Connor Gets Grounded

A very tired and very scruffy looking group of Angel Investigations employees came back into the comfort of the hotel lobby. Fred came in first followed by Gunn and Cordelia and Loren. Angel entered with a strong hold on Connor's arm and no one looked too happy. Gunn put down his hubcap axe and turned to attempt a look at the back of his now shredded jacket. "Shit, this is the second sweatshirt that's got an air conditioned back courtesy of our undead friends."

Fred gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. "Better your jacket than you actual back Charles."

They both began cleaning the various weapons that they had brought in with them. Cordelia walked over to them and began to help, noticing that Angel and Connor still had not spoken. "I am so over the whole let's wipe our demony guts on Cordelia's brand new blouse. Did ya ever notice that it's never an old blouse that gets ruined?"

"I didn't think you owned any old blouses Cor." Everyone in the room turned to look at Angel, wondering if he were courageous or just stupid.

Cordelia walked over to where Angel was standing and picked an imaginary piece of dust off of his leather coat. "I'll just let that go Angel because I know that you're still upset. And I'll just make sure my new blouse gets put on the company credit card cause you're sorry and all."

Gunn began to chuckle and looked up into Fred's none too happy eyes.

Loren looked to Connor and could see that the boy was worried about what had happened while they were fighting the demon. Knowing how strict Angel had been with Connor since he had been back to stay Loren could understand what Connor was worried about. Everyone was pretty sure of what was about to happen to Junior, again. And while they all thought that Angel was a good father and knew his methods were working, they also had become fond of the youth.

After Connor had been thrown out and run into trouble on the street his father had brought him back to the hotel to live. Angel had set up rules for Connor and when the rules were broken there were consequences. And because the boy was always testing his father it seemed as if he got a lot of "consequences." Very unpleasant consequences which by the sound of it Connor really didn't like.

Like Loren, Cordelia looked at Connor knowing what was about to happen and sighed.
While she realized that it seemed as if Angel were tough she knew in her heart that Connor needed exactly what his father was doing. He needed to know where the line was drawn and what would happen if he stepped over it. And then he needed to test occasionally to make sure that nothing had changed.

She always felt bad when Connor needed to be punished but the truth was that she felt worse for Angel. He came across as all big and bad but he hated to have to punish the boy no matter how deserved it was. And Connor also tried to act as if he didn't care what his father thought and that being punished was no big deal, but she knew that this simply was not true. She had held him while he cried on several occasions and she knew that he now wanted his father's approval and hated to disappoint him.

Angel walked over to where Connor was now standing. "Go up to your room and wait for me son."

Connor was unusually obedient and dropped his head and mumbled "Yes sir" as he went. The vampire used his acute hearing abilities to listen as his offspring closed the door to his room and he shook his head. Cordelia stopped what she was doing and came to give him a hug. "He knows the rules Angel; he has gone with us on way too many other calls to not know."

Angel just nodded his head in agreement. Suddenly he felt angry about his son's insistence on being defiant. "Damn it Cordelia why can't he just follow the simple rules that I've given him. That would be all that it would take."

Cordelia surprised him by smiling the mega-watt smile that he loved. "He can't because he is his father's son Angel. He is stubborn and headstrong just like you. He will probably continue to test you until he moves out into his own home."

"Then I guess he will continue to have an extremely sore butt until then. He knows what happens when he breaks the rules and he's damn lucky he didn't get himself killed tonight while he was busy testing me."

Fred put down the sword she was cleaning and walked over to Angel and Cordelia. "We all think that you're a good dad, and while none of us likes when you have to punish Connor, we can see a big difference in him in the last few months Angel."

Gunn nodded his head in agreement as did Loren. "The kid is getting better every day and there is nothing wrong with his knowin what is gonna happen if he screws up. You know he ain't afraid of any of the demons we fight, that's why he rushed right into that alley and ignored what you told him to do."

Angel sighed and shook his head again. "That's exactly what got him into trouble tonight."

Loren couldn't resist the urge to add his own two cents. "Well if Junior isn't afraid the demon will spank him then at the very least he should be afraid Daddy will. Well I for one am ready for a little late night snack. I'm thinking tacos. Want to come with guys?"

Gunn smiled as he saw Fred's eyes light up at the mention of her favorite food. "Count us in I don't think even I'm strong enough to keep this woman away from tacos. Just let me get another shirt first."

Gunn quickly left the room to change. Fred laughed at Gunns correct assessment of the situation and closed the doors to the weapons cabinet turning towards Cordelia. "How about it Cordy, do you feel like eating now?"

She was not surprised to see Cordelia shake her head no. She knew just how Cordelia and Angel felt about each other and she knew that when there was a problem that they faced it together. And all the issues with Connor were no different.

In very short order Gunn had returned with a new non shredded sweatshirt and he, Fred and Loren left. Cordelia knew that it was their not so subtle attempt to leave the three of them alone. And even though it was a big hotel she was still thankful for the privacy. She looked towards the love of her life and wasn't pleased to find him still deep in thought and frowning.

She put her arms around him again. "It will all be all right Angel. He has made mistakes before and probably will again. Like I said before he is headstrong and acts now and thinks later. I don't think he's any happier about how tonight turned out than you are. He doesn't like being punished any more than you like punishing him. Gunn and Loren and even Fred can all see that he's been new, improved behavior boy lately."

She began to rub the vampire's tense shoulders and continued. "He is a very skilled fighter and he is always a big help out there. Several times tonight he had both your and Gunn's backs during the battle. He just needs to learn to listen to what you tell him. I think in time he'll get the ideal about this whole team thing."

Angel knew what she said was true but he continued to worry. "If his life wasn't on the line it might be different, but there is simply no room for him to disobey me when we're fighting as a team. Every one of us knows the possibilities and accepts the consequences. Connor is too young to understand either. If something happened to him I don't think I could ever get over it. It makes me question whether or not I should let him continue to come with us. I think I should just make him stay here when we go out on a call."

"Please Dad, don't do that."

Both Angel and Cordelia had been so involved in their conversation that neither one had heard Connor come down the stairs to hear what was being said about his future. Angel looked towards the steps surprised to see tears in his son's eyes. "Well I guess I can add eavesdropping to your list of things we need to deal with."

Connor dropped his head to avoid looking into his father's eyes.

"I thought you were told to go upstairs to your room and wait for me. I'm not surprised to see that you're still refusing to do anything that I tell you. At least you're consistent."

Cordy put her hand on Angel's arm to hopefully quiet him for a moment and she turned to Connor. "Why did you come down here Connor? I know that you heard your dad when he said to wait in your room. You must know that disobedience while you're in trouble for disobedience- not the best idea that you ever had."

Connor suddenly found the toe of his boot to be fascinating and wouldn't even look into Cordelia's eyes. Angel made a move to walk over to where the teen was standing but Cordelia tightened her grip on his arm. "Connor, look at me and answer my question please."

The tone of her voice indicated that she was expecting an answer. "I wanted to tell you that I was sorry for not doing what I was told to do when we were fighting."

Angel gave his son a harsh glance. "You know that I still plan on punishing you for that poor decision right?"

Again Connor's glance dropped to his shoes. "I know I just feel really bad about it, and I wanted to say I'm sorry. I know there will still be punishment."

Cordelia saw that the vampire was really frustrated with the teen. "That still doesn't explain why you are standing here when you were told to wait in your room."

Connor looked as if he wanted to say something to his father but he struggled with the words. Finally he dropped his gaze and in a very quiet voice said "I'm just sorry that I didn't listen to you and that I let you down again, I didn't mean to."

Angel and Cordelia looked at each other with no small degree of amazement and still Connor continued. "I don't like being punished but I would rather have that than for you to be mad at me."

As the teen finished his speech a single tear rolled down his cheek and for a moment no one spoke. Then in two long strides Angel was standing in front of his disobedient son with a very concerned look on his face. "Connor I'm not mad at you son. What I am is disappointed with the poor choice that you made again. I am also scared that if it where to happen again that you or someone else could get hurt."

He then wrapped the crying boy in huge hug and was surprised to find that he didn't resist. After a few minutes of allowing himself to be hugged Connor pulled away and looked at first his father and then Cordelia. "I'll go back up and wait in my room then."

He took the stairs two at a time as he usually did and soon they both heard the door to his room slam. Angel sat down hard on the landing where he and Connor had just been standing. Cordy walked over and sat next to him putting her hand over his noticing that he also had tears in his eyes.

"Hey broody boy don't be sad this means that the kid with the attitude loves you and cares what you think. That's a reason for a party, not sadness Angel."

The vampire nodded his head and a soft smile came to his face. "I guess it is, isn't it Cor?"

She responded by nodding her head and then placing a warm kiss on his cool lips. And as they embraced she saw the first genuine wide smile that she has seen in a while.

As suddenly as the smile came it was gone again. "What is it now Angel?" she asked sensing his sudden despair.

"I'm still going to have to spank him Cordy. And maybe I still should think about whether or not it's safe for him to be going out on calls with us." Cordelia's happy expression disappeared as she listened to what the vampire had said.

"Well that's true sort- of." Angel looked at her with a puzzled expression.

"How do you sort- of spank someone Cordelia?"

As his gaze fell to the beautiful brunette at his side he was again surprised to find a huge smile on her face. "Look, this just means that he is finally getting with the program and responding to the whole 'I'm the Dad and you're the son' thing. The fact that he actually is worried that you are mad at him because of what he did is a huge step. And if that wasn't enough add to that the fact that he just admitted that he cares what you think. Huge, just huge."

Angel shook his head in agreement but continued to look unhappy. "That's the reason I can't just let this go. Conner is finally responding to the situation. He has to understand that I mean what I say and when I say there will be consequences there will be. He has to be able to trust me to keep my word, even if it's about something as unpleasant as being punished."

Suddenly the vampire found himself with a lapful of seer. She wrapped her arms around his neck and placed her head on his shoulder. "So then go ahead and punish him just go a little easier than usual. And maybe ground him from going out with us for a couple of weeks until you see how he's behaving."

The vampire pulled his face back to look into her eyes. "Ground him Cordy? Like you can't go to the mall you're grounded?"

Cordelia actually laughed at the perplexed look on his face. "Oh my God a teenager getting grounded, who ever would a thunk it?"

Angel dropped his eyes and Cordelia lifted his chin so that they were eye to eye. "Normal stuff Angel. Being grounded is an excellent way to make a teen stop and think about the choices that she has made. I mean he…"

Angel actually smiled at Cordelia's slip and thought about what a handful she must have been. He had known her back in her Sunnydale High days and he could easily remember just how bad her attitude had been back then. He realized that he could even remember how dangerously defiant she was in those days. He smiled yet again at the thought that she was probably a pretty good advisor about this situation due to all that, because she certainly had changed completely since then.

"And just what is the silly grin on your face all about Angel?"

He looked again at the beautiful woman on his lap. "I was just thinking that back in your Sunnydale glory days that you could have benefited from a good spanking too. You and Connor have more in common than I realized."

For a moment Cordelia was too stunned to speak. "That is just so funny old man, but this isn't about me it's about Connor and I did not need a spanking."

With a twinkle in his eye Angel just couldn't stop himself from asking "Then or now Cor?"

With all the regal bearing that she possessed Cordelia lifted herself off of Angel's lap and stood in front of him. "Try it vampire and you'll be dust bunnies before you can say 'This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you'."

Even though she said it in a very menacing voice Angel threw back his head and laughed, knowing that would just make the situation worse but unable to stop himself.

Cordelia saw Angel laugh like this so infrequently that she had to fight to keep the smile from her own face. And then there was the fact that what he had just said was true. But her father (unlike Angel) had been too busy living his own life to have any time for her. He was never there to guide her or even to celebrate her achievements. So it made sense that seeing Angel make things right with Connor was also helping to heal some deep part of her. She also realized that she was playing the role of the mother in this little drama and that was something that she actually was very happy about.

Because of her own upbringing she knew that Connor both wanted and needed Angel to set rules and see that there were consequences to those rules. She knew that more than anything Connor just wanted his father's love and approval, even if he wasn't ready yet to admit that. And she also knew that Angel was a good father who wanted nothing more than to give his son all the tools that he needed to get along in this world.

Angel stood up and put his arms around her. "Believe me Cor I wouldn't say that because it would definitely hurt you more than me."

She gave him the Cordelia Chase glare and this time he actually was able to hold back the laugh that he was struggling with. "Don't be mad at me Cordelia please?"

He gave her the sad look which involved using his puppy dog eyes which she could never resist. "How could I ever stay mad at you Angel?"

She returned his hug and kissed him again, realizing that she loved this man more than anyone in her life-ever.

The vampire knew that his son was probably feeling anxious and had never had to wait for a spanking before. And knowing this he didn't want to prolong the situation for Connor. Even though he knew that his son did indeed deserve to be punished he didn't want it to be any worse than it had to be for the boy. The fact that his son was finally starting to respond to him was a gift that he thought he might not ever receive.

He gave Cordelia one final kiss and listened as she whispered that she loved him into his ear. He walked slowly up the stairs to Connor's room and standing at the doorway could actually hear Connor's heart beat. He knew that he had been right about his son being anxious, because the boy's heart beat was much faster than usual. Hating what he knew that he had to do he softly knocked on the door and pushed it open.

Connor was standing by the window looking panicked when Angel entered the room. "You're not planning on jumping are you? Even with your abilities I don't think you could make it."

Connor turned to look at his father with his usual smirk back in place and replied "Sure I could."

Angel shook his head again "I don't think so Connor."

Connor not understanding where this was headed took the bait. "It's not like I haven't done it before anyway. And I never got hurt then."

As soon as he said it Connor realized what he had just admitted to and softly cursed another thing which his father's excellent hearing didn't miss. "I thought you had figured out and accepted what happens when you break the rules. And if I remember correctly those rules involve not sneaking out, and especially not climbing out your window and down the side of a building."

Angel noticed that his son had still not said anything and he continued to question him. "When was this Connor? Has it happened again recently? Are you still hunting by yourself at night?"

He saw that the teen suddenly looked pale and he wondered if the boy had indeed been hunting alone. He hoped and prayed that that wasn't the case because then he would definitely need to be hard on the boy.

Connor still hadn't answered his father and Angel walked to where he was standing and lifted his chin up and looked into his very blue eyes. He was surprised to see tears there and something else that he couldn't define. "Just go ahead and beat me then, what does it matter when I did it? If I said I hadn't done it again since the last time you…. Well you wouldn't believe me anyway. So go ahead and make yourself feel better and do it."

The tears, which the teen had been struggling against, were now coursing down his face. Angel realized too late what he had seen in Connor's eyes before. It had been betrayal, and knowing how Holtz had lied to and manipulated the boy he was not surprised to find that Connor naturally assumed that he would do something similar. The vampire knew that there was nothing more important than making his son understand that even though the teen made mistakes that he was still trusted and loved. He needed Connor to understand that he was not Holtz and would never be anything but consistent with his son.

The first thing that he needed to do was to hug the obviously upset and frightened boy. As he reached for Connor he wasn't surprised when the boy reacted in fear. "It's all right son, I only want to hug you."

Connor looked as if he didn't quite understand it but to his credit he didn't fight his father's embrace. And after a moment he actually hugged back.

When he could feel his son begin to fidget a bit Angel released him and walked over to the desk where he put the chair in the center of the room close to the bed. Connor's heart rate again picked up as he knew that this was how it always started when his dad punished him. Angel sat down and instructed Connor to sit down as well on the bed.

The vampire could see the puzzled expression on the boy's face and just nodded his head. After Connor was seated Angel began what he knew to be a very important talk.

"There are a lot of things that we need to discuss, you and I. First of all a spanking is not the same thing as a beating. You know I would never beat you Connor. Then there's the whole disobeying my orders in a fight situation and almost getting yourself killed. That we will discuss in some length- with my hand on your butt." Connor swallowed hard at this pronouncement even though he had known it was coming.

"You can't be surprised about that because I promised you exactly that if you disobeyed me on a call again." While he looked very unhappy Connor nodded knowing this to be true.

"And then there is the issue about your going out the window. I want an answer about when the last time you did that was. I also want to know if you're going out hunting alone again and I want the truth. If you're doing these things there will be unpleasant consequences for you to face."

Connor still had not spoken or answered any of the questions that his father had posed to him. "So far you have been doing much better in all areas. And you haven't lied to me for a while now; you have even told me the truth at times when lying would have made things easier for you. I will believe what ever you tell me about hunting alone. But make no mistake, if it isn't the truth, and I find out later, it will be a much harder punishment than what you would get now. When was the last time that you climbed out that window and are you going out hunting alone?"

Connor looked at his father with a very pained expression on his face. Angel was holding his breath waiting for the answer and hoping that the last spanking he had given Connor for sneaking out had been hard enough to keep him from trying it again. "I haven't snuck out since the last time you punished me. And I haven't been hunting alone either."

Angel knew his son was telling him the truth because he could see it on the boy's face and he just held his breath praying for Connor to continue to open up to him. He could also see his son struggling with whatever he wanted to say next. "Fath…I mean Holtz never cared if I fought alone or went out after he was asleep. I don't think he ever worried about me like that. But I know that you and Cordy do…so I'm trying to obey the rules. That and the fact that I really hate it when you….well you know your hand and my butt. I know I'm the Destroyer and all- but it hurts, and it makes me feel bad."

Inside Angel was giddy with happiness that his son realized that he and Cordy loved him and worried about him. Clearly Connor was also beginning to comprehend that Holtz left some huge gaps in the whole fatherhood thing. And lastly he was delighted to realize that he had found a manner of punishment that Connor truly didn't like and would do what was asked of him to avoid. Hopefully he would be able to add a second and not so dramatic punishment to the list of things Connor wanted to steer clear of.

Angel stood up and walked over to where Connor was sitting and pulled into a hug. "Thank you son for not sneaking out and going hunting alone and following the rules. I appreciate it that you don't want to worry Cordy or me. I'm glad that you're making progress here and I'm proud of you for all your efforts."

Connor returned his father's hug and after another small squeeze he let go of his son.

"Now let's talk about what happened tonight." Connor dropped his head down and stared at his shoes again.

For the second time Angel lifted Connor's chin up so that he was looking into his eyes. "Do you have anything to say about what happened tonight son?"

Connor took a deep breath and shook his head no.

"You should know by now that you can talk to me about anything. I am not afraid to hear what you think about things. It might not change anything but I still would like to know how you feel." Connor seemed to be somewhat puzzled about this but Angel could see that he was struggling with making an attempt to do what was asked of him.

"I was just going on instinct and I didn't realize until it was too late that I should not have just rushed in. As soon as I saw your face I knew that I had made a mistake, both because I could have been hurt and because I broke the rules. Sometimes it's hard for me to remember to not fight the same way I had to in Quor-Toth. I know that's no excuse…"
Again Connor dropped his head and seemed to find the floor very interesting.

Now Angel actually felt sick about having to punish his son but he was glad that at least he knew that this was a problem for the teen. Because now that he knew he could help him to overcome it. The vampire knew that there was no reason to prolong it any more.
He walked back over to the chair and sat down in it and motioned for Connor to come to him.

Connor walked to his father with tears already in his eyes, wishing that he had just listened to what he was told and this wouldn't be happening- again. Angel was wishing precisely the same thing but he knew that his strong willed child needed to know that if he broke the rules that this is exactly where he would end up. He grasped the teens arm and pulled him across his lap raising his leg a little so that "The Destroyers" bottom was in an excellent position to receive what they both knew he had coming.

Angel got a good grip on the boy's waist and raised his right hand and brought it down hard on the appropriate spot. He began to alternate side to side and his hand was large enough that it almost covered Connor's backside entirely. He could feel Connor begin to thrash about under his hand as the swats began to build up some heat. And not wanting to but knowing that he needed to he increased the strength of the swats. Connor responded immediately by putting his hand back to try and cover his behind.

The vampire held the boy's hand out of the way and continued to place stinging smacks onto the teen's vulnerable behind. Knowing that his son had an unusually high pain tolerance he administered four very hard smacks to the under curve of his behind and was not surprised to hear the teen begin to sob. He continued to spank for a little longer and Connor struggled trying to avoid the hard hand that was punishing him. Finally after what seemed to long a time for both father and son Angel stopped.

"You will do as I tell you to do when we are out on a call and not put your life in danger." With this pronouncement the vampire gave the teen six very hard smacks and he felt Connor just give in and wail across his lap. He knew that the boy had had enough.

He began to rub his back and neck and just let him remain in the bent over position and cry. While he knew that it had hurt he also knew that it was the easiest spanking that he had given Connor so far. Very soon Connor had gotten the crying under control and Angel helped him to his feet. Immediately Connor reached around to rub the sting out but it didn't seem to be helping. Without so much as a word Angel pulled Connor back down onto his lap in another hug.

He knew that it must of hurt Connor's punished behind but to Angel's surprise the boy didn't fight the position. "Now we need to talk about the rest of your punishment son."

Connor immediately began to struggle and managed to get off of Angel's lap only to be rewarded with another swat. "Sit back down here Connor, it isn't more spanking."

He pulled the boy back onto his lap and didn't give him a chance to resist.

"Now, because you seem to be having a hard time with adjusting to fighting in a team environment you will be grounded from going on calls for two weeks. And we will all be working with you to help you get the idea of how we fight together. But make no mistake you will not be going out on us with any calls for the next two weeks- because you are grounded."

Angel didn't ever think he had seen Connor's eyes so wide. "But that's not fair, you just punished me. How am I ever going to learn if you don't let me go with you? That's just cruel to make me stay here, and did I just say you already punished me? How is that fair Dad?"

Angel fought back a smile at the fact that Connor did sound a lot like any other grounded normal teen.

"The spanking that you just got was for putting your life in danger. Being grounded is going to help you remember that you need to make some changes in the way you fight and the way you think about fighting. I'm sorry that you don't think it's fair but the punishment still stands. And if you go out fighting alone any time while you're grounded I probably don't need to tell you what will happen when you come home. And believe me that one will make this one look like a few love pats."

Connor turned a furious gaze his father's way "So it's not like I have a choice here is it?"

Angel shook his head to indicate that what Connor had just said was true. "Well then this just sucks, and you suck too."

The teen again tried to get off of his father's lap and was yet again rewarded with a swat on the behind. "Sit down now."

Angel could see that Connor didn't miss the warning in his tone and he did as he was told. And although he was for all intents and purposes still sitting on his father's lap he pulled as far away as he could. "So much for your caring what I think huh Dad?"

Connor asked the question in the hateful sarcastic voice that Angel hadn't heard for a while. "Contrary to what you just said I do care what you think and how you feel. I believe that this way you received an appropriate amount of punishment for tonight and then two weeks to think about and make changes in the way you approach fighting as a member of a team."

Connor still was glaring hatefully at his father.

"But if that truly bothers you so much, maybe we can do it another way."

Connor turned to look closer at his father with the detested sneer once again on his face. Before he had a chance to even think about it Angel had flipped him back over his knees again. The vampire rested a cool hand on his son's still very warm behind and said "Since you think I'm being so unfair and uncaring I guess we will just change your being grounded to another spanking. Only this time the jeans are coming down."

Connor immediately began to struggle but was no match for the strength his father possessed. "Noooooooo please Dad! I'm sorry, I'll be grounded, I do need time to think about being a part of the team- please don't spank me again."

Angel acted as if he still wasn't convinced. "I don't know Connor do you think you can just accept being grounded without being hateful and disrespectful to me about it?"

While he was talking to Connor in a low and calm voice his hand was still resting on the teen's so recently punished bottom.

"Yes sir, I'm sorry I can accept it- I didn't mean to be disrespectful to you. I know that you care what I think. Please Dad I'll try harder, I promise just don't"

Angel couldn't hear the rest of what Connor said because he began crying again and the vampire pulled him back onto his feet and wrapped him in a large hug. "It's okay son we'll just go with being grounded for two weeks then. I'm really not trying to make your life miserable; I love you and couldn't bear it if anything happened to you. This is just an important lesson."

Angel was relieved to feel Connor hugging him back. "After the two weeks I can start coming with everyone again though right?"

Angel looked sternly at his son. "If you prove that you can work in a team with everyone."

Connor frowned but nodded is head that he understood. But Angel wasn't finished with him yet. "And if you prove that you will listen to what I tell you when were in a fighting situation."

Connor looked dejectedly at the floor. "Great in that case I'll be here and grounded until I'm as old as you are."

Angel was so delighted that Connor had actually made an attempt at humor that he didn't fight the huge smile that crept across his face. Connor wasn't sharing his joy however. "Don't worry we will use these two weeks to work on all of that. Hopefully by the end of your being grounded you'll have a handle on it."

Angel noticed that his son still didn't look too convinced. "Gee who ever would have thought that the spanking part would have been my favorite part of being punished?"

The vampire was amused but continued to play the part of the stern father. "Punishment isn't supposed to be fun Connor otherwise it wouldn't work too well."

He gave his son another hug and was so glad that they had come far enough that the boy no longer resisted affection.

He helped Connor to his feet and stood up himself putting a hand on Connor's shoulder. "Get ready for bed now and Cordy and I will come by later to say goodnight."

For once the boy started to do what he was told without a fight and Angel was grateful and happy with the progress they were making. He noticed that Connor took a moment and rubbed his behind but other than that he didn't seem to be suffering any ill effects from being spanked again.

Angel quietly closed the door and went downstairs to his office. He knew that Cordelia had some paperwork that she wanted to get done and he figured that was where she would be. He smiled again at the thought of his beautiful Pylean Princess. Maybe it was because she had been his best friend before she became his love, or maybe it was because he had loved her from afar for so long before she became his. But either way in all the years of his long un-life he had never loved anyone with the intensity that he felt for her.

And even if he hadn't of loved her when Connor came along that would have been the catalyst for what he was feeling. She had been a mother to his son in all ways and especially during the hardest of times she always seemed to know what the best way to handle both Connor and his problems would be. And together they were such a good team, when he needed to be hard on the boy she would be a soft place for him to fall. And he had seen many instances where she was tough on the boy like tonight. They were both lucky to have her in their lives.

As he approached his office he could see that the door had been left open and she was indeed at his desk. She had pulled her hair back into a pony tail and was twirling a strand that had escaped around her finger. Recently she had let her hair go back to its natural deep chestnut color and he was so glad. And it was beginning to get longer it was already a bit past her shoulders. He stood captivated by the very sight of her.

He never knew if she appealed more to his eyes or his heart. And there was no denying that fact that she elicited a very definite response in other area's of his body as well.
She caught sight of him standing there and staring at her and she smiled a smile so wide and beautiful for a moment he was dumbfounded. She stood up and walked to him with a feline grace that he knew few women possess.

"Well don't just stand there tell me how it went with Connor?" His conscious mind heard what she had said but he was still caught up in her sun kissed beauty and he reached over and opened the clip which held her hair back. Taking his hands he threaded his fingers through her beautiful dark locks and pulled her face towards him for a scorching kiss.

She responded as she always did and for the first time tonight he completely forgot about anything but the beautiful woman in his arms. He was brought out of his daze when she smacked him on the arm. "Tell me about Connor now Angel!"

As if the smack wasn't enough she stomped her foot and crossed her arms. Neither one of which was a good sign. He gave himself a mental shake and told her.

"Not much to tell, I spanked and then grounded him. He was not too happy with either one but I think he was most upset about being grounded. I don't think I would have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. He has been grounded a lot of times since he's been back but it never upset him like this."

Cordelia responded with a very indelicate snort and Angel looked at her clearly puzzled. "Of course he's upset about it all the other times he defied you and went out anyway. This is the first time that he's been grounded since you started your new policy."

The vampire still didn't comprehend what she was saying. "You know all the other times he was grounded it was during his 'I'll do whatever it takes to piss off Angel' phase."

Again Angel found himself smiling at Cordelia's perspective about his life, and he couldn't resist asking what phase Connor was in now. "Why that's easy, he is in his 'Anything it takes to keep Dad from making with the smack, smack on my butt' phase."

Angel laughed but realized that what she had just said was indeed true.

She suddenly became very serious. "But he is okay right?"

Angel nodded his head and explained "I told him that we would work with him while he's grounded to help him become more familiar with the team concept of fighting. He even made a joke about being grounded until he's as old as I am before he gets the idea of team fighting down."

Cordelia beamed at him again and he swore that if his heart were beating that smile would have stopped it.

"I also told him that we would come up and tell him goodnight. I was glad that I didn't have to be so hard with the spanking thing this time."

He could feel Cordy rubbing her hands up and down his arms. "I'll bet he was glad of that very same thing. Last time it sounded as if you were killing him."

Angel just looked at the beauty in his arms. "So then can we get back to the place where I was kissing you and you were kissing me?"

She again gave him a wide smile. "You vampire, have a totally one track mind."

But in contrast to what she had said she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled his face down to meet hers in a sizzling kiss. Neither one of them heard the front door open nor Fred, Loren and Gunn enter. "Oh look isn't that just the sweetest thing you ever saw?"

Hearing Fred's voice the lovers pulled away from each other. Angel kept his hand protectively on the small of Cordelia's back and propelled her into the lobby where everyone else was standing.

Gunn stepped forward and asked Angel in a very serious voice how Connor was doing. Cordelia smiled at Gunn knowing that even though he might have a tough exterior that he was a softy inside. Seeing the expression on Cordelia's face Gunn began shaking his head. "Look Barbie I know that I ain't exactly been the kid's biggest fan, but even I have to say that he's been workin hard to change. And from the way it sounds when he's getting his butt beat I'm thinking it might not be any fun. I was just making sure that the boy is okay."

They all continued to look at Gunn and he finally gave in holding up his hands in surrender. "Okay, okay I admit it- the kid has kinda grown on me and I don't like it when Angel punishes him."

Both Fred and Loren nodded their heads also. "Look Angel cake you know that I love you, but it kills me when you go all Ward Cleaver on the Beav. I would rather be anywhere but at the hotel while that's the main happening thing around here. Well anywhere in this dimension any way."

Angel turned to Fred who was the only one who hadn't voiced an opinion yet. "Ya'll know how I feel about Connor. He had a rough time adjusting and all but he is turning out to be a great kid. I know that you have to be the dad it's just hard to listen too. It didn't seem so hard in the beginning when he was such a brat, but now it's different. And did I mention that I really like the kid?"

Angel and Cordelia shared a smile and the vampire thought about how great it was that his friends all care about his son and can see past the tough beginning that he had. "Well I spanked him but I also grounded him for two weeks in which time I hope we can all teach him a little bit about the concept of team fighting. And I also am hoping that soon when he needs to be punished I can just ground him."

Cordelia couldn't resist adding her own two cents. "Yea he's finally getting the concept of Angel loving him and being there for both love and discipline. If he had been a normal person he might have caught on earlier but we are talking about Angel's son. Of all the things he inherited from dear old dad stubborn was way at the top of the list."

Angel gave his beloved an amused look and asked if she was quite through yet.

"Yep, I think that about covers it all –no wait there's the whole dorky thing and then the tight with a buck thing and…."

Cordelia screeched as Angel rushed towards her and picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. Climbing the stairs he with her in this position he told everyone good night. At the landing he turned and asked Fred "has Cordelia put on some weight lately she seems kinda heavy?"

Three sets of eyes widened in amazement that Angel had actually just said that to Cordelia. "Put me down you big, dumb, lumbering oaf!"

Now Angel was actually humming a snappy little tune as he continued to climb the stairs.

Fred yelled goodnight to Angel and Cordelia and turned to Gunn with a worried look on her face. "And maybe goodbye, cause when he puts her down she's gonna kill him- again."

Gunn whistled "man is either braver than hell or stupid."

Loren laughed and looked at Fred "put me down for the last choice okay cupcake?"

They were all still laughing as they climbed the stairs to go to their rooms.

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