LEVEL OF HELL 6 ½ A (DIS' SHOPPING MALL)

By D.M. Evans

Disclaimer- I don't own any of them. All the characters are owned by Mr. Whedon. I don't know who owns Spencer's, we can thank Dante for the levels of Hell and the Fey own themselves, just ask them.

Rating - PG-13 (with brief nudity)

Spoilers - Diddlysquat, set between Tomorrow and Deep Down.

Summary - Connor faces a whole new terror: a Los Angeles Shopping Mall.

Author's Note - Finished for the seventh lyric wheel challenge. This plot bunny has been jumping around half down for a LONG time. The lyrics provided helped me finish it up and set the right tone for Wesley. Lyrics are included at the end and the bolded lines are the ones used. Thanks to DanaW for the lyrics by portishead

Connor stepped out of the shower to find his clothing was gone. He knew someone had entered the room while he was getting clean, something Fred and Gunn had been stressing every day now for a week. He didn't understand their obsession with soap and water. Well, he hadn't actually ever seen soap before coming here so he hadn't know it was important. His father had told him that bathing weakened the body and should be done twice a year at best. That seemed to horrify his companions. Fred had promised to have Gunn hold him under if he didn't shower. Connor had been terrified to put the shampoo on his head. The instructions were easy enough to understand but the ingredients were frighteningly long and he didn't know most of them. Maybe he just didn't read well enough since that was hardly a high priority on Quor-toth or maybe it was in another language. The effluvia rising from the bottle was overpowering to his sensitive nose and he hated the after scent of honeysuckle that clung to his skin.

And as if waiting for sickness to invade his body from all the washing wasn't bad enough, now someone was coming in to check on him and steal his clothing. From the slight form visible through the dark shower curtain, it had been Fred. So what did she want with his clothing? He almost stepped out and questioned her about it but the incident two days before stopped him. Fred insisted Connor turn over his clothing for a good washing after a work out with Gunn so he had obligingly stripped and gave them to her. When Gunn was done laughing, and yelling at him for giving Fred something called a "Full Monty," they made him redress and told him that people didn't go naked before others unless they were intimate. He didn't understand what fuss was over. The clothes never did get washed and now they were gone. In their place was a pair of soft baggy pants, a strange pair of white, short pants with little red hearts on them and a black t-shirt. He picked up Gunn's scent from them. He thought for a moment about giving them back since they weren't his, then imagined more screaming if he was in the hotel nude. Maybe they wanted him to wear these things like Sunny had wanted him to change his good sturdy leathers for smelly fabric.

Gunn's clothing hung loose on his thin frame and Connor half expected to lose the pants at any moment. The jogging pants puddled around his slender ankles and the shirt hung half way down his thighs. He quietly slipped downstairs. He couldn't actually avoid Gunn and Fred, even though he had tried for the first several days of being alone with them. They were determined to console him over the disappearance of his father. Connor was afraid he'd make a mistake and they'd know the truth but he was good at keeping his own council. Besides, they thought Angel had disappeared with Cordelia and he knew better than that. They couldn't fathom that Angel had murdered Connor's father. They didn't know Holtz was dead and he suspected they'd rejoice if they knew. They had all but said as much at the ocean when he learned the monster had gone after his father.

A small smile slid across his face, thinking about how he and Justine had handled that vile thing. Was he suffering under the waves? Connor could only hope so. It still wasn't half as much as Connor himself was suffering. He had nightmares every night about what he had done to insure his father would never rise as a blood-sucking demon. He remembered the meaty thud of his blade passing through his father's neck, how the momentum carried the head away, leaving Holtz staring up at him with death-clouded eyes. Those eyes lit his dreams and he couldn't tell anyone. If Fred and Gunn knew, they might suspect he had taken his vengeance on Angel. He couldn't even talk to Justine since she also seemed to have disappeared.

That worried him more so than Cordelia's disappearance. He liked Justine. He didn't like Cordelia. She was part demon. She had gotten into him, stripping away parts of him that were needed. She left him weak and weeping and part of him hated her for that. But some strange part of him did miss her. That part was the part that liked looking at her even if he couldn't understand why.

And, of course, he couldn't tell any of this to Gunn and Fred. They wouldn't understand. As much as he didn't want to stay in the vampire's home, Connor knew he had to. He didn't like this world. He never felt so lost, not even when facing down some of the worst demons Quor-toth could throw at him. Cars were frightening. He had no idea what this stuff called money was nor how he was to get some. How long could he keep stealing food? No, it was better to let Gunn worry about all of that while Connor slowly but surely learned what he could. Now to learn why anyone would steal his clothing. Connor paused on the stairs, hearing their voices. He hunkered down and listened in. They wouldn't be able to see him from where they were and his exceptional hearing allowed for eavesdropping.

"Charles, please, do it for me," Fred said.

"Man, I so do not want to do this, Fred. Can't you take him?" Gunn whined.

"Men take boys clothing shopping," Fred argued.

"Bull."

"You need time to bond with him, Charles, and he needs clothes. He's got one outfit," Fred said, leaving Connor to wonder what was so wrong. That's all you needed until it fell apart, or in his case, outgrew it. Holtz had grumbled many a night about having to stitch up more leathers for Connor every time he shot up again.

"He's weird, Fred; gives me the creeps. He just skulks around here all day."

"That's because he's lost. Charles, he doesn't know anything. He's seeing the world for the first time and we're all he has to help guide him. Holtz seems to have made good on his letter and left. Angel and Cordy are God only knows where."

"And we should be spending our time looking for them, not hitting the mall," Gunn argued.

"And we are but Connor can't keep wearing the same outfit day in and day out. I finally got those clothes away from him. I'd rather throw them out but I had to settle for washing them. They reek."

As far as Connor was concerned, he reeked now. People shouldn't smell like honeysuckle and passionflower, whatever that even was. Before he just smelled like himself and now the scents clinging to his scrubbed skin made his eyes water.

"I don't think he knows what underwear is, Charles, since there wasn't any with the clothes," Fred said in an embarrassed sounding whisper.

Connor wrinkled his nose. What was that? Could that have been the weird short pants with the hearts? He couldn't figure out what they had been for and he had thought they were damaged since they had a hole in the front. He had left them in the bathroom. Why did anyone need to wear pants under their pants?

"More than I needed to know, Fred." Gunn sounded disgusted.

"Look, Charles, if Lorne was here, I'd have him take Connor since he knows how to dress but he isn't."

Gunn laughed. "Only if you wanted Connor to look like he should be wearing a sign that says 'I'm queer and I'm here.' Lorne's taste in clothing would get him beaten up and there's no chance Connor would have gone anywhere with Lorne. He isn't making the distinction between good and bad demons yet."

At least someone understood that much about him. Connor couldn't see why they tolerated any sort of demon. Lorne, Angel, Cordy; they all deserved to be purged. He felt it a little less after the witch had tinkered with his mind but slowly it was creeping back in. He knew what needed done even if no one else did. Now if he could only figure out why he didn't feel as harshly towards Cordelia as he did most demons. He had to keep reminding himself he didn't like demons because with her, he tended to forget.

"You can't blame him, Charles, given where he was raised."

"For the most part, I'm with him on that. All right, I'll take him shopping but you're coming with us," Gunn said.

"Fine. Think he's done with his shower?"

"He's probably still afraid the water will melt him or something. I am so glad I did not live back when Holtz did. I can't even imagine how the world had to stink," Gunn said.

Connor figured they were about to come looking for him so he bounced down the stairs, making more noise than necessary. He flopped down on the couch and looked up at them. "You took my clothes."

Fred smiled at him and tugged on the loose clothing that billowed around him. "They're in the wash. You look like a rag pile, all lost in Charles' clothes."

"We're going to take you out to get a new wardrobe, okay, kid?" Gunn looked decidedly less than thrilled.

Connor shrugged. He might as well see what this thing called a mall was. "What do I have to do?"

"Pick out clothes. Don't worry, we'll help you," Fred said, ruffling his wet hair.

"Okay, I guess."

"This was a bad idea," Gunn muttered, watching Connor poke listlessly through some rugby shirts in Sears. "And like a fool, I said yes to coming."

"It's not so bad."

"Fred, I thought he was going to melt down at the food court. Make note, don't give Connor too many choices. He can't handle it." Gunn jerked a thumb at the boy. "And with the way he eats, we'll be broke by the end of the week."

Fred sighed. "That is a problem."

"When did jeans get to be nearly fifty dollars?" Gunn asked. "I say we take him to Goodwill. He doesn't know they're not the latest fashions."

"Charles!"

"What?" He crossed his arms. "We're too good for Goodwill?"

"Okay, how about Wal-Mart? That might be a little more in our budget," Fred said and Gunn nodded. "Connor, sweetie, we're going to go to a different store."

"This one's no good?" Connor asked, his eyes flickering about at the crowd. "Too many people."

"You still aren't used to that, are you?" Fred stroked his hair. "We're going someplace that might be a little better than this store."

"Okay." Connor obligingly followed them out into the center of the mall. Fred stopped in front of a kiosk selling incense and holders. She sniffed one, with a distant look in her eyes.

"What?" Gunn asked.

"Patchouli. I used to love this back in school. It was so good at covering up the smell of…." Fred broke off with a guilty grin. "Never mind. I wouldn't mind having a few sticks. That hotel gets so musty."

"Go ahead. I think we can afford a few dollars worth of incense if Connor skips the third helping next time, right kid?" Gunn went to chuck Connor's shoulder as Fred handed over the money to the vendor. Connor was nowhere in sight. "Oh great, he wandered off."

Fred looked around. "There he is, in Spencer's."

"Oh, yippee." Gunn ran a hand over his smooth-shaven head. "There's about a hundred things in there he's never seen and probably shouldn't ever see. If he's found the vibrators, you're doing the explaining."

Taking her incense, Fred slipped a hand into Gunn's. "Come on, we'll round him up."

They caught up to Connor next to the shelving full of vibrators, motion lotion and other toys. He had an inflatable sheep in hand. "What do you do with it?" He handed it to Gunn.

"Never mind." Gunn flung it back up on the shelf.

Connor's hand flashed out, grabbing things as fast as a three year old loading up Mom's shopping cart in the candy aisle. "What's body butter for? Butter's all slick. Why would you want it…"

"Connor, never mind," Gunn said, grateful his coloring hid his blush. "Come on, let's get out of here. Those questions can wait til later, preferable once your father's back and he can explain it."

Connor headed deeper into the store. "I like those lamps with the stuff inside."

"Lava lamps? Yeah, they're fun, but we need to get you clothes first," Fred reminded him, gently steering him back towards the front of the store.

They passed a tall, lean man at the counter holding a studded 'dog' collar and heard the cashier say, "It's more for show. If you want a collar to restrain someone you might want to check the adult store."

Hearing the very British accent in the reply, "Yes, thank you, I think that would be better for her." Fred and Gunn stopped. Connor hesitated, wondering who they were looking at.

"Wesley," Fred said in almost a whisper.

Connor stared. This was the man who had made it possible for him to be delivered to his father. Fred and Gunn made it seem like a horrible betrayal. They couldn't see it for what it was; the work of God. He had been meant to belong to Holtz. He wanted to thank Wes but he knew how Gunn and Fred would receive that. He could smell the subtle shifting of hormones as Gunn and Wesley both went aggressive and adrenaline-flushed.

"Fred," Wesley said, handing the collar to the cashier and started walking off. "Gunn. I didn't expect to see you two."

"Lucky us," Gunn grumbled.

Connor stepped aside to let Wesley past. He didn't miss the fact Wesley's eyes were on him. Did he know? Did he suspect? Connor followed Wes for a few steps.

"Wesley, this is Connor," Fred said with a hesitant look Gunn's way.

Wesley paused as he exited the crowded store. He looked Connor up and down. "I know. I saw him at a club fighting vampires with Angel. I knew it had to be him."

"Angel's still missing," Fred said sadly and slightly accusatory.

"I know, and I still can't help you. I have no idea where he is," Wesley said curtly, heading towards the food court.

"But Wesley…"

"Leave it, Fred. You heard the man. He's not interested in helping," Gunn said.

"That's not what he said," Connor muttered softly then flinched when Gunn's angry eyes turned on him. He didn't know why he was so jumpy around other humans. It was humiliating but he couldn't help it.

"He knew you were back, but he didn't come to see you. He knows you must be missing your father, and he does nothing to help," Gunn said, just loudly enough for Wesley to hear. The Englishman hesitated then started on his way again.

Connor wanted to scream that he wasn't missing Angel and didn't want to see him again but he knew better than that. Before Connor could do anything, alarms went off. He whirled, falling into a defensive crouch, trying to find the source of the sound. The loudspeakers crackled and a voice announced, "We have a Code Adam. I repeat, a Code Adam. We have three missing children. The doors will remain locked until the police arrive or the children are found. If you have any information please contact any of the cashiers or security guards."

"What's happening?" Connor's eyes went wide and his muscles twitched.

"Just what he said. It's a protective measure if a child goes missing," Fred said, draping an arm around him, pulling him out of his crouch. "Children get abducted all the time. They lock the doors in hopes of keeping the kidnapper contained."

"We're locked in?" A hint of panic entered Connor's voice.

"Yes."

"Who would want to steal children?" Connor's brow beetled, and Fred patted his arm. He could see in her eyes that she thought the idea scared him. He didn't like it, but he wasn't afraid.

"I don't know. Maybe you should ask Wesley," Gunn said harshly, but Wes didn't quail. Fred looked between them uneasily.

The Englishman pointed to a hysterical woman just two stores down, flanked by security guards as they tried to herd her toward their office. "Must be one of the mothers."

Connor watched her pushing the empty stroller as the guards led her along. A blue stuffed donkey spilled out of the stroller. Connor darted out, and snatched it up. He sniffed at the thing then caught up to them. He held out the toy wordlessly to the woman. She took it, trying to say thanks but failed.

Connor returned to where Gunn and Fred stood uneasily with Wes. Connor flared his nostrils, his lips mobile as he sifted the air.

"Connor, baby, what's wrong?" Fred rubbed his shoulders.

"He's catching the scent," Wes said, watching the boy intently.

"He's what?" Gunn sounded somewhere between disgusted and shocked.

"I've seen him fight," Wes said. "He fights like a vampire so it's possible he has senses like one."

"I fight like me," Connor snapped, obviously offended, and Gunn rolled his eyes.

"You can't really pick up a person's scent," Fred said, looking at the boy sideways, an almost embarrassed look in her eyes. "Can you?"

"Why not? He can hear us talking a hundred yards away over the sound of the ocean," Gunn said.

"Fascinating," Wes said, and followed Connor who wasn't paying any attention to the adults as he followed the trail. Wesley took no notice of the bit of bristling Gunn did. The importance of helping stolen children took precedence over their squabbling for all involved.

Connor wove unerringly through the crowd, his eyes intense. He went down the hall leading to the restrooms and into the door marked woman and families.

"Um, Connor, that's the wrong..." Fred trailed off. "Oh. That's where they went."

Connor stopped at the sinks. In the back, near the changing table, a small light was growing slowly on the wall. In front of it were three blond, screaming kids surrounded by beautiful women; slender with long, flowing, golden tresses. A warm glow haloed them.

"They're beautiful," Gunn whispered, unable to take his eyes off of the six women.

"Why would they take children?" Fred asked. "They look so sweet."

"They must be Bendith y Mamau, a faction of the Tylwyth Teg," Wesley said. "They're notorious for taking children, tow-heads are a favorite target. They often leave changelings."

"Let the kids go," Connor said, taking a step closer to the Welsh faeries. Three of them closed ranks around the children two of whom were mere babies and the third was barely three years old. They weren't capable of escaping on their own and it bothered him that someone would take a child. He didn't consider what Holtz had done to him an abduction, not like this.

One of the women raised an eyebrow at Connor's imperious tone. Her lips parted in an unfriendly smile. "Dim."

"Yeah, he is, but he can still kick your butts if you don't let the kids go," Gunn said, shooting Connor a wry smile.

"'Dim' means 'no' in Welsh," Wes said.

"I wasn't asking." Connor's fists balled up and the Teg holding a baby set him down.

"Connor, that's probably not the best way to do this," Wesley cautioned, seeing the fey readying for a fight and knowing that faeries weren't all goodness and light.

Connor looked at him askance. "Don't know you. Why should I listen to you?"

"You probably shouldn't," Gunn said. "Give it up, girls. We ain't letting you take the kids nowhere."

"Charles, I think that's an opening portal." Fred pointed to the glowing area on the wall.

"That would be an opening to Underhill," Wes said. "We'll need to stop them quickly."

"What do you care, man? I thought you were done helping us," Gunn snapped.

"We need to recognize mistakes and correct them," Wes said. "And there are innocent children at risk."

"Now you care about that," Gunn sneered.

"You two argue too much," Connor snarled, reaching for the nearest fey.

She swatted him into the side of the row of metal stalls. Denting the graffitied metal. Connor slipped down it, leaving a streak of red on the metal. He collapsed on the tiled floor, momentarily dazed.

Gunn grab the long tresses of another Teg, yanking her away from the children. She went with his pull, twisting into a better attack position. Her face morphed ala Indiana Jones' angels from beautiful to horrific. Her crystalline eyes fired as her teeth and nails elongated, turning silvery and deadly sharp.

Startled, Gunn let go. She tore the diaper table from the wall. Connor tried to get his feet under him, but the room spun. Still, he saw that Gunn didn't have time to move out of the way as she wielded the table like a bat, slamming him into a stall.

"Charles!" Fred cried. "We're not armed, Wes."

"Neither am I." Wes scanned for something to use as a weapon but the room was all pre-formed, nothing he could tear up and wield. "Cold iron, witchcraft, those are traditional weapons."

"Do you know any spells?" Fred tried to get closer to the children.

"Not for this," Wes replied, ruefully.

Connor dragged himself up. His head throbbed from where he hit the metal. He felt the blood trickling down his neck from his split scalp. Grabbing the Teg ready to bash a stunned Gunn with the changing table, Connor shoved her into a stall and she lost her weapon. Connor forced her face down into a toilet stuffed with paper and fetid water.

Wes snatched up the fallen diaper table and looped his arms into the torn straps so he could use it as a shield. "Fred, take the children and run for it." Half hidden by the table, Wes charged the Teg, managing to plow two of them down.

Fred grabbed two of the kids, and saw Gunn darting past her, blood pouring down his face from the hit he took. He scooped up the smallest of the squalling children. Wes got beat back, losing his footing. Connor let go of the one he was drowning in the unflushed toilet. He kicked the door to the stall, breaking one hinge. He ripped off the door and swatted a Teg into the wall. She screamed, her flesh smoking.

"Cold iron?" Connor asked, pausing.

"I have no idea what goes into those doors." Wes ducked under the diaper table as one of the Teg tried to claw his face off. "But it seems to work the same, so go with it."

Connor grunted, content with that order. Wes heard the ribs of one Teg crack under Connor's assault. The air filled the smell of sizzling flesh. The boy slammed another Teg through the now fully dilated portal.

A fey leapt on his back, sinking her steely teeth into his neck. Connor panted in pain. Wes broke the diaper table over her back. The force of the blow sent Connor to his knees, the Teg still on top of him. Before Wes could push her away, Gunn raced back in. His foot found the Teg's belly, booting her off Connor. Another Teg snared Gunn, trying to shove him into another toilet.

Connor caught the crossbar of the stall and looped his legs over the Teg's neck. He twisted, snapping it. One of her companions grabbed for him. He swung up over the crossbar leaving her with nothing but his too-loose, borrowed jogging pants. He stood on top of the bar, naked from the waist down. He jumped at another of the Teg, nearly tearing off her scalp as she tried to escape.

"Whoa, man, next time wear the underpants we give you," Gunn said, exploding out of the stall, taking the Teg with him. Wes helped Gunn eject her straight through the portal, Gunn making sure he snagged back the jogging pants. He winged them to Connor.

"Coedio," one of the Teg gave the command to run for it as she picked up the body of the Teg Connor had killed. The rest of them leapt through the portal, one holding her fractured ribs and another tearing at the soiled toilet paper stuck to her hair.

"The children?" Connor watched the portal seal up; the light winking out as if it had never been there.

"Fred's taking them to the security station," Gunn said. "Put your pants on, man. No one wants to see that."

"Can't take time in the middle of fight for that," Connor said, slipping back into the sweat pants.

"Yeah, and one of these days someone is going to use that thing as a hand hold and you'll be sorry." Gunn went to the sink and started the water to wash the blood off his face.

"We should go," Connor said, "Check on the kids."

Wes grabbed his arm, halting him. "Hold on for a moment." Wes wadded up some paper towels and wet them. He gingerly pressed it to the split in the boy's scalp. "It doesn't look to bad."

"I heal fast." Connor squirmed away.

"A fight in the ladies lavatory, this is probably a first," Wes said, following Connor out of the rest room. Gunn pushed ahead of them.

"This way," he said.

Fred was talking to the police. Her eyes warned them away from the security headquarters. Gunn caught hold of Connor's arm, and pulled him along quickly. He hustled the boy down the corridor until they were in another wing. Wesley followed them.

"Why did we leave Fred?" Connor asked.

"I didn't think the cops would get here this quick. They'll want to fingerprint everyone, take blood samples since our blood is all over the crime scene," Gunn said. "We don't want them getting your blood, Connor."

Connor gave him a curious look. "Why?"

"You're rather special, Connor," Wes said. "If they run DNA, we have no idea what it would show."

Connor made a face. "What's that?"

"Just something you don't want them doing," Gunn said. "And we shouldn't leave Fred to face the cops alone."

"I'll go with her," Wes said.

"I don't think that's a good idea," Gunn said, grimly.

"Really? What do you think will be the police's perception of your involvement, no matter what Fred says? Only one of those children is barely old enough to give any type of account," Wes pointed out.

Gunn glowered. "Go."

"I don't understand," Connor said as Wes moved off.

"You've got a lot to learn, kid." Gunn sank onto a bench. "Color of skin still matters, no matter what they try to tell you. A young Black man is going to have a crap load more trouble with the cops than Lily-White will."

Connor squinted at him. "They think you're bad because you're dark?"

"Something like that." Gunn touched the cut on his scalp. "Lots of wrong thinking in the world."

Connor nodded, thinking being friends with a vampire counted as wrong.

Wes came back, surprising them. He had two baseball caps in hand. "Here. You might want to try and hide your injuries so not to draw attention."

"Good idea." Gunn pulled the cap on, hiding the cut on his forehead. Wes started off again. "Tell Fred we'll be at the truck if we can get out of here."

"I'll tell her," Wes called over his shoulder.

"Connor, you got your hat on too low." Gunn pulled it off of him.

Connor winced, putting a hand to his injured head. "Too big."

"Here." Gunn showed him how to tighten it. "You did good in there."

"Not tough." Connor shrugged. "Why did they want the kids?"

"You'll have to ask Wes that cause I'm sure I don't know...don't even know that I want to." Gunn got up. "Let's see if they've relaxed the lock down."

When Wes and Fred came out to the truck, Gunn was stretched out in the cab and Connor was curled up in the back using a windbreaker as a pillow, sleeping rather soundly.

"He seems used to making do with less than comfortable surroundings," Wes observed.

"Who's fault is that?" Gunn reached through the back window in the cab to shake Connor's shoulders. "Time to get up."

"Charles, it's been a trying day. Let's not fight," Fred said as Connor slithered into the cab through the window, nearly losing his pants again.

"Don't worry about it, Fred. I'm going my own way now," Wes said.

She reached out to him. "Wes, thanks for your help. You don't have to go. You can come-"

He held up his hand. "No, I can't."

"I know you're trying to make things right," Fred said, her eyes sad.

Wes shook his head. "This salvation I desire doesn't lie with you and Gunn, Fred." He turned and started off through the parking lot.

Fred watched him go then climbed into the cab, jostling with Connor so she could be in the center.

"He's not going to change his mind, Fred," Gunn said, starting the truck.

"Not with how we act around him," she shot back, her eyes hard.

"We could kiss his ass and he still wouldn't care, and I'm not doing it. He's the one in the wrong, Fred," Gunn argued.

"I know. It keeps getting me down though, that it's just you and me now," Fred said. "And Connor, but you need more than just us to help you."

"Doing fine," Connor grunted.

"You will be once you learn what underwear is for," Gunn said, heading out onto the highway. "He lost his pants in the fight and you're right, no underwear."

Fred's lips pursed. "He's wearing jogging pants. I couldn't help but notice that. It's like watching David Bowie dance around in Labyrinth." She shuddered.

"I don't get what the big deal is," Connor grated out, frustrated.

"Sweetie, no one wants to see your doodle, at least not in public," Fred said.

Connor curled his lip. "Do I even know what a doodle is?"

"Take a guess," Gunn said.

"Whatever." Connor rested his head against the side window. "The kids weren't hurt were they, Fred?"

"They're all fine. The cops believed me when I said it was a group of women who were trying to kidnap them. Mary, the oldest, was able to tell the cops that much. They were curious about the group of men that came to the rescue but I just told them I didn't know any of the other Good Samaritans other than Wes. I think they bought it," Fred said.

"Good," Connor said. "Home now?"

"No, we have to go to Wal-Mart. We still need to get you a new wardrobe," Fred said, brightly.

Connor rolled his eyes. "Rather be fighting those demon women again."

"Typical male reaction to the idea of shopping." Gunn laughed.

"Oh, it'll be fun," Fred promised, patting Connor's knee.

Connor looked over at Gunn who shook his head no. Connor sighed and settled into his thoughts, wishing he could have had time to talk to Wes, to thank him for giving him to Father but he knew he couldn't do that in front of Gunn and Fred. There would be other times, he was sure of that. Until then, he'd work on puzzling out the mystery of why he needed underpants.

It's a Fire"

by Portishead

It's a fire
These dreams they pass me by
This salvation I desire
Keeps getting me down
Cos we need to
Recognise mistakes
For time and again
So let it be known for what we believe in
I can see no reason for it to fail.... ...
Cos this life is a farce
I can't breathe through this mask
Like a fool
So breathe on, sister breathe on From this oneself
Testify or tell
Its fooling us now
So let it be known for what we believe in
I can see no reason for it to fail...
Cos this life is a farce
I can't breathe through this mask
Like a fool
So breathe on, little sister, breathe on
Ohh so breathe on, little sister, like a fool