Title: Connor - Part Two
Series: Chlonnor Series
Disclaimer: Don't own Smallville nor Angel.
Summary:When Connor returns, now grown up, things become even more chaotic in Chloe's life. She's tried fighting her attraction to him but realizes they're in love. Why should she fight it? And what's the big bad that's threatening their happiness NOW?
Things had been busy since they'd escaped from Wolfram & Hart's. There was tension, since Gunn didn't trust Connor, finding it suspicious that the boy had gone up against the Beast twice and survived, had been in the group when the Little Girl from Wolfram & Hart had mumbled about the answer being amongst them, and that the Beast had come up the same place Connor had been born. Fortunately Connor had been out scouting with Lois and Wesley when Gunn had commented this to Fred. Unfortunately for Gunn, Chloe had been in the Hyperion and had heard his hypothesis. She'd glared at him and growled and pointed out just how much more convincing and believable it was that this Beast was somehow tied to her, especially since it'd first been glimpsed by Lorne in her future. Gunn hadn't dared or even wished to accuse her of anything, so they topic hadn't been touched again, but the tension was continuing to grow amongst the Fang Gang.
And then, thanks to Wesley and his contacts, they'd found out that the Little Girl had once been the earthly contingent at Wolfram & Hart, thus her death had left the evil law firm cut off from the senior partners, effectively neutralized. However, it appeared that that hadn't been her only function. He'd found an entry in Rhinehardt's Compendium for that same Little Girl, or rather, for the entity that'd been presenting itself as one.
Her name had been Mesektet. She'd been one of five enormously powerful beings which were linked to an embodiment of the ancient god Ra. Something like totems, symbolic manifestations. And these totems in particular together formed an order called the "Ra-tet". Their origins had been shrouded in mystery since the dawn of time to the extent that only the totems themselves knew of their true purpose.
Not only was this disturbing, but Lorne had later informed them that the Beast had killed a 'lovely woman'. She'd been a white-magic shaman type, but it hadn't seemed to faze the monster, who'd torn her heart right out of her chest. At first they hadn't gotten the connection since the M.O. didn't match as the Beast had consumed Mesektet's energy and not bothered her heart...but then they'd discovered that the shaman's name had been Ma'at...who'd been another member of the Ra-tet.
Apparently the Beast was taking them out, one by one.
Wesley didn't want to jump to conclusions, preferring to wait just in case.
And then Cordelia had a vision.
According to her it'd been different from any other she'd had, it was almost as if she'd been inside someone else, but she couldn't make out if it was in the past or in the future or even where exactly she'd been. She couldn't even tell them what exactly had been said since it's been a purely visual vision, no audio, and she sucked at reading lips. But it was enough for the group to gather in the lobby of the Hyperion and go over the little they knew. They realized that the Powers were sending them a wake-up call, and that while they'd been beaten in the past, it was time they went on the offensive. They needed to find out the Beast's weakness, and then go in prepared, fighting smartly.
Of course, that was somewhat hard to do considering that they really didn't know anything about it. There were even doubts that the creature Lorne called "El Destructo" even had any. But every creature had a weakness, and they were determined to find it. They hadn't had any leads until an old acquaintance (Chloe really couldn't call her friend) had shown up surprisingly in the middle of their meeting.
Gwen Raidon had once been their enemy, and then ally, and had both killed and then revived Gunn with just a touch of her hand (which explained the way Fred glared at her and stood partially in front of Gunn, protective). The girl had been born with a misfortunate mutation in which she was a live electric fuse, electrifying and killing anyone she touched with bare skin, which was why she always wore gloves, and body covering leather. The only person she'd ever been able to touch without killing had been Angel, and that was because he was already dead. Chloe remembered being resentful of the attraction Gwen had obviously had concerning the man she could touch-and that a touch from Gwen actually had jump-started Angel's heart for a beat or so. But now the blonde didn't feel any of those feelings, only curiosity.
Interestingly enough, Gwen had met a client the night before in the oil fields, and while they'd been talking he'd gotten his chest punched out by a 'big demon with a head made of rock'. If she hadn't had their attention before, she had it now as she described the demon. She hadn't seen if anything had been removed from her client's body since she'd ducked and covered and gotten the hell outta there, but in her own words Angel was hands down the weirdest person she knew, so she'd figured she'd ask him what was going on. It was only when Lois, who'd been going over Rhinehardt's Compendium and asked if Gwen's client hadn't been a skinless sabertooth tiger or composed entirely of light-and Gwen's saying that when he'd been killed her client had had intense light coming out of his chest-that they couldn't play dumb anymore.
The Beast was killing the Ra-tet, each totem representing a stage in Ra's journey across the sky.
Only two totems were alive (that they knew of at least) and they were Manjet and Semkhet. According to Wesley, the last sighting of Manjet was rumored two years ago in Belize, and Semkhet was said to live in a cave in Death Valley. They'd decided to go find Semkhet and protect him, Angel taking Gwen with him. Connor and Wesley had decided to go out patrolling again, keeping their eyes and ears open for the Beast, and Chloe had taken charge of the research continuing on in the Hyperion while Gunn and Fred left on a food run and Lorne left to go and see some sources.
"We're getting nowhere." Lois complained, putting down her book and massaging her head.
Cordelia popped two Advil into her mouth and chased them down with a mouthful of water, obviously feeling a headache as well. She slid the pill bottle across the table towards Lois.
Lois nodded her thanks and grabbed it, going in search of a bottle of water.
"I don't trust that girl." Cordelia finally announced now that they were alone.
"Who? Lois?" Chloe blinked, confused.
"What?" Cordelia made a face at her. "No! Gwen!" She closed her book. "Don't you think its a little convenient that she appears all of a sudden and has the precise information we need? I didn't like her last time, and I don't like her now."
"Who don't you like?" Connor asked as he and Wesley strode through the front doors.
"Really, Ms. Lane is different but I'd vouch for her." Wesley declared.
Cordelia threw her hands in the air. "Why do people assume I'm talking about Lois when there is such a suspicious character in the midst of us?"
Connor tensed, obviously not blind to the tension and suspicion thrown his way by certain people in the group.
"Not you Connor honey." Cordelia was quick to assure him, flinching. "I'm talking about Electra. She seems fishy to me."
"Fishy?" Connor frowned, reaching Chloe's side and pressing a kiss to her temple, eyeing Cordelia in confusion. "You think she is amphibious? I thought she was an electricity conduit?"
"No, I mean that I smell a rat." Cordelia tried once more.
"Oh." Connor nodded, grinning. "You don't like how she smells."
Cordelia groaned and lowered her forehead to the surface of the table.
Wesley coughed into his fist to disguise his chuckles.
Chloe giggled, turning to Connor and press a kiss to his cheek. "You're just so adorable."
He blinked and looked at her, obviously not seeing why she thought so, but not complaining since it'd gotten him kissed.
"Ah, the boys are back." Lois strode back into the room, passing Cordelia back her pills and heading towards Wesley, palm out. "Deliver the goods."
He rolled his eyes and reached into his pocket, pulling out a chocolate bar and passing it to her.
"Thanks." She unwrapped the chocolate bar and bit into it, turning to Chloe with a sigh. "You know how I get my chocolate cravings when my period's coming down."
Wesley went red.
Connor looked around, curious. "Period?"
"Yeah." Lois nodded, swallowing and continuing before anyone could shut her up. "You know, when females bleed once a month?"
"Ah..." Connor's eyes widening, a blush coloring his every feature. "You mean when females go into heat." He gazed down before his eyes suddenly widened and he turned towards Chloe. "Human females go into heat every month?"
Cordelia chuckled evilly, forehead still pressed against the surface of the table.
Chloe blushed horribly. "Not...exactly."
"Connor, buddy." Lois shook her head. "Heat insinuates you're gonna get some. But believe me, when a human female has her period, sex is the last thing on her mind. If anything, you need to be afraid of her because she'll cut you for the slightest offense." Grinning at Connor's uncomfortable expression, Lois rested her arm on his shoulder and leaned in close. "Lucky for you, I doubt vampires have periods."
Chloe was about to die.
She sat down and covered her face. "Someone, kill me now."
Connor, obviously not getting that she wasn't serious, snarled at everyone, letting them know just what would happen if they laid a finger on her.
Lois grinned, reaching out and pinching Connor's cheek. "You're just so adorable!"
"Why does everyone keep telling me this?" He wondered, frowning, rubbing his smarting cheek.
"'Cause you are, honey." Cordelia finally looked up from the table, smirking. "You totally are."
Suddenly Angel, Gwen, and a short, stout guy strode through the front doors.
"Any movement from the Beast while we were gone?" The vampire wanted to know.
Connor shook his head. "Nothing."
Neither father nor son looked at each other.
She'd known that things would be awkward between them, but this was getting ridiculous. Angel needed to get over the fact that she and Connor were together. Chloe knew this must be uncomfortable for him considering that Connor was his son (and had been a baby only a couple of months ago human time) and she was his childe, but things were different now, she was with Connor, and nothing was going to change that.
Cordelia eyed the man between the newcomers dubiously. "That doesn't look like Semkhet."
"Semkhet's not available, babe." The man replied. "Slight case of being ripped open to death in a cave. Don't suppose I could interest you in a short, stocky orb-keeper?"
"Guys," Angel cleared his throat. "I'd like you to meet Manny, the last totem of the Ra-tet."
"This...is a being of supreme power?" Wesley blinked, obviously unable to believe it.
"You ought to see me in my Armani." Manny grinned.
Chloe smirked. She kinda liked this guy.
Manny caught her grin and pointed to her before turning to Angel. "Now that one I like. Only one out of you lot with a sense of humor."
Lorne ignored him, shaking his head. "What happened to the second-to-last one?"
"Somebody already ripped out the toy surprise." Gwen replied, hip jutted out and arms folded over her chest.
"Good news is, we've discovered the Beast's plan." Angel rubbed his hands together.
"Which is?" Lois prompted, making a face.
"To blot out the sun for all of eternity." Manny waited a beat before looking around. "You guys got a john?"
"Right back there." Angel pointed.
"Thanks pal." Manny headed off down the hall, stopping to pick up several newspapers off the counter first.
Cordelia watched him go, making a face. "Why did the smelly, yucky man say that? He's joking, right?"
"No." Angel sighed, shaking his head. "Apparently there's a ritual using members of the Ra-tet to change day into night...forever."
"As far as evil plans go, it doesn't suck." Wesley mumbled, eyebrows drawn closer together.
"He's killed four of the five so far." Angel continued, looking at his group...except for Connor...who was also avoiding looking in his direction as well. "I figure we keep Manny safe, the lights stay on long enough, and we find a way to defeat this thing."
"But where are we going to hide him?" Chloe wanted to know. "We need a small controlled space."
Gwen smirked. "I might know of a place."
And that was how they ended up in Gwen Raidon's mansion. Due to the fact that neither Angel nor Connor wanted to be in closed quarters with each other, Connor had decided to continue his patrols with Wesley, trying to track the Beast and keep tabs on him for the Fang Gang. Lois stayed behind at the Hyperion with Fred and Lorne, having declared herself the Boss of Headquarters, and the demon and texan didn't seem brave enough to question her dominance as she cracked the proverbial whip and got them back into research mode. Gunn, Chloe, Angel and Cordelia had then ventured to Gwen's mansion. They'd gone in two groups so that two people could be always present guarding Manny, and Cordelia had come along just in case she got a vision that could help them on their case. And they needed all the help they could get.
"My butler's already in Tahiti so we're on our own here." Gwen announced, ever the hostess. "I'll hit the kitchen for supplies later if I can...well...find the kitchen." She shut lead them down a long hallway before entering a spacious library with wall lined with bookshelves. She crossed over to one of them and pulled a book it. It triggered a hidden panel which slid back revealing a steel vault door. "Can never pass up a good cliche." Gwen used her power to activate the lock and the door slid back into the wall, revealing a small, closet-like room. "It's equipped as a panic room, too. Twelve inches of solid steel, it's own ventilation system..."
"Homey." Cordelia mumbled.
Gwen's eyes were on Manny. "You should be safe here."
"Don't worry." He replied. "I ain't expecting miracles."
Gwen turned to Angel. "So, guard duty, what do you think? You and me, first shift?"
Chloe was surveying the library, picking a book and browsing it, awed by the selection. This was why she missed the quick glance Angel sent in her direction.
The vampire cleared his throat. "I think it makes more sense if you pair with Gunn. I'll do it with Chloe."
Gwen raised an eyebrow, looking from Angel to Chloe and back, sneering. "I'm sure you will." She turned to Gunn. "Okay then, I'll take Denzel."
"Actually, it's Gunn." The handsome African American raised an eyebrow. "Not that I mind the freakishly accurate comparison, but you will keep you hands to yourself."
"You tell her, Gunn." Cordelia patted his back, proud.
Gwen rolled her eyes.
"Four hours on, four hours off. Bunk down off duty." Angel changed the topic, bringing them back to the issue at hand. "Get as much sleep as we can. We're already tired. Got a long few days ahead of us." He turned and headed for the door."
Manny, already in his new little haven, turned to Gwen. "Hey Gwen. Don't suppose this joint's got Skin-emax?"
She just smiled and shut the door, sealing him in.
Cordelia and Chloe shared a smile before leaving behind Angel.
When they found him in what had to be the living room...although it was as big as a moderate sized home...Chloe left Angel and Cordelia talking and pulled out her cellular, calling Connor on his. He was still trying to get used to the technology, and was a comical failure when it came to texting lingo and such, but he'd mastered calling, and answering calls.
He answered on the fifth ring. "Everything alright?"
"Yeah, we have Manny safe and sound, but I'm not telling you where since the phone lines might not be secure." She replied, leaning against the wall and looking up at what she was beginning to suspect might be the original Mona Lisa. "How's everything with you guys?"
"There's still no movement form the Beast, he's either laying low or busy somewhere else. I don't like either option." Connor announced, frustration obvious in his voice. "It unnerves me that we have yet to find a weakness for this thing. Everything has to have a weakness, that is nature, and yet we find nothing."
"Don't stress yourself, okay? We'll find something, things always work out." Chloe comforted him, pulling a strand of hair behind her ear. "And even if you do find something about that thing, you're not allowed to go all willy nilly on it by yourself, you hear me? You're not in that hell dimension anymore. You're not alone. You don't fight alone."
There was a pause.
"Connor." She glared.
"I do not want you there if the Beast will be there." Connor finally spoke. "He has hurt you before, and I do not want to give him the opportunity to do so once more."
"He's hurt you worse then he hurt me, and yet I don't see you being all cautious." Chloe glared, feeling as if her competence was being questioned. "He was seen in my future, so it's obvious that I'm going to be there when we fight him, whether you like it or not."
Connor hissed some words in a language she didn't recognize, but she didn't need to know it to know he was probably cursing. "Why can't you just listen to me for once? You're my mate! I should have some say in this!"
Despite being annoyed with him, every time Connor said the 'M' word it amused her, and she smiled, leaning her head against the wall. "I'll make it up to you."
"There's no way you can make this up to me." He growled.
She bit her bottom lip, smirking, voice a near purr as she lowered it. "Oh I can think of some ways to do so."
He seemed to catch on...because there was a moment's silence, and then a corresponding purr rolled in his throat. "Tonight you can...demonstrate...these ways to me."
She laughed throatily, before groaning in disappointment. "Not tonight. We'll be sleeping over here, on shifts."
"Wait." Connor's voice went dark suddenly. "You're going to spend the night wherever you are?"
"Yeah." Chloe nodded. "I thought you'd realized that when we made these arrangements?"
"No, I did not." And he was obviously very displeased. "I do not agree with the thought of you spending the night with Angel."
"Why not? We're going to be guarding Manny." Chloe frowned.
"I do not like this." Connor grumbled. "He has yet to accept our mating. I do not like you being alone with him until he has accepted this."
"You have to understand Angel, Con, it's gotta be weird for him." Chloe defended her sire. "He's going to need time and I'm not going to stay away from him just because it's awkward."
"Chloe..." Connor growled.
"No, Connor. I'm staying here the night and you're not going to track me down, you hear me?" She glared at the plant on the table in front of her. "If you show up here, or if I feel through our bond that you're close, I swear to god Connor you're never having sex again in your life."
It was surprisingly easy how holding sex against him worked, and they soon ended the conversation, Chloe going to lay down and sleep for a while, needing to be alert and ready for when her shift came. All too soon Angel woke her up and after a quick trip to the bathroom and kitchen to grab a coffee for her and warmed blood for him, they made their way to relieve Gunn and Gwen from their posts.
"How's Manny?" Angel wanted to know as they arrived.
"Fine." Gunn stood and stretched. "Gave him some magazines about a half hour ago to keep him occupied."
"Swimsuit edition." Gwen grinned. "He's occupied." She turned to Gunn. "Come on. I'll show you where you can crash."
They left, the doors closing behind them, leaving Chloe and Angel truly alone for the first time since everything had gone down. Angel sat down across from her, taking a sip of his tall glass of blood. The blonde sat down across from him, placed her coffee on the table, and yawned as she stretched.
"I'm surprised you fell asleep so deeply. You're usually unable to fall asleep on strange beds." Angel took a sip of his blood "The again, you've gotten used to strange beds, haven't you?"
Chloe sighed, turning to look at him. "Angel."
"What?" He asked, mock innocence on his face. "I'm just stating facts."
"Snottily." She replied, shaking her head at him. "And I'll have you know that the loft mightn't be much, but it feels like home."
"The Hyperion is your home." Angel nearly snapped, steel in his voice. "It would be good for you to remember that."
"I'll always love you and the Hyperion, Angel." Chloe sighed, wondering just how she was going to get her sire to understand. "But things change."
"Funny how things changed when I was stuck in the bottom of the ocean, starving, agonizing, because my very own son put me there and then tried to take my place." Angel growled, face rippling slightly in displeasure. "While I was slowly going insane he had insinuated himself into my life, living under my roof, working in my agency, taking over my place in my friends lives...and asserting dominance over my childe."
Chloe took a large gulp of her coffee, trying to buy herself sometime to control her annoyance and guilt. "Angel...Connor did something wrong...we all know that-."
"And yet it obviously didn't matter that much to you." Angel accused, eyes narrowed. "You just jumped into bed with him!"
"I did not just jump into bed with him!" Chloe snapped, fangs descending in her temper. "Angel! When you were missing I felt what you were going through, okay? Especially at first! I had so many nightmares of fishes and hunger that I thought I was insane!"
"So what happened to that bond? Huh?"
She froze, confused. "Excuse me?"
"When I was trapped in the bottom of the ocean our bond was so strong you could pick up on it, even though you didn't know what it was." Angel leaned over the table, glaring at her. "And yet that night I was only a building away and you had no idea I was even in the same city!"
The fight left Chloe in seconds as she recoiled, realizing that he had a point there.
Her bond with Angel had always been extremely close, and yet now that she thought about it, even with him sitting across from her, she could barely feel the link.
The bond she had with Connor was still there though, and if she wanted to, she could tug on it, it was that strong.
"He did his best to break our bond, and instead force his own with you." Angel continued after a long drink, finishing the blood completely.
"He isn't the reason things have changed between us." Chloe whispered, feeling dizzy.
"How long has it been since you've fed from me?" Angel asked softly.
Chloe looked up at him, eyes wide, unable to remember the last time.
"It was before Connor off-shore dumped me." Angel replied. "Ever since I returned you haven't drunk from me. I could understand at first-I was starved and feeding from you-I was weak, but even after I got better you refused to feed, always making excuses."
Chloe's gaze lowered to the table, and she took a sip from her coffee, unable to answer that because she knew it was true.
"And yet you still fed from Connor the second he appeared at the Hyperion when we were gone, and don't try to deny it because I saw the fresh marks on his neck." Angel's voice had softened. "He wanted to make me pay for what he thinks I've done to him, and to do so he wanted to send me to hell while taking everything precious to me." His gaze rose to Chloe's. "He's succeeding."
Eyes wide, and convictions shaken, Chloe forced herself to look away and finish her coffee.
They didn't say anything to each other after that, just silent, confused, hurt, tense.
That was why it was such a shock and confusion for Chloe when she jolted awake, world twirling and distorted, Gunn shaking her, voice weird and worried.
"Please...I'm awake!" Angel slurred sleepily.
"What the hell are you doing falling asleep on watch?" Gwen cursed, annoyed.
Angel sat up. "I wasn't-."
"What's happening?" Chloe asked, smacking her lips, head hurting her.
She then realized she was on the ground.
Gunn knelt besides Chloe. "Are you okay?"
"Manny!" Angel suddenly leapt up and ran over to the vault door. It slid open to reveal Manny's butchered body. Great swaths of blood and gore covered the walls. "It got him."
"Ugh. What's with all the noise people?" A sleepy Cordelia appeared in the doorway, rubbing her eyes and yawning, hair a mess. "I was finally able to fall asleep and then-." Her eyes widened in horror as she finally noticed the safe room. "What happened? Did he explode?"
Gunn shook his head. "The Beast got him."
Cordelia went pale. "That thing was here? How did it get passed you two?" She then blinked at Chloe. "What are you doing on the ground?"
"I have no idea." Chloe admitted, smacking her lips once more, wincing. "I have a really bad taste in my mouth."
"The Beast was looking for something Manny had." Angel announced.
"How do you know?" Gunn asked, helping Chloe to her feet.
Angel held up Manny's hat. The center had been punched out of it. "Emptied out his head to find it."
Cordelia closed her eyes tightly. "Ewwwww."
Chloe frowned. "Wait. Manny said he was an orb-keeper, right? Maybe he kept an orb in his head."
Angel turned to Gwen. "Semkhet-the demon in the cave-you said someone already pulled out the toy surprise."
Gwen's expression went coy. "Did I?"
Angel's eyes narrowed. "The Beast is pulling something out of these totems."
Gunn glared at Gwen. "And you knew that."
"Ha! I knew it!" Cordelia crowed victoriously, pointing her finger at the girl in question. "Not trustworthy!"
"Something you're not telling me, Gwen?" Angel growled.
The woman sighed, folding her arms over her chest. "All right. My client-the Beast grabbed something out of him, too. A little metal boxy thing."
"And the reason you didn't think this was need to know information was because...?" Chloe prompted.
"I don't know, I thought the box might be worth something." Gwen pouted. "Look, the apocalypse was coming, there was a giant killer demon. I panicked. And oh, by the way, I'm still a thief and as a rule we don't share information."
"Okay, getting back to topic." Gunn cleared his throat. "What about the cave demon? You think the big ugly went treasure hunting inside of him?"
"It's definitely possible." Angel decided.
"That may be so..." Chloe frowned, hugging herself. "But what's impossible is thinking that somehow, some way, the Beast found where we were hiding, spiked the drinks we made ourselves, snuck through this unreasonable large mansion on the tippy-toes of his cloven feet right up to the vault and kill Manny unseen and unheard."
"Maybe whoever did it didn't have cloven feet." Gunn announced. "Remember what Evil Red Riding Hood said. 'The answer is among you'. I can't be the only one thinking it."
"Connor didn't do this." Chloe glared at him. "He doesn't even know where we are."
"Didn't you call him?" Angel asked.
She glared at him. "I didn't tell him where we were. And even if I had it wouldn't make a difference because he wouldn't do this."
"Even if you didn't tell him where you were, last time I checked, that boy could track anybody." Gunn announced.
"And there's that ability you two have to sense and track each other like when we were in Wolfram & Hart." Angel's eyes narrowed.
"I can't believe you'd even consider that this was his doing!" Chloe snapped at both males. "What good would Connor get out of this?"
"He didn't want you staying over the night, alone, with me." Angel pointed out.
"Just because you have enhanced hearing doesn't give you license to listen in on my conversations." Chloe growled, poking him in the chest. "And anyway! If he'd been here you would have been able to smell him."
Angel paused, thinking that over. "She has a point."
"Same way you smelled whatever it was spiking your blood?" Gunn challenged.
"Connor would never drug Chloe." Cordelia declared. "You all? Definitely. But Chloe? Never."
"I agree." Chloe wasn't ashamed to say.
Suddenly Gwen perked up. "The security cameras!" She walked out and into the next room. "We need to see what's on that footage!"
Cordelia followed after.
Angel turned to Gunn. "Call the hotel, tell them about Manny, and about the toy surprises too. Let's see if we can find out what they're fore and how we can stop the Beast from using them. Also ask if Connor has been with them this whole time. If he hasn't left their side for a second we can finally discredit him, you got that?"
Angel turned and left.
Chloe stayed behind, and when they were alone turned to Gunn. "You've been my friend since we met, but I'm getting sick and tired of you trying to lay the blame on Connor."
Gunn eyed her seriously. "Chloe, if you weren't in love with the guy, you'd see that all the signs are pointing to him."
"They point to me too." Chloe hissed. "How many times do I have to tell you that all the things that connect the Beast to Connor connect it to me as well? And yet I don't see you or anyone else suspecting me in the least bit! It's not fair!"
"You didn't stab us in the back and sink Angel to the bottom of the sea." Gunn replied.
"That doesn't matter. I could be controlled by the Beast doing all these things and then drugging myself afterwards as to throw off everyone from my scent." Chloe growled. "Point is, if you distrust Connor, then you better distrust me too!"
And with that she stormed out of the room, heading towards the security room by following Gwen's scent, in time to find out that conveniently around the time of the occurrence the video feed had gone off, all the tapes going blank. Someone had known when Chloe and Angel were going to have their shifts, and someone had spiked their drinks. This was looking more and more like an inside job.
Gunn appeared, frown on his face. "Connor left them to supposedly go to his place. He doesn't have an alibi."
"You know what? That's it. I'm out." Chloe glared at them both. "As long as Connor is still a suspect we're staying the hell away from you people."
"Chloe." Angel reached out and grabbed her arm.
"Save it." She jerked out of his grip, and stormed away.
In the Hyperion, Angel, Gwen, Cordelia and Gunn had arrived back sans Chloe and had explained everything to the others. Lois was furious, thinking them all idiots for believing that Connor had anything to do with it, joining Cordelia in glaring at the men and electricity conduit. Fred and Lorne were on the fence concerning the issue, not commenting.
"I'm just saying, Manny never would have been killed on my watch." Gwen declared, going back to the most important subject.
"Gosh, no!" Cordelia exclaimed harshly. "Because you're supertramp."
Angel went over to the counter where Lorne was researching. "What's the latest?"
Lorne looked up. "I checked out the ritual like you asked. Looks like there's some assembly required." He opened a book and pointed to a diagram of a winged figure. "Turns out these three pieces were inside the totems. Beast kills the totems, yanks out the pieces and builds himself a big old light switch..."
"Well, what about the other two?" Angel interrupted. "What did he take out of them?"
The green demon made up his face. "Well, I know he sucked the energy out of the little girl and he ripped the heart out of the shaman but what's not clear is how he's going to use them."
"These wings...they're metal, right?" She was glancing over Angel's shoulder at the diagram. "Get me close enough and I can melt them. That'll slow him down."
"If we find him in time." Lois mumbled moodily, arms folded over her chest. "Need I remind you people that he's already got all the pieces plus we don't even know where he's going to perform this ritual?"
"Sun or no sun, I'm not worried about slowing him down." Gun announced. "I'm worried about taking him out."
Wesley and Fred shared a look before Wesley cleared his throat. "We may have a solution for that."
Fred nodded. "We've done a lot of research as we think we found a way to get rid of the Beast. A portal."
Gunn sighed and shook his head.
Wesley continued. "We've tried conventional methods: firearms, the usual weaponry. None of which seem to work."
Angel's eyes widened as he got what they were saying. "But if we stand against it long enough to find a way to corner it, maneuver it into position..."
"Then maybe we can send this thing back to the hell-sweet-hell it came from." Lorne grinned brightly, obviously elated with this plan.
"Okay, so we've got everything we need to stop the ritual." Angel announced, rubbing his hands together. "Let's clear out of here and try locate the Beast."
As he started packing up the books, Cordelia's eyes went wide and she gasped, almost falling.
Lois reached out and grabbed her, holding her up. "What's happening?"
Everyone turned towards them.
"She's having another vision." Angel rushed to them, helping Lois hold Cordelia up.
The Vision-Girl gasped, finally coming out of it, hand going to her head. "Oh my god..."
"What did you see?" The vampire asked her.
"Same one as before...only there was more of it." Cordelia took in a deep breath. "A massacre. So many people on the ground...dead, dying...the screaming was so loud."
"Could you hear the demon?" Angel wanted to know.
"No." She shook her head. "But whoever it was talking to, they felt familiar. Like someone I know."
"Connor." Angel whispered sadly.
"We need to go and get him and Chloe, bring them into this again." Cordelia looked up at him. "Angel, if nothing else, Connor's our best chance at tracking the Beast."
Chloe lay in bed with Connor, knowing he knew she was upset and wanted to know why, but was wisely waiting until she calmed down before questioning her. His instincts had always been very good. The blonde was pissed off at everyone, even herself, for not being able to convince them that Connor wasn't the person they were looking for. He might have-he might have done things in his past-but so had many of them. The others needed to learn to forgive and forget and get passed this or she couldn't work with them anymore.
It shocked her how much she cared about Connor.
A knock sounded at the door.
Connor sighed, getting up. "If its anyone but Lois or Cordy I'm slamming the door in their faces."
Chloe sat up and looked at the door, eyes widening in horror when it opened to reveal the Beast.
"Hello, Connor, Chloe." The Beast announced congenially, a wicked smile on its face, knowing it had them cornered.
Connor slammed the door in the creature's face, taking a couple of steps back in time for the Beast's fist to go through the door.
Chloe hurried to her feet, getting caught in the sheets.
As the Beast stormed into the room, Connor turned and pushed off of the wall, flipping around, sending a flying kick at the creature's head. The thing barely noticed the blow. Connor charged it again and the Beast caught him in mid-air, throwing him to the ground. It then seized Connor by the leg and slammed him to the floor before picking him up and hurling him through the window.
"Connor!" Chloe screamed, finally untangling herself and rushing to the window, watching in horror as Connor fell the five stories down to land in a bloody and battered heap on the pavement in front of Gunn's car, the Fang Gang emerging. "Connor!"
They rushed to Connor's side, Lois looking up when she heard Chloe's scream.
But Chloe couldn't beg for someone to tell her if he was still alive, because she was grabbed from behind and thrown into the wall, indenting it with the force of the blow.
The Beast took advantage of her disorientation and grabbed her by her hair, flinging her into the dresser, and then slamming her to the ground.
The blonde lay still, bloody and in agony, weak, unable to focus properly.
The Beast walked towards her and grabbed her by her neck, lifting her, burning her throat slightly with his hot fingers. It squeezed, not enough to kill, but enough to cut off the amount of oxygen needed to weaken her. Only when she was about to faint did he let go, letting her fall lifelessly to the floor in a heap.
Realizing that she could barely keep conscious, much less do anything to stop it, the Beast went to business. When the creature cleared the floor and began to create a runic diagram in the wood, Chloe realized in horror that her home was where he was going to do his ritual. The moment the diagram was finished the Beast held up the combined totems-which were two gold wings topped with a glass orb-and blew a murky black energy cloud from his mouth into the orb smirking at her, obviously taunting her, as the orb turned dark and he set it down in the diagram before starting to chant.
"Ket sahv Ma'at. Ket sahv Mesektet." He held a human heart up and directly over the orb, squeezing the blood out so that it dripped onto the obsidian orb. "Ket sahv Ma'at. Ket sahv Mesektet."
"Stop...it..." Chloe tried to move, but she felt lifeless, as if being drained of energy, unable to move even her head.
The orb briefly glowed a fiery red, and then faded back to black as the door slammed open and the Fang Gang minus Lois and Cordelia and plus Gwen rushed in, Angel in the lead.
It was that moment that Chloe started blacking out, struggling for consciousness, but knowing that she passed out a couple of times, because every time she opened her eyes the battle was considerably different from the last.
Gun crashed to the floor in a heap as Angel attacked the Beast. Fred and Wesley stood off to the side chanting while Gwen tried to get at the idol. She spotted an opening and dashed across the room towards it. The Beast tossed Angel aside and turned back to Gunn when it spotted Gwen behind it. Picking up a wooden crate it hurled it at her, striking her full force, crate shattering. Gwen dropped to the floor, dazzed.
The idol broke into its three component pieces and the orb rolled across the floor.
"The orb!" Angel yelled. "Don't let it-!"
The glass orb came to rest right between the Beast's feet, and the creature looked down at Angel with a predator smile before going to kneel in the center of the runic diagram.
"Ahum Semkhet. Vesh ra'an Manjet."
A shimmering energy began to form a portal behind the Beast.
"Angel..." Wesley called.
Chloe fought to keep her eyelids open, wondering if the reason everything was getting dimmer was because she was about to pass out for good...or if the Beast's spell was working.
Chloe screamed, body arching off of the floor, unable to explain what she was feeling right now.
Angel raised his sword and attacked along with Gwen and Gun. Between the three of them they forced the Beast backwards towards the portal, and with a final leaping kick, Angel knocked it into the energy field. The Beast, along with the portal, disappeared.
Gwen smiled. "We did it! Didn't we?"
"Why is it still getting dark?" Fred whispered, voice wavering.
Angel dropped the sword and rushed to Chloe, falling on his knees and pulling her onto his lap. "Chloe?"
"I told you once..."
They all spun around to find the Beast behind them, striding into the room, causing them to back away from it in shock.
"...you don't need to be my enemy." The Beast eyed Angel. "Join with me..." He smirked. "Angelus."
As Angel stared at it in stunned silence, the Beast bent down and picked up the orb from the center of the ritual circle. It put the orb in its mouth and swallowed.
Finally Chloe felt the power over her disappearing, and she groaned, strong enough to sit up on her own.
The Beast turned to them. "We'll meet again...soon."
It then leapt out the window and disappeared.
"My god...the sun. It's gone." Wesley whispered in horror. "Completely obliterated."
Chloe didn't care, turning to Angel. "Connor?"
Angel looked her over before giving her a small smile. "He'll be fine." He reached for her and picked her up, standing, her cheek resting against his unbeating heart. "Let's all go home."
The group slowly made their way back, Chloe feeling her vampiric powers finally returning as they healed her.
It worried her.
Whatever that Beast had done, it'd seemed to not only nullify her self-healing abilities...but had seemed to be drawing energy from her.
By the time they exited the building, she was strong enough to cry and scramble out of Angel's arms and into Connor's as the young man limped towards her, an arm, a couple of ribs, and his foot still broken. They hugged each other, both hurting, both healing, both desperate to assure each other that the other was alive and in their arms once more.
Lois smiled at her cousin before turning to the others. "Considering the sun is gone, I'm going to assume it didn't work."
Wesley looked at her and shook his head.
She sighed, lowering hers. "Well, at least you're all alive."
"Angel, we have to talk." Cordelia grabbed Angel's hand, tugging his attention away from Chloe and Connor.
"I can't believe we lost the sun." Fred whispered tearfully, hugging Gunn.
Her boyfriend hugged her tightly, pressing a kiss to her head.
"Angel, I think I figured it out." Cordelia announced.
"So have I." The vampire replied, a little curtly. "The Beast knows me."
"No, it doesn't." Cordelia shook her head. "It knows Angelus."
At the mention of that name, Angel looked around uncomfortably as everyone stared at him.
"Am I right?" Cordelia pressed. "While you were upstairs, it came to me. I wasn't having a vision of the demon, I was seeing a memory of it."
"How's that again?" Gwen blinked.
Cordelia ignored her, eyes on the vampire. "The Powers That Be were sending me the piece of the puzzle we needed but I just couldn't see the whole picture...or hear the sound...until just now. Angel, I saw you, long ago, standing in a field of bodes with the Beast."
Connor glared at his father. "You knew this thing and you didn't tell us?"
Chloe's eyes were wide in shock.
"No!" Angel shook his head. "I couldn't come up against something like that and not remember!"
"The answer is among you." Gunn whispered Evil Red Riding Hood's words once more. "It like she said, isn't it? Only this never was about Connor. It's about..."
"...Angelus." Fred exclaimed, hand to her heart.
"I'm telling you, I don't know this Beast." The vampire glared at them, agitated. "I'd remember."
"Like you remember falling asleep before Manny got killed?" Cordelia's eyes narrowed.
Angel turned to her. "What?"
"An inside job." Gwen whispered, mouth falling open. "Wow. Never saw this one coming."
Angel snarled at her. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means you're a suspect." Wesley explained, standing next to Lois. "If Cordelia's right, we should admit the possibility that this Beast may have some sort of power over you. To make you do things. To make you forget."
"And it has a plan." Cordelia nodded. "The rain of fire, taking down Wolfram & Hart, even blotting out the sun...I think now those were only the first steps to something bigger."
"What can be bigger than blotting out the sun?" Lois wanted to know. "In my books that's a pretty friggin big deal!"
"Well, I don't know what to tell any of you because I don't know what the plan is!" Angel glared at them.
"No...but Angelus might." Wesley whispered.
Chloe felt herself go cold. "You can't be saying what I think you're saying."
"Chloe, how things are there's only one way we're going to defeat this Beast." Wesley apologized with his eyes.
"There has to be another way!" Chloe pulled away from a confused yet wary Connor. "Any
Lois looked between them, worried and confused. "Wait, I don't get what's going on here. What's our only way to beat the Beast?"
Wesley turned to her, face blank. "We need Angelus."