Title: To Serve and Protect
Sequel to: Streets of New Gotham, Nights of New Gotham, Days of New Gotham
Fandoms: Angel/Birds of Prey (Connor/Dinah, Angel/Oracle)
Disclaimer: Connor (and everything Angel) belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Birds of Prey doesn't belong to me either -- it belongs to Tollin/Robbins productions and WB Televison.
Author's Note: Timeline for this story: Set in my "After the Hellmouth" universe. In the near future, after Dinah's 18th birthday and graduation from high school. Future Angel as well, and assumes that the Angel Investigations crew joined forces with the Scooby Gang and the Potentials do defeat The Beast, and its boss, the First Evil -- at which time the Hellmouth was destroyed. This story takes place the night after "Days of New Gotham" leaves off.
Author's Note, part II: This story was delayed because I severely underestimated how much time it would take to work on my epic multi-part AU fic series, "After the Hellmouth" (http://www.creative-insanity.net/ath/). So, this story is going to be a bit slow going, but I'm working on it.
Author's Note, Part III: Thanks to "Mac Xavier" from Twisting the Hellmouth for reminding me that I said I'd have this fic out in April...Knowing that someone's waiting to read a story makes me write faster.
Los Angeles was quiet. At least, it seemed quiet from where Angel sat, under the stars in the garden in front of the Hyperion Hotel (aka the headquarters for Angel Investigations). The jasmine was blooming, the nearly-full moon covering everything in an ethereal silver glow... For once, there were no visions to interpret, no demons to kill or vampires to slay. Life was perfect, except for one thing.
"He's been gone for months, Angel. When are you going to stop looking for him to come back?" Fred asked softly, leaning against the doorway.
Angel shrugged. "When he comes walking back through the gate?"
She gave a quick half-laugh before crossing the courtyard and sitting down on the bench next to him. Fred tucked her arm in through his and rested her head on his shoulder.
They sat in silence for long moments, listening to the breeze rustle through the leaves and the chirping of the cicadas.
"He's not coming back, is he?" Angel asked softly.
Fred didn't know what to say. She knew how desperately Angel wanted a relationship with his son, and how hard Connor fought against him. But to give up hope?
"I don't know," Fred replied. "I wish I could tell you that one night you're going to wake up and he's going to come walking in the front door, but I can't. He's got a lot of problems, Angel, and I'm not sure he's ever going to find enough peace to be able to come back and deal with it all."
The vampire stood up, striding to one corner of the garden and stopped, his back to Fred. "We have our problems. All fathers and sons do, right? I hated my father, but I didn't run away from home."
"No," Fred agreed. "Instead, you killed and ate him and the rest of your family. Personally, I think running away is a better choice."
Angel laughed bitterly. "You're right. Running away is the better choice. But he's been gone for a whole year. He hasn't even called in months...not to talk to me, anyway," he said, remembering that Connor had talked to Cordy a couple of weeks ago. He didn't want her or Fred to worry. Not that he cared about worrying his father.
"Angel, I'm sure he doesn't mean-"
"Mean what?" he interrupted. "To hate me? To pretend I don't exist? To still think of the bastard that kidnapped him as his real father?" He shook his head. "I don't know if I can do this anymore...this waiting. I want to go to him, talk to him. But I can't, because I don't have any idea where he is."
Angel whirled around to face Fred. "What? You know where Connor is?"
The physicist nodded. "He's in New Gotham."
"How do you know?" Angel asked, afraid this was too good to be true.
Fred hesitated. She didn't really want to tell Angel where she'd gotten the information. "Can't I just say that I have it? If I tell you where I got it, it might make you...cranky."
"Fred," he growled.
She sighed. "Well, I got it off his arrest report."
"Arrest report? Connor was arrested?"
Needing to be on more equal footing with Angel, Fred got to her feet. "It wasn't anything, really, the charges were dropped almost immediately. After all, Connor's still a good guy, even if he is running halfway across the country and hardly ever calling so we're all worried about whether he's alive or dead. He wouldn't really kill anybody."
"Are you telling me my son was arrested for murder?" he asked, his eyes growing cold. If Connor had done something so evil...
"No," she shook her head. "Well, sort of... okay, yes, but it wasn't really murder."
Angel stared at her. What was she talking about?
"He was arrested for murder when a drunk homeless man saw him poke someone in the heart with a sharp stick," she added pointedly.
"Vampires. He's slaying vampires in New Gotham." All the facts finally falling into place, Angel quickly came to the same conclusion Fred had.
"The city is under siege by a serial killer. The press is calling it the "Vampire Murders," because they all have fang marks and no blood in their bodies. But no one seems to think it could be the work of a real vampire. Apparently there's never been a vampire seen in New Gotham," explained Fred.
"I've got to go," Angel said, rushing back into the hotel.
Fred followed him inside, calmly walking over to the desk as Angel paced in the lobby.
"I've got to go to New Gotham and help him," Angel insisted.
"I thought you'd say that," Fred replied, picking up a pile of papers. "So I printed out the newspaper articles relating to the 'Vampire Murders.' Also, the police reports I illegally hacked into; driving directions to New Gotham, including locations of motels appropriate for waiting out the sun; oh, and information on Dinah Redmond."
Angel smiled. Fred was brilliant, hyper-efficient, and always prepared. A little wacky, but hey, no one's perfect. At least she didn't hide under tables and write on walls anymore. "Wait..." he said as her final words sunk in. "Who's Dinah Redmond?"
"Dinah Redmond," Fred read. "The woman Connor was arrested with last night. Eighteen years old, recent graduate of New Gotham High. Born Dinah Lance. Mother deceased, father not mentioned. She grew up in foster care and currently lives with her guardian, Barbara Gordon, a teacher at New Gotham High."
Angel crossed the lobby in a few short steps, grabbing Fred and twirling her around. "You're amazing."
She blushed as he set her down. "It was nothing, really. Now, are you going to stand around her talking to me, or are you going to go help your son?"
"I'm going." Halfway to the door he turned to smile at her. "Thanks, Fred. For everything."
She smiled. "What are friends for?"
He turned back, almost out the door when he heard her call his name. He turned and looked at her quizzically.
"Your keys," she called, walking over to him with keys in hand. She gave him a big hug, then handed him the keys. "Good luck."
Angel turned and walked out the door. He had a long drive ahead of him.