I Want to be a REAL Boy
Angel spent the rest of his morning trying to gauge what he was supposed to be doing. After another brief and unpleasant encounter with Eve, he headed up to his penthouse to look in on his son.
Connor sat in the living room, staring at the TV screen. There were three remotes on the coffee table in front of him. Untouched. Angel mentally sighed realizing that the kid probably had no idea what the remotes or quite possibly even the TV were for.
Granted, Angel wasn’t too sure of what the last one was for either.
“Hey son,” greeted Angel as he stepped off the elevator and took a seat besides Connor.
“Hey,” Connor sighed back.
Well, talk about conversation starters.
“Okay, well have you ate yet?”
Connor nodded. Well, at least he’d done something.
“Do I have to stay up here forever?” Connor asked him, twisting around to look at him directly.
“What?” Angel asked in reply, startled by the question.
“Is that my punishment too?” he asked, with a look of panic quickly passing his features.
“No!” Angel finally thought to reply. “No, Connor, it’s nothing like that!”
“You don’t want me down there,” Connor said, not asking and daring his dad to deny it.
Connor looked on at him, waiting for a response. Angel was a little frightened that he’d start reacting, but he didn’t do anything.
“That’s not it Connor.”
“You don’t like it here. And you don’t want me here. So what the hell are we doing here?!”
If only he could explain that to himself.
“I just, I need to be here right now, Connor. And, yes I don’t want you, or any of us to be here. But we are, and we will be for some time.”
Angel leaned back against the couch, trying to gather some support from the cold furniture. But nothing, like most things in his life, he was alone.
He wasn’t ready. Not for this conversation. Not yet.
“You don’t have to spend all day up here, Con,” Angel said, changing the topic and forcing himself to smile at his son. Reaching out, he patted the boy’s shoulder.
Connor’s head tilted to the side, slightly resembling a curious pup. So, Angel ruffled his hair. Connor shrunk away from the touch, but otherwise stayed in place.
“No, you don’t.”
“So…what can I do?”
Angel thought about what his friends had said. Lorne was right, as Lorne often was. The boy couldn’t just stay in one place. And of all places, Wolfram and Hart. Maybe Fred was right, maybe Connor needed to go to school.
Angel cringed, fearing that perhaps like Gunn, Connor would have the same reaction to school. He sure as hell never liked it when he’d been a young lad.
“How does school sound?”
Connor continued to stare back at him, seemingly oblivious.
“I don’t know. How does it sound?” he asked confused.
Angel refrained from groaning. It wasn’t the boy’s fault. There was only one person to blame, but he wasn’t anywhere to be found.
“School is where kids go to learn things…”
“Well, yeah. Things like math, history, reading and writing…”
“I know how to read and write!”
Angel was startled by the declaration, and very surprised. When had he found time to learn to read and write while at hell?
“Yes!” Connor replied, crossing his arms over his chest.
Angel smiled back at him.
“That’s great Connor!”
Connor looked at him, probably trying to see if he was being serious or making fun of him.
“In school,” Angel continued, not certain if he should be trying to persuade the kid or just let the boy decide.
“You get to learn all kinds of things. You get to meet kids your own age and maybe even find something that interests you.”
“I like to hunt.”
Angel didn’t doubt that, but he really didn’t think that that would be a good extracurricular activity.
“Well, yes, I know that. But, that’s not exactly what I was talking about.”
“What else is there to do?”
“Um,” Angel thought for a second. His own life revolved around the one thing that Connor had already stated. Besides his son and his friends, all he did was hunt.
“Sports, and stuff,” Angel replied after a pause. He’d have to talk to his team again. Surely, they’d understand more of that.
Right. Because if Connor didn’t know about school, TV, or any other finer point of modern life, what made him think that the boy would know about sports.
Like Hockey, he fondly remembered. Angel loved Hockey.
“Hockey, for one,” he said quickly. “Football for another. And um, well there’s a few others.”
“Hockey? Football? What’s the point?”
Angel opened his mouth to reply, but then thought better of it. Reaching forward for one of the remotes, he aimed it towards the big screen and turned it on.
“Why don’t I just show you, kay?”
The screen turned on, animating some boring show or other. Reality TV, if Angel saw correctly.
Connor tensed besides him, eying the now alive screen.
“Right, so I should probably explain television before I turned it on, huh?”
Angel stayed with him for a few hours, ordering him some food up while they watched some hockey. Connor was starting to see why his dad liked the sport so much.
There were two teams, and one tiny little black gliding circle Angel told him was called a puck. Both teams fought each other to claim the puck. But, as soon as they had it in their possession, they were just as fast to try and toss it towards the netting end, which he learned was called the goal. It was guarded by a goalie, appropriately named. Though, Connor noted, neither man did his job real well, since every now and then the puck made it through.
He had commented this to his dad, adding how he wouldn’t have let the puck in if that had been his job. Angel had given him a fond look, and Connor briefly wondered what he’d said before dismissing it.
Football had been much the same. Except, this time, the teams did not skate on ice but instead ran on grass. Connor could not see the difficulty in that. Skating, he was sure would cause him many problems, but he knew how to run.
In football, the two teams instead went after a brown, oddly shaped ball, which he learned was called a football. Connor had asked then why the puck hadn’t been called a hockey ball and Angel had laughed. The entire time they were watching TV, Angel seemed relaxed besides him. He found it strangely comforting.
Television was a complete surprise to him, but he quickly found that he enjoyed it. The sports were amazing.
After they had eaten, him his Chinese take out (which Connor had been happy to see didn’t mean someone was going to bring him a Chinese person to eat. He had been worried briefly when he’d heard his dad ordering.) and Angel his blood, Angel had had to return to his office and to his work.
Connor hated to admit it, but he had been disappointed. He had hoped that his dad wouldn’t have had to leave again, he had hated being alone. He had too much time to himself and left to think. There were so many memories, unpleasant memories, that thinking brought back to him. He preferred company, so then he would get distracted. He wasn’t too big in the interaction department, but he liked watching people. Life had been so lonely before.
Angel promised him that he’d come back whenever he had some time, he also said that he’d see to it that the team would also come by and spend some time with him. Lastly, just as he was kissing his hair goodbye as he stood behind him going towards the elevator, he explained the remote that he had transferred into his smaller hands.
And it was so that Connor learned of TV.
It had been a long, long day at Wolfram and Hart. Angel had had to track down some demented human who had thought that using his own kid as bait had been tactical. Angel really sometimes hated the human race.
Earlier he had talked with his friends and had seen to it that they would go up to see Connor when they could. As it turned out, Gunn wasn’t too busy and had decided that he could definitely spend the day lounging in the stocked penthouse watching TV. After all, he had felt like he had been the less to of tried to connect with the boy and so would take the time to do it.
Now, Angel and his team were riding up the elevator, happy to have put the case behind them. When they reached the penthouse, Gunn informed him that Connor had already nodded off and seeing as how it was past midnight, Angel was grateful.
The team settled on the couches, Fred besides Gunn on the couch while Lorne and Wes each took an armchair. They sat, flipping through the channels, as Angel went to check on his son.
True to his nature, the second that Angel entered the room, Connor squirmed. Angel smiled, knowing that the boy had sensed another’s presence even in his sleep. He outwardly grinned when he realized that it only took a soothing pass of his hand through the fine hair to calm the boy back into sleep.
Angel returned to the living room, settling on kitchen chairs that rested on the far wall besides the opening towards the elevator.
“Tell you he was sleeping,” Gunn mumbled, eyes never leaving the screen, as Angel settled the chair besides him.
He resisted the urge to glare at the black man.
They watched a little more of the program before Fred couldn’t keep her curiosity any longer.
“So, Angel? Have you thought about Connor going to school much?”
“Actually, I did mention it to him. Not that he knew what a school was, but I did get into talking about sports.”
“Right, Explains why he was watching hockey when I got here,” said Gunn, making sure that he tossed his friend a noticeable glare for that one. He hoped that the kid hadn’t been too corrupted and that he’d still be able to teach the kid the finer points of BasketBall.
Angel rolled his eyes, but he smirked back at his friend. Everything about talking about Connor made him feel happy inside. Not that he’d be worrying about total happiness anytime soon, with Connor’s attitude and then the idea of school and running a law firm all jumbling in his mind.
Nothing was ever easy.
“Well, other than the TV thing, I don’t think he really took to the idea of school or sports much. He thinks he only needs to hunt, and can’t see why humans fight each other over something like a football.”
They continued to talk, going over their days in the crazed world that Wolfram and Hart provided. By the time that everyone wanted to head off to their apartments, located a few floors down, Angel had more thoughts about working for their once enemies. But more so, he was convinced that he had to get Connor out of their grasps, even if it were just a few hours a day.
Besides, this would give the kid something to do, and hopefully provide him with something to stay out of trouble.
Here’s to wishful thinking…
“I still don’t see the point in this,” mumbled Connor. For the millionth time.
He was seated at the table, eating his breakfast grumpily. He was eyeing the outfit set out for him on the opposite end of the long wooden table.
“Connor, please, not this morning okay? You can’t be late on your first day.”
Connor groaned, glaring at the uniform as if he could burn it with his thoughts alone.
He could very well and definitely be late on his first day.
“I changed my mind.,” Connor stated, trying to sound firm.
Angel placed a full glass of Orange Juice in front of him.
“I didn’t .”
And there it was.
It had been a month since they’d been in the W&H law firm, and after the chaos of the first week, everyone getting adjusted to their departments and the case load, his dad still seemed to find to get him tested and enrolled at the St. Michael’s Preparatory High School.
Connor couldn’t be happier. Really.
“I really don’t see the point,” Connor repeated, looking up to plead his case to his dad.
“Con, you’re going. Its final.”
It was final. He had all his things packed, the school had been checked top to bottom by Gunn and Angel overnight before a W&H team was sent in afterwards. Angel had had the hardest of times barely stepping into the place, it being a Catholic school, so that deemed it safe. At least against vampires.
Fred had gone with him during the weekend to walk through the place, talk with the headmaster, Father Richard Murphy, and some of his teachers. They’d gotten the faked papers together that stated that he’d been home schooled until then.
Connor had tested relatively well in languages skills and application, but he really seemed to hate numbers. All the same, he was actually able to remain with his grade level. It gave him some mixed joy that Holtz had at least been able to do that right by him.
Even Wes had found time in his schedule to look into the school’s history and personnel for his dad. Everything seemed to pan out.
It was final.
Connor dumped his bowl into the sink, downing the juice. Once finished with that, he turned around, planning on going back to his room.
“Shower and get dressed,” Angel ordered sternly, obviously foreseeing his son’s plans.
“I will,” an irritated Connor replied. He wasn’t going to.
“Now, Connor,” Angel said, finishing off his own morning blend of blood. He gave him a hard look, daring him to test him.
“Fine,” he muttered. “I’ll take the stupid shower. Not like I’ve gone anywhere lately that I need a shower.”
And he hadn’t. Angel had still confined the kid to the penthouse, allowing him only to leave with someone that he trusted. Meaning Gunn, who was the only one of the team not bombarded with things. And Gunn really didn’t do all that much anymore, seeing as how they weren’t doing their own research or legwork.
Connor stomped back to the master bedroom, slamming the door behind him. It was a testy move, but he really was pissed. He really hadn’t liked the idea of school since his dad had mentioned it a month ago. And Gunn stating all the things that would make his days miserable hadn’t helped matters either.
Walking over to his couch/bed, which Angel had already obsessively picked up and packed away, he grabbed one of his handheld gaming devices, a PSP, and sat down on the leather couch to play it.
He hadn’t planned to play it for too long, just pass this last level he was on. He had had to pause it to go and grab some breakfast. Angel hadn’t been too happy with him sitting up in bed, mindlessly wasting his time with it, but he hadn’t seen the need to rush to get ready.
And again, time slipped by him as five minutes turned to ten turned to twenty and then Angel was stepping into the room, going to get himself ready.
“CONNOR!” he bellowed.
Twisting around, Connor almost dropped the device.
Angel stood with his hands on his hips and giving him a hard look that didn’t fare well for him.
“Hey dad,” the boy grinned back.
Angel shook his head. He walked over to him, snatching the game device from his hands.
“Hey,” Connor softly whined, knowing it wouldn’t be wise to do so openly at the moment.
“You, young man, were supposed to be taking a shower and getting ready for today.”
“I don’t see why-
“I didn’t ask you, Connor. We already went through this. You’re starting school today. End of discussion. Now,” Angel glanced down at his watch. “you have five minutes to shower, and not a second more. If you’re not finished in five minutes, I’m dragging you out of there and dressing you myself.”
Connor stood up quickly, heading for the bathroom and unsuccessfully trying to dodge the hard swat that connected with the seat of his pajama bottoms.
It didn’t take too long to wash up, seeing as Angel’s obsessive tendencies, of which the man still denied, had the boy showering at least twice a day.
The uniform was set out on Angel’s bed for him when he stepped out four minutes and thirty-five seconds later. Connor groaned as he glared the clothing down, trying one last time to see if he could burn them with his thoughts.
Connor sighed deeply, grabbing roughly at the black boxer brief jockeys and proceeded to slip them on. Once he’d managed to get the black trousers, crisp white under shirt and white long sleeved dress shirt on, he knew he was stepping into a different dimension of hell all together.
Angel came in a minute later, grabbing his own clothes and slipping into the bathroom. When he stepped out, Connor was glaring at his tie. It was black with red lines, two of the school colors.
“Tuck the shirt in,” Angel said as he gave the boy a glance before heading back towards the door. “And get your shoes on, you’ve got ten minutes to get downstairs.”
Connor looked down at himself.
“Tuck the shirt into what?” he asked the empty room. Shrugging, he sat down on the bed, pulling his black socks on before putting on the shiny black shoes. He took a moment to tie them, just how Fred had taught him, and then headed out the room.
“Yeah,” Connor sighed. He had the tie rolled up in his hand and his black blazer, with the black, red, and silver emblem on it was waiting from him down in the office.
Angel got a look at him and sighed.
“Connor! I told you to tuck your shirt in!”
Angel groaned. He regretted not going over the uniform more clearly with the boy, and was having to pay for it now.
“Oh, just get over here!”
Connor walked over to him, more than a little unsettled when Angel unbuttoned his new black leather belt and trousers.
“What are you doing!?” he shrieked, trying to push his hands away.
“Just, hold still, Con,” Angel replied. He didn’t have the time to waste explaining. He quickly tucked the shirt in, redid the boy’s pants and belt and then took the tie from his hands.
“Try not to let this get undone, okay? You have to wear this all day, and you don’t know yet how to do it up. Remind me to teach you,” he said, finishing up the tie.
Then, Connor was quickly led down to the office and into the blazer.
“I really don’t see the point in this,” Connor said for the last time.
Angel sighed, giving him a soft smile.
“Sorry, son. But, not only is this a good idea, turns out there actually is a law about minors having to attend school. Now, we talked about this. You’re to behave. I had you read over the student handbook so that you’d know what’s not acceptable behavior. We’re clear on that?”
“Yes,” Connor mumbled, glaring down at his stupid outfit.
Travis Greene, head of the security department at Wolfram and Hart stepped into the office.
“Car’s all set, boss. Kid ready?”
Connor glared at the man, hating to be called a kid.
“He’s all set,” Angel replied, smiling over at the boy. Connor knew that his dad wished he could come with him, but it was day time, bright and early 7AM and that was just no place outside for a vampire.
“Bye Connor,” Angel said, hugging the boy quickly.
“Bye Dad,” Connor mumbled, shuffling his feet as he followed Greene out the door and down to his awaiting ride.
James Vega pulled up to the St. Michael’s Chapel. Greene stepped out of the black van that they were in, opening the backdoor for Connor to slip out.
“You really don’t need to do that,” Connor groaned as he firmly set foot on the ground.
Travis gave him a small smile.
“Oh, I know.”
Connor glared at him.
“Come on now then, we’ve got to make certain everything’s in order.”
Connor reluctantly followed Greene into the school, bypassing the chapel. Inside they found Father Murphy, the head master/ principal and Father Roland, who led most weekly prayers and religion class.
“Why don’t we head to Chapel?” Father Roland said after a brief five minute meeting.
The two fathers, and a very upset looking Connor headed over to Chapel, Greene walking by the boy until they parted ways.
“Vega will pick you up, 1540 sharp,” Greene reminded him.
Connor nodded, heading into the chapel and situating himself in the last pew.
It was going to be a long, long day.
Finally, the morning prayer session was over and Connor followed the crowd back into the building. He’d spent a weekend walking through the place and had memorized the map provided in the handbook, so he wasn’t lost in finding his first class.
Ethics, Room 601
Connor walked into the classroom, noting how it was already half full. The boys inside looked, well looked like every other boy in the school. Damn uniforms.
“Who are you?” one boy asked him.
Connor glared at him.
“What wants to know?”
The boy with the shoulder length black hair smiled. He leaped off of the desk he was sitting on and headed over to him.
“Cole, Brendon Cole,” Brendon said, all James Bond like, which Connor dint catch because he’d never heard of James Bond.
“Hi,” Connor mumbled.
The kid rolled his eyes.
“What’s your name, man?”
“Connor,” Connor replied.
Brendon slipped his arm over Connor’s shoulders, ignoring the odd look that Connor gave him, and led him towards the other two boys there.
“Mick, Jagger, meet Connor,” Brendon said, smiling at each boy.
‘Mick’ rolled his eyes.
“B, you’re an ass,” the brunette said, glaring at his friend. “Names Vin, not Mick.”
“Okay,” Connor said, not getting much of what the problem was.
“Fuck, Jagger,” the third boy, a blond and younger than the other two said. “B’s a fucking lunatic, and we’re gonna be late,” he said to Vin.
Vin rolled his eyes.
Like it even matters, Dave! Its Monday, Palmer just gonna be glad I’m even here!”
“Yeah,” David scoffed. “Glad the word for it.”
“Later B, nice to meet ya Con,” Vin said, dragging Dave away before the kid started to babble about one thing or another.
Connor watched them leave, seeing the class file in with the rest of the boys and girls. All in their uniforms. B sighed from besides him.
“One good thing of the unis man, Girls in skirts,” B whispered to him. “Come on, sit down before ‘Oh Great One’ gets here.”
Connor sat down besides Brendon in the second to last row of the room. He found that, though the guy was pretty weird, he was easy to talk to. B had no problem telling “Shwartz” to find another seat and spent the next five minutes listening to who everyone was.
“Don’t worry new guy,” B said as the 0805 bell rang and the teacher was finally there. “Just don’t look her directly in the eyes.”
Angel’s day was spent between wondering how his son was doing and worrying about the cases that were piling his desk.
Wes had gotten him a secretary, an old vampire that he’d had the displeasure of knowing before named Harmony. Now, what her qualifications were, Angel wasn’t sure, but the only thing she’d done right yet was produce a damn good cup of blood.
Having finally ended his fourth meeting of the day, wondering how long that last demon actually would managing in keeping his word and stop stalking newborns, he couldn’t help but think back to a few months back to when he had had a growing list of things that would be coming after his boy.
“And to think, I missed one,” he groaned to himself, tossing the file onto his desk as he walked over to it.
Angel groaned, he knew he’d smelt ….
“What do you want Eve?” he asked, not bothering to turn around and face her. He’d already seen enough demons for one day.
“An update, it’s been a month.”
Angel groaned. The day did mark a month since he had made that deal with Lilah and had started working there. And he had wanted to be kept informed.
“How is she?”
“Still in a coma, but there’s no surprise there. She peaks every now and again, but mainly mumbles.” There’s a hint of joy in her voice, but he’s not in any mood to call her on it.
“She going to wake up soon?”
“Seems like,” Eve added, a little on the disappointed side. Somehow, that makes him feel better.
“No, she won’t remember a think. Just like you asked. She might even forget why she’s still in LA, might even head back to where she belongs.”She belongs with ME
“Is that all?”
“Well, aren’t you the conversationalist? Yes, that’s all for tonight. But, you now -
“Good day, Eve,” Angel cut into whatever proposal she was going to make.
He waited a second, hearing her gather her things from her perch on the couch and head out the door, before he finally relaxed. Oh, Cordy….
Connor had been slightly pleased to find that in most of his classes at least one of the three boy he’d met where present. Not that he minded being alone, it just made it that much easier to, well to not fall asleep.
He had fourth block gym with all three of them and they seemed to take a liking to him. Connor found that they were pretty easy to get along with, unlike some of the obnoxious, loud people that he’d also met that day.
He was displeased to find that his 3rd and 6th block were void of any of the boys. Third block, Art, barely had any boys in it at all.
But that Allison whatshername was very nice.
He spent religion, 6th block, dreaded the day he’d kicked his way out of Hell, and ’learning’ about what ’Hell’ was really like and all the ways to avoid it. However, at just days old, he hadn’t committed any of these sins and had still gone there, so he wasn’t going to take Father Roland too seriously.
By the 335 announcements, Connor was already planning on how to not come back. Ever.
“Dude, what a fucking long day,” Dave said from besides him.
Connor noted that about the boy, he seemed to say that word a lot. He wondered sometimes, during the days break and lunch - when his mind had been given a rest - what all those words meant.
He’d have to ask one of the gang, surely they’d know.
“Yeah,” Connor sighed, dragging his feet out of the building.
“I, without a doubt, HATE Mondays!” a now familiar voice cried out from behind them.
“Surprise, surprise,” Vin said to B’s antics.
Vincent and Brendon were coming from the opposite side of the building, where the upperclassmen went for the announcements. Connor had learned that only David was actually in his grade, and that the other two where a year ahead. In most things. Connor had been placed a grade higher in English and the other two were held off in some of their material.
“Don’t get him started,” Dave groaned, “or I’ll have to hear about it all the way to my house.”
“Hey!” B shrieked ‘hurt’.
“Connor, you need a ride?” Vin asked looking over at their newest friend.
“Nah, Vega should be here by now,” Connor said, sighing.
“And Vega is?”
“Oh, my driver?” Connor answered unsure, He hadn’t really taken to asking what everyone’s role was, seeing as he wasn’t allowed to be very involved, but every time that he had gone out (which had been twice and to the doctors, not a pleasant memory) Vega had driven them.
“Cool you’ve got your own driver?!”
Connor shrugged, not knowing what the big deal was.
Vin shook his head, scoffing.
“Whose mad?” Dave asked, trying to avoid B’s constant chatter.
“Con-man’s got his own driver man.”
“Oh, that’s fucking awesome!”
“Sure,” Connor replied. Seeing the black van in the pick-up lane, he started to walk over. Slowly.
“Well, guess we’ll see ya tomorrow!” B yelled out, taking a pause on his ‘Monday rant’ to say goodbye.
“Yeah, tomorrow. Bye,” Connor waved, unassured, as he opened the van’s back door.
“Connor,” Vega greeted.
“Glad to see you survived the first day of high school.”
“I grew up in hell, this was like a summer vacation.”
Vega laughed as he peeled away, heading back to the law firm.
It was official.
As Connor entered his dad’s office and spotted each member of the team, he knew for sure now that no one did anything around there.
Heck, even Lorne managed to slip away from his assistant to be there.
He was congratulated by the gang and hugged by Fred and Lorne before he even knew it.
“So, what’d you think? Did you like it? I saw some of the things that they teach in the school, and man I wish I’d gone there. Was it fun? Make any friends?”
Fred was a motor mouth, but Connor smiled at her, feeling somewhat relaxed for the first time all day.
“It was alright. I still don’t see the point in it.”
“Junior, it’s been years and I still don’t see the point in it.”
“Don’t tell him that,” Wes said from his perch behind Angel’s desk. It had been decided, and almost petitioned, that ‘someone’ take over for Angel’s desk.
In all of the vampire’s obsessions, the constantly incoming files seemed to have no end or order on the man’s desk.
“As if he needed any more incentive not to want to go,” Angel said, smirking over at the boy. He was besides Wes, as they went through the files and tried to find some kind of order in them.
“Well,” pressed Fred, still in her lab coat as she tugged him over to one of the couches in the office.
“Tell all, doll, let Lorne hear your woes.”
Connor scoffed at the green demon, but he’d been learning to take a liking to him. Especially since his was the one department that seemed the most active and entertaining when he visited.
So, Connor went through his dull day, recalling each dreadful period. Which brought up the fact that the gruesome teachers to give grotesque homework. That only forced Angel to not only send Connor upstairs to do his work, but the rest of the team to get back to work.
Which made Connor really, really glad that he didn’t have to get back to school. Least not until tomorrow.