Fred and Gunn arrived home at the hotel around 10am. They were both quite
happy and relaxed. The night away together had been good for them. Fred saw
that no one was there and she said, “I’m gonna go see if Connor
is in his room.”
Gunn nodded and started to look through the paper. Fred came back down and said, “I guess Angel hasn’t found him yet.”
An hour later Angel came into the lobby and smiled at Fred. He said, “How was your evening?’
Fred smiled back and said, “It was just wonderful. Thanks for suggesting it. Do you want us to go away again tonight in case you find him?”
Angel looked at her for a second and then said, “I did find him. Isn’t he here?”
Fred lost the smile and said, “Um, I don’t think so Angel. We got home about an hour ago, and I went to check his room. It was empty and the bed hadn’t been slept in.”
Angel shook his head and said, “Great. I need something to drink.” With that he went to warm up some blood in the microwave.
Gunn looked up from the sword he was cleaning and said, “What happened last night?”
Angel went over it with them. He thought about leaving the spanking out of the explanation, but he decided they would figure it out soon enough. At least by telling them now they would have time to assimilate the information before they heard it happening.
Gunn thought nothing of it and just nodded. Fred looked surprised, but didn’t say anything about it. Angel went over the four rules with them, so they would know what to expect. He told them about Connor working for each of them for an hour a day for the next two months. He then told them to expect Wesley to be coming by around 3pm. He was going to be testing Connor to see how much Holts had taught him, and how much he still needed to learn to make his way in this dimension. Fred said, “I can’t believe you are going to let Wesley anywhere near Connor.”
Angel said, “He found me, and saved me. I guess that kind of makes us even. I talked to him for a long time last night, and we came to a truce. I hope you can both still work with him, because he does have the most experience teaching kids.”
Gunn said, “Wesley’s okay with me, as long as he doesn’t think he’s still in charge.”
Fred thought about it for a couple of seconds and said, “I’ll give it a try.”
Angel nodded and said, “You guys are really great. Okay, I’m off to find Conner. If I’m not back by 5pm, tell Wesley to go home and we will try again tomorrow.”
Gunn said, “It’s light out Angel. How are you gonna find him?”
Angel smiled and said, “Well last night he was out in the open. Now that he knows I’ll be looking, I think he’ll try for the sewers or some of the empty slum apartments. Lucky for me, I can be in both of those places without the sun getting on me. If he run’s again after this time, I’ll probably have to wait until it’s dark.”
Angel was about to go and said, “Hey guys, while you’re waiting for me, could you get Wesley up to speed on Cordy and see if he has any suggestions?”
Fred nodded while she started to look through yet another book on disappearances of a mystical nature.
Across town, Connor was sleeping in the apartment building he had spent the night with Sunny in. He had tried the sewers first, but he had immediately smelled Angel everywhere he went. He didn’t think Angel would look for him here, but eventually it didn’t matter because he had to sleep, and he couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. After spending an emotionally and physically draining night with Angel and getting no sleep, he practically passed out when he closed his eyes. He made sure he was in front of a window and in a patch of sun before he let himself sleep. Five hours later he was still asleep and the sun had moved so he was now in the shadows.
Angel found Connor with little effort. He could smell Connor in the sewers, but soon realized Connor would have smelled him there as well and left. He decided to try the slum apartments he could get to in the daylight next. First he tried the one he had found Connor in last time. He just stood and stared at Connor for a full half an hour before he did anything. He loved him so much, and it killed him that Connor hated him with such force. While Connor was sleeping he looked very peaceful, and almost sweet. Angel looked at his watch. It was one o’clock, and he knew he would have to get Conner up and moving. He knelt down next to Connor and shook his shoulder and said, “Time to wake up Connor.”
Connor woke immediately and jumped up quite fast ready to fight whatever had disturbed him. Angel was expecting it and stood back a few steps to see what Connor would do. Connor got his breathing and heart rate calmed down after he saw it was Angel and not something else.
Angel said, “Time to go home son, but first we’ll have to deal with your running away again.”
Connor glanced out the window looking for an escape route, but Angel was right in front of him and had grabbed his wrist before he could complete the thought of jumping out the window. Connor punched Angel in the stomach, but before he could get in a second punch Angel had turned him around with his hand behind his back. Angel said in a very calm voice, “And now we will have to deal with the no physical fighting thing again.”
Angel looked around and decided that the smelly couch that was a couple of feet away would work. He dragged Connor over to it, sat down, and tossed him over his knees. He pulled down his pants with little effort while Connor yelled, “Nooo.”
Angel was surprised to see no redness left on Connor’s butt at all, and realized he must heal quite fast like he did. The bruise Connor had given him by biting his leg had been gone by morning. Angel started the spanking with some added strength like last night. Connor started grunting and squirming right away. As he was spanking Angel said in a clam voice, “You will not run away, and you will not fight with me. I hope we don’t have to go over this again any time soon.”
Connor yelled, “I won’t stay with you!”
“Then I guess this will be a daily routine.”
Connor was pissed and bit Angel repeatedly all over his lower leg. Angel didn’t stop the spanking or even acknowledge the pain. He just said, “I think I can keep this up longer than you can Connor. I was in hell for a long time, and I’ve been tortured by the best. The only thing you’re accomplishing is making the spanking last longer for you.”
Connor stopped biting but still struggled to get away. Eventually the pain was too much, and he started to cry. He hated himself for being weak in front of the monster. Angel paused and said, “We would be done now if you hadn’t tired to fight me.”
Angel gave Connor another thirty swats and then helped him to stand and put his pants back on. Connor was crying pretty hard, and Angel tried to hug him. Connor struggled, but only for a few seconds because he was worn out. Angel held him until he stopped crying. Angel stepped back but kept a hand on Connor’s upper arm. He said, “Let’s go home.”
Angel turned and headed towards the basement and the sewer never letting Connor’s arm out of his grip. Connor followed without much of a struggle at all.
They made it back to the hotel about an hour before Wesley was going to show up. To Connor’s amazement Fred came up to him and hugged him when she saw him. She said, “I’m sorry I was so mad last time I saw you. I’m glad to see that you’re all right.”
Connor didn’t know what to say. He thought she hated him now. He said, “Umm…It’s okay Fred. I was mad too.”
Gunn came over and held out his hand for Connor to shake. Connor was really thrown by this. He could almost see Fred forgiving him, but not Gunn too. He held out his hand and shook. Gunn pulled him into a hug too and said, “Good to have ya back you little trouble maker.”
Connor looked confused and said, “No yelling?”
Gunn said, “Later kid. We can get to the yelling later.”
Angel looked very pleased and said, “Good. Okay Connor, are you hungry for some breakfast?”
Fred laughed and said, “Connor is always hungry Angel. I’ll make him some eggs.”
Angel said, “Go ahead Connor, and after you’re done eating you can spend an hour with Gunn doing whatever he asks you to do. Then Wesley will be here to give you some tests. After that we can all have lunch and go over what you know and don’t know. Then you can spend your hour with Fred. After that you and I can talk a little about what the lesson plan will be for getting you up to speed on your education. Any questions?”
Connor thought food sounded really good, and he had kind of missed Fred and Gunn so he said, “No.” And walked towards the kitchen.
Angel wondered if Connor knew that the schedule they all kept was odd, or if he thought having breakfast at 1pm, and lunch at 5pm was a normal thing for everyone.
After half an hour of Gunn yelling at him and telling him what bad choices he had made for the past two months Connor wanted to run again, but at the same time Connor thought it was comfortingly normal. Once Gunn had run out of things to yell about he had Connor clean all the weapons in the cabinet again even though it had just been done. Connor thought that was pretty crappy, but with Angel in the office looking at him every once in a while he kept his thoughts to himself.
Connor thought the testing with Wesley was almost worse than his time spent
with Gunn. He had no idea what half the stuff was, and the other half was too
simple. It was long and tedious, and he was more than ready for lunch when it
was time. To his amazement Fred had got his favorite Chinese food for take out.
He decided he had really missed Fred.
During lunch Wesley said, “Connor has quite an impressive education in some fields, and a surprising lack of knowledge in others. His reading and writing skills are quite good, and he has a very large vocabulary.”
Gunn said, “That’s a surprise. All I ever here Connor saying is ‘When is dinner?’ and ‘I don’t want to.’”
Gunn laughed at his own joke and Connor said, “Ha, ha.” to his plate.
Wesley continued with, “He has simple math skills like adding and subtracting, but no division or multiplication, and the concept of algebra or any higher math is a foreign concept to him. He has a pretty good knowledge of world history up to about 1900, so he has quite a gap there. His knowledge of the supernatural is very extensive with an emphasis on vampires – no surprise there. His religious knowledge is limited to Christianity and it is….a bit skewed. His problem solving skills are quite good. He has no concept of Biology or Chemistry. He has some basic knowledge of money, which must be from living here for the past couple of months, but he doesn’t know how much things should be worth, or how much people should get paid to do certain jobs. That’s all the testing we’ve done.”
Angel said, “Thanks Wes. Well Holtz did a better job than I thought he would. That’s great.”
Connor said, “My father was very smart. Of course he taught me well.”
Everyone was silent for a few seconds. Angel said, “Holtz was a smart man, but he let his need for vengeance consume him, so I don’t think that’s the example you want to follow.”
Connor yelled, “If he was consumed with vengeance it was your fault Angelus!”
Gunn started to say something but Angel held up his hand to stop him and said, “Yes it probably was Angelus’ fault, but I’m not Angelus. Unfortunately I do remember all the things Angelus did, but I didn’t do those things, he did.”
“You disgust me.”
Fred said in a disapproving voice, “Connor…..”
Angel interrupted with, “No Fred. Connor can say what he likes as long as it’s honest. I’ve had enough of him lying. If he’s disgusted with me, that’s just fine. I would rather hear it to my face than have him thinking about how much he hates me when I don’t know about it.”
Fred said, “But it’s so disrespectful.”
“I haven’t earned his respect yet, we’re just getting to know each other. All I’m looking for right now is obedience.”
Connor said, “I’ll never respect you. You’re a monster.”
“That’s fine son. Finish eating, and you can spend an hour with Fred.”
Connor looked at Fred who was not looking as happy as she was a few minutes ago. He thought about his hour with Gunn and wondered what Fred was going to make him do. He decided he should shut up until lunch was over.
After lunch Fred made Connor clean up all dishes. Then she got out some cleaning
supplies and made Connor go from room to room in the hotel cleaning the bathrooms
in all the empty rooms while she read a book. Connor was really glad when the
hour was up, and he decided he had been wrong about missing Fred.
Soon, he was in the office with Angel. Angel saw him come in and said, “Shut the door please.”
Connor shut it, and stood with his arms crossed staring at Angel who was sitting behind the desk. Angel asked, “So did you enjoy your hours with Gunn and Fred?”
“Good. It’s a punishment after all. I’ve spent the past hour talking to Wesley, and we have come up with a tutoring plan for you. Why don’t you sit down, and we’ll go over it.”
Connor rolled his eyes and thought ‘What a waste of time. I won’t even be here tomorrow.’ He sat down and looked at the paper Angel handed him.
Angel said, “Each of us will tutor you for an hour a day. Fred will do math, Gunn will do current history and finances. Wes will be doing Biology and Chemistry, and I will be doing religious studies.”
Connor looked at him with disbelief, and Angel smiled and said, “The irony is not lost on me, but there is more than Christianity out there, and you should at least know about them so you can make your way in this dimension. I’m not going to tell you what to believe. I’m just going to be teaching you about what other people believe. You might be interested in some basic history of the various religions.”
Connor looked at him suspiciously and said, “What do you believe?”
Angel sighed and said, “It’s irrelevant to what I’ll be teaching you, but when I was human I was a Catholic, and I guess to some extent I’m still a Christian. Now, getting back on track. Four hours of your day will be spent with the tutoring. You will have a couple of hours a day spent with Gunn and Fred, and a couple of hours a day spent studying and doing the homework we give you. And I think you and I will spend an hour a day doing something together like practicing fighting, or talking about my past or your life. I think that’s going to be a pretty full schedule for you. Then of course if we get a call, or a case, your other stuff will be put on hold so you can help us. Any questions?”
Connor shook his head. Angel said, “This will be a lot easier on everyone if you’re here in the morning, and I don’t have to go find you. Because if it takes me most of the day and night to find you, I’m still going to make you stay up and do all the things I have just gone over.”
Connor said nothing and stared at the floor in front of his chair. Angel said, “Okay, enough of this. Let’s go work out, and then I’ll show you some Tibetan relaxation techniques.”
In the middle of their work out Gunn called down, “We got a call.”
Connor and Angel went to the lobby and saw Fred picking out a crossbow from the weapons cabinet. Gunn said, “Vampire nest on Third and Pine in an old warehouse. The contact said there were about fifteen of them.”
Angel said, “Let’s go.” As he grabbed his sword and a couple of stakes.
Connor just stood there for a second while everyone headed to the door where Wesley was waiting. Angel turned and said, “Get a move on boy.”
For some reason he couldn’t explain, Connor had a very happy feeling of belonging when Angel said that, and even smiled a little as he grabbed as stake and headed after them towards the door.
An hour later everyone was in pretty good spirits when they got back. The vampires had all been killed, and no one was injured. Wesley said, “I’d say that was a good nights work done by all.”
Angel nodded and said, “I second that opinion.”
Wesley said, “Well, I have some stuff to do at home, so I’ll say good night and see you all tomorrow afternoon.”
Angel said, “Bye Wes. You know, if you want to move in here, you are welcome.”
Wesley looked at Angel for a minute and said, “Not now. Maybe in a few months I will. We’ll see how things go.”
Angel nodded and said, “Good night then.”
After Wesley went home Angel and Connor went back downstairs to work on those relaxation techniques.
Later that night, after dinner Angel went out to meet a man who said he knew
how to contact people in other dimensions. Fred brought a book to Connor and
said, “I thought maybe you would want to read this for fun.”
Connor looked at the book and said, “What do you mean for fun?”
Fred said, “It’s fiction. It isn’t a story about things that have really happened, it is just to read for enjoyment. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before, but now that you’ll be studying a lot, you might need a break with something just fun. Give it a try and see what you think. If ‘Harry Potter’ isn’t something you like, we’ll try something else next time. I’ll take you to a book store, and you can pick something next time.”
Connor looked skeptical but said, “Okay.”
He went to bed early and took the book with him. He planned to get some sleep so he could wake up early and sneak out before everyone else was up. He started reading and found it fascinating that a person would write something just for other people to enjoy. He even liked the story, and was getting into it when there was a knock on the door. Angel came in and said, “I just wanted to say good night.”
Connor was sitting on his bed reading and looked up long enough to say, “Okay. Good night.”
Angel came over and sat down next to Connor and pulled him into a hug. Connor knew he shouldn’t struggle because Angel was stronger than he was, but he hated it when Angel touched him, so he did try to get out of Angel’s grip. After a couple of minutes he stopped and just let Angel hold him. Once Connor stopped struggling Angel said, “I was really proud of you today. You stayed here and did what you were told, and you were really good in the fight with the vampires.”
Connor didn’t say anything. Angel let Connor go and said, “Good night. I’ll see you tomorrow – one way or another.”
Connor glared at the shut door and after a minute tossed the book at it. He lay down and tried to fall asleep. He wanted to be fully rested for the next day.
Connor woke up about 9am before anyone else in the hotel, and climbed out his window and into the sunshine. He was going to see how far he could run in a day without getting tired. He had decided the more distance from the hotel the more likely it would be that Angel couldn’t find him.