He shouldn't be here, hanging out with the man who sent him to hell.
But he was here, alive, well, and bristling with restlessness; looking at Wesley as if he needed answers.
The last time Wesley held him was when Justine slit his throat. He remembered the heartbreaking pain of losing him to the enemy, and he could only imagine the pain Angel had gone through.
Now he felt a mixture of emotions. Pride -- that Connor staked the vampire so efficiently. Sorrow -- that he was no longer the cherubic innocent baby he remembered. Grief -- that *he* was the one who took that innocence from him. And finally, curiosity -- what in the world was Connor doing here in this warehouse, staking a vampire, in the streets of Avarice?
Connor waited for him to react. The stake, which he twirled with ease, was still in his hand. It was as if he wanted Wesley to know that he could use it on him if he wanted to.
Wesley straightened himself and stared into Connor's eyes. They were so much like his father's. Stormy and filled with a deep sorrow no one could understand.
"Well, are you going to say thank you? Or stand there and rot?" Connor finally asked. His voice was heavy with sarcasm.
And it looked like Connor shared Angel's humour too. "For staking the vampire, or for shadowing me the past two weeks?" Wesley grated out.
Connor had the grace to look surprised. "You noticed that? I am good. I know that."
Wesley walked towards his fallen longbow, but his eyes were still on Connor. "Yes you were," he agreed, picking up the bow. "Sometimes I did not notice you. But sometimes you slipped."
Connor looked offended at that. "It's this world," he snarled. "Full of strange things. They ... unsettle me."
Wesley had to grin at that. "I find a television display playing Barney the Purple Dinosaur unsettling too."
Connor visibly flushed at that -- he probably remembered that slip up with painful detail.
Wesley decided to spare the teenager's ego. He decided to go straight to the point.
"Why have you been following me?"
Connor raised his head -- as if in defiance -- but he didn't answer him.
"Alright then. Come back to me when you're tired of playing this game."
Slinging his bow over his shoulder, Wesley walked to the exit.
"Wait!" Connor called out from behind.
Wesley turned and saw a chagrined Connor.
"I have been watching you," Connor hesitated, looking at his stake.
"And?" Wesley prompted.
"You remind me of someone. That's why I followed you," Connor said softly, looking at him with vulnerable eyes.
Wesley flinched at that. Someone. Certainly not Angel. Angel did not hunt vampires with a gusto like he did. Somehow it pained him to be compared to someone whose life revolved around slaying vampires every night just to stay sane. It reminded him that he was no longer the man he was.
He walked away.
"Hey!" Footsteps ran towards him. A rough hand turned him around. Strong. Like his father too.
Wesley grabbed Connor's hand, but found that he did not have the heart to treat him roughly. He moved it away gently.
"I'm not this person -- whoever he is," he reminded the young man.
"No, you're not," Connor agreed, and pursed his lips. "But both of you share the same cause. And I want to be part of it."
Wesley could almost hear the unspoken 'again'. He studied the teenager's earnest young eyes and found himself aching to reach out and tell him how glad he was that he was alive; how glad he was that he was back here in this dimension -- back with his family again. How he had missed the boy --
But Connor was reunited with his father -- he saw them fighting together that night. Wesley did not think Angel would appreciate Connor hanging out with the man responsible for parting them. And Wesley did not want to face Angel's wrath. Not when he had so little time to do what he had to do.
"Where's your father, boy?" Wesley murmured.
Connor's expression darkened. "My father's dead!"
His heart clenched unexpectedly. Angel, dead? No one keeps him updated with anything anymore.
Connor did not miss his show of surprise. "He was killed by a vampire," he spat, tossing the stake aside.
Wesley was confused now. A vampire? Then he realized what Connor meant.
"Your father's name...?"
"Holtz," he said, sounding strangely hopeful. "Perhaps you knew him a few years ... I mean, months ago. He was a vampire hunter then. He had a team of hunters. He was magnificent," Connor said dreamily. "I wish I had fought alongside him then."
Holtz. Connor's father. The bastard had raised Angel's son. And Wesley was sure that he did not croon lovely words of praise about Connor's true father. He would have taught the boy to hate Angel. Just like Holtz. The perfect revenge.
But he saw Angel and Connor together. Fighting together like father and son...
*He was killed by a vampire.* Wesley frowned. Could Angel have killed Holtz? It was too much to process right now, but Connor's words kept haunting him.
*You remind me of someone ...*
Wesley felt his gut wrench in despair. There was no doubt now who he had meant, for Connor only had a man, a vampire hunter, for company in the hell dimension. Holtz... To be compared to that man... *What have I done?*
Wesley brushed aside the despair that threatened to engulf him and fixed Connor with a steely glare.
"Yes. I knew him. But he wasn't as magnificent as you think," He said bitterly. With that, Wesley marched towards the door, fists clenched. His head was pounding with rage and despair, both emotions threatening to release something in him that he did not want Connor to see.
"What do you mean? Answer me! He was a good man! He killed demons! Demons like Angelus!" Connor cried out behind him.
*Angelus*. Wesley shut his eyes as the blazing afternoon sun greeted him.
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