Wesley rolled over in bed for what he thought must certainly be the thousandth time. He took a deep breath and caught the lightest hint of the fragrance that Lilah wore. Damn now he knew that sleeping just wasn't going to happen tonight. If he hadn't realized it before he knew now that in her own insidious way Lilah had left her imprint on his apartment, his life and even his heart. He let himself think for a moment about her and their relationship. No not relationship- their affair.
He knew that there was a lot of mutual attraction between them. Hell she was a damned fine looking woman. And she possessed the one quality that Wesley had always been unable to resist. She was smart, almost as smart as he was. And no doubt he had been lonely every since Fred and Gunn had become involved. If he were to be honest with himself he would have to admit that he had also been jealous and on more than one occasion had wished for actual harm to come to Gunn.
But even if that happened (and he really hoped that it didn't) he knew that once Fred knew about Lilah any chance he had would be gone. And knowing that why did he continue to fall into bed with her every time she even glanced his way? Could it be he felt he was repaying Fred for turning her back on him when Justine had cut his throat after he had stolen Connor? After all this time he was finally coming to terms with some of what had happened. And in some way by pulling Angel out of the ocean he felt he had begun to repay that debt. But the truth was that things would never be the same.
All he had wished for as a child was for his father to accept him. It had never happened and to this day still hadn't occurred. And this being on the outside with everyone felt like so much more of the same. Damn did everything in his life always come back to his father? Whatever he knew or didn't know he was sure that he needed to break off the situation with Lilah. If for no other reason than he was beginning to have feelings for her, although he would never admit that to her or anyone else.
And what of this Beast that they were trying to defeat? He could find nothing that related to it in any of the text and they were all out of ideas. There was a good chance that this thing could prevail. Whatever it was. Wesley had so many thoughts circulating around in his mind that he knew sleeping tonight wasn't possible. But the one thing that he was sure of was that unless they defeated this thing there wouldn't be a tomorrow to try and win Fred's affection.
With that thought in mind he got up and pulled on a pair of jeans and an old sweater that was lying on the chair and slipped on a pair of shoes. He knew that Angel would probably still be up even at this hour in the morning. And if he went there he would have access to his textbooks. Maybe there was something that he was missing. Although he knew that Angel had come to some sort of resolution about his actions with Connor, Wesley still was not completely comfortable there. But he realized that the only way to beat this thing was to combine all their efforts. That was if it could be beaten at all.
Wesley was a few blocks from the hotel when he saw a familiar figure sprint by. What in the bloody hell was Connor doing out at three a.m.? The Englishman shook his head at this boy's stupidity. He knew that things were rough between the father and son and that they simply didn't communicate. He and everyone else in the hotel were waiting for Angel to step up and be a father. But Connor kept resisting and Angel kept putting off the show down that everyone knew was coming.
Connor was tracking something. Wesley had watched the boy do it often enough to recognize the body language. What could he be tracking? And then Wesley had a terrible thought- the boy wouldn't be stupid enough to actually be trying to find the beast could he? Wesley discreetly followed him and he also noticed that he wasn't the only one doing so. There appeared to be six of them and they were gaining on the boy. He watched as all six put on their game faces and surrounded Connor. As usual Connor had surprise on his side as he took out the first two without blinking an eye. Wesley slammed on the brakes and threw the car into park grabbing the stakes he kept under the seat.
Two of them had Connor pinned against the wall now and the other two were so engrossed in taunting him that they didn't even see Wesley quietly walk over and slip a stake into each of their backs. When the two holding Connor turned in surprise Connor staked one and Wesley staked the other. Instead of being glad to see him Connor was angry. "I had everything under control! What did you think you were doing?"
Wesley shook his head at this child's arrogance. "Saving your ungrateful hide. And while we are on the subject just what in the bloody hell do you think you're doing out tracking in the middle of the night?"
Connor was not used to being spoken to in this manner and responded just as angrily. "None of your damn business."
Wesley decided that even though he loved Angel like a brother he had had enough of his son's attitude. "You get your skinny arse into that automobile right this instance and I will take you home to your father. Who I seriously hope will blister your behind until even the thought of sitting down hurts."
For once in his young life Connor was speechless. But only for a period of a minute and then he prepared to run. Foreseeing that action Wesley grabbed him as he went by and twisted his arm behind his back. "Ahhh that hurts let me go."
Even though Connor had the whole super strength thing going for him Wesley had years of experience behind him and the boy found himself unable to get loose, despite his best efforts. Wesley dropped his head and spoke softly into Connor's ear. "Now we are going to get into my vehicle and we will have no more difficulties or I will give you the spanking that you have been begging for right here and now."
Wes was unsure if Connor believed him or not but he did follow the instructions he was given. Once he was seated behind the wheel Wesley locked the doors glad that he had child locks. As they drove away Connor immediately tried to open his door. "Don't bother it's locked and you are going home, like it or not."
The rest of the ride was fairly silent but Wesley could tell that Connor was becoming more nervous the closer they got to the hotel. The Englishman was actually relieved to see this as he had wondered if Connor had any healthy fear of his father. And he made up his mind as well- his actions indirectly were responsible for Connor being raised in a hell dimension and all that had resulted from that. And so it was his obligation to see this through. If Angel refused to deal with Connor and his problems Wesley would.
"Connor I realize that this transition has not been easy for you. But your father regardless of what you have been told loves you and wants the best for you."
Connor turned to him with his usual sneer in place. "Whatever."
Wesley felt the tenuous hold that he had on his temper going. "You know what I think young man I think that you need a firm hand. And if it's placed on your disrespectful butt then all the better. Every one of us is just worn out by your constant attitude problems. I would have thought that dumping your father in the ocean might have worked out some of that aggression but clearly not."
Wesley was unsure if he was getting through to Connor or not who remained still and silent. "I am going to suggest to your father when we get to the hotel that you could benefit from a serious trip over his knee. I am unsure whether or not Holtz ever punished you physically but I've never seen anyone more deserving than you are."
At the mention of Holtz Connor looked less sure of himself. Wesley smiled to himself and thought maybe Connor had already had the experience of being spanked in his life.
"Why don't you just stay out of this? It doesn't involve you and you have no right to stick your nose into things."
Wesley fought not to loose his temper again. "Just consider me like an uncle Connor, someone who has your best interest at heart. And someone who will be more that happy to fill in for your father if need be and that offer will include times like tonight when you sneak out in the middle of the night and you deserve a good spanking."
Connor gave Wesley a hateful look but still didn't say anything. They arrived at the hotel and Wesley acted quickly and once again got a hold of Connor with a hard grip on his upper arm and all but marched him inside. Connor didn't fight it but Wes could feel the anger coming off of the boy in waves. Wesley called out to Angel who came out of his office with a demon textbook in his hand. "Wesley?" Angel's eyes got wide as he saw that Connor was with him. "Connor?"
Wesley walked Connor past his dad and into Angel's office where he closed the blinds and turned on the radio. He wanted something to distract Connor's keen hearing abilities as this conversation was for Angel alone. "You young man will sit here and be a good boy while I talk to your father or Uncle Wesley is going to be very unhappy with you."
He looked at Connor with a raised eyebrow and Connor would not return his gaze, which Wesley took to be a good sign. Wesley shut the door and rejoined Angel in the lobby. "Wesley what in the hell is going on here?"
The former watcher explained to Angel not being able to sleep and coming over here to do more research and finding Connor and helping him kill the vampires. He also told him that he thought that Connor had probably been tracking the Beast alone when he had found him. "Damn it is he trying to get himself killed? How am I ever going to be able to convince him to stop doing this kind of thing?"
Wesley just shook his head at what Angel had just said. "What would your father have done if you ran off in the middle of the night Angel?"
Angel grimaced "He would have beaten my ass for me. But those times were different Wesley it isn't like I could do something like that now. Connor is so angry with me and if I start punishing him he'll hate me even more."
Wesley could see that this wasn't going to be easy. But he had promised himself he would see this through. "Look I am probably the last person in the world that you want advice from but the truth is that you're going to hear me out. If this boy gets himself or someone else killed while you are waiting for him to stop being angry you'll never forgive yourself. Yes his problems are different from most but by and large teenagers are angry about something. You have to step in and set some boundaries for this boy before it's too late. And if he hates you he will eventually get over it and realize that you punished him for his own good and his own safety."
Angel seriously considered what Wesley had told him. "And here are two more things to consider the first is that we don't know maybe physical punishment is how Holtz punished him."
Angel looked at Wesley again. "And the second thing is Wes?"
Wesley took a deep breath knowing that what he was about to say could once again ruin their already fragile friendship. "I made up my mind tonight Angel I won't stand by and let this kid kill himself, if you don't plan on spanking him I do. One way or another Connor's behind is going to pay tonight for the bad choices he has been making."
Wesley held his breath waiting for Angel to reply and hoping that he wouldn't have to get into a physical altercation with the vampire before he attended to Connor. Angel sat down on the round couch and put his head in his hands. "I know that you're right Wesley. I just didn't want to be that Dad- you know the "follow the rules or else" guy, the guy who's own kids hate him. My father was a perfect example of that guy."
Wesley went from holding his breath to wanting to shake Angel. "Buck up man this isn't about you this is about Connor. If he were sticking a needle in his arm would you stop him then? What he's doing now is no less deadly. The time to be his friend is over for now Angel. What he is in desperate need of is a father."
Angel dropped his head and nodded. "I know that you're right Wes but
Angel looked extremely uncomfortable. "This first time isn't going to be easy. You know he is going to fight me tooth and nail about this."
Wesley nodded knowing full well that Angel was right on the money with his assessment. "I'll stay out here Angel until you're finished. If you need me to help you hold him I will. I'm serious about what I said this is life and death here. And everyone else's rooms are far enough away that even if there's a lot of noise they shouldn't wake up. So that will provide an element of privacy."
Angel quietly agreed and stood up looking at his co-worker and friend. "I appreciate all your help here Wesley. I had just hoped it wouldn't come to this."
Wesley could tell that Angel was honestly saddened to have to do this. "Any more suggestions?"
"Yes you are right and he needs to be made to admit that his behavior has to change. Don't go easy on him Angel or you will need to do this a lot. And make sure you don't stop before he's genuinely sorry, if he's still smarting off to you then your job isn't done yet."
Wesley was surprise to see Angel reach down and unbuckle his belt. He then squared his shoulders. "If he gets away from me you promise not to let him out the door?"
Wesley grimly nodded. "You can count on me Angel."
Angel walked toward the door to his office "If he wakes anyone up don't let them interrupt until I'm done."
Again Wesley nodded. "And the most important thing is to say thanks Wes both for finding him tonight and for helping me."
Wesley merely nodded again and watched as Angel opened the door to his office and went inside. He could hear Angel talking in a low calm voice and then Connor's loud and angry responses. Within a very few minutes it sounded as if Connor was attempting to escape from Angel and there was quite a bit of noise accompanied by the crash of things breaking. Then finally he heard the sound of the first swat and Connor's corresponding angry yell.
The sound of the belt striking Connor's jean covered behind could clearly be heard in the lobby. And each swat went hand in hand with a lusty yell from the recipient. Wesley noticed that Connor was not crying but he was yelling in an angry voice still not accepting what his father was doing. The swats went on for a while and then he could once again hear Angel talking to the boy and Wes hoped that Angel wasn't done because he knew that Connor wasn't sorry yet. The boy had been stubborn enough that he hadn't even cried yet.
Once again he heard angry words from Connor and then the sound of a struggle and the belt resumed again. Only this time the sound was different and Wesley realized with a start that Angel must have gotten Connor's jeans down. And instead of yelling after each swat was now accompanied by an angry sound that was a cross between a yell and a sob. And Wesley could sense the struggle going on between father and son. After about ten swats or so Angel must have sped them up and Wesley could actually hear Connor crying out with each swat given. Within five swats after that Connor began sobbing and finally Wesley heard him telling his father that he was sorry and pleading with him to stop.
Angel must have taken Wesley's advice because he didn't stop not right away. And the sobbing soon became wailing and the sound just about broke Wesley's heart. He simply didn't know how Angel was holding strong. He heard a noise and looked up to see Fred standing at the bottom of the stairs in her bathrobe and looking frightened. "What's going on Wesley- is someone hurting Connor?"
Wesley looked down at the floor and shook his head. "He went out hunting the Beast alone tonight after everyone was asleep. His father is punishing him."
Fred's eyes filled with tears and Wesley fought the urge to wrap her in his arms. "Poor Connor, we all knew this was coming but still
"Yes well it's necessary, the boy needs to understand that Angel won't allow him to put himself in danger." Fred nodded understanding but still looked mournfully towards the office and the sounds.
"Were you here all night then?"
Wesley shook his head no. "I found Connor when I was coming over here at about three o'clock this morning."
"Oh." They both looked back towards the office as the sounds of the belt stopped, but Connor continued to cry. Fred looked at Wesley with a questioning expression on her face.
"Angel asked me to stay in case Connor tried to get away. Being that this was the first time he wasn't sure how the boy would react."
Fred reached Wesley in three steps and gave him her most dazzling smile. "Thank you Wesley for helping him you are a good friend."
Having said that she stood on her tip toes and placed a chaste kiss on his cheek. Wesley was simply overcome with desire. How was it that Fred standing here in her bathrobe and giving him a brotherly kiss on his cheek could literally make him feel lust running through him like a freight train?
She smiled at him again as she walked back up the stairs. "Night Wes."
He smiled back at her and said a quiet goodnight. The crying had quieted down and he could hear some conversation and thanked God that father and son were finally talking. He went into his office and grabbed the text that he had been working on and sat down with it on the round couch. He read for about an hour and finally the door to Angel's office opened.
Angel walked towards him with his hand on Connor's arm and propelled the boy towards him. "Wesley, Connor has something that he would like to say."
Wesley nodded taking in the red rimmed eyes and tear stained face. "I'm sorry that's all. I should not have snuck out and I should have appreciated that you helped me kill those vampires."
Wesley walked to the boy and hugged him and was very surprised to find he hugged back. "We all make mistakes Connor. The most important thing is that you have learned not to put yourself in danger and that you can count on your dad to be there when you need him. And I hope you know that I will always be here for you too."
Connor nodded and looked like he wanted to cry again. He looked into Angel's face and he looked tired but he could see hope there for the first time in a while. Angel let go of Connor's arm long enough to hug Wesley.
Wesley was astonished to find tears in his own eyes as well and he hugged Angel back. "I had better get him to bed it's been a long night."
Wesley watched them climb the stairs and went into his office with his book to continue his search for information on the Beast. It had been a long night but he was very happy with the way everything had turned out.
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