Fire, Fire, Burning Bright
Warning: Contains the spanking of a 17-year-old by his father.
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters. They are the property of Joss Whedon. Any characters in this story are used simply for entertainment purposes, and I am not making any money from these stories.
Angel looked at the blazing red neon sign on the side of the ancient brick building and sighed heavily. The sign was meant to be creepy and melodramatic in the shadowy side alley where it hung, with blood appearing to drip from each of the letters of the club name – THANATOS. Thanatos was the Greek god of death Angel recalled. Something he’d picked up from one of the many books on mythology he’d had chance to peruse in his two hundred some years of life. But death meant nothing to a vampire, and so Angel was neither creeped out nor duly impressed by the name as he reached for the handle to the dented metal door underneath the signage. He shook his head, letting slip another deep sigh.
He’d been tracking his AWOL son for the past several hours with a growing sense of irritation that had started out as mild annoyance and had now, at one-thirty in the morning, fermented into something more akin to seething fury. Angel cast a quick glance skyward thankful that dawn was still a few hours away. Connor was human rather than vampire, and wasn’t affected by sunlight, but he wasn’t so impervious to the nasty types that hung around alleys like this one preying on the drunken club goers as they exited the place. And despite the fact that his son claimed he understood that concept, Connor seemed to push the limits of his own mortality at every chance he got. This latest bit of sneaking out to party until the wee hours of the morning was the final straw for Angel.
He angrily swung open the door to the club and was immediately assaulted by a wall of deafening industrial rock music, the bass so heavy that he could feel the beat reverberating throughout his body. The interior of the packed club was pitch dark save for the black lights that hung over the bar and booth areas and a few colored laser lights that pulsed in time to the beat of the music as they speared across the second level dance floor full of gyrating bodies.
“Figures,” he grumbled to himself, “It’s gotta be a demon club my kid ends up at.”
The place was crawling with vampires not to mention various other types of hellish creatures big and small. Angel could smell them, along with the odor of stale cigarette smoke and fresh blood. His vampire eyes adjusted easily to the darkness as he made his way over to the crowded bar at the back of the place. He wasn’t surprised in the least to see that the bartender was a demon – a mocta’ar to be exact. Its pale blue leathery skin and pupil-less eyes glowed in the black lights.
“What’ll it be?” the demon asked Angel. “We’re running a special on O pos tonight - $3.50 for draft.”
“I’m looking for a boy,” Angel stated as he leaned over the bar to be heard over the throbbing music. “About 17, brown eyes, kind of long straight brownish hair, quirky smile...”
The mocta’ar grinned, his razor teeth making it look more like a grimace. “Ah, a connosieur,” the demon nodded appreciatively, “None of the cheap crap for you, huh? Well, we got fresh...for those that can afford it.”
“No, you don’t understand,” Angel started but the demon waved him off.
“Sure I do, buddy. And don’t worry – we keep a whole stock of fresh ones in the back for your type.” The bartender reached down behind the bar coming back up with a battered walkie talkie. Now, you want something young and male, right?”
He started to bring the walkie talkie up to his face, but Angel prevented this by grabbing his arm mid-rise. What little patience he had was now gone with the knowledge that the club was holding humans as livestock for the paying customers. The bartender shot Angel a confused glare until Angel let go of his arm. The mocta’ar relaxed then but the feeling was short-lived because Angel suddenly reached over the beat up wooden bar and gathered up a fistful of the bartender’s shirt front easily lifting the smaller demon off his webbed feet to bring him halfway over the counter so that the two were nose to nose. Angel’s stern dark eyes took measure of the demon, sizing him up. His voice was calm but carried with it a definite promise of painful injury.
“I don’t like repeating myself so listen very carefully, sparky. I am looking for my son. He’s 17 years old, has my hair, his mother’s eyes and goes by the name of Connor. Seen him?”
The bartender gulped, eyes widening. “You kidding me? There must be dozens of kids in here that fit that description.” He waved at the full dance floor on the level above them and then his yellow eyes narrowed. “Hey, wait a minute! Son? You’re a vampire, so how-“
Angel cut off the rest of the demon’s words by squeezing hard on his neck and cutting off his air supply. “I may not be human but I do have a son, and word has it he’s here. So, if you plan on breathing anytime soon, I suggest you answer my question!”
Angel gave the bartender a shake to emphasize his meaning and then loosened his grip enough for the demon to gulp in some air. Before the demon could offer a reply though, Angel felt a heavy clawed hand settle onto his shoulder. Hand still clamped around the bartender’s neck, Angel slowly swiveled his head around to meet the scowling visage of a rather large fyarl demon.
“Meet Hank, the bouncer.” The bartender wheezed.
Angel let go of the bartender, giving his shirt front a pat and turned to face his new opponent.
“No like Mel hurt,” the fyarl demon grunted at Angel.
Angel glanced over his shoulder at the bartender and nodded in recognition. “I’m guessing you’re Mel.”
That was as far as Angel got before “Hank” decided to try to use Angel as a battering ram. He picked Angel up like a sack of flour and heaved him across the room and into the concrete wall. Angel hit the wall with a solid whump, feeling the pain radiate across his back as some of the cinder blocks cracked behind him. Gingerly, he picked himself up from the floor, dusted off his leather coat and shook off the pain before he proceeded to put his game face on. When he looked back up at Hank and Mel from across the room, it was with yellowed eyes and sharp fangs.
Someone in one of the nearby booths had yelled it out, but it was suddenly picked up by others recognizing the famous name. A path quickly cleared between Angel and the bar where Mel now stood, his mouth hung open in fear and awe.
“You-you’re Angelus?” Mel squeaked.
“The one and only,” Angel smiled back letting his fangs gleam in the black lights. “You feel like making it out of here alive tonight?”
Angel slowly made his way back to the counter and found Mel and Hank to be most accommodating. Mel pointed him in the direction of the dance floor and Angel nodded once, then stalked in the direction the bartender had pointed, his face morphing back to normal.
Angel pushed and pressed himself through the squirming sea of couples out on the packed dance floor, eyes scanning the crowd for Connor. He picked up the familiar scent of his son as he got closer to the center of the dance floor and then Angel saw him...and almost lost it right there.
He stood, fury building, as he watched Connor dancing, or was it mating he wondered, with a rather curvaceous young woman in a plaid miniskirt and barely there halter top. The girl’s eyes were closed, hands raised in the air as her body rubbed suggestively up against Connor’s in time to the music. And Connor looked to be enjoying the attention just a little too much for Angel’s liking.
Grinning happily, Connor happened to casually glance up from his dance partner and froze when he caught sight of Angel glowering directly at him.
The girl frowned sensing her partner’s sudden stiffness in posture.
She opened her eyes in hurt annoyance and whined over the music, “Hey, what’s-” then stuttered to a stop as she turned and eyed the very big, very pissed man standing not six feet away looking like the grim reaper.
“Oh, this is so not good.” Connor gulped.
Angel pointed to the empty floor in front of him and barked out one word. “NOW.”
The harshness of the sound made most of the other teens nearby jump a bit. Connor considered turning and running like hell for the tiniest fraction of a second before he sighed deeply and turned to give his dance partner a sheepish smile.
“Guess my ride’s here,” he told her by way of a lame explanation as he risked another glance at his father who looked about ready to commit to murder.
The girl smiled at Connor batting her eyelashes and stood on tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek leaving a smudge of pink lip gloss there.
“Call me?” she yelled to Connor as he trudged towards Angel, head down in mortification.
The ride back to the Hyperion was uncomfortable to say the least. Connor slouched down in the front seat of Angel’s car, a sullen pout on his face.
“You are in so much trouble, boyo,” Angel angrily muttered as he concentrated on the road in front of him. “A demon club, Connor?”
“Dad, it wasn’t –“
“You’re seventeen, Connor! You don’t belong in any club, much less one that caters to vampires who enjoy blood on tap!” He shot his son a warning look from the corner of his eye. “Were you drinking?”
“Did you drink any alco-“
“No!” Connor screwed his face up in irritation. “I was just there for the dancing, jeez. The only thing I had to drink tonight was a coke. And it was flat.”
“Well, I’m thinking soda pop isn’t really a high priority on their menu offerings.” Angel snapped back.
Connor made a face that reminded him of one Buffy used to make whenever she was annoyed with him. Angel drove in silence for a while until they hit a red light. He stopped the GTX and turned in his seat to face Connor.
“Who was your friend?” he asked the teen, his eyes flinty as he waited.
“My friend? Oh...you mean Stacey?” Connor gave Angel a look of innocence. “I just met her tonight,” he lied.
“You’re lying,” Angel growled and slammed the accelerator to the floor when the light turned green. He glanced over at his son and then back to the road. “Who is she, Connor?”
“Nobody,” replied the small voice in the seat next to him. A pause. “How do you know I’m lying?”
Angel gave a wry laugh. “Your voice changes slightly.”
Connor didn’t like that. He frowned and fiddled with a button on his shirt a moment. “She’s just this girl I met...” his voice trailed off.
“Met where?” Angel asked. He pulled up to the curb beside the hotel, put the car in park, turned off the ignition and waited for his son’s answer. “Met where, Connor?”
Connor squirmed in his seat not wanting to answer. The only sound in the car was the ticking of the engine as it cooled off. He risked a peek up at Angel and was sorry he did because the look of death his father was giving him wasn’t encouraging.
“At the club,” Connor finally whispered.
“I met her at the club, okay?”
“So, this isn’t the first time you’ve been to that club, is that what you’re telling me?” Angel demanded.
Connor looked up at Angel, his voice full of pleading. “It’s just a stupid dance club! What’s the big d –“
Angel angrily cut the boy off. “It’s a vamp bar that runs happy hour specials on blood margaritas, Connor! And just when were you planning on telling me you had left the hotel this evening?”
Connor bit his lip and stared hard at the floor of the car. Angel shook his head pointing at his son. “You’re not to go back there, ever again, do you hear me?”
“How am I supposed to see -” Connor stopped himself realizing what he’d almost said but it was too late, Angel had caught the slip up.
“See who? You’re girlfriend?” Angel’s voice rang with sarcasm.
Connor gave a heavy sigh of frustration, scowling at his father. “She’s not my girlfriend! I mean, yeah, she’s a friend and she’s a girl, but, you know...we’re not dating or anything.”
Angel gave a sharp nod. “Good. Then you won’t mind if I order you to stop hanging around her.”
“That’s not fair!” Connor cried, his brows furrowing in anger.
Angel was unmoved. “Life isn’t fair, little boy, get used to it.” He opened the car door and began to get out. “You’re grounded,” Angel told Connor. “For the next two weeks, I don’t want to see you outside of your room.”
Connor’s head shot up in dismay at the thought of spending 24/7 in his room which happened to be conveniently located right down the hall from Angel’s room.
“This just sucks beyond!” Connor snapped and folded his arms across his chest.
Angel ignored the teen’s angsty comment and motioned for him to get out of the car. “Let’s go, buddy boy. You’ve got a room you can mope in.”
Connor slid out of the car refusing to meet his father’s angry glare and trudged sullenly up the steps to the hotel and through the main door. Angel was right behind him, his face a mask of parental fury. Everyone looked up from the concierge desk when the two entered the hotel.
“Hey, you found him!” Fred happily cried, then grew quiet when she saw the dark look on her boss’ face as he guided his brooding son toward the main staircase in the lobby.
“Looks to me like the boy wonder didn’t want to be found,” Lorne quietly commented noting the mutinous glare on Connor’s face.
“Any problems?” Gunn asked Angel.
“Problems?” Angel flippantly shot back. “You mean other than a fyarl demon using me for shot put practice? Or the fact that my teenage son was at a demon bar dirty dancing with some horny co-ed lolita? No. No problems.”
“Wow! Somebody’s had quite an interesting....” Cordelia’s voice trailed off at the unpleasant look Angel gave her.
He was not in the mood for her sarcastic banter just now. She offered Angel a weak smile and then hurriedly turned to study the map lying on the nearby counter as if it held the secrets of the world within it. Connor, meanwhile, did his best to appear both apathetic and put upon at the same time. Everyone remained silent for an unpleasant moment and then Gunn spoke up.
“Well, just so you know, you ain’t the only one that’s had a bit of an all nighter, boss. While you were off chasing junior, there, we were trying to track down a torloch demon.” Gunn motioned to the counter at the map of the city. “Still trying as a matter of fact.”
“A fire demon?” Angel asked forgetting Connor for a moment. “You sure?”
“Positive,” Wesley interrupted as he came into the lobby from Angel’s office carrying a large dusty tome.
Connor hung back near the staircase not wanting to piss his father off any more than he already was, but not wanting to totally obey him either. He listened with interest now as Wesley cracked open the book to where his finger was marking the page.
“It says here that torloch demons are known for their aggressive, territorial behavior and predilection for feasting on scorched human hearts and brains. These fire demons tend to make their breeding grounds on or near large energy vortexes using them to enhance their powers and invulnerability to ordinary means of destruction.”
“Hey, did you say a torloch demon?” Connor asked. He had wandered over to the group and pushed past Angel to eye the map on the counter, his voice rising in excitement. “You know, some of the guys at the club were talking –“
Connor didn’t get to finish as Angel clamped a hand onto his son’s shoulder and shoved him back toward the stairs.
“Move!” Angel ordered his child and pointed up the staircase.
Connor scowled darkly at Angel but complied and slowly began to head back toward the carpeted steps.
“English, here, remembered there was a thing in the paper the other day about strange disappearances going on in Canyon Park” Gunn mentioned. “We figure that must be the baddie’s hunting grounds.”
“Yes, the article stated that several people had gone missing from the area in the past few weeks.” Wesley said. “No bodies found but there were unusual burn marks left in the grass...”
“Sounds like our demon’s having his own private barbecue party,” Cordelia commented.
“Yeah, with human flambé as the main course,” Lorne added.
Gunn nodded and pointed to the park on the map in front of him. “Looks like maybe we need to set up some recon around the park. What d’you think, Angel?”
Connor suddenly popped his head back into the group around the counter again, ignoring the surprised looks. “Guys, I think I know -“
Once again Angel stopped Connor in mid sentence, this time roughly grabbing hold of the back of the boy’s shirt and flipping him around to face the stairs. A muscle twitched in Angel’s jaw as he bent down near Connor’s ear.
“You really don’t want to push me any further tonight, son. Get yourself upstairs to your room right now and start being grounded.”
Angel turned and ran his eyes around the room at his friends. “By the way, Connor is grounded for the next two weeks. No TV, no skateboard, no GameBoy, no computer, no nothing - he stays in his room.”
“Works for me,” Gunn said.
“We’ll keep an eye on him,” Fred nodded and looked over at Connor.
Connor rolled his eyes at the looks of mock sympathy from the group. “Like I need babysitting,” he sullenly remarked.
“After tonight, yeah, you do,” Angel retorted. He directed Connor toward the staircase once again and then not trusting his son to actually do it himself, Angel began dragging the teen reluctantly up the stairs. “Your room. Now.” Angel ordered.
“Fine. Whatever. It’s not like I can’t sneak out again.” Connor mumbled the last part under his breath.
Angel stopped halfway up the steps, pulling Connor up short. He had heard the boy’s remark and was not at all pleased by his continued defiance. Angel swung Connor about to face him, leaving little personal space between himself and his son. He glared down at Connor, his voice low and angry.
“You leave your room again without my permission, Connor, and I’m going to put you over my knee and spank you so hard you won’t be able to sit down. Ever.”
Angel emphasized the last word between clenched teeth. Connor stared at Angel in shocked surprise, color flushing his face at the thought of anyone in the lobby having overheard his father’s dark threat. He glanced nervously over to the group gathered around the counter but everyone seemed to be concentrating on the map. Giving a teenaged scowl at his father for embarrassing him once again, Connor roughly pulled his arm from Angel’s grip and turned to stomp up the carpeted stairs with as much injured dignity as he could muster.
“You totally suck!” Connor yelled down at Angel as he paused on the second floor landing and then tromped off.
A few moments later, the door to the teen’s room slammed shut with a brutality that echoed down the stairwell. Angel sighed with no small measure of frustrated aggravation.
“Gets that from his mother,” he muttered to himself as he went to rejoin Wes, Cordelia, Gunn, Lorne and Fred.
Connor sat on the bed in his darkened room letting the rage wash over him as he plotted various ways to get back at his father for this latest affront. No one told him what to do...he was his own boss...and he could handle himself just fine without Angel interfering all the time. It was bad enough that his father was always trying to keep him cooped up in this run down piece of crap hotel, Connor angrily noted, but now he was butting into Connor’s personal life as well. He shot a contemptuous glower over at the door to his room. And being treated like a three year old in front of everyone downstairs was the absolute final straw.
It would be so totally cool if he could find that torloch demon and kill it before his dad and the gang did. That would show Angel who was the better demon hunter and would prove that he didn’t need to be babysat! The boy rose from his bed and strode to the window across from it. He pushed aside the heavy brocade curtains and lifted up the sash, standing a moment to take in the view of the crisp LA night. His window faced out onto the back garden area of the hotel. Connor smiled - no one to see him when he made his exit.
The boy knelt down by the side of his bed reaching underneath it to grab the bag of weapons and stakes he kept there. He also grabbed his new leather jacket, the one he had shop-lifted the other day, and shrugged into it then tossed the bag over one shoulder. Connor went back over to the window and eased himself out dropping soundlessly to the ground. He took one look upwards, smiled to himself, then smugly flipped a finger at the hotel, and proceeded to make his way to the back gate of the garden and out into the night.
He had overheard some of the clientele in the club earlier talking about a torloch demon and now had a pretty good idea of where said bad boy might be hiding. It was one reason he liked to hang out at Thanatos. He could usually pick up information that was useful in his demon hunting forays just by keeping his eyes and ears open around the drunken patrons. Connor figured Angel and his merry band of morons would be wasting the next several hours coming up with some overly complicated plan to track, locate and then subdue the demon, so he’d never be missed. Why not just go do the job himself and be done with it, he smugly concluded. He was a far better tracker than any of them and he already had some inside knowledge of the creature’s whereabouts which he’d been willing to share had his father not gone all uber parental on him. Besides, Connor reasoned, it wasn’t like this was going to be difficult. Find the demon. Beat the hell out of the demon. Kill the demon.
It was close to four a.m. when Connor returned from his patrol through the park. All in all an okay night, Connor thought as he arrived back at the hotel. Although he hadn’t actually found the fire demon, he had managed to beat some more information out of a couple of vampires back at Thanatos before dusting them. Tired from the evening’s romp, Connor figured he’d catch a couple hours sleep and then head back out to find the demon’s lair. With casual confidence, Connor climbed the side of the hotel towards his still open bedroom window.
The weary teen swung a gangly leg over the sill of the window and hauled himself into his room. He tossed the bag of weapons and leather jacket onto his bed with casual ease, smiling at himself. The smile quickly slid off his face though when the overhead light to his room suddenly snapped on. Angel stood leaning up against the door to the room, his face a mask of stone.
“Have a nice stroll?” Angel casually asked.
Connor froze in shock at the sight of his father, and Angel fixed his son with an icy stare.
“What’sa matter, Connor? Didn’t expect anyone to miss you?”
“Shit.” Connor swore softly as he edged back closer to the window, careful to keep his bed between himself and Angel.
Angel pushed away from the door and pointed to the bed, his eyes still on his child. His no-nonsense tone was not lost on Connor. “SIT. DOWN.”
Connor swallowed, assessing his options, his eyes snapping from the open window directly behind him to Angel’s scowling visage and then to the closed bedroom door. Angel knew exactly what was going through his son’s mind and he took a warning step towards Connor as if to let him know that he only had ONE option and that was to do exactly what Angel had told him to. Connor slowly lowered himself onto the bedspread, but shot Angel a nasty pout to let him know that he wouldn’t normally have acquiesced.
Angel studied his son a moment noticing with growing irritation the smudges of dirt on Connor’s face and other subtle tell-tale signs that the boy had recently been in a fight. He could smell blood from a cut on Connor’s hand as well. Looking at the new leather jacket on the bed next to Connor, Angel frowned. Where had Connor gotten that from, he wondered? Angel hadn’t bought it for him and he was pretty sure none of the others had either. And that, Angel wearily realized, meant that Connor had most likely stolen it. Just great...another problem to add to the growing list of infractions his son had been racking up lately. Angel sighed inwardly, realizing a change in parenting tactics might be in order.
“So...we gonna stare at each other all night or what?” Connor finally shot at his father.
“Funny,” Angel smiled coldly, “But when I told you that you were grounded earlier, I don’t know,” he shrugged wrinkling his nose, “I kinda thought it was pretty clear what I meant.”
Angel strode around the other side of the bed now and stood, with arms crossed, in front of Connor. The teen sullenly met his father’s glare, not impressed with the sarcasm. Angel waited for Connor to say something but the boy just sat and stared, so Angel continued his jaw stiffening in anger.
“I told you to stay in your room, Connor. What part of that didn’t you understand?”
Connor rolled his eyes. “I was only gone a couple minutes, jeez, what’s the big deal? I was just in the back garden if anyone cared enough to look.”
Angel was not amused. “Try again,” he growled.
“What do you mean?” Connor asked his eyes narrowing.
“What’s with the weapons bag, Connor?” Angel indicated the bag on the bed with a nod of his chin. “Or are those your usual ‘sitting in the garden’ toys?” Angel paused, their eyes locking. “Where were you?”
Connor quickly looked away, his brows scrunching in anger at being caught. He refused to give in though. He gave Angel a casual shrug as if he didn’t know what his father was talking about.
“I was out in the garden, okay?” he snottily repeated. “And I didn’t realize I had to have permission to practice with my own weapons. I’ll make sure to send you a notice next time.”
“Better lose the attitude, young man,” Angel coolly shot back. “And that lie might have worked better if I hadn’t been waiting here for you for the past hour and a half.”
Connor winced slightly at this news. Angel smiled grimly at Connor who was beginning to look uncomfortable.
“See, I came up here to make sure you had actually followed orders, but what do you figure? Hey, you weren’t in your room! I knew you’d try sneaking back through the window sooner or later, so, I just made myself comfy and waited for you. You didn’t disappoint dear old dad, did you?”
“I was bored so I took a walk, so what?” Connor sullenly offered his father.
“No,” Angel angrily countered, “You disobeyed my orders and then you lied about it to me! And what got you sent to your room in the first place, Connor Stephen?”
Connor sighed realizing he wasn’t going to get out of a lecture, especially when Angel started using his first and middle names together like that. He really wasn’t in the mood for this and his temper flared suddenly.
“I don’t have to explain myself to you!” Connor shouted angrily.
“Yes, you do,” Angel said while staring the boy down.
“It’s your fault anyway!” Connor suddenly snarled. “If you’d have let me talk downstairs earlier instead of going all commando on me, I’d have told you where that stupid demon’s lair is and then I wouldn’t have had to go out and try to kill it myself!”
Angel looked at his son in stunned silence. “You went after the torloch demon by yourself?”
Connor’s lips curled into a smug smile. “Yeah, and I’m gonna slay him too. I bet you guys haven’t even figured out where to look yet.”
Angel took a moment to control his rage before he spoke. His voice was calm but laced with danger. “If you had stayed in your room, Connor, like I ordered you to, then you would have been here when I came up to check on you and you could have told me all about what you knew.” Angel crossed his arms across his broad chest and glared at his son. “Instead, you acted like a thoughtless brat and snuck out of your room and put yourself in danger just to try to show me up. As your father, I have a vested interest in keeping you alive, Connor, but you’re not making it very easy for me.”
Connor snorted at this and Angel’s jaw twitched in anger.
“Everyone has tried very hard to make you feel at home around here, Connor, even going so far as to put up with your wild behavior and your disrespectful attitude.” Angel admonished as he began to pace back and forth. He stopped and turned to face Connor, all business. “I am your father, boyo, whether you like it or not. And I think I’ve gone way beyond what’s required of a parent in letting you get away with things.”
“So, what?” Connor shot back, not impressed by Angel’s little speech, “You think because you accidentally knocked up your vamp of an ex-girlfriend that gives you the right to control my life?”
Angel stiffened. The comment about Darla and him hurt, but he wasn’t about to let Connor know that. He held his hands up in front of Connor.
“Okay, I’ve tried to play the nice guy, Connor, and let things slide, but no more. Cause see, deep down, I'm an old school kinda guy, and that means I'm a firm believer in there being consequences for one’s actions.”
“Whatever,” the teen’s voice was full of bemused sarcasm.
Angel chose to ignore it and continued. “So, as your father, I’m going to punish you for sneaking out of the hotel again and disobeying me. You’re now grounded for an entire month,” Angel waved a hand dramatically about indicating the poster-covered walls. “This room will be your existence for the next thirty days."
“That’s not fair!” Connor glared up at his father with all the hatred and contempt he could muster. “You can’t make me stay in here for a month!”
Connor began to rise from the bed intending to prove his point, but Angel moved so fast he was a blur as he swept down and clamped a hand onto his son’s shoulder shoving him back down onto the bed. Angel bent low, hand still on the boy’s shoulder, to put his eyes level with Connor’s. His voice was one of barely controlled fury as he addressed the boy.
"I’ll not only make you stay here, Connor, I’ll go a step further. Either you start cooperating or I’ll make good on my threat from earlier tonight. You remember what I promised you?” Angel warned.
Angel was greeted with stony silence from the teen as Connor yanked his shoulder out from under his father’s grip, his breathing coming hard and loud. Angel could sense Connor’s heart beat quickening as his face flushed with a mixture of anger and embarrassment. Father and son glared at one another for a few moments before Connor let his eyes fall to the floor in defeat. Angel turned to leave thinking he’d made his point when Connor suddenly shifted off the bed almost as fast as Angel himself had moved earlier. The teen was halfway out the still open window when Angel vaulted over the bed and grabbed one of the boy’s sneakered feet to stop his hasty escape. Angel swore.
“You little –“
“Let go of me!” Connor hissed and tried to kick his father in the face with his free leg.
Angel barely avoided the blow. He quickly clamped onto both of Connor’s flailing legs and pulled the boy back into the room flipping him roughly onto the bed. Connor wasted no time in scrambling to the opposite side of the mattress to avoid Angel’s reaching arm. The boy slid off the bed and hastily made for the door but Angel was faster this time. He easily blocked Connor’s way and reached out once again to snag the boy but Connor anticipated this and ducked under Angel’s arm while elbowing the vampire hard in the ribs. Connor made a desperate grab for the doorknob as his father tried to recover from the blow. Angel whirled about capturing one of Connor’s upper arms in a death grip.
“Screw you!” Connor yelled trying to break free of his father’s hold.
Not succeeding in gaining his freedom, Connor turned and without thinking, sank his teeth into Angel’s arm thinking his father would let go of him and he could escape out the window. But, much to Connor’s dismay, that didn’t happen.
Angel swore under his breath at the sharp stab of his son’s teeth biting into the flesh of his wrist but didn’t let go of the boy. This was a battle of the wills and Angel knew it. Having grown tired of his son’s defiance, Angel gave up on trying to be gentle. Instead, he used his free hand to grab one of the teen’s earlobes and twist hard. Connor hissed in pain and surprise, his mouth opening enough for Angel to extricate his bitten appendage out from between the boy’s teeth.
“Didn’t want to do it this way,” Angel angrily murmured as he began to wrestle Connor away from the door. “But, you’re not leaving me any choice.”
Angel was light years beyond furious at this point and Connor could tell but the realization came too late. In a blink, Angel was sitting on the edge of the bed with his child, still snarling and kicking, sprawled face down over his lap.
“You know, Connor,” Angel calmly stated as he looked down at his struggling child, “That was a bad move on your part for so many reasons, not the least of which is it’s just earned you a trip over daddy’s knee. You’re about to get an old school lesson, little boy, and I’m guessing by the time we’re done here, sitting down is gonna be just a fond memory for you!”
With that, Angel raised his hand high and then swung it down full force to connect with Connor’s backside. Connor gasped and then as Angel’s hand stung his butt once more, the boy let out a howl of surprised pain.
“Ow! Hey! OWWW! Stop it!”
Angel ignored his son’s vocal protests and continued to spank Connor hard, covering his rear end with a series of increasingly painful swats. Connor yelled louder and frantically tried to move his butt away from the source of harm, but Angel had a firm hold on him. Angel applied several more punishing spanks to the boy’s sit spot and then stopped a moment.
“I don’t EVER want to see another tantrum like that from you again, young man!” Angel sternly ordered. “Do you hear me?”
“All right! No more! I promise!” Connor pleaded, his bottom throbbing horribly from his father’s hard hand.
Angel nodded once and then, to Connor’s astonishment, Angel grabbed hold of the waistband of the boy’s jeans and yanked them down taking his son’s briefs down with them. He began paddling the boy’s already sore butt once again.
“I said I wouldn’t do it anymore!” Connor yelled in protest.
“Yes, I know, and I’m glad to hear it, son,” Angel coldly chuckled never breaking stride, “But now we need to address your problems with lying, stealing, and overall lack of respect for authority figures.”
Connor whimpered in misery as he submitted to his father’s painful swats, his bared butt a tender mound of burning agony. Tears of pain and humiliation splashed from his eyes and down his face. Angel steeled himself and carried on with the punishment making sure Connor’s little backside would be a deep dark red. He wanted to make sure his son understood that he wasn’t fooling around anymore. Angel finally stopped, resting his hand on his son’s back. He smelled Connor’s tears and looked down at his crying child with a hint of sadness.
“Whether you like it or not, Connor, I’m your father and you will do as you’re told or else you’ll be finding yourself in this position again. Is that clear?”
“Y-yes,” Connor sniffled.
Angel helped Connor up from his lap, helping him pull up his pants and stood the boy in front of him. Connor swiped at his face with an arm and refused to meet his father’s eyes.
“Look at me,” Angel quietly insisted and reached out to cup Connor’s chin in his hand.
Connor gazed up at Angel with smoldering but subdued eyes. He hadn’t seen this coming – even though Angel had warned him earlier of what he could expect should he continue to be disobedient. To be spanked like a baby over his father’s knee was utter humiliation. Not to mention the fact that Angel was a lot stronger than the typical human. Connor’s butt throbbed painfully as he silently stood there.
“I didn’t want to do that, son,” Angel stated, “but you didn’t leave me much choice. I need to be able to trust you, Connor. I can’t have you lying to me or disobeying me anymore. This city is big and it’s evil, and I can’t spend all my time running after you trying to keep you from getting killed.”
Connor remained silent staring at a spot on Angel’s shirtfront.
Angel sighed. “I meant what I said, Connor. Buddy-pal time is over – you break the rules, you’re getting punished. You push me too far...and you’re going to end up like tonight - with a very sore, very sorry backside.”
Connor looked up at Angel, a tinge of fear in his eyes. “You can’t just - I’m too old for this!” he retorted all flustered.
Angel smiled watching as Connor’s hands crept protectively behind him. “Hate to tell ya, boyo, but as long as I can get you over my knee, spanking will definitely be on the menu.”
Connor didn’t know what to say to that. This was all new to him and while he wasn’t particularly thrilled with the situation, he didn’t see any quick way out of it either. Connor nodded to show Angel that he had gotten the message loud and clear. Angel gave Connor a hug and for once, Connor didn’t fight back. Angel ruffled his son’s hair and then rose from the bed and headed for the door. He turned and gave his son one last look as Connor stood somewhat disconcerted in the middle of his room.
“Do me a favor and just start listening, okay?” Angel softly requested. “You’re a smart kid, Connor...you shouldn’t need to be told to use common sense when it comes to following orders. I set rules down for a reason. The main one being that I don’t want to lose you. ”
Angel fell silent, a lump suddenly forming in his throat. He cleared his throat and opened the door to the hallway. “In the meantime, you better get used to these four walls for awhile.”
Connor snorted and rolled his eyes. “Like, what am I supposed to do all day since I’m not allowed to do anything other than breathe?”
Angel nodded toward the desk in the corner where Wesley had left some books for Connor. “Crack one of those open and start reading.”
“You want me to read a book? Are you serious? Nobody reads books anymore!”
“Not into reading? Then, clean your room – it’s a mess.”
Angel and Connor both looked around the bedroom at the piles of clothes tossed on the floor, the unmade bed, the dusty furniture, and the dirty dishes on the desk beside the books. Both made a face of disgust. Sighing heavily, Connor stalked over to the desk and yanked a book off the top of the pile while shooting his father a glower. He glanced down at the title.
“The Once and Future King...sounds pretty boring to me...” Connor said unhappily as he began to thumb through the pages.
“You might actually find it interesting once you get into it,” Angel smirked as he headed out the door to the boy’s room. “Lots of knights and quests and stuff. Kind of like your X-box games.”
The look Connor offered him was priceless. Angel shut the door firmly behind him. He sincerely hoped he wouldn’t ever have to spank his son again, but knew all too well that Connor’s stubborn nature wasn’t going to be tamed in just one night. Like father, like son he thought ruefully as he went down the stairs to join the gang once again.