I should be working on my other stories instead of writing a new one. Yeah, well, I should be doing a lot of things.

This is set during the episode "Slouching toward Bethlehem," right after Connor rescues the family whose car has broken down from a vampire attack. Remember that one? Sure you do. It's the one where Cordelia returns. Except, in this story, she doesn't.

This is a spanking story. There's not much else to it. If you are repulsed by disciplinary spanking of teens, don't read this, please. That's like, all it is, and there's plenty of it.


Well.

What had he expected?

Of course the family couldn't cope with what had just happened. Of course they didn't understand the world around them enough to believe in scary monsters and super freaks like him. Of course they didn't trust him or want anything to do with him.

Why should they?

And what had he wanted from them, anyway? Acknowledgment? Acceptance? Admission to their family? Yeah, right.

He concealed himself in the shadows and just watched them, crying, kissing, holding onto each other for dear life. That dear life would have ended tonight had it not been for him, he knew, but they had been too frightened and confused to show any type of gratitude whatsoever.

Figured.

Everyone in this dimension so far sure seemed to suck. It made him wonder just why he'd been in such a big hurry to punch his way into it.

Oh.

Right.

Angel.

Was everything in this hellhole of a city about Angel? To hear the vampire and his friends speak, it was. Fred, Gunn, him—"Angel Investigations"—stupid name if you asked Connor, was their whole world, a world in which he was no longer welcome.

Tears prickled at his eyes. Stupid, hot, blinding tears. Again. They seemed to make their appearance more frequently now. He scrubbed them away and skulked out of the shadows and back toward his "home," that musty attic above the museum of dead things. It wasn't much, but it was better than the street… Most nights, anyway.

He lay there in the dark, just staring at the ceiling and silently cursing the mattress beneath him. When he'd first come here and shared that crappy motel room with Father, he'd wondered at the new-found comfort that was the "bed," but tonight he condemned it along with all the other things that had only served to weaken him. He should just get up right now, throw his clothes in the trash, fashion a fine new suit of animal skins from the lobby downstairs, and run off for the woods where he belonged.

He snorted, knowing the likelihood of that happening, ever.

He didn't belong in the woods, either. He didn't belong anywhere.

"I don't have a home."

He quietly repeated the words he'd said to Angel that had effectively set the whole disaster in motion.

"That's not true," Angel had said. "You just don't remember, that's all. Your home is here. This is where you're supposed to be, son."

Son.

"Son," Connor repeated aloud, rolling the word around on his tongue to see how it felt.

"Dad," he then whispered more quietly, tentatively, as if the invocation of that particular word might bring him real physical harm.

He cleared his throat and gave it another shot.

"Dad."

There. That hadn't been so bad. His voice hadn't even broken on the second try.

"Dad, I'm sorry," he whispered to the empty darkness.

Whoa. Where had that come from? He hadn't intended to say those words, though he knew they held truth—no matter which father he spoke them of. But only one of his fathers was alive—well, undead—enough to actually be able to hear the words and take whatever little benefit they offered… But was he ready to face him?

Yeah, he knew now that he had messed up. He hadn't wanted to believe the vampire when he'd insisted, sworn even, that he hadn't killed Father. But people tell the truth when they think no one is listening, and Connor had done enough spying and eavesdropping on everyone involved in the past few weeks to form a more or less cohesive picture of how things had really gone down.

And well, good intentions aside, he hadn't exactly come out smelling like a rose on this one.

His feet found their way to the ground and carried him, partially against his will, toward the hotel and his father. What he'd do once he got there, he had no clue. A base, loathsome little voice whispered over and over in his head that there would be no forgiveness for him, that Angel would laugh cruelly in his face before snapping his worthless neck.

Hmm. An end. Maybe that would be okay, too.

He jumped up onto the balcony and broke the latch on the window to let himself in. Maybe that wasn't the best start to … to whatever it was he was trying to accomplish … but he didn't feel comfortable walking through the front doors.

As it turned out, it didn't matter anyway. No one was home.

A shiver of something akin to both disappointment and relief flowed down the length of his spine, but he knew he hadn't come this far only to flee like a coward. He would wait.

Or … Or maybe he would just leave a note.

Yes, he'd do that instead.

He hesitantly pushed open the door to Angel's office and crept in. After finding a suitable scrap of paper, he jotted down his "address," though he was almost certain his father had been doing his share of spying, too, and after a brief pause added the words, "Your son."

He tossed the sorry excuse for an invitation into Angel's chair, where he half hoped his dad wouldn't find it for a while, and fled straight out the front doors and down the street.

Had he done the right thing? Would Angel think him strange, insane even, for thinking that maybe he could fix things between them, and in the manner he had chosen? No, he didn't believe so. Angel was old, from the time of Father and, if Holtz was to be believed, issues between father and son had often been resolved just so. Also, Angel had desperately wanted to be in his life before the … the incident. But would he be so accommodating now? Would he be willing to accept his apology and move on?

Sleeping was out of the question. He wandered around the museum, admiring all the mighty beasts within, and when he was done with that, he paced back and forth across his attic floor. He should have requested a time for Angel to visit, because every little noise was making him twitch.

It wasn't going to be easy. Maybe he should practice. He stripped off his shirt—it was soaked in nervous sweat anyway—and tossed it aside before leaning awkwardly over and bracing his hands against the wall. Was that how Angel would make him stand? Or would the vampire insist that he be tied down or restrained in some way? He rather hoped not.

How bad would his makeshift "birch" hurt? He knew it wasn't a real birch, not like the ones father had told him stories of—most likely, he now realized, to keep him in line—but he'd bundled together the best—worst?— looking switches he could find off the bushes outside.

He picked up his homemade implement and ran his fingers along a couple of the branches. They were smooth and seemed almost harmless, though he knew that wasn't likely the case. He swished it through the air beside him, and it made a whooshing hiss that startled him. Perhaps he'd crafted this one too well... Maybe he should start over.

Almost without thinking about his next move, he brought the birch behind him and gave his back a tentative flick. It stung, but it wasn't unbearable. Of course, Angel probably wouldn't exactly wield it like a little old lady, either.

"What are you doing, son?" Angel asked quietly from the shadows.

"Ah!" Connor yelped, caught completely by surprise.

He tossed his birch aside and crossed his arms over his chest, plastering an unconscious scowl on his face as Angel approached.

"I got your note," Angel said unnecessarily. "You uh … You wanna talk?"

Connor stared hard at the floor and shook his head no.

"What do you want, then?" Angel asked, the words coming out harsher than he'd meant them to.

The little voice had been right. There would be no forgiveness for him this night.

"Never mind," he said quietly. "Please leave."

"Connor," Angel said gently. "I didn't mean that like it sounded. I just…"

"I wanted to make things right!" Connor blurted out hotly.

He swallowed back the tears that were clogging his throat and turned back to face the wall.

"Connor…" Angel said uncertainly.

"You saw," he murmured to the wall. "You know what I want you to do."

Angel answered, studying his son's wiry, half-naked frame, "You … You asked me here to whip you?"

"Just get it over with," Connor said, shifting uncomfortably and trying to manage a decent grip on the wall's cool blocks. "You … You don't have to tie me down or anything. I can take it. I'll be still."

"Connor, I'm not gonna whip your back! And I'm certainly not going to tie you down to do it!" Angel said incredulously, nearly shouting. "Why would you even … Did Holtz do that to you?"

"This isn't about him," Connor answered elusively.

"Connor, turn around," Angel ordered. "Look at me."

He did, but dropped his gaze immediately to the floor. He was confused and embarrassed beyond belief. Angel wouldn't do it. Of course he wouldn't. A beating wasn't enough. Nothing other than death could ever be enough for what he'd done.

"Put your shirt back on," Angel said gently.

Connor wasn't particularly in the mood to take orders from the vampire, but he grabbed a different, drier shirt off the back of a nearby chair and pulled it over his head.

"Sit down," Angel directed, ushering him toward his own messy bed.

"Just go," Connor said sullenly. "I don't know why I thought … Just go."

"Sit," Angel repeated, putting pressure on his shoulder until he did just that.

Connor lifted his eyes to Angel just long enough to see him sigh deeply and run his fingers through his hair. He did his best not to flinch away when the man dropped down onto the bed next to him.

"Connor, when … when I was a kid," Angel stammered out awkwardly, "I mean, things … things were different then, and…"

"I just wanted to make it right," Connor repeated in a sad whisper. "But I-I guess I don't know how. I guess I can't. I'm sorry. I'll leave town. I won't bother you anymore."

"You'll do no such thing," Angel said sharply.

"You don't want me," Connor pointed out, shaking his head sadly. "There's no reason for me to stay."

"That isn't true," Angel said, tipping his chin up so he could look into his eyes. "You're my son. I love you."

"Stop saying that," Connor said, pulling his face free. "Stop lying."

"I'm not lying," Angel insisted. "I love you more than anything in the world. I'm just…"

"Angry," Connor finished for him. "At me."

"Connor," Angel said with another long sigh. "I didn't kill Holtz."

"I know," Connor answered quietly. "I mean, I know that now. I was wrong. I screwed up."

"Yeah, well, I've done my share of that, too," Angel said lightly, bumping his son's shoulder with his own.

"But you won't … you won't just punish me?" Connor asked dejectedly. And although he thought them, he refused to add the words, "And take me back?"

"You deserve a punishment," Angel conceded, and Connor looked at him expectantly. "But not the kind you're thinking."

"What, then, am I grounded?" Connor asked with sullen sarcasm.

"How do you know about grounding?" Angel asked with a small smile.

"Gunn tried it on me once," Connor admitted. "While you were … gone."

Angel snorted.

"And how'd that work out for him?" he asked.

Connor grinned guiltily.

"I left extra early and stayed out extra late," he confessed.

"That's what I figured," Angel said, almost proudly, Connor thought. "But that's not the kind of punishment I had in mind, either."

Connor shifted and scooted away a little.

"What then?" he asked softly.

"When I was a kid," Angel said, "and I screwed up big time, do you know what my father would do to me?"

"Beat you," Connor answered easily.

"Well … Well, yeah," Angel replied uneasily, "but not like that. He wouldn't tie me down. And he wouldn't hit me on my back, either."

"On your front?" Connor asked with a gasp, making Angel laugh.

"No, son, nothing like that!" he answered quickly when he saw his son's wide, concerned eyes. "He'd … you know, take me over his knee."

Angel glanced at Connor to gauge his reaction, but his expression was blank.

"Do you … Do you understand?" he asked uncertainly.

"I know what a … a spanking is, Angel," Connor said, flushing. "But surely you don't … That isn't enough. Not for what I did."

"I think it is," Angel said gently.

Connor shook his head and made to stand up, but Angel grabbed his wrist and pulled him down over his lap before he could even think about it. His father gave him a single sharp swat, and he jumped nervously.

"A-Angel. Let me up. I don't want this."

"That's the thing about punishments, Connor. If you got to choose your own, how effective would it be?" Angel asked, not unkindly.

"This is stu-ooph!" he protested as Angel landed another hard smack with his hand.

"It's not stupid," Angel argued. "It's what fathers have been doing to misbehaving little boys for … well, ever."

"But I'm not a little boy anymore, Angel," Connor reminded him, shifting around.

"Wrong," Angel disagreed, and Connor fell silent to see how things would play out.

Angel slapped the seat of Connor's pants four times, eliciting as many involuntary yelps from his boy.

"Sorry, pal, but I think these are gonna have to come down," he said, patting his bottom affectionately. "Lift up."

"Wh-what?" Connor asked.

"Lift your bottom up so I can pull your pants down," Angel repeated patiently, giving him another firm pat.

"But…"

"Not up for discussion, Connor. I need to see what I'm doing, and you need a good spanking on your bare behind to help you remember to listen to your dad."

Connor's breathing went shallow and he made several false starts pushing himself up from Angel's lap. He considered his options. If he tried, if he really tried, he could probably free himself from his father's grasp. But if he refused him this, what would that mean? Things would only be worse between them, surely, and that was exactly what he didn't want. Maybe he did deserve a … a what he said on his … what he called it.

"O-okay," he finally murmured, pushing himself up just enough to allow Angel to slip his hands underneath him and release his fly.

Angel patted him on the bottom again and he eased himself back down, letting his father slide his loose jeans and briefs down and off the target area.

Connor took a deep breath as he mentally prepared himself for a barrage of hard, angry swats, but Angel only continued as before, slow and steady, speaking to him softly between spanks.

"I want you to talk to me from now on when something is on your mind," he scolded gently. "If you had just talked to me that night at the cliffs…"

"I know," Connor interrupted. "I know. I-I'm sorry. I wanted to tell you… I just want you to know that I'm sorry. Really."

"Thank you, son," Angel said. "That means a lot to me."

It was Angel's turn to fall silent. He let his hand do the talking, increasing the speed and strength of his slaps on the bare backside in front of him. In all his life and unlife, he never expected to be in this position, correcting the behavior of his very own wayward youth. He only had experience being the wayward youth.

The phrase "paying for his raising" came to mind, but he shook his head with a rueful smile and found a nice steady rhythm in which to smack some color into that bottom.

"Ouch," Connor whispered, twisting and wriggling in a futile attempt to cause Angel's well-placed swats not to land where he'd aimed them.

But they did, every time.

"Ow-uh," he moaned softly, trying to keep his distress quiet but feeling a full-on breakdown was imminent. "Ouch!"

"It's okay to cry," Angel said soothingly as he continued to spank. "Spankings hurt."

"I-I don't need to cry, Angel," Connor protested hotly. "I'm not a baby. I'm—oh, ouch!"

He couldn't keep his legs still no matter how much he mentally scolded them, and pretty soon he found himself being shifted further across Angel's lap. His father gripped him tightly around his waist and began spanking the lower, softest part of his bottom faster and very hard.

"Ow! Ow!" he yelped, scissor-kicking his legs and pulling away with all his might. "Ow! Ow, Dad!"

Angel smiled at the reaction. Yeah, he probably was enjoying this too much, but he doubted anyone would disagree that the kid had it coming.

"Ow-uh!" Connor cried out. "Dad, you're—ow! You're doing it too hard!"

"Oh, I am, am I?" Angel asked, highly amused.

"Yes! Ouch!" Connor all but shouted.

"Do you still think this punishment is beneath you?" Angel asked.

"No!" Connor answered quickly.

"Good," Angel replied. "Because we're nowhere near done."

Connor groaned and let his previously very tense shoulders relax as he accepted what was being done to him… by his dad. He turned his head to the side and rested his upside down face on the side of Angel's thigh as his father continued to bust his butt for him.

Angel recognized the acceptance, and he was grateful for it, but he also wanted something more. He wasn't proud of the desire, but he wanted to see his son in tears. Wet, shining tears of contrition had always signaled the end of his own boyhood punishments, and he knew that, despite how hard it might be—and difficult, too—he needed to force his little boy over that edge as well.

"Stand up," he said, abruptly stopping and helping a very confused Connor to his feet. "Bring me your switch."

Connor's eyes widened, and Angel noticed the audible gulp in his throat, but he obediently crossed the room and returned with it, handing it off to him quickly like it was hot. He stood there, embarrassed and holding his unfastened jeans up around his waist to cover himself.

"C'mere," Angel said, patting his thighs. "Back down."

Connor thought it had to have been one of the hardest things he'd ever done, but he managed to obey and drape himself back across Angel's knee. He shifted to get more comfortable, and Angel once again took him around the waist and drew him in close to his own cool body. He felt his clothes being tugged down again, and he held his breath with anticipation as he sensed Angel's arm lifting high into the air.

Angel had never used such a contraption before, and he wasn't entirely sure how hard to whack him with it. He brought the thing down with a sharp flick of his wrist, making sure that the whippy ends made solid contact with the already pink bottom across his lap.

Connor hissed and tensed his whole body as he felt the five or more fiery stripes form across his butt. He wanted desperately to reach back and alleviate the sting with a rub, but he didn't want Angel to take it as a sign of defiance and really let him have it, so he just took a deep breath and tried to calm himself.

Angel winced when he realized just how much that must have stung, and his first instinct was to abandon the switches and hug all the pain away. But that wasn't what Connor needed, not yet, so he raised the birch again for another lash.

Something akin to a quiet squeal escaped Connor's mouth, and he pounded his toes against the floor, sending his jeans and underwear further down his legs. Angel considered it for a moment and then aimed the bundle of switches at this newly uncovered territory, watching as several pink welts formed on Connor's tender thighs.

"Owww!" Connor cried out, breathing hard. "Dad, don't!"

"Excuse me, young man?"

Angel stopped, lowering the switches to simultaneously scold and give them both a much-needed break.

"Are you in any position to be giving me orders?"

Connor swallowed hard and shook his head slowly.

"What was that?" Angel asked.

"N-no," he finally answered.

"That's right," Angel agreed. "I am the parent and you are the child, and I want you to always remember that."

Connor rolled his eyes, but only because he knew Angel couldn't see.

He must have sensed it, though, because he lifted the switches again and gave him another stinger across the thighs. All the air left Connor's lungs and he sucked it back in deeply in an effort to maintain control of his emotions.

Angel could tell that his son was almost at that point. It wouldn't take much more to reduce him to a sobbing little boy. He freed a single switch from his son's homemade birch and began to repeatedly flick it down across his bottom in a motion that he knew wouldn't do any real damage but would sting like the dickens.

"Ow! Ow! I-I'm sorry!" Connor choked out right before he burst into real tears. "I'm really sorry!"

Angel tossed the switch aside and returned to spanking soundly with his hand, making sure to thoroughly smack both bottom and thighs right on top of the angry looking welts.

Connor began to unconsciously plead for lenience, promising any and everything and begging his father to stop.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" he yelled before collapsing limply into total despair, all the fight smacked right out of him. "I'll never do it again!"

Connor wept openly, taking huge shaky breaths and not caring anymore that he was being weak in front of the vampire.

"Never, I swear," he repeated, not seeming to notice that the smacks had stopped.

"I know, pal," Angel said as he gently fixed his son's clothes and ran his hand along each of his smarting thighs. "I know you won't. Come on. Sit up."

Connor didn't sit up. He continued to lie over Angel's lap and cry brokenly until he felt a sharp smack of a certain someone's palm connect with the center of his butt. The unexpected blow shocked the tears right to a halt, and he scrambled to push himself up.

"That's better," Angel said soothingly, gathering his boy to his chest and running his fingers through his disheveled hair. "All better now, see?"

Connor wasn't sure if it was all better or not. His only concern at that moment was his burning behind. He tried to rub it, but Angel gently pulled his hands away, so he tentatively snaked his arms around Angel's middle and accepted whatever comfort he could get.

"Sorry, Dad," he croaked out hoarsely once he trusted himself to speak again.

"I accept," Angel said, pulling back and lifting Connor's chin up and pushing his damp hair out of his eyes so he could look at him.

That tear-stained face was adorable, he thought, and almost as red as its owner's bottom.

"All right," Angel said with an air of finality. "Now that that's taken care of, start gathering up the things you want to take with you."

"What?" Connor asked, only half listening as he sleepily rubbed at his eyes.

"The things you want," Angel repeated. "I'll go back and borrow Gunn's truck, and we'll load everything into it."

"What do you mean?" Connor asked.

"What do you think I mean?" Angel replied, raising his eyebrows. "We need to get you home. It's late, and you need to get to bed."

"You want me to come back?" he whispered. "To the hotel? With you? Now?"

"Of course you're coming back," Angel said, already shuffling around the room and gathering in his arms things that looked like they might be important to his son.

"I don't think anyone else wants me back there, Angel," he said after a moment's pause.

"Do I look like I care?" Angel asked.

"Yeah, but…"

"Yeah, you did some damage," Angel interrupted. "And things'll take time to get back to normal—"

"When have things ever been normal?" Connor mumbled, wiping the last vestiges of tears from his face.

"Fair point," Angel conceded with a nod. "We're gonna get you home. You'll apologize to Fred and Gunn. I'll make sure they know that things are square between us. They'll accept it eventually."

"You … You're gonna tell them what you did?" Connor asked, frowning with dismay as he felt his face flush again. "Do you have to?"

"They deserve to know, don't you think?" Angel asked with a bit of an edge to his voice.

"Not especially," Connor grumbled, following suit and gathering up things from around the room.

Angel paused and gave him a hard look.

"…Fine," Connor said, lowering his eyes after he lost the glaring contest.

"They need to know about it now so that it won't come as a shock when they hear it happening later on," Angel added nonchalantly.

Connor stopped in his tracks and studied his dad's face to gauge his seriousness. He was sort of afraid to comment, so he just kept his mouth shut.

"Relax," Angel said, stifling a smile. "I'm not gonna spank you for everything. Just the big stuff."

"Well, what do you consider big, Dad?" Connor asked nervously.

"I think that's something we're just gonna have to learn together," Angel answered, reaching out to tousle his hair. "Okay?"

"I … I guess. Yeah. I can accept that."

Angel tossed everything he'd just gathered up back into the floor so that he could throw his arms around his boy and give him a proper, rib-crushing hug.

"I love you so much, Connor," he murmured, causing his son to burst into tears anew. "No, don't cry. Everything's going to be okay now. You'll see."

Connor couldn't stop the tears, but he nodded into Angel's now wet shirtfront and held onto his father almost as tightly as he was being held. It felt good. It felt so good to be loved and wanted and cared for. He hadn't had those things in such a long time.

"Okay, okay," Angel said, releasing him and turning away as he tried to conceal the fact that he was wiping his own eyes. "We've gotta get a move on, or we'll never get home."

"Should … Do you want me to bring this?" Connor asked sheepishly, holding up the remainder of his bundle of switches.

Angel laughed slightly, seemingly embarrassed for some reason.

"No, pal," he finally said when he realized that his son was serious. "We don't need that."

"Thank goodness," Connor murmured in relief, tossing it into the garbage can nearby.

"Just don't go getting too complacent," Angel warned mildly. "We can always make another if we have to."

"We won't have to," Connor quickly assured him with a shake of his head. "I'll be good."

He blushed, totally embarrassed by the babyish words that had just involuntarily left his mouth, but Angel didn't seem to think anything about it.

"You'll be good, but you won't always behave," Angel said lightly.

"How do you know?" Connor mumbled defensively.

"Because," Angel said proudly, lovingly even, "you're your father's son."