Connor woke up to the obnoxious sunlight streaming into his face. He quickly opened his eyes, startled and already opening his mouth to yell at his father to get out of the light, but Angel had apparently left the room sometime in the night. Oh. Right. Angel really wasn't born yesterday; he probably knew enough to get himself out of harm's way before morning.

He turned his head and listened intently but didn't hear any noise coming from the lobby, so he decided to take a shower since his immediate presence wasn't required anywhere. Once he'd finished that up, he strode toward his bed wrapped in only a towel when something under the bed caught his eye. He reached down and snatched up the piece of paper.

He didn't recognize the handwriting, but the flowery curves and the use of the word "Angelcakes" were pretty good indications that it had probably been written by Lorne. It wasn't the full letter, because it started in mid-sentence. Connor figured it must have fallen out of his dad's pocket or something, and he knew he probably shouldn't take the liberty of reading it, but it was right there and he just couldn't help himself.

"...will betray you again, Angelcakes. I'm not saying it will be soon, but I am saying it's almost a certainty. Do what you want with this information. Just be careful who you keep in your inner circle."

Connor's brow furrowed as he read it again. It didn't make much sense without the previous page, but each subsequent reading made him more uneasy and he couldn't shake the feeling that this letter was about him. Two nasty words kept popping out at him, "betray" and "again." What did that mean? Did Lorne think he would somehow turn on Angel again, that he would send him on another trip to the bottom of the sea? That was horrible; it was unthinkable. He would never, ever do anything like that again, and it didn't matter what some supposedly empathic demon had to say about it.

Okay, he needed to calm down, take some deep breaths. The letter may not even refer to him. Surely he was smart enough to realize that. But if it wasn't about him, he couldn't quite surmise to whom it was referring. Spike, maybe? Spike had betrayed Angel loads of times, but as far as he knew, he didn't have any plans of doing it in the future. Spike had a soul. Spike was good. No matter what had happened in the past, or even what the man said or did now, Spike was good—of that Connor was certain.

Gunn? Gunn hadn't done any betraying of his father that Connor could remember, but they did have plenty of history before he'd come along. Illyria? Illyria was so beyond anything and everything that Connor couldn't begin to conceive how Lorne could have meant her. Illyria didn't betray; Illyria didn't deceive. Illyria did just exactly what she wanted at all times, announcing her full intent to anyone who'd listen.

No.

It had to be about him, and he had to see the rest of that letter.


"What are you doing?" Spike asked, and Connor nearly jumped out of his skin.

"Why do you always sneak up on people like that?" he demanded. "Jesus!"

"I don't sneak. I skulk," Spike said good-naturedly. "I'm a vampire; it's what we do. You ought to know that by now. Looks like you're the one who's sneaking about. Care to fill me in on the reason why?"

"No," Connor said shortly.

"Gotta be a reason you're ransacking your dad's closet," Spike pointed out. "If you're throwing things away, I want to help!"

"I'm not throwing things away," Connor said, lowering his voice and hoping that Spike would take the hint and do the same. "Just... You know that jacket he's always wearing?"

"Yeah," Spike said with a nod. "What of it?"

"Does he ever, you know, take it off?"

"Why are you asking me about your father's various states of undress?" Spike asked, wrinkling his nose in distaste. "What makes you think I would know?"

"Spike," Connor sighed, tired of always getting the runaround. "Okay, look. If I show you something, will you promise not to tell him?"

"Nope," Spike said easily, examining his fingernails.

"Spike!"

"The 'nope' still stands, Junior, no matter what kind of puppy dog eyes you make at me," Spike said, leaning against the door jamb. "What is it?"

Connor reluctantly pulled out the piece of the letter that he'd found and handed it over to his friend. Spike read it with raised eyebrows, and Connor thought he was going to hand it right back, but he didn't.

"Do you think it's about—"

"Me," Spike cut him off. "Bloody hell!"

"You?" Connor asked in surprise. "I don't think it's about you."

"Well, who else would it be about, then?" Spike asked skeptically.

"You plan on betraying Angel any time soon?" Connor asked doubtfully.

"Well, no," Spike admitted. "But with me, you can never tell. After all, I never miss a chance to stick it to your pop."

"Stop joking around," Connor said irritably, grabbing the letter back in a huff. "It's not about you."

"You don't know that," Spike said defensively, drawing himself up to his full height so he could look down his nose at Connor. "I could betray him. I could betray him at any moment. I'm really good at it!"

"Fine," Connor said in disgust. "Then there's only one thing to do. We need to find the rest of this letter."

"Where'd you get this part?" Spike asked.

"I think it fell out of his pocket last night," Connor explained. "That's why I was hoping his jacket would be here."

"He takes it off to sleep ... usually," Spike supplied helpfully. "And to shower … maybe."

"Just forget it," Connor muttered. "I'll find it myself."

"I'm trying to help, mate!" Spike insisted. "We'll find that letter—and when we do, twenty quid says it's about me."

"First of all, I don't know how much that is, so no," Connor replied. "And second of all, I think you're way too eager to play the villain. This is serious. It's not some joke. It's not funny."

"I know," Spike said, clearly trying hard to sound like he was giving the situation the serious consideration it merited. "But Connor, if it has to be about one of us, I … I'd just rather it was me."

The long look Spike gave him caused Connor to drop his gaze to the floor.

"I wouldn't," he said softly, shaking his head as if trying to convince himself. "I couldn't."

Spike wrapped a comforting arm around his shoulders and spoke quietly into his ear.

"I could. Let's find that letter."