Angel and Connor's New Relationship Ch 2

Connor pushed the window open from the outside and climbed into his room only to land in an undignified heap on the floor. He stayed that way for a moment or two just to catch his breath. Even though he had some superhuman abilities, climbing up the side of a building and into his room wasn't an easy thing for him to do. But this was one of those situations where there really wasn't a choice.

He stood up and dusted his clothing off and sighed thinking about his dad. He knew without any doubt just what would happen if Angel had known about what he had just done. Not only had he snuck out, but he had also lied when he told Cordy and Angel that he was tired and was going to bed early. So he hadn't broken just one rule he had managed to break two, and possibly even more.

As afraid as he had been to go out tonight there had been no alternative. So he had arranged his pillows under the covers of his bed so that it looked as if he were in it. Only then had he carefully climbed out the window and down the side of the building. This maneuver was the exact opposite of what he had just done to get back in.

Connor was very unsure about what he was going to do about the problem he had just tried to solve. But he knew one thing for sure- his father could never know about what he had just done. Because tonight's events had been arranged by Justine. On her demand Connor had just risked life and limb to climb out the window. After what she and Connor had cooked up for Angel last summer the boy doubted that his dad would be in an understanding mood about his nighttime companion.

The last time Connor had been involved with Justine it had ended in Angel's being sent to the bottom of the sea in a metal coffin. Admittedly by his own plan and due to his hatred of the father he didn't know. Wesley had rescued the vampire and he had then thrown the teen out for a while. But Connor had run into some real trouble on the streets when the demon populace had found out who and what he was.

Angel had stepped in and brought the boy home. And Connor had had some hard adjustments to make since then. For one thing Angel told the boy that he was going to be a father to him in all capacities. He would not be allowed to go hunting by himself and he could not come and go as he pleased. Connor responded to Angel's authority by breaking both of these rules as often as he could.

And like any father Angel had tried to enforce these rules. He had frequently grounded Connor and given him lectures about consequences and the like. It particularly pleased Connor to go right back out and do the same thing that Angel had grounded him for, while he was still grounded. He also often heard Cordelia tell Angel that he needed to "do something" about his behavior. This never failed to make him smile.

They had gone along like this for several months with Connor becoming more and more comfortable with his defiance. And then had come the day when he had snuck out of the hotel and upon his return his father (still hard to think of him like that) had grounded him. He had listened to the speech and then said, "Yeah whatever I'm going to bed now." and he had gone to bed.

The very next evening as he liked to do especially when he was grounded he snuck out again. And not only did he know that Angel and his crew were looking for him; he managed to avoid them all together, and continued to hunt vampires alone. Finally at three a.m., he came home walking right through the front doors, uncaring if his father were awake or not.

He frowned as he remembered what had happened that night, his father was indeed still awake and waiting for him as was Cordelia. As he knew they had spend the entire evening searching for him. Apparently Angel had sent the rest of the crew to bed so that he and Cordelia and Connor could have some privacy. Connor understood much better later why Angel had done that.

Basically he told Connor that they were going to act like father and son and that they would be no more fighting. Then Angel had taken him to his room where he had given him the worst spanking of his life. It had infuriated and surprised the boy how Angel had just thrown him across his lap as if he were a mere child.

Angel had an iron grip on his waist and began administering hard and fast swats to Connor's behind. The teen had struggled and fought but simply could not escape his fathers punishing hand. He made up his mind that he would not cry. Holtz had always taught him that men do not cry that it is a sign of weakness. And he would not be weak in front of Angel.

Finally the punishment stopped and Connor just knew that he had won. This father that he did not know but yet hated had not broken him. He was horrified when Angel then reached under his stomach and unbuttoned his jeans. In very short order his father had taken down his clothing and now there was nothing between his bottom and Angel's very hard hand. And the spanking resumed.

Connor tried to resist crying as before, but the continued blistering smacks on his bare behind left him little choice. And as he cried, Angel alternated between smacking and lecturing. Connor would have agreed to anything just to get his father to stop. The fire on his behind was growing to be a living, breathing thing.

Finally he received three hard swats for sneaking out and three for going hunting alone and then three awful swats for lying. But still his father was not done. He finished with five more for Connors fighting him and when it was done all Connor could do was lay across his lap and sob. He knew his father was rubbing his back and shoulders but all he could do was feel. So much so that he was overcome by emotions.

Much to his surprise Angel stood him up, helped him adjust his clothing and settled him on his lap. Even though the contact with his sore bottom hurt, the embrace actually felt good. He thought it was odd to be sitting on Angel's lap, but the constant rubbing of his neck and shoulders felt so good. The vampire changed his position and then Connor had found himself leaning into Angel's broad chest for comfort.

Angel continued the lecture while Connor was on his lap. He explained what he had done to earn this punishment and what would happen if he continued his bad behavior.
Connor was very surprised when he looked into Angel's face to see tears there. He would have thought that the vampire would have enjoyed punishing him, but for some reason that did not seem to be the case.

When Connor had been in Quor-Toth with Holtz he had been punished many times for various things. Usually disobedience earned him a whipping. Or on occasion it was insolence that got him into trouble. Because there as well as here, he often had a problem with defiance. But the whippings he received from Holtz were nothing like this "spanking" from Angel. For one thing Holtz never seemed to feel bad about punishing him and certainly never had tears on his face.

And while Holtz was a harsh man he never punished Connor with the intensity that he had received tonight. Connor knew beyond any doubt that his father would not hesitate to punish him again like this or worse if he didn't stop breaking the rules. He made himself a promise then and there that he would do what it took so that he didn't find himself in this position again. He had hated this punishment, but he also knew that he had deserved it richly.

He must have fallen asleep on his father's lap, because he awoke the next morning in his bed with the blanket over him. He also noticed that someone had taken his shoes off, and that also puzzled him. He had rolled over onto his back and gasped as he was reminded of how hard his father had been with him. He spent the next few days doing a lot of standing.

Connor was never sure what had changed that night but something had. He began to think that Angel did care for him and he found himself not fighting the rules so often. He knew that while the spanking had hurt badly it had had somewhat of a cleansing effect on him. And now he knew without a doubt exactly what the rules and the consequences for breaking the rules were.

He noticed that Angel was also acting differently. He seemed much more comfortable with Connor. And much to the teen's dismay he now often hugged him or kissed him for almost no reason. He often put his large hands on Connor's shoulders and gave him a squeeze, which never failed to remind the teen of the night of his spanking.

If truth were to be told Connor actually had developed some respect for his father. And he and his dad were both trying to figure each other out. From time to time they went out to the movie and for pizza with Cordelia. And once in a while they actually shared a laugh about one thing or another. The times of conflict were becoming fewer and fewer.

Connor would never forget Holtz or his past but his feelings were changing. He was smart enough to know that there was much he did not yet know about his father. And while he hated Angelus with a passion he had begun to distinguish the difference between his father and his alter-ego. He and his father had talked about it all many times and he now knew that he could ask any question and get an honest answer. The stories scared and horrified him but he respected Angel for being honest with him.

But then this problem had come up, and with it the question of what would he do now? He was just thankful to have managed to do this tonight without Angel knowing. Things were finally starting to be good between them and much to his surprise Connor did not want that to change. Even as much as he didn't ever want another of Angel's spankings.

Connor walked towards the center of the room and what he saw there all but stopped his heart. There leaning against the wall with his arms crossed was his father. And from the look on his face Connor could tell that he had been there for some time and was far from happy.

"Angel, what are you doing here?" the nervous teen asked.

"Watching my son risk his life to climb into his window, at what time is it now Connor?" Angel replied in an angry voice.

Connor looked at his watch and back into the face of his very furious father, but still did not answer. "You do remember how to tell time don't you, little boy?" The teen knew from experience that being called "little boy" was never a good sign.

"Answer me son because you don't want to make this any worse than it is now. Believe me it's pretty bad already."

Connor answered the question in a voice stronger than he felt. "It's two thirty."

Angel stepped toward Connor and took a hold of his shoulders giving him a little shake. "Have you already forgotten what I told you would happen again if you broke the rules boyo? I am so disappointed in you."

Connor was amazed to find that it hurt to hear Angel say he was disappointed. When had he begun to care what this father thought? And suddenly he found himself angry too.
"How could you think I would forget about your rules and what happens when I break them?"

The teen physically pulled out of his father's grasp and sat down on his bed putting his head in his hands. Angel walked over to him and began to question his son.

"Then why would you sneak out in the middle of the night and risk your life to do so?
You knew I would check on you, otherwise you wouldn't have bothered to arrange your bed so that it looked as if you were in it. Very clever by the way, but you forgot one small thing. I always listen for your heartbeat, a sound that I didn't hear tonight. That was a big clue that you weren't here."

Connor was thinking that he must be slipping to forget that detail and he was beginning to wish that his father would just get the inevitable over with. "So tell me Connor what was so important that you would deceive and disobey me and risk getting your behind blistered again over?"

Just hearing Angel actually say it made Connor's stomach lurch and he dropped his head to hide the unexpected tears that came to his eyes.

Angel reached down and lifted Connor's chin up so that he could look into Connor's eyes. If his father was surprised to see the tears he didn't say anything. "I thought we were doing so much better son. I thought that we were at least beginning to trust each other a little bit."

Angel sounded so sad when he said that that Connor was overcome with guilt on top of everything else. "Talk to me Connor."

Connor actually would have liked nothing better than to talk to Angel about all of this but he knew that he never could. He had gotten himself into this and he would just accept whatever punishment it took to get out of it. But he was also worried about how he was going to fulfill his part of the deal with Justine now.

"I'm sorry, but I can't. Just go ahead and punish me." Connor tried to make this sound defiant but it only came out sounding insincere. He could see his father looking him over closely to see if he meant what he just said. And unfortunately the teen got the idea that his dad was becoming more suspicious by the moment.

"Connor, remember when I spanked you and after it was all said and done I said I just wanted to keep you safe?" Connor remembered that very well and he nodded his head yes.

"Well I can't do that if you won't trust me enough to tell me what's going on in your life."

Connor wished he could but he knew that he couldn't. "No, I won't."

He stood up and took a poorly aimed swing at his dad, knowing that fighting would do the trick. He wanted to just get it over with and avoid any more questions about tonight.

Angel easily sidestepped the punch and shook his head. "I don't know why you seem to want another spanking son but I'm beginning to think that it may be necessary."

He walked over and pulled out the chair to Connor's desk and sat down. Connor could feel his heart pounding in his chest and he felt like he might just be sick. Angel motioned for his son to come over to where he was sitting and the teen walked over as slowly as he could. Suddenly Connor questioned whether this was such a good solution to the problem.

Before he got to his father there was a loud and frantic knock on the door. Connor heard Gunn calling for Angel and he opened the door.

"Angel- Cordy vision dude." was all that he shouted and both Angel and Connor took off running behind him. They got to the lobby and found Cordy sitting on the round couch with her head in her hands. Fred was sitting next to her rubbing her shoulders.

Angel dropped down next to her and pulled her into an embrace. "Baby, are you all right?" he worriedly asked.

She nodded her head yes, still trying to get her breath back. Fred started talking clearly upset, "Thank god we were here, we were just coming down for a snack because we were watching an old movie, a really lousy old movie about believe it or not vampires, it was so not true and"

"Fred we've got it thanks. I want to know more about her vision." The agitated vampire turned back towards Cordelia. "Can you tell me sweetheart?"

"There was a ring and demons fighting demons and there was a girl taken hostage as a prize for one of the demons and betting was going on. The demon is going to win Angel and he's gonna kill that girl."

Cordelia looked up at Connor and back to Angel. "Connor could you get me a drink of water please honey?"

Connor walked into the kitchen to do as Cordelia had asked. One of the inherited traits that Connor received from his parentage was his excellent hearing. So even though Cordy thought he was out of range he heard when she told his father that she had seen Justine in her vision and that the demons had mentioned the "Destroyer". He shook his head unable to believe his rotten luck. He thought for a moment about running away again but was surprised to find he didn't want to leave anymore. But he also knew that he couldn't tell anyone the truth.

He walked back into the lobby where Angel, Gunn and Fred were getting ready to leave. He handed Cordelia her water and turned to find himself face to face with Angel.
"I want you to stay here and take care of Cordy. Do you understand me?"

Connor would not meet his father's eyes and Angel once again lifted his chin up. "Can I trust you to take care of her for me?"

As much as he was afraid to stay he shook his head indicating that he would. "When I come home little boy you and I are still going to have a long discussion about some things."

Connor just nodded his head again and sat down on the couch next to Cordy. Angel bent down and placed a soft kiss on Cordelia's lips.

She waved him off with "Girl, demon, murder go, go, go." Angel smiled as he walked out the door and Connor heard him muttering something about "women" under his breath.

Connor turned his gaze back in Cordelia's direction and found her staring intently at him. "So when did you climb back into your window?"

Connor looked down at the floor knowing that he would only make it worse by not answering the question. "About two – thirty." The teen found himself again on the receiving end of an intent stare.

"Well you seem to be sitting pretty good so either you resolved things or my vision interrupted whatever was going on between you and your father."

Connor replied in a very despondent voice "The second one."

Cordelia responded by putting her arm around the boy and hugging him. "What I don't get is why would you be doing this stuff again. Things seemed to be finally starting to work out. Were you unhappy with that?"

Connor could tell from her voice that she too was disappointed in him and once again he dropped his head. He felt her arms around him again and this time she was holding him in a tight embrace. "Connor, please tell me what's going on. If it's making you this miserable and you won't talk to your dad then please talk to me."

The teen wanted so badly to tell her but he knew that she would go right to his dad with the information. "I'll tell you Cordy but you have to promise me that you won't tell dad."

Cordelia knew that it was important that Angel know exactly what was going on in Connor's life but she thought that right now Connor needed her. "I promise not to tell him."

Connor knew that he could trust Cordy's word and so he took a deep breath and started. "Do you remember two weeks ago when we fought that pack of vampires in the cemetery?"

Cordy nodded that she did. "Well I was back by the mausoleum and I felt someone pull me in. I thought it was more vampires and I wish now it had been."

"Who was it Connor?"

Connor took a deep breath because he knew that there was no going back now. "It was Justine."

Cordy shook her head from side to side as if she didn't quite believe what she had just heard. "The same Justine who helped you send your father away for three months on a deep sea adventure."

Connor shook his head yes and Cordelia knowing how fragile the situation was struggled with her anger. "How could you even speak to this woman knowing what she put this family through young man?"

Connor once again dropped his gaze to hide the tears in his eyes. "Because she knows about something I did and she threatened to tell dad about it if I don't do what she wants."

Connor leaned forward and put his head into his hands.

"She's blackmailing you?" Cordy asked in amazement. Connor simply nodded his head yes and Cordy once again wrapped him in a tight hug.

"That bitch, she had better hope Angel finds her before I do."

Connor replied with "I'm so sorry I should have just run away when this all started, but I was hoping that if I did what she wanted she would leave me alone."

Cordy looked into Connor's eyes and said "We will discuss the whole running away and not telling anyone thing in a few minutes, but first I want you to tell me what she has on you. And I want the truth, all of it."

Connor had never had a mother in his life, but he was beginning to think that this must be what it felt like. She reached over and took a hold of his hand trying to make it easier for him.

Connor took a deep breath and started. "When we needed to rent the boat for what I did to dad, we had no money. So she stole money from an old woman who owns a small grocery store. And I helped her."

He felt sick as he admitted it and was filled with both shame and remorse. Cordelia didn't look too pleased as she asked "How much did you take from this woman?"

"I don't know- enough to rent a boat. I didn't know anything about money then, so I don't know how much it was."

"And what did you sneak out to meet her tonight for then?"

Connor explained that there was a place where demons fought demons and people bet on them. He told her that Justine had wanted him to fight tomorrow night and she would place a bet on him. "Because I don't look like a typical demon she thought she could earn a lot of money. And then she would leave town and not tell anyone what I had done. She promised."

"Connor, this woman lied to you and taken advantage of you and now she is trying to blackmail you and you can't believe that she plans on stopping. She will continue with this until your father puts a stop to it. I am certainly not proud of what you did, but you were an innocent in this world. Just as Holtz had manipulated about your father, she also manipulated you to get what she wanted. And now she actually has the nerve to have you lying to Angel and sneaking out to meet her. Oh she is sooo going down."

Connor was confused as to why Cordy was not angry with him too. "You don't understand- I did these things why aren't you mad at me?"

Cordelia stood up and paced back and forth for a moment as if she were trying to get control of her feelings. "If we had been able to make you understand that Angel was not the same person as Angelus maybe we could have avoided a lot of these problems. So I'm gonna give you a little leeway on some of this. Now Buster let's talk about running away."

The teen had a momentary thought that maybe he should have just taken his chances with his father. Looking at Cordy he could see that she was angry and he figured he was about to be on the receiving end of that anger. "You need to understand that if you run away we will find you, bring you home and you will be punished. If you run away ten times we will find you ten times and bring you home ten times. Because you are our son and you belong here with us and that is all there is to it."

Much to his surprise she grasped his face in her hand and placed a kiss on his forehead.
Fighting tears she said, "Do you understand that?"

Feeling ashamed again. he shook his head to indicate that he did understand.

"Your father loves you Connor more than you know. And so do I honey. You need to tell him all of this and let him help you fix it." Connor didn't know if he could do that or not but for her suddenly he wanted to try.

Cordy again hugged the teen and grabbed his hand pulling him to his feet. "Come on sweetie let's go into dad's office and wait on the couch in there, it'll be more comfortable for us both."

Connor followed her into the office wondering what was taking his dad so long. He also wondered if they had run into Justine and what exactly had she told his dad.

Connor knew that when his dad came back he was still going to be punished for sneaking out and lying and maybe for all the other things as well. He had never had to wait for a spanking before and it was sheer torture. Every noise he heard he hoped that it was his father and the gang, and he hoped it wasn't. Finally he closed his eyes for just a second and he felt himself drift off to sleep.

The door to the Hyperion opened and Angel, Fred and Gunn came into the lobby. After putting their weapons away Fred and Gunn went off to their room to bed. Cordelia came out of the office and walked to where Angel was cleaning his sword. She wrapped the vampire in a warm hug and placed a kiss upon his cold lips. He looked at her with the eyes that still melted her heart and asked the big question. "Where is he?"

"He is waiting in your office; he just fell asleep a little while ago. Did you find Justine, and what did she tell you?"

"Yea, I found her alright. She's been blackmailing Connor and she is the reason he snuck out tonight."

Cordy shook her head and said, "I know."

Cordelia then explained to a very confused Angel everything Connor had told her. "That is basically the same story that I got out of Justine. I had her against the wall by her neck and was using my scary face at the time so I figured that it was the truth."

"He was going to run away Angel, but I don't think he wanted to anymore. I got the impression that he kind of likes the way things are now. He is so guilty about the money they stole though. And I still don't know if he is planning on telling you all of this. I tried to get him to confide in you but I think he is still afraid that you will throw him out again."

Cordy was sorry to see that Angel looked like she had struck him with that last comment. Angel walked over to the office door and looked in at his sleeping son. "How am I going to handle this Cor? I want him to understand that rules are rules but some of this was just plain not his fault. And to top it off he would have rather put his life in danger than to just come to me with his problems."

Angel felt his beautiful seer wrap her slender arms around his waist. "I know that you will find the right way to deal with this. You're a great father and you should just follow your instincts. Just let him know that you love him and that nothing will change that. And then if you need to beat his behind a little okay."

The vampire felt a smile come across his face again. Something about this woman just completed who he was. He walked into his office and touched his son gently on the shoulder and as usual Connor leapt to his feet as if he would have to defend himself. "Settle down son, it's just me."

He saw the boy come fully awake and he knew the exact moment when Connor remembered what was coming. He was actually able to see it on his face.

"Come on son let's go back up to your room so that we can talk about tonight."

Connor reluctantly followed his father. He couldn't quite get a handle on his father's mood but he didn't seem as angry as Connor had thought he would be. So maybe he hadn't found Justine. In a way the boy hoped that that was not the case. He was growing tired of secrets and wanted to tell his dad everything. He had told Cordelia and she still seemed to care about him.

As he walked by Cordelia she gave him yet another hug and whispered "I love you, Connor" into his ear. He saw his dad send a look in her direction and again was reminded of how much they loved each other. The teen thought that both he and his dad were lucky to have her in their lives. But he knew that his dad already knew this. And everyone else in the hotel knew it too.

All too quickly they were back in Connor's room and still Angel hadn't said a word to the teen. He sat down on the desk chair again and Connor fought back the feeling of panic. "Will you tell me now son what is going on?"

Connor struggled within himself to try and decide if he could tell his father everything. He wanted to but he just didn't know if he could. He thought about what Cordy had said and he realized that if he chose not to tell Angel everything that there would still be secrets. And she was right about his needing to trust Angel. And it wasn't like he wasn't about to be punished anyway. But what if Angel did something worse to him, like throw him out or beat him up? He didn't think that would happen, but what if it did.

Connor was startled out of his thoughts by Angel's voice asking again to be told the truth. And for whatever reason the teen just decided to tell his father the whole story. He started with the robbery and the blackmail and just told him everything. He could tell by the look on Angel's face that he was not happy about any of it. And Connor felt his heart break a little and he made another decision.

"I'll just leave and then you won't have to worry about throwing me out." He walked over to his dresser and started to put his clothes into the duffel bag that Gunn had bought him. He felt his father's hand on his shoulder and a tear slid down his cheek.

"Did you somehow get the impression that I wanted you to leave son?" the vampire asked in a voice thick with emotion.

Connor just dropped his head and said "Why wouldn't you, I'm just a thief and a liar, and now you know that."

Angel took his son by the arm and led him to the bed where he sat down and sat Connor down as well. "I'm not saying that you made good choices here Connor but a lot of this falls on Justine. She made the decision to rob that woman, not you. And now she is trying to use you again for her own personal gain."

Angel continued "And just like you apparently heard Cordelia tell me that I might; I found Justine tonight when I went to the place in Cordy's vision. She told me exactly the same story that you just told me. She didn't tell me willingly, but she told me all the same. I told her that is she ever came near you again that she would regret it and I meant that Connor. And as far as leaving goes, you're not going anywhere. This is your home and we are your family and we love you. I'm sorry that after your stunt with the boat that I threw you out. That was the wrong way to handle it; I should have just spanked you that night and continued to spank you until you straightened out."

Connor didn't like the sound of that and surprised Angel by saying "Maybe being thrown out wasn't such a bad thing after all."

His father responded by sending one of his rare grins in the teen's direction. "Justine told me how much money was stolen, and where it was taken from. Tomorrow Gunn will take an envelope with that much money plus a little extra for interest and give it to the right person. He will do this without involving you."

Connor sighed in relief, but Angel was not done yet. "But you my son, will work for me making minimum wage until every dime of that money is paid."

Connor nodded in agreement as he didn't think that was so bad. At least he could stop feeling so guilty about it now. He was surprised when his father said, "Don't be too relieved son this isn't over yet. There still is the matter of punishment."

"You put your life in danger tonight to climb both down and back up the side of the building and you lied to both Cordy and me. You also didn't tell us the truth about the night you ran into Justine. And while we're at it there is the fact that you could have told Justine no, I don't want to help you rob this woman. So all things considered not exactly your best decision making little boy."

Connor groaned knowing just where this was heading. Angel stood up and walked back over to the chair and sat down. "C'mon son you know what's coming lets just get it over with."

Connor could feel his heart hammering in his chest and he so did not want this again. But he also knew that this would make everything all right, and he did want things back to normal, and a bigger part of him realized that he deserved it.

As soon as he got close to Angel he felt his father grasp his arm and pull him across his knees. Connor held his breath waiting for Angel to take down his jeans. But to his surprise it didn't happen. All too soon he felt the sting of the first swat, and while it didn't feel good it was not nearly as bad as the last time.

But before too long Angel's swats were beginning to really hurt and Connor found he was unable to stay still. His father got an even tighter grip on his waist and continued to spank. Connor knew that soon he was going to cry and he didn't want to do that. He had hoped to just take this punishment like a man. He fought the tears and tried to just stay still and take the swats. Very soon he found he could do neither.

Angel stopped and rested his hand on his son's well punished behind. He could actually feel the heat radiating off of Connor's backside through his jeans. Not wanting to prolong his son's discomfort any longer than he had too he spoke to the boy.

"This is for putting you life in danger and sneaking out again Connor" and with that he gave the boy five hard swats which made him cry out.

"And this is for going along with Justine's plans- both times" and again he gave his son five more hard swats. Connor was now sobbing because he knew that the whole lying issue was about to be dealt with.

"And these are for lying, which after tonight I hope you won't ever do again" and with that he administered eight extremely hard swats to his son's throbbing behind.

"That's all son, it's over now."

Connor just stayed across his dad's lap and cried for a little while. It was odd because even though his butt felt like it was on fire, he felt better. He knew that it was all over and that both his dad and Cordy would forgive him. He felt Angel pull him to his feet and stand up beside him. He then felt himself being pulled into a large hug. "I love you son, and I'm sorry that was necessary. I forgive you for your mistakes. Believe me you're not the only one to make wrong choices. But you know if I have to repeat this lesson I will right?"

The teen shook his head to indicate that he did understand that. He looked up at his dad with tear filled eyes and said, "I got it no lying, sneaking out and no putting my life at risk and especially no Justine."

He found himself being hugged again. "It sounds to me like you got the point son."

Connor couldn't help but reach behind and rub. It still felt as if there was a fire back there. "It was a hard point to miss especially with the way you delivered it."

The teen was surprised to actually hear his father laugh out loud at that. Angel gave the teen another long hug and said that it was time for them both to try and get some sleep. Angel bent down and unlaced the teen's boots and instructed him to lift up his foot so that he could take them off.

This action triggered another memory in Connor's mind. "Dad, the last time did you take my boots off then too?" he asked.

Angel nodded his head yes that he had. "Why?"

As his father struggled with Connor's other boot he replied "Because I didn't think you would feel like sitting down and taking them off."

The teen appreciated his father's thoughtful action and said as much, which earned him another hug from the father that for so long he thought he hated.

Before he had a chance to think about anything else he felt his dad hand him the sweatpants that he always slept in, and told him to change. He followed his dad's instructions and went into the bathroom and changed and brushed his teeth. When he came back into his room he climbed into bed on his stomach and his father sat down on the bed next to him.

"It's already almost daybreak son try to get some sleep now." Connor felt his dad start rubbing his neck and shoulders and it felt so nice. He could never remember a time when Holtz was affectionate and yet Angel never missed a chance to be demonstrative with him. Connor was beginning to forget why it was that he had hated his father so much. All of the lies that he had been told were just that.

He now knew that this father loved him and wanted him to be happy. And he was genuinely sorry for all the things he had put Angel through. He was beginning to get sleepy and realized that soon he would drift off to sleep. The teen knew that he wanted his father to understand how he felt. He lifted his head off of the pillow. "I'm sorry dad."

Angel told him it was all right that he had been punished and was forgiven.

"No dad, I'm sorry that I never gave you a chance. What I did to you was horrible and you didn't deserve it. I wish I had at least tried to get to know you. Thanks for being so patient with me." Connor looked up to see his dad's eyes filled with tears and then he felt even more ashamed of his behavior.

"Why don't you just punish me again, I deserve it, for what I did." he said in a despondent voice.

"Hey, I decide when you need to be punished and what you need to be punished for. And this doesn't happen to be one of those times. We have a whole new start you and I, and for now what you need to do is go to sleep. I love you buddy. Now close your eyes."
Angel couldn't believe what his son had just confided in him and tears were again streaking down his face.

As he opened the door he heard Connor say in a small voice, "I love you too Dad."

Angel again said goodnight to his son and then quietly closed the door to his room. He leaned against the door and simply allowed the tears to come. He could not have ever hoped that his relationship with Connor would come this far. The vampire felt like the world had been handed to him on a silver platter, and he made a vow to be the kind of man and father that his child deserved. He walked the few steps to his suite and Cordelia.

He knew she was waiting there for him and he hoped that she was asleep. He got an even bigger smile on his face at the thought of his beautiful love waiting in his bed warm and soft and sweet. He opened the door to his room and there she was. She was sitting up in his chair waiting for him. Unlike her Sunnydale days when she was always the fashion plate she was wearing a pair of men's boxers and his sleeveless undershirt.

And if it were possible she looked even more beautiful than ever. There was something about Cordelia under cotton that drove him wild. As soon as she saw him she jumped to her feet. Watching her do that left him totally unable to speak.

"Well, what happened? Did he tell you about Justine and what she did? Was he all right, what with the spanking and all that?"

Angel looked at her in confusion and asked, "How did you know about the spanking?"

She tossed her head and replied "Vision."

Angel reached her in two strides. "Are you all right Cordy, was it bad."

"No, you big dork I'm only kidding I didn't have another vision. I know you spanked the kid because hello-next door. He may not have been as loud in the oww, oww department as last time but I still heard a lot of smack- smack and enough oww, oww's to know what you were doing."

"So, you just told me that you had a vision just to make fun of me?" He began to advance on her and she began to back away from him. With one jump he had reached her and tossed her over his shoulder. She was screaming and laughing and telling him to put her down, which he did in the middle of the bed. He jumped onto the bed next to her and rolled her body so that she was lying on top of him.

He leaned up and kissed her passionately but suddenly she pulled away "Angel, wait is he all right? I need to know what happened. Seriously I do, I was worried."

She moved off of him and sat on the side of the bed. He could tell by the look on her face that she was indeed troubled. "He's fine and he did tell me all about Justine. He seemed to accept his punishment pretty well too. And then he told me that he was sorry for how he's treated me since he came from Quor-Toth."

Cordelia let loose a war-hoop and threw herself into Angel's arms. "Oh my god Angel that's the best news I think I've ever heard."

She looked up into the vampire's face and was surprised to see tears there. She gave him a moment knowing that in his own time and in his own way he would tell her. "He told me that he loved me Cor."

This time it was her turn to feel tears streaking down her face.

"Oh Angel." was all that she could say. She gave him a small hug and stood up next to him reaching down to pull off his sweater. She then helped him take off his shoes and pants.

"Come to bed Grrr Face it's been a long, hard and wonderful day." He crawled into bed next to his amazing and beautiful Cordelia. And he knew that whatever was ahead they could face together. And the last thought in his head was that they needed to contact Willow about anchoring his soul because suddenly perfect happiness didn't seem so far fetched.

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