Authors Note: This chapter had spoilers for the episode ‘Habeas Corpses’.

How it Should Have Been Chapter 13

After Angel and Connor were done with their ‘talk’ in Angel’s office, Connor went upstairs and wrote the lines for Angel. When he was done, he still didn’t believe the words he had written, but the sentence was stuck in his head. Angel brought up some food for him, and had him take the pain medication for his ribs with only a little resistance. Then Connor went and found Gunn in the lobby, and they got busy tutoring. Wesley decided to go home for a few hours to make sure his apartment was still standing. And while he was there he decided to check on some of his books for references to the Beast, and to take a shower and change clothes. Fred, Lorne, and Angel all tried finding something on the Beast at the hotel.

Wesley felt refreshed after his shower, and he was sitting on his couch looking through some of his reference books when someone knocked on the door. Wesley got up and answered. Lilah was on the other side. She smiled with relief and said, “Just checking.”
She took a step and hugged him while she murmured, “I left like a hundred messages last night. Feel free not to return any of them.”
She pulled back and Wesley said apologetically “I’ve just arrived home. I haven’t checked them yet. So you’re alright then?”
She looked at him carefully and saw the new scratches on his face. She said, “Better then you it seems. I spent the night at Wolfram and Heart. And FYI, it’s the safest place to be during an apocalypse.”
He took a step back into the apartment with the door open in invitation, and she walked into the room as he said, “I was in a loosing battle with a large demon last night. I was just trying to find something on it.”
He shut the door behind her, and she put her hands on his shoulders and put her face close to his as she said, “Want me to make you feel better?”
She tried to kiss him, but he pulled away, and walked a few steps back. He said, “It’s over Lilah.”
Lilah looked confused for a second, and then said, “Right. We know how this one ends. You…me….together in bed.”
Wesley shook his head no. Lilah took a longer look at him and asked, “You’re serious?”
Wesley nodded, “After what I saw last night….A day of reckoning is coming.”
Lilah got angry and said, “And you just reckon you’ll throw in with the good guys now?”
Wesley just kept silent, and Lilah said, “And the girl of your dreams just happens to be on the side you’ve chosen. What a surprise.”
Wesley shook his head. “It’s not about Fred. It’s about black and white, good and evil….there is a line Lilah.”
She smiled nastily and said, “And you’re so sure you know where that line is?”
He knew she was just trying to hurt him and decided not to respond. She turned and walked towards the door when she said, “Funny thing about black and white. Mix them together and you get gray.”
She turned back to look at him as she said, “And then no matter how much white you put back in, it will always be gray. I don’t see Fred wearing that color.”
She opened his door and as she walked out she said, “In fact, she prefers black.”
Wesley stood there looking at the closed door. He knew Lilah was right. Fred was still in love with Gunn, even if things weren’t quite the same as before the Professor. And if Fred knew about the things Wesley had done during the months he was away from his friends, she would be ashamed of him. Lilah on the other hand was turned on by Wesley’s shadier activities. He looked down at the books on his coffee table and tried to convince himself that he had done the right thing.
He gathered up his books and headed back to the hotel.

At the hotel Connor did three hours of tutoring, and then Angel made him go lie down for a nap. Two hours later Connor woke up groggy and tried to shake the fog out of his head. He hated the pain medication, but he could tell that his ribs were getting better, and he was sure he was sleeping better without the constant pain. He stumbled out of bed, and went to see what everyone was up to. He went downstairs and found that Wesley and Julie were both back, and the whole team was looking through books to try and find references to the Beast.
Connor smiled at Julie, and she went to give him a kiss when he came down the stairs. He said, “Is your apartment okay?”
“Yep. And the registrar’s office was open. I’m signed up for three classes, and I have a part time job at the student cafeteria.”
Connor nodded at her and then looked at Angel when he asked, “Any leads or new information?”
Angel shook his head no, and Fred sighed, “I just don’t understand it. There should be something about it somewhere, but….there just isn’t.”
Connor thought about it and said, “I could try to track it.”
Angel said, “And what do you plan to do when you find it, get beat up again? We have to find a way to kill it before we go hunting it.”
Gunn said, “It hasn’t been on the news, so at least we know it’s lying low for now.”
Connor said to Angel, “Maybe you should go see Lilah again and see if she has any new information.”
Angel shook his head. “Not until I’m healed. It’s hard enough to sneak in there when I’m well.”
Connor sighed with defeat and said, “Okay. Then I guess I’m ready to do some more studying.”
Lorne got up and said, “Okay kiddo. Let’s go listen to some Beethoven.”
On his way to the basement, where they usually studied, Connor mumbled unhappily, “Great. How many classical musicians were there anyway?”
Lorne said with cheer, “Plenty more to torture you with dumpling.”


For the next three days things got back into a routine at Angel Investigations. The team still tried to find information on the Beast, but they mostly concentrated on other cases. Connor got back into a routine of studying, and he was just as happy as Angel was when his ribs were completely healed the day after Angel’s.
The only new piece of the routine was Julie. She spent most of her free time at the hotel with Connor, and when he wasn’t thinking about the Beast, Connor was happier then he could ever remember being. He always insisted on driving her home at night to make sure she got home safely. And all three nights they had made love before he went back to the hotel.

In the evening of the fourth day after Connor got back from taking Julie home, he went to talk to Angel. Angel was in his office and looked up from his papers. He smiled and said, “Hey.”
Connor went in and sat down. He said, “We’re both healed now.”
“Yes.”
“So, will you go see Lilah now?”
Angel leaned back in his chair and said, “I don’t know son.”
“What’s not to know. You either are or you’re not.”
Angel nodded and said, “You’re right. I’m not.”
“What?! Why?”
Angel could tell this was not the answer Connor wanted. He said calmly, “Because the Beast hasn’t done anything or shown up anywhere since the night fire fell from the sky. For all we know that was his big plan. Maybe he was burned up in the fire. I’m not going to risk going into Wolfram and Heart to say hi to Lilah just to have her give me nothing. The ONLY reason she was willing to give me that information last time was because she was getting pressure from her bosses, and now that things have gotten back to normal, she won’t be so giving.”
Connor glared at Angel and said, “The Beast is out there. He’s planning something, and it’s gonna be something big, something worse then the fire in the sky. We have to do something about it.”
Angel’s voice got a little louder when he said, “We are doing something about it. In fact, all of us here are still racking our brains trying to come up with something on it. We’re all doing everything that we can. I’m telling you, that going to Wolfram and Heart won’t help.”
Connor looked down at the floor thinking. Then he looked back up and said, “Maybe I could go through the city and try to find the Beast’s scent. I wouldn’t confront it or anything, I could just see if it’s still here in the city.”
Angel slowly nodded and said, “Okay. Tomorrow after your tutoring, you and Wes can go track it.”
Connor rolled his eyes and said, “He’ll just slow me down. Can’t I at least take Gunn?”
Angel gave Connor an apologetic look and said, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but Wes has been kind of moody lately…. I mean more then usual. I think it would help him to get out.”
Connor gave a long-suffering sigh and said, “All right.”
“And make sure you don’t loose him either.”
“Yeah, yeah. I know.”

The following day late in the afternoon Wesley and Connor started walking the city. Connor had been thinking about Wolfram and Heart for most of the day. He originally thought Angel should go see if Lilah had any new information, but the longer he thought about it, the more he thought that he should be the one to go see Lilah. He remembered Linwood talking to him before he had sunk Angel in the ocean. Linwood had told Connor that Wolfram and Heart could help him. Connor wondered if he went to see Lilah, if they would be able to tell him how and if he was connected to the Beast. Connor also thought that because Wesley was sleeping with Lilah, that he would be the one to talk into it. As they were walking Connor said, “How’s Lilah?”
Wesley looked at Connor questioningly. He said, “Why do you ask?”
“Just trying to make small talk. I haven’t smelled her on you lately.”
Wesley looked off into the distance and said quietly, “I’ve broken it off with her.”
“Why?”
“Many reasons, but mostly because of the Beast and the impending apocalypse.”
“Are you still friendly with her?”
“I don’t know. She was fairly angry the last time we spoke.”
Connor thought about it for a few minutes. Then he said, “What would you think about going with me to Wolfram and Heart so I could talk to her?”
Wesley stopped walking and turned towards Connor. “What? Why do you want to speak with Lilah?”
“I want to ask her about my connection to the Beast. See if she knows anything new.”
Wesley shook his head. “I don’t think that would be wise Connor. When you were a baby, Wolfram and Heart tired to get you. If you go in there, you might not come back out without a fight. They will want to keep you for testing at the very least. And I don’t think you understand how they see you Connor. They think of you as an enemy, a threat. They would be happy to see you eliminated. My relationship with Lilah doesn’t change that. She will not be forthcoming with you.”
Connor had stopped when Wesley did, to listen to him. Now he turned and kept walking. They didn’t say much else to each other for the next forty minutes. Then suddenly Connor stopped in his tracks. Wesley who was getting winded and was a few paces behind Connor caught up and looked at him. Wesley thought Connor looked pale and scared. Wesley said, “Is it the Beast? Did you get his scent?”
Connor slowly nodded and whispered, “Mixed with blood. Human blood.”
Wesley looked around to see what street they were on and said, “Is it close?”
Connor closed his eyes and smelled the air. “Maybe two blocks away.”
Wesley got out his cell phone and dialed the Hotel. Lorne answered and Wesley said, “It’s me. Connor has gotten the Beast’s scent. We’re on 48th and Billings.”
Lorne said, “Hold on, I’ll go fetch Angel.”
As Wesley was holding on he looked over to see if Connor was still looking scared only to find an empty sidewalk. Wesley did a 180-degree turn looking for Connor, and saw him nowhere. Wesley said, “Damn!”
Angel who had just picked up the phone and said with humor, “Too late to damn me Wes, it’s already been done. What’s up?”
Wesley sighed and said, “Connor just got the Beast’s scent. He said it was mixed with human blood. He looked scared, and…. Well, I took my eyes off him for a second, and when I turned around he was gone. I’m sorry.”
Angel said, “Shit! Do you think he went after the Beast? He wouldn’t have done that right? I mean he knows he can’t beat it.”
Wesley said, “I’m unsure. If he thought someone was in danger he might have. He said the Beast was about two blocks away.”
Angel sighed and said, “Okay, you stay put, I’m gonna round up the gang, and we’ll meet you there. Once we’re together, we’ll look for Connor.”

Connor was running. He had passed right by the building the Beast was in. He knew the human blood that he could smell was a day or two old, and he didn’t think anyone was in immediate danger. But he also believed that everyone was in serious danger with the Beast sill on the loose, and he was sure that the Beast was planning something even worse then fire from the sky. The team had been working for days to come up with something on the Beast with no luck. Connor had decided to take matters into his own hands despite what everyone else said.
As he was running towards Wolfram and Heart he thought, ‘Linwood said they would help me. Lilah might help me if she thinks it would help get her back together with Wes. And if I’m open to testing, maybe they can find something that connects me to the Beast, and maybe even a way to kill it. And if they don’t want to help me, I’ll just leave. It can’t be that hard.’

For three days after Wesley had broken up with her, Lilah had lost her passion for life in general. She kept telling herself that she didn’t care about Wesley. She told herself that about every five minutes, but in the end she realized she was lying to herself. She had fallen in love, and she hated herself for it. Three days after Wesley had broken up with her, she resolved to make herself forget about him. She decided the best way to do that was to throw herself into her work, and to put all of her anger and resentment into her job. She had been ruthless before, so no one saw it as much of a change, and her bosses were pleased with her new enthusiasm for work.
The senior partners had decided Lilah’s current job was to find the Beast and try to make some kind of a deal with him. She was supposed to either find a way to kill him, or find a way to get him to work for them. Her personal assistant Gavin was standing watching her talk on the phone.
Lilah said, “How hard can it be to find a seven foot demon made of rock! You people just aren’t trying. If you don’t find something on it by the end of the day I swear I’ll have you boiled alive!”
Gavin grimaced thinking he would be the one to end up carrying that out. He wouldn’t mind so much if he didn’t have to listen to the screaming, because his ears were sensitive. He decided he would get some earplugs. Lilah slammed the phone down and glared at Gavin. She said, “Did the psychics get anything?”
Gavin gulped and said, “No.”
“Fuck! Go get me one of them! Let’s see if some pain helps.”
Gavin nodded and started to leave Lilah’s office. Then he walked backwards into the office again. Lilah glared at him and was about to berate him when she got a surprise. There in front of her was Angel’s son. She gave him a huge smile and said, “Connor! What a surprise. You’re just more and more like your dad every day aren’t you? Sneaking in here and getting past the guards.”
Connor gave her a glare and then gave her a hopeful look. He said, “I… I thought maybe you could help me.”
Lilah didn’t think she could be more surprised. She said, “How?”
“I want to find out what I am…. How I’m connected to the Beast.”
Lilah still grinning big said, “Are you saying what I think you’re saying? You’re going to let us test you?”
Connor looked away but nodded. Lilah almost jumped up and down with joy. But she contained herself and remembered protocol. She sat on the edge of her desk, and as she was talking, she casually reached behind her and pushed the little panic button on the back of her desk just in case Connor decided to change his mind. She said, “I can’t tell you how great that is Connor. We’ll do the full work up on you, neurological, psychological, and physiological. We’ll get you some answers.”
Two of Wolfram and Heart’s security guards arrived, and Lilah’s smile turned less nice as she said, “And then we’ll slice you open and start poking around.”
Connor glared at her. In one move he punched both guards, and they were out cold on the floor. He turned back around and grabbed Lilah by the throat. He shoved her against the wall, and held her so that just her toes touched the ground. He said, “I don’t think so.”
Lilah back in professional mode smiled at Connor and tried to keep her voice level as she said, “Of course. How silly of me. My assistant Gavin here will get us all the information we have on you, and on the Beast. Then we can all sit down and have a nice non-violent discussion about it. How does that sound?”
Connor had loosened his grip on her throat, and was thinking about trying to trust her again when the lights flickered. He let her go and looked around. The lights went out and Connor couldn’t explain how he knew, but he was sure the Beast was close. Connor whispered, “He’s here.”
Lilah said, “Who?”
“The Beast. It’s here.”
Lilah shook her head and said, “It’s probably just a small power failure. I’ll call down to the front desk.”
Lilah picked up the phone, but the line was dead. She looked at Gavin and said, “Try one of the talkies.”
Gavin pulled one of the little phones off the security guard that was lying on the floor, and pushed the button as he said, “This is Gavin to the front desk.”
The response was garbled, and full of distant screaming, but they could make out the guy saying, “Oh God! It’s killing everyone!”
Lilah said to Gavin, “Tell him to stop whining, and to give us a full report!”
Then they heard the man scream, and the phone went dead. Connor said, “I told you. He’s here.”
Lilah looked at Gavin and said, “Go find out what’s going on.”
Gavin shook his head slightly and Lilah said, “Ask yourself this question Gavin. Who are you more afraid of, a seven foot demon, or me.”
Gavin nodded and headed out to see what the disturbance was. Connor looked around the room, and found a decorative half sword on the wall. He grabbed it and could tell that it was not just decorative. He strode out of Lilah’s office and headed with determination towards the stairs. Lilah grabbed her gun out of her desk drawer and followed him. As they were walking Lilah said, “Do you really think it’s the Beast?”
Connor nodded and said, “I can’t explain it, but we are connected.”
“What does it want?”
“Everyone dead.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Kill it.”
Lilah stopped as she said, “And you’re headed right for it.”
Connor continued and Lilah waved at his back and said, “Good luck with that.”
Lilah turned and walked the other way, and tried to think where the best place to hide would be.

Wesley waited impatiently for the others to arrive. As he waited he thought about Connor, and what he might be doing. After a few minutes he called Angel’s cell phone, and to his surprise Angel actually answered. Wesley said, “This might sound odd, but Connor was talking about Wolfram and Heart earlier. Do you think he might have gone there?”
Angel was walking in the sewers towards Wesley’s location. He said, “It’s a possibility.”
Wesley said, “It’s not very far away. I’ll go there under the pretense of visiting Lilah, and see if I find him. You and the others can track him from here. Call me if you find him, and I’ll do the same.”
“Good plan Wes. I’ll talk to you soon.”
Angel was getting close to the spot Wesley was, and knew Fred and Gunn who were going by car would arrive soon. He looked at his watch and anxiously awaited the setting of the sun in fifteen minutes.

Connor found it hard to track the Beast, because the mingled smell of so many different people’s blood was thick in the air. Everywhere he looked there were bodies, and pieces of bodies. Blood was splattered and smeared on every surface of the lobby. Connor walked silently and looked for clues as to which direction the Beast had gone. Connor knew Wolfram and Heart had thirty some floors, and eventually he decided he would just have to search floor by floor. When he was on the stairs, he heard gunfire a few floors above him. He rushed towards it as fast as he could.
Lilah emptied her entire clip into the Beast’s chest and head, but it didn’t even slow him down. The Beast grabbed her and slammed her down onto the nearest desk. Lilah choked out, “I can help you…. Get you anything you want.”
The Beast looked down at her with a smile, and stuck one large finger into her abdomen and wiggled it around. Lilah screamed. Then, before the Beast could do any more damage, Connor arrived in the doorway. The Beast saw him and knocked Lilah to the floor. Connor jumped up on the vacant table so that he could be taller then the Beast. He raised his half sword and brought it down hard intending to cut into the Beast’s chest. The sword shattered into pieces, and Connor just stood there looking shocked. The Beast smiled and said with amusement, “Connor.”
Connor was frozen in place. The only thing that his mind could register was that if the Beast knew him by name, there was no more denying their connection. The Beast backhanded Connor and sent him flying across the room. Connor landed against a cement pillar in the middle of the room. He hit it so hard that chunks of cement fell to the floor with him, and the impact damaged the ceiling enough that soon Connor was lying under a pile of cement, sheet rock, and other debris.
While the Beast was distracted Lilah stumbled off down the hall to try and find a new place to hide. Soon she could hear his stomping footsteps coming towards her. Then Wesley, her Wesley, was standing there in front of her, looking to her like a knight in shining armor. She smiled at him through her pain and said, “Come by to be the hero?”
He looked down at her white shirt that was stained with blood and said, “You’re injured.”
“The Beast. He’s still after me.”
Wesley could hear the footsteps too, and picked Lilah up. He carried her down the hall to get farther away from the Beast. Once he had gotten farther down the hall he went into one of the offices and shut the door behind them. He set Lilah down on the desk and got out his cell phone. Lilah shook her head and said, “Won’t work.”
Wesley put it to his ear and found she was right. He said, “We need to get you out of here.”
Lilah shook her head and said, “Too late.”
Wesley looked at her wound and said, “If you get to the hospital now, you should be fine.”
“Not that. It’s….”
As she was talking there were loud clanking noises all around them, and soon the window in the office turned black as a metal sheet covered it. Lilah finished her sentence with, “….the lock down for catastrophes. No one gets in, and no one gets out.”
The Beast smashed through the office door, and Wesley picked up Lilah again. He carried her out the other door, and continued farther down the hall. As he carried her he said, “Think Lilah there must be some way out. Especially for important people like yourself.”
Lilah was feeling woozy and put her head down on his shoulder and tried to think. Then she said, “Third floor supply closet.”
Wesley smiled at her and said, “Very good.”
He turned a corner in the hall, and set Lilah on her feet. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a grenade. He unpinned it and tossed it down the hall towards the Beast. Lilah said, “You can’t be serious.”
Wesley covered her ears with his hands and shielded her body with his. Once it went off he helped her stand and put her arm around his shoulders as they walked towards the stairs. She asked, “Will it kill him?”
“Doubtful. But I hope it will distract him for a while.”
They made their way to the third floor. They could both hear the Beast still following them, but he was a floor away. They made it to the supply closet, and on the floor in front of it was a dead Gavin. Lilah mumbled, “Poor bastard.” as she stepped over him.
Once Wesley and Lilah were in the closet she started knocking things off the shelves and looking for a lever. Wesley said, “Are you sure this is the right spot?”
“Yes.”
Wesley started helping her look. They could hear the Beast’s footsteps getting closer and closer. The Beast shattered the closet door to find it empty.
Wesley and Lilah had found the lever, and were sliding down fast. They landed hard on the muddy ground of the sewer. After a few seconds to catch his breath Wesley pushed himself up and said, “Are you alright?”
Lilah nodded and he helped her stand. She looked to him and said, “What now?”
He put his hands on her arms and said, “The Beast seems to want you dead. You need to go into hiding. Get as far away as possible. Change your name. Don’t make it easy for him to find you.”
“What will you do?”
He let her go and said, “I’ll keep trying to find a way to kill it.”
Lilah thought for a second about throwing herself on him and begging him to come with her. But she knew it wouldn’t do any good. She tried to pull herself together and nodded at him to show she understood. He turned and started to walk away. She called after him, “Wesley!”
He turned to her. She looked at him with longing and then looked away when she said, “Connor’s in there.”
“What?”
She looked back at him and said, “He’s in the seventh floor conference room. I don’t know if he’s alive or not, but I….. I thought you should know.”
Wesley took a deep breath absorbing the information and then nodded at her understanding that she had volunteered information that she didn’t have to give, and that wasn’t in her best interest to give. She gave him a sad half smile, and then turned to limp away the other direction. Wesley turned to run towards an exit so that he could get to a place where his cell phone would work.

Gunn and Fred had arrived at the place Wesley was supposed to be, but couldn’t find him. Fred pulled out her cell phone and tried to call Wesley, but got a ‘not in service’ message. Gunn rolled his eyes and said, “Figures.”
Fred dialed Angel next. He answered and Fred said, “We’re here, but Wesley isn’t.”
Angel said, “He went to check out Wolfram and Heart. We think Connor might have gone there.”
Fred said, “Oh no. I guess maybe that would be better than going after the Beast, but not much.”
Angel said, “You guys hang tight. I’m right below you, and in a few minutes when the sun goes down, we can all track him.”
They all waited for the sun. Ten minutes later Angel came up from the sewers, and the three of them started tracking Connor’s scent. Two blocks away Angel said, “Connor didn’t go in to the Beast, but it smells like the Beast left recently.”
Fred said worried, “You don’t think the Beast followed Connor do you?”
“Could be.”
They all started walking again, and then Angel got another call. He answered with, “Yeah?”
Wesley said, “I’ve got bad news Angel.”
“Tell me.”
Connor’s trapped in Wolfram and Heart with the Beast. I can’t be sure if he is alive or not.”
Angel didn’t say anything for a full minute feeling sick. Wesley said, “Angel?”
“I’m here. We’ll meet you there in a few minutes.”
Angel hung up and said, “Back to the truck, we need the supplies. We’ll drive to Wolfram and Heart.”

A few minutes later the whole gang was standing in front of Wolfram and Heart listening to Wesley tell them what happened. When he was done Gunn said, “Idiot! You went there to find Connor. Why didn’t you ask Lilah if he was there before you escaped?”
Wesley looked away and said, “I guess after I saw Lilah was wounded, my mind was only focused on finding a way out. I’m sorry.”
Angel trying to focus on the task at hand said, “Okay, so we have to get in through a trap door in the sewer?”
“Yes.”
Angel turned to Gunn and said, “Get the ropes and weapons out of your truck.”
Soon they were all standing under the trap door in the sewer. Gunn said, “How the hell are we gonna get up there?”
Angel grabbed the rope and jumped eight feet up into the hatch above them, and continued climbing up the slide until he got to the closet entrance. He broke it open, and tied the rope to a secure beam. He dropped it down to the others, and Gunn mumbled, “Show off.”
A few minutes later they were all in the hallway. Wesley looked on the empty floor by the closet and said, “I could have sworn…”
Angel and the others were already at the stairs and Wesley quickly caught up. On the way to the seventh floor, Gunn and especially Fred were appalled by the carnage. Fred mumbled, “I know these people were kind of evil, but still…. to end up like this.”
She shuddered, and Gunn said, “Doesn’t seem right.”
They made it to the conference room and everyone started to dig through the pile of rubbish on the floor. After a few minutes it was clear that Connor wasn’t there. Gunn said, “He’s not here.”
Wesley kept digging and said, “Let’s be certain.”
Angel said, “No, Gunn’s right. He’s not here.”
Wesley said, “Well, maybe he got out.”
Gunn glared at him and said, “Or you got your information wrong again.”
Wesley glared back, and Angel held up a hand and said, “No, I can smell him. He was here.”
Wesley sighed with relief and said, “That’s good then. It means there’s a good chance he’s alive.”
Angel said, “We’ll split up. You three stick together and cover one stairwell, and I’ll cover the other. We’ll go floor by floor and meet up at the top. Start at the lobby in case he went down there.”
They all nodded and went their separate ways.

Angel had made it back to the third floor. He was finding it almost impossible to track. The smell of blood was so thick he could taste it, and he was having a hard time not grabbing one of the corpses and draining it. He was silently walking down the hall looking around for Connor when he heard a faint noise behind him. He spun around and slammed his supposed attacker against the wall.
Connor had heard someone walking, and was sneaking up on them to find out who it was, when that person grabbed him and slammed him against the wall.
Father and son looked at each other with surprise. Connor said, “Dad?”
Angel grabbed Connor and hugged him tight. He almost started crying with relief as he mumbled, “You’re alive.”
Connor hugged Angel back and said, “I don’t understand. What are you doing here?”
After a few seconds Angel let him go and looked at Connor. Connor could tell Angel was angry. Not angry like he didn’t listen to him during a fight, but angry like when he tried to kill Lorne. Angel said, “What are we doing here?!”
He turned Connor to the side and kept a hand on him so he didn’t go flying forward when he swatted him as hard as he could. Connor yelled, “Oww!”
Angel turned him back around and said, “We’re here to get you out before you get killed. That is if we don’t get killed in the process. What the hell do you think you’re doing here?!”
Connor looked at Angel willing him to understand. “I had to try. When I smelled the Beast…. I had to do something. That Linwood guy said Wolfram and Heart could help. He said they could test me, and I thought since Lilah was with Wesley, that she would try and help.”
Angel opened his mouth to say something but Connor continued quickly with, “I am connected to the Beast Dad. When he saw me…. he knew my name.”
Angel nodded slowly. Connor looked around at the bodies and said, “I… I think he followed me here. I think all these people are dead…. because of me”
Angel leaned down a little so that his face was right in front of Connor’s and said, “We’ve been over this Connor. It’s not your fault. Even if the Beast did follow you here, you had no way of knowing he was planning on that, and if you did, you wouldn’t have come. And for all we know the Beast was planning on doing this anyway.”
Connor looked away and nodded slightly. He did feel a little better with Angel’s reassurance. Then Angel heard another noise behind him and turned quickly to knock out whoever was coming at him. The guy went down, and Angel looked at him closely. He said, “Gavin?”
Connor looked confused as he smelled the air and said, “He’s dead.”
Gavin slowly started to get up and Angel said, “Well technically undead.”
“Like you?”
Angel said, “No, he’s a zombie.”
“What’s a zombie?”
Gavin had made it up, and Angel easily knocked him out again. Angel said, “Zombies are undead, slow moving, slow witted things that eat human flesh.”
Connor smirked and said, “Yeah, like you.”
Angel said in an exasperated tone, “No, not like me.”
Then he turned and gave Connor a look and said, “We’ll see how funny you think it is when we get home.”
Connor lost his smile, “If we get home.”
Angel started walking, and Connor followed. Angel said, “We’ll make it home.”
As they were walking more and more bodies started getting up and Connor said, “Why are they zombies?”
“I don’t know. It either has something to do with Wolfram and Heart, or with the Beast. Let’s hurry, we need to try and get to the others, and get out of here before they all wake up.”
“How do we kill them?”
“You have to stop their brain functions. Cut off their heads, or smash their skulls.”
Connor nodded and both him and Angel started running looking for Fred, Gunn, and Wesley.

Fred had been getting more and more jumpy as they went through room after room with bodies. Gunn and Wesley couldn’t stop glaring at each other long enough to notice how jumpy she was until she screamed as she bumped into a desk. Both men turned to fight whatever had attacked her, and she smiled apologetically as she said, “Sorry. This place is just giving me the heebie jeebies.”
Wesley reassured her, “It’s understandable.”
Gunn glared at him and said, “Let’s keep moving.”
As they were leaving that room Gunn was attacked. He easily tossed the guy off him and all three of them watched as the guy slowly got back up. Gunn said, “Is that guy dead? He looks dead.”
Wesley nodded and said, “I think you’re correct. I believe it’s a zombie.”
Fred said, “A zombie? I didn’t think those were real.”
“Me neither.” Said Gunn.
“Nor did I, but apparently we were all mistaken.”
As Wesley was talking, another zombie started attacking from behind him. Wesley saw Gunn raise his ax and ducked. Wesley turned to see the zombie’s head roll off into the floor. Wesley looked back at Gunn and said, “Thanks.”
Gunn didn’t like Wesley most of the time, but he didn’t want to see him dead. He said easily, “Anytime.”
They kept going and soon they saw more and more zombies. It was getting harder and harder to make their way along, and Wesley said, “We’re not going to make it all the way to the top.”
Gunn nodded and said, “Let’s find a room to hide in for a few and make a plan.”
They barely made it to a room. They shut and blocked the door. Gunn and Wesley were arguing about what to do when the door to the office was smashed in to reveal Angel and Connor. Fred went to Connor and hugged him, and Angel asked, “Everyone okay?”
Wesley nodded, and Gunn hugged Connor when Fred was done. Angel said, “The zombies are everywhere. There are hundreds of them.”
Wesley said, “We’re on the fifth floor. It will be a challenge to make it back to the third floor.”
Angel nodded and said, “There might be another way.”
The zombies started coming through the door that Angel and Connor had smashed. Gunn started killing them as he said, “Let’s hear it.”
Angel started killing the zombies too and said, “New room!”
The gang fought and killed their way to the next office over. They shut and blockaded the door. Angel said, “The other option is the white room.”
Wesley asked, “Where’s that?”
“I’m not sure exactly, it’s kind of inter-dimensional, but I know how to get there if Fred can get the elevators working.”
Fred nodded to let Angel know she could. Angel continued with, “There’s a little girl there. Well not a girl exactly, it’s something old and evil that likes to pretend she’s a girl. I was there once, and she could probably help us get home.”
Gunn said, “I don’t know. Fighting the zombies sound easier to me.”
Wesley said, “I vote for the white room.”
Angel said, “There are a lot of zombies out there. I think the white room is our best chance. You ready Fred?”
She nodded and Angel looked at Wesley, Gunn and Connor when he said, “You three start killing and open up a path to the elevator. I’ll stick by Fred and help her.”
When they were ready, they opened the door. Gunn, Connor, and Wesley were all old pros at fighting, and zombies were fairly slow, so they didn’t have that much trouble getting to the elevators once the group by the door was killed. Once there, Fred rewired the elevators control panel, and got it working. Angel yelled at the other three who were fighting off more and more zombies to get in the elevator. They all got in and Angel punched in the code for the white room. The elevator doors closed just in time.
Soon the whole team appeared in the middle of a large empty room with a white floor and white walls. There in front of them was the Beast kneeling over a little girl who was lying on the floor. The girl looked to be about eight years old, and was wearing a red party dress. There was black swirling smoke rising from the girl’s stomach up to the hand that the Beast was holding over her. Fred said, “Oh no. We’re too late.”
Gunn looked around and said, “Um… Angel, is there a way out of here?”
The room had four walls, with no windows, and no doors. Wesley said, “He’s stealing her essence.”
Angel said more to himself than anyone else, “This was his plan all along. He came for her.”
The Beast absorbed the end of the black smoke and looked up to the group in front of him. They all got into fighting positions, and prepared to fight. The Beast stepped over the girl, and slowly headed towards them. The girl muttered, “The answer is among you.”
Then the girl held out her hand, and whispered some words. Just as the Beast was close enough to strike, the whole team suddenly found themselves in the lobby of their hotel.
Lorne who had come home to an empty hotel a few minutes ago, and had gotten himself a drink took a double take at the group that had appeared in front of him, and then took a close look at his martini. Julie, who had arrived a minute or two after Lorne, just stood there with her mouth open. Fred said, “We’re home.”
Gunn said, “But how?”
Angel smiled a little and said, “She did it. The girl, somehow, she did it.”
Connor was confused and said, “Dad?”
Angel turned to confront Connor, but was interrupted when Julie ran to Connor and hugged him. She said, “Wow! How did you guys get here? Where were you? Was it another portal?”
Connor hugged Julie back and then said, “I’m not sure what happened. One minute we were all in an office trapped with the Beast, and then we were all here.”
Lorne said, “The Beast?”
Gunn nodded and said, “The Beast just killed everyone at Wolfram and Heart.”
Lorne looked greener. “Well that can’t be good.”
Fred said, “It definitely is planning something, and something big.”
Wesley agreed, “Yes, and it’s going to take a force far stronger and smarter then just us to defeat it.”
Lorne muttered, “Yeah, like there’s a lot of that just lying around.”
Angel said, “We need to keep trying to find a way to kill it.”
Fred started to say something, but Angel held up his hand before she could. He continued, “I know we’ve been trying, but we need to get more creative, and try again.”
Everyone nodded knowing there really wasn’t much else they could do. Angel looked at Connor and said, “We need to talk.”
Connor grimaced but nodded. Angel looked at Julie and smiled as he said, “I’m sorry Julie, but Connor and I are going to be busy for the rest of the night, and he isn’t going to have time to spend with you. But I’m sure he’ll want to see you tomorrow afternoon.”
Julie looked a little hurt but got the hint. She looked at Connor who was glaring at Angel. Then she said, “Oh…. Okay. I guess I’ll go home then.”
Connor looked down at her and said, “Sorry I’m busy, but thanks for understanding. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She reached up and gave him a kiss before awkwardly walking out as an uncomfortable silence filled the room.
The second Julie was out the door Angel pointed at Connor and said, “Apologize for ditching Wesley.”
Connor could tell that Angel’s anger from before had come back and was in full force. He decided his best bet was to do exactly as he was told. He nervously turned to Wesley and said, “Sorry Wes.”
Wesley looked uncomfortable and said, “Yes. Well. I do believe I told you it wouldn’t be helpful to go there.”
Connor looked away and said, “Yeah.”
Angel said, “Now apologize to Fred, Gunn, and Wesley for going to Wolfram and Heart in the first place since it almost ended with all of them getting killed.”
Connor wanted to melt into the floor, and he could feel himself getting red. He turned in their general direction and mumbled to the floor, “Sorry.”
Fred said, “It’s okay.”
Gunn crossed his arms and glared at Connor when he darted his eyes up. Wesley kept quiet. Angel said, “Now get up to your room and wait for me.”
Connor fled the room and took the stairs three at a time. Once Angel heard Connor’s bedroom door open and close he sighed and said, “I’m really sorry guys. He should never have gone there, but I gotta say I truly appreciate that you all went in with me to help get him out.”
Gunn shook his head and said, “Angel man, you couldn’t have stopped me or Fred from trying to help. We love him too.”
Wesley said, “I have grown fond of him too. I’m just sorry I didn’t get him out of there the first time.”
Angel nodded and smiled as he said, “Thanks guys. Okay, why don’t you all start brainstorming. We need to think of something new to try. We need to get information on the Beast, and find out how to kill it. I’ll be back in a few.”
Lorne went to get some pens and paper. Fred went to put on some coffee for everyone. Wesley and Gunn put away everyone’s weapons. And Angel went down to his room to get his hairbrush. Once he had it, he went back through the lobby and saw everyone was gathering around to work. He was truly grateful for his friends. He walked up the stairs, not looking forward to the upcoming confrontation, but knowing that he had to keep Connor from running off on his own, especially now that they knew he was connected to the Beast.

When Connor got to his room he paced nervously. His thoughts started with Angel and what he was going to do, but soon went to the massacre he had witnessed at Wolfram and Heart. Now that he was home, out of immediate danger, and he knew there was no one he had to save from the Beast, his thoughts started to turn towards all the people he hadn’t saved. Then the Beast saying his name also went through his mind again and again. He was almost glad when someone knocked on the door. He said, “Come in.”
Angel came in and closed the door behind him. Connor saw the hairbrush, and even though he had been expecting it, he still felt his stomach doing flips at the sight of it. He went and sat on his bed and looked at the floor waiting for the lecture to start. To his surprise Angel said, “Stand up, and pants down.”
Connor stood and undid his pants. Angel sat on the bed and pulled Connor over his lap. Once he had the underwear down, he lifted the brush and brought it down with a loud ‘Crack’. After the first ten swats Angel said, “Tell me why I’m spanking you Connor.”
Connor was gritting his teeth trying not to yell. He hated it when Angel wanted him to try and come up with coherent thoughts when he was in pain and trying to stay in control of his emotions. He said, “For ditching… Ow!… Wes, and for…. Aahh!… going to Wolfram….. Owww!… and Heart.”
Angel nodded to his son’s back and kept spanking as he said, “I told you not to leave Wesley, and you did. I told you not to go to Wolfram and Heart, and you did. Both Wesley and I gave you reasonable explanations why you shouldn’t have gone there, but you did it anyway.”
“I’m soorrrryyyy!”
“And even though I know it wasn’t your intention, your actions ended up putting the entire team at risk. We barely made it out of there alive.”
Connor started to cry quietly at first, but as the spanking continued his cries got louder until eventually he was crying uninhibited.
Once Angel heard this, he stopped the spanking and tossed the brush on the nightstand. He rubbed Connor’s back and waited for him to calm down. After a few minutes Angel pulled up Connor’s underwear and pants, and helped him stand. Connor buttoned his jeans and wiped at his face with his sleeve.
Angel waited until Connor looked at him, and then he stood and opened his arms in invitation. Connor was hesitant at first, but after a second he walked over into his father’s embrace. They stayed like that until Connor was calm.
Angel let go, but stayed close. He looked at Connor who and said, “I was scared today. Scared I would never see you again. Scared I wouldn’t see you become a man. Scared we would all die trying to get away from the Beast.”
When Angel paused Connor nodded. Angel continued, “I can understand why you wanted to do it Connor, really I can, but you should have trusted me and Wesley to know Wolfram and Heart better then you.”
Connor nodded and looked away. He wished Angel had done the lecture first, because it was making him feel like crying again. Angel said, “Connor, look at me.”
Connor did, and Angel said, “Those people would have died anyway. The Beast was after the girl. Even if he did follow you there, and even if you are connected, he knew what he was doing there. He had a plan…. a goal before he arrived. He would have killed those people no matter what you did or didn’t do. Whether it was today or tomorrow doesn’t really matter. It’s not your fault those people died.”
Connor looked down and said, “It was….. horrible.”
Angel pulled him back into a hug and said, “Yes. It was.”

Down in the lobby, the rest of the team had just sat down to get to work, when the noises of the punishment going on upstairs became audible. Fred especially looked uncomfortable, and Gunn put his arm around her. Lorne, trying to get everyone’s minds off it said, “What haven’t we tried?”
Wesley sighed and said, “We’ve tried all the normal things. We’ve looked through all our books. I’ve talked to the watchers that are left, and they have nothing on it.”
The front door opened, and all four of them turned to see Julie. She smiled apologetically and said, “I was in such a hurry to leave, I forgot my books.”
No one knew what to say as she started walking towards the front desk where her books were. She stopped halfway there and looked up to where the noises were coming from. She looked worried and looked at Fred when she said, “What’s happening? Is there a demon here?”
Wesley was the first to come to his senses. He picked up her books and walked them to her. He handed them over and said, “Connor can tell you about it tomorrow, but for now it would be best if you went home.”
Julie just stood there for a few seconds, so Wesley put his arm around her shoulders and started walking towards the door and pushed her along with him. Once they got to the door Julie gave Wesley an appalled look and said, “Angel’s doing that to him isn’t he?”
Wesley understood Connor’s position better then most, as his father seemed to find the most inappropriate times to correct him, and had never cared much about who it was in front of. Wesley had been berated and even slapped in front of more then one girl he liked. Wesley said in earnest, “Julie, Connor would not want you here right now. It is up for him to tell you about it if he so chooses, but you make it worse for him by being here.”
Julie glared at Wesley, and gave the other three a glare too. She said, “How can you just let it happen?”
Julie stormed out and didn’t look back. Wesley turned back around and said, “Well that could have gone better.”
Fred shook her head and said, “Poor Connor.”
Gunn said, “Poor Connor? More like poor Angel. Connor and Angel have enough to argue about without adding her in the mix. She’ll side with Connor whether he’s done something to deserve it or not. Don’t you think Angel has a hard enough time doing it as it is?”
The noises had stopped. Fred was quiet for a few seconds. “I guess I hadn’t really thought of it that way before.”
Lorne said, “Okay enough of that. Fred, use that big wonderful brain of yours and think of some way to find out about the Beast and how to kill it.”
Fred gave Lorne a little smile and said, “My big brain has been thinking about that Beast non stop for days, and hasn’t come up with anything useful yet.”
Lorne said, “Come on guys, we have to try. If we give up, who else is going to take up the fight?”
Fred sighed and said, “Okay, you’re right.”
After a few seconds Fred said, “Hey, what about the girl?”
Gunn said, “What girl? Old evil party dress girl?”
Wesley nodded, understanding where Fred was going. He said, “Of course. Find out about her, and find out what the Beast is planning.”
Fred and Wesley looked at each other and started talking about which books would be likely to have references to the girl faster then Lorne or Gunn could keep up with.

A while later Angel came downstairs to find everyone eagerly looking through books. He asked, “Did we get a lead?”
Without looking up Fred said, “We’re researching the girl, to find out what the Beast wanted with her.”
Angel nodded and smiled. “Good. What can I do to help?”
Gunn set his book down and went over to Angel. He talked quietly so he wouldn’t disturb Fred and Wesley who were both so far in research mode they didn’t notice much else. Gunn said, “Julie forgot her books and came back. She heard you.”
Angel shook his head and said, “Damn.”
Gunn said, “If you want, I can tell Connor about it.”
Angel shook his head again, “No, it’s my responsibility.”
“I don’t think so. We not only work together, but we live together, and fight evil together. All of us take responsibility for each other. In fact, I think Connor might take it better coming from someone other then you.”
Angel looked at Gunn and said, “You sure?”
Gunn nodded and Angel said, “Okay. Thanks.”

Connor had decided he would rather stay in his room then go face anyone. He had already finished his tutoring for the day, and Julie was gone for the night, so he did some homework. A few minutes after Angel had left he heard a knock on his door. He said, “Yeah?”
Gunn came in and shut the door behind him. Connor gave Gunn a small smile and said, “Hey.”
Connor was lying on his stomach with some books and paper spread out around him on the bed. Gunn went and pulled the desk chair over towards the bed. He turned it around and sat in it backwards resting his arms on the back of the chair. He said, “Hey, I don’t know a good way to say it, so I’m just gonna be straight with you. Your girl came back for her books, and heard.”
Connor just stared at Gunn for a few seconds. Gunn could see Connor turning red. Gunn said, “We got her to leave as quick as we could, but she figured it out before she left.”
Connor put his head down on his bed in shame and said, “Oh God!”
Gunn said, “It’s not the end of the world Connor.”
“Easy for you to say.”
“She was mad. Mostly mad at Angel I think, but mad at the rest of us for letting it happen too.”
“How can I face her now? She won’t want to be with me anymore.”
Gunn asked, “How do you figure?”
Connor looked up at Gunn like he was stupid and said; “Women look for strong males to protect them. How can I be that for her when she knows Angel spanks me when I screw up?”
Gunn shook his head and smiled, “I think the question should be more like: How can I be a man for Julie, when I keep screwing up and almost getting my sorry ass killed?”
Connor looked back down. Gunn said, “Anyway, some girls are looking for guys that they can take care of, but I think most girls are looking for more of an equal. Not someone who can take care of them, but someone that they can be friends with and make a life with.”
“So you think she’ll accept it?”
“Not really, but I think she’ll accept you. She just may hate the rest of us.”
Connor said, “I guess I should go talk to her.”
“Probably, but I want to say something else first.”
Connor waited. Gunn said, “Angel hates having to spank you, and Julie hating him will only make it worse.”
Connor said, “Good.”
Gunn reached over and whacked the back of Connor’s head. He said, “Not good!”
Connor glared at Gunn. Gunn thought for a second and then said, “Let’s see if I can help you see Angel’s point of view. What if you and Julie were walking along and you smelled a vampire nest. Then she wanted to go and see it, but it was just the two of you and there were like ten vampires in there. What if she wouldn’t listen to you and tried to go into the building no matter what you said? What would you do?”
“She’s not stupid, she wouldn’t do that.”
Gunn sighed and said, “I’m trying to make a point. What if she did?”
Connor thought about it. “I’d pick her up and carry her away so she couldn’t do it.”
“And what if she hated you after that? Would you be sorry you did it?”
Connor said, “Well, I’d be sorry she hated me, but I’d be glad she was alive.”
“Angel doesn’t like to cause you pain, but he does it because he thinks it will keep you safe, and help you to eventually blend with society.”
They were quiet for a few minutes and then Connor said, “I guess.”
“I like Julie, and I’m glad she makes you happy, but if you can’t convince her not to give Angel a hard time about it, then I’m gonna try.”
Connor looked at Gunn suspiciously and said, “How?”
“I’ll tell her what you were like when you first got here, and I’ll tell her what you did to Angel.”
Connor glared at Gunn and muttered, “Bastard.”
Gunn reached over and smacked Connor on the butt, which normally wouldn’t have caused Connor much pain, but since he was already sore from Angel, it hurt. Connor said, “Ow!” and jumped off the bed and got ready to fight.
Gunn stayed in his chair and said in a calm voice, “Your dad may not care that you call him whatever you feel like, but I’m not up for that. I have been a better friend to you then you’ve been to me over the past five months, and you know it. How many times have you lied to me? I’ve never lied to you. How many times have I tried to help you, and how many times have you tried to help me? Who made sure you had food to eat and a place to stay for three months when you were being patricidal?”
Connor didn’t say anything, but looked guilty. Gunn got up and said, “I’m gonna go help with the research. You think about what you’re gonna tell Julie, and let one of us know before you go see her.”
Connor just stood looking at his bed waiting for Gunn to leave. Gunn opened the door, and then turned back to Connor and said, “Think about telling her the truth Connor. It’s the only way a relationship can last.”
Connor lay back down and thought about things.

Half an hour later Connor came down the stairs. Angel looked up from his book and said, “Hey. You wanna help with the research?”
Connor said, “Yeah, but I think I’m gonna go see Julie for a little while first… if that’s okay.”
Angel nodded and said, “Sure.”
Connor looked at Gunn who was still looking at his book. Connor said, “Um…. Gunn?”
Gunn looked at him and said, “Yeah?”
“Can I talk to you for a minute… in the kitchen?”
Gunn set his book down and said, “Sure.”
They got in the kitchen and Gunn leaned against the counter. Connor said, “I… I’m sorry about…. you know, calling you a bastard, and…. You’re right, I haven’t been a good friend to you… lots of times, and I know you’ve been there for me… ever since I got here, so…. I’m sorry about that too.”
Gunn took a step and gave Connor a quick hug. He said, “Thanks. It means a lot to me that you apologized, and I think it shows how much you’ve matured that you can see things from my point of view. And I may have been a little hard on you when I said that I’ve helped you out more then you’ve helped me. You’ve helped me plenty when we’ve been fighting together, and as for the other stuff, well, I’m the adult, so I should be helping you out more.”
Connor smiled at him tentatively and said, “So are we good now?”
“Yeah. Go see your girl.”
Connor nodded and headed out.

Connor decided to run to Julie’s so he had more time to think. He was very nervous about seeing her and talking to her about what she had heard. By the time he got to her door, he still didn’t know quite what to say. He knocked on the door. Julie answered and said, “Connor?”
Before he could say anything she flung her arms around him. He was surprised but held her until she let go. She said, “Do you need a place to stay?”
“What?”
“I mean you could stay here, but they would find you. If you need a place to stay I have some friends who would be willing to hide you.”
Connor looked genuinely confused as he said, “Hide me from what?”
Julie said with exasperation, “From your abusive father, and the other creeps you live with!”
Connor was surprised at how vehement she sounded. He said, “Can we talk inside?”
Julie stepped aside and held the door open. Connor went in, and she closed the door behind them. Julie’s apartment was small with the living room and kitchen combined into one room. Julie sat on the couch and Connor stood by the kitchen counter. He said, “I don’t want to hide from Angel, or any of the others. They’re my family.”
“Being family doesn’t mean that you have to just sit by and let them abuse you.”
Connor shook his head and said, “It’s not abuse.”
Julie looked at him with disbelief and said, “How can you say that after what I heard?”
Connor took a deep breath and said, “It’s a long story, and involves a lot more then just what happened tonight.”
Julie said, “So tell me.”
Connor spent the next hour talking. He ended up telling Julie about Angel being a vampire with a soul, and about Angel’s history with Holtz. He told her about his childhood with Holtz, and what he had been like when he first got to this dimension. He even told her about trying to kill Angel. Then he told her about his relationship with Angel now, and all the things Angel had done to help him. He finished by explaining what the spanking she had overheard was for.
When he was done the room was silent for a while. Julie got up and said, “I’m gonna make a hot chocolate. Do you want one?”
Connor nodded and was quiet while she made it, giving her time to think. Once they both had a cup she said, “It’s a lot to absorb in one night Connor.”
He nodded. She eventually said, “I still don’t think it’s justified. I mean, maybe at first, but that’s a big maybe. He should have come up with some other way to bring you around to his way of thinking. But now it’s just…. Wrong.”
Connor sipped his drink and said, “Wrong, or not, it’s the way things are, and the way they’re going to be for a while. You can accept it or not, but things will be…. less stressful for everyone, including me, if you can. And if you can’t and… and you don’t want to be with me anymore….. then I guess…”
Julie put her cup down and went over to kiss Connor. She said, “It doesn’t change us. I love us.”
She kissed him again and said, “I may hate Angel, but I love you Connor.”
He smiled and said, “I love you too.”
“Come to bed with me.”
An hour later the phone rang. Julie and Connor were lying in bed together, still naked and cuddling. Julie answered with, “Hello?”
Angel said, “Hi, this is Angel. Is Connor there?”
Julie handed the phone to Connor and said in a disgusted voice, “Guess who?”
Connor took the phone and said, “Dad?”
“Hey, just checking up on you. You’ve been gone for a while.”
“I thought maybe I’d spend the night here.”
The line was silent for a few seconds and then Angel said, “No. Not with the Beast on the loose. You can both stay here if you want, but not there. If the Beast attacks, I want you close by so all of us can fight it.”
Connor sighed and said, “Okay. I’ll be home soon.”
“Bye.”
Connor hung up and Julie glared at him. She said, “He won’t let you stay? What’s he gonna do, come over here and drag you home?”
Connor cringed and said, “He might.”
Julie glared and said, “What if I didn’t invite him in?”
Connor smiled and said, “I’m glad you remembered all the stuff I told you about vampires. That’s good. It will keep you safe. Unfortunately it won’t keep me safe, because there are four other members of the team that would have no problem breaking down you door and hauling me home if Dad told them to.”
Julie started to argue about that, but Connor said, “But it wouldn’t get that far, because any one of them could guilt me into going home way before then. And Dad’s right anyway. The Beast is loose, and could be following me. We would both be safer at the hotel. Will you come stay with me?”
Julie lay back down and said, “I don’t want to see any of them.”
Connor reluctantly got up and started putting his clothes on. He said, “It would make me happy if you stayed with me tonight, but I’ll understand if you aren’t ready to see them.”
Julie looked at him and said, “I have to get up early for a class tomorrow, so I should stay home anyway.”
That wasn’t what Connor wanted to hear, but he nodded and said, “Will you come by tomorrow like you have been, or should I come over here to see you?”
She said, “Call me if I don’t come over by five.”
He nodded. He was done getting dressed and leaned down to kiss her. He said, “I do love you, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She said, “See ya tomorrow.”
Connor ran home, and everyone could tell he had made some kind of peace with Julie because he greeted everyone with a grin and said, “What are we researching?”
Fred told him they were studying up on the girl to find out what the Beast’s plan was, and Connor nodded and said, “Good idea.”
Angel tossed him a book, and they all worked together late into the night.