Title: Back From the Abyss
Posted: 07/08/02 (Revised 31-03-2003)
Summary: Wesley is nearing the end of his own ‘beige period’ and secretly meets with Connor to explain things. Angel is still in the deep blue sea and Cordelia has not yet returned. This is where the story begins.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Connor sat dumbfounded as the video that the former AI employee had shown him reached its end. “This is a lie. Tricks of magic to fool me,” the angry young man’s voice growled.
“I assure you they are real. Taken by enemies of your father before and just after your birth,” the British voice answered.
Although Connor’s facade was stern and angry, his soul ached with all the information he had just taken in. Scenes from the video flashed like lightening bolts through his mind. One of his father, Holtz, forcibly holding Angelus in the lobby of the old hotel while Angelus asserted that he was not the same monster Holtz had hunted all those years ago. Another, of Angelus, his sworn enemy, at the edge of a door to a courtyard. He was letting his hand burn in sunlight as he spoke words of devoted protection for his son.
More than a dozen moments there in front of him. How had this man Wesley summoned such magic? He knew it had to be a trick because Wesley was there, on the tape, with the enemy. However, even before the video, Connor’s mind was already questioning what was right and wrong in this new world.
In the month since his revenge was set upon Angelus, he had started to question Justine’s motives and actions. The things she did. Her actions were not that of the righteous warrior his father had spoken of shortly before his death but that of … a killer.
Wesley had explained to him how Angel’s enemies had spied on him. He had obtained the videos from Wolfram and Hart during his brief ‘double agent’ act. He knew his plan had to work. No, he had not had any epiphany of his own. He still could not forgive his former family for abandoning him in his time of need. But Connor, he was the innocent baby Wesley had tried to protect in the first place. Connor deserved to at least know part of what happened to him and why. Wesley had to set things right with him. He owed the child that much.
“There is something else,” Wesley’s voice quietly stated. With that he pushed a button on a small recorder. Connor flinched as he heard his dead father’s voice echo through the cold room. The conversation was with the man that stood before him. Their words were filled with conspiracy and secrecy. However, only in Wesley’s did he hear fear, concern, and … love.
Connor’s blood boiled until he had had enough and slammed the recorder against the wall. “Lies!” he screamed. There was a long pause until Connor spoke again. “They have to be lies,” his statement was on the edge of a question and filled with sorrow. Connor covered his face and sinking to the floor, began to cry.
The Hypernion was silent but for the rolling pencil that Fred nervously pushed back and forth across the counter. She hated being left alone, but she had finally convinced Charles that they needed to keep taking a few cases. Just a few. Just to keep the lights on. Just to keep things running. Just … in case.
Fred was jerked out of thought by the loud booming voice coming from the green demon at the front door. “Honey I’m ..” Lorne’s words trailed off as his eyes caught Fred’s face. “Home?” he weakly finished with a frown.
“Oh no,” Lorne said. “I sensed it before I left. Even told Angelhair and Cordy not to turn their backs on him. Little did I know how far the kid would go.”
Fred had just finished filling Lorne in on the little they knew about what had happened over the last few weeks. They knew that Connor and Angel had had a confrontation and after, Angel had simply disappeared. Surprisingly, they had gotten that bit of info from a message left by Wesley at the hotel. As for Cordelia, her car had been found abandoned on the freeway with no clue or trace of where she could be.
Just as Lorne and Fred were quietly brainstorming about how he could help now that he was back…
“Hey Jolly Green, ’bout time you got your sorry horns back,” Gunn greeted them both with a half smile as he slung yellow slime off his jean jacket.
“Oh my gosh! Are you Okay Charles?” Fred questioned as she raced to her boyfriend’s side.
“Actually, besides the completely disgusting feeling I’m getting from this goo, I came through without a scratch,” Gunn assured as he placed a gentle kiss on Fred’s lips.
Connor ran to his make shift room in the abandoned building he now haunted. He knew this was a place for people who had no place, and no one, at all. He had learned that survival skill when he first arrived in this world. As he slumped down on the dirty mattress in the corner of the room, he began to slam his fist against the floor. All of his frustration and hurt were bubbling to the surface. The pain of it all was unbearable. In the instant he thought he would die from the emotional overload, a flash shot through the room. When Connor’s eyes focused again, his mouth dropped at the sight before him. As he stared a voice calmly asked, “Hey. How’s it goin’
“You’re… you’re Cordelia,” Connor stuttered.
“Yeah. Sorry about the light show thingy. A little trick I picked up from a friend of mine. Come on Connor,” Cordelia gently ordered as she grasped Connor’s hand. “We don’t have much time.”
The touch of Cordelia’s hand sent a shock through Connor’s body and when he opened his eyes he sucked in a deep breath. He and Cordelia were standing in the middle of a small room where a family massacred by vampires lay before them. Connor tried to move toward the motionless victims but was stopped by Cordelia’s hand.
“No honey,” she said with regret. “Unfortunately you and I both are way too late to save them. This is what Angelus and Darla did to warrant Holtz’s revenge.”
With that comment, the realization of where he was hit Connor. This was Holtz’s home and the infant stilled in the cradle below was his son. His true son. The son that he was to replace. The son that his father wanted to regain through him. The one he had tried to be for his father but always seemed to fall short in Holtz’s eyes.
Cordelia touched Connor’s hand and, in a brief moment, they were in that same room, however, the scene had changed. Now, only the man he knew as his father was before him much younger than he could remember. Connor watched in horror as Holtz made his deal of revenge with the scarred demon.
Connor could only whisper in disbelief, “My father made a deal with his soul? With a demon?”
Cordelia simply nodded her head in agreement and again took Connor’s hand. Through moments in time, Cordelia allowed Connor to witness his true father’s curse, his years of torture, the good he struggled to do in order to atone for the evil which had once possessed his body. Connor not only saw all of these moments, he felt them.
When it was all over he found himself back in his homeless room. “I’m sorry some of the things I showed you hurt you, but you needed to see. You can’t decide on only half truths Connor,” Cordelia said gently.
“What do I have to decide?”
“Well, whether you are on our side or theirs.”
Connor looked at her as if he did not understand. “You know the whole good vs. evil thingy,” she struggled to explain. A flash of light and a roll of thunder quickly swept through the room. Cordelia looked to the ceiling and yelled, “Give me a break here. This is my first assignment and I’m doing the best I can.”
Taking a deep breath, Cordelia turned to the confused young man in front of her. With a softened tone she began, “Look Connor. Angelus did horrible things not just to Holtz but to a lot of people. However, hopefully you have seen that Angelus and Angel are not the same, and through Angel’s redemption, he is trying to spare the world from the horror of Angelus for good. So you see, in a way Holtz and Angel’s mission, to destroy Angelus, were one in the same. Holtz just went down a dark and misguided path to obtain what he wanted and that path destroyed him. We all have to choose the paths we will take in life and now it is your time to choose. Which will yours be?”
Fred and Gunn sat in the lobby of the hotel tirelessly pouring over books while Lorne was at the counter on the phone trying to get any information out of the few contacts he had left in L.A.. Suddenly a young male voice halted their fruitless actions. “I know where you can find Angelu….Angel.”
The sun had just slipped away when Fred, Gunn, and Lorne reached the ocean’s edge. “Man, we ain’t never gonna find him like this.” Gunn frustratingly stated.
Lorne put his finger tips to his temples once again. “Give me a minute kiddo. Although I’m a little rusty at sensing Angelcakes’s vibe, I think I can do it if I can just … there!”
“Wow! How did you sense him that fast?” Fred asked
“No, not there as in aha I’ve got it. There as in over there.” With that Lorne pointed down the beach to the end of what appeared to be a huge metal box half buried in the sand. By the looks of it, it seemed to be exactly what Connor had described to them and the three rescuers rushed to free their friend.
Cordelia and Skip stood several yards down the beach as Cordelia looked on with a bitter sweet tear in her eye. “Wish you could be there, huh?” Skip said with a deep breath.
“Yeah. He’s got a long road of healing ahead. They both do. Who knows if those two stubborn guys will even make the right choices.”
“Well, we can’t interfere any more than we already have. We have to let them make their own choices. Free will. It’s a droika but what can you do?”
“I want to go back Skip. I have to.”
“Cordelia, you made your decision. A very noble one I might add. Don’t let love rule over the greater cause here.” With that advice, Cordelia turned to face the beach again as the tear in her eye made an escape route down her cheek.
Gunn’s truck screeched to a halt in front of the Hypernion. It had taken them all night to free an unconscious and frail Angel from his prison. They pulled him into the safety of the hotel lobby from the back of the truck just as the first rays of sun had broken the horizon.
“I can’t help but think if we hadn’t found Angelcakes when we did that he’d be flambé right about now,” Lorne said with a smirk.
“Yeah man. It’s like someone..”
“Knew time was running out,” Fred finished Gunn’s statement with a questioning look. “I wish Connor would have agreed to come with us,” she continued as Gunn and Lorne lowered Angel onto his bed. In a split second Angel stirred.
“Maybe it’s a good thing he didn’t,” Lorne said as he moved a step away from Angel’s bed.
“Connor,” Angel’s voice was almost inaudible. “Connor,” he weakly called again as he struggled against Gunn’s hands which were gently pushing him back to the bed.
“He doesn’t seem to see us,” Fred said quietly.
“Well, the big guy’s been in a box for the last month. Give him some time and a few gallons of blood and I’m sure he’ll be good as new,” Lorne answered hopefully just as Angel lost consciousness again.
Two days later…
For the last two days Angel had passed in and out of consciousness, alternately calling out for Connor and Cordelia. Everyone in the room had watched and waited as they nursed him back to health. Fred initially was in charge of feedings; however, after the first time Angel growled at Fred, Lorne and Gunn took over that responsibility.
At the end of the second day, long after the sun had set, Angel opened his eyes and sat straight up in his bed. “Connor!” he shouted.
“Oh no he’s doing it again,” Fred said.
“No,” Angel looked at her completely focused and with harsh eyes. “Connor, where is he?” he asked.
“We’re not sure,” Fred answered as Gunn and Lorne entered the room.
“I have to find him. He doesn’t know what he’s done. He’s just a pawn to them. He’s truly alone. I know that,” Angel said sorrowfully.
Fred lay a gentle hand on Angel’s shoulder as the other two men in the room moved closer to them. “Angel, you have to rest.”
“I have to…” he stopped his statement with a frustrated huff. He knew who would understand what he had to do. “Where’s Cordy?”
Fred’s eyes suddenly lowered and in a panic Angel grabbed her shoulder with more strength than he thought he had. Gunn pushed Angel’s hand off of his girlfriend and safely tucked her behind him in one swift move. “Just cool down man.”
Angel took a deep breath and through gritted teeth repeated his question, emphasizing each word. “Where is Cordelia?”
“We don’t know Angel,” Fred answered with a whisper from behind Gunn. “She disappeared the same night you did.
“Wesley,” this time Angel’s voice, which had called Cordy and Connor’s names with such sweet affection, was cold and filled with spitting anger.
Connor walked the block of the hotel for the tenth time. He wanted to know if Angel had recovered but could not bring himself to enter the hotel. Angel’s friends, his real family, were there with him. He knew he could not be welcomed but he wanted so much to know. He was also afraid. Afraid of Angel’s wrath and afraid of what his own actions might be when he finally faced the vampire. Although he knew the truth, or some of the truth, about his birth father, he was still bitter and angry at him. Angry for what Angel was and for what that made him. He decided he could not go in, but he had to know. So he headed in the direction of someone he thought might know.
Angel, gaining strength by the moment, turned himself into a small arsenal as he loaded his pockets with weapons.
“Angel man, I agree that all of us have a lot of anger and trust issues with Wesley right now, but what makes you think he would take Cordy?” Gunn questioned as he watched Angel put the last weapon in place.
“It was Wesley,” Angel stated with a cold glare.
“Well you disappeared that night and that was by Connor’s hand,” Lorne joined the quarrel.
“It was Wes! It’s simple. He took Connor, the one thing that made me feel like my redemption was beginning, but that wasn’t enough. Now the son-of-a-bitch has taken the only thing that made me want that redemption in the first place. For that, after I torture him into telling me what happened to Cordy, he’s going to die.”
“Yeah simple,” Lorne said with a sigh.
With one hand on the cordless phone and the other grasping the now half empty bottle of bourbon, Wesley sat quietly at his table. He had been that way for hours. His mind swayed back and forth from the emotional storm that brewed in his soul. Inwardly he cursed his so called family. After all he had been through with them and all he had forgiven them, especially Angel, they had left him injured and alone. His heart ached as he thought of those lonely days in the hospital. Of how he thought he would recover and go to them. How he would explain to them why he had taken Connor. How he was fooled. Then she came, telling him to leave. That beautiful girl he had so recently hurt. Her words about Angel’s reactions were almost too much to believe until Angel himself visited. Tried to kill him. Could have killed him. “Should have killed me,” Wesley spoke out loud.
“I know, but hey, better late than never,” a voice answered from the corner shadow of the room.
“Cordelia, we have been through this,” Skip grunted.
“I know, I just can’t see how me being here could be helping Angel,” Cordelia said as she pleaded her case with Skip.
“Your being here helps Angel because it helps all mankind,” Skips voice softened as he lay a hand on Cordelia’s shoulder with the familiarity of a good friend. “Cordelia, no one forced you to say yes to this task. You made that choice.”
“Choice?! That was no choice. You think because I said yes that I chose the Powers over Angel? That’s a laugh. All the Powers have ever done for any of us is stay conveniently out of the way while we are all attacked and maimed. They tease Angel with his redemption, they never lifted a finger to help find Connor, and just at the moment I thought I could find true happiness, they hit me with the ‘give us an answer in thirty seconds’ question.”
“You could have said no,” Skip tried to sound soothing.
“How? After all of the visions and transformations that I’ve been through for him…”
“You mean them, the Powers.”
“No dork. I mean him, Angel. How could I not go and fight a battle in a war that he has devoted his life to. That we have both devoted our lives to. I wanted to stay. But knowing how the Powers work I couldn’t help but wonder. What if I had not gone? There might not have even been an Angel to return to.”
“That’s true. Actually truer than you think, but that’s beside the point. The point is….”
“Wait. Wait a minute. What do you mean, truer than I think?”
“Well let’s just say if you had been on the beach the night Connor attacked Angel, things would have turned out a lot different.”
“Well, for one, Angel would be dust in the wind. So to speak.”
“Why?” Cordelia asked with a gulp.
“Protecting you. He would never have made it to that box. Angel was too afraid he would hurt his son to seriously fight back when it was just the two of them. However, if you were there, he would have defended you to the death.”
“Angel would have died?”
“No, he would have killed Connor and then walked into the first patch of sunlight out of sorrow and remorse for it.”
“So in coming here, you truly showed your love for Angel. Not by saying three words on a moonlit beach, but by saving him….twice.”
“So my being here helps Angel more than being by his side,” Cordelia resigned.
“For the moment, yeah.”
Cordelia was caught for a moment in a heart aching pause. “Then here it is,” she stated with a surrendering sigh.
Wesley jumped at the startling sound of the female voice in the corner of the room.
“How’s the neck?” Justine asked as Wesley struggled to his feet. “Sorry the job wasn’t done to your satisfaction, but I’ve been practicing. Why don’t you give me a second chance?” With that Justine brandished a long knife. “Satisfaction guaranteed.”
Angel did not even attempt to park his car when he caught his first glimpse of Wesley’s apartment building in the distance. Turning off the engine, he jumped out to the street, his stride increasing with every step.
‘First he would rip out his tongue,’ he thought. ‘No, not the tongue, then he couldn’t say what he had done with Cordy.’
Just as Angel was pondering more violent acts of torture and death for Wesley, a swiftly moving shadow caught his eye. “Vampire?” he questioned himself. ‘No,’ he thought. ‘His vampire senses screamed human. ‘Okay,’ he thought again. ‘What moves like a vampire and smells like a human?’ “Connor.” He answered himself aloud.
With supernatural speed Angel caught up with Connor and cautiously approached him.
“Connor, don’t be afraid. Don’t try to run or fight me. I meant what I said back at the beach. I don’t hate or blame you. I forgive you for what you did.”
Connor was startled. He had not noticed Angel approach. He started to back away slowly as Angel continued his surprise attack of emotional words.
“I know you are the one that told the others where to find me,” Angel continued. “I know you wanted to kill me for Holtz, and truthfully that is a punishment I earned long ago. But in helping them find me, you’ve proven to me, and hopefully yourself, that you really don’t want to kill me.”
“You’re wrong,” Connor answered with a bitter cold tone. “Every muscle in my body is fighting to keep me from tearing your dead heart out.”
“I know Holtz trained you as his soldier of revenge, but it has to stop now Connor. I know you wanted to kill me to prove something to Holtz, but he is gone.”
“By your hands.”
“No Connor. I did not kill Holtz and killing me won’t bring him back either.”
“That’s not why I want to kill you,” Connors formerly cold voice was filling with emotion as he began to shake. “I don’t want to kill you for taking a life out of this world. I want to kill you for bringing one into it. For making me what I am.” Connor’s eyes filled with angry tears. “WHAT AM I?” he shouted. “I’m a freak in this world. A disgusting spawn of two filthy demons!”
Connor suddenly flew towards Angel. For an instant, Angel thought Connor was attacking, but, when Connor retreated back, Angel’s eyes clued him into what Connor had been after. There in Connor’s hand was the gun, meant for Wesley, that Angel had tucked in his jacket.
“Connor, son, give me the gun,” Angel ever so cautiously motioned. “It can’t kill me anyway so just hand it to me.” Angel stilled as Connor began to speak again.
“Filthy demon blood running through my veins. That’s what my father said when I was four. That’s what I have to destroy. That’s what I have to fight against. Against the abomination that is me.” With a tear stained face, Connor turned the gun to himself.
In all of Angel’s long, long, unlife, he had never mentally said a thank you for any aspects of his demon side. He had never wanted to until now.
Angel sat huddled over a now seated and exhausted Connor on the cold, dark pavement. He thanked whoever, or whatever, for vampiric speed as he gazed at the discarded gun and increased the embrace he held on the sobbing young man.
Connor’s sobs became louder and more uncontrollable as he fruitlessly began to fight against Angel’s strong hold.
“Let me go! Let me die! I’m evil! Only evil can come from evil!” Connor sobbed.
“You’re not evil,” Angel said soothingly.
“How would you know? You’re not my father. You don’t even know me. The father who raised me knew me and he was right. Evil courses through my veins. I just want to kill that part of me. I have to destroy it. You can’t know what it’s like to hate everything that you are. Everything that you know you’re capable of.”
“Connor. I understand that more than you realize. I spent a long time feeling the same way. Never understanding that with a soul came a choice. Free will. Until this guy named Whistler found me in a horrible state, feeling almost the same way you do now. He explained to me that I had a choice to make. I could choose what path I wanted to take.”
As Angel paused, Connor remembered Cordelia’s words. ‘A choice’ he reminded himself.
“I had to choose what part I wanted to play in this world,” Angel continued. “He made me realize that I could become the thing I believed I was, worse even, or I could be something else. Something good, worthy of life.”
Angel paused again, giving Connor a chance to process everything he had just told him. Connor and Angel had now separated and unknowingly settled into the exact same pose, side by side. They both sat on the curb of the dark street, resting their chins on top of clasped hands with their elbows supported by the bend of their knees. They looked alike. A lot alike. Like a father and a son.
Connor was the first to break the silence. “I don’t even know how to begin. Everything I’ve ever known has been a lie. How can I choose the path of good, when I’m not even sure if I know what ‘good’ is anymore?”
“With time…and help. You need time to let yourself find out who you are Connor. Who you want to be. And, if you let me, I’d like to help. No pressure. As much help or distance that you need. You decide.”
“I can’t call you Dad. That was a lie before. I just…I can’t. Not yet. I don’t feel like you are my father.”
Angel fought the ache in his heart at Connor’s painfully honest words. “Well,” he replied. “If you can’t accept me as your father, maybe you can accept me as your friend.”
“I’ll try. If you will try to forgive me for what I did to you.”
“Connor, from the moment you were born I knew that I could forgive you for anything. I know you couldn’t possibly know this, but, when you were a baby, many people risked their lives for you, to keep you safe.”
“No, I don’t think you do. What was years ago for you has only been months for me. The baby that I held in my arms only months ago and vowed my love and protection to is the stranger in front of me. But, I can still see that baby’s face in your eyes and smell that baby’s sweet aroma of humanity on you. I love you now Connor, just like I loved you then. Unconditionally”
“I know you loved me. I saw how much.”
“What do you mean? What did you see?”
“Your friend, Wesley,” Connor answered.
‘Friend’ Angel thought with a sickening cringe. It was not a word he would choose to describe someone he now thought of as his enemy.
“What are you trying to tell me Connor?” Angel asked as his jaw tightened.
“He sought me out. Showed me images of that time. He explained that those enemies of yours, the ones from the movies, had spied on you. He said it was important for me to know the truth. He also had a machine that had captured the words between him and my father. I heard them plotting my abduction. My father, the one who claimed he was trying to save my soul, told Wesley that he was the only one who could protect me from some prophecy. He told him if he brought me to him, he could assure my protection, but if Wesley didn’t, my father said he would kill me along with the beast……He said he would kill me.” Connor repeated the last part as if to convince himself more so than Angel.
Angel’s jaw twitched. He could not figure out how Wesley had gotten those tapes. He knew Wolfram and Hart had hidden video equipment throughout the hotel. He himself assisted Wesley in removing it. But, he could not understand when Wesley’s conversations with Holtz would have been taped. ‘They tapped the phones.’ He realized to himself. None of them had ever checked amid all of the confusion.
“I’m glad that you were able to see those things,” was all Angel could muster as an answer. His initial intent that night was to maim and kill the man they were now discussing. The man he still believed might have information about the woman he loved, the woman that had not left his thoughts during the entire conversation with Connor, the woman he hoped he would have made proud with the things he had said to his son.
“He answered a lot of questions for me. I thought he might have some more answers for me. I was on my way to see him,” Connor explained.
‘Me too’ Angel thought with an inner growl.
“You want to come up with me?” Connor asked.
Angel knew it would not be a good idea to go with Connor. After all, Connor was just beginning to believe that Angel might not be evil after all. Connor might change his mind if he saw Angel kill Wesley.
Event though he didn’t want Connor to go either, Angel knew their relationship was too new and fragile for him to forbid it. “You go. Get your answers. I’ll be here waiting for you.”
Justine could tell by the looks of Wesley that he was emotionally drained and a little drunk. ‘This is no fun’ she thought to herself. She had began to love the feeling she got as her victims fought back. In the beginning, after her sister’s death, Justine had fought what she hated because of her great pain. She had attempted to find some small amount of justice in her own way. That is why she fought in the beginning. Now it was different. The hate had spread, as hate often does, like a cancer into every corner of her soul. It was no longer justice. It was power. The power she could claim over her victims. She felt almost god like when she acted as judge and executioner over anyone she thought unworthy of life.
“Justine, you can’t kill me. I know there is a place inside of you that knows it is wrong,” Wesley surprised himself with his own pleas for his life. He couldn’t understand why he felt the urgent need to live when only moments ago he would have welcomed death.
“Can’t kill you? You are worthless garbage. You couldn’t even stay loyal to the freaks you called friends. It’s all about loyalty you know.”
“Killing me is not loyalty. It’s cold blooded murder.”
“No, its justice. You’re trying to poison Connor’s mind. It’s protection from you for Connor and justice for Daniel and me.”
“That’s not justice. It’s revenge. Do you really have the strength to use that knife on me again in the name of a man who abandoned you?” Wesley questioned.
“If I can stick a hole in the throat of a man I loved for the sake of justice, I sure as hell won’t lose sleep over cutting one into you.”
“You killed my father!” Connor shouted his realization from the doorway of the apartment as he frantically ran towards Justine.
“Connor,” was all she was able to say in her shock as she turned toward the boy who was tackling her to the ground.
Angel, who had slipped into game face after he heard his son’s cry, entered the apartment, throwing Justine across the room and away from Connor. Angel started for the now fleeing Justine when Wesley’s voice stopped him. “Angel no.”
When Angel turned he saw Wesley bending over a bloodied Connor.
“Oh God,” Angel said as his face morphed back to its human form. “Get your hands off him!” he yelled as he pulled Wesley away. “Don’t you ever touch him again!”
“Angel he needs care, he needs….”
“I’ll take care of him. He’s my son,” Angel’s voice shook with emotion.
“Angel, he needs a hospital. He may have some of your supernatural attributes, but his body is human. He needs a doctor.”
Angel knew Wesley was right. He nodded his stone faced approval as Wesley dialed 911.
For that moment, Angel and Wesley’s hatred of each other quelled. In that moment they were no longer enemies. They were just two men, in a room, trying to save someone they both loved.
Fred looked down at a sleeping Connor. The hospital room was cold and she had just covered him with another blanket as he stirred in his sleep. She knew she shouldn’t be smiling. Connor was hurt, seriously so. However, she was happy. Happy to have him back. She knew things would start getting back to normal. She was an optimist. She always knew things had to work out eventually. She had proof. She had been rescued from a hell dimension that she thought she would never escape. Her new family had saved her. Not only physically but mentally. Then there was Charles. She shot a shy smile across the room to her boyfriend who winked and smiled in return. ‘Yes’ she thought. ‘It is possible to find happiness after tragedy.’
As Fred stood to return to her seat by Gunn, she noticed Connor opening his eyes.
“Connor?” she quietly called.
“Where am I?” he asked.
“You’re in a hospital,” Gunn answered as he joined Fred next to the bed.
“A place where they treat injuries,” Fred answered in a surprisingly non-rambling, to-the-point way that even caught Gunn off guard.
Connor flinched as he touched his wound, remembering the events of the night before. “Who brought me here?”
“Well, an ambulance brought you here,” Fred continued. “But Angel rode with you,” she added hopefully as she saw what she thought was disappointment on the young man’s face.
“Where is he?” Connor asked in a weak voice.
Gunn pointed to the large window in the brightly sunlit hospital room. “We almost had to drag him out of here, but he said he would be back just as soon as the sun sets.”
Connor silently nodded.
Fred sat back down beside the bed. “We’re so glad your gonna be alright,” she said with a smile.
“Angel brought me here in an abom….?”
“Ambulance,” Fred supplied. “Yeah, he saved your life. He’s always doin’ stuff like that. Savin’ peoples lives, especially those of the people he cares about. You know hero stuff.”
Gunn could only smile as he reveled in his girlfriends sweet ramblings about Angel.
“He’s a champion,” Connor stated in such a whisper that Fred couldn’t hear what he said.
“He’s a what?” she questioned.
“Champion,” he said a little louder. “That’s what Cordelia called him the other night.
“Cordelia?” Fred timidly asked.
“Yes, your friend Cordelia. She came to visit me. She tried to help me understand who Angel really is.”
“A few nights ago?” Gunn took over the interrogation.
“Yes,” Connor now regarded the two with a questioning stare.
“Did you tell Angel about seeing Cordelia?” Fred gently pushed for an answer.
“No, they are friends. I thought he knew.”
“Did she say how she got there?” Gunn continued his questioning.
“No. She appeared in a strange show of light and seemed to be alone with me except when she yelled at someone in the ceiling called Powers.”
“I’m dialing now.” Gunn answered as he pulled out his cell phone.