explain. He just had been lost in his emotions, and hadn't thought about it before hand. Before he could say anything, Julie had sat up, and leaned over so she could see his rear end. She gasped. She started out sounding surprised and sympathetic, but ended up sounding angry, "Oh, Connor…. Who did this to you?"

Connor pulled his pants back up, not wanting her to see and said, "It doesn't matter."

Julie glared towards his door and said, "Gunn did it."

"Please don't be mad at him, it was completely my own fault."

Julie glared at him, "Your fault? How did they brain wash you into believing that someone else beating you is your own fault? It's not your fault Connor."

Connor lay down on the bed on his side so he was facing her, and she lay down with him. He said, "I'm sorry it upsets you Julie, but you're never going to convince me that I didn't do anything wrong to deserve punishment, because I know I did. You seem to think Angel and Gunn are spanking me because they hate me, but that's just not true. I wish I could find a way to explain it to you, and make you understand….."

Julie put a hand on Connor's face and gave him a gentle kiss on the mouth. She said, "I'm sorry, I don't mean to make it worse for you."

He gave her a small smile and said, "Thanks."

She started to undo his pants again and he put a hand on her wrist to stop her. She said, "You don't want to?"

Connor gave her an indecisive, "Well I do, I just….."

She kissed him and whispered, "I won't look." as she got his pants undone, and carefully pulled them down.
*******************

A little later Connor wolfed down his food, and could almost feel his body making repairs. He looked over at Julie and saw that she had fallen asleep. He walked over and pulled the covers up higher on her, and kissed her forehead. He went downstairs to see if there was any news from Faith or Wesley.

He saw the group standing at the counter watching Willow mixing some thing in a bowl. He said, "A witch making a potion?"

Willow smiled at him, "Kinda stereotypical huh?"

He shrugged, "If it works, I'm all for it."

Gunn gave him a smile and said, "How are you feeling?"

"Better."

"I'm glad."

The door to the lobby burst open, and everyone turned to see Wesley limping in, and carrying a passed out and bloody Faith. Gunn and Connor ran to help him. He shook his head, kept a hold of Faith, and said, "Get Angelus. He's in the back of my car."

Gunn and Connor went to get Angelus, and Lorne took Faith from Wesley. He lay her down gently on the larger couch off to the side. Fred went up to Wesley to help him limp down the lobby stairs and she said, "You're injured."

"Knife wound to the leg. It's deep, and I'll need a few stitches."

Connor and Gunn came in carrying Angelus. Connor said, "How long will he be out?"

Wesley shook his head. "I'm unsure. He's not tranquilized, he's drugged, and I don't know how long the effects will last."

Lorne said, "Drugged with what?"

"Orpheus."

Lorne looked surprised and looked over at Faith, "Orpheus is nasty stuff. Why would you let her take it?"

"It was her choice."

Lorne gave Wesley a glare and said, "Did you explain the risks?"

Connor indicated Angelus and he said, "Should we go down and put him in the cage?"

Lorne shook his head, "Angelus will be out for hours."

Gunn looked at Willow and said, "Where do you want him?"

"Right there on the floor will be fine."

They put him down, and stepped away. Willow took a handful of the potion she had mixed and walked to Angelus. She held out her hand and let some of it drip on Angelus' head. She said some words in Latin, and then knelt down to look at his left wrist. She found the protective talisman, and smeared some of the potion on it while saying some more words in Latin. She smiled as she took it off his wrist. She held it up and said, "Got it."

Fred asked, "Can you do the curse now, or does he have to be awake?"

"I'll do it now. I don't know about the rest of you, but I for one never want to see Angelus again."

She walked over to the counter, picked up the Orb of Thesulah, and started the curse. As she was chanting, her eyes turned black and the air swirled around in the hotel. The orb started glowing, and levitated as she chanted. Suddenly Angelus went stiff, and his back arched off the floor for a few seconds. As quickly as it started, everything stopped. The wind died down, the Orb of Thesulah stopped glowing, and dropped into Willow's hand, and Willow's eyes were back to normal. She smiled at everyone and said, "It's done."

Everyone looked down at Angel. His body had gone slack again, and he lay still, passed out on the floor. After a few seconds of silence Connor asked, "How do we know for sure?"

Willow said, "I'm sure, but I suppose you won't know for yourselves until he wakes up."

Connor turned to Wesley and said, "Should we put him in the cage just in case?"

Wesley shook his head. "Willow knows what she's doing. Let's move Faith to one of the bedrooms, and put Angel on the couch."

Gunn went to Faith and picked her up. He carried her to one of the bedrooms, while Connor and Lorne got Angel to the couch. Fred said, "I need to take Wesley to the E/R to get his leg stitched up."

Wesley shook his head, "We have the supplies here to…."

Fred interrupted, "No arguments. We're going."

Wesley raised his eyebrows at that, but Fred just started them towards the door. Wesley said, "Well I suppose it couldn't hurt to get it checked out by a professional."

He looked at Connor on his way out, and said, "Tell Gunn I'll be back in a few hours, and make sure someone is watching both Faith and Angel at all times."

"Okay."

Gunn came back downstairs and said, "I put her in the first bedroom on the right. Where's Wes?"

Connor gave Gunn the information from Wesley, and Lorne said, "I'll sit with Faith. Will someone bring me some warm water, some disinfectant, and some gauze to clean up her wounds?"

Connor nodded, "I'll bring those up to you."

Willow said, "I'll watch Angel. I kind of wanted to talk to Faith before I left, so if no one minds I think I'll spend the night."

Gunn sat down beside Willow and said, "That's fine. I'll keep you company, and if you get tired I'll show you to one of the spare rooms."

Connor went to go get the first aid kit, and took it to Lorne. While Lorne was cleaning Faith's wounds Connor saw the one on her neck and said, "Angelus bit her?!"

Lorne kept his eyes focused on Faith and cleaning her wounds as he talked to Connor. "Orpheus is a powerful drug that has both straight physical effects and magical effects. Humans inject themselves with the drug, and then let vampires feed off the tainted blood. Both get a high off of it. Some people hate it so much the first time they take it that they never try it again. Other people can't stop. I've seen more then one death over this stuff. It builds in their system. But the magical side of it makes it even more deadly then other drugs. Plenty of people die the first time they try it. The vampires are almost always fine, because they're already dead, but a few of them have been known to be unconscious for days."

Connor looked over at Faith and said, "She got Angelus when none of the rest of us could. She can't have this death."

Lorne looked at him with surprise. "I don't see how you think you can prevent it Junior. What's done is done. All we can do now is hope and pray that she pulls through."

"There's no medication that can help? No spells? No magic?"

"Not that I know of."

Connor looked at Faith and said, "Angel doesn't want more blood on his hands, and Faith doesn't deserve death."

Connor stalked out of the room and ran into Julie in the hallway. He gave her a smile, "It's done."

"What's done?"

"Faith captured Angelus, and Willow did the spell to put his soul back."

Julie looked surprised, "How long was I asleep?"

"About an hour."

"Wow, that was fast."

Connor said, "I've got to go out, and try to find a way to help Faith. I'll tell you about it later, but for now I need to hurry."

Julie cocked her head to the side and said, "A few hours ago she gave you a black eye, and now you want to help her?"

Connor copied her head motion and said with confusion, "The two events have nothing to do with each other."

Julie nodded, and said, "I know, but most people would hold a grudge about the punch, and wouldn't want to help."

"Then most people are wrong."

Julie smiled and said, "I guess they are."

Connor went down to see Gunn sitting and visiting with Willow. He said, "Gunn?"

"Yeah?"

"Lorne said Faith might die from the drug she took to capture Angelus. I want to go try and find something that will help her."

Gunn was very pleased that Connor was asking instead of telling, and thought that either the spanking had worked wonders, or Connor was just a lot more relieved now that Angel was back. Gunn nodded and said, "Okay, we'll go together and see what we can find. We'll call Wes and see if he knows where she got it, and we'll start there."

Connor was happy that Gunn didn't have any arguments for letting Connor search for something. "Great. Thanks."
*******************

A few hours later in the very early hours of the next morning, Gunn and Connor came back to the hotel tired but triumphant. They saw Willow asleep in the chair next to Angel who was still passed out. They went up to the room with Lorne and Faith and saw Wesley was there asleep in a chair. Lorne was holding Faith's hand and singing to her. When he saw Connor and Gunn he stopped the song, and said, "Did you find anything?"

Connor held up a shot with a clear substance in it. He said, "It took a while, but eventually we found a doctor at one of the free clinics who gave us this. He's treated more then one person who's taken Orpheus, and he said this was the only thing that seems to help. It's epinephrine with a small protective spell done on it. This guy's cousin is a witch, and she helped him make these. He says it only works on about half the people that get brought in, but it's the only thing we found."

Connor tried to hand it to Lorne who didn't take it. Wesley had woken up while Connor was talking, and he said, "I'll do it."

Connor gave the shot to him, and Wesley deftly injected it into Faith's arm. Ten seconds later Faith opened her eyes and suddenly sat up in bed breathing hard. She looked around the room with her eyes wide open and said, "Angel?"

Lorne patted her shoulder, "Willow did the curse, and he's asleep down in the lobby. He hasn't woken up from the drugs yet, but I wouldn't worry about that unless he doesn't wake up by early this afternoon."

Faith lay back down, closed her eyes, and muttered, "Good. I'm just gonna rest for a little while longer."

Lorne shooed everyone out of the room, turned off the lights, and closed the door behind them. He said, "She'll be fine. Now she just needs to sleep it off."
*****************

Later that morning most of the gang slept in. Fred was the first up, and saw Angel still on the couch with Willow asleep in the chair next to him. Fred made some coffee and when she came back out to the lobby with a cup of it, she saw that Willow was awake. She said, "If you want to go freshen up and get some coffee, I'll sit with him."

Willow smiled, "Thanks."

"If you want a shower, you can use my room. It's the fourth door on the left."

"That sounds heavenly."

Fred leaned back and drank her coffee relaxing. A few minutes later Angel opened his eyes and looked around. He made eye contact with Fred and said, "Fred?"

"Angel?"

Angel turned a little red and looked away as he said, "Sorry about the…. inappropriate touching."

Fred pulled her robe closer together and said, "That's okay…. It's good to have you back."

Angel put a hand up to his forehead, and groaned as he thought about all the things Angelus had done. Fred said, "I'm gonna go wake everyone up."

Angel nodded, but didn't take his hand off his forehead or open his eyes. Fred went upstairs and knocked on Wesley's door first. A few seconds later he answered and Fred said, "Angel's awake."

Wesley nodded, "I'll be right down."

Next she woke up Gunn, then Lorne, and last went to Connor's door. He opened it, and Fred saw that Julie was asleep on his bed instead of in her own room. She said, "Connor honey, Angel's awake."

Connor nodded, but looked nervous. "Okay."

"I'm gonna go down and keep him company until the rest of you come down."

"Okay." Connor looked back at Julie and decided to let her sleep as he got himself dressed.

Fred went downstairs and found the couch empty. For a second she had a terrifying thought that maybe Angel wasn't really Angel, until she saw him come out of the kitchen holding a mug of pig's blood. There was an awkward silence and then Angel said, "How's Faith?"

"I don't know."

Wesley came down the stairs and said, "She's fine. She's asleep right now, but she woke up once already, so we know it's a natural sleep she's in."

Angel noticed Wesley's limp and said, "I'm sorry about the leg…. And more sorry then I can say about Lilah."

Wesley looked away and said, "I understand it wasn't you Angel, and I appreciate the sentiment because I know it's genuine, but…. I just….. I can't talk about that yet. I'm going to go bury her today."

Angel nodded in understanding and said, "You did a fine job of leading while I was gone. Angelus lied to you about that you know. I never thought you'd let me down, and I didn't leave you in charge for some kind of second chance. I left you in charge because I knew you'd be the best person for the job."

Wesley wasn't sure what to say to that, and the room grew silent. Soon Lorne and Gunn came down the stairs as well, closely followed by Connor. The silence lingered and finally Angel said, "I'm sorry you all had to meet Angelus. Maybe it wasn't the best plan to bring him out in the first place, but we can't live our lives always thinking about the things we regret. I'm deeply sorry for all the things Angelus did to hurt each of you, but I think we should focus more on the fact that the sun is back, and the Beast is killed. You all did a wonderful job of keeping things under control while I was gone. I'm truly grateful to all of you for staying strong and keeping the faith when things were grim."

Lorne said, "Sing for me."

Angel thought about it and sang a few bars, "I write the songs that make the whole world sing. I write the songs of love and special things."
Lorne held up his hand to make Angel stop and said, "It's definitely Angel."

After a few seconds of silence Wesley said, "I'm going to take Lilah out of town to a secluded spot I know of, and bury her."

Everyone nodded, and Wesley went to get Lilah out of the basement. The lobby was silent while everyone watched Wesley carry her out to his car. Once he was gone Angel said, "Gunn, Connor, could I talk to you in my office?"

Lorne said, "I'm gonna go check on Faith."

Fred said, "I'll make some breakfast for everyone."

Angel walked into his office followed by Gunn, and more slowly by Connor. Connor shut the door behind them when he went in. Angel looked at Connor and opened his mouth, but then closed it again not sure how to start. He instead turned to Gunn and said, "Thanks for watching out for Connor while I was gone, and I'm sorry about the things Angelus said to you….. I'm sure it added to you and Fred splitting up, and to you and Wes fighting."

Gunn shrugged, "Fred and I have been trying to work things out for a while now. I think we both understood it was just a matter of time. And you know I'm always gonna be there for Connor, and I think he knows it now too."

Angel turned to Connor and said, "Angelus always is the most evil to the ones I love the most. I never wanted you to see me like that…. The things he said to you…. Did to you….. I…. I want to somehow be able to take them all back, but I know it's not possible. All I can do is say I'm so sorry, and try to build back your trust."

Tears were going down Angel's face as he talked. Connor found himself crying too and said, "I thought I understood it before, but I didn't. Now I know without a doubt that you and Angelus are completely different entities sharing the same body. When you…. He fought with me, I realized you've never used your full strength on me. And when he…."

Connor's hand went up to his neck, and Angel thought that maybe he would lose his breakfast. "When he bit me and drank from me I knew for sure it wasn't you."

Angel couldn't look at Connor anymore and said quietly, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for all of it."

Connor thought it was very surreal to be listening to his father cry and make apologies to him. He understood why Angel felt that way, but it didn't comfort Connor, or make him feel better about any of the things that had happened. He was more embarrassed then anything else seeing Angel looking heartsick. He mumbled, "It's okay Dad."

Angel looked up at Connor and shook his head. "It's not okay, but I hope in time it will be."

Gunn looked back and forth between father and son, and knew they were both unsure of where to go from here. After a little bit of awkward silence Gunn put a hand in the middle of Connor's back and gave him a gentle push in Angel's direction. He said, "You two are gonna have to touch again sometime after all the trauma, and I'm thinking the sooner the better."

Connor only went about two steps, and then stopped and looked at the floor, not really sure if he wanted Angel to touch him at all. Angel looked over at Gunn wondering if he were right or not. He didn't want to rush Connor into anything if he felt uncomfortable. Gunn glared at Angel and gave him a nod towards Connor as if to say, 'Give him a hug you dummy.'

Angel took the three steps to Connor and saw him flinch before he pulled him into a tight hug. Angel didn't even try to stop the tears that came down his face as he said, "I love you Connor. I love you, and I'm sorry I hurt you."

After a few seconds Connor hugged him back. He hadn't been sure if he had wanted this or not, but now that Angel was hugging him, it felt right and it felt familiar. He found he was comforted, and for the most part felt safe. He whispered, "It wasn't you."

They stood like that for a few minutes and while they were still hugging Gunn said, "I want to get everything out in the open right now, so there aren't any surprises later on down the road."

Angel felt Connor hug him tighter, and he did the same. Gunn said, "I spanked Connor twice while you were Angelus."

Angel glared at Gunn with hate and said, "What?"

Gunn almost took a step back at the look, but stood his ground and gave Angel a steady look, "You told me to look after him, and I did. Connor deserved it both times. Do you want to hear about it, or do you want to punch me out?"

Angel held Connor even closer, and angled him slightly away from Gunn without really being aware of what he was doing. He glared at Gunn and said, "Explain, and then we'll see if I feel like punching you out."

Gunn tried not to be hurt by Angel's behavior. He understood Angel being overly protective of Connor at this point, because of the things Angelus had done, but he was hurt that Angel didn't trust him. He was about to explain when Connor pushed away from Angel and said, "Don't be mad at Gunn. If it weren't for Gunn….. I would have lost it when you were Angelus. I did deserve it…. both times."

Gunn gave Connor a proud smile and said, "Thanks for sticking up for me kiddo."

He looked over at Angel who looked somewhat mollified. Gunn said, "The first time was for chasing you after I told him to stay put, and the….."

Angel interrupted with a loud, "You spanked him after I had beaten the crap out of him, and drank from him?!!"

Gunn crossed his arms, glared at Angel, and said, "If he had listened to me, and stayed where he was, you never would have had the chance to beat the crap out of him, or drink from him. How much less guilt would you be feeling right about now if Connor had just obeyed me?"

Angel refused to answer that and just looked down at the floor. He understood what Gunn was telling him, and on some level he agreed, but he couldn't stop feeling angry at Gunn and protective of Connor when he heard that he had gotten more punishment that night. Gunn said, "Why don't you let me tell you the whole thing before you interrupt again?"

Angel gave a slight nod of his head. Gunn said, "After his encounter with you….. well with Angelus, I brought Connor home, and cleaned him up. I fed him and made him take one of those painkillers they gave us for his ribs before I put him to bed for a nap. When he woke up, I made sure that he was starting to heal, and that he felt better before I spanked him. And even then I wouldn't say it was all that harsh. It was more like me proving to him that I was serious."

Gunn looked over to Connor for conformation of this, and Connor looked at Angel as he said with embarrassment, "It's true."

Gunn said, 'The second time was yesterday evening for not listening to Faith when they were out, and for physically pushing me when he didn't agree with what I was telling him to do."

Angel sighed. He had seen Connor blatantly defy Faith, and knew Gunn was justified in punishing Connor for it, especially if he had done the same to Gunn. Angel looked at Gunn and said, "I know you did the best you could with him, and logically I can say you did the right thing, but I'm still kind of feeling the urge to sock you one."

Gunn nodded in understanding and then turned to Connor. "You want to tell him about the sanctuary spell, or should I?"

Connor looked at Angel and said with a fair amount of sarcasm, "I guess we have even more proof that I'm your son, because the sanctuary spell knocked me out when I tired to push Gunn. Congratulations, it's a demon."

Angel looked surprised and then turned to Gunn for conformation. Gunn gave a little nod. Angel pulled Connor into another hug, not knowing what else to do. Angel said, "I love you Connor, that's never gonna change, demon or not. And you're still the same person you were before you found out."

Connor nodded and returned the hug, "Yeah, Gunn already gave me the same talk. Along with the 'don't hit women' talk, and the 'obey the members of the team' talk, and the 'didn't I tell you what I would do if you pushed me again' talk. Who knew he was so talkative."

Angel was slightly surprised that Connor was ready to joke about things so soon, and looked down at him to see that Connor was looking at Gunn and giving him a little smile. Gunn was smiling back and even chuckled before saying, "Who knew the little troublemaker could actually listen to all my talking?"

Angel felt a flash of jealousy at seeing the bond that had obviously formed between Gunn and Connor. He let Connor go and said, "Well… any other big things that went on while I was out of commission?"

Connor and Gunn looked at each other for a second, and then Gunn said, "I don't think so."

Angel went to sit down and said, "Why don't the two of you sit, and you can tell me everything I missed?"

Connor and Gunn spent the next half an hour telling Angel everything that had happened while he was away, with Connor leaving out the fact that Julie was pregnant. By the time it was all over, Angel was feeling better about the whole thing, but still felt a lot of guilt over the things that Angelus had done, and found that he still had some unwanted jealousy over how close Connor and Gunn seemed to be. When it was all done Angel said, "I'm really proud of you Connor, for keeping it together as well as you did, and for accepting Gunn as an authority figure while I was away. I know it wasn't easy, and I want you to know I appreciate it."

Connor blushed, feeling kind of good about Angel's praise, and said, "Okay."

Angel got up and said, "I think we should go check on Faith, since you went to all the trouble to find something to save her."

Connor and Gunn got up as well. Connor went out the door first, and Angel said, "You go on, I'm gonna talk to Gunn alone for just a second."

Connor nodded and headed up the stairs to see Faith. Gunn and Angel stared at each other for a second, and Gunn said warily, "You still want to punch me?"

Angel shook his head and held out his hand to shake. Gunn put his hand in Angel's, and Angel pulled Gunn into a hug. Angel said quietly, "Thank you." and then let him go.

Gunn was too surprised to do much besides stand there and watch Angel walk away towards the stairs to check on Faith. Gunn eventually smiled and went to see Faith himself.
******************

Later that afternoon Faith woke up, and declared she felt better then she had in months. Everyone was fussing over her, and she told them all to get over it, as she got out of bed and found her way to the kitchen to eat. While Faith ate, Willow told her about the things that were happening in Sunnydale, and Faith easily agreed to go with her to help out Buffy.

Willow and Faith were all packed and ready to go, and Fred, Gunn, Angel, Connor, Lorne, and Julie were all standing in the lobby to say goodbye. Willow went over and hugged Angel tight saying, "I'll send Buffy your love."

He hugged her back and said, "Thank you Willow, I'm so glad you were able to come and help."

Willow let him go and said, "Anytime, and hey, I got a Slayer out of the deal, so I'm not exactly leaving empty handed."

She waved at everyone else, and then stood by the lobby doors while Faith went up to Angel and said, "I hope you don't expect a hug."

"Wouldn't think of it. Thanks for not giving up on me."

"Just returning the favor."

Faith turned to Connor and said, "Lorne told me what you did. Said you might have saved my life."

Connor shrugged. "The world needs Slayers. By saving your life I saved countless other lives."

She walked up to him, grabbed his face in hers and planted a kiss on his mouth. His eyes were wide with surprise when she pulled her face away but kept her hands on his face. "Thanks. I owe you one."

She turned, walked towards Willow, and called over her shoulder. "Bye everyone."

Willow and Faith walked out the door. Connor watched them leave still too stunned to react. He felt Julie's hand in his and he looked over at her. She was clearly angry and muttered, "I don't like her."

Connor decided the best move would be to change the subject. He looked over at Angel and said, "Now that everything is back to normal, I was planning to take Julie back to her place today."

Angel nodded and said, "That's a good idea."

He looked at Julie and said, "I'm sorry you had to meet Angelus, and especially sorry that he scared you. We are not the same person."

Julie nodded and said, "I can see that now. Thanks for letting me stay in the hotel when the sun was gone and that Beast was on the loose. I do appreciate it."

Angel smiled and thought this was a large improvement over their usual exchange. Connor pulled Julie's hand and said, "Let's get your stuff packed."
******************

An hour later Connor and Julie were in Julie's apartment having some tea. He looked her over and said, "How are you feeling?"

She put a hand on her stomach and said, "The baby and I are doing great."

He smiled for a second and then got a serious look on his face. "Have you thought anymore about getting married?"

"I still want time to think about that Connor. It's a big step."

Connor said, "Maybe we should ask Angel about……"

Julie interrupted, "No! I mean… I really don't want anyone else to know about this right now. It's our little secret. I want us to have a clear picture of what we are going to do about all of this before we tell anyone."

Connor nodded. "You're right. He'll try to sway me one way or the other. We need to make the decisions about the baby and us on our own."

Julie smiled at him and gave him a kiss. "Thank you for understanding Connor. It means so much to me that you're putting my needs and the needs of our baby first."

Connor said, "I've got to get back. I have tutoring to do, and you need to find out if your classes are back as scheduled now that the sun is back."

"Okay. I'll call you tomorrow."

Connor gave her a kiss and then put a hand on her stomach and said, "See you both later." before heading back to the hotel.


Chapter 13


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