The first week of school wasn’t too bad. It could’ve been worse, Connor decided. He could have been back in Quor'toth.
He came to really like the guys. They were always doing something, talking about somewhere else and seemed to know everything about everyone who was worth knowing. And everyone seemed to know them.
Now, Connor wasn’t exactly one for popularity. He didn’t know of its importance or of the high school hierarchy that engulfs every school. He didn’t know that he was already one of the top.
It was Friday and as they were leaving morning Chapel, Isabelle Harvey, one of the so called hottest girls in St. Michael’s, came up to him wondering if he’d be going to Les Deux.
She laughed at his cluelessness, twirling her hair the way that most girls seemed to do when they wanted attention.
“Come on, LD, like EVERYONE goes there! You’ve gotta come. No, you’re so there! It’ll be total bore without you and hello, SUCH a great bar! So, like 10 ish, kay. Bye, babe!”
And then, just like that, she was gone.
“No! No fucking way! Izzy Harvey just invited you to LD with her. Dude! You’re SO going!”
He was now in lunch, sitting with Vin and Dave and leaning on the far wall of the outside of the mechanics building. They were talking about their days and Connor had just mentioned the awkward invitation.
“What! No, this makes no sense. I don’t even want to go.”
“No, Con-man, Hotlegs Harvey doesn’t just ask anyone out. Okay, B’s tried!”
“I don’t want to go out!” Connor replied. In truth, he was trying to talk his dad into letting him have his own room, in hopes that with the added independence, he’d be able to sneak a good hunt in somehow.
“Oh, you want to go! Everyone wants to fucking go to LD.”
“Listen, home schooled, I get it okay? You’ve totally been deprived of what the real important things in life are,” Vin started, slipping his arms across Connor’s shoulders like he did every time he felt Connor needed a ‘life lesson’.
“And the real important things in life are,” Vin prompted, ignoring Connor completely.
“Girls,” Dave answered, smiling wide and biting into his sandwich.
“Yes young grasshopper. Girls. And Hotlegs is, as mentioned a hot girl. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t come over your house tonight, 930, and drop you over there?”
“Ooo, pick me up too!”
Vin gave his friend a look.
“Dave, your mother’s not letting you go anywhere. We’ve tried and failed. Connor, however, still has a chance at a life.”
“Hey,” Dave whined, undignified.
“One, there’s no way that I’ll be leaving at any rate. There’s just no way out of there! Secondly, I don’t want to go.”
“Connor, you just don’t see it do you? You’re a nightclub virgin.”
Vin sighed. Sometimes, it seemed like the kid hadn’t lived fifteen years in the same planet.
“You’re going, I’ll help you sneak out, might even get Dave here away from his Mommy’s aprons. It’ll be fun, don’t worry.”
“Hey, my mom does not wear an apron.”
“Right, she’d feel too stereotyped.”
“Well, yeah. Fuck you, Vin, just forget it!”
“No,” Vin said, bouncing to his feet. He turned around to the two younger boys. “I’ve made it my mission. You’re leaving your Momma’s nest tonight and Connor’s losing his virginity.”
Dave sputtered his juice. Vin rolled his eyes.
“Nightclub virginity, Maefield. Don’t be so dramatic. Go clean up before the next block, your white’s all blue.”
It had been easier than Connor had imagined. Angel had had to run off to chase some client of his, that had broken their contract and attacked a human, so he was out for the night.
In actuality, all Connor had had to do was bypass a sleeping Gunther, his ‘babysitter’, and head down the private elevator to the garage.
“This place is sweet!” Vin said as Connor slipped into the passenger seat.
“Your dad lives here? Man, that’s nuts!”
“Works here, I don’t know. Packaged deal? He didn’t really say.”
Vin nodded, driving away from the firm and to Dave’s location.
“Yeah, ‘rents are like that.”
Vin scoffed, taking a tight left turn.
“Parents. Seriously, were you even born in this century?!”
Connor glance over at his friend.
“Yes, I am.”
“Good to know,” Vin replied, smirking and turning the radio on loud.
Dave had had a harder time sneaking out, and was caught by his eldest sister. Somehow he had talked his way free and sprung like a rabbit towards the car.
“Sweet Maefield,” Vin said nodding at him as he slipped into the backseat.
“Thanks, barely made it,” Dave sighed, flopping backwards in the seat. “Toby lend you his car?”
“Hell no, but what he’s too drunk to remember isn’t my problem.”
“You stole this car?” Connor asked, suddenly getting that sick feeling in his stomach he got when he stepped into some major trouble. Like the other night when he’d tried to go hunting and had bypassed an arguing Angel on the phone and a chatty Harmony before heading down to the labs and playing with one of the weaponry being tested there. Greene had dragged him back to the office and a very angry Angel had read him the riot act (a cliché he’d recently learned) and had proceeded to show him just how displeased at him he as with a very unpleasant spanking before being sent to bed like a child.
“My brother’s not gonna miss it for a few hours. I’ll have it back by then, no biggie,” Vin answered in his always calm and self assured way.
Connor looked the vehicle over, it was pretty cool as cars went He hadn’t been in many, but there were a lot of cars in the parking lot at school and in the firm’s garage that he had seen his fair share of them. Even if he had no idea one form the other.
It was even easier to slip unnoticed into the nightclub. Vin had dragged the two to the door, announcing them as Izzy’s guest. They were let in, not even checking them for ids. Apparently, Izzy’s rep was good enough. No that Connor knew what that meant either.
As far as Connor saw, all he had to do was get home in an hour or so and his dad would be none the wiser.
If only the kid was so lucky.
“What do you mean he’s no there?” Angel yelled into Gunn’s cell phone. He had left his behind, by accident, and hadn’t really expected to even get a call.
But, alas, he had seemingly underestimated his offspring.
He listened as Gunther frantically rattled off how he’d woken and gone to check on his charge to find him missing. Security tapes in the elevator found the little rascal traveling down to the garage and then disappearing.
Just his night.
“How long ago was this?” Angel all but growled into the handheld device.
“We’ve been checking the building and tapes for the past hour, sir. We didn’t want to bother you until we were absolutely certain.”
Of course they did, Angel thought. With the firm’s record, any misdeed was more or less met with death.
He could practically see Gunther shaking in his boots as they spoke.
“I understand,” he gritted through his teeth. “Keep me posted. The second that anything comes up, call. Are we clear?”
“Yes sir,” Gunther replied.
Angel flipped the cell shut, almost tossing it against the wall in the building that they’d just finished the job in. But then he remember that the cell was Gunn’s and so handed it back to him.
Wesley, Gunn and head of security Travis Greene were all with him, watching as W&H’s cleanup crew cleaned up the apartment and making it all appear as if nothing had ever transpired there. It was a pretty amazing sight.
“Everything alright, Angel?”
Angel glanced over at Wes.
“Connor snuck out.”
“What?” Wes asked, turning hotly towards the vampire.
“Yeah, the little - ugh - is loose.”
Gunn shook his head.
“Sparky needs a leash.”
Greene turned to him, giving him a look. The other two glance between them, noticing how Angel pointedly look away from the man.
“Angel,” Greene finally started.
Unnecessarily, Angel sighed deeply.
“I know, okay? I know.”
Travis shook his head.
“I’ll make a few calls, don’t worry, we’ll find him before the night’s kill goes dry.”
The night was, for lack of better terms, AWESOME! Connor Angel was having the time of his life, for the first time in his life. He had no cares, no worries and had no idea where the hell anyone went.
But there was a very attractive girl hanging off his every word. Not that he even knew what he was saying.
Glancing down at his hand, he was surprised to find a half empty bottle of what he presumed was beer. It smelt like beer. He had a bitter taste in his mouth, now that he thought about it, that must be beer.
But where in the world had he gotten his hands on the alcohol?
Connor clearly, well not so clearly but still very present, remembered that he had told Izzy that he was no going to drink.
He didn’t have that much experience with the beverage, but from what he’d seen on the streets that first month that he’d been back, alcohol did not have a pretty face.
Not to mention, it was having a horrid effect on his…everything.
“Du-ude, you okay?” Vin asked, coming up besides him.
Connor glanced through the mirage of people and movement at his friend.
“’ink so,” Connor muttered.
Vincent giggled. Actually giggled.
“And whoz sshe?” he asked, pointing at the red head hanging on to Connor for dear life.
Connor glanced again at the girl at his side. He had no idea where she’d even come from.
“Who rrr you?” he asked her.
“Aggie,” he huffed, probably mad that she had to retell him her name, if he’d heard it before.
Connor turned back to Vin.
“’tz Aggie,” he replied back.
“Nooooo!” she cried out, clearly plastered herself. “Not Aggie, Aggie!”
“That’s what I said!”
“No, you said Aggie!”
“NO you said Aggie!”
“Not Aggie, Mah- Maggie! Damn!”
Connor glared at the girl. How was it his fault that she’d forgotten her own name.
Besides them, Vin was watching this all, laughing so hard that he was finding it hard to stay vertical. Falling backwards, he was caught by a pair of strong arms.
“Nice catch!” Connor congratulated the guy. He would have grabbed for Vin, he had great reflexes, but it seemed that at the moment they weren’t really up to their usual par.
The guy growled at him.
“Sorry, Dude!” Vin said, smiling that cocky smile of his as he straightened himself up and managed to get onto his own two feet.
“HEY! Where’d the fuck ya go?” Dave asked, tumbling his way out of the frenzy and towards them.
Vin shook his head.
“You missed it, man!” he yelled over at Dave to be heard. “Con-man here’s gotten himself a girl”
Dave looked at the two of them, seeing how Vin laughed at his own joke and how Connor didn’t quite seem like himself.
“What, Izzy finally make her move?”
Vin laughed, again.
“Hell no! some other chick, Maggie somebody. Who knew that the little Angel here was so resourceful?” Vin asked rhetorically as he ruffled at Connor’s hair.
Connor tossed his friend his best drunken glare. Sure, Vin was older, looked stronger and stood taller than him, but it didn’t make for him to be treated like a small child.
Connor smacked his hand away. Vin paid it no mind.
“So, I can see that you two are having an awesome time. I, however, have to head out now and get the car back ‘fore my brother kills me.”
“We gotta go?” Dave all but moaned.
“Nah, you guys stay here! Live a little! Grab a cab if you’ve got money and get home for midnight Cinderellas! I’ll see you later!”
Connor and Dave smiled widely as they waved their friend goodbye.
“This is soo fucking cool!” Dave commented. And Connor had to agree, this was a pretty damn good night.
James Vega was riding through the more known LA strip which for young people of all types of ages meant the night clubs. He was almost positive that a kid like Connor would never risk himself out late at night, with everything that the boy knew was out there.
But he had been told to patrol around that area for a bit, and there was no harm in looking, after all.
Imagine his shock when he recognized one of Connor’s friends pulling out of a lot and heading away.
The car alone held the driver, meaning Connor wasn’t in it since the boy didn’t know the first thing about driving. But sure enough it didn’t mean that he hadn’t been in the vehicle before.
Vega called it in, hoping for Connor’s sake that the kid was smart enough not to be in a place like this.
Angel rode in a limo, heading over to find his wayward son. He had thought about driving himself, seeing as how not only was it night but W&H had made it so the sun wouldn’t affect him within the vehicles, but in reality he was too worried/angered to not be a hazard on the road.
He’d been alerted that there was a high probability that Connor was at one of the nightclubs. So, after having just found his son and managed to uproot his life to make the kid safe, he was certain that he was going to kill the boy.
“This is it,” his chauffer said.
Angel tensed. Looking at the street that they’d turned into, he could see why it appealed to the younger crowd. It was very active, with people walking from one place to the other. And by walking, he was thinking stumbling.
The entire street was lined with crowds of people and cars so that the limo slowly prowled towards its intended target.
“There’s Vega, sir,” he was told just as he spotted the black SUV.
“Pull over, Carter, and I’ll go find my son.”
Angel stepped out of the limo, and listened as Vega told him where he’d seen Connor’s friend, a Vincent Hartley, come out from. Sure enough, as Angel neared the club’s lot, he could smell the lingering scent of his child, as brief as was left. Connor had been inside a long time.
“Les Deux,” Vega said from besides him, noting which club they were in front of. “Its pretty in right now, I wonder how Connor got inside.”
“I wonder why he’s still in there,” Angel growled as he headed for the door.
The bouncer held them up, but after announcing his position in a law firm and how his intents could revert from its determined peaceful demeanor to incriminating, they were quickly allowed inside.
The club was packed and even Vega could smell the amount of alcohol the place carried. The music was loud and everyone seemed to be ‘dancing’ towards the center of the place.
Angel frowned. The scents inside were so mixed that he was finding it hard to keep his trail on his son. There were all kinds of demons inside the club as well as humans. Angel felt the cold chills of death at the thought of what these things would do if they knew that the Miracle Child was amongst them.
It was Vega who spotted the teen. Just as he had turned to tell his boss that maybe the kid had already left, he spotted him with one of his other friends and they seemed to be heading for the side door.
“Sir,” Vega said, pointing towards the retreating teens.
Angel turned around and saw as the two headed down from the platform . He shook his head, relieved at seeing the kid okay but not pleased that he’d been spotted first and that his kid was foolish enough to try and run off again.
“Alright, come on James,” he sighed, leading the way quickly to the front door behind them.
He was kind of regretting leaving his bed at all this morning.
Stupid Izzy Harvey.
Next time, he’d tell her just where she could go with her stupid invitations.
And then it hit him…
“Oh shit,” he groaned, thinking about what he‘d just sensed.
What was his dad going to say?
Connor led the way as he and David tried to get out of the club.
“Dude! Slow the fuck down!” Dave moaned as he tripped over himself, again, in his hast to keep up with his friend.
“Dave! Come on! We don’t have time!”
Dave groaned. He wanted to sit down, wait for the room to stop spinning so much, but Connor didn’t seem to think such a thing as a necessity.
“Time for what?”
Connor rolled his eyes. For a pretty smart kid, Dave was a complete dummy after drinking.
“Dave! Listen, I pointed out those guys to you, right? Do you want to get caught?” Connor asked, turning to give his friend a look that said ‘No, you don’t want to get caught, Dummy’.
“So move it!”
They reached the first floor and dashed over to the door. Connor’s jumbled mind danced with glee at the thought that he had evaded Angel and Vega.
Opening the door, he and David dashed out right into an alleyway. They stopped for a second, Dave to catch his breath before he passed out and Connor to think.
Connor twisted around to look his friend over.
“Wha-” he started to ask, but the question answered itself as he watched a demon began to attack a group of young women.
“Izzy?” Dave muttered, seeing one of the girl’s as she turned towards the more lit street.
“Shit!” Connor yelled as he realized what was happening. As he tried to pull himself together and go save the girls, he saw two figures move in from the street.
The boys watched as the demon was man handled over to the wall and the girls were ushered away.
“Wow! Did you see that shit!” Dave yelled excited.
Connor groaned, not at all sharing the same delight as his friend at having to be rescued by his dad.
“Yeah, I saw it.”
James Vega returned, just as Angel decapitated the demon.
“Oh my fucking goodness! Did you see that! That dude just snapped his head off! Oh, man, we we’ve got to call the cops!”
Angel glared at him as he leaned back into the building, wishing some portal would appear and take him into yet another dimension. Make it so that by the time his dad found him he would no longer be radiating all that anger.
“Get over here,” growled Angel, loud enough so that the kid could hear him.
“Hey,” Dave whispered once his initial reaction of ‘cool’ started to wear off. “Where are you -
“Just come on, Dave,” sighed Connor, heading over to the deadly calm vampire.
Dave followed closely behind him, hoping that his friend knew what he was doing.
Connor stopped in front of his dad, looking intently between his shoes, his dad’s shoes, and the pile of dead demon behind Angel.
Angel shook his head. He couldn’t believe his kid. Now his friend seemed to have the right idea. He was shivering head to toe and looking green, probably from the amount of alcohol he could smell on the boy.
Unable to think of what to say at the moment, and just grateful that his son was unharmed, he turned instead to Vega.
“Better call in a cleanup crew,” he said coldly, turning to head out of the alley. “I’ll take these two home.”
“You got it, boss,” said Vega as he pulled out his cell and turned away to make the call.
The other boy tensed behind him. He could hear the boy’s heartbeat intensify, his skin glistening with the smell of fear.
“Um, sir? I, uh, I think it’d be best if we just took a uh, a cab. Thanks, thank you though.”
Angel looked over his shoulder at the two boys, giving them a stern look. Connor’s gaze returned to the ground, shoulders slumping from the knowledge that the statement hadn’t been optional. Not that he thought the kid hadn’t figured that out before hand. The other boy visibly paled.
Angel sighed. He really didn’t feel like dealing with two teenagers at the moment. Especially since only one was actually his.
Figuring that he didn’t want to give the frantic child before him a panic attack, he addressed his son.
“Connor, do you know where your friend lives?”
The direct question seemed to startle the boy as he looked between Angel and Connor.
Connor shook his had, not wanting to speak. His own heart was frantic, knowing the trouble that he was in. Angel could hear it beating a frantic second faster than it usually did. Not to mention the unhappy tone that the boy’s stomach was taking at the alcoholic invasion.
“Connor?” the boy whispered to his friend.
Connor tried to slump further into himself.
“Don’t worry, Dave,” he sighed. Then, nudging his head towards Angel he added. “That’s my dad.”
The comment hadn’t been said happily, but it had been the first time that Connor had admitted to such a thing. Sure, he called him Dad, but he’d been doing that since the day that he’d come in through the portal. There was something more to hearing the kid comment that to someone other than their friends.
In all effects, it made Angel really giddy inside. But he maintained a stern look on his face. Because calling him dad wasn’t going to save the boy from punishment.
Dave looked between him and Connor, seemingly surprised. True, Angel still looked twenty-seven, and sometimes he forgot that. Having a fifteen year old was a little improbable. Unless he’d gotten hitched at twelve, which yikes. But he refused to look bashed. Because like it or not, Connor was his and that was that.
Dave seemed to have seen something that had brought him to the same conclusion. Loosing some of the stiffness in his body, now that he was assured that he wasn’t about to be kidnapped, he merely glanced down at the ground, mirroring Connor‘s pose.
“Well this fucking sucks,” he muttered softly to himself.
“Hey, David? Don’t you think that you’re in enough trouble to be tossing out words like that?” he asked sternly.
Dave looked stunned. How could Mr. Angel have heard him from where he was standing?
Connor groaned, tossing his dad a glare. Sure, he wasn’t sure what word Dave had tossed around, but he knew enough that Angel wasn’t supposed to have heard that comment and pointing it out wasn’t cool.
“Sah, sorry, sir,” Dave stuttered out of reflex, not certain if he’d really been heard or, like his own mother, it had just been obvious of his attitude. Unlike his mother, however, he did not contest the matter.
Especially not just after seeing how that thing had been handled.
“Limo. Now, move it.”
The boy followed closely behind his son, heading straight for the awaiting limo. The boy looked back unsurely before stepping into it.
“Sir, I’ll wait here for the crew,” Vega said coming back besides them.
Angel nodded his thanks, grateful to leave the scene. That dead demon really reeked.
He slipped into the limo, not taking to notice how both boys noticeably flinched at the sound of the slamming door.
The further Carter drove away from the scene, the stiffer the boys got.
“We’re at the firm, sir,” Carter announced as they pulled into the law firm’s garage.
Much like Vin had hours before, Dave gapped at the building.
“Dude, you live here? No fucking way!”
Connor shrugged, going to open the door as Carter stopped the limo. The faster he made it upstairs and into his bed, the less likely that he was to be punished tonight.
“You know, David if you apologize for something, you shouldn’t go off and do it again,” Angel spoke sternly to the blond boy climbing out of the vehicle. Then, facing his own son he continued. “Say like, running off when you’re not supposed to.”
Connor tensed at the look he felt on his back as he neared the elevator. He could clearly think back to the time (times) that Angel was mentioning: when he’d left in the middle of the night for his old apartment after being told to head to bed; and when he’d strolled through some of the floors in the firm after being order to stay at the penthouse. Both times hadn’t gotten happy results.
He really did wish he learned faster.
Dave followed unsure into the elevator behind Connor and Angel nodded Carter goodbye as he stepped into the lift.
They went straight to the office, not wanting to walk the boys through the chaos that was W&H after hours. Stepped out of the lift, Angel pointed at the sofas, indicating that the two should take a seat.
Dave looked around the enormous office. He knew from the few times that Connor had briefly mentioned it that Mr. Angel was a lawyer, which he knew made a lot of money, but damn.
Angel came back, handing to David a handheld phone. Dave only looked at it. Angel sighed. Apparently, absentmindedness was common amongst teens.
“Call home,” Angel instructed, tossing the phone towards the kid, who caught it and then proceeded to stare at it. “Today, kid. So, you know, that they won’t go crazy wondering where the hell you went off to tonight. Might like to mention them coming to pick you up, too.”
Dave looked up at him, visually seeking if he was serious. Which he was. Groaning, he started to punch in his number.
Angel walked over to his son, leaving the other boy to his call. He sat down besides him, looking at him trying to asses what possessed the boy to do such things.
“Stop staring at me,” Connor gritted. He hated people looking at him, Angel knew, but he also used that as a method to make the teen speak out faster and confess.
So he stayed silent.
Connor angrily crossed his arms over his chest, mirroring Angel’s pose, though more tensely.
They would have remained that way had Dave not announced that he was finished with his call and that his mother would be there within the hour.
Connor and Dave were made to sit through a lecture, courtesy of one of Greene’s finest. They heard about the dangers of the street and the dangers of alcohol. Nothing Dave hadn’t heard and nothing Connor seemed to care about. Besides, the demon was completely left out of the lecture - presumably do that Dave wouldn’t get the event reinforced and would think it his drunken slumber.
Then, Greene began about the incredible stupidity they held at risking themselves to strangers, alcohol, and the police.
Angel stood back watching as both boys fidgeted and rolled their eyes. Travis Greene had brought a matter to his attention. Los Angeles wasn’t the kind of place to have a child roaming the streets unattended, and they couldn’t be chasing after him all of the time, even within the firm itself.
And then Greene had proposed a tracker.
Initially, Angel had detested the idea. He didn’t want to track his kid like an animal, didn’t want to give him the image that he had no privacy in his life. But then, going over what little he knew of the boy and what he’d lived through, he thought that it might not be such a bad idea.
So, as Greene finished off lecturing and got both boys to at least look remotely put down, he shared a look with Angel and noted that the man had reached his conclusion.
Harmony came in, announcing that Ms. Maefield had arrived at the lobby.
Angel decided to wait until the next day to announce the tracker to his son, seeing as how now didn’t prove to be the best moment. He led Connor and Dave back into the elevator and hit the button for the lobby.
Connor was starting to get really aggravated. Sure, he understood that he was in trouble for sneaking out, but he couldn’t get what the big deal everyone was making was.
Besides him, Angel could sense the attitude changes in him. He had seen enough of them in his short time with Connor to know that the kid wasn’t going to be very cooperative. Dulling it all out to the alcohol intact that the two managed, he decided he’d handle the entire night the next morning.
Dave spotted his mother and began to walk slower to where she was pacing in the lobby. Angel led the way, introducing himself as he came upon her.
“Hi, I’m Angel, Connor’s dad,” Angel introduced himself, ignoring her look (probably thinking he was way too young) and offering his hand instead.
“Hi,” she said awkwardly. Spotting her son, however, stopped her from having any further reason for small talk. “David Thomas Maefield, care to tell me what in God’s name you were thinking?”
Her tone was stern and restrained from yelling, but David still tensed. He hated seeing his mother like that. He knew better than to answer any of her questions as he listened to her list off all of his ‘crimes’.
“Have you any idea what has passed through my mind when Emily called me to tell me that you weren’t home! Then Tabitha tells me that you went off with Vincent and I just knew you’d find trouble!”
“Ms. Maefield?” Angel spoke, calmly as ever, like when he tried to calm victims of attacks. She looked over at him, stopping in her rant. “Would you prefer to head up to my office to talk, I don’t really think it right to interrupt these people as they wait here.”
Looking around, she seemed to note for the first time that there were others around her. She would have liked to continue talking, find out every detail that the man knew about what her son had done, but she really didn’t have the time.
“I think it’d be better if we headed out. Thank you mister?”
“Angel, just Angel. And it was no trouble. I’m sorry we had to meet for such a situation.”
She nodded at his pleasantries.
“Angel then, thank you for taking my son away from the streets tonight. I thought that he knew better than to do such things, but I’m afraid I underestimated him. I assure you, it wont happen again.”
Dave looked like he wanted the ground beneath him to eat him up in the spot.
“Well, I thought I’d told you that I had the boys checked by my medical staff and other than a bad hang over, they’ll be fine in the morning. Also, I had the clubs on the strip informed of their trespassing and have made it so that no exceptions are taken in those clubs to checking Ids.”
Ms. Maefiled shot Dave a look of fury.
“Club? What club David? You didn’t mention any club on the phone! You said that you were found in the streets! A hangover means that you were drinking! Funny, you didn’t mention that either! You want to go off drinking and clubbing all night? Is that what you want? Is that what I send you to school for? So you can turn out like every other lowlife man out there?” she ranted, grating Dave out for every little thing and making it seem as if he was the epiphany of the male species.
Connor watched her chew his friend out and didn’t like what he was hearing. He didn’t feel that Dave deserved what she was saying because it sounded really mean and all in all, he still felt like they hadn’t done such a bad thing. So he wouldn’t sneak out anymore, no surprise there, and he wouldn’t take drinks from people he didn’t know. Especially if they smelled funny.
But that didn’t make him a degenerate male. Did it?
“Give a rest lady and leave him alone!”
Ms. Maefield stopped in her rant to stare t him. Besides him, Angel could believe the disrespect from the boy.
“Excuse me?” she asked, directing her anger towards him now. But Connor didn’t back down.
“Connor!” warned Angel at the same time that the woman spoke.
“So tonight was stupid, but Dave isn’t a bad guy, so leave him alone! You don’t have to be so fucking mean!”
Angel reacted on instinct, not believing the word that has so easily slipped from his son’s mouth. He smacked Connor’s butt, not seeming to realize that they were in public over the shock of his son’s filthy mouth.
“ow” Connor gritted, turning over to glare at him.
“Apologize,” Angel ordered, feeling his anger start to rise again. Connor continued to glare a second longer, causing Angel to take a step closer to him.
Connor was so furious at what his dad had done, knowing he’d been rude himself with his tone but hating that he’d gotten swatted for it. At the threatening step, he flipped back over to his friend’s mother and uttered an apology.
“I’m sorry, but it seems this night pulled out long enough. Hope you have a safe ride home, but we’ve got to go now,” Angel gritted, maintaining the last dregs of his patience so that he wouldn’t explode on the boy in public.
Ms. Maefiled looked like she wanted to say something. Then, seeming to think better of it, she nodded, grabbed her son by the arm and led him out of the lobby.
Angel marched Connor right back into the elevator without another word. Going straight up into the penthouse, he tugged at Connor towards the sofa. Connor resisted, pressing his heels into the floor, but Angel wasn’t in mood for playing any games. He grabbed Connor and easily tossed him over his shoulder.
“No! Dad! Put me down!” Connor shrieked, wiggling in his hold and trying to shove himself off.
Angel sat himself on the living room couch that was directly in front of the elevator. He positioned Connor on his lap and proceeded to swat at the boy’s butt, deciding to address the rudeness immediately.
“Ow! Dad! Ahh, st-op”
Having heard how easily the other boy had let the word slip, Angel had no doubt as to where his son had learned such language. It just proved as another bad note towards the kid attending school that he had feared.
“That was very rude of you! You do NOT use that kind of language!”
“I don’t want to ever hear you say that word from again!”
“Oww! What! Ahh! Dad!”
Angel stopped his hand’s downward fall.
“Do you know why I scolded your friend for? What he said?”
Connor sniffed, gulping air to try and regain some composure. Not easy to do since he was still ‘in position’.
“He h-ad an at-ti-tude,” Connor stammered through his sobs.
“Yes, Connor, he had an attitude. But he also said a bad word and you repeated it.”
“Bad word?” Connor asked. He’d never heard of such a thing. Sure, he’d heard that you could condemn a person through a curse, Holtz had been abdomen about that. Saying how he’d been a curse to the human race, a human created from sin. It had been the main nightmares of his youth.
To think that he had done the same thing to that woman was unthinkable.
“I, I cursed her?” Connor asked, suddenly starting to cry again.
“What?” Angel asked startled. He flipped Connor over, sitting the boy on his lap in order to be able to talk directly at him.
“Connor, what are you talking about. You didn’t curse anyone.”
Connor cried onto Angel’s shoulder, allowing his dad to hug him close. He just couldn’t believe that after receiving that treatment he would do that to someone back.
“I didn’t mean to!”
Angel hugged his son close.
“You didn’t curse her, I swear to you. She’s fine.”
Angel continued to reassure his son until Connor’s sob’s stopped.
“Connor, you said a bad word. A very bad word, but its only bad because of what it means, not because it curses someone. People give the word certain bad meanings so that they can use it when they’re mad at someone. Now, I know that you didn’t know it was a bad word, so I shouldn’t have punished you, but you caught me by surprise. I really don’t like the word you used, but you didn’t know that, so I’m sorry.”
Connor nodded, grateful that he hadn’t condemned his friend’s mother. He found mothers to be a precious thing, he just hadn’t liked how she’d been talking to his friend.
“I’m sorry too,” he apologized, too wrapped up in his thoughts about Ms. Maefield to realize that he’d been apologized to for a spanking. That hadn’t happened yet.
“I know, Con. But. You do understand that if you say it again though, there won’t be any excuses?”
Connor nodded. Happy to be done with that matter, Angel kissed the op of his head before lifting him up and carrying him over to the bedroom.
Placing Connor on his bed as he made up the hideabed, he couldn’t help but dread all the things that his precious boy was going to be learning. He surely hadn’t anticipated these kinds of lessons.
Connor was mostly asleep when Angel finished, so Angel grabbed the kid’s pajamas and decided to change him. It was kind of awkward, the teen’s long limbs pulling away and rather seeking the warmth of the bed’s comforters.
Angel quickly finished up dressing him, and Connor was already asleep and easily lifted and placed into his bed.
He looks like an angel, he thought ironically as he kissed his forehead goodnight and tucked him in. A little demon with the face of an angel.
The Next Morning
Connor awoke, not too certain of why the room was spinning. He wished it’d stop.
A second later it did. His stomach however…
Angel entered the room, having heard from the living room signs that the little rebel was awake, just as Connor made it to the bathroom.
He shook his head.
Angel, or rather Liam’s, first time with alcohol had rendered much of the same effects. Granted, in those days aspirin wasn’t made available and if it had been, his father would not have gotten it for him. Liam had been a little younger than Connor was when he’d gotten ripping drunk, but that wasn’t a topic to be brought up at the moment. He had to focus on his son, and more importantly imparting that such behavior was not acceptable.
Connor dragged himself out of the bathroom. He could sense his dad’s gaze on him as he walked himself back into the room.
Angel was leaning against the side table, watching him. To say it unnerved him was an understatement. He knew that they had to address what he’d done the night before and he wasn’t too happy about that.
Seeing as how he’d have to pass by his dad to get back to his ‘bed’, way too close to swatting proximity, Connor walked over instead to Angel’s bed and flopped down onto it.
The covers on the master bed were so-oh comfy that snuggling into them, Connor almost fell back to sleep.
Angel sighed, watching his ‘tough’ son cuddle into the warmth and comfort that the bed provided. Having just heard the boy gorging his insides out he felt slightly bad about what he was about to do. But, the alternative being that Connor go around thinking that sneaking out and drinking all night was acceptable was enough incentive to walk him over to the slump form.
Shaking him slightly back into consciousness, Angel handed over some aspirin.
“Take these, you’ll feel better,” he instructed.
Connor took the pill, drowning the water right after. He knew that he was in deep trouble, and there was just no sense in doing something more to aggravate the man.
Taking the empty glass back, Angel set it aside standing before his son with his arms crossed over his chest. Connor tried to maintain eye contact but couldn’t.
“Want to tell me what you were thinking last night, sneaking out of here?” Angel asked, way too calmly.
To say that he’d been pleasantly pleased with how easy it had been didn’t seem like the right answer, so Connor kept his mouth shut.
Still not the right answer.
Angel reached forward, taking Connor’s chin in hand and making the boy look back at him.
“I asked you a question.”
“I…I wasn’t?” Connor answered, unsure of himself. It sounded like a safe enough answer, it was after all what Mr. Hayes, his mathematics teacher, also said. That they didn’t understand because they weren’t thinking.
“Well, at least we can agree on that,” he said, not sounding so agreeable. “Care to tell me why you found the need to sneak off last?”
Connor sighed. To say that he hadn’t really thought of his repercussions until the very last second was really taking its toll on his. Especially since he just acted, no real thoughts involved.
It was after all how he’d survived most of his life.
Angel released his chin, returning to his imitating pose of crossing his arms and frowning intensely.
“Tell me all that happened last night.”
“Oh come on,” Connor moaned, dropping his head onto his hands.
“Now, Connor,” Angel firmly ordered.
So, slowly, he did. He told of how he’d been asked to go by dome girl, and how the guys had seemed to think of it as a big deal. He told of B’s plan to get them out, but how B had had to work that night (otherwise, they probably would’ve gotten away with it, but he left hat part out). He told of getting into the night club and then finding Izzy, then losing Izzy into the mix. He told all of which he could remember, which including completely forgetting how in the world it was that he had started drinking. And the girl, he had no idea where she’d come from. Aggie Whatsherface.
“You mean to tell me that you have no idea how you got drunk?” Angel asked, leaning on the back of the Connor’s couch and glaring at the teen.
“No! I know how.”
“You just don’t actually know how. Or when. Or how many!”
Well, when Angel put it that way, it sounded as bad as it felt. Just freaking great.
“Yeah,” Connor answered cheaply. What else could he possibly say? His dad already knew the answer, and if he didn’t he would probably be able to tell he was lying before he even spoke a word.
Angel rubbed at his face. This was worst than he imagined. He wondered if he should get into all the dangers of the human world, or just ground his indefinitely.
“Connor, you have no reason to be anywhere near any clubs or alcohol.”
“You have alcohol. All over.”
Angel groaned. So not what he had wanted to discuss.
“I’m an adult. And I’m a vampire. My liver is as dead as its going to get. You, however, are only fifteen and human. You have no right to be drinking and your body can’t possible handle the intact. And, it’s against the law. Do you need any more reasons?”
Connor groaned. Angel was being exceptionally loud that morning.
“Not so loud, Dad,” he moaned, covering his ears.
“Alcohol, does that to you son. Makes things distorted, and makes you feel like sh- bad in the morning. You’re way too young to understand the effects that it can have on you, which is why it’s illegal for you to drink any.”
“Everyone there was drinking.”
Angel slumped, completely not expecting that answer. But really, when it came to Connor, he should stop being so surprised all the time.
“Well, since you mentioned it, just because others are doing something, doesn’t give you the right to do the same thing. So, it’s not an excuse. You have a mind of your own, use it.”
“I did! I told Izzy no!”
“How do you know Izzy gave it to you? You can’t even remember drinking it!”
“I know I can’t! I’m sorry! Alright!”
No, it wasn’t alright. Inside, Angel was terrified at all the possibilities of what could have happened to his son. Sure, he headed W&H now, but there were so many other things out there that still wanted a piece of the boy. Literally.
He couldn’t even be certain that all the baddies knew that the ‘baby’ of two vamps wasn’t a baby any more.
“Do you have any idea-” Angel started to say, but then he stopped. He didn’t want his son to have those kinds of thoughts in his mind. The kind that kept him awake for months and gave the rest of his team restless nights.
“Forget it,” Angel muttered, more to himself than the fidgety, cranky figure before him. He walked over to his son and tugged him to his feet.
“Connor, what you did last night was completely irresponsible. I left Gunther with you for a reason -
“You don’t trust me,” Connor finished. He sounded saddened by the thought, showing for the first time that he even cared about what Angel really thought of him.
“No,” Angel replied sadly. He wished he did, but the boy before him was, for all effects, still a stranger. “And after last night, can you blame me?
“I want to trust you, son. I really do. But, you’ve got to give me something back in return. You’ve got to make it so that I can trust you, and you have to trust me back. So far, I think you can trust that your deeds won’t go unpunished. I think you know how serious I am at keeping you safe. If that’s not clear, I hope this reminds you.”
Resigning himself again to the task, Angel sat down on the edge of his bed pulling Connor in front of him.
“Wait! Nooo, don’t do that,” Connor whined, taking a firm grip of his pajama bottoms’ waist.
Angel pried the bottoms free, ignoring his sons whine as he tugged the apparel down.
“Please? I’m sorry!” Connor immediately stated, knowing that how he was currently feeling was going to make for the ‘experience’ just that much more painful.
“As well you should be, Con. But you snuck out and then drank yourself silly and that’s just unacceptable.” With that said, Angel placed Connor over his lap and proceeded to show the teen just how unacceptable his behavior was.
Angel was pleased to see that the couple of spanks the night before for cursing hadn’t had too much of a lasting damage. In fact, there was no sign at all that he had even spanked the boy.
Connor whined and squirmed, trying to get free or talk his way out of punishment. However, his mumbled mind was making so that his words came out incomprehensible.
Angel continued to spank him over until his cheeks turned lightly red. By then, Connor was wailing, and the fight was mostly gone from him.
“You will not sneak out of here again, do you hear me?” he asked, placing two particularly hard swats at the top of his thighs.
“Ye-es!” Connor yelled, gripping the bed sheets tightly in his fists.
“And you will never drink again!”
“I won’t, I pr promise!”
Seemingly satisfied, Angel placed a final volley of swats, harder than the rest, on the repent bottom.
Gathering Connor back in his arms, Angel held him until the tears stopped streaming down his sad eyes.
“You okay?” Angel asked him.
Connor gave him a look that clearly replied, ‘Who are you kidding!’ but kept the comment to himself.
“Yeah, okay, dumb questions. But I’m serious Con, I can’t have you sneaking out of here. I need to know here you are at all times.”
“That just really sucks,” Connor muttered into his chest.
“Well, that’s just how it is. We went over this before, I have to take care of you. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you. And if it does, I have to be able to know here you are so that I can help you,” Angel tried to explain. He unconsciously tightened his hold around the boy, remembering how torturous it was for him when the boy had been taken away from him.
“Um, Dad? I kinda, need…ta...breath.”
“Huh? Right,” Angel replied, losing his arms a little.
“Okay, I get it. I got it before. You don’t want me missing. You don’t want me gone, and all that. I got it. You don’t have to do that again.”
Angel smiled down at him, wondering sadly if the innocent face before marked with its tears and juvenile glow, looked the same when he’d been younger.
“You, mister, brought that on yourself. I don’t like doing that. I’d prefer if you did learn from this and I won’t have to repeat it, but can you honestly tell me that you’re going to listen to everything I say from now on?”
Connor’s gaze was enough answer. The defiant little rebel perfectly understood that, unless he changed his ways, that would be repeated. Often.
“I didn’t even like the stupid beer,” Connor mumbled, trying to find some kind of balance to his predicament.
Angel stifled a laugh as he stood them both up, replacing Connor’s clothing. He then placed the boy back into the bed, tucking the comfy, soft bedding around his small frame.
“Good to know,” he said, kissing his forehead and wiping away the last signs of the tears.
Connor twisted onto his stomach, hugging the sheets close to him. He wouldn’t admit it out loud, but they still smelled of Angel and that made him feel safe.
Angel walked back into his office. The rest of his team was there waiting for him. He comforted Fred, who had not seen Connor the night before, and Lorne, who was shocked to hear that the little tot had gotten wasted, and told them the boy was fine.
Wes and Gunn had too headed out to look for the little imp, and had been pleased to find out that he’d been found. When they had arrived at W&H, they’d heard the scene that the woman had pulled and then had heard Connor’s quick retort. They had been surprised by his language.
Seeing as how Angel had handled the situation quickly and had headed back up to the pent, they decided against making their presence known and could tell that Angel appreciated it. Because, of course the vampire had known them to be there.
They all briefed about their latest case, and headed off to their work, all the while thinking about how much simpler it would have been had the Connor that returned maybe had been a few years younger.
Angel had headed back upstairs to see Connor for his ‘lunch break’ hour. He found Connor stretched out on his stomach in the family room watching TV.
“This going to be a vice?” Angel asked taking a seat behind the kid on the couch.
“What is?” Connor asked, not looking away from the screen.
“The TV,” Angel asked, laughing as the kid’s actions had been enough answer for him.
“Don’t know, what’s a vice?” Connor asked, smirking.
Angel frowned, but following the boy’s playful demeanor.
“You’ve been to a Catholic school for one full week and you don’t know what vice is? I don’t believe it.”
Connor laughed slightly. Actually laughed. Angel smiled despite himself.
The boy’s laughter was a virgin treat to his ears.
“Kidding,” Connor said, rolling his eyes. “Or what, vamp with a soul’s got no humor?”
Angel took one of the throw pillows on the couch and tossed it at the kid’s head.
“Hey! Alright, alright!”
“Yeah, buddy boy, watch yourself.”
“Watch myself do what?” Connor asked, flipping over and shifting around to sit so that nothing touched his sore bottom.
“Funny. Real funny. I must have lost all my humor genes passing them onto you.”
Connor rolled his eyes.
“Connor come here please, I want to tell you something.”
Connor gave him a nervous look, and for good reason. He’d gotten spanked that morning and the previous night, so he wasn’t too keen on the matter.
Nevertheless, he settled down besides Angel on the sofa, grateful for the expensive furniture which was really soft and not that disturbing on his bottom.
“I didn’t enjoy the fact that I had to go searching for you last night, you know. Wesley, Gunn, Vega, and a lot of other people dropped what they’d been doing to go looking for you and that just can’t happen all the time.”
“I know, I’m sorry. Are you going to spank me again?”
Angel reached over and hugged his son close.
“No, son. You were already punished and that was that. However, this was a repeat offense for you, you know.”
Angel waited to see if the boy admitted to the fact and sure enough Connor slowly nodded his agreement.
“I had a long chat with Travis yesterday, and he had a very good idea that he pitched to me. I didn’t want to do this, but I think that maybe it’ll help us all keep better tabs on you.”
“What are you talking about?” Connor asked, looking up at him.
Angel sighed, resigning himself once again to the harsher points of parenting. He knew that the boy hated their trust issues, but in all actuality, it was safer all around. Knowing where his son was at all times would be such a stress relief that he had developed and overdeveloped during the boy’s time missing.
Reaching into his pocket, Angel brought out a thin black braclet with a small silver charm on it.
“What is that?”
“It’s a bracelet that Travis gave me, for you. They developed it down in the security department. It’s a tracker, Connor. It keeps tabs on your location at all times.”
“What? But -”
“I’m sorry, son, but you tend to follow your instincts. And while that’s a good thing, a great thing that will keep you alive often, it’s really not safe for you while you’re still so new here.”
Connor looked at the bracelet. He didn’t like the idea.
“That thing watches me? Tells on me?” Connor accused.
“No! nothing like that. It’s a little more complicated. But, what it does is keep a record of your location. You seen maps?” Connor nodded, still looking only at the bracelet. “Well one of the things this does and give your location on a map.”
Angel nodded. It kind of annoyed him too, he’d have to get them to fix that. He knew that neither of them would do with that thing constantly beep-beep-beeping.
“It’s transmitting. It’s telling a map where it is. And when I put it on you, it’s going to tell the computers where you are.”
“I don’t want it. It sounds like witch craft.”
“Witch craft? Connor, no, it’s called technology. Computers, Television, that PSP and Gameboy you love so much. There not evil, well they can be, but that’s not the point. What I mean is this is safe, I wouldn’t give it to you otherwise.”
“Wait, the TV, and PSP track me too?”
Angel smiled, knowing that his son was smart but wondering if they twenty questions would ever stop.
He hoped they never would.
“No. just the bracelet.”
Connor frowned, glaring at the bracelet as intently as he had his uniform on a daily basis.
“Does it help that you don’t really have a say in the matter?” Angel asked gently, hoping not to tip the kid off.
“Yeah, I kind of figured that one out, thanks.”
Needless to say, Connor was stuck back in the penthouse that he had come to get to know so well. That weekend however, Gunn talked Angel into buying a pool table for the empty space in the penthouse, behind the couches. And so, Gunn started to teach the boy how to play pool and that wasn’t too bad.
Come Sunday afternoon, Angel’s desk was once again littered with files and he and Wesley were going through them. They spent a few hours at it, enough that Fred had called it a day and was helpfully pointing out the best ways to categorized the mess. Lorne too was there, less helpful but quite entertaining as he talked about some of the people that had passed through his department recently. And it was quite an impressive list. Gunn and Connor had come down waiting to see if maybe they could get someone to get supper for them (they’d gotten too much take out lately, and neither knew how to cook).
As they were nearing the end of the pile, Wes spotted a file that had not been opened.
Angel looked at the file, suddenly remembering its origin.
“That it?” Gunn asked, remembered the file that had been given to Angel upon their first night there. All of them had been curious but they’d forgotten about it in the chaos hat their lives had taken up.
Springing from his seat and over to the desk, Gunn snatched the file from Wes’ hands. He balanced it in his hands, noticing it’s strange form.
“There’s something in it,” he noted.
“Hope it’s not gross,” Fred moaned, thinking of all the things she’d been seeing lately. Sure, it’d been cool; but it was still gross.
“I hope its evil,” Connor muttered, not really interested (since he’d probably not even get to see what it was) but kind of hoping to kill something nonetheless.
“Connor,” Angel groaned automatically.
“Relax, Junebuggy,” Lorne told the teen, ruffling his hair as he passed him on his way to the desk. “If it were evil, it wouldn’t have rested so easily for so long.”
“Right, we don’t exactly have that kind of luck,” Gunn mentioned.
“We have luck,” Angel countered, taking the file from Gunn’s hands and looking it over himself.
“Face it Angel, if we didn’t have bad luck, we wouldn’t have any luck at all.”
Gunn ignored the glare that was sent at him, from most of the room’s occupants.
“Why not just open it, and see for ourselves?” Wes suggested, because knowing the team like he did, they could very well speculate for hours on its contents.
Angel pealed the file open, turning it around so that he could take out whatever was inside.
And then fell an object, straight to the floor, where it shattered…and low and behold, there stood Spike.