Connor sat at the counter looking at the bowl of cereal, his long hair draping over his face. He didn't want to eat it, in fact all he could think was wanting to leave and be on the streets by himself. He couldn't stand being there with his father, who he thought of as not much of one.

He felt a hand land on his shoulder and he flinched ready to attack.

''Woah, Connor take it easy, you need to eat, you're too thin.''

Connor looked at Angel with eyes of complete hatred, saying that made him not want it more.

''No,'' he said monotonly.

''Connor, why do you have to disagree to everything I say?''

''BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE TO ANSWER TO YOU!''

Angel flinched, Connor had got worse, he would yell at everything he said, spit venom of insults in his face every chance he got.

Connor wiped the bowl of the table and it shattered on the ground, yelling in anger, then hit Angel over and over with all he could. Angel grabbed his wrists in mid-air and yanked him in front of him whispering harshly.

''You need to stop this, its not getting you anywhere.''

''I don't need you to give me advice, or try to treat me like your son.''

''Well too bad, because you are.''

''NO I'M NOT, YOU'RE A LIE, JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN THIS BROKEN LOST WORLD!''

Connor released one of his small wrists and elbowed Angel in the jaw, making a break for the front door. Angel took hold of him again, five feet from freedom and desperately tried to pull him back. Playing tug of war with himself Connor screamed in bitterness like before.

''YOU AREN'T MY FATHER, I SHOULDN'T BE HERE, YOU DON'T LOVE ME, LET ME GO!''

''Connor I will be damned if you don't listen to me.''

Connor turned with his horrible evil glare ''then burn in hell, you putrid demon.''

Angel's eyes watered at the insult, but only tightened his grip.

''I've already been there.''

''LET GO OF ME NOW, I HATE YOU, LET ME GO, I WANT TO LEAVE, YOU CAN'T MAKE ME STAY, YOU'RE VILE!''

Angel shut his eyes tight as Connor's raid of poisoning words flowed out of his once beautiful lips, every syllable pierced into Angel's mind, but he only tightened his grip even harder and Connor started thrashing for escape.

Connor screamed again, but followed with a saddened faint tone.

''Dad, you're hurting me, let me go, it hurts, please.'' he started tearing.

Angel quickly looked over his arm, for any sign of broken bones, or bruises. Everytime he touched Connor's wrist or moved it he yelped in pain. But it was false pain.

Connor had realized that the only way to get away was to act, he stared at Angel sadistically as he looked over his wrist, not wanting him to know it wasn't really hurt he wailed, but keeping his eyes the same scary expression.

As soon as he knew he could break away, he retracted his arm that was supposedly hurt and used it to punch Angel square in the face twice, lightning fast, then ran out the door into the noon sunlight.

It was nearly a week later and no sign had come from Connor, every night Angel would go out and spend a few hours trying to find him, but when the sun would come up, he would have to stop his search. He was always over worried, Connor had never been stable, and he truly frightened him. Angel tried so hard to be a great father, but how can you be when your child is this hard to communicate with.

It was a week later at midnight, everyone was asleep, and no sounds went through the hotel. The only sounds were those of Connor's room, he snuck back in through the window like always. He landed on the floor and slowly made his way to the main room, he had only come for food. Connor had lived in alley's and empty abandon stores, he had barely anything to eat this week and he came just to fill up enough to live, and then planned on leaving.

He grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and ate a few slices of bread, not being used to food he coughed a bit, but didn't choke.

Connor heard a creak on a stair behind him, he immediately turned around.

Angel was standing at the last stair to the floor, looking at Connor with pleading and hurt eyes. Connor just stared into those eyes, all he could see was death, and that made him upset.

''I'm not staying, I came for food, and now I'm going.''

Connor walked to the front door, but Angel just raised an arm peacefully in front of him.

''Connor... don't go.''

''I'm not staying, I won't ever stay.''

''I don't want you to stay for me, but for you... you're thinner than last week, and you're pale.''

''I've always been thin and pale.''

''But it's worse.''

''I can take care of myself, stop treating me like a child,'' Connor started raising his voice.

''I'll stop treating you like one, when you stop acting like one.''

Connor punched Angel in face, and ready to strike again, Angel slapped him on the side on his cheek. Connor held it, not in pain, but in shock that he hit him to begin with. Angel hadn't hit hard, just enough to stun him.

''I'm tired of your attacks, you obviously lack respect.''

''That's because you don't need it.''

''If I don't need it, then nor do you.''

With no response or comeback Connor went for the door.

Angel took ahold of his shirt and spun him around, staring deep in his eyes ''you aren't leaving,'' he said sternly with clenched teeth.

Connor fought and tried to get out of Angel's grip, but couldn't, he knew it was from lack of energy slowing him down, but he would never admit it. Connor stopped moving, he just stared at Angel as if there was nothing else to occupy his attention.

In one last chance to leave, Connor head butted Angel in the head, but it just made him even more exhausted and now dizzy. He fell in a heap, unable to get up.

Angel sat down next to him, and felt his pulse, it was good. He felt his breathing which was a little abnormal from the exercise. He was a little warm, Angel proceeded to check him over, looking for injuries, nothing. Connor coughed dryly, and Angel knew what was wrong.

''How much did you eat in Quor'toth?''

''Not much, didn't need to.''

''How much do you eat now.''

''Little less, don't need to though.''

Angel lifted him up quickly shaking him slightly to get him to listen.

''Connor, the weakness you're feeling now, is malnutrition, it's from lack of food and water.''

Connor looked away, as if not to care.

''Connor look at me, listen, please, malnutrition is not good, you will get weaker until death.''

''It's not like you care.''

''IF I DIDN'T CARE WHY WOULD I BE HERE TALKING TO YOU?''

Connor thrashed a little to get loose, he wanted to leave, wanted to be alone, but Angel was his only obstacle.

''You don't love me, you pretend to, only to make me fall for your lies so you can betray me, but I know better, I will never come to bond with you, your love is a lie, but you say it's true because you been in it for so long.''

''Connor listen to me, hear what you are saying, you sound like you've lost yourself long ago, and you drown your confusion by saying that nothing is true.''

''I KNOW WHO I AM, THAT'S WHY I HATE YOU, BECAUSE I'M NOT YOUR SON, I DON'T BELONG TO YOU, I DON'T BELONG...I don't belong anywhere.''

''Connor Holtz has twisted you're mind so badly that you don't understand life or choices.''

''I KNOW MY CHOICE, MY CHOICE IS NOT YOU, YOUR ONLY EVIL!''

Connor's eyes were bloodshot with tear stains all over his face, and they keep coming, he was hysterical and Angel kept pushing. Tonight, now was going to be the end of it, he had to get him to listen.

''Connor love is not a lie.''

''YES IT IS, NOTHING IS TRUE OR PURE, NOTHING CAN BE SAVED!''

Angel jerked Connor into a hug, he wasn't sure if it was his first, but the boy freaked out and got even more scared, violently trying to escape Angel's grasp. He screamed and yelled and hit as hard as he could, crying intensely, yelling for him to let go, that he was a demon and he was attacking him. Angel hugged tighter holding onto Connor with dear life, like he would fall forever if he even remotely let go.

Connor's loud and sadistic cries had everyone on the balcony now watching the scene in horror as Connor thrashed to get away, but failed everytime.

''Please Connor, let me in, let me in, please, that's all I ask, tell me everything, please, baby, please.'' Angel was beginning to become uncontrolled as well.

Connor yelled at the top of his lungs again

''I'M NOT YOU'RE SON, I'M NOT YOU'RE BABY, YOU'RE JUST A DEMON, YOU DON'T LOVE, JUST LIE, ALL IT IS...IS LIES, IT'S LIES, I WON'T LET YOU IN, I WON'T...I can't.'' Connor broke into uncontrollable shaking profusely, having a spasm outburst.

Connor finally broke out of Angel's hug. Without hesitation he pulled out a stake, and lunged it at Angel. Angel got away just in time to dodge it again.

Angel backed away from Connor who was a few stairs higher than himself. He held the stake in his hand, his hair was messy and covering his face, which was drenched in tears. He looked brutal, cruel, inhuman.

''Connor put the stake down.''

''NO!'' he yelled, he was starting to look absolutely terrified.

''Connor, please, hand me the stake.''

Connor dived for a kill, but missed and stood on the other side of Angel now

''Connor, the stake.''

''No.''

''If you don't give to me, I will take it from you, and you don't want that.''

Connor's eyes darted around the room, he was looking more and more scared every passing second.

''Hand me the stake, please, if you want to do it, do it.''

Connor started shaking again.

''You obviously don't want to do this, hand it over.''

Connor's breath was aggressive and more rapid than ever, he was sweating, and Angel could hear his heartbeat going unhealthily fast.

''Please, Connor, hand it over.''

Instead of handing it over, Connor dropped it. Angel kicked it away, as he looked up at Connor, he looked horrible. He was breathing fast along with his pulse, sweating and exhaustion, he had a shortness of breath and fell instantly to the floor.

''Shit.'' Angel ran to him, he automatically started breathing again only seconds later. Angel realized he was having an intense panic attack, but his heart rate was way too fast.

He picked Connor up in his arms, and held him lightly in his lap, this led to Connor screaming, yelling, crying, freaking out, and trembling all at the same time. Angel rocked him gently, trying to get him to calm down, his pulse going so fast that the beats were coming together to make a continuous noise. Connor couldn't contain himself, literally breaking right there he couldn't stop the screaming cries even if he tried.

Angel continued to rock him, fearing for his son's life, any moment that heartbeat was going to create an attack or failure.

''Please Connor, calm down, please, dear god, calm down, you're going to hurt yourself.''

Angel just repeated, after a few minutes he was calming down, his crying now dry for running out of tears to use.

Angel looked at Connor who was now feeling a little better, but still somewhat sounded the same as before.

''Lies, lies, lies, lies.'' He said softly just over and over.

He tried to pull Connor from him, but it resulted in Connor screaming then going to hug tighter.

Angel wasn't sure if he had gotten through to him yet, but this was a start. He took him to his barely used bedroom and laid him down on the bed. As he was leaving Connor was having a coughing episode, he was malnutritioned, weak, sick, and just spent half an hour screaming. This was not good.

Angel brought a bottle of water for Connor and his dry throat choked on it the first time, but eventually he got it down.

A few minutes later Connor fell asleep.

In the morning Angel went in Connor's room to see how he was, he was still sleeping. He had a peaceful look on his face, so contrary to the one last night, like he was a different person.

Angel slipped his hand into Connor's and held it. Connor stirred waking up, when he saw it, he released it quickly and turned himself to face the other way.

''No.''

Angel still hadn't gotten through to him.

''Connor let me help you.''

''No.'' he said whimpering.

Angel went to grab him to hold him, but he jolted away and out of bed and fell from the lack of energy. He coughed and whined.

Angel ran to his side instantly and propped him up, Connor was having trouble breathing, but desperately tried to get his father off him.

Angel picked him up and for someone who was weak he was screaming and flailing pretty well. Angel took Connor to the kitchen and held him as he grabbed some water and gave it to him. Connor looked pale and it was scaring Angel.

''Guys!''

Everyone came downstairs and saw Connor who was going limp from weakness.

''He's seriously malnutritioned, I want you to take him to the hospital now.''

It was daylight so they all agreed.

They came back a few hours later with a now perfectly good Connor. Angel went to him and tried to hug him, but he pushed him away angrily.

''Stop touching me, I don't want to be smothered.''

''So.'' Angel said looking at them.

''This guy right here was dying of malnutrition, he has to take supplements now.''

Connor looked down in embarassment and ran to his room.

Angel came up later and found Connor sitting on his bed sullenly. He kissed the top of his forehead and Connor shot up hitting Angel.

''I TOLD YOU NOT TO TOUCH ME, JUST STOP!'' he flipped his side table and kicked the wall, then broke the window.

''Stop what Connor?''

''Stop...stop...caring about me. I don't deserve it.''

''Yes you do.''

''It's all a lie.''

Angel held onto Connor's shoulders shaking him enough to make sure he had his full attention

''DAMMIT CONNOR, STOP THINKING EVERTHING IS A LIE, NOTHING IS A LIE, PLEASE ACCEPT THAT.''

''HOW CAN I ACCEPT THAT WHEN I CAN'T ACCEPT MYSELF!'' Connor covered his mouth and gasped, he had just opened up a little and he loathed himself for it, because he said he wouldn't.

''Connor, open up, I beg you, open up, I know you want to, please baby.''

Connor took a breath and bit his lip, Angel wouldn't give up.

''I DON'T DESERVE LOVE, BECAUSE I DON'T FEEL IT, ALL I FEEL IS HATE AND ANGER, WHEN YOU SMOTHER OR TRY TO BE NICE TO ME I FEEL LIKE I'M WEAK AND I'VE FAILED EVERYTHING I KNOW, I CAN'T DO THIS BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO, EVERYTHING IS A LIE BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT MY LIFE IS, NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANYMORE, EVERYTHING JUST HURTS, AND I WANT IT TO STOP, WHILE ALSO WANTING TO USE IT TO KILL, I'M SO CONFUSED AND BROKEN AND YOU CAN'T FIX ME, BECAUSE I CAN'T BE FIXED. I'VE DISEASED MYSELF TO NOTHING AND YOU KNOW IT, BUT YOU TRY TO MOTIVATE THE SHELL OF A PERSONALITY I HAVE, BUT I'VE BEEN MISSING SINCE BEFORE I CAN REMEMBER AND I WAS RAISED TO HATE GOOD THINGS, BUT I WANT TO LIKE THEM, BUT I CAN'T, I WANT TO LOVE YOU THE WAY YOU LOVE ME, BUT I CAN'T BECAUSE I CAN'T LOVE, I HATE YOU BECAUSE YOU WEREN'T THE REALITY I KNEW, I WANT TO KILL YOU BECAUSE I FEEL THIS WILL BE A BAD DREAM, BUT IT'S NOT. I JUST WANT PEACE WITH MY THOUGHTS, BUT THEY BETRAY ME...'' Connor became to hysterical to continue he screamed and cried in mental pain, and he finally let Angel hold him, holding back, tear staining his silk shirt.

Angel couldn't say anything how could there be so much pain in one boy his size, it was tragic.

''Connor, it's ok to love someone, it's ok to be confused, everyone is, I think you're wonderful. Please don't let thoughts you had from your past life cloud you're judgement, follow the ones you believe now, move on, become the person you want to be.''

Connor looked up and brushed away his tears ''I'm sorry for crying so much.''

''You don't need to be sorry for anything.''

Angel rocked Connor in his arms until he fell asleep, something he had not in sixteen years, yet also a few months ago. He cried silently knowing he was able to communicate with Connor, he loved that he finally trusted him a little.

Angel put him in his bed and decided to lay with him, wrapping his arm around him and fell asleep.

In the morning Angel woke up to Connor's gentle breaths, and Angel played with his long silky hair for a while until he moved around.

''Hey, Connor you got to wake up now.''

Connor woke up and wobbly got out of bed, he had gotten better but he was still a little drowsy, mostly from just waking up.

Connor had some breakfast and took a pill, he went out to the garden patch and sat there doing nothing but looking at the sky. He was bored out of his mind, he hated being cooped up inside buildings, so being in the open garden was technically outside for him.

Angel came to the door.

''Hey I going out through the sewer system on work, I'll be back later okay.''

''Okay.''

''I love you son.''

Connor looked genuinely confused ''what did you randomly say that for?''

''It's supposed to make you feel better.''

''Oh, I love you too.''

Angel left and Connor stayed looking at the sky, he eventually went back inside to take the other dose of his pill, then went to his room. He was no longer weak, he felt fine, so he thought since its late might get some stakings in. Then climbed out the window.

Angel had come home to find that he left, he thought automatically he probably ran away and went after him.

Angel had found Connor in an alleyway fighting a horde of vampires, there was probably six of them. He jumped in and killed two, Connor never needed much help hunting.

''Thanks. Could of got it myself though.''

''I know, I don't doubt you would take those down.''

Connor seemed to make what seemed like a very faint smile.

''Did you just smile.''

''No.''

Angel play wrestled with Connor giving him a noogie and Connor whined about his hair, proving he was sometimes a normal teenager.

''So Connor next time you go hunting let me know, I thought you ran away.''

''But I don't have a reason to.''

''Are you going to keep it that way.''

''Yeah.''

Connor woke up the next morning earlier than usual, he headed down the stairs to the main room, but he heard Angel talking to Gunn and Fred about him and he stopped, then backed up.

''He's getting so much better, emotionally and physically.''

''I know I'm so proud of him.'' Angel answered.

Connor gave a small smile to himself, he kinda felt confident.

He bounced down the stairs up to the cabinet and started making toast.

''Hey dad, we going to go hunt things later.'' he said happily.

Angel smiled ''yeah, why not.''

''Can I go walking around town, I promise I'll be back in time for my pill.''

Angel thought it over ''Ok, but please don't get in trouble.''

''What you don't trust me.''

''No, I trust you, it's L.A. I'm worried about.''

Connor finished his glass of water and ran to the door escaticly, then left.

Angel heel turned to everyone ''well he's really happy.''

Connor was walking around back roads and going down empty streets enjoying the fact he was outside. He saw and abondoned building and thought classic vampire or demon hideout, ought to get started now. He crept inside slowly, checking everywhere while holding his stake, making sure no one jumped out on him.

A group nest of four vampires came out of one room, then three from another, then five from the last one. The vampires didn't hesitate to attack and Connor staked most of them, but a few were hiding now and he waited for any noise.

Three were left and they all fell from the ceiling punching and hitting him, then threw him through one of the walls in the room. Connor ran out in soreness and headed back to the hotel.

By the time he got there his sides were burning from sharp pains everytime he moved, but he ran inside shutting the door behind him.

''Hey, son, we still on for the hunt.''

''Probably not.'' he said clutching his side and wincing a bit.

''What happened?''

''I did something stupid, found a nest and they beat me up. I did kill most them though.''

''Where does it hurt.''

''I think my ribs just got bruised, nothing to bad, but I would like an ice pack or something.''

''Yeah sure.''

Angel made the ice bag, and handed it to Connor.

''Are you going to be okay.''

''Oh yeah, I'll be fine, just we can't go hunting tonight.''

''You need help getting to your room?''

''No it's okay trust me.''

Connor went up the stairs with no problem, he healed so quickly which made having to worry about him a lot less of a problem.

During the night Connor got out of bed, and looked at his ribs in the mirror, they were bruised and they did hurt, but he didn't want his dad to feel bad for him. Connor sat in bed trying to get comfortable when Angel walked in.

''I knew you had to be hurting at least a little.''

''I'll be ok.''

Angel spent the night with Connor in his bed again cuddling, everytime Angel moved Connor would gasp from a little pain.

''Dad.''

''Yeah.''

''Do you still love me.''

''Yes, always son, don't ever think the contrary.''

They fell asleep and during the night Connor got up and went to the bathroom looking himself in the mirror.

All he saw was his usual pale features staring back at him lifelessly, he saw a razor blade sitting on the counter and looked at it intensely, he wanted to die, but didn't know why, and using a razor wouldn't work.

Connor walked downstairs and found a knife in the kitchen, he looked at it as it caressed in his hand. He heard someone behind him and saw Angel coming down the stairs then stopped, gently talking to his son.

''Connor I don't know what you're going to do with the knife, so please put it down.''

Connor felt rage run through his blood, his father already didn't trust him with knives.

''You don't trust me.''

''I do, just right now I'm jumping to conclusions.''

''You think I'm a bad kid, SEE ANGEL YOU DON'T LOVE ME I WAS JUST WARMING UP TO YOU AND YOU BETRAY ME.''

''No Connor, I'm worried, because I love you.''

Connor thought it through and looked at the knife.

''Ok, were going to play a game, if you love me, you'll keep me from dying.''

Connor gripped the knife and drove into his side underneath his ribs, he screamed in pain as Angel ran to his side as Connor twisted it then ripped it out quickly. Angel took the knife from Connor's hands and threw it over the counter, catching the collapsing boy at the last second, blood pouring onto the floor of the hotel.

Angel picked up Connor and raced to his room with his son in his arms. Angel layed Connor down on the king sized bed and he went to the bathroom. He came back with a towel some alcohol and a bandage, and sat on the bed next to him.

''Connor...why?''

Connor gasped for air to answer ''THE GAME DAD, THE GAME.'' and his talking erupted a coughing fit,

Angel sincerely stared into Connor's eyes.

''Connor...I think you need help.''

Still in a lot of pain Connor propelled himself onto Angel and attacked him blindly and violently as he could. Connor scratched the hell out of Angel's arm with his long nails.

The only thing Angel had left to do to get Connor to stop was to hurt him, so he punched his still bleeding side.

Connor yelped and gasped desperate for the air he just lost, he screamed inaudibly and Angel moved him back to the bed, thinking Connor didn't help with the argument much.

Angel dabbed the stab wound with some alcohol and Connor tried to turn over from the pain, but Angel kept him from doing that.

Finally wrapping the gash, he rubbed Connor's back as he laid on his side, breathing heavily and still wincing at every little move.

''Connor, why did you do that?''

Connor couldn't answer, all he could do was sob and whine, the punch to the side is what really messed it up, and not the real stab itself.

''Connor, answer me.''

''I...can't...there's...to much pain.'' ending in a pained cry for help, Angel tried to sooth him and Connor swatted his hand away.

''You...hurt me...really badly.'' Connor screamed without a sound once more.

''I'm sorry I had to get you to stop.''

Connor shifted and truly yelled out in sheer pain.

''Why did you do this?'' Angel asked again.

''To...see if you...loved me.''

''It wasn't the way to go, you could've done anything else.''

Connor broke down into tears again, something he's been doing a lot of lately, he turned himself over to face Angel gasping with loud gulps in every movement. Now laying on his bad side he grabbed a hold of Angel's sweater to bring himself into his father's arms, losing breath.

He put his face in Angel's chest and screamed cut off by a cough then to crying again.

Angel just wrapped his arms around him and buried his face in his hair.

For the third night Angel and Connor had fell asleep holding onto each other.

They woke a few hours later and Connor was still sobbing into Angel's shirt.

''Dad?'' he voice was pained and gravelled.

''Yeah.''

''You won the game, unfortunately I didn't.''

''What are talking about.'' Angel mind didn't want what he just said to be what he was thinking.

''Dad, I can't breathe.''

Angel put his hand in front of his mouth and nose and no warm air appeared.

Angel frantically ran to Wesley's room and woke him up.

''Wesley, you got to get up, Connor can't breathe, you got to go give him CPR or something.'' Angel was nervous and scared, as Wesley ran to Angel's room.

Wesley got on top of Connor and pressed, after a few seconds Connor coughed erratically every one of them sending immense pain through his side and he whined.

Wesley left telling Angel if he needed anything else he can come to him.

Angel sat in front of Connor, looking down at him worriedly.

Then Connor looked up eyes full of terror and fear for not just his life, but what his father would say to him.

''Connor, I'm you're father and it hurts me to say this, but I think you genuinely are deranged.''

A tear fell from Connor's eye as it hit him instantly that what Angel just said was true. He closed his eyes tight and bit his lip, keeping his eyes closed he said to Angel while sobbing.

''I know, and I'm sorry.'' Connor forced himself to keep going ''I've been pretty messed up my whole life, but I think I really went insane when I got here, to this dimension.''

''Connor, it's not you're fault, you've been through to much, being like this is understandable, but you got to start learning and you won't get a mental hospital room for yourself.''

''I'm trying, I swear.''

Angel was surprised ''I didn't know you were actually trying.''

''Then I guess I haven't made any progress.''

''No Connor, you've made so much progress, I'm truly proud of you, it's just moments like this you're struggling with.''

''Your proud of me.''

''Yes, so much.'' Angel went to brush Connor's hair with his fingers, but retreated.

Connor forced himself up on his knees on the bed, and hugged Angel. Sure Angel had hugged Connor many times before, but this was the first time Connor started the hug. Angel's tears hit his shirt as he cried happily, but silently.

''Thank you, for not giving up on me, even though I did.'' Connor said.

Angel couldn't answer, he didn't know how, but he could tell everything was better.

THE END